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I have several excuses for continuing to inflict my screeds upon the public. One of them has been well put by Arthur Machen: "When you are condemned by the gods to write," he said, "you can't leave off." Another is that I wrote down these creative ideas not only because of the wish to assist other seekers but also because of the struggle to work out my own intellectual salvation. Much of my writing has not only been an attempt at communication but also an effort to work out my personal salvation. I wrote for myself as well as for others. For, as explained in so many prefaces, I am only a student of these matters and not a master. In the words of Saint Paul, "I count not myself to have attained." This is partly why I seem to have fallen into inconsistency. But every growing thing is inconsistent with its former self. Consistency belongs to the cemetery alone. Between the time when I wrote the first book and the time when I wrote the tenth book, there was an advance in capacity and an evolution in outlook. The shift of emphasis and the transference of interest which my writings show are the natural result of fuller inner maturation and further outer experience.

The third excuse may appear less credible in a cynical and self-centered world. Yet it happens to be true. And it is true only because I feel the presence and command of the Overself continually beside me, not because of any virtue in my own self. But for this I would certainly be as cynical and self-centered as so many others. Grinding overwork has tyrannized my head and hands for years. I have long promised myself freedom, but know that I shall probably never take it. Yet freedom is already there, I have only to stretch forth my hand and it will lie within my grasp. Why then do I submit to unending slavery? The answer can be given in a single word--compassion! Those whose personal malice prevented them from believing this during my lifetime will have to believe it as soon as I have gone. And I shall not be sorry to go. But that is another story. If I can persuade or at least encourage some people to tread a higher path rather than a lower one, to look for guidance to spiritual rather than materialist sources, to think rightly about God as well as their fellows, it will make me feel that one of my life-tasks has been accomplished. So it is something real for me to want others to have it, too. Also, this realization seems to me to be just what we have been put on this earth to find--all the other activities such as earning a livelihood and feeding the body being merely the accessories which enable us to exist here in order to do so. I have written about it not to obtrude my own personality but in obedience to an overwhelming inner urge. The task itself is an inspiring one. It is not an exaggeration to say that sometimes I felt as if I were bringing humanity messages from another world. Starved souls have found nourishment in these pages that speak of the Overself. These writings have instructed some in the noble truths of philosophy and consoled others in the sad hours of affliction. They have propagated themselves over all the continents. However lightly and however imperfectly, their truths have entered the thoughts and their ideals have suffused the hearts of hundreds of thousands. I have tried to transmit aureoled concepts to my own generation, to lodge new-old spiritualizing tenets in its mind.


-- Notebooks Category 12: Reflections > Chapter 2: Philosophy and Contemporary Culture > # 112






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