Indeed, he suggests humans "know" nature by their daily lives, without a full intellectual comprehension of it. He then laments the state of scientific inquiries about the "idea of creation." He mentions disputes between religious teachers on the subject, referring perhaps to his own experience as a disenchanted Unitarian.
Emerson is in fact dismayed by the failures of both religion and science to produce a grand, unified theory of creation, or nature.
Emerson vividly describes this ideal state as becoming like "a transparent eyeball": an unobserved and formless observer, realizing the individual is a "part or particle of God." Emerson concludes the section by explaining that nature's beneficial qualities reside not within nature itself but within humans, or in the harmony between people and nature.
As a result, the fruits of observing nature are liable to change with the moods and circumstances of the observers.
He runs through the many ways in which nature is useful and reminds readers even these "low" uses are part of a divine creation and a divine unity.
Nature is "not only the material but also the process and the result": all uses of nature are themselves a part of nature.Nature, in the form of a rose, speaks to this human lover in "all languages." At the same time, nature aspires to higher forms as "striving to be man, the worm / Mounts through all the spires of form." In this last image the human mind, at its best, is the highest expression of nature. First, Emerson describes the times in which he lives as "retrospective." That is, people are concerned with what has gone before.He admonishes readers not to look backward but to develop their own relationships with nature and with God in the here and now.Second is the philosophical sense of the "not-me," or all things that reside apart from the soul.Emerson chooses to use both definitions because he is presenting a general, rather than a rigorous, inquiry.Emerson closes the section by warning that the fruits of nature are not simple gifts, but useful things to be put to further use.After dealing with commodity and lower elements, Emerson returns to the higher calling of beauty in nature.It first presents the image of a "subtle chain of countless rings" scanned by an eye that finds omens within this chain.The image describes the interconnectedness of all things in nature and the ability of a lover of nature to find meaning in this interlocking chain.In discussing the uses of nature, Emerson shows his admiration for human ingenuity, which is not merely a passive user of natural resources but a fashioner of new things from nature, through art.This art includes aspects of industrialization that were taking hold at the time, such as the steam locomotive and the railroad.