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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Material for Erewhon Revisited     289

Erewhon [for the statues] „  I never saw them and knew nothing
about them.

Refer to the agony and settled melancholy with which
unborn children in the womb regard birth as the extinction of
their being, and how some declare that there is a world beyond
the womb and others deny this. " We must all one day be
born/' " Birth is certain " and so on, just as we say of death.
Birth involves with it an original sin. It must be sin, for the
wages of sin is death (what else, I should like to know, is the
wages of virtue ?) and assuredly the wages of birth is death.

They consider " wilful procreation," as they call it, much
as we do murder and will not allow it to be a moral ailment at
all. Sometimes a jury will recommend to mercy and sometimes
they bring in a verdict of " justifiable baby-getting," but they
treat these cases as a rule with great severity.

Every baby has a month of heaven and a month of hell
before birth, so that it may make its choice with its eyes open.

The hour of birth should be prayed for in the litany as well
as that of death, and so it would be if we could remember the
agony of horror which, no doubt, we felt at birth—surpassing,
no doubt, the utmost agony of apprehension that can be felt
on death.

Let automata increase in variety and ingenuity till at last
they present so many of the phenomena of life that the
religious world declares they were designed and created by
God as an independent species. The scientific world, on the
other hand, denies that there is any design in connection with
them, and holds that if any slight variation happened to
arise by which a fortuitous combination of atoms occurred
which was more suitable for advertising purposes (the auto-
mata were chiefly used for advertising) it was seized upon and
preserved by natural selection.

They have schools where they teach the arts of forgetting
and of not seeing. Young ladies are taught the art of pro-
posing. Lists of successful matches are advertised with the
prospectuses of all the girls' schools.

They have professors of all the languages of the principal
beasts and birds. I stayed with the Professor of Feline