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Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


NATURE

Northrop photo 1901
Photo of Clemens 1901 at Lake Saranac by
W. B. Northrop

Nature knows no indecencies; man invents them.
- Mark Twain's Notebook

How blind and unreasoning and arbitrary are some of the laws of nature -- most of them in fact!
- "A Double-Barrelled Detective Story"

Nature makes the locust with an appetite for crops; man would have made him with an appetite for sand -- I mean a man with the least little bit of common sense.
- Following the Equator, Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar

Architects cannot teach nature anything.
- "Memorable Midnight Experience"

It is strange and fine -- Nature's lavish generosities to her creatures. At least to all of them except man. For those that fly she has provided a home that is nobly spacious -- a home which is forty miles deep and envelopes the whole globe, and has not an obstruction in it. For those that swim she has provided a more than imperial domain -- a domain which is miles deep and covers four-fifths of the globe. But as for man, she has cut him off with the mere odds and ends of the creation. She has given him the thin skin, the meager skin which is stretched over the remaining one-fifth -- the naked bones stick up through it in most places. On the one-half of this domain he can raise snow, ice, sand, rocks, and nothing else. So the valuable part of his inheritance really consists of but a single fifth of the family estate; and out of it he has to grub hard to get enough to keep him alive and provide kings and soldiers and powder to extend the blessings of civilization with. Yet, man, in his simplicity and complacency and inability to cipher, thinks Nature regards him as the important member of the family -- in fact, her favorite. Surely, it must occur to even his dull head, sometimes, that she has a curious way of showing it.
- Following the Equator

The laws of Nature take precedence of all human laws. The purpose of all human laws is one -- to defeat the laws of Nature. This is the case among all the nations, both civilized and savage. It is a grotesquerie, but when the human race is not grotesque it is because it is asleep and losing its opportunity.
- Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 2 (2013), p. 127. Dictated 18 June 1906.

 

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