John Stuart Mill
From the winter of 1821 I had what
might truly be called an object in life: to be a Reformer.
of my own happiness was entirely identified with this object.
personal sympathies I wished for were those of fellow laborers in this
to pick as many flowers as
I could by the way but as a serious and permanent personal satisfaction to
rest upon, my whole reliance was placed on this; and
I was accustomed to the certainty
of a happy life which I enjoyed, through placing my happiness in
something durable and distant, in which some
progress might be always making, while it could never be exhausted by complete
This did very well for several years, during which the
general improvement going on the Earth and the idea of myself as
engaged with others in struggling to promote it, seemed enough to fill up an
interesting and animated existence.
But the time came when I awakened
from this as from a dream.
It was in the autumn of
(1826: First railways begin construction. Internal Combustion
engine patented in US. Ottomans on the rampage.)
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
state, I should think, in which converts to Methodism usually
are, when smitten by their first 'conviction of
In this frame of mind it occurred to me to
put the question directly to myself:
"Suppose that all your objects in life were
realized; that 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
distinctly answered, "No!"
At this my heart sank within me:
the whole foundation on which my life was
constructed fell down.
All my happiness was to have been
found in the continual pursuit of this end.
The end had ceased to
charm, and how could there ever again 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.
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 our will and feelings.
Natural law, in most cases,
finds one thing is
inseparable from another; which causes our ideas of things joined together
to cohere more and more closely in our
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
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
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
The fountains of
motivation seemed to have
dried up within me, as completely as those of
neither selfish nor
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 and its
feelings 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.
from my ever present
sense of irremediable wretchedness,
I gradually found that the
ordinary incidents of life could again give me some pleasure; that I could
again find enjoyment, not intense, but sufficient for cheerfulness, in
books, in conversation, in public
affairs; and that there was, once more,
excitement, though of a moderate
category, in exerting myself for my
opinions, and for the public
Thus the cloud
gradually drew off, and I never again was as miserable as I had been.
The experiences of this period led me to adopt a theory of life, very
unlike that on which I had before acted, and having much in common with what at
that time I certainly had never heard of, the anti-self-consciousness theory of
I never, indeed, wavered in the conviction that happiness
is the test of all rules of conduct,
and the end of life.
now understood that this end was only to be attained by not making it the
Those only are
happy who have their 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.
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
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 almost exclusive importance to the ordering of
The maintenance of a due balance
among the faculties, now seemed to me of primary importance.
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.
cultivation of the feelings became one of the cardinal points in my ethical and
I now began to find meaning
in the importance of poetry and
art as instruments of human culture.
The only one of the
imaginative arts in which I had from childhood taken great pleasure, was
music; the best effect of which consists in exciting enthusiasm; 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
intermittence, or fed by
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
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 this power of rural beauty over me, there
was a foundation laid for taking pleasure in Wordsworth's
poetry; the more so, as his
scenery lies mostly among 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
not mere outward beauty, but states of
feeling, and of thought colored by
feeling, under the excitement of
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, even in our own age, greater poets than Wordsworth; but
poetry of deeper and loftier
feeling could not have done for me at that time what his did.
I needed to be made to
feel that there was real, 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
common destiny of human
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.
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
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
A second, and generally a later
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.
appeared to them much better that the various magistrates of the State should
be their tenants or delegates, revocable at their pleasure.
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.
What is almost as great a
benefit is the clearer
perception and livelier impression of truth produced by its collision with
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
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 cooperation. Cooperation 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.
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: www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. 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.
© Lawrence Turner
All Rights Reserved