Unnatural Man Enjoys Fear
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
There are those to whom it seems entirely natural to enjoy the signs of fear in others. This fact does not appear to indicate encouragement for timid souls. Nevertheless, an analysis of the matter may suggest that timidity's timidness has only half its apparent justification. There are two kinds of human nature, the natural and the unnatural. In our common thought we make the natural the unnatural, and the unnatural the natural. I reject as false and an imputation upon the All-Good that theology which regards man as "naturally sinful" and selfish, and hold that "sinful" and selfish man is really the unnatural man. Natural man, created in the "image" of his Maker, is all good in the sense that he contains and partially realizes the possibilities of ideal unfoldment. Unnatural man is the disorder of natural man. It is natural for unnatural man to be selfish, and to relish deference, cringing and timidity in others. Some bishops, magnates and "queens" exhibit this hideous failing whenever they pose in public. But the true natural man abhors all these things. We may divide the people whom we meet into the true and the great, for one class, and all the rest for the other class. The first class never nurse their conscious superiority, either of person, of wealth, of position, or of culture. The second class exhibit what we may call Megalopsukia, misusing a word from Aristotle which means " high-mindedness," making it signify the "swell-head," and they rob others of the inalienable right to comfort and peace of soul which normally belongs to every son of the Infinite. Not always, it must be conceded, are they aware of them-selves. Financial kings, scholars, social queens and ecclesiastics are sometimes so saturated with a feeling of condescending greatness as to be totally unconscious of their immense folly and selfishness. But your really superior person never emphasizes his wealth, his learning, his office, or any social preeminence. Why should he? These things are but incidents in true living. Only little bits of folk emphasize what lies on the outside of personality. Genuine people make you at ease in their presence — if it is possible — because they never think of their presence.
Exactly at this point, then, appears a part of your remedy. You are urged to divide your acquaintances into the true and genuine men and women and the silly and robber-class, and to insist in your thought upon your own superiority to the latter, resolutely eliminating from your relations with others all similar folly and cruelty. With unpretentious humanity you have little trouble, and if you will assume the attitude indicated toward the "consciously superior" variety, you will measurably overcome your timidity with this class, and by so much, as a matter of course, come to freedom with the only kind of people who are at all worth your thought. As an example, I may say that I was formerly distressed by timidity in the presence of certain magnates who condescended to urbanity and brother-hood, but in time I discovered their unnatural humanity and their sanctified enjoyment of deference and "modesty" in others, and then I learned to laugh my-self into good courage.
There is a task, however, for the "superior" folk in this matter. Neither excuse nor ground can be made out for any enjoyment of fear in other people. We are all of one family — the human brotherhood. A reason-able family represents oneness of blood, community of interests, some similarity of tastes and beliefs, agreement amid differences, the amicable adjustment of difficulties, friendliness, and the comfortable speech of familiarity. One earth-family, of one blood, one home, one exit, one possible destiny, should not need the introduction as a law, legislation forbidding human hurt, and sermons against nursed superiority and brutal selfishness. Since it does seem to demand these things, timid people must have recourse to a just estimate of those who insist upon their false worth, and call them what they are — silly and selfish specimens of the genus homo, thus, in part, destroying the occasion for timidity. In the meantime it should be remembered that unnatural man needs naturalizing, and that this ideal can be gained only through right living — living at the best possible of the white life.