Central to Emerson's essays and the rich diversity of thought therein is his belief that man "is part and parcel of God." The Over-Soul that includes all men is even superior to Nature, although it can learn much from Nature; it is also superior to circumstance.
In "Nature," Emerson describes himself as a "transparent eyeball," with the currents of the "Universal Being" circulating through him. In other words, man has a shared soul (the Over-Soul) that experiences all the beauty and wisdom of Nature; there is a spiritual relationship between humanity and Nature. In the woods, Emerson contends, "man casts off his years"; that is, he is spiritually united to Nature and is harmony with Nature--"the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable." Nature "wears the colors of the spirit," Emerson explains.
By making use of God's influence through Nature, the individual whose eye is "transparent," or innocent, can improve his understanding and moral nature. Nature is God's idea made apparent to man, revealing spiritual and moral truths. In addition, Nature also disciplines man, rewarding him when he uses it properly, punishing him when it is abused.
Rejecting science, Emerson contends in his essay that
Nature is the incarnation of a thought....every moment instructs and every object; for wisdom is infused into every form.
Knowledge comes to man directly through intuition without need of reasoning, if he only be receptive to God's truth that is manifest everywhere. This concept is part of Emerson's belief in Transcendentalism.