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The Higher Powers of Mind and Spirit by Ralph Waldo Trine online


page 1 of 13 | table of contents

The Higher Powers of Mind and Spirit by Ralph Waldo Trine

It was Lincoln who gave us a wonderful summary when he said: "After all the one meaning of life is to be kind."

Love, sympathy, fellowship is the very foundation of all civilised, happy, ideal life. It is the very balance-wheel of life itself. It gives that genuineness and simplicity in voice, in look, in spirit that is so instinctively felt by all, and to which all so universally respond. It is like the fragrance of the flower--the emanation of its soul.

Interesting and containing a most vital truth is this little memoir by Christine Rossetti: "One whom I knew intimately, and whose memory I revere, once in my hearing remarked that, 'unless we love people, we cannot understand them.' This was a new light to me." It contains indeed a profound truth.

Love, sympathy, fellowship, is what makes human life truly human. Cooperation, mutual service, is its fruitage. A clear-cut realisation of this and a resolute acting upon it would remove much of the cloudiness and the barrenness from many a life; and its mutual recognition--and action based upon it--would bring order and sweetness and mutual gain in vast numbers of instances in family, in business, in community life. It would solve many of the knotty problems in all lines of human relations and human endeavour, whose solution heretofore has seemed well-nigh impossible. It is the telling oil that will start to running smoothly and effectively many an otherwise clogged and grating system of human machinery.

When men on both sides are long-headed enough, are sensible enough to see its practical element and make it the fundamental basis of all relationships, of all negotiations, and all following activities in the relations between capital and labour, employer and employee, literally a new era in the industrial world will spring into being. Both sides will be the gainer--the dividends flowing to each will be even surprising.

There is really no labour problem outside of sympathy, mutuality, good-will, cooperation, brotherhood.

Injustice always has been and always will be the cause of all labour troubles. But we must not forget that it is sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other. Misunderstanding is not infrequently its accompaniment. Imagination, sympathy, mutuality, cooperation, brotherhood are the hand-maidens of justice. No man is intelligent enough, is big enough to be the representative or the manager of capital, who is not intelligent enough to realise this. No man is fit to be the representative of, or fit to have anything to do with the councils of labour who has not brains, intelligence enough to realise this. These qualities are not synonyms of or in any way related to sentimentality or any weak-kneed ethics. They underlie the soundest business sense. In this day and age they are synonyms of the word practical. There was a time and it was not so many years ago, when heads and executives of large enterprises did not realise this as fully as they realise it today. A great change has already taken place. A new era has already begun, and the greater the ability and the genius the more eager is its possessor to make these his guiding principles, and to hasten the time when they will be universally recognised and built upon. The same is true of the more intelligent in the rank and file of labour, as also of the more intelligent and those who are bringing the best results as leaders of labour. There is no intelligent man or woman today who does not believe in organised labour. There is no intelligent employer who does not believe in it and who does not welcome it.

The bane of organised labour in the past has too often been the unscrupulous, the self-seeking, or the bull-headed labour leader. Organised labour must be constantly diligent to purge itself of these its worst enemies. Labour is entitled to the very highest wage, or to the best returns in cooperative management that it can get, and that are consistent with sound business management, as also to the best labour conditions that a sympathetic and wise management can bring about. It must not, however, be unreasonable in its demands, neither bull-headed, nor seek to travel too fast--otherwise it may lose more than it will gain.