Man is to me as the red spider is to the elephant*

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  • Men have nothing in common with me – there is no point of contact; they have foolish little feelings and foolish little vanities and impertinences and ambitions: their foolish little life is but a laugh, a sigh, and extinction; and they have no sense….I will show you what I mean. Here is a red spider, not so big as a pin’s head. Can you imagine an elephant being interested in him – caring whether he is happy or isn’t, or whether he is wealthy or poor, or whether his sweetheart returns his love or not, or whether his mother is sick or well, or whether he is looked up to in society or not, or whether his enemies will smite him or his friends desert him, or whether his hopes will suffer blight or his political ambitions fail, or whether he shall die in the bosom of his family or neglected and despised in a foreign land? These things can never be important to the elephant; they are nothing to him; he cannot shrink his sympathies to the microscopic size of them. Man is to me as the red spider is to the elephant.

  • Satan was accustomed to say that our race live a life of continuous and uninterrupted self-deception. It duped itself from cradle to grave with shams and delusions which it mistook for realities, and this made its entire life a sham. Of the score of fine qualities which it imagined it had and was vain of, it really possessed hardly one. It regarded itself as gold, and was only brass.
  • “What an ass you are!” he said. Are you so unobservant as not to have found out that sanity and happiness are an impossible combination. No sane man can be happy, for to him life is real, and he sees what a fearful thing it is. Only the mad can be happy, and not many of those. The few that imagine themselves kings or gods are happy, the rest are no happier than the sane.
  • Nothing exists; all is a dream. God – man – the world – the sun, the moon, the wilderness of stars – a dream, all a dream; they have no existence. Nothing exists save empty space – and you! And you are not you – you have no body, no blood, no bones, you are but a thought. I myself have no existence; I am but a dream – your dream, creature of your imagination. In a moment you will have realized this, then you will banish me from your visions and I shall dissolve into nothingness out of which you made me…
  • It is true, that which I have revealed to you; there is no God, no universe, no human race, no earthly life, no heaven, no hell. It is all a dream – a grotesque and foolish dream. Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought – a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities!

*Quoted excerpts were taken from The Mysterious Stranger, by Mark Twain. Read the book in its entirety here. Magnus Formica approves and recommends.

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