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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

162                    The Position

tion of the value of a review, whether friendly or hostile, is
as old as St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians.*

Hoodwinking the Public

Sincerity or honesty is a low and very rudimentary form
of virtue that is only to be found to any considerable extent
among the protozoa. Compare, for example, the integrity,
sincerity and absolute refusal either to deceive or be deceived
that exists in the germ-cells of any individual, with the in-
stinctive aptitude for lying that is to be observed in the full-
grown man. The full-grown man is compacted of lies and
shams which are to him as the breath of his nostrils. Whereas
the germ-cells will not be humbugged ; they will tell the
truth as near as they can. They know their ancestors meant
well and will tend to become even more sincere themselves.

Thus, if a painter has not tried hard to paint well and has
tried hard to hoodwink the public, his offspring is not likely
to show hereditary aptitude for painting, but is likely to
have an improved power of hoodwinking the public. So it
is with music, literature, science or anything else. The only
thing the public can do against this is to try hard to develop
a hereditary power of not being hoodwinked. From the small
success it has met with hitherto we may think that the effort
on its part can have been neither severe nor long sustained.
Indeed, all ages seem to have held that " the pleasure is as
great of being cheated as to cheat."

The Public Ear

Those who have squatted upon it may be trusted to keep
off other squatters if they can. The public ear is like the land
which looks infinite but is all parcelled out into fields and

* Philippians 1. 15-18:

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also
of good will:

The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to
add affliction to my bonds :

But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the

What then ? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence,
or in truth, Christ is preached ; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will