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Strange!

( Originally Published 1916 )

"WHAT fools these mortals be !" said Puck. And we are inclined to agree with him when we observe :

That men toil their life long to lay up money for their children, when the worst calamity that can befall a youth is to be relieved from the need to work for a living;

That a man's pride and aim seems to be to keep his wife in idleness and luxury, and he considers himself disgraced if she engages in useful work, when the greatest foe to female virtue is idleness;

That all our greatness comes from struggle and danger, while we devote our lives to avoiding these things;

That the only faith that is worth anything is the product of wrestling with doubts, yet doubts we consider to be irreligious ;

That all the world is convinced of the waste, stupidity, and madness of war, while each nation impoverishes itself still in the endeavor to prepare for war;

That individually we love our children better than anything in the world, while collectively, as a city, we leave no spaces for their playgrounds, but compel them to romp in the streets among the horses, street cars, and automobiles;

That we lock men up in prison as an antidote to crime, and when they come out they are more hardened criminals than before;

That we gather in churches and worship Jesus, yet consider as perfectly absurd and irrational the teachings He most insisted upon, deriding His faith in human nature, His law of love, and His principle of non-resistance; while the thing against which He warned us most strictly, the heaping up of money, is the one thing after which we are all mad;

That those of us most favored by fortune are in the heated pursuit of happiness, while we know very well that nobody who pursued happiness ever found it;

That we easily believe in selfishness and hate, which render us unhappy, while it is hard for us to believe in love and goodness, which make us happy;

That man should "put an enemy into his mouth to steal away his brains";

That politics is universally despised among us, while the only possible way to make a democracy successful is for every citizen to take an active interest in politics;

That the accepted method of preparing our sons and daughters for life is to send them to institutions sooted with medievalism, and while but one person in a hundred is by nature fitted to become a scholar or literary person, we continue the useless effort to make scholars out of those who are to become merchants, hand workers, sales-men, and housewives;

That while we all believe in majority rule, our cities are still governed by a compact minority composed of men of deficient character;

That we exert the greatest effort to be pleasant to strangers and mere acquaintances, for whom we care little or nothing, while we are neglectful, indifferent and often cruel to those we love most dearly;

That most of our worry is about the past, which is gone forever, and the future, which may never come, while we omit to enjoy today, which is all that we have to enjoy, and

That those who observe custome and conventions are called wise and safe, while those who believe in their reason, listen to the dictates of their heart, and trust their instinct are considered dangerous, if not wicked.



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