These are my thoughts on Lesson 19 of the Charles Haanel’s Master Key System. In order to fully understand the context of my thoughts, please read the actual lesson at:
The main idea of this week’s lessons seems to be a repeat of the lesson for Week 1: everything that is everything must start with the mind. How we think, and the quality of our thoughts, will shape our future. In fact, Haanel repeats this phrase that he started with Week 1 of this work:
14. We also know that this mind is static, mind at rest, we also know that the ability of the individual to think is his ability to act upon the Universal Mind and convert it into dynamic mind, or mind in motion.
In the prologue of this lesson, Haanel writes of how we overcome fear by being being conscious of our own power. This reminds me of a video I watched from Dr. Pillai, aka Dattatreya Siva Baba, of how depression is the result of a lack of power we feel over our lives. Because we feel like we can’t control anything in our lives, we feel despondent. I am not fully endorsing the guy, but I think he is correct in what he says.
Therefore, to overcome fear and depression, we need to be conscious of the power we do have. That power is really how you and I act. Look at what you can do and work from there. It may not seem enough but great changes start small. You can’t control other people, but you can control yourself. That is more than enough.
Once we focus on our thinking, we will be able to control our future.
At this point, I want to address the “victim-blaming” mentality that still goes on in the Law of Attraction community. First of all, I am actually beginning to see their point of view. I can see why some people in the community has a tendency to blame the victim. Once one focuses on how they think, it’s just a matter of time when controlling our future will seem a lot easier.
However, I still won’t go around telling people that they bought their problems on to themselves. I still won’t laugh at others nor tell them that they deserved to be robbed, harassed, or abused because . . .
What I know is what I have learned. It’s a logical fallacy to believe that once I learned a certain idea or fact, that everyone else automatically understands as well. That is not how things work. Sure I can realize that my thinking is the creator of my fortune and misfortune, but not everyone else does. Most of the people who do blame the victim do so out of a need to feel superior to others. Most of them also do so out of assumption, so of course they will look arrogant when they do so. I will say this, though, I do see that society does want us to play the victim. I might write more about this in a later post.
Everyone has sentience and agency. No one is ever forced or compelled to abuse another person. The reason why person A hurts person B is because person A harbors bad thoughts in his mind to do so. Person B never forced person A to act in such ways.
Most LOA practitioners say they engage in victim-blaming because they want to “empower” the victim. The best way to empower the victim is to show how to change one’s life for the better, not shaming them. Empower others by teaching meditation. Empower others by teaching affirmations. Empower others by becoming fitness buddies and going to the gym. Pointing fingers is lazy.
Funny enough, I think of how I had to deal with an office bully and the hate I received from LOA practitioner Bertha. I dealt with my office bully problem by reciting affirmations, yet that still caused that Bertha character to publicly shame me. Guess she thought I didn’t exhibit enough power.
Speaking of which, I do like how Haanel describes all the learning institutions in the world as “powerhouses of the mind”. It is true that knowledge is what really what changes society.
Nowadays, many Americans decry the state of of public education in the US. There are those who believe that we should do away with it all together. I find the latter sentiment quite dangerous.
Yes, American public education is broken and needs to be fixed, but to do away with it all is going to bring more destruction to America than a nuclear bomb or an anthrax cloud.
I speak as an Indian-American. You might watch videos or read articles about the brilliant inventions that came from India, like the number zero or the ruler or chess. Many doctors and tech giants in the US are of Indian origin. The Hinduja family is one of the richest in the United Kingdom.
Yet, when one visits India, one cannot but notice the poor villages in areas like Kakinada or the slums of Mumbai. How is it that India is the home of many geniuses and genius inventions? That is quite simple: all these inventions and all these brilliant minds come from the top 10% of the Indian population for thousands of years. Only the top 10% of India has had access to a decent education for as long as anyone can remember up until the 20th century. If you were born in the wrong family, that’s it. You are to be a laborer, farmer, or even prostitute for the rest of your life. These are the effects of the caste system.
Thankfully there are more educational options in India than there were before. Is Indian education the best? No. There are a lot of issues that need to be resolved, however, the fact that the Indian economy has been improving shows that public education has been helping.
I can also draw parallels to that of China. Just like India, only the top 10% of the Chinese were able to access any form of education. Hell, most of the people were illiterate up until the mid-20th century. However, thanks to massive educational reforms since the 1950s, there has been a lot of changes in the Chinese economy. Is the education in China the best? No. I can write a lot about what I think China has to change when it comes to their education, however better to have a flawed education than none at all.
I also challenge you to think of how life would be life if you didn’t know how to read. If you can’t do that, imagine living in a country where you can’t read the language. I remember how difficult my life was in Korea when I couldn’t read one single Korean character. After I learned how to read the Korean alphabet, my life was so much easier and a lot more fun over there.
I’ve seen Americans on the internet rant about how they don’t want to spend their tax dollars subsidizing some other person’s education, especially if they deem it to be useless.
There is no such thing as a useless education, only a useless human being. Anyone can apply what they have learned, it takes some thinking and figuring out. I can speak for myself that, despite working in an office where bullying and backbiting were the norm, I was able to keep myself and got a lot more work done than my coworkers. Why is that? Because I read The Great Learning (大学) as part of my coursework.
Many who eschew any form of study of history, philosophy, or even comparative religions but focus on mathematics, science, and engineering also tend to be easily influenced by shady politicians and cult leaders. In fact, one reason why I was able to leave the Soka Gakkai was because I saw parallels between Daisaku Ikeda and Mao Zedong. The Soka Gakkai loved putting up shows akin to the Mass Games that used to be performed in Pyongyang under North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Also, did you know that many scientists were also part of the Aum Shinrikyo, the guys who orchestrated the sarin gas attack in Tokyo back in 1995?
One example that Americans use as useless education is getting a degree in basket weaving. You might not get a job with basket weaving, but you can start a business. Imagine how much money you can make producing and selling baskets in your neighborhood or on etsy? Nowadays, governments are trying to cut down the use of plastic bags. Baskets can be a good alternative.
Listen, maybe not everyone is cut out for a college education, but at least whatever they learned in public schools has given them more options than not. One of my friends joined the US Navy which helped him get a better job. Another was able to work in childcare. Another is a plumbers, and plumbers know a lot more chemistry than you’d think.
The rest of Haanel’s lesson is about how he describes the mind. There is nothing much I can say about that except he does betray some study of philosophy.
Part of his study seems Daoist: 6. They are names given to two different parts of one quantity. The two extremes are relative; they are not separate entities, but are two parts or aspects of the whole.
Part of his study seems Zen Buddhist: 9. We find exactly the same law obtaining in the Spiritual world; we speak of Mind and Matter as two separate entities, but clearer insight makes it evident that there is but one operative principle and that is Mind.
Another part almost sounds like Marcus Aurelius’ teachings: 10. Mind is the real and the eternal. Matter is forever changing; we know that in the eons of time a hundred years is but as a day. If we stand in any large city and let the eye rest on the innumerable large and magnificent buildings, the vast array of conveniences of modern civilization, we may remember that not one of them was there just over a century ago, and if we could stand on the same spot in a hundred years from now, in all probability we should find that but few of them remained.
The one thing that I love the most of this lesson is this:
Silent thought, is, after all, the mightiest agent in human affairs.
Yes it is.