What Is Man?

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Author: Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Published: 1906
Language: English
Wordcount: 95,538 / 273 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 87.2
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 4,766
mnybks.net#: 7080
Genre: Satire
Excerpt

ing-machine, possibly--nothing more, perhaps.

O.M. Men would admire the other engine and rapturously praise it?

Y.M. Yes.

O.M. But not the stone one?

Y.M. No.

O.M. The merits of the metal machine would be far above those of the stone one?

Y.M. Of course.

O.M. Personal merits?

Y.M. PERSONAL merits? How do you mean?

O.M. It would be personally entitled to the credit of its own performance?

Y.M. The engine? Certainly not.

O.M. Why not?

Y.M. Because its performance is not personal. It is the result of the law of construction. It is not a MERIT that it does the things which it is set to do--it can't HELP doing them.

O.M. And it is not a personal demerit in the stone machine that it does so little?

Y.M. Certainly not. It does no more and no less than the law of its make permits and compels it to do. There is nothing PERSONAL about it; it cannot choose. In this process of "working up to the matter" is it your idea to work up to the proposition that man a

Reviews

Average Rating of 5 from 2 reviews: *****
2011.02.01
Troy
*****

It\'s pretty cool beans.

2010.10.07
George
*****

Absolutely loved the What is Man essay. The essence of human nature so captured in the dialog between the old man & the young man.


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