There were a lot interesting readings this week but the one I found the most interesting was An Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope. It begins by talking about nature and a Judge. After reading through it carefully I began to realize that the judge he could be talking to or about is the person reading the essay. Almost laying out these guidelines about how someone should act. He even compares nature to liberty, stating that nature is like liberty and it is only restrained by the laws it governs. I thought this was particularly interesting in that a lot of the time when we as a species try and create something we want to change or alter the ways of nature. I think this is particularly true when building houses or other buildings. We expect that because we live there that nature and the surroundings should obey our rules. By this I mean never raining when we want to be outside, or having the wildlife leave our trash barrels alone simply because we are too lazy to put them out in the morning. Pope hints at the fact that as a species we are quick to judge and expect a favorable outcome. But he also seems to hint at the fact that without a little judgment how could we decide what is beautiful or tasteful in life? As the old saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder and with this power comes great responsibility.
Further on in the essay I found another passage I found particularly interesting; “Of all the Causes which conspire to blind Man’s erring Judgment, and misguide the Mind, What the weak Head with strongest Byass rules, Is Pride, the never-failing Vice of Fools. Whatever Nature has in Worth deny’d, She gives in large Recruits of needful Pride; For as in Bodies, thus in Souls, we find What wants in Blood and Spirits, swell’d with Wind; Pride, where Wit fails, steps in to our Defence, And fills up all the mighty Void of Sense! If once right Reason drives that Cloud away, Truth breaks upon us with resistless Day; Trust not yourself; but your Defects to know, Make use of ev’ry Friend — and ev’ry Foe”(Pope, 200-214). Pope likes to hit on the fact that we have judgment proceeding our actions, and in order to be a good judge of life one must not allow our minds to be misguided by pride. Throughout our lives we are told to take pride in what we do, and some days we let this go to our heads. What I think he is trying to get across is the fact that we must remain humble in every action. He continues to tell us to use not only every friend but every foe we encounter. This goes with the idea of being humble, we may not like everyone we meet but at the end of the day they may know something we don’t and this knowledge could prove to be beneficial.
wc 393 (w/o quote)