ake. The mind is quite independent. It is master. You have nothing to do with it. It is so apart from you that it can conduct its affairs, sing its songs, play its chess, weave its complex and ingeniously constructed dreams, while you sleep. It has no use for your help, no use for your guidance, and never uses either, whether you be asleep or awake. You have imagined that you could originate a thought in your mind, and you have sincerely believed you could do it.

Y.M. Yes, I have had that idea.

O.M. Yet you can't originate a dream-thought for it to work out, and get it accepted?

Y.M. No.

O.M. And you can't dictate its procedure after it has originated a dream-thought for itself?

Y.M. No. No one can do it. Do you think the waking mind and the dream mind are the same machine?

O.M. There is argument for it. We have wild and fantastic day-thoughts? Things that are dream-like?

Y.M. Yes--like Mr. Wells's man who invented a drug that made him invisible; and like the Arabian tales of the Thousand Nights.

O.M. And there are dreams that are rational, simple, consistent, and unfantastic?

Y.M. Yes. I have dreams that are like that. Dreams that are just like real life; dreams in which there are several persons with distinctly differentiated characters--inventions of my mind and yet strangers to me: a vulgar person; a refined one; a wise person; a fool; a cruel person; a kind and compassionate one; a quarrelsome person; a peacemaker; old persons and young; beautiful girls and homely ones. They talk in character, each preserves his own characteristics. There are vivid fights, vivid and biting insults, vivid love-passages; there are tragedies and comedies, there are griefs that go to one's heart, there are sayings and doings that make you laugh: indeed, the whole thing is exactly like real life.

O.M. Your dreaming mind originates the scheme, consistently and artistically develops it, and carries the little drama creditably through--all without help or suggestion from you?

Y.M. Yes.

O.M. It is argument that it could do the like awake without help or suggestion from you--and I think it does. It is argument that it is the same old mind in both cases, and never needs your help. I think the mind is purely a machine, a thoroughly independent machine, an automatic machine. Have you tried the other experiment which I suggested to you?

Y.M. Which one?

O.M. The one which was to determine how much influence you have over your mind--if any.

Y.M. Yes, and got more or less entertainment out of it. I did as you ordered: I placed two texts before my eyes--one a dull one and barren of interest, the other one full of interest, inflamed with it, white-hot with it. I commanded my mind to busy itself solely with the dull one.

O.M. Did it obey?

Y.M. Well, no, it didn't. It busied itself with the other one.

O.M. Did you try hard to make it obey?

Y.M. Yes, I did my honest best.

O.M. What was the text which it refused to be interested in or think about?

Y.M. It was this question: If A owes B a dollar and a half, and B owes C two and three-quarter, and C owes A thirty- five cents, and D and A together owe E and B three-sixteenths of --of--I don't remember the rest, now, but anyway it was wholly uninteresting, and I could not force my mind to stick to it even half a minute at a time; it kept flying off to the other text.

O.M. What was the other text?

Y.M. It is no matter about that.

O.M. But what was it?

Y.M. A photograph.

O.M. Your own?

Y.M. No. It was hers.

O.M. You really made an honest good test. Did you make a second trial?

Y.M. Yes. I commanded my mind to interest itself in the morning paper's report of the pork-market, and at the same time I reminded it of an experience of mine of sixteen years ago. It refused to consider the pork and gave its whole blazing interest to that ancient incident.

O.M. What was the incident?

Y.M. An armed desperado slapped my face in the presence of twenty spectators.

What is Man? and Other Essays of Mark Twain Page 24

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