Emerson

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view of everything identity helps everyone to have a sharp look and understanding of his life and see the unity hidden in the world and the reality of everything.
۳.۲.۱.۴. Man is the universal reality
The last section, lines forty to fifty-one, displays the human being as not standing apart from nature. In this part, the speaker focuses on himself. He is saying that the viewer is not the centre of the universe, but part of the whole, that all plants and life forms have an equal essence and all intertwine with each other within the world. Wayne states that the speaker considers himself as he stands in, surrounded by, and part of the sights, sounds, smells, and movement of nature to reveal that he is part of the nature (84):
As I spoke, beneath my feet
The ground-pine curled its pretty wreath,
Running over the club-moth burrs;
I inhaled the violet’s breath. (All Poems 40-44)
Acceptance of this fact that man is part of the truth of the world brings joy and happiness to everyone. It helps each person to consider himself and all the other ones as sacred, as he believes they are contained in that universal reality. He will regard his character as a whole quality that spreads everywhere and knows his new identity as an oak, firs, pine, violets, pine cone, acorns and the eternal sky. He is all of them. In this way each person loves himself and also other people as he knows that all humans are one. This judgment makes each man to be kind to other men. War will be less and peace more since man has learnt that what he did to others, he has done to himself.
۳.۲.۱.۵. The foundation of a united spirit
Lines thirty seven to thirty nine suggest the exploration of the truth in deep layers of understanding. Wayne declares that the speaker can still appreciate beauty-“Beauty through my senses stole”?but, as is also the lesson of the poem “The Rhodora” (1839), beauty is not the sole purpose(Critical Companion to Emerson 84). Emerson in his doctrine of unity considers the creatures as illusions and their true existence as one spirit in the world. Consequently, in this way he reaches to unity in the world. The poem conveys this notion that each person should ignore everything in the globe as they are really illusions but instead focuses on their true existence that is the creatures’ united essence i.e., ‘the Over-Soul’. It expresses that to perceive beauty one must understand the whole of the nature; the united spirit of the world.
The coda to the poem comes in the final twelve lines of the poem that reiterate the interconnections that were presented in the first twelve lines of the poem. Also, the last lines are a running together of the three previous encounters with beauty. In previous section of the poem the three images were identified as particular qualities in connection to the whole context. The three particularities are removed from their connection and placed in a setting that rarifies their meaning. The poet also in the last lines blends into the mosaic of the forested glen by placing himself within the spectrum of particulars and re-establishing a sense of identification. Further, this blending together utilizes all of the senses that bring together the whole in a synthetic rush. The poet focuses on himself as he stands in, surrounded by, and as part of the sights, sounds, smells, and movement of nature. In praising the nature through all his senses he becomes one with nature and part of perfect whole. Emerson believes that through the connection with nature man is able to make a relation with the universal truth of the world (Complete Works I: 56). Accordingly, Wayne states that the understanding of the whole, through the use of all human senses leads one to the universal truths (Encyclopedia of Transcendentalism 91). Lastly, the last lines manifest understanding the whole soul that is the real identity of the poet, the true beauty of everything and the universal truth that man looks for.
۳.۲.۲. Unity in “The Sphinx”
“The Sphinx”(1840) is one of Emerson’s favorite poems that published in the Dial magazine of January 1841. He chose it as the opening poem of his 1841 collection, Poems, again in Selected Poems (1876), and it held the same pride of position in Poems (1884). It seems that by putting this poem at the beginning of the book Emerson invites his readers to his own mind and the riddle of all of his writings. The riddle is the mystery and question of what is the real existence of the world, nature and man. Emerson’s answer to this question is human being. Simultaneously, the answer is the universal truth of the world that contains everything and also man. It is named Sphinx in this poem. Sphinx was a literary figure of special interest to Emerson and many others in 19 century. Herman Melville wrote a chapter on “The Sphinx” in his book Moby Dick (1851) and Edgar Allan Poe named one of his short stories “The Sphinx” (1846). According to Tiffany Wayne the Sphinx is usually associated with death and struggle, including the inability to find poetic inspiration (Critical Companion to Emerson 247), but as Lawrence Buell states, in Emerson works it is variously figured as a symbol of nature and history (Buell 171). Accordingly, in this poem the sphinx is welcomed to convey the positive meaning stated by Buell. In mythology the Sphinx is ruined but Emerson rises it up into nature: “She melted into purple cloud, / she silvered in the moon”. The poem is a challenge for humankind to unravel the mysteries of universe, nature and even the existence of humanity itself. It is a long conversation between the sphinx and a poet. The sphinx makes some questions to be answered. She has mysteries that the poet tries to unravel. She helps the speaker to know the complete answer to the question. Ultimately, the poet understands that both he and the Sphinx are the answers to the questions.
۳.۲.۲.۱. “Variety” leads to “unity”
Emerson in his journal of 1859 writes about two central principles of his philosophy: “identity” or unity and variety or change”. He believes that the variety that is present in the universe leads to unity or identity. He deems that all things in the world are apparently different but their real existence is one truth. Afterwards, in an interpretation of the poem “The Sphinx” he states “I have often been asked the meaning of “The Sphinx”. It is the perception of identity that unites all things and explains one by another, and the most rare and strange is equally facile as the most common. But if the mind lives only in particulars, and see differences, then the world addresses to this mind a question that cannot be answered and each new fact tears it to pieces, and it is vanquished by the distracting variety” (Wayne, Critical Companion to Emerson 247).Accordingly, the Sphinx is in fact equal to the notion of ‘the Over-Soul’ in Emerson’s philosophy, the universal spirit in the world that contains everything and which is simultaneously present in human being. It is the real essence of the globe or according to Emerson “identity” that is present in the universe.
The Sphinx proposes some riddles about nature and universe, including the existence and fate of humanity. She challenges human to unravel these mysteries. She wants to know the reality of existence, nature and also human
Who’ll tell me my secret,
The ages have kept?
I awaited the seer,
While they slumbered and slept;
The fate of the man-child;
The meaning of man;
known fruit of the unknown
Daedalian plan (Poems 5-12)
The “Sphinx” expresses some paradoxes of the relationship between unity and variety in nature. In different stanzas this notion is revealed. So in stanza four this unity is shown through the relation between the breezes and the waves:
The waves, unashamed,
In differences sweet,
Play glad with the breezes,
Old playfellows meet. (poems 25-28)
Also, the notion -“unity and variety”?appears in the images of stanza five: “Sea, earth, air, sound, silence / By one music enchanted /One deity stirred” (33, 35, 36). As it was mentioned earlier, the Sphinx is the united Spirit in the world that connects things to each other; also each substance has the same quality as the other substance in the existence and everything will be explained by another one, if it is “sea”, “earth” or completely different thing like “sound” and “silence”. Consequently, the poem shows that different things like sound, silence, air etc. although they are apparently varied but their real existence is one truth.
The poet understands that each entity has an opposite example that completes it and their true essence is one reality: “And under pain, pleasure / Under pleasure pain lies” (99-100). Emerson in his writings declares that the essence of all the substances in the universe is one truth, ‘the Over-Soul’. He affirms that the same quality of opposite things is also ‘the Over-Soul’. When someone learns about this doctrine he feels more joy since he learns that joy and sadness, “pain and pleasure” are the same. He knows that all the differences reach to unity, so it is not necessary to be worry about anything. The new identity that he considers for himself makes him free from greedy and also brings more joy to his life.
۳.۲.۲.۲. Exploration of Universal Truth through Intuition
The poet like the Sphinx speaks about the mysteries of the relationship of the whole to the particular and of the spiritual to the physical when “the soul sees the perfect, / Which his eyes seek in vain” (79-80). His eyes are not able to find the reality that he can see with his soul since the eyes watches the difference and the soul understands the whole. In “The Sphinx” the poet searches deeply into the universe to find the underlying unity hidden in the world which is not visible to the eyes as he concludes that through his eyes he cannot find any “goal”: “Man’s spirit must dive; / to his aye-rolling orbit / No goal will arrive ;”( 82-84). He uses his intuition to see the primary unitary reality in the universe. Consequently, man gains new insights and discovers the unity that is hidden behind duality, in spite of the alternation in the universe.
Stanza ten and eleven shows that man is not able to see the unity behind multiple things except when he uses his intuition. Wayne explains that lines eighty three and eighty four state that man should use his intuition to understand the united spirit of the world: “The clairvoyant soul of the poet plunges deep into “the aye-rolling orbit / No goal will arrive”-that is, he relies upon an affirmative intuition of the underlying unitary reality not visible to the eye” (Critical Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson 248). The eye-rolling orbit refers to the eye of human that cannot see the

Author: mitra4--javid

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