Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Absolute Unselfishness.
    Do you not believe that everything that has transpired and
is transpiring in this little world, was and is necessary for its
development and the development of its inhabitants?  That
the world is a school of experiences we have been forced to
attend, and are compelled to take the lessons and discipline
given to us by the "Intelligence" that placed us here?  That
we are unable to hasten, retard or change the plan adopted
by "Him," though we may often think we do by our actions?
    We, when sufficiently developed, will understand why the
desire was ever implanted within us to do things causing
suffering and sorrow, and why we were not created perfect,
or as near perfect, as our highest ideals.  I would be pleased
to have your views.         Mrs. A. W. G.

    Being a believer in reincarnation and "Karma,"
I am naturally inclined to accept much of this
theory.  But one needs to think and act with care
along these lines, or inertia and selfishness will
    God is certainly able to take care of His world.
He is taking His own time about it, as this is but
one of several millions of worlds under His direc-
tion, and man is but one of billions of creatures just
as important to the Creator.
    God's "plans" are, without doubt, eventually
worked out according to His original purpose.  But
we are His workmen, and we can make for one
another a lot of discomfort, and muddle up matters,
and tangle designs, and give the Creator a deal of
trouble to straighten things out, while we delay our
own best development, or we can help on the Great
Design by unselfishness, self-control and thought-
    The divine spark in each mortal is what he began
with.  He has gradually acquired mortal weak-
nesses and follies.  He must eventually dispense
with these--wear them out and tire of them--and
cast them off, and retain only his divine nature.
The whole experience of life and many lives is to
that end.
    Instead of meddling so much with our neighbors'
affairs, temporal or spiritual, each one of us would
be helping the world along far more effectually, if
we attended strictly to the business of cultivating
unselfishness in ourselves.
    Absolute unselfishness is all there is of real
    We need no creed but that.  But we have thou-
sands of choices and hundreds of creeds and very
few unselfish people--practically and positively un-
selfish in the world.  That is because it is easy to
build churches, and easy to go through forms and
ceremonies and call them religion, while it is diffi-
cult and often painful to be constantly unselfish.
It is the most difficult thing in the world.
    But that is all that is needed of humanity to bring
about social, political and humanitarian reforms.
    It is no use lying awake nights trying to think up
schemes for attending to God's business, and mak-
ing the world better, if you are petty and thought-
less and irritable at home, and harsh and severe in
dealing with your friends or enemies, or grasping
and greedy in business, or if you are idle, lazy,
vicious or depraved.
    Every phase of vice is a selfishness.  Uncontrolled
temper, appetites and passions are selfishness.
    Therefore, in order to be unselfish--the one and
only thing God asks of us--we need to keep pretty
busy most of our natural lives, attending to our own
faults and weaknesses and "overcoming"--con-
stantly "over-coming."
    But few of us are doing this--instead, we are
looking after our neighbors, and trying to run
God's world.

Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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