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Chapter 7 - Some Hints and a Kick
"And now, Elizabeth, let me suggest something. Punch up the men a little in the matter of cultivating cleanly habits, etc. Women are preached to eternally on these matters and the men wholly neglected. It would be a 'new thought' to take to the men a little and might assist in making more of them fit companions for the sweet and cleanly women they delight in associating with. The absolute neglect of the masculine sex by writers on these subjects causes them to think that nothing in the way of the aesthetic is expected of them. It is a wrong to the men not to en-me and make me his chum as well as his wife. Help courage them to aspire to a common plane with woman in the matters of purity and cleanliness. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, but no more so in the case of woman than of man. It is time for equality to be recognized in this matter as in all others." Carrie.
It is funny how many women squirm when reminded that it is they who set the pace in the home! We are always longing for power and a field of effort, and then when a 20th century prophetess arises and tells us we are all but almighty, and shows us how to direct our almightiness to accomplish results, we--well, we squirm. One would think some of us are a little bit ashamed of the pace we have been setting, of the things we have been accomplishing with our almightiness! You know, our first impulse when we see an error in our own selves is to sound the trumpet and charge upon the error in the other fellow. Is this why Carrie wants the men scolded?
Well, don't they get scolded? What are their wives and daughters and sweethearts for but to scold 'em or coax 'em into cleaner ways of living? No use to talk to men as a class, about anything but politics. Don't you know that Adam couldn't even taste an apple until Eve coaxed him? Adam is a great theorizer; he will gaze at an apple and tell you that he ought not to eat it, and why not; he will even amble long and wishfully about that apple; but it takes Eve to wake in him the living impulse to take it. Just so with matters of personal neatness. He knows--oh, yes, knowing is his long suit!--he knows he "ought" to be neat; and he thinks he wants to be; but unless Eve and the serpent come along he hasn't the living impulse.
And Eve must not lose sight of the serpent, however far away the dove may fly. Eve must use wisdom and tact, as well as example; if she would have Adam accept her standard of cleanliness she must see to it that her example is beautifully clean instead of painfully so. There are men who are careless about their persons simply as a matter of relief from the painful cleanness of their surroundings.
Then there are Adams who are careless for lack of interest in pleasing Eve. In these cases you will find that Eve has little or no interest in pleasing Adam; or that she overdoes the matter of trying to please, and frequently dissolves in tears and precipitates countless reproaches upon luckless Adam.
Then there are Adams who are careless from petty spite--with shame I say it. And with greater shame I say, you will find their Eves are spiteful, too; probably more spiteful than the Adams; for Eve, you know, is generally smart enough and ambitious enough to outdo Adam in any line of endeavor--especially in the use or misuse of the tongue.
In matters of niceness it is Eve who sets the pace. Adam is built for strength; Eve for beauty and adornment. It is natural for Eve to set the pace and for Adam to follow, in all matters of detail and niceness. Whether Adam follows with good grace or ill depends upon Eve and the serpent. If Eve is wise as the serpent in her, and harmless as the dove in her, she can lead Adam a willing captive to heaven or hell.
Now will you rise again and--squirm--because I attribute to Eve all power over Adam? Will you say I excuse Adam's transgressions and come down hard on Eve? I suppose so. But the very fact that you resent the imputation is proof that in your heart of hearts you know I have hit very close to the mark. When an arrow flies wide we are merely amused at the poor marksmanship; but the closer the arrow strikes to the center the more excited we grow--either with resentment or admiration, according to our sympathies.
In matters of cleanliness, niceness and adornment Eve sets the pace; and if her pace is a graceful one and not too fast Adam follows. In due time he acquires the habit of doing the little ablutions and adornings Eve has taught him.
If your Adam is very careless about these matters you may depend upon it that when he was growing up his mother was either dead or careless or tactless; and you may safely suspect that Adam in his previous state of existence was a forlorn old bach. So be gentle with him, for it will take time to correct the faults of such an Adam.
But don't give up, Eve, dear. Be gentle, but be firm and persistent. Use your ingenuity in finding ways to make Adam want to please you; and if you can look back over a year or two and see that he has improved in some respects at least, that there are even one or two little tricks of niceness which have become almost if not quite habitual, then hold a little praise meeting and rejoice. Praise him for learning, and praise yourself for what you have succeeded in teaching him. And if your success has come without friction, if you have inspired Adam to want to please you, then glorify yourself exceedingly--all to yourself, of course. If you let Adam know you are managing him even for his own good, he will show his independence by going back to his old tricks--just as you would do if in his place. If there has been friction, or lack of success, let it wake you up to use henceforth more of the wisdom and love which is in you.
Now this little homily is written ostensibly to women; but all my men subscribers will read it and applaud. I wonder how many of them will see that every word of it is as applicable to themselves, as to their mothers, sisters, sweethearts, wives? Every Eve is Adam at heart, and every Adam is Eve; and what in sauce for Adam will prove equally effective with Eve. Adam and Eve are both green, and growing. They are the two halves of a ripening peach, brought together by the Law of Attraction or Love because at this stage in their development they fit. You will be inclined to doubt that every Adam's nature fits his Eve's, but I say unto you judge not according to outward appearance but judge righteous judgment. Now listen:--Every human being has his manifested good points and his latent good points. The manifest good points of a man are the Adam of him; the latent good points--the weak places in him--are the Eve of him--the interior as-yet-undeveloped part of him. The strong points, the good points, of a woman are the Eve; the weak points, where she is as yet undeveloped, are the Adam or interior nature of her.
If it were not for personal attractions, particularly the attractions of one man and one woman, the latent parts of both men and women would remain forever undeveloped and their strong points would continue to grow stronger. In time (supposing the race did not die out), there would be two classes of people utterly different and at variance with each other--two opposites with no understanding or sympathy for each other.
Attraction brings together opposites; the strong, steady man falls in love with a frivolous butterfly; a handsome woman attracts a homely man and vice versa; a strong, capable woman marries a sickly, incompetent man--and supports him; a sentimental woman is attracted to a matter-of-fact man who develops her common sense by pruning her sentimentalities; an artistic temperament is drawn to a phlegmatic; a sanguine to a bilious; a mental to a vital; an active man marries a lazy wife, or vice versa; a bright man marries a stupid girl; and so on and on.
Man and wife are a rounded whole in which the man manifests what is latent in the woman, and the woman supplies that which in the man is as yet undeveloped. Just as Eve coaxes, or scolds, Adam into habits of neatness; as Adam coaxes, scolds or drives Eve into having his meals on time, thus developing her self-command and promptness; so they act and re-act upon each other to develop a thousand latencies of which they, and the onlookers, are more or less unconscious.
The foolish Adams and Eves fret and strain against these processes of development, and bewail their "mistake" in marrying; not seeing that the association is really benefiting both. The wise Adams and Eves reduce the friction by kindness, by co-operation with each other; Adam tries to please Eve, Eve tries to please Adam, and both are kind about it, wherefore in due time their appreciation for each other grows, and mayhap their love grows with it. If love wanes instead of growing at least they are friends, and can part as friends if they so desire.
Someone has well said that without a model husband there can be no model wife. I believe it. As long as man and woman are held together by love, attraction, or "conditions" (in its last analysis it is all the Law of Attraction, or God) they are literally one, no matter how hard they kick against the oneness; and neither man nor woman can alone be a model, any more than one side of a peach can be entirely ripe and sweet and the other side entirely hard and green.
So when I speak to Eve about tact and kindness I speak to the Eve in Adam as well as in Eve herself.
And what I say of the attractions of man and wife applies equally well to other family relationships, to friendships, to acquaintanceships and even to our relationship to the people we pass on the street or the heathen we never saw. Every person who touches us even in the slightest degree, is drawn by the law of attraction because we need him to bring out some latency in ourselves, and because HE needs us to help develop some latency in him. IT IS OUR OWN HIGHEST DESIRES (the god in us) WHICH CONSTITUTE THE ATTRACTION.
"Oh, but that can't be," you exclaim, "because So-and-So brings out only the evil in me. He makes me feel so hateful and mean." Let us see, dearie. The hateful and mean feelings are due to your RESISTING that which his influence would bring out of you. For instance, you were late at your appointment with him. Of course you thought you had a good excuse; but if promptitude were one of your strong points, instead of one of your latencies, you would have been on time in spite of that excuse--if it were your habit to be on time you'd have swept aside a much greater hindrance before you would have allowed yourself to be behind time. Now So-and-so is naturally prompt and, having had some experience with you he knew you were not; so when, he having arrived fifteen minutes ahead of time as it is his nature to do, you came tripping in fifteen minutes late--smiling confidingly as you excused yourself (he, having spent the half hour in cultivating a grouch at you for not being as prompt as himself)--he, of course, looked sulky and answered shortly. Then you pouted and finally worked yourself into quite a temper over his inconsiderateness and crankiness because of that paltry little fifteen minutes he had to wait. He worked himself into a temper because you were not on time; you worked yourself into a temper because he wasn't "nice." All that working was your individual doings.
But it all resulted in your resolving that if ever you had another engagement with that man (you'd take good care not to if you could help it, though!) you'd be on time if it killed you. Of course you didn't tell him so. And he resolved that the next time he made an engagement with you he'd know it, but if he did he would make up his mind to be on time instead of ahead of time, and he'd not care if you were late.
So you see, the Law of Attraction accomplished its divine purpose in attracting you two to make that engagement--it waked in you a resolution toward promptness; and it waked in him a resolution to be on time rather than before time in future, and to be civil if you happened to be late--since you are only a woman and can't be expected to appreciate the value of promptness!
This is the way all our associations in life work together for good to develop our latencies, to strengthen our weak points. The wiser we are the less emotion we waste in resenting the developing process--the more readily we see the point and take the resolution hinted at. You see you and your friend had had other such experiences as the one described--you had been late before when So-and-so condoned the matter and said nothing. He let you off so easily that you never thought of resolving not to be late again. You felt that he had been displeased but you depended upon your niceness to make it all right again, and it never occurred to you to call yourself to account and resolve that it should not happen so again. You were too heedless to take a hint, so you had to have a kick.
You may set this down as a rule without exceptions: That all the kicks you get from relatives or friends come after you have ignored repeated hints from your own inner consciousness and them. You have gone on excusing yourself without correcting the fault (perhaps without seeing it) until the Law of Attraction stopped hinting and administered a kick. And if one kick will not cause you to develop that weak point the Law of Attraction will bring you other and yet harder kicks on the same line. You will attract worse experiences of the same sort.
It is this very law which makes married folks (or other relatives or friends) quarrel. Adam refuses Eve's hints about neatness, and Eve kicks--harder and harder. Eve refuses Adam's hints and he gets to kicking. It ALWAYS takes two to start the kicking, AND EITHER ONE CAN STOP IT. A frank acknowledgement of error and a RESOLUTION to mend your end of the fault no matter what is done with the other end; then a pleasant expression and NO MORE WORDS;--this will stop the kicking. And in proportion as you learn to take the HINTS you attract, you will cease to attract kicks.
By all of which I am reminded of that old testament statement that 'the Lord hardened the heart of Pharoah.' The "Lord" or "Lord God" of the old testament is what I call the God in us, or the Law of Attraction in us; and the "God" of the Bible is The Whole--the God over all as well as in the individual. It is the God in us which attracts to us our experiences, in order to teach us wisdom and knowledge. Pharoah was not wise enough to let those people go, so the God in Moses gave him a hint--which he failed to take. Wherefore he attracted a gentle kick in the way of a plague. This dashed his ardor a bit and he gave permission for the Israelites to go; but he was only scared into doing it; and after the plague was called off he was not wise enough to keep his word--here was a great lot of valuable slaves which he could keep, and why shouldn't he?--his word was easy broken and all's fair in business; so his heart hardened and he held the Israelites. So he attracted a harder kick; which failed to accomplish its purpose. Kick after kick came, each a bit harder than the last; each scaring Pharoah for the moment, but none convincing him. He still thought it right to hang onto his slaves if he could, and he had the courage of his convictions. A man of such splendid courage seems worthy of a better fate. Pharoah had the courage of a Christ, coupled with the ethics of a savage, whose only law is his own desire of possession. Because he could not take the hint and see his mistake, he attracted a series of kicks increasing in power until one finally landed him in the Red Sea. Perhaps a glimmer of the truth reached him as the waters rolled over. But his soul goes marching on and his mistakes are still re-incarnating here on earth.
Is Adam kicking, Eve? Take a hint before he kicks harder. Is Eve making things warm for you, Adam? Take care you jump not out of the frying pan into the fire. Are circumstances plaguing you, Everybody? Take the hint lest worse plagues arrive; learn wisdom and avoid the Red Sea.
Be not wise in thine own conceits. Lean not upon thine own understanding, but in all thy ways and thy neighbor's ways, acknowledge that the One Good Spirit leads, and He shall direct thy feet in paths of peace and pleasantness.
The proof of foolishness is unrest and friction.
The proof of wisdom is peace.
Be still and know the Lord thy God, and learn from what He draws to thee.
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