HENRY FORD ON REINCARNATION
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Although a veteran of many car brands I had not realised that my favourite marque was built by an innovative auto making company inspired by a fellow Irishman. Since that momentous day, I have tried every model made including the BMW Seven Series; what a mistake that was.
The first car I ever owned was a Ford Prefect, bought for fifty-sobs (£50) in the nineteen-sixties. Now, at the other end of life, I am perfectly happy with my third or fourth Ford saloon.
I know Henry Ford was American born and bred. However, his father, William Ford, was a 21-year old Irish farmer when he left West Cork in 1847. Under Irish law this makes America’s venerable Henry Ford an Irish national. I suppose one has to concede that as Ireland in 1847 was under the English jackboot he qualified for British nationality too. We will dismiss the British connection; as they were the cuckoo in the Irish nest.
In 1912 the pull of sentiment lured Henry Ford and his son Edsel back to his father’s humble cottage and its 30 acres of land in Lisselane. On their arrival, dad and lad discovered that three of Edsel’s brothers were still resident. On the advice of a priest, the renegade three brothers refused to sell up.
Renowned for his pragmatism, Henry Ford withdrew his offer. Nevertheless, he did take away to the US the cottage hearth but from there on he rarely returned to his father’s home and its now non-existent hearth. Ford’s family and his place of birth still pay tribute to their esteemed son.
As with all Irish, English and Scottish family histories, the Henry Ford odyssey is a fascinating saga of emigration and hardship. On arriving in the United States Henry Ford’s then 21-year old father settled into a farming community near Dearborn, Michigan.
Henry, born in 1863, seemed destined for life as an American farmer. It was in the family farm’s outdoor sheds that Henry worked persistently on the principle of the petrol-driven motor car. Having built his first car the visionary then founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903. The first Ford cars were seen in Ireland in 1907 at the Irish Motor Show.
According to a direct descendent, Hazel Ford Buttimer, Henry Ford was inspired to create the assembly line concept when he observed wool production moving from sheep to textile factory in Ireland. The stimulus transformed the United States and Ford became one of the great industrialists of the 20th Century.
The visionary Henry Ford was also one of many great thinkers who was a firm believer in reincarnation; the transfer of souls from the mortal dead to the yet to be born.
‘I am in exact accord with the belief of Thomas Edison that spirit is immortal, that there is a continuing center of character in each personality. But I don’t know what spirit is, nor matter either.
I suspect they are forms of the same thing. I never could see anything in this reputed antagonism between spirit and matter. To me, this is the most beautiful, the most satisfactory from a scientific standpoint, the most logical theory of life.
For thirty years I have leaned toward the theory of Reincarnation. It seems a most reasonable philosophy and explains many things.
No, I have no desire to know what, or who I was once; or what, or who, I shall be in the ages to come. This belief in immortality makes present living the more attractive. It gives you all the time there is.
You will always be able to finish what you start. There is no fever or strain in such an outlook. We are here in life for one purpose, to get experience. We are all getting it, and we shall all use it somewhere.’
MICHAEL WALSH is a worldwide journalist, broadcaster and author of 64 book titles with 36 years writing experience. Like other journalists of integrity, he no longer writes for corporate media, opting instead for true journalism.
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