The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 2

Outward circumstances as physical destiny.

Physical conditions begin with birth onto the physical plane. The sex, family, race, country and environment are determined by previous thoughts.

The parents of whom one is born may be his old friends or his bitter enemies. Whether birth be attended by rejoicing or regrets, the doer comes into its appropriate body and in it has to work out old antagonisms and assist and be assisted by old friends.

Birth of the body represents a budget of debit and credit accounts of thoughts. The manner in which the budget will be dealt with depends upon the dweller in the body. Birth of a body to obscure parents in an out-of-the-way place, where the necessities of life are obtained with difficulty, birth in a notable family well stationed, birth under conditions of frugality and simplicity which from the start throw the doer on its own resources, or birth where the child has at first a life of ease and leisure, but later on in life meets with reverses of fortune which require the development of strength of character—all will provide opportunities necessary to carry on the work in the world which the dweller in the body has yet to perform. Birth into galling, uncongenial surroundings, such as obscurity, squalor, depravity or oppression is the result of past oppression of others, or of callousness to their conditions; or it is due to laziness of body and slothfulness in thinking. Such a birth may be the result of a need to live under adverse conditions, by the overcoming of which alone strength of character may be attained.

As the infant grows through childhood and develops into youth, the manner of life, habits of body, breeding and education form the physical capital with which he begins the present life. He enters into business, politics, a profession, a trade or servitude, according to the tendencies of his past and according to the class or party spirit to which he had then adhered.

All of this physical circumstance is destiny, yet not any destiny arranged for him by some arbitrary, extraneous power or by force of outside circumstances, but offered to, or made easy or forced upon him by his past thoughts.

Out of the mass of factors which the past holds ready for demonstration, those only are used which admit of being assembled and worked out in harmony with the destiny of the millions of other doers in bodies at the same time. One cannot change destiny already made; it is the field of action provided by one’s thoughts. The future may be changed by submitting to the destiny already provided, by working out duties and changing one’s thinking.

In all the varied conditions of life it is true that the environment in which one is born is due to those desires, ambitions and ideals for which he has worked in the past; or it is the result of that which he has forced upon others and which it is necessary for him to feel and understand; or it is the means for the beginning of a new line of effort to which his past actions have led.

Environment is one of the means by which physical conditions of life are brought about. Environment is not a cause in itself, it is an effect, but as an effect it is often the origin of action and tendencies. The human body, born into a certain environment, is there born because the environment furnishes the conditions through which the doer and body must work, and should learn. Environment controls animals; the human changes his environment according to his thinking and choosing. That may be limited, but every human has some choice and some power to engage in mental activities. A physical life may be led in accordance with the tendencies due to birth and environment; in that case the man’s development along those lines will go on and he will continue to be born in like environment. Or he may use up all the credit which birth and position have given him as the result of past works, and at the same time refuse to honor the claims of birth, position and race. In that case he will leave that sphere of activity.

The features and form of the body are true records of the thoughts which made them. Lines, curves and angles in their relation to one another, are like so many written words which the thoughts and actions have formed. Each line is a letter, each feature a word, each organ a sentence, each part a chapter, and all make up a story of the past, fashioned by thinking and expressed in the human body. The lines and features are changed by and with one’s efforts at thinking. The kind of body which is born is the kind the doer has determined as a result of past thoughts.