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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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io            Lord, What is Man ?

be, or how low we may have fallen, we would not change
identity with any other person. Hence our self-conceit
sustains and always must sustain us till death takes us and
our conceit together so that we need no more sustaining.


Man must always be a consuming fire or be consumed.
As for hell, we are in a burning fiery furnace all our lives—
for what is life but a process of combustion ?


We have got into life by stealth and petitio principii, by
the free use of that contradiction in terms which we declare
to be the most outrageous violation of our reason. We have
wriggled into it by holding that everything is both one and
many, both infinite in time and space and yet finite, both
like and unlike to the same thing, both itself and not itself,
both free and yet inexorably fettered, both every adjective
in the dictionary and at the same time the flat contradiction
of every one of them.


The beginning of life is the beginning of an illusion to the
effect that there is such a thing as free will and that there
is such another thing as necessity—the recognition of the
fact that there is an "I can " and an " I cannot/1 an " I
may " and an " I must."


Life is not so much a riddle to be read as a Gordian knot
that will get cut sooner or later.

Life is the distribution of an error—or errors.

Murray (the publisher) said that my Life of Dr. Butler was
an omnium gatherum.   Yes, but life is an omnium gatherum.