This subtle force of the repeated suggestion overcomes our reason, acting directly on our emotions and our feelings, finally penetrating to the very depths of our subconscious minds. This is the basic principle of all successful advertising—the continued and repeated suggestion that first makes you believe, after which you are eager to buy. In recent years we have enjoyed a vitamin spree.
For centuries tomatoes were looked upon as poisonous. People dared not eat them until some fearless person tried them and lived. Today millions of people eat tomatoes, not knowing that they were considered unfit for human consumption. Conversely, the lowly spinach nearly went into the garbage pail after the United States Government declared that it did not contain the food values attributed to it for decades. Millions believed this and refused to honor Popeye’s favorite dish any longer.
Clearly, the founders of all great religious movements knew much about the power of the repeated suggestion and gained far-reaching results with it. Religious teachings have been hammered into us from birth, into our mothers and fathers before us and into their parents and their parents before them.
There’s certainly white magic in that kind of believing.
Such statements as “What we don’t know won’t hurt us” and ‘Ignorance is bliss” take on greater significance when you realize that only the things you become conscious of can harm or bother you. We have all heard the story of the man who didn’t know it couldn’t be done and went ahead and did it.
Psychologists tell us that as babies we have only two fears: the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. All of our other fears are passed on to us or develop as a result of our experiences; they come from what we are taught or what we hear and see.
I like to think of men and women as staunch oak trees that can stand firm amid the many crosscurrents of thought that whirl around them. But far too many people are like saplings that, swayed by every little breeze, ultimately grow in the direction of some strong wind of thought that blows against them.
The Bible is filled with examples of the power of thought and suggestion. Read Genesis, Chapter 30, verses 36 to 43, and you’ll learn that even Jacob knew their power. The Bible tells how he developed spotted and speckled cattle, sheep, and goats by placing rods from trees, partially stripping them of their bark so they would appear spotted and marked, in the watering troughs where the animals came to drink. As you may have guessed, the flocks conceived before the spotted rods and brought forth cattle, “ring-straked, speckled, and spotted.” (And incidentally, Jacob waxed exceedingly rich.)
Moses, too, was a master at suggestion. For forty years he used it on the Israelites, and it took them to the promised land of milk and honey. David, following the suggestive forces operating on him, slew the mighty, heavily armed Goliath with a pebble from a slingshot.
Joan of Arc, the frail little Maid of Orl