There are various ways of getting a knowledge of character—by looks, words, actions. The first of these, which seems the most superficial, is perhaps the safest, and least liable to deceive; nay, it is that which mankind, in spite of their pretending to the contrary, most generally go by. Professions pass for nothing and actions may be counterfeited; but a man cannot help his looks. A man’s whole life may be a lie to himself and others; and yet a picture painted of him by a great artist would probably stamp his true character on the canvas and betray the secret to posterity. A man’s looks is the work of years; it is stamped on his countenance by the events of his whole life; nay, more by the hand of Nature, and it is not to be got rid of easily. There is, as has been remarked repeatedly, something in a person’s appearance at first sight which we do not like, and that gives us an odd twinge, but which is overlooked in a multiplicity of other circumstances, till the mask is taken off and we see this lurking character verified in the plainest manner in the sequel. We are struck at first and by chance, with what is peculiar and characteristic; also with permanent traits and general effects; this afterwards goes off in a set of unmeaning commonplace details. This sort of prima facie evidence, then shows that a man is better than what he says or does; for it shows us the habit of his mind, which is the same under all circumstances and disguises. You will say, on the other hand, that there is no judging by appearances as a general rule. No one, for instance, would take such a person for a clever man without knowing who he was. He may have got the reputation, but it is a mistake.
A man’s look is the most reliable index of his character. We may be deceived by his words or actions, his whole life may be a pose, but the expression on his face is the product of his experiences and the outcome of the events of his life. It is, therefore, a true reflection of his mind and character. The very first glance at a man’s face is the surest clue to his character because, as our acquaintance with him increases, that tell-tale expression on his face may not be perceived by us again. Contrary to general belief, therefore, appearance is truly indicative of character.
Title: Face as an index of character
How futile the old arguments seem in view of these astonishing developments in scientific thought. It is time we brought our minds into line with the progress of science and gave up the meaningless controversies of an age gone by. It is true that science changes, and there is nothing dogmatic or final about it. But the method of science does not change, and it is to that we must adhere in our thought and activities, in research, in social life, political and economic life, in religion. We may be specks of dust on a soap bubble universe, but that speck of dust contained something that was the mind and spirit of man. Through the ages, this has grown and made itself master of the earth and drawn power from its innermost bowels as well as from the thunderbolt in the skies. It has tried to fathom the secrets of the universe and brought the vagaries of nature itself to its use. More wonderful than the earth and the heavens is this mind and spirit of man which grows ever mightier and seeks fresh worlds to conquer.
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