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Serendipity: A Snark-y Response

The Snark at the Dock

The Snark at the Dock

The following comes from the Foreword of Jack London’s The Cruise of the Snark:

Our friends cannot understand why we make this voyage.  They shudder, and moan, and raise their hands.  No amount of explanation can make them comprehend that we are moving along the line of least resistance; that it is easier for us to go down to the sea in a small ship than to remain on dry land, just as it is easier for them to remain on dry land than to go down to the sea in the small ship.  This state of mind comes of an undue prominence of the ego.  They cannot get away from themselves.  They cannot come out of themselves long enough to see that their line of least resistance is not necessarily everybody else’s line of least resistance.  They make of their own bundle of desires, likes, and dislikes a yardstick wherewith to measure the desires, likes, and dislikes of all creatures.  This is unfair.  I tell them so.  But they cannot get away from their own miserable egos long enough to hear me.  They think I am crazy.  In return, I am sympathetic.  It is a state of mind familiar to me.  We are all prone to think there is something wrong with the mental processes of the man who disagrees with us.

The ultimate word is I LIKE.  It lies beneath philosophy, and is twined about the heart of life.  When philosophy has maundered ponderously for a month, telling the individual what he must do, the individual says, in an instant, “I LIKE,” and does something else, and philosophy goes glimmering.  It is I LIKE that makes the drunkard drink and the martyr wear a hair shirt; that makes one man a reveller and another man an anchorite; that makes one man pursue fame, another gold, another love, and another God.  Philosophy is very often a man’s way of explaining his own I LIKE.