Speaking-trumpets are not responsible for what is said through them. Outside influences-- in the form of lifelong teachings, trainings, notions, prejudices, and other second-hand importations--have persuaded the Master within you that the publication of these doctrines would be harmful. Very well, this is quite natural, and was to be expected; in fact, was inevitable. Go on; for the sake of ease and convenience, stick to habit: speak in the first person, and tell me what your Master thinks about it.

Y.M. Well, to begin: it is a desolating doctrine; it is not inspiring, enthusing, uplifting. It takes the glory out of man, it takes the pride out of him, it takes the heroism out of him, it denies him all personal credit, all applause; it not only degrades him to a machine, but allows him no control over the machine; makes a mere coffee-mill of him, and neither permits him to supply the coffee nor turn the crank, his sole and piteously humble function being to grind coarse or fine, according to his make, outside impulses doing the rest.

O.M. It is correctly stated. Tell me--what do men admire most in each other?

Y.M. Intellect, courage, majesty of build, beauty of countenance, charity, benevolence, magnanimity, kindliness, heroism, and--and--

O.M. I would not go any further. These are ELEMENTALS. Virtue, fortitude, holiness, truthfulness, loyalty, high ideals-- these, and all the related qualities that are named in the dictionary, are MADE OF THE ELEMENTALS, by blendings, combinations, and shadings of the elementals, just as one makes green by blending blue and yellow, and makes several shades and tints of red by modifying the elemental red. There are several elemental colors; they are all in the rainbow; out of them we manufacture and name fifty shades of them. You have named the elementals of the human rainbow, and also one BLEND--heroism, which is made out of courage and magnanimity. Very well, then; which of these elements does the possessor of it manufacture for himself? Is it intellect?

Y.M. No.

O.M. Why?

Y.M. He is born with it.

O.M. Is it courage?

Y.M. No. He is born with it.

O.M. Is it majesty of build, beauty of countenance?

Y.M. No. They are birthrights.

O.M. Take those others--the elemental moral qualities-- charity, benevolence, magnanimity, kindliness; fruitful seeds, out of which spring, through cultivation by outside influences, all the manifold blends and combinations of virtues named in the dictionaries: does man manufacture any of those seeds, or are they all born in him?

Y.M. Born in him.

O.M. Who manufactures them, then?

Y.M. God.

O.M. Where does the credit of it belong?

Y.M. To God.

O.M. And the glory of which you spoke, and the applause?

Y.M. To God.

O.M. Then it is YOU who degrade man. You make him claim glory, praise, flattery, for every valuable thing he possesses-- BORROWED finery, the whole of it; no rag of it earned by himself, not a detail of it produced by his own labor. YOU make man a humbug; have I done worse by him?

Y.M. You have made a machine of him.

O.M. Who devised that cunning and beautiful mechanism, a man's hand?

Y.M. God.

O.M. Who devised the law by which it automatically hammers out of a piano an elaborate piece of music, without error, while the man is thinking about something else, or talking to a friend?

Y.M. God.

O.M. Who devised the blood? Who devised the wonderful machinery which automatically drives its renewing and refreshing streams through the body, day and night, without assistance or advice from the man? Who devised the man's mind, whose machinery works automatically, interests itself in what it pleases, regardless of its will or desire, labors all night when it likes, deaf to his appeals for mercy? God devised all these things. _I_ have not made man a machine, God made him a machine. I am merely calling attention to the fact, nothing more. Is it wrong to call attention to the fact? Is it a crime?

Y.M.

What is Man? and Other Essays of Mark Twain Page 36

Mark Twain

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book