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What Is Man?

by Mark Twain

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From AudioFile
Is man nothing more than a machine, incapable of free will? What are the factors shaping his actions and decisions? Mark Twain entertainingly posed and answered these questions in a volume published anonymously. Twain's biting view of mankind spares no one, but it contains rays of hope. Carl Reiner takes the roles of both teacher and pupil in Twain's Socratic dialogue. Reiner captures both the humor and the serious underpinnings of Twain's work, although in giving the more natural voice to the teacher while making the student seem unbelievably naive, Reiner tips the scales toward the cynical view. This audio production will provide much thought, as well as laughter. J.A.S. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Book Description
This was Twain's most serious, philosophical and private book. He kept it locked in his desk, considered it to be his Bible, and spoke of it as such to friends when he read them passages. He had written it, rewritten it, was finally satisfied with it, but still chose not to release it until after his death. It appears in the form of a dialogue between an old man and a young man who discuss who and what mankind really is and provides a new and different way of looking at who we are and the way we live. Anyone who thinks Twain was not a brilliant philosopher should read this book. We consider ourselves as free and autonomous people, yet this book puts forth the ideas that 1) We are nothing more than machines and originate nothing - not even a single thought; 2) All conduct arises from one motive - self-satisfaction; 3) Our temperament is completely permanent and unchangeable; and 4) Man is of course a product of heredity, and our future, being fixed, is irrevocable -- which makes life completely predetermined. If these points are true, then buying and reading this book is not in your control, but simply must be done because it was meant to be. If these points are not true you might still wish to make an independent decision to enjoy a thought-provoking book by a great and legendary writer.

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Purchase one of 1st World Library's Classic Books and help support our free internet library of downloadable eBooks. Visit us online at www.1stWorldLibrary.ORG - - [The Old Man and the Young Man had been conversing. The Old Man had asserted that the human being is merely a machine, and nothing more. The Young Man objected, and asked him to go into particulars and furnish his reasons for his position.] Old Man. What are the materials of which a steam-engine is made? Young Man. Iron, steel, brass, white-metal, and so on. O.M. Where are these found? Y.M. In the rocks. O.M. In a pure state? Y.M. No - in ores. O.M. Are the metals suddenly deposited in the ores?

From the Publisher
**Performed by 2001 Grammy nominated Carl Reiner, for Best Performance in spoken word audio, for Mark Twain's Letters from Earth.**



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