John Muir


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ships’ rigging, wrapping our packages, and hanging the wicked, and cotton is another plain case for clothing. Iron was made for hammer and plow and lead for bullets, all intended “for us” and so of another small handful of insignificant things. But if we should ask these profound expositors of God’s intentions, how about those man-eating animals, the lion, tiger, alligator who smack their lips over raw man, creation’s lords, or about those myriads of “noxious” insects that destroy his labors, and drink his blood. Doubtless man was “intended” food and drink for all these. Oh no! Not at all! These are unresolvable difficulties of Eden’s apples and the devil. Why does water drown its lord? Why do so many minerals poison him? Why are so many plants and fishes deadly enemies to him? Why is the lord of creation subjected to the same laws of life as his subjects? Oh! All these things are Satanic, or in some way connected with the first garden. Now it does not occur to these far-seeing intentionists that the Lord’s primary object in constructing all of his creatures was that least might be the happiness first of all each one, not the mere provident creation of all for the happiness of one. Why ought man to value himself as more than an infinitely small unit of the one great unit of creation, and what creature of all that the Lord has taken the pains to make, is not essential to the completeness of that unit. The universe would be incomplete without lord man, but it would also be incomplete without the smallest trans-microscopic creature that dwells beyond our conceitful eyes.

Date Original

July 1867


Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist