Four Notes on the World from Samuel Butler’s Note-Books

  1. The world is a gambling-table so arranged that all who enter the casino must play and all must lose more or less heavily in the long run, though they win occasionally by the way.
  2. We play out our days as we play out cards, taking them as they come, not knowing what they will be, hoping for a lucky card and sometimes getting one, often getting just the wrong one.
  3. The world may not be particularly wise – still, we know of nothing wiser.
  4. The world will always be governed by self-interest.  We should not try to stop this, we should try to make the self-interest of cads a little more coincident with that of decent people.

—From Samuel Butler’s Note-Books.


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