“The Ponds” – Does human society really know anything about nature?

There is a particular passage in the chapter “The Ponds” that surrounds the sentence “The pond rises and falls, but whether regularly or not, and within what period, nobody knows, though, as usual, many pretend to know” (this is on page 171 in my copy of the book). This sentence, and some of the paragraphs preceding and following it, provides an example of how Thoreau views nature and society’s interaction with it. His attitude seems to be that nature is somewhat mysterious, unpredictable, and unknown to humans. He also argues that humans pretend to understand nature, and possibly have even convinced themselves that they understand nature, even though they do not. From this passage, I have also noticed that Thoreau tends to use many commas and lengthy sentences as part of his style. I personally like this because it sometimes sounds more natural to me, like speech would be. I believe I also use commas and longer sentences somewhat heavily in my own writing occasionally. As for my response to Thoreau’s perspective on nature and society, I disagree to a certain extent because I believe humans do know some things about the natural world through scientific study. I wonder if Thoreau’s time period influenced this particular thought, and if he would think differently now after so many scientific advancements have been achieved.

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