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How the Space Age Degenerates Intelligence

Dr. Alexis Carrel, surgeon, scientist, member of the Rockefeller Institute, winner of the Noble Prize in 1912 for his success in suturing blood vessels and the transplanting of organs, co-discover of the famous Carrel-Dakin solution which made gangrene virtually unknown in World War I and thus saved tens of thousands of lives, said in his book, Man, The Unknown:

“Modern civilization seems to be incapable of producing people endowed with imagination, intelligence and courage. In practically every country there is a decrease in the intellectual and moral caliber of those who carry the responsibility of public affairs. The education dispensed by schools and universities consists chiefly in a training of the memory and of the muscles, in certain social manners, in a worship of athletics. Are such disciplines really suitable for modern men who need, above all other things, moral courage and endurance!” Those statements are truer now than when Dr. Carrel wrote the book in the early 1930s. Now our brightest and best students have shown an average drop in SAT scores since the early 1970s. This controversy abounds in speculative arguments blame television, permissiveness and educational teaching methods.

But the cause of this mental weakness is not difficult to discern. The pioneers who settled our country were many-sided men --- we are not. They were at once hunters, trappers, explorers, fighters, teamsters, ship or canoe builders, horsemen, wheelwrights, carpenters, cabinetmakers, well drillers, masons, farmers, blacksmiths, traders, cooks -- all these, and more, “specialized” trades and abilities combined in single individuals! No wonder they were possessed of “mental equilibrium, nervous stability”, and other attributes mentioned by Dr. Carrel! They were well balanced because their talents were well rounded. They had nervous stability because they had serene self-confidence based on a knowledge of their ability to cope with any problem that might arise in their world. They had sound judgment, for the most part, because their minds were expanded, embraced many branches of lore and learning, were capable in thinking on many varied planes.

And so with the early merchant. He was at once his own architect, store designer, buyer, stockkeeper, advertising manager, salesman, bookkeeper, and financial wizard. The doctor of only a generation ago was an obstetrician, gynecologists, dentist, opthalmologist, throat specialist --- in short, a “general practitioner” in all branches of surgery and medicine.

Today, we have more intelligent exploration, more intelligent farming, better architecture, advertising, accounting, obstetrics, dentistry and surgery. But what Man as a whole has gained, man as an INDIVIDUAL --- you and your family and your employer and your employees --- has lost. You have lost the capacity for broad-gauge reasoning. You are incapable, at present, of viewing many conflicting factors simultaneously --- weighing them side by side at one and the same time --- balancing them, one against another, concurrently --- reaching almost instantaneously a decision which you know, in the depths of your being, is the correct decision and acting upon it promptly with the courage that comes with such conviction.

By relieving man of the necessity for thinking, except within the exceedingly narrow scope of whatever he has chosen as his life work, this Space Age has dulled and drugged the greater part of Man’s mind. How many men in this day of automobiles could even harness a horse, to say nothing of caring for it? Why, the majority of them do not understand even the automobiles they drive! The workers themselves, who help build our cars by inserting and securing bolt No. 146, do not understand carburation, ignition, or the principles of the transmission and differential. We no longer train our minds to carry thoughts what we wish to impart to our friends when we next meet them. If the thoughts are important, we reach for a phone or send a letter. If they are relatively unimportant, we forget them. Machines and computers have become Masters, and Minds are deteriorating because of ever-decreasing opportunities, and need for, their use!

That is why your mind needs “limbering up”. The very elementary mental gymnastics that I will give you at the start may seem useless almost to the point of foolishness, but they are like the preliminary “warming up” exercises with which athletes indulge before beginning a game. They are simple, easy to do and apparently without meaning. However, they are but the start. As your mind gains flexibility, really “warms” to its task, I shall take you farther and farther until you are performing feats that will astound your friends --- and which will reflect themselves in your increased business ability and earning power.

Exercise I:

Although this is the simplest of my twelve exercises, it is by far the most important, for it is upon this exercise that all subsequent instructions are based. Now, too, is the time for you to acquire the proper habit of study. “Well begun is half done,” you know, and this exercise --- comprising three separate mental drills --- affords you the opportunity to establish your earnestness, punctuality and continuity of effort. It is designed to train you to apply yourself to a mastery of Multiple Mentalism and to give you a firm foundation of thought application upon which the rest of the lessons in this course depend.

And right here I want to emphasize what will be repeated time and again throughout the course --- that you must not copy this exercise, but must work from memory alone! In this way, and ONLY in this way, will you be able to train your mind to do things for you, when and as you want them done! It is work --- but it is fun too. It takes time --- but it is worth it! And the results will seem nothing less than miraculous!

First: This the English alphabet:


You were taught to memorize that in the first grade. Now, with pencil and paper, BUT WITHOUT LOOKING AT IT EVEN ONCE. write the alphabet backwards FIFTY TIMES:


The first time will be difficult and you may make mistakes. But don’t look, nor copy, nor take too long to “think it out.” Write it backwards, at a fairly even speed, regardless of how slow that speed may be, from MEMORY. This is the first training for your mind. In ten or twenty attempts you will be able to write the alphabet backwards easily. Do it fifty times and you will have mastered it perfectly.

Second: I assume that you now have mastered the alphabet backwards. If you have not, do not stop at the fifty times you have written it, but continue writing it from memory until you have mastered it. Then transpose in 1-3 2-4 order the letters of the alphabet from A to Z, as follows:

A C B D, E G F H, I K J L, M O N P, Q S R T, U W V X, (Y Z),

which are left over from the six combinations of four letters each. Do this FIFTY times from memory. It will be by no means easy the first few times, but you will gain accuracy quickly. However, you will profit nothing if you look at the letters of the alphabet in order to copy the exercise. Its value lies in the training given you by breaking up the sequence of letters in YOUR MIND, without the help of your eyes. You can readily understand how this will lead to mental agility in grasping and revolving business problems in your mind. Therefore, do this exercise AT LEAST fifty times, or as many more times as may be necessary for you to be able to do it quickly and accurately.

Third: In the same way, transpose the letters of the alphabet FIFTY times, in the order of 1-26, 2-25, 3-24, 4-23, 5-22, etc.; the first 13 letters (A to M, inclusive) in their regular order; the last 13 (Z to N, inclusive) backwards; intermingling the two halves of the alphabet thus:


Do this also from MEMORY. Do not copy or look at the alphabet. And when you are doing this exercise, realizing that you are doing two things at once in your mind. You are writing the first half of the alphabet in its usual sequence, and the last thirteen letters in reverse order. You are making your brain do something for you that it never did before. It is performing a dual operation. When you have done this third part of Exercise I fifty times, entirely from memory, you will have demonstrated that you can make your mind really work for you with a nimbleness heretofore unrealized!

Don’t forget that you cheat only yourself --- not anyone else --- of you fail to perform these mental gymnastics from memory and if you fail to send ONE HOUR A DAY on the exercises.

And now, I am going to put you on your honor. For your own sake, master this exercise -- in all its three parts -- before you go on to Chapter II and its accompanying exercise. Each chapter and “drill” in this course is based on all that goes before it. Your success with the second lesson depends on your mastery of the first. Be conscientious --- be fair to yourself --- and spend all the time you need to do each exercise quickly, accurately and easily. The rewards will delight you!


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