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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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Lord, What is Man ?             15

Living in Others

We had better live in others as much as we can if only
because we thus live more in the race, which God really does
seem to care about a good deal, and less in the individual,
to whom, so far as I can see, he is indifferent. After we
are dead it matters not to the life we have led in ourselves
what people may say of us, but it matters much to the life
we lead in others and this should be our true life.


When I am inclined to complain about having worked
so many years and taken nothing but debt, though I feel
the want of money so continually (much more, doubtless,
than I ought to feel it), let me remember that I come in free,
gratis, to the work of hundreds and thousands of better men
than myself who often were much worse paid than I have been.
If a man's true self is his karma—the life which his work lives
but which he knows very little about and by which he takes
nothing—let him remember at least that he can enjoy the
karma of others, and this about squares the account—or
rather far more than squares it. [1883.]

Birth and Death

They are functions one of the other and if you get rid
of one you must get rid of the other also. There is birth
in death and death in birth. We are always dying and being
born again.


Life is the gathering of waves to a head, at death they
break into a million fragments each one of which, however,
is absorbed at once into the sea of life and helps to form a
later generation which comes rolling on till it too breaks.


What happens to you when you die ? But what happens
to you when you are born ? In the one case we are born