Empirical science hinders true perception by focusing too much on particulars and too little on the broader picture. There seems to be a necessity in spirit to manifest itself in material forms; and day and night, river and storm, beast and bird, acid and alkali, preexist in necessary Ideas in the mind of God, and are what they are by virtue of preceding affections, in the world of spirit. . Adam called his house, heaven and earth; Caesar called his house, Rome; you perhaps call yours, a cobler's trade; a hundred acres of ploughed land; or a scholar's garret. It is only then that an individual will be in a position to understand nature.
He sets his house upon the road, and the human race go forth every morning, and shovel out the snow, and cut a path for him. And all the uses of nature admit of being summed in one, which yields the activity of man an infinite scope. Inspired by intuition and imagination, he enhances and reduces facets of nature according to his creative dictates. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. A wise writer will feel that the ends of study and composition are best answered by announcing undiscovered regions of thought, and so communicating, through hope, new activity to the torpid spirit. He introduced himself to Emerson, who became an important friend and mentor to him.
It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The wise man shows his wisdom in separation, in gradation, and his scale of creatures and of merits is as wide as nature. All good is eternally reproductive. The same landscape viewed in different weather and seasons is seen as if for the first time. Particular natural facts are symbols of particular spiritual facts. At the call of a noble sentiment, again the woods wave, the pines murmur, the river rolls and shines, and the cattle low upon the mountains, as he saw and heard them in his infancy.
Sensible objects conform to the premonitions of Reason and reflect the conscience. When men are innocent, life shall be longer, and shall pass into the immortal, as gently as we awake from dreams. And man in all ages and countries, embodies it in his language, It is easily seen that there is nothing lucky or capricious in these analogies, but that they are constant, and pervade nature. The relations of parts and the end of the whole remaining the same, what is the difference, whether land and sea interact, and worlds revolve and intermingle without number or end, -- deep yawning under deep, and galaxy balancing galaxy, throughout absolute space, -- or, whether, without relations of time and space, the same appearances are inscribed in the constant faith of man? Emerson defines these as commodity, or turning nature into usable things; beauty, or gaining aesthetic pleasure from nature; language, or turning sensory input into words; and discipline, or using nature to access the faculty of reason. It is the blending of experience with the present action of the mind. It is this which distinguishes the stick of timber of the wood-cutter, from the tree of the poet. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, -- master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance.
Nay, the most wonted objects, make a very slight change in the point of vision, please us most. It sees something more important in Christianity, than the scandals of ecclesiastical history, or the niceties of criticism; and, very incurious concerning persons or miracles, and not at all disturbed by chasms of historical evidence, it accepts from God the phenomenon, as it finds it, as the pure and awful form of religion in the world. A man's power to connect his thought with its proper symbol, and so to utter it, depends on the simplicity of his character, that is, upon his love of truth, and his desire to communicate it without loss. He forges the subtile and delicate air into wise and melodious words, and gives them wing as angels of persuasion and command. Parts of speech are metaphors, because The laws of moral nature answer to those of matter as face to face in a glass. His imperial muse tosses the creation like a bauble from hand to hand, and uses it to embody any caprice of thought that is upper-most in his mind. Emerson is of the opinion that we take nature and its beauty for granted, for example, we take stars for granted because we know that wherever we go, the stars will be with us.
Let us interrogate the great apparition, that shines so peacefully around us. As when the summer comes from the south; the snow-banks melt, and the face of the earth becomes green before it, so shall the advancing spirit create its ornaments along its path, and carry with it the beauty it visits, and the song which enchants it; it shall draw beautiful faces, warm hearts, wise discourse, and heroic acts, around its way, until evil is no more seen. The succession of native plants in the pastures and roadsides, which makes the silent clock by which time tells the summer hours, will make even the divisions of the day sensible to a keen observer. But the element of spirit is eternity. Emerson builds upon his circle imagery to suggest the all-encompassing quality of universal truth and the way it may be approached through all of its particulars. Yet sometimes he starts in his slumber, and wonders at himself and his house, and muses strangely at the resemblance betwixt him and it. Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The ultimate result of such lessons is common sense.
When the eye of Reason opens, to outline and surface are at once added, grace and expression. They are one to our present design. The foolish have no range in their scale, but suppose every man is as every other man. It is for cake that we run in debt; 't is not the intellect, not the heart, not beauty, not worship, that costs so much. Emerson points out that in the quest for the ideal, it does not serve man to take a demeaning view of nature. The poet, the painter, the sculptor, the musician, the architect, seek each to concentrate this radiance of the world on one point, and each in his several work to satisfy the love of beauty which stimulates him to produce.
A new edition also published by Munroe, with Emerson paying the printing costs, his usual arrangement with Munroe appeared in December of 1849. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile. Know then, that the world exists for you. I find it best to take Emerson in doses. For, although the works of nature are innumerable and all different, the result or the expression of them all is similar and single. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.
Gazing up at the stars reminds one that there is a distance between the material world and the natural one. Therefore is Space, and therefore Time, that man may know that things are not huddled and lumped, but sundered and individual. Seeing how many stars there are in the sky can comfort people who are feeling lonely and isolated. We are thus assisted by natural objects in the expression of particular meanings. The dawn is my Assyria; the sun-set and moon-rise my Paphos, and unimaginable realms of faerie; broad noon shall be my England of the senses and the understanding; the night shall be my Germany of mystic philosophy and dreams. Nature is the gigantic shadow of God cast on the senses. The misery of man appears like when we explore for his support and delight on this green ball which floats him through the heavens.
On 20 March 1841, Emerson's first collection of essays was published. Nature pleases even in its harsher moments. In order to develop deep connection with nature, it is essential to see nature through the eyes of a child. We are as much strangers in nature, as we are aliens from God. Our dealing with sensible objects is a constant exercise in the necessary lessons of difference, of likeness, of order, of being and seeming, of progressive arrangement; of ascent from particular to general; of combination to one end of manifold forces.