Friday, February 24, 2012

Man's relationship with Nature

When reading Emerson’s first section, titled Nature, he makes it very clear the relation between man, nature and religion as he writes “The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches” (Nature).  He is implying that man, nature and religion are all separate entities, simply related through the life of man and how he relates to both.  Emerson goes on to make the relationship through man’s actions more clear by giving the example of man and landscape.  He states “There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet” (Nature).  With this, he is implying that man can own parts of nature, as he gives the example of farms spread across the land, but when looking at the landscape as the whole on the horizon, no man can own that image.  Both are examples of man’s relationship with nature.  He ends the passage relating man nature and religion together again with idea then when man loses a loved one, nature does not seem as what it was before.  Instead, to man, nature feels dull and less populated.  This just reiterates the idea that he presented; man, nature and religion are al separate, but brought together through the actions of man.  Man can own parts of nature, but the landscape as a whole is owned by each individual man’s eye to see it how he sees it.  And that nature and religion are separated until the idea of a loved leaving earth for heaven leaves nature feeling dull and lifeless to the man surrounded by nature.  Which leaves me with the idea that, ultimately, man decides his relationship with nature through his actions (or feelings) with nature.             


  1. Devin, you make good points. However, I am not sure if I agree that man and nature are separate. It seemed to me that Emerson was saying that only through the uniting of man and nature can there be godliness. Therefore, godliness can only be obtained through the combination of the two. I'm not sure if what I'm saying really makes sense, though, so if not I apologize.

  2. What you are saying does make sense. I agree with you that when the two are brought together, Emerson describes the "delight" it brings. But if they are not united I believe he is saying that it takes that feeling of delight away.