Menticulture - First Principles Overlooked
( Originally Published 1901 )
Simplicity and harmony are the ultimate conditions to be attained in all things. In literature, and in music, and in oratory, and in painting, and in mechanics, and in life, simplicity is at once the greatest charm, and the best evidence of merit. In mechanics, a simple little device usually perfects the great labor-saving machine. In chemistry, a simple little ingredient may give culminating power to a world-building or a world-destroying compound. In oratory, a simple and impassioned appeal is most potent to move the multitude to action ; and in menticulture, the simple and direct application of the germ cure, may be able to effect a millennium in social evolution within a generation. Stranger things have happened! Because it has not happened, is no reason why it should not happen. In fact, there are logical reasons why the habit of repression should have smothered any idea of germ cure, till Science placed an analogy in physics before our eyes ; especially because the false hypothesis of original (or natural) sin, has been persistently advanced as a law of our being.
Christ taught the germ cure, and hinted at no other as an alternative. In the sermon on the mount ; in his talks by the Sea of Galilee; and in his rebuke of the devil in the desert, there was no note of indecision suggested. Do and be and gel were unmistakable commands. But these commands were given in a gentle manner, to half-doubting disciples, and faintly echoed by them to an incredulous world, that had not learned the power of mind over matter, or over itself ; and hence the world waited for Science to prove even greater possibilities, before giving heed to the simple commands of the Great Teacher in the manner he commanded.
One of the great weaknesses of the age in which we live is the ignoring of first principles, and a reaching out for the remote or unattainable. In the matter of home responsibilities, and in menticulture, this is most apparent. The order of responsibility is the mind, the body the mind of the child the body or health of the child and so on in the sequence of relation-ship in the family, in the community, in the nation, and in the world ; not with selfish discrimination against the more remote, but with zealous care of the nearer relationships. This order, however, is rarely observed. We weed the garden, but do not weed the mind. We pass laws to punish any who strike, or rob, or corrupt a citizen, but there is no law to protect the abused or neglected children of drunken or incompetent parents, except in extreme cases. Breeders of fine animals take the greatest pains to guard all the conditions surrounding their stock, and at the same time encourage family alliance with consumptive plutocrats.
The antiquated and primitive doctrine of laissez faire, has been replaced by those of Division of Labor, and of Protection, in the cases of the strong who have demanded them, or who have purchased them through legislative cupidity; but still obtains in the cases of the weak and non-assertive.
The truant subjects of great nations, scattered in foreign lands, are hedged about with protection equal to an imperial guard ; and thousands of men and millions of money are sacrificed to revenge an insult to, or protect the property of a claimant citizen at the Antipodes ; while hundreds and thousands of the producers at home are starving and dying, because of the maladministration of the first principles of economies, and the laissez faire license given to selfish and unscrupulous competition.
Arrogant commerce, and the already-powerful, have no end of protection; but the mind, the health, the child, and the producer, are- left to the tender mercy of chance, or are hampered by crushing conditions of abuse and neglect contrary to every law of growth ; and thus it must be ; until we adopt the germ cure, as a principle of menticulture, and Emancipation, as the first evidence of intelligence and respectability.
In self-administration, the far-away habit is quite as prevalent as in the administration of Society. Men and women slave and save, to furnish means for sending missionaries to India, to release the Indian mind of imagined evils, while they crawl about servile to anger or worry, or both anger and worry. They set their ideal of happiness at an indefinite height, always out of reach. They hide their Heaven behind the curtain of death, and refuse to look for it within the precincts of their own heart. They waste precious time in speculating as to the form and attributes of the Cause of all things, its residence and disposition, while they smother under the pall of inappreciation, the best evidence of its existence, and the most potent workings of its power, within themselves. And all this be-cause they work from the wrong end, and are dull to the efficacy of growth from the basis of Emancipation.
Their method of life is like the unraveling of a snarled skein from the middle. They fumble futilely at the snarl, and accomplish little, if any-thing, when they ought first to release the end within themselves, and follow the cord from that beginning, along the line of growth and organization, to the condition of unrestricted freedom, and usefulness, — the condition of Emancipated Brotherhood.
Religions are founded, fraternal societies are formed, armies are marshalled, and nations are grown about a sympathetic idea, to which the majority subscribe. The aim is always the same: growth, protection, harmony, happiness, Heaven. But the growth is slow, the protection is only partial, the harmony is incomplete, perfect happiness is impossible, and Heaven is indefinite and remote; because their organization tolerates selfishness as a necessary "mark of Cain," instead of being built on the foundation of Emancipation.
All true calculation must recognize a unit of value ; in menticulture the only true unit is Emancipation.
In harmony, instruments cannot be tuned from several standards; there must be one key-note; and harmony in menticulture can only come from the key-note Emancipation.