- We all dream of being able to realise our wishes.
- Some would choose money; some would prefer genius.
- Others might like power and control over their fellows.
- I should wish to have wisdon, and control over myself.
The fairy stories which entertain young people in various lands often tell of a fairy which appears and offers to gratify any wish that the person concerned may express. I often wonder how people of to-day would choose, if given such an opportunity. It is, I think, fairly sure that many of them would choose wealth. In spite of all our advance in knowledge, there are many who do not realise that money is simply stamped discs of metal, printed rectangles of paper. The wealthy man may to-morrow be a beggar or a helpless invalid. I should not choose money.
Others would, I think, choose genius. Great powers of the mind, no doubt, can be exercised so as to bring benefit to humanity and to one’s self. But many a genius dies in poverty and miserable surroundings because he has lacked the gift of common sense, or has turned his powers to wrong uses. A genius is often eccentric, unable to enjoy the ordinary, wholesome pleasures of life, and not a very agreeable companion. I believe Hitler and Napoleon were men of genius; it needed a genius to make such evil things as the atom bomb and the magnetic mine. I think an honest, average individual is to be preferred to a genius.
Power has a great attraction for many, to rule, to control others. Kings and great ministers there have been who cared little for wealth, but were obsessed with the love of power. The truly good man does not love power for itself, but merely for the good it enables him to do to others. In any case, a king may be dethroned and overthrown by revolution; a great minister or general may be pulled down by loss of favour or political intrigue.
Rainer would I choose wisdom, to control myself and be the master of my own spirit. Tennyson said,
“Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control, These three alone lead man to sovereign power.”
The truest happiness comes to the man who is ruler of his own passions and master of his mind, who has found his soul and knows that he is a part of the divine. He has riches far above the miserable hoard of misers; he has laid up for himself treasure in Heaven.