Story type: Essay
Two centuries back a young man of twenty-three sat in the quiet of the evening–THINKING.
His body was quiet; his vitality, his life, all his powers, were centred in his brain.
Above, the moon shone, and around him rustled the branches of the trees in his father’s orchard.
From one of the trees an apple fell.
No need to tell you that the young man was Newton; that the fall of the apple started in his READY brain the thought that led to his great discovery, giving him fame to last until this earth shall crumble.
How splendid the achievement born that moment! How fortunate for the world and for the youth Newton, that at twenty-three his brain had cultivated the HABIT OF THOUGHT! —-
Our muscles we share with everything that lives–with the oyster clinging to his rock, the whale ploughing through cold seas, and our monkey kinsman swinging from his tropical branch.
These muscles, useful only to cart us around, help us to do slave work or pound our fellows, we cultivate with care.
We run, fence, ride, walk hard, weary our poor lungs and gather pains in our backs building the muscles that we do not need.
Alone among animals, we possess a potentiality of mind development unlimited.
And for that, with few exceptions, we care nothing. —-
Most of us, sitting in Newton’s place and seeing the apple fall, would merely have debated the advisability of getting the apple to eat it–just the process that any monkey mind would pass through.
A Newton, a BRAIN TRAINED TO THINK, sees the apple drop, asks himself why the moon does not drop also. And he discovers the law of gravitation which governs the existence of every material atom in the universe. —-
Young men who read this, start in NOW to use your brains. Take nothing for granted, not even the fact that the moon stays in her appointed place or that the poor starve and freeze amid plenty.
Think of the things which are wrong and of the possibilities of righting them. Study your own weaknesses and imperfections. There is power in your brain to correct them, if you will develop that power.
As surely as you can train your arm to hold fifty pounds out straight, just so surely can you train your brain to deal with problems that now would find you a gaping incompetent.
You may not be a Newton. But if you can condescend to aim at being an inferior Sandow, can’t you afford to try even harder to be an inferior Newton?
Don’t be a muscular monkey. Be a low-grade philosopher, if you can’t be high-grade, and find how much true pleasure there is even in inferior brain gymnastics. —-
Take up some problem and study it:
There goes a woman, poor and old. She carries a heavy burden because she is too sad and weak to fight against fate, too honest to leave a world that treats her harshly.
There struts a youngster, rich and idle.
How many centuries of hell on earth will it take to put that woman’s load on that other broad, fat, idle back?
Answer that one question, better still, TRANSFER THE LOAD, and your life will not have been wasted. —-
It is THOUGHT that moves the world. In Napoleon’s BRAIN are born the schemes that murder millions and yet push civilization on. The mere soldier, with gold lace and sharp sword, is nothing–a mere tool.
It is the concentrated thought of the English people under Puritan influence that makes Great Britain a sham monarchy and a real republic now.
It is the thought of the men of independent MIND in this country that throws English tea and English rule overboard forever.
Don’t wait until you are old. Don’t wait until you are ONE DAY older. Begin NOW.
Or, later, with a dull, fuzzy, useless mind, you will realize that an unthinking man might as well have been a monkey, with fur instead of trousers, and consequent freedom from mental responsibility or self-respect.
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