The exact sciences also start from the assumption that in the end it will always be possible to understand nature, even in every new field of experience, but that we may make no a priori assumptions about the meaning of the word understand.
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.
If winds are the spirit of the sky's ocean, the clouds are the texture. Their is easily the most uninhibited dominion of the earth. Nothing in physical shape is too fantastic for them. They can be round as apples or as fine as string, as dense as a jungle, as wispy as a whiff of down, as mild as puddle water or as potent as the belch of a volcano. Some are thunderous anvils formed by violent up drafts from the warm earth. Some are ragged coattails of storms that have passed. Some are stagnant blankets of warm air resting on cold. I have seen clouds in the dawn that looked like a pink Sultan with his pale harem maidens and a yellow slob of eunuch lolling impotent in the background.
Let us beware of saying there are laws in nature. There are only necessities: there is no one to command, no one to obey, no one to transgress. When you realize there are no goals or objectives, then you realize, too, that there is no chance: for only in a world of objectives does the word chance have any meaning.
Nature, who for the perfect maintenance of the laws of her general equilibrium, has sometimes need of vices and sometimes of virtues, inspires now this impulse, now that one, in accordance with what she requires.
From our earliest hour we have been taught that the thought of the heart, the shaping of the rain-cloud, the amount of wool that grows on a sheep's back, the length of a drought, and the growing of the corn, depend on nothing that moves immutable, at the heart of all things; but on the changeable will of a changeable being, whom our prayers can alter. To us, from the beginning, Nature has been but a poor plastic thing, to be toyed with this way or that, as man happens to please his deity or not; to go to church or not; to say his prayers right or not; to travel on a Sunday or not. Was it possible for us in an instant to see Nature as she is --the flowing vestment of an unchanging reality?