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The Original Text

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The original text consists of the lyrics to a song, "What Keeps Mankind Alive" by Kurt Weil. It appears in a play called The Threepenny Opera. I first heard it as the version performed by Tom Waits, and had to use it as a relay text.

You gentlemen who think you have a mission
To purge us of the seven deadly sins
Should first sort out the basic food position
Then start your preaching, thatís where it begins

You lot who preach restraint and watch your waist as well
Should learn, for once, the way the world is run
However much you twist or whatever lies that you tell
Food is the first thing, morals follow on

So first make sure that those who are now starving
Get proper helpings when we all start carving
What keeps mankind alive?

What keeps mankind alive?
The fact that millions are daily tortured
Stifled, punished, silenced and oppressed
Mankind can keep alive thanks to its brilliance
In keeping its humanity repressed
And for once you must try not to shirk the facts
Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts

KW