Great Men And Nature


All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religious men

or philosophers, are not mere readers of books, but the perusers of

Nature. Men of erudition are often lexicons in flesh and blood, but

men of genius read between the lines in the pages of life. Kant, a

man of no great erudition, could accomplish in the theory of

knowledge what Copernicus did in astronomy. Newton found the law of

gravitation not in
written page, but in a falling apple.

Unlettered Jesus realized truth beyond the comprehension of many

learned doctors. Charles Darwin, whose theory changed the whole

current of the world's thought, was not a great reader of books, but

a careful observer of facts. Shakespeare, the greatest of poets, was

the greatest reader of Nature and life. He could hear the music even

of heavenly bodies, and said:

There's not the smallest orb which thou beholdest,

But in his motion like an angel sings.

Chwang Tsz (So-shi), the greatest of Chinese philosophers, says:

Thou knowest the music of men, but not the music of the earth. Thou

knowest the music of the earth, but not the music of the

heaven.[FN#132] Goethe, perceiving a profound meaning in Nature,

says: Flowers are the beautiful hieroglyphics of Nature with which

she indicates how much she loves us.

[FN#132] Chwang Tsz, vol. i., p. 10.

Son-toku[FN#133] (Ninomiya), a great economist, who, overcoming all

difficulties and hardships by which he was beset from his childhood,

educated himself, says: The earth and the heaven utter no word, but

they ceaselessly repeat the holy book unwritten.

[FN#133] One of the greatest self-made men in Japan, who lived