Here, Whitman integrates the ascension of Section 25 and the robust soul of Section 44 into a conversation between self and soul, the poet asking if his metempsychotic assimilation has been completed and the soul answering that the movement upward must continue perpetually.
Whitman thus gives two choices to his audience--the first being a deferral of poetic maturation and the other, a metempsychotic integration of history into the self, a process in which the spiritual aspires upward through history's vast sequence until it transforms these materials into the promise of the present moment: the "eternity [.
Certainly, the delineations of Emerson's metempsychotic self inform the way that Whitman presents the end of the stairway as the spot on which two energies, one coming from below and the other from above, coalesce "to launch off fearlessly [.
22) Whereas, as in the 1855 preface, this relationship between reader and poet may express a form of intimate union in which a new self is formed from out of all the old divisions, Whitman also imagines the consequences of such metempsychotic assimilation.
The speaker comes to experience firsthand the fuller panoply of metempsychotic assimilation in the sense that he must endure both sides of its dialectic, not simply the feature of consciousness which reaches out to assume and take in, but the other aspect that reluctantly gives way as a new, empowered and robust entity emerges.
While both writers share the bolder strokes of an ascending, metempsychotic sequence collapsed into the mind and body of the new American individual, Whitman's depiction of the loss of individual existence fused with a notion of individual sacrifice reaches biblical intensity.
Because Whitman simultaneously "eradicates the distinction between the reflections within the mind and things in the world," a distinction that is vital for Emerson, Whitman's realization of the ascending metempsychotic self will inevitably involve witnessing or even assisting in the graphic pillaging of another's body.
Also see Michael Corrigan, "The Metempsychotic Mind: Emerson and Consciousness," Journal of the History of Ideas, 71 (July 2010), 433-455.