Cobwebs from an Empty Skull eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 156 pages of information about Cobwebs from an Empty Skull.

“H’m!  I think Zambri the Parsee is the man for that kindly office, my dear.”

This final fable teaches that he is.

BRIEF SEASONS OF INTELLECTUAL DISSIPATION.

I.

FOOL.—­I have a question for you.

PHILOSOPHER.—­I have a number of them for myself.  Do you happen to have heard that a fool can ask more questions in a breath than a philosopher can answer in a life?

F.—­I happen to have heard that in such a case the one is as great a fool as the other.

PH.—­Then there is no distinction between folly and philosophy?

F.—­Don’t lay the flattering unction to your soul.  The province of folly is to ask unanswerable questions.  It is the function of philosophy to answer them.

PH.—­Admirable fool!

F.—­Am I?  Pray tell me the meaning of “a fool.”

PH.—­Commonly he has none.

F.—­I mean—­

PH.—­Then in this case he has one.

F.—­I lick thy boots!  But what does Solomon indicate by the word fool? 
That is what I mean.

PH.—­Let us then congratulate Solomon upon the agreement between the views of you two.  However, I twig your intent:  he means a wicked sinner; and of all forms of folly there is none so great as wicked sinning.  For goodness is, in the end, more conducive to personal happiness—­which is the sole aim of man.

F.—­Hath virtue no better excuse than this?

PH.—­Possibly; philosophy is not omniscience.

F.—­Instructed I sit at thy feet!

PH.—­Unwilling to instruct, I stand on my head.

* * * * *

FOOL.—­You say personal happiness is the sole aim of man.

PHILOSOPHER.—­Then it is.

F.—­But this is much disputed.

PH.—­There is much personal happiness in disputation.

F.—­Socrates—­

PH.—­Hold!  I detest foreigners.

F.—­Wisdom, they say, is of no country.

PH.—­Of none that I have seen.

* * * * *

FOOL.—­Let us return to our subject—­the sole aim of mankind.  Crack me these nuts. (1) The man, never weary of well-doing, who endures a life of privation for the good of his fellow-creatures?

PHILOSOPHER.—­Does he feel remorse in so doing? or does the rascal rather like it?

F.—­(2) He, then, who, famishing himself, parts his loaf with a beggar?

PH.—­There are people who prefer benevolence to bread.

F.—­Ah! De gustibus—­

PH.—­Shut up!

F.—­Well, (3) how of him who goes joyfully to martyrdom?

PH.—­He goes joyfully.

F.—­And yet—­

PH.—­Did you ever converse with a good man going to the stake?

F.—­I never saw a good man going to the stake.

PH.—­Unhappy pupil! you were born some centuries too early.

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Cobwebs from an Empty Skull from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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