O.M. True. Trained or untrained, it cares nothing for the man's good, and never concerns itself about it.

Y.M. It seems to be an IMMORAL force seated in the man's moral constitution.

O.M. It is a COLORLESS force seated in the man's moral constitution. Let us call it an instinct--a blind, unreasoning instinct, which cannot and does not distinguish between good morals and bad ones, and cares nothing for results to the man provided its own contentment be secured; and it will ALWAYS secure that.

Y.M. It seeks money, and it probably considers that that is an advantage for the man?

O.M. It is not always seeking money, it is not always seeking power, nor office, nor any other MATERIAL advantage. In ALL cases it seeks a SPIRITUAL contentment, let the MEANS be what they may. Its desires are determined by the man's temperament-- and it is lord over that. Temperament, Conscience, Susceptibility, Spiritual Appetite, are, in fact, the same thing. Have you ever heard of a person who cared nothing for money?

Y.M. Yes. A scholar who would not leave his garret and his books to take a place in a business house at a large salary.

O.M. He had to satisfy his master--that is to say, his temperament, his Spiritual Appetite--and it preferred books to money. Are there other cases?

Y.M. Yes, the hermit.

O.M. It is a good instance. The hermit endures solitude, hunger, cold, and manifold perils, to content his autocrat, who prefers these things, and prayer and contemplation, to money or to any show or luxury that money can buy. Are there others?

Y.M. Yes. The artist, the poet, the scientist.

O.M. Their autocrat prefers the deep pleasures of these occupations, either well paid or ill paid, to any others in the market, at any price. You REALIZE that the Master Passion--the contentment of the spirit--concerns itself with many things besides so-called material advantage, material prosperity, cash, and all that?

Y.M. I think I must concede it.

O.M. I believe you must. There are perhaps as many Temperaments that would refuse the burdens and vexations and distinctions of public office as there are that hunger after them. The one set of Temperaments seek the contentment of the spirit, and that alone; and this is exactly the case with the other set. Neither set seeks anything BUT the contentment of the spirit. If the one is sordid, both are sordid; and equally so, since the end in view is precisely the same in both cases. And in both cases Temperament decides the preference--and Temperament is BORN, not made.


O.M. You have been taking a holiday?

Y.M. Yes; a mountain tramp covering a week. Are you ready to talk?

O.M. Quite ready. What shall we begin with?

Y.M. Well, lying abed resting up, two days and nights, I have thought over all these talks, and passed them carefully in review. With this result: that . . . that . . . are you intending to publish your notions about Man some day?

O.M. Now and then, in these past twenty years, the Master inside of me has half-intended to order me to set them to paper and publish them. Do I have to tell you why the order has remained unissued, or can you explain so simply a thing without my help?

Y.M. By your doctrine, it is simplicity itself: outside influences moved your interior Master to give the order; stronger outside influences deterred him. Without the outside influences, neither of these impulses could ever have been born, since a person's brain is incapable or originating an idea within itself.

O.M. Correct. Go on.

Y.M. The matter of publishing or withholding is still in your Master's hands. If some day an outside influence shall determine him to publish, he will give the order, and it will be obeyed.

O.M. That is correct. Well?

Y.M. Upon reflection I have arrived at the conviction that the publication of your doctrines would be harmful. Do you pardon me?

O.M. Pardon YOU? You have done nothing. You are an instrument--a speaking-trumpet.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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