I remember once hearing a bright woman say that when there was anything difficult to decide in her life she stepped aside and let the opposing elements fight it out within her. Presumably she herself threw in a little help on one side or the other which really decided the battle. But the help was given from a clear standpoint, not from a brain entirely befogged in the thick of the fight
Whatever form problems may take, however important they may seem, when they attack tired nerves they must be let alone. A good way is to go out into the open air and so identify one’s self with Nature that one is drawn away in spite of one’s self. A big wind will sometimes blow a brain clear of nervous problems in a very little while if we let it have its will. Another way out is to interest one’s self in some game or other amusement, or to get a healthy interest in other people’s affairs, and help where we can.
Each individual can find his own favorite escape. Of course we should never shirk a problem that must be decided, but let us always wait a reasonable time for it to decide itself first. The solving that is done for us is invariably better and clearer than any we could do for ourselves.
It will be curious, too, to see how many apparently serious problems, relieved of the importance given them by a strained nervous system, are recognized to be nothing at all. They fairly dissolve themselves and disappear.
The line has not been clearly drawn, either in general or by individuals, between true civilization and the various perversions of the civilizing process. This is mainly because we do not fairly face the fact that the process of civilization is entirely according to Nature, and that the perversions which purport to be a direct outcome of civilization are, in point of fact, contradictions or artificialities which are simply a going-over into barbarism, just as too far east is west.
If you suggest “Nature” in habits and customs to most men nowadays, they at once interpret you to mean “beastly,” although they would never use the word.
It is natural to a beast to be beastly: he could not be anything else; and the true order of his life as a beast is to be respected. It is natural to a man to govern himself, as he possesses the power of distinguishing and choosing, With all the senses and passions much keener, and in their possibilities many degrees finer, than the beasts, he has this governing power, which makes his whole nervous system his servant just in so far as through this servant he loyally obeys his own natural laws. A man in building a bridge could never complain when he recognized that it was his obedience to the laws of mechanics which enabled him to build the bridge, and that he never could have arbitrarily arranged laws that would make the bridge stand. In the same way, one who has come to even a slight recognition of the laws that enable him to be naturally civilized and not barbarously so, steadily gains, not only a realization of the absolute futility of resisting the laws, but a growing respect and affection for them.