You Control Yourself

Our actions are caused by our character. (Here the awesome power of the human mind flexes its might!) Our character is determined by the ideas we hold as true. Only by examining what we accept as true, only through rational introspection, can we live The Good Life. Every action, every idea, and every word, must be examined - sometimes ruthlessly - under the light of Reason. Through rational introspection, Man has the power to achieve Happiness. He has the power to find and correct errors in his thinking, to determine the action most in concert with his deepest passions, and to “program” those passions to be ever-more coherent with the requirements set forth by Existence.

In As A Man Thinketh, James Allen described the process of rational introspective living. (For the gender-conscious.) He used the timeless and brilliant example of a garden. If you do not prune a garden, tend to the soil, the light, and water, if you do not pull weeds that fall in it, and protect it from insects and animals, then you will never enjoy a lush paradise of fruits and flowers. From the work of rationality comes the reward of Happiness.

The reason why I use the word “ruthlessly” is that it is sometimes painful, as anyone knows. For some, the pain is so great that they refuse to consider the possibility of correcting their minds and lives. Weeds with deep roots do not come up easy. In correcting an error which one holds, he must admit to himself that, on some level, he was flawed. He must now discard a precious part of his inner library of thoughts and emotions. He must do even more work to root out the source of the error. (Or, he can ignore it, let it sit, and allow the weeds to reproduce - making it all the more difficult to handle them the next time his errors become inescapable.)

With every development of one’s mind, he faces a battle with himself. Is the pride of victory worth the agony of defeat? It is in moments like this that a Man determines his true nature.


Big words and big ideas are great, but big ideas that don’t develop into big action are a huge waste. The best argument for introspection, oddly enough, is the primacy and importance of action. Since Man has the power to decide his own nature, through introspection and self-correction, he has the power to determine his own course through life. We are all the captains of our own destinies. No outside forces can thus be damned or praised for our failures or successes. A Man must take responsibility for his own life, or else Happiness is impossible to him.

A proper morality is the recognition, in thought as well as in action, that A is A. A man who lives according to a proper morality can say, proudly,

Just as I do support my life, neither by robbery nor alms, but by my own effort, so do I not seek to derive my happiness from the injury or the favor of others, but earn it by my own achievement. Just as I do not consider the pleasure of others as the goal of my life, so I do not consider my pleasure as the goal of the lives of others. Just as there are no contradictions in my values and no conflicts among my desires - so there are no victims and no conflicts of interest among rational men, men who do not desire the unearned and do not view one another with a cannibal’s lust, men who neither make sacrifices nor accept them.
[GS, FNI, 162; pb132]

2 Responses to “You Control Yourself”

  1. On March 15th, 2004 at 16:09:33, Said:

    :He has the power to find and correct errors in his thinking

    How does one correct his actions?

    :so I do not consider my pleasure as the goal of the lives of others

    How do you expect others to serve you?

  2. On March 15th, 2004 at 23:13:56, isaac Said:

    Thanks for posting to my site.

    : How does one correct his actions?

    All errors in action are the natural result of errors in thinking. Fix your mind and the rest will follow.

    : How do you expect others to serve you?

    Who says that I do? I only expect that others will serve themselves.

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