Emerson and the Transparent Eyeball

Written January 27, 2020

Emerson discusses the concept of “the transparent eyeball” as a reference to himself, stating that he can see both everything and nothing. Emerson expresses the importance of nature not just on an individual level but on a spiritual level and for the world. He points out that “to be brothers, to be acquaintances, – master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance” (556) which, given prior discussions and readings, leads me to believe that he is expressing how trivial our personal identities are when it comes to being in the eyes of God. Emerson as the transparent eyeball has also reached a level within himself where he is able to look past man-made landscapes and take in the beauty of nature for what it is. Emerson transcends the typical human thought process by becoming part of the nature he so admires throughout this passage and expresses viewpoints that are similar to transcendentalists. Even in our modern-day society, we still have the understanding (if not a deeper understanding) that we are one with nature and that we will one day return to nature and I feel like he’s using this collective mindset in this passage a lot because it’s a relatively simple concept for us to understand.

My own experiences with nature are a little different. While I haven’t had a life-changing, thought-altering experience with nature, the importance of nature has had growing importance in my life. I’ve always had an appreciation for the beauty of nature and how powerful nature can be. I was raised in South Florida where I often witnessed the sheer strength of nature through countless hurricanes. As I got older and eventually rejected the idea of God for a different practice that better suit my belief system, nature became the central focus of my practice. Throughout college and learning about the issues of sustainability, I’ve grown to realize that we not only need to take from nature but to also give back to it.

A sunset in Kennesaw.

2 thoughts on “Emerson and the Transparent Eyeball

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