Henry Wood.

Studies in the thought world : or, Practical mind art online

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be but a thin veneer to the animal within, the lat-
ter often breaking through from outside suggestion.
The occasional boy who starts out with hatchet and



262 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.

pistol to rob, or fight with Indians, as suggested by
mental pictures drawn from the great juvenile library
of " blood and thunder " fiction, only goes somewhat
farther in the same direction than all other boys
travel who live upon the same mental stimulant.

A recent notable murder and trial furnished a
striking illustration of the extent to which a single
tragic event can fill the public mind and conscious-
ness. The official trial of the accused party was but
little more exhaustive than thousands of unofficial
trials which took place in drawing-rooms and business
offices. But this is by no means solely the fault of
publishers and editors. The public taste needs to be
rectified. Every one who reads, dwells upon, and
rehearses such a quality of thought is in some meas-
ure responsible. All this is common, not because
of any intention to give currency to that which is
unwholesome, but from a lack of knowledge of psy-
chological laws and the power of suggestion. A true
understanding of mental philosophy is all that is
needed. As soon as we intelligently grasp the laws
of any force or thing, we have it not only under
control, but harnessed for use. The principles of
suggestion, like edged tools, when rightly used, are
of wonderful utility. Its power to project high ideals
is unlimited, but it recoils when misdirected.

The modern " daily " possesses a gigantic power to
mould and color public consciousness ; and its conduct
involves a very grave responsibility, which its man-



THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CRIME. 263

agers either lightly regard, or are quite unaware of ;
but, after all, it is but an articulation of that which
preponderates in human thought. A majority want
sensationalism, and supply always responds to de-
mand. But if rapid money-making could be made
secondary, the daily press would be an immense edu-
cational and uplifting force in society. In general
observations, it would be unjust to intimate that all
papers are on the same plane, for there are all grades
and qualities. Principles only are here considered,
and when once understood they, will make their own
application discriminately. . The purveyors of the
daily press cannot be expected to be disinterested
philanthropists, more than other men, though their
power is gigantic and their responsibility peculiar.
As things are, the main hope for reform must begin
with the public, or on the side of demand. The great
need is a more intelligent understanding of the psy-
chological laws of suggestion and subjective realism
as causative forces. Results can only be modified
through internal and underlying antecedents, and not
by mere external repression.

The mechanical and news-gathering facilities of a
great modern daily are marvellous. It is compara-
tively a new and unprecedented force, for no former
period can be compared with it. But, gentlemen of
the daily press, why is it that under the plea of
" enterprise " or giving "the news," a murder in Cali-
fornia, a robbery in Arkansas, or some nameless out-



264 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WOULD.

rage in Alabama, should be put in thought pictures,
framed, and hung up in the mental chambers of mil-
lions, where high ideals are scarce for lack of room ?
Why should the horrors of lynchings, the morbidity
of suicides, or even the details of catastrophes, be
branded upon thousands of sensitive souls, where
their scars will be indelible ? A material photograph
may be destroyed in an instant, while an immaterial
one, printed by the imaging faculty, may remain for
a life-time, often forcing its way into the conscious-
ness uncalled for, or even when forbidden.

When the wise man uttered the familiar aphorism,
"■As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he," he ex-
pressed not merely a moral maxim, but a scientific
truism. What meu mentally dwell upon they become
or grow like. Thought, even when centred upon a
non-entity, in proportion to its intensity and conti-
nuity confers subjective realism. Not by chance, but
by law, each mental delineation leaves its distinct-
ive hue in the grand composite which makes up
character. The undisciplined thinking-faculty has a
sponge-like absorbability of the medium which sur-
rounds it, and only by systematic idealism can it be
trained to close its avenues against discordant and
depressing environment. / Thought projected in spe-
cific directions soon forms its own channels, which
are rapidly deepened by habit. When turned upon
the pure, the true, and the beautiful, these positives
soon cast out their negative opposites. y



THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CRIME.



The quality of thinking determines consciousness,
and consciousness forms character. Character is,
therefore, nothing more nor less than an habitual qual-
ity of consciousness. It is often supposed to consist
of action, but it is that which is back of action. Any
demoralization which comes from without does not
come direct, but from the sympathetic vibration of
corresponding unisons within. Action is often tem-
porarily modified from motives of outward policy,
but its constant effort is to become a true copy of the
inner pattern.

The scientific way to destroy evil is not to hold it
up and analyze it in order to make it hateful, but
rather to put it out of the consciousness. To the
degree that one does not see it, to him it becomes
non-existent, because there is nothing to arouse its
vibrations within. But it is important to remember
that evil is real only as a subjective condition.

Whether or not we so wish, we are modified by
every picture thrown upon the mental canvas. No
matter to what extent one may detest a crime, he
cannot immerse his consciousness in its turbid waves
without taking on some of its slime and sediment.

But outside of what is distinctively classed as crime,
the outpicturing of everything of a negative or inhar-
monious nature is unprofitable. The frictions, acci-
dents, discords, and every other lack of harmony, of
whatever name, occupy room in the consciousness
which is of value. A thousand objective normal



266 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.

human developments attract no attention, while the
single abnormity is put in the lens and thrown upon
the screen. Its kind is thereby propagated. Occa-
sional "outs" are made so important that they al-
most appear to be the rule. Reform will come only
so fast as the necessity for more ideal mental pictures
is appreciated. All real entities were formed by the
Creator, and all are good ; so that the abnormal when
displaced from the human consciousness finds no
resting-place.

The real world we dwell in is our thought world,
rather than the material objects which surround us.
The color of all outward environment depends upon
the glasses through which we view it. The human
consciousness is like an endless corridor in a picture
gallery, each visitor executing and hanging his own
works of art. His preference is determined by the
character of those before which he lingers.



THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES. 267



THE SIGNS OP THE TIMES.

A new light is dawning upon the human horizon.
Its golden beams are penetrating into the damp,
dark caverns of pessimistic realism, and transform-
ing them into the abodes of spiritual brightness and
optimism. The divinity of man — so long in eclipse
that it has seemed well nigh lost — is manifestly
asserting itself, and indications are not wanting that
it is soon to find normal and rightful dominance.

There is an unprecedented condition of fluidity
among general conventions in religion, science, ethics,
and, in fact, the whole philosophy of life and being.
The very fact that opinions, systems, theories, and
doctrines were never before so fluidized, is a positive
indication that everything will all the more easily
rise or fall to the point of its own specific gravity.

A formal, dogmatic, and ceremonial Christianity
is giving place to vital spiritual unfoldment that is
befitting to man's constitution and being. Faith is
newly defined. It is brought from the realm of the
dim, distant, and uncertain future, into present real-
ity and positive manifestation, f The soul-hunger of
humanity is being newly diagnosed, and its satis-
faction definitely and intelligently provided for.



268 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.

There is so much to encourage seekers after truth,
that each one should strive, not only to broaden
his own horizon, but also to lead his brothers and
sisters to higher and more inspiring outlooks. Hav-
ing in the past regarded inspiration as finished and
complete, men have been willing to supinely rest in
conditions, mistakenly supposed to be normal, hold-
ing in view only some detached fragment of the
great rounded Unity of Truth. Like the bone of
an animal, or the branch of a tree, such fractional
aspects are not only meaningless, but misleading,
when out of general relation.

The powers, uses, and possibilities of the human
mind, under new interpretations, comprise a new
Revelation. It is incomparably more wonderful
than the most extravagant accomplishments, and
even dreams, of material progress.

For ages men have crowded their energies in the
pursuit of new physical and intellectual achieve-

v

ments, anticipating that human satisfaction and feli-
city were to be found along these lines, if they were
persistently followed. But they were mistaken. The
spiritual motor of scientific idealism is transcendently
greater in potency than if the material dreams had
all been actualized.

But an earthy and sensuous realism will only yield
the ground inch by inch ; and there will be " wars
and rumors of wars," and other active manifesta-
tions of animalism, before the human consciousness



THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES. . 269

is generally developed upon the higher planes. The
wonderful significance of the great transition is
yet but faintly imagined, but truth is invincible.
In the great upheavals of the present era, nothing
that is real in religion, science, or humanity will
be destroyed. But the false, the unreal, and the
external will be sloughed off. Arrested develop-
ment will only increase retributive friction.

The established order, which is Good, and which
is anchored in Good, will forever remain unshaken.
Man is " feeling after " and finding God, both within
and around him. Divine revelations, no longer con-
fined to one narrow channel, are being sought after
and found in all directions. The more deeply that
physical science penetrates in its studies of all phe-
nomena, the more nearly does it come to the divine
and spiritual basis of all things.

The rosy dawn of a new and higher evolutionary
dispensation already welcomes the eyes of those who
occupy the more elevated standpoints. - The poten-
tial " kingdom of heaven " is within man. As this
great truth brightens in human consciousness, there
will be a general emancipation from all low and
limited conditions.

Such an ideal is to be held firmly in view until it
comes into full actualization.






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Online LibraryHenry WoodStudies in the thought world : or, Practical mind art → online text (page 15 of 15)