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e-book: Afterlife


 

War Letters From The Living Dead Man


Introduction

LETTER

 I.

The Return of "X"
II. A Dweller on the Threshold
III. An Assurance
IV. The Way of Understanding
V. Astral Monsters
VI. The Archduke
VII. The "Chosen People"
VIII. Spectres of the Congo
IX. Unseen Guardians
X. One Day as a Thousand Years
XI. Many Tongues
XII. The Beautiful Being
XIII. The Body of Humanity
XIV. The Foeman Within
XV. Listening in Brussels
XVI. The Sixth Race
XVII. An American on Guard
XVIII. A Master of Compassion
XIX. The Rose-Veiled Stranger
XX. Above the Battlefields
XXI. A Soul in Purgatory
XXII. Peace Propaganda
XXIII. The Mystery of Desire
XXIV. The Scales of Justice
XXV. For Love's Sake
XXVI. A Master of Mind
XXVII. Invisible Enemies
XXVIII. The Glory of War
XXIX. A Friend of "X"
XXX. The Rose and the Cross
XXXI. A Serbian Magician
XXXII. Judas and Typhon
XXXIII. Crowns of Straw
XXXIV. The Sylph and the Father
XXXV. Behind the Dark Veil
XXXVI. The "Lusitania"
XXXVII. Veiled Prophecies
XXXVIII. Advice to a Scribe
XXXIX. One of These Little Ones
XL. The Height and the Depth
XLI. A Conclave of Masters
XLII. A Lesson in the Kabala
XLIII. The Second Coming
XLIV. Poison Gases
XLV. The Superman
XLVI. The Entering Wedge
XLVII. The New Brotherhood
XLVIII. In the Crucible
XLIX. Black Magic in America
L. Things to Remember


 

 

 

LETTER XXXIII

 

CROWNS OF STRAW

            In 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 thinking.
            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. (1915)

            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 against them.
            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 humorless statement.

            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 unlike Germany.
            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.

April 29.

Letter XXXIV

LETTER XXXII