“We have curious ideas of ourselves. We think of ourselves as a body with a spirit in it, or a body with a soul in it, or a body with a mind in it…. The years drink up the wine, and at last throw the bottle away, the body, of course, being the bottle.
It is a funny sort of superstition. Why should I look at my hand, as it so cleverly writes these words, and decide that it is a mere nothing compared to the mind that directs it? Is there really any huge difference between my hand and my brain?….
Every tiny bit of my hands is alive, every little freckle and hair and fold of skin. And whatever is me alive is me….
So, seeing my hand is all alive, and me alive, wherein is it just a bottle, or a jug, or a tin can, or a vessel of clay, or any of the rest of that nonsense? True, if I cut it it will bleed, like a can of cherries. But then the skin that is cut, and the veins that bleed, and the bones that should never be seen, they are all just as alive as the blood that flows. So the tin can business, or vessel of clay, is just bunk.
And that’s what you learn, when you’re a novelist. And that’s what you are very liable not to know, if you’re a parson, or a philosopher, or a scientist, or a stupid person. If you’re a parson, you talk about souls in heaven. If you’re a novelist, you know that paradise is in the palm of your hand, and on the end of your nose, because both are alive; and alive, and man alive, which is more than you can say, for certain, of paradise.
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