Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Philosophy of Nature

Diana D

In his major essay “Nature” Emerson examined the question, “Are the spiritual elements in nature essential?” He considered nature and the surrounding universe “a collection of facts, instead of a divine picture.” This view differs from the transcendentalists who held, “Everything in the universe belongs to God, or is in God.” Emerson’s concept of nature and the universe can be considered to be the compromise between the two views.

Emerson saw nature and the universe as a manifestation of the conflict between the forces of God, namely his higher nature, and the lower forces, namely human desires, and instincts. Natural laws were how the will of the greater force, God, would gain dominance over the will of the earth and the human race. Through the process of natural selection, mankind would achieve virtue through the discipline of the lower nature, i.e., the physical realm. In essence, the purpose of nature was to condition the human being to enjoy the material benefits of life through submitting to the higher will of God.


Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson, starts as a philosophical treatise on nature and its harmony. Following the quote above, it then discusses the nature of individual beauty, the need for harmony in society, and promotes individual freedom and responsibility. The last two sentences in the introduction describe the inner processes of happiness and sadness.

Emerson uses many of his poems to discuss nature and its natural beauty. In today’s world, many people believe that all life on the planet is meaningless and that humans are the product of their environment. Emerson demonstrates that belief in this premise is not supported by the facts of science. Self-reliance on the material world is not a necessary component of being human.


Emerson’s Nature is just one of his many writings on nature. In addition to his many works on aesthetic subjects, he also explored other topics such as religion, ethics, dialectical psychology, transcendentalism, and others. All of these topics contain a common central theme of transcendentalism. Transcendentalism is the belief that everything in the universe is part of a larger whole that has a purpose and will continue to exist eternally although the universe will eventually end.

Transcendentalism differs from pantheism in that pantheism believes that the entire universe is divine and could be seen as a God. Emerson believes that nature is part of the divine spirit which dwells within the spirit and nature. This may seem to lead to some contradictions for those who believe that the spirit and nature are distinct. However, both views are in line with the ideas that man is part of a creator spirit and the universe is made up of elements that have a spirit of their own. Both of these ideas are held by the religious right as the basis of their philosophy.

The necessity of self-reliance

Ralph Waldo Emerson also stressed the necessity of self-reliance, as people are the true masters of the world only when they have learned to control the forces of nature and the inevitable vagaries of life. Self-reliance, according to Thoreau, is the road to happiness. Thoreau also stressed the need for the development of social virtues and the development of a people capable of enduring the harsh conditions of life. The essence of happiness, according to Thoreau, is the possession of wealth and the absence of poverty. For Thoreau, the acquisition of wealth and the happiness it brings, are the real foundations of happiness.

An early native student’s case study, see below all for essay submission guidelines. An essay must be written in single complete paragraphs, using only the first and last name for the subject. Use personal pronouns such as “I” or “We” and “myself” or “myself.” An essay can have multiple paragraphs if necessary, but the writer should keep each paragraph distinctive from the other.

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