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By Wallace D. Wattles
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Table of Contents
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Chapter 1 - Any Person May Become Great
THERE is a Principle of Power in every person.
By the intelligent use and direction of this principle, man can develop his own mental faculties. Man has an inherent power by which he may grow in whatsoever direction he pleases, and there does not appear to be any limit to the possibilities of his growth.
No man has yet become so great in any faculty but that it is possible for someone else to become greater. The possibility is in the Original Substance from which man is made. Genius is Omniscience flowing into man.
Genius is more than talent. Talent may merely be one faculty developed out of proportion to other faculties, but genius is the union of man and God in the acts of the soul.
Great men are always greater than their deeds.
They are in connection with a reserve of power that is without limit. We do not know where the boundary of the mental powers of man is; we do not even know that there is a boundary.
The power of conscious growth is not given to the lower animals; it is mans alone and may be developed and increased by him.
The lower animals can, to a great extent, be trained and developed by man; but man can train and develop himself.
He alone has this power, and he has it to an apparently unlimited extent.
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The purpose of life for man is growth, just as the purpose of life for trees and plants is growth.
Trees and plants grow automatically and along fixed lines; man can grow, as he will. Trees and plants can only develop certain possibilities and characteristics; man can develop any power, which is or has been shown by any person, anywhere.
Nothing that is possible in spirit is impossible in flesh and blood. Nothing that man can think is impossible-in action.
Nothing that man can imagine is impossible of realization.
Man is formed for growth, and he is under the necessity of growing.
It is essential to his happiness that he should continuously advance.
Life without progress becomes unendurable, and the person who ceases from growth must either become imbecile or insane. The greater and more harmonious and well rounded his growth, the happier man will be.
There is no possibility in any man that is not in every man; but if they proceed naturally, no two men will grow into the same thing, or be alike.
Every man comes into the world with a predisposition to grow along certain lines, and growth is easier for him along those lines than in any other way.
This is a wise provision, for it gives endless variety. It is as if a gardener should throw all his bulbs into one basket; to the superficial observer they would look alike, but growth reveals a tremendous difference.
So of men and women, they are like a basket of bulbs.
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One may be a rose and add brightness and color to some dark corner of the world; one may be a lily and teach a lesson of love and purity to every eye that sees; one may be a climbing vine and hide the rugged outlines of some dark rock; one may be a great oak among whose boughs the birds shall nest and sing, and beneath whose shade the flocks shall rest at noon, but everyone will be something worthwhile, something rare, something perfect.
There are undreamed of possibilities in the common lives all around us in a large sense, there are no “common” people.
In times of national stress and peril the cracker-box loafer of the corner store and the village drunkard become heroes and statesmen through the quickening of the Principle of Power within them.
There is a genius in every man and woman, waiting to be brought forth. Every village has its great man or woman; someone to whom all go for advice in time of trouble; someone who is instinctively recognized as being great in wisdom and insight.
To such a one the minds of the whole community turn in times of local crisis; he is tacitly recognized as being great.
He does small things in a great way.
He could do great things as well if he did but undertake them; so can any man; so can you. The Principle of Power gives us just what we ask of it; if we only undertake little things, it only gives us power for little things; but if we try to do great things in a great way it gives us all the power there is.
But beware of undertaking great things in a small way: of that we shall speak farther on.
There are two mental attitudes a man may take. One makes him like a football. It has resilience and reacts strongly when ScienceOfBeingGreatFreeDownload.com| brought to you by Christopher Westra Page 5
force is applied to it, but it originates nothing; it never acts of itself.
There is no power within it. Men of this type are controlled by circumstances and environment; their destinies are decided by things external to themselves. The Principle of Power within them is never really active at all.
They never speak or act from within. The other attitude makes man like a flowing spring. Power comes out from the center of him.
He has within him a well of water springing up into everlasting life, he radiates force; he makes changes to his environment. The Principle of Power in him is in constant action.
He is self-active. “He hath life in himself.”
No greater good can come to any man or woman than to become self-active.
All the experiences of life are designed by Providence to force men and women into self-activity; to compel them to cease being creatures of circumstances and master their environment.
In his lowest stage, man is the child of chance and circumstance and the slave of fear. His acts are all reactions resulting from the impingement upon him of forces in his environment.
He acts only as he is acted upon; he originates nothing. But the lowest savage has within him a Principle of Power sufficient to master all that he fears; and if he learns this and becomes self-active, he becomes as one of the gods.
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The awakening of the Principle of Power in man is the real conversion; the passing from death to life.
It is when the dead hear the voice of the Son of Man and come forth and live. It is the resurrection and the life. When it is awakened, man becomes a son of the Highest and all power is given to him in heaven and on earth.
Nothing was ever in any man that is not in you; no man ever had more spiritual or mental power than you can attain, or did greater things than you can accomplish. You can become what you want to be.
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Chapter 2 - Heredity And Opportunity
YOU are not barred from attaining greatness by heredity. No matter who or what your ancestors may have been or how unlearned or lowly their station, the upward way is open for you.
There is no such thing as inheriting a fixed mental position; no matter how small the mental capital we receive from our parents, it may be increased; no man is born incapable of growth.
Heredity counts for something. We are born with subconscious mental tendencies; as, for instance, a tendency to melancholy, or cowardice, or to ill temper; but all these subconscious tendencies may be overcome. When the real man awakens and comes forth he can throw them off very easily.
Nothing of this kind need keep you down; if you have inherited undesirable mental tendencies, you can eliminate them and put desirable tendencies in their places.
An inherited mental trait is a habit of thought of your father or mother impressed upon your subconscious mind; you can substitute the opposite impression by forming the opposite habit of thought.
You can substitute a habit of cheerfulness for a tendency to despondency; you can overcome cowardice or ill temper.
Heredity may count for something, too, in an inherited conformation of the skull.
There is something in phrenology, if not as much as its exponents claim; it is true that the different faculties are ScienceOfBeingGreatFreeDownload.com| brought to you by Christopher Westra Page 8
localized in the brain, and that the power of a faculty depends upon the number of active brain cells in its area.
A faculty whose brain area is large is likely to act with more power than one whose cranial section is small; hence persons with certain conformations of the skull show talent as musicians, orators, mechanics, and so on.
It has been argued from this that a man’s cranial formation must, to a great extent, decide his station in life, but this is an error.
It has been found that a small brain section, with many fine and active cells, gives as powerful expression to faculty as a larger brain with coarser cells; and it has been found that by turning the Principle of Power into any section of the brain, with the will and purpose to develop a particular talent, the brain cells may be multiplied indefinitely.
Any faculty, power, or talent you possess, no matter how small or rudimentary, may be increased; you can multiply the brain cells in this particular area until it acts as powerfully as you wish.
It is true that you can act most easily through those faculties that are now most largely developed; you can do, with the least effort, the things which “come naturally”; but it is also true that if you will make the necessary effort you can develop any talent.
You can do what you desire to do and become what you want to be. When you fix upon some ideal and proceed as hereinafter directed, all the power of your being is turned into the faculties required in the realization of that ideal; more blood and nerve force go to the corresponding sections of the brain, and the cells are quickened, increased, and multiplied in number.
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The proper use of the mind of man will build a brain capable of doing what the mind wants to do.
The brain does not make the man; the man makes the brain. Your place in life is not fixed by heredity.
Nor are you condemned to the lower levels by circumstances or lack of opportunity. The Principle of Power in man is sufficient for all the requirements of his soul.
No possible combination of circumstances can keep him down, if he makes his personal attitude right and determines to rise.
The power, which formed man and purposed him for growth, also controls the circumstances of society, industry, and government; and this power is never divided against itself.
The power which is in you is in the things around you, and when you begin to move forward, the things will arrange themselves for your advantage, as described in later chapters of this book.
Man was formed for growth, and all things external were designed to promote his growth.
No sooner does a man awaken his soul and enter on the advancing way than he finds that not only is God for him, but nature, society, and his fellow men are for him also; and all things work together for his good if he obeys the law.
Poverty is no bar to greatness, for poverty can always be removed. Martin Luther, as a child, sang in the streets for bread.
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Linnaeus the naturalist had only forty dollars with which to educate himself; he mended his own shoes and often had to beg meals from his friends.
Hugh Miller, apprenticed to a stonemason, began to study geology in a quarry. George Stephenson, inventor of the locomotive engine, and one of the greatest of civil engineers, was a coal miner, working in a mine, when he awakened and began to think.
James Watt was a sickly child, and was not strong enough to be sent to school. Abraham Lincoln was a poor boy. In each of these cases we see a Principle of Power in the man that lifts him above all opposition and adversity.
There is a Principle of Power in you; if you use it and apply it in a certain way you can overcome all heredity, and master all circumstances and conditions and become a great and powerful personality.
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Chapter 3 - The Source Of Power
MAN’S brain, body, mind, faculties, and talents are the mere instruments he uses in demonstrating greatness; in themselves they do not make him great.
A man may have a large brain and a good mind, strong faculties, and brilliant talents, and yet he is not a great man unless he uses all these in a great way.
That quality which enables man to use his abilities in a great way makes him great; and to that quality we give the name of wisdom. Wisdom is the essential basis of greatness.
Wisdom is the power to perceive the best ends to aim at and the best means for reaching those ends. It is the power to perceive the right thing to do.
The man who is wise enough to know the right thing to do, who is good enough to wish to do only the right thing, and who is able and strong enough to do the right thing is a truly great man.
He will instantly become marked as a personality of power in any community and men will delight to do him honor.
Wisdom is dependent upon knowledge. Where there is complete ignorance there can be no wisdom, no knowledge of the right thing to do.
Man’s knowledge is comparatively limited and so his wisdom must be small, unless he can connect his mind with knowledge greater than his own and draw from it, by inspiration, the wisdom that his own limitations deny him.
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This he can do; this is what the really great men and women have done. Man’s knowledge is limited and uncertain; therefore he cannot have wisdom in himself.
Only God knows all truth; therefore only God can have real wisdom or the right thing to do at all times, and man can receive wisdom from God. I proceed to give an illustration: Abraham Lincoln had limited education; but he had the power to perceive truth.
In Lincoln we see pre-eminently apparent the fact that real wisdom consists in knowing the right thing to do at all times and under all circumstances; in having the will to do the right thing, and in having talent and ability enough to be competent and able to do the right thing.
Back in the days of the abolition agitation, and during the compromise period, when all other men were more or less confused as to what was right or as to what ought to be done, Lincoln was never uncertain.
He saw through the superficial arguments of the pro-slavery men; he saw, also, the impracticability and fanaticism of the abolitionists; he saw the right ends to aim at and he saw the best means to attain those ends.
It was because men recognized that he perceived truth and knew the right thing to do that they made him president.
Any man who develops the power to perceive truth, and who can show that he always knows the right thing to do and that he can be trusted to do the right thing, will be honored and advanced; the whole world is looking eagerly for such men.
When Lincoln became president he was surrounded by a multitude of so-called able advisers, hardly any two of whom were agreed. At times they were all opposed to his policies; ScienceOfBeingGreatFreeDownload.com| brought to you by Christopher Westra Page 13
at times almost the whole North was opposed to what he proposed to do.
But he saw the truth when others were misled by appearances; his judgment was seldom or never wrong. He was at once the ablest statesman and the best soldier of the period.
Where did he, a comparatively unlearned man, get this wisdom? It was not due to some peculiar formation of his skull or to some fineness of texture of his brain.
It was not due to some physical characteristic. It was not even a quality of mind due to superior reasoning power.
Processes of reason do not often reach knowledge of truth.
It was due to a spiritual insight.
He perceived truth, but where did he perceive it and whence did the perception come? We see something similar in Washington, whose faith and courage, due to his perception of truth, held the colonies together during the long and often apparently hopeless struggle of the Revolution.
We see something of the same thing in the phenomenal genius of Napoleon, who always knew, in military matters, the best means to adopt.
We see that the greatness of Napoleon was in nature rather than in Napoleon, and we discover back of Washington and Lincoln something greater than either Washington or Lincoln.
We see the same thing in all great men and women. They perceive truth; but truth cannot be perceived until it exists; and there can be no truth until there is a mind to perceive it.
Truth does not exist apart from mind.
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Washington and Lincoln were in touch and communication with a mind that knew all knowledge and contained all truth.
The same is true of all who manifest wisdom. Wisdom is obtained by reading the mind of God.
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Chapter 4 - The Mind Of God
THERE is a Cosmic Intelligence that is in all things and through all things. This is the one real substance. From it all things proceed.
It is Intelligent Substance or Mind Stuff. It is God. Where there is no substance there can be no intelligence; for where there is no substance there is nothing.
Where there is thought there must be a substance which thinks. Thought cannot be a function; for function is motion, and it is inconceivable that mere motion should think.
Thought cannot be vibration, for vibration is motion, and that motion should be intelligent is not thinkable. Motion is nothing but the moving of substance; if there be intelligence shown it must be in the substance and not in the motion.
Thought cannot be the result of motions in the brain; if thought is in the brain it must be in the brain’s substance and not in the motions which brain substance makes.
But thought is not in the brain substance, for brain substance, without life, is quite unintelligent and dead.
Thought is in the life-principle that animates the brain, in the spirit substance, which is the real man. The brain does not think, the man thinks and expresses his thought through the brain.
There is a spirit substance that thinks. Just as the spirit substance of man permeates his body, and thinks and knows in the body, so the Original Spirit Substance, God, permeates all nature and thinks and knows in nature. Nature ScienceOfBeingGreatFreeDownload.com| brought to you by Christopher Westra Page 16
is as intelligent as man, and knows more than man; nature knows all things. The All-Mind has been in touch with all things from the beginning; and it contains all knowledge.
Man’s experience covers a few things, and these things man knows; but God’s experience covers all the things that have happened since the creation, from the wreck of a planet or the passing of a comet to the fall of a sparrow.
All that is and all that has been are present in the Intelligence that is wrapped about us and enfolds us and presses upon us from every side.
All the encyclopedias men have written are but trivial affairs compared to the vast knowledge held by the mind in which men live, move, and have their being.
The truths men perceive by inspiration are thoughts held in this mind. If they were not thoughts men could not perceive them, for they would have no existence; and they could not exist as thoughts unless there is a mind for them to exist in; and a mind can be nothing else than a substance which thinks.
Man is thinking substance, a portion of the Cosmic Substance; but man is limited, while the Cosmic Intelligence from which he sprang, which Jesus calls the Father, is unlimited.
All intelligence, power, and force come from the Father.
Jesus recognized this and stated it very plainly. Over and over again he ascribed all his wisdom and power to his unity with the Father, and to his perceiving the thoughts of God.
“My Father and I are one.”
This was the foundation of his knowledge and power. He showed the people the necessity of becoming spiritually awakened; of hearing his voice and becoming like him. He ScienceOfBeingGreatFreeDownload.com| brought to you by Christopher Westra Page 17
compared the unthinking man who is the prey and sport of circumstances to the dead man in a tomb, and besought him to hear and come forth.
“God is spirit,” he said; “be born again, become spiritually awake, and you may see his kingdom. Hear my voice; see what I am and what I do, and come forth and live.
The words I speak are spirit and life; accept them and they will cause a well of water to spring up within you. Then you will have life within yourself.”
“I do what I see the Father do,” he said, meaning that he read the thoughts of God. “The Father shows all things to the son.” “If any man has the will to do the will of God, he shall know truth.” “My teaching is not my own, but his that sent me.” “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” “The spirit shall guide you into all truth.”
We are immersed in mind and that mind contains all knowledge and all truth. It is seeking to give us this knowledge, for our Father delights to give good gifts to his children.
The prophets and seers and great men and women, past and present, were made great by what they received from God, not by what they were taught by men.
This limitless reservoir of wisdom and power is open to you; you can draw upon it, as you will, according to your needs.
You can make yourself what you desire to be; you can do what you wish to do; you can have what you want.
To accomplish this you must learn to become one with the Father so that you may perceive truth; so that you may have wisdom and know the right ends to seek and the right means to use to attain those ends, and so that you may secure power and ability to use the means.
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In closing this chapter resolve that you will now lay aside all else and concentrate upon the attainment of conscious unity with God.
“Oh, when I am safe in my sylvan home, I tread on the pride of Greece and Rome, and when I am stretched beneath the pines, where the evenings tar so holy shines, I laugh at the lore and pride of man, at the Sophist schools and the learned clan, for what are they all in their high conceit, when man in the bush with God may meet?”
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Chapter 5 - Preparation
“DRAW nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.”
If you become like God you can read his thoughts; and if you do not you will find the inspirational perception of truth impossible.
You can never become a great man or woman until you have overcome anxiety, worry, and fear. It is impossible for an anxious person, a worried one, or a fearful one to perceive truth; all things are distorted and thrown out of their proper relations by such mental states, and those who are in them cannot read the thoughts of God.
If you are poor, or if you are anxious about business or financial matters, you are recommended to study carefully the first volume of this series, “The Science of Getting Rich”
That will present to you a solution for your problems of this nature, no matter how large or how complicated they may seem to be.
There is not the least cause for worry about financial affairs; every person who wills to do so may rise above want, have all he needs, and become rich.
The same source upon which you propose to draw for mental unfolding and spiritual power is at your service for the supply of all your material wants.
Study this truth until it is fixed in your thoughts and until anxiety is banished from your mind; enter the Certain Way, which leads to material riches.
Again, if you are anxious or worried about your health, realize it is possible for you to attain perfect health so that you may have strength sufficient for all that you wish to do and more.
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That Intelligence which stands ready to give you wealth and mental and spiritual power will rejoice to give you health also. Perfect health is yours for the asking, if you will only obey the simple laws of life and live aright. Conquer ill health and cast out fear.
But it is not enough to rise above financial and physical anxiety and worry; you must rise above moral evil-doing as well. Sound your inner consciousness now for the motives that actuate you and make sure they are right.
You must cast out lust, and cease to be ruled by appetite, and you must begin to govern appetite. You must eat only to satisfy hunger, never for gluttonous pleasure, and in all things you must make the flesh obey the spirit.
You must lay aside greed; have no unworthy motive in your desire to become rich and powerful. It is legitimate and right to desire riches, if you want them for the sake of the soul, but not if you desire them for the lusts of the flesh.
Cast out pride and vanity; have no thought of trying to rule over others or of outdoing them. This is a vital point; there is no temptation so insidious as the selfish desire to rule over others.
Nothing so appeals to the average man or woman as to sit in the uppermost places at feasts, to be respectfully saluted in the market place, and to be called Rabbi, Master.
To exercise some sort of control over others is the secret motive of every selfish person. The struggle for power over others is the battle of the competitive world, and you must rise above that world and its motives and aspirations and seek only for life.
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Cast out envy; you can have all that you want, and you need not envy any man what he has.
Above all things see to it that you do not hold malice or enmity toward any one; to do so cuts you off from the mind whose treasures you seek to make your own. “He that loves not his brother, loves not God.”
Lay aside all narrow personal ambition and determine to seek the highest good and to be swayed by no unworthy selfishness.
Go over all the foregoing and set these moral temptations out of your heart one by one; determine to keep them out.
Then resolve that you will not only abandon all evil thought but that you will forsake all deeds, habits, and courses of action which do not commend themselves to your noblest ideals.
This is supremely important, make this resolution with all the power of your soul, and you are ready for the next step toward greatness, which is explained in the following chapter.
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Chapter 6 - The Social Point Of View
"WITHOUT faith it is impossible to please God,” and without faith it is impossible for you to become great.
The distinguishing characteristic of all really great men and women is an unwavering faith.
We see this in Lincoln during the dark days of the war; we see it in Washington at Valley Forge; we see it in Livingstone, the crippled missionary, threading the mazes of the dark continent, his soul aflame with the determination to let in the light upon the accursed slave trade, which his soul abhorred; we see it in Luther, and in Frances Willard, in every man and woman who has attained a place on the muster roll of the great ones of the world.
Faith-not a faith in one’s self or in one s own powers but faith in principle; in the Something Great which upholds right, and which may be relied upon to give us the victory in due time.
Without this faith it is not possible for anyone to rise to real greatness. The man who has no faith in principle will always be a small man.
Whether you have this faith or not depends upon your point of view. You must learn to see the world as being produced by evolution, as a something that is evolving and becoming, not as a finished work.
Millions of years ago God worked with very low and crude forms of life, low and crude, yet each perfect after its kind.
Higher and more complex organisms, animal and vegetable, appeared through the successive ages; the earth passed ScienceOfBeingGreatFreeDownload.com| brought to you by Christopher Westra Page 23
through stage after stage in its unfolding, each stage perfect in itself, and to be succeeded by a higher one.
What I wish you to note is that the so-called “lower organisms” are as perfect after their kind as the higher ones; that the world in the Eocene period was perfect for that period; it was perfect, but God’s work was not finished.
This is true of the world today.
Physically, socially, and industrially it is all good, and it is all perfect. It is not complete anywhere or in any part, but so far as the handiwork of God has gone it is perfect.
THIS MUST BE YOUR POINT OF VIEW: THAT THE
WORLD AND ALL IT CONTAINS IS PERFECT, THOUGH
“All’s right with the world.” That is the great fact. There is nothing wrong with anything; there is nothing wrong with anybody.
All the facts of life you must contemplate from this standpoint.
There is nothing wrong with nature. Nature is a great advancing presence working beneficently for the happiness of all.
All things in Nature are good; she has no evil. She is not completed; for creation is still unfinished, but she is going on to give to man even more bountifully than she has given to him in the past.
Nature is a partial expression of God, and God is love. She is perfect but not complete.
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So it is of human society and government. What though there are trusts and combinations of capital and strikes and lockouts and so on.
All these things are part of the forward movement; they are incidental to the evolutionary process of completing society.
When it is complete there will be harmony; but it cannot be completed without them.
J. P. Morgan is as necessary to the coming social order as the strange animals of the age of reptiles were to the life of the succeeding period, and just as these animals were perfect after their kind, so Morgan is perfect after his kind.
Behold it is all very good. See government, and industry as being perfect now, and as advancing rapidly toward being complete; then you will understand that there is nothing to fear, no cause for anxiety, nothing to worry about.
Never complain of any of these things. They are perfect; this is the very best possible world for the stage of development man has reached.
This will sound like rank folly to many, perhaps to most people. “What!” they will say, “are not child labor and the exploitation of men and women in filthy and unsanitary factories evil things? Aren’t saloons evil? Do you mean to say that we shall accept all these and call them good?”
Child labor and similar things are no more evil than the way of living and the habits and practices of the cave dweller were evil.
His ways were those of the savage stage of man’s growth, and for that stage they were perfect. Our Industrial practices are those of the savage stage of industrial development, and they are also perfect.
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Nothing better is possible until we cease to be mental savages in industry and business, and become men and women.
This can only come about by the rise of the whole race to a higher viewpoint. And this can only come about by the rise of such individuals here and there as are ready for the higher viewpoint.
The cure for all this inharmoniousness lies not with the masters or employers but with the workers themselves.
Whenever they reach a higher viewpoint, whenever they shall desire to do so, they can establish complete brotherhood and harmony in Industry; they have the numbers and the power.
They are getting now what they desire. Whenever they desire more in the way of a higher, purer, more harmonious life, they will receive more.
True, they want more now, but they only want more of the things that make for animal enjoyment, and so industry remains in the savage, brutal, animal stage; when the workers begin to rise to the mental plane of living and ask for more of the things that make for the life of the mind and soul, industry will at once be raised above the plane of savagery and brutality.
But it is perfect now upon its plane, behold, in fact it is all very good.
So it is true of saloons and dens of vice. If the majority of the people desire these things, it is right and necessary that they should have them.
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When the majority desires a world without such discords, they will create such a world. So long as men and women are on the plane of bestial thought, so long the social order will be in part disorder, and will show bestial manifestations.
The people make society what it is, and as the people rise above the bestial thought, society will rise above the beastly in its manifestations.
But a society which thinks in a bestial way must have saloons and dives; it is perfect after its kind, as the world was in the Eocene period, and very good.
All this does not prevent you from working for better things.
You can work to complete an unfinished society, instead of to renovate a decaying one; and you can work with a better heart and a more hopeful spirit.
It will make an immense difference with your faith and spirit whether you look upon civilization as a good thing that is becoming better or as a bad and evil thing that is decaying.
One viewpoint gives you an advancing and expanding mind and the other gives you a descending and decreasing mind.