Saturday 27 August 2016

Unhelpful Advice 6

Happiness is all in the mind? It's not a new idea - it goes back to Mary Baker Eddy (pictured), founder of the Christian Scientists, and her mentor Phineas Quimby. And it's rot.

What a Young Girl Ought to Know (Mary Wood-Allen 1905)

You can change your feelings by changing the expression of your face.

The habit of standing on one leg will not only cause the body to grow out of shape, but it causes the face to become one-sided.

It doesn't look well to see girls and women kissing each other in public places.

To be interested in home duties and in nature is the safest pleasure for the young girl. It diverts her mind from herself, and so she forgets the new emotions that come as a part of her development.

(Wood-Allen also says that young girls ought to interest themselves in nature rather than reading novels, or thinking they ought to have “beaux”. Which seems odd at a time when marriage was many women’s only choice.)

I read a poem once that said "Thoughts are things," and it would really seem as if it were true, wouldn't it. Our thoughts, Dr. Gates says, create actual substances in our blood, and it seems as if they go out from us and surround us with an atmosphere that is felt by others. We clothe ourselves in a garment of thought, and people recognize this and know us by our thought-clothing.

(Elmer Gates was an inventor whose ideas about psychology were taken up and probably misinterpreted by Napoleon Hill who wrote Think and Grow Rich in 1937 – the subconscious, autosuggestion, creative imagination. Now “visualisation” – there’s nothing new under the sun.)

Positive affirmations said out aloud manifest. (@MedeaHecate)

The Girl's Own magazine was equally repressive:

You must neither trouble others, nor be troubled in yourself, about anything… 

Never allow yourself to dwell on fancied grievances, slights, unkind words or looks. (How do you know they’re “fancied” slights etc? Perhaps I’ll dish out some unkind words and looks of my own – thanks for the tip.)

The mind is everything. What you think you become. (“Buddha”)

We are the product of our thoughts. (Scottie Waves Actually we are the product of the society we live in, the school we go to, the propaganda our parents and teachers stuff our head with, the newspapers we read, the opinions of our friends, the prevailing religion, fashion, economic situation...)

What consumes your mind, controls your life. (Your life may be controlled by a coercive partner, a punitive boarding school, a totalitarian government, an entitled overclass, a war, a puritanical religion...)

More here, and links to the rest.


  1. There was all that Coue stuff wasn't there? Every day in every way I get better and better. Christie mentions it I think.
    Still thinking about the disadvantages of standing on one leg.