John Suart Mills

I'd Love to Change the World

From the winter of 1821 I had what might truly be called an object in life: to be a Reformer.

My conception of my own happiness was entirely identified with this object.

The personal sympathies I wished for were those of fellow laborers in this enterprise.

I endeavored to pick as many flowers as I could but as a serious permanent personal satisfaction to rest upon, my whole reliance was placed on this.

I was accustomed to the certainty of a happy life which I enjoyed, by placing my happiness in something durable and distant, in which progress might be always making, while it could never be exhausted by complete attainment.

The general improvement going on and the idea of myself as engaged with others in struggling to promote it, seemed enough to fill up an interesting and animated existence.

The time came when I awakened from this as from a dream.

It was in the autumn of 1826.

(1826: First railways begin construction. Internal Combustion engine patented in US. Janissary on the rampage, Auspicious Incident.)

I was in a dull state of nerves, such as everybody is occasionally liable to; unsusceptible to enjoyment or pleasurable excitement; one of those moods when what is pleasure at other times, becomes insipid or indifferent; the state, I should think, in which converts to Methodism usually are, when smitten by their first 'conviction of sin.'

In this frame of mind it occurred to me to put the question directly to myself:

"Suppose your objects in life were realized; all the changes in institutions and opinions which you are looking forward to, could be completely effected at this very instant: would this be a great joy and happiness to you?"

And an irrepressible self-consciousness distinctly answered, "No!"

At this my heart sank: the foundation on which my life was built fell down.

All my happiness was to have been found in the continual pursuit of this end.

Once the end ceased to charm, how could there be any interest in the means?

I seemed to have nothing left to live for.

For I now saw, or thought I saw, what I had always before received with incredulity - that the habit of analysis has a tendency to wear away the feelings: as indeed it has, when no other mental habit is cultivated, and the analyzing spirit remains without its natural complements and correctives.

The very excellence of analysis is that it tends to weaken and undermine whatever is the result of prejudice.

It enables us mentally to separate ideas which have only casually clung together and no associations could ultimately resist this dissolving force.

We owe to analysis our clearest knowledge of the permanent sequences in nature; the real connections between things, not dependent on imaginings.

Natural law finds one thing is inseparable from another; our ideas of things joined together in Nature, cohere more and more closely in our thoughts.

Analytic habits may thus even strengthen the associations between causes and effects, means and ends, but tend altogether to weaken those which are, to speak familiarly, a mere matter of feeling.

They are therefore favorable to prudence and clear sightedness, but a perpetual worm at the root both of the passions and of the virtues; and, above all, fearfully undermine all desires, and all pleasures.

These were the laws of human nature, by which, as it seemed to me, I had been brought to my present state.

Those whom I admired were of opinion that companionship and feelings of compassion, especially toward mankind on a large scale as the object of existence, were the greatest and surest sources of happiness.

Of the truth of this I was convinced, but to know that a feeling would make me happy if I had it, did not give me the feeling.

My education, I thought, had failed to create these feelings in sufficient strength to resist the dissolving influence of analysis, while the whole course of my intellectual cultivation had made precocious and pre-mature analysis the inveterate habit of my mind.

The fountains of vanity and motivation seemed to have dried up within me, as completely as those of benevolence.

Thus neither selfish nor unselfish pleasures were pleasures to me.

There seemed no power in nature sufficient to begin the formation of my character anew, and recreate in a mind now irretrievably analytic, fresh associations of pleasure with objects of human desire.

I frequently asked myself, if I could, or if I was bound to go on living, when life must be passed in this manner.

I generally answered to myself, that I did not think I could possibly bear it beyond a year.

In all probability my case was by no means so peculiar as I fancied.

A vivid conception of the scene came over me, and I was moved to tears.

From this moment my burden grew lighter.

The oppression of the thought that all feeling was dead within me, was gone.

I was no longer hopeless.

Relieved from my present sense of irremediable wretchedness, I gradually found that the ordinary incidents of life could again give me some pleasure.

I found enjoyment, not intense, but sufficient for cheerfulness, in sunshine and sky, in books, in conversation, in public affairs.

There was, once more, excitement, though of a moderate category, in exerting myself for my opinions, and for the public good.

Thus the cloud gradually drew off.

I never again was as miserable as I had been.

The experiences of this period led me to adopt a theory of life, unlike that on which I had before acted having much in common with what at that time I certainly had never heard of, the automaton theory of Thomas Carlyle.

I never, indeed, wavered in the conviction that happiness is the test of all rules of conduct, and the end of life.

I now understood happiness was attained by not making it the direct end.

Only those with minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end, are happy.

Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the Way.

Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so.

The only chance is to treat, not happiness, but some end external to it, as the purpose of life.

If otherwise fortunately circumstanced you will inhale happiness with the air you breathe, without dwelling on it or thinking about it, without either forestalling it in imagination, or putting it to flight by fatal questioning.

This theory now became the basis of my philosophy of life.

I still hold to it as the best theory for all those who have but a moderate degree of sensibility and of capacity for enjoyment, that is, for the great majority of mankind.

I ceased to attach exclusive importance on ordering outward circumstances.

I had now learnt by experience that the passive susceptibilities needed to be cultivated as well as the active capacities, and required to be nourished and enriched as well as guided.

Maintenance of balance among the faculties, seemed of primary importance.

patterns in sound

1829 Edinburgh Review published Thomas Carlyle's "Signs of the Times".

In "Signs of the Times", Carlyle warns the Industrial Revolution is turning people into mechanical automatons devoid of individuality and spirituality.

The division of society and the poverty of the majority began to dominate the minds of the most intelligent and imaginative people outside politics following the 1832 Reform Act.

The "Condition of England Question" was a phrase coined by Thomas Carlyle in 1839 to chronicle the conditions of the English working-class during the Industrial Revolution.

There was a growing sense of anger at the culture of amateurism in official government circles which produced this misery.

Structural changes in the economy led many to question whether the country had taken a wrong turning.

Would manufacturing towns ever be loyal?

Was poverty eating up capital?

Was it safe to depend upon imports for food and raw materials?

Could the fleet keep the seas open?

Should government encourage emigration and require those who remained behind to support themselves by spade husbandry?

These were the 'Condition of England' questions".

I now began to find meaning in the importance of poetry and art as instruments of human culture.

The only imaginative arts in which I had from childhood taken great pleasure, was music.

The best effect consists in winding up to a high pitch those feelings of an elevated category which are already in the character, but to which this excitement gives a glow and a fervor, which, though transitory at its utmost height, is precious for sustaining them at other times.

This effect of music I had often experienced; but like all my pleasurable susceptibilities it was suspended during the gloomy period.

I had sought relief again and again from this quarter, but found none.

After the tide had turned, and I was in process of recovery, I had been helped forward by music, but in a much less elevated manner.

I at this time first became acquainted with Weber's Oberon, and the extreme pleasure which I drew from its delicious melodies did me good, by showing me a source of pleasure to which I was as susceptible as ever.

The good, however, was much impaired by the thought, that the pleasure of music fades with familiarity, and requires either to be revived by intermittence, or fed by continual novelty.

It is very characteristic both of my then state, and of the general tone of my mind at this period of my life, that I was seriously tormented by the thought of the exhaustibility of musical combinations.

This source of anxiety may, perhaps, be thought to resemble that of the philosophers of Laputa, who feared lest the sun should be burnt out.

In the power of rural beauty, there was a foundation laid for pleasure in Wordsworth's poetry as his scenery lies mostly mountains, which, owing to my early Pyrenean excursion, were my ideal of natural beauty.

What made Wordsworth's poems a medicine for my state of mind, was that they expressed, not mere outward beauty, but states of feeling, of thought colored by feeling, under the excitement of beauty.

They seemed to be the very culture of the feelings, which I was in quest of.

In them I seemed to draw from a source of inward joy, of sympathetic and imaginative pleasure, which could be shared in by all human beings; which had no connection with struggle or imperfection, but would be made richer by every improvement in the physical or social condition of mankind.

From them I seemed to learn what would be the perennial sources of happiness, when all the greater evils of life shall have been removed.

And I felt myself at once better and happier as I came under their influence.

There have certainly been greater poets than Wordsworth; poetry of deeper and loftier feeling could not have done for me at that time what his did.

I needed to feel there was permanent happiness in tranquil contemplation.

Wordsworth taught me this, not only without turning away from, but with a greatly increased interest in the common feelings and destiny of people.

The delight which these poems gave me, proved that with culture of this sort, there was nothing to dread from the most confirmed habit of analysis.

"Fortunately analysis is not the only way to resolve inner conflicts.

Life itself still remains a very effective therapist."

Karen Horney, German psychoanalyst

The aim, therefore, of patriots, was to set limits to the power which the ruler should exercise over the community; and this limitation was what they meant by liberty; protection from the tyranny of political rulers.

It was attempted in two ways.

First, by obtaining a recognition of certain immunities, called political liberties or rights, which it was to be regarded as a breach of duty in the ruler to infringe, and which, if he did infringe, specific résistance, or general rebellion, was held to be justifiable.

A second, and generally a later expedient, was the establishment of constitutional checks; by which the consent of the community, or of a body of some sort supposed to represent its interests, was made a necessary condition to some of the more important acts of the governing power.

A time, however, came in the progress of human affairs, when men ceased to think it a necessity of nature that their governors should be an independent power, opposed in interest to themselves.

It appeared to them much better that the various magistrates of the State should be their tenants or delegates, revocable at their pleasure.

In that way alone, it seemed, could they have complete security that the powers of government would never be abused to their disadvantage.

If all mankind minus one were of one opinion and only one individual were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that individual than, if he had the power, would be in silencing mankind.

If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth, if wrong, they lose nothing but repute.

What is almost as great a benefit is the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth produced by its collision with error.

If any opinion be compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true.

To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.

unique library index

This web site is not a commercial web site and is presented for educational purposes only.

This website defines a new perspective with which to engage reality to which its author adheres. The author feels that the falsification of reality outside personal experience has forged a populace unable to discern propaganda from reality and that this has been done purposefully by an international corporate cartel through their agents who wish to foist a corrupt version of reality on the human race. Religious intolerance occurs when any group refuses to tolerate religious practices, religious beliefs or persons due to their religious ideology. This web site marks the founding of a system of philosophy named The Truth of the Way of the Lumière Infinie - a rational gnostic mystery religion based on reason which requires no leap of faith, accepts no tithes, has no supreme leader, no church buildings and in which each and every individual is encouraged to develop a personal relation with the Creator and Sustainer through the pursuit of the knowledge of reality in the hope of curing the spiritual corruption that has enveloped the human spirit. The tenets of The Truth of the Way of the Lumière Infinie are spelled out in detail on this web site by the author. Violent acts against individuals due to their religious beliefs in America is considered a "hate crime."

This web site in no way condones violence. To the contrary the intent here is to reduce the violence that is already occurring due to the international corporate cartels desire to control the human race. The international corporate cartel already controls the world economic system, corporate media worldwide, the global industrial military entertainment complex and is responsible for the collapse of morals, the elevation of self-centered behavior and the destruction of global ecosystems. Civilization is based on coöperation. Coöperation does not occur at the point of a gun.

American social mores and values have declined precipitously over the last century as the corrupt international cartel has garnered more and more power. This power rests in the ability to deceive the populace in general through corporate media by pressing emotional buttons which have been preprogrammed into the population through prior corporate media psychological operations. The results have been the destruction of the family and the destruction of social structures that do not adhere to the corrupt international elites vision of a perfect world. Through distraction and coercion the direction of thought of the bulk of the population has been directed toward solutions proposed by the corrupt international elite that further consolidates their power and which further their purposes.

All views and opinions presented on this web site are the views and opinions of individual human men and women that, through their writings, showed the capacity for intelligent, reasonable, rational, insightful and unpopular thought. All factual information presented on this web site is believed to be true and accurate and is presented as originally presented in print media which may or may not have originally presented the facts truthfully. Opinion and thoughts have been adapted, edited, corrected, redacted, combined, added to, re-edited and re-corrected as nearly all opinion and thought has been throughout time but has been done so in the spirit of the original writer with the intent of making his or her thoughts and opinions clearer and relevant to the reader in the present time.

Fair Use Notice

This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of criminal justice, human rights, political, economic, democratic, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information see: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Dedicated to the establishment of knowledge, truth, justice and a clear understanding of reality as the American way!
Copyright © Lawrence Turner
All Rights Reserved