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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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i8o               Cash and Credit

Genius and Providence

Among all the evidences for the existence of an over-
ruling Providence that I can discover, I see none more con-
vincing than the elaborate and for the most part effectual
provision that has been made for the suppression of genius.
The more I see of the world, the more necessary I see it to
be that by far the greater part of what is written or done
should be of so fleeting a character as to take itself away
quickly. That is the advantage in the fact that so much
of our literature is journalism.

Schools and colleges are not intended to foster genius
and to bring it out. Genius is a nuisance, and it is the duty
of schools and colleges to abate it by setting genius-traps in
its way. They are as the artificial obstructions in a hurdle
race—tests of skill and endurance, but in themselves useless.
Still, so necessary is it that genius and originality should
be abated that, did not academies exist, we should have had
to invent them.

The Art of Covery

This is as important and interesting as Dis-covery. Surely
the glory of finally getting rid of and burying a long and
troublesome matter should be as great as that of making
an important discovery. The trouble is that the coverer is like
Samson who perished in the wreck of what he had destroyed ;
if he gets rid of a thing effectually he gets rid of himself too.


We want a Society for the Suppression of Erudite Research
and the Decent Burial of the Past. The ghosts of the dead
past want quite as much laying as raising.

Ephemeral and Permanent Success

The supposition that the world is ever in league to put
a man down is childish. Hardly less childish is it for an
author to lay the blame on reviewers. A good sturdy author