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Mental Tidal Waves

"We know how great waves of feeling spread over a town, city, or county,
sweeping people off their feet, and causing them to lose their balance.
Great waves of political enthusiasm, or war-spirit or prejudice for or
against certain people, or groups of people, sweep over places and cause
men to act in a manner which they afterward often regret when they come
to themselves and consider the matter in the light of cold reason.
People are swayed by demagogues or magnetic leaders who wish to capture
their votes or patronage; and they are often led into acts of mob
violence, or similar atrocities, by yielding to these waves of
contagious thought. On the other hand, we know equally well how great
waves of religious emotion spread out over the community upon the
occasion of some great 'revival' excitement or religious fervor."

Immunity to Thought Influences

Persons becoming acquainted for the first time with the above recited
facts of mental vibrations, mental currents, mental waves, and mental
contagion, frequently raise the objection that if all this be true, why
are we not constantly swept off of our feet by these great waves of
mental vibrations, whereas, in fact, we are seldom or never aware of
them? The question is a natural one, and is capable of a satisfactory
answer. In the first place, many of these mental currents NEUTRALIZE
each other, and thus both cease to exert any marked effect. And again,
most persons are really "immune" to most of the thought waves reaching
them, this by reason of the protective resistive power bestowed by
Nature, and acquired during the evolution of the race.

To understand this, we have but to think of our immunity to the great
majority of sounds and sights on the streets of a busy city. On a busy
street corner, we are assailed by an infinitude of sounds and
sights--but we hear but few of these, and see still fewer. The rest of
these impressions are lost to us, although we have ears to hear and eyes
to see. We hear and see only those impressions which are strong enough
to awaken our ATTENTION. In the same way we fail to perceive the
numerous thought vibrations and mental currents constantly surrounding
us, and our attention is attracted and awakened by those sufficiently
strong and vigorous to awaken our attention. The analogy is a very close
one, and the understanding of one set of phenomena gives us the key to
the other.

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