But neither the Davids nor the cowards possess Free Will--will that may do the right or do the wrong, as their MENTAL verdict shall decide.

Not Two Values, But Only One

Y.M. There is one thing which bothers me: I can't tell where you draw the line between MATERIAL covetousness and SPIRITUAL covetousness.

O.M. I don't draw any.

Y.M. How do you mean?

O.M. There is no such thing as MATERIAL covetousness. All covetousness is spiritual

Y.M. ALL longings, desires, ambitions SPIRITUAL, never material?

O.M. Yes. The Master in you requires that in ALL cases you shall content his SPIRIT--that alone. He never requires anything else, he never interests himself in any other matter.

Y.M. Ah, come! When he covets somebody's money--isn't that rather distinctly material and gross?

O.M. No. The money is merely a symbol--it represents in visible and concrete form a SPIRITUAL DESIRE. Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for ITSELF, but because it will content your spirit for the moment.

Y.M. Please particularize.

O.M. Very well. Maybe the thing longed for is a new hat. You get it and your vanity is pleased, your spirit contented. Suppose your friends deride the hat, make fun of it: at once it loses its value; you are ashamed of it, you put it out of your sight, you never want to see it again.

Y.M. I think I see. Go on.

O.M. It is the same hat, isn't it? It is in no way altered. But it wasn't the HAT you wanted, but only what it stood for--a something to please and content your SPIRIT. When it failed of that, the whole of its value was gone. There are no MATERIAL values; there are only spiritual ones. You will hunt in vain for a material value that is ACTUAL, REAL--there is no such thing. The only value it possesses, for even a moment, is the spiritual value back of it: remove that end and it is at once worthless--like the hat.

Y.M. Can you extend that to money?

O.M. Yes. It is merely a symbol, it has no MATERIAL value; you think you desire it for its own sake, but it is not so. You desire it for the spiritual content it will bring; if it fail of that, you discover that its value is gone. There is that pathetic tale of the man who labored like a slave, unresting, unsatisfied, until he had accumulated a fortune, and was happy over it, jubilant about it; then in a single week a pestilence swept away all whom he held dear and left him desolate. His money's value was gone. He realized that his joy in it came not from the money itself, but from the spiritual contentment he got out of his family's enjoyment of the pleasures and delights it lavished upon them. Money has no MATERIAL value; if you remove its spiritual value nothing is left but dross. It is so with all things, little or big, majestic or trivial--there are no exceptions. Crowns, scepters, pennies, paste jewels, village notoriety, world-wide fame--they are all the same, they have no MATERIAL value: while they content the SPIRIT they are precious, when this fails they are worthless.

A Difficult Question

Y.M. You keep me confused and perplexed all the time by your elusive terminology. Sometimes you divide a man up into two or three separate personalities, each with authorities, jurisdictions, and responsibilities of its own, and when he is in that condition I can't grasp it. Now when _I_ speak of a man, he is THE WHOLE THING IN ONE, and easy to hold and contemplate.

O.M. That is pleasant and convenient, if true. When you speak of "my body" who is the "my"?

Y.M. It is the "me."

O.M. The body is a property then, and the Me owns it. Who is the Me?

Y.M. The Me is THE WHOLE THING; it is a common property; an undivided ownership, vested in the whole entity.

O.M. If the Me admires a rainbow, is it the whole Me that admires it, including the hair, hands, heels, and all?

Y.M. Certainly not. It is my MIND that admires it.

O.M. So YOU divide the Me yourself. Everybody does; everybody must.

What is Man? and Other Essays of Mark Twain Page 33

Mark Twain

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