In the first chapter "Economics", Thoreau writes, "let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves". He asks his readers to lead a life that exemplifies nature; a life devoid of luxuries and unnecessary desires. He describes in this chapter, how for him anything derived from nature is better than artificial utilities. He criticizes humans for commercializing the world, and for separating nature away from our lives. He points out that commercialism has lead people to have a materialistic mind, which in turn has lead to the ignorance of nature, for people only care about what they have and what they might have. In another instance, where he mentions his preference to nature over artificiality, he writes "I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion". This also reflects his views on humanity about how most people would rather lead a luxurious superfluous life than settle for what is Natural. Superfluity to him is an evil that brings out the worst in a human; suppressing their true potentials.
In the chapter "Sounds" he deprecates what would be considered one of the greatest inventions of the modern world, the train. His referral of the Fitchburg Railroad as a "demigod" reflects his dissatisfaction at how it has penetrated through to his "Natural" neighborhood and threatens its natural harmony, even though he considers it to be a commendable invention. Anything that altered the natural flow of the processes of nature, he despised. For him, anything is natural if it is free from human encroachment and unaffected by the pragmatic activities of humans. He believes that it is natural for humans to feel more at home in the midst of "Nature" rather than in the midst of people.