chapter  11
16 Pages

Flesh and Spirit

The world is a terrifying place and man has often whistled to keep up his courage. Although in early times wild beasts, hostile neighbors, famines, and floods continually disturbed his peace of mind, his fear has not been solely a fear of external enemies. Despite all of these troubles he has often been upset by figments of his own imagination. Spirits, demons, and ghosts have played an important rôle in every culture. While he was living in the midst of danger, man's self-assurance could not have been very great; it is not surprising therefore that he attempted constantly to increase it. At a very early time he developed an optimistic philosophy which helped him to overcome his fear complexes. Natural calamities could not be prevented, but they could be interpreted; hence man decided that whatever happened, happened for the best. A plague which killed thousands was often considered a blessing in disguise, for if the gods had so desired, they could assuredly have leveled the entire community. If the will to believe exists, reasons are never difficult to manufacture.