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Lesson 6 - The Soul of Things
 To be nobler; to be better; to be greater intrinsically and all over; to be more and do more; to project a grander doing from a grander being; to extract a deeper vitality from a deeper knowing--this is the enticement to live.
Why, men are actually asking for some incentive to live! They are so tired of the old beliefs, and yet unable--with the limited range of their mental vision--to see anything better, that they are begging to be shown something worth living for. They feel their stagnation so much, submerged as they are in the world's dead thought, that each day is a weariness to them, and will be until they are aroused by the newer and more invigorating ideas founded upon a wider conception of man's own latent possibilities.
Only their own original thought can save them.
And the fountain-head of this original thought within the man has been dammed up so long by the dead-beliefs of a dead age, that not one in a hundred knows that he can think. Fewer still have the slightest conception of the power of thought, or dream of how this alone will change the whole current of existence for them when it begins to flow; nor of how it will--not only make them alive all over, but will give life to everything they see; thus transforming the dead world into a living world of enchanted beauty.
Self-generated thought is the vital fluid itself. It courses through a man's veins, and stimulates him to undreamed activities. But he needs to draw it fresh from the fountain-head of his own organism each day. Therefore, he must at once turn his back on the beliefs of the present age--on all of them--for they are not his. Even those among them which are truest are not properly related to him by the divine parentage of his own creative functions; and so he must let them go, and step clear from them all in absolute nakedness. He must then search his own organism for the well-spring of original thought, and bring it forth in which to clothe himself. For man is a mental being, and truth, in a thousand forms, is the Life Principle lying latent and made visible by his own recognition of it. This is the true method of mental growth--which is also "physical" growth--for as sure as the world turns on its axis, Walt Whitman was right when he said: "The soul is the body and the body is the soul." For a man is whole. His so-called physical being is his mental being, and the ever progressive unfoldment of the mental will be the ever progressive unfoldment of the physical.
At present the mental is standing still, chained to the old dead beliefs; and the physical is standing still, chained to the old dead beliefs, because the mental and physical are one. The physical is the mental and the mental is the physical. It is one; and is one with the dead beliefs, and dead with them. Yes, dead, all but that faint consciousness of life that renders death perceptible.
 Truth is a substantial element springing from the human organism in obedience to the demand for it. Ask yourself a question in relation to your own vital unfoldment, and the answer is revealed to you out of yourself, just as the fruit on the tree makes its demands upon the roots of the tree for more nourishment, and gets it. What you ask for will come to you in the shape of thought; and what is more, it will be pure, vital life essence, and will fill you with fresh power.
Without knowing anything about anatomy, or caring anything about it, I yet seem to perceive that the human organism--in itself one whole and perfect laboratory for the evolvement of life--is composed of three distinct departments; of which the stomach with its dependencies comes first in the process of growth, and is the lowest--being nearest the earth, as it were, its business being the transmutation of the earth's products into something finer than itself, out of which arises the second laboratory, represented by the sex system, or the vital and reproductive system. Then from these two lower laboratories--the digestive and the reproductive--comes the third and the highest, which is the brain.
The earth and all of its products are tributary to the lower of these laboratories, the digestive system. The digestive and the sex system, with the whole earth and all its, as yet, unknown elements, are tributary to the brain. There is nothing in the world that the brain may not command and obtain, provided the order is sent by the proper route--namely, through its tributary digestive systems that unite it with the earth. For it is a fact that a man is a growth, just as a tree is a growth. He is rooted in the earth and draws sustenance from the earth by the stomach, just as the tree is rooted and draws sustenance from the earth through its roots.
Nor does the proof of his kinship with the tree stop here, for the tree corresponds to the man in other ways. Its body corresponds to the man's vital system, and its leaves and flowers to his brain. The whole effort of nature is to develop this threefold digestive machine for itself the meaning of its organization and the power vested in it.
Always evolution is from lower to higher; from the earth upward or outward; always away from the more leaden or the deader influences of the earth toward the freedom of the more etherealized substances that exist in greater abundance outside of the earth, and that keep refining and strengthening in proportion as they go outward.
Therefore, the time comes when the trees are emancipated in a measure from the earth. Their roots are no longer embedded in the soil, but have assumed the form of feet and roam over the ground in the lives of various animals. In their development they have been recognizing (unconsciously to themselves) more and more of the infinite Vital Principle that permeates all intelligence, and this enlarged recognition has projected more enlarged and more free lives. All evolution leads in the direction of freedom.
The subject of evolution will never be understood until the great change in human thought, now going on, is in a measure completed. That change means the complete transposition of thought from the basis of dead matter and a material universe, to the basis of vital intelligence and a universe of living mental substance. The old scientists have elaborated the idea on the materialistic plane; they have done immense good in just this; but when their entire system shall have become transmuted from material to intellectual, or spiritual, it will then stand forth its true colors, and the whole world will understand the mystery of (so-called) creation.
Man is a spokesman of the one eternal Life. He is the interpreter of it. It "materializes," or becomes visible externally through his comprehension of it--through his intelligence.
 Man is an unfailing fountain of truth whose constant outflow, if encouraged, would fill life with new activities, and the world with new and mighty uses. But is it encouraged? On the contrary, every outlet for the flow of new and fresh and vital truth is closed up by the tyranny of the old thought that rules the age.
The old is enemy to the new, and yet the new alone has saving power. Must this state of affairs continue? Must the synods continue to crush their foremost men because they cannot help but think? Must the newspapers, in their sedulous effort to keep with the majority, treat with contempt, and often with abuse, each new idea that appears in print for the simple reason that it is new?
Look at the mighty work there is for the new thought to do!
The masses are in the hands of the enemies of the new thought; and under their blighting influence they lie half dead and almost impervious to the lifting power of the new. Look at the entrenchments of the old thought. It has been built into systems, and is sustained by mighty salaries drawn from the very heart's blood of its victims. It is organized at every point. It is well equipped for a long siege; but its equipment is not proof against the decomposing influence of the new and high thought now coming into the world.
By way of illustrating what I have been saying, let us glance at the positions of labor. Each succeeding year there is a growing excess of laborers over the demand for them. With every improvement in machinery thousands of men and women are thrown out of work. Every discovery of a new motor, or every new application of an existing one, is paid for in human lives reduced to beggary; in children defrauded of everything that makes life worth living. What then, shall we quit making discoveries? Shall we stand still, or, what would be better yet, if this is the proper idea, shall we not destroy what machinery we have and return to the primitive condition wherein each family spun and wove its own wool and cotton, raised its own hog and hominy, and felt itself independent of the need of exchange?
But exchange is life--exchange of every description--and the absence of it leads to stagnation and ends in death. Therefore we cannot return to these old conditions, nor can we stand still where we are. We must press forward in making still more discoveries, that will throw still more people out of work.
But the people have got to have work, and in order to have it, we must create new uses. In order to do this we must cease to repress desire in ourselves. On the contrary, we must foster and cherish our desires and let them become our stimulant to greater creativeness. Desire is the spirit of every effort. To suppress desire is to kill effort before it is born.
Now the race is not to keep going forever round and round in the execution of the same old uses, like a blind horse in a tread-mill. If this is to be the case it might as well cease to exist. And the fact is, the race is now manifesting the result of its past and present tread-mill existence, and is even at this time beginning to cease to exist. Look at the fact that we have three million laborers unemployed in the United States alone. This means that there are three million persons over and above the number actually needed. That which is not needed disappears; and the hard conditions of these people, their lack of enough food and warmth, will tell on them in time, and they and their offspring will become weaker and weaker and finally cease to be factors of society. Not being needed they must either make themselves needed or disappear. In the course of evolution there is no room at the bottom. The lopping off goes on at the bottom; never at the top. In the race growth, all the room there is, is at the top. The creative principle works from below  upward; and its one propelling force is desire. Those who are content with little, get little, and finally get nothing. They crush the voice of desire within themselves, and desire, which is the propeller of all activities, ceases, and when it ceases the person who generates it, or who ought to generate it, ceases.
Now people must desire. Those who have ceased to desire must begin to cultivate the faculty again. But this is only the beginning. After desiring they must trust their desires; they must put every particle of faith they can summon in their desires. This condition is creative; it is a condition that furnishes new ideas, and that stimulates to the effort that embodies them.
This is what I mean when I say that the race must create new uses or die. Nature is always true to herself. She produces with a lavish hand in each special line of her vast creativeness, and one would suppose that it would never cease. But, lo! a nobler creation appears, and that which was produced in such abundance disappears. It was only a preparation for a higher birth. As with vegetation, so with races. Only the exercise of the creative principle with a race is ever the guarantee of its immortality. If it grows, it is all right; it will be continued in life. To create new uses is to grow. The only way to create new uses is to trust our desires by carrying them into effect in the external world.
Imagination lies at the base of desire, and is its mother. It is endlessly prolific; so much so, so stupendously suggestive of wonderful possibilities, that we are afraid to trust it. "It is too good to be true," we say, and, with the faint-heartedness of a fatal ignorance, we shut our eyes upon the glorious prospect it opens to us. And yet, to trust the desires born of imagination is the beginning of the creation of the new uses that alone will entitle the race to a permanent habitation upon the earth. In the creation of new uses will be found our own salvation. This alone is race growth.
The imagination is eternally forecasting a condition of more than heavenly splendor; but the dull, everyday, treadmill faculties are constantly discrediting the glorious vision. Now, so long as this condition endures, so long as this barrier to farther progress continues to exist, will the race--as it continues to multiply--keep pressing with more and greater weight against the barrier; and in this pressure the weaker will be crushed; and, indeed, there will be no comfort for any, on account of the eternal scramble for better places, and the fear of losing such places as we now occupy--which, in spite of the small comfort we get out of them, are better than none.
This is the condition of race stagnation today. There is only one way out of it, and that is by bursting the barrier that prevents the foremost from going farther. This would enable the slower in development to trail after the foremost, and thus keep all creatures in motion on the progressive route.
What is the barrier? It is doubt . Doubt of all things but the already demonstrated facts of everyday life. This doubt strangles imagination, the mother of desire, and prevents the expression in effort of a thousand--yea, a million--creative resources lying latent in man, as the tree lies latent in the acorn.
If the acorn were developed to that point intellectually, where doubt is born, it would never be anything but the acorn. It would discredit the splendid imagination that forecasts the oak--and the desire that cries for expression--and the oak would die within it. It is due to the fact that doubt is not yet evolved on the lower, or unconscious, plane of growth, that growth has the power to proceed at all. Doubt is born of thought when thought begins to ask questions. And, in the plant and animal world, individuals have not become introspective, and do not ask questions. The power to do this belongs to man.
 Thought, being the body-builder, has the privilege either to discredit desire or to believe in it, and thereby clothe and make it manifest.
Desire, in the order of evolution, seems to precede thought. It does not really do this, since the two are coeval; but one thing is certain, it does precede self-conscious or self-analytical thought. Thought exists long before it becomes conscious of its existence; hence my meaning when I speak of conscious thought and unconscious thought.
Now in the growth of the lower orders of life, desire--which is the basic principle of all development--is not discredited by the doubts that are born of thought; and so the process of growth--as we observe it--is simply marvelous, if we are to judge it consistently with the present status of our doubting minds. Suppose, for instance, we knew nothing of the past miracles of growth, and someone should tell us that a mighty tree lay folded in an acorn, or that the glorious Japan lily--that most wonderful of flowers--was enwrapped in the folds of the little rusty-looking bulb. How easily we could disprove it from the materialistic standpoint by dissecting both acorn and bulb, and finding no trace of their mysterious intelligences. The desire that exists in these seed germs, the mighty power of unfoldment never to be discerned by material analysis, the potency of indestructible individuality, the characteristic, self-respecting, impregnable and invulnerable "I" is there, and holds true to itself, waiting and waiting its chance for expression under circumstances that favor it. But of all this mighty power, not a trace is visible to the natural eye. And yet experience has proven that it exists, and we know it, and have ceased to wonder.
Now, man is a seed germ of infinitely greater power of unfoldment. But, because we have never seen his unfoldment we doubt his power. We have grown to a point in intellectual growth where we have reached the negative pole of our own mighty intelligences, and where, instead of believing in them, and in the buds of promise starting up from them, we doubt, and these doubts chill and wither the buds; and so the race stands still as we see it, and in almost the same tracks it has been in for hundreds of years.
Desire is the soul of individual growth. Although I cannot state what follows as a demonstrated fact, yet it does seem as if desire were a part of the Law of Attraction drawn to organization by individual recognition. An analysis of desire shows us that is possesses the same quality that the Law does--it draws; it possesses the drawing power. This drawing power at certain stages of its evolvement becomes love, the very soul of all life, the heating or living principle (that principle in nature which, when perceived in its effects, has been called God.)
Now, whether desire is of the Law of Attraction or not, it surely seems to be, and it is the very voice of nature within us that constantly reaches out in pursuit of greater expression. Therefore if I were to speak from the old theological standpoint on this matter, I should say that desire is the voice of God within us, and that all growth depends upon our listening to this voice, and obeying it. Theologians, however, have divided their God and made a devil of one half of him, and they say that the voice of desire in man is from the devil.
They do not know that desire points always in the direction of freedom, which is happiness, and that the many fearful actions charged to its account come from the mistaken efforts of the intellect to gratify it.
Desire is certainly the voice of nature speaking through the man's intelligence. It may be crushed out by thought, the body-builder, or it may be clothed by recognition and made manifest in flesh and blood. Doubt of its worth and its noble aim and  end will crush it. Intelligent recognition of its true character, its noble purpose and its power, will establish it in visible manifestation in such forms of manly and womanly strength and beauty and grace and lovingness as the imagination cannot now conceive of.
Every manifestation of life, whether mineral, vegetable, animal or human, is an incarnation of the Law; the power that draws to a common center; the Love Principle, or Life Principle, of the universe. The Law is expressed in love. Every life loves something and wants that something, and grows to a larger life by the acquisition of it.
Every life therefore is a bundle of desires, and the more complex the life, the more manifold the desires. The tree climbs to a nobler growth through the gratification of its appetites, which are its highest desires. So does the worm; so does the greater animal.
But it has been the unflagging effort of all civilizations to crush out the natural desires of men and women, and substitute a cut-and-dried system for the training of the race; pruning people down and pressing them into certain molds--mostly of a theological pattern. And so it happens that men do not express the spirit within them, the living, breathing desires that they are, but something else that means nothing, or almost nothing.
"Conceived in sin and born in iniquity," says the Bible; which means that man was conceived in a false belief and born to reap its consequences. That false belief is, that his natural desires (which constitute the man proper) are vile and sinful, and must be crushed out. Desire is not only the means of man's unfoldment, but it is the unfolding man himself; it is the Law of Attraction unfolding through the man--a recognition of which, by the man's intelligence, conjoins the man with this Law, to his realization of the words Jesus spoke when he said, "I and the Father are one."
When you crush or moderate or tame the desire, you crush or moderate or tame the man. Man as incarnate Love, or desire, is an aggregating center. All that he desires from out of the inorganic mass of things drifts to him by the Law of Attraction, if he will not chill his desire by a doubt. And no one is defrauded by this, because in deep truth the supply is always equal to the demand. It is only when desire for those things called property begins that men have to regulate the gratification of their desires by a sense of justice. Even this apparent suppression of desire is not suppression, but the yielding of an inferior desire for the gratification of a greater one.
"But," says the student, "the sense of justice is surely the boundary line of desire." To which I answer, "No; desire can never find a boundary line; but it can fill the measure of growth on the horizontal plane--the plane on which we now live, and in which property rights have their origin--but this apparent limitation will have the glorious effect of pushing desire upward into a higher plane, where a higher, a more unfettered and a nobler class of thoughts will clothe it in a new form of splendor and power."
The babe is born into the world--a pure love--to unfold itself constantly to ever increasing desires. But the crushing process begins immediately; and presently it is pressed into the mold of the world's ignorant or negative beliefs, and ceases to grow. It ceases to grow as it ceases to desire. Having reached man's estate he congratulates himself that the keen edge of his ambition is dulled; that he is learning content. Oh! death, thou art in league with content for the annihilation of the race! By slow degrees, the natural desires, instead of being trained and made stronger and guided upward, and changed into aspirations for the absolutely true in all things, are pushed back and chilled, and finally killed; and this is the end of man's vitality, and consequently the end of his life. For desire is the pure  fountain flowing from that central fire of love which is the motive power of vitality. And aspiration is desire endowed with wings that lift man upward and above the horizontal plane of the world's present status of thought. "Oh, that I could fly away on the wings of my desires!" But the wings of our desires are constantly clipped until our desires become the tamest of domestic fowls, and the pure and holy ambitions they would have developed into lie dormant, leaving us in the "sere and yeallow leaf," abandoned to the deadness of a mildewed content that we call the "will of God."
It is man alone who is creative, or who has the power of making things manifest or visible. I want, I want, is the constant cry of organized or visible forms. More, more, is the ever ringing demand of the individual; I want more. It is not God who wants more, but I, myself. For this is what individualization means; and the objective world is the world of individuals.
Sin, sickness, poverty and death are the result of negative vitality--negation of life. We lack vitality because we crush out desire, which is the only stimulant to vitality, the only generator of it. In this condition of powerlessness anything may happen to us, because we do not resist and do not believe we ought to resist. "God sends us these afflictions," we say, when in fact it is our non-recognition of the desire within us (the Life Principle of the Universe) that permits them or renders their presence possible.
These conditions or beliefs are nothing more than that general establishment of negative development which all through the ages have simply repeated themselves in a series of never ending rounds while waiting the advent of their master--man. And man has been here for thousands of years, and, in his mistaken sense of humility, based upon a belief in his abject dependence on a personal God, he has regarded these weaknesses, or denials, of his power as his masters. The negative forces--which are the unintelligent forces--are on top, simply because man--the intelligent force--does not take his place above them. And all this time he has believed that his false position with regard to these negative forces was God-ordained; and this belief has paralyzed his desire, by teaching him content. In paralyzing the desire, instead of training it into legitimate and noble aspiration, the man has been paralyzed. And this is the situation today; an awfully mistaken situation that man must be educated out of.
Man must be taught his supremacy over the negatives. He must understand that the Principle of Being which speaks through the tree and the worm in desire, speaks through him in still nobler desire; in other words, that his desires are the voices of nature calling for greater and stronger and more wonderful manifestation upon the eternal plane of life.
The "more, more" that cries through me, from the simplest little want to the loftiest hope, is but a reverberation from the undiscovered vaults of a glorious and endless progression, that I may yet traverse in this gradually refining mental body, if I will not blight my desire with the chilling touch of deadly doubt.
Look at desire and see what it is. It is something within us whose outreaching relates us to something desirable yet to be attained. Is life a lie that a desire may exist and that which gratifies it may not exist? How superlatively foolish such an idea is! And say what we will of desires that appear evil, there is no evil in them, for happiness is the soul's supreme desire, and includes and sanctifies all desires--even those which, for the time being, prospect for it in mistaken directions; thus obtaining the curse of society and the restriction of the law and adding strength to the popular belief that it is God's will that human desires should be crushed. The mistakes we have made in following our desires to  the realization of our highest ideals (dreadful ideals, many of them, but leading to higher ones) are the events that have cemented public opinion in the belief that desire is of the devil, and that it must of necessity be crushed out or subordinated to a mistaken idea of "God's will."
Desire is the aggregating principle of life in man. It is the cohesive quality. It is the "I" in him about which all belongings congregate. Desire--our own desires--all of them, from the simplest cry of the babe for food to the most complex wants of the most highly spiritualized being, are monitions of the Law or Principle of Attraction speaking in us for that thought material--that recognition with which we may become clothed in greater power and splendor and beauty and opulence.
That manifestation in whom desire is supremest is master by inherent right. Desire, being greater in man than in any other creature, proclaims at once his mastership and his unequivocal title to this position. He cuts down the tree because his desire for fuel or lumber overmasters the tree's desire to live. He kills the animal because his desire for food overmasters the animal's desire for life. And thus the survival of the fittest, through the mastery of the strongest desire, has worked the world's conditions up to where they now stand.
And here is man, the conqueror, who has mastered all things and put them beneath his feet through desire, now that he is on the very threshold of the kingdom he has conquered, held back from entering into possession by the false assumption of ignorance that the desire in him, and which is he, is an evil thing and must be subordinated to "God's will"--as if this very desire were not the one eternal self-existent will expressed as only it ever expresses itself--through living organizations of which man is the most complete.
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