Personal Power Volume III (by W.W. Atkinson and Edward E. Beals) 1922
Volume III — DESIRE POWER or Your Energizing Forces
I. EMOTIVE POWER
Desire Power is one of the many phases of Personal Power — of that Personal Power which flows into and through the individual from that great source of the All-Power of All-Things which in this instruction is known as POWER.
You do not create your own Personal Power of any kind, though you may modify it, adapt it, develop it, and direct it. POWER, the source of All-Power; by opening your natural channels to it’s inflow; and by supplying it with the proper physical and mental mechanism by means of which it is enabled to express and manifest itself efficiently.
There are not, in reality, many distinct kinds of Personal Power — though there are many forms and phases of its expression and manifestations. Just as, by means of being supplied with the appropriate apparatus, Electricity is transformed into light, heat, energy, motive-power, telegraphic power, telephonic power, and “wireless message” power, so is your Personal Power transformed into mental power and physical power; into thinking power, feeling power, and willing power; by reason of the various channels of expression and manifestation supplied to it.
Personal Power manifests along the lines of mental activity in three great forms, viz., along the respective channels of (1) Feeling, (2) Thinking, and (3) Willing. These three channels, however, are not absolutely set apart and separated from each other, but, on the contrary, have many intersecting and connecting lines or channels of intercommunication; their activities are closely coordinated. Accordingly, in practically all instances of mental activity, we find the coordination and blending of the activity of these great phases of mental activity.
Desire is the highest wave of the waters of Feeling or Emotion. Feeling is “the agreeable or disagreeable phase of a mental state.” Emotion is a complex form of Feeling, into which is blended the element of the representative ideas of memory or imagination. Desire is the strong urge or pressure of Emotion toward an idea or object which promises emotional satisfaction and content; or away from an idea or object which threatens emotional dissatisfaction or discontent. If the emotional urge becomes sufficiently strong, the Desire develops a conational activity, i.e., an activity tending toward will-action along the lines of the satisfaction and gratification of the Desire. On one side, Desire arises from Emotion; on the other side, Desire evolves into Conation — and Conation is the elementary active phase of Will.
Before you can expect to understand the nature of Desire, its laws, the principles of its development and application, you must first know something of the general form of mental activity of which it is the highest and most active phase, i.e., the mental activity known as Emotion.
Emotion is defined as: “An excitement of the feelings, whether pleasant or unpleasant”; Feeling being “the agreeable or disagreeable side of any mental state.” Feeling may be described as “a simple emotional state”; and Emotion may be described as “a complex state of Feeling” — the difference is a matter of degree and not of kind. Emotion, however, has Idea blended with it — memories of previous experiences supplied by recollection or instinct (the latter reporting race-memories). Feeling (simple) may arise from a purely physical cause, and no definite Idea may be involved in it. But Emotion (complex) necessitates the presence and influence of representative Idea to direct it and to continue it beyond the stage of simple Feeling.
A leading teacher of psychology illustrated this distinction to his pupils by directing their attention to the analogy of the junction of the Upper Mississippi and Missouri rivers. He pictured the Missouri as a stream of Representative Ideas, and the Upper Mississippi as a stream of simple Feeling arising from sense-impressions. The two streams meet; their waters join and, blending, compose the complex Lower Mississippi of Emotion now flowing to the Gulf of Desire and Will. The teacher, however, always cautioned his pupils to remember that this illustration was used merely for convenience: for Feeling and Idea are never so far apart (before the junction) in the mind as are the waters of the two rivers.
The highest activities of Feeling and Emotion are known as Affection and Desire, respectively.
Affection is defined as: “An emotional drawing of the mind toward any person or thing, which does not necessarily depart even when that person or thing is absent.” In its latent state, Affection may be termed a “disposition or tendency toward a person or thing.” In its active state, Affection may manifest as Passion, especially in the presence of its object. The term is usually employed to denote the state of emotional feeling toward persons, but it is also properly employed in connection with anything capable of exciting regard. Affection, likewise, has its negative aspect; in such aspect the tendency or disposition is that of drawing-away-from, instead of drawing-toward, the object or person arousing the emotional feeling. Positive Affection arises from Attraction; Negative Affection arises from Repulsion. Affection, then, is seen to be composed of the following two elements, viz., (1) the Emotional Feeling, and (2) the tendency or disposition to be attracted toward (or repelled from) the object arousing the emotional feeling.
Desire is a more complex, and a more active phase of Emotional Feeling than is Affection. Desire combines and includes the element of Affection, but it goes beyond the latter. It may be defined as: “The strong wish or inclination to attain, secure, reach, or to retain, hold, and own, the object which has attracted it; or to get away from, escape or be free from, the object which has repelled it.” Desire always reaches out to the object of Positive Affection, or withdraws from the object of Negative Affection. Affection simply is attracted toward or repelled by its objects; Desire takes up the task where Affection drops it, and then wishes to lay hold upon the object, to possess it or attain it, or (in its negative aspect) to avoid or escape from that object. Affection (in its positive phase) loves the object; Deisre (in its positive phase) not only loves it but also “wants” it and is not satisfied without its attainment or possession. Note this distinction, for it is important in the application of the fundamental principle involved in Desire.
The power inherent in Emotion is indicated by the term designating it. The term “Emotion” is derived from the Latin term “emotio,” meaning “a moving out.” The latter term, in turn, was derived from the Latin prefix “e,” meaning “out,” and the verb “moveo” which supplies us with our English term “Emotion,” also supplies us with our English term “Motion.” Both terms mean “to move”; the “e” in “Emotion” specially indicating “outward motion; to move outward.” So that Motion and Emotion are seen to be closely connected in origin and meaning. Motive Power and Emotive Power are but forms and phases of the same thing, at the last analysis — some philosophers, indeed, claiming that they are one in essential principle.
Too many persons have fallen into the habit of undervaluing Emotion, and of rather being inclined to apologize for its presence and manifestation in and by themselves. They seek to give it a subordinate place in the Trinity of Mind, and to exalt above it the coordinated elements of Thinking and Willing, respectively. This, principally because the term “emotional” has been attached to and associated with certain unattractive phases of emotional activity; as for instance, the sickly sentimentality, maudlin sentiment, the “slushy gushing” and the neurotic hysterical hyper-emotionality manifested by certain persons who are regarded as being “quite emotional.” The abnormal has been mistaken for the normal — the morbid, for the natural and healthy state.
Emotion includes not only some of the richest and most noble elements of our mental and spiritual natures, but also much that is of the most practical pragmatic value in our everyday work and activity. Not only does it manifest its presence in those experiences and activities which we usually include in the category of “the things of the soul,” but it also is found to play a quite important part in the activities of the intellect and will. The promise implicit in its name is fulfilled in its actual accomplishment.
Emotion includes in its category that which thrills the heart of man, and which causes him to manifest the fine forces of affection, love and friendship. It contains within its realm the desires which urge him forward on the path of life, and which direct his vision to the banner of Victory placed far ahead over the portals of the future. Emotion lies much closer to the heart and nearer to the springs of human action than does Intellect, great as are the achievements of the latter; and it plays a highly important part in the determination of the character of the individual. While we extol the virtues of Intellect, let us not ignore or undervalue those of Emotion. Man does not live by Intellect alone: Emotion must be present to add spirit and soul to the body of Personal Power.
Man has a heart as well as a head. In fact, the heart plays a greater part than does the head in the actions of mankind as a whole. Rob human action of the inspiration of the heart, and you have left but a cold mechanical product. Remove Emotion from human life, and you will have taken away the source of its greatest beauties and charm. The Man of Personal Power has Intellect, Emotion, and Will well balanced — this constitutes the Balance of Poise and Power. Intellect is not to be undervalued; Will is to be viewed with respect and admiration; but Emotion is seen to be the essence of the life and soul of the other two elements, and of the individual as a whole. Well says the old adage: “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”
But more to the point, at least in the case of the practical men of the world who may read these words, is the fact that in Emotion is to be found a practical phase of Personal Power — a force or energy which enables men to attain, to accomplish, to succeed, to do things worth while. It is one of the tragedies of our modern educational system that, while the greatest attention is devoted to training “the head,” training “the heart” is practically neglected. It is generally considered quite practical and according to common sense to train and cultivate the intellect; but usually even to hint at the desirability of training and cultivating the emotions lays one open to the charge of being “impractical and visionary.” It is only when persons are shown the important part played by Emotion in all the activities of Intellect and Will, that they will even seriously listen to suggestions that Emotion should be accorded attention in the educational field.
Yet, as all psychologists know, the Intellect is influenced, swayed, directed and often entirely controlled by Emotion. Many of man’s greatest intellectual triumphs have resulted from the motive power supplied by Emotion. Moreover, the Will has its very roots embedded in Emotion; the motives which move the Will to action are always found to arise from Emotion. These are not mere general or careless statements made to strengthen the argument; on the contrary, they express the cold, hard facts of scientific psychology. The fact that such statements may be new to you is but another proof of the public neglect of this important subject.
Ribot, in the following statement, ably sets forth the conclusions of those philosophers, psychologists and physiologists who maintain that Emotional Feeling is the most fundamental aspect of the life of all conscious creatures, and that it underlies the phase of Intellect in the scale of evolutionary development; that, in fact, it constitutes the very kernel of Life and Mind as these are found to be manifested in living forms. He says:
“Concerning the place of the Feelings in the total psychic life, I wish to say that that place is first. The Feelings appearing first, it is clear that they cannot be derived, and are not a mode or function of Intellect, since they exist by themselves and are irreducible: thus stated the question is simple and quite evident. The physiological evidence in favor of the priority of the Feelings need only to be recalled; it all centres in one point: organic vegetative life always and everywhere appears before animal life; physiologists constantly repeat that the animal is grafted on the vegetable which precedes him.
“Organic life is directly expressed by the needs and appetites, which are the stuff of the affective life. The myriads of animals are only bundles of needs, their psychology consisting in the search for food, in defense, in propagation; but even closed in as they are from the outside world, desire in them is not less intense. Even in man, foetal life, and that of the first months after birth, is much the same: almost made up of satisfied or unsatisfied wants, and consequently of pleasures and pains. From the purely physiological point of view, Intellect appears not as mistress, but as servant.
“The psychological evidence is not difficult to supply, and indeed it has already been presented by Schopenhauer in so brilliant and complete a manner that it would be a bold task to present it afresh. For Schopenhauer, ‘to Will’ is to desire, to aspire, to flee, to hope, to fear, to love, to hate: in a word, all that directly constitutes our good and our ill, our pleasure and our pain. Will (in the sense indicated by Schopenhauer) is universal. The basis of consciousness in every animal is Desire. This fundamental fact is translated into the impulse to preserve life and well-being, and to propagate. This foundation is common to polyp and to man. The differences between animals are due to a difference in knowledge; as we descend in the series, intelligence becomes weaker and more imperfect, but there is no similar degradation in Desire. The smallest insects wills what it desires as fully as does man.
“Desire-Will is always equal to itself. It is fundamental. It is a fact anterior to all intelligence and independent of it. It is the basis of character: ‘the man is hidden in the heart and not in the head.’ Its power is sovereign. It is not Reason which uses Desire, but Desire which uses Reason to reach its ends. Under the influence of intense Desire, the Intellect sometimes rises to a degree of vigor of which none would believe it capable. Desire, love, fear, render the most obtuse understanding lucid. Desire, guided by experience, rests upon proved pleasure and pain, seeking one and avoiding the other. Impulse is the primordial fact in the life of the feelings. Spinoza sums up the whole spirit of the question in his passage: ‘Desire is the very essence of man, from which necessarily flow all those things which tend to preserve him’.”
Indeed, philosophers have even dared to speculate that just as Desire-Feeling is the essence and kernel of the life of the individual, so a Cosmic Desire-Feeling must be postulated as being the very essence and kernel of the Cosmos — of All-Nature; in all of her manifestations and forms of expression, inorganic as well as organic. Along this same line are those metaphysical conceptions of the Infinite Power, or Infinite Being, as necessarily having Desire-Feeling as its attribute; for, otherwise, it is asked, how may we conceive of the Infinite ever having begun its manifestation and expression of the created world? Say certain metaphysicians: “The Infinite must have felt that Creation was ‘desirable,’ else it would never have created anything at all.” such speculation, however, is outside of our field here; we have mentioned it merely to illustrate how fundamental is the idea, and how it ever asserts its power in man’s philosophical thinking.
Emotion, then, is perceived to be the great incentive to individual motion and action in human life, at least. It is no longer to be regarded as a merely internal, subjective mental state. On the contrary, it is seen to be the internal phase of a mental activity striving to express itself in outward and external activity. Emotion is well called E-Motion. Emotion is an incentive to action — to mental and physical motion. Emotion strives ever to express itself in action. On its lower side, it blends into certain forms of Sensation; on its upper side, it blends into Will.
Emotion is not that manifestation or expression of fanciful, sentimental, neurotic, hysterical feelings or impulses — something to be apologized for by the person manifesting it. Emotion is no more to be gauged by the neurotic, hysterical, hyper-emotionality miscalled “emotion,” than is Intellect to be gauged by the fantastic so-called “reasoning” of the inmate of a lunatic asylum, or that of the many “out patients of Bedlam” whom we meet in everyday life. Neither Emotion nor Intellect is to be gauged by the perverted forms of these great mental activities.
Men are accustomed to speak of Intellect as the most potent of the powers of the mind; but they reckon ill who leave out Emotion. Descartes said: “I think; therefore, I am!” But Feeling is even more fundamental than is Thought: and men say with even greater certainty, “I Feel; therefore, I am!” Likewise, we are in the habit of quoting with satisfaction the aphorism: “As a man thinketh, so is he”; but we fail to remember that the actual words of the aphorism are, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Here, “thinketh in his heart,” really means “feeleth in his heart” — for “the heart” is the familiar figurative term employed to denote the seat of Feeling, just as “the head” is employed to denote the seat of Thinking. So, at the last, then, our favorite aphorism is seen to read, “As a man feeleth in his heart, so is he.”
We are here not endeavoring to exalt Emotion over Thought and Will, but are merely seeking to restore to its place in the Trinity of Mind a most important element of the Mental Power of Man which many persons have become accustomed to overlook and neglect. Or, changing the figure of speech, we may say that in Emotion we have that cornerstone of the Temple of Mental Power which has been rejected by many of the modern builders. Without the element of Emotive Power there can be no Motive Power of the human mind.
II. DESIRE AND ACTIONS
Desire, as we have seen, is the crest of the wave of Emotional Feeling. At the same time, Desire may be said to be the elementary stage or phase of Will. Emotion, rising to Desire, tends to become transformed into Will. Before reaching the stage of Desire, we find Emotion manifesting the stage of Affection, under the several forms of the latter known as Love, Liking, Fondness, Attraction, Passion, Admiration, respectively. The spirit of Affection is represented by the phrase, “I like.”
Desire evolves from the stage of Affection, and manifests the inclination to wish, to want, to long for, to hanker after, to crave eagerly, to obtain or to enjoy the object of its Affection. Desire manifests in several forms, as for instance, Aspiration, Ambition, Craving, Hunger or Thirst (employed figuratively), for Attainment; or, the simple Wish or Want. The spirit of Desire is represented by the phrase, “I want.”
Desire, however only moves toward that to which it is attracted by Affection. It “wants” only that which it “likes.” That which it neither likes nor yet dislikes fails to stir it into activity. That which it dislikes, it positively “wants not”; it seeks to avoid, or to escape from, or to be rid of or free from such things. The degree of Desire depends materially upon the degree of Affection for the object, though other elements enter into the calculation. As Gordy says: “I will to do this, or that, because of some pleasure or benefit — and that, when analyzed, will be found to consist of some form of pleasure which I hope to gain, or of some pain which I hope to avoid.”
Here is the working principle, briefly stated: We entertain an Affection or “like” for that which gives us pleasurable feelings or emotions; we Desire or “want” that for which we entertain an Affection or “like,” i.e., that which gives us pleasurable feelings or emotions; and we Will or “act” to do that which seems to tend to satisfy or accomplish our Desire or “want.” In this working principle we may find the Secret of Action — the workings of the inner machinery of Will which causes us to “do things.” We must find a thing pleasurable in order that we may “like” it; we must “like” it before we may “want” it; we must “want” it before we will move into action to “do things” tending to attain, secure, gain, and accomplish that which will satisfy the Desire.
Desire is stirred into activity, and moves out into expression, only in response to an object — it is moved only by an incentive of an emotional character. Professor Halleck gives us the simple rule in his celebrated statement: “Desire has for its object something which will bring pleasure or get rid of pain, immediate or remote, for the individual or for some one in whom he is interested. Aversion, or a striving away from something, is merely the negative aspect of Desire.”
You will find that all forms and phases of Desire are covered by the above statement. To be Desire, a mental state must include and possess the above-stated elements; if a mental state includes the above-stated elements, then it must be Desire. You are advised to commit the definition, or statement, to memory; and to test your feelings by means of it, when you are in doubt as to whether you desire a thing, or not.
Desire exerts a tremendous influence upon all phases of human action. It is the motive power of Will; the latter tends to move toward the object of the greatest Desire, and to flow through its channels. The Will is always moved by a “motive,” i.e., a cause, or reason inciting to action; and that “motive” always is found in Desire and the ideas attached to it. It is an axiom of psychology that “The Will goes out toward the strongest motive present in conscious or subconscious attention at the time of action.” The “strongest motive” always is that idea representing the object of the strongest desire, or of the aggregate or average of the strongest desires, present in attention at the moment of action.
Desire also plays an important part in our thought, reasoning, and judgments. It quickens our perception, and energizes our thought processes. It is proverbial that our judgments are affected by our feelings, emotions, affections and desires. It has been truly said that most persons, when they seek to reason, strive rather to find “excuses” for their previous decisions, rather than to advance logical reasons for new decisions; the decisions themselves have already been made, in most cases, because of feelings, emotions, affections and desires. Our feelings and desires frequently cause us to perceive only the facts which we wish to discover, and to overlook those which we do not wish to be uncovered.
Johnson says: “Affection and Desire put the magnifying end of the telescope to our intellectual eye where our own interests are concerned, and the minimizing end when we are looking at the interests of others for whom we entertain no affection.” Halleck says: “Thought is deflected when it passes through an emotional medium, just as a sunbeam is deflected when it strikes water.” Gulick says: “Our hopes, fears, ambitions, loves and likes are the controlling factors of our lives. The purely mental, logical, or reasoning function is chiefly the servant of our desires and fears.”
That men are influenced more easily, more readily and more frequently through their emotions, desires and affections, than through their reasoning faculties, is well known. The orator, lawyer, statesman and preacher, the salesman and the advertising man, all know that the road to men’s heads runs through men’s hearts. The great orators have been men of emotional power — men who put their hearts into their words, and thus aroused the hearts of their hearers. Rochefoucauld said: “The passions are the only orators that always succeed.” Henry Clay said: “Caesar controlled men by exciting their fears; Cicero by swaying their passions.” Brooks says: “It is the tender sentiment, the quivering lip, the trembling accent, the moistened eye, that are often the most eloquent pleaders.”
Davenport says: “The cool, rational speaker has little chance beside the skillful orator. The crowd thinks in images, and speech must take this form to be accessible to it . . . The crowd is united and governed by emotion rather than by reason. Emotion is the natural bond, for men differ less in this respect than in intellect.” Burke said: “There is a moving tone of voice, an impassioned gesture, which affects independently of the things about which they are exerted. So are there words, and certain dispositions of words, which being peculiarly devoted to passionate subjects, and always used by those who are under the influence of any passion, always touch and move us more than those which far more clearly and distinctly express the subject matter. We yield to sympathy what we refuse to description.”
An old writer once said: “Few speakers succeed who attempt merely to make people think — they want to be made to feel. People will pay liberally to be made to feel or to laugh, while they will begrudge a sixpence for instruction or talk that will make them think. The reasons are palpable and plain: it is heart against head; soul against logic; and soul is bound to win every time.” Cardinal Newman once said: “The heart is commonly reached, not through reason, but through the imagination, by means of direct impressions, by descriptions. Persons influence us, voices melt us, deeds inflame us.”
One has but to recall instances of the great influence exerted over the public mind by the emotional appeals to affection or dislike, to prejudices for or against, to desires, ambitions, aspirations, cravings, longings and things eagerly “wanted,” made by orators, politicians, statesmen, actors, and preachers, in order to realize the potent effect of Emotion, Affection and Desire upon men’s thoughts, opinions, beliefs and convictions.
A modern writer says: “A large part of the business of life consists in moving the emotions and desires of men so as to get them to act.” Another says: “The successful man is he who is able to persuade the crowd that he has something that they want, or that they want something that he has.” The successful salesman, advertising man, or any other man who has things to sell other men, all bring into play the force of Desire in those whom they are seeking to interest in their projects. They appeal to the “want” or “want to” side of the mind of men. They play upon men’s sympathies, their prejudices, their hopes, their fears, their desires, their aversions.
Men “do things” and “act” because of the motive power of their emotional nature, particularly in the form of Affection and Desire. This is the only reason impelling or influencing men to “do things.” Were this motive power absent, there would be no action or doing of things; there would be no reason or cause for such action or doing, in that event. We act and do solely because we “like” and “want.” Were the emotional element absent, there would be no element of volition. Without Desire we would make no choices, would exercise no decision, would perform no actions. Without the “want” and “want to,” there would be no “will to do,” and no “doing.” Desire is the motive power of Action; take away the motive power and there cannot be and will not be any movement, activity or volition. Without the motive power of Desire, the machinery of voluntary action ceases to operate, and comes to a complete standstill.
An old writer, whose words have been preserved for us though his name is unknown to the present writers, enunciates a profound truth in the following rather startling statement:
“Every deed that we do, good or bad, is prompted by Desire. We are charitable because we wish to relieve our inner distress at the sight of suffering; or from the urge of sympathy, with its desire to express its nature; or from the desire to be respected in this world, or to secure a comfortable place in the next one. One man is kind because he desires to be king — because it gives him satisfaction and content to be kind. Another man is unkind because he desires to be so — because it gives him satisfaction and content to be so. One man does his duty because he desires to do it — he obtains a higher emotional satisfaction and content from duty well done than he would from neglecting it in accordance with some opposing desires. Another man yields to the desire to shirk his duty — he obtains greater satisfaction and content from refraining from performing his duty, in factor of doing other and contrary things which possess a greater emotional value to himself.
“The religious man is religious in his actions, because his religious desires are stronger than are his irreligious ones — he finds a greater satisfaction and content in religious actions than in the pursuits of the worldly minded. The moral man is moral because his moral desires are stronger than his immoral ones — he obtains a greater degree of emotional satisfaction and content in being moral than in being immoral. Everything we do is prompted by Desire in some shape or form, high or low. Man cannot be Desireless, and still act in one way or another — or in any way whatsoever. Desire is the motive-power behind all action — it is a natural law of Life. Everything from the atom to the monad; from the monad to the insect; from the insect to man; from Man to Nature; and possibly from Nature to God; everything from lowest to highest and from highest to lowest — everything that is — is found to act and do things, to manifest action and to perform work, by reason of the power and force of Desire. Desire is the animating power, the energizing force, and the motive-power in, under, and behind all natural processes, activities and events.”
In order to appreciate fully the influence and power of the emotional states, culminating in Desire, upon the decisions and actions of men, it may be necessary for you to indulge in a little introspective speculation, employing your imagination in the task. You may start out with the assumption that no thing has a greater emotional value to you ‘than any other thing; that you feel no greater desire to attain, possess, or enjoy any one thing more than another; that you do not “want” or “want to” in any particular direction any more than in any other. Admitting the existence of such a state of mind and feeling, you may then proceed logically to create an imaginative picture of the state of affairs certain to result from such mental state.
In such event, you would find that not only would “all things look alike to me,” but that you would feel alike concerning all things. All things having an equal emotional value to you, you would really experience no emotional “wanting,” craving, or desiring for anything. Hunger and thirst having ceased to exist for you; comfort and discomfort would have passed away from you; love and hate, like and dislike, no longer would have any meaning for you. You would quite as willingly starve or suffer extreme thirst as to satisfy hunger or thirst. You would quite as willingly suffer extreme discomfort and pain, as to enjoy comfort and experience pleasure. You would be quite as willing to experience insult, revilement and cruelty directed toward yourself, or those near to you, as you would be to be shown kindness, consideration, respect and kind treatment. Poverty and wealth would alike be valued or not valued by you — one would be quite as good as the other.
You would no longer feel affection toward your parents, your mate and your offspring, and you would not raise your hand to protect them from any assault or injury. All love and all sympathy would be foreign to you, as would also all hate, dislike, or desire to avoid anything or anybody. You would have no love of friends, nor of home, nor of country. The impulses of sex, high and low, would not affect you. You would have no liking or desire for truth and honesty, and yet no desire to lie or to be dishonest. You would have no desire to create, to construct, to invent. You would have no sense of love, of beauty, of art, of music — no desire to think, learn, read, or to use the mind in any way. You would have no moral or religious instincts or tendencies, yet you would suffer no temptations to indulge in vice or courses frowned upon by ethics and religion. All feelings, high and low, good and bad, virtuous or vicious, all would be lacking in you.
In such an event, you would have no tastes concerning anything, no preferences about anything, no love or hatred for anything, no like or dislike of anything, no desire or aversion for anything; and consequently you would not exert your will to attain or to avoid anything — you would not will at all, you would not act at all in any direction. You would be a “living dead man,” for all that constitutes the meaning of life would be absent from your being. Apathy and Lethargy would be your lot. You would not even live long, for you would feel no desire to act to supply yourself with nourishment, nor to secure protection from the elements or from hostile forces or things.
If the world were Desireless there would be no activity in it. Not only would all living things cease to manifest their natural characters and natures, but even the inorganic forms would cease to act, and move, and perform their natural processes. For, know you, Desire dwells even on the lower planes of Nature — even on the planes of the so-called “lifeless” things. Everything that has the power of “self movement” is found to move to or away from certain other things for which it may be said to have “like or dislike.” The attraction and repulsion among the atoms and molecules of matter are held by scientists to proceed according to well-defined “like and dislike,” love and hate, — Desire, in an elementary form. The “chemical affinity” between the chemical elements clearly proceeds along the lines of “like and dislike.” This being so, a Desireless World would lack the activities of these inorganic elements, the cessation of the natural forces — and all would be at a standstill.
This idea has been objected to by some on the grounds that most of our actions — and those of all other creatures and things — proceed along the lines of habit rather than of actual Desire. The answer to this is (1) all habits, original or inherited through race-memory and instinct, have been created and established by repetitions of actions found “agreeable,” and hence according to Desire — they are derivative or secondary manifestations of Desire; and (2) your own experience will prove to you that it is decidedly more “comfortable” and “agreeable” to act according to habit than in the opposite direction. The difficulty experienced by on e in overcoming an objectionable habit is sufficient proof that one “wants to” act in the habitual manner, and finds it agreeable and pleasant so to do; Desire reigns in the field of habit, as in every other mental field. The “line of least resistance” runs along the path of habit, and in response to a marked feeling of comfort.
We feel assured that you have now convinced yourself that all of your actions are directly or indirectly caused by your Desires; and that the latter are based upon your particular emotional values, i.e., upon the kind, character, direction and degree of your “likes and dislikes.” The more closely you study and analyze the actions and doings of yourself and other individuals, the more firmly established will be your conviction that: “All voluntary action proceeds along the lines of Desire, and arises from the presence and activity of Desire.” There is no known exception to this rule; the more extended the observation and experiment, the greater is the proof of the rule.
In testing out the truth of the above-announced rule of action, you should always bear in mind the true and full definition of Desire. For convenience, we here again quote the Halleck rule, viz., “Desire has for its object something which will bring pleasure or get rid of pain, immediate or remote, for the individual or for some one in whom he is interested. Aversion, or a striving away from something is merely a negative aspect of Desire.” Observation and experiment will prove conclusively to you the truth of the rule that all voluntary actions arise from Desire (in the above-stated sense of the term), and always proceed along the lines of Desire.
However, there is another step in our reasoning on the subject — a step which many hesitate to take, and over which many stumble and fall, in their reasoning — a step which logically follows the acceptance of the foregoing rule, and which is the inevitable, invariable and infallible conclusion of the premise or proposition advance in that rule. This second, or derivative rule, is as follows: “All voluntary action proceeds along the line of the strongest Desire-motive, or the aggregate or average of such motives, present in conscious or subconscious attention at the moment of decision or action.”
Stated in simpler terms this rule is: “You always act according to the greatest ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ of which you are cognizant at the time.” So true and invariable is this rule, that it may be truthfully asserted that you not only always do so act, but that you cannot act to the contrary — if you act at all, you must act according to this rule. This last is a hard saying for most persons when it is first presented to their notice; but it is a true one, and the repugnance to it arises from a misunderstanding concerning, or at least a failure to comprehend fully, the real meaning of the proposition. We ask you to give the matter careful attention, for it is important.
The principal objection urged against this rule by many persons when it is first presented to them is that which may be expressed in the statement, “But, I actually often do things against my desires and inclinations, and which I really do not want to do at all.” At first, this statement may seem to express the truth; but a little analysis will soon uncover the fallacy. The analysis may begin with the following question, “But why did you do the thing which you say you did not want to do?” There is always an answer, and that answer usually begins with the word “because.” A “because” is a “cause,” or “reason” — it is a motive to action. And that “because,” “reason,” or motive is alwyas discovered to be some form or phase of Desire — a “want” to secure or to avoid or escape something. The “why?” implies a motive, the “because” states the motive, and the “want” is the essence of the motive.
You may desire very much to attend the opera, but you decide to stay home at the last moment. Why? Because of the wishes of your wife, the illness of your child, the notice of the visit of a friend, or some other “because” based upon a desire, wish, or “want to.” There may be a conflict of desires, but the strongest desire at the moment wins the battle. You may discard even a strong desire for a present and immediate pleasure or benefit in favor of a desire for a remote one promising greater benefit or satisfaction. You may inhibit and suppress a strong desire, because of your desire to give pleasure, or to avoid causing pain, to some one for whom you care; or, for fear of condemnation and disapproval on the part of others; or, because of the promptings of “conscience,” and the feeling that you would afterward repent or feel remorse because of the action, or, because the force of habit, custom, usual mode of action, etc., brings down the balance of Desire against the proposed action. In short, you may decide not to do the thing you first desired and “wanted to” do, so strongly, — but only because of the greater desire for something else or to escape something else.
These illustrations might be continued almost indefinitely, but the above examples indicate the general principle involved. You will find that the strongest element of Desire to have, or to avoid or escape, will win the day. The rule is: “You always act according to your greatest ‘like’ or ‘dislike,’ of which you are cognizant at the time.”
When you feel regret, repentance or remorse because of past actions or failure to act, it is simply because time has added new elements or has give you new points of view. Your emotional values have changed, and the problem no longer is the same which confronted you when you made the decision. New facts, new ideas, new conditions may add to the emotional values of one course of action, and subtract from the values of others. But the action you now wish you had taken, like the one which you now wish you had not taken, always is based upon the same rule of the strongest like or dislike present at the moment of the decision.
Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) presented his philosophy based upon this principle of voluntary action in a somewhat blunt and startling form. Helvetius, the French philosopher, had announced the same conclusions in the Eighteenth Century — but few have heard of Helvetius, while many have heard of Mark Twain.
Helvetius, in his main work, advanced the principle that, “The grand lever of all human conduct is self-satisfaction.” He admitted, however, that self-satisfaction may assume many and widely contrasted forms. For instance, said he, the self-satisfaction of a good man consists in his subordination of private to more general interests — first to the circle of persons in which he moves, then to the general community, and finally to the world at large. Self-satisfaction, he held, may be base or noble, egotistic or altruistic, immoral or moral, irreligious or religious, low or high, selfish or unselfish (in the ordinary usage of these terms), and so on — but it remains self-satisfaction or the refusal to satisfy the self, at the last.
Helvetius taught, in short, that man acts in the direction of satisfying and contenting his own strongest feelings, emotions, and desires. This seems to be a harsh doctrine, until it is thoroughly understood and appreciated; but all of our moral and ethical training is based upon its fundamental truth. We endeavor to have the individual “feel right,” in order to have him “act right.” If we can not get him to love the right, we then proceed to get him to fear the consequences of wrong-doing. We work upon his Desire-nature in either case. This is all that Helvetius meant, i.e., that men act according to inner motives — the strongest motives of self-satisfaction deciding the nature of the action.
Clemens uses the term “contenting the spirit” in place of Helvetius’ term “self-satisfaction” — but both mean the same, at the last. Clemens says: “There is only one impulse which moves a person to do things. That sole impulse is the impulse to content his own spirit — the necessity of contenting his own spirit and winning its approval. The act must do him good, first; otherwise he will not do it. He may think he is doing ti for the other person’s sake, but it is not so; he is contenting his own spirit first — the other person’s benefit has to always take second place. There is but one law, once source, of men’s acts. Both the noblest impulses and basest proceed from that one source. This is the law, keep it in your mind: From his cradle to his grave a man never does a single thing which has any first and foremost object but one — to secure peace of mind, spiritual comfort, for himself. He will always do the thing which will bring him the most mental comfort — for that is the sole law of his life. * * Always spirit-contenting reasons. There are no others.”
There is another general rule concerning Desire which it is important that you should note and remember. The rule is as follows: “The degree of force, energy, will, determination, persistence and continuous application manifested by an individual in his aspirations, ambitions, aims, performances, actions and work is determined primarily by the degree of ‘want’ and ‘want to’ concerning that object.”
So true is this principle that some who have studied its effects have announced the aphorism: “You can have or be anything that you want — if you only want it hard enough.” To “want a thing hard enough” is equivalent to “paying the price” for it — the price of the sacrifice of lesser desires and “wants”; the casting off of the non-essentials, and the concentration of Desire upon the one essential idea or thing, and the application of the will to its attainment or accomplishment.
Much that we have been in the habit of ascribing to the possession and the manifestation of a “strong will” has really been due to the element of Will which is called Conation, i.e., Desire tending toward expression in Will-action. The man filled with an ardent, fierce, burning, craving and urge for and toward a certain object, will call to his aid the latent powers of his Will, and his Intellect — these under the motive power and stimulus of Desire will manifest unusual activity and energy toward the accomplishment of the desired end. Desire has well been called the Flame which produces the heat which generates the Steam of Will.
Very few persons, comparatively, know how to Desire with sufficient intensity and insistence. They content themselves with mere “wishing” and mild “wanting.” They fail to experience that Insistent Desire, which is one of the important elements of the Master Formula of Attainment. They do not know what it is to feel and manifest that intense, eager, longing, craving, insistent, demanding, ravenous Desire which (to use a favorite and oft-repeated expression of ours) is akin to the persistent, insistent, ardent, overwhelming desire of the drowning man for a breath of air; of the shipwrecked or desert-lost man for a drink of water; of the famished man for bread and meat; of the fierce, wild creature for its mate; of the mother for the welfare of her children. Yet, if the truth were known, the desire for success of the men who have accomplished great things has often been as great as these.
We are not necessarily slaves to our Desires we may master the lower or disadvantageous desires by Will, under the Power of the “I AM I,” or Master Self. We may transmute lower desires into higher, negatives into positives, hurtful into helpful, in this way. We may become Masters of Desire, instead of being mastered by it. But before we may do so, we must first desire to do so, to accomplish and to attain this end. We may even rise to the heights of Will — the place where the “I AM I” may say, truthfully, “I will to Will” and “I will to Desire”; but even there we must first desire to so “Will to Will” and “Will to Desire.”
Even at these sublime heights of Egohood, we find Desire to be the fundamental and elemental Motive Power: this because it abides at the very heart of things — the heart of ourself — the Heart of Life. Even there, we essay and accomplish the highest deeds and acts of Will solely and simply because they serve to “content our spirit,” to give us the highest degree of “self satisfaction” — to gratify, satisfy and give expression and manifestation to our greatest, most insistent, most persistent and strongest “want” and “want to.”
III THE EVOLUTION OF DESIRE
Desire is the one mental element, attribute or quality which is discovered to be present universally in all living things. Differ as do the various forms and varieties of living things in respect to the qualities, attributes or faculties of observation, perception and thinking, nevertheless in each and every living creature is to be found present and active the fundamental element, quality or attribute of Desire. Though the thinking powers decrease as the scale of life is descended, the element of Desire is found to lose nothing in power in the lower forms of life, though the degree of complexity of manifestation of course is lessened.
As the evolutionists have pointed out, and as the philosophers of certain schools have been quick to note and to assert, the element of Desire appears earlier in the scale of life than does Intellect, and therefore is perceived to be far more fundamental and basic than is the latter. Even in vegetable life there is manifest the presence and activity of unconscious Desire, though there is no sign of Intellect. The new-born human babe can scarcely be held to manifest Intellect, but there can be no mistake concerning the presence of Desire as a fundamental element of its mental being. When Intellect first appears in living creatures, it seems to have been evolved for the purpose of serving Desire.
In view of the discovered facts concerning the elemental and fundamental character of Desire, certain philosophers have asserted that in Desire is to be found the primal stuff from which the entire psychic being of living creatures has been evolved. In short, this view holds that Nature — the inner nature of Nature — is spiritual; and that the basic and fundamental essence of that spiritual nature of Nature is Desire in its elemental form. They claim, in the words of Schopenhauer, that “Desire is the kernel of all life, in the individual creature and in the entire universe.” To these philosophers, Desire is not a mere mental quality, but is rather the essential element of Life, and, therefore, of all living things.
The Buddhists go so far as to assert that Desire (called by them “Tanha,” or “The Will to Live”) is the real Creative Power of and in Nature — and which is the “cause” of the continuous process of Creative Evolution. The following quotation from Subhadra Bhikshu, a Buddhist writer, gives a general idea of the Buddhistic conception of the power and offices of Desire as the Creative Principle of Nature. This writer says:
“The Will-to-Live (Tanha) inherent in all of us, and the essential factor in our being, is the true creative power; it is the cause of our existence, and is, in fact, the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer of all things. The term ‘the Will-to-Live,’ in the Buddhist sense of the word, does not merely imply what the Western world understands by ‘conscious will,’ but rather that instinctive life-love which, partly consciously, partly unconsciously to themselves, is inherent in all living beings, animals and plants, as well as man. In this term, ‘the Will-to-Live,’ or craving for existence, are summed up all those functions, powers, desires, inclinations and disinclinations, which tend to the preservation of life, and the acquisition of comfort and enjoyment.
“The Western student of Buddhism must be repeatedly reminded not to confound ‘the Will-to-Live’ — that is, the desire for life, the cleaving to existence — with the ‘conscious will’ or the so-called ‘free will.’ Conscious will is but a fraction of the whole ‘Will-to-Live’ — namely, such portion as passes through the organ of the brain, which is the vehicle of consciousness. But the greater portion of ‘the Will-to-Live’ never reaches consciousness in plants and animals, and but imperfectly in men. It shows itself as a mere blind instinct, an inveterate cleaving to existence, an effort to grasp at everything that makes life pleasant, and to avoid whatever hurts or endangers it.”
Schopenhauer, von Hartmann, and, to some extent, Bergson, tend to regard the “Spirit of Nature,” or the “Universal Life Principle, the essence of which is Desire — the spirit of longing, craving, lusting for, wishing, seeking for, tending toward outward expression and action. He held that this principle of Desire manifests itself in various degrees and phases in physical, chemical, magnetic, and vital force in Nature; its most striking phase, however, being “the Will-to-Live” which manifests in all living forms, seeking expression and objective manifestation — its characteristic phases being the striving to maintain and to perpetuate life, the struggle for existence and the instinct to perpetuate the species.
We have presented to you the above characteristic forms of this school of philosophical thought, that of the Buddhists and that of the Western Voluntarists, not as necessarily representing the philosophical thought of the present writers, nor for the purpose of awakening an interest in such schools of philosophy on the part of our readers, but merely for the purpose of directing your attention to the recognition by careful thinkers of the fact that Desire.is fundamental, elemental and omnipresent in Nature’s processes, activities, and forms. We direct your attention to the facts, the reference to the philosophies built upon them being merely incidental and secondary.
We can never hope to know what Desire is “in itself”; like all great forces, it is to be known only through its manifestations and expressions. We know it most intimately by reason of its presence in ourselves, but even so we thus know it merely in the particular phase of development it has reached in ourselves for the rest we must look at its manifestation in other forms of life. The philosophers assert, and with apparent support of facts, that the principle of Desire is to be found actively manifesting in inanimate things — in atoms, molecules, and masses of inorganic matter, and in the physical forces and energies of matter. But we shall not go that far back in our examination; instead, we shall begin with the elementary living forms.
Even in the most lowly life forms — even in the forms of plant-life — we find Desire manifesting along three general lines, viz., (1) the line of the preservation of the physical form or body; (2) the line of the satisfaction of hunger, or the desire for nourishment; and (3) the line of the preservation of the species, or satisfaction of the desire for reproduction. These three lines of Desire, and the activities resulting from their expression are the three phases of the great elemental Desire for Life or “the Will-to-Live.” They represent the elemental Desire of Life to live, maintain life, and to secure the transmission of life to offspring.
These three phases of Desire are present in the moneron, and are present in man. Even in the single cells of which the bodies of plants and animals are constituted, these three phases of Desire are manifested actively — each living thing, cell to man, strives to protect its physical form intact, to secure food and nourishment, and to propagate itself. This Desire is elemental and basic — it proceeds along the lines of appetency, or instinct, and of conscious feeling. It is manifested with as great vigor in the lowly life-forms, as in the higher. Nature (in its Spirit of Desire) works ever to preserve and maintain the life of the individual form through which it manifests; to cause it to secure the proper nourishment to sustain life; and to cause it to propagate its kind, and to reproduce itself through offspring. Here then we have a basic foundation of Desire, upon which the entire structure is built.
The Desire to Live. The desire to live, to preserve and protect the physical body from danger and injury; the “will-to-live”; the “fight for life”; all these are forms and phases of that basic, instinctive Desire to Live which is found in all living creatures, vegetable or animal, from single cell to man. The living creature does not need to reason itself into this belief — it is instinctive. Even the most pessimistic individual, while asserting that his reason shows him the valuelessness of life, will flee from anything threatening his life — he cannot help this, for it is instinctive.
From this Desire to Live spring many other likes and dislikes, with their appropriate desires. The things believed to be conducive to life and health, are held to be “good”; those believed to be harmful are held to be “bad.” Man instinctively seeks the life and health-giving things, and avoids the opposite. Pain is the danger signal of Nature, warning against things threatening life or health. Primitive and elemental pleasure-producing things are usually found to have been originally conducive to physical well-being.
The qualities of feelings of combativeness and destructiveness, the elements of courage and bravery, as well as the traits of caution, cunning, prudence observed in the lower animals, in primitive man, and in civilized man, arose chiefly in response to the instinctive feeling and desire for life and self-preservation. The living creature found it necessary to protect itself from its enemies, and developed the qualities of self-defense; those individuals or species lacking in these qualities perished in the struggle for existence. These tendencies became “set” in the early history of the human race — in fact, they were probably well established in the inherited nature of primitive man, having reached him through evolution. That these qualities, and their desires, have persisted in civilized man in their original force, though usually hidden beneath the surface, is evidenced by man’s reversion to his primitive emotional states and desires during times of war, and by his taste for witnessing and engaging in physical sports in which the elements of strife, combat, struggle, and competition are involved.
Here is a good place in which to call your attention to an interesting and important fact of psychology. The principle may be stated as follows: “A habit originally formed in the race by reason of necessity, and becoming set by repetition during many generations, gradually acquires the quality of pleasure-producing; and as a pleasure-producing activity such habit persists, firmly fixed, in the race long after the original necessity has disappeared.” This explains the fact that hunting, fishing, trapping, tests of physical skill and strength, games requiring physical strength and agility, etc., are found to be “pleasure-producing” by men who are no longer compelled to exercise these powers and arts for self-protection, self-preservation, and physical well-being.
Many of man’s instinctive fears and dislikes have originally arisen from the early experiences of the race in which the element of self-preservation was called into play. These aversions caused actions and courses of conduct which preserved primitive man from injury or death in the fierce struggle for existence on the physical plane which raged in his day. That they persist even to this day, when the necessity for them has largely disappeared, is not to be wondered at in view of the fact that countless generations of men manifesting them have given to them a “set” of habit form in human instinct and character.
Professor Schneider says: “It is a fact that men, especially in childhood, fear to go into a dark cavern, or a gloomy wood . . . . . It is quite sure that this fear at a certain perception sometimes is directly inherited. Children who have been carefully guarded from all ghost-stores are, nevertheless terrified and cry if led into dark places, especially if sounds are made in there. Even an adult can easily observe that an uncomfortable timidity steals over him in a lonely wood at night, although he may have a fixed conviction that not the slightest danger is near. This feeling of fear occurs in many men even in their own homes after dark, although it is much stronger in a dark cavern or forest. The fact of such instinctive fear is easily explicable when we consider that our ancestors through innumerable generations were accustomed to meet with dangerous beasts in caverns, especially bears, and were for the most part attacked by such beasts during the night and in the woods, and that thus an inseparable association between the perceptions of darkness, caverns, woods, and fear took place, and was inherited.”
The Desire for Nourishment. The desire for nourishment in the shape of food, drink, etc., is also an elemental, primitive, instinctive feeling and want. The continuance and the well-being of every physical body depends upon nourishment, and the “Will-to-Live” implants in each creature the strong, insistent urge toward obtaining such. So elemental is this phase and form of Desire that the terms “hunger” and “thirst” represent the strongest ideas and feeling of want, craving, and desire of which the human mind is capable. The terms “Tanha,” and “Trishna,” which the Buddhists employ to indicate the nature of the “Will-to-Live,” mean “hunger” and “thirst,” respectively. One of the definitions of ‘hunger’ is “a strong or eager desire or longing.”
Many of the secondary desires of animals and men are derived from the elementary desire for food and nourishment. For instance, they long for the places in which food abounds; they desire the means of obtaining that food; man desires the qualities and powers which will enable him to secure food. The desire for food is the prime economic necessity, and the actions of individuals and of nations proceed along the lines of this need and desire. In times of famine, this elemental urge pushes aside the later tendencies of civilization, and causes men to revert to the condition of their primitive ancestors with whom hunger was a common experience. A starving man often becomes like a savage, or a wild beast, in many respects. In the state of civilization, men are not so keenly aware of this strong elemental desire, because they scarcely ever become really hungry; but let them be deprived of food for a short time, and the old savage demand manifests itself in its original vigor.
IV THE EVOLUTION OF DESIRE (Continued)
The Will-to-Live, or the Life Forces of Nature, are concerned not merely with the preservation and continuance of lthe life of the individual, but also quite as truly and forcibly with that of the propagation and transmission of life to the offspring — with the life of the species as well as that of the individual.
Desire for Reproduction. The elemental desire for reproduction of the species, for the transmission of life through offspring, is one of the most fundamental and basic, and also on of the most powerful desires of all living things. Its essential spirit manifests along subconscious lines, and the living creature acts instinctively to manifest and express the urge of the desire usually without any conscious recognition of the end in view of Nature, or “the Will-to-Live” — but those ends are definite and certain, nevertheless. So strong is this desire, in its various forms and phases, that the individual creature will often sacrifice its own life in the pursuit of the objects of the desire.
This elemental desire manifests in two general forms or phases — each of which proceeds with the same original end in view, though existing only subconsciously. These two general forms or phases are as follows: (1) love of and desire for mates; and (2) love of, desire for, and desire to protect and provide for the off-spring. The love of home, country, people — and its derivative emotions of patriotism and loyalty to race — also spring from the same general source. Nature, or “the Will-to-Live” has here in view the perpetuation of the tribe, family, species, and race.
The Love of Mates is a very strong emotion, and its associated desires are of the very strongest nature. Men have willingly laid down their lives in the pursuit of and the protection of their mates; the lower animals manifesting the same general tendency in quite as strong degree. As the scale of life is ascended, this form of desire takes on an additional complexity and an increased degree of refinement and delicacy — but the elemental urge is always underneath and back of the feeling and desire.
The “call of sex,” and the “mating instinct” distinguishes the race of men, as well as the lower animals. In primitive man this desire is but little above that of the lower animals; while in cultured man it rises far above its source and is closely involved with other feelings and desires. But even in its higher forms, the elemental and primitive urge is there — the flavor of its salt pervades the entire ocean of love of man for woman and of woman for man, penetrating even into its most sheltered bays, inlets, and ocean-flowing rivers. Even in the so-called Platonic Love its tang is perceptible, though seemingly unsought and often ignored for a time.
Nature — whatever we may mean by that term — is seemingly inspired by the “Will to Live” to manifest existence through her manifold forms of life; she finds it necessary to cause her creatures to perpetuate their kind, in order that she may so manifest that “Will-to-Live” in the futurity of life-forms. Unless her creatures are inspired in some way to pass the Flame of Life from the torches of one generation to those of another, she will not be able to manifest continuous and unbroken existence. This being the case, Dame Nature proceeds to arrange adroitly for the maintenance of the Cycle of Life. She works in wondrous ways to bring about the fulfillment of her desires and purposes, and but few escape her net.
Instead of employing merely a driving force, however, she also employs an attracting energy. This energy is manifested in the feelings, emotions, affections, and desires of the Love of Mates — the “mating instinct,” the “call of sex.” Keeping her massive form in the background, and well out of sight, Nature employs the rosy-cheeked, plumply-formed cherub named Cupid to awaken the heart of man to love. She employs diplomacy to effect her purposes.
Emerson tells us: “The lover seeks in marriage his own private felicity and perfection, and no prospective end. But Nature hides in his happiness her own end — the perpetuity of the race. We are made alive and kept alive by the same means.” Bronson says: “When the man and maid meet, exchange glances, and experience those peculiar little flutterings of the heart, there is something more than this really happening. Nature is then at work — her best beloved work. In the happiness of the lovers is concealed the cheerful content of Nature. In their ecstatic smiles may be discerned the complacent expression of satisfaction on the face of Nature. In their ardent avowals, protestations, and promises, may be heard the echoes of Nature’s contented sigh. The lovers feel so exalted by the Song of Love, that they think that Nature must stand still, observe, and listen. Nature, indeed, does observe, and listen — and very keenly, too; but she does not stand still — not even for a moment. She is too busily engaged in working out things for the lovers, and, incidentally, for herself as well.”
In the case of primitive man, the mating instinct was but little more than the sex instinct of the lower animals; the mating was for but a brief period, and mates were changed with the seasons. But, as man ascended the scale, the mating instinct took on a higher, more complex and more permanent form. There gradually dawned upon the race-consciousness the idea of Home and Family — of a more permanent union. The idea of companionship began to manifest its wondrous powers with ever-increasing force. The idea of a “mate” began to take on a new meaning — the meaning of companionship and comradeship.
In the beginning, man wanted merely a physical mate. Then he wanted a companion — a social mate. Then he began to want his mate to share his emotional nature, his likes, his tastes — he wanted her to “love the things that I love.” The aesthetic emotions and desires also came into play. The intellectual feelings and desires also entered into the combination. Finally, man now wants to be mated physically mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We hear now of mental mates, physical mates, and even of “soul mates.” The primitive element of sex is always there, however, though manifesting along more complex and more subtle lines. To all prospective mates, Sex utters this warning: “They reckon ill who leave me out.” Nature and “the Will-to-Live” are still managing affairs in their own interests.
The Love of Offspring. Another phase of the Desire for Reproduction is that which manifests in the love of offspring, and in the desire to protect and provide for the young. The love of offspring, and the desire to protect and provide for the young, is one of the strongest and most persistent forms of feeling and desire. It is found highly manifested in the higher species of the lower animals, and it is one of the chief motives of human conduct and activity. The parent animal or human being frequently does not hesitate to risk or even to sacrifice life in defense of the off-spring; it is common for the parent to suffer hunger and privation in order that the wants of the offspring be satisfied.
Here, again, Nature or “the Will-to-Live” is strongly in evidence in its careful and persistent endeavor to secure the welfare of the young creature. The “will to protect and provide for the young,” manifest in Nature, is evidenced not only in the implanting in the race of the feeling and desire to maintain more or less permanent mating-union on the part of the parents. Nature has in view not merely the birth of the young creature, but also its protection after birth until such time as it is able to take care of itself. For the first end, it superimposes the “mating instinct” upon the emotional nature of the living things; for the second, it superimposes the “love of offspring,” and the “family feeling” upon the nature of the animal or man. In this last, we have the key to many important desires and activities of man and of the lower animals.
Science has established the truth of the general proposition that, “The degree of the manifestation of the mating instinct in the direction of a more or less permanent association between the male and female animal, and in the establishment and maintenance of the family group, is directly determined by the degree in which the male parent is needed to provide for, and to aid the mother and the offspring.” This statement refers to the species, not to the particular individual.
In many cases, the association of the mates extends over merely the period of the immediate needs of the offspring and the nursing mother. The young of the reptiles and fishes require no paternal or parental care, and as a consequence there is no real union or mated association between the parents; even where there is a semblance of permanancy in the union, it will be found that the female requires some degree of temporary protection for a short period preceding the birth of the young. All such association among the reptiles and fishes is seen to depend entirely upon the welfare of the future offspring.
Birds mate and form a union which lasts only during the nesting season, as a rule. The male is needed to protect the nest, to feed the brooding hen-bird, and to feed the young. The cuckoo, and similar nest-stealing birds which lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, and are thereby relieved of any care of hatching the eggs or feeding the young, display no real attachment for their mates beyond the period of the temporary sexual impulse, and they form no mating unions of even the most brief duration. Such birds, always relieved of the responsibilities of parenthood, are the “varietists” of the bird family, associating promiscuously and indiscriminately, and not remaining in each other’s society for any definite period.
Not only this, but even the real mothers in the animal kingdom manifest material affection only in the degree of the requirements of the young, and only during the period in which such protection is needed. For instance, the reptile-mothers and the fish-mothers have no responsibility for their offspring, the young creatures being able to take care of themselves from birth; consequently the mother-fish or mother-reptile in such cases shows no sign of maternal affection; this is also true of the insects. Yet, strange to say, such creatures usually are found to possess an instinctive affection for their eggs, and will even risk or sacrifice their lives in order to protect their eggs, or else in order to deposit the eggs in conditions favorable for their protection and development; this done, the emotional feeling, affection, and desire pass away, having served Nature’s purpose adequately.
The instinctive care and trouble manifested by the female insect in providing a promising and appropriate place for depositing her eggs is one of the great wonders of natural history. The housewife experiences proof of this instinct when she discovers valuable clothing destroyed by the moth, because the mother-moth has sought a nice dark closet containing soft woolen fabrics in which to deposit her eggs. The wasp which stings into insensibility the spider, in order to deposit her eggs in the living body of the latter so that her future offspring may be provided with fresh food, is another illustration of this law of Nature. The ordinary dung-beetle evidences a similar care and solicitude for the welfare of her eggs. Yet none of these creatures manifests even the slightest degree of affection for their young when they are hatched — their young do not need such affection and care, and, consequently, the mother creatures are not endowed with the feelings and desires leading to these.
Professor William James says: “Why does the hen submit herself to the tedium of incubating such a fearfully uninteresting set of objects as a nestful of eggs, unless she have some sort of prophetic instinct of the result? Why does a particular maiden turn our wits upside down? The common man can only say, ‘Of course we love the maiden, — that beautiful soul clad in that perfect form, so palpably and flagrantly made from all eternity to be loved!” And so, probably, does each animal feel about the particular actions it tends to perform in response to certain stimuli. To the broody hen, the notion seems monstrous that there should be a creature in the world to whom a nestful of eggs was not the utterly fascinating, precious and never-to-be-too-much-sat-upon object which it is to her. What a delicious thrill may not shake a fly, when at last she discovers the one particular leaf (or other object or material) that out of all the world can stimulate her egg-laying? Need she care or know anything about the future maggot and its food?”
You have noticed how, when the offspring no longer require attention, care, and food, the mother-animal thrusts them away from her and compels them thenceforth to conduct their business of life “on their own.” When that period has passed, all her maternal affection seems to die out; and thenceforth the young animals are no more to the mother than are any of the many other animals of her acquaintance. The need of the offspring has passed — the emotion has played its part, and the desire passes away.
Even in human life we often see the strongest affection grow up in the heart of a woman for some motherless child not connected with her by ties of blood; this particularly if the care of the young child has temporarily devolved upon her. Even the coldest-hearted woman usually will learn to love a babe for whom she is compelled constantly to care and provide; and even the hardest-hearted man will feel an affection for a child for whom he is compelled to care in person — there is “something inside of them” which makes them act and feel that way. Farmers know that if a motherless lamb is once permitted by a mother-sheep to nurse at her teats, then that lamb will hereafter be carefully protected by that mother-sheep, even though she did not welcome it before the nursing, and, indeed, had to be coaxed into allowing it to nurse in the first instance. The need of the young creature awakens and instinctive affection and desire of the older animal.
It is held that the instinctive feeling and desire of the human creature for a permanent mating and union — the creation and maintenance of “the family” — arose from the long continued needs of the human mother and child for the protection of the father. By the time that one child was comparatively able to take care of itself, another infant was there to be protected and provided for. Says Saleeby: “The unique helplessness of the human baby — one of the most wonderful and little appreciated facts in the whole of Nature to eyes that can see — has a supremely practical point of view. The principle of Marriage is that of survival-value. Nature’s invariable criterion is that of survival-value or service to race-culture. That form of Marriage which does not permit the babies to survive, the babies to not permit it to survive. It is not a question of the father’s taste and fancy; but of what he leaves above ground when he is under ground.”
This then is the deep soil from which has sprung and grown the wonderful love of man and woman for each other, in its highest and most beautiful forms, as well as in its crudest and ugliest phases. From this soil also has sprung the beautiful love of parents for their children, of children for parents. It is the cause of the “cling to” feeling and desire so marked in the woman and the child; of the desire to be “clung to” by the woman and the child which lies deeply embedded in the soul of the man. The soil is “Nature’s needs for the welfare and perpetuation of the race”; the blossoms and flowers are due to man’s and woman’s cultivation of the soil, and tender care for the growing plant.
V THE EVOLUTION OF DESIRE (Conclued)
The Desire for Property. The desire for property is another elemental feeling and motive to action. Property means: (1) “The exclusive right to possession, enjoyment, and disposal of anything, vested in the individual”; and (2) “that which is possessed, enjoyed, and subject to disposal of the individual.” The love of and desire for possessions is embedded in the deep soil of human nature. Some of the lower animals possess it to a marked degree; and nearly all the lower animals feel the right of possession of places, positions, etc., as well as their supply of food.
In the case of primitive man, this feeling and desire arose from the necessity of providing for his welfare and that of his family. It was necessary for him to possess a place of abode — a cave, a tree, a tent, etc. It was necessary for him to lay by and accumulate a supply of food at certain seasons; and to have land to till and cultivate for food production. The individuals manifesting this desire, tended to survive and to have their families survive; those in whom it was weak tended to fall in the struggle with environment. The survivors transmitted their tendencies to their descendants; the losers left no descendants to whom their improvident tendencies were transmitted. And so the tendency became “set” as a habit in the mental and emotional nature of the race.
The wants of primitive man were few and simple. A little food laid by for himself and his family; a few skins to cover their bodies; a rude cave, hut, or tent to shelter them; implements of war and of the hunt — this was about all. As man rose in the scale, his wants multiplied, and consequently he began to desire to acquire and to accumulate not only a greater number of things, but also a greater variety of things. The rest is merely a matter of the evolution of this form of desire — a proceeding from the simple to the more complex, from the few things to the many, and so on This is the story of the Desire for Property with its accompanying feelings and emotions. Originally based upon necessity, it has now extended to comforts and even luxuries. Normally manifested, it is to the interest of the individual and of the race; abnormally manifested, it is a curse to both.
The Derived Desires. In the course of the Evolution of Desire, man has acquire many forms of feeling and desire derived from elementary desires which are instinctive to him, and which have been considered by us in some detail. Thus his love for his family has extended to his affection for his general family, his tribe, his nation. From this has developed in him the desires of love of country, patriotism, and loyalty to his government, and also the social feelings of friendship, companionship, sympathy, justice, truth, politeness, as well as the desire for the observance of moral codes, laws, rules of right conduct.
In the same way, the necessities of procuring food, defending himself and family, acquiring possessions, and so forth, have aroused in him the feelings and desires connected with invention, creative work, constructive imagination, thought, reasoning and other intellectual powers and activity. The old adage that “Necessity is the mother of invention” may be extended to include in the brood of Necessity the activity of Thought and Reasoning — the entire flock of the family of Intellect.
From less well-defined sources have sprung the feelings and desires connected with the Aesthetic Emotions — the love of beauty, art, music, literature, culture, refinement, etc. That they sprung from the elemental soil, there can be no doubt; though the line of ascent is not so clearly discernible. From the original enjoyment of the experiences of the hunt, the battle, the conflict with nature, beasts and hostile men, have arisen the feelings and desires connected with games, sports, the drama, stories and other forms of recreation, exercise and “play.” Play has evolved directly from activities concerned with necessity, as all psychologists know; the desires based upon it are reflections of the older and cruder desires of the elemental nature.
From the deep recesses of man’s nature have sprung the feelings and desires connected with that is called “religion.” From the crudest beginnings, and the grossest forms of superstition, have sprung the beautiful plant and flower, blossom and fruit, of the highest conception of religion held by the most advanced of the race today. As Herbert Spencer said: “The ultimate form of the religious consciousness is the final development of a consciousness which at its outset contained a germ of truth obscured by multitudinous errors.” John Fiske said: “That inward conviction, the craving for a final cause, the theistic assumption, is itself one of the master facts of the universe, and is as much entitled to respect as any fact in physical nature can possibly be.” Darwin holds that the religious feelings, emotions, affections and desires are highly complex, consisting of love, complete submission to an exalted and mysterious superior being, coupled with a strong sense of dependence, fear, reverence, gratitude, hope for the future, and perhaps many other elements.
And so, the evolution of man’s desires has proceeded from lowly elemental beginnings and sources to wonderful heights and endings. But the sources and soil must never be forgotten when you consider the subject of the essential nature of Desire. Moreover, be it noted, in times of great stress, necessity, or unusual conditions, it is found that the forms and phases of Desire which have evolved last in the scale — the latest comers into the family of Desire — are the first to be discarded by the man or woman; then follow the next recent, and so on, until if the necessity be sufficiently great and the pressure of circumstances sufficiently strong, the individual tends to revert to the primitive type and to manifest only the most elemental and primitive forms and phases of feeling and Desire. The “cave man” is far nearer to the surface of civilized humanity than most persons realize. Shipwrecked men, men lost in the wild places of earth, men in times of famine and pestilence, often have shown a surprising tendency to revert in a remarkably short time to the plane of their primitive ancestors. It has well been asserted that “Civilization in man is only skin deep.”
Some idealistic thinkers who have become hypnotized by the dream of the culture and refinement which to them seems destined to be the common possession of the coming human race — a state of culture and refinement in which the elemental and fundamental instincts, feelings, emotions and desires of man will have been buried deep beneath the surface of things as unworthy and “un-nice” — are greatly disturbed when they are forced to see that at present, at least, the buried instincts are not entombed so very deep after all, and that they will not stay interred in times of storm and stress. They regard these facts as regrettable, and as something to be deplored by the race. To them the “elemental” is detestable — something to be apologized for. To them the surface feelings and desires are the only worthy ones — the feelings and desires of the great depths of human nature are unworthy, and to be regarded as bearing “the mark of the beast” upon them.
These idealistic thinkers overlook the fact that the Fires of Desire create the Steam of Will, and that the accomplishments of the race depend materially upon the fact that these inner fires be kept burning fiercely, with a clear draught, and free from clinkers and ashes. Civilization and refinement have brought much to man, without doubt, but many men reaching for their ideals of culture and refinement have lost much of their original, elemental power of Desire. They have allowed their fires of Desire to become deadened by the ashes of artificial civilization, and clogged with the clinkers of non-essential feelings and desires. They fail to see that the Fires of Desire require proper supervision and control; their drafts must be kept at least partially open, and their grates kept free from dead ashes and clinkers.
The men and women who have accomplished great success in any line of human effort have cleared away the ashes and clinkers of their Fires of Desire — they have kept the furnace clear and clean, and have opened wide the drafts when necessary. If you will carefully consider the strong, successful men and women in any walk of life, you will find that each and every one of them is filled (or has been filled during his or her period of intense activity) with this strong, insistent, elemental Desire-force of Nature — this active principle of Desire which manifest in a degree of “want” and “want to” which will not be denied. Differ as they may in their secondary qualities, these strong individuals neverhteless possess in common this essential primal quality, and they manifest it when required — it is one of the characteristic qualities of their class. It is this basic quality which has done much for them in their respective successful careers.
If you would succeed, you must get acquainted with that fierce, burning, insistent, elemental “want” and “want to” within your own nature, which perhaps has been hidden from sight under the accumulated ashes of the centuries of culture and refinement of the race, with its years of artificial methods of living which have followed in the train of civilization. Your primitive and elemental “want” and “want to” must be as strong as the vital demand of the drowning man for air; of the demand of the desert-lost or shipwrecked man for water; as the demand of the famishing man for food or the demand of the wild creatures of the forests and jungles for their mates; as the demand of the mother for the welfare of her children.
All of these forms of deep and burning Desire are expressions of the elemental forces and energies of Nature — of “the Will-to-Live” — the motive power of which Nature employs in the performance of her work. and by means of which she accomplishes her purpose. You do not need to employ this elemental energy in the same manner or in the same direction as that followed by the primitive man or the wild creature, however — you may transmute it into a higher order of expression, and a higher plane of manifestation. You may transform Desire into Ambition or Aspiration — but in doing so you must not fail to preserve every ounce of the essential and elemental energy and strength of this fundamental principle of Nature — the Principle of Desire.
The Principle of Desire in Nature, in its constant pressure toward manifestation and urge toward expression, while apparently concerned more with the preservation and welfare of the species, and of the race, than with the welfare of particular individuals — while often apparently indifferent to the welfare of the individual creature, and concerned apparently only with the preservation of the species — nevertheless acts always upon the principle that the species and the race can be served only by means of service rendered to the individual. Therefore, while it manifests a tremendous amount of energy in the maintenance of the reproductive desires and activities, at the same time it serves highly important offices in the support and development of the individual creature.
Biologists hold that the principle of Desire, working along subconscious lines, is the moving cause of the physical and mental evolution of the life-forms. The presence of an obstacle to progress is seemingly noted by the Life Principle, or the Will-to-Live, and thereupon an increased degree of Desire Power is generated and manifested in the life-form. The Desire Power always moves toward the securing of that which will promote the efficiency of the creature, and which thereby increases its chances of survival in the struggle for existence — the fight against environment. It sets into operation the life-processes which make for change in the physical and mental equipment of the creature, and which proceed by evolutionary development to unfold the needed physical or mental equipment.
A writer on the subject of the Hindu philosophies, in considering the teachings of those philosophies concerning the presence and power of Desire in Nature, says:
“In the Hindu classic, the ‘Mahabarata,’ it is related that Brahma created the most beautiful female ever known, and called her Tillotama. He presented her to all the gods in turn, in order to witness their wonder and admiration. Siva’s desire to behold her was so great that it developed in him four faces, in succession, as she made the tour of the assembly; and Indra’s longing was so intense that his body became all eyes. In this myth may be seen exemplified the effect of Desire in the forms of life, function, and shape — all following Need and Desire, as in the case of the long neck of the giraffe which enables him to reach for the high branches of the trees in his native land; and in the long neck and high legs of the fisher-birds, the crane, the stork, the ibis, and others of the great family.
“The Will-to-Live finds within itself a desire to create suns, and they are evolved. It desires planets to revolve around the suns, and they are thrown off the suns in obedience to the law. It desires plant-life, and the plant forms appear, working from lower to higher form. Then came animal life, from monad to man. Some of the animal forms yielded to the desire to fly — and lo! wings were gradually evolved, and the world was filled with birds. Some of the animals felt a desire to burrow in the ground, and lo! came the moles, the gophers, and other burrowers, each fitted with physical and mental equipment for their particular modes of life. Nature wanted a thinking creature, and lo! man-life forms began to evolve, and finally Man with his wonderful brain came and manifested powers.”
Lamark’s theory of evolution follows the line of the Hindu thought above noted far nearer than does that of Darwin. Darwin taught that evolution was due primarily to, or was accomplished chiefly through, Natural Selection and the Survival of the Fittest. Lamarck, while admitting the importance of these elements, nevertheless insisted that in that impulse of Nature which is akin to “desire arising from Need” is to be found the primal urge toward evolution and progress in the living forms. Lamarck held that Need and Desire are back of, and precede, function and form in living things, the latter being the consequences of the Desire.
The Oriental teaching concerning the power of Desire in evolutionary development, which is being closely followed in some of the most advanced forms of our Western philosophy, does not hold that this Creative Desire is manifested chiefly along the lines of consciousness as we know it. On the contrary, it manifests far more commonly below the plane of ordinary consciousness — on the planes of subconsciousness, instinct, appetency, etc. The “want” is there, though the creature does not experience it in its surface consciousness. It exists in plant-life, as well as animal — manifesting in each according to its needs.
In response to this “below consciousness” Desire, the plants have evolved means of protection for themselves and their seeds — bark and the hard-covering of the nuts, the spines of the cactus, the thistles, etc., have been evolved in accordance to this Creative Desire. The sweetness of the berries, designed to attract the birds which eat them and thus distribute the seeds, have resulted from the same cause — this rule holding good in the case of the color of the flowers, and the honey contained within them, both of which has been evolved in order to attract the insects which serve to carry pollen and thus fertilize the flowers. The burrs, containing seed, which fasten to the wool of the sheep and other animals, and are thus carried to a distance and are distributed — these too have been evolved in response to Need and Desire.
In the same way the tusks, teeth, fangs, and claws of animals — the stings of insets — and all the wonderful offensive and defensive equipment of living things, have been evolved in response to Need and Desire. The hard shells of the crustaceans, the turtles, the armadillos — the spines of the porcupine and the hedgehog — the keen eye and powerful winds of the eagle — the swiftness of the hawk — the bill of the woodpecker — all have been evolved under the same law.
The story of the evolution of the horse from its original form of the Eohippus to its present form gives us a striking illustration of the principle. In response to the law of Need and Desire, manifesting along the lines of evolution, the Eohippus — a small animal no larger than a domestic cat, with several toes on each foot, with teeth resembling those of the monkey or the pig, with short neck, arched back, and rather short legs — has developed by eleven or more distinct stages to the horse of today — with its long legs, long neck, straight back, complex and long grindings teeth, hoofs, and large size. This almost incredible development has been due to the Need of the animal arising from its changing environment, and the Desire proceeding from that Need.
Man, today, has evolved into the conscious and self-conscious plane of life; but his Desire Power still is latent within him, awaiting his call upon it. Just as it has built up the bodies and brain of the animals through the slow stages of evolution, so it will build for man the mental and physical characteristics indicated by his Need — provided that he will only “want it hard enough,” and will arouse and stir into activity the great store of elemental, primitive Desire Power within himself. He may set it to work for himself along conscious lines, just as Nature set it to work for herself along subconscious lines in the past. That which has performed such great creative work in the past, can and will perform equally wonderful creative work now, provided that it is called upon properly, and is set to work under the direction of Intellect and Will, definitely and purposively employed.
VI. ATTRACTION OF DESIRE POWER
Not only does the principle of Desire Power manifest itself in the direction of unfolding, evolving and developing new attributes and powers in living things, so as to supply the demand created in them by Need, as we have explained in the preceding section of this book, but it also proceeds to accomplish similar purposes and ends by means of another important phase of power possessed by it, i.e., the power of Attraction.
“Attraction” is defined as, “an invisible power in a body by which it draws anything to itself; the power in Nature acting mutually between bodies or ultimate particles, tending to draw them together, or to produce their cohesion of combination, and conversely resisting separation.” The term, “Attraction,” is derived from two Latin terms, viz., “ad,” meaning “to”; and “trahere,” meaning “to draw”; the two being combined in the derivative Latin term, “attractus,” meaning “a drawing together.”
In physical science, the principal forms of Attraction are gravitational attraction, the chemical affinity of the atoms, the cohesive attraction of the molecules, the attraction of electrified bodies, and the attraction of the magnet exerted upon iron or steel. In psychology, the principal forms of attraction are those arising between living beings by reason of their mutual “likes” — the force called “Repulsion” (being the negative form of Attraction) acting in the same manner but in an opposite direction, and resulting from mutual “dislikes.”
While freely admitting that the Attraction and Repulsion existing in and manifested between living things is the result of the action of “in-forces” rather than of outside forces, physical science has usually held that the Attraction and Repulsion existing in and manifested between non-living objects and things is the result of some outside stress or strain operating on the objects or things, though the naure of such outside forces is admitted to be unknown and mysterious.
Of late years, however, there has been a decided tendency toward the acceptance of the hypothesis that even non-living objects and things (as, for instance, the chemical elements and particles of matter) possess the property of “like or dislike” for certain other objects and things, and the power to respond to such inner states. This hypothesis attributes Attraction and Repulsion in inanimate things to “in-forces” rather than to outer forces, — thus bringing inanimate and animate objects under the same general Law of Attraction.
While this new hypothesis throws a most interesting light upon the subject of “chemical affinity” and other forms of physical Attraction and Repulsion — showing that even the atoms have their “loves and hates” and their response thereto — we shall not consider this aspect of the subject, inasmuch as it lies outside of the field of our present work. Instead, we shall consider that phase of the new knowledge which has an important bearing upon the subject of the nature and power of the Attraction of Desire in living things. If “chemical affinity,” magnetism, etc., are really manifestations of the power of “like and dislike” — in short, of Desire — then the Attraction of Desire in living things is seen possibly to possess a power of “drawing” which is but little suspected by the average person.
The “mental scientists,” and the other schools of practical metaphysics, for the last quarter-century or more have been teaching “the attractive power of thought,” i.e., the doctrine that thoughts have an attractive power tending to attract or to draw toward a person the things and conditions corresponding to the character of his general thought. The new knowledge concerning Desire Power in inanimate things serves to explain scientifically the undoubted facts advanced by the metaphysicians to support their own theories. Here, however, it is seen that Desire rather than Thought is the chief mental attracting power. Inasmuch, however, as the “attractive thought” of the metaphysicians is usually inspired and energized by the Desire Power of the person exercising it, it is seen that the two teachings incline to blend and harmonize with each other rather than to oppose and contradict each other.
The many instances of the coordination between different living things — between plant and insect, for instance — by means of which each supplies to the combination that which the other lacks, which has long puzzled the scientific observer, is now explainable under this new hypothesis of the Attraction of Desire. The plant requires the services of the insect in order to perpetuate its species. It attracts the insect by reason of its Desire Power having evolved the honey which the insect requires for food; and by means of advertising the presence of the honey through the colors of the flowers. There is a correlation between flower and insect which has arisen by reason of Desire Power. The curious adaptations of the food requirements of certain plants, and the apparently instinctive response of certain chemicals to these, furnish us with other striking examples. Different things “need” each other in order to express their respective natures and to manifest their respective destinies — and so they “attract” each other. Science furnishes us with many examples of this reciprocal service and correlation.
Passing by the more general aspects and phases of this important and wonderful operation of Nature’s Finer Forces, and proceeding directly to those phases of the general process which are immediately concerned with the human individual, we should say that the essential spirit of this particular operation may be stated in the following aphorism: “The strongest and most persistent desires of the individual tend to attract to him (or him to) that which is closely related to or correlated with those desires.” That is to say: the strong insistent desires of a person tend to attract to him those things which are closely related to such desires; and, at the same time, tend to attract him toward those related things. The Attractive Power of Desire operates in two general ways, viz., (1) to attract to the individual the things closely related to his desires; and (2) to attract the individual to such related things.
It is as yet not known exactly how Nature proceeds in this important process of Attractive Desire or Desire Power, but in a general way it may be said that the action is chiefly performed on the planes of the subconscious mentality rather than on the planes of ordinary consciousness; and that the general class of mental activity known as “telepathy” undoubtedly is called into play in the process. The entire subject is involved in the general activities of “the subconscious,” as, indeed, are all similar subjects. Whatever may be the correct hypothesis, however, the truth of the main facts of the Attraction of Desire is a matter of the actual experience of the race, and is corroborated by the incidents of actual experience occurring in the life of nearly every person manifesting definite purpose, insistent desire and determined will.
In your own experience, in all probability, you have experienced many cases of the operation of this subtle law of Nature. You have become intensely interested in some particular subject, and your desire for further progress and attainment along the lines of that subject has been actively aroused. Then you have noticed the strange and peculiar way in which persons and things related to that subject have come under your observation and attention — sometimes even being apparently forced upon you apart from any act on your part. In the same way, you have found yourself attracted in certain directions in which, unknown to you, were to be found persons or things related to the subject of your desire, information concerning that subject, conditions in which the subject was involved or being manifested. In short, you have found that things happened “as if” you were either attracting persons, things, and circumstances to you, or else that you were being attracted, drawn, or “led” to such persons, things, or circumstances.
Under such conditions, you will find arising on all sides certain events connected with and related to the subject of your desire; books containing information concerning it; persons having some connection with it; conditions in which that subject plays an important part. You will find, on the one hand, that you seem to have become a centre of attraction for things, persons and circumstances related to that subject; or, on the other hand, that you are being attracted to certain centres of attraction related to that subject. In short, you will discover that you have set into operation certain subtle forces and principles which have “correlated” you with all related to that subject.
More than this, you will find that if you will maintain for a considerable time a continuous and persistent interest and desire in that particular subject, you will have established a vortex-centre of attraction for that which is related to the subject. You will have set into operation a mental whirlpool, steadily spreading its circumference of influence, which draws into itself and to your central point the related and correlated things, persons, and circumstances. This is one of the reasons why after you “get things going” in any particular line of interest and desire, things tend to “come easier” to and for you as time passes. In such cases, that which required enormous effort in the earlier stages seems to move almost automatically in the later ones. These are matters of common and almost universal experience with those who have been actively engaged in any particular line of work in which strong interest and insistent desire have been aroused and maintained.
You must not, however, hastily jump to the conclusion that all forms of Mental Attraction are Desire Attraction. The general Mental Attitude has its corresponding attractive power; the mental states of Confident Expectation — of Hope and Fear, respectively — also have their attributes of attractive influence. But the attractive power and influence of desire is far more fundamental than are the other forms and phases of Mental Attraction, and, in a way, may be said to be the basic form. These matters are mentioned here solely for the purpose of preventing misunderstanding and confusion.
So, you see, Desire Power tends not only to develop and evolve within you the qualities and powers necessary to enable you to manifest and express yourself along the lines of the desires persistently held by you; it also tends to attract to you, and you to them, the things, persons, circumstances and conditions related to or correlated with the subject of such desires. In other words, Desire Power employs every means at its disposal in order to express and manifest itself more fully, and (through you) to attain its object and end — its greatest possible degree of satisfaction and realization. When you have thoroughly aroused Desire Power within you, and have created for it a strong, positive focal centre of influence, you have set into operation powerful forces of Nature, operating along subconscious and invisible lines of activity. In this connection, remember the adage: “You may have anything you want — if you only want it hard enough.”
The attractive force of Desire Power operates in many different ways. In addition to the “drawing power” operating along the lines of “something like telepathy” of which we have spoken, it also operates in other ways on the subconscious planes of the mind in order to influence, guide and direct the person to the other persons, things, conditions, and circumstances related or correlated to or with the particular desire which is being persistently and insistently held by that person. Under its influence, the subconscious mentality raises to the levels of consciousness new ideas, thoughts, plans, which if applied will tend to “lead” the person in the direction of the things which will serve to aid him in the realization of those desires which he is insistently harboring.
In this way, the person is led to the related things, just as in the other ways the things are led to him. Desire Power pushes, as truly as it pulls — it urges you forward as truly as it attracts things to you. In some cases the process is entirely subconscious, and the person is amazed when he finds “by chance” (!) that he has “stumbled upon” helpful things in places in which he had least expected to find them, and in places to which he had apparently been led by Chance. But there is no Chance about it; persons are undoubtedly “led to” helpful things and conditions, but by Desire Power operating along the lines of the subconscious mentality, and not by Chance.
Many successful men could tell (if they would) how often in their respective careers, at critical times, the most peculiar happenings have been experienced by them, seemingly “by chance” or “by accident,” which served as the means of transforming defeat into victory. In this way they acquired “by chance” some important bit of information serving to supply the missing link in their mental chain, or else giving them a clue to that which had previously escaped their thought. Or, perhaps, they unexpectedly “ran into” the person who afterward turned out to be the one particular person who alone could have helped them in certain ways. Or, again, they have picked up at random the particular newspaper, magazine, or book which either gave them the required information, or else mentioned some other book or thing which filled the need.These things happen so often, and in such a striking way, that many men of active experience have learned to expect them, to rely upon them, and to act upon them. Not knowing the true underlying causes of the happenings, they usually refrain from mentioning their experiences to their friends for fear of being regarded as superstitious or credulous; but if the subject happens to be introduced in confidential conversation between men of this kind, it will be found that the instances cited are numerous, and are so strikingly similar in general nature that the careful thinker is forced to the conclusion that there is some fundamental principle involved in the events, and that there is a logical sequence of cause and effect indicated.
Not knowing the true cause of these happenings, men are prone to ascribe them to “luck,” fate, destiny, chance, or else to think of them simply as “one of those things beyond explanation.” Some men who have become familiar with them have learned to recognize them readily when they experience them, by reason of a “feeling” that “here is another of those things.” They learn to distinguish between a mere general and vague notion, and a “sure enough hunch.” Sometimes, men think that these things are the result of the aid of kindly Providence operating in their behalf; others feel that they have helpers “on the other side”; still others feel that there is “something almost uncanny” about the whole thing; but so long as it is perceived to operate in their behalf all are willing to take advantage of the aid of the Unknown Power.
Of course, the subconscious mentality of the individual is the “helper,” or “directing genius” in such cases, and the happenings are merely phases of the general phenomena of the Subconscious. But, nevertheless, Desire Power is the animating principle involved. The subconscious mentality, like the conscious mentality, is energized and aroused into activity by the urge of Desire Power. Desire Power employs every possible form of energy, activity and motive-power at its command; and also presses into service all kinds of machinery and instruments, mental and physical. The Fire of Desire kindles every faculty of the mind, on conscious and subconscious planes, and sets them all into active work on its behalf. Without desire Power in some form or phase, none of these faculties would manifest activity; where activity is manifested by them, there is always implied the presence and urge of Desire Power.
Sometimes Desire Power will operate in strangely indirect ways in order to accomplish its results. By means of the “under the surface” perception of the subconscious faculties, Desire Power seemingly perceives that “the longest way ’round is the quickest way home,” and it proceeds to cause the individual to pursue that “longest way ’round” in order to attain his desire in the shortest possible time. In such cases it often acts so as to upset and overturn the plans which one has carefully mapped out; the result makes it seem to one that failure and defeat, instead of victory and success, have come to him. It will sometimes tear the person away from his present comparatively satisfactory environment and conditions and then lead him over rock roads and hard trails; and finally, when he has almost despaired of attaining success, he finds it literally thrust upon him.
Such instances are not invariable, of course, but they occur sufficiently often and with such characteristically marked features that they must be recognized. It often happens that, as one who has experienced it has said, “It seems as if one were grabbed by the back of his neck, lifted out of his set environment and occupation, dragged roughly over a painful road, and then thrust forcibly but kindly upon the throne of success, or at least into the throne-room with the throne in plain sight before him.”
But, at the last, those who have experienced these strenuous activities of Desire Power operating through the subconscious nature and in many other ways are found to agree universally in the statement, “The end justified the means; the thing is worth the price paid for it.” It requires philosophy and faith to sustain one when he is undergoing experiences of this kind, but the knowledge of the law and principle in operation will of course greatly aid him. The right spirit to maintain in such cases is that expressed in the phrase of the A.E.F. in France, “It’s a great life, if you don’t weaken.”
Desire Power employs freely the subconscious faculties in its work of Realization through Attraction. It employs these in man just as it employs them in the case of the homing pigeon, the migrating birds, the bee far from its hive — it supplies the “homing instinct” to the man seeking success, as well as to the animal seeking refuge. It is said that animals separated from their mates, seemingly are attracted to them over long distances. Lost animals find their way home, though many miles over strange country have to be traveled. Let a person establish a “refuge” for birds, and the birds will soon begin to travel toward it — even strange species from long distances putting in an appearance. Water fowls travel unerringly toward water; the roots of trees manifest the same sense of direction toward water and rich soil.
In high and low, the Law of Desire Attraction manifests its power. Man is under the law, and may even cause the law to work for him when he understands its nature. Man may harness Desire Power just as he has harnessed other great forces of Nature — may harness it and set it to work for him. Once set to work for him, this power will work “without haste, and without rest” toward the end impressed upon it — it will work for him while he is awake and working otherwise, and when he is asleep and resting from his conscious work. Desire is the “force of forces,” because it is the inmost kernel of all the other forms of natural force, physical or mental. All force depends upon inner Attraction or Repulsion — and these are but the manifestation of Desire Power, positive or negative.
VII. KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT
In the preceding sections of this book we have called your attention to the aphorism, “You may have anything you want — if you only want it hard enough.” This aphorism is embodied in the Master Formula of Attainment which is set forth constantly in the instruction contained in the series of books of which the present volume forms a part. The Master Formula of Attainment, stated in popular form, is as follows:
“You may have anything you want, provided that you (1) know exactly what you want, (2) want it hard enough, (3) confidently expect to attain it, (4) persistently determine to obtain it, and (5) are willing to pay the price of its attainment.”
We shall now ask you to consider three of the above five elements of the Master Formula of Attainment, viz., the element of Definite Ideals, or “knowing exactly what you want”; the element of Insistent Desire, or “wanting it hard enough”; the element of Balanced Compensation, or “being willing to pay the price of its attainment.” Each of these three elements is highly important, and should be carefully examined and consdiered. Let us begin with the first requisite, i.e. “Knowing exactly what you want.”
When you consider the question, “Exactly what do I want?” you will be apt to regard it as one quite easy to answer. But after you begin to consider the question in detail, and in real earnest, you will discover two very troublesome obstacles in your way on the road to the correct answer. The two obstacles are as follows: (1) the difficulty in ascertaining a clear and full idea of your desires, aspirations, ambitions, and hopes; and (2) the difficulty in ascertaining which ones of a number of conflicting desires, aspirations, ambitions, and hopes you “want” more than you do those opposing them.
You will find yourself filled with “the divine discontent” of a general dissatisfaction with your present condition, circumstances, possessions, and limitations. You will feel, perhaps strongly, the “raw desire” of the elemental Desire Power within you, but you will not have clearly outlined in your mind the particular directions in which you wish that elemental force to proceed into manifestation and expression.
You will often feel that you wish that you were somewhere other than where you now are; that you were doing something different from what you are now doing; that you possessed things other and better than you now possess; or that your present limitations were removed, thus giving you a wider and fuller expression and manifestation of the power which you feel to be within you: all these general feelings will be experienced by you, but you will not be able to picture clearly to yourself just what “other things” you really want to take the place of those which are now your own.
Then, when you attempt to form the clear picture, and definite idea, of what you want, you will find you want many things, some of them opposing each other, each offering attractive features, each bidding actively for your favor and acceptance — thus rendering a choice and definite decision very difficult. You find yourself suffering from an embarrassment of riches. Like the perplexed lover in the song, you say, “How happy would I be with either, we’re t’other fair charmer away.” Or, like the psychological donkey who was placed at an equidistant point between two equally tempting haystacks, and who died of hunger because he couldn’t make up his mind which one he wanted most, you may remain inactive because of strong conflicting desire-motives.
It is because of one or both of the above mentioned conditions that the great masses of persons do not avail themselves of the great elemental urge of Desire Power. It is there, ready to exert its power, but they lack definite direction and power of decision, and so remain, like the vegetables or the lower animals, content to allow Nature to work along the instinctive lines of self-protection, propagation, etc., without employing initiative or self-direction.
The few of the race who break these barriers, and who strike out for themselves, are found to have known very clearly “just what they wanted,” and to have “wanted it hard,” and to have been willing to pay the price of attainment. In order to set to work the forces of Desire Power in a special direction, the individual must make clear an ideal path over which they may travel, as well as to arouse the forces so as to cause them to travel over that path.
Self-Analysis. You will find that a scientific application of the principle of Self-Analysis, or mental stock-taking, will aid you materially in overcoming the two great obstacles in the Path of Attainment, which we have just mentioned. Self-Analysis in this case consists of a careful analysis of your elements of Desire, to the end that you may discover which of these elements are the strongest, and that you may clearly understand just what these strongest elements are really like in character. You are advised to “think with pencil and paper” in this work of self-analysis — it will greatly aid you in crystallizing your thought and, besides, will give a definite and logical form to the results of your work. The following suggestions and advice will aid you materially in this task.
Begin by asking yourself the question: “What are my strongest desires? What do I ‘want’ and ‘want to’ over and above anything and everything else? What are my highest Desire-Values?” Then proceed to “think with pen and paper,” and thus to answer your important question above stated.
Take your pencil and begin to write down your strongest desires — your leading “wants” and “want tos” — as they come into your consciousness in response to your inquiry. Write down carefully the things and objects, the aims and ideals, the aspirations and ambitions, the hopes and confident expectations, which present themselves for notation in the course of your mental stock-taking. Note all of them, without regard to the question of whether or not you ever expect to be able to secure or attain them.
Put them all down on the list, no matter how ridiculous and unattainable they may seem to you at the time. Do not allow yourself to be overcome by the magnificent aims and ideals, aspirations and ambitions, which thus present themselves. Their very existence in your Desire-nature is, in a measure, the prophecy of their own fulfillment. As Napoleon once said: “Nothing is too magnificent for a soldier of France!” You are that soldier of France! Do not impose limitations on your Desire-nature in this way. If a magnificent desire is within you, it should be respected — so put it down on the list.
By this process of Self-Analysis you bring to the surface of your consciousness all the various feeling, desires, longings, and cravings which have been dwelling in your subconscious mind. Many of these deep desires are like sleeping giants — your exploration of your subconscious mental regisions will arouse these — will case them “to sit up and take notice,” as it were. Do not be frightened by these awakening sleepers. Nothing that you find there is alien to you. Even though you may find it necessary to transmute them, or to inhibit them in favor of more advantageous desires, at a later stage of your work, do not now deny them a place on your list — put them down on paper. The list must be an honest one, therefore be honest with yourself in the analysis.
At first, you will find that your list is a more or less higgledy-piggledy conglomeration of “wants” and “want tos,” apparenly having but little or no logical order or systematic relation. Do not let this disturb you, however — all this will be taken care of as you proceed; order and arrangement will establish themselves almost automatically when the proper time arrives. The main thing at this stage is to get all of your stronger desires into the list. Be sure to exhaust your subconscious mine of strong desires — dig out of that mine anything and everything that has strength in it.
The next step is that of the cold-blooded, ruthless, elimination of the weakest desires, with the idea and purpose that in the end there will be a “survival of the fittest” on your list. Begin by running over your list, striking off the weaker and less insistent — the mere temporary and passing — desires, and those which you clearly recognize as likely to bring you but little if any permanent satisfaction, continued happiness and lasting content.
In this way you will create a new list of the stronger desires, and those haing a greater permanent and satisfying value. Then, examining this list, you will find that some of the items will still stand out from the others by reason of their greater comparative strength and greater degree of permanent value. Make a new list of these successful candidates, including only those possessing the greatest strength and value to you, and dropping the others from the list. Then continue this process of elimination of the weakest and least satisfying until you reach that point where you feel that any further elimination would result in cutting away live wood.
By this time you will have become aware of a most significant and important fact, namely, that as your list has grown smaller, the strength and value of the surviving desires have grown greater. As the old gold-miners expressed it, you are now “getting down to pay dirt” — getting down to the region in which the nuggets and rich ore abide. When you have reached this stage, you will do well to stop work for the time being; this will give you a needed mental rest, and will also furnish your subconscious mentality with the opportunity to do some work for you along its own particular lines.
When you again take up your list for consideration, you will find a new general order and arrangement of its items pictured in your mind. You will find that these remaining desires have grouped themselves into several general classes. Your subconscious mental faculties will have performed an important task for you. Then you will be ready to compare these general classes, one with the other, until you are able to select certain classes which seem stronger than the others. Then you will be ready to proceed to the task of eliminating the weaker general classes, making a new list of the stronger ones.
After working along these general lines for a time, with intervals of rest and recuperation, and for subconscious digestion and elimination, you will find that you have before you a list composed of but a comparatively few general classes of “wants” and “want tos” — each of which possesses a far greter degree of strength and value than you had previously suspected. Your subconscious mind has been working its power upon these classes of desires, and they have evolved to a higher stage of strength, definiteness, clearness and power. You are beginning at last to find out “just what you want,” and are also well started on your way to “wanting it hard enough.”
General Rules of Selection. In your task of selection, elimination, “boiling down,” and chopping away the dead wood, etc., you will do well to observe the three following general Rules of Selction:
I. The Imperative Requisite. In selecting your strongest desires for your list, you are not required to pay attention to any fears lurking in your mind that any of the particular desires are apparently unattainable — that they are beyond your power of achievement, and are rendered impossible by apparently unsurmountable obstacles. You are not concerned with such questions at this time and place — ignore them for the present. You are here concerned merely with the question of whether or not your “want” or “want to” concerning a certain thing is felt “hard enough” for you to sacribice other desirable things — whether you feel that the particular desire is of sufficient value for you to “pay the price” of its attainment, even though that price be very high. Remember the old adage: “Said the gods to man, ‘Take what thou wilt – but pay for it!'” If you are not willing to “pay the price,” and to pay it in full, then you do not “want it hard enough” to render it one of your Prime Desires.
II. The Test of Full Desire. We have told you that, “Desire has for its object something that will bring pleasure or get rid of pain, immediately or remote, for the individual or for some one in whom he is interested.” Therefore, in passing upon the comparative strength and value of your respective deisres, or general classes of desires, you must take into consideration all of the elements of Desire noted in the above definite statement — the indirect as well as the direct elements of personal satisfaction and content.
You must weigh and decide the value of any particular desire, or class of desires, not only in the light of your own immediate stisfaction and content, but also in the light of your own future satisfaction and content; not only in the light of your own direct satisfaction and content, but also in the light of your indirect satisfaction and content derived from the satisfaction and content of others in whom you are interested. Your future satisfaction and content often depend upon the sacrifice of your present desire in favor of one bearing fruit in the future. You may be so interested in other persons that their satisfaction and content has a greater emotional value to you than the gratification of some desire concerned only with your own direct satisfaction and content. These Desires-values must be carefully weighed by you. If you leave out any of these elements of Desire, you run the risk of attaching a false alue to certain sets of desires. You must weigh and measure the value of your desires by the use of the standard of the full content of Desire.
III. Seek Depth of Desire. You will find it advisable to omit from your list all purely superficial and transient feelings, emotions and desires. They have but a slight value in the case. Instead, plunge into the deep places of your mental being or soul; there you will find abiding certain deep, essential, basic, permanent feelings, emotions and desires. In those regions dwell the “wants” and the “want tos” which ehen aroused are as insistent and as imperative as are the want of the suffocating man for air; the want of the famished man for food; the want of the thirsting man for water; the want of the wild creature for its mate; the want of the mother for the welface of her child.
These deep desires are your real emotional elements — the ones most firmly and permanently imbedded in the soil of your emotional being. These are the desires which will abide when the transient, ephemeral ones have passed and are forgotten. These are the desires for which you will be willing to “pay the price,” be that price ever so high in the form of the sacrifice and relinquishment of every other desire, feeling or emotion. Measure your desires by their essential depth, as well as by their temporary weight. Select those which are embedded so deeply in the soil of your emotional being that they cannot be uprooted by the passing storms of conditions and circumstances.
The Struggle for Existence. You are now approaching the final stages of your discovery of “just what you want.” You now have a list of Insistent Desires — the survivors in the Struggle for Existence on the part of your many desires and classes of desires. If you have proceeded earnestly and honestly in your work of Self-Analysis and Selection, you will have a group of sturdy Desire-giants befor you for final judgment. By a strange psychological law these surviving candidates have taken on much of the strength and energy of those which they have defeated in the struggle; the victors will have absorbed the vitality of those whom they have defeated, just as the savage hopes to draw to himself the strength of the enemies killed by him in battle.
Your Deisre Power has now been concentrated upon a comparatively small group of desires, with a consequent focusing of power.
You will now find that your “wants” and “want tos” have arranged themselves into two great clases, viz., (1) the great class of those desires which while different from other desires, or classes of desires, are not necessarily contradictory to them nor directly opposed to them; and (2) the great class of those desires which are not only different, but are also actually contradictory and opposed to other desires or classes of desires.
The merely “different” classes may abide in mutual harmonious existence and relation with or to each other, just as do light and heat, or the color and odor of a flower. But two contradictory and opposing classes of desires cannot co-exist and coordinate their energies in the same individual; both remainin in the fore, there will be friction, inharmony, strife, and mutual interference.
One might as well try to ride two horses moving in different diretions, as to try to maintain in equal force two opposing or contradictory sets of desires. The two sets, each one pulling in an opposite direction and with equal strength, will bring the Will to a standstill. The individual, in such a case, will either oscillate between the two attracting poles, or else he will come to a “dead centre” between them. Something must be done when you find an opposing set of desires of this kind well to the fore in your category of strong desires. You must set in operation a process of competition, from which one set must emerge a victor and the other set be defeated.
In this process of competition, you will need to employ your best and keenest powers of analysis and judgment. In some cases the matter may be settled quickly, and the decision easily arrived at, because when your full attention is turned upon the two competitors, one will be seen to stand out so much more clearly than the other that the latter will be almost automatically retired. The full power of Reason and Feeling focused in such a case will usually result in a quick and sure decision.
But there are instances in which both of the opposing sets of desires seem to possess an equal power and value in your emotional and intellectual scale. Here you are apparently in the condition of the poor donkey, previously mentioned, who starved to death because he was unable to decide which of the two haystacks was to be eaten. The matter must be decided by the introduction of an additional element which will add weight to one set or the other, and thus bring down the balance on that particular side. This added element is usually found in one of the other of the following two classes of mental processes, viz., (1) Imagination, and (2) Association. Let us consider each of these.
The Element of Imagination. The imagination, employed in the case of the desire-conflict now before us, usually is very effective in bring about a decision. In emplying it, you have but to imagine yourself, first, in the actual possission of the object of the one set of desires; and then, instead, in possission of the objet of the second set. In this process you draw upon your own recollections and experiences, and upon your recollection of the experiences of others. You imagine “how it would feel” to have attained the object of, first, this “want” or “want to,” and then that one. You place yourself in imagination in the position that you would occupy in case you should attain the object of this desire or of that one. They you pass judgment as to which seems to be the better, i.e., to afford the greater degree of satisfaction and content, present and future, direct and indirect.
This process has the advantage of oversoming the handicap placed upon a future satisfaction in favor of a present one. The future experience is brought into the field of the present, and thus may be compared with a present experience relieved of th handicap of time. This is a matter of great importance, for ordinarily the present-time value of an emotional feeling or desire is far greater than that of a past-time or future-time value of a similar experience. Teh test of imagination usually results in (1) strengthening the present fvalue of a really advantageous emotional feeling and desire, and (2) in weakening the present value of an apparently advantegeous, but really disadvanageous one. The use of the memory and the imagination is to be highly recommended in the task of deciding the real and actual value of an emotional state or desire.
The Element of Association. The element of association introduced into a desire-conflict will often result speedily in a determination and decision in favor of one side as against the other. Association will add strength to one set of desires, and will weaken the opposing set, in most cases. The Association of Ideas is that psychological law which binds one set of ideas, or mental states, to toerhs; so that by bringing one set into consciousness we tend to bring there also the associated sets. In the present case we bring into consciousness the associated consequences of each set of desires.
You may proceed to apply the test of Association as follows: Seek to uncover and discover as many as possible of the associated results of the attainment of the set of deires in question — strive to think of “what else will happen” in case you attain that set of desires. This is something like inquiring into the family and social connections of two rival suitors or sweethearts — weighing their respective relations and associations and the probable future consequences of marriage with either of them.
It is always well, in cases of doubt concerning the comparative value of conflicting sets of desires, to consider carefully just what other things are associated with each of the two respective sets of deires, to consider carefully just what other things are associated with each of the two respective sets of dsires — just what other results are likely to accompany the attainment of the object or end of each set of desires under consideration. In other words, you should ascertain the kind of relations and friends possessed by each of the rival suitors or sweethearts. In this way you will often find that one of the two apparently equal sets of desires has some very agreeable and advantageous relations and associates, while the other has some very disagreeable and disadvantageous ones.
You thus discover, figuratively speaking, “just what kind of family you are marrying into”; and you thus take stock of the respective associated and related “in laws,” friends, associates, and entanglements of each of the suitors. This is of great value, since in spite of the oft asserted statement athat “I am not marrying the whole family,” one usually really does do just that very thing.
The idea of the application of the test of Association in such cases may be expressed in a few words, as follows: The real test of any particular desire depends not alone upon the immediate results likely to accompany its attainment, but also upon the associated and related results which follow in its train of association and correlation — the results which necessarily “go with it,” and which are so closely bound up with it that they cannot easily be detached from it. In some cases, the test of Association will reveal the fact that the price of the attinment of a certain set of desires is excessive — often actually prohibitive. In other cases, on the contrary, you will find by this test that you are getting a great bargain by reason of the “extras” which go with the thing itself. The objets of some desires are thus found to be “damaged goods”; while those of others are found to have an associative vlue not apparent to the casual observer.
An Appeal to the Touchstone. In cases in which careful analysis, deliberation, the test of imagination and association, wna all other means of weighing and measuring, trying and testing, fail to reveal the advantage of one set of desires over the opposing set, resort must be had to the Touchstone of Positivity so often referred to in this instruction. The Touchstone by which the Positivity of any mental state, thought, feeling, desire, or action is determined is as follows: “Will this tend to make me stronger, better, and more efficient?” In the degree that any mental state meets the requirements of this test, so is its degree of Positivity and sonsquent desirability.
In testing two sets of conflicting desires in this way, you ask yourself: “Which of these two desires, if attained, will tend to make me stronger, better, and more efficient?” This is the Test Question. The answer should represent your final decision in the matter. The Touchstone if your Court of Last Resort, to be appealed to when all other tests have failed. Its report represents the best, highest, and most valuable elements, mental, moral, and spiritual, within your nature; all that is worst in you is absent therefrom. It represents your Summum Bonum — your Chief Good.
The Survival of the Fittest. By this time, your list of desires has resolved itself into a schedule or inventory of a few strong, dominant, prime desires, and of a larger number of lesser ones. The strongest desires should be finally tested in order to discover whether they are merely “different” from each other, or whether they are essentiall mutually antagonistic and contradictory.
If they come under the latter category, then they must be pitted against each other until one of the pair winds the victory, and one goes down in defeat; for two sets of this kind must not be permitted to dwell permanently in your region of Desire: “a house divided against itself shall not stand.” There must be fought a fight to the finish. One of the opposing sets must be rolled in the dust, while the other stands proudly erct as the victor. The defeated one, thereafter, must be compelled to say, “After you, monsieur,” as our French cousins politely express it.
If two sets of desires are merely “different,” and are not essentially and necessarily conflictin and antagonistic, then they may be permitted to remain dwelling in mutual peach and harmony, at least for the time being. This permission, however, is conditioned by the fact that there must not be too may of such sets occupying the front seats of Desire at the same time. The tendency should always be in the direction of concentration and focused energy; you should beware of scattered power and energy arising from a great diversity of desires and aims.
If you doscover that there are too many strong “different” deisres left after you have reached this stage of selection and elimination, you should carefully weigh each remaining set, subjecting ti to the tests of memory, imagination, association and rational judgment, discarding all that are not found profitable and sufficiently advantageous. If you find that ny of your desires cost you more than you get out of them; get rid of all those which do not pay for their keep.”
Continue until you have left only a comparatively few sets of desires, all of proved value and superlative emotional strength and depth. These should be recognized as well worth the price which you are prepared to pay for their maintenance and support. Treat in the same way any new desires which arise within you. Test them just as you have tested their predecessors, and insit that they prove that they are “worth while” before you decide to keep them. If they cost you more than you get out of them, discard them. Insist that they shall “pay their keep” and yield you some emotional profit beside. Tun your emotional and desire establishment on business principles.
You have now finally reached the stage in which you have on your list nothing but your Dominant Desires — the Survival of the Fittest. These Dominant Desires must thereafter rule your emotional realm. Any new comer must prove its worth by a test of strength with these Dominant Deisres — if it shows its strength, and is able to hold its place very well; it may be added to the list. Those going down in defeat must be eliminated. This will require strength and determination on your part — but you are a strong and determined individual, or at least are becoming one.
The process of Self-Analysis and Selection which you just considered will furnish you with two classes of reports, viz., (1) it will demonstrate to you your strongest classes of desires — your Dominant Desires; and (2) it will cause you clearly and definitely to picture and form a strong idea of each of such Dominant Desires. In both reports it will cause you to “konw eactly what you want,” which is the first requisite of the Master Forumla of Attainment.
VIII WANTING IT HARD ENOUGH
According to the Master Formula you must not only “know exactly what you want, ” but must also “want it hard enough,” and be “willing to pay the price of its attainment.” Having considered the first of the above stated three requisites for obtaining that which you want, we ask you now to consider the second requisite, i.e., that of “wanting it hard enough.”
You may think that you “want it hard enough” when you have a rather keen desire or longing for anything, but when you compare your feeling with that of persons manifesting really strong, insistent desire, you will find that you are but merely manifesting a “wish” for that for which you have an inclination or an attachment. Compared to the insistent “want” or “want to” of thoroughly aroused Desire, your “wish” is but as a shadow. The chances are that you have been a mere amateur — a dillettante — in the art and science of “wanting” and “wanting to.” Very few persons really know how to “want” or “want to” in such manner as to arouse fully the elemental forces of Desire Power.
An old Oriental fable illustrates the nature of Desire aroused to its fullest extent. The fable relates that a teacher took his pupil out on a deep lake, in a boat, and then suddenly pushed him overboard. The youth sank beneath the surface of the water, but rose in a few seconds, gasping for breath. Without giving him time to fill his lungs with air, the teacher forcibly pushed him under once more. The youth rose to the surface the second time, and was again pushed under. He rose for the third time, almost entirely exhausted; this time the teacher pulled him up over the side of the boat, and employed the usual methods to restore him to normal breathing.
When the youth had fully recovered from his severe ordeal, the teacher said to him: “Tell me what was the one thing that you desired above all other things before I pulled you in — the one desire to which all other desires seem like tiny candles compared with the sun?” The youth replied, “Oh, sir; above all else I desired air to breathe — for me at that time there existed no other desires!” Then said the teacher, “Let this, then, be the measure of your desire for those things to the attinment of which your life is devoted!”
You will not fully realize the measure of Desire pointed out in this fable, unless you employ your imagination in the direction of feeling yourself in the drowning condition of the youth — until you do this, the fable is a mere matter of words. When you can realize in feeling, as well as recognize in thought, the strength of the desire for air present in that youth, then, and then only, will you be able to manifest in expression a similar degree of Desire for the objects of your prime “wants” and “want tos.” Do not rest satisfied with the intellectual recognition of the condition — induce the corresponding emotional feeling in yourself to as great a degree as possible.
Varying the illustration, you will do well to induce in yourself (in imagination) the realization of the insistent, paramount desire for food experienced by the starving man lost in the dense forest in mid-winter. The chances are that you never have been actually “hungry” in the true sense of the term; all that you have mistaken for hunger is merely the call of appetite or taste — the result of habit. When you are so hungry that an old, stale, dry crust of bread will be delicious to your taste, then you are beginning to know what real hunger is. Those men who, lost in the forest or shipwrecked, have tried to satisfy intense hunger by gnawing the bark of trees, or chewing bits of leather cut from their boots — these men could give you some interesting information concerning hunger. If you can imagine the feelings of men in this condition, then you may begin to uerstand what “insistent desire” really means.
Again, the shipwrecked sailors adrift at sea with their supply of watter exhausted; or the desert-lost man wandering over the hot sands with a thirst almost inconceivable to the ordinary person; those men know what “insistent desire” means. Man can live many days without food; but only a few days without water; and only a few minutes without air. When these fundamental essentials of life are withdrawn temporarily, the living creature finds his strongest and most elemental feelings and desires aroused — they become transmuted into passions insistently demanding satisfaction and content. When these elemental emotions and desires are thoroughly aroused, all the derivative emotional states are forgotten. Imagine the emotional state of the starving man in sight of food, or the thirst-cursed man within reach of water, if some other person or thing intervenes and attempts to frustrate the suffering man’s attainment of that which he wants above all else at that time.
Other examples of insistent desire may be found in the cases of wild animals in the mating season, in which they will risk life and defy their powerful rivals in order to secure the chosen mate. If you ever have come across a bull-moose in the mating season, you will have a vivid picture and idea of this phase of elemental desire raised to the point of “insistent demand.”
Again, consider the intense emotional feeling, and the accompanying desires experienced by the mother creature in connection with the welfare and protection of her young when danger threatens them — this will show you the nature and character of elemental desire aroused to its fullest extent. Even tiny birds will fight against overwhelming odds in resisting the animal or man seeking to rob their nests. It is a poor spirited mother-animal which will not risk her life, and actually court death, in defense of her young. The female wild creature becomes doubly formidable when accompanied by her young. “The female of the species” is far “more deadly than the male” when the welfare of its young is involved. The Orientals have a proverb: “It is a very brave, or a very foolish , man who will try to steal a young tiger-cub while its mother is alive and free in the vicinity.”
We have called your attentioin to the above several examples and illustrations of the force of strongly aroused elemental emotions and desires, not alone to point out to you how powerful such desires and feelings become under the appropriate circumstances and conditions, but also to bring you to a realization of the existence within all living things of a latent emotional strength and power which is capable of being aroused into a strenuous activity under the proper stimulus, and of being directed toward certain definite ends and purposes indicated by the stimulus. That this strength and power is aroused by, and flows out toward, the particular forms of stimulus above indicated by the stimulus. That this strength and power is aroused by, and flows out toward, the particular forms of stimulus above indicated is a matter of common knowledge. But that it may be aroused to equal strength, power, and intensity by other forms of stimulus (such stimulus having been deliberately placed before it by the indiidual) is not known to the many; only the few have learned this secret.
We ask you to use your imagination here, once more, for a moment. Imagine an individual who has “his mind set upon” the attainment of a certain end or purpose to such a degree that he has aroused the latent Desire Power within him to that extent where he “wants” or “wants to” that end or purpose in the degree of strength, power, insistency, and fierceness, manifested by the drowning man who “wants” air; by the desert lost man who “wants” water; by the starving man who wants food; by the wild creature who “wants” its mate; by the mother animal who “wants” the welfare of its young. This is the individual in whom the elemental Desire Power has been aroused to such an extent, and directed toward the attainment or achievement of his Dominant Desire. How would you like to compete with such a man for the attinment of that object of his Desire Power? How would you like to be the opposing obstacle standing directly in his path of progress and attainment? How would you like to play with him the part analogous to that of one who would try to snatch away the bone from a starving wolf, or pull the tiger cub from the paws of its savage mother?
This is an extreme case or illustration, of course. Very few individuals actually reach the stage indicated — though it is not impossible by any means; but many travel a long way along that road. The strong, successful men who have “made good,” who have “arrived,” who have “done things,” in any line of human endeavor, will be found to have travelled quite a distance in that direction, on the road of Desire. They have aroused within themselves the strong, elemental Desire Power which abides in latency in the depths of the mental and emotional being — the “soul,” if you will — of every human creature; and have caused that elemental force to pur through the channels of the particular Dominant Desires which they have brought to the surface of their nature from the depths of the subconscious self.
Look in any direction you may, and you will find that the strong, masterful, dominant, successful men are those in whom Desire Power has been aroused and directed in this way. These men “know what they want” — just as the drowning man, the starving man, the thirst-cursed man, the wild mating creature, the mother creature, each knows what he or she wants — they have no doubts concerning their Dominant Desires. And these men also “want hard enough” that which represents their Dominant Desires — just as did the drowning man, the starving man, and the rest of our illustrative examples. And, like those examples, these men were also “willing to pay the price.”
Run over the list of the successful men and women with whose careers you are acquainted. Place on that list the great discoverers, inventors, explorers, military men, business men, artists, literary men and women, all those who have “done things” successfully. then check off name after name, as you discover the biographical report of the Desire Power manifested by these individuals. You will find that in each and every case there were present the “Definite Ideals, Insistent Desire, Cnfident Expectation, Persistent Determination, and Balanced Compensation,” which constitute the Master Formua of Attainment of our instruction. And this second requisite — the “Insistent Desire” — is found to be this elemental Desire Power directed into the appropriate channels of manifestation and expression. These individuals “knew just what they wanted”; they “wanted it hard enough”; and they were “willing to pay the price.”
It is this spirit of “wanting it hard enough” that distinguishes the men and women of strong purpose and determination from the common herd of persons who merely “wish for” things in a gentle, faint, conventional way — that distinguishes the true “wanters” from the dilettante “wisher.” It was the recognition of this spirit in men that caused Disraeli to say that long meditation had brought him to the conviction that a human being with a settled purpose, and with a will which would stake even existence itself upon its fulfillment, must certainly accomplish that purpose.
“But,” you may say, “admitting the truth of your premise, how am I to proceed in order to arouse the dormant latent Desire Power within me, and to cause it to flow forth in the direction of the attainment of my Dominant Desires?” Answering the question, we would say, “Begin at the very beginning, and proceed to arouse and draw forth the latent Desire Power, by presenting to it the simulus of suggestinve and inciting ideas and picture.” For, from beginning to end, there prevails the principle expressed in that axiom of psychology which says: “Desire is aroused and flows forth toward things represented by ideas and mental pictures; the stonger and clearer the idea or mental picture, the stonger and more insistent is the aroused desire, all else being equal.”
You should proceed to apply this principle from the very beginning even at the stage of semi-awakened Desire Power. There abides within you a great store of latent, dormant Desire Power — a great reservoir of Desire Power which is almost dormant, but which contains within itself the latent and nascent powers of wonderfully diversified manifestation and expression. You will do well to begin by “stirring up” this great reservoir of Desire Power — arousing it into activity in a general way, to the end that you may afterward direct its power and cause it to flow forth into and along the channels of expression and manifestation which you have provided for it.
In the great crater of a mighty vlcano of Hawaii, in plain sight of the daring visitor to the rim of the abyss, there abides a large lake of molten lava, seething and bubbling, boiling and effervescing in a state of hising ebullience — a lake of liquid fire, as it were. This great fiery lake is comparatively calm on its surface, however, the ebullition proceeding from its depths. The whole body of fiery liquid manifests a rhythmic tide-like rise and fall, and a swaying from side to side of the crater. The observer is impressed with the recognition of a latent and nascent power of almost immeaurable possibilities of manifestation and expression. He feels borne upon him the conviction that this seething, rising and falling, swaying, tremendous body of liquid fire, if once fully aroused into activity, would boil and seethe up to the edge of the crater, and over-flowing, would pour down into the valleys beneath carrying before it and destroying every obstacle in its path.
This great lake of molten lava — this great body of liquid fire — is a symbol of the great body of latent and nascent Desire Power abiding within every individual — within YOU. It rests there, comparatively inactive on the surface but every manifesting a peculiar churning ebullition proceeding from its great depths. It seethes and boils, effervesces and bubbles, rises and falls in tide-like hythm, sways in rhythmic sequence from side to side. It seems ever to say to you, “I am here, restless and disturbed, every longing, craving, hankering for, hungering and thirsting for, desiring for expression and manifestation in definite form and direction. Stir me up; arouse my inner force; set me into action; and I will rise and assert my power, and accomplish for you that which you direct!”
In this stage of Desire Power, its most general stage, you will be filled with a vague discontent and dissatisfaction — a longing, wishing, lusting for, and striving toward expression and manifestation of some kind, though you know not just what it is you want nor just what you wish to do. The inclination and urge is there, but the direction is lacking. Here, Desire Power manifests in but a vague sense of unrest — in an almost unconcscious urge and striving toward outward expression — in an almost unconscious inclination or tendency toward outward manifestation and action toward more or less definite ends. But even here there is a presence of Idea which has stirred up and is calling forth the latent and nascent Desire Power; but that Idea is merly that of a general urge toward outward expression and manifestation — it arouses but a general discontent with the preesnt state, accompanied by the conative urge toward the achievement of a better condition, state, or channel of expression.
Some good teachers maintain that there is no possible development of Desire Power at this tage, and, indeed, no need for it. But we, the present writers, feel that this is a mistake. We believe that even at this early stage or phase of Desire Power, it is possible to arouse and stimulate it into activity, to the end that it may later be directed into definite channels of expression and manifestation. Moreover, we believe that Nature has proceeded in just this way in her numerous sharp advances, rises, and “jumps” in the evolutionary process, in which the living things have made progress at a rate far beyond the normal. We believe that Nature has caused a “bubbling over” at such periods, and has caused the overflowing Desire Power to seek new and wider channels of manifestation.
Of course, we realize that this stirring up or agitation of your latent Desire Power is apt to — in fact, certainly will — create addtional Discontent on your part; but what of it? Some philosophers praise the Spirit of Contentment, and say that Happiness is to be found only therein. Be that as it may, it may be as positively asserted that all Progress proceeds from Discontent.
It is, of couse, very philosphical to folow the advice, “If you can’t have what you like, you must like what you have,” — this idea produces a certain feeling of content. But we would add to the aphorism the following qualifying clause, viz., “but you can’t be sure that you can’t have what you like, until you have exhausted all possible means of getting it.”
While admitting the value of Content, at the same time we believe in preaching the “Gospel of Discontent” to a sane degree and extent. We believe that Discontent is the first step on the Pathof Attainment. We believe that it is just this very Divine Discontent that causes men and women to undertake the Divine Adventure of Life, and which is back of and under all human progress. Content may be carried quite too far. Absolute Content results in Apathy and Lethargy — it stops the wheels of Progress. Nature evidently is not Content, else it would cease to manifest the process of Evolution. Nature has evidently been ever filled with the S[irit of Discontent, judging from her invariable manifestation of the Law of Change. Without Discontent and the Deisre to Change, there would be no Change in Nature. The Law of Change shows plainly Nature’s opinion on the subject, and her prevailing feelings and desires in the matter.
You will do well to begin by “treating”your great body of elemental Desire Power for increased activity, and for the trnsmutation of its static power into dynamic power — bringing it from its state of semi-rest into the state of increased reslessness and tendency to flow forth into action. You may do this in the same way that you will later employ in the case of specific, particular, and definite desires, i.e., by presenting to it suggestive and inciting ideas and mental pictures!
Begin by presenting to your elemental Desire Power the suggestive idea and mental picture of itself as akin to the great lake of molten lava, or liquid fire, filled with latent and nascent energy, power, and force; filled with the elemental urge toward expression and manifestation in outward form and action; able and willing to accomplish anything it desires to do with sufficient strength, providing a definite channel is provided for its flow of power. Show it the picture of itself as ready and willing to transmute its static energy into dynamic force, and to pour forth along the channels which you will provide for it — and above all else, quite able to do this if it will but arouse itself into dynamic action. In short, present to its gaze your idealistic and ideative mental equipment in the form of the surface of a great mirror, reflecting the picture of the elemental Desire Power as it presents itself to that mirror — let Desire Power see itself as it is. Supply Desire with its complementary Idea.
You will do well to accompany this mental picture with a verbal statement or affirmation of the details of that picture. Treat your elemental Desire Power as if it were an entity — there is a valid psychological reason for this, by the way — and tell it in exact words just what it is, what are its powers, and what is its essential nature displaying the disposition to express and manifest itself in outward form and activity. Pound these suggestive statements into it, as firmly, earnestly and persistently as you can. Supply the Desire Power with the element of Idea and Mental Pictures. Give it the picture of what it is, and the patern or diagram of what it can do if it will.
The result of this course of “treatment” applied to your elemental Desire Power will soon show itself in an increased feeling of more vigorous rhythmic tidal-movement and side-sto-side movement, as previously described; and in an increased rate and vigor of its seething, boiling, effervescing ebullition. From its depths will arise mighty impulses and urges, upheavals and uprisings. The great molten-lake of Desire Power will begin to boil with increased vigor, and will show an inclination to produce the Steam of Will. You will experience new and strange evidences of the urge of Desire Power within you, seeking expression and manifestation alon the channels which you have provided for it. As yet, howver, the deisres will not have taken on definite form or direction; they will manifest merely in the state which has been called that of “Raw Desire” — the great elemental general Desire Power immanent in all things.
But before reaching this stage, you must have created the channels through and in which you wish the overflowing Desire Power to flow when it reaches the “boiling over” stage. These channels must be guilt along the lines of those desires which you have proved to be your Dominant Desires. Build these channels, deep, wide and strong. From them you can afterward build minor channels for your secondary and derivative desires arising from your Dominant Desires. At present, however, your main concern is with your main channels. Let each channel represent the clear, deep, strong idea and mental picture of “just what you want” as you clearly see and know it. You have found out exactly what you want, when you want it, and how you want it let your channels represent as closely as may be just these ideas. Build the banks high, so as to obviate any waste; build the walls strong, so as to stand the strain; build the channel deep and wide, so as to carry the full force and quantity of the current.
By “creating the channels” of your Dominant Desires, we mean establishing the paths to be traversed by the overflowing current of Desire Power which you have aroused from its latent and nascent condition. These channels or paths are created mentally by the employment of Creative Imagination and Ideation. These mental forces proceed to manifest in the direction of creating and presenting to your consciousness the ideas and mental pictures of your Dominant Desires which you have discovered in your process of Self-Analysis. The work of creating these channels is really but a continuation of the mental work performed by you in the discovery of your Dominant Desires.
In creating these channels you should observe three general rules, as follows:
(1) Make the Channels Clear and Clean by creating and maintaining a clear, clean, distinct, and definite idea of each of your Dominant Desires, in which idea the entire thought concerning the Dominant Desire is condensed, and in which there is no foreighn or non-essential material.
(2) Make the Channels Deep and Wide by forming mental pictures or suggestive ideas appealing to the emotional feelings associated with the Dominant Desires, and thus tempting the appetites of those desires by the representation of the objects of their longing, and by the presentation of imaginative pictures of the joys which will atend their final achievement and attainment.
(3) Make the Banks Strong by means of the employment of the Persistent Determination of the Will, so that the powerful swift current may be confined within the limits of the Dominant Desire and not be permitted to escape and waste itself by scattering its energy and force over the surrounding land.
When your current is flowing freely, you will find it necessary to build minor channels serving to bring about the attainment of objects and ends helpful to the accomplishment of the objects and ends of the major channels. In building these minor channels, follow the same general rules and principles which we have given you. From the great main channels down to the tinitest canal the same principle is involved. Always build clear and clean, by means of definite ideas and aims; always build deep and wide, by means of suggestive ideas and mental pictures; always build strong banks, by means of the determined will.
In concluding this consideration of the second requisite, i.e., the element of “wanting it hard enough,” we wish to impress upon your mind the tremendous vitalizing, and inciting power exerted by Suggestive Ideas and Mental Pictures upon Desire Power. Suggestive Ideas and Mental Pictures act upon Deisre Power with a tremendous degree of effect in the direction of inciting, arousing, stirring, stimulating, exciting, spurring, goading, provoking, moving, encouraging, animating, and urging to expression and manifestation. There are no other incentives equal to these. All strong desires are aroused by such incentives, consciously or unconsciously applied.
For instance, you may have no desire to visit California. Then your interest in that part of the country is aroused by what you read or hear concerning it, and a vague desire to visit it is aroused in you. Later, information in the direction of giving you additional material for suggestive ideas and mental pictures serves to arouse your desire to “go to California.” You begin to search eagerly for further ideas and pictures, and the more you obtain the stronger grows the flame of your desire. At last, you “want to hard enough”, and brushing aside all obstacles you “pay the price” and take the trip accross the plains. Had you not been furnished with the additional suggestive ideas and mental pictures, your original desire would soon have died out. You know by experience the truth of this principle; you also know how you would use it if you wished to induce a friend to visit California, do you not? Then start to work using it on your Desire Power when you wish to incite it into “wanting hard enough” something that you know to be advantageous to you!
It is customary to illustrate this principle by the figure of pouring the oild of Idea upon he flame of Desire, thereby keeping alive and strengthening the power of the latter. The figure of speech is a good one — the illustration serves well its purpose. But your memory and imagination, representing your experience, will furnish you with one a little nearer home. All that you need do is to imagine the effect which would be produced upon you if you were hungry and were able to form the mental picture or create the suggestive idea of a particularly appetizing meal. Even as it is, though you are not really hungry, the thought of such a meal will make your mouth water.
Again you may readily imagine the effect produced upon you, when you are parched and intensely thirsty on a long ride, by the vivid mental picture or strong suggestive idea of a clear, cold spring of mountain water. Or, again, when in a stuffy, ill-ventilated office you think of the fresh air of the mountain-camp where you went fishing last Summer, — when you picture plainly the joys of the experience — can you deny that your Desire Power is intensely aroused and excited, and that you feel like dropping everything and “taking to the woods” at once.
Raising the principle to its extreme form of manifestation, try to imagine the effect upon the famishing man of a dream of plentiful food; the dream of the thirst-cursed man in which is pictured flowing fountains of water. Try to imagine the effect upon the mate-seeking wild bull-moose of the far-off bellow of the sought for mate — would you like to impede his path on such an occasion. Finally, picture the emotional excitement and frenzy of desire on the part of the tigress when she comes in sight of food for her half-starved cubs; or her fore of desire when she hears afar-off the cry of distress of her young ones.
In order to “want” and “want to” as hard as do these human beings and wild things which we have employed as illustrations, you must feed your Desire Power with suggestive ideas and mental pictures similar in exciting power to those which rouse into action their dominant and paramount “want” and “want to.” Of course, these are extreme cases — but they serve to illustrate the principle involved.
In short, in order to “want it hard enough,” you must create a gnawing hunger and a parching thirst for the objects of your Dominant Desires; this you must intensify and render continuous by repeatedly presenting with suggestive ideas and mental pictures of the Feast of Good Things, and the Flowing Fountain, which awaits the successful achievement or attainment of the desires.
Or, you must be like the half-drowned youth wanting “a breath of air” above all else — wanting it with all the fierce energy of his soul and being; and you must ever keep before you the suggestive idea and mental picture of “all the air there is” which is to be found just above the surface of the water of Need in which you are now immersed. When you can create these mental and emotional conditions within yourself, then, and then only, will you really know just what it is to “want hard enough.”
Think well over this idea, until you grasp its full meaning!
IX PAYING THE PRICE
According to the Master Formula, i order to get what you want you must not only know exactly what you “want,” not only “want it hard enough,” but also “be willing to pay the price of its attainment.” We have considered the first and the second of these elements of successful attainment; let us now consider the third one, and learn what it means to “be willing to pay the price of attainment.”
This final element of successful attainment — this last hurdle in the race — often is the point at which many persons fail; riding gallantly over the first several hurdles, they stumble and fall when they attempt to surmount this final one. This, not so much because of the real difficulty in passing over this obstacle, but rather because they are apt to underestimate the task and, accordingly, to relax their energies. Thinking that the race is practically over, they fail to observe care and caution and thus meet failure. With the prize almost in hand, they relax their efforts and lose it.
The Law of Compensation is found in full operation in the realm of Desire, as well as in every other field and region of life and action. There is always present that insistence upon Balance which Nature invariably demands from those who seek her prizes. There is always something to be given up, in order that something else may be gained. One cannot have his pie and his dime at the same time — he must spend the dime if he would buy the pie. Neither can one keep his dime and yet spend it. Nature boldly and plainly displays her sign, “Pay the Price!” Once more let us quote the old adage: “Said the gods to man, ‘Take what thou wilt; but pay the price’.”
When in actual experience you perform the process of selection of the Dominant Desires, with its attendent Struggle for Existence and Survival of the Fittest among the competing desires, even then you are beginning to “pay the prie” of the attainment of your Dominant Desires; this because you are setting aside and relinquishing one or more sets of desires in favor of a preferred set. Every set of desires has its opposing set, and also other sets which would to some extent interfere with its full manifestation; you must “pay the price” of attainment of the one set of desires by relinquishing the other sets.
In order to attain the object of your desire for wealth, you must “pay the price” of relinquishing desires for certain things which would prevent you from accumulating money. In order to attain the object of your desire for all possible knowledge in some particular field of study and research, you must “pay the price” of relinquishing your desires for a similar degree of knowledge in some other field of thought and study. In order to attain the object of your desire for business success, you must “pay the price” of hard work and the passing by of the objects of your desires for play, amusement, and enjoyment which would necessitate the neglect of your business. And so on; to attain the object of any one set of desires, you must always “pay the price” of the relinquishing of the objects of other sets of desires.
In some cases, this process of the inhibition of opposing desires is akin to that of weeding your garden, or of pruning your trees — getting rid of the useless and harmful growths which interfere with the growth and development of the useful and advantageious thing. In other cases, however, the desires which you must inhibit and put away from you are not in themselves harmful or useless. On the contrary, they may be very advantageous and useful in themselves, and may be actually worthy of being adopted as Dominant Desires by others; but, at the same time, they are of such a nature as to prove an obstacle to your progress along the line of your own Dominant Desires.
Things may oppose and antagonize each other without either of them being harmful or “bad” in themselves. You cannot travel at the same time both forks of the road; nor can you travel north and south on any road at the same time; though either of these courses of travel may be good in itself. You cannot very well be a successful clergyman and a successful lawyer at the same time; if you have strong desires for both of these careers, you must choose the one you desire more and set aside the other. The girl with the two attractive suitors — the man with two delightful sweethearts — the child with the dime, gazing longingly at the two dirrerent tarts — each must choose one and pass by the other, and thus “pay the price.”
Not only in the preliminary process of discovering and identifying your Dominant DEsires are you called upon to “pay the price,” but you are equally called upon to do so at almost every subsequent step and stage of your progress in actual experience. There is always something presenting itself to tempt you into “sidetracking” your Deisre Power; some alluring desires which beckon you from the straight Path of Attainment. Here you will find that it is hard to “pay the price”; and often you will gravely question yourself, asking if the things represented by the Dominant Desires are, after all, worth the price you are being called on to pay for them. These temptations and struggles come to all — they constitute one of the tests whereby it is determined whether you are strong or whether you are weak in regard to your Desire Power. Here is the real test of whether or not you “want it hard enough” to make you willing to “pay the price.”
Particularly difficult to overcome and conquer are those temptations which induce you to relinquish your desire for future attainment in favor of the gratification of present desires; or which tempt you to forego the attainment of permanent future benefits in favor of temporary, ephemeral present benefits. The tempter whispers in your ear that you are foolish to content yourself with the skim-milk of the present in the hope of obtaining the full cream of tomorrow. The ever-present suggestion to “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” must be boldly confronted and conquered if you wish to attain the object of that which your reason and judgment, as well as your self-analysis, has shown that you really want above everything else. The habit of saying: “Get thee behind me Satan!” must be cultivated; and when you have got him behind you, look out lest he give you a push from behind!
here you determine whether or not you really “want it hard enough.” The drowning man is in no doubt concerning the value of the breath of air. He is willing to “ay the price of it,” no matter how high that price may be. The famishing man knows the value of food — the parched man knows the value of water: they are willing to “pay the price,” and are not liable to be sidetracked from their Dominant Desire. The bull-moose seeking his mate is willing to “pay the price” of danger and possible death lying in his path — but you cannot sidetrack him. The mother tiger cannot be sidetracked from the pursuit of food for her hungry cubs — she is willing to “pay the price” of risk of life without hesitation. When you begin to “want it hard enough” along the same lines, and reaching toward the same degree of intensity and insistence manifested by these creatures, then you will not hesitate to “pay the price” — to pay it in full, and without hesitation; when you reach this stage the tempter will whisper into ears deaf to his voice.
In order to hold the current of Desire Power within the bounds of your channels of Dominant Desire, the banks must be erected and kept in a state of strength by Will Power. The “Will to Will” ust be called into manifestation. While Desire is one of the fundamental elements of Will, it is not all of Will. Will is a subtle combination of Conative Desire and of Purposeful Determination. It springs from Desire, but it evolves into something which is capable of mastering Desire by its power of “Willing to Will.” In the book of this series entitled “Will Power” the subject of Will in all of its phases is considered in detail. Those who are specially interested in this phase of the general subject are referred to the said book — it should prove helpful to them.
Here follow three general rules which you should note very carefully in connection with the subject of inhibiting andsetting-aside the temptations of conflicting desires — of those desires which are constantly springing up and tempting you to forego “paying the price,” or to become “sidetracked” from the Path of Attainment of your Dominant Desires. Two of these rules are along the lines of which we have spoken in connection with the influence of Representative Ideas upon Desire Power.
I. Under temptation by sidetracking desires, use every effort to feed the Flame of Desire of your Dominant Desires, by an increased supply of suggestive ideas and mental pictures tending to stimulate its heat and incite its energy.
II. At the same time, strenuously avoid feeding the flame of the tempting desires by suggestive ideas and mental pictures likely to arouse or incite them. On the contrary, carefully and positively refuse to admit such ideas and pictures to your mind so far as is possible; seek to starve the fires of such desires by withholding from them the fuel necessary for their continuance and support.
The third rule involves another psychological principle, and is as follows:
III. So far as is possible, transmute the sidetracking desires into forms more in accordance with the general trend of the Dominant Desires, thereby converting them into helpful rather than harmful emotional energy.
In the case of the first rule above stated, you tend to inhibit the energy of the sidetracking desires by imparting additional energy to the Dominant Desires. When the attention is strongly attracted or held by the suggestive ideas and mental pictures of a strong set of desires, it is not easily diverted by those of a weaker set. The strong light of the former tend to cast the latter into a comparative shadow. The attention firmly concentrated and held upon one particular set of ideas and mental pictures refuses to accept the demand of another set. Keep the attention busy with the advantageous set, and it “will have no time” for the consideration of the opposing set. With these opposing suggestive ideas and mental pictures kept out of the field of conscious attentioin, the desires associated with them tend to die down and finally to disappear.
In the case of the second rule above stated you deliberately and determindly refuse to feed the flame of the sidetracking desires with the fuel of suggestive ideas and mental pictures. Instead, you proceed deliberately and determinedly to starve that flame. No flame of desire an long continue to burn vigorously if its supply of suggestive fuel be cut off from it. Cut off the fuel supply of any desire, and it will begin to decrease in vigor and force. Refuse to allow your mind to dwell upon the ideas or mental pictures tending to suggest the sidetracking desires. When such ideas and pictures intrude themselves and seek to attract the attention, you must deliberately turn your attention to something else — preferably to the suggestive ideas and pictures of your Dominant Desires.
The Roman Catholic Church evidently recognizes the value of this rule, for its teachers instruct their pupils to form the habit of turning their attention to prayers and certain forms of devotional exercises when temptations assil them. The attention being directed to and held firmly upon the devotional exercise or ceremony, it is withheld from the suggestive ideas and mental pictures of the tempting desire; and, accordingly, the latter loses strength and in time dies away. Without detracting from the value of the religious element involved, we may say that it is certain that the purely psychological effect of such course is highly advantageous. You would do well to apply the principle in your own case.
In the case of the third rule above stated, you transmute the energy of the sidetracking desire into that of desires more in accordance with the general trend of your Dominant Desires. In this way you not only obviate the danger of the interference and distraction of the sidetracking desires, but also actually employ the basic energy of Desire Power to feed the flame of the advantageous desires. Here, the principle involved is not so well known as are those involved in the other rules; but that principle is sound, nevertheless, and is capable of being employed with remarkable results by the individual possessing sufficient will power and determination to apply it.
As an example of this principle of the transmutation of the form of Desire Force, let us point you to a fact well known to scientific observers, viz., that the energy of the sexual passions may be transmuted into the energy of any kind of mental or physical creative work. This fact is also known to priests and others who are called on for advice from those wishing to control passions of this kind. The explanation probably lies in the fact that sexual desire is essentially creative in its fundamental nature, and therefore is capable of being diverted to other forms of creative activity. But whatever may be the true explanation, it is a fact that the person experiencing strong intruding sexual desires may proceed to master and control them by means of engaging in some form of creative work in which the elemental creative energy is transmuted into other forms of creative force.
For instance, one may create by writing, musical composition, artistic work, or making and constructing things with the hands — in fact, by any kind of work in which things are made, put together, constructed, or created in any way. In all of such work, provided that sufficient interest is thrown into the task, it will be found that the strong impulse of the intruding sexual passions will gradualyy lose its force, and that the person will then experience a sense of new energy in the creative work which he has undertaken in order to transmute the previous form of Desire Power.
The experienced physician knows that the best possible prescription for certain classes of cases of this kind coming to him for treatment and advice is that of “interesting work” for head or hands or both. There is much truth in the old saying that “An idle brain is the devil’s workshop”, and the similar one that “The devil finds plenty of work for idle hands to do.” This principle may be set to work against “the devil,” by simply reversing its action by giving head and hands plenty to do.
Another illustration of this principle is found in the case of the beneficial effect of certain games — in fact, of nearly all games played in moderation. Here the sidetracking and distracting desires which seek to take one away from his appointed tasks, and from the manifestation of his Dominant Desires, are transmuted into the interest, feeling, and desires of Play. Play is a safety-valve of emotional feeling. It serves to transmute many a distracting desire into a conative energy expressing itself in an interesting game. This is true of games involving purely mental skill, as well as those in which physical skill is also involved. Baseball has been a wonderful benefit to the American people in this way. Golf is playing an important part in the direction of affording a “transmutation channel” of energy for busy men who tire under the somewhat monotonous strain of the strenuous pursuit of the object of their Dominant Desires. In cases of this kind, not only are the distracting desires transmuted in this way, but the games themselves give recreation, exercise and a restful change of occupation to the individual.
“Paying the price” of your Dominant Desires does not necessarily imply that you must give up everything in life not actually concerned in furthering the interests of those particular desires — in such case, indeed, you would probably actually injure your own interests by too closely restricting your circle of interest and attention. The real meaning of the injunction is that you must “pay the price” of giving up, inhibiting, or at least transmuting any and all desires which directly and certainly oppose and seriously interfere with the attinment of the objects of your Dominant Desires. That price, indeed, you must be prepared to pay In many cases, such desires may be transmuted into forms which will in a sense “run along with” the pursuit of the objects of your Dominant Desires, and thus be rendered helpful rather than harmful. Many emotional elements may be turned to account in this way by the process of transmutation. You should give some thought to this matter of transmutation when you are threatened by distracting and sidetracing desires.
Another form of “paying the price” is that of the laor and work to be performed by the individual in his task of attainment of the object of his Dominant Desires. This work and labor, however, is not alone performed by the exercise of the Persistent Determination of the Will, though this is the active element involved; there is needed also the inhibition and starving out of the conflicting or sidetracking desires which strive to draw the individual away from his appointed tasks and toward the actions requiring less work, and which for the time being seem to be richer in promise of pleasure and satisfaction.
The price paid by the men and women who have achieved marked success almost always is found to include self-denial, and sometimes even actual privation during the earlier days of the undertaking; work far in excess of that rightfully demanded of the wage earner, both in amount and in time is demanded of them; application and unwearied perseverance are required of them; indomitable resolution and persistent determination must be “paid” by them. There is here the constant giving up of the present pleasure in favor of that hoped for in the future. There is here the constant performance of tasks which might easily be avoided, and which are really avoided by the average person, but which are required to be performed by the individual who is inspired by the Dominant Desire and who is working for the accomplishment of “the one big thing.”
Napoleon “paid the price” in his earlier days when he refused to indulge in the fivolous pursuits of his fellow-students at Brienne, and instead, deliberately devoted his spare time to the mastery of the elements of military science and history. Abraham Lincoln “paid the price” when he studied the few books he could find by the light of the fireplace, instead of indulging in the pleasures and dissipations of the other young men of his neighborhood. REad the history of any successful man and you will find this invariable “paying the price” of study, application, work, self-denial, economy, thrift, industry, and the rest of the needful things.
Never delude yourself with the thought that you can escape “paying the price” of the attainment of the objects of your strong desires. The price must always be paid — the greater the object of attainment, the greater is the price demanded. But you will find that if you have leaned how to “want it hard enough” then the price will be comparatively easy to pay — the thing will be deemed well worth it.
If you feel that the price that you are being called upon to pay for the object of your Dominant Desires is more than the thing is worth, then there is something wrong about the whole matter. In such case, you should carefully “take stock” of your feelings, weighing and comparing them carefully as we have suggested in our consideration of Self-Analysis, and selection of Dominant Desires. You may find that what you had supposed to be a Dominant Desire is not really such at all. Or you may find that you have failed to include some necessary element or phase of the Dominant Desire. Or, that you have failed to make some possible transmutation of distracting desires; or have failed to inhibit or starve out side-tracking desires. Or, possibly, that you have failed to feed the flame of your Dominant Deisre properly. At any rate, there is something wrong in such a case, and you should seek the remedy.
While the Law of Nature provides that you must “pay the price” of the attainment of any and all desires, it also provides that the attainment must always be worth the price. If you find that the present and probable future value of any object of your desire is not worth the price you must be called upon to pay for it, then you should carefully consider the whole matter most critically, viewing it from all angels, and in the light of all possible relations and association, with full deliberation concerning the probable consequences of an opposite course, and with thoughtful judgment concerning all alternative course. The dissatisfaction may be merely temporary and passing, or on the other hand, it may be growing in strength and promise of permanancy.
Any desire which upon careful consideration, deliberation, and judgment amy seem not to “pay for its keep” — to be not worth its storage charges or floor space in your emotional nature — is a fit object for a final retrial upon its merits, a re-valuation of its points, in order to decide whether it shall be retained and treated for additional strength, energy, and emotional value, or else disared and rejected. The test should always be: “Is this really worth while — worth the price I am called on to pay for it; would its rejection cost me more than its retention?” The Touchstone of Merit should be: “Does this render me stronger, better, and more efficient — and, therefore, more truly and permanently happier?”
In the history of philosophy we find many theories concerned with the matter of the satisfaction of pleasurable desires and avoidance of pain — the achievement of the greatest possible amount and degree of “contenting of the spirit” of the individual. The ancient Greek philosophers especially devoted much attention to this particular subject — but they failed to come to a common understanding. The Epicureans held that the chief end of life is to obtain the greatest satisfaction of the pleasurable desires; the Stoics, on the contrary, held that the chief end of life is to avoid and escape pain. Between these two poles raged the conflict of thought on the subject. Some emphasized the fact that an excess of pleasure brings about a reaction of satiety and even actual pain; while even in continued pain there is to be found a compensating element of resignation and inner content of a spiritual nature.
Here, as elsewhere, the truth seems to lie between the two extremes — at the point of the Golden Mean. “Nothing too much” is the axiom of those who perceive the danger of proceeding to extremes in anything. They hold that while the satisfaction of the pleasurable desires is proper and good, yet there is an element of benefit even in a moderate degree of pain. Without pain, they say, there is no contrast by reason of which pleasure is appreciated. The escape from pain, or the avoidance of pain, is doubly pleasurable when the nature of the pain is known by experience. But, even here, we find the tacit admission that the chief end of life is the attainment of Happiness — the “content of the spirit” — for which all living things, consciously or unconsciously strive.
Perhaps the most practical of all the philosophical theories upon the subject of the securing of the maximum of pleasure and the minimum of pain is that theory without a name, but which is followed by many of the strongest and most successful men of the world. This theory ombines the principles of both Epicurianism and of Stoicism, and seemingly blends them in a practical harmony. The cardinal principle of this practical philosophy may be expressed in the following adage: “Sacrifice the lesser pleasure to the greater, taking into consideration the element of permanency and ultimate value. If any desire is found to result in a greater degree of pain than of pleasure, sacrifice it, unless it contributes to the success of a greater desire; if it results in a greater degree of pleasure than of pain, preserve it, unless it tends to weaken or to interfere with the success of a greater desire.”
In the consideration of the above, you must never lose sight of the fact that the “greater deisres,” or the “greater pleasure,” may consist of the satisfaction arising from the performance of Duty, and of the practice of rational Altruism, — in fact, it often does so, for acts of duty, altruism, patriotism, self-sacrifice for an ideal, etc., are performed only when there is secured a greater “content of spirit” by the performance or practice, than by the opposite course.
So, at the last, recognizing that you must always “pay the price,” you are justified in seeking to get the greatest satisfaction for the price paid, and to refuse to accept emotional goods which are not worth the price demanded for them. There should be observed an “economy of desire,” by means of which the Law of Compensation is made to yied a full return for every expenditure. You should always “get your money’s worth” when you “pay the price”, and it behooves you to examine carefully the wares offered for sale on the counters of Deisre. If you find that you have any unprofitable desires, not worth the price which you are continually being called upon to pay for them — do not hesitate to “scrap” them at once. At least, strive to retain only such Dominant Desires as will in the end enable you to say, honestly, to yourself: “It was well worth the price it cost; I am satisfied!”
You have seen that Desire is that emotional state which is represented by the phrase “I want!” You have seen that “Desire has for its object something which will bring pleaure or get rid of pain, immediate or remote, for the individual or for someone in whom he is interested.” You have seen that “You always act according to your greatest ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ of which you are cognizant at the time.” You have seeen that “The degree of force, energy, will, determination, persistence, and continuous application manifested by an individual in his aspirations, ambitions, aims, performance, actions and work is determined primarily by the degree of his desire for the attainment of the objects thereof — his degree of ‘want’ and ‘want to’ concerning that object.” You have seen that “Desire is the Flame that produces the Steam of Will,” and that, therefore, Desire is the source from which all human action springs.
You ahve seen that not only does Deisre Power directly or indirectly cause all human action, but that it also sets into operation the Life Forces which develop the mental and physical faculties and powers of the individual along lines designed to further and more efficiently manifest and express the dominant desires of the individual. You have seen how Desire Power presses into service the powers of the subconscious mentality in the work of manifesting and expressing the strong desires. You have seen how the subconscious power act so as to attract to the individual the things, persons, conditions, and circumstances serving to enable him to better manifest and express his soverign deisres; and how, in the same way, they tend to attract the individual to those things, persons, conditions, and circumstances. You have seen how Desire Attraction works silently, even when one is asleep, toward the end impressed upon it by the character of the strong desires.
You have discovered the importance of “knowing exactly what you want,” and have learned how to gain such important knowledge by Self-Analysis and Selection. You have discovered the importance of “wanting it hard enoug,” and have learned how to feed the Flame of Desire so as to cause it to burn fiercely. You have learned how to set inot motion and activity the great body of Elemental Deisre, and how to cause it to flow forth through the channels of manifestation and expression which you have carefully built ofr its flood. You have discovered the necessity of “paying the price of attainment” of the objects of your desire, and have learned the general rules concerning such payment.
You have been informed concerning the tremendous power of the Desire Power within your being, and have beocme acquainted with the laws governing its manifestation and expression, and the rules regulating its control and idrection. If you have entered into the spirit of this instruction, and have allowed its influence to descend into the subconscious depths of your mentality, you have already become aware of the aroused energy of the Desire Power in those depths. You will have found yourself filled with a new and unfolding soncsiousness of Personal Power within you. You will have experienced that intuitive feeling that there have been set into operation in you certain subtle but dynamic forces which will tend to make you “stronger, better, and more efficient.”
As you proceed to arouse into further activity these great forces of your nature, and to direct their channel of manifestation and expression, you will from time to time receive actual evidence and proof that you are traveling along the right road, and are employing the proper methods. You will be astonished to receive proofs and actual results in the most unexpected manner, and from sources and directions never dreamt of before. You will realize more and more, as you proceed, that you have set into operation one of Nature’s most potent forces, in fact, “the force of forces.” Finally, you will begin to realize that the very actual presence within you of a Dominant Deisre which has won its place in the “struggle for existence,” and which has stood all the tests, is practically “the prophecy of its own fulfillment.”
X UNCONSCIOUS DESIRE
No modern consideration of the general subject of Desire Power would be complete without at least a passing reference to the psychological theories and teachings of the Freudian school — the school popularly known under the name “Psycho-Analysis.”
In the teachings of the founder of this school, Dr. Sigmund Freud, of Vienna, and in those of his followers, there is found the basic postulate of “the Unconscious,” i.e., a subconscious psychical element of our mental being the essence of which is Desire manifesting along the lines of subconscious mentation; this Unconscious Desire is held to employ the forces and powers of the subconscious mentality in order to effect its purposes and to satisfy its longings.
Freud employed the term “libido” to indicate the conative impulse of this Unconscious Desire. That term, however, having acquired a somewhat unpleasant connotation for English and American minds, the later writers in these two countries have frequently substituted the term “craving.” But whether it is called “libido,” or “craving,” the same essential striving and conative impulse of Unconscious Desire is sought to be indicated; and this craving, striving, and impulse to action constitute the essential nature of the Unconscious Desire of the Freudian philosophy.
Dr. Welfrid Lay, one of the most popular American exponents of the Fredian philosophy, in his excellent work entitled “Man’s Unconscious Conflict,” sas of the power of Unconscious Desire, and of its essential nature:
“In the Greek mythology the Titans are the children of Earth and Heaven and, because they warred with the gods, were cast into the gulf of Tartarus, where they lie prostrate, but occasionally, becoming restive, they shake their bonds, and in so doing cause the earth to tremble. In each one of us there lives a Titan. As the Titans represented the crude forces of nature that were later brought into subjection by the gods who introduced a reign of order, so the Titan that is in each one of us represents the primal impulses of animal life which have through the ages been brought into some semblance of order by the force of society. But just as the Titans in the old mythology made themselves felt in disturbances of the equiliberium of the world, so sometimes do the Titans residing in us all break loose and do much damage in our daily life. And as the Titans were chained in the deep pit, and could never show their faces to the light of day, so these primordial vital forces are generally controlled by the restraints of organized society, and are as little in evidence to most people as if they, too, were chained at the bottom of a pit. Their writhigs, however, are not without effect on our daily thoughts and on our bodily functions. That part of our mental life of which as a general rule we know nothing, but which exerts a great influence upon our actions, is known in the newer psychology as the Unconscious, and in this book I frequently refer to it as the unknown Titan. * * * *
“These two theories — first, that a large part of our mental life is unconscious (unknown or unknowable), and second, that a creative force, by whatever name it may be called, is constantly impelling all animate life — have been used together in working out the science of Psycho-Analysis. The prime mover of the human soul, then, is its continual Craving for Life, for Love, and for Action. * * * The will to live, love and act, conditioned as it is by the power that has gone on living and loving and acting for countless generations, is the only source of all human strength.”
Thus, from the above-quoted statement concerning the nature and actions of the Unconscious Desire of the Freudians, you will see that the basic postulate of Freud and his followers is quite similar to that of Schopenhauer, von Hartmann, and others of the Voluntaristic school of philosophy referred to in the preceding sections of this book: in fact, the Freudians have built upon still older foundations of Buddha, Heraclitus, and others of the ancient schools of philosophy. In all of such teachings will be found the fundamental postulate of a universal Something or Somewhat, the very essence or kernel of Nature, the inmost characteristic of which is an Insistent Desire, a craving, longing, striving, hungering, thirsting, moving toward action promising to “content its spirit.” In short, to employ the figure so often quoted by us in this instruction, it is “A Power with the Desire to Act; or a Desire with the Power to Act.”
The Freudians, however, do not pursue the metaphysical road in their treatment of the Unconscious Desire; they prefer the nearer and safer highway of psychology. They emphasize the fact that in human life and behavior the Unconscious Desire is the predominant moving-power. They labor strenuously to uncover the hidden unconscious sources for many of our supposed free, conscious actions; and in many cases they make out a very good case for the supremacy of the Unconscious, though in others their explanations and conclusions seem to be more or less forced or even fantastic. Passing by the extreme and radical theories of some of this school, it must be admitted that its teachings have done a great work in revealing to us the hidden springs from which flow the streams of thought, feeling and action which constitute our respective personalities. Likewise, they have bestowed upon the race certain valuable, efficient methods of correcting abnormalties and faults arising from the uncontrolled operations of the Unconscious.
The Freudians throw an interesting light upon the real causes of many of our common everyday actions which we fondly imagine that we are performing of our own free will and by reason of certain conscious motives. The teachers show us that these “certain conscious motives” are not at all the real motives of our actions; the real motives are to be found in certain far-below-the-surface buried and hidden desires, cravings, longings, desires. These real motives are often completely concealed from us, and are revealed only through methods of Psycho-Analysis conducted along scientific lines.
Our so-called “reasons” are often mere excuses or pretexts, evolved in order to quiet our minds and consciences while the Unconscious Desire proceeds to manifest and express itself through us. Ernest Jones, in his works treating upon the subject of Psycho-Analysis, employs the term “Rationalization” to indicate that tendency on our part to ascribe a conscious reason or motive to those of our actions which are really caused and motivated by the wishes, desire and craving of the Unconscious. Lay also gives numerous examples of actions “which seem unaccountable, and indeed are unaccountable except on the grounds of their having been motivated by the unconscious wish.”
Freud gives the keynote of his general theory concerning the influence of our past experiences, and of the feelings resulting from them, upon our present thoughts, feelings and actions, in his statement: “We are what we are because we have been what we have been.” A writer on the subject, adds: “Down in the dark hidden mental pit of the Unconscious that even we ourselves do not know, and yet from which impulses are always springing and affecting our reactions to life, are many instinctive cravings, many anti-social, egotistic, jealous, hostile thoughts. We often have to repress them consciously, but much oftener they are unconsciously repressed. Sometimes a slip comes and they are revealed against our own will — at least discovered to those who understand something of the operation of the subconscious mind — an increasing number now.”
Dr. Drysdale says: “Experiences long buried and long forgotten continue to exercise a dynamic force in the life of individuals, influencing their reactions and apparent motives. They are subsconscious undercurrents, represeed usually in the normal person, but active. In breaks such as lapses in speech, gaps in memory, the cue to the underlying repressed thought may often be found. Every experience possesses the power to reflect its influence upon our later life. No experience is ever wholly lost. Our present actions are to a large extent the outcome of antecedent acts or impressions. It must be admitted that life is a constant conflict between our natural instincts, motives and desires and the standards established by the society in which we move and have our being. We repress from conscious memory many experiences that date back to days of childhood, but they lurk in the mind subsconsciously. Apparently long-forgotten, it may be that the recollection of the incident will crop out at any time, resurrected by some idle word or fleeting thought, as a disturbing or antagonistic mental influence.”
We shall not go further in this brief consideration of the teaching of the Freudian school concerning the subject of Unconscious DEsire as expressed and manifested by “the Unconscious” or Hidden Self of that individual. In that volume of this series entitled “Subconscious Power,” we have explained the general teaching of that school, as well as having given a careful statement of the entire general subject of the Subconscious, Superconscious, or Unconscious planes of mental activity: we recommend that book to your attention if you are especially interested in that particular phase of psychology. The more technical features of the Freudian teaching are foreign to the field and scope of the present instruction, and we must refer you to the special textbooks of that school for more detailed information concerning these. We have sought here merely to point out to you that the Freudian teaching is found to fit in with our general teaching concerning Desire Power — it serves to corroborate our basic theories, and to sustain our principal facts, rather than to oppose or contradict them.
The better and more practical writers and teachers on the subject of the Freudian philosophy and Psycho-Analysis, instead of following the example of those other teachers who emphasize the abnormal and unpleasant phases of Unconscious Desire, strive rather to point out the benefits which may be secured by means of acquiring a control of Unconscious Desire and then setting its forces to work in your behalf rather than against your best interests. This, again, you will see is in accord with our own teachings. We have insisted early and late, from beginning to end, that you must be the Master of your Desire Power — not its Slave. Desire Power, conscious or unconscious, may be a terrible master; but once you acquire control of it, it becomes your willing and faithful servant.
Especially helpful and practical is the teaching of exponents of the Freudian philosophy concerning the process of “Sublimation” — the process of sublimating the crude and gross desires into the finer metal approved of by the cultured and trained conscious mentality of the individual, just as the ancient alchemists sought to sublimate the baser metals into gold. The elemental force of Desire Power may be drawn through proper channels to higher levels of activity and accomplishment, there to be set to work in the direction of that which makes you “stronger, better, and more efficient,” and which also serves better the purposes of civilization and the welfare of the race. This teaching concerning Sublimation also is found to accord with our own teaching as contained in the present book and others of this seriews; in fact, may of the methods set forth in these books, and presented to you in this instruction, are based upon this precise principle, i.e., that of transmutation or sublimation of the elemental Desire Power into the higher forms of its expression.
* * * * *
In this book you have been asked to consider the facts which have been discovered concerning the nature, character and modes of activity of Desire Power, that great elemental psychic energy which is seen to pervade all existence and to be present universally. Analyze the actions of any or every living thing, and you will find Desire Power inspiring and motivating it. Nay, examine the motions of the so-called inanimate objects of Nature, and you will find even there the energizing forces of “something like Desire Power.”
If Nature be regarded as a magnificent Cosmic Machine — then DEsire Power is the motive-power that runs that universal machinery. If Nature be regarded as a Living Macrocosm — then DEsire Power is the living motive-power inspiring and causing its activities. From whatever angle Nature may be viewed, under whatever hypothesis or theory it may be regarded, Desire Power is perceived to be the Something or Somewhat directly responsible for making “the wheels go ’round.” The old Hermetic axiom, “As above, so below; as within, so without; as in great, so in small,” is seen to apply here: the individual and the Cosmos both are seen to have as their essential motive-power that original, aboriginal, elemental, fundamental Something which we know as Desire Power.
In view of this fact, you scarcely need to be urged to study the methods of operation of this mighty force, so that you may harness it to your machinery of life and action. Like Gravitation or Electricity, its power is available to all who have the courage, intelligence, and perseverance to master it and to press it into service. It is as free as the air or the sunshine; it costs nothing to run your living machinery with it — nothing but persistence and determination. You do not have to supply it with power, or to add energy to it: it has within itself far more power, energy or force than you will ever have occasion to amke use of. All that you need to is to tap on to its free energy, and to set it to work for you in the direction of running the mental and physical machinery with which you have provided it.
Let us ask you to consider the following remarkable statement of Dr. Wilfrid Lay, to whom we directed your attention in the first pages of the present section of this book. Speaking of the Desire Power of the Unconscious, Dr. Lay says:
“I call your attention to the enormous power of the Unconscious. It is the accumulated desire in each one of us, of aeons of evolution, the present form, in each individual, of that vital force which has kept itself immortal through thousands of generations of men behind us, and millions of generations of animals behind them. It need not be anything but a source of power to us, power that we can draw upon, if we rightly understand it, just as we can turn on power from a steam pipe or an electric wire. It need not be destructive, indeed it is not destructive, except in the most distracted sould, but on the contrary outht in each one of us, when we have learned to manage it rightly, to be as much and as completely at our command as is the power in the automobile. As in the automodbile, there are a few simple things that we have to learn and the rest is furnished by the maker of the car, and we do ill to tamper with it. The experience of having a fifty-horsepower auto placed at one’s command (if it is to be driven by oneself) is a situation into which there are many persons who for various causes would not be willing to have developed the fifty-thousand-generation-power which resides in them. * * * * To all intents and purposes, and as far as human flesh is able to bear the strain, this power which is largely in the hands of the Unconscious in most men and women is illimitable.”
Desire Power is a Cosmic Force designed for the controlled and directed use of the strong. It is at the disposal of all — but only few are courageous and determined enough to avail themselves of its services. The masses of men merely dally with it, play with it, handle it gingerly: the Masters of Men boldly grasp its controlling levers, and turn its power into their mental and physical machinery. It is a Master Force fitted only for the service of Masters. It is the rightful servant only of those whose slogan is: “I Can, I will; I Dare, I Do!”
You can be a Master of Desire Power, and thus a Master of Men, a Master of Circumstances, a Master of Life, if you but will to be so. You are the Master of your Fate — the Captain of your Soul — if you will but recognize, realize and manifest the Power of the “I AM I” which is your Real SElf, and of which Desire Power is the willing servant.