How do you know? How did you learn what you know? Emerson portrays the American scholar as a person who learns from three sources. These sources by which a scholar is educated are nature, books and action. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American scholar is one whose character is split into many facets.
Nature has the most influence on the mind because it is the only resource that is everywhere. In it's natural form or altered by man everything is nature. Nature is like a circle with no beginning and no ending; "Everyday, the sun; and, after sunset, night and her stars. Ever the wind blows; ever the grass grows." Its presence is always available to anyone; through sight, smell, sound, or touch we experience nature. Actions so simple, yet with any un-experienced moment we have not learned instead we have, "a loss of power." Nature is so plentiful even with every moment experienced fully we can always learn more. When I go hiking there is so much around me that I simply cannot take in; the way the trees move when the wind blows, the pattern on the leaves, the mosaic of roots by my feet. No matter how hard we try we can never know everything; however, that shouldn't keep us from attempting. Nature is an important resource to the scholar because it is the first thing that we learn from. "To the young mind everything is individual, stands by itself." As we mature we begin organizing these small pieces, putting them into groups. Small children are a typical example of this; always trying to figure things out with their eyes wide open and lots of questions at the ready. Nature, helps us build and broaden our view of the world. As Emerson says, "geometry, a pure abstraction of the human mind, is the measure of planetary motion." We realize when all these singular pieces come together we see nature, a compilation of what we have been learning and putting together since birth. The scholar takes this classification a step further; seeing nature and all it's levels of classification as visual representation of the thoughts in our mind.