Nature

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Nature What we see in nature is only what we are able to perceive, and it is dependent on our own mind and sensitivity to it. Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his Nature essay, often refers to nature as though it were somewhat of an apparition, containing a great deal of surface value. In order to tap into the spiritual, into the over-soul, the facade of nature must be penetrated to be experienced. It is the responsibility, therefore, of the viewer to attempt to "see through" the surface of the physical, which is a manifestation of the Spirit, which will, in turn, allow him to find the relation between nature and our conscious selves. Here, Emerson questions the relationship of nature in regard to the man who perceives it. In Experience he states, “All things swim and glitter. Our life is not so much threatened as our perception. Ghostlike we glide through nature, and should not know our place again”. This passage is especially reminiscent of Emerson’s “transparent eyeball” image in Nature. He uses this metaphor to illustrate the union with the Spirit, which he feels, yet within which he also loses his individual identity in this fleeting sense of wholeness when he is "transparent" and in perfect unity with the Universe. And like the transparent eyeball, we glide, “ghostlike” in this Universe, “in a series where we do not know the extremes”. In this sense, Emerson refers to vision, perception, and the eye, which become the links between man and nature, and man‘s ability to tap into nature spiritually. In both Nature and Experience, what we see is what we can comprehend, and once the surface can be broken through, spiritual unification may be attainable. In Experience, Emerson states, “Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them. It depends on the mood of the man whether he shall see the sunset or the fine poem.” This idea corresponds closely with Emerson’s concept in Nature, again, where the unification of nature and our conscious selves is cited as occurring only when men are aptly responsive to the experience of nature. “..all natural objects make a kindred impression when the mind is open to their influence. Nature never wears a mean appearance....To speak truly, Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing.

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