Menticulture - Scraps Of Evidence
( Originally Published 1901 )
Early in life I was fortunate enough to acquire the belief that, what seemed to be the consensus of opinion of the learned in any art or science, ought to be true; and, accepting their dictum, I have tried to grow up to an appreciation of their intelligence or taste in the subjects of their study, without combatting it with my own callow impressions. In this way I have enjoyed an early appreciation of the classics in music and in art, much in advance of the ordinary experience derived from personal contact. In this spirit of investigation I have collected some scraps of evidence which all prove my theory. No one has denied the possibility of Emancipation, but every one has found a pleasure at once in the ray of hope it suggests.
Since my attention has been directed to the possible total emancipation from the depressing passions, I have taken occasion to interview every man who seemed to enjoy unclouded happiness, as to the secret of his happiness. In almost every instance I have learned that the emancipated condition has dated, not from infancy and inheritance, but from some incident in later life that exposed the passions to ridicule, or showed them to be a cause of danger; such as death as the result of worry, or crime as the result of anger ; some object lesson which proved the danger of permitting the passions to absorb one. I enquired of
who has recently been selected by vote of the members of his profession to a position of honor among them, and who is conspicuous for his enjoyment of such healthful recreation as only much younger men usually enjoy, whether he did not consider anger and worry habits of the mind, and not as necessary ingredients. "Certainly," said he, " and I know it to be true by the best possible evidence, the evidence of experience." After some further questioning I was able to get from him the following story: " When I was a boy I had an ungovernable temper which brought from my neighbors the prediction that I would come to some bad end. At school I was known as one of the four or five 'roosters.' There was scarcely a day that a ring was not formed, and some of us 'roosters' did not engage in a fight. I followed my studies pretty closely, however, in pursuance of a natural inclination to be `on top,' but without any laudable ambition in connection with them, and finally graduated in medicine and began practice. I suffered great annoyance from horses and servants, and quarreled with them constantly, and got mad at my patients if they showed any unreasonable tendencies; until one day it came to me as a sudden revelation, that, what most hindered them from getting well, was the very thing that possessed me the greater part of the time, and made me disagreeable to myself and others; and I resolved to master myself as I had tried to master others. From that time I date my success in life, and certainly my happiness. I will not al-low anything to worry me. If a driver or other servant does not please me, I do not quarrel with him, but pay him off, and let him go with the best of feeling. I have a collector who is very faithful, and very candid at the same time. When he fails to collect an account that is due, I sometimes ask him the reason, and he repeats to me what my patient has said. One day I questioned him about an account that had been long overdue, against a patient whom I met cordially every day at the club, but who was evidently `short' at the time and suffered annoyance from collectors. ` What did he say?' said I. ` He said, sir, " Tell the doctor to go to hell," replied the honest collector. Most men would have taken offense at the message, and prosecuted his patient for the debt, or 'cut' him, or expressed anger in some way; but I simply didn't go where he had ordered, and never referred to the matter with him. We are the best of friends now, and he is one of my warmest advocates."
The president of one of the largest manufacturing corporations in the country, having properties in a dozen states, related to me the following story :
"Some years ago I journeyed south with a railroad magnate who stood very high at the time in the railway world. We came to a river crossed by his road. The bridge had been washed away, and, while it was rebuilding, trains were ferried to the further shores. Owing to some accident there was no boat on hand to transport the official's car across the stream. He became so angry that he flew into a wild passion, and cursed and discharged the subordinates in charge of the division without inquiry as to the cause of the delay. He learned after-ward that the accident to the boat was unavoidable. and that none of the employes whom he had insulted so grossly and discharged so unfairly were responsible for it ; but he was too proud to apologize.
"The incident made such an impression on me, that I resolved never to show anger again before my employes ; and I have kept my resolve. It has led to my renouncing the habit altogether, and for many years anger has ceased to be a component part of my nature. I am sorry that I did not discharge worry at the same time, as results have proved that it has had no real cause to exist ; and it has, as you say, stolen much precious time and energy out of my life."
Another example of the possible control of the passions, and a most important one, is told by another friend. One of the chums of his youth had fits of anger during which he was possessed with an insatiable desire to kill the object of his wrath, if it happened to be a living being, or to break it if it were inanimate. During his seasons of calm he deplored his weakness, and resolved not to permit it to take possession of him. He stopped being angry because he was afraid of the consequences. He did not dare io be angry. As a result he has lived a life filled with charity and consideration for others, which has been a blessing to himself and those about him.
Mr. Charles A. Dana once sent a member of the staff of the New York Sun to learn, if possible, what was the probable cause of the death of some men of high standing in the financial world who were reported to have hastened their death by over-work. Mr. Dana did not believe that hard work could kill. The result of the inquiry in each instance was to the effect that these men were the victims of worry, which was as unnecessary, as it was unprofitable and fatal.
One of the most prolific, observing, and interesting writers of stories and descriptive articles for the magazines, a war correspondent and one time journalist, has endorsed and practiced the theory presented in this paper, and has done me the honor to write approvingly as follows :
"I have succeeded in entirely ridding myself of the cancers, and am amazed at the ease with which it was done. You are certainly an apostle of sweetness and light, and I shall never be able to thank you enough for letting me into your noble secret."
He notes especially an improved digestion, and feels younger each day as he progresses in the new life.
A GENERAL MANAGER
The Southern General Manager of one of the largest British Insurance Companies is a tried convert, and finds health and happiness which had never been attained while under the thraldom of worry, which was his only former affliction.
The author of a novel which has just come before the public, and which is one of the purest and most ingenious stories ever published, is an ardent convert to the belief that she is superior to the depressing passions, and her naturally religious temperament finds great solace in it.
A leading lawyer of New Orleans, of very old family, religious by nature, but not sectarian, found comfort in the idea of the possible elimination of the passions, and the unrestricted growth of the God-given faculties, in substance as follows :
"The germ theory of cure must appeal to all persons in a greater or less degree, especially to such as find it difficult to believe in a personal Deity who receives directly and directly answers prayer as a special dispensation. They can find logic in the cultivation of the Divine Spark which has been breathed in to them, and feel that in its growth toward perfection the Laws of Nature are being assisted and not violated ; while to such as find faith in a personal God and comfort and help in prayer, the ability to be superior to sinful thoughts will give stimulation to their faith, and be a fulfilment of the Example, which taught : 'Get thee behind me, Satan' !"
I-was traveling with a friend from the South who is one of the best fellows that I know. He is kind, considerate, chivalrous, and all that characterizes a Southern gentleman; but he has a false idea of dignity in some respects, and precipitates controversy sometimes without cause, and when he himself is to blame in the matter. We were discussing the theory of Emancipation, and he agreed with me on almost all of the points at issue, in fact to such an extent that I felt that he absorbed the idea fully, when he said : "Yes, it is true, and I believe in it, and I think I have practiced it somewhat ; but I can't stand impertinence from niggers; they rub up against. me all the time, and annoy me terribly, especially these Pullman porters." " Yes," said I in reply, "you have attained pretty good self control and have reason to be proud of it ; you are pretty nearly a perfect man ; the only thing you are not superior to is a nigger." The rebuke impressed him as a truism that had never occurred to him in that light before.
The truth of the matter is, and I have had both experiences to prove it to my own satisfaction, antagonism invites antagonism. A fostered dislike or an anticipated friction sends out a shaft in advance which rebounds and rebounds with quickening vibrations. If one is looking for impertinence from any source he will be pretty sure to find it; but if he carries a mind and heart free from prejudice, which is the condition of Emancipation, the shaft will not be unloosed, and the disturbing vibrations will not occur. I do not believe that Pullman porters were ever discourteous to Phillips Brooks, or Edward Everett Hale, or Professor Swing or men of their caliber of mind; or if they were, I do not believe that the impertinence made any impression on them except to excite pity.
The most remarkable evidence in support of my theory that fear is dispelled with worry, and which corroborates my own experience, comes from. an old friend who once had a shock from a stroke of lightning, and who, on account of it, has for years suffered wretchedly from a depression akin to involuntary fear whenever the weather has indicated an approaching storm. He has accepted the possibility of Emancipation and enjoyed deliverance from the passions, but strangely enough has also now immunity from any uncomfortable feeling during electric storms.
Another convert states that he has lost all timidity, in the presence of an audience, which formerly he could not overcome.
THOMSON J. HUDSON
Mr. Thomson J. Hudson, in his Law of Psychic Phenomena, has marshalled a great array of authentic evidence, gathered from the researches of many Psychological Societies, which all prove the power of the mind over itself and over the body, and its amenability to suggestion, under the receptive condition of faith. One can not read this able work without becoming convinced that Emancipation is entirely possible. Any one who wishes to learn something of the power stored within him, will do well to read the Law of Psychic Phenomena.
The success of the Keeley Cure in conquering the habits of drinking, opium, and tobacco, is proof of the efficacy of germ treatment where the germs are sensual, or mental. If bichloride of gold can cure such dread passions of the appetite, may not bichloride of common sense cure the bad habits of the mind that cause them ?
A MASTER WORKMAN
And now, comes a scrap of evidence that is valuable because it is furnished by a man whose experience is wide among the people who make the wealth which we all enjoy ; to whom we are directly indebted for the comforts and luxuries of life ; and whose endorsement of an idea or reform is necessary to make it be-come a feature of our system or government. He went west many years ago from New York, a mechanic by trade, and found employment in the shops of one of the great railroads. In time he was advanced to the position of foreman. In private life he is now a Baron Bountiful in the service of everybody within his reach. As Masterworkman of Labor Organizations, he has urged the just cause of his confreres with the success that follows earnest conviction. In the intimate confidence of his employers, he has presented their side of a controversy to the men without any of the misrepresentation of a demagogue.
He is the President of a sound Building and Loan Association, with-out salary, not to make money for himself, but for the purpose of helping his men to build and own homes; and those who have felt his assistance in that direction, and owe him debts of gratitude for various benefactions, are numbered by the hundreds. When ever there is sickness, he brings solid help and the sunniest of comfort; and when there is death, he knows just how best to serve the afflicted family with those delicate attentions which relieve them from repulsively material details, his presence always bringing comfort even under circumstances in which people want most to be alone. His sympathy is universal, and reflects itself into the hearts of all with whom he comes in contact.
To such a man, one would naturally think the depressing passions were strangers, and that he must have been born without them; but he assures me that he was a slave to them for many years, and that he was frightened out of harboring them by a physician, and that whatever good he has accomplished in his humble sphere (as he calls it) he attributes to the partial Emancipation which his doctor's warning led him to enforce upon himself. The story that follows was elicited on hearing an out-line of the theory of possible Emancipation as presented in these pages.
"Stop right there: don't go any farther till I have talked with you about that part of it. It is as true as gospel, but I never knew what it was. I have had an experience which makes me know that it is true, but I didn't know the reason for it. When the doctors told me that I must quit worrying and take it easy, or medicine would do me no good, and I would die, why didn't they tell me that anger and worry were not necessary, and that it was they that I was suffering from? I would have understood it better, and I wouldn't have had so much trouble about fearing I would have them back some time in spite of myself. Why didn't the preachers tell me this when I was a boy, and let me begin to live then, instead of waiting till l got to be an old man or pretty near to it? You can bet that my boys will know this thing right away, and live it too, and I want my men to know it. It is the only thing they need to complete their happiness. The old gentleman needs it, and Mr.—, and Mr . (mentioning a number of well known men who are their own worst enemies, who harm no one but themselves, but whose abuse of self, through worry, is as merciless as the tortures of the Inquisition); and what a blessing it would be for the women! See here, I want a hundred of those books as soon as they are published, and I know where they will do a heap of good. They will be better than the medicine of all the doctors, and do a lot of good besides. I'm going to commit what you have told me to memory, so as to tell people about it if I haven't got a book by me. You see that I know all about this, for I have had an experience. When I was a youngster, I was naturally ambitious, and pretty smart with the tools, and 'took' with my employers, and finally got to be superintendent. Then I got to be more ambitious, especially after I was married and the children came. I wanted them to have a good education and be fitted to be gentlemen, which I knew their mother's, and I might remark incident-ally, my own blood entitled them to be.
I was pretty sensitive, and was always standing up for my rights. I was too apt to worry. I had not heard what you have told me and thought worry necessary. If I had not worried I would not have got angry.
" When I got to be superintendent I thought that one of the things that I had to do was to be sure and maintain my dignity, and show it by occasion-ally making believe mad at something. At first I did not feel it half as much as I showed it ; but I thought it was part . of the business of a boss to get mad, until finally it got to be a habit, and grew on me till I was in a state of anger most of the time. I also thought that I had to worry about things, or I would not show the proper respect for my responsibilities. It was the way I had of letting myself feel that I was carrying a terrible burden and earning my salary. The trouble was that, while it was partly play-acting at first, it came to be habit, and worked on my health in the end. The doctors dosed me with all sorts of medicine. I was a regular pigeon, and gave up many a hard-earned dollar to them for no good at all. One day Dr. L , to whom I went as a last resort, for I was beginning to have dizzy spells and twitching in the face that was serious, asked me a lot of questions about myself and my habits and duties. I told him frankly, and when I had done so he said : ` There is no use giving you any medicine, you have got to quit worrying and take it easy ; that is the only trouble with you. If you keep on with your worry I will have to give your family a certificate of death; so, if you don't want me to do that, you just quit your worrying and take life easy. Whatever you do, don't get into fits of anger, for that is more wearing to a man in your condition than anything else.' Well, to 'fess up and tell you the truth, I got frightened out of my wits. I hadn't got near enough to eighty (my limit) to think about dying, and I didn't want to do it right then, especially as I hadn't got Mary and the boys well enough fixed to leave. The other doctors had made a monkey of me, and took my money, and told me that I would be all right in. a few days but this honest German told me the truth and set me to thinking. I didn't say a word to anyone, but made up my mind I would take his advice. At first I thought that I was shirking some of the duties of a superintendent, when I quit getting mad and worrying; but I squared it with myself by saying to myself, ` Better be a tame donkey for the company than a dead one.' Well, I didn't know it at the time ; that is, I didn't know the cause of it, but from that time I have just had luck under my wing all the time. I have pleased my employers, and I have pleased the men, and things have been coming my way in great shape, and they are still a-coming. Why, I see it all as plain as the nose on your face. Those little devils that keep a man back, and keep him from being happy, have no business there by rights; and all you have got to know is that they are poachers, and all you have got to do is to tell them to 'git.' And just see how it would work if everybody knew this as I see it. If you knew that your neighbor knew that Emancipation was possible, you would know at the same time that he was no fool, and that, knowing it, he had become Emancipated, of course, and there would be a trustful sympathy established at once, and you would pull together and never apart after that. If his fence accidentally encroached an inch on your land, you would be glad of it; or, if your fence had been set on his side of the legal line, he would not object; and so it would go on between you, and you would be happy and good neighbors to each other. Why, I would rather my men would have that secret and day's wages, than a million of dollars without it ; and my boys, if I don't leave them a cent, I will leave them full of this secret, and won't worry about their future happiness. I was much interested in that book you gave me several years ago called ` Looking Backward.' What the author said about co-operation, and all that, was all right and very beautiful; but I didn't take much stock in it be-cause I had such a poor opinion of human nature, that I didn't think people could quit grabbing and get down to brass tacks in a cooperative way. But if you can spread the idea of Mental Emancipation as you have told it to me (and I don't see what can help its spreading like wildfire as soon as it gets out), the social paradise pictured in `Looking Backward' will come as a matter of course ; and I see it a-coming If you take off a brake I can see how a car can run down a hill, but with the brake on I couldn't see how you could push it down.
"The more I think of this thing the bigger it gets, and it is a sure winner. Now suppose my family, and the B. family on the corner, and the N. family next door had found out the secret, anybody that couldn't grasp it couldn't live in the street, he would feel so uncomfortable. In fact, if there were such an one, we could put him down for a crazy man or an idiot, and treat him with the same consideration we treat such weak people.
" Or suppose the men over in the shops were the joint possessors of the secret; why, the first thing you would know they would all be at work on some co-operative plan for themselves. Not that any of us have anything against the employers we work for, for there are no better in the land; but it is the blamed stupidity of the system that makes men work hard for small wages to feed the flames of ruinous rivalry. Look at the brains locked up in the pates of lawyers which have nothing better to do than to mix things up so that they will get the job of unmixing them. Think what would happen if all that education and all that ingenuity were turned towards invention! Most of the tangles they are employed to unravel should never have existed, and would not have existed in a community where the secret of Emancipation had been told. In all of the clumsiness of competition, and the expense of pullback methods, labor, the source of all we have, pays the whole freight in one way or another; and the reason it does so is because of the little parasite devils that are sawing wood and hatching eggs in the minds of each individual worker and producer. With these little devils at work in him he is suspicious, selfish, jealous, and what not else, because he thinks his neighbor and fellow workman are similarly possessed, and he must be so too to get along. Under this condition cohesion is impossible, and schemers prey upon the separateness of the producing community to rob it of as much of the product of its labor as possible. Suppose that the secret of possible Emancipation should become general (and for the life of me I cannot see how it can fail to do so), there would be confidence, trustfulness, cohesion, ambition to be useful, and the energy of the healthy child for play-work would return to the rejuvenated man, and he would play work under those conditions and not feel that it was a mark of servitude and necessity, and the land would sing with the sound of willing industry."
My friend had become eloquent under the inspiration of the possible establishment of a Heaven on earth to which he could invite his friends. Do not think that this is not a true report of a conversation in real life. My friend is a real character; is well read and educated by observation and experience, and could succeed in almost any position in life except in such as did not give "value received" for the service rendered. He is one of those "Noblemen by Nature" to whom the world owes so much, but pays so little; but he is happy in doing good, and the field he works in is one of the richest for that harvest, and the compensation he prizes most highly, is the happiness he is able to give others. He had the secret of True Living forced on him, in spite of the example of the world, without knowing the true cause or value of his good fortune; but his happiness was increased many fold when he learned that it was his birth-right; was a possession of which no one could rob him; and would remain his as long as he lived. And as he has faith in the Eternal Evolution of everything, he feels that, freed from the depressing passions, there will be no end to his growth; that, at the so-called middle age of human tenure, he is but in the beginning of life; or, if not that, that each day is a wealth of joy unto itself in spite of any external conditions; for he has found that "the kingdom of Heaven is at hand" and that-a branch of it has been established in his own heart.
All men are not constituted alike. In the economy of Nature it is her purpose that no two things are made alike. In a million years a million men could not count the spears of grass in the fields, or the hairs of the heads of men; yet no patient investigator has been able to find any two of them that did not differ from every other one when put under the lens of the microscope One thousand millions of humans inhabit this earth. Each has essentially the same form, the same two eyes, the same mouth, the same ears and hands and arms; and yet even in the case. of twins, where the nearest approach to similarity comes, the mother never can mistake the one for the other. If you are unlike others, it is because nature chose to cast you in a different mould to serve some wise purpose; and with that form, comes the God-given essence of the Divine, whose presence and growth are evidenced by an innate yearning for spirituality. Much spirituality lifts a man above his less spiritual fellows and makes of him a cornerstone, or a keystone, or some other important segment of the social structure; and lack of it condemns him to be a bit of rubble, or an atom of filling. The corner-stones and the keystones help and support each other in the stately arch, while the rubble and the atoms fall apart and become dirt, when allowed to find their level. Which shall we choose to become: the keystone of the arch, or some of the dirt of the earth beneath it? Which shall we choose: happiness, health, growth, usefulness, rest, and a fitting relationship to the Divine, or the reverse? Each is what God made him plus what he can attain by growth. Through eradication of the cankerous passions; through the extirpation of the mental weeds; the dwarf may grow to be greater than the king; and all can freely and fully enjoy life and growth, when they have learned the A–B–C of True Living. The grammar, and the rhetoric, and the poetry, and perhaps a higher intelligence than we know of now may follow, and are sure to follow; but they will be but brighter phases of happiness already attained.
In searching for corroborative evidence of the possibility of Emancipation, I was fortunate in meeting a lady whose acquaintance with the several religions and metaphysics is exceptional ; and whose clear intelligence regarding the value of menticulture, makes her a rare critic in questions of this kind. From her I received the most valued encouragement. She is a devout church woman, but has studied along the several lines of psychology in search of additional light and strength. She had read my simple presentation of the theory of germ cure, and found in it a ray of hope, the effect of which she described as follows: "The sensation that was produced in me by the suggestion, I cannot describe. It was as if a great flood of light had burst upon me, and I saw the possibility of an immediate realization of my spiritual ideal; and I have prayed to God constantly, that it may not leave me, There have been unusual occasions for worry and annoyance since then. I have just moved to a new city ; into a new house; and my husband and I are beginning life anew in an untried field. All of my past associations are broken up, and new sympathies among strangers are to be formed. My husband's health has been poor, and mine has been wretched, so that we have been compelled to seek climates more favorable, at the expense of financial considerations; yet, the cloud that hung over our prospects has been miraculously dispelled, and my days and nights are soothed with a calm contentment and happiness which I have never known before. My religion seems more precious to me than ever. It seems as if one simple little ingredient that it lacked has been found ; and that now it is perfect. I have always been possessed of a desire to accomplish one act in life which should be conspicuous for its usefulness to some one ; and if I can ever succeed in giving to one person the light and comfort that this revelation has given to me, I shall feel that my ambition has been attained."
Her discovery of a simple little ingredient, in the theory of germ cure, led to a new appreciation of the idea of simplicity in connection with it, which has been amplified in the succeeding chapter.