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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

362   The Life of the World to Come

all—I mean the life that is lived after death in the thoughts
and actions of posterity. Moreover of those who are born
into and fill great places in this invisible world not one is im-
mortal.

We should look on the body as the manifesto of the mind
and on posterity as the manifesto of the dead that live after
life. Each is the mechanism whereby the other exists.

Life, then, is not the having been born—it is rather an
effort to be born. But why should some succeed in attaining
to this future life and others fail ? Why should some be born
more than others ? Why should not some one in a future state
taunt Lazarus with having a good time now and tell him it
will be the turn of Dives in some other and more remote
hereafter ? I must have it that neither are the good rewarded
nor the bad punished in a future state, but every one must
start anew quite irrespective of anything they have done
here and must try his luck again and go on trying it again
and again ad infinitum. Some of our lives, then, will be lucky
and some unlucky and it will resolve itself into one long
eternal life during which we shall change so much that we
shall not remember our antecedents very far back (any more
than we remember having been embryos) nor foresee our
future very much, and during which we shall have our ups
and downs ad infmitum—effecting a transformation scene at
once as soon as circumstances become unbearable.

Nevertheless, some men's work does live longer than others.
Some achieve what is very like immortality. Why should
they have this piece of good fortune more than others ? The
answer is that it would be very unjust if they knew anything
about it, or could enjoy it in any way, but they know nothing
whatever about it, and you, the complainer, do profit by
their labour, so that it is really you, the complainer, who get
the fun, not they, and this should stop your mouth. The
only thing they got was a little hope, which buoyed them up
often when there was but little else that could do so.

Preparation for Death

That there is a life after death is as palpable as that there is
a life before death—see the influence that the dead have over
us—but this life is no more eternal than our present life.