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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Placebo Politics 2012 an Introduction


Many martyrs gave their lives on behalf of freedom in the Twentieth Century. Before 1960 millions of innocents were killed in massive purges of small farmers from lands in Asia and Eastern Europe. Then World War Two swept across the same lands, taking more than sixty million more lives around the globe. Since 1960 up to the present, in other purges in the Middle East, in Asia, in Mexico and throughout Africa, tens of millions more human beings have been slaughtered by those who control natural and man-made resources. The wholesale killing that began in 1914 has continued unabated since the outbreak of the First World War, yet “life goes on” as if this were not the case.
We have been distracted from necessary reflection on this and what it means, how it shapes our everyday lives.
We have been lulled to sleep and hypnotized, literally, by television and its offshoots in the high-tech revolution.
Civilization itself kills millions of people each year, at a faster rate than weapons unleashed in the last world war.
The distribution system of land and resources alone is responsible for the deaths of approximately thirty thousand children every day  from starvation, foul water and related diseases. It is definitely not the case that this world is overpopulated and that this sad circumstance cannot be avoided as long as the poorest people on Earth continue to procreate.
The concept of overpopulation is a placebo. It is an empty, meaningless pill fed to those who inquire into the state of the world. It is a placebo, for some, intended to alleviate any sense of guilt for having amassed far more than they need of Earth’s resources in order to live and prosper, or for indulging in the haute cuisine of indifference. 
And it does just that.
It is also a useful placebo used to justify the murder of innocent fetuses, as a measure against an already, so it is claimed, overpopulated world. If it were true that Earth’s resources are insufficient to maintain all seven billion humans in a civilized society, then it might be partially true that abortion is acceptable. But the premise is quite wrong, and those who control an extremely high percentage of our resources know this.
The same group of controllers disseminates a vast array of misinformation through mass media. To a great extent, this small group of controllers is responsible for creating much of the matrix of informational placebos that divide families, communities, states, nations and peoples in what has recently been touted as Class Warfare.
By now most of the world knows of the recent attempt to generate new political placebos through the Occupy Wall Street movement and its clones around the world. In some ways, as will be seen true of most placebo politics, there is a sound basis for the Occupy Movement. There is a good reason to demonstrate and demand reforms of the system that Wall Street represents. However, not one of the agenda items publicized for that movement “hit the nail on the head” by citing the critical key  that would bring about the changes that the Occupy Movement allegedly targeted.
        From this I’ve had to conclude that Occupy Wall Street is yet another informational placebo of the political world. Like any placebo, it has a purpose in deception. Placebos are created to deceive the mind. A common definition …


Placebo: Something of no intrinsic remedial value that
is used to appease or reassure another.
 
 





Anyone who pays attention to broadcasts of debates, or commentary afterward, or generated “news” of the activities of government through major networks or minor players in the blog scene, upon reflection, will discern that substance is absent. Choosing any favorite topic from the wide gamut of possible subjects, I wonder if anyone can emphatically and assuredly state that that particular subject has improved through handling by government officials or their political achievements?
It is doubtful, and this is not because one side might argue that, for example, the latest government report on statistics for unemployment decreased from 9.5% to 8.7%, or at least, it was reported as such. The number might appease a few, and reassure a few more who intend to vote for the incumbent president regardless of the overbearing reality of administration failures. Numbers such as unemployment figures are exceedingly effective placebos whether they are used to boost ratings of one politico or to manipulate minds to go in another direction, to lose confidence and increase general fear.
The same principle applies to discussions of illegal immigration. Numbers are thrown about for our general consumption because it has become blatantly obvious that there is a problem and its solution has been evasive for decades.
To understand placebo politics is to understand why not one of the issues of grave concern to you, me and everyone who casts a vote in a democratic election will have a satisfactory resolution through this process of empowering other people to do what is right and just. Every election at the national level and a very high percentage at state and local levels have become an informational placebo.
The purpose of every election is to appease and reassure concerned citizens (and non-citizens who share a stake in an outcome) that what we all sense deep down a the gut level, and through considerable education for some, is not going to be true this time, all over again ... that no matter who is elected or empowered we all lose.  
It is my hope that those who read this book will gain sufficient knowledge and understanding of the forces that dominate our world so that each is empowered to change what can be changed within the boundaries of your lives, and to better comprehend the lives of other people who are distant in space, culture or custom.      







Thursday, January 26, 2012

Amoral Morale

Setting aside a matter of religious wars, some believe that the United States is divided by the Left —liberal,freethinking” or “progressive” -– faction on one side and a self-proclaimed “conservative,” sometimes hard-core Christian group on the Right.

      There are many contradictions within the Right, and many within expectations of the Left.

This is largely due to the fact that there is no true far right, there may be a very small far left, and there is no true culture war.

Primarily, when all small groups that make up the far right are examined by what they believe, they are found to espouse many tenets that moderates also believe. No one fully practices what they proclaim to believe except for a very few; these live in Orthodox communities that can be named and numbered: Orthodox Jews, Amish, Mennonites, and some Catholics who attend Mass in Latin or live in monasteries are a few such groups.

The latter, the monks or sisters in convents, also struggle with petty differences as if they were family members; they experience divisions, wrestle with faith and piety, develop attachments and jealousies, as do any other members of society. Yet their lifestyle as a whole conforms to their proclaimed beliefs and they ought to be recognized for this.

When it comes to the majority of people in groups unfortunately lumped into “red states and blue states,” the Right become as liberal as people or their behaviors they condemn and the Left become as conservative as people that they habitually ridicule.

       It is no coincidence that people like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh resemble, in the way they speak – ranting and raving – people on drugs, whether those pharmaceuticals are licit or illicit.

There are people whose main means of income is to perpetuate the myth that the United States is engaged in a series of culture wars that preclude unity on any major issue.

To hold this view is to say that we have entered into a long, possibly endless period of civil war here in this country. Like hot wars in the Middle East and around the globe, this is a perpetual war, a perpetual struggle for power of one side over the other.

In 1973 we began a civil “cultural” war over abortion: choice versus the right to life. This has not been a bloodless, civil war.

Beginning with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, we began a civil war of environment versus corporate power, or jobs versus owls and snails, that evolved into global air-conditioning via chemical-trails emitted from high-altitude jets, otherwise known as "saving the earth by poisoning it with a blanket of nano-aluminum and barium." 

Beginning with Jerry Falwell’s plunge into politics, we began a civil war on the issue of Fundamental Christian influence in elections, although not over government action.  

The election of “independent thinkers” aligned with gay-rights groups then began yet another civil war against organized religion.

In this rush to divide our loyalties, each of these civil wars has served hidden agendas of those in power who do not want you to perceive or to grasp the single most important issue we face this year and during the immediate future.

On both sides there has been no shortage of donors willing to spend billions of dollars to keep voices loud and clear on all divisive issues of recent decades.

The greater the potential for divisiveness, the more money pours in.

There is no limit to the money when it comes to funding the culture war myth. 

Nor has there been a dearth of willing tools, or fools, ready to accept handouts from the “concerned citizens” who want voices raised higher and higher “until something is done” about these things.

 Religiosity itself has become a divisive issue. Some on the Left claim that this has no place in our culture "because all organized religion is guilty" of suppressing people and individual rights; many believe the enormous lie that “organized religion is the root cause of all wars in history.” 

Attacks of some from the left are stated so dogmatically that one might assume that defiant individuality is sacrosanct, being gay makes one holy and infallible, and the only problems in the world – anywhere – are caused by organized religions, especially Christianity.

People today apologize for being religious; as if to say, “oh no, I didn’t mean that, actually I’m spiritual but not religious.”

The loud clamor in our public arena is meant to confuse people so that one will distance one’s self from religiosity and acquiesce to interchangeable, socially acceptable possibilities.

Differences that distinguish one set of religious or moral beliefs from another are not the most important issue we face, and do not justify bloody war.
 
 Nor is it essential for one to have firm beliefs in or practice religiosity. Development and use of one’s individual moral conscience is not a matter of believers versus atheists, agnostics and skeptics. Those who self-proclaim to be engaged in a civil war, or “culture war,” of Believers versus The Godless miss the point.  

 These are important matters. The fact that there is a widely held false belief that the Founding Fathers of this country intended there be separation of church and state in the United States does not elevate this misconception to the primacy of truth.

Moral Consciousness is the single most important issue of this age, yet our public forum states the opposite is a predominant moral matter, that of freedom from moral constraints. [Or, in  language commonly used, although bizarrely and esoterically sexual ... "don't try to cram religion down our throats."]

 While it is important to some that a contest continues between practitioners of a creed and those opposed to practicing a creed or tenets of religion, this antagonism is but a useful distraction from the issue that, once fully understood by sufficient numbers, threatens to unite rather than divide the population.

 To clarify, The People of these United States are “the State.” We are the body of each government, local, state and federal. We serve ourselves through functions of government and governing agencies.

Essentially, we govern ourselves.

To assert that the founders of this country intended that We People, comprising the State,  be completely separated from any and all open practices of religion is the literal meaning of an absolute separation of church and state. This falsehood has been repeated so many times that it seems axiomatic to many. It is to say that the Founding Fathers, including many religious persons among them, intended for this country to abolish the practice of religion.

This is the only meaning of a separation of Church and State in a nation of people who are, individually and collectively, the State.

To profess this as true is as absurd as to profess that one’s thoughts reside somewhere other than within one’s mind, excluding exportation to a recording device, paper, etc.

This is like replacing one’s blood with salt water and calling the change "life improvement."

The absurdity of a cultural, civil war being waged over the issue of separation of Church and State cannot be overstated. It is a contributing factor in a long process by which we have reached this point of emergency, however. 

 It is largely through this amoral morale that we have been led to believe wholeheartedly in culture wars as inevitable foundations of our civilization, as if splitting a foundation stone strengthens a building.  The belief in these differences as inevitable has led us to the point at which we are now.

Every one of these (and there are others) perpetual civil wars that we have been told to believe in have precluded our focus on the single great issue of our day: we cannot govern ourselves without a strong moral awareness and foundation built within  our laws and applicable to all. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Gift -- from The Battlefield of Joy


This is a poem from the collection The Battlefield of Joy.

There is a central theme to the collection, and it is not about war and “strawberry cactus” blooming.

Some would use words such as sensual, beautiful, warm, or profound to describe the poems… perhaps even sublime.

Yet, each reader has her or his own sense of what they mean or invoke.

Again, I prefer simplicity to convey deeper meanings…  



The Gift

The Sufi master would say:

Fear God, for he is that big man chasing you with a stick while you run away crying… 

Crying out to God:
send me someone who will show me love!
   
While the big man with the stick chasing you answers:

     With this stick I will trip you so you fall down in the dust, then, on your ass… 

II

We think we know better, calling out for aid while running full speed from His messengers and love.

The fleer is afraid the man with the stick seeks to take something away, or cause pain.
So caught up in fear, she couldn’t stop to ask why he was chasing her or who might he be.

The man with the stick saw the fright of the woman in flight
and heard her pleas to take her fear away.
  
He knew, too, her fear was as great as he had known before,
so he chased her relentlessly to offer his gift.

When the big man reached the frightened woman he tripped her with his staff; she went flying to the dust.

     Oh, my greatest fear has come upon me! 

She cried: I’ve been caught and knocked down!

When the big man reached her where she sat in the dust
he offered his hand to her.

She looked into his eyes and saw compassion; but more,
a mirror in which she saw herself.

She saw the possessive fear upon her face and knew for
the first time:

          This is the fear of being loved!

Truly, it was a fear of what she had often cried out to God to provide: to know love.

Seeing into the mirror of her enduring emptiness, she understood why the strong man had chased her so enthusiastically.

Because her fear had been as great he had known
it was special for him to strive toward and trip this woman who ran from love faster than anyone he had seen,

to offer his hand to her, to show her that those whom we fear most may be sent to become our friends.

In a moment of clarity she understood:

She had given the man greater meaning by crossing his path;
the longer she set aside her fear of love the greater gift she was to the man with the big staff.

     She took his hand in her own.    

God sometimes acts the Trickster
when given no choice.


~  ~  ~  ~ 
The Battlefiled of Joy can be found here ...

In Mango Honey - Sweet and Sour

This is one of the poems in the collection, In Mango Honey, subtitled "poetic stories of life.'

Intentionally approaching child-like simplicity, this poem reflects the essence of the book which is considerably deeper than it appears at first reading. It is intended to be playful.

Yet, it has its serious moments and themes, as In Mango Honey also tells a story ... of how my son Mathew came to be a part of this world.

 

Sweet and Sour

 
Mango honey mind is a state
but it is not a place.

It is like a place in that you can go there
and be in the state of mango honey mind.

I enjoy my visits to this non-place known
as mango honey mind.

The world is a big place, yet the whole world
fits into the state of mango honey mind.

That is, you can see the whole world from the state of mango honey mind:
Very large things in the world seem small in perspective.

Problems, for example:
What people perceive as big problems are actually quite small
when you visit mango honey mind.

Many problems, as we know them, disappear altogether!

Already mentioned:
The differences between people disappear quickly in mango honey mind.

But this is not to say one can’t tell an apple from a lime.

You know, rather, they are both fruit.

So it is with people:
You see people as people yet not as tastier people, or sweet or sour people.

Which is not to say that people won’t be sweet and sour.
They are.

But like fruits people can be sour before they become sweet.

This is the way it is and you know this within the state of mango honey mind.

Knowing this, you can bide your time with people:
The longer you observe them the more certain you are
to catch them at the moment they are their sweetest.

Then they are ripe fruit and they are likely to taste good.

This is not to say we should eat people
when they are sweet, or ripe.

It is to say, you can absorb people when they are ripe, or sweet.

You take them in while they are still themselves, and even though
they become a part of who you are once you’ve ingested their sweetness
they are forever who they are as well.

This is not to say that people are forever who they are.

Sadly, some people try to become someone else,
someone whom they are not.

But these people won’t be sweet to ingest because
we all must be ourselves in order to become ripe.

We cannot become sweet otherwise.
We must be our selves in order to ripen.

When in the state of mango honey mind we have a knack for
detecting those fruit which are bitter and those that are sweet.

After all, mango honey is sweet and sweetness flows like honey
and sticks to things, like mangos and people.

Think about this now:
Mango honey flows and it is not a solid that looks like a hammer.

It is a form of sweetness that is fluid and spreads around. It moves.

This means that you can float on a sea of mango honey
when you find one.

In this way you can spread sweetness
like the fluid sweetness it is wherever you go.

You can travel on a sea of mango honey. 

If you do this chances are very great you will arrive at the state of mango honey mind.

It is a fluid state of mind. 



 

In Mango Honey is here ... 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Equating love with positive thinking is erroneous …

It is one thing to have positive reactions about a thing or person and quite another reality to love that thing or person.

Positive thoughts about ice cream or chocolate, or chocolate ice cream, do not equate to love of that.

The world would be so simple and overflowing with love if it were true that positive thinking equates to love, or love to positive thinking.

For some, a default assumption equates acknowledging negative realities in conversation or writing as evidence that the reporter is negative-minded, a person for whom a glass is “always half empty” or even one of those urban-mythical creatures called “a hater.”

It follows that those who acknowledge negative realities in this world such as hunger, political or economic corruption, or hidden agendas to further nefarious quests for unlimited power do not deserve to be labeled “haters.”  If so, all priests who hear confessions would be “haters.”
 
Love embraces suffering.

Love embraces those who mourn, including those who mourn the loss of freedom for themselves or others.
 
Love embraces the weak and the powerless.

Love embraces those who are disadvantaged in this world.

Love embraces those who live day by day without love in their lives.

Love embraces those in pain, especially those in self-inflicted pain. 

Love seeks to comfort all who endure negative circumstances in life in ways unattainable through “positive thinking.”

There is a consequence of equating love with positive thinking that allows for indifference towards all negative circumstances. A door opens through which one tries to “shoo away” all negative realities as if they don’t matter, or as if negatives exist only as a result of one’s thinking.

This simplistic view, that positive thinking equates to love and thinking about negatives equates to being “a hater”  invites those who hold that view to ignore suffering in this world, suffering by other human beings and by extension, all other forms of life.

Had I not become acquainted with proponents of this belief it would be impossible for me to comprehend its implications: those who shut their minds and hearts to real circumstances of suffering in this world escape through inhumanity…

“Indifference is the essence of inhumanity". George Bernard Shaw

 

Being an exclusively or habitually “positive thinker” does not make one a lover. However, it can easily lead one into a trap of becoming indifferent to the dynamics of this world and the lives of others. I am reminded of a scene in a documentary about fresh water, its present and future availability. Somewhere in Africa, a community had no water except a privatized tap that required payment to access. A busload of United Nations representatives visited the facility, proud of the dubious achievement of “providing water” to the villagers. The people of the village had little or no access to money, so they could not use the tap. A concerned realist pleaded with the United Nations agent to see that the monetized tap was preventing access to water rather than providing it. The UN representative was insulted that the villagers were not grateful for the crude pipe and coin-operated tap, calling the pleading villagers and human rights advocates “rude” for voicing their complaints.

 

Adherence to a belief that “love is positive thinking, positive thinking is love” is to reduce love and indifference to a light switch. When the switch is "on" one is full of love as positive thinking. Those who are not on are simply negative people, or “haters.”  For the villagers above, this is a devastating philosophy.

 

My basic premise for this blog series is that we need a new paradigm or definition of a healthy society, based on how well the least among us are faring rather than the current one based on metrics of economic life.

·         If a city has homeless or hungry persons, it is not successful…

·         If a county has residents with untreated illnesses, it is not healthy…

·         If a school district does not educate (nearly) all its students to read and balance personal accounts, it is failing…

·         If more than a small percentage of children in a region have no father in their lives as a positive influence, then its social structure is in a process of self-destruction...

·         If more than a very small number of residents are taking mood-altering prescriptions, that society is detrimental, and a dismal failure.

 

All these negative conditions, and many more, have in common an inadequate infusion of love – a love that embraces those who suffer avoidable conditions along with actions committed to alleviate suffering’s causes.

 

The following report shows that economic metrics such as wealth within a community will not determine quality of life within that community. Miami is the “wealthiest” city in America, yet sadly ranks last in this 24/7 Wall St. report: Best and Worst Run Cities in America 

 

It is no coincidence that Miami has a long-standing reputation for rudeness among its residents and visitors, despite a dependence upon tourism as a major segment of its economic life. Being positive-minded about material asset accumulation has left a dearth of love there.

 

It’s all about love. 

 

This is the basic intent of these pages, to extend an embrace of love to those who understand or who are negatively affected by circumstances written about by this humble scribe.

 

It’s about love as a comforting embrace for all readers, because we’re all participating in this journey together. An example: that NDAA “indefinite detention law” and it’s inevitable use; people will suffer who should not. Indifference under the guise of “positive thinking” about the NDAA will say, “only terrorists will get what they deserve, and I love my country enough to support this.” Nevertheless, real love for humanity asserts that indefinite detention or death without trial should not happen to anyone.

 

In a similar way, Indifference will put a positive spin on our present corporate system that produces joblessness, homelessness, chemical illnesses, drug addictions and scattered starvation because a stock index goes up in value or another metric goes down. Love embraces the afflicted and a need for systemic change.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Historical perspective of election 2012

Historical perspective of election 2012

As a rule and after writing about Placebo Politics and (resultant) Empty Elections (2008, current under revision) I am reticent to write about the political process under way.

Nevertheless, from the point of view of cultural anthropology, the influence of politics on the rights and freedoms of all of us cannot be entirely ignored. We all have opinions and are herded into choosing one side or another regarding artificial, meaningless debates over petty placebo issues in the political arena. People also enjoy watching races without betting on an outcome.

Ron Paul may be rightfully considered the Senator George McGovern of this year. In 1972, to advocate for an end to war was considered a radical “liberal” idea. Today, it is the conservative standard of a long-term Republican “Constitutional Conservative” candidate who opposes a war-mongering power-hungry ultra-liberal claimant to personal and political supremacy.

With this in mind, I pass along a piece of unknown origin that is self-explanatory:



 Obituary-Very Interesting ...........

In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh,
had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:
"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.
A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.
From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."
"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history,
has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage."
The Obituary follows:
Born 1776, Died 2008; it doesn't hurt to read this several times.
Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the last Presidential election:
Number of States won by:  Obama: 19    McCain: 29

Square miles of land won by:  Obama: 580,000  McCain: 2,427,000

Population of counties won by:  Obama: 127 million  McCain: 143 million

Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by:  Obama: 13.2   McCain: 2.1
Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory McCain won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the country.

Obama territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in low income
tenements
and living off various forms of government welfare..."
Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.
If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal invaders called “Illegal's” - and they vote - then we can say goodbye to the USA in fewer than five years.
If you are in favor of this, then by all means, delete this message.
If you are not, then pass this along to help everyone realize just how much is at stake, knowing that apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom.
This is truly scary!
Of course we are not a democracy; we form a Constitutional Republic.
Someone should point this out to Obama.
Of course we know he and too many others pay little attention to The Constitution.

There couldn't be more at stake than on Nov 2012.
If you are as concerned as I am please pass this along.
^ ^ ^



As A Man Thinketh - Chapter Five: The Thought-Factor in Achievement

As readers of this blog series may know, some of the issues on these pages deal with states of mind and encroachments on our freedoms…   whether those freedoms be of expressions of belief, of fathers’ rights, of states’ rights, of children’s rights, or of a right self-determination in the economic sense.
Some time ago, a man named James Allen (as far as I know not related to James Allen running for congress in North Carolina in 2012) wrote a small book that has far exceeded its expected contribution to society since the time of its publication a century ago. I believe the following chapter is pertinent to today in so many ways!
As A Man Thinketh
by James Allen

[Brought to you by CornerstoneBooks  -- www.CornerstoneBooks.net

Foreword
This little volume (the result of meditation and experience) is not intended as an exhaustive treatise on the much-written upon subject of the power of thought. It is suggestive rather than explanatory, its object being to stimulate men and women to the discovery and perception of the truth that -
"They themselves are makers of themselves"

by virtue of the thoughts which they choose and encourage; that mind is the master weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness.
Chapter Five:  The Thought-Factor in Achievement

All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts. In a justly ordered universe, where loss of equipoise would mean total destruction, individual responsibility must be absolute. A man's weakness and strength, purity and impurity, are his own, and not another man's. They are brought about by himself, and not by another; and they can only be altered by himself, never by another. His condition is also his own, and not another man's. His suffering and his happiness are evolved from within. As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.

A strong man cannot help a weaker unless the weaker is willing to be helped, and even then the weak man must become strong of himself. He must, by his own efforts, develop the strength which he admires in another. None but himself can alter his condition.

It has been usual for men to think and to say, "Many men are slaves because one is an oppressor; let us hate the oppressor." Now, however, there is among an increasing few a tendency to reverse this judgment, and to say, "One man is an oppressor because many are slaves; let us despise the slaves." The truth is that oppressor and slave are cooperators in ignorance, and, while seeming to afflict each other, are in reality afflicting themselves. A perfect Knowledge perceives the action of law in the weakness of the oppressed and the misapplied power of the oppressor. A perfect Love, seeing the suffering which both states entail, condemns neither. A perfect Compassion embraces both oppressor and oppressed.

He who has conquered weakness, and has put away all selfish thoughts, belongs neither to oppressor nor oppressed. He is free.

A man can only rise, conquer, and achieve by lifting up his thoughts. He can only remain weak, and abject, and miserable by refusing to lift up his thoughts.

Before a man can achieve anything, even in worldly things, he must lift his thoughts above slavish animal indulgence. He may not, in order to succeed, give up all animality and selfishness, by any means; but a portion of it must, at least, be sacrificed. A man whose first thought is bestial indulgence could neither think clearly nor plan methodically. He could not find and develop his latent resources, and would fail in any undertaking. Not having commenced manfully to control his thoughts, he is not in a position to control affairs and to adopt serious responsibilities. He is not fit to act independently and stand alone, but he is limited only by the thoughts which he chooses.

There can be no progress, no achievement without sacrifice. A man's worldly success will be in the measure that he sacrifices his confused animal thoughts, and fixes his mind on the development of his plans, and the strengthening of his resolution and self-reliance. And the higher he lifts his thoughts, the more manly, upright, and righteous he becomes, the greater will be his success, the more blessed an enduring will be his achievements.

The universe does not favor the greedy, the dishonest, the vicious, although on the mere surface it may sometimes appear to do so; it helps the honest, the magnanimous, the virtuous. All the great Teachers of the ages have declared this in varying forms, and to prove and know it a man has but to persist in making himself more and more virtuous by lifting up his thoughts.

Intellectual achievements are the result of thought consecrated to the search for knowledge, or for the beautiful and true in life and nature. Such achievements may be sometimes connected with vanity and ambition but they are not the outcome of those characteristics. They are the natural outgrowth of long an arduous effort, and of pure and unselfish thoughts.

Spiritual achievements are the consummation of holy aspirations. He who lives constantly in the conception of noble and lofty thoughts, who dwells upon all that is pure and unselfish, will, as surely as the sun reaches its zenith and the moon its full, become wise and noble in character, and rise into a position of influence and blessedness.

Achievement, of whatever kind, is the crown of effort, the diadem of thought. By the aid of self-control, resolution, purity, righteousness, and well-directed thought a man ascends. By the aid of animality, indolence, impurity, corruption, and confusion of thought a man descends.

A man may rise to high success in the world, and even to lofty altitudes in the spiritual realm, and again descend into weakness and wretchedness by allowing arrogant, selfish, and corrupt thoughts to take possession of him.

Victories attained by right thought can only be maintained by watchfulness. Many give way when success is assured, and rapidly fall back into failure.

All achievements, whether in the business, intellectual, or spiritual world, are the result of definitely directed thought, are governed by the same law and are of the same method; the only difference lies in the object of attainment.

He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little. He who would achieve much must sacrifice much. He who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.