Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, though religion were not; but superstition dismounts all these, and erecteth an absolute monarchy in the minds of men. Therefore atheism did never perturb states; for it makes men wary of themselves, as looking no further: and we see the times inclined to atheism (as the time of Augustus Cæsar) were civil times. But superstition hath been the confusion of many states, and bringeth in a new primum mobile, that ravisheth all the spheres of government. The master of superstition is the people; and in all superstition wise men follow fools; and arguments are fitted to practice, in a reversed order.
Like most people I am smarter than some, dumber than others, skinnier than most, and fatter than a few, but none was ever more confused than I was. I flew with confusion always parallel to me, and a whole internal chase at my rear. The one matter that was not confusing to me, but seemed to escape all the others, was the fact that the only thing that was certain to become obsolete, would necessarily become wearied and worn, was the truth. I knew this in spite of the truth that I had had little truck with the truth in my life. It was not that I considered myself a resident in a den of lies, but rather that my history was shrouded and diced and soaking wet with hysteria and contradiction. Contradictions or no, my trajectory through life, though different from most, was, nonetheless, a trajectory.
You may think that you are well, but you will not secure health until you think thoughts that produce health. You may persistently affirm that you are well, but so long as you live in discord, confusion, worry, fear and other wrong states of mind, you will be sick; that is, you will be as you think and not what you think you are. You may state health in your thought, but if you give worry, fear and discord to that thought, your thinking will produce discord. It is not what we state in our thoughts, but what we give to our thoughts that determine results.
We live through myriads of seconds, yet it is always one, just one, that casts our entire inner world into turmoil, the second when (as Stendhal has described it) the internal inflorescence, already steeped in every kind of fluid, condenses and crystallizes—a magical second, like the moment of generation, and like that moment concealed in the warm interior of the individual life, invisible, untouchable, beyond the reach of feeling, a secret experienced alone. No algebra of the mind can calculate it, no alchemy of premonition divine it, and it can seldom perceive itself.