The Power of Ideas to Change the World… or Not
Have you ever read a book whose pages echo your own experience and validate something you know but have never heard anyone else say? From time to time in my life, I’ve found such a book; and it is for me by far the most exciting kind of book to read. Today I want to share a few words from my 2017 discovery.
This year, I’ve been reading The Complete MasterKey System by Charles Haanel. Every day in my morning practice, I’ve continued my in-depth study of the 2010 edition of Haanel’s book, which was first published in 1916. Each day, I read something that resonates deeply for me and wakes me up to the thrill of new and ancient ideas. This morning I even read a line of reasoning I used in my own book, which I’ve never seen anywhere else.
I may have met my literary soulmate 100 years too late. But the words he wrote 100 years ago are as true and relevant today as when he wrote them. And so, in today’s post, I want to share these few words with you, heart to heart, in the dream that 100 years from now something in our crazy world might have changed.
As true today as it was in 1916.
“The real battle of life is one of ideas. It is being fought out by the few against the many. On the one side is the constructive and creative thought, on the other side the destructive and negative thought. The creative thought is dominated by an ideal; the passive thought is dominated by appearances. On both sides are men of science, men of letters, and men of affairs.
“On the creative side are men who spend their time in laboratories, or over microscopes and telescopes, side by side with the men who dominate the commercial, political, and scientific world; on the negative side are men who spend their time investigating law and precedent, men who mistake theology for religion, statesmen who mistake might for right, and all the millions who seem to prefer precedent to progress, who are eternally looking backward instead of forward, who see only the world without, but know nothing of the world within.
“In the last analysis there are but these two classes. All men will have to take their place on one side or the other, they will have to go forward, or go back. There is no standing still in a world where all is motion; it is their attempt to stand still that gives sanction and force to arbitrary and unequal codes of law.
“That we are in a period of transition is evidenced by the unrest which is everywhere apparent. The complaint of humanity is as a roll of heaven’s artillery, commencing with low and threatening notes and increasing until the sound is sent from cloud to cloud, and the lightning splits the air and earth.
“The sentries who patrol the most advanced outposts of the Industrial, Political, and Religious world are calling anxiously to each other. What of the night? The danger and insecurity of the position they occupy and attempt to hold is becoming more apparent every hour. The dawn of a new era necessarily declares that the existing order of things cannot much longer be.
“The issue between the old regime and the new, the crux of the social problem, is entirely a question of conviction in the minds of the people as to the nature of the Universe. When they realize that the transcendent force of spirit or mind of the Cosmos is within each individual, it will be possible to frame laws that shall consider the liberties and rights of the many instead of the privileges of the few.
“As long as the people regard the Cosmic power as a power non-human and alien to humanity, so long will it be comparatively easy for a supposed privileged class to rule by Divine right in spite of every protest of social sentiment. The real interest of democracy is therefore to exalt, emancipate and recognize the divinity of the human spirit; to recognize that all power is from within. That no human being has any more power than any other human being, except such as may willingly be delegated to him. The old regime would have us believe that the law was superior to the lawmakers; herein is the gist of the social crime of every form of privilege and personal inequality, the institutionalizing of the fatalistic doctrine of Divine election.”
Are you ready to change something big?
Do these words ring as true for you as they do for me? Shall we join forces?
What role do you want to play in this emancipation? If you’re not sure, download my free QuickStart guide to discover what life-changing ideas you have inside you.