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Work and Waste

These truths I hold to be self-evident: That man was made to be happy; that happiness is only attainable through useful effort; that the very best way to help ourselves is to help others, and often the best way to help others is to mind our own business; that useful effort means the proper exercise of all our faculties; that we grow only through exercise; that education should continue through life, and the joys of mental endeavor should be, especially, the solace of the old; that where men alternate work, play and study in right proportion, the organs of the mind are the last to fail, and death for such has no terrors.

That the possession of wealth can never make a man exempt from useful manual labor; that if all would work a little, no one would then be overworked; that if no one wasted, all would have enough; that if none were overfed, none would be underfed; that the rich and "educated" need education quite as much as the poor and illiterate; that the presence of a serving class is an indictment and a disgrace to our civilization; that the disadvantage of having a serving class falls most upon those who are served, and not upon those who serve--just as the real curse of slavery fell upon the slave-owners.

That people who are waited on by a serving class cannot have a right consideration for the rights of others, and they waste both time and substance, both of which are lost forever, and can only seemingly be made good by additional human effort.

That the person who lives on the labor of others, not giving himself in return to the best of his ability, is really a consumer of human life and therefore must be considered no better than a cannibal.

That each one living naturally will do the thing he can do best, but that in useful service there is no high nor low.

That to set apart one day in seven as "holy" is really absurd and serves only to loosen our grasp on the tangible present.

That all duties, offices and things which are useful and necessary to humanity are sacred, and that nothing else is or can be sacred.


Elbert Hubbard