RE: virus: Would Mark Twain pass the Mirror Test?

From: Blunderov (
Date: Fri Sep 06 2002 - 15:36:39 MDT

This caught my eye.
Warm regards

WHAT IS MAN? Mark Twain
a. Man the Machine. b. Personal Merit

[The Old Man and the Young Man had been conversing. The Old Man had
asserted that the human being is merely a machine, and nothing more. The
Young Man objected, and asked him to go into particulars and furnish his
reasons for his position.]

O.M. You mean you have tried to change your opinion--as an experiment?

Y.M. Yes.

O.M. With success?

Y.M. No. It remains the same; it is impossible to change it.

O.M. I am sorry, but you see, yourself, that your mind is merely a
machine, nothing more. You have no command over it, it has no command
over itself--it is worked SOLELY FROM THE OUTSIDE. That is the law of
its make; it is the law of all machines.

Y.M. Can't I EVER change one of these automatic opinions?

O.M. No. You can't yourself, but EXTERIOR INFLUENCES can do it.

Y.M. And exterior ones ONLY?

O.M. Yes--exterior ones only.

Y.M. That position is untenable--I may say ludicrously untenable.

O.M. What makes you think so?

Y.M. I don't merely think it, I know it. Suppose I resolve to enter upon
a course of thought, and study, and reading, with the deliberate purpose
of changing that opinion; and suppose I succeed. THAT is not the work of
an exterior impulse, the whole of it is mine and personal; for I
originated the project.

O.M. Not a shred of it. IT GREW OUT OF THIS TALK WITH ME. But for that
it would not have occurred to you. No man ever originates anything. All
his thoughts, all his impulses, come FROM THE OUTSIDE.

Y.M. It's an exasperating subject. The FIRST man had original thoughts,
anyway; there was nobody to draw from.

O.M. It is a mistake. Adam's thoughts came to him from the outside. YOU
have a fear of death. You did not invent that--you got it from outside,
from talking and teaching. Adam had no fear of death--none in the world.

Y.M. Yes, he had.

O.M. When he was created?

Y.M. No.

O.M. When, then?

Y.M. When he was threatened with it.

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