truth; consequently he is not able to find his goal that is the truth. Also, in lines seventy nine and eighty the poem reveals that the soul of man can find the truth but his eyes not: “Whose soul sees the perfect / which his eyes seek in vain. Consequently, through his inner power, or intuition the poet is able to recognize “air, sound, silence, plant, bird” have the same united reality. He understands through intuition that the pain and pleasure are the same and finds the secret behind the appearance. Wayne notes that the untold heavenly sweetness of this vision draws the poet to new heights of insight (248):
Eterne alternation
Now follows, now flies;
And under pain, pleasure–
Under pleasure, pain lies.
Love works at the centre,
Heart heaving alway; (poems 97-102)
This notion enriches human’s knowledge of his life and identity, to ignore the surface and go deep into the realization of the meaning of the world. Man uses his intuition not his eyes to understand the identity of everything that is behind the surface of the world. He learns that the opposite notions of the world have one identity. This knowledge is the initiation of finding the true identity for man and other living beings in the world.
۳.۲.۲.۳. Man is the answer to the question
The Sphinx says that man is the answer to the proposed riddle. Also, she asserts that he is also the original riddle. He is both the question and the answer.
As it was stated earlier the Sphinx asks some questions about the mystery of the world, nature and human being. Ultimately, a poet answers to the Sphinx’s question. The meaning of the world is in an involvement in the “Eterne alternation” of nature. The answer is the Sphinx that is the energy which is the active soul in the world (248). Also, man is the riddle as the Sphinx states: “Thou are the unanswered question” (113). Moreover, the sphinx is human energy that enquires what man asks through nature as she declares that that she is the poet’s spirit:
I am thy spirit, yoke-fellow,
Of thine eye I am eyebeam
Thou art the unanswered question;
Couldst see thy proper eye,
Always it asketh, asketh;
And each answer is a lie.
So take thy quest through nature,
It through thousand natures ply;
Ask on, thou clothed eternity;
Time is the false reply. (Poems 111-120)
The human’s real existence cannot be seen because the Sphinx says that she is the poet’s eyebeam when he looks: “Of thine eye I am eyebeam” (112). The poem illustrates that the object of human quest, the wholeness he seeks, is present in the energy by which the quest is done as it was said that the Sphinx is the poet’s Spirit (248). Consequently, the poet is present in every detail of the world. Indeed, Individual and the world are interrelated. The viewer is present in all it sees or the question and answer is one. In this way a united spirit embraces the poet and world. Understanding this unity gives a new identity to human and other things. Man is the omnipresent energy of the world or the universal reality of it. All humans and generally every creature are sacred to the person that has this insight.
۳.۲.۲.۴. Opposite notions find the same essence
The Sphinx declares that man is the answer to the question since she said earlier that man’s spirit is the Sphinx herself. Besides, she says that man himself is the original riddle: “Thou are the unanswered question” (113). The lines reiterate some lines of the poem “Brahma” since Emerson makes no difference between the opposite notions as their real substance is the same, if they are “shadow and sunlight”, “slayer and slain” or in the poem “The Sphinx” the question and answer. In “Brahma” it is declared the slayer and slain are the same:
If the red slayer thinks he slays
Or if the slain think he is slain
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep and pass and turn again. (1-2)
Also, the Sphinx in “The Sphinx” asserts that contrasting notions are similar and she reveals that man is both the answer and the question.
As it was mentioned above, the poet found that man is the answer to the questions. Afterwards, the Sphinx asserts that she is the poet’s spirit and indeed his real essence, “I am thy spirit yoke-fellow / Of thine eye I am eyebeam” (111-112). The poet uses the image of “eyebeam” that reminds the reader of Emerson’s subjective perspective of the “transparent eyeball” that is uttered at the beginning of Nature. The idea considers man as a transferring object of the truth that sees the sublime. Here in the poem as man’s real essence is that universal truth, the Sphinx, in this way he gains a new identity. He is considered as a sacred creature since he is the Sphinx spirit. Consequently, he is able to regard himself the most important thing in the universe and relies on himself. Although, when man knows that the real character inside himself is because of the truth that “circulate through” him (Collected Works 1:54), it will lessen his pride since his identity has come from a higher grace power.
۳.۲.۳. Unity in “Xenophanes”
The poem “Xenophanes” was written in 1834. It can be said this poem very clearly reflects
Emerson’s doctrine of unity. The name of the poem refers to Xenophanes of Elca, the philosopher and rhapsodist (570-480 B.C.) and his idea about unity in the world. He complained in his old age that he saw the same thing in the various forms and everything came back to unity in his view. Also his doctrine Eva kai Iii IIav, the one and the all, was also represented in other Emerson’s poem, “Each and all”. The doctrine states that a united spirit connects all the creatures to each other. It also explains that each entity is related to this united truth. Xenophanes taught the Unity of God and nature. He said, “There is one God, the greatest among gods and men, that is not comparable to mortals, neither in form nor thought” (Parkinson and shanker, 6: 142).
Arthur. K. Rogers in his book titled, The Student’s History of Philosophy, notes that what Xenophanes taught was “that what we name God is the one immutable and comprehensive material universe which holds within it and determines all those minor to which an enlightened philosophy will reduce the many deities of the popular faith.” (qtd. in The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson 325).
The poet use capital letter for the word “Nature” to points to God since Emerson uses it also in his essay “Nature” to reveal this idea. The poem states that Nature gives many forms and shapes to different things. Then through the poem it is shown that despite the presence of multiple substances in the world, the reality of all of them is one united spirit.
۳.۲.۳.۱. Variety resolves into Unity
The poem shows that various things have the same substance.
Unity is the underlying theme of the poem. Everything is in fact originated from one truth. The substances in the world are apparently different but their reality is one essence.
All things
Are of one pattern made; bird, beast and flower,
Song, picture, form, space, thought and character
Deceive us, seeming to be many things,
And are but one. (Poems 5-9)
The lines mentioned above echo what Emerson describes in many of his essays like “Nature” and “Self-Reliance”. He states that the spirit of everything whether action, notion, object or any essence is from one truth. Emerson believes to the resolution of the all into the ever-blessed One. All the things in the world are one thing and this is the truth as Emerson represents in the fifth line of the poem: “It was her stern necessity: all things / are of one pattern made” (5-6). In the first line the poet points that different characteristics that are given by Nature to the many things are not chosen but they are given by fate. Consequently, the poem emphasizes on this point that the diversity in nature is not important because according to his doctrine of “duality and unity”, the dual aspects in the world are in fact illusions but the reality of the entities is their spiritual features and there is unity among these spiritual realities. The notion shows unity is the truth of the world, the truth of the riddle of variety in unity in the universe. Lines six, seven, eight and nine bring some examples of the aspects, objects and essences in the existence and suggest that they appear to man to be many things but in fact they are one(Jason, 6: 234). As Emerson believes, man thinks there are many things around him, but actually all of them are one fact, one reality, which Emerson names ‘the Over-Soul’. This is the theme that repeats through the poem. “Song, picture, form, space, thought and character / Deceive us, seeming to be many things, / And are but one” (7-9). Song, picture, form, space, thought and character all seem to be many different things but they are one thing as their real essence is one truth. This fact that the main identity of all living beings is one reality uncovers the truth for human, to lessen his greed since he has learnt there is no difference between opposite notions. He learns that property and poverty, light and dark, shame and fame are the same qualities. Also, man is able to have all the beauties and good since their reality is that universal soul which man is able to make relation with her.
۳.۲.۳.۲. Each element introduces another one
The poem shows that each object represents another one in the world. He speak about this idea in many of his writings as the essays “The Over-Soul” and “Compensation”.
Emerson expresses in one of his essays “Compensation”, if each person understands one object in the world, at the same time he knows another object (Essays 57). To elaborate further on his notion, he suggests some examples that what musician, writer, and generally everyone does, all are the same but take different shapes in different works. In another passage in his essay “Self-Reliance” he holds that the river is the wind which blows above it (Essays 32). The same impression is said in lines twelve and thirteen in this poem “To know one element, explore another, / And in the second, reappears the first” (12-13). Also, in the essay “The Over-Soul” he states that if each person knows one element, he explores another one in the world (Essays 139).
It was her stern necessity: all things
Are of one pattern made; bird, beast and flower,
Song, picture, form, space, thought and character
Deceive us, seeming to be many things,
And are but one. Be held far off, they part
As God and devil; bring them to the mind,

Author: mitra4--javid

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