inclines to the cares of the world and sensual pleasures, no creature is more feeble, infirm and contemptible than man. At one time he will be the slave of disappointment and melancholy, at another suffering from disease and misfortune; at one time exposed to hunger and thirst, and at another the slave of avarice or ambition. He is not indulged with the enjoyment of a single day in peace. And when he is disposed to partake of the pleasures of the world and stretches out his hand to them, for a long time he cannot succeed in freeing himself from calamity. Even the pleasure of eating will be attended with oppression and pain, and afterwards be followed by some adverse accident. In short, of whatever enjoyment he partakes, regret is sure to follow it. If we regard knowledge, power, will, beauty and grace of form as constituting the glory and honor of this world, what is the wisdom of man? If his head pain him, he knows not the cause or the remedy. If he have pain at his heart, he knows not the occasion of it, or why it increases, or what will cure it. He sees the plants and medicines that could cure it, perhaps even holds them in his hands, and is not aware of it. He knows nothing of what will happen to him on the morrow, nor what action will be a source of enjoyment to him, nor what will be to him a source of pain. If you look only to the strength of a man, what is more impotent than he is. If a fly or mosquito molest him, he cannot get rid of it. If he is attacked by disease, he has no remedy to meet it with. He has no power to preserve himself from destruction. If you look at the firmness and resolution of man, what is more contemptible than he is! If he see any thing more extraordinary than a piece of money, he changes color and loses his presence of mind. If a beggar meet him, he turns away, and dares not look him in the face. If you look at the form of man, you see that it is skin, drawn over blood and impurity....
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Ghazzali's Alchemy of Happiness.