Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

Sophiaolender's picture

From starting Leaves of

From starting Leaves of Grass, I am very intrigued by this new style of writing we are reading. It is very different from the writing of Darwin and Dennett, who wrote in a more scientific way. Whitman writes poetically, every word meaning more than its surface interpretation. The part in the beginning that grabbed me was when Whitman writes, "The world does not so exist parts palpable or impalpable so exist result exists now without being from its long antecedent result, and that from its antecedent, and so backward without the farthest mentionable spot coming a bit nearer the beginning than any other spot... Whatever satisfies the soul is truth."  This has two big ideas -- the first being that every single thing in our universe comes from something before it. This goes back to our discussion on whether or not we are our pasts. I am sure this passage could be argued to aid both sides, but I really think Whitman is getting at the idea that we all come from something, and we are nothing without that something. Then, he tries to define truth, as whatever satisfies the soul. I find this reassuring. I think that people often spend too much time analyzing the world ( as we have been talking about in class), and even more than that, we spend too much time trying to figure out if there is an eternal Truth. I think all people need to realize that we each have our own Truths and it exists solely in our own happiness and self-fulfillment. Whitman gets at that idea often in the beginning of Leaves of Grass - he continually returns to what it is to be happy, or what a good life entails. He speaks of people thinking greatness is making money, and saving it, and living a "lawful life". He argues that true happiness is recognizing the world, seeing all humans as equal, honesty.


To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
18 + 2 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.