The Great Affirmation
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
You are now invited to dwell upon these thoughts until something of the sublimity of the following sentence inspires your inmost soul — the sentence fell from the pen of one of the world's deepest thinkers:
"The proposition, I am, is an infinite proposition because it is one which has no real predicate, but which, for that very reason, may have an infinity of possible predicates."
This statement may be illustrated as follows:
I that is, I=I.
I am body: forever some kind of body. I, body, perfectingly am — eternally..
I am mind: forever some development of mind, never exhaustively unfolded. I, mind, unfoldingly am — eternally.
I am self: forever a complex, making toward realization of my individual climaxing idea, but never manifesting this as a finality because it is a limitless thought. I, individuality, am — eternally.
Catching something of the inspiration of this notion of sovereign individuality forever realizing and never exhausting, you are urged now to resolve:
"From this high day onward I resolve to be all my self at its known best: freely, solely, wholly, independent of all fear, coercion, opinion, belief or law not based in reason and motived in human weal."
The possibility of this resolution is more or less questioned by all the common relations of life. Always the question (and the usual assault on the theory) beget fears; and always, nevertheless, the fears constitute a demand for courage. Hence, our methods of dealing with them take on supplementary aspects. If you wish to achieve individuality, you must cultivate courage. But, again, if you wish to achieve courage, I know no finer method therefor than the steadfast assertion and development of individual selfhood. Having, then, the culture of courage as your goal, we shall also make for the companion goal in the regimes that follow. Both goals are sought in the methods, and the methods or regimes work themselves out through those relations in life which threaten, yet may really assist, the full individualization of the self. And so we come to our regimes.