CROWNS OF STRAW
seeking to hold back the karma of Germany, I am not seeking to upset the law of
justice, the law of cause and effect. On the contrary.
Your studies in the law of karma have been but superficial if you
have not learned that time is a factor. Many a solvent firm would be thrown into
bankruptcy should all its creditors demand at once full payment of their
accounts. The moral and financial indebtedness of Germany is its awful karma.
Give it a little time in which to adjust itself to an entirely new way of
I listened to a discussion which you had with a friend the other
day* in regard to the hypothesis that Germany’s false assertion of “Deutschland
über Alles,” being so powerfully postulated, could overcome facts; that the
human race might be evolving into the era of mind, and that a powerful concept,
however false, might make facts conform to it.
Let us see.
*The following clauses of this
paragraph, not being clear in the original, were rewritten by me.––Editor.
The idea that Germany and the Germans are
superior to everything else in the world lies so deep in the minds of that race
that it will be difficult to eliminate it.
As you yourself observed, there is another race known to history
which declared itself to be the chosen people of God, and for that arrogant
assumption is now scattered over the face of the earth, a homeless people, no
longer even a nation.
The attempt to create a thing by postulating it is already existent
is not new. Affirmation and denial are used with telling effect by a modern
school of thinkers, who disregard utterly the facts of nature.
Now when we disregard and deny the facts of nature, we may suspend
the operations of nature in ourselves to a certain degree and for a certain
time, or we may fail in so doing, and by reason of our consciousness of
our failure become more than ever the puppets of nature.
The Christian Science healer who fails to heal
and honestly acknowledges his failure, may go on asserting his power in the face
of the demonstrated failure, or he may become a complete doubter of himself and
of the claims of his science, or he may re-examine both in the light of facts
and become a real student of the mysteries of nature and of mind.
Germany may take any one of these three courses when she has
demonstrated the old saying of the wisest of men, that they that take the sword
shall perish with the sword.
Did you ever try to convince a German of a fact which he denied? I
see that you have. Did your proof of his mistake convince him that he could be
mistaken? Probably not.
Now Germany has really made herself into a great nation by
postulating her greatness and superiority in all things. Her mistake consisted
in trying to prove it. In trying to prove a statement you tacitly admit for the
time that the opposite assumption may have some base, and if you are not able to
demonstrate your contention you are lost—unless you are a German. A German
convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
If facts do not bear him out, then facts are
false. Now facts are not false, and Germany is not superior in all things to
every other nation on earth. She may have more guns and more soldiers than two
or three of the other nations, that is a fact which we gladly admit; but
superiority in guns and soldiers is only superiority in guns and soldiers. It is
not superiority in all things.
Germany has said in effect that might is right. Well, let her prove
her might, and we will then discuss the right of might.
Some years before I left the earth I was stronger than most men of
my acquaintance; but if I had on that ground knocked them down and taken their
watches, my own superior strength might have been useless to me except to propel
my six-foot body up and down a cell in the county jail. I might have taken the
watches, but I could not have kept them, for my individual might would have been
outclassed by the might of the society in which I dwelt. So with Germany.
Most men consider themselves superior to their
friends and acquaintances, and are secretly annoyed that their friends and
acquaintances do not acknowledge it. But on the strength of that supposed
superiority they do not generally knock their neighbors down.
My assertion of my superiority to all other men and angels does not
make me superior to them in anything but fatuous conceit.
If a Christian Scientist with a broken leg asserts that he has not a
broken leg, it does not change the fact. The strength of his assertion may work
in the direction of curing the defect—granted. It often does.
The conceit of Germany has called out her energy and made her
material present superior to her material past; but that cannot place her “over
all,” unless she convinces the world of it, and the world accepts an inferior
place. Germans are not convincing advocates, because they always arouse
opposition by overstating the facts in their favor, and in disputing the facts
So little do they understand the critical minds of the more critical
races, that they try to convince by mere assertion, and so prejudice their case
from the start.
One service Germany will have done the world;
she will have hardened it. It is a tragic service, and one that will turn
against herself. Many a parent by his blind brutality has made his son a greater
brute than he. Many a man by wounding a friend has been stabbed to the soul in
return. The friend may be harder than before, but has he profited? Perhaps.
Experience is an asset. Man grows by pain as well as by pleasure. If the
brutality of Germany makes the races of Europe more vigorous, they are the
gainers—not Germany. The Doctor who gives too bitter medicine is sent about his
business, sometimes without his fee.
There was once a “mental” scientist who declared that it was not
necessary for his daughter to practice the piano; that all she needed to do was
to affirm that she was a pianist, and she would be one.
Germany is in the position of the daughter who had acted on that
teaching, and has become the horror of the neighborhood. She is in danger of
being dispossessed as a public nuisance.
Also an aggregation of individuals making one
assertion do not necessarily have an effect in proportion to their numbers.
Do you remember what I wrote you about white
and black magicians, that two who worked together for good had the power of
four, and that two who worked together for evil had only the power of one
and a half? Now what is Germany working for in this combined effort? Solely for
herself—exactly like the black magician.
So deep has the German conceit sunk into the German soul, that they
really believe that in occupying and enslaving other countries they would be
doing them a favor. No, I am not exaggerating. I have heard Germans make that
Lunatic asylums are full of men who assert that
they are kings, and an occasional inmate declares himself the King of kings.
These patients are even more fully convinced than are the Germans, who assert
their kingship. If assertion alone can transcend fact, these men are kings. Are
they? To themselves they are, and the Germans are just as surely “over all” as
are the straw-crowned kings in the asylums.
It is useless to argue with a king in a straw crown. He has an
irresistible argument—his crown. Can you not see it? If you do not salute, he
turns his back and walks away.
But even a king in a lunatic asylum may be
cured and restored to a sane equality with his peers. That is what I hope for
Germany. That is what the Masters hope—for Germany stands high in the
record-book of the masters. A king in a straw crown has not lost his soul
through his false assertion of kingship. He is an immortal son of God. His
spirit is as genuine as yours or mine. His error is only temporary, and is
generally caused by brooding too long over imagined wrongs and slights. Not
When this idea of superiority began to fester in the minds of that
noble people, they were not a great nation. They felt their wrongs and the
slights put upon them. The only escape for their wounded egoism was into the
world of the mind, where assertion has free play. They turned their backs and
plaited their straw crowns. They were kings, and anyone who did not see it was
unworthy of the honor of their friendship.
Then, their madness having taken a violent
form, came the great doctor, War, and confined them in a relatively narrow
space; but the small people they knocked down in their first attack of violence
still lie prostrate from the blow. The heirs of these kings will have to pay
damages. The law of nations is even more just than the laws of men.
Who dares to say that a State has no morals? Is a State spiritually
inferior to a man? No more than a Planetary Spirit is inferior to a State. There
is a cosmic morality, and whoever goes against it—whether a State or a man—will
meet the day of reckoning. Karma is a law.