He unfixes the land and the sea, makes them revolve around the axis of his primary thought, and disposes them anew. Build, therefore, your own world. Its effect is like that of a higher thought or a better emotion coming over me, when I deemed I was thinking justly or doing right. Secondly, nature works together with the spiritual element in man to enhance the nobility of virtuous and heroic human actions. Spirit hath life in itself.
Culture inverts the vulgar views of nature, and brings the mind to call that apparent, which it uses to call real, and that real, which it uses to call visionary. His intercourse with heaven and earth, becomes part of his daily food. Meantime, in the thick darkness, there are not wanting gleams of a better light, -- occasional examples of the action of man upon nature with his entire force, -- with reason as well as understanding. Whilst we see that it always stands ready to clothe what we would say, we cannot avoid the question, whether the characters are not significant of themselves. When a man gazes at the stars, he becomes aware of his own separateness from the material world. He goes to the post-office, and the human race run on his errands; to the book-shop, and the human race read and write of all that happens, for him; to the court-house, and nations repair his wrongs.
It reinvigorates the overworked, and imparts a sense of well-being and of communion with the universe. No man is its enemy. His critics at the time and in decades since charged that Emerson completely overlooked the fact that for an evil-minded person, such advice could be dangerous. And in common life, whosoever has seen a person of powerful character and happy genius, will have remarked how easily he took all things along with him, -- the persons, the opinions, and the day, and nature became ancillary to a man 3. Adam called his house, heaven and earth; Caesar called his house, Rome; you perhaps call yours, a cobbler's trade; a hundred acres of ploughed land; or a scholar's garret.
. Ever does natural beauty steal in like air, and envelope great actions. Its beauty is the beauty of his own mind. The instincts of the ant are very unimportant, considered as the ant's; 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. What we are, that only can we see. We own and disown our relation to it, by turns. The first steps in Agriculture, Astronomy, Zoology, those first steps which the farmer, the hunter, and the sailor take, teach that nature's dice are always loaded; that in her heaps and rubbish are concealed sure and useful results.
Nature exists, that is, solely for the use of spirit. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. The first question — What is matter? The first is the primacy of the soul, which is divine and identical in all men, a spark of eternity, presenting immediate access to all knowledge. One is seal, and one is print. In due time, the fraud is manifest, and Hundreds of writers may be found in every long-civilized nation, who for a short time believe, and make others believe, that they see and utter truths, who do not of themselves clothe one thought in its natural garment, but who feed unconsciously on the language created by the primary writers of the country, those, namely, who hold primarily on nature. It is the uniform effect of culture on the human mind, not to shake our faith in the stability of particular phenomena, as of heat, water, azote; but to lead us to regard nature as a phenomenon, not a substance; to attribute necessary existence to spirit; to esteem nature as an accident and an effect.
Seeing how many stars there are in the sky can comfort people who are feeling lonely and isolated. Every rational creature has all nature for his dowry and estate. But we cannot capture natural beauty if we too actively and consciously seek it. But besides this general grace diffused over nature, almost all the individual forms are agreeable to the eye, as is proved by our endless imitations of some of them, as the acorn, the grape, the pine-cone, the wheat-ear, the egg, the wings and forms of most birds, the lion's claw, the serpent, the butterfly, sea-shells, flames, clouds, buds, leaves, and the forms of many trees, as the palm. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another. Every universal truth which we express in words, implies or supposes every other truth. Fortunately, the rest of Emerson's children lived long, full lives.
A noble doubt perpetually suggests itself, whether this end be not the Final Cause of the Universe; and whether nature outwardly exists. Man cannot be understood without nature, nor nature without man. Is not the landscape, every glimpse of which hath a grandeur, a face of him? A perception of this mystery inspires the muse of George Herbert, the beautiful psalmist of the seventeenth century. The presence of Reason mars this faith. Things are ultimates, and they never look beyond their sphere. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls.
This love of beauty is Taste. As fast as you conform your life to the pure idea in your mind, that will unfold its great proportions. The same landscape viewed in different weather and seasons is seen as if for the first time. In order to experience awe in the presence of nature, we need to approach it with a balance between our inner and our outer senses. This ethical character so penetrates the bone and marrow of nature, as to seem the end for which it was made. All science has one aim, namely, to find a theory of nature.