THINKING AND DESTINY
Harold W. Percival
Psychic destiny comprises government and institutions.
The psychic destiny of a nation largely makes its government. Many of the aspects of the government are mental, but the destiny of the governed is largely psychic. A government which would care for its soldiers and the weak, which would make provision for those who have grown old in its service and would enforce laws for the safety of its people from foreign and internal enemies and educate its citizens not to do what they would not like to suffer, would be the kind of government that its people had desired and deserved. It would be united and long lived and an instrument for good among other nations. History shows no such government. All paternal governments have been for the benefit of the ruler and the ruling class. Countries were mere lands, possessed and bartered by kings and nobles, and the people went with the land. When the change came in the eighteenth century from home manufacture in villages to congregation in city factories, the welfare of the laborers was again ignored until degeneration and revolution threatened.
A government which, even though under the label of a democracy, exploits its citizens for the benefit of a few individuals or of a class, which is careless of its wards, soldiers and public servants, which does not look after the health and welfare of all, will be short lived. Either the ruling class or traitors will be the cause of its downfall. Some of its own people may betray it to others, just as it has betrayed its own.
Similar to religious fervor at revival meetings is political enthusiasm, the jingo love of one’s own country and of one’s particular social and economic institutions, as a landed nobility, clerical hierarchy, labor union or “big business” combinations. In modern democracies this political force is important inasmuch as the people now express themselves without the disabilities of the past. All this is of the psychic nature. In political campaigns people become agitated about their party rather than about the interests of good government. Men will shout over issues they do not understand, and they will shift in their arguments and accusations with little or no reason; and they will adhere to a party even though they know that its policy is wrong. Ignorance and selfishness permit the psychic nature to rule without restraint.
The most successful party politicians are those who can best reach, agitate and control the psychic nature of the people through their appetites, weaknesses, selfishness and prejudices. After all, these politicians are only means to exteriorize the thoughts of the people to the people. A party politician haranguing an audience, appeals to its special interests or he whispers to some clique. He uses his personal influence, which is his psychic nature, to reach the prejudices of his hearers, under pretense of loyalty to people and country. His love is for power and the gratification of his own ambitions, and using his own psychic influence he enlists the prejudices of others by appealing to their desires, fears and sentiments.
Bad government must continue while those who are governed are selfish, indifferent and uninformed. Such a government is their psychic destiny. This must be so long as the people remain blind to the fact that they get what they give, individually or as a whole, and that what they get is an exteriorization of their own thoughts. The desires of individuals and the collective desire of the people are what brings about these things. They will be changed only when people refuse to countenance the party politician who appeals to them for what they know to be wrong, even when what he promises appears to be to their personal advantage. If it is to injure others it is wrong and will surely react upon themselves. Reading history with understanding will teach this lesson.
The man who attempts to enforce the law is quite frequently downed. The statesman or political reformer who offers amelioration of conditions is usually doomed to disappointment, because he is attempting to remodel forms and physical conditions while the causes which brought and bring about these effects continue. Politics, institutions and customs are what they are because they are the psychic destiny of individuals who are immoral, selfish, ignorant and hypocritical.
Copyright 1974 by The Word Foundation, Inc.