L Haldeman-Juilu* B-644
The Wisdom of Clarence Darrow
INTRODUCTION BY JOHN W. GUNN
The Wisdom of Clarence Darrow
INTRODUCTION BY JOHN W. GUNN
Copyright, 1947, By E. Haldeman-Jullus
Printed in the United States of America
Clarence Darrow was a cynic with a twinkle in his eye. He was a pessimist who enjoyed life. He was a realist who saw men and their institutions, their customs and beliefs, without the gloss of complacency. He looked at life, not quite with an unflinching gaze—for he often shrank from what he saw—but with a candid and direct gaze over which there lingered scarcely the wisp of an illusion.
Yet, realist that he was, Darrow had a feeling of idealism that col-lored all his thought and inspired the noblest actions of his long career. It was not mere cynicism that impelled him to speak out boldly and brilliantly, and to fight with cleverness and daring, on a few high occasions successfully, for justice, freedom and rationalism. Even in his most pessimistic moods, when the shape of "this sorry scheme of things" loomed most dismally, Darrow hever quite lost the spirit not only of wishing but of trying to "rebuild it nearer to the heart's desire."
Omar, of course, of whom Darrow wrote so beautifully in "A Persian Pearl," suggested that this procedure might be desirable if we could "conspire with Fate." Darrow did not believe in such a vague and fanciful abstraction as Fate, though he did believe in its nearest scientific equivalent, the theory of determinism. He recognized that men and things and events are shaped by circumstances and directed by forces outside their immediate control. Each individual, at every moment of his behavior, is the product of social forces, past and present.
Must we then drift idly on this stream of causation? No, for man's intelligence, though a product of evolution and itself the sum of complex effects, may be developed into a discriminating cause. It was Bacon who said that "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed." This saying offers a key to the philosophy upon which Darrow, in his homelier and colloquial way, based the more earnest phases of his thought. He repeated, again and again, that wisdom consists in looking straight at life, seeing it for what it really is, understanding it and seizing upon its favorable elements, at favorable moments, for such hope of progress as there might be.
As was but natural, this hope was brighter in Darrow's young manhood, dimmer in his last years. And even in the most shining hours of his advocacy of a better future for mankind, when on the sunny heights of his career Darrow stood forth as the noble champion of truth and justice, this hope was streaked with livid hues of doubt.
For, when all is said, it must be admitted that Clarence Darrow could never wholly believe in anything except freedom and kindliness and pity and understanding. He attacked creeds and prejudices because he wanted men to be mentally free, narrow prohibitions and compulsions because he wanted men to be physically free; he urged the kindly view because in its light the best in human nature could thrive and rise toward the sunlight of happier times; he asked for pity, because we all need it in some degree and a pitiful view of mankind is a necessity to an ameliorative and advancing civilization; he pleaded for understanding, because here is the secret—if secret it is—of all wisdom.
Ah, well, it is a secret still, to all but a relative few. It is so much easier to condemn. It is so effortless to repeat the lines of a creed that enslaves its believers and damns those who question it. Darrow the pessimist would have said thai it is natural to hate men who disagree with you; but Darrow the humanitarian never ceased to plead, sometimes persuasively, sometimes wittily, sometimes flamingly, for the need of that sane and kindly understanding which lies at the heart of wisdom.
The mature career of Clarence Darrow spanned more than half a century. In the 1890's he was the friend of Debs and Altgeld and it was in this period that, amid the crowded scenes of a busy life, he wrote those marvelously simple and appealing essays about skeptics, humanitarians and libertarians that are brightened with the title of "A Persian Pearl and Other Essays." He continued to write, in a lofty mood of informal philosophy and in a livelier mood of social protest (see the many titles in the Haldeman-Julius list), and at the same time he was incessantly active and frequently a hero of the headlines as the foremost labor lawyer of his age. Probably no lawyer ever won a more spectacular victory than was his in the Haywood case; and none was ever more poignantly and dramatically the loser than he was in the Mc-Namara case—though in the latter case he did wrest from defeat a characteristic measure of victory by saving his clients from the death penalty.
In the far different case of Loeb and Leopold, Darrow was the humanitarian still: he showed himself here as the rare combination of lawyer and philosopher and, while he never displayed more effectively his skill as a lawyer, it was the philosophic breadth of his plea that won at the end of the long battle.
In 1925 at Dayton, Tennessee, he appeared as almost a veritable reincarnation of Voltaire—Voltaire in legal and oratorical guise—in that anachronistic conflict between science and superstition. It was of one of Darrow's speeches at Dayton that H. L. Mencken wrote: "It blew up like the wind and ended with a flourish of bugles."
In his later years, Darrow was a lecturer and debater on various subjects that may be grouped under the heading of Rationalism. It was in this period that his cynicism and pessimism, always implicit in his view of life, came more impressively into the foreground and seemed to dominate his philosophy. Yet the kindly, humane, wistful Darrow always shone through his more bitter utterances. Those utterances, of course, were bitter only in their philosophic conclusion; they were sad and regretful in their personal motivation. Darrow was never quite able to feel that life was as bad as he said it was, though he intended to describe it in all honesty. He still loved it and, doubtingly but in some! sense continually, wanted to improve it. He will be remembered best as a humanitarian and libertarian: one who understood and pitied mankind and who believed that only in the free play of intelligence could men find the "Open sesame" to a future that might be civilized.
John W. Gunn
A PORTRAIT OF HIS FATHER
As I grew up, I learned that there are all sorts of people in the world, and that selfishness and greed and envy are, to say the least, very common in the human heart; but I never could be thankful enough that my father was honest and simple, and that his love of truth and justice had grown into his being as naturally as the oaks were rooted to the earth along the little stream.
All my life I have felt that Nature had some grudge against my father. If she had made him a simple miller, content when he was grinding corn and dipping the small toll from the farmer's grist, he might have lived a fairly useful, happy life. But day after day and year after year he was compelled to walk the short and narrow path between the little house and the decaying mill, while his mind was roving over scenes of great battles, decayed empires, dead languages, and the starry heavens above. To his dying day he lived in a walking trance; and his books and their wondrous stories were more real to him than the turning water-wheel, the sacks of wheat and corn, and the cunning, soulless farmers who dickered and haggled &bout his hard-earned toll.
Whether or not my father had strong personal ambitions, I really never knew; no doubt he had, but years of work and resignation had taught him to deny them even to himself, and slowly and pathetically he must have let go his hold upon that hope and ambition which alone make the thoughtful man cling fast to life.
Often, too, he wrote, sometimes night after night for weeks together; but I never knew what it was that he put down—no doubt his hopes and dreams and loves and doubts and fears, as men have ever done since time began, as they will ever do while time shall last, and as I am doing now; but these poor dreams of his were never destined to see the light of day. Perhaps, with no one to tell him that they were good, he despaired about their worth, as so many other doubting souls have done before and since. It is not likely that any publisher could have been found ready to transform his poor cramped writing irrto print. Whatever may have been the case, if I could only find the pages that he wrote I would print them now with his name upon the title-page, and pay for them myself.
It must be that my father gave me little chance to tarry long from one single book to another, for I remember that at a very early age I was told again and again that John Stuart Mill began studying Greek when he was only three years old. I thought then, as I do today, that he must have had a cruel father, and that this unnatural parent not only made miserable the life of his little boy, but thousands of other boys whose fathers could see no reason why their sons should be outdone by John Stuart Mill. I have no doubt that my good father thought that all his children ought to be able to do anything that was ever accomplished by John Stuart Mill; and so he did his part, and more, to make us try.
But, after all, I feel today Just as I did long years aeo, when with reluctant ear and rebellious heart I heard of the great achievements of John Stuart Mill. I look back to those early years, and still regret the beautiful play-spells that were broken and the many fond childish schemes for pleasure that were shattered because John Stuart Mill began studying Greek when only three years old.
My father must have been quite advanced in years before he wholly gave up his ambitions to do something in life besides grinding the farmers' corn. Indeed, I am not sure that he ever gave them up; but doubtless, as the task seemed more hopeless and the chain grew stronger, he slowly looked to his children to satisfy the dreams that life once held out to him; and so this thought mingled with the rest in his strong endeavor that we should all have the best education he could get for us, so that we need not be millers as he had been. Well, none of us are millers! The old family is scattered far and wide; the last member of the little band long since passed down the narrow road, and out between the great high hills into the far-off land of freedom and opportunity of which my father dreamed. But I should be glad to believe today that a single one over whom he watched with such jealous care ever gave as much real service to the world as this simple, kindly man whose name was heard scarcely farther than the water that splashed and tumbled on the turning wheel.
I started bravely to tell about my life—to write my story as it seems to me; and here I am halting and rambling like a garrulous old man over the feelings and remembrances of long ago. By a strange trick of memory X seem to stand for a few moments out in the old front yard, a little barefoot child. The long summer evening is at hand. Beyond the black trees I hear the falling water spilling over the wooden dam; and farther on, around the edges of the pond, the hoarse croak of the frogs sounds clear and harsh in the still night air. Above the little porch that shelters the front door in my father's study window, I look in and see him sitting at his desk with his shaded lamp; before him is the everlasting book, and his pale face and long white hair bend over the infatuating pages with all the confidence and trust of a little child. For a simple child he was, from the time when he first saw the light until his friends and comrades lowered him into the sandy loam of the old churchyard. I see him through the little panes of glass, as he bends above the book. The chapter is finished and he wakens from his reverie into the world in which he lives and works; he takes off his iron-framed spectacles, lays down his book, comes downstairs and calls me away from my companions with the old story that it is time to come into the house and get my lessons. For the thousandth time I protest that I want to play—to finish my unending game; and again he tells me no, that John Stuart Mill began studying Greek when he was only three years old. And with heavy heart and muttered imprecations on John Stuart Mill, I am taken away from my companions and my play, and set" down beside my father with my book. I can feel even now mv sorrow and despair, as I leave my playmates and turn the stupid leaves. But I would give all that I possess today to hear my father sav again, as in that far-off time, "John Stuart Mill began studying Greek when he was only three years old."
My parents were not members of the church; in fact, they had little belief in some of its chief articles of faith. In his youth my father was ambitious to be a minister, for all his life he was bent on doing good and helping his fellowman; but he passed so rapidly through all the phases of religious faith, from Methodism through Congregationalism and Universalism to Unitarianism and beyond, that he never had time, to stop long enough at any one resting spot to get ordained to preach.
My father seldom went to church on Sunday. He was almost the only man In town who stayed away, excepting a few who were considered worthless and who managed to steal off with dog and gup. to the woods and hills. But Sunday was a precious day to my father.' Even if the little creek had been swollen by recent rains, and the water ran waste-fully over the big dam and off on its long journey through the hills, still my father never ran his mill on Sunday. I fancy that if he had wished to do so the people would not have let him save the wasted power. But all through the week my father must have looked forward to Sunday, for on that day he was not obliged to work, and was free to revel in his books. As soon as breakfast was over he went to his little room, and was soon lost to the living world. I have always been thankful that the religion and customs of the community rescued this one day from the tiresome monotony of his life. All day Sunday, and far into the night, he lived with those rare souls who had left the records of their lives and spirits for the endless procession of men and women who come and go upon the earth. . . .
The old preacher, as he stood before us on Sunday morning, never seemed quite like a man—we felt that he was a holy being, and we looked on him with fear and reverence and awe. I remember meeting him in the field one day, and I tried to avoid him and get away; but he came to me and talked in the kindest and most entertaining way. He said nothing whatever about religion, and his voice and the expression of his face were not at all as they seemed when I sat in front of him in the hard pew during the terrible "long prayer."
But my father never feared him in the least, and often these two old men met for an evening to read their musty books, although I could not understand the reason why. After I had gone to bed at night I heard them working away at their Greek, with more pains than any of the scholars at the school. I wondered why they did these tasks, when they had no parents to keep them at their work. I was too young to know that as these old men dug out the hard Greek roots, they felt the long stems reaching back through the toilsome years and bringing to their waning lives a feeling of hope and vigor from their departed youth.
To the kind old miller the condition of the water in the pond was doubtless quite another thing, and every revolution of the groaning wheel must have meant bread to him—not only bread for the customers whose grain he ground, but sorely needed bread for the hungry mouths of those who had no thought or care whence or how it came, but only unbounded faith that it would always be ready to satisfy their needs.
It is only by imagination, through the hard experience life has brought, that I know these familiar things had a different meaning to the old miller and to me. Yet even now I am not sure that they had for him a deeper or more vital sense. Perhaps the water for my swimming-hole was as important as the water for his bread. For after all both were needed, in their several ways, to make more tolerable the ever illusive game of life.
As to my father, I am sure I never thought he was a man of extraordinary power. In fact, from the time I was a little child I often urged him to do things in a different way—especially as to his rules about my studies and my schooling. I never believed that he ran the mill in the best way; and I used to think that other men were stronger or richer, or kinder to their children, than father was to us. It was only after years had passed, and I looked back through the hazy mist that hung about his ambitions and his life, that I could realize how great he really was. As a child, I had no doubt that any man could create conditions for himself; the copy-books had told me so, and the teachers had assured us in the most positive way that our success was with ourselves. It took years of care and toil to show me that life is stronger than man, that conditions control individuals. It is with this knowledge that I look back at the old miller, with his fatal love of books; that I see him as he surveys every position the world offers to her favored sons. He knows them all and understands them all, and he knows the conditions on which they have ever been bestowed; yet he could bury these ambitions one by one, and cover them so deep as almost to forget they had once been a portion of his life, and in full sight of the glories of the promised land could day by day live in the dust and hum of his ever-turning mill, and take from the farmers' grist the toll that filled the mouths of his little brood. To appreciate and understand the greatness of the simple life, one must know life; and this the child of whatever age can never understand.
I could not then know why my father took all this trouble for me to learn my grammar; but I know today. I know that, all unconsciously, it was the blind persistent effort of the parent to resurrect his own buried hopes and dead ambitions in the greater opportunities and broader life that he would give his child. Poor man! I trust the lingering spark of hope for me never left his bosom while he lived, and that he died unconscious that the son on whom he lavished so much precious time and care never learned Latin after all, and never could.
Almost unconsciously I grew into sympathy with his ideals and his life, seeing faintly the grand visions that were always clear to him, and bewailing more and more my own indolence and love of pleasure that made them seem so hard for me to reach. I learned to understand the tragedy of his obscure and hidden life, and the long and bitter contest he had waged within the narrow shadow of the stubborn little town where he had lived and struggled and hoped so long. It was many years before I came to know that the smaller the world in which we move, the more impossible it is to break the prejudices and conventions that bind us down. And so it was many, many years before I realized what must have been my father's life.
As a little child, I heard my father tell of Frederick Douglass, Parker Pillsbury, Sojourner Truth, Wendell Phillips, and the rest of that advance army of reformers, black and white, who went up and down the land arousing the dulled conscience of the people to a sense of justice to the slave. They used to make my father's home their stopping-place, and any sort of vacant room was the forum where they told of the black man's wrongs. My father lived to see these disturbers canonized by the public opinion that is ever to follow in the wake of a battle fought to a successful end. But when his little world was ready to rejoice with him over the freedom of the slave, he had moved his soiled and tattered tent to a new battlefield and was fighting the same stubborn, sullen, threatening public opinion for a new and yet more doubtful cause. The same determined band of agitators used still to come when I had grown to be a youth. These had seen visions of a higher and broader religious life, and a fuller measure of freedom and justice for the poor than the world had ever known. Like the despised tramp, they seemed to have marked my father's gate-post, and could not pass his door. They were always poor, often ragged, and a far-off look seemed to haunt their eyes, as if gazing into space at something beyond the stars. Some little room was found where a handful of my father's friends would gather, sometimes coming from miles around to listen to the voices cryine in the wilderness, calling the heedless world to repent before it should be too late. I cannot remember when I did not go to these little gatherings of the elect and drink in every word that fell upon my ears. Poor boy! I am almost sorry for myself. I listened so rapturously and believed so strongly and knew so well that the kingdom of heaven would surely come in a little while. And though almost every night through all these long and weary years I have looked with the same unfiagginir hope for the promised star that should be rising in the east, still it has not come; but no matter how great the trial and disappointment and delay, I am sure I shall always peer out into the darkness for this belated star, until I am so blind that I could not see it if it were really there.
After these wandering minstrels returned from their meetings to our home, they would sit with my father for hours in liis little study, where they told each other of their visions and their hopes. Many a time, as I lay in my bed, I listened to their words coming through the crack with the streak of lamplight at the bottom of the door, until my weary eyes would close in the full glow of the brilliant rainbow they had painted from their dreams.
After all, I am glad that my father and his footsore comrades dreamed their dreams. I am glad they lived above the sordid world, in that ethereal realm which none but the blindly devoted ever see; for I know that their visions raised my father from the narrcffo valley, the dusty mill, the small life of commonplace, to the great broad heights where he really lived and died.
And I am glad that as a youth and a little child it was given me to catch one glimpse of these exalted realms, and to feel one aspiration for the devoted life they lived; for however truly I may know that this ideal land was but a dream that would never come, however I may have clung to the valleys, the flesh-pots, and the substantial things, I am sure that some part of this feeling abides with me, and that its tender chord of sentiment and memory reaches back to that hallowed land of childhood and of youth, and still seeks to draw me toward the heights on which my father lived.
THE RATIONALISM OF CLARENCE DARROW
What I . . . contend is this: That the manifestation of the human machine and of living organisms is very like unto what we know as a machine, and that if we could find it all out we would probably find that everything had a mechanistic origin.
If I were on the other side, I would not be satisfied to belittle biology and say that the persecutors of the Middle Ages were wiser than modern scientists. If I did, I'd join the most medieval church in the city and I'd say goodbye to science.
Science cannot solve every problem, but it at least tries, and I think it has come very close to the solution of this old, old problem of what is man.
Now, what is a machine, first? I will not especially quarrel with my friend's TWill Durant's] definition of a machine, for I never deal in technicalities, and I have no short cut in this question. I am here to learn. I only wish I had a chance! (Laughter.) One definition of a machine which appeals to me as pretty good is this: "An apparatus so designed that it can change one kind of energy to another for a purpose." Coal may be taken out of a mine and fed into a machine and it may produce power in the shape of steam or electricity. It was all in the coal before, but it has been transferred to something else. Nothing is lost, no forces, no power of any sort is lost, no matter is lost. It Ls simply changcd into something else.
Is man this sort of a machine? Let's examine it. I don't know so much about the nobility and grandeur of man as my friend seemed to think perhaps he knows. I do not think that I am degrading him when I place him in the category of machines. If anybody complains it ought to be the'machine!
What do we know about the human machine? We know that it takes one form of energy and transposes it into another. We know that we give it food which in the human system is broken up and the energy that results is transferred into something else. Let us look at the process that the human machine goes through in this transformation of energy and see whether it resembles any other machine, and if it doesn't, then what? Is there some mysterious thing about man which for lack of some other word, or for lack of any word that any human being can understand, we call a soul? Does he stand out here separated from nature, and stand alone? Let us see what man does.
We feed him, or he can't live and he can't work. We place food in his mouth. What happens to it? It is digested. The energy in the food
9 WISDOM OF DARROW
is released and goes into the body just exactly the same as the energy placed in the coal box of an engine is released and makes steam. How does it go? It is first taken care of by certain juices and is digested. It passes^into the intestine. Then what happens? This digested food is power, just like the coal; it is energy. If a man is to work, if the body is to live, this energy must become a part of him. It must go to his brain, if he has any, to his feet, to every part of him. How does it get there? Man has a circulatory system made of arteries and blood-vessels. The artery at the intestine is separated by only a very small lining from the intestine. The juices of the intestine pass into the blood, some of the blood to the intestines. As it goes by these juices are absorbed; this food is absorbed! this energy is absorbed; the power is absorbed—a simple, plain obviously mechanical process.
Then what happens? These arteries and blood vessels reach every part of the body. They carry to every part of the body the strength that it needs and the power that it needs.
But the system must have oxygen just exactly the same as an engine must have oxygen for combustion. One thing is turned into another. This food is turned into starch, sugar, and one or two other things and consumed to produce this power. The blood is pumped by the heart. We call it pumped; that isn't exactly the process. I don't ^eed to describe the process—in fact. I can't. But for all conveniences everybody calls the he?.rt a pump. Anyhow, by its constant action it pushes the blood out and in. It is carried to the lungs. As it passes through the lungs just ior a brief second it comes in contact with the air, which is necessary to complete the fuel. The power is carried to every part of the human body; perfectly mechanical, like an engine, like a machine that a man has built—the whole process the same.
Is it reasonable to suppose that man has come as everything else has come, that he is built upon the same pattern that everything else is built upon, that he is a machine who must take in new fuel to be transferred into power, that sooner or later the works run down and he dies just like any other machine? Now, if he isn't that, what is he?
Let's see what happens to man. Well, you take a man who loses a large part of his blood. You can put salt water in the place of it and the pump goes along until he recovers and begins making blood again. His leg, his arm, his fingers are levers operating just like any other levers, built upon the same plan, all of it mechanistic. There is not a single thing upon which you can lay your hand excepting this "spir-H" which is the same as the "infinite." I guess it is. I don't know what either word means. They are words that scientists do not use, although they may think there may be something in them, but they are not scientific terms, at least.
Is there anything that a man presents in his conduct, in his actions, in the uses of his abilities, that isn't performed in exactly the same way as a machine? I think there is not.
. . . life existed before it was produced as it is today, and it may exist after it Is produced in some other way. Begetting Is onjy one method that nature has taken for passing to a certain stage. That is all. But it isn't universal, never was. and perhaps it never will be. I don't want to discourage my friend, but it probably never will be universal. That is only one method.
Now, the fly doesn't belong with the machine. The fly has free will. It knows what it wants when It flies into the butter. It has what my friend calls free will, just as much as he has, just as much as I have, just as much as anybody has. It is governed by exactly the same laws.
If we were standing somewhere out in space and saw this planet moving as if it was in a devil of a hurry to get along with its journey, we'd say it had free will and knew where it was going. Of course, we'd say it, because we don't know any better, and somebody standing out somewhere and watching all the automobiles come into New York in the morning and go out at night would say the drivers have free will, too. They have neither freedom nor will, or they wouldn't do it. . . .
» * m
I am not here to discuss whether man is better and higher than the Ameba. I could not discuss that for I really do not know. Of course, man has more legs to—get the gout in and he has a bigger stomach—to be diseased, and he has a bigger brain—for the home of more false theories. Most of these questions get us back to another question, "What is it all about anyhow, and what do we mean by getting anywhere?" The Ameba has one advantage, the Ameba is endowed with immortal life. I am not saying that this is an advantage; neither does the Ameba have to work so hard. Whether his simple organism is better than the complex organism that is given to man, I don't know. I have to ask myself, "better for what?" Then, I am lost, as I fancy anybody else is lost. The Ameba can't construct words as man can, and he does not need them. Probably man does not either, but that is not the question. The question is, "Is the Human Race Getting Anwyhere?" not whether the Ameba is or not. . . .
What is life for? No one can answer that question. I am sure of it, because I cannot answer it myself. If we cannot answer that we may then ask the question: What are we to do with life now that we have it thrust upon us? In this case we are not very much better off. My own idea is that on the whole, the life is the most tolerable which has the greatest measure of pleasurable emotions against painful ones. Some people might say that life is to gather wisdom. But, I don't know what we are to do with our wisdom. I have been gathering it all my life, and I don't know what to do with it now that I have it. Or, is it to build steam engines? What for? Suppose these produced painful emotions instead of pleasant ones? Is it to make guns? What for? Or, to make flying machines, so we can use them in war? There is no starting point. But, that never discourages me. I see in life, just what the Professor showed us in the end, a continual coming and going. One civilization or one set of ideas, taking the place of another. Nations growing civilized, as he calls it, so they can get along with each other, and then killing each other. . . .
What makes happiness? Well, I fancy it is largely a state of mind and I know nothing between savagery and Christian Science that can change the state of mind. Of course, socialism may to a degree, but it is only to a degree, because the Socialists expect something here, and the others don't so even they can be disappointed. But take any basis that we can think of. The intellect is a poor one. Can you prove that the intellect of man is any better than it was, or that it is going to be? I don't know about the Neanderthal man, who lived sixty thousand years ago; a little of his skull was found in a cave in western Europe. We haven't got enough to judge. But I know something about man as far back as the history of the human race goes, and our men are certainly no more intelligent today than they were then. We haven't got beyond Plato, and Aristotle and Socrates, although we have Mary Baker Eddy and Dowie and Billy Sunday and Bryan! . . .
Intellectually man has got nowhere. If he has, I don't know where. What has he done? Intellectually, he has done nothing. He has turned his mind to this thing and that, and he has preserved some of the things that other generations knew of, but as an intellectual machine, as a human being, he is no better. Swept onto the earth with the rest of life, born, lives his time and passes away.
Have we learned anything about war? Why everything that was said against war was said twenty-five hundred years ago, at least. The world has been-educated about its cruelty for hundreds of years, and yet in the midst of our wondrous civilization, we have seen the greatest war of history, and every bit of science that we knew has been called into play for the purpose of killing men. I wrote a book on non-resistance fifteen years ago and we have had a war since that! And I believed in it myself. The primitive man, with all of his old primitive instincts, is here just the same as the first man, and these instincts rule his life.
When we come down to modern life, what have we learned? One hundred and fifty years ago we formed a nation, dedicated to freedom of speech and freedom of action, and what has become of it? Look at the great galaxy of scientific men who have taught the world for the last two hundred years at least. Yet. the world has gone crazy over tipping tables and hearing raps on the ceiling to prove immortal life. Think of the more or less philosophical Ideas of life, and the future, and religion. And you .can plant in a civilization like the United States the doctrines of Dowie and Mary Baker Eddy. Think what has been done and said by all the wise of all the ages, about philosophy, and along comes a cheap evangelist like Billy Sunday and a cheap politician like Billy Bryan, and they make the people declare by law what you and I shall drink and not drink! Have we got anywhere? If we have, I wish we could go back! . . .
Are the emotions of men today any different than they ever were? Voltaire, who perhaps did more for the improvement of the human race than most any intellect the world has ever known—Voltaire the great iconoclast, fought against the very intolerance that is rife all over the world today. He raised his voice in the face of prison and death for the right of men to live, to express their opinion as they would. We thought it had been established in the world, and lo and behold, almost as if by magic, the right is gone, and all the fierce hatred and bitterness of the past has come in its place. Why is it that great masses of men and women, who have had years of training and experience, and a large degree of freedom can be caught by such a fool phrase as "a hundred percent American?" Why is it that we can forget all our traditions and send thousands of poor, working people out of our country, in a mad passion, and frenzy, at the command of a few? Why is it that a boy could be turned out of a public school in Chicago because he did not see fit to salute a flag, whether he believed in the flag or not? Why is it that tolerance and common intelligence can never long rule the brains of man? Men are moved by catch words, by feelings, by emotions, and they do all the barbarous things today that they did when the human race was young. . . .
It is the great commonplace that has ruled the world. Phrases; catch words, it is not the philosophers or the dreamers. It is these men. And when they are touched by a great feeling, great emotion, good or bad. they are like the wolves that hunt in packs, and all reason falls from them.
* • ♦
Both Hardy and Housman, and of course Omar, believed that man is rather small in comparison with the universe, or even with the earth; they didn't believe in human responsibility, in free will, in a purposeful universe, in a Being who watched over and cared for the people of the world. It is evident that if He does, He makes a poor job of it! ...
Neither Omar nor Fitzgerald believed in human responsibility. That is the rock on which most religions are founded, and all laws—that everybody is responsible for his conduct; that if he is good he is good because he deliberately chooses to be good, and #f he is bad it is pure cussed-ness on his part—nobody had anything to do with it excepting himself. If he hasn't free will, why, he isn't anything! The English poet Henley, in one of his poems, probably expressed this about as well as anybody. It looks to me as if he had a case of the rabies or something like that. But people are fond of repeating it. In his brief poem about Fate he says:
I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul.
A fine captain of his soul; and a fine master of his fate! He wasn't master enough of his fate to get himself born, which is rather important, nor to do much of anything else., except brag about it. Instead of being the captain of his soul, as I have sometimes expressed it, man isn't even a deck-hand on a rudderless ship! . . .
The idea of man's importance came in the early history of the human race. He looked out on the earth, and of course he thought it was flat! It looks flat, and he thought it was. He saw the sun, and he formed the conception that somebody moved it out every morning and pulled it back in at night. He saw the moon, and he had the opinion that somebody pulled that out at sundown and took it in in the morning. He saw the stars, and all there was about the stars was, "He made the stars also." They were just "also." They were close by, and they were purely for man to look at, about like diamonds in the shirt bosoms of people who like them.
This was not an unreasonable idea, considering what they had to go on. The people who still believe it have no more to go on. Blind men can't be taught to see or deaf people to hear. The primitive people thought that the stars were right near by and just the size they seemed to be. Of course now we know that some of them are so far away that light traveling at nearly 200,000 miles a second is several million light years getting to the earth, and some of them are so large that our sun, even, would be a fly-speck to them. The larger the telescopes the more of them we see, and the imagination can't compass the end of them. It is just humanly possible that somewhere amongst the infinite number of infinitely larger and more important specks of mud in the universe there might be some organisms of matter that are just as intelligent as our people on the earth. So to have the idea that all of this was made for man gives man a great deal of what Weber and Field used to call "proud flesh." . . .
Preachers have wasted their time and their strength and such intelligence and learning as they can command, talking about God forgiving man, as if it was possible for man to hurt God, as if there was anything to be forgiven from man's standpoint. They pray that man be forgiven and urge that man should be forgiven. Nobody knows for what, but still it has been their constant theme. . . .
Housman condemned nobody. No pessimist does—only good optimists. People who believe in a universe of law never condemn or hate individuals. Only those who enthrone man believe in free will, and make him responsible for the terrible crudities of Nature and the force back of it, if there is such a force. Only they are cruel to the limit. . . .
Nobody lives in this world to himself or anv part of himself. Nobody fashions his body, and still less is responsible for the size or the fineness of his brain and the sensitiveness of his nervous system. No one has anything to do with the infinite manifestations of the human body that produce the emotions, that force men here and there. And yet religion in its cruelty and its brutality brands them all alike. And the religious teachers are so conscious of their own guilt that they only seek to escape punishment by loading their punishment onto someone else. They say that the responsibility of the individual who in his weakness goes his way is so great and his crimes are so large that there isn't a possibility for him to be saved by his own works.
The law is only the slightest bit more intelligent:. No matter who does it, or what it is the individual is responsible. If he is manifestly and obviously crazy they may make some distinction; but no lawyer is wise enough to look into the human mind and know what it means. The interpretations of the human judges were delivered before we had any science on the subject whatever, and they continue to enforce the old ideas of insanity, in spite of the fact that there isn't an intelligent human being in the world who has studied the question who ever thinks of it in legal terms. Judges instruct the jury that if a man knows the difference between right and wrong he cannot be considered insane. And yet an insane man knows the difference better than an intelligent man, because he has not the intelligence and the learning to know that this is one of the hardest things to determine, and perhaps the most impossible. You can ask the inmates of an insane asylum whether it is right to steal, lie, or kill, and they will all say "No," just as little children will say it, because they have been taught it. It furnishes no test, but still lawyers and judges persist in it, to give themselves an excuse to wreck vengeance upon unfortunate people. . . .
I don't know whether a college succeeds in making pupils think that 'hey are very important in the scheme of the universe. I used to be taught that we were all very important. Most all the boys and girls who were taught it when I was taught it are dead, and the world is going on just the same. I have a sort of feeling that after I am dead it will go on just the same, and there are quite a considerable number of people who think it will go on better. But it won't; I haven't been important enough even to harm it. It will go on just exactly the same. . . .
The religious creeds have always felt there was a kinship between pleasure and sin. A smile on the face is complete evidence of wickedness. A solemn, uninteresting countenance is a stamp of virtue and goodness, of self-denial, that will surely be rewarded. Of course, the religious people •■■ are strangely hedonistic without knowing it. You couldn't expect them to know it! There are some of us who think that the goodness or badness of an act in this world can be determined only by pain and pleasure units. The thing that brings pleasure is good, and the thing that brings pain is bad. There is no other way to determine the difference between good and bad. Some of us think so; I think so. . . .
I could never understand, if it was admissible to have joy in heaven, why ^ou couldn't have it here, too. And if joy is admissible at all, the quicker you get at it the better, and the surer you are of the result. Omar thought that: "Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go!" Take the Cash and let the other fellow have the Credit! That was his philosophy, and I insist it is much better, and more intelligent philosophy than the other. . . .
A million years, and perhaps his generations may be thirty to thirty-five years long. Think of the generations in a thousand years, in 5,000 years, in a hundred thousand, in a million years! There are a billion and a half of these important organisms on the earth at any one time. All of them, all important—kings, priests and professors, and doctors and lawyers and presidents, and 100 percent Americans, and everything on earth you could think of—Ku Kluxers, W.C.T.U.'s, Rotarians, Knights of Columbus and Masons, everything. All of them important in this scheme of things! All of them seeking to attract attention to themselves, and not even satisfied when they get it!
What is it all about? It is strange what little things will interest the human mind—baseball games, fluctuations of the stock market, revivals, foot races, hangings, anything. Anything will interest them. And the wonderful importance of the human being!
. . . Life is rising in the morning and washing and dressing and going to recitations and studying and forgetting it, and then going to bed at night, to get up the next morning and wash and dress and go to recitation, and so on, world without end.
One. might get a focus on it from the flies. They are very busy buzzing round. You don't exactly know what they are saying, because we can't understand fly language! We can't tell what they are saying, but they are probably talking about the importance of being good, about what's going to happen to their souls and when. And when they are stiff in the morning in the Autumn and can hardly move round, the housewife gets up and builds the fire, and the heat limbers them up. She sets out the bread and butter on the table. The flies come down and get into it, and they think the housewife is working for them. Why not?
Is there any difference? Only in the length of the agony. What
other? Apparently they have a good time while the sun is shining, and' apparently they die when they get cold. It is a proposition of life and death, forms of matter clothed with what seems to be consciousness, and then going back again into inert matter, and that is all. There isn't any manifestation that we humans make that we da not see in flies and in other forms of matter. ... •
The truth is, the world doesn't change, or the generations of men or the human emotions. But the individual changes as he grows old. You hear about the Revolt of Youth. Some people are pleased, at it and some displeased. Some see fine reasons for hope in what they call the youth movement. They can put it over on the old people, but not on the youth! There is a Revolt of Youth.
Well, youth has always been in revolt. The greatest trouble with youth is that it gets old. Age changes it. It doesn't bring wisdom, though most old people think because they are old they have wisdom. But you can't get wisdom by simply growing old. You can even forget it that way! Age means that the blood runs slow, that the emotions are rot as strong, that you play safer, that you stay closer to the hearth. You don't try to find new continents or even explore old ones. You don't travel into unbeaten wilderness and lay out new roads. You
stick to the old roads when you go out at all. . . .
♦ * *
There are a billion and a half people in the world all of them trying to shout loud enough to be heard all at once, so as to attract the attention of the public, so they may be happy. A billion and a half of them, and if they all attracted attention none of them would have attention! Of course, attention is only valuable if the particular individual attracts it and nobody else can get it. That is what makes presidents and kings —thev get it and nobody else.
Then when you consider that it is all made up of little things, what is life all about, anyway? We do keep on living. It is easy enough to demonstrate to people who think that life is not worth while. We could do it easier if we could only settle what worth while means. But if we settle it and convince ourselves that it is not worth while, we still keep on living. Life does not come from willing; rather it does not come from thought and reason. I don't live because I think it is worth while; I live because I am a going concern, and every going concern tries to keep on going, I don't care whether it is a tree, or a plant, or what we call a lower animal, or man, or the Socialist party. Anvthiflg that is going tries to go on by its own momentum, and it does just keep on going—it is what Schopenhauer called the will to live. So we must assume that we will live anyhow as long as we can. When the machine runs down we don't have to worry about it any longer. . . .
I remember once, years ago, reading Olive Schriener's "Story of an African Farm," in which she describes the simple Boers of South Africa, with their sorrows and their pleasures. She used this expression, which it took me some time to understand, in describing pain and pleasure: "There is a depth of emotion so broad and deep that pain and pleasure are the same." They are the same, and I think thev find their meeting in beauty. The beauty, even if it is painful, is still beauty. You find the meeting of pain and pleasure, and you can hardly distinguish between the two emotions. . . .
The pessimist doesn't necessarily think that everything is bad, but he looks for the worst. He knows it will come sooner or later. When an optimist falls, he falls a long way; when a pessimist falls it is a very short fall. When an optimist is disappointed he Is very, very sad. because he believed it was the best of all possible worlds, and God's in his heaven and all's well with the world. When a pessimist is disappointed he is happy, for he wasn't looking for anything. This is the safest and by all odds it is the wisest outlook. ...
If I had my choice, I would not like to be an optimist, even assume ing that people did not know that I was an idiot. I wouldn't want to be an optimist because when I fell I would fall such a terribly long way. The wise man trains for ill and not for good. He is suTe he will need that training, and the other will take care of itself as it comes along. . . .
• • •
. . . Man £oes not live by rules. If he did, he would not live. He lives by his emotions, his instincts, his feeling; he lives as he goes along. Man does not make rules of life and then live according to those rules; he lives and then he makes rfcles of life. And, it is really an idle thing for anybody to tell anybody else how to live. Nobody is influenced by other people's opinions. Each must learn for himself and find out where he makes his mistakes, and, perhaps the things he thinks are mistakes are not mistakes after all. No one can figure this out.
. . . the first rule of living—get busy. Everybody who ever wanted to get rich, especially out of somebody else, has taught this to the people. Benjamin Franklin was one of the main exponents of this idea. Work is the great thing in life. I am inclined to think this is true. Now, let us find the reason for it. The reason is perfectly evident. Why should we work? Why, the professors say, it gets our mind off ourselves. That is true, too. That is the reason for it. If a man works hard, especially at something he is interested in, it takes his mind from himself. That is the only philosophical reason for hard work. There are reasons in the way of getting money which are poor reasons. But, to work hard, especially at what you are interested in, takes your mind from yourself. You may get up early in the morning at ten o'clock and try to enjoy yourself for two hours doing nothing. And, you think you have lived a whole lifetime, trying to enjoy yourself. But, if you have worked hard, the first time you may think of it, you think it has been fifteen minutes, when it has been a half a day. What does that mean? It means just this: That work is good because it brings non-existence, and that nonexistence is the most tolerable of all the forms of matter in life. There is no other answer to hard work. And I know of almost no one who has studied the philosophy of life but does not finally come up with the proposition that the only thing that makes life tolerable, is hard work, so you don't know you are living. So. I characterize hard work as dope for life. . . .
I have got about through with the blooming game. I am about ready to retire. That does not mean I have money, but I study the actuary tables; I know I am about ready to retire. When I retire— well, while I will not be happy, I will not be miserable, and, as ^fe goes, I believe I have as little cause for complaint as almost any person I know. And, I trust that I complain very little. At least I don't mean to. I have lived a life which is, approximately, as good as nothing. Not quite, but somewhere near it. And I will not be very much better off when I am dead; but somewhat. . . .
If man was not cursed with consciousness he would be right. If man was not cursed with memory he could forget the past. And, if he was not cursed with imagination, he would think nothing about the future. But there is no fairly intelligent man or woman who is not bound to think every day in his life of the question of whether life ends all and when that end will come. And with the great mass of men who live upon the earth, the question of the end of life affects their present feeling more than anything else affects it. If anybody says it does not affect it; he is simply bluffing. You may take one of the most eminent scientists of the world. Sir Oliver Lodge, and yet because he has the feeling that I have and the feeling that goes with living, that the fate of annihilation is abhorrent to the human mind—because of that, he almost consciously deludes himself with the silliest twaddle that has ever moved the minds of men. Do you suppose Sir Oliver Lodge would fce a spiritualist if the fear of death or the hope of immortality did not make him one? Why, there is not a single fact that he reports that could stand ior a minute in the light of the scientific analysis that he gives to every question of physical science, and he must know it.
What does the great mass of the human race think about this ques- •* tion as to whether life is worth living., and whether this is in any way affected by the question of the destiny of Man? Why, since man began to dream dreams and see visions; since he evolved consciousness; since he looked around and asked the meaning of-life and of death, he fcas sought by every means to prove that death is not /leath. He has braced up his love of life by making for himself a dream that there was something more to life than is shown by science or philosophy, or the l'acts that are apparent to everyone who thinks. And, take that feeling from the human mind today, and take it suddenly, and it would be paralyzed, and men would not live their lives. There are a few who might live it out. But, to say that the question of the destiny of man does not affect his present happiness is to say that man has neither memory, nor imagination, nor consciousness, nor thought.
Men suffer from evils that never come, and they experience joys that never come. A very large part of our conscious life is dreaming. We believe in happiness that will come tomorrow, and in misery that passed yesterday. We are terrified sometimes by disasters that will come tomorrow, more than we are by those that we lived through yesterday. Man's brain is such that his mind will reaeh into the future and into the past and all about him, and the future and the past, whether it exists or not, does exist for the present, and is the largest part of the things which affect the happiness or the misery of the man. it is idle to say man must not take into account the question of his origin or the question of his destiny, when he considers whether life is worth living. Is it? . . .
Even if the emotions, in the fraction of an hour, were all pleasant ones, it was not worth while to begin it when it was to end so quickly. The fact that life is here, to my mind, proves nothing, excepting that if you got a certain amount of earth and heat and water—if they were resolved into the simple elements—given these elements in certain proportions under certain conditions, life will develop, just as maggots will in a cheese. Does that prove it is worth while? I cannot see it. It does not prove it in any meaning of the words worth while. If it does prove it, then everything is equally worth while, and the living man is no more a part of nature than the corpse. And the well man is no more a part of nature than the sick man. The pleasurable emotion is no more a part of nature than the painful emotion. The fact that it is here simply proves it is here, that is all. The only way that this question can be discussed, it seems to me, is as an intellectual or philosophical question: Are the pleasurable emotions of life more than the painful ones? Is there a greater balance of pleasure than pain? And this cannot be discussed without taking into consideration every feeling and imagination that influences man, and influences the feelings of man. You cannot settle it by saying life Is a question of health, wealth, happiness' and wisdom. The second time he said wealth, health and happiness, he cut out the wisdom. Happiness surely is not a question of wisdom. It is a question of happiness, and happiness is a very complex thing. If life is a question of happiness, then it gets back to you, looking it over, with what has passed and what is still to come, has it more pleasure or more unhappiness? I believe almost every person who lives gets his pleasure in anticipation. All of the adages and teachings of life are built upon that idea. The young person should store up wisdom so that he may use it in old age—when he does not need it. He needs teeth more than he does wisdom. By the way . . . my digestion is bully. I can eat anything that tastes good and nothing that does not. A person should hoard up money so that he can spend it, and have a good time with it in the future—when he will most likely be dead. We should work today, so that we can have a vacation tomorrow. Better take it today, for tomorrow you may be dea4 and you will get out of working.....
If I could ever have as good a time when I went on a vacation
as I anticipated before I went; I would hope to die while I was gone.
So, the past does get into it, and the future gets Into it. And, -if you work hard there is no present. . . .
Of course, emotionally, one may stick around, because while we live, we want to live. 'But, I think I am going to be happier next year than I was last year. Of course I know I will not be, but I think I shall. I think next week will be a good week. Last week was not so good. Next week will be fine. And next summer vacation will be good. Of course, as I said here before, I might run into some mosquitoes, or some people, but 1 am not thinking about them now, because it is next year. That is what I ran into last year. Pretty much all of it is in the imagination. And I don't condemn the dope fiend. I think he is—I was going to say wise, but I will do better than that by him—I think he is foolish, and, blessed be foolishness!
When you leave the cruder religions of the world, and men begin to get up where they cannot believe quite all that has been said, then they turn to Epictetus, and he was one of these self-deluding mortals who could sit on a pin and say, "Why, my mind is free." Of course, that is nat even scientific. For a man's mind, whatever it is, depends upon his brain whatever it is. and that is a part of his body, whatever it is. So that he Is not free; it depends entirely upon his body. It is just a bit of bluffing. Epictetus and a few other stoics bluffed their way through the world until their philosophy played out and now it has been taken up by the Christian Scientists, who say: "Oh, no, there is no such thing as corns, they are in the head, not on the toes." "There is no such thing as death. The friend you loved that made up a large part of the pleasures of life, is not dead. He has just passed on." Just passed on! Things are not what they seem to be. God is love and love is God. There is no sin; there is no pain—-only a condition of mind. Well, with the most of them there is no mind; so there is nothing! . . .
Looking life over I have nothing to complain of—I am a real-opti-mist; it might have been worse. There is optimism for you. It might have been worse. And, in spite of the pleasures that I have experienced in studying biology and listening to lectures on anthropology, and in spite of the companionship of my friends, and in spite of good food and vacations, in spite of all these—and I have had my fulPshare of them— and a good digestion with it—and before I finish that sentence I want to call attention to one thing my friend suggested, then I will go back where I left off. He said digestion is good. Eating tastes good, but if you eat too much it hurts you. Well now, why should it? You like to eat. but if you eat too much it makes you miserable. What a glorious thought that is, isn't it?
Well, in spite of all my pleasures, and all of my friends—I am glad I have so many; if thev knew me better. I would have more—in spite of all of these, when I look back over life, with the many pains I have suffered that happened, and the many more I have suffered that did not happen, the greatest satisfaction that I find in any of it is when I am asleep. And, intellectually, I feel it will be the best thins that can happen to me—to go to sleep again. Still emotionally and physically 1 draw back from it, just like everyone else who ever lived. All this enters into mv personal feeling of whether life is worth while. But as an intellectual question, I insist that practically everything that mv friend has said and practically everything that everyone says in favor of optimism and the worth-whileness of life—pretty near all of it—proves that life is not worth while; that it is an unpleasant interruption of
nothing, and the best thing you can say of it is that it does no last long.
* * ♦
The true man neither guiltily conceals nor anxiously explains nor •vulgarly parades. He lives his life the best he can, and lets it stand for what it is. A thousand idle tales may be true or false. One may have" seen but certain things, and placed him with the saints. Another little soul, who never felt the breadth and depth of human life, may have
seen his scars alone, and cast him out. But standing by his side, or clasping his strong, sympathetic hand, no one thinks of halos or scars or asks an explanation of this or that, for in his whole being is felt the divine presence of a great soul, who has lived and loved, sinned and suffered, and been strengthened and purified by all. . . .
It may be that we shall always shudder as we hear the rattle of the bones when we pass the closet door, but in justice to the inmate, we should give him credit for the joys of long ago. And this brings us back to the old question of the balancing of pain and pleasure, good and evil, right and wrong. It may be that in the mysterious adjustment of nature's balances, a moment of supreme biiss will outweigh an eternity of pain. In the infinite economy, which life counted for the more—that of Napoleon, or the poor French peasant that passed through an obscure existence to an unknown grave? The brief glory of Austerlitz was followed by the bitterness of Waterloo, and the long silence of an exile's life, while the peasant trod his short path without ambition, and filled a nameless grave without regret. Which is the greater and finer, the blameless life of the patient brute, or the winding, devious path of a human soul? It is only the dull level that brings no sorrow or i egret. It is a sterile soil where no weeds will grow, and a bare closet where no skeleton will dwell. . . .
7'he most vociferous preachers are often those whose natural spirits have led them to drink the deepest of life. They are so foolish as to think that others can be taught by their experiences, and mumbling gTev-beards endorse the excellence and wisdom of the sermons they preach. They are not wise enough to know that their prattle is more vain and foolish than the babblings of their childhood days. It was the growing, vital sap of life that made them children years ago; it is the icy, palsying touch of age that makes them babbling, preaching children once again. As well might the calm and placid lake teach the beauty of repose to the boiling, seething cataract, that thunders down Niagara's gulf. When the troubled waters shall have reached the lake they shall be placid too. Nature is wiser far than man. She makes the first childhood precede the second. If the age of prudence came with youth, it would be a dull and prosy world for a little time; then life would be extinct upon the earth and death triumphant over all. . . .
With wild ambitions and desires untamed, we are spawned out into a shoreless sea of moving molecules of life, each separate atom journeying on an unknown course, regardless of the countless other lives it meets as it blindly rushes on; no lights nor headlands stand to point the proper way the voyager should take, he is left to sail an untried bar across an angry sea. If no disaster should befall, it does not show that the traveler is wise or good, but that his ambitions and desires are few or he has kept close inside the harbor line. At first we seek to swim the flood, to scale the rocky heights, to clutch the twinkling stars. Of course we fail and fall, and the scars our passions and ambitions leave, remain, though all our particles are made anew year after year. We learn at last to leave the stars to shine where they belong, to take all things as they are and adjust our lives to what must be. . . .
No life can be rounded and complete without the education that the skeleton alone can give. Until it came we never knew the capacities of the human soul. We had learned by rore to be forgiving, kind and true. But the anguish of the human soul cannot be told—it must be felt or never known. The charity born of true comradeship, which is the highest and holiest sentiment of life, can be taught by the skcletotn alone. The self-righteous, who prate of forgiveness to their fellow men and who look down upon their sinning brothers from above, are hypocrites or fools. They either have not lived or else desire to pass for something they are not. No one can understand the devious, miry paths trodden by another soul unless he himself has wandered through the night. . . .
All triumphs are futile without the victory over self; and wnen the triumph over self is won, there are no more battles to be fought, for all the world is then at peace. It is the skeleton in the closet pointing ever to the mistakes and maladjustments of our past, the skeleton standing there before our gazes that makes us still remember where our lives fell short; that teaches us so slowly but so surely to turn from the unworthy victories and the dire defeats of life to the mastery of ourselves. It is the skeleton from whom we learn that we can live without the world, but not without ourselves.
Without the skeleton we could never feel another's sorrow, or know another's pain. Philosophy and theology cannot tell us how another's life became a hopeless wreck. It is ourselves alone that reveals the precipice along which every footpath leads. It is from life we learn that it is but an accident when we fall, and equally an accident when we keep the path. The pupil of the schools may look down with pitying glance upon the unfortunate victim of what seems to be his sin. He may point to a love that will forgive and kindly plead with him to take another path, but the wayfarer that the skeleton has taught will clasp this fellow mortal to his heart, for in his face he sees but the reflection of himself. The wise and good may forgive the evil and the wrong, but only the sinner knows that there is no sin.
The charity that is born of life and sin is not fine because of its effect on someone else, but for what it does for us. True charity is only the sense of the kinship of all living things. This is the charity that neither humiliates nor offends. It is the sense that brings a new meaning to life and a new purpose to the soul.
EXCERPTS FROM DEFENSE OF LOEB AND LEOPOLD
Our anxiety over this case has not been due to the facts that are connected with this most unfortunate affair, but to the almost unheard of publicity it has received; to the fact that newspapers all over this country have been giving it space such as they have almost never before given to any case. The fact that day after day the people of Chicago have been regaled with stories of all sorts about it, until almost every person has formed an opinion.
And when the public is interested and demands a punishment, no matter what the offense, great or small, it thinks of only one punishment, and that is death.
It may not be a question that involves the taking of human life; it may be a question of pure prejudice alone, but when the public speaks as one man it thinks only of killing. . . .
I have heard in the last six weeks nothing but the cry for blood. I have heard from the office of the State's Attorney only ugly hate.
I have heard precedents quoted which would be a disgrace to a savage race.
I have seen a court urged almost to the point of threats to hang two boys, In the face of science, In the face of philosophy, in the face of humanity, in the face of experience, in the face of all the better and more humane thought of the age. . . .
Now, your Honor, I shall discuss that more in detail a little later, and I only say it now because my friend Mr. Savage—did you pick him for his name or his ability or his learning?—because my friend Mr. Savage, in as cruel a speech as he knew how to make, said to this court that we pleaded guilty because we were afraid to do anything else.
Your Honor, that it true.
It was not correct that we would have defended these boys in this court; we believe we have been fair to the public. Anyhow, we have tried, and we have tried under terribly hard conditions.
We have said to the public and to this court that neither the parents, nor the friends, nor the attorneys would want these boys released. That they are as they are. Unfortunate though it be, it is true, and those the closest to them know perfectly well that they should not be released, and that they should be permanently isolated from society. We have said that; and we mean it. We are asking this court to save their lives, which is the least and the most that a judge can do.
We did plead guilty before your Honor because we were afraid to submit our case to a jury. I would not for a moment deny to this court or to this community a realization of the serious danger we were in and how perplexed we were before we took this most unusual step.
I can tell your Honor why.
I have found that years and experience with life tempers one's emotions and makes him more understanding of his fellow man.
When my friend Savage is my age, or even yours, he will read his address to this court with horror. . . .
I am aware that as one grows older he is less critical. He is not so sure. He is inclined to make some allowance for his fellow man. I am aware that a court has more experience, more judgment and more kindliness than a jury.
Your Honor, it may be hardly fair to the court, I am aware that I have helped to place a. serious burden upon your shoulders. And at that, I have always meant to be your friend. But this was not an act of friendship.
I know perfectly well that where responsibility is divided by twelve,
it is easy to say:
"Away with him."
But, your Honor, if these boys hang, you must do it. There can be no division of responsibility here. You can never explain that the rest overpowered you. It must be your deliberate, cool, premeditated act, without a chance to shift responsibility. . . .
But I do not ask mercy for these boys. Your Honor may be as strict in the enforcement of the law as you please and you cannot hang these boys. You can only hang them because back of the law and back of justice and back of the common instincts of man, and back of the human feeling for the young, is the hoarse voice of the mob which says, "Kill." I need ask nothing. What is the law of Illinois? . . .
No one knows what will be the fate of the child he gets or the child she bears; the fate of the child is the last thing they consider. This weary old world goes on, begetting, with birth and with living and with death; and all of it is blind from the beginning to the end. I do not know what it was that made these boys do this mad act, but I do 'know there is a reason for it. I know they did not beget themselves. I know that any one of an infinite number of causes reaching back to the beginning might be working out in these boys' minds, whom you are asked to hang in malice and in hatred and injustice, because someone in the past has sinned against them.
I am sorry for the fathers as well as the mothers, for the fathers who give their strength and their lives for educating and protecting and creating a fortune for the boys that they love; for the mothers who go down into the shadow of.death for their children, who nourish them and care- for them, and risk their lives, that they may live, who watch them with tenderness and fondness and longing, and who go down into dishonor and disgrace for the children that they love.
All of these are helpless. We are all helpless. But when you are pitying the father and the mother of poor Bobby Franks, what about the fathers and mothers of these two unfortunate boys, and what about the unfortunate boys themselves, and what about all the fathers and all the mothers and all the boys and all the girls who tread a dangerous maze in darkness from birth to death?
Do you think you can cure it by hanging these two? Do you think you can cure the hatreds and the maladjustments of the world by hanging them? You simply show your ignorance and your hate when you say It. You may here and there cure hatred with love and understanding, but you can only add fuel to the flames by cruelty and hate.
What is my friend's idea of justice? He says to this court, whom he says he respects—and I believe he does—your Honor, who sits here patiently, holding the lives of these two boys in your hands:
"Give them the same mercy that they gave to Bobby Franks."
Is that the law? Is that justice? Is this what a court should do? Is this what a State's Attorney should do? If the state in which I live is not kinder, more human, more considerate, more intelligent than the mad act of these two boys, I am sorry that I have lived so long. . . .
Justice must take account of infinite circumstances which a human being cannot understand.
If there is such a thing as justice it could only be administered by one who knew the inmost thoughts of the man to whom he was meting it out.- Aye, who knew the father and mother and the grandparents and the infinite number of people back of him. Who knew the origin of every cell that went into the body, who could understand the structure, and how it acted. Who could tell how the emotions that sway the human being affected that particular frail piece of clay. It means more than that. It means that you must appraise every influence that moves men, the civilization where they live, and all society which enters into the making of the child or the man! . . .
No one with wisdom and with understanding, no one who is honest with himself and with his own life, whoever he may be, no one who has seen himself the prey and the sport and the plaything of the infinite forces that move man, no one who has tried and who has failed—and we have all tried and we have all failed—no one can tell what justice is for someone else or for himself—and the more he tries and the more responsibility he takes the more he clings to mercy as being the one thing which he is sure should control his Judgment of men. . . .
. . . youth has terrible responsibilities, and youth should have advantages; and with sane and humane people, youth, the protection of childhood, is always one of the first concerns of the state. It is one of the first in the human heart, and it is one of the first in the human mind.
... it takes something besides brains to make a human being who can adjust himself to life. . . .
The emotions are the urge that makes us live; the urge that makes us work or play, or move along the pathways of life. They are the instinctive things. In fact, intellect is a late development of life. Long before it was evolved, the emotional life kept the organism in existence until death. Whatever our action is: it comes from the emotions, and nobody is balanced without them. . . .
A man can get along without his intellect, and most people do, but he cannot get along without his emotions. . . .
I know, your Honor, that all the atoms of life in all this universe are bound up together. I know that a pebble cannot be thrown into the ocean without disturbing every drop of water in the sea. I know that every life is inextricably mixed and woven with every other life. I know that every influence, conscious and unconscious, acts and reacts on every living organism, and that no one can fix the blame. I know that all life is a series of infinite chances, which sometimes result one way and sometimes another. I have not the infinite wisdom that can fathom it, neither has any other human brain. But I do know that if back of it is a power that made it. that power alone can tell, and if there is no power, then it is an infinite chance, which man cannot solve.
Why should this boy's [Nathan Leopold's] life be bound up with Friedrich Nietzsche who died thirty years ago, insane in Germany? I don't know.
I only know it is. I know that no man who ever wrote a line that I read failed to influence me to some extent. I know that every life I ever touched influenced me, and I influenced it; and that it is not given to me to unravel the infinite causes arid say, "this is I, and this is you." I am responsible for so much; and you are responsible for so much. I know—I know that in the infinite universe everything has its place and that the smallest particle is a part of all. Tell me that you can visit the wrath of fate and chance and life and eternity upon a 19-year-old boy! If you could, justice would be a travesty and mercy a fraud.
... it is hardly fair to hang a 19-year-old boy for the philosophy that was taught him at the university.
Now, I do not want to be misunderstood about this. Even for the sake of saving the lives of my clients, I do not want to be dishonest, and tell the ccfurt something that I do not honestly think in this case. I do not believe that the universities ^re to blame. I do not think they should be held responsible, I do think, however, that they are too large, and that they should keep a closer watch, if possible, upon the individual. But, you cannot destroy thought because, forsooth, some brain may be deranged by thought. It is the duty of the university, as I conceive it, to get the great storehouse of the wisdom of the ages, and to let students go there, and learn, and choose. I have no doubt but that it has meant the death of many; that we cannot help. Every changed idea in the world has had its consequences. Every new religious doctrine has created its victims. Every new philosophy has caused suffering and death. Every new machine has carved up men while it served the world. No railroad can be built without the destruction of human life. No great building can be erected but that unfortunate workmen fall to the earth and die. No great movement that does not bear its toll of life and death; no great ideal but does good and harm, and we cannot stop because it may do harm. . . .
Still we go on, as if human conduct was not influenced and controlled by natural laws the same as all the rest of the Universe is the subject of law. We treat crime as if it had no cause. We go on saying, "Hang the unfortunates, and it will end." Was there ever a murder without a cause? Was there ever a crime without a cause? And yet all punishment proceeds upon the theory that there is no cause; and the only way to treat crime is to intimidate every one into goodness and obedience to law. We lawyers are a long way behind. . . .
We are accustomed to blood, your Honor. It used to look mussy, and make us feel squeamish. But we have not only seen it shed in buckets full, we have seen it shed in rivers, lakes and oceans, and we have delighted in it; we have preached it, we have worked for it, we have advised it, we have taught it to the young, encouraged the old, until the world has been drenched in blood, and it has left its stains upon every human heart and upon every human mind, and has almost btifled the feelings of pity and charity that have their natural home in the human breast. . . .
We read of killing one hundred thousand men in a day. We read about it and we rejoiced in it—if it was the other fellows who wer6 killed. We were fed on flesh and drank blood. Even down to the prattling babe. I need not tell your Honor this, because you know; I need not tell you how many upright, honorable young boys have come into court charged with murder, some- saved and some sent to their death, boys who fought in this war and learned to place a cheap value on human life. You know it and I know it. These boys were brought up in it. The tales of death were in their homes, their playgrounds, their schools; they were in the newspapers that they read; it was a part of the common frenzy—what was a life? It was nothing. It was the least sacred thing in existence and these boys were trained to this cruelty.
It will take fifty years to wipe it out of the human heart, if ever. I know this, that after the Civil War in 1865, crimes of this sort increased, marvelously. No one needs to tell me that crime has no cause. It has as
definite a cause as any other disease, and I know that out of the hatred
.. > ♦
and bitterness of the Civil War crime increased as America had never known it before. I know that growing out of the Napoleonic wars there was an era of crime such as Europe had never seen before. I know that Europe is going through the same experience today; I know it has followed every war; and I know it has influenced these boys so that life was not the same- to them as it would have been if the world had not been n\ade red with blood. I protest against the crimes and mistakes of society being visited upon them. All of us have our share of it. I have mine. I cannot tell and I shall never know how many words of mine might have given birth to cruelty in place of love and kindness and charity. «
Your Honor knows that in this very court crimes of violence have increased growing out of the war* Not necessarily by those who fought but by those that learned that blood was cheap, and human life was cheap, and if the State could take it lightly why not the boy? There are causes for this terrible crime. There are causes, as I have said, for everything that happens in the world. War is a part of it; education is a part of it; byrth is a part of it; money is a part of it. . . .
I am pleading for the future; I am pleading for a time when hatred and cruelty will not control the hearts of men, when we can learn by reason and judgment and understanding and faith that all life is worth saving, and that mercy is the highest attribute of man. . . .
TO THE SOCIALISTS ON SOCIALISM
Now, let's see what Socialism really is. To me, Socialism is a theory of political action, and economics. To you, Socialism is a religion, just a pure unadulterated dope. Now, let's see if I can prove it so that everybody will understand it excepting the Socialists. If I can I am satisfied. . . .
They do not believe in a personal God, or any other, and I am not disputing on that question. Of course they have certain patron saints, among whom is Karl Marx; and that does not bother me. They are materialists. They believe that when a man is dead he is dead all over.
Of course there is a certain sect which call themselves Christian Socialists, but I never saw any of them. I never saw any Socialist who could be a Christian, or any Christian who could be a Socialist. Because either dope is enough to fill anybody. If a man is drunk on whisky he does not need morphine. If he has morphine he does not need whisky.
The great mass of Socialists are materialists. The great mass of them are possessed of considerable intellect. I am not joking now. Of course I am not comparing you with myself, but I am comparing you with the common herd. And this is the reason I say you are intellectual. . . .
You believe in a state of society where the lowest strata of society will control the upper, and where all of us intellectuals will have to go to work, or starve.
Well, I am willing to take a chance on that. I am willing to starve. I don't agree that when we have Socialism work will be play, because when work is play, then it is not work. The distinguishing thing about „work is that you do not want to do it. And when some sort of condition of psychology, or Socialism, makes it just as much fun to saw wood as to play golf, then sawing wood will no longer be work; but so far as we can see work will always be work, and I don't want it. . . .
Now, so far as Socialism affects your life today, it is because it is a dream, an idealism, a religion, nothing else. Why, I have known Socialists—some of them I see around me today-—fathers in Israel, good fellows, they haven't been awake since I knew them. They never will awaken./They will die in their sleep. I don't object to it. I am glad of it.
That is a fine way to die, and it is a bully good way to live. I don't object to it. But what I do say is this: that they are living upon an ideal; they are living upon a theory; they are living upon a dream; they are living upon a religion; they are taking dope. It has no relation to actual, physical life. It is purely to them imaginary, and yet you are living on it now, and life perhaps is mostly an ideal. You are living on it, and you are dreaming of it, and wherever there is any human being who can live his life and get pleasure out of the dream that some day Socialism and justice will rule on the earth, I say all right, go to it.
Practical Socialism is not a political theory; it is a religious doctrine. You are living upon religious dogma, just the same as the Christian Scientists are living on religious dogma. You are living on a narrow, sectarian doctrine, just as the Methodist is living on a narrow, sectarian doctrine; and when you look at a man with that far-off, dreamy look, and say, "Are you a Socialist?" it is just exactly the same as the liquid stare of the Salvation Arrfiy lassie, who looks into your eyes and says, "Do you love Jesus?"
Now, I am not quarreling with it. All I can say for myself is, that dope does not work on me. It is not enough. There are too many things in heaven and in earth—especially in the earth—for me to get fat over the thought that a thousand years from now the cooperative commonwealth will come. It is pure dope, so far as it affects the present-day life of any Socialist, and if you can live on it, well and good. It may cure the Socialists, but it won't cure the world. It may save those who take it; but suppose the Socialists came into power and would pass a law that it should be taken by the Christian Scientists, do you think it would save them? Or take the Agnostics, or different people who are awake, do you suppose if you would pass a law to that effect It would cure them, or save them? No. It will save those who can take it, and who can live on it, and that is all. ... >
For thirty years I suppose I have had more money out of this crazy patch-work system than I could Tiave had out of a cooperative commonwealth. I would have been behind If I had dumped my earnings—or rather my gettings. I want to convince you that I am a real Socialist. I would have been behind if I had dumped these into the common mass, and taken out my per capita share; and yet I have always been more or less a Socialist. The capitalists say I have been more; the Socialists say I have been less. So I have been more or less. But I have always been willing to dump them in! at least, I have said so. It was so far away I didn't see any great danger. And I have had probably two or three times as much money and as much food, clothes, to say nothing about other things, as I would have been able to get had I taken pofc luck with the rest. And yet, I have not been happy. . . .
You Socialists here today talk about Socialism. If there was somebody in the next block that could show the people by an absolute demonstration that they were going to live forever nobody would be interested in Socialism for a single moment.
Those eternal problems of life and death are so much bigger than all the economic problems that nobody would think of the economic problems if there was any solution for them; and so, if you people are going to take dope, and can choose your dope, choose religious dope, it is bigger, it will go farther, because Socialism at the best can only affect a very short time, whereas religious dope can affect eternity.
Of course I have been happy at moments; I have had my—not my lucid intervals—but my illucid intervals when I was happy. If my lucid intervals only would not come back, I would be happy all the time; but they keep coming back.
There are a lot of things that annoy me. There are the misfortunes of others. Now, you Socialists say, "Well, If we had Socialism they would not have misfortunes." Oh, yes, they would. They would have cancers, and I would rather be as poor as the average working man—who, by the way, is not a Socialist—he is just a working man. You people are just
kidding yourselves into believing that you work. You are Socialists. I would rather be as poor as the average working man than to have a cancer, or tuberculosis, or any of the physical troubles which are the common lot of common men; and yet, when I look around me, I see that from the nature of things nobody can be happy very long, and I could not be happy even if I lived in Mrs. Potter Palmer's house. By the way, she is dead now, although she lived in a good house. I am not specially mentioning her name, but the h6use occurred to me.
Of course one thinks that these material things in life are the things that count; but they do not count. About as soon as a man gets everything fixed up and builds himself a fine, new house, the first great function he attends there is his own funeral.
My troubles in this world have never had any connection with food, except I have had too much of it. It might here and there give me the gout; and you poor people are lucky because you don't have the gout. They are the miseries and troubles inherent in life that Socialism can't cure. They are the everlasting annoyances that are present all the time.
The mosquitoes bother me. The reformers. The gossips; all kinds of fool people that look after other people's business; and they will have more time when we get Socialism, for then they won't have anything else to do.
Then there are those people who are my pet aversion, the Prohibitionists. They bother me. And that kind of people never stop. Why, just the other day when I saw that the prohibition amendment had carried in the United States, I said to myself, "Well, all right, I am glad of it; we will get rid of the Prohibitionists." Then I picked up the papers the next day. and I found they had started on a crusade to make the world dry. I found we had got Prohibition, and I looked in the paper and found we still had the damn prohibitionists.
So what are you going to do about it? Nothing. You know haopiness is a mental condition. To quote Karl Marx, "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you." Any kind of dope that will work on you will save the world for vou. It saves it by its effect on you, that is all. It can't be saved by external medicine, or internal medicine. You can only do it by some delusion or hallucination, which takes possession of you, and by which you live; and whether it is Christian Science, or Single Tax, or Theosophy, or Free Silver, or Socialism, it all accomplishes the same results. . . .
Why, you could not get a Socialist government that could stand together 24 hours. Now, ^ou ask me who could understand this question better, a capitalist who was a part of it, or the working man who was a part of it, or I, who am looking on? I tell you I, and you Socialists don't yeem to know that you could not get a Socialist government that would hang together. Every blooming one of you is an orator, and a boss, and you would not be satisfied to let anybody else have anything to do with it. Not for a minute. It is like the French Revolution. When I read the storv the thing.that impressed me was not that they cut off the heads of the noblemen, but they wound up the job by cutting off each other's heads.
Change does not come that way. It may be an element in it, but you put a brand new party. Socialism, down on the earth, according to program, and it would last just about as long as a snowball—no longer. It takes men, women, ideas—and those are of slow development and'slow change, and slow growth; and they don't come out of theories, and political orators.
THE HUMOR OF CLARENCE DARROW
The ostrich is the original Christian Scientist—he gets rid of fear lay -denying unpleasant thoughts. . . .
Some people think it is their duty to go to mass. Some think it is their duty to stay away. Some think it is their duty not to eat meat on Friday and some not to eat it on any day. Some think it is their duty to believe in Mohammed and some think it is their duty to practice snake worship. Some think it is their duty to take care of their grandmother. Where do they get the idea? Why, we catch it just like the measles; that is all. For the most p3rt it is a terrible hobgoblin. . . .
We have a right to use such scientific knowledge as we have. Is not man an animal? He says, yes. But then he says something that certainly science will not bear out, that man is a different animal from any other, that he is endowed with reason, I suppose nobility of character, although we are not working at it very hard, and a few other things. So far as nobility of character is concerned—if you call duty nobie—which I would not, exactly, the animal has got it all over us.
If you count gratitude and fidelity, why, the dog has got us beaten to death! In fidelity and gratitude, we do not compare with them. But, of course, that question is not a matter of discussion. Even an. angleworm has a brain. It is very weak and inferior, of course, but it is there—a little flat thing at the end of the angleworm, is the rudiment of the brain. Of course, I presume there are probably no people who have not a better brain than an angleworm, though a good many of them have no better backbone.
From there up to the ape. An ape has a brain half as big as a man's, with the same weight of body. Of course, a man does not act like he had twice as much, but he has twice as large a brain, anyway. And that an ape uses it, cannot be questioned.
Every faculty of man is in the other animals. They can learn. But, they cannot learn as much. Of course, they could not read Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason." Thank God! Nor could they understand Butler's "Analogy." Nobody else does! But, they can reason. They
can reason imperfectly. So does the professor. [George Burman Foster]
• * #
If it is written down that the egg shall develop into a dog, you cannot make a horse out of it. If it is to develop into a woman, it cannot be made a man. It is probably lucky, because there probably wouldn't
be any women if they could chcose the egg.
• » »
Of course, man is a little more complex organism than an amoeba, which has one cell. But there isn't so much difference at that. A man is a combination of cells like everything else. A man has more cells. An amoeba has one cell. Man is a little more complex than the early organism. We talk about the man who writes a poem. Why, they didn't begin by writing poems. Man began even lower than that! He began by picking up worms and bugs and eating them—and enjoyed it. He began way down with a different form, different organs, came through almost every form, even the simplest, up to his present estate. I don't know what that is. People that have any estate always brag about it. That means that he has got more nerves to bother him, and there are more ways that he can die. But he began simpler than he is today. Not even as a writer of poetry, an organism that reached around to avoid pain and seek pleasure, looked for the sun just like the plant louse, looked for light the same as the potato, having some emotions which are in a rude way life-sustaining probably, the emotion for food and the emotion to keep his fool species going along. . . .
Vegetable life had the field alone for ages. Vegetable life created inorganic matter into organic matter. How? Because it had a soul? Nobody knows anything about the soul of a cabbage, although they think they know about the soul of a cabbagehead! I can't see any difference. Nobody knows a thing about it. Animals came, and they lived upon vegetable life, more primitive forms first. Man is the last and perhaps the most complex of all. We know enough about the past, we know enough about evolution, we know enough about man himself, we
know enough about the mechanical construction of things to be warranted in believing that when we have all the facts and are wise
enough we will find that all is of one pattern. .. .
The only thing I ever saw that to my limited knowledge seemed to have free will was an electric pump I had once on a summer vacation. Every time we wanted it to gofyjAr«topped. I couldn't think of anything except free will, and all of a sudden when we knew nothing about it, it started again.
* * <•
I fancy that none of us [school children] ever really understood anything about the pieces that we spoke. I remember in a general way that they were mainly of our country, and brave boys fighting and winning victories and dying, and about the evils and dangers of strong drink. We had a great many pieces about intemperance, ambition, and the like.
I especially remember one boy, with red hair and freckles and a short neck and large warts on his hands, who used always to speak a piece entitled "How Have the Mighty Fallen." I don't know who wrote it, or where it came from, or what has become of it; but I remember the piece almost as well as if I had heard it yesterday. This boy was the prize speaker of the school, and the piece told about Alexander and Caesar and Napoleon, and how and why they failed. Their lack of success was due to ambition and strong drink. I know this piece made a deep impression on my mind, and I always vowed that I never would fail as Alexander and Caesar and Napoleon had done—and I never have. I remember that once my father came to school on the last day, in the afternoon, to hear us speak; and when I got home at night he told me that the boy who spoke the piece about How the Mighty Had Fallen had all the elements of an orator, and he predicted that some day he would make his mark in the world. I felt that I would have given everything I possessed if only my father had said that about me. I know that in my tactful way I led up again and again to the piece
that I had spoken, but about this my father said not a single word.
♦ * *
I shall not follow my friend [Judge Alfred J. Tally] into the labyrinth of statistics. Statistics are a pleasant indoor sport—not so good as cross-word puzzles—and they prove nothing to any sensible person who is familiar with statistics. . . .
Now, I don't know how injustice is administered in New York. I just know about Chicago. But I am glad to learn from the gentleman that if a man is so poor in New York that he can't hire a lawyer, that he has a first-class lawyer appointed to defend him—a first-class lawyer appointed to defend him. Don't take a chance and go out and kill anybody on the statement made by my friend. . . .
Let me take another statement of my friend. He said, "Oh, we don't hang anybody if they kill when they are angry; it is only when they act premeditatedly." Yes, I have been in courts and heard Judges instruct people on this premeditated act. It is only when they act under their judgment and with due consideration. He would also say that if a man is moved by anger, but if he doesn't strike the deadly blow until such time as reason and judgment has a chance to possess him, even if it is a second—how many times have I heard Judges say, "Even if it is a second?" What does any Judge know aoout premeditation? What does anybody know about it? How many people are there in this world that can premeditate on anything? I will strike out the "pre" and say how many people are there that can meditate? . . .
Is there any reason for torturing someone who happens to be in prison? Is there any reason why an actor or even an actress might not go there and sing? There is no objection to a preacher going there. Why not give him a little pleasure?
And they really get food there—what do you know about that?
Now, when I heard him tell about what wonderful food they get—dietary food—did you ever know anybody that liked dietary food? I suppose the Constitution of the State of New York contains the ordinary provisibn against cruel inhuman punishment, and yet you send them up there and feed them on dietary food. . . .
Why, I wonder if the Judge ever took pains to go up there. I will tell you. I have had some experience with people that know them pretty well. I never saw a man who wanted to go to prison, even to see the movies. I never saw a man in my life who didn't want to get out. . . .
There is just one thing in all this question. It is a question of how you feel, that is all. It is all inside of you. If you love the thought of somebody being killed, why, you are for it. If you hate the thought of somebody being killed, you are against it.
Let me just take a little brief review of what has happened in this world. They used to hang people on the cross-ways and on a high hill, so that everybody would be awed into goodness by the sight. They have tortured them in every way that the brain of man could conceive. They have provided every torture known or that could be Imagined for one who believed differently from his fellow-man—and still the belief persisted. They have maimed and scarred and starved and killed human beings since man began penning his fellow-man. Why? Because we hate him. And what has added to it is that they have done it under the false ideal of self-righteousness.
I have heard parents punish their children and tell their children it hurt the parent more than it did the child. I don't believe it. I have
tried it both ways and I don't believe it. I know better. . . .
* # *
Now, while I am perfectly willing to admit with the eugenists that blood always tells, I have never been quite clear about just what it tells. . . .
In view of the fact that in the discussion of the Jukes family (as we shall see later) a great deal of emphasis is laid upon the crimanaJ records and immorality of some of its members, it would seem that the family taking its origin from Elizabeth should have received a little more attention at its source. Probably most of the eugenists who believe that the fcuman race should be tinkered with by way of improving on nature would have then united in the opinion that the line should have ended before it began.
That it is really a Tuttle line and not an Edwards line is not a matter of dispute. Mr. Davenport goes on to say that "after his divorce Richard Edwards remarried and had five sons and a daughter by Mary Talcott, a mediocre woman, average in talent and character and ordinary in appearance. None of Mary Talcott's progeny rose above mediocrity and their descendants gained no abiding reputation." This is quite a slam at Mary, but as she has been dead for 250 years she probably won't mind. . . .
Another author gives us a grand statistical summary of the "greatness" of the dewscendants of Elizabeth Tuttle. "The descendants number 12 college presidents, 265 college graduates, 65 college professors, 60 physicians, 100 clergymen, 75 army officers, 60 prominent authors, 100 lawyers, 30 judges, 80 public officers, 3 governors, mayors and State officials, 3 congressmen, 2 United States senators, and 1 Vice-President." This adds up to something over 600 out of a possible 40,000. We are not informed about the rest. Probably some of the descendants of Jonathan Edwards have been farmers—poor but honest; perhaps, some of them have even worked. Possibly some of them have received outdoor#or indoor relief. There is even room for a few inmates of jails. Who knows? Perhaps if one looked closely enough and had the facts one might find here and there in the 40,000 a few morons and an imbecile or two. But of all. these the engenists tell us nothing. To be a college graduate is not a great distinction; neither to be a physician, an army officer, a lawyer, a congressman, a governor, a Vice-President, or even a Presi-
dent. About the only thing that these figures show is that for some reason a considerable number of the descendants of Elizabeth Tuttle escaped manual toil. But this does not mean that they necessarily had rare intelligence or were men of great parts- Genius cannot be proven by lumping together 265 college graduates. . . .
The origin of the Jukes family, like the origin of the Edwards family, must necessarily be settled arbitrarily. So we are informed that the lather of the klan was born somewhere between 1730 and 1740. He was christened 150 years after his birth and 100 years after his death by the name of Max Jukes. He was born, if not especially created by a just God, somewhere on the borders of some wild and rocky lake in the Adirondack^, a region which was then almost an unknown wilderness. Max is described as <4a hunter and fisher, a hard drinker, jolly and companionable, and averse to steady toil." Not so bad. In only one regard does he seem to have been like the Edwards family, i.e., he was averse to steady toil. But this appears to be a common failing of all the sons of Adam: I recognize it in myself. . . .
A community of semi-industrious laborers and licentious women developed. The young women of the families grew up "comely in appearance and loose in morals." These interesting characteristics naturally attracted the fnen from a nearby city, even those of so-called good families and there was brought forth mtfny an illegitimate child usually named after its supposed father. "As a result one finds among the Jukses some of the most honored names of the region." As is only right and proper in a case of this sort, these names are not given by Mr. Dugdale.
Just as the eugenists have produced for us the panorama of the Edwards family from Elizabeth Tuttle down nine generations with all the high spots in between, so, also, they have painted for us in no uncertain colors the dark history of the Jukeses. In the latter picture, however, the high spots are all low spots. . . .
Let us take up some of these traits one by one. There is harlotry, for example, Mr. Estabrook practically concedes that the cases of licentiousness in the Jukes family were due more to environmental conditions than to any hereditary determiner. He finally concludes that before tracing this defect to heredity it is necessary to have much more data than can possibly be obtained. So far as harlotry can have any connection with heredity, it must be reduced to terms of abncfrmal sex impulse. As a matter of fact, I am willing to hold that a better case can be made out against the Edwardses in this respect than against the Jukeses. Consider the career of Elizabeth Tuttle and the potency and fecundity of Richard, Timothy, and Jonathan Edwards!
The amount of pauperism and indoor and outdoor relief figure prominently in all accounts of the Jukes family. This, too, is conceded to be hard to trace to heredity. If may be due to illness or environment, or, as suggested, "the readiness of the old-time politicians to grant outdoor relief to prospective voters.'1 . . .
As to crime, no biologist would pretend to say that burglary, robbery, arson, or murder are inherited in the germ-plasm. Crime doubtless is found more frequently in weak structures, but, weak or strong, it requires the right sort of environment to make a criminal.
Why idleness is catalogued I am unable to say, I never could brijng myself to believe that love of work is a virtue. So far as my experience and observation go, the only reason that any one has for working hard is to fix himself in a situation where he won't need to work. If idleness is a crime, why pick on the Jukeses? . . .
The history of the Jukes family is largely that of all pioneers, of all wooers, of the great mass which make up the warp and woof of every country. Their history is the "short and simple annals of the poor/' Some men may preach hell-fire sermons, or make speeches in the Senate and the court room. Others do the rough work of the world. Which are the most important in the scheme of life, assuming that there is any scheme of life? ^ •
If one were confined to a choice of neighbors between Max and Jonathan, which would one take? I am free to confess that I would take
Max without a moment's hesitation. . . .
* * • •
[The Lord's Day Alliance] ... an association of crape-hangers. . . .
No one but a parson has the right to charge for his performance on Sunday. . . .
These Lord's Day AHiance gentlemen are not only religious but scientific. For instance, they publish a pamphlet written by one Dr. A, Haegler, of Basle, Switzerland, in which he says that experiments have shown that during a day's work a laborer expends more oxygen than he can inhale. True, he catches up with a large part of this deficiency through the night time, but does not regain it all. It follows, of course, that if he keeps on working six days a week, for the same time each day, he will be out a considerable amount of oxygen and the only way he can maket it up is to take a day off on Sunday and go to church. This statement seems to be flawless to the powerful intellects who put out this literature. Any person who is in the habit of thinking might at once arrive at the conclusion that if the workman could not take in enough oxygen gas in the ordinary hours of work and sleep he might well cut down his day's work and lengthen his sleep and thus start even every morning. This ought to be better than running on a shortage of gas all through the week. Likewise, it must occur to most people that there are.no two kinds of labor that consume the same amount of oxygen gas per day, and probably no two human systems that work exactly alike. Then, too. if the workman ran behind on his oxygen gas in the days when men worked from ten to sixteen hours a day he might break even at night, since working hours have been reduced to eight or less, with a Saturday half-holiday thrown in. It might even help the situation to raise the bedroom window at night. These matters, of course, do not occur to the eminent doctor who wrote the pamphlet and the scientific gentlemen who send it out. To them the silly statement proves that a man needs to take a day off on Sunday and attend church in order that he may catch up on his oxygen. To them it is perfectly plain that for catching up on oxygen the church has a great advantage over the golf links or the baseball park, or any other place where the wicked wish to go. This in spite of the fact that in crowded buildings the oxygen might be mixed with halitosis. . . .
If the need of Sunday rest was meant to be shown by natural law it seems as if this should have been clearly indicated, especially if the righteous God had determined to punish Sunday violations with death and hell. There was no reason why the Creator should have been content to leave the proof to a revelation said to have been made in a barbarous age to an unknown man, hidden in the clouds on the top of a high mountain peak. Humans would not have graven such an important message on a tablet of stone and then insisted thafr the tablet should be destroyed before anv being except Moses had set eyes upon it. Even' God should not ask for faith that amounts to credulity and gross superstition.
A.deity could have written the Sabbath requirements plain on the face of nature. For instance, he might have made the waves be still on the seventh day of the week: the grass might have taken a dav off and rested from growing until Monday morning; the wild animals of the forest, and glen might have refrained from fighting and eating and chasinc and maiming and have been made to close their eyes on the Sabbath Day, and to have kept peace and tranquillity. The earth might have dpused in its course around the sun or stood still on its axis. It should have been as imoortant to make this gesture in homage of the day as it was to help Joshua hold the sun in leash that a battle might be prolonged. If nature had made plain provision for the Sabbath'Day it would be.patent to others as well as to the medicine men who insist that the Sabbath Day was made for their profit alone. . . .
Could it be possible that the Reverend Doctor McQuilkin's serious case of rabies might be due to vacant pews? . . .
I can well imagine the feeling of chagrin that steals over the parson when he talks tp fifty persons on a Sunday morning. Here are the few parishioners, solemn-visaged and sitting impatiently in their pews while a joyous crowd rolls by in automobiles on their road to hell. I cannot help thinking of the parson on a Sunday morning, telling the same story over and over again to his half hundred listeners.
I have seen this pastor and this congregation in the country church and the city church. What have they in common with the world today? Who are these faithful fifty? One-third of them, at least, are little boys and girls, twisting and turning and yawning and fussing in their stiff, uncomfortable clothes, in the hard church pews. Then there are the usual fat old women, wearing their Sunday finery. Their faces are dull and heavy and altogether unlovely. They no longer think of the world; they are looking straight into space at the Promised Land. They hold a hymn book or a Bible in their time-worn hands. Perhaps there are ten full grown men in church; two or three of these look consumptive; one or two are merchants who think that being at church will help them sell prunes; the rest are old and tottering. It has been years since a new thought or even an old one has found lodgment in their atrophied brains. They are decrepit and palsied and done; so far as life and the world are concerned, they are already dead. One feels sympathetic toward the old. But why should the aged, who have lived their lives, grumble and complain about youth with its glow and ambition and hope? Why should they sit in the fading light and watch the world go by and vainly reach out their bony hands to hold it back? . . .
Does anyone believe that if the caddies were offered the same money for going to church that they get for hunting golf balls they would choose the church? It takes a bright boy to be a caddie.
The caddies do not inspire all the tears; we are told that chauffeurs and railroad employes are necessary to take the players to and from the golf links. This is no doubt true. Still, we have even seen chauffeurs sitting in automobiles outside a church where they had driven their employers to get their souls saved. On our suburban railroads there are many trains put in service on Sunday to take people to and from church, but these have not come under the ban of the Lord's Day Alliance. Its complaint is that so few trains are needed for this blessed work. . . .
From Dr. Speer's picture of the ideal Sabbath I Infer that he is a Presbyterian. This opinion has been confirmed by reference to Who's Who. I find that for long years he has been a Presbyterian preacher, not only in America, but he has carried the blessed gospel even into China that the heathen of that benighted land might not live and die without the consoling knowledge of eternal hell. . . .
When one thinks of this organization with its senseless leaflets, its stern endeavors/ its blank despair, its half-shut eyes blinking at life, one is reminded of the frogs in the green scum-covered pond in the woods who sit on their haunches in the dark and croak all day. No doubt these frogs believe that the germ infested pond is a sacred pool. They are oblivious of the rolling, living ocean that lies just beyond. . . .
His father seeing something of the boy's brilliancy, sent him word that if he would come back home he would buy him a good post in the government. "Tell my father," was the answer, "I do not want any place that can be bought. I will make one for myself that will cost nothing."
Later in his life, in writing the story of the great dramatist Mollere, he said, "All who have made a name for themselves In the fine arts, have • done so in spite of their relations. Nature has always been much stronger with them than education." and again, "I saw early that one can neither resist one's ruling passion nor fight one's destiny."
Voltaire is only one illustration of the wisdom of these remarks. The usual is always mediocre. When nature takes it into her head to make a man, she fits him with her own equipment and educates him in her own school. . . .
Louis XIV died in 1715. His reign was splendid, corrupt and profligate. The people were hungry and turbulent; the notables tyrannical and insolent. The last few years the king was the absolute monarch of France, and he was ruled by a woman and a priest. The news of his death was received with joy by the multitude. Young Voltaire was at the funeral. This funeral resembled a fete more than a day of mourning.
Voltaire by this time was known for his epigrams, his rhymes and his audacity. The salons of Paris were at once opened to him. Whatever else lie was during his life, he was never dull, and the world forgives almost anything but stupidity. . . .
The world always demands of a prophet a double standard. He must live a life consistent with his dreams, and at the same time must obey the conventions of the world. He cannot be judged either by one or the other, but must be judged by both. In trying to live up to both standards, one invariably misses both. It is hard to be true to the two, especially when the standards of the new and the old are in conflict. The ravens should feed the iconoclasts, but they don't. . . .
,The truth is always modern and there never comes a time when it is safe to give it voice. . . .
Voltaire could not keep out of trouble. Almost every person of importance was his enemy at some period of his life, but he was not a nonresistant. He never turned the other cheek. When he was attacked, he replied with pamphlets and epigrams more poisonous than those any other author ever penned. Whenever he was at peace, he was uneasy to be at war. . . .
Madame du Chatelet was not a housekeeper. She never swept the floor or dusted books or knew how to cook a meal or to see that anyone else did it. She was intellectual, and no woman ought to expect to be intellectual and a housekeeper too. She was difficult, irascible, and voluble. Voltaire was impressionable, sensitive, quick tempered. They kept each other very much entertained. Sometimes they loved, often they fought, but still they seemed to find each other necessary for their work. Together they studied astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, history and religion. Together they visited nobles, princes and- courts, perhaps "the most brilliant pair in France" of that day. No doubt after some years, the tie between them grew galling to Voltaire, and perhaps to Madame du Chatelet, but it had grown to be a habit. Had they been married, they would probably have gotten a divorce; but as they were not married, they could not be divorced and stayed together.
Voltaire was particularly blessed by two women, Madame du Chatelet, at whose estate he lived for sixteen years, and Madame Denis, his niece, who kept his house near Geneva for more than 25 years. Neither of them gave him a moment's peace, and forced him to fleeUo his study for consolation and rest. If either of these women had made his life comfortable his great work would probably never have been done.
There are two things that kill a genius—a fatal disease and contentment. . . . •
To Voltaire, Frederick was "Marcus Aurelius," "the star of the North," "not a king among kings, but a king among men." Frederick replied that his "whole creed was one God and one Voltaire." For a long time they worshiped each other at a distance, which is always a safe way to
worship. Frederick constantly urged Voltaire to come to his court, but Madame du Chatelet was in the way. She was extremely jealous. For a long time she kept him from making the journey. Frederick urged him to come, so he arranged to take Madame du Chatelet with him. Frederick replied that he could bring her if he wished, but he preferred to have him come alone,. Finally, with great reluctance, Madame du Chatelet granted him a ieave of absence and he made the journey.
The king and Voltaire were fascinated with each other for a time. Voltaire corrected Frederick's verses, helped him about his French, entertained him and his brilliant company, swapped compliments with him, and was the life of his court; but all geniuses ca<? difficult, especially when more than one is present at the same timu. Genius cannot be confined to narrow limits or to fixed conventions oven though they are the limits and conventions of another genius. Their friendship grew strained and Voltaire went away, went back .to Madame du Chatelet: but still they continued to write. With the long distance between them. Voltaire was the greatest man that ever lived and Frederick the greatest prince on earth. Both Frederick and Voltaire hated war. Both of them believed that there was something better for men than to kill eath other. Voltaire looked for great things from Frederick when he should become king.
About the first act of his reign was to declare war. Somehow the king business looked different to him when he was the king. Voltaire could not understand it. He was shocked and grieved and wrote and pleaded with Frederick to abandon war and follow his instincts for peace; to build up a great kingdom dedicated to liberty, to humanity, to justice for all. *
Voltaire made no concealment of his disappointment with Frederick's acts and his changed views, but still they were friends. Through many years they wrote constantly to each other, letters on philosophy, literature, religion, life, morals and war: but still Voltaire stayed on at Madame du Chatelet's estate.
When Voltaire was fifty years old, Cardinal Fleury died. He was a member of the French Academy and Voltaire wanted his place. What the membership could do for Voltaire, is hard to understand, but no one likes bubbles and trinkets and decorations as do the great. Voltaire set himself to work to get this place. Madame du Chatelet helped. He must have the king and to get the king he must have his favorite mistress, who at that time was Madame du Pompadour, but neither could do anything without the pope. So Voltaire set to work, first, on Madame du Pompadour. He wrote her verses. One of the poems begins:
"Every grace and charm and art, f: Pompadour, in you is found." Of course she "fell for it." She got the king on his side. Then he started for the pope. Voltaire never did anything half way. If he wanted a thing he went after it. He was always afraid of doing too little, but never afraid he was doing too much.
He had already written his play "Mahomet." This of course had been pronounced sacreligious and profane and had been consigned to the flames. Still he thought the pope did not fully understand the play. He wrote long letters to people in society to prove what a good Christian and church man he vjas, but he did not succeed in deceiving any one. The Academy could not accept him as a successor to a cardinal, but England elected him a member of the Royal Society. Germany placed him in her Hall of Fame. Everybody recognized him but France. Still he was not satisfied. Then he started a still bolder campaign to mollify the pope. He read all his works, complimented him highly and thereupon the pope called him his "dear son" and sent Voltaire his "blessings." Then he wrote the pope asking permission to dedicate to him his play "Mahomet," and although it had been burned as sacreligious, the pope consented. The pope doubtless thought it would be better to have Voltaire his friend than his enemy, so he sent Voltaire his "apostolic benediction" and accepted the dedication of "your.admirable tragedy." Voltaire replied that he "laid the work against the founder of a false religion, at the feet of the chief of the true religion." He flattered the cardinals and went into ecstasy over the pope's virtues.
WithMadame Pompadour, the king and the pope at his back, he could not fail. Another vacancy occurred a couple of years later and Voltaire, at the age of 52, was admitted to the French Academy, long after he had been admitted to almost every other great society in Europe.
It was the custom of the new members to read a paper, so Voltaire read one to the Academy. At once he became Voltaire. The paper was witty, audacious and sacreligious. It offended all the august personages who heard and read it. They regretted that he was a member of the Academy, but it was too late. They should have known before that such a leopard could not change its spots. Again he was chased from the court. Again he went to Madame du Chatelet.
When Madame du Chatelet was really dead, Voltaire was overwhelmed with grief. During all their years together, Voltaire had held her in unbounded admiration. Thirteen years before her death, he had given her his portrait engraved with these lines:
"Bavier 'graved this likeness for you. Recognize it and his art. As for me, a greater master Has engraved you on my Weart" The death of Ma'dame du Chatelet sent him adrift in the world.
He had enemies and spiteful critics throughout France. "To sit high' is to be lied about."
Frederick the Great saw his opportunity. He still loved Voltaire. He loved him with an affection that although often rent and clouded by doubts and discord, remained with him to his death. He besought Voltaire to come to Berlin. He offered him honors and a pension, decorations and the society of the wise and great. Voltaire, with no one to deny him, could not resist and went. He reached Berlin in the midst of a great public fete. The populace forgot the king and worshiped Voltaire. The king took him to his palace at Potsdam, fitted him a suite of rooms in royal state and made him his constant companion. All of the king's literary productions he turned over to Voltaire for correction and revision, and after they left Voltaire's hands, they did honor to any prince. But it is not wise for even the closest affinities to be kept constantly together, especially if these affinities are brilliant.
Again a coldness arose between Voltaire and Frederick. In the meantime Voltaire entered into a business speculation which resulted in a law suit, bringing scandal on the court. The breach between them widened until they could no longer stay together. After about three years, Voltaire precipitately fled from Berlin. He fled because he feared arrest. He made his way with all haste to the German frontier, but before he crossed the line, the agents of the king placed him under arrest. He was detained several days, mainly to get from him the manuscript which Frederick had written while a prince and which severely attacked the Christian religion. It was all right while he was a prince,.but would not do after he became a king. Still the world is not so much changed and even Mark Twain in his later days wrote a vigorous attack on Christianity, which he printed for private circulation alone.
Voltaire was soon permitted to go on his way, but he felt humiliated and outraged by the man who had been his friend. Voltaire never saw Frederick the Great after his flight, but they still had the old yearning for each other. Letters were exchanged almost as frequently as before ana Frederick the Great paid him one of the noblest tributes at his-death.
The three years he lived at Berlin produced less than any other part of Voltaire's active years. Too much gaiety, too much society, too much admiration, too many quarrels. The genius was for a time reduced to the man. Voltaire himself felt that he had practically wasted the years. He appreciated its tragedy and likewise its comedy. He could laugh at either tragedy or comedy. All his life he could joke and with him there was no subject too serious for a comedy. Voltaire said, "It is because one can be frivolous that the majority of people do not hang themselves." He has often been criticised because he could joke. The ordinary mind cannot understand that a serious purpose and a sense of humor can go together. It is only the sense of humor that can keep a man alive for the serious purpose. The world has never been able to distinguish between stupidity and seriousnewss. If the stupidly serious really had any humor, they would die from laughing at themselves. . . .
The love of natural beauty never entered the soul of Voltaire. He knew or cared little for art and nothing for nature. Had he lived today, the spacious, elaborate steam-heated flat would have been his idea of a home. Voltaire traveled all over Europe, but never halted to see a beautiful picture, classical statue, grand cathedral, or any scene of great natural beauty or sublimity. . . .
"You have done a great work for posterity," said a friend one day. "Yes, Madame, I have planted four thousand feet of trees in my park." While many literary men have been farmers, very few of them have made it pay, but Voltaire made it pay. Had he been more religious and less versatile, he could have been the Pierpont Morgan of his ago. . . .
In Geneva lived Jean Jacques Rousseau. He too was a rebel, mighty in war. Voltaire was keener, wittier, deeper, greater. Rousseau was more fiery, emotional, passionate. Both were really warriors in the same great cause. From their different places, three miles apart, both sent forth their thunderbolts to wake a sleeping world. When the world awakened and shook itself, churches, thrones, institutions, laws, and customs were buried in the wreck. Some charged the wreck to Voltaire, some to Rousseau.
These two men engaged in the same cause, fighting the same foes, could not agree. Rousseau joined with the clergy of Geneva in defaming Voltaire's theatre and his plays. Voltaire fought back with weapons keener than any Rousseau knew how to use. Two geniuses cannot possibly live so close together. In fact the world itself is hardly big enough for two at the same time. ...
"What, harm can a book do that costs a hundred crowns," wrote Voltaire, "Twenty volumes folio will never make a revolution. It is the little pocket pamphlets of 30 sous that are to be feared. ..."
He had written his Philosophical Dictionary full of mockery and profundity: it was audacious in the extreme and a deadly attack upon the superstition of his time. Surreptitiously he had brought it to Geneva and then denied its authorship. "If there is the least 'danger about it,'' said Voltaire, "please warn me and then I can disown it in all the public papers with my usual candor and innocence. ..."
. Catherine of Russia was one of his friends. She was philosophical, skeptical, industrious, cruel and cold, but she was awake to all the modern thought of the world. She believed in the philosophy of Voltaire and in the main used her genius to develop the future greatness of that new land. Catherine the Great was supposed to have killed her husband who was a weakling, that she might rule in his stead. Some of Voltaire's admirers objected to his intimacy with a woman of that type. "O," he said, "that bagetelle about a husband. Those are family affairs with which I do not mix myself. ..."
He went to the theatre to see his play. - The building was crowded by a tumultuous, suffocating mob, representing all members of French society. Voltaire was hailed as a king. His bust was placed upon the stage; again and again they called for the old man to speak from the box. A laurel wreath was placed upon his head and the people
went mad. When he left the theatre the crowds went with him, following his carriage with shouts, and praise, and tears, until the old man* reached his room. Voltaire himself wept like a child: "If I had known the people would have committed such follies I would never have gone
to the theatre."
For a few days he seemed to regain his strength. He bought a house in Paris and determined to stay, but in May another attack seized him. The priest came to see him. Some say he made a confession, some say he refused it. Whether he did or not is of small importance. What he did in his dying hours, has nothing to do with the life he lived. One must be judged by his life and not by the agonies of death. . . .
He was the intellectual king of France, if not of the world. . . .
ON HENRI FABRE
If a man can become so interested in an ant or any other bug that he forgets himself, it is almost as good as not living at all. . . .
Man has the habit of thinking that he is the only creature in the universe. I presume the fly thinks the same thing, and with just as good reason. So far as we know, flies cannot write books, so they cannot have them printed. But no doubt that is what they are talking about when they are buzzing around the ceiling. They doubtless think that "man was made to make pies for flies." There is no reason why he was not. There is just as much reason to think so as to think that fishes were made for man to eat.
The insects are just as marvelous as man. Their actions sometimes seem more reasonable than man's. They are more reasonable because they do not reason; they just do things automatically, yet they work perfectly; while man, with his reason, gets all "balled up." I did not get that expression out of Fabre. It is one of my own. Animals do nearly all the things man does and generally more perfectly. Many of the unnecessary things man does, animals do not do, as far as I can tell which is not very far. Man does not have the intelligence to understand the animal languages, so we cannot be quite sure of these things.
Fabre tells his story and raises questions about life. He was honest, and did not try to answer questions that could not be answered. If he did not know he would say he did not and was not ashamed tp confess ignorance of any question. It is only ignorant people who are ashamed to confess it. They do not like to, because everybody knows it without. . ..
Fabre tells us the story of the red ant. It fills volumes covering interesting details of the ordinary ant and its hill, in the garden. It seems to be an intelligent being. Man is patterned very much after the red ant: he is a little bigger, but perhaps there is no sense in his being so large, for he takes up more room than the ants do. Some of the ants do not work; there is a sort of an I.W.W. amongst the ants, or capitalists—whichever way you want to put it—anyhow, they do not work. They are larger than the rest and use the rest as slaves. These ants start on an excursion to the home of the black ants. They do not know where they are going. They march in long columns. They go exploring this way and that way. Those ants in the front part of the column are used as an exploration party. They go out and come back. They find a hill of black ants. A terrible battle ensues. The red ants always win; the black ants are destroyed. Thte red ants take away the young black ants, hold them in their mandibles, which serve for hands, to their home. N* matter how far away or how rough has been their path, they always go back over the same path over which they came, although it may be ten times as far around as it would be if they
went in a straight line. The ants evidently have no sense of direction. If they cross a street on their way, they recross it on their return; if they went in a dangerous place where they lost a good many of their ants, they will go back that way and lose some more. But, whatever befalls them, they always hold the captive grub in their hands and not even death can remove it. The captive black ant is made a slave by the red ant and-does its work, very much like human beings. I suppose we are weak imitations of the red ant. We do it more indirectly than they. The red ant captures certain animals that give it honey and work for it. It also captures little microscopic animals from whom it gets milk. "They toil not, neither do they spin"—in fact, they act very much like human beings. And it seems as if they were. . . .
Fabre has a book on spiders. They are rather human, too. They are much handsomer than humans, but most people do not understand their beauty. Their motives are very much like the human in many ways, but more simple and direct. Still they accomplish the same thing. . . .
The insect world furnishes wonderful examples of surgeons that have beaten our doctors, except in charges. There is a little wasp called the Sphex, which digs a tunnel in the ground. The main business of animals, like the human animal, is to get more animals. Some human beings do not attend to their business, but all activities get back to the one thing—which is that life shall bp preserved on the earth. Some animals and people have to live to feed others, those others have to live to feed still others, and so on. But the main business of life is to create more life. What it is done for no one knows. I suppose it us because the sun shines part of the time, because the rain falls—it is the law of the universe. You can trace all the activities of the insects, whether little ones or big ones, or human ones, back to the question of getting more of them, for fear they will run out. . . .
The insects have parasites, too, like human beings—parasites who will not work—lawyers and preachers. . . . The insect world is filled with parasites as is the human world. Fabre says that he has searched all the notebooks he has ever made, and that he has never found any species that made a parasite of the same species, excepting man. I suppose that is the reason we are the highest animal in the universe; I do not know what other reason there is.
Fabre in describing all these wonderful things says, "Matter is only kept alive by passing from one form to another. It is true with animal's and with man." Fabre says that "at the banquet of life, each is in turn a guest and a dish." We all sit at the table of life and eat our fill; then we are a dish for the next who comes after, whether it be man or any other insect. Everything lives on what has lived.
Fabre gives us no religious platform for Nature. Nature with him is not good; Nature is fang and tooth: Nature is merciless and cruel. He says that "in the fierce riot of empty bellies, the parasite takes what it can with its tools." That is what life is—a fierce riot of emptv bellies, each seeking to be filled, and using its own tools to fill itself with. He says that life is made up of two things—getting food and perpetuating itself, so that you can get more food and perpetuate more life. That is all we can find anywhere in Nature. In referring to the ant, Fabre compares it with man. He says: "We build towns, but she builds cities; we have servants, but she has slaves; we have domestic animals, but she has animals that furnish her with sugar; we have cattle, but the ant has milch cows. In fact, ants have everything we have excepting clothes, and they do not need clothes."
- Fabre describes 4ne little bee called the Osmia which seems to have solved a problem that man has failed so far to solve—for this insect knows how to control sex. It lays at will air egg that produces a male and another a female. It is the only species known that can do it. In the place where it lays its eggs, there are certain narrow chambers for the male eggs and wide ones for the females, for she needs more support also -with the insects. This insect determines sex when the egg is laid and it comes out invariably right. Man cannot do it although he has studied and philosophized about it.
Just a few words on the love affairs of the insects, that I will put as delicately as 1 can, for they are great lovers. They have to be to keep the insect world going. The purpose of all the activities of insects is more insects, and it is impossible to see where they do anything except for this result. I presume if someone could look at man the same thing would be said; but luckily he cannot see himself, or he would die laughing—which would be a happy death.
In one way there is no cruelty in nature; it is just life—life and death. It is hard and terrible, but it is the law.
The bee gives his life in the conjugal embrace. He does his part once in preserving the species, and then dies. It is not likely that he stops to wonder if it is worth while or that he knows that he will die. But that is his part in the great job of keeping life on the earth, and he does it and dies. It is finished, and that is all there is to it.
The female scorpion is an intense lover. After she gets through with the love scene she eats the male—loves him to death. Many species of the spider do the same thing—that is, the female eats the male. The female seems to be the most ardent in the insect world. In still another species, during the nuptial embrace, the female eats the stomach of the male; another eats out her partner's brains. Fabre has experimented with a number of "Praying Mantis," by putting them in a cage. At a certain season, when their duty to preserve the species comes upon them, they enter the conjugal embrace, and the female begins by eating out the brains of the male, and after five or six hours, she eats the entire male, for she still loves him. Then if another male is fed to her for a husband, she eats him, and sometimes as high as seven of them, one after the other, have been fed to a loving spouse. Thus they do the service nature has called upon them to perform. It is a weird story but it is true.
Nature, after all, is strongest. It is life. Man wants life without paying the penalty for it. But, Nature has provided the way life shall come and the penalty that must be paid.
It any one can find any meaning in all of it, they do better than I can. To say that back of all is a Supreme Power which fashioned it for some purpose, is idle, without evidence, or logic, or reason to support it. And, if it is true, it explains nothing, because man immediately asks the question: What is back of that? The honest way is to take the facts that we have, use what reason we have, and when we cannot answer questions, say that we do not know.
Why it is, and how, man cannot tell. There is probably no "why" except that a certain mixture produces life, and everything follows it, and life preserves itself. In any sense that man understands it, the world is not good. Nature is not good. The poet may say that God is in heaven and all is well with the world, but the poet is "seeing things," that is all; he is mistaken. There is no god in his heaven, so far as man can see. The truth is, Nature is a slaughter house. There are some pleasant sensations, some pleasures, which many would deprive us of, and, scattered along the path is trouble and misery, and in the end, tragedy. It is all a nightmare, if you think. The animals have the advantage of us—they do not think, they simply-live.
Really, it seems to me that whether one is a scientist or a theologian, when he comes up to a fact which he cannot explain, it is just as well to say that he does not know. . . .
Instinct is about this. It is reaction Trom a perfectly mechanical origin. Reason is something more. It implies memory and the power of relating facts tqi each other and the ability to select the facts. It cannot exist in unconscious things, or conscious things acting unconsciously. That the lowest order of animal may have, a ^modicum of reason is no doubt true; but that it is sufficient in any animal to affect his life seriously, is most likely not true. It certainly is not true of the lower species....
I can see no support in science for any idea that reason came first, or any possibility that instinct is "petrified reason." [Mark Twain's theory.] I cannot even see it in theology, with which I am even less familiar than science. . . .
Theologians seem bound to explain everything by assuming a God. It is not necessary to ask if everything naturally follows from that. They simply say it must follow. The tendency of the evolutionist is to accept evolution unqualifiedly, which is still a theory, and then to say that it must explain everything in life.
In the first place, there are all kinds of questions as to what evolution means, "and even though as a general theory It may be true, still this theory is constantly modified and explained by facts; and if ever fully acepted, it only widens the realm of the unknown and gives no ultimate explanation of anything.
Herbert Spencer in his "First Principles" has shown how impossible it is to find the ultimate explanation. The theologian, the evolutionist and the one who views life as I do, must sooner or later say, "I do not know.''
ON WALT WHITMAN
He alone in all the ages seems to have been specially given to the world, still fresh with the imprint of the Creator's hand, and standing amid all our false conventions, natural, simple, true, "naked and not ashamed." To the world with its crowded cities, its diseased bodies, its unnatural desires, its narrow religion, and its false morals, he comes like a breeze of the morning, from the mountains or the sea. Aye, like a breath of that gTeat, creative life, which touched the fresh world and brought forth the green grass, the sparkling waters and the growing, beauteous, natural earth. . . .
Whitman's philosophy knew no evil and no wrong. The fact of existence proved the right of existence; in the great workshop of nature every toll had its special use and its rightful place.
The imperfections of the world come from the narrow visions of men. If the perspective is right, the universe is right. From the narrow valley the house may look old and worn, the fences decayed, the fields barren, the woods scraggy and the cliff ragged and bare; but climb to the only place where either life or landscape can be rightly seen, the mountain top. and look once more. The hills, the valley, the stream, the woods, and the farms have melted and blended into one harmonious whole, and every imperfection has been swept away. The universe Is filled with myriad worlds as important as our own, each one a tiny floating speck in an endless sea of space—each whirling, turning, moving on and on and on, through the countless ages, past and yet to come. No one can tell the purpose of their tireless, endless flight through space; but still we know that each has an orbit of its own, and every world is related to the rest, and every grain of sand and the weakest, feeblest spark of power has its needful place in the balance of the whole. So all of good, and all of bad, and all of life, and all of death, and all of all, has the right to be and must needs be. Walt Whitman did not even know how to divide tfie evil from the good, but he sang them both alike.
I am not the poet of goodness only, I do not decline to be the poet of wickedness also.
What blurt is this about virtue and about vice?
Evil propels me and reform Of evil propels me, I stand indifferent. The universe can make no mistakes, every particle of energy that has permeated the world since time began, has been working toward a
completer system and a more harmonious whole. There is a soul of truth in error; there is a soul of good in evil. From the trials and sorrows and disappointments of life, even from its bitterness and doubt and sin, are often born the holiest desires, the sincerest endeavors and the most righteous deeds. Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I effuse unreturn'd love,
But now I think there is no unreturn'd love, the pay is certain
one way or another, (I loved a certain perso