Such a view would lead, as it has begun to do recently, to an environmental ethic in which human activity can enrich nature, rather than just lay waste to it or fence it off. If we had heeded Emerson, we might also have avoided the huge and costly mistake of dividing academic life into two fire-walled regimes, the humanities and the sciences. The consequence was not only that we have had generations of ill-educated young—scientists who know no poetry, poets who know no science—but something even graver.
Free will, if isolated from the controlling gentleness and complexity of nature, readily becomes the will to power, which can serve and has as a rationale for genocide. We are only now beginning to see the madness of where Western philosophy has led us. As he says in "Politics," published in , "the wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand, which perishes in the twisting; the State must follow and not lead the character and progress of the citizen Emerson, intuiting that concept a century and a half ago, says that, "from any one object the parts and properties of any other may be predicted.
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A little water made to rotate in a cup explains the formation of the simpler shells; the addition of matter from year to year, arrives at last at the most complex forms He argues that evolution harbors its own divine spirit and, therefore, that the universe is bursting with meaning. In his own time, Emerson was accused of being a pantheist, or a believer in the idea that nature is God, but that accusation misses its mark.
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