Distribution Automatique

Sunday, December 21

from *The Notebooks of Samuel Butler (1835-1902)*


"They are like shadows-substantial enough until we try
to grasp them."


"The fact that every mental state is intensified by
expression is of a piece with the fact that nothing
has any existence at all save in its expression."


"All things are like exposed photographic plates that have
no visible image on them till they have been developed."

"Acquired Characteristics"

"If there is any truth in the theory that these are inherited
- and who can doubt it?-the eye and the finger are but
the aspiration, or word, made manifest in flesh."

"Physical and Spiritual"

"The bodies of many abandoned undertakings lie rotting
unburied up and down the country and their ghosts haunt
the law courts."

"Trail and Writing"

"Before the invention of writing the range of one man's
influence over another was limited to the range of sight,
sound and scent; besides this there was trail, of many kinds.
Trail unintentionally left is, as it were, hidden sight. Left
intentionally, it is the unit of literature. It is the first mode
of writing, from which grew that power of extending men's
influence over one another by the help of written symbols of
all kinds without which the development of modern
civilization would have been impossible."