Philosophy of Palmistry - Logic Wasted on Those Who Consult Fortune-Tellers
Last week a poor egotistical creature, who had been employed as a barmaid, drowned herself, chiefly, as would seem from her letters, on account of the sinister predictions which she read in her palm, combined with her ‘‘planets.” No doubt this girl was weak-minded, if not actually insane, but there is a good deal in her case worth thinking about, says a writer in London Truth. Some years ago, when I conducted some researches into palmistry with the assistance of a lady who claimed to be an expert in that craft, I put the question to her: “What if you see indications in a palm that the owner of the hand will die or incur some other awful misfortune at an early date?” The lady answered that in such a case she always dissembled, and she led me to understand that it was a, matter of professional etiquette among really conscientious palmists not to make known the truth when it was of such a nature that to impart it might be dangerous.
This is all very well but no one can prevent people who dabble in palmistry or astrology or other occult means of reading the future from discovering their own fate for themselves. Those who discover by such means that the outlook for them is very black may not all commit suicide, like the unfortunate barmaid, but such knowledge is bound to have an injurious effect on all but persons of the toughest moral fibre, and persons of the toughest moral fibre, I may remark, are not in the habit of dabbling in the occult sciences. As a rule, fortune-telling in its various shapes, is chiefly denounced as a swindle and a means of obtaining money under false pretenses, but I question whether the moral mischief which may result from efforts to ascertain what the future has in store for us may not be far worse than any trifling financial loss.
Nothing is more certain than it is to the advantage of mankind on the whole act to know the future. In saying this, I do not lose sight of the fact that it would be a profitable thing to many to know, for instance, who is going to win the next year's Derby, or the price at which any particular stock will stand at the end, of the next account. That knowledge, however, can only be profitable so long as it is in the exclusive possession of one or two individuals. If it were made accessible to all, the knowledge of the future would cease to have any more value than the knowledge of the past. On the other hand, the knowledge of the coming misfortune —if it is so preordained that it can be predicted—can only have a demoralizing effect, and on the whole, life has generally as much of the unpleasant as of the pleasant in store, for the majority of humankind. – San Diego Union News, 1899
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