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The Damned Human Race, by Mark Twain

(Published in 1905)

I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the “lower animals” (so-called), and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me. For it obliges me to renounce my allegiance to the Darwinian theory of the Ascent of Man from the Lower Animals; since it now seems plain to me that the theory ought to be vacated in favor of a new and truer one, this new and truer one to be named the Descent of Man from the Higher Animals.

In proceeding toward this unpleasant conclusion I have not guessed or speculated or conjectured, but have used what is commonly called the scientific method. That is to say, I have subjected every postulate that presented itself to the crucial test of actual experiment, and have adopted it or rejected it according to the result. Thus I verified and established each step of my course in its turn before advancing to the next. These experiments were made painstakingly in the London Zoological Gardens, and covered many months of painstaking and fatiguing work.

----------------------Read the full article linked below, it's worth every second.

http://www.zengardner.com/the-damned-human-race-mark-twain-e...

Some of my favorite standout quotes...

"Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it. It is a trait that is not known to the higher animals."

"Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and with calm pulse to exterminate his kind.

"Man is the only Slave. And he is the only animal who enslaves."

"Man is the Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion–several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself, and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven."

"Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute. Indeed, my experiments have proven to me that he is the Unreasoning Animal. Note his history, as sketched above. It seems plain to me that whatever he is his is not a reasoning animal. His record is the fantastic record of a maniac."

"And so I find that we have descended and degenerated, from some far ancestor–some microscopic atom wandering at its pleasure between the mighty horizons of a drop of water perchance–insect by insect, animal by animal, reptile by reptile, down the long highway of smirchless innocence, till we have reached the bottom stage of development–namable as the Human Being. Below us–nothing. Nothing but the Frenchman."

----------------------------

I wonder what Mark Twain would have to say about the damned human race today?

Something straightforward, funny, brilliant, and true about the streets we call the zoo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfyaRQIbOWM



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And what he would have to say about the USA in particular

Twain wrote this, back when the US was empire building in the Philippines:

Battle Hymn of the Republic (Brought Down to Date) (When America Attacks)

Mine eyes have seen the orgy of the launching of the Sword;
He is searching out the hoardings where the stranger's wealth is stored;
He hath loosed his fateful lightnings, and with woe and death has scored;
His lust is marching on.

I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded him an altar in the Eastern dews and damps;
I have read his doomful mission by the dim and flaring lamps --
His night is marching on.

I have read his bandit gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my pretensions, so with you my wrath shall deal;
Let the faithless son of Freedom crush the patriot with his heel;
Lo, Greed is marching on!"

We have legalized the strumpet and are guarding her retreat;
Greed is seeking out commercial souls before his judgement seat;
O, be swift, ye clods, to answer him! be jubilant my feet!
Our god is marching on!

In a sordid slime harmonious Greed was born in yonder ditch,
With a longing in his bosom -- and for others' goods an itch.
As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich --
Our god is marching on.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

Oh Goodness

Mark Twain is going to be all over this like a Bear on honey lol

donvino

Perhaps I'm over-analyzing,

but this is unbelievably collectivist.

The fact is, to declare something about "man" - or a "trait" of man - is to engage in the worst kind of collectivism. Certainly, SOME men march forth in cold blood to exterminate their own kind - but others march forth to stop them. There is nothing wrong with self-defense. In addition, many of those who do the invading have been lied to and fooled, being told that what they were doing was stopping some great evil or another.

What Twain ascribes to all of humanity is in fact the act of a few men who have the horrid combination of black-hearted evil and political genius. They hide their foul intentions behind the virtues that almost all others promote, deceiving the masses into going along with their "necessary evil."

Don't even get me started on reasoning. Animals cannot reason - they care only about their own survival, nothing more. Insects gleefully exterminate one another for the expansion of the hive, and unlike humans, are incapable of reasoning their way to opposing such needless violence.

Oh, and I might also note that cats in particular are exceedingly cruel, especially when compared with the average human. Have you never seen a cat with its prey? It will happily torture it to death, making dozens of tiny, painful and non-lethal holes in its victim. It will let it run, only to grab its tail at the last second and reel it back in, then tossing it into the air and slapping it about. In contrast, your average human hunter does his or her best to make a clean, painless kill.

The collectivism regarding religion is still worse. It's not religion, it is the STATE! The State has been the cause of every single war in human history; you cannot blame religion for it any more than you can blame atheism. How many religious people have devoted their time and energy to helping the poor, the sick, the orphan, the widow? Far more, I can assure you, than those who truly went to war with religion at heart rather than conquest or misplaced loyalty.

In short, this is stupid, offensive and outrageously collectivist. Humans are screwed-up, but unlike animals, we're able to realize it and turn against our immorality.

The irony of your comment is

The irony of your comment is very entertaining. Notwithstanding your blatant ignorance of Twain's own words/disclaimers found in the very essay you critique, you nonetheless lambast the "collectivist" tone of his essay. But then, after all of that, you end with this hypocritical gem!

Humans are screwed-up, but unlike animals, we're able to realize it and turn against our immorality.

In summary: You accuse Twain of collectivist thinking, then summarize your accusations with your own collectivist conclusions!

Simply. Amazing.

Cheers,

Nonsense.

All humans can make mistakes, obviously, and it is impossible not to. To call that collectivist is like saying that calling all humans human is collectivist.

I will now declare this about you, as an individual: you are a collectivist who cherry-picks quotes out of context without addressing the issue in any depth.

Oh, for the love of.....

It's funny. It's supposed to be funny. It is supposed to be collectivist because a unitary subject makes it funny. Twain knew it didn't apply to everyone, that is why he wrote it - to wake people up to their "sheepness", to make them question their leaders, political and religious.

Basically, chill out and try some reading comprehension.

You said: "In addition, many of those who do the invading have been lied to and fooled, being told that what they were doing was stopping some great evil or another." -- Exactly!! Well done. Twain wants you to question.

My only critique, you said: "you cannot blame religion for it any more than you can blame atheism." --- Yes, Yes we can. Many wars have been fought and many genocides have occurred for purely religious reasons and no other, and by that I mean the people doing the fighting were doing it as a religious act, no matter what those and power had in mind. The Crusades, the Inquisition, WWII (The Germans), Pol Pot, Mohammad's conquests, and, yes, our current "War on Terror" just to name a few. And no, atheism cannot be blamed for any atrocities, it's never happened.

Then you said: "How many religious people have devoted their time and energy to helping the poor, the sick, the orphan, the widow?" -- Who cares? That is a logical fallacy of apples to oranges. It has zero to do with the subject matter of violence for religious reasons. And I guess a more direct answer to your questions would be "a very small percentage" from what I have seen in my life. Even Mother Theresa did nothing to help the poor and the sick, she just made them feel better so they could die happy.

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."--Mark Twain

Bullsh**.

War has always been about power, religion has just been an excuse.

And yes, atheists have done horrible, horrible things. Stalin ring any bells? Read a f***ing history book. How about Mao? Atheists have killed orders of magnitude more people than all religions *combined,* but we all know that the ideology is simply the excuse to gain more power.

If you seriously think the "war on terror" has anything at all to do with religion, you're deluding yourself. It's about oil and other "strategic resources." Which, of course, means it's about POWER.

Let me repeat this, over and over. War is about power. War is about power. War is about power. WAR IS ABOUT FREAKING POWER.

The Inquisition was only religious insofar as the totalitarian Spanish government could use it to keep the populace in line - POWER. The Crusades were about getting Jerusalem and the political capital that would get the Pope - again, POWER.

Stop blaming the excuse and start blaming the criminals.

Again, that pesky 5th Grade Reading Comprehension thing....

If you actually read my post, I said: "Many wars have been fought and many genocides have occurred for purely religious reasons and no other, and by that I mean the people doing the fighting were doing it as a religious act, no matter what those and power had in mind."

I agree that wars are conducted by those who want power and resources, of course. Anyone with a free brain knows that. But, they have used religion as the fuel to drive their armies, many times. To deny that is to deny history and truth. You started yelling without comprehending - the first sign of a controlled mind.

And no, Stalin's army and police didn't kill people because they were atheists, quite the opposite. And yes, Stalin killed to secure power, but not "because" of atheism. The Bulshevik revolution was driven many ways by religion. There are hundreds of examples of propaganda telling the people that "god" supported the workers and it was their divine right.

Mao killed precisely for religious reasons and his followers were convinced he was a son of god. So, again, those that did his killing were doing it, at least in part, for religious reasons.

A person doesn't commit genocide because they want corporations to get oil or to give their rulers power. They do it because they have been trained through religion and schools to justify it. Most of the command structure in the military has gone along with our genocide in the Middle East because they see it as a Christian cause and fighting "our" religious enemy. You can try to deny it, but that just makes you the blind one. Yes, the sheeple have been tricked, by 9/11 and propaganda. But, to deny that propaganda is religious in nature, is again showing you to be blind, not I.

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."--Mark Twain

Funny but...

Evidently, I do not belong to the human race that Twain referred to.

Do you?

Are his "studies" sound when attributed to your actions as a human being?

Are you unnaturally cruel?

Maybe he should have placed a Cat, Fox or a Ferret into a Chicken coup and expanded his literary world view?

.

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No comment

where is Mark Twain?

He's on DP--

The fact is there were as many idiots back then as now, I believe.

Otherwise, *we* wouldn't be in the mess *we* are in today--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

After reading this essay, I

After reading this essay, I couldn't help but ask..."Where in the hell did we come from?"

Humans just don't seem to fit in...we're not like the other animals on this planet, the other, "Higher Animals," as Mark Twain called them are so much more tolerant of each other...He's right in so many ways.

Are men really from Mars, and are women really from Venus?

Mark Twain turned Darwin's theory of, "evolution," on its head over a hundred years ago.

There's been an arrested development of the human species.

Who or what arrested us?

Never be afraid to ask simple questions.

Seriously?!

Tolerant of each other?

Go read a book - or better yet, go outside. Find two ant colonies of different species, sprinkle a trail of sugar in between them. See how long they "tolerate" each other.

Set a cat in front of a dog, see how well that works out.

Walk a little too close to a well-hidden wasp nest (have toothpaste on hand, it takes a little of the sting out). Better pray they're tolerant.

We have to *train* animals to get along with each other, otherwise they'll tear each other to pieces in many cases.

Take a look at a hamster. Hold it. It'll probably curl up on you and go to sleep, or it might gently nibble you out of curiosity. It's adorable. Now hold it to the nose of a dog. The only question then is which will bite first. Heck, put two hamsters next to each other. It doesn't work out well (I tried it once with my hamster and my sister's. My hamster got a bitten foot, and I got a nasty bite on my finger when he panicked.).

The animal world is unbelievably violent, you just have to stop idealizing it. Animals are only tolerant if you don't have something that they want. They're unreasoning brutes who think only of their own well-being, and to hell with everyone else unless they have cubs or a necessary-for-survival pack. In the animal world, disputes are settled through beating the living s**t out of the guy you disagree with.

Dude....

You have zero sense of humor.

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."--Mark Twain