Quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature is thoroughly mediate. It is made to serve. It receives the dominion of man as meekly as the ass on which the Saviour rode. It offers all its kingdoms to man as the raw material which he may mould into what is useful. Man is never weary of working it up.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 5 (1836, revised and repr. 1849).

This quotation might on its surface surprise some readers who believe that Emerson is the kind of environmentalist who is bent on leaving nature alone so humanity can learn from it. Like many religious thinkers, Emerson places the human mind and soul at the center of the universe. The key term here is "dominion," invoking Genesis 1:26 and suggesting wise, humble, connected, and responsible uses of the earth. Emerson is also proposing an epistemological theory here, namely that the world is created with every act of perception and thus humanity co-creates the world with God.
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