Stránka:the spirit of the woods 1921.djvu/3

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The one true faith


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without apology, normal and natural, I broke from the hideous teaching that had darkened my childhood, to learn something of the realities of life and love.

Here my natural instincts found free scope, an open field, an ever-widening field. I was like a hawk that had been raised in a cage, and when at last a chance came to fly, I barely knew how to spread my wings. But spreading my wings strengthened them. I who had groveled in the cellar was in a little while of the West, soaring, rejoicing in the blue.

Again and again I had come up against this strange paradox: my instincts, which were now dominating my life, were better guides than my judgment.

As I traveled and met men of the world, I found many more who were just such freaks as I.

How could this be? Are not our instincts born of us, or of the devil in our hearts, and is not our judgment, our training, our education, our home upbringing? Here was a riddle.

“Were we born in iniquity?” “Is every human impulse the direct inspiration of the devil?” These were questions that would not down. All my early training said, “Yes”. All my instincts said, “No”. More and more I was coming to trust my instincts. Day after day I rode across the plains, the hills swept by, the steers or the wild game galloped on, and as I rode I pondered. Slowly, very slowly, came the light, and this I take for truth: judgment is only one’s personal view, sure to be warped and discolored by early training. Instincts are the garnered inherited wisdom of all one’s forefathers, the creative wisdom that guided the race. And ever I met more men whose instincts were good and judgment was bad, till it seemed to me that nearly all mankind was like myself in this.

Then following this faint, rising dawn in the east, following the roseate glow of what was to me a personally discovered idea, the sun came up in this wise. In Emerson I read, “If you be of good ancestry, cast aside your judgment and trust indomitably to your instincts, and you won’t go wrong”. Now I could see plainly the landscape through which I had been groping. “If you be of good ancestry,… trust your instincts.” Is not this the whole thought on which democracy is founded? The instincts of a high-class people are wiser than the wisdom of their temporary leaders. Here lies, perhaps, the secret of Lincoln’s greatness. He was the interpreter of the instincts of a great people. Again and again he violated his legal training because he felt that an issue was morally right, though legally wrong. Here I was blindly groping my way toward the thought that Emerson and Lincoln alike had lived, that human instincts are the power that has created the race, the wisdom of all who have preceded us. Surely the idea that these God-implanted impulses were iniquitous was born of a calloused ignorance of the human spirit.

Thus by a long, hard trail was I led to a new thought, a proper respect at least for every strong, deep-rooted human instinct, a realization that the ..text continues