same essence of everything in the world (qtd. in Sharma72). That essence is hidden behind the appearances and appearances can be deceiving. It is common between Emerson and Blake that they both understand the reality of the objects not through the senses, but through the intuition. Emerson is in search of unity in universe. He believes that everyone through his intuition should find the truth of the world individually. In fact he will obey his own rule through relation with the soul of the whole or ‘the Over-Soul’. Emerson envisioned true religion as a personal underestanding rather than an institutional connection with the divine like Christianity or any religion. The wise man, Emerson felt, is his own court and creates his own party, and he seeks a direct contact with God (Sharma 393).
Now and then, Emerson asserts that everything realized by each individual is the truth that is understandable by all people. He puts emphasis on the unity of all creatures to explain what each individual understands through the relation with the universal truth of the world. He finds ‘the universal soul’ as the essence of everything and consequently as the real identity of everything that is explored through individual power of every person.
۲.۲ Microcosm in Emerson’s Philosophy
A leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the
whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole. Each
is a Microcosm and faithfully renders the likeness of the world
Emerson believes that ‘the universal soul’ is present in every creature, and also human. In the essay “Compensation” he points to the presence of ‘the universal soul’ in each object: “We can never surprise nature in a corner, never tell where to set the first stone; … the wholeness we admire in order of the world is the result of infinite distribution. Every natural fact is an “emanation” and that from which it emanates is an emanation also, and from every emanation is a new emanation (Essays 51). As Wayne explains, Emerson here reveals that every object is an emanation of ‘the universal soul’ of the world, even the tiniest object.
It is worth mentioning that in this notion of microcosm Emerson was under the influence of William Ellery Channing (1780-1842), one of early Unitarian ministers that rejected the harsh, unforgiving congregational Calvinism and preached a form of religion which is more humanistic and emotionally expressive. Marshal Walkers in his book The Literature of the United States wrote that Channing made God and the human intelligence similar. He opposed the traditional way of worshiping God: “God is another name for human intelligence raised above all error and imperfection, and extended to all possible truth … we see God around us, because he dwells within us (57).Emerson developed some lectures in favor of Unitarian beliefs. Moreover, like Channing, he introduced a new definition of God and rejected the established religions like Christianity to provide a new approach toward God. For Emerson, God exists in every creature. He opposed conformity to traditional religion or Christianity and argued against the dependence on the thought of the past. In his essay “The American Scholar”, He made his audiences aware not to give up their freedom as individuals to the established customs and restricting beliefs. In other words, Emerson made his own religious doctrine to highlight the individual power and the existence of the truth within each creature in the universe.
In addition to Channing, Emerson’s strong belief in the existence of the true essence of the universe inside each object has also been reinforced by another thinker, Plato. Emerson considers God as what exists inside. In “The Over-Soul”, the Christian God is replaced by the platonic concept, an all-including primal spirit that both contains man and is to be found within him; that is “the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE” (Essays 139).
The replaced God as Emerson believes is to be found in man. In the essay (1841), he describes ‘the Over-Soul’ as the soul of the whole that is present in man: “within man is the soul of the whole” (Collected Works 139).Here Emerson asserts that what he believes to exist in everyone is in fact ‘the Over-Soul’. Furthermore, as he concerns that ‘the Over-Soul’ contains everything; consequently, man holds everything inside himself. Also, Emerson in his essay “Self-Reliance” claims that God exists within, which is the repletion of the idea that the truth of the world exists inside as he regards God is contained within ‘the Over-soul’: “Let us astonish the intruding rabble of men and books and institutions; by a simple declaration of the divine fact …God is here within” (Essays40).
In another essay “The Method of Nature”, Emerson states his ideas about the concept of “microcosm”. He illustrates that everything has wholeness: “Nothing can be found in the world that is imperfect. Each creature is complete and contains the truth” (Complete Works 1: 246). It should be noted that Emerson states that the truth is ‘the Over-Soul’. He suggests that each creature, even the tiniest one, holds the entire universe inside itself. To explain the presence of ‘the universal soul’ in everything, also, Carl Bode in his book, The Portable Emerson, states the idea that Emerson holds about each creature and considers this doctrine as a strange belief. It expresses that the great globe in which human beings live is reproduced in miniature down to the tiniest detail, in a drop of dew, for instance (64). Also, in another place in the essay “Compensation”, Emerson talks about the presence of the soul of the whole or ‘the Over-Soul’ in each minute object: “The world globes itself in a drop of dew. The microscope cannot find the animalcule which is less perfect for being little. Eyes, ears, taste, smell, motion, resistance, appetite and organs of reproduction that take hold on eternity─ all found room to consist in the small creature. So do we put our life into every act…” (Essays 63).He states that everything in the universe, even the smallest objects, holds the entire globe.
Following what is said in previous paragraph, also it is illustrated throughout the writings of Emerson that the concept of ‘microcosm’ could be also recognized in each essence of this universe; that the entire world is gathered in each essence. In “Compensation” he writes some examples and descriptions of the world in which everything is a replica of the eternal truth of the world.
The universe is represented in every one of its particles. Everything in nature contains all the power of nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff; … Each new form repeats not only the main character of the type, but part for part all the details, all the aims, furtherances, hindrances, energies and whole system of every other. Every occupation, trade, art, transaction, is a compend of the world and a correlative of every other. Each one is an entire emblem of human life; of its good and evil, its trials, its enemies, its course and its end. And each one must somehow accommodate the whole man and recite his entire destiny”. (Essays 55)
the essay “Compensation” like the poem “Each and All” manifests that everything in nature contains all the power of nature, and even every entity if it is, “occupation, trade, art, transaction”, has the whole world inside and it also, has a relation with other entities. He brings various examples and through all of which emphasizes the presence of the whole universe in each entity. All cosmos will be comprehended from each particular being and all universal laws could be found in encapsulated form, in eac
h manifestation of God.
Other than direct statements about the notion of ‘microcosm’, from the doctrine of unity among God, man and nature the concept of ‘microcosm’ can be understood. Emerson believes that man, nature and God are one truth and he asserts that there is unity among all of them. In an entry in the Journal IV for 1837, Emerson declares: “I can even with a mountainous aspiring say, I am God, but transferring me out of the flimsy and unclean prescient, of my body, my private will and meekly retiring upon the holy austerities of the just and the loving, upon the secret fountain of nature”( Essays 46). Emerson believes this united spirit that contains God, man and nature is present in man (Ekhtiar 92).Somewhere he states that knowing this reality that man contains the universal entity is the notion that brought him calmness and an answer to his questions and doubts:
Man begins to hear a voice that fills the heavens and the earth, saying that God is
within him; that there is the celestial host. I find this amazing revelation of my immediate relation to God a solution to all the doubts that oppressed me. … It is the perception of this depth in human nature, this infinitude belonging to every man that has been born, which has given new value to the habits of reflection and solitude. (Qtd. in Payne 177)
Other than the idea of the unity of God, man and nature that was explained earlier, Emerson’s doctrine of ‘matter’ and ‘mind’ also, reveals his concept of man as a ‘microcosm’ of the world. According to Emerson, there is one mind common to all individuals. As it was stated in previous part of this chapter, this universal soul or as he names ‘the Over-soul’ has double nature; the material world or ‘matter’ and ‘thought’. ‘Matter’ is the projection of ‘Thought’; thus, the universal power of the world is “Thought” since Emerson states that ‘the Over-Soul’ is the real essence of the world (Ekhtiar 45).Consequently, “Thought” that is the true essence of the universe, is present in each entity and everything is a microcosm of this force. He affirms that the universe is the projection of the mind: “When the mind opens, and reveals the laws which traverse the universe, and make things what they are, then shrinks the great world at once into a mere illustration and fable of the mind” (qtd. in Payne 194). He deems that what is outside man is to be found within him: “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, ‒ that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost” (Essays 46).
In addition to the two mentioned doctrines of the unity, and ‘matter’ and ‘thought’, the idea of the unity of dual concepts reinforces and proves Emerson’s notion of ‘microcosm’. According to Emerson there are dual aspects in nature: evil and good, light and dark, life and death etc., that all of which coexist and complete each other. This duality is an illusion which is rooted in one spiritual meaning, ‘the Over-Soul’. This doctrine proves that in every object there is the real spirit of the world: “The true doctrine of omnipresence is that God reappears with all his parts in every moss and cobweb. The value of the universe Contrives