Nature by Ralph Waldo EmersonEmersons essay Nature pretty much defeated me. I read Self-Reliance years ago and was incredibly impressed and inspired, but although I think Nature was included in the little volume I still have up in Arizona, I dont remember reading it at the time. So when I had the opportunity to include this in a challenge, I was looking forward to reading what Emerson had to say.
But although at times I thought I was just about to grasp his ideas so that I could say Eureka, I see what you are saying! it usually happened that the point he was making slithered away before I could interpret it properly. This is not Emersons fault, but my own. I am a bit fuzzy-brained these days, and that state does not mix well with this type of reading.
I did come close enough to a few points to either agree, disagree, or wonder if I was reading correctly. Such as when Emerson seems to be saying that Nature has value only in when it relates to Man in some way. Here is an example of this: The instincts of the ant are very unimportant, considered as the ants; but the moment a ray of relation is seen to extend from it to man, and the little drudge is seen to be a monitor, a little body with a mighty heart, then all its habits, even that said to be recently observed, that it never sleeps, become sublime.
That was the final sentence of a long paragraph where I was beginning to wonder about my abilities to understand anything. To me the instincts and habits of an ant are sublime because they are the
instincts and habits of an ant, not because of how they relate to man. We have to understand and appreciate that every being, plant or animal, is simply being itself. Whether Man is involved or not should make no difference in how we view an ant or any creature in Nature. We need to see and appreciate the world around us for its own sake only, not for what we can take from it.
I want to read this again someday when I am better able to think in a sharper manner. I do like the following quote, though.....and believe it or not, I even understood it!
The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.
Go Math! Student Edition Set Grade 4
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Go Math! Texas Grade 4
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