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Orison Swett Marden.

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with courage, hope, and confidence.

Do not wait until fear thoughts become in-
trenched in your mind and your imagination.
Do not dwell upon them. Apply the antidote
instantly, and the enemies will flee. There is
no fear so great or intrenched so deeply in the
mind that it cannot be neutralized or entirely
eradicated by its opposite. The opposite sug-
gestion will kill it.

Once Dr. Chalmers was riding on a stage-
coach beside the driver, and he noticed that
John kept hitting the off leader a severe
crack with his whip. When he asked him why
he did this, John answered : " Away yonder
there is a white stone ; that off leader is afraid
of that stone; so by the crack of my whip
and the pain in his legs I w'ant to get his idea
off from it." Dr. Chalmers went home, elabo-



254 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

rated the idea, and wrote " The Expulsive
Power of a New Affection." You must drive
out fear by putting a new idea into the mind.

Fear, in any of its expressions, like worry
or anxiety, cannot live an instant in your mind
in the presence of the thought, the image of
courage, fearlessness, confidence, hope, self-
assurance, self-reliance. Fear is a consciousness
of weakness. It is only when you doubt your
ability to cope with the thing you dread that
fear is possible. Fear of disease, even, comes
from a consciousness that you will not be able
to successfully combat it.

Napoleon used to visit the plague hospitals
even when the physicians dreaded to go, and
actually put his hands upon the plague-stricken
patients. He said the man who was not afraid
could vanquish the plague.

Dr. Tuke, in his splendid book, " Influence
of the Mind Upon the Body," says that many
diseases are produced by fear, in its' various
forms. " Insanity, idiocy, paralysis of various
muscles and organs, profuse perspirations,
cholerina, jaundice, turning of the hair gray
in a short time, baldness, sudden decay of the
teeth, nervous shock followed by fatal anaemia,
uterine troubles, malformation of embryo
through the mother, skin disease — such as



FEAR, CURSE OF THE RACE 255

erysipelas, eczema, and many other diseases,"
he declares, " are produced by these terrible
health enemies."

He further says that " when yellow fever,
cholera, smallpox, diphtheria, and other malig-
nant diseases obtain a footing in a community,
hundreds and thousands of people fall victims
to their mental conditions, which invite the at-
tack (by destroying the resisting and protect-
ing power of the body) and insure its fatality."

During an epidemic of a dreaded contagious
disease, people who are especially susceptible
and full of fear become panic-stricken through
the cumulative effect of hearing the subject
talked about and discussed on every hand and
the vivid pictures which come from reading
the newspapers. Their minds (as in the case
of yellow fever) become full of images of the
disease, of its symptoms — black vomit, delir-
ium, — and of death, mourning, and funerals.

Dr. W. H. Holcomb, an authority upon con-
tagious diseases, gives it as his opinion that,
in a case of extreme fear, no microbes or bac-
teria are needed to produce an outburst of
yellow fever. Fear itself is a contagious dis-
ease. It needs no speech or sign to propagate
it. It passes from one to another with light-
ning speed, he says. Thus, malignant influ-



256 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

ences may be cast around us by even our best
friends and would-be helpers.

Dr. Holcomb refers to an extensive epi-
demic of fear throughout the Southern States,
in 1888, when yellow fever was in Jackson-
ville, Fla. This mental malady, he says, visited
all the little towns and villages in the South.
There was exhibited on a small scale in those
localities that same principle of terror which is
manifested in a burning theatre, on a sinking
ship, or in a stampeded army, when brave men
suddenly become cowards, wise men fools, and
merciful men brutes. Truly, something ought
to be done for the moral treatment of yellow
fever.

A noted authority says that in the case of
pulmonary consumption we are now witness-
ing a non-contagious disease in the very
process of transformation into a contagious
disease through centuries of fear, worry, and
terror. There is no doubt that multitudes of
people have developed this dreaded disease
mentally from the very deterioration in the
body caused by the constant presence of terror
in the mind. Dr. Loomis actually classifies
tuberculosis among the miasmatic contagious
diseases — fear will do the rest.

The recent cholera epidemic in Russia gave



FEAR, CURSE OF THE RACE 257

a remarkable instance of the paralyzing effect
of fright or terror upon people, especially the
ignorant classes. ]\Iany persons who were
taken to the hospitals apparently affected
with all the characteristic symptoms of the dis-
ease, were found, upon examination, to be suf-
fering from nothing whatever except fear.
There was not in reality a single physical indi-
cation of the disease itself. The prefect of St.
Petersburg was obliged to issue a proclamation
to allay the fear panic. Even in cases of real
cholera, persons died in fifteen minutes after
contracting the disease. There is no doubt that
the dread of it increased the fatality of the
disease, and hastened the end by destroying
or paralyzing the natural resisting power of
the body.

The sacred books of all nations, except the
Chinese, give much prominence to the motive
of fear. It has been used for spiritual control,
even as it has been, time out of mind, for dis-
cipline in the domestic circle.

Much of our so-called " Christianity " has
been merely nominal ; superstitions of pagan
Europe have intermingled with the religious
teachings of Christendom, the fear motive be-
ing thus so emphasized as to terrorize the com-
mon mind.



258 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

Think of the terrible sugg-estions which the
old-time preacher put into the minds of his
flock through his sermons on eternal punish-
ment and the unpardonable sin. Think of pro-
jecting such horrible pictures upon the mind
of a child!

The happiness of vast multitudes of people
has been ruined by the fear of punishment after
death. I have seen mothers made miserable
for many years because their sons or daugh-
ters could not accept the doctrine of eternal
punishment ; could not believe that the Creator
would be ultimately foiled in His effort to
bring His own children into harmony and hap-
piness.

Who can ever estimate the suflfering, the
anxiety, the baseless remorse, which the old
doctrines of everlasting punishment and hell
fire caused among the early Puritans and their
descendants? Doubtless the old-time clergy-
men honestly believed they were justified in
using the fear club as a check to crime, and no
doubt many people have been kept from com-
mitting great offences through fear of eternal
punishment; but who can ever estimate the
harm, the awful suffering, which these frightful
suggestions have caused good people? If the
Church in all ages had put the same emphasis



FEAR, CURSE OF THE RACE 259

upon the power of love to reform and to re-
generate as it has upon the awful consequences
of sin, the world would be much further ad-
vanced to-day and the race would be free from
its worst fetter, its greatest enemy — Fear.

Most of us are haunted by fear of some-
thing great or small, either in the seen or the
unseen world. Millions are tied down by all
kinds of foolish superstitions ; we are still ham-
pered by traditions, by " bogies " and fears, by
myths of good luck and bad luck, that have
been handed down from generation to genera-
tion. We are still the slaves of ideas born of
ignorance, and that have long ago been swept
aside by education and science as the baseless
figments of a crude civilization or utter sav-
agery.

Many, even, who affect to laugh at silly
superstitions, are unconsciously influenced by
them. How many intelligent people, for in-
stance, are affected by the superstitions about
Friday and the number thirteen! It does not
seem possible that a child ten years old can
be so silly as to believe that there is any power
in mere figures to harm him, yet mature men
and women dread them as some tangible evil
thing. Some hotels have no room or suite of
that number, because they find them unrent-



26o PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

able, and many builders will not allow their
houses to be so numbered. They use twelve
and a half instead.

Think of an inanimate sign, or mechanical
figures, which could not even move themselves
a hairbreadth in eons of time, think of their
moving human beings or having anything
whatever to do with their fate ! If the number
thirteen can influence a human being, how does
it do it? There can be no effect without a
cause. Can these figures move? Is there any
life, any force in them? Can they cause any-
thing? Do they know anything? Is there any
intelligence in them? Did any one ever see
anything that they have accomplished ?

Actors and singers, as a class, are particu-
larly noted for their superstitions. An amusing
instance of their slavish subservience to the
" 13 " superstition occurred recently in New
York.

Signor Campanini, the Italian director of the
Manhattan Opera House, with a number of
grand opera " stars," arrived in New York
harbor aboard the North German Lloyd
steamer, Kaiser Wilhehn dcr Grosse, on Octo-
ber 13th. In spite of the pleadings of Oscar
Hammerstein, impresario of the Manhattan
Opera House, neither the director nor any of



FEAR, CURSE OF THE RACE 261

the singers could be persuaded to land, be-
cause, they said, they dared not take the
chance of having bad luck by landing on
the thirteenth,

" It is curious, no doubt," Campanini said to
an interviewer, " but most Italians and all
artists avoid doing anything important on the
thirteenth of the month. Had I landed last
night I should have been most unhappy. So
would my wife [Eva Tetrazzini]. We would
have feared for the success of the Manhattan
opera season. Not that we feel ourselves to be
the greatest element of success of the company,
but some dire catastrophe might come to the
company through us. Feeling thus, I would not
have braved the hoodoo of landing on October
13th for anything."

What possible power can an arbitrary day
of the week have upon any human being? The
day we call Friday is a mere mechanical divi-
sion of time, a mere arbitrary name of the
sixth day of the week, given it by man for his
own convenience. Is there any intelligence in
the word Friday, any brain, force, or life
there? Then, if not, how can it cause any
disaster to your enterprises? Nevertheless, the
superstition of " Unlucky Friday " has a pow-
erful influence upon multitudes of lives. There



262 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

are thousands of men and women who would
never think of starting on a journey or of
beginning an important undertaking on this
day.

Then there are others who are slaves to the
clairvoyant fortune-tellers. Think of the thou-
sands of people who are made wretchedly un-
happy and lose courage and heart because of
the cruel predictions of these ignorant people !
I know some very intelligent men and women
who live under the domination of these fortune
quacks. They undertake nothing of importance
without consulting the astrologer or clair-
voyant. If they lose anything, they immediately
go to these people for advice.

Think of the influence of being told that
some misfortune will overtake one at a certain
age, that he will lose his wife and children at
a certain time, or that he will die at the age
of forty !

No wonder that many of these things come
to pass, because it is a scientific law of thought
that what we greatly fear tends to come to us.

When Lord Byron was a boy, he was told
by a fortune-teller that he would die in the
thirty-seventh year of his age. The thought
haunted him, and when he became ill during
that year he said there was no hope of his



FEAR, CURSE OF THE RACE 263

recovery, that it was destined he should die
within that year. This conviction destroyed his
power of disease resistance, and he succumbed
to the malady from which he was suffering.
Only recently a New York man committed
suicide because his horoscope warned him of
three fatal days in his life — the thirteenth, the
twenty-seventh, and the thirtieth of a certain
month.

It is impossible to convince children who
have had colored mammies for nurses that
there are not such things as ghosts. They peo-
ple the darkness with all sorts of hobgoblins,
and think the " Bogey Man " will spirit them
away if they dare go into a dark place alone.
Many white people of the South are saturated
with superstition absorbed from their colored
mammies.

A volume could be filled with the silly and
ignorant superstitions that fetter and hold
down not only savage peoples and the unedu-
cated of the higher races, but also millions of
the intelligent and educated all over the world.
Superstition has always and everywhere ac-
companied ignorance ; the more ignorant a
people, the more superstitious they are ; and the
more enlightened and educated they become,
the freer they are from all superstitious ideas.



264 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

All errors die hard, but the school and the
college, the periodical and the newspaper of
to-day are burying-grounds for vast numbers
of superstitions. When a young student begins
to think for himself, to get his eyes open, he
associates his old fears and superstitions with
ignorance and is ashamed to be influenced by
them any longer.

The best of all cures for superstition or fear
is the knowledge that it has no reality, but is
only a creature of the imagination, a picture
drawn by a morbid mind. The perfectly healthy
mind knows no fear.

If fear, in all its phases, could be removed
from the human mind, civilization would go
forward by leaps and bounds. It is this ghastly
spectre that is holding many people down. It
causes more suffering, more loss, more mis-
fortune, more failure, and makes more real
slaves than any actual factor in human life.
Yet, notwithstanding the terrible grip this
monster has upon human life, it can be con-
quered, thrust out of our lives absolutely, as
easily as any other mental foe or enemy of
our peace and happiness.

The new philosophy teaches us that we are
practically the masters of our own destiny ;
that we can, by counter suggestions, kill any



FEAR, CURSE OF THE RACE 265

of our prosperity or happiness enemies. It
teaches us that there is no great power in
the universe that sends misfortunes, but, on
the contrary, that there is a great creative
Power which holds us, shields us, and be-
stows on us all the bounty and prosperity,
all the happiness and blessedness we open
our minds to receive.

The coming man will not be fettered or held
down by superstitions of any kind ; he will have
no fear, because he will have the knowledge
which shows him that all fears are but ghosts,
without entity — mere phantoms, creations of a
disordered imagination, children of ignorance.



XV. SELF-CONTROL VS. THE
EXPLOSIVE PASSIONS



XV. SELF-CONTROL VS.
EXPLOSIVE PASSIONS



THE




ROVE to me," says Mrs. Oli-
phant, " that you can control
yourself, and I'll say you're
an educated man ; and with-
out this, all other education
is good for next to nothing."
No one can expect to ac-
complish anything very great when he is not
king of himself.

The lack of self-control has ruined multi-
tudes of men with high ambition, rare ability,
and great education, men of immense promise
in every way.

Every day the papers tell us of those who,
in a fit of anger, have struck the fatal blow
or fired the cruel shot that has cost them a
friend and their own lives or liberty.

Ask the wretched victims in our state prisons
and in our penitentiaries what a hot temper
has cost them. How many of these unfortu-
nates have lost their liberty for life through a
fit of hot temper which may have lasted but a
minute ! The cruel shot was fired, the trigger
was pulled in an instant, but the friend re-
turned never, the crime could not be undone.

269



270 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

Oh, the tragedies that have been enacted
when the blood was hot with anger !

Many a man has lost a good position, has
sacrificed the opportunity of a lifetime in a
fit of bad temper. He has thrown away in the
anger of a moment, perhaps, the work and
experience of years in climbing to his position.

I know a very able editor who has occupied
splendid positions on the best and greatest
dailies in the country. He is a forceful, vigor-
ous, masterful writer on a great variety of sub-
jects, a fine historian, and a warm, tender-
hearted man, who will do anything for any
one in need, and yet he is almost a total
failure because of his explosive temper. He
does riot hesitate in the heat of a moment's
anger to walk out of a position which it has
taken him years to get. This man is conscious
of ability second to none, yet he has drifted
from pillar to post, hardly able to support his
family, and he must go through life conscious
that he is the slave of a bad temper.

Everywhere we see victims of an uncon-
trolled temper tripping themselves up, losing
in a few moments, perhaps, all they have
gained in months, or maybe in a lifetime. They
are continually climbing and dropping back-
ward.



THE EXPLOSIVE PASSIONS 271

I know several old men whose whole ca-
reers have been crippled by their hot tempers.
They could not refrain from giving people
with whom they had differences " a piece of
their mind." No matter how adversely it af-
fected their own interests, or what was at
stake, they would let their tongues and tem-
pers have full sway.

A pretty costly business, this, of giving an-
other person " a piece of your mind " when
your temper is up !

I know a very able business man who has
practically ruined his reputation and his busi-
ness by his passion for telling people what he
thinks when he gets angry with them. When
his temper is aroused there is nothing too mean
or contemptible for him to say. He calls them
all sorts of names. He raves without reason
or sense. He drives his employees away from
him. It is almost impossible for him to keep
any one with any spirit or ability.

I have seen people in the grip of passion or
anger act more like demons than human be-
ings. I recall one man who, when possessed by
one of these terrible fits of anger, would smash
everything he could lay his hands on, and pour
forth a volley of the vilest abuse upon any one
who got in his way or attempted to restrain



272 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

him. I have seen him almost kill animals in
his rage by striking them with clubs or fence
sticks. His eyes would glare like a madman's
and people who knew him would run for their
lives. He was for the time a maniac and did
not seem to have the slightest idea of what he
was doing when this demon of anger had pos-
session of him. After his passion storm had
subsided, although a robust man, he would be
completely exhausted for a long time.

A man in a fit of uncontrolled passion is
really temporarily insane. He is under control
of the demon in him. No man is sane when
he cannot completely control his acts. While in
that condition he is liable to do things which
he would regret all the rest of his life. Many a
man has been obliged to look back over a
scarred discordant life, a life filled with un-
utterable mortifications and humiliations be-
cause of a hot temper, because he did not learn
to control himself.

What writer, what artist could ever depict
the havoc which the whole brood of evil pas-
sions — anger, jealousy, revenge, and hatred —
have played in human lives. Just think of the
effect on one's character of harboring for
many years the determination, the passion to
get square with an imagined enemy, and of



THE EXPLOSIVE PASSIONS 273

waiting for the opportunity to wreak ven-
geance upon some one.

Think how much a violent explosion of tem-
per takes out of one's entire system, mental
and physical ! Much more than many weeks of
hard work when in a normal condition. And
then picture, if you can, the terrible after suf-
fering, the humiliation of it all, the remorse
and chagrin, the loss of self-respect, the shock
to one's finer sensibilities, when one comes to
himself and realizes what has happened !

A fit of anger may work greater damage
to the body and character than a drunken
bout. Hatred may leave worse scars upon a
clean life than the bottle. Jealousy, envy, an-
ger, uncontrolled grief may do more to wreck
the physical life than many years of excessive
smoking. Anxiety, fretting, and scolding may
instil a more subtle poison into the system than
the cigarette.

" Many a soul is in a bad condition to-day
because of the fire of anger which recently
burned there."

There is no doubt that an uncontrolled tem-
per shortens many lives. Some people fly into
such a rage that they will tremble for hours
afterwards and be wholly unfitted for business
or work.



274 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

I have known a whole family completely to
upset their physical conditions and make them-
selves ill by a violent quarrel. They would
almost tear one another to pieces by their ex-
plosive passions. In a shcit time their faces
were transformed. You could see the demons
of passion fighting there. We all know that
such quarrelling, as well as backbiting, twit-
ting, denunciation, and criticism can produce
but one result, and that it would be simply im-
possible for such causes to produce harmony.

How many people at the mercy of an uncon-
trolled passion have slain members of their own
family or friends whom ten minutes before
nothing could have induced them to harm!
Naturally good people commit fiendish crimes
when blinded by passion.

I know a woman who allows herself to be so
swept away by a storm of rage that after it has
subsided she is completely exhausted ; for days
she is as weak as a child and looks as though
she had been through some terrible ordeal. A
violent headache, or some other form of physi-
cal disturbance, invariably follows.

Physicians well know how violent fits of
jealousy tear the nervous system to pieces so
that the victim is often a complete wreck for
a long time. I have seen a woman so trans-



THE EXPLOSIVE PASSIONS 275

formed in a single year by the domination of
this terrible demon in the mind that her friends
scarcely knew her.

When jealousy once gets possession of a per-
son it changes and colors the whole outlook
upon life. Everything takes on the hue of this
consuming passion. The reasoning faculties are
paralyzed, and the victim is completely within
the clutches of this thought fiend. Even the
brain structure is changed by the harboring of
this fearful mental foe.

Every little while we see accounts of people
who have dropped dead in a fit of passion.
The nervous shock of sudden and violent rage,
no matter what the cause, is so great that it
will sometimes stop the action of the heart,
especially if that organ is weak. Violent
paroxysms of anger have often produced apo-
plexy. A temper storm raging through the
brain develops rank poison and leaves all
sorts of devastation behind.

We often suffer tortures from the humilia-
tion and loss of self-respect we bring upon our-
selves by indulgence in fits of anger, in jeal-
ousy, hatred, or revenge ; but we do not realize
the permanent damage, the irreparable injury,
we inflict upon our entire physical and mental
being.



276 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

An uncontrolled passion in the mind actually
changes the chemical composition of the vari-
ous secretions of the body, developing deadly
poisons. Because the mental forces are silent,
we do not realize how tremendously power-
ful they are. We have been so accustomed to
think of disease and all forms of physical ills
as the result of some derangement in the body,
and have associated their cure with drugs or
other remedies, that it is difficult for us to look
upon them as caused by mental disturbances or
discords.

It is well known that a violent fit of temper
affects the heart instantly, and psychophysi-
cists have discovered the presence of poison in
the blood immediately after the mental storm
has passed. This explains why we feel so de-
pressed, so exhausted and nervous after all
storms of passion, fear, worry, jealousy, or
revenge have swept through the mind. It is
because of the mental poison and other harm-
ful secretions they have left in the brain and


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Online LibraryOrison Swett MardenPeace, power, and plenty → online text (page 12 of 14)