18 Lord, What is Man ?
Man and His Organism
Man is but a perambulating tool-box and workshop, or
office, fashioned for itself by a piece of very clever slime,
as the result of long experience; and truth is but its own
most enlarged, general and enduring sense of the coming
togetherness or con-venience of the various conventional
arrangements which, for some reason or other, it has been
led to sanction. Hence we speak of man's body as his
The body is but a pair of pincers set over a bellows and a
stewpan and the whole fixed upon stilts.
A man should see himself as a kind of tool-box ; this is
simple enough ; the difficulty is that it is the tools them-
selves that make and work the tools. The skill which now
guides our organs and us in arts and inventions was at one
time exercised upon the invention of these very organs
themselves. Tentative bankruptcy acts afford good illus-
trations of the manner in which organisms have been de-
veloped. The ligaments which bind the tendons of our feet
or the valves of our blood vessels are the ingenious enter-
prises of individual cells who saw a want, felt that they could
supply it, and have thus won themselves a position among
the old aristocracy of the body politic.
The most incorporate tool—as an eye or a tooth or the
fist, when a blow is struck with it—has still something of
the non-ego about it; and in like manner such a tool as a
locomotive engine, apparently entirely separated from the
body, must still from time to time, as it were, kiss the soil
of the human body and be handled, and thus become in-
corporate with man, if it is to remain in working order.
A tool is anything whatsoever which is used by an in-
telligent being for realising its object. The idea of a desired