Skip to content

The Paradox of Nature

May 9, 2009

Adam and Eve

Hall she be guide to all Creatures, which is her selfe one? Or if she also haue a guide, shall any Creature haue a better guide than wee? The affections of lust and anger, yea euen to erre is Naturall; shall we follow these? Can she be a good guide to vs, which hath corrupted not vs but only herselfe? Was not the first man by the desire of knowledge corrupted euen in the whitest integrity of Nature? And did not Nature (if Nature did any thing) infuse into him this desire of knowledge, & so this Corruption in him, into vs? If by Nature we shall vnderstand our essence, our definition, or reason, noblenesse, then this being alike common to all (the Idiot and the wizard being equally reasonable) why should not all men hauing equally all one nature, follow one course? Or if wee shall vnderstand our inclinations; alas! how vnable a guide is that which followes the temperature of our slimie bodies? for we cannot say that we deriue our inclinations, our mindes, or soules from our Parents by any way: to say that it is all, from all, is errour in reason, for then with the first nothing remaines; or is a part from all, is errour in experience, for then this part equally imparted to many children, would like Gauell-kind lands, in few generations become nothing; or say it by Communication, is errour in Diuinity, for to communicate the ability of communicating whole essence with any but God, is vtterly blasphemy. And if thou hit thy Fathers nature and inclination, hee also had his Fathers, and so climbing vp, all comes of one man, all haue one nature, all shall imbrace one course; but that cannot be, therefore our Complexions and whole Bodies, we inherit from parents; our inclinations and mindes follow that: For our mind is heauy in our bodies afflictions, and reioyceth in our bodies pleasure: how then shall this nature gouerne vs, that is gouerned by the worst part of vs? Nature though oft chased away, it will returne; ’tis true, but those good motions and inspirations which bee our guides must be wooed, Courted,and welcomed, or else they abandon vs. And that old Axiome, nihil inuita, &c. must not be said thou shalt, but thou wilt doe nothing against Nature; so vnwilling he notes vs to curbe our naturall appetites. Wee call our bastards alwayes our naturall issue, and wee define a Foole by nothing so ordinary, as by the name of Naturall. And that poore knowledge whereby we conceiue what raine is, what wind, what Thunder, we call Metaphysickesupernaturall; such small things, such no things doe we allow to our pliant Natures apprehension. Lastly, by following her, wee lose the pleasant, and lawfull Commodities of this life, for we shall drinke water and eate rootes, and those not sweet and delicate, as now by Mans art and industry they are made: wee shall lose all the necessities of societie, lawes, arts, and sciences, which are all the workemanship ofMan: yea, we shall lacke the last best refuge of misery Death; because no death is naturall: for if yee wil not dare to call all death violent (though I see not why sicknessesbe not violences) yet causes of all deaths proceed of the defect of that which nature made perfect, and would preserue, and therefore all against nature. (John Donne, Paradoxes, VIII)

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: