The Life Power and How to Use It
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The sun gives forth to us heat and light rays, without which this old world could never be. Glory to warmth and light, which are power and wisdom shed upon us. But there is likewise a third kind of ray shed by old Sol, whose mission we may not so readily bless. The sun’s actinic rays are death-dealing. They cause disintegration, decomposition.
This book has 107 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1906.
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Excerpt from 'The Life Power and How to Use It'
The sun gives forth to us heat and light rays, without which this old world could never be. Glory to warmth and light, which are power and wisdom shed upon us.
But there is likewise a third kind of ray shed by old Sol, whose mission we may not so readily bless. The sun’s actinic rays are death-dealing. They cause disintegration, decomposition.
There are people who declare that time was when a great canopy of vapor hung over the earth and revolved with it, as Jupiter’s vapory canopies now do; and that this vapory canopy kept off almost completely the actinic rays, while it admitted light and heat rays. Thus they account for Adam’s and Methuselah’s great ages. And they say that, unless this vapory canopy is again formed around our earth, to ward off these death-dealing rays, we shall never attain immortality in the flesh. They claim that as heat and light rays are power and wisdom, so the actinic rays are the Devil of the Bible, the Destroyer. And they believe that before man can be saved the Destroyer must be cast into outer darkness—shut out by that sheltering canopy of vapor.
An interesting and apparently plausible theory, is it not? But there are facts yet to be reckoned with. It is true that if a great watery veil spread itself over the earth to-day there might be no more death.
But neither could there be growth. Every form of life would continue as it is, wrinkles, gray hair and all. Why? Because there must be dissolution of old forms before there can be new ones made with that material. Take a photo plate as an instance: Here is a glass surface covered with a delicate gelatine; expose it in a dark-room under a red light and you can see just what it looks like; hold it there as long as you please and it still looks the same.
Now shut it into the black camera and sally forth on pleasure bent. The delicate film is undisturbed. But you come to a beautiful bit of woodland you want to “snap.” You turn your focus upon it, and one little snap of a second’s duration transforms that gelatine surface. Just for one instant of time you let in those actinic rays, and then all was darkness again inside the camera.
Now back you go into the dark-room and turn up the red light, by which you see again your beautiful bit of woodland, reproduced on that delicate gelatine surface. If you let in a bit of daylight your picture would be gone in a wink—the delicate gelatine would be “pied” in an attempt to reproduce whatever it faced. But you don't let in the light of day; you “fix” your bit of beautiful woodland by dipping the plate in a solution which hardens the particles of gelatine to the glass.
Henceforth the light cannot affect that gelatine; the picture you have, but life, progress, change, possibilities, are gone from the delicate gelatine forever.
But if you could live forever under a red light you would not need to “fix” your negative; it would forever retain that picture. And if you continued to live under the red light you might as well throw away your camera and plates—you could never take another picture. And you wouldn’t need such amusement either—not for long. A few days in the red light and you would be sick, and a few more days and you would go mad. Finally nature would “fix” you, and there would be no more change. (I wonder if scientists have ever tried keeping a dead form hermetically sealed under red glass. The cutting off of the actinic rays ought to arrest decay and facial change.)
You see, the actinic rays, the devil or destroying rays of the sun, are absolutely essential to all change in the photo plate. Probably the actinic rays soften and separate the atoms of the gelatine, which are immediately polarized into the form of the scene it faces in the light and heat rays. Without the softening action of the actinic rays the gelatine could not take the form of the scene it faces; and without the light and heat rays it could not “see” and “feel” the scene, even if the actinic rays were present. It takes the trinity of rays, light, heat and actinic, to produce a photograph negative.
It is said that all inventions are but clumsy copies of mechanisms found in the human body and brain; that man contains on a microscopic scale all the inventions ever thought of, or that ever will be thought of. This is another way of saying that man is the microcosm, the universe the macrocosm. Victor Hugo expresses the same truth when he says “man is an infinite little copy of God.”
The entire photographing process goes on in body and brain. Not a thought or sight but is photographed upon some tiny cell. Not a cell but may be cleaned of that impression, resensitized and given another impression.
Perhaps cells are immortal, as science claims. If so every cell must have undergone this cleaning, resen-sitizing and re-photographing process countless billions of times—with countless possibilities ahead.
And in every one of these picturings and repicturings the actinic rays are utterly indispensable. So, I cannot believe that the immortality of anything but a marble statue is dependent upon the cutting off of the sun’s actinic rays. To be sure the actinic rays cause dissolution; but dissolution merely precedes resolution; dissolution gives light and heat (wisdom and love-power) a chance to produce yet higher forms. Blessed be the destroying rays—blessed be nature’s Devil; for he but clears the way for God himself, and cleans up and rearranges the rubbish after God has passed.
But when the race was in its childhood it looked upon the work done by these actinic rays, and fear was born. It saw things die; it saw destruction in the path of the wind; and like any child it imagined evil things. It personified the destroying power as Diablos, the Devil— which means destroyer.