Monday, November 30, 2020

Why Public Schools and the Mainstream Media Dumb Us Down

Why Public Schools and the Mainstream Media Dumb Us Down

“Resist much, obey little; Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved; Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, of this earth, ever afterward resumes its liberty.” (Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass)

These were the words of caution which the great poet Walter Whitman offered to his fellow Americans. For Whitman recognized that crucial to a free and flourishing society are men and women who are willing to question, and even resist authority when necessary. But today very few of us live by the ideal espoused by Whitman, rather blind obedience is the norm. We have become populations of sheep, easily to be herded into the chains of tyranny.

But what has led those of us in the West to largely shun the advice of Whitman? In this essay we will examine two institutions that have played an integral role in the breeding of a passive citizenry – the compulsory state-run education system, which in North America is called the public school system, and the mainstream media.

Public schooling is viewed as one of the shining lights of the modern Western world. Who could question the value of an institution that provides free and compulsory education for all? But as with many institutions of our day the textbook picture of how the institution should work, greatly diverges from the reality of how it does work. If public schools taught individuals how to think, if they promoted intellectual curiosity and produced citizens healthy in body and mind, then few would question their value. But beneath the veneer presented by the bureaucrats that run this institution, a darker reality emerges. Or as John Taylor Gatto, a former teacher, turned one of public schooling’s greatest critics, writes:

“Schools are intended to produce…formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled. To a very great extent schools succeed in doing this, but…in a national order in which the only “successful” people are independent, self-reliant, confident, and individualistic…the products of schooling are…irrelevant. Well-schooled people are irrelevant. They can sell film and razor blades, push paper and talk on telephones, or sit mindlessly before a flickering computer terminal, but as human beings they are useless. Useless to others and useless to themselves.” (John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing us Down)
Noam Chomsky echoed this sentiment, writing in his book Understanding Power:

“…given the external power structure of the society in which they function the institutional role of the schools for the most part is just to train people for obedience and conformity, and to make them controllable and indoctrinated.”(Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power)

To some this may sound like heresy, but a study of history reveals that this was the intention from the very start. The state run school systems in the West were modeled off the factory style of education first introduced in Prussia in the early 1700s. 

“. . .what shocks is that we should so eagerly have adopted one of the very worst aspects of Prussian culture: an educational system deliberately designed to produce mediocre intellects, to hamstring the inner life, to deny students appreciable leadership skills, and to ensure docile and incomplete citizens – all in order to render the populace “manageable”.” (John Taylor Gatto, Weapons of Mass Instruction)
Albert Einstein, an individual who reached heights of genius rarely seen, did not credit his compulsory schooling with his intellectual development. Reflecting back on his school years, Einstein noted that after completing his final examinations his interest in the field he would go on to revolutionize was all but dead: “I found the consideration of scientific problems” he wrote “distasteful to me for an entire year”. Einstein believed that one of the major flaws of compulsory, state run education systems is their forced style teaching:

“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle”, he wrote, “that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry…It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.” (Albert Einstein, Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist)
After well over a decade of indoctrination in the school system, few emerge with a great thirst for knowledge and a curiosity toward the many mysteries of the world. Instead, as Bruce Levine writes in his book Resisting Illegitimate Authority, by the time a student graduates they have been bred “to be passive; to be directed by others; to take seriously the rewards and punishments of authority; to pretend to care about things that they do not care about; and that one is impotent to change one’s dissatisfying situation.” (Bruce Levine, Resisting Illegitimate Authority) 

But if our schooling cannot be relied upon to generate the critical and curious minds needed to protect a society from the actions of corrupted authorities, can the mainstream media play this role?

While there has been an increasing skepticism toward this institution in recent years, distaste and distrust toward the mainstream media has a long history: 

“I have given up newspapers, in exchange for Tacitus and Thucydides, for Newton and Euclid, and I find myself much the happier.” (Thomas Jefferson)

Nietzsche, one of the most intellectually free and curious minds of history, was also no fan of the mainstream media: 

“Sick are they always; they vomit their bile and call it a newspaper.”(Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra)
Richard Weaver, a professor at the University of Chicago in the first half of the 20th century, found it ironic that while we have freed ourselves from the earth-centered view of the cosmos, we have all the while dove headlong into an illusory view of the world created by the mainstream media. And while Weaver focuses on newspapers in the following passage, as they were the dominant medium of his day, his words are even more applicable today, where modern technology offers far better tools for the manipulation of the masses:

“A great point is sometimes made of the fact that modern man no longer sees above his head a revolving dome with fixed stars…True enough, but he sees something similar when he looks at his daily newspaper…The newspaper is a man-made cosmos of the world of events around us at the time. For the average reader it is a construct with a set of significances which he no more thinks of examining than did his pious forebear of the thirteenth century…think of questioning the cosmology.” (Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences)
But why does the mainstream media so often choose deception over truth? Noam Chomsky in his book Media Control, suggests that like many politicians, the mainstream media is dominated by individuals who adhere to an elitist ideology. The 20th century American journalist Walter Lippmann epitomized this view, calling the masses “the bewildered herd” and suggesting that one of the main functions of the media is to put this herd in its proper place as passive spectators, not active participants, in the organization of a society. Or as Chomsky explains this elitist ideology is built on the notion that:

“…that the mass of the public are just too stupid to be able to understand things. If they try to participate in managing their own affairs, they’re just going to cause trouble. Therefore, it would be immoral and improper to permit them to do this. We have to tame the bewildered herd, not allow the bewildered herd to rage and trample and destroy things.” (Noam Chomsky, Media Control)
For those of us who are not among the self-anointed elite, the question arises as to whether the controlling of the bewildered herd is done in order to promote a prosperous and flourishing society, or merely to maintain certain institutional structures which favour the elites to the detriment of society at large. This open question only reinforces the need for a more skeptical attitude toward the authority figures of our day. We need, in other words, more anti-authoritarians. 

It must be stressed that an anti-authoritarian is not someone who in place of a passive acceptance of authority, adopts a passive rejection of all authority. Many institutions and authority figures serve a beneficial purpose and therefore should be accepted. But anti-authoritarians recognize that consensus does not mean truth, that power corrupts, that people lie, and that some institutions in the words of Chomsky “have no moral justification…they are just there in order to preserve certain structures of power and domination.” (Noam Chomsky, On Anarchism) 

Recognizing these undeniable facts, the anti-authoritarian is willing to look at all authority figures with a healthy dose of skepticism, and potentially even resist their commands, if such authority proves corrupt and harmful to the well-being of a society. Or as Henry David Thoreau wrote:
If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.” (Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience) 

But should we fear a world with more anti-authoritarians? The obedience bred into us in school and the blind deference to authority promoted by the talking heads of the mainstream media, may lead some to view anti-authoritarians as a threat to the stability of society. But nothing could be further from the truth. Anti-authoritarians are the crucial protectors of a flourishing society. For as the author C.P. Snow noted: 
“When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.” (CP Snow, Public Affairs 1971) 
Malevolent authority, combined with a passive citizenry is the recipe for tyranny and so anti-authoritarians should not be feared or ostracized, they should be welcomed. They are the individuals who raise the alarm and awaken the slumbering masses to the existence of corrupt authority. A society without a healthy number of anti-authoritarians, or a society in which anti-authoritarians are shunned and silenced, is a society that has chosen the comfort of illusions, over the desire for truth, and is therefore a society paving the way for its own destruction. For as the 18th century French philosopher Voltaire cautioned:

“So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious or otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.” (Voltaire)

Academy of Ideas 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Thought-Currents, Two

Thought-Currents, Two

All things that are evil and imperfect, such as disagreeable traits of character in others–things unpleasant to hear or look upon should be gotten out of our minds as quickly as possible. Otherwise if dwelt upon, they attract of their thought current. They will then become permanent spiritual fixtures, and these will in time materialize themselves into corresponding physical fixtures. If we are always keeping in mind the person doing some wrong thing, we are the more apt to do that very thing ourselves.

Let us endeavour, then, with the help of the Supreme Power, to get into the thought current of things that are healthy, natural, strong and beautiful. Let us try to avoid thoughts of disease, of suffering, of deformity, of faultiness. A field of waving grain or the rolling surf is better to contemplate than to pore over the horrors of a railway accident. We do not realize how much we are depressed physically and mentally by the incessant feast of horrors prepared for us by the daily press. We invoke in their perusal a thought current, filled with things and images of horror and suffering. We bring ourselves in this way in connection and one-ness with all other morbid and diseased mind, which lives and revels in this current. it leads not to life, but to disease and death. Neither others nor yourself are one particle aided by your knowing of every fire, explosion, murder, theft or crime which the newspapers chronicle every twenty-fours hours.

If we read books written by cynical, sarcastic minds, who are so warped as to be able to see only the faults of others, and at last unable to see good anywhere, we bring on ourselves their unhealthy thought current, and are one with it. The arrow always tipped with ill-nature and sarcasm is deadliest to him who sends it. In other words, the man who is ever inviting and cultivating this thought current, is inviting the unrest, disease and misfortune it will assuredly bring to him, and when we get too much into his mind we invite similar results...

When an evil is known it is half cured. Bear in mind when you are in any unpleasant frame of mind that a thought current of such disagreeable mood is acting on you. Bear in mind that you are then one in a sort of electrical connection with many other sickly and morbid minds, all generating and sending unpleasant thought to each other. The next thing to be done is to pray or demand to get out of this current of evil thought. You cannot do this wholly of your own individual effort. You must demand of the Supreme Power to divert it from you.

We can more and more invite the thought current of things that are lively, sprightly and amusing. Life should be full of playfulness. Continued seriousness is but a few degrees removed front gloom and melancholy. Thousands live too much in the thought current of seriousness. Faces which wear a smiling expression are scarce. Some never smile at all. Some have forgotten how to smile, and it actually hurts them to smile, or to see others do so. Sickness and disease are nursed into fresher and fresher activity by the serious mood of mind. Habit continually strengthens the sad capacity of dwelling on the malady, which may be the merest trifle at first. People get so much in this current that woeful diseases are manufactured out of some trifling irritation in some part of the body...

Everyone has some pet fear–some disease they may never have had, but always dreaded– something they are in special fear of losing. Some trifle, even but a word or sentence uttered by another, brings this pet fear to the mind. Instantly through long habit the minds reverts to this fear. Instantly it opens to it, and the whole thought, volume and current rushes to and acts on them. It acts and vibrates on that particular chord of your nature, which for years has sounded your pet weakness.

Then in some way the body is affected disagreeably. There are myriads of different symptoms. The body may become weak and tremulous. There may be loss of appetite, tremulousness, a dry tongue, a bad taste in the mouth, weakness in the joints, drowsiness, difficulty of concentrating the mind on your business and many other disagreeable sensations...

Place yourself in a house where there has recently been a panic or scare, though you may know nothing of it. You were well and strong the day before. You arise in the morning, and soon this whole train of disagreeable sensations affects you, because the house or place is saturated with a thought current of fear. Put a fear on city, town or country of some deadly epidemic or some great calamity, and hundreds of the more sensitive who may have no fear of that epidemic or calamity are still affected by it disagreeably. That thought current affects them in their particular a weak spot. A fanatic predicts some great catastrophe. The sensational newspapers take up the topic, ventilate it, affect to ridicule, but still write about it. This sets more minds to thinking and more people to talking. The more talk the more of this injurious force is generated. As a result thousands of people are affected by it unpleasantly, some in one way, some in another, because the whole force of that volume of fear is let loose upon them.

The more impressionable you are to the thought about you the more are you liable to be thus affected. But you can train your mind to shut out this thought. You can gradually train it to bar tightly this door to weakness, and keep open only the one to strength. You can do this by cultivating the mood of drawing to yourself and keeping in the mood and current of thought coming of God or the Supreme Power for good...
As you place your reliance on the Infinite Mind to bring you out of all these agencies for ill, that mind in some way will bring many material aids to help you out. That mind will suggest medicines and foods and surroundings and changes, not only to help you temporarily, but permanently, so that when you are cured you are cured for all time. A cheerful, buoyant, hopeful mind (and no mind is cheerful, hopeful and buoyant without being nearer the Infinite than one that is depressed, sour and gloomy), be that the mind of your doctor, or your friend, will help you to get out of the injurious thought current. Regard such mind as a help from the Infinite. But don’t put your whole trust in that individual. Put the great trust in the Supreme Power which has sent to you the individual as a temporary aid or crutch until your spiritual limbs are strong enough to bear you.
The more you get into the thought current coming from the Infinite Mind, making yourself more and more a part of that mind (exactly as you may become a part of any vein of low, morbid, unhealthy mind in opening yourself to that current), the quicker are you freshened, and renewed physically and mentally. You become continually a newer being. Changes for the better come quicker and quicker. Your power increases to bring results. You lose gradually all fear as it is proven more and more to you that when you are in the thought current of Infinite good there is nothing to fear. You realize more and more clearly that there is a great power and force which cares for you. You are wonderstruck at the fact that when your mind is set in the right direction all material things come to you with very little physical or external effort. You wonder then at man’s toiling and striving, fagging himself literally to death, when through such excess of effort he actually drives from him the rounded-out good of health, happiness and material prosperity all combined.
You will see in this demand for the highest good that you are growing to power greater than you ever dreamed of. It will dawn on you that the real life destined for the awakened few now, and the many in the future is a dazzling dream–a permanent realization that it is a happiness to exist–a serenity and contentment without abatement–a transition from pleasure to pleasure, and from the great to the greater pleasure. You find as you get more and more into the current of the Infinite Mind that exhausting toil is not required of you, but that when you commit yourself in trust to this current and let it bear you where it will, all things needful will come to you...
Prentice Mulford

Friday, November 27, 2020



We need to be careful of what we think and talk. Because thought runs in currents, as real as those of air and water. Of what we think and talk, we attract to us a like current of thought. This acts on mind or body - for good or ill.

If thought was visible to the physical eye, we should see its currents flowing to and from people. We should see that persons similar in temperament, character and motive are in the same literal current of thought. We should see that the person in a despondent and angry mood was in the same current with others despondent or angry, and that each one in such moods serves as an additional "battery" or "generator" of such thought and is strengthening that particular current. We should see these forces working in similar manner and connecting the hopeful, courageous and cheerful with all others hopeful, courageous and cheerful.

When you are in low spirits or "blue," you have, acting upon you, the thought-current coming from all others in low spirits. You are in oneness with the despondent order of thought. The mind is then sick. It can be cured, but a permanent cure cannot always come immediately, when one has long been in the habit of opening the mind to this current of thought.

In attracting to us the current of any kind of evil, we become, for a time, one with evil. In the thought-current of the Supreme Power for good, we may become more and more as one with that power, or in Biblical phrase "one with God." That is the desirable thought-current for us to attract.

If a group of people talk of any form of disease or suffering, of death-bed scenes and dying agonies, if they cultivate this morbid taste for the unhealthy and ghastly, and it forms their staple topics of conversation, they bring in themselves a like current of thought full of images of sickness, suffering and things revolting to a healthy mind. This current will act on them, and eventually bring them disease and suffering in some form.

If we are talking much of sick people or are much among them and thinking of them, be our motive what it may, we shall draw on ourselves a current of sickly thought, and its ill results will in time materialize itself in out bodies. We have far more to do to save ourselves than is now realized.

When men talk business together they attract a business current of idea and suggestion. The better they agree the more of this thought current do they attract and the more do they receive of idea and suggestion for improving and extending their business. In this way does the conference or discussion among the leading members of the company or corporation create the force that carries their business ahead.

Travel in first-class style, put up at first-class hotels and dress in apparel “as costly as your purse can buy,” without running into the extreme of foppishness. In these things you find aids to place you in a current of relative power and success. If your purse does not now warrant such expenditure, or you think it does not, you can commence so living in mind. This will make you take the first steps in this direction. Successful people in the domain of finance unconsciously live up to this law. Desire for show influences some to this course. But there is another force and factor which so impels them. That is a wisdom of which their material minds are scarcely conscious. It is the wisdom of the spirit telling them to get in the thought current of the successful, and by such current be borne to success. It is not a rounded-out success, but good is far as it goes.

If our minds are, from what is falsely called economy, ever set on the cheap–cheap lodgings, cheap food and cheap fares, we get in the thought current of the cheap, the slavish and the fearful. Our views of life and our plans will be influenced and warped by it. It paralyzes that courage and enterprise implied in the old adage “Nothing ventured nothing gained.” Absorbed in this current and having it ever acting on you, it is felt immediately when you come into the presence of the successful and causes them to avoid you. They feel in you the absence of that element which brings them their relative success. It acts as a barrier, preventing the flow to you of their sympathy. Sympathy is a most important factor in business. Despite opposition and competition, a certain thought current of sympathy binds the most successful together. The mania for cheapness lies in the thought current of fear and failure. The thought current of fear and failure, and the thought current of dash, courage and success will not mingle nor bring together the individuals who are in these respective streams of thought. They antagonize, and between the two classes of mind is built a barrier more impenetrable than walls of stone.

Live altogether in any one idea, any one “reform” and you get into the thought current of all other minds who are carrying that idea to extremes. There is no “reform” but what can be pushed too far. The harm of such extreme falls on the person who so pushes it. It warps mind, judgment and reason all on one side. It makes fanatics, bigots, cranks and lunatics, whether the idea involves an art or study, a science, a “reform” or a “movement.” It connects the extremists of all people in such order and current of mind, no matter what their specialties may be. Such people often end in becoming furious haters of all who differ with them and in so hating expend their force in tearing themselves to pieces. The safe side lies in calling daily for the thought current of wisdom from the Infinite Mind.

When that wisdom is more invoked our “reforms” and organizations “for the good of the whole” will not run into internal wrangles almost as soon as they organize. As now conducted the thought current of hatred of and antagonism to the “oppressor” and monopolist is admitted at their birth. This very force breeds quarrels and dissensions among the members. It is force used to tear down instead of build up. It is like taking the fire used to generate steam in the boilers and scattering it throughout the building.

When people come together and in any way talk out their ill-will towards others they are drawing to themselves with ten-fold power an injurious thought current. Because the more minds united on any purpose the more power do they attract to effect that purpose. The thought current so attracted by those chronic complainers, grumblers and scandal mongers, will injure their bodies. Because whatever thought is most held in mind is most materialized in the body. If we are always thinking and talking of people’s imperfections we are drawing to us ever of that thought current, and thereby incorporating into ourselves those very imperfections.

We have said in previous books that “Talk Creates Force,” and that the more who talk in sympathy the greater is the volume and power of the thought current generated and attracted for good or ill. A group of gossips who can never put their heads together without raking over the faults of the absent are unconsciously working a law with terrible results to themselves.

Gossip is fascinating. There is an exhilaration in scandal and the raking over of our friend’s or neighbour’s or enemy’s faults is almost equal to that produced by champagne. But in the end we pay dearly for these pleasures.

If but two people were to meet at regular intervals and talk of health, strength and vigour of body and mind, at the same time opening their minds to receive of the Supreme the best idea as to the ways and means for securing these blessings, they would attract to them a thought current of such idea. If these two people or more kept up these conversations on these subjects at a regular time and place, and found pleasure in such communings, and they were not forced or stilted; if they could carry them on without controversy, and enter into them without preconceived idea, and not allow any shade of tattle or tale-bearing, or censure of others to drift into their talk, they would be astonished at the year’s end at the beneficial results to mind and body. Because in so doing and coming together with a silent demand of the Supreme to get the best idea, they would attract to them a current of Life-giving force.

Let two so commence rather than more. For even two persons in the proper agreement and accord to bring the desired results are not easy to find. The desire for such meetings must be spontaneous, and any other motive will bar out the highest thought current for good...

The real orator in his effort draws to him a current of thought, which as sent again from him to his audience, thrills them. So does the inspired actor or actress. They bring a higher and more powerful element of thought to themselves first, and this flowing through them acts on the audience afterwards.

If you dwell a great deal on your own faults you will by the same laws attract more and more of their thought current, and so increase those faults. It is enough that you recognize in yourself those faults. Don’t be always saying of yourself, “I am weak or cowardly or ill-tempered or imprudent,” Draw to yourself rather the thought current of strength, courage, even temper, prudence and all other good qualities. Keep the image of these qualities in mind and you make them a part of yourself.

Prentice Mulford

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Aldous Huxley and Brave New World: The Dark Side of Pleasure

Aldous Huxley and Brave New World: The Dark Side of Pleasure

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” (Goethe)

These words were written by Goethe nearly 200 years ago, but are perhaps more relevant in our time than they were in his.  For many people assume we live in a free society simply because the West has not morphed into a dystopian hell like the one depicted in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Tyranny, most people believe, would be overt in nature, it would be obvious, and all would recognize it. But is this really the case? Or could we be living in a society analogous to the one depicted by Aldous Huxley in his dystopian novel Brave New World. Could it be that technology, drugs, pornography, and other pleasurable diversions have created a citizenry too distracted to notice the chains which bind them?

When Brave New World was first published in 1931 Huxley did not consider the dystopian world he depicted to be an imminent threat. Thirty years later however, following the Second World War, the spread of totalitarianism, and the great strides made in science and technology, Huxley changed his opinion and in a speech given in 1961, he put forth the following warning:

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.” (Aldous Huxley, Tavistock Group, California Medical School, 1961)

In the future, according to Huxley, ruling classes would learn that control of a populace could be achieved not only with the explicit use of force, but also with the more covert method of drowning the masses in an endless supply of pleasurable diversions.

“In 1984”, Huxley explains, “the lust for power is satisfied by inflicting pain; in Brave New World, by inflicting a hardly less humiliating pleasure.” (Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited)

How, one may ask, can pleasure be used to deprive people of their freedom? To answer this question, we must discuss operant conditioning, which is a method of modifying an organism’s behavior.

In the 20th century, the Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner performed a famous set of experiments in which he tested different methods of introducing new behaviours in rats. These experiments brought to light how “the powers that be” can condition humans to love their servitude. In one set of experiments, Skinner attempted to cultivate new behaviours via positive reinforcement; he provided the rat with food anytime it performed the desirable behavior. In another set of experiments, he attempted to weaken or eliminate certain behaviours via punishment; he triggered a painful stimulus when the rat performed the behavior Skinner wished to eliminate.

Skinner discovered that punishment temporarily put an end to undesirable behaviours, but it did not remove the animal’s motivation to engage in such behaviors in the future. “Punished behavior”, writes Skinner, “is likely to reappear after the punitive consequences are withdrawn.” (B.F. Skinner, About Behaviorism) Behaviors that were conditioned via positive reinforcement, on the other hand, were more enduring and led to long-term changes in the animal’s behavioural patterns.

Huxley was familiar with Skinner’s experiments and understood their socio-political ramifications. In Brave New World and his subsequent works, Huxley predicted the emergence of a “controlling oligarchy” (Huxley) who would conduct similar experiments on human beings to condition docility and minimize the potential for civil unrest. Skinner, like Huxley, also understood the social implications of his experiments, but he believed, contrary to Huxley, that operant conditioning could be used by social engineers for the greater good, leading to the development of a scientifically managed utopia. The following passage from Skinner’s book Walden Two, however, reveals that such mass-conditioning would in reality make possible a pernicious form of tyranny – one in which the masses would be enslaved, yet feel themselves to be free.

“Now that we know how positive reinforcement works, and why negative doesn’t, we can be more deliberate and hence more successful, in our cultural design. We can achieve a sort of control under which the controlled…nevertheless feel free. They are doing what they want to do, not what they are forced to do. That’s the source of the tremendous power of positive reinforcement—there’s no restraint and no revolt. By a careful design, we control not the final behavior, but the inclination to behave—the motives, the desires, the wishes. The curious thing is that in that case the question of freedom never arises.” (B.F. Skinner, Walden Two)

In Brave New World, the main “reward” used to condition subservience via positive reinforcement was a super-drug called Soma. “The World Controllers”, writes Huxley, “encouraged the systematic drugging of their own citizens for the benefit of the state.” (Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited) Soma was ingested daily by the citizens of Brave New World as it offered what Huxley called a “holiday from reality” (Aldous Huxley). Depending on the dosage, it stimulated feelings of euphoria, pleasant hallucinations, or acted as a powerful sleep-aid. It also served to heighten suggestibility, thus increasing the effectiveness of the propaganda which the citizens were continuously subjected to.

“In Brave New World the soma habit was not a private vice; it was a political institution…” writes Huxley. “The daily Soma ration was an insurance against personal maladjustment, social unrest and the spread of subversive ideas. Religion, Karl Marx declared, is the opium of the people. In the Brave New World this situation was reversed. Opium, or rather Soma, was the people’s religion.”(Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited)

But the World Controllers of Brave New World did not rely on Soma alone. Sexual promiscuity was promoted by the State as another tactic to ensure everyone enjoyed their servitude. The slogan “Everyone belongs to everyone else” was drilled into the minds of the citizens from a young age, and with the institutions of monogamy and the family abolished, everyone was able to indulge their sexual impulses without hindrance. The constant access to sexual gratification served to help ensure the citizens were too distracted to pay attention to the reality of their situation.

State-sanctioned entertainment also played an important role in creating the “painless concentration camp” of Brave New World. What Huxley called “non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature” were used by the state as instruments of policy to drown the minds of its citizens in a “sea of irrelevance”.

The parallels which exist between Brave New World and societies of the modern day are undeniable. In Brave New World Revisited, published in 1958, Huxley asked himself how future social engineers could convince their subjects to take drugs “that will make them think, feel, and behave in the ways [they] find desirable.”(Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited) He concluded: “In all probability it will be enough merely to make the pills available.”(Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited) Today, an estimated one in six Americans are on some form of psychotropic drug. An opioid crisis has spread across the West. The ability to gratify sexual impulses online has led many into the clutches of pornography addiction; and smart phones and other technologies provide mindless and pleasurable distractions which consume the attention of most people, most of the day.  To what extent these diversions are intentionally pushed upon us and to what extent they are spontaneous responses to consumer demand, is unclear. But whatever the answer, the reality is that a distracted and dumbed down population simply lacks the mental resources to resist their enslavement.

Until the modern cry of “Give me television and hamburgers, but don’t bother me with the responsibilities of liberty” (Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited) is replaced by the cry “Give me liberty, or give me death” (Patrick Henry), freedom will not prevail. Rather, so long as people trade their liberty for pleasures and comfort, the type of social conditioning Huxley warned of will only become more refined and effective as technologies advance and more insight is gained regarding how to predict and control human behaviour. Whether the majority of us will be able to resist this type of manipulation, or whether we will even want to, remains to be seen.

If the current trends continue, humanity may soon be divided into two groups. There will be those who welcome their pleasurable servitude, and those who choose to resist it for the sake of retaining not just their liberty, but their humanity. For as the former slave Frederick Douglass noted in the mid-19th century, long before Huxley wrote Brave New World, when a slave becomes a happy slave, he has effectively relinquished all that which makes him human.

“I have found that, to make a contented slave,” writes Douglass “it is necessary to make a thoughtless one…He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceases to be a man.” (Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass)

Academy of Ideas

Friday, November 20, 2020

One Way to Cultivate Courage

One Way to Cultivate Courage

COURAGE and presence of mind mean the same thing. Presence of mind implies command of mind. Cowardice and lack of mental control mean about the same thing. Cowardice is rooted in hurry, the habit of hurry or lack of repose. All degrees of success are based on courage–mental or physical. All degrees of failure are based on timidity.

You can cultivate courage and increase it at every minute and hour of the day. You can have the satisfaction of knowing that in everything you do you have accomplished two things–namely, the doing of the thing itself and by the manner of its doing, adding eternally to yourself another atom of the quality of courage. You can do this by the cultivation of deliberation–deliberation of speech, of walk, of writing, of eating–deliberation in everything.

There is always a bit of fear where there is a bit of hurry. When you hurry to the train you are in fear that you may be left, and with that comes fear of other possibilities consequent on your being left. When you hurry to the party, to the meeting of a person by appointment, you are in fear of some ill or damage resulting from not being in time.

This habit of thought can, through an unconscious training, grow to such an extent as to pervade a person’s mind, at all times and places, and bring on a fear of loss of some kind, when there is absolutely no loss to be sustained. For instance a person may hurry to catch a street car and act and feel as if a great loss would occur did he not get on that particular car, when there may be another close behind, or at most two or three minutes’ waiting will bring it. Yet the fear of waiting those three minutes grows to a mountain in size, and is in that person’s mind a most disagreeable possibility. Through mere habit a similar condition of hurry may characterize that person’s walking, eating, writing–in short, everything he does, and will render it more and more difficult for such person to act with coolness and deliberation.

 The quality of mind or emotion underlying all this hurried mental condition and consequent hurried act, is fear. Fear is but another name for lack of power to control our minds, or, in other words, to control the kind of thought we think or put out.

It is this kind of unconscious mental training (which is very common), that begets a permanent condition of mind more and more liable to large and small panics at the least interruption or trivial disappointment. It makes disappointments when none are necessary. It is the ever- opening wedge letting in more and more the thought current of fear. For if you so cultivate fear of one thing you are cultivating and increasing liability to fear in all things. If you allow yourself to sit in fear for half an hour that the carriage may not call for you in time to get to the boat or train, you are much more liable to be seized with a series of little panics at every trivial occurrence or obstacle occurring on that particular journey.

In this way does this habit of mind enter into and is cultivated in the doing of so-called little things. You are writing or sewing, or engaged in the performance of some work which is intensely interesting to you, and in which you do not like to be interrupted. If sewing, you reach for your scissors which have dropped on the floor. You do this in a momentarily impatient mood and with a spasmodic jerky action. Your mind, as the phrase runs, is “on your work.” You will not take it off your work while reaching for the scissors. You are trying in mind to go on with your work and reach for the scissors at the same moment. You make the movement of muscles and the action of the body momentarily disagreeable and irksome, because you refuse for the second to put into that act the force which it demands. When unconsciously you refuse to do this, any acts will become irksome and disagreeable, because there is not force enough let on to do the act with ease. It is the endeavour to do it with a weak body. You have the power of throwing your force instantly into any muscle, so making the act easy and pleasant. This capacity for turning on force on any part you will increases through cultivating it. And you can do a great deal more and do it better through this cultivation of deliberation, for deliberation can be as quick as thought, the more the mind is trained in that direction.

If you pick up a pin or tie a shoe-string in a hurry, you do so not only because such act is irksome to you, but because you fear it may deprive you momentarily of some bit of pleasure. There you have again opened your mind to the thought current of fear–fear of losing something.

The cultivation of courage commences in the cultivation of deliberation in so-called little acts like these. Deliberation and courage are as closely allied as fear and hurry. If we do not learn to govern our force properly in the doing of the smallest act we shall find such government far less easy in the doing of all acts.

If we analyze what we fear, we shall find we are in mind trying to deal with too much at once of the thing feared. There is only a relatively small amount to be dealt with now. In any transaction –in the doing of anything there is but one step to be taken at a time. We need to place what force is necessary, and no more on that one step. When that is taken we can take the next.

The more we train our minds so to concentrate on the one step, the more do we increase capacity for sending our force all in one given direction at once. Such force extends, and should be so used in the so-called minutest details of everyday life. In this way deliberation and deliberate action become habitual, and we are in a sense unconscious of making ourselves deliberate, even as after long training in the opposite and wrong direction we are unconscious of putting on the hurried frame of mind.

Timidity is often the result of looking at too many difficulties or terrors at once. In material reality we have to deal with but one at a time. If we are going to what we fear will be a disagreeable interview with a harsh, irascible, over-bearing person, we are apt to go, occupying our minds with the whole interview, setting ourselves down in the very middle of it, and seeing it in mind as necessarily trying or disagreeable. Perhaps we were thinking of it this morning while we were dressing. But it was then our proper business to dress. To dress was a necessary step for the interview and to dress well also. Possibly it occupied our thoughts while eating. But it was then our proper business to eat and get all the pleasure possible from our food. That was another step. The more reposeful our eating, the more vigorous will become our taste, and the more strength will our food give our bodies. Possibly the fear of this interview was on us as we walked to the place appointed for it. But it was then our proper business to walk and get from our walking all the pleasure he could. That was another step. Pleasure is the sure result of placing thought or force on the thing we are doing now, and pain of some sort in both present and future is the certain result of sending thought or force away from the act which needs to be done at this moment.

When we dress, eat, walk or do anything with mind placed on something else, we are making the present act irksome; we are training to make every act irksome and disagreeable; we are making the thing feared a certainty, for what we put out in thought as unpleasant is an actual thing, a reality. And the longer we continue to put it out the more force we add to it, and the more likely is it then to be realized in the physical world.

To bring us what all want and are seeking for, namely-happiness, we need to have perfect control of our mind and thought at all times and places. One most important and necessary means for gaining this, lies in this discipline regarding so-called little or trivial things, just as the discipline and movement of an army commences with the training of the private soldiers’ legs and arms. If you hurry and slur over these so-called petty details, you are the easier thrown off your guard or confused at unexpected occurrences, and in life it is the unexpected that is always happening.

We need to keep always our mind present with us. We want it always on the spot ready to use in any direction. Our thought is not on the spot when we tie a shoe-string and think a mile from that shoe-string–when we mend a pencil and dwell in one of tomorrow’s cares. It is then away, and if it has for a lifetime been in the habit of so straying from the act in hand to the act afar, it becomes more and more difficult to bring it back. Our thought moves from one thing to another with more than electric speed, and we can unconsciously train this quickness to be ever darting from one thing to another until it becomes almost impossible to keep it on one thing for ten consecutive seconds.

On the contrary, through cultivation of repose and deliberation in all things we can train ourselves to mass and fasten our thought on anything as long as we please, to throw ourselves into any mood of mind we please, and to throw ourselves at will into sleep or a semi-conscious, dreamy state as restful as sleep. These are very small parts of the possibilities for the human mind. There is no limit to its growth or the increase of its power, and no thing coming within the limits of our imagination but can be accomplished by it. The steps to these attainments are very small, very simple and relatively easy–so simple and easy that some reject them for that reason.

Unquestionably, these powers and many results coming of their exercise were known ages ago to a relative few. But any power or any condition of mind consequent upon it can be made more clear to an English-speaking people, through the use of an English word or form of expression than by terms taken from other languages...

Deliberation of movement, or in plainer English movement of muscle so slow that our mind has time to follow it, gives one time to think in great and small emergencies. But the lack of such training causes unconscious physical action. So confirmed becomes this habit, that the body moves without us aware of it. Awkwardness, lack of address, lack of tact are all due to this lack of command of mind caused by lack of deliberation, or in other words, a trained incapacity for taking time to think or plan the proper thing to do.

The terror-stricken person if the ship seems in sudden danger runs up and down the deck to no purpose, and this physical action is an exact correspondence of the life-long condition of his mind whose thought has been ever so darting from one thing to another, just as the whim seized him.

The more deliberate person whose mind is trained to take time to think and hold or concentrate its thought, holds himself steady, and so gives himself time to see what may be the opportunities for escape. And these two persons would pick up a pin in a very different manner and with very different mental action and method.

To train then for courage is to train for deliberate movement in all things, for that is simply training to mass and hold your force in reserve and let out no more than is needed for the moment...

Prentice Mulford

Monday, November 2, 2020

Thinking Fourth Dimensionally

Thinking Fourth Dimensionally

“And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe,”

Many persons, myself included, have observed events before they occurred; that is, before they occurred in this world of three dimensions.

Since man can observe an event before it occurs in the three dimensions of space, life on earth must proceed according to plan, and this plan must exist elsewhere in another dimension and be slowly moving through our space.

If the occurring events were not in this world when they were observed, then, to be perfectly logical, they must have been out of this world. And whatever is there to be seen before it occurs here must be “Predetermined” from the point of view of man awake in a three-dimensional world.

Thus the question arises: “Are we able to alter our future?”

My object in writing these pages is to indicate possibilities inherent in man, to show that man can alter his future; but, thus altered, it forms again a deterministic sequence starting from the point of interference, a future that will be consistent with the alteration.

The most remarkable feature of man’s future is its flexibility. It is determined by his attitudes rather than by his acts.

The cornerstone on which all things are based is man’s concept of himself. He acts as he does and has the experiences that he does, because his concept of himself is what it is, and for no other reason.

Had he a different concept of self, he would act differently.

A change of concept of self automatically alters his future: and a change in any term of his future series of experiences reciprocally alters his concept of self.

Man’s assumptions which he regards as insignificant produce effects that are considerable; therefore man should revise his estimate of an assumption, and recognize its creative power.

All changes take place in consciousness. The future, although prepared in every detail in advance, has several outcomes. At every moment of our lives we have before us the choice of which of several futures we will choose.

There are two actual outlooks on the world possessed by everyone, a natural focus and a spiritual focus. The ancient teachers called the one “the carnal mind,” the other “the mind of Christ.”

We may differentiate them as ordinary waking consciousness, governed by our senses, and a controlled imagination, governed by desire.

We recognize these two distinct centers of thought in the statement:

“The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.”

The natural view confines reality to the moment called now. To the natural view, the past and future are purely imaginary.

The spiritual view, on the other hand, sees the contents of time. It sees events as distinct and separated as objects in space. The past and future are a present whole to the spiritual view. What is mental and subjective to the natural man is concrete and objective to the spiritual man.

The habit of seeing only that which our senses permit, renders us totally blind to what we otherwise could see.

To cultivate the faculty of seeing the invisible, we should often deliberately disentangle our minds from the evidence of the senses and focus our attention on an invisible state, mentally feeling it and sensing it until it has all the distinctness of reality.

Earnest, concentrated thought, focused in a particular direction, shuts out other sensations and causes them to disappear. We have but to concentrate on the state desired in order to see it.

The habit of withdrawing attention from the region of sensation and concentrating it on the invisible develops our spiritual outlook and enables us to penetrate beyond the world of sense and to see that which is invisible.

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen”.

This vision is completely independent of the natural faculties. Open it and quicken it! Without it, these instructions are useless, for, “the things of the spirit are spiritually discerned.”

A little practice will convince us that we can, by controlling our imagination, reshape our future in harmony with our desire.

Desire is the mainspring of action. We could not move a single finger unless we had a desire to move it. No matter what we do, we follow the desire which at the moment dominates our minds. When we break a habit, our desire to break it is greater than our desire to continue in the habit.

The desires which impel us to action are those that hold our attention. A desire is but an awareness of something we lack or need to make our life more enjoyable. Desires always have some personal gain in view, the greater the anticipated gain, the more intense, is the desire. There is no absolutely unselfish desire. Where there is nothing to gain there is no desire, and consequently no action.

The spiritual man speaks to the natural man through the language of desire. The key to progress in life and to the fulfillment of dreams lies in ready obedience to its voice. Unhesitating obedience to its voice is an immediate assumption of the wish fulfilled. To desire a state is to have it.

As Pascal has said,

“You would not have sought me had you not already found me.”

Man, by assuming the feeling of his wish fulfilled, and then living and acting on this conviction, alters the future in harmony with his assumption.

Assumptions awaken what they affirm. As soon as man assumes the feeling of his wish fulfilled, his four-dimensional self finds ways for the attainment of this end, discovers methods for its realization.

I know of no clearer definition of the means by which we realize our desires than to experience in imagination what we would experience in the flesh were we to achieve our goal.

This experience of the end wills the means. With its larger outlook the four-dimensional self then constructs the means necessary to realize the accepted end.

The undisciplined mind finds it difficult to assume a state which is denied by the senses.

Here is a technique that makes it easy to encounter events before they occur, to “call things which are not seen as though they were.”

People have a habit of slighting the importance of simple things; but this simple formula for changing the future was discovered after years of searching and experimenting.

The first step in changing the future is desire, that is: define your objective, know definitely what you want.

Secondly: construct an event which you believe you would encounter following the fulfillment of your desire, an event which implies fulfillment of your desire, something that will have the action of self predominant.

Thirdly: immobilize the physical body and induce a condition akin to sleep . . lie on a bed or relax in a chair and imagine that you are sleepy; then, with eyelids closed and your attention focused on the action you intend to experience, in imagination . . mentally feel yourself right into the proposed action, imagining all the while that you are actually performing the action here and now.

You must always participate in the imaginary action, not merely stand back and look on, but you must feel that you are actually performing the action so that the imaginary sensation is real to you.

It is important always to remember that the proposed action must be one which follows the fulfillment of your desire; and, also, you must feel yourself into the action until it has all the vividness and distinctness of reality. For example: suppose you desired promotion in office. Being congratulated would be an event you would encounter following the fulfillment of your desire.

Having selected this action as the one you will experience in imagination, immobilize the physical body, and induce a state akin to sleep, a drowsy state, but one in which you are still able to control the direction of your thoughts . . a state in which you are attentive without effort.

Now, imagine that a friend is standing before you. Put your imaginary hand into his. First feel it to be solid and real, then carry on an imaginary conversation with him in harmony with the action. Do not visualize yourself at a distance in point of space and at a distance in point of time being congratulated on your good fortune.

Instead, make elsewhere here, and the future now.

The future event is a reality now in a dimensionally larger world; and, oddly enough, now in a dimensionally larger world, is equivalent to here in the ordinary three-dimensional space of everyday life.

The difference between feeling yourself in action, here and now, and visualizing yourself in action, as though you were on a motion-picture screen, is the difference between success and failure.

The difference will be appreciated if you will now visualize yourself climbing a ladder. Then with eyelids closed imagine that a ladder is right in front of you and feel you are actually climbing it.

Desire, physical immobility bordering on sleep, and imaginary action in which self feelingly predominates, here and now, are not only important factors in altering the future, but they are essential conditions in consciously projecting the spiritual self.

If, when the physical body is immobilized we become possessed of the idea to do something, and imagine that we are doing it here and now and keep the imaginary action feelingly going right up until sleep ensues . . we are likely to awaken out of the physical body to find ourselves in a dimensionally larger world with a dimensionally larger focus and actually doing what we desired and imagined we were doing in the flesh.

But whether we awaken there or not, we are actually performing the action in the fourth-dimensional world, and we will reenact it in the future, here in the third-dimensional world.

Experience has taught me to restrict the imaginary action, to condense the idea which is to be the object of our meditation into a single act, and to reenact it over and over again until it has the feeling of reality. Otherwise, the attention will wander off along an associational track, and hosts of associated images will be presented to our attention. In a few seconds they will lead us hundreds of miles away from our objective in point of space, and years away in point of time.

If we decide to climb a particular flight of stairs, because that is the likely event to follow the realization of our desire, then we must restrict the action to climbing that particular flight of stairs. Should our attention wander off, we must bring it back to its task of climbing that flight of stairs and keep on doing so until the imaginary action has all the solidity and distinctness of reality. The idea must be maintained in the field of presentation without any sensible effort on our part. We must, with the minimum of effort, permeate the mind with the feeling of the wish fulfilled.

Drowsiness facilitates change because it favors attention without effort, but it must not be pushed to the stage of sleep, in which we shall no longer be able to control the movements of our attention, but rather a moderate degree of drowsiness in which we are still able to direct our thoughts.

A most effective way to embody a desire is to assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled and then, in a relaxed and sleepy state, repeat over and over again, like a lullaby, any short phrase which implies fulfillment of our desire, such as “Thank you” as though we addressed a higher power for having done it for us.

If, however, we seek a conscious projection into a dimensionally larger world, then we must keep the action going right up until sleep ensues.

Experience in imagination, with all the distinctness of reality, what would be experienced in the flesh were you to achieve your goal; and you shall, in time, meet it in the flesh as you met it in your imagination.

Feed the mind with premises, that is, assertions presumed to be true, because assumptions, though unreal to the senses, if persisted in, until they have the feeling of reality, will harden into facts.

To an assumption, all means which promote its realization, are good. It influences the behavior of all by inspiring in all the movements, the actions, and the words which tend towards its fulfillment.

To understand how man molds his future in harmony with his assumption we must know what we mean by a dimensionally larger world, for it is to a dimensionally larger world that we go to alter our future.

The observation of an event before it occurs implies that the event is predetermined from the point of view of man in the three-dimensional world. Therefore, to change the conditions here in the three dimensions of space we must first change them in the four dimensions of space.

Man does not know exactly what is meant by a dimensionally larger world, and would no doubt deny the existence of a dimensionally larger self. He is quite familiar with the three dimensions of length, width and height, and he feels that if there were a fourth dimension, it should be just as obvious to him as the dimensions of length, width and height.

A dimension is not a line; it is any way in which a thing can be measured that is entirely different from all other ways. That is, to measure a solid, fourth-dimensionally, we simply measure it in any direction except that of its length, width and height.

Is there another way of measuring an object other than those of its length, width and height? Time measures my life without employing the three dimensions of length, width and height. There is no such thing as an instantaneous object. Its appearance and disappearance are measurable. It endures for a definite length of time. We can measure its life span without using the dimensions of length, width and height. Time is definitely a fourth way of measuring an object.

The more dimensions an object has, the more substantial and real it becomes. A straight line, which lies entirely in one dimension, acquires shape, mass and substance by the addition of dimensions. What new quality would time, the fourth dimension, give which would make it just as vastly superior to solids as solids are to surfaces and surfaces are to lines? Time is a medium for changes in experience because all changes take time. The new quality is changeability.

Observe that if we bisect a solid, its cross section will be a surface; by bisecting a surface, we obtain a line; and by bisecting a line, we get a point. This means that a point is but a cross section of a line, which is, in turn, but a cross section of a surface, which is, in turn, but a cross section of a solid, which is, in turn, if carried to its logical conclusion, but a cross section of a four-dimensional object.

We cannot avoid the inference that all three-dimensional objects are but cross sections of four-dimensional bodies. Which means: when I meet you, I meet a cross section of the four-dimensional you, the four-dimension self that is not seen.

To see the four dimensional self I must see every cross section or moment of your life from birth to death and see them all as coexisting. My focus should take in the entire array of sensory impressions which you have experienced on earth plus those you might encounter. I should see them, not in the order in which they were experienced by you, but as a present whole. Because change is the characteristic of the fourth dimension, I should see them in a state of flux as a living, animated whole.

If we have all this clearly fixed in our minds, what does it mean to us in this three-dimensional world?

It means that, if we can move along time’s length, we can see the future and alter it as we so desire.

This world, which we think so solidly real, is a shadow out of which and beyond which we may at any time pass. It is an abstraction from a more fundamental and dimensionally larger world, a more fundamental world abstracted from a still more fundamental and dimensionally larger world and so on to infinity. The absolute is unattainable by any means or analysis, no matter how many dimensions we add to the world.

Man can prove the existence of a dimensionally larger world simply by focusing his attention on an invisible state and imagining that he sees and feels it. If he remains concentrated in this state, his present environment will pass away, and he will awaken in a dimensionally larger world where the object of his contemplation will be seen as a concrete objective reality.

Intuitively I feel that, were he to abstract his thoughts from this dimensionally larger world and retreat still farther within his mind, he would again bring about an externalization of time.

He would discover that every time he retreats into his inner mind and brings about an externalization of time, space becomes dimensionally larger. And he would, therefore, conclude that both time and space are serial, and that the drama of life is but the climbing of a multitudinous dimensional time block.

Scientists will one day explain why there is a Serial Universe.

But in practice how we use this Serial Universe to change the future is more important.

To change the future, we need only concern ourselves with two worlds in the infinite series, the world we know by reason of our bodily organs, and the world we perceive independently of our bodily organs.

Neville Goddard

Saturday, October 24, 2020



SLEEP, the life that occupies one-third of our stay on earth, is the natural door into the subconscious.

So it is with sleep that we are now concerned. The conscious two-thirds of our life on earth is measured by the degree of attention we give sleep. Our understanding of and delight in what sleep has to bestow will cause us, night after night, to set out for it as though we were keeping an appointment with a lover.

“In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumbering upon the bed; then he opened the ears of men and sealed their instruction”, Job 33.

It is in sleep and in prayer, a state akin to sleep, that man enters the subconscious to make his impressions and receive his instructions. In these states the conscious and subconscious are creatively joined. The male and female become one flesh. Sleep is the time when the male or conscious mind turns from the world of sense to seek its lover or subconscious self.

The subconscious – unlike the woman of the world who marries her husband to change him – has no desire to change the conscious, waking state, but loves it as it is and faithfully reproduces its likeness in the outer world of form.

The conditions and events of your life are your children formed from the molds of your subconscious impressions in sleep. They are made in the image and likeness of your innermost feeling that they may reveal you to yourself.

“As in heaven, so on earth” [Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2]. As in the subconscious, so on earth.

Whatever you have in consciousness as you go to sleep is the measure of your expression in the waking two-thirds of your life on earth.

Nothing stops you from realizing your objective save your failure to feel that you are already that which you wish to be, or that you are already in possession of the thing sought. Your subconscious gives form to your desires only when you feel your wish fulfilled.

The unconsciousness of sleep is the normal state of the subconscious. Because all things come from within yourself, and your conception of yourself determines that which comes, you should always feel the wish fulfilled before you drop off to sleep.

You never draw out of the deep of yourself that which you want; you always draw that which you are, and you are that which you feel yourself to be as well as that which you feel as true of others.

To be realized, then, the wish must be resolved into the feeling of being or having or witnessing the state sought. This is accomplished by assuming the feeling of the wish fulfilled. The feeling which comes in response to the question “How would I feel were my wish realized?” is the feeling which should monopolize and immobilize your attention as you relax into sleep. You must be in the consciousness of being or having that which you want to be or to have before you drop off to sleep.

Once asleep, man has no freedom of choice. His entire slumber is dominated by his last waking concept of self.

It follows, therefore, that he should always assume the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction before he retires in sleep, “Come before me with singing and thanksgiving” [Psalm 95:2], “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise” [Psalm 100:4]. Your mood prior to sleep defines your state of consciousness as you enter into the presence of your everlasting lover, the subconscious.

She sees you exactly as you feel yourself to be. If, as you prepare for sleep, you assume and maintain the consciousness of success by feeling “I am successful”, you must be successful. Lie flat on your back with your head on a level with your body. Feel as you would were you in possession of your wish and quietly relax into unconsciousness.

“He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” [Psalm 121:4]. Nevertheless “He giveth his beloved sleep” [Psalm 127:2].

The subconscious never sleeps. Sleep is the door through which the conscious, waking mind passes to be creatively joined to the subconscious.

Sleep conceals the creative act, while the objective world reveals it.

In sleep, man impresses the subconscious with his conception of himself.

What more beautiful description of this romance of the conscious and subconscious is there than that told in the “Song of Solomon”: “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth [3:1]… I found him whom my soul loveth; I held him and I not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me” [3:4].

Preparing to sleep, you feel yourself into the state of the answered wish, and then relax into unconsciousness. Your realized wish is he whom you seek. By night, on your bed, you seek the feeling of the wish fulfilled that you may take it with you into the chamber of her that conceived you, into sleep or the subconscious which gave you form, that this wish also may be given expression.

This is the way to discover and conduct your wishes into the subconscious. Feel yourself in the state of the realized wish and quietly drop off to sleep.

Night after night, you should assume the feeling of being, having and witnessing that which you seek to be, possess and see manifested. Never go to sleep feeling discouraged or dissatisfied. Never sleep in the consciousness of failure.

Your subconscious, whose natural state is sleep, sees you as you believe yourself to be, and whether it be good, bad or indifferent, the subconscious will faithfully embody your belief.

As you feel so do you impress her; and she, the perfect lover, gives form to these impressions and out-pictures them as the children of her beloved.

“Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee” [Song of Solomon 4:7] is the attitude of mind to adopt before dropping off to sleep.

Disregard appearances and feel that things are as you wish them to be, for “He calleth things that are not seen as though they were, and the unseen becomes seen” [Approx., Romans 4:17]. To assume the feeling of satisfaction is to call conditions into being which will mirror satisfaction.

“Signs follow, they do not precede”.

Proof that you are will follow the consciousness that you are; it will not precede it.

You are an eternal dreamer dreaming non-eternal dreams. Your dreams take form as you assume the feeling of their reality.

Do not limit yourself to the past.

Knowing that nothing is impossible to consciousness, begin to imagine states beyond the experiences of the past.

Whatever the mind of man can imagine, man can realize. All objective (visible) states were first subjective (invisible) states, and you called them into visible by assuming the feeling of their reality.

The creative process is first imagining and then believing the state imagined. Always imagine and expect the best.

The world cannot change until you change your conception of it. “As within, so without”.

Nations, as well as people, are only what you believe them to be. No matter what the problem is, no matter where it is, no matter whom it concerns, you have no one to change but yourself, and you have neither opponent nor helper in bringing about the change within yourself. You have nothing to do but convince yourself of the truth of that which you desire to see manifested.

As soon as you succeed in convincing yourself of the reality of the state sought, results follow to confirm your fixed belief. You never suggest to another the state which you desire to see him express; instead, you convince yourself that he is already that which you desire him to be.

Realization of your wish is accomplished by assuming the feeling of the wish fulfilled. You cannot fail unless you fail to convince yourself of the reality of your wish. A change of belief is confirmed by a change of expression.

Every night, as you drop off to sleep, feel satisfied and spotless, for your subjective lover always forms the objective world in the image and likeness of your conception of it, the conception defined by your feeling.

The waking two-thirds of your life on earth ever corroborates or bears witness to your subconscious impressions. The actions and events of the day are effects; they are not causes. Free will is only freedom of choice.

“Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve” [Joshua 24:15] is your freedom to choose the kind of mood you assume; but the expression of the mood is the secret of the subconscious.

The subconscious receives impressions only through the feelings of man and, in a way known only to itself, gives these impressions form and expression.

The actions of man are determined by his subconscious impressions.

His illusion of free will, his belief in freedom of action, is but ignorance of the causes which make him act. He thinks himself free because he has forgotten the link between himself and the event.

Man awake is under compulsion to express his subconscious impressions. If in the past he unwisely impressed himself, then let him begin to change his thought and feeling, for only as he does so will he change his world. Do not waste one moment in regret, for to think feelingly of the mistakes of the past is to re-infect yourself. “Let the dead bury the dead” [Matthew 8:22; Luke 9:60]. Turn from appearances and assume the feeling that would be yours were you already the one you wish to be.

Feeling a state produces that state.

The part you play on the world’s stage is determined by your conception of yourself.

By feeling your wish fulfilled and quietly relaxing into sleep, you cast yourself in a star role to be played on earth tomorrow, and, while asleep, you are rehearsed and instructed in your part.

The acceptance of the end automatically wills the means of realization. Make no mistake about this. If, as you prepare for sleep, you do not consciously feel yourself into the state of the answered wish, then you will take with you into the chamber of her who conceived you the sum total of the reactions and feelings of the waking day; and while asleep, you will be instructed in the manner in which they will be expressed tomorrow. You will rise believing that you are a free agent, not realizing that every action and event of the day is predetermined by your concept of self as you fell asleep. Your only freedom, then, is your freedom of reaction. You are free to choose how you feel and react to the day’s drama, but the drama – the actions, events and circumstances of the day – have already been determined.

Unless you consciously and purposely define the attitude of mind with which you go to sleep, you unconsciously go to sleep in the composite attitude of mind made up of all feelings and reactions of the day. Every reaction makes a subconscious impression and, unless counteracted by an opposite and more dominant feeling, is the cause of future action.

Ideas enveloped in feeling are creative actions. Use your divine right wisely. Through your ability to think and feel, you have dominion over all creation.

While you are awake, you are a gardener selecting seed for your garden, but “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” [John 12:24]. Your conception of yourself as you fall asleep is the seed you drop into the ground of the subconscious. Dropping off to sleep feeling satisfied and happy compels conditions and events to appear in your world which confirm these attitudes of mind.

Sleep is the door into heaven. What you take in as a feeling you bring out as a condition, action, or object in space. So sleep in the feeling of the wish fulfilled.

Neville Goddard