“to speak truly, few adult persons can see nature”

“To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature.” This quote fascinates me because while I had never thought about it in this direct way, I’ve always found this to be true. Children see things for their trueness and beauty, while adults almost always attach their own, and societies, stigmas and emotions to the thing they are viewing. Adults look but don’t really see. I think Emerson is trying to say that to fully appreciate something, whether its nature or any other object, one must be innocent or be a person “who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.” To appreciate nature a person must have retained the innocence of childhood or be a child. He says that most people don’t even see nature, that they use it a lens or some kind of medium through which to view the world, while a child is fully enveloped in the nature itself, “the sun illuminates only the eye if the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child.” Emerson seems to value the purity of children. Which makes sense because transcendentalist ideals take offense with the conformity of society and children are much less affected by societal pressures than are adults. Following this quote, Emerson talks about being in tune with nature and oneself, inside and out, and this quality is also much more prevalent in small children than in adults. He talks of the delight of nature and how it can alter ones state of mind. I took this to possibly mean one of two things. Either that the serenity and calmness of nature can truly alter a person’s state of mind, or that nature itself can be a state of mind. Meaning that being in nature is not necessary to be in a nature state of mind.

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