There is a saying, whose origin is dim through lapse of time, to the effect that "Knowledge is power." Within well-defined limits this is a verity. If behind the knowledge lies the requisite energy to realize its benefits, then only is it a true saying.
In order to exercise command over nature and her forces, the would-be operator must have perfect comprehension of the natural laws involved. It is the degree of attainment in this knowledge which marks the less or greater ability of the performer, and those who have acquired the profoundest understanding of the Law (Lex Magnum) are masters whose powers seem so marvelous as to be magical. Uninitiated minds are absolutely alarmed by their incomprehensible manifestations. On every side of me when I came from my mountain home to my metropolitan abode I found inexplicable wonders, but natural dignity saved me from appearing ignorant. Little by little was I to acquire familiarity with my environment, and thereby gain a knowledge of the things which have been referred to since I first mentioned the exchange of country life for urban surroundings. But these attainments of pleasing authority over nature demanded a special course. That course of study had not yet been determined upon by me, prior to my introduction to the city, for it seemed that the part of wisdom was to concentrate my energies upon specialties and not to scatter force by attempting generalities. To this end I determined to live for a more or less extended period without seeking admission to the Xioquithlon, and resolved to devote the interim to observation. I had been an extensive reader of books, which I obtained from the public library in the district where my mountain home had been. From these I had gained no inconsiderable understanding of social polity. The fact that there were but ninety-one elective offices in the gift of the people, while there were almost three hundred millions of Poseidi in Atl and her colonies, and according to a late census which I had seen, thirty-seven, nearly thirty-eight, millions of electors held First Degree diplomas, thus entitling them to hold elective offices, disposed me to think it extremely improbable that such a high preferment would ever fall to my lot. But if I could scarcely expect a ministerial office, I yet felt that I might, if I fitted myself therefor by gaining a prime diploma, attain to a high political level and hold an
appointive position, and some of these were almost equally as honorable as a councilorship. What special subjects should I concentrate Upon? Geological research was very attractive to me, and by its numerous branches offered wide and alluring fields of opportunity. Then again, philology was almost as much so; my ability to acquire foreign languages was not inconsiderable, as I had found from studying a little volume descriptive of a land known as Suernis, a strange country, and of the language of which many examples were given; these I had without effort learned perfectly from once reading.
Several months of city residence at length found me determined to acquire all the geological knowledge that I could, for it was a study which I believed Incal had directed me to make, as also a knowledge of mines and of practical mineralogy. As co-efficients I purposed thoroughly to ground myself in synthetic and analytical literature, not alone of my native Poseid, but also that of the Suerni and Necropanic languages. Thus have I named the three greatest nations of pre-Noachian (pre-Nepthian) times. One of these nations was effaced from the earth, but the other two have, after terrible vicissitudes, survived till today; of them I will speak later.
The reasons which induced me to choose the curriculum which I have mentioned were, that as a geologist and coordinate scientist I hoped to make new discoveries of value, and to place them in book form before the world, at least before the Poseid peoples, who esteemed themselves most of the world, and end scarcely to be attained otherwise than by this course of study. The influence which I hoped to gain through such publications might lead to my becoming Superintendent-General of Mines, a political place not second to any other appointive office. There certainly would be other studies required of me if I entered the race for a prime diploma, but the ones cited were the most agreeable and would constitute my chief aspiration. As an aside, I may remark that those studies then selected, and afterwards mastered, led my nature to assume a bent which resulted, not many yews ago, in my becoming
a mine-owner in the State of California-and a successful one, too. It so much more firmly fixed my linguistic leanings that, while a citizen of the United States of America, I was a master not alone of my native tongue, but also of thirteen other modern languages, such as French, German and Spanish, Chinese, several dialectal varieties of Hindustanie, and Sanskrit as a sort, of mental relaxation. Please not to regard this confession as due to boastfulness; it is not. I but make it in order to show thee, my friend, that thine own powers are not matters of heritage only, but recollected acquirements from some one, or it may be of all of thy past lives; also to give thee a hint of profit, to wit: that studies to-day undertaken, no matter how near to the evening of thy days, will surely bear fruit, not alone in thy present earth life, but in the experiences of subsequent incarnations also. We see with all we have seen, we do with all we have done, and we think with all we have thought. Verbum sat sapienti.
In the next chapter I purpose devoting some pages to a consideration of physical science, as understood by the Poseidi; more especially will I refer to the prime principles upon which it was based, inasmuch as neglect, to do this would necessitate the taking of many statements ex cathedra which otherwise might be clearly understood at the moment.