“What do you believe, then?” I countered.
“I believe that life is a mess,” he answered promptly. “It is like yeast, a ferment, a thing that moves and may move for a minute, an hour, a year, or a hundred years, but that in the end will cease to move. The big eat the little that they may continue to move, the strong eat the weak that they may retain their strength. The lucky eat the most and move the longest, that is all. What do you make of those things?”
He swept his am in an impatient gesture toward a number of the sailors who were working on some kind of rope stuff amidships.
“They move, so does the jelly-fish move. They move in order to eat in order that they may keep moving. There you have it. They live for their belly’s sake, and the belly is for their sake. It’s a circle; you get nowhere. Neither do they. In the end they come to a standstill. They move no more. They are dead.”
“They have dreams,” I interrupted, “radiant, flashing dreams—”
“Of grub,” he concluded sententiously.
“And of more—”
“Grub. Of a larger appetite and more luck in satisfying it.” His voice sounded harsh. There was no levity in it. “For, look you, they dream of making lucky voyages which will bring them more money, of becoming the mates of ships, of finding fortunes—in short, of being in a better position for preying on their fellows, of having all night in, good grub and somebody else to do the dirty work. You and I are just like them. There is no difference, except that we have eaten more and better. I am eating them now, and you too. But in the past you have eaten more than I have. You have slept in soft beds, and worn fine clothes, and eaten good meals. Who made those beds? and those clothes? and those meals? Not you. You never made anything in your own sweat. You live on an income which your father earned. You are like a frigate bird swooping down upon the boobies and robbing them of the fish they have caught. You are one with a crowd of men who have made what they call a government, who are masters of all the other men, and who eat the food the other men get and would like to eat themselves. You wear the warm clothes. They made the clothes, but they shiver in rags and ask you, the lawyer, or business agent who handles your money, for a job.”
“But that is beside the matter,” I cried.
“Not at all.” He was speaking rapidly now, and his eyes were flashing. “It is piggishness, and it is life. Of what use or sense is an immortality of piggishness? What is the end? What is it all about? You have made no food. Yet the food you have eaten or wasted might have saved the lives of a score of wretches who made the food but did not eat it. What immortal end did you serve? or did they? Consider yourself and me. What does your boasted immortality amount to when your life runs foul of mine? You would like to go back to the land, which is a favourable place for your kind of piggishness. It is a whim of mine to keep you aboard this ship, where my piggishness flourishes. And keep you I will. I may make or break you. You may die to-day, this week, or next month. I could kill you now, with a blow of my fist, for you are a miserable weakling. But if we are immortal, what is the reason for this? To be piggish as you and I have been all our lives does not seem to be just the thing for immortals to be doing. Again, what’s it all about? Why have I kept you here?—”
“Because you are stronger,” I managed to blurt out.
“But why stronger?” he went on at once with his perpetual queries. “Because I am a bigger bit of the ferment than you? Don’t you see? Don’t you see?”
“But the hopelessness of it,” I protested.
“I agree with you,” he answered. “Then why move at all, since moving is living? Without moving and being part of the yeast there would be no hopelessness. But,—and there it is,—we want to live and move, though we have no reason to, because it happens that it is the nature of life to live and move, to want to live and move. If it were not for this, life would be dead. It is because of this life that is in you that you dream of your immortality. The life that is in you is alive and wants to go on being alive for ever. Bah! An eternity of piggishness!”
1. Genesis — Grimes
2. I Sing I Swim — Seabear
3. Rosie Oh — Animal Collective
4. Chained — The xx
5. Casimir Pulaski Day — Sufjan Stevens
6. Lazuli — Beach House
7. Anyone’s Ghost — The National
8. Constant Headache — Joyce Manor
9. Simeon’s Dilemma — Why?
10. Futile Devices — Sufjan Stevens
11. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out — The Smiths
12. Rosyln (with St. Vincent) — Bon Iver
13. Emily Jean Stock — Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
14. Better — Regina Spektor
This. This this this.
Also, this + legislative actions that curtail my human rights and demean my worth as a human being.
But you know, no biggie right? Just get over it!