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Aaron Martin Crane Right and Wrong Thinking

Aaron Martin Crane Right and Wrong Thinking

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09/21/2011

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While avoiding Scylla the ancient Grecian mariner had to beware lest he wreck on Charybdis. In the attempt to
avoid certain discordant thoughts one must beware lest he fall into indulgence in others of similar character
which may arise in connection with the effort.

It will be strange if disturbing thoughts do not sometimes present themselves, but mental disquiet of any kind
must not for any reason be allowed in any part of the process. That discouragement which comes from
occasional or even frequent failure must be dismissed as promptly as were the first discordant thoughts; neither
must it be recognized as failure, but only as an incident in a process which will terminate in success. Thus will be
established more securely and easily the habit which probably was more than half formed when the
discouragement arose.

Along with the sense of disappointment and regret at temporary or incidental failure, and suggested by it, is quite
likely to come self-condemnation, and this may be followed by grief, anxiety, discouragement, and even despair.
They never assist in the least; they always hinder. It is not necessary to blame one's self in order to correct an
error which has been made. No man is helped to be better by grieving over the things he has done. Getting rid of
one evil is no advantage if another quite as bad is allowed to arise in its place.

Ruskin states one side of the case correctly, clearly, and strongly when he says: "Do not think of your faults; still
less of others' faults; in every person that comes near you look for what is good and strong; honor that, rejoice in
it; and, as you can, try to imitate it, and your faults will drop off like dead leave when their time comes."

A sense of the responsibility or of the burden of the work should not be allowed in connection with the attempt
to exclude discordant thinking, nor should there be any vestige of a thought of anxiety lest the ejected thought
return to create another state of mental disquiet. If these are allowed, the second state of that man will be worse
than the first, because he will be weighed down by two kinds of erroneous thinking instead of one.

Even though be may have successfully banished one set of thoughts of which he wished to rid himself, he will
find that he has enslaved himself to another group as bad as the first. To allow such thoughts to spring up
alongside the attempt to weed out others is not to clear the field of discordant thinking, but to change from one
set of intruders to another; or, worse than that, to introduce another set, and this is the exact reverse of the object
aimed at. No one thought of the discordant class should be admitted any more than another, and there is no more
reason or justification for harboring one than another; still less is there any reason for allowing two. So far as any
one of them is allowed it defeats mental control and its advantages just as effectually as would the continuance
of the original erroneous thoughts.

In the beginning of this mental training strenuous effort may seem unavoidable, but with persistent practice
better mental conditions will be established, so that in most cases the change of thinking may be accomplished
without appreciable effort. From the very first the thought that there may be any necessity for such effort should
be banished as far as possible, because it induces more or less dread of the under- taking and doubt of its success.
Consciousness of effort detracts from the ideal of the perfect action, and complete success is not reached until
the change of thought can be made without it.

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The desired object may be accomplished thoroughly by entering into that perfect mental freedom which arises
from such exclusive devotion to the work of the moment as to shut out all other considerations, and to leave all
the time and strength for the business in hand. Indeed, this work when rightly done is done so quickly in each
succeeding experience that there is neither time nor opportunity for any other disturbing mental conditions than
those to which the effort was first directed. All this may be accomplished without any diminution of activity or
energy; instead there will be an increase of effectiveness in all right directions.

MORAL DISCRIMINATION

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