Adam: That is too short a word for so long a thing. Back to Methuselah Part 1, Act 1 Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will. Back to Methuselah Part 1, Act 1 Life must not cease.
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Suppose you were to trip and fall, would you go like that? Promise me you will be careful. What is the good of being careful? We have to live here for ever. Think of what for ever means! Sooner or later I shall trip and fall. It may be tomorrow; it may be after as many days as there are leaves in the garden and grains of sand by the river. No matter: some day I shall forget and stumble. I should be alone. Alone for ever. You must never put yourself in danger of stumbling. You must not move about.
You must sit still. I will take care of you and bring you what you want. I could not sit still then. And at last it would happen to me too. Then we should be no more. There would be only the things on all fours, and the birds, and the snakes. That must not be. Yes: that must not be. But it might be. I tell you it must not be. I know that it must not be.
We both know it. How do we know it? There is a voice in the garden that tells me things. The garden is full of voices sometimes. They put all sorts of thoughts into my head. To me there is only one voice.
It is very low; but it is so near that it is like a whisper from within myself. There is no mistaking it for any voice of the birds or beasts, or for your voice. It is strange that I should hear voices from all sides and you only one from within.
But I have some thoughts that come from within me and not from the voices. The thought that we must not cease to be comes from within. We shall fall like the fawn and be broken. I cannot bear this knowledge. I will not have it. It must not be, I tell you. Yet I do not know how to prevent it. That is just what I feel; but it is very strange that you should say so: there is no pleasing you. You change your mind so often.
How have I changed my mind? You say we must not cease to exist. But you used to complain of having to exist always and for ever.
You sometimes sit for hours brooding and silent, hating me in your heart. When I ask you what I have done to you, you say you are not thinking of me, but of the horror of having to be here for ever.
But I know very well that what you mean is the horror of having to be here with me for ever. That is what you think, is it? Well, you are wrong. It is the horror of having to be with myself for ever. I like you; but I do not like myself. I want to be different; to be better, to begin again and again; to shed myself as a snake sheds its skin. I am tired of myself. And yet I must endure myself, not for a day or for many days, but for ever. That is a dreadful thought. That is what makes me sit brooding and silent and hateful.
Do you never think of that? No: I do not think about myself: what is the use? I am what I am: nothing can alter that. I think about you. You should not. You are always spying on me.
I can never be alone. You always want to know what I have been doing. It is a burden. You should try to have an existence of your own, instead of occupying yourself with my existence. You are lazy: you are dirty: you neglect yourself: you are always dreaming: you would eat bad food and become disgusting if I did not watch you and occupy myself with you.
And now some day, in spite of all my care, you will fall on your head and become dead. What word is that? I call it dead.
It is changing into little white worms. Throw it into the river. It is unbearable. I dare not touch it. Then I must, though I loathe it. It is poisoning the air. Eve looks after them for a moment; then, with a shiver of disgust, sits down on the rock, brooding.
The body of the serpent becomes visible, glowing with wonderful new colors. It is I. I have come to shew you my beautiful new hood. But who taught you to speak? You and Adam. I have crept through the grass, and hidden, and listened to you.
That was wonderfully clever of you. I am the most subtle of all the creatures of the field. Your hood is most lovely. Pretty thing! Do you love your godmother Eve? I adore her. Eve will never be lonely now that her snake can talk to her. I can talk of many things. I am very wise. It was I who whispered the word to you that you did not know. I forgot it when I saw your beautiful hood. You must not remind me of unhappy things. Death is not an unhappy thing when you have learnt how to conquer it.
How can I conquer it? By another thing, called birth. Yes, birth.
Back to Methuselah Quotes by George Bernard Shaw
Suppose you were to trip and fall, would you go like that? Promise me you will be careful. What is the good of being careful? We have to live here for ever. Think of what for ever means!
In the Beginning
Preface[ edit ] In the preface, Shaw speaks of the pervasive discouragement and poverty in Europe after World War I, and relates these issues to inept government. Shaw was in his mids when the plays were written. Although both ideas are out of scientific favour as the twenty-first century begins, Shaw accepted them completely See Commentary, below. Shaw also advocates what he calls homeopathy as a pedagogical method, arguing that society "can only be lamed and enslaved by" education.
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However I have decided that what I will do is write an updated commentary, though I still believe the comments that I made originally still hold The evolution of Humanity played out on stage 27 March When I picked this book up again I noticed that I have already read and commented on it, and I suspect that the comment that I wrote was back when I simply commented on books that I had already read not realising that there were a number of books that I wanted to read again including this one. However I have decided that what I will do is write an updated commentary, though I still believe the comments that I made originally still hold true. Further I will make some specific comments on each of the five parts. Shaw calls this play a metabiological pentatuch, and the Biblical allusion is quite striking and intentional. In the introduction Shaw indicates that when he first wrote about his theory of human evolution in Man and Superman the whole premise of the play was misinterpreted.