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Letters From the Earth, by Mark Twain

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posted on Dec, 31 2011 @ 04:25 PM

"Put into each individual, in differing shades and degrees, all the various Moral Qualities, in mass, that have been distributed, a single distinguishing characteristic at a time, among the nonspeaking animal world -- courage, cowardice, ferocity, gentleness, fairness, justice, cunning, treachery, magnanimity, cruelty, malice, malignity, lust, mercy, pity, purity, selfishness, sweetness, honor, love, hate, baseness, nobility, loyalty, falsity, veracity, untruthfulness -- each human being shall have all of these in him, and they will constitute his nature. In some, there will be high and fine characteristics which will submerge the evil ones, and those will be called good men; in others the evil characteristics will have dominion, and those will be called bad men. Observe -- behold -- they vanish!"

"Whither are they gone, Divine One?"

"To the earth -- they and all their fellow animals."

"What is the earth?"

"A small globe I made, a time, two times and a half ago. You saw it, but did not notice it in the explosion of worlds and suns that sprayed from my hand. Man is an experiment, the other animals are another experiment. Time will show whether they were worth the trouble. The exhibition is over; you may take your leave, my lords."

Several days passed by.

This stands for a long stretch of (our) time, since in heaven a day is as a thousand years.

This is post for your open-minded perusal. Twain was quite a sharp-tongued critic of organized Christian religion. This little book was, in his own time by his own admission, likely to never be published because to do so would be a felony. But some time after his death, one of his ancestors said okay, go ahead...

Letters from the Earth

edit on 31-12-2011 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 31 2011 @ 04:35 PM
reply to post by wildtimes

Samuel Clemens, AKA Mark Twain was a genius and one of my greatest heroes.

I highly suggest that you check out this movie that was based on his life and works and contains much of the same sentiment as the material in the OP:

The other 8 parts are also available on Youtube. If you don't want to watch the whole thing, you should at least check out the part referred to as "the mysterious stranger" which can be found through a search on Youtube.
edit on 31-12-2011 by Q:1984A:1776 because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 31 2011 @ 04:41 PM
Hokay, now that I corrected the initial "empty" thread....(I hate it when that happens!)...

I'll give a bit more info. The Divine one in the excerpt above it God, speaking to Satan, Michael, and Gabriel in Twain's fictitious but revealing account of the Creation and the concepts of Heaven.

Satan decides to go to the Earth and see what it's all about..and sends letters back to Michael and Gabriel, telling them what he has observed.

Satan had been making admiring remarks about certain of the Creator's sparkling industries -- remarks which, being read between the lines, were sarcasms. He had made them confidentially to his safe friends the other archangels, but they had been overheard by some ordinary angels and reported at Headquarters.

He was ordered into banishment for a day -- the celestial day. It was a punishment he was used to, on account of his too flexible tongue. Formerly he had been deported into Space, there being nowhither else to send him, and had flapped tediously around there in the eternal night and the Arctic chill; but now it occurred to him to push on and hunt up the earth and see how the Human Race experiment was coming along.

By and by he wrote home -- very privately -- to St. Michael and St. Gabriel about it.

Warning, members of ATS, if you are a devout believer in the Bible as the one and only Word Of God, you may be upset by Twain's take on the matter. I found it humorous, and the irony very well worth reading.

The Chicago Sun Times review said, on it's release:
"Of all the writers who ever lived, perhaps Mark Twain had the most fun with what he had to say...the reader delighting in the Twain's-eye view of man's stupidity, arrogance, bombast and folly can almost hear an audible voice out of an immortal past--the fond, rich voice of Mark Twain himself...unmistakably another treasure for us and for posterity."

I would like to invite members to read and discuss this volume. The aging paperback I have on my bookshelf was printed in 1964. The original copyright is 1938 and some other dates by the Mark Twain Company. The President and Fellows of Harvard College also copyrighted it in 1942.

Anyone interested?

edit on 31-12-2011 by wildtimes because: to correct typos and possible date problems of the review

posted on Dec, 31 2011 @ 04:45 PM
Excellent book!
I would recommend it to anyone's reading list (providing you can read it with an open mind)

posted on Dec, 31 2011 @ 04:46 PM
reply to post by Q:1984A:1776

Will do! Thanks for the linky-dink!

Have you read this volume?

Here's another little taste to entice:

This is a strange place, and extraordinary place, and interesting. There is nothing resembling it at home. The people are all insane, the other animals are all insane, the earth is insane, Nature itself is insane. Man is a marvelous curiosity. When he is at his very very best he is a sort of low grade nickel-plated angel; at is worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm. Yet he blandly and in all sincerity calls himself the "noblest work of God." This is the truth I am telling you. And this is not a new idea with him, he has talked it through all the ages, and believed it. Believed it, and found nobody among all his race to laugh at it.

Moreover -- if I may put another strain upon you -- he thinks he is the Creator's pet. He believes the Creator is proud of him; he even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes, and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to Him, and thinks He listens. Isn't it a quaint idea? Fills his prayers with crude and bald and florid flatteries of Him, and thinks He sits and purrs over these extravagancies and enjoys them. He prays for help, and favor, and protection, every day; and does it with hopefulness and confidence, too, although no prayer of his has ever been answered. The daily affront, the daily defeat, do not discourage him, he goes on praying just the same. There is something almost fine about this perseverance. I must put one more strain upon you: he thinks he is going to heaven!

He has salaried teachers who tell him that. They also tell him there is a hell, of everlasting fire, and that he will go to it if he doesn't keep the Commandments. What are Commandments? They are a curiosity. I will tell you about them by and by.

posted on Dec, 31 2011 @ 05:25 PM

"I have told you nothing about man that is not true." You must pardon me if I repeat that remark now and then in these letters; I want you to take seriously the things I am telling you, and I feel that if I were in your place and you in mine, I should need that reminder from time to time, to keep my credulity from flagging.

For there is nothing about man that is not strange to an immortal. He looks at nothing as we look at it, his sense of proportion is quite different from ours, and his sense of values is so widely divergent from ours, that with all our large intellectual powers it is not likely that even the most gifted among us would ever be quite able to understand it.

For instance, take this sample: he has imagined a heaven, and has left entirely out of it the supremest of all his delights, the one ecstasy that stands first and foremost in the heart of every individual of his race -- and of ours -- sexual intercourse!

It is as if a lost and perishing person in a roasting desert should be told by a rescuer he might choose and have all longed-for things but one, and he should elect to leave out water!

His heaven is like himself: strange, interesting, astonishing, grotesque. I give you my word, it has not a single feature in it that he actually values. It consists -- utterly and entirely -- of diversions which he cares next to nothing about, here in the earth, yet is quite sure he will like them in heaven. Isn't it curious? Isn't it interesting? You must not think I am exaggerating, for it is not so. I will give you details.

I guess some are not inclined to click the original link, or I have been impatient and they are reading from the link, or I have not reached the audience I expected.....
but thanks for the flags, those of you who acknowledged the thread!

posted on Dec, 31 2011 @ 07:05 PM
I don't need to see the link, I think this is one of the best things Twain wrote, and he is one of my favorite authors. As he got older he became more and more cynical. He would have been right at home on ATS.

His most appropriate quote: Consider an idiot. Then consider a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 02:29 AM
I know this is off-topic... but oh God the picture on that site made me laugh.

posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 02:38 AM

Originally posted by ErroneousDylan
I know this is off-topic... but oh God the picture on that site made me laugh.

This one? Yeah, it's pretty good...

posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 02:44 AM
I've only read the first part and the first two of Satan's letters so far but I am highly enjoying it, however a little dark so far. It makes me wonder if we really are just an experiment, completely cut-off from any sense of a "caring" God.

posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 10:40 AM
reply to post by ErroneousDylan

I've only read the first part and the first two of Satan's letters so far but I am highly enjoying it, however a little dark so far.

Yes, it is a little dark, and it doesn't lighten up. Just so you know...
Hence the warning that it was not for the faint of faith. Even Twain himself said, "This book will never be fact, it couldn't be, because it would be a felony."

We don't live in those times anymore, but there are still people who might not be able to stomach it without going berserk.

Happy new year to you, Dylan!

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