by Napoleon Hill
This is the fifth in a series of excerpts from Napoleon Hill’s Law of Success.
An After-the-Lesson Visit With the Author
When the dawn of Intelligence shall spread over the eastern horizon of human progress, and Ignorance and Superstition shall have left their last footprints on the sands of time, it will be recorded in the last chapter of the book of man’s crimes that his most grievous sin was that of Intolerance.
The bitterest intolerance grows out of religious, racial and economic prejudices and differences of opinion. How long, 0 God, until we poor mortals will understand the folly of trying to destroy one another because we are of different religious beliefs and racial tendencies?
Our allotted time on this earth is but a fleeting moment. Like a candle, we are lighted, shine for a moment, and flicker out. Why can we not learn to so live during this brief earthly visit that when the great Caravan called Death draws up and announces this visit completed we will be ready to fold our tents and silently follow out into the great unknown without fear and trembling?
I am hoping that I will find no Jews or Gentiles, Catholics or Protestants, Germans, Englishmen or Frenchmen when I shall have crossed the bar to the other side. I am hoping that I will find there only human Souls, Brothers and Sisters all, unmarked by race, creed or color, for I shall want to be done with intolerance so I may rest in peace throughout eternity.
YOU will see at the top of the previous page a picture which describes the futility of combat. The two male deer have engaged in a fight to the finish, each believing that he will be the winner. Off at the side, the female awaits the victor, little dreaming that tomorrow the bones of both combatants will be bleaching in the sun.
“Poor foolish animals,” someone will say. Perhaps, but not very different from the man family. Man engages his brothers in mortal combat because of competition. The three major forms of competition are sex, economic and religious in nature. Twenty years ago a great educational institution was doing a thriving business and rendering a worthy service to thousands of students. The two owners of the school married two beautiful and talented young women, who were especially accomplished in the art of piano playing. The two wives became involved in an argument as to which one was the more accomplished in this art. The disagreement was taken up by each of the husbands. They became bitter enemies. Now the bones of that once prosperous school “lie bleaching in the sun.”
The two bucks shown in the picture above locked horns over the attention of the doe. The two “man bucks” locked horns over the selfsame impulse.
In one of the great industrial plants two young foremen “locked horns” because one received a promotion which the other believed he should have had. For more than five years the silent undertow of hatred and intolerance showed itself. The men under each of the foremen became inoculated with the spirit of dislike which they saw cropping out in their superiors. Slowly the spirit of retaliation began to spread over the entire plant. The men became divided into little cliques. Production began to fall off. Then came financial difficulty and finally bankruptcy for the company.
Now the bones of a once prosperous business “lie bleaching in the sun,” and the two foremen and several thousand others were compelled to start all over again, in another field.
Down in the mountains of West Virginia lived two peaceful families of mountain-folk— the Hatfields and the McCoys. They had been friendly neighbors for three generations. A razor-back pig belonging to the McCoy family crawled through the fence into the Hatfield family’s cornfield. The Hatfields turned their hound loose on the pig. The McCoys retaliated by killing the dog. Then began a feud that has lasted for three generations and cost many lives of the Hatfields and McCoys.
In a fashionable suburb of Philadelphia, certain gentlemen of wealth have built their homes. In front of each house, the word “INTOLERANCE” is written. One man builds a high steel fence in front of his house. The neighbor next to him, not to be outdone, builds a fence twice as high. Another buys a new motor car and the man next door goes him one better by purchasing two new cars. One remodels his house adding a colonial style porch. The man next door adds a new porch and a Spanish style garage for good measure. The big mansion on top of the hill gives a reception which brings a long line of motor cars filled with people who have nothing in particular in common with the host. Then follows a series of “receptions” all down the “gold-coast” line, each trying to outshine all the others.
The “Mister” (but they don’t call him that in fashionable neighborhoods) goes to a business in the back seat of a Rolls Royce that is managed by a chauffeur and a footman. Why does he go to business? To make money, of course! Why does he want more money when he already has millions of dollars? So he can keep on out-doing his wealthy neighbors.
Poverty has some advantages—it never drives those who are poverty-stricken to “lock horns” in the attempt to out-poverty their neighbors.
Wherever you see men with their “horns locked” in conflict you may trace the cause of the combat to one of the three causes of intolerance—religious difference of opinion, economic competition or sex competition.
The next time you observe two men engaged in any sort of hostility toward each other, just close your eyes and THINK for a moment and you may see them, in their transformed nature, very much resembling the male deer shown in the picture above. Off at one side you may see the object of the combat—a pile of gold, a religious emblem or a female (or females).
Remember, the purpose of this essay is to tell some of the TRUTH about human nature, with the object of causing its readers to THINK. Its writer seeks no glory or praise, and likely he will receive neither in connection with this particular subject.
Andrew Carnegie and Henry C. Frick did more than any other two men to establish the steel industry. Both made millions of dollars for themselves. Came the day when economic intolerance sprang up between them. To show his contempt for Frick, Carnegie built a tall sky-scraper and named it the “Carnegie Building.” Frick retaliated by erecting a much taller building, alongside the Carnegie Building, naming it the “Frick Building.”
These two gentlemen “locked horns” in a fight to the finish, Carnegie lost his mind, and perhaps more, for all we of this world know. What Frick lost is known only to himself and the keeper of the Great Records. In memory their “bones lie bleaching in the sun” of posterity.
The steel men of today are managing things differently. Instead of locking horns they now “interlock directorates,” with the result that each is practically a solidified, strong unit of the whole industry. The steel men of today understand the difference between the meaning of the words COMPETITION and CO-OPERATION; a difference which the remainder of us would do well to understand, also.
In England the men who own the mines and those who run the labor unions “locked horns.” Had not the cooler heads unlocked those horns the bones of the British Empire (including both the owners of industry and the labor unions) should soon have lain “bleaching in the sun.” One year of open combat between the unions and the owners of industry, in Great Britain, would have meant annihilation of the British empire. The other nations of the world would have grabbed all the economic machinery now controlled by Britain.
Let the leaders of American industry and unionism not forget!
Fifteen factors enter into the attainment of SUCCESS. One of these is TOLERANCE. The other fourteen are mentioned many times in this series of lessons.
Intolerance binds man’s legs with the shackles of IGNORANCE and covers his eyes with the scales of FEAR AND SUPERSTITION. Intolerance closes `the book of knowledge and writes on the cover “Open not this book again. The last word has been herein written.”
It is not your DUTY to be tolerant; it is your PRIVILEGE!
Remember, as you read this article, that sowing the seed of INTOLERANCE is the sole and exclusive business of some men. All wars and all strikes and all other forms of human suffering bring profit to SOME. If this were not true there would be no wars or strikes or other similar forms of hostility.
In the United States today there is a well-organized system of propaganda, the object of which is to stir up strife and hostility between the owners of industries and those who work in those industries, Take another look at the picture at the beginning of this article and you may see what will happen to all who lock horns in labor disagreements, and remember that it is always the bones of the workers (and not those of the leaders of either the unions or the industries) that “lie bleaching in the sun” after the fight is over.
When you feel yourself preparing to “lock horns” with someone remember that it will be more profitable if you LOCK HANDS instead! A warm, hearty hand-shake leaves no bones bleaching in the sun.
“LOVE is the only bow on life’s dark cloud. It is the Morning and the Evening Star. It shines upon the cradle of the babe, and sheds its radiance upon the quiet tomb. It is the mother of Art, inspirer of poet, patriot and philosopher. It is the air and light of every heart, builder of every home, kindler of every fire on very hearth. It was the first to dream of immortality. It fills the world with melody, for Music is the voice of Love. Love is the magician, the enchanter, that changes worthless things to Joy, and makes right royal kings and queens of common clay. It is the perfume of the wondrous flower—the heart—and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts; but with it, earth is heaven and we are gods.” -INGERSOLL.
Cultivate LOVE for your fellow man and you will no longer want to lock horns with him in futile combat. Love makes every man his brother’s keeper.
Love, indeed, is light from heaven;
A spark of that immortal fire
With angels shared, by Allah given,
To lift from earth our low desire.
Devotion wafts the mind above,
But heaven itself descends in love;
A feeling from the Godhead caught,
To wean from self each sordid thought;
A ray of Him who form’d the whole;
A glory circling round the soul:
Source: Law of Success
Note: He later published this under a different title: “Tolerance”