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Alexander Popes An Essay On Man The Paradoxical Nature Of Man As A Paradox In The Clash Of Philosophical Trends The Essay consists of epistles addressed to Lord Bolingbroke and derived to some extent from some of Bolingbrokes own fragmentary Philosophical writings as well as from ideas expressed by Anthony Ashley Cooper the third Earl of Shaftsbury Pope sets out to describe and explain that no matter how incomplete complicated impenetrable and disturbingly full of evil the Universe may appear to be it does function in a rational fashion according to natural laws and is in fact considered as a divinely ordered plan of God It appears imperfect and incomplete to us only because our perceptions are limited by our infirm moral and intellectual capacity At the time when the clash of philosophical trends began Thomas Hobbes Rene Descartes and Anthony Ashley Cooper third Earl of Shaftsbury influenced Alexander Pope the most Thomas Hobbes as a supporter of materialism stands for the truth The Universe is distinct from the spiritual all that is real is material and what is not material is not real Perhaps he meant that as far as he cannot touch God or cannot see an evidence of Gods interference the God does not exist Shaftsbury considered nature a perfect harmonious whole that reflected its divine origin and therefore the nature and respectively the Man exists because there is God to create them Yet in the beginning of the Essay we see the paradox in the Popes writings where he is wandering between the earthly joys and the divine privileges He is on this isthmus in middle state between the God and the Beasts Expatiate free oer all this scene of Man A mighty maze But not without a plan On the one hand he speaks with the voice of the materialist with the voice doubting the divine intervention
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