baby born badewanne mit palme
chapter 1 - part 5economy one young man of my acquaintance, who hasinherited some acres, told me that he thought he should live as i did, if he hadthe means. i would not have any one adopt my mode ofliving on any account; for, beside that before he has fairly learned it i may havefound out another for myself, i desire that there may be as many different persons in the world as possible; but i would haveeach one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way, and not his father's orhis mother's or his neighbor's instead. the youth may build or plant or sail, onlylet him not be hindered from doing that
which he tells me he would like to do. it is by a mathematical point only that weare wise, as the sailor or the fugitive slave keeps the polestar in his eye; butthat is sufficient guidance for all our life. we may not arrive at our port within acalculable period, but we would preserve the true course. undoubtedly, in this case, what is true forone is truer still for a thousand, as a large house is not proportionally moreexpensive than a small one, since one roof may cover, one cellar underlie, and onewall separate several apartments.
but for my part, i preferred the solitarydwelling. moreover, it will commonly be cheaper tobuild the whole yourself than to convince another of the advantage of the commonwall; and when you have done this, the common partition, to be much cheaper, must be a thin one, and that other may prove abad neighbor, and also not keep his side in repair. the only co-operation which is commonlypossible is exceedingly partial and superficial; and what little true co-operation there is, is as if it were not, being a harmony inaudible to men.
if a man has faith, he will co-operate withequal faith everywhere; if he has not faith, he will continue to live like therest of the world, whatever company he is joined to. to co-operate in the highest as well as thelowest sense, means to get our living together. i heard it proposed lately that two youngmen should travel together over the world, the one without money, earning his means ashe went, before the mast and behind the plow, the other carrying a bill of exchangein his pocket. it was easy to see that they could not longbe companions or co-operate, since one
would not operate at all. they would part at the first interestingcrisis in their adventures. above all, as i have implied, the man whogoes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till thatother is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off. but all this is very selfish, i have heardsome of my townsmen say. i confess that i have hitherto indulgedvery little in philanthropic enterprises. i have made some sacrifices to a sense ofduty, and among others have sacrificed this pleasure also.
there are those who have used all theirarts to persuade me to undertake the support of some poor family in the town;and if i had nothing to do--for the devil finds employment for the idle--i might trymy hand at some such pastime as that. however, when i have thought to indulgemyself in this respect, and lay their heaven under an obligation by maintainingcertain poor persons in all respects as comfortably as i maintain myself, and have even ventured so far as to make them theoffer, they have one and all unhesitatingly preferred to remain poor. while my townsmen and women are devoted inso many ways to the good of their fellows,
i trust that one at least may be spared toother and less humane pursuits. you must have a genius for charity as wellas for anything else. as for doing-good, that is one of theprofessions which are full. moreover, i have tried it fairly, and,strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution. probably i should not consciously anddeliberately forsake my particular calling to do the good which society demands of me,to save the universe from annihilation; and i believe that a like but infinitely greater steadfastness elsewhere is all thatnow preserves it.
but i would not stand between any man andhis genius; and to him who does this work, which i decline, with his whole heart andsoul and life, i would say, persevere, even if the world call it doing evil, as it ismost likely they will. i am far from supposing that my case is apeculiar one; no doubt many of my readers would make a similar defence. at doing something--i will not engage thatmy neighbors shall pronounce it good--i do not hesitate to say that i should be acapital fellow to hire; but what that is, it is for my employer to find out. what good i do, in the common sense of thatword, must be aside from my main path, and
for the most part wholly unintended. men say, practically, begin where you areand such as you are, without aiming mainly to become of more worth, and with kindnessaforethought go about doing good. if i were to preach at all in this strain,i should say rather, set about being good. as if the sun should stop when he hadkindled his fires up to the splendor of a moon or a star of the sixth magnitude, andgo about like a robin goodfellow, peeping in at every cottage window, inspiring lunatics, and tainting meats, and makingdarkness visible, instead of steadily increasing his genial heat and beneficencetill he is of such brightness that no
mortal can look him in the face, and then, and in the meanwhile too, going about theworld in his own orbit, doing it good, or rather, as a truer philosophy hasdiscovered, the world going about him getting good. when phaeton, wishing to prove his heavenlybirth by his beneficence, had the sun's chariot but one day, and drove out of thebeaten track, he burned several blocks of houses in the lower streets of heaven, and scorched the surface of the earth, anddried up every spring, and made the great desert of sahara, till at length jupiterhurled him headlong to the earth with a
thunderbolt, and the sun, through grief athis death, did not shine for a year. there is no odor so bad as that whicharises from goodness tainted. it is human, it is divine, carrion. if i knew for a certainty that a man wascoming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, i should run formy life, as from that dry and parching wind of the african deserts called the simoom, which fills the mouth and nose and ears andeyes with dust till you are suffocated, for fear that i should get some of his gooddone to me--some of its virus mingled with my blood.
no--in this case i would rather suffer evilthe natural way. a man is not a good man to me because hewill feed me if i should be starving, or warm me if i should be freezing, or pull meout of a ditch if i should ever fall into one. i can find you a newfoundland dog that willdo as much. philanthropy is not love for one's fellow-man in the broadest sense. howard was no doubt an exceedingly kind andworthy man in his way, and has his reward; but, comparatively speaking, what are ahundred howards to us, if their philanthropy do not help us in our best
estate, when we are most worthy to behelped? i never heard of a philanthropic meeting inwhich it was sincerely proposed to do any good to me, or the like of me. the jesuits were quite balked by thoseindians who, being burned at the stake, suggested new modes of torture to theirtormentors. being superior to physical suffering, itsometimes chanced that they were superior to any consolation which the missionariescould offer; and the law to do as you would be done by fell with less persuasiveness on the ears of those who, for their part, didnot care how they were done by, who loved
their enemies after a new fashion, and camevery near freely forgiving them all they did. be sure that you give the poor the aid theymost need, though it be your example which leaves them far behind.if you give money, spend yourself with it, and do not merely abandon it to them. we make curious mistakes sometimes.often the poor man is not so cold and hungry as he is dirty and ragged and gross.it is partly his taste, and not merely his misfortune. if you give him money, he will perhaps buymore rags with it.
i was wont to pity the clumsy irishlaborers who cut ice on the pond, in such mean and ragged clothes, while i shiveredin my more tidy and somewhat more fashionable garments, till, one bitter cold day, one who had slipped into the watercame to my house to warm him, and i saw him strip off three pairs of pants and twopairs of stockings ere he got down to the skin, though they were dirty and ragged enough, it is true, and that he couldafford to refuse the extra garments which i offered him, he had so many intra ones.this ducking was the very thing he needed. then i began to pity myself, and i saw thatit would be a greater charity to bestow on
me a flannel shirt than a whole slop-shopon him. there are a thousand hacking at thebranches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestowsthe largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives invain to relieve. it is the pious slave-breeder devoting theproceeds of every tenth slave to buy a sunday's liberty for the rest. some show their kindness to the poor byemploying them in their kitchens. would they not be kinder if they employedthemselves there?
you boast of spending a tenth part of yourincome in charity; maybe you should spend the nine tenths so, and done with it.society recovers only a tenth part of the property then. is this owing to the generosity of him inwhose possession it is found, or to the remissness of the officers of justice? philanthropy is almost the only virtuewhich is sufficiently appreciated by mankind.nay, it is greatly overrated; and it is our selfishness which overrates it. a robust poor man, one sunny day here inconcord, praised a fellow-townsman to me,
because, as he said, he was kind to thepoor; meaning himself. the kind uncles and aunts of the race aremore esteemed than its true spiritual fathers and mothers. i once heard a reverend lecturer onengland, a man of learning and intelligence, after enumerating herscientific, literary, and political worthies, shakespeare, bacon, cromwell, milton, newton, and others, speak next ofher christian heroes, whom, as if his profession required it of him, he elevatedto a place far above all the rest, as the greatest of the great.
they were penn, howard, and mrs. fry.every one must feel the falsehood and cant of this. the last were not england's best men andwomen; only, perhaps, her best philanthropists. i would not subtract anything from thepraise that is due to philanthropy, but merely demand justice for all who by theirlives and works are a blessing to mankind. i do not value chiefly a man's uprightnessand benevolence, which are, as it were, his stem and leaves. those plants of whose greenness withered wemake herb tea for the sick serve but a
humble use, and are most employed byquacks. i want the flower and fruit of a man; thatsome fragrance be wafted over from him to me, and some ripeness flavor ourintercourse. his goodness must not be a partial andtransitory act, but a constant superfluity, which costs him nothing and of which he isunconscious. this is a charity that hides a multitude ofsins. the philanthropist too often surroundsmankind with the remembrance of his own castoff griefs as an atmosphere, and callsit sympathy. we should impart our courage, and not ourdespair, our health and ease, and not our
disease, and take care that this does notspread by contagion. from what southern plains comes up thevoice of wailing? under what latitudes reside the heathen towhom we would send light? who is that intemperate and brutal man whomwe would redeem? if anything ail a man, so that he does notperform his functions, if he have a pain in his bowels even--for that is the seat ofsympathy--he forthwith sets about reforming--the world. being a microcosm himself, he discovers--and it is a true discovery, and he is the man to make it--that the world has beeneating green apples; to his eyes, in fact,
the globe itself is a great green apple, which there is danger awful to think ofthat the children of men will nibble before it is ripe; and straightway his drasticphilanthropy seeks out the esquimau and the patagonian, and embraces the populous indian and chinese villages; and thus, by afew years of philanthropic activity, the powers in the meanwhile using him for theirown ends, no doubt, he cures himself of his dyspepsia, the globe acquires a faint blush on one or both of its cheeks, as if it werebeginning to be ripe, and life loses its crudity and is once more sweet andwholesome to live.
i never dreamed of any enormity greaterthan i have committed. i never knew, and never shall know, a worseman than myself. i believe that what so saddens the reformeris not his sympathy with his fellows in distress, but, though he be the holiest sonof god, is his private ail. let this be righted, let the spring come tohim, the morning rise over his couch, and he will forsake his generous companionswithout apology. my excuse for not lecturing against the useof tobacco is, that i never chewed it, that is a penalty which reformed tobacco-chewershave to pay; though there are things enough i have chewed which i could lectureagainst.
if you should ever be betrayed into any ofthese philanthropies, do not let your left hand know what your right hand does, for itis not worth knowing. rescue the drowning and tie yourshoestrings. take your time, and set about some freelabor. our manners have been corrupted bycommunication with the saints. our hymn-books resound with a melodiouscursing of god and enduring him forever. one would say that even the prophets andredeemers had rather consoled the fears than confirmed the hopes of man. there is nowhere recorded a simple andirrepressible satisfaction with the gift of
life, any memorable praise of god. all health and success does me good,however far off and withdrawn it may appear; all disease and failure helps tomake me sad and does me evil, however much sympathy it may have with me or i with it. if, then, we would indeed restore mankindby truly indian, botanic, magnetic, or natural means, let us first be as simpleand well as nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our own brows, andtake up a little life into our pores. do not stay to be an overseer of the poor,but endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world.
i read in the gulistan, or flower garden,of sheik sadi of shiraz, that "they asked a wise man, saying: of the many celebratedtrees which the most high god has created lofty and umbrageous, they call none azad, or free, excepting the cypress, which bearsno fruit; what mystery is there in this? he replied, each has its appropriateproduce, and appointed season, during the continuance of which it is fresh andblooming, and during their absence dry and withered; to neither of which states is the cypress exposed, being always flourishing;and of this nature are the azads, or religious independents.--fix not thy hearton that which is transitory; for the
dijlah, or tigris, will continue to flow through bagdad after the race of caliphs isextinct: if thy hand has plenty, be liberal as the date tree; but if it affords nothingto give away, be an azad, or free man, like the cypress." complemental versesthe pretensions of poverty thou dost presume too much,poor needy wretch, to claim a station in the firmamentbecause thy humble cottage, or thy tub, nurses some lazy or pedantic virtue in the cheap sunshine or by shady springs,with roots and pot-herbs;
where thy right hand,tearing those humane passions from the mind, upon whose stocks fair bloomingvirtues flourish, degradeth nature, and benumbeth sense,and, gorgon-like, turns active men to stone. we not require the dull societyof your necessitated temperance, or that unnatural stupiditythat knows nor joy nor sorrow; nor your forc'd falsely exalted passive fortitudeabove the active.
this low abject brood,that fix their seats in mediocrity, become your servile minds; but we advance such virtues only as admit excess,brave, bounteous acts, regal magnificence, all-seeing prudence, magnanimitythat knows no bound, and that heroic virtue for which antiquity hath left no name,but patterns only, such as hercules, achilles, theseus.back to thy loath'd cell; and when thou seest the newenlightened sphere, study to know but what those worthies were.t. carew