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Serial Lesson 95

From Course IX, Mental Alchemy, Chapter 1

Original Copyright 1936, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2011, The Church of Light

To purchase the print book Mental Alchemy click here


Subheadings:  All Thought Elements Are Built of Reproductive Desires and Nutritive Desires    Psychoplasm Is Built of Thought Elements    Thought Elements Are the Only Food the Astral Body Can Assimilate    Assimilated Thought Elements Move to the Proper Compartment    Harmonious and Discordant Mental Compounds    Both Physical Cells and Stellar Cells Have Independent Intelligence    Stellar Cells and Stellar Structures Work on Two Planes    Thought Compounds Conditioned by Pain Are Responsible for Disease and Misfortune    Examples of Compensations

Birth Charts:  Theodore Roosevelt Chart    Mark Twain Chart

Chapter 1

The Inner Nature of Poverty, Failure and Disease

SO WIDELY RECOGNIZED has become the power of the mental attitude markedly to alter the conditions of physical life that one can find outstanding examples in almost any community. Few people are unacquainted with someone who has been cured of a bodily complaint, who has overcome a domestic trouble, or who has rapidly remedied a financial deficiency through the application of right thinking. Dozens of books have been written on the cure of poverty, on the triumph over failure, and on the attainment of wealth through mental methods; and the enormous sale of these books attests to the faith of a large section of the public in such doctrines.

Yet the careful investigator looking for unprejudiced evidence of the advantages to be derived from applying these doctrines cannot help being struck by the fact that there are quite a number who claim to have followed rigorously the prescribed method who have received no benefit whatsoever.

Nor when we stop to think of it, could we expect anything else. No two people are the same, either in appearance, in the chemistry of their physical bodies, or in the thought structure of their astral forms. Every individual, being different from every other individual, presents a separate and individual problem. Yet in the popular methods of mental healing and spiritual healing—to mention but two of the names given to what is essentially the same process—the identical prescription is given to all who suffer from the same disease.

When it is considered how widely people vary one from the other, the wonder is that those who treat themselves, and those who give others absent treatment, have the amount of success they do from applying such happy-go-lucky methods. The undeniable fact that so many good results are obtained from haphazard procedure suggests wonderful possibilities for correcting human ills when right-thinking is applied in a truly scientific manner.

Physical foods, sunlight, rest from exertion, bathing and other material remedies can be applied scientifically and with best results only when there is detailed knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of the individual who is to be treated. The Battle Creek Sanitarium, for instance, by experimental checking has found that there is no single article of human diet which is not poisonous to some individuals. The nerves of other persons can stand very little sunlight. Only a little bathing exhausts the vitality of others. And the matter of assimilation the experimental biologist sums up thus:

"The chemical elements of the outer world act on each individual in different ways, according to the specific constitution of his intestinal mucosa."

Now the mind is an organization of thought-cells and thought structures in the astral body. It is nourished and built up by the experiences that it assimilates. Yet even as biologists find that the physical human body reacts according to the individual’s special chemical composition and physiological adaptations; so we may be sure that the four-dimensional body, the organization of which constitutes the soul, the character and the mind, will react to a given thought or to a given thought treatment, not according to some rigid universally applicable standard, but according to its own special composition of mental elements, their combination, and the conditioning processes to which their past has subjected them.

If we are to attain to uniformly satisfactory results in the application of mental treatment either to ourselves or to others, we must have a detailed knowledge of the physiology of the unconscious mind, that is, of the astral body. We must learn how the mental chemistry of one person differs from that of another, and what effect will be produced by adding to it thought food of a particular kind in the process of mental treatment.

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All Thought Elements Are Built of Reproductive Desires and Nutritive Desires

As set forth in Course V, Esoteric Psychology, the unconscious mind, character, or soul, is the organization in the astral body. It is composed of psychoplasm, even as the physical body is composed of protoplasm and its secretions.

This psychoplasm, even as is true of the physical protoplasm, is composed of elements combined in compounds. All the thought elements comprised in the psychoplasm of the astral body are, in turn, built up of the two primitive desires, the Nutritive Desire and the Reproductive Desire, which in turn are the negative and the positive expression of the Desire for Significance. That is, even as all 92 chemical elements are built up of electrons and protons, so are all the thought elements built up of Nutritive Desires and Reproductive Desires.

Experiences and the accompanying states of consciousness organize the psychoplasm into cells—four-dimensional stellar-cells—which are analogous to the cells of the physical body. And these stellar cells, or thought cells as they also are called, are further grouped by the conditioning process of feeling into stellar structures. The cells and structures of the four-dimensional body are called "stellar" because the four-dimensional substance of which they are composed is readily acted upon by planetary energy, and the word astral means pertaining to a star. But, as to become efficient in the use of thought for healing purposes we must have detailed knowledge of the four-dimensional body, before we discuss these more complex mental factors we should become familiar with the thought elements.

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Psychoplasm Is Built of Thought Elements

The chemistry of today classifies matter into 92 distinct elements. Each of these elements is given an atomic number, originally determined by its weight and only recently discovered to correspond to the number of electrons revolving, planet-like, around the nucleus. The nucleus of an atom consists of positive charges of electricity. The electrons are negative charges of electricity. And when I say that the atomic number of a chemical element represents the number of electrons, I mean that as Hydrogen is number 1 in the atomic table it has one electron revolving around its nucleus, as Helium is number 2 in the atomic table it has two such revolving electrons, as Lithium is number 3 it has three such revolving electrons, and so on up through the known elements to Uranium, which has 92. It is this number of electrons revolving like planets outside the nucleus which determines the chemical properties of the element.

Now we know that all the thought elements are composed of Nutritive Desires and Reproductive Desires in a four-dimensional arrangement somewhat corresponding to the arrangement of the electrons and protons comprising the three-dimensional chemical elements. But we are not at present in a position to say in terms of valence or number how many units of Negative Desire are making their revolutions about the nucleus of Reproductive Desires in any of the mental elements.

The elements of chemistry are commonly arranged in a periodic table, which—even as once there were only seven planets known—when first formulated classified all the elements under seven groups; the elements of each group, or family, having properties in common. Then the original table of Mendelejeff was widened to embrace eight families, and finally, as the result of new discoveries was brought up to nine families. Essentials of Chemistry, by John C. Hessler, Ph.D., assistant director Mellon Inst., Pittsburgh, and Albert L. Smith, Instructor in Chemistry, the Englewood High School, Chicago, published in 1920 gives 9 families. This also was the number of astrological planets then known. But the discovery of Pluto in 1930 now gives the Sun 9 known planets, or ten astrological orbs.

In that textbook of chemistry, and in other late ones, the elements not only group themselves into families, but there is a division of each family into 12 series, or compartments, that show the properties of each family when these are exhibited by an element at different heights in the scale of atomic weights.

The time may come when it will be possible to say that a thought element belonging to a certain family and to a certain series corresponds to the element hydrogen, another thought element corresponds to nitrogen, and so on throughout the entire range of the 92 chemical elements. But such effort is as yet premature. Yet we do know that the thought elements arrange themselves into 10 distinct families which correspond strictly in vibratory quality to the vibrations of the 10 planets. And we know quite definitely from much experimental work in our Research Department, that a thought element corresponding to any one of the 10 families can express with a resonance which relates it definitely to one of the 12 zodiacal signs.

The feeling, I AM, gives any thought, whatever its family, a resonance and therefore a trend of activity quite different from that given it by the feeling, I HAVE, the feeling, I THINK, the feeling, I ANALYZE, or any one of the other 12 in the series. The type of activity of any thought family, its essential vibratory rate, is retained no matter to which one of the series of 12 it belongs. But the method employed in its activity is determined by the one of the series to which its particular resonance relates it.

In Chapter 2 (Serial Lesson 40), Course I, Laws of Occultism, I have shown that all physical substance is interpenetrated by astral substance, and that there is a continuous interchange of energy between these two substances through the ability of each to impart motion to the ether. In Chapter 4 (Serial Lesson 52), Course III, Spiritual Alchemy, I have shown, further, that a thought is an organization of astral substance. And in Chapter 5 (Serial Lesson 53), Course III, Spiritual Alchemy, I have explained that intelligence in some degree inheres in all substances. In further corroboration of this view I can cite the "N-Ray" researches of the eminent French scientist, M. BeQueerl, and the scientific experiments of Jagadis Chunder Bose, Professor Presidency College, Calcutta.

In his book, Response in the Living and the Non Living, Professor Bose shows that a bar of metal is irritable and sensitive somewhat like the human body, and that it may be poisoned or killed much as may a human being. His extensive experiments with plants are given in a volume entitled, Plant Response. In regard to such response he says in his communication to the Royal Society, May 7, 1901:

"An interesting link, between the response given by inorganic substances and the animal tissues, is that given by plant tissues. By methods somewhat resembling that described above, I have obtained from plants a strong electrical response to mechanical stimulus. The response is not confined to sensitive plants like Mimosa, but is universally present. I have, for example, obtained such response from the roots, stems, and leaves of, among others, horse chestnut, vine, white lily, rhubarb, and horseradish."

His later experiments, including those with animal tissue are described in his volume, Comparative Electro-Physiology, from which I quote the following:

"Experiments have been described showing that the response of the isolated vegetal nerve is indistinguishable from that of animal nerve, throughout a long series of parallel variations of conditions. So completely, indeed, has that similarity between the response of plants and animals, of which this is an instance, been found, that the discovery of a given responsive characteristic in one case has proved a sure guide to its observation in the other, and the explanation of a phenomenon under the simpler conditions of the plant, has been found fully sufficient for its elucidation under the more complex circumstances of the animal."

The reason a living bar of metal, a living plant and a living animal or a living man gives responses to stimuli that are similar, except in degree of complexity and degree of intensity, is that the reaction of any life form to an environmental condition is determined by the manner in which the desire energy of the thought cells in its astral body has been conditioned.

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Thought Elements Are the Only Food the Astral Body Can Assimilate

Every living thing possesses an astral body. This astral body has been built by the states of consciousness the various life forms have experienced, through which the evolving soul, or unconscious mind, has passed thus far in its evolution. That is, as the experimental work just cited proves, all living things, even rocks so long as they are alive, are capable of some degree of feeling. It is this feeling acquired through past experiences that enables the form to respond in the manner it does, no matter how slight the degree, to changes in its environment. The feeling is a state of consciousness. And it is built into the stellar cells of the astral body of the life form as a tension, or desire, which conditions, or gives direction to, responses to similar situations in the future.

The life form of every living thing thus possesses an unconscious mind, or soul, which is the organization in the astral body of the total experiences through which the soul has passed up to that stage. The astral body of any life form is a thought-built body; states of awareness being the only food that can be assimilated by the four-dimensional form. Using the word thought in its more general significance to include any feeling, or state of awareness, each experience builds thought elements thus into the astral body.

These thought elements, as already indicated, belong to 10 different families which may have trends indicated by 12 different series. The series to which a thought element belongs determines, when it is assimilated, to which zone of the astral body it will move. If it belongs to the I AM (1st) series it moves to the zone represented by the head. If it belongs to the I HAVE (2nd) series it moves to the zone represented by the throat. If it belongs to the I USE series (10th) it moves to the zone represented by the knees. For although head, throat, knees and feet are not actually present in the lower forms of life, nevertheless, their astral bodies have corresponding zones.

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Assimilated Thought Elements Move to the Proper Compartment

Now bear in mind that there is an additional dimension on the four-dimensional plane. Thus also, in addition to 12 zones in the astral body, which have affinity with the 12 zodiacal signs, the astral body has 12 distinct compartments. Each compartment has an affinity with one department of life—that is, with health, with means of acquiring sustenance, with home and shelter, with offspring with illness and work, etc. And the thought elements of an experience when they enter the astral body are added to the psychoplasm of the particular compartment relating to their source of origin. If the experience relates to means of acquiring sustenance, such as money in a human experience, the thought elements thus acquired are built into the structure of the 2nd compartment of the astral body. If the experience relates more directly to food, it is built into the structure of the 6th compartment of the astral body. Or if it has to do with a secret enemy or sorrow, it is built into the 12th compartment of the astral body.

Yet thought elements when built into the astral body do not remain in the state of simple elements, no more so than when food is assimilated by the physical body do the chemical elements remain uncombined. In both cases the elements combine with other elements in the formation of compounds; these compounds in one instance forming the protoplasm of the physical body, and in the other forming the psychoplasm of the astral body. And in both the formation of protoplasm and the formation of psychoplasm, the manner in which the elements enter into such compounds as are formed is very important.

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Harmonious and Discordant Mental Compounds

All life forms, from the simplest to the most complex, possess some ability to learn through experience. The feeling coincident with one experience is retained and has an influence upon the conduct when the organism is again brought into contact with a similar situation. This process through which all life forms learn, being attracted by pleasure and repelled by pain, the psychologists call CONDITIONING.

According to the family and the series to which it belongs, each thought element has its own type energy. It may belong to the family of Aggressive thoughts, in which case it possesses aggressive energy. It may belong to the Religious thoughts, and thus possess genial expansive energy. Or it may belong to any other of the 10 families of thoughts and possess energy of that characteristic type.

Yet the thought or sensation that gave rise to the mental element, whatever its type, also contained, in some degree, feeling energy. By means of the cyclotron at the present time in the University of California at Berkeley, and in other university laboratories, energy is actually converted into chemical elements of matter. Likewise the processes of consciousness convert mental energy into the thought elements of which the astral bodies of all living things are composed. Yet accompanying this process there is always present, in some degree, the feeling of pleasure or pain, harmony or discord, which forms the CONDITIONING ENERGY.

It is this Conditioning Energy which is present at the time a thought element is formed that determines the manner in which the thought element, when it is assimilated by the astral form, combines with other thought elements already there or which are assimilated at the same time.

There are 10 different manners in which almost any two of the thought elements can combine, each method of combination being wholly determined by the quality of Conditioning Energy, or feeling, present when the thought elements meet. This Conditioning Energy thus entering into the thought compound gives a specific trend to its desire. Desire is energy in a potential state straining to be released in a given activity; and a large part of the tension of a thought compound that thus seeks release in some activity is due to the pleasure or pain that was present when the thought elements combined. Thus each of the 10 types of thought compounds, irrespective of the elements united in it, is given a name which designates the direction in which its desire energy strives for release.

A Separation Compound, for instance, is a union of thought elements which has been so conditioned at the time they united in the astral body that their desires strive to express, and do express to the extent they have or acquire energy, in the direction of shoving things apart. A Luck Compound, on the other hand is a union of thought elements which has been so conditioned at the time they united in the astral body that their desires strive to express, and do express to the extent they have or acquire energy, in the direction of those events we call good luck.

These thought compounds form the psychoplasm, which thus varies in different compartments of the astral body, and forms the substance of the various kinds of stellar cells. That is, even as in the physical body there are nerve cells, cells that form the skin, cells that become the white blood corpuscles, reproductive cells, muscle cells, and so on, so are there cells of different kinds making up the astral body, their nature determined by the thought compound forming the psychoplasm entering into their composition.

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Both Physical Cells and Stellar Cells Have Independent Intelligence

Every mental state, as psychologists have been at much pains to prove, is accompanied by an alteration of the physical body. Whether the objective consciousness is, or is not, aware of the tensions of desire energy in the thought cells and in the thought structures of the astral body, these have an influence on the physical cells and upon the performance of more complex physical functions.

These stellar cells of the astral body are not unintelligent. They retain whatever intelligence has been imparted to them at the time of their thought formation. In the association of the astral body with the lower forms of life before it reached the human stage, these stellar cells and the stellar structures built of these stellar cells, learned to perform certain activities. And as they now exist in the human astral body they continue to possess this ability acquired in the past. The physical human body commences with a single fertilized cell. This physical cell divides into two. Then each of the two again divides, and so on, until all the cells and humors making up the physical body are present.

Now although each of the billions of physical cells is derived from a subdivision of the single cell with which the body elaboration commenced, each type of cell as soon as it is thus formed through subdivision, knows exactly the function it is to perform in the human structure. The cells know what they are to do, and even if separated from the body, endeavor to carry out their special work. That is, both physical cells and stellar cells, once formed after the pattern of a particular compound, have, and exercise, an intelligence that is independent of the body of which they form a part.

That physical cells exercise such independent intelligence has been demonstrated in laboratory experiments. White blood corpuscles, called leukocytes, will devour microbes and red corpuscles when living in a flask with the same energy they thus act to defend the organism against invading enemies while living in the human blood stream.

Epithelial cells are those that protect the organism from contacts with the outside world, such as the skin and the lining walls of the intestines. These cells have been cultivated for months, quite apart from the animal to which they belonged. There was no surface to protect; yet they understood their special job, and arranged themselves in a mosaic which would have protected a delicate surface if such had been present.

A few red corpuscles permitted to flow from a drop of blood into a liquid plasma, quite outside the body or blood stream of any animal, form a tiny stream which builds up banks either side of their flow. These banks cover themselves with filaments of fibrin, thus forming a pipe, through which the red cells move just as if in the blood vessel of an animal. Leukocytes come to the pipe and surround it with their membrane. Quite isolated from any living animal, red and white corpuscles thus know how to construct, and do construct when conditions permit, a segment of circulatory apparatus. No tissues to be furnished with oxygen and nutriment are present, nor is there a heart nor any real circulation. Yet the stellar cells in association with these physical cells release their desire energies in the direction of performing the kind of work they have learned in the past; and toward which they have been conditioned.

Most organs of the body, also are capable of independent displays of intelligence. Our stomach, heart, liver, etc., are not subject to our voluntary control. By willing to do so we cannot increase or decrease the caliber of our arteries, make our pulse beat fast or slow, nor regulate the contractions of our intestines. They are under the control of the unconscious mind. They obey its orders to the extent they have been conditioned to do so. But the exercise of the particular function they have learned to do is not dependent upon the unconscious mind. They have intelligence of their own which makes them capable, if wrongly conditioned, of rebelling against the orders of the unconscious mind, and which enables them, when severed from the body, yet given proper conditions, of still performing the function which they have learned correctly or incorrectly to do.

An intestinal loop, for instance, when removed from the body and provided with artificial circulation, performs its normal movements. A kidney the nerves of which are cut, grafted to permit it opportunity for its particular work of filtering the impurities from the body, still performs this essential function.

If we are to have the detailed knowledge for the practice of Mental Alchemy, by which through proper thinking, the various ills of human life can be corrected, we must understand thoroughly that either a group of physical cells or a group of stellar cells has a certain dependence upon the physical organism or astral organism of which it forms a part, yet at the same time also has the power of exercising its own particular type of intelligence apart from that organism. And we must understand that a physical organ, or a stellar structure composed of thought cells, likewise performs its function as a part of the organic whole, yet is capable of doing the work for which it has been conditioned quite apart from the organism, and even in defiance of the desires of the organism.

Thought cells or physical cells which are conditioned in that direction do work which is beneficial to the organism as a whole. Yet stellar cells or physical cells which are conditioned to act in a manner derogatory to the organism as a whole, work for its destruction quite as energetically as they would have worked for its preservation had they been properly conditioned. The white blood corpuscles called leukocytes, previously mentioned, are the policemen of the body. They consume degenerating tissue and destroy foreign bodies in the tissues such as bacteria. Yet when wrongly conditioned by the presence of certain viruses—which are hardly larger than a molecule of albumin, and therefore make bacteria seem gigantic in comparison—these same leukocytes turn cannibal and devour the cells of muscles and organs and thus kill the infected animal in a few days.

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Stellar Cells and Stellar Structures Work on Two Planes

Stellar cells and stellar structures have a dual field of operation. As the thought cells and thought groups of which the unconscious mind is composed, they control all the activities of the body, even the manner in which tissue is replaced through physical metabolism. Those activities which are volitional engage the cooperation of the stellar structures in the astral body which have charge of these movements. That is, these thought groups in the four-dimensional form have become conditioned to act upon commands received from the region of objective consciousness. Through their exercise of complete control over all the physical activities the stellar cells and stellar structures operate in the three-dimensional realm.

But in addition to this direct three-dimensional control, there is a less obvious, yet even more potent control of the life exercised by activities operating from the four-dimensional plane. Thought cells and thought structures, like physical cells and physical organs have independent intelligence and capacities for independent action. And they work thus from the vantage point of the four-dimensional plane to bring into the life such events and conditions as correspond to the way they have been conditioned.

Not only, therefore, are all man’s physical activities determined by the thought cells and thought structures which make up his unconscious mind, his soul, or his character; but every event and circumstance that comes into his life not due to his physical actions likewise is due in large measure to the four-dimensional activities of these stellar cells and stellar structures. Thus is the thought organization of his astral body responsible both for what a man does and for the events that come into his life.

If, therefore, the habitual actions of any person are to be changed, or if his fortune in any respect—health, finances, affections, honor, or what not—is to be changed, he must alter the thought composition or thought organization of his astral body. To the extent the four-dimensional stellar-cells and stellar structures are altered will they release their desire energies along new paths, both on the four-dimensional plane and in prompting three-dimensional activities. It is the province of Mental Alchemy to indicate what changes should thus be made, and how best to make them, to correct the various ills that hamper life.

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Thought Compounds Conditioned by Pain Are Responsible for Disease and Misfortune

If some condition of life is thus to be corrected through the application of the proper thought remedy, the first step is to understand just what thought compound or thought structure in the astral body is responsible for the condition to be changed. Without such knowledge, if, like much metaphysical practice, we merely assume that a certain affirmation will alleviate the disorder, we are quite likely, through adding more energy to the thought organization responsible without changing it, merely to aggravate the condition.

Those thought compounds into which at the time of their formation was built the conditioning energy of pain, strive to release that energy in a similar manner. Their desires are as strong as the energy imparted to them through experiences coincident with their formation. But because they have been formed in a given way, the Law of Association makes it easier, and thus more pleasant for them, to release their energies in channels that are not in the direction of the welfare of the organism as a whole.

As explained in Chapter 8 (Serial Lesson 63), Course V, Esoteric Psychology, desire energy releases in the direction of whatever image is before the attention of the unconscious mind. Yet if the desire energy is discordant, it tends to attract the attention of the unconscious mind, or of thought groups in the unconscious, to images the opposite of those conducing to the welfare. It is easier to express discordant energy in the direction of discordant action, and to express harmonious energy in the direction of harmonious action. And all the ills of life are due, either to insufficient desire energy in the unconscious mind, or to the desire energy that is in the unconscious mind expressing, either on the four-dimensional plane or on the three-dimensional plane, toward mental images that are discordant to the individual.

An unsatisfactory condition in the life, therefore, may be due to insufficient desire energy stored in the stellar cells and stellar structures of the astral body. In this case there is simply not enough power to attract anything important, either fortunate or unfortunate. Not enough experience has added energy to the thought cells. And thus the only way to attract more important events is to acquire experiences that will build, with the thought elements added, more feeling into the astral body.

Disease, and all more active types of misfortune, however, are due to the three dimensional and the four-dimensional activities of thought cells and thought structures in the astral body which have been so conditioned that they find it easier to release their energies in working for conditions that are adverse to the individual. The thought cause varies with the type of misfortune attracted. And, as will be set forth in Chapter 2 (Serial Lesson 96), we have quite definite information as to the type of thinking that is responsible for each of the common diseases and misfortunes.

This is the place, therefore, instead of discussing specific diseases, to emphasize that thought-conditioned desires, whatever their nature, are so much energy within the astral body, which if it can be Reconditioned, or directed toward mental images that conduce to the welfare of the individual, has determining power over the life.

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Examples of Compensations

When one organ or member of the body is destroyed the thought cells within the astral body transfer their energy, in so far as they can, to some organ or member. If a leg is removed, for instance, the remaining leg grows much stronger than normal, in the effort to compensate for the loss. Or if one kidney is removed, the other one grows almost to twice the normal size, in the endeavor to perform the function of both.

Likewise, as explained in Chapters 7 and 8 (Serial Lessons 62 and 63), Course V, Esoteric Psychology, when one of the three Hereditary Drives or any other highly energized desire is blocked in its customary expression, it seeks and finds some substitute outlet. The desire energy of such an intense thought organization within the astral body is then said to COMPENSATE for its lack of opportunity to express in the manner desired by its thought group.

One group of thought cells may be set against another group of thought cells, causing an inner conflict. And when there is such inner strife, either, as explained in Chapter 7 (Serial Lesson 62), Course V, Esoteric Psychology, the individual Resolves the Conflict, perhaps through Sublimation, or as explained in Chapter 5 (Serial Lesson 60), Course V, Esoteric Psychology, he builds into himself a Repression which, as explained in Chapter 8 (Serial Lesson 63), Course V, Esoteric Psychology, forms a Complex. Such a Complex, not being able to release its energies as it desires, is forced to release them through some Compensating device.

Analyzing the manner in which Americans differ from other nationalities, Harvey O. Higgins and Edward H. Reede, M.D., have shown that American superiority in business and industry, and lack of superiority in literature and art, is due to a Puritan civilization which forced the conviction into the unconscious mind that any expression of emotion (which is essential in artistic production) is undignified, and that both idleness and pleasure are sin. The Drive for Significance opposed such expressions so successfully that the Reproductive Drive was forced to find a channel of Compensation that was acceptable to this drastically imposed code of conduct.

When conflicts are not Reconciled the energies are not Sublimated, and although they escape by a substitute channel, this furtive slipping past the dominating group of ideas in disguise is accompanied by anxiety, fear and irritation. To this is attributed the proneness of the American to "bluff," and his attitude of self-reliance and sensitiveness to foreign criticism. They are the natural make-believe compensations of the unconscious mind to a fear of inferiority induced by the teaching that he must conquer and suppress his instinctive desires. Americans, there can be little doubt, are victimized by haste, restlessness, anxiety and worry because of a psychic insecurity (expressing the Drive for Self-Preservation) developed through the religious doctrines of sinfulness.

These writers, analyzing the life of Theodore Roosevelt, indicate how two factors of his infancy so impressed themselves upon his unconscious mind as to dominate his whole life. The first of these factors was his idealization of, and love for, his father. He saw in his father a man of great might who stood fearlessly against the whole world. This image became so strong and so associated with pleasure that it tended to keep the attention of his unconscious mind riveted to it, with the result that whatever desire energies were released were diverted into channels leading to a realization, on his part, of that ideal.

The other factor was his early physical inferiority. The Moon (thoughts) opposition to Mars in his birth chart gave him weak eyes, and Sun (thoughts) opposition Pluto impaired the vitality (see birth chart at front of chapter/lesson). Thus he developed an inferiority complex, a fear of cowardice, of weakness and of inefficiency.

A person with an inferiority complex always Compensates in some manner, because, as set forth in Chapter 8 (Serial Lesson 63), Course V, Esoteric Psychology, the unconscious mind will never relinquish the thought that in some respect it is superior. Pluto, the planet of drastic action, of dictatorship, of the "big stick" (an expression coined to express the drastic way in which Roosevelt enforced his decisions) is in the house of his father (4th), making powerful aspects. It rules the Universal Welfare thoughts, and thus did the ideal of his father, working for the benefit of the people (Moon sextile Pluto) become the model image through which his Compensating energy found expression.

To demonstrate that he was not the coward he feared to be, he learned to fight, became a cowboy, a wild west sheriff, a rough rider, and went on perilous trips of exploration and in pursuit of dangerous game. Of course, he was truly a brave man. But a complex, because of the emotional energy it contains, always tends to overcompensate. He was always seeking some opportunity to prove both his courage and his superiority, going far out of his way in such quests. Yet the father image was powerful enough to determine the line of Compensating outlet for the dammed-up energies. And the desire energies in the stellar cells and stellar structures of his astral body thus released were powerful enough that they carried him to the top in literature, as an authority on navy matters, as a naturalist, and into the chair of President of the United States.

Contrast this mode of Compensating for an inferiority complex with that of Mark Twain. He also was a child of inferior powers, but with a very different environment. His early life, instead of having before it an ideal to worship, a father with whom there was sympathy and understanding, was strikingly lacking in these respects. The fear of an avenging deity was early implanted in the boy’s mind. Instead of an ideal of courage to stimulate emulation, he was confronted on every hand by examples of fear and failure.

Like Roosevelt, he sought to escape the restrictions placed upon him by physical inferiority, but the method of Compensating was different because of the images toward which his unconscious mind had been conditioned to give attention. He had early found that cleverness of speech gave him an advantage over his associates. Saturn (See his birth chart at front of chapter/lesson) rising, representing powerful Safety thoughts in his astral body did not impel him to prove himself brave, as did Roosevelt, who had Mars, representing powerful Aggressive thoughts, rising. On the other hand, they led him to seek superiority through less dangerous channels.

Later in life, when he sought to attack authorized conventions, which was his method of Compensating in the release of energies stored up in his childhood through the tyranny exercised over him, he did not revolt openly as a more courageous man might have done. On the other hand, still dominated by the timidity forced into his unconscious through fear of everlasting punishment, he used his wit to flay such restrictions.

In his frantic effort to Compensate for his feeling of inferiority and the imminent disaster which his early religious training had implanted, Mark Twain’s mind had early found an outlet through wit. He never reconciled his conflicts; but the energy released in Compensations was directed into images that led, not to utter futility, but to preeminence in the field of humorous writing.

Another man with repressions of a different sort was Billy Sunday. Four planets rising in the sign of sex, Scorpio, indicate tremendous energy in the Reproductive Drive. The Aggressive thoughts and the Religious thoughts (see his birth chart in Chapter 2, Serial Lesson 96) were amalgamated, as indicated by the close conjunction of Mars and Jupiter; and both were almost exactly in opposition to Pluto, lord of the underworld, who in one aspect presides over heaven and in the other dominates the realm of hell.

This opposition from the Universal Welfare thoughts, ruled by Pluto, to Sunday’s Personality (Asc.); and to the thoughts indicating on the one hand intense animal passions (Mars) and on the other intense religious devotion (Jupiter) was a terrific conflict between two well-organized groups of desires. The Religious thoughts succeeded for the most part in preventing the Reproductive desires from expressing in the manner they craved. Yet throughout life the conflict raged; a conflict which Sunday projected from himself to the outward world. The sense of sin he felt within, as he sensed carnal impulses which his desire for significance refused to admit belonged to him, seemed to be the sinfulness of others.

He was able to repress his reproductive desires, and the desire to destroy, mapped by Mars, from expressing in a recognizable way. But these same energies found a Compensating outlet through a lifelong struggle with the devil, a very personal devil, with whom Sunday could fight and vanquish before vast audiences. All the physical and mental violence stored in his thought structures disguised as working for Universal Welfare, could thus get past the dominating Religious thought group, and find expression. On the rostrum these Religious thoughts applauded loudly when he coined unusual phrases to tell the devil just how mean he was; and their approbation knew no bounds when, wet with the perspiration of the tenth round, he flashed a quick right to old Satan’s jaw, and knocked him out for the count.

Sunday gave a vast amount of attention to the devil; but his unconscious mind had the image of victory even more persistently before its attention. The release of desire energy, therefore, gave the devil image less power than the victory image. He would say that a man could slip back into hell with one hand on the door of heaven but in his own unconscious mind was the image that, nevertheless, Billy Sunday would triumph.

The noted evangelist never Resolved his Conflict, but he Compensated in a way that led the energies of his inner strife to perform a type of work in which, although such work is demoralizing to the race, he gained renown. The same tremendous energies, better understood as to their source and nature, could have as easily been diverted to a far, far more useful purpose.

Likewise those thought energies stored in the stellar structures of other people which, because they have entered into discordant compounds, manifest as poverty, failure and disease, when better understood, can be led through Reconditioning, to express not through some inferior Compensating device, but through acceptable and constructive channels which will manifest as abundance, success and health. This is the task of Mental Alchemy.

Birth Charts

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Theodore Roosevelt Chart

October 27, 1858, 10:58 a.m., 74W00 40N43

Early physical inferiority (Sun opposition Pluto) and weak eyes (Moon opposition Mars) developed an inferiority complex. His father (Pluto in 4th) was his ideal, fighting for the people (Pluto sextile Moon) against predatory interests (Mars opposition Moon). He compensated by learning to fight and by dangerous exploits (Mars in 1st); and in realizing the father image became an authority on natural history (Sagittarius Asc.), on naval (Mars) matters, and rose to the top in literature (Mercury in 10th) and as U. S. president (Sun in 10th).

Mark Twain Chart

November 30, 1835, 4:45 a.m., 92W00 39N30
(time largely speculative)

Early physical inferiority (Saturn conjunction Asc.?) developed an inferiority complex. Fear of an avenging deity so strongly impressed his young mind that he ever shunned danger, even when he attacked convention (Uranus in 4th). As a boy he found superiority through his wit (Moon conjunction Pluto, trine Mars; Mercury square Uranus) and he compensated by attaining pre-eminence in humorous writing.

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