Human Science

There are many keys to accomplishment in life. Vision, organization, and drive are several. Another is the capacity to be calm and equal in the face of difficult circumstances. One false step and one can fall down the latter to success. If however, we maintain the right balance in those situations, not only will we make the best of negative conditions, but life will tend to cooperate and, on its own right, right the wrong. It is the phenomenon of life response in action. You remain steady when life threatens to spiral out of control, and life rights itself as if by magic. Though it seems miraculous-like, it actually happens all of the time, just out of our "field of vision." For one famous character in fiction, that inner poise of equality attracted overwhelming good fortune -- just at a time when all seemed hopeless and doomed to failure.

In his novel Around the World in 80 Days, Jules Verne describes the wonderful adventures of Phileas Fogg and his traveling companions. In the story, Fogg has placed a wager of 40,000 pounds that he can travel around the world in 80 days. Though his adventures will provide him with astonishing experiences that take him to distant and exotic land, his central focus and all-consuming effort is directed toward winning the wager. In addition to his single-mindedness of purpose, several other personal qualities will prove invaluable to Fogg in pursuing his lofty goal.

One of those is the fact that Fogg is an eminently disciplined man -- both in his emotions and in his thoughts. He has the innate capacity to accept every difficulty and ordeal that comes his way in a calm and detached manner. No matter how problematic or even absurd the circumstances, Fogg’s emotions are always tranquil and calm, as if he were detached from the intensity of every situation. And yet, interestingly his mind is always fully engaged in the issue at hand -- enabling him to rationally and most logically deal with any and all circumstance. In addition, his creative capacities border on genius, as he is able to meld a native intelligence and a broad knowledge of the physical workings of life with insights and intuitive-like inspirations that help him solve nearly every problem.

These qualities are further enhanced by his essential kind nature -- which can be seen in the goodwill that he consistently demonstrates toward his fellow travelers, as well as the people he meets along the way. That helps help him win the respect of others at critical moments on his journey, especially important when he and his comrades face imminent danger. He also exhibits other notable faculties -- including his ability to remain silent without speaking, unless situations dictate that he do so. Together with his utter punctuality and masterful planning and organizing capacities, Phileas Fogg is the very embodiment of stability, rationality, and equality -- making him the perfect candidate to accomplish his ambitious goals.

And yet, this is an adventure story that Verne is determined to infuse with a variety of life’s exigencies. And so it turns out that at about the time Fogg first embarks on his journey, the Bank of England is robbed. Moreover, the robber himself steps forward and maliciously matches Fogg's physical description to the thief, which causes the high-level official, Mr. Fix, to believe that Fogg's wager is a pretense to elude authorities in Britain. Fix then attempts to arrest Fogg in England, but when he fails to do so is forced instead to follow him on his travels around the world.

Though Fogg has astonishing encounters in Brindisi, Suez, Bombay, Calcutta, Hong Kong, Yokohama, San Francisco, New York and Liverpool, he still has to arrive back in London before noon on the 80th day to win the wager. Though on his trip he discovers that he has been accused of thievery, he brushes it aside and instead focuses all of his energies towards winning the wager. Along the way, he utilizes his uncanny creativity, ingenuity, and scientific know-how to solve every problem that crosses his path.

However, when he finally arrives in Britain on the very last leg of the trip, he is arrested by the authorities for robbing the Bank of England. Though he manages to escape from prison, he soon realizes that he is 5 minutes too late to win the contest. However, life then responds in his favor when he discovers that he and his party have actually arrived in Britain one day early! Because he had traveled east from England in circling the globe, he and his party had actually gained a day when they returned 79, not 80 days later!

Phileas Fogg’s utter calm and equality in the face of extremely difficult circumstances attracted a magnificent response from life that provided him with his greatest moment of glory and success. It is an indicator that life on the outside responds to one’s inner efforts or capacities of higher consciousness. Maintaining a poise of inner calm and equality is one method that enables that miraculous-like dynamic. It is in essence a spiritual-like quality that tends to overcome the negative, while attracting the infinite potentials of life.

--Roy Posner 19:38, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

See also other Case Studies on Life Response

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