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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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82                  Mind and Matter

things that have been stunted or starved, and should not eat
such meat as has been overdriven or underfed or afflicted
with disease, nor should he touch fruit or vegetables that
have not been well grown.

Sitting quiet after eating is akin to sitting still during
divine service so as not to disturb the congregation. We are
catechising and converting our proselytes, and there should
be no row. As we get older we must digest more quietly
still, our appetite is less, our gastric juices are no longer so
eloquent, they have lost that cogent fluency which carried
away all that came in contact with it. They have become
sluggish and unconciliatory. This is what happens to any
man when he suffers from an attack of indigestion,


Or, indeed, any other sickness is the inarticulate expres-
sion of the pain we feel on seeing a proselyte escape us just
as we were on the point of converting it.


This, as I have said above, may be due to the naughtiness
of the stiff-necked things that we have eaten, or to the poverty
of our own arguments ; but it may also arise from an attempt
on the part of the stomach to be too damned clever, and to
depart from precedent inconsiderately. The healthy stomach
is nothing if not conservative. Few radicals have good

Assimilation and Persecution

We cannot get rid of persecution ; if we feel at all we
must persecute something; the mere acts of feeding and
growing are acts of persecution. Our aim should be to
persecute nothing but such things as are absolutely incapable
of resisting us. Man is the only animal that can remain on
friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he
eats them.

Matter Infinitely Subdivisible

We must suppose it to be so, but it does not follow that
we can know anything about it if it is divided into pieces