Twain and the Damned Human Race Essay

Student Instructor Course Date The way we live our lives. The way we live our lives in 2010 is not much different that the way man has always lived his life, with imperfection and disregard. Mark Twain pointed out the differences between man and animals in his essay “The Damned Human Race” which reflects his pessimistic view on humans at the turn of the 20th century. “Man is the cruel animal” (Twain). When searching the internet using the word cruelty, the search engine comes back with pages of found information regarding cruelty, to animals.

Websites dedicated to convincing people to stop eat, wearing, beating, and other terrible deeds to and against animals. While typing in this word, I expected to see more links on the atrocities of man against man. As a cashier at my local market I notice how easily patrons give to the charity coin box once I’ve told them the funds are going to a local animal shelter. This month raising money for food kitchens, a hunger charity for people has been difficult. Is this because of the Islander’s Moral Sense as Twain would postulate? Twain pointed out the cruelty that men inflict on each other and how that differs from animals.

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Men torture each other. Twain pointed out the atrocities that Man inflicts, removing eyes of prisoners of war, burning innocents at the stake, flaying skin of heretics, and invoking war on each other. Man takes pleasure of causing pain. No other species perpetrates these acts on each other, except man. Man is greedy. The Enron scandal, Bernie Madoff, BP’s oil spill debacle, big banks like Goldman Sach’s part in the housing collapse and Recession are only recent examples of corporate greed. Without rules to regulate these corporations, the corporations ran into the hen house with their mouths wide open.

Animals take only what they need, only what they can consume with in a season. Twain pointed out that in 1909 men were not better than animals rather the lowest level below all. Man is gluttonous. In this country we feed our bodies with garbage and substances that are not food. We are a nation of obsess and malnourished. According to the Centers for Disease data as of 2008, six states currently have an obesity rate of over 30% including our own state, South Carolina and thirty two states had an obesity rate of 25% or higher (CDC). Obesity is calculated and defined as a Body Mass Index of 30 or higher.

Obese animals in the wild would be captured and eaten by a quicker fitter animal. It is against our genetic nature to be greedy and gluttonous. Man is the only animal that enslaves others into bondage. From pre civilization, slaves from Africa in the 17th century delivered to our shores to the populations of over 27 million currently enslaved today, the largest number of people enslaved or in forced labor in history. Human bondage is a condition we have not been able to cure. Man is the only religious animal. Terrorism is a word most children post 9/11 understands. Islam demands that its believers wage jihad on Westerners.

Islamic zealots have increased their attacks on civilians not aware they are in the middle of a jihad. Twain pointed out the sins of the Christians in his writing and the torture and killing in the name of an idea of God or religion is a trait that only man can claim. Catholics befriending Fascist, collaborating with Hitler, protecting pedophilic priests, and opposes the advancement of science and personal freedom. Muslims are not the first religious terrorists; Christians in the name of God have committed their own crimes and gross indecencies on populations over the time of history.

Fredrich Nietzsche said “The Christian resolve to find the world evil and ugly has made the world evil and ugly (7). ” How much farther would Twain have condemned man on the World Wars, the Holocaust, Jim Crow, Stock Market crash, The Great Depression, ethnic cleansing in Serbia, Darfur, Ethiopia, or the many times the more powerful stood by and allowed evil to happen. I think Twain would have railed against he current injustices that happen today. The ones we assign 45 seconds to on the nightly news. Twain suggests “…that we are not as important perhaps, as we had all along supposed we were (669). ” I know we are not important.

Our journey and the lessons we learn on the journey are important. That is the compulsion to rise above and use our intellect to do better. Works cited Center for Disease Control “U. S. Obesity Trends. ” Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. Atlanta: GPO, 2009. Web 15 July 2010. Nietzsche, Friedrich. BrainyQuote. com. Xplore Inc, 2010. Web. 17 July. 2010. Pankaj Mishra “Islamismism: How Should Western Intellectuals Respond to Muslim Scholars? ” The New Yorker, 7, June, 2010 Twain, Mark “The Damned Human Race. ” World Views. Ed. Ann McDonald and Jack Trotter. Boston, Pearson, 2008. 662-669. Print.


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