The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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138         THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
self had he chosen to do so, the divine voice was silent. Only once did it interpose its warning, and that was to prevent him from preparing a speech which might have saved him from the hemlock.
The explanation of this failure may be found in the experience of all mankind. This instinctive clinging to life weakens with advancing years, and appears to cease altogether the moment a man's career of usefulness in life has ended. This is the experience of every-day life. Men grow rich, and in the full vigor of a green old age retire from business, hoping to enjoy many years of rest. The result is, generally, death in a very short time. An old man thrown out of employment, with nothing to hope for in the future, lies down and dies. Another, losing his aged companion, follows within a few days or weeks. Another lives only to see his children married and settled, and when that is accomplished, cheerfully lets go his hold on life. In fact, it seems to be as much an instinct to die, when one's usefulness is ended, as to cling to life as long as there is something to do to contribute to the general welfare.
Socrates was an old man. He had lived a long and useful life, but his career of usefulness was ended; for the authorities of the State had decided that his teachings were impious, and corrupting to' youth. Had he lived, it would have been at the price of dishonor, his compensation a miserable old age. Besides, his doctrine that death is not an evil, together with his lofty sentiments regarding the duty of the citizen to the commonwealth, a duty which he maintained could be performed in his case only by submitting to its decrees and carrying into execution its judgments, constituted a potential element of auto-suggestion which must be considered in estimating the psychological features of his case. He felt that the principles of his whole life would be violated by any attempt to escape or evade the penalty which had been decreed against him; and he spent his last hours in an effort to convince his friends that the death of the body is