Ralph Waldo Emerson contends that our attitude toward the stars would change if they appeared only once every thousand years. What point is Emerson making about nature with this striking example from Nature?

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Just prior to this quotation, Emerson has explained that, if we really want to be solitary, we must go out into nature—not just to our own rooms. When we are surrounded by the trappings of society, we cannot be totally alone. He says that we need to go and look at the stars if we truly want to find solitude. Further, he says, "One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime." He speculates that seeing the stars gives us a sense of the divine, a reminder that it is always present. And yet, we are often too busy or too jaded to notice these stars because we have such constant access to them. It's ironic—it's as though we are allowed constant access to the stars to remind us of the divinity of nature, but the fact that we can see them all the time make us pay less...

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