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Dickinson’s 'Meditation on the Future'

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  1. Introduction
  2. Dickinson's perception of Christianity
  3. "Species beyond"
  4. "Faith slips-and laughs, and rallies"
  5. Conclusion

The belief in any sort of prophecy is contingent on the idea that the human psyche holds the potential to, at any degree, know the future. 'This World is not Conclusion', a poem by Emily Dickinson, promotes the impermanence of our state of being. Rather than predicting a specific future, Dickinson challenges the definite Christian beliefs to promote her own idea of what how the future will unfold. She identifies a Species that stands beyond, which is how Dickinson labels the product of our evolution, the species that humans will become. Dickinson draws upon a recognition of human curiosity, and her doubt in concepts of conclusiveness, to suggest that mankind is in a perpetual state of evolution, where a new species stands beyond, waiting to be realized at each progression.

Dickinson's uses her perception of Christianity to open the readers' mind to the possibility of her claims. In reference to the search for identification of the earlier mentioned Species, Dickinson said, ?To guess it, puzzles scholars- To gain it, Men have borne/ Contempt of Generations/ And Crucifixion, shown-? These lines both expose the idea that there is a common desire to answer questions about our future, and that answers that have been given simply cripple that desire.

[...] This cop out is represented, in the poem, when attempts to close the gap on this endless state of being fall short. These attempts of falling short begin with the line, guess it, puzzles scholars-? meaning that there is no hidden answer in the complex web of human history, and action. The poem then goes on to exemplify an effort to come to a distinct answer, a conclusive ideology. Dickinson explains people chasing this conclusiveness by stating that, gain it, Men have borne/ Contempt of Generations, And Crucifixion, shown-? This statement uses Christianity as an example of how such a perception can be stunting to the natural progress, or evolution, that we as humans naturally desire. [...]


[...] It is also a way of saying that one cannot put an end to the infinite. The idea of a savior suggests that the answer to life's problems has arrived, and the question has been answered. If this were to be true then the Species cannot exist beyond, it would just be who we are today. Another important aspect of the point that Dickinson is trying to make is that part of the beauty of life, the allure of existence, is the pursuit of that Species beyond. [...]

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