No man is by nature the property of another. The defendant is, therefore, by nature free.
(Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. (Originally published 1791). Boswell's Life of Johnson, September 23, 1777, p. 878, Oxford University Press (1980).
Comment on legal case concerning a Jamaican slave.)
To move is to change, to evolve, which is the nature of life. Movement is action which is spontaneous. To be inert, at rest, is the nature of matter. Because we stick to our physical nature, so we resist to move, to act. Our actions are not spontaneous; they are only reactions to our thoughts, the memories, the past.
Study the behavior of animals and you will understand human psychology and sociology. Study a flower excited under sunlight, and you will understand how all living things respond to light. The Almighty has provided everything in nature. Observe nature and you will grow. The cures of all illnesses are found in nature in the shapes of the body parts they were created to cure.
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).)