“Man, Arbiter of his Own Fate”

From Essays and Other Footprints by

The most precious of all possessions is power over ourselves, power to withstand evil, to bear trials, to front danger, power over pleasure and pain, power to follow our convictions however resisted by menace and scorn, the power of calm reliance in scenes of darkness, and fell revenge. No truth is more certain than this, that man is the arbiter of his own fate.

The mutations of time, the periods of the leaf and flower, the enormous cycles of geological and astronomical change, are the motions of continual Mind photographed, the formation and development of an exhaustless mental energy. Even the forms of decay are but marks of regeneration. There is something in the universe besides material forms; for they are moved by a power external to themselves, and the substance on which they are based is greater than they. As to the truth and power of this intelligence that acts above and beyond the forms of sense, we cannot doubt.

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