22. The New Thought And Modern Reforms.
THE New Thought in its fulness is the most vital and comprehensive “reform,” because it lies at the foundation of those more superficial movements which usually are included under that name.
The inner or spiritual realm in men is the unseen fountain from which flow out all external action and phenomena. Relatively it covers the field of primal causation, while those manifestations with which men most generally concern themselves are only corresponding results. “As is the inner so is the outer.”
The attention of reformers is almost entirely centred upon those things which are observed upon the surface of life. But often those who are devoted to these various external movements, persuade themselves that in their special reform—often touching but a single phase or channel of human activity—almost everything is ineluded. Only inaugurate their peculiar panacea, and all will be well. Such a partial and disproportionate view comes from a lack of appreciation of the breadth and many-sidedness of evolutionary principles. Hmnan temper and character cannot be made over from the outside.
Without any special diaparagement of the many varying methods and external policies which attract the most attention, they do not contain deep or vital elements. They are only more or less expedient ways of doing things.
Without underestimating the importance of special legislative experiments, high tariff or low tariff, questions of capital and labor, various methods of taxation, land and money and socialistic theories, the New Thought lies back of and encloses them all. It is the basis of real progress and development. The improved solution of any of the reforms enumerated depends upon spiritual character. Mind is the real worker, while these are but its outward tools and instruments.
The greatest Teacher the world ever has known confined His efforts to character and spiritual development, well knowing that inner quality will find corresponding outward expression. His work was with foundation principles, and not with political or even social forms and theories. Ideal character will not fail in its own manifestation. The stream will take its quality from the fountain.
Wise legislation and correct social mechanism and method are desirable, but there are scores of would-be reformers engaged in these secondary departments of conventional activity where there is one giving his attention to the development of the fundamental elements of character.
Men cannot be made honest and capable by legislation or by any special form of government. The whole history of mankind is a witness to that fact. Inaugurate the most ideal laws, rules, and regulations, and they do not modify or renew the deep and abiding springs of moral and spiritual quality. While honor belongs to political and social reformers in every department, causative principles should be valued in due proportion.
If the scientific truth which is written in the constitution of man and outlined in the “Sermon on the Mount” prevailed, outside matters might almost be left to shape themselves. Every man could be a law unto himself.
The issues of life are from within. This great truth needs more emphasis, for the reason that the vast majority of reformers occupy themselves upon the circumference rather than at the radiant centre, and so are at a disadvantage. They are vainly trying to plaster goodness upon people instead of awakening the forces that are latent within.
The outward expressive phenomena of life, like the body, are simply the articulation of the inner reality. To modify an effect it is logical to address ourselves to the cause. The soul of man writes its quality in things external.
The most important mistakes of the world have been its attempts—generally well meant—to override or disregard the Established Order. Men think that they can formulate some plan more expeditious than inner and evolutionary processes.
Nature has no short-cuts, magic, or chance movements. Mind quality will just as surely translate itself into action as water will run down hill. To change results by working among results is like lifting at the wrong end of the lever.
Nature insists upon our following her method if we are to have her aid. Human enactment is almost entirely negative. It consists of an ever repeated “thou shalt not.” It never can be the mainspring of positive character.
The dominance of the New Thought in human consciousness would solve the many “problems” which are insoluble an their own plane. The mere letter is powerless and meaningless without the spirit. Dig your foundations deep, and the structure will stand firm.