Nature is a self-made machine, more perfectly automated than any automated machine. To create something in the image of nature is to create a machine, and it was by learning the inner working of nature that man became a builder of machines.
(Eric Hoffer (1902-1983), U.S. philosopher. Reflections on the Human Condition, aph. 6 (1973).
Also see Hoffer's comment under "animals.")
We mention nature and forget ourselves in it: we ourselves are nature, quand même. As a result, nature is something entirely different from what comes to mind when we invoke its name.
(Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, p. 696, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). The Wanderer and His Shadow, aphorism 327, "Forgotten Nature," (1880).
The French words quand même mean "nonetheless.")
Physical nature lies at our feet shackled with a hundred chains. What of the control of human nature? Do not point to the triumphs of psychiatry, social services or the war against crime. Domination of human nature can only mean the domination of every man by himself.
(Johan Huizinga (1872-1945), Dutch historian. In the Shadow of Tomorrow, ch. 4 (1936).)
This house was designed and constructed with the freedom of stroke of a forester's axe, without other compass and square than Nature uses.
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Chesuncook" (1858) in The Maine Woods (1864), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 3, p. 139, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
Thoreau refers to a log cabin in the Maine woods.)