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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

i6            Lord, What is Man ?

and in the other we die, but it is not possible to get much
further.

iv

We commonly know that we are going to die though we
do not know that we are going to be born. But are we sure
this is so ? We may have had the most gloomy forebodings
on this head and forgotten all about them. At any rate we
know no more about the very end of our lives than about
the very beginning. We come up unconsciously, and go down
unconsciously ; and we rarely  ither birth or death. We
see people, as consciousness;           -n the two extremes.

Reproduction

Its base must be looked for not in the desire of the parents
to reproduce but in the discontent of the germs with their
surroundings inside those parents, and a desire on their part
to have a separate maintenance.* [1880.]

Thinking almost Identically

The ova, spermatozoa and embryos not only of all human
races but of all things that live, whether animal or vegetable,
think little, but that little almost identically on every sub-
ject. That " almost " is the little rift within the lute which
by and by will give such different character to the music.

* " The doctrine preached by Weismann was that to start with
the body and inquire how its characters got into the germ was to
view the sequence Irom the wrong end ; the proper starting point
ivas the germ, and the real question was not ' How do the characters
of the organism get into the germ-cell which it produces ? * but ' How
are the characters of an organism represented in the germ which
produces it ? ' Or, as Samuel Butler has it, the proper statement of
the relation between successive generations is not to say that a hen
produces another hen through the medium of an egg, but to say that
a hen is merely an egg's way of producing another egg." Breeding
and the Mendelian Discovery t by A, D. Darbishire. Cassell & Co., 1911,
p. 187-8.

" It has, I believe, been often remarked that a hen is only an egg's
way of making another egg." Life and Habit, Trubner & Co., 1878,
chapter viii, p. 134.

And compare the idea underlying " The World of the Unborn " in
Erewhon.