Essay on Man

All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see,
All discord, harmony not understood,
All partial evil, universal good…

 — From An Essay on Man by Alexander Pope

I was struck by the four divisions that the poet makes in the world, and how it echoes many other of the fourfolds shown here. Ignoring whether you think the former or the latter extreme of each division is correct, consider the aspect of the world that each division ranges over. Between nature and art lies the material and the parts of the world, either naturally occurring or fashioned by some intention. Between chance and direction lies the individual actions and occurrences of the world, either merely haphazard or towards something. Between discord and harmony lies structures of those materials and parts, and between evil and good lies functional arrangements of those acts and occurrences.




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