Menticulture - Diagnosis And Remedy
( Originally Published 1901 )
It is believed by many, that Society and Politics, at the present time, are badly diseased. Mr. Max Nordau's diagnosis of them, which he entitled Degeneration, has met with general approval. Legislative (especially municipal) corruption, and the degradation of some of the courts, are open evidence of the fact Statesmanship and Politics have been divorced, and are already strangers to each other. The marriage of Might and Right, has been sanctioned by popular consent. Power is no longer used as a lever with which to uplift the weak, but has been transformed into a social crushing machine. Caste, ostentation, dissipation, and insincerity, are the established idols that lure the present generation towards greedy ambition.
It is also believed, and is perhaps true, that the social ulcers have been so irritated by ostentatious rivalry, and the commercial ulcers are so distended with the pus of ruinous competition and corruption, that they must soon come to a head, and that convalescence and cure may be possibilities of the future.
While these symptoms of disease are visible to all, and are tolerated as necessary evils, they fortunately do not cover the whole body politic; but yet, they seriously disfigure its face, and grievously affect the healthy action of its heart.
In the political world, many agents are actively at work to effect cure of the evils which flaunt unblushing in the face of the public. The Committee of Seventy in New York, The Civic Federation in Chicago, and the National Municipal Reform League of the United States, are all doing good temporary work, but they do not reach the root causes of the evils they aim to correct; and it is doubtful if. the reforms they accomplish will be any more permanent than were those of their equally zealous predecessors.
In the moral and religious world, much the same futile methods of cure through repression are in use that obtained during the Dark Middle Ages.
In the individual, phantoms of the imagination, whose presence impose stagnation and disease, are created and clothed with the authority of masters, under the belief that they are the curses which bind fallen men to earth ; and this in contradiction of every assurance and promise of Christ; in opposition to all intelligent methods of culture used in connection with animals and plants ; and contrary to common sense.
These are strong statements, but they are indisputable ; and if they are true, what then, is the remedy?
As previously stated, the only cure is the germ cure,: and, beginning with the individual.
The task is not a difficult one. Appreciation of the limitations of the power of the depressing passions, and one's strength to extirpate them, and to be superior to them, are the only necessary prerequisites to victory. There is no tedious discipline, as in the various methods of repression in vogue; and dividends are immediately and continuously collectable on the fair face of the investment. No rule of conduct is necessary; for, out of Emancipation, only good conduct, to fit environing circumstances, can be expected ; and yet, every Christian, every Jew, every Buddhist, every Mohammetan, every Free Mason, and every Odd Fellow, can accept Emancipation as a rule of life, without renouncing his other faiths and affiliations, be-cause it is the fundamental principle of them all, expressed in terms of present knowledge, and unclouded by the shadows of ignorance and superstition, which gave the name of Dark Ages to a period of our history.
And outside of these devotees, there is the great mass of men, the so-called Skeptics, who claim to adhere to logic, and scientific sense, for their light on spiritual, as well as on material subjects. To these, Emancipation will be a haven of repose for their spiritual yearnings; and, unimpeded growth, under Divinely natural conditions. "will do the rest" for them all.