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Categories: Chapter I - The Twin-Verses
Books: Mastery of Self

Fear is (a) an impulse, (b) a habit, (c) a disease

Fear, as it exists in man, is a make-believe of sanity, a creature

of the imagination, a state of insanity

Furthermore, fear is, now of the nerves, now of the mind, now of

the moral consciousness

The division depends upon the point of view What is commonly

called normal fear should give place to REASON, using
he word to

cover instinct as well as thought From the correct point of view

all fear is an evil so long as entertained

Whatever its manifestations, wherever its apparent location, fear

is a psychic state, of course, reacting upon the individual in

several ways: as, in the nerves, in mental moods, in a single

impulse, in a chronic habit, in a totally unbalanced condition

The reaction has always a good intention, meaning, in each case,

"Take care! Danger!" You will see that this is so if you will look

for a moment at three comprehensive kinds of fear--fear of self,

fear for self, fear for others Fear OF self is indirectly fear

FOR self--danger Fear for others signifies foresensed or

forepictured distress to self because of anticipated misfortune to

others I often wonder whether, when we fear FOR others, it is

distress TO SELF or hurt to THEM that is most emphatically in our


Fear, then, is usually regarded as the soul's danger signal But

the true signal is instinctive and thoughtful reason

Even instinct and reason, acting as warning, may perform their

duty abnormally, or assume abnormal proportions And then we have

the FEELING of fear The normal warning is induced by actual

danger apprehended by mind in a state of balance and self-control

Normal mind is always capable of such warning There are but two

ways in which so-called normal fear, acting in the guise of

reason, may be annihilated: by the substitution of reason for

fear, and by the assurance of the WHITE LIFE

Let it be understood, now, that by normal fear is here meant

normal reason--real fear being denied place and function

altogether Then we may say that such action of reason is a

benefactor to man It is, with pain and weariness, the

philanthropy of the nature of things within us

One person said: "Tired? No such word in my house!" Now this

cannot be a sound and healthy attitude Weariness, at a certain

stage of effort, is a signal to stop work When one becomes so

absorbed in labor as to lose consciousness of the feeling of

weariness, he has issued a "hurry call" on death I do not deny

that the soul may cultivate a sublime sense of buoyancy and power;

rather do I urge you to seek that beautiful condition; but I hold

that when a belief or a hallucination refuses to permit you to

hear the warning of nerves and muscles, Nature will work disaster

inevitably Let us stand for the larger liberty which is joyously

free to take advantage of everything Nature may offer for true

well-being There is a partial liberty which tries to realize

itself by denying various realities as real; there is a higher

liberty which really realizes itself by conceding such realities

as real and by using or disusing them as occasion may require in

the interest of the self at its best I hold this to be true

wisdom: to take advantage of everything which evidently promises

good to the self, without regard to this or that theory, and

freely to use all things, material or immaterial, reasonable or

spiritual I embrace your science or your method; but I beg to

ignore your bondage to philosophy or to consistency So I say that

to normal health the weary-sense is a rational command to

replenish exhausted nerves and muscles

It is not liberty, it is not healthful, to declare, "There is no

pain!" Pain does exist, whatever you affirm, and your affirmation

that it does not is proof that it does exist, for why (and HOW)

declare the non-existence of that which actually is non-existent?

But if you say, "As a matter of fact I have pain, but I am

earnestly striving to ignore it, and to cultivate thought-health

so that the cause of pain may be removed," that is sane and

beautiful This is the commendable attitude of the Bible character

who cried: "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief" To

undertake swamping pain with a cloud of psychological fog--that is

to turn anarchist against the good government of Nature By pain

Nature informs the individual that he is somewhere out of order

This warning is normal The feeling becomes abnormal in the mind

when imagination twangs the nerves with reiterated irritation, and

Will, confused by the discord and the psychic chaos, cowers and

shivers with fear

I do not say there is no such thing as fear Fear does exist But

it exists in your life by your permission only, not because it is

needful as a warning against "evil"

Fear is induced by unduly magnifying actual danger, or by

conjuring up fictitious dangers through excessive and misdirected

psychical reactions This also may be taken as a signal of danger,

but it is a falsely-intentioned witness, for it is not needed, is

hostile to the individual because it threatens self-control and it

absorbs life's forces in useless and destructive work when they

ought to be engaged in creating values Hence we state