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Attention Readers:

Ongoing reading:
Many reviews are pending. Presently attempting to kindle the thoughts as penned by Satyandra Das Gupta and S. Radhakrishnan.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mental Power: The Secret of Mental Magic by W. W. Atkinson

Mental Power: The Secret of Mental Magic by W. W. Atkinson

The description is quite long.

I have called this blog as a review of the books which I have read. But, I have repeatedly stated that I write what I want to write. In between these two motives, I exercise a freedom. However, the readers may like or dislike it. I may write a piece which may be as long as the book. You will complain that your essays are longer than the book. You have called your blog a review of a book. You are cheating us. You are wasting our time and money. It is not fair.

Well, I will not apologise. I will again say that I have read the book. Now, I write what I want to write. I will not say that Take it or Leave it. I just invite you to experience it in order to know that you will experience a similar thing if you read this book.

In case of the book by W. W. Atkinson titled "Mental Power: The Secret of Mental Magic", I would like to make some comments.

The first comment is as follows.

I say it with confidence that it is a book of Motivational reading. What is Motivational reading? I do not know. Well, the general category which is popular for such a kind of books is "self improvement book".

The way I have written the above paragraph, it may convey the impression, that I am not sure about what I have to say. Secondly, it may happen, that someone also read this book and then after that, he may comment on my observations on this book that Mr. Blogger you do not have well developed intellectual edifice. Therefore, you are not sure of the category of this book. It is a very effective book on the method of use of the Mind. One can learn many truths of the methods of use of Mind. The author of the book has given a practical, pragmatic and an effective methods to raise your Mind to the optimum level.

I continue to present my observations and impressions on the content of the book and now I again shift to another set of comments.

General Comments:

Suppose you imagine and desire a thing. You desire such a thing which seems unachievable or you just do not have the right idea or plan to work for it. Now, at such a stage, you come across a person or book, who or which, propose to you that they would get it for you. You will listen to them. You may not understand whatsoever they bring before you but you persist with the pursuit. If it is allowed, then it can be said, that you pretend to understand them.

Take another case. You are skeptical. Someone proposes to you that you can do wonders if you follow him. You listen to him. You read his book. You do not come to a lesson for sometime wherein those practical and workable acts are clearly spelt out which may bring the action on the ground or give to some effective demonstration and presentation. But, the author continues to give a fresh theory. He creates his own terms and concepts. He continues to dismantle some established terminology. What will you do? Quit.

I have given two comments by now. Now, here is the third one. I believe that you will accept a proposition that, within ones own heart, everyone desires power. If you can develop a weapon (here, in this case, it is the mind, a thing which is with you, in your possession and under your exclusive ownership.) with which you will control others then you would definitely like to acquire it. But, you will definitely demand that you must see something real. If someone suggests to you that he will help you to develop such a weapon, then you may continue to listen to him and read his book. You will demand that something real should come out. It is your mind. You want to convert it into a miraculous weapon. You will persist. But, you must see some real thing.

Now, let me take up the fourth comment. I believe that it is wrong to suggest or sell a thing which you do not possess. A salesman does such a thing. He sells a thing which he actually does not possess or own. It is more true in case of an agent of insurance products. He persists with an art to create a sale.

While reading the book, I have felt that all the four points given above, were energised and active from time to time.

Apart from that, I would like to present the following views in reference to the book in question.

I adopt the method of Atkison in order to suggest you my secret doctrine. It is as follows.

Have you ever watched a small child? The children have an impressionable and sensitive mind. They easily accept and believe spectacular suggestions. You show them the movies of Batman, Spiderman and Superman. They start behaving like those characters. They adopt their gestures. The suggestion of superhuman powers is readily grabbed by these young impressionist brains. Do you think that they are acquiring right mental energies? I will not answer it.

Even the grown up people have impressionist mind. Your lifelong learnings and experiences are very important. The strength of your culture is very important. The impressionist mind tends to believe the unbelievable things. Your learnings and culture have a role to play in such a response.

It is generally suggested that one should read self-improvement books. As far as the information with me goes, it is believed that even in big companies, the self-improvement and motivational sessions are organised. But they are generally conducted by experienced psychologists.

I do not feel ashamed in accepting it that at present, I am infatuated by the writings of W. W. Atkinson. I wait for evening hours to find time to read his books. I wait for sundays or holidays to write about his books. I snatch time from my daily routine to read his writings. His writings, his phrases, his explanations are quite soothing to me. But, I have not found effective results from the tasks which he has suggested. It is not meant for this particular book. I am including all the books which I have read by now. I accept that I have not even practised them seriously and with conviction. It may also be possible that I am not all that intellectually developed and intelligent to put his suggestions to practice. I am sceptical about his claims on a different aspect of psychology and spiritual aspects. There is a reason behind it. When he talks about magneto-electric personality, when he forges terms, when he enunciates theories of two poles of mind like one is Desire Force pole and other is Will Power force; the poles similar to electric points on electric batteries, when he creates parallel with the laws of physics and evolution, when he boasts about the efficacy, authenticity, scientific validity and transcendental truths as discovered by him and only him, I lose conviction in believing and then following his clues and suggestions. He appropriates a role of a teacher for himself and considers you as his student. He writes as if he is talking in a class to freshers in a course. This form of narration somewhere turns you away from him.

I study and teach history. I follow the views of Collingwood wherein he says that thought can be recreated. I know the objections of E. H. Carr against his theory. This is not the place to discuss that issue here. But, I believe in Collingwood and K. K. Dutta. These scholars said that while reading history, a historian was expected to use imagination for recreating the thought. No doubt, this criterion goes against the theory of evolution and selection of Charles Darwin. It is because of that E. H. Carr had criticised R. G. Collingwood. While using imagination, a historian is expected to develop a psychological understanding. Therefore, I read such topics as it is given in many titles of W. W. Atkinson. However, when I think that even general public will also read such thing, then I start wondering about the impact which it will leave on them. On the Internet, it is mentioned at many places that the writings of W. W. Atkinson are still popular and his works are republished again and again. It is only because of such a reason, even I have come across it. There, I become somewhat doubtful about the efficacy of such titles. I fear that it may induce illusions and finally dissatisfaction. He keeps on invoking the theory of secrets of Eastern Philosophy and Hindu literature. I do not know, how it will be creating a distorted picture about all of it in the minds of people who do not have enough chance and occasion to make efforts to get to the actual facts.

The Chapter Making of W. W. Atkinson in Mental Power

This is really a long book. This is a book with 29 chapters.

In the book, he refers to Hindu literature. Which is that Hindu literature? As I have already pointed out, that he keeps on referring to Hindu literature but he never tells the name of the author and title to which he is referring. Then he builds a theory. He breaks that theory and the concepts involved in it into numerous chapters and thus the book is written. Many of the concepts are his own creation. You may call it a work of creativity. No doubt, he is a good writer.

From Chapter I to Chapter V, which include The Mental Dynamo, The Nature of Mind Power, The Mentative Induction, Mental Magic in Animal Life and Mental Magic in Human life, virtually make a single whole. He seems to have a special infatuation for snakes. He has described a whole chapter around snakes. It is in the chapter Mental Magic in Animal life. He should have called it as, "A Hunter with the Weapon of Mind". In this set, he is building the background on which he then goes to build the whole edifice of his book. All my comments are actually related to this strategy. However, if you sustain your interest and curiosity up to Chapter 5, then only, you will continue. Otherwise, you will discontinue this book.

From Chapter VI to Chapter XI, one may find a different set of narration. He writes an imaginary story in chapter VII, titled Desire and Will in form of a fable. This set of chapters is a tricky one. It may amuse you because of different factors. In writing of Atkinson, you find a mixture of arguments and I will elaborate on it in coming paragraphs. He is a product of his time, society and education. He believes in mysticism. He believes in science. He had read European literature. He has read logic and law. He knows about American literature. He is a product of historic changes taking place in America. The mixture of these factors is fully revealed in his writings. You should know the America of the earlier decades of the twentieth century in order to appreciate and understand the contents of these chapters.

Mental Atmosphere, the title of Chapter XII is spread over to Chapter XIII titled Channels of Influence, and to Chapter XIV and XV titled Instruments of Expression and Mentative Instruments respectively. After that, Mental Suggestion that is Chapter XVI is spread over to four kinds of Suggestion that is explained in Chapter XVII and then finally Chapter XVIII – How Suggestion is Used. They are the work of his imagination at its best. You may approve of it. But, I have found it a mixture of arguments. However, I will not call it a fallacy of multiple arguments.

Chapter XXI is titled The Ocean of Mind Power. I have given it an individual standing. In this chapter, he is elaborating on his main postulate of Two Poles of Mind viz. Will Power and Desire Force. He is a master of his art. He has given a theory. Then in fifteen chapters, he built a justification for that and now he is announcing his success. However, the whole explanation displays a picture of a construction undertaken by an imaginative mind. If you reach here, then there is every possibility, that, you have become his student.

Chapter XIX and XX are a study in contrast. He is very critical of Hindu pretentions. I do not believe that he had ever visited India. In one book, that is on Telepathy, he had given a distorted version on 1857 event in India. (The American Civil War took place in 1860.) In this very set, he is also highly appreciative of Hindu achievements. His admiration for that race is reflected in succeeding chapters. How is it so?

Chapter XXII titled A Glimpse of the Occult World also deserves a separate place. The content of this chapter is beyond the grasp of a reader like me. The dimension which are described in here, are beyond my knowledge, experience and visualization.

I will call it a work of imaginative mind and if it is allowed, then it is a product of a weird mind. He claims to know the ultimate secret in the chapter on the Occult World. He invites you as your student and expresses a desire to share with you all the highest secrets of Occult. He is sympathetic with you because he already knows that it is beyond your capabilities and experience to perceive and imbibe the content of occult secrets. Hence, he is ready to give you only a glimpse of it. It is up to you to receive it or reject it. It is not fair.

Chapter XXIV has a title which I am unable to understand that how he has called it an Indirect Influence. The core topic of this chapter is the concept of "Visualization". The author begins with his own classification and then writes a panegyric on Visualization.

The idea of Visualization deserves a separate treatment. It should have been placed in an earlier location. The book would have been a different thing if he had talked about visualization along with Desire Force and Will Force Poles theory.

From Chapter XXV to Chapter XXVII, form a single set. They are not his own writings. This is what I have felt. He had borrowed it from some published source. But he kept on emphasizing in the chapters that they were the result of his years of experience, learning based on empirical observations and experimentation. When you end the book with Chapter XXIX, titled Mind Building, you may learn on your own the actual working of the author. This chapter is totally different in style from his usual style. The difference is quite loud and evident. This chapter is based on Phrenology. This field of study is now abandoned and redundant. Here, you will find a list of personality traits which are now studied by psychologists with scientific methods. In their methods, Phrenology does not find any place.

I would like to write few things more. If you have read it up to this point, then kindly persist and continue to the end.

I do not know the actual background of W. W. Atkinson. I have read some information on his background on the Internet. But, I have not found any scholarly work on him. In a case of one website, I have found that a scholar with a university has provided the collection of his work on a website. His site is associated with the university where he works. However, I have written on Atkinson under the influence to which I am exposed through reading his writings.

Keeping in view the above mentioned factor, I would like to present some views. When you come across some new information and explanation, it is your responsibility to use your discrimination intellect to decide on the nature, authenticity and credibility of the information or the data which you have gathered. It is easy to say it than to practice. For that, you must have developed the ability of learning. You must have grown from the stage of a receiver of information to the stage of a learner and thinker. If your writer knows his job well, you will get influenced. The result will be that you approve the content. But, if you become critical, then you earn a better credit. If there is something to appreciate then appreciate. However, it is more beneficial if you try to question it and reconsider it in your contemplation and reflection. If you have developed or learned to explore such an ability of your brain and are in a position of exploring such an ability of the brain, then you may learn that there are some gaps in the provided information and the data. This thing happens a lot while reading the works of W. W. Atkinson. He can create chapters. He writes well. But, like a Marxist scholar, he keeps on shifting his parameters. Like a magician, such scholars play with illusions and play of hidden cards and devices. They may make use of conceit, sleight of hands, and play of expressions and eyes and in a case of a writer like W. W. Atkinson, the play of arguments. You may find it in abundance in the writings of W. W. Atkinson.

W. W. Atkinson begins with some esoteric or mystic assertions. He, then, tries to claim that it can be scientifically proved. Then, he again shifts to mysticism and suddenly to psychology. From psychology, he will shift to general philosophy or testimonies. He is good in writing and he manages this affair well. You read and he plays his game. This his style. In this book, he has adopted another device. He has forged new terms and concepts. Thus, a mixture is assembled.

In the case of his other writings, he has mainly referred to Eastern Philosophies or Yogic Philosophies. He has presented his material with a motive of presenting it to the American world. He has avoided picking and using names from Sanskrit literature. Along with this, he has synchronized his explanation with the scientific knowledge which he possessed and in form, in which, it was popular during his lifetime.

It is suggested somewhere on the Internet itself, that he had done all his writings under some possessive spirit. But, here, in the case of this title, a real W. W. Atkinson, is writing for his readers. He readily uses the phrases like, 'I Say', 'I Propound' or 'I assure you' or 'I am the first person to tell such a thing' and so on.

It is difficult to digest and accept many of his claims. In first five chapters of this book, he is virtually constructing a theory. He constructs many phrases. He claims that he is the first person to use the word 'mentation', 'telementation' in place of telepathy and 'Desire Force'.

It is a normal feature in his writings that he tries to give a scientific justification to his explanation. In this book, he constructed a theory. He is very confident about the discovery or you may say, invention, of his theory. He is convinced that his theory would be accepted along with other established theories like that of Newton. He declares, while synchronising it with the contemporary progress in electricity field, that there are two poles in your mind. One is Desire Force Pole which attracts and the other is Will Power Force, that radiates. The Desire Force Pole receives and attracts and Will Power Pole emits and influence. I am really impressed by his writing skills. When I continued my reading from chapter to chapter, and these two poles were mentioned again and again, I started visualizing that I had two horns on my head. One horn was a Desire Pole and the other was a Will Pole. Will anyone like to experience this visualization?

While reading his book and also his other writings, I observe that he is quoting numerous scholars and thinkers from Europe. He was living and writing when American history had witnessed its Gilded Age, the Populist and Progressive Movements. It was a period in which, journalism was progressing to its new heights. It was a period dominated by Carnegie, J. J. Adams, Tesla, Davis and Harley, Morgan Stanely, Wright Brothers, Ford and such many other finance and science giants. But, I do not find any direct reference to them in his writings. Not at least, up to now thus far, when I have already read his ten books.

At one place, he has written, while giving instructions on how to conduct the mental healing, that readers should not take his instructions lightly because of their simplicity or ordinary structure. It suggests that even he knew that some readers would not take his writings seriously because of the of the overall nature of his writings. It is an important point to observe. Atkinson knew the skill of writing. You can read his book and get attracted towards it. How far you will accept whatsoever he claims in his writings, it all depends on your learning and experiences. For me, as I have already written, that is a mixture of scientific explanation, imaginary constructs and skilful art of suggestion. He has written a book wherein he has described the art of suggestion and it can be read in the title, 'The Subconscious and Superconsciousness' 'Suggestion and Auto-Suggestion'. He is a great artist of Suggestion.  

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