MAN HAS NO FETTERS BUT THOSE OF IGNORANCE
EXPECTATION is the natural offspring of desire.
In unconscious growth, expectation always comes with desire. If it were not so, the desire which is of the Law of Attraction, would never be manifested or externalised, and there would be no visible universe.
It is self-evident truth that the Love Principle, the attracting forces that men call God, cannot exist without giving expression to itself. Such expression becomes what to us appears as externals, and the principle and its expression are one. The same truth was given by another in the words, "Man is God's necessity."
Expectation, which is an act of the intelligence, clothes desire and makes it apparent in the visible world of effects. Every power now possessed by the individual has been first caused by desiring something, and then by expecting it. It was in this way that man's entire organic structure was built.
As time passed on and man's brain began to develop the reasoning faculties, it transpired that desire and expectation, which on the plane of unconscious growth had gone hand-in-hand, became separated. This was in the process of transposition from the animal to the intellectual plane. It is in this process of transposition now, and though it is advancing more rapidly than ever before, it lacks much of being completed.
As soon as the reasoning powers began to depend upon themselves for a solution of the many problems of life, they received answers to nearly all of their questions from the negative pole of truth; that is, answers which were in accord with their limited knowledge. They made a critical examination, as they thought, of desire, and exclaimed, "Why, this thing is of the devil!" But in spite of their opinion of it, it did secretly mould the race's every action until it began to be acknowledged as the basis of all growth.
It was now promoted in public opinion, and was called prayer; and the people were exhorted to pray in faith for what they wanted, or in the expectation that they would receive what they asked for.
One of the most common fallacies was to conceive of desire as being both good and its opposite. One kind of desire they pronounced carnal, the other divine. Now, all desire is the same in essence; it is all divine. It is all a reaching forth of the spirit of growth after greater knowledge and happiness. As before stated, expectation accompanied every breath of desire during the period of unconscious growth, and desire was fully realised by the animal. In this way the animal powers increased and ripened up to manhood.
When man had learned to reason, the first use he made of it was to doubt. He recognised his desires, but began to imagine that they were mostly evil; and those he did not consider evil he ridiculed and called them wild and visionary. He said they belonged to the imagination, and, of course, amounted to nothing. He became of creation, a chronic doubter. He accepted nothing on trust and looked upon credulous people with contempt. For ages he has plodded along in the same grooves, and has thrown dirt and stones at everyone who had intelligence enough to climb out of the grooves he lived in. This is the case even to this day.
Why, it is a tremendous thing to make the statements made in these pages, and only the most improvident and reckless thinker would dare do it. Yes, improvident and reckless—a thinker who does not care what the world thinks of him; who is resolved to burst the bonds of race ignorance and set the people free in spite of opposition.
I stand in the position of one who is willing to be a fool for truth's sake. There is an ever-present atmosphere of triumph surrounding a position like this. I feel the glow of the conqueror, because I know that the thought in these pages is true, and I know that those who now reject it will soon embrace it and be saved by it.
The opposition one meets with under such circumstances has no more effect than a blow which a mother may receive from the sick and suffering little one in her arms. This was the feeling of Jesus, when He said, "If one shall smite thee on one cheek, turn to him the other also." This sentence alone proves that He recognised the great fact of Mental Science; that all these errors we call sin are merely ignorant beliefs; the result of misdirected intelligence on the part of the people: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Desire attended by the expectation that the desire will be realised—this is the mental attitude that brings all things to the individual. Before this happy conjunction can be effected, however, it is necessary that a man should know his position in the universe, and his power. It is necessary that he should know how greatly he has been belittled in the past, and how this belittling influence has kept him from expecting that his desires would be realised. A sense of unworthiness has crushed his desires and deadened his expectation until he is a dwarf on the face of the earth. His imagination is a part of himself that he cannot understand. He thinks it is a sort of devil within him that lies to him whenever he stops to listen to it. No one has ever known what the imagination is, but recently it is given to me to see that the imagination is the wings of the intellect, and that the seeming impossibilities it unrolls before us, are all possible to us, and will all be made manifest in the farther unfolding of our latent faculties.
The imagination is the advance courier of the future, and its mission is to lure us onward—farther and farther from the hardened, fixed bounds of our daily walk, to which we have tethered ourselves in resolute disregard of the beckoning of the bright angel in front of us.
We have turned our backs on the imagination, as if it were our bitterest foe, and we dwarf and dwindle and die with our eyes glued resolutely to the past. We will not look ahead, and so expectation dies.
Growth is dependent upon two things: desire, which pulses through all existing things, and expectation, which I know to be of the intelligence. It is true that the desire and the intelligence are one, but the desire is internal and the intelligence is external. In other words desire is the soul of which expectation is the body; or, in other words still, expectation is the materialising power of desire, and makes it visible or manifest. Therefore, expectation is to desire what nature is to the Principle of Attraction, and desire might as well not be as for expectation not to clothe it and cause it to show forth.
From the foregoing statements, the entire position of the race is defined. Man has crucified desire because he thought it was selfish, unholy. Nevertheless, desire has pushed through and beyond his conscientious scruples, and has come into acknowledged recognition under the name of aspiration, or prayer; but even as aspiration or prayer, it is held back from fulfilment by the lack of expectation, so that the things that we desire are not clothed upon and made manifest to us.
Thus, after getting the consent of our conscience to desire something, we immediately begin to belittle ourselves, and instead of claiming boldly what we want, we pray, "O Lord, if it is Thy will that we should have this thing, please deliver it to us." The consequence is that our weakness receives the answer which it merits, and we fail to get the thing desired. As I said once before, there never was a beggar on the earth until the advent of man; and looking over the past history of man, it really seems as if God, by which I mean the Principle of Attraction, is absolutely resolved to establish us in our independence by refusing our requests. And, indeed, this Principle of Attraction is indifferent to us, and it speaks to us through its indifference, saying, "Oh! men, I exist for your taking; take me or let me alone; learn by my silence that you are my spokesmen, and the infinite reservoir from which you draw as you need, and behold, the supply will ever remain equal to your demand."
Man is thus thrown entirely upon himself. During the period of his unconscious or unreasoning growth, he does draw upon the limitless reservoir as he needs, and does his own growing. His brain has yielded him no thought of his unworthiness, and he takes what he desires, always expressing it in use. This limitless reservoir is as free to us today as in the past period of our growth, and when we fully know this, we shall re-establish our growth at the point where unconscious growth dropped us; but in coming into this position, we must gradually learn that we are perfectly individualised beings; that no God holds us accountable for past or present sins; that there are no sins and never have been; that what the world calls sins are merely the mistakes our ever-growing intelligences have made in coming up to our present standing place. Being thus exculpated from the accusation of conscience, we begin to see ourselves as we are.
And what are we? I answer that we are wonderful creatures. Only think how we have forged our way up from such small beginnings, and where we stand now; think what conquerors we are; how we have bursted first one bond of ignorance and then another; and how lobe after lobe has put forth in our unfolding brains, like buds on flower stalks, and how as each one put forth it held in latency the germ of another yet to appear; and how it is evident that there will never be any cessation of the unfoldment of fresh buds of unimagined power within us!
Can anyone fail to see that man is a scroll unfolding outwardly continually? And it is because he only unfolds outwardly that his habit of looking backward stultifies him so.
Whatever you desire, claim it. This is not the expression of an anarchist, and does not relate to external wealth at all. It relates to such things as build the man and woman into health, strength and beauty—things the taking of which robs no one.
But how shall I claim health, strength and beauty?
Make a statement of your desires, then ask yourselves the question, "Do I not know that these things exist? Do I not see their manifestation every hour in the wonders of the lily and the rose? How did the lily and the rose get them?"
The flowers get their health and beauty by desires unclouded by a doubt of their power to obtain them.
Desire and expectation did the work for them, and they will do it for you, if you learn to expect as well as to desire.
The chief obstacle to overcome is the thought that there is some impediment in the way of your getting what you want. When the truth that we may have what we demand first dawned on me, it seemed as if there were mountains of impediments to overcome before I could realise my desire. Presently I knew that the only impediment was my belief that there were impediments, and when I realised this I felt as light as a bird. Do you not see how this fact brings us face to face with that great truth that all time is now? and that eternity and immortality are ever present with us?
When I knew that there was no impediment to overcome in the realisation of my desires, except my chronic habit of doubting, I saw what a mighty power I embodied in myself—no longer weak, no longer dependent on any power in all the universe—the very fountain-head of all power, the great and mighty Life Principle itself to minister to my claims. Do you not see how this knowledge of my position placed disease and death under my feet in an instant? and do you wonder that it is difficult for me to write of these shadows of the intellect as if they were, indeed, the realities the world believes them to be?
To make this perfectly clear, I shall again recapitulate. Man is all mind. He has been built by beliefs. It may be said of him that he is his own statement of being. What he owns is what he has claimed through intelligent unfoldment, and this includes such health, strength and beauty as he possesses. It may be that instead of health, strength and beauty, his body shows forth nothing but weakness. If this is the case, then he must change his statement of being, which he can only do by an intelligent recognition of truth. No amount of begging for health and strength will do any good. Begging implies that the man is not entitled to what he asks for. To cast such a shadow on your perfect title in your thought will ruin your demand; for what you want is yours; and unless you know this and make your demand on the ground of your knowledge, and not base it on any ideas of generosity from a higher power, you will not get it. Make your demand, then, from the basis of your understanding, and say, " I am entitled to every good I can recognise"; then strive to see that your position is right from an intelligent point of view. At first it will almost seem as if your position is an aggressive one, as if there were someone to dispute your right; but there is no one to dispute it, unless it may be some lingering doubts existing in your own mind concerning it, and these you must cast out.
And is this all? No, it is only half. After you have taken your position and made your demand, look forward to its realisation; expect it. Shut out every doubt. Be patient with it and faithful to it. Days and weeks and months may pass, and your desire may seem as far away as at first, but continue to hold, never doubting, and when the time is right your desire is certain to be realised.
The idea that the race must continue to wear its fetters because they are "God-imposed" is an absolute absurdity.
Man has no fetters but those of his own ignorance, and nothing but intelligence will liberate him from such fetters.
You may take from him every visible environment; you may heap him with wealth; you may place him in high position; but, unless he has come into the saving knowledge which an intellectual perception of his own boundless resources yields him, he is not free. Ignorance still holds him and will pull him down to old age, feebleness and the grave.
And what but these—old age, feebleness and the grave—are our real fetters? What have we gained though we conquer everything else, and these remain? It may be that the spirit survives the body, as spiritualism believes it has demonstrated; but even in this case, a man's sphere of activities is removed from his workshop, the earth; and his death is a break in what should be an unbroken line of growth.
I do not believe that true, healthy growth can proceed through the tortuous weakness of old age, decrepitude and death. True intelligence, the farther recognition of the Law, which alone is growth, is not in these conditions. Nothing is in these conditions but the denial or the non-recognition of the Law; which is a slipping back from a certain condition of incarnate intelligence into a condition of ignorance, wherein the previous condition of intelligence, the incarnate condition of it, is denied or cancelled.
Even in this denial or cancellation of the previous condition, it may be that the spirit survives, and I believe that it does; but I do not believe that the person has gained by the change; indeed, I feel certain that he has lost; and, though the loss may not be irreparable, yet it is a mighty loss and ought to be avoided.
And it can be avoided.
There was a time when there was no animal life on this planet at all; did the fact that there was none then form a true basis of belief that there would never be any?
Because the cave-dwellers had never produced a Plato, was that a valid reason for supposing there would never be one?
Those who are limited to a belief that the race is ripe, and that there will be no farther development than there has already been, are in no condition either to deny or affirm the statements I am prepared to make on this subject. They do not know that the race is a growth. They have never examined its past history; this history that began millions of years before it actually appeared in its present form; and their opinions, as weighed against the opinion of one who has learned the situation by heart, are absolutely worthless.
It is true that the spirit of Malthus is widespread at this stage of human development, and questions are frequent as to what will become of the earth's overflowing population if immortality in the flesh should become possible. The natural Malthusian is one who has not penetrated even to the slightest degree into the realm of the ideal, where alone immortality in the flesh can become possible. He does not know that life, when lifted from its belief in the deadness of matter, enters the thought realm, in which the supply is equal to the demand.
But this is so. As soon as a man steps up from a belief in matter as dead substance, and perceives that all is life, and that every form of life is on the wing, as it were, from lower to higher, and that there is no stagnation possible to growth—he will then know that the earth will not be overcrowded by a too rapidly accumulating population.
The old saying that "there is room at the top" applies here. The pioneers in civilisation or in thought always find themselves rather lonesome than otherwise. The space outside the herd is unlimited. Especially is this true in the realm of thought; the realm of the ideal, which we are now on the verge of entering.
It is true that the world would soon become overcrowded, if people should keep producing children who would never die, unless some way should be provided for them to leave the earth.
But the entire range of creation is open to man, and there is nothing but his ignorance of his own powers and privileges that will keep him in one place.
It is true that no God will ever interfere in his behalf to lift him into more enlarged spheres of activity; but no God will ever prohibit him from lifting himself into these spheres.
Indeed, such lifting is correlated to the man's lifted and enlarged thought. As the man expands in his thought life, he will be met by more expansive conditions; and the possibility of fettering him to one point in the universe will cease. It is by thought expansion that a man's fetters fall from him.
Thought is the conqueror of everything that hampers and binds. It cannot make even the smallest conquest over its surroundings, that it does not come at once into relation with external conditions better suited to its enlarged sense of freedom.
Indeed, it almost seems as if these freer conditions constantly pressed in on the thought of the race, as if consciously resolved to be recognised.
The croakers of the world cried out that the coal beds were becoming exhausted, and that the race was doomed in consequence. A wider range of thought was correlated by the substance of electricity, and the world came out of its nervous chill on the subject of coal.
Because balloons proved a failure, did anyone suppose that the air would never be navigated? Even if gas and machinery had failed to accomplish this thing, there is a power latent in man's organism that will do it; namely, the power of thought, to which all substances are negative.
Immortality in the flesh would be neither possible nor desirable if man were to remain the helpless and ignorant creature that he now is.
It would not be desirable because the universe can furnish no excuse for the perpetuation of ignorance. It would not be possible, because ignorance is death already; at least, it is the nearest approach to death that life renders possible.
To keep the race forever alive in its present animalised condition, would be to perpetuate ignorance; to keep it as a stagnant pool in the heart of universal progression; and this could not be. Perpetual change is the order of life. He who catches on to higher thought and holds it with a faith so firm that it crystallises into belief, is on the upward move, where higher influences meet him, and fix his thought in tangible substance.
He who turns from his higher thought, doubting its practicability, pinches himself into constantly lowering conditions, until he is pinched out. There is progression for the one, and, at least, a temporary retrogression for the other; but there is no standing still. Therefore, immortality in the present status of universal race thought here in this world is not possible now.
But the dawn of it is here. The beginning of that credence in the human ideal, which alone will usher it in, is here. It is here for no less a reason than because woman, with her strongly intuitional nature, has come to the front. Woman has brought the morning of a new era with her; and, as her feet obtain firmer standing in the slushy quagmire of the world's present condition of thought, the morning of her day will brighten into the full splendour of a noon that will arrest and hold the entire interest of the millions of dying souls about us.
This much is already accomplished. The beginning of the dawn is here. Universal thought has begun to move. A ripple runs along the full length of its connected links, even though it is only the few who stand in the front that are capable of seeing the light that shines so brightly ahead.
If this movement had to be confined to our earth, as the Malthusians all must imagine, then its scope would be so small as to furnish a reason for their doubts. But, because man's growth is limitless—and by his ever-increasing power of thought I know that his growth is limitless—the fact shadows forth the possibility of his leaving the earth when he shall have learned how to do so.
More than this. In the economy of nature the time will come when generation will lose itself in regeneration.
Conditions adapt themselves to each other. When one thread is spun out, there is another thread waiting there to meet the outstretched hand of him who has resolved to go ahead. To him who is not so resolved, and who does not know his power to go on, though the thread is there, it is not there for him, because he does not see it. And so he falls, not because life was lacking, but because the individual intelligence with which he should have grasped it was wanting.