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The Historical Library is provided for those doing research into the history of nontheism. It is not intended to be--and should not be used as--a source of modern, up-to-date information regarding atheistic issues. DO NOT CONTACT US ABOUT THESE DOCUMENTS. Please read the full Historical Library Disclaimer
This file has been made available by the Bank of Wisdom.

Young Mans Chances

Robert Green Ingersoll


                  A YOUNG MAN'S CHANCES TO-DAY.

     A FEW years ago there were many thousand miles of railroads
to be built, a great many towns and cities to be located,
constructed and filled; vast areas of uncultivated land were
waiting for the plow, vast forests the axe, and thousands of
mines were longing to be opened. In those days every young man of
energy and industry had a future. The professions were not
overcrowded; there were more patients than doctors, more
litigants than lawyers, more buyers of goods than merchants. The
young man of that time who was raised on a farm got a little
education, taught school, read law or medicine -- some of the
weaker ones read theology -- and there seemed to be plenty of
room, plenty of avenues to success and distinction So, too, a few
years ago a political life was considered honorable, and so in
politics there were many great careers. So, hundreds of towns
wanted newspapers, and in each of those towns there was an
opening for some energetic young man. At that time the plant cost
but little; a few dollars purchased the press -- the young
publisher could get the paper stock on credit.

     Now the railroads have all been built; the canals are
finished; the cities have been located; the outside property has
been cut into lots, and sold and mortgaged many times over. Now
it requires great capital to go into business. The individual is
counting for less and less; the corporation, the trust, for more
and more. Now a great merchant employs hundreds of clerks; a few
years ago most of those now clerks would have been merchants. And
so it seems to be in nearly every department of life. Of course,
I do not know what inventions may leap from the brains of the
future; there may be millions and millions of fortunes yet to be
made in that direction, but of that I am not speaking.

     So, I think that a few years ago the chances were far more
numerous and favorable to young men who wished to make a name for
themselves, and to succeed in some department of human energy
than now.

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                               22

                  A YOUNG MAN'S CHANCES TO-DAY.

     In savage life a living is very easy to get. Most any savage
can hunt or fish; consequently there are few failures. But in
civilized life competition becomes stronger and sharper;
consequently, the percentage of failures increases, and this
seems to be the law. The individual is constantly counting for
less. It may be that, on the average, people live better than
they did formerly, that they have more to eat, drink and wear;
but the individual horizon has lessened; it is not so wide and
cloudless as formerly. So I say that the chances for great
fortunes, for great success, are growing less and less.

     I think a young man should do that which is easiest for him
to do, provided there is an opportunity; if there is none, then
he should take the next. The first object of every young man
should be to be self-supporting, no matter in what direction --
be independent. He should avoid being a clerk and he should avoid
giving his future into the hands of any one person. He should
endeavor to get a business in which the community will be his
patron, and whether he is to be a lawyer, a doctor or a day-
laborer depends on how much he has mixed mind with muscle.

     If a young man imagines that he has an aptitude for public
speaking -- that is, if he has a great desire to make his ideas
known to the world -- the probability is that the desire will
choose the way, time and place for him to make the effort.

     If he really has something to say, there will be plenty to
listen. If he is so carried away with his subject, is so in
earnest that he becomes an instrumentality of his thought -- so
that he is forgotten by himself; so that he cares neither for
applause nor censure -- simply caring to present his thoughts in
the highest and best and most comprehensive way, the probability
is that he will be an orator.

     I think oratory is something that cannot be taught.
Undoubtedly a man can learn to be a fair talker. He can by
practice learn to present his ideas consecutively, clearly and in
what you may call "form," but there is as much difference between
this and an oration as there is between a skeleton and a living
human being clad in sensitive, throbbing flesh.

     There are millions of skeleton makers, millions of people
who can express what may be called "the bones" of a discourse,
but not one in a million who can clothe these bones.

     You can no more teach a man to be an orator than you can
teach him to be an artist or a poet of the first class. When you
teach him there is the same difference between the man who is
taught, and the man who is what he is by virtue of a natural
aptitude, that there is between a pump and a spring -- between a
canal and a river -- between April rain and water-works, It is a
question of capacity and feeling -- not of education. There are
some things that you can tell an orator not to do. For instance,
he should never drink water while talking, because the interest
is broken and for the moment he loses control of his audience. He
should never look at his watch for the same reason. He should
never talk about himself. He should never deal in personalities.

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                               23

                  A YOUNG MAN'S CHANCES TO-DAY.

He should never tell long stories, and if he tells any story he
should never say that it is a true story, and that he knew the
parties. This makes it a question of veracity instead of a
question of art. He should never clog his discourse with details.
He should never dwell upon particulars -- he should touch
universals, because the great truths are for all time.

     If he wants to know something, if he wishes to feel
something, let him read Shakespeare. Let him listen to the music
of Wagner, of Beethoven, or Schubert. If he wishes to express
himself in the highest and most perfect form, let him become
familiar with the great paintings of the world -- with the great
statues -- all these will lend grace, will give movement and
passion and rhythm to his words. A great orator puts into his
speech the perfume, the feelings, the intensity of all the great
and beautiful and marvelous things that he has seen and heard and
felt. An orator must be a poet, a metaphysician, a logician --
and above all, must have sympathy with all.

                          ****     ****

    Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

                          ****     ****

   The Bank of Wisdom Inc. is a collection of the most
thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are
reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world
history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and
especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include
philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be
made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied
and distributed, so that America can again become what its
Founders intended --

                 The Free Market Place of Ideas.

   The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old,
hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts
and information for today. If you have such books please contact
us, we need to give them back to America.

                          ****     ****

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                               24

Bank of Wisdom

The Bank of Wisdom is run by Emmett Fields out of his home in Kentucky. He painstakingly scanned in these works and put them on disks for others to have available. Mr. Fields makes these disks available for only the cost of the media.

Files made available from the Bank of Wisdom may be freely reproduced and given away, but may not be sold.

Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

Bank of WisdomThe Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended --

The Free Market-Place of Ideas.

The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926
Louisville, KY 40201

/library/historical/disclaimer.html
The Historical Library is provided for those doing research into the history of nontheism. It is not intended to be--and should not be used as--a source of modern, up-to-date information regarding atheistic issues. DO NOT CONTACT US ABOUT THESE DOCUMENTS. Please read the full Historical Library Disclaimer
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