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John Bascom - Creator of Science of Mind - progenitor of New Thought

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John Bascom's

Science of Mind

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Introduction - Intellect - Mental Science's Divisions - Intellect's Divisions and Perceptions - The Understanding - The Reason - The Dynamics of the Intellect - Physical Feelings - Intellectual Feelings - Spiritual Feelings - Dynamics of Feelings - The Will - The Nervous System - Nervous System of Man - Executive Volition - Primary Volition, or Choice - Dynamics of the Will and the Mind - The Relations of the Systems Here Offered to Prevalent Forms of Philosophy - Index - Contents -

distinctions and cunning subterfuges of words, itself approaches wickedness.

Lesson 103 - 6. Whence the idea of weaker and stronger motives - p.408

6. Whence springs this distinction of motives into stronger and weaker but from a false analogy with the forces of the physical world? "We are not to attach to the word influence a definite, measurable power, capable of numerical comparison with like powers. If our pleasures were all referable to one sensorium, something of this sort might be admissible. But they are not. A moral gratification can be expressed in no terms of greater and less with a sensual indulgence. Were it not for our moral, our rational nature, were we wholly physical, the conditions of liberty would indeed disappear. We might weigh the claims of the senses, assign a numerical value to indulgences, and trace the rise and fall of motion along this new meter of the appetites and passions. But nothing of this is possible, no approximate estimates of pleasure are possible when the moral nature enters into the calculation; when the supreme claims of conscience afford a full and fair alternative to every degree and form of self-indulgence. We should have no occasion for freedom, were it not for the self-imposed law of the moral nature, and in issuing a command it also gives the conditions of that liberty which enables us to obey it. There is no such final reference of motives to the same or like sensibilities, by which we are able to pronounce them greater or less. There is no common term or point between mere pleasure and duty. We cannot take the pleasure of a glass of wine from a sense of obligation, and give a numerical remainder.

But if there is no antecedent standard by which motives may be measured, it is a mere circle of words to call that the strongest motive which does prevail, and then to repeat the assertion in the form, the will always chooses the strongest motive. There must be antecedent measurement,

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