A Cynic Looks at Life eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 57 pages of information about A Cynic Looks at Life.
Ten Commandments in a chariot of gold.  Of your own sanity and identity you have no evidence that is any better than he has of his.  More accurately, I have none of mine; for anything I know, you do not exist, nor any one of all the things with which I think myself familiarly conscious.  All may be fictions of my disordered imagination.  I really know of but one reason for doubting that I am an inmate of an asylum for the insane—­namely, the probability that there is nowhere any such thing as an asylum for the insane.

This kind of speculation has charms that get a good neck-hold upon attention.  For example, if I am really a lunatic, and the persons and things that I seem to see about me have no objective existence, what an ingenious though disordered imagination I must have!  What a clever coup it was to invent Mr. Rockefeller and clothe him with the attribute of permanence!  With what amusing qualities I have endowed my laird of Skibo, philanthropist.  What a masterpiece of creative humor is my Fatty Taft, statesman, taking himself seriously, even solemnly, and persuading others to do the same!  And this city of Washington, with its motley population of silurians, parvenoodles and scamps pranking unashamed in the light of day, and its saving contingent of the forsaken righteous, their seed begging bread,—­did Rabelais’ exuberant fancy ever conceive so—­but Rabelais is, perhaps, himself a conception.

Surely he is no common maniac who has wrought out of nothing the history, the philosophies, sciences, arts, laws, religions, politics and morals of this imaginary world.  Nay, the world itself, tumbling uneasily through space like a beetle’s ball, is no mean achievement, and I am proud of it.  But the mental feat in which I take most satisfaction, and which I doubt not is most diverting to my keepers, is that of creating Mr. W.R.  Hearst, pointing his eyes toward the White House and endowing him with a perilous Jacksonian ambition to defile it.  The Hearst is distinctly a treasure.

On the whole, I have done, I think, tolerably well, and when I contemplate the fertility and originality of my inventions, the queer unearthliness and grotesque actions of the characters whom I have evolved, isolated and am cultivating, I cannot help thinking that if Heaven had not made me a lunatic my peculiar talent might have made me an entertaining writer.


If every hypocrite in the United States were to break his leg to-day the country could be successfully invaded to-morrow by the warlike hypocrites of Canada.

To Dogmatism the Spirit of Inquiry is the same as the Spirit of Evil, and to pictures of the latter it appends a tail to represent the note of interrogation.

“Immoral” is the judgment of the stalled ox on the gamboling lamb.

In forgiving an injury be somewhat ceremonious, lest your magnanimity be construed as indifference.

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A Cynic Looks at Life from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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