Story type: Essay
As the subject is somewhat complex, I will have to explain it to you. The first point is that there is not so very much difference in the intelligence of people after all. The great man is not so great as folks think, and the dull man is not quite so stupid as he seems. The difference in our estimates of men lies in the fact that one individual is able to get his goods into the show-window, and the other is not aware that he has any show-window or any goods.
“The soul knows all things, and knowledge is only a remembering,” says Emerson.
This seems a very broad statement; and yet the fact remains that the vast majority of men know a thousand times as much as they are aware of. Far down in the silent depths of subconsciousness lie myriads of truths, each awaiting a time when its owner shall call it forth. To utilize these stored-up thoughts, you must express them to others; and to be able to express them well your soul has to soar into this subconscious realm where you have cached these net results of experience. In other words, you must “come out”–get out of self–away from self-consciousness, into the region of partial oblivion–away from the boundaries of time and the limitations of space. The great painter forgets all in the presence of his canvas; the writer is oblivious to his surroundings; the singer floats away on the wings of melody (and carries the audience with her); the orator pours out his soul for an hour, and it seems to him as if barely five minutes had passed, so rapt is he in his exalted theme. When you reach the heights of sublimity and are expressing your highest and best, you are in a partial trance condition. And all men who enter this condition surprise themselves by the quantity of knowledge and the extent of insight they possess. And some going a little deeper than others into this trance condition, and having no knowledge of the miraculous storing up of truth in the subconscious cells, jump to the conclusion that their intelligence is guided by a spirit not theirs. When one reaches this conclusion he begins to wither at the top, for he relies on the dead, and ceases to feed the well-springs of his subconscious self.
The mind is a dual affair–objective and subjective. The objective mind sees all, hears all, reasons things out. The subjective mind stores up and only gives out when the objective mind sleeps. And as few men ever cultivate the absorbed, reflective or semi-trance state, where the objective mind rests, they never really call on their subconscious treasury for its stores. They are always self-conscious.
A man in commerce, where men prey on their kind, must be alive and alert to what is going on, or while he dreams, his competitor will seize upon his birthright. And so you see why poets are poor and artists often beg.
And the summing up of this sermonette is that all men are equally rich, only some thru fate are able to muster their mental legions on the plains of their being and count them, while others are never able to do so.
But what think you is necessary before a person can come into full possession of his subconscious treasures? Well, I’ll tell you: It is not ease, nor prosperity, nor requited love, nor worldly security–not these.
“You sing well,” said the master, impatiently, to his best pupil, “but you will never sing divinely until you have given your all for love, and then been neglected and rejected, and scorned and beaten, and left for dead. Then, if you do not exactly die, you will come back, and when the world hears your voice it will mistake you for an angel and fall at your feet.”
And the moral is, that as long as you are satisfied and comfortable, you use only the objective mind and live in the world of sense. But let love be torn from your grasp and flee as a shadow–living only as a memory in a haunting sense of loss; let death come and the sky shut down over less worth in the world; or stupid misunderstanding and crushing defeat grind you into the dust, then you may arise, forgetting time and space and self, and take refuge in mansions not made with hands; and find a certain sad, sweet satisfaction in the contemplation of treasures stored up where moth and rust do not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.
And thus looking out into the Eternal, you entirely forget the present and go forth into the Land of Subconsciousness–the Land of Spirit, where yet dwell the gods of ancient and innocent days? Is it worth the cost?