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Serial Lesson 155
From Course XIV, Occultism Applied, Chapter 5
Original Copyright 1944, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2011, The Church of Light
Subheadings: How Behavior Patterns Are Formed That Which the Birth Chart Indicates Can Be Changed The Attractive Personality The Complete Circuit
Birth Charts: Edward Doane Chart Charles Fillmore Chart
How to Be Attractive
PEOPLE are attractive or unattractive because of certain well-defined characteristics of their personalities. The personality is the habitual method of activity. It is composed of a number of behavior patterns. These behavior patterns tend to be characteristic of the thought-cell activity mapped by the planet in the birth chart ruling the department of life relative to which a given behavior pattern functions.
They have been given more specific trends by the experiences which the environment has afforded since birth. Yet—and this is the most important factor to remember—regardless of the astrological influences at birth and the manner in which subsequent environment has caused the energies mapped by the birth chart habitually to express, no behavior pattern is unalterably fixed. By following proper procedure the individual can change it in the direction he selects. And as personality is the sum total of observable behavior, when the behavior pattern is thus changed, a different personality emerges.
Attractiveness relates to those behavior patterns which govern our relations with other people. Changing these particular behavior patterns in any way alters our attractiveness. Therefore, if we would become more attractive we should carefully select those characteristics which make up an attractive personality and build them into ourselves as permanent behavior patterns.
As occultists we are devoted to human welfare. We desire above all to be of as great service as possible in the progressive evolution of creation. Our study of the elements of attractiveness is not prompted by the desire to advance merely our personal ambitions. It arises primarily from the realization that to increase our attractiveness is to increase our power to serve. The ugly, the uncouth, the repulsive, find it hard to make those human contacts which are essential to the success of many enterprises. If people are attracted to us it broadens our influence for good. We live in a world filled with other human beings. It is easier to get assistance from them, and easier to be of assistance to them, if they feel attracted to us.
The quality of attractiveness or of unattractiveness, it should be repeated, is due to well-defined qualities of the personality that manifest as habitual modes of action. If we are to become more attractive, it is necessary to desist from those actions which are unattractive, and adopt such actions as have a pleasanter effect upon those we contact. Just what these actions are we will consider a little later. But first of all, because unattractiveness and attractiveness both are the result of habitual activities, and to become more attractive we must change some of these habitual activities, we should get as clear an idea as possible of how the personality is built up.
How Behavior Patterns Are Formed
Considerable has been done by the Behaviorist School of Psychology in clarifying our knowledge of the development of personality. But in 1929 a still further step in this direction was taken in the publication of The Process of Human Behavior, by Mandel Sherman and Irene Case Sherman. This work, as well as that of the Behaviorists, is based upon test experiments with infants and children. It shows quite conclusively that in the human species the whole mental life and the tendency to act in certain directions which we designate as personality, are acquired.
Instincts are common to other young animals, but are almost totally lacking in human infants. The new born babe, as the experiments of the Shermans indicate, has a few reflex activities. It can swallow, closes the eyes when the cornea is irritated, sneezes, and responds to deep pressure. Sucking is present in all infants after 24 hours, but in many even this most essential response is difficult to elicit earlier. Even the pain response to irritation, such as pricking with a needle, is low immediately after birth, but develops rapidly in the following days.
At birth the child is capable of random movements. Tensing and random movements occur in the presence of disagreeable stimuli. It is also capable of relaxing in the presence of pleasant stimuli. Thus when the child is fed, or when stroked and patted, it relaxes. This undifferentiated activity in the presence of that which is agreeable is the fundamental response from which develops in the course of time the attribute of love.
Any form of sudden stimulation, such as dropping the child, a loud noise, restraint, pain, or a sudden rush of air on the face produces aimless activity of the muscular system, accompanied by crying. This is the fundamental response in the presence of the disagreeable from which develops pain reactions and the emotions of fear and anger.
As the child grows older its aimless activity in the presence of stimuli gradually gives place to greater coordination between the muscle groups. In the presence of disagreeable stimuli the child very shortly after birth shows a disposition to withdraw from it, to get away from the pain. Even a one-celled amoeba, one of the simplest of living creatures, shows a like response. It withdraws from irritating stimuli. This muscular activity of the child in withdrawing from pain or that which is disagreeable is accompanied by an emotion, and this is the commencement of fear. Here we have the fundamental emotional response that later gives rise to remorse, worry, sorrow, disappointment, fright, timidity, self consciousness, and the corresponding emotions ruled by the planet Saturn.
If, however, the infant is restrained so that it cannot move away from the pain or disagreeable condition, it ceases to try to do so, and instead tries to push the disagreeable thing away. If the restraint is continued it stiffens the whole body, slashes about freely with hands, legs and arms, and then the breath is held until the face appears blue. The fear reaction is no longer present, but in its stead there has developed an aggressive response accompanied by an emotion that is the commencement of anger. Here we have the fundamental emotional response that later gives rise to courage, initiative, combativeness, aggression, destructiveness, and the corresponding emotions ruled by the planet Mars.
The first emotional response of an infant to a disagreeable stimuli, such as pin pricking, being dropped, a loud noise, or being restrained in its movements is of such a general nature that it cannot be defined either as rage, pain, or fear. But quickly, with a minimum experience in trial and error, it learns to have a definite emotional response to pain, a fear response to being dropped or to a loud noise, and an anger response to being restrained. Nor when first stroked and patted does it smile. It merely relaxes. But in short order this relaxing of the mouth becomes more definite, and at the approach of the mother or nurse who usually feeds or strokes it there develops a well-defined smile. Pain response, anger response, fear response, and love response, are the fundamental behavior patterns, modifications of which when they become habitual conduce to an attractive or an unattractive personality.
Well-defined emotions are not present in the infant at birth, but develop as the result of experience. Nor are the reactions of fear and anger so widely divergent in adults as might be supposed. An aggressive response must be accompanied by an increase in muscular tone, a strengthened heartbeat and a rise in blood pressure which allows for physical exertion. The same set of physical responses is also required in a defensive response such as is associated with fear. Tests have shown, also, that it is impossible for observers to determine whether a person is frightened or angry merely by his appearance. In either case adrenaline is secreted into the blood, the body becomes slippery with perspiration, the hair tends to stand on end, the heart beats faster, the blood clots quicker, digestion ceases, blood is withdrawn from more vulnerable parts, and the whole organism is put on a flight or fight basis. Whether it will be fight or will be flight in any particular instance does not depend upon the organic activity involved or upon the specific facial expression, but upon the way somewhat similar situations have been met in the past.
Just why one person responds to a situation with a fear reaction, in which the whole body is “set” for running away and another person responds to the same situation with an anger reaction, in which the body is “set” to destroy opposition, is due to past experiences in the lives of each since birth, in which they became “conditioned” differently toward such situations. However, the same environment since birth may have provided experiences that cause one person to become conditioned in the direction of fear and another person to become conditioned toward anger. In the same early difficult situation a child with a prominent birth chart Saturn and a weak Mars will try to evade the issue through retreat and cunning, while the child with a prominent birth chart Mars and a weak Saturn will try to overcome it by force and fury. In other words, conditioning is always the product of the thought-cell activity of the given individual and the physical environment which he encounters.
The classical example of how animals, including man, become conditioned variously to the same stimulus is that of the Russian scientist, Pavlov, with his dogs. A hungry dog is shown food and the sight of food stimulates the flow of saliva, an ingenious method being devised to measure accurately the amount of flow. Then for a long time, just as the food is shown the dog a bell is rung. Finally the bell is rung without showing the food, and there is the flow of saliva originally stimulated by the food, but now stimulated by the bell. If, however, even after this positive reaction toward the bell has been established, every time the bell is rung the dog is given an electric shock, instead of exhibiting a positive reaction toward the bell, it develops instead, fear reactions. Further elaborate experiments on both dogs and children show that through adequate associations a condition that normally calls for a particular type of action may be thus conditioned to call forth any one of a wide variety of other types of action. And a type of action that is usually called forth by one particular set of circumstances may be made, by this process of conditioning the response, to be called out by any one of a number of other apparently unrelated circumstances.
In other words, how a person acts later in life in the presence of a given situation depends upon the conditions surrounding similar situations that he was called to face earlier in life and particularly in childhood. Queer people, in the early stages of their lives when their habits were forming, underwent experiences that caused them to associate activities of an unusual nature with situations that in ordinary people call out an entirely different form of behavior.
Watson found, for instance, that the infant has no instinctive fear of furry animals. On his first acquaintance with them he has no hesitancy about reaching out and touching them. But if, on successive occasions, each time he touches a rabbit or mouse a loud noise is made close to his ears (a loud noise being one of two things that call out fear as soon as the response of fear is differentiated from rage and pain, which is very shortly after birth) he soon comes to exhibit fear whenever he sees the rabbit or the mouse. Furthermore, because of Resemblance (See Course V, Esoteric Psychology) this fear becomes transferred to all furry things, and he will cry and try to get away from his mother’s fur neck piece, or even from rough woolen garments.
Nor is there any instinctive fear of snakes. An infant allowed to play with snakes has no repugnance about them. But if he witnesses an adult exhibit fear reactions toward snakes, he also quickly becomes so conditioned that he has a fear of them.
Love of the mother, also, is found to rest entirely upon experience. Even though it may jar sentimentalism severely, nevertheless careful experiments prove that there is no instinctive love of the child for its parents. Whoever is with it and ministers to its wants, pets it, and gives it pleasure is the object of the infant’s love. This person, in the absence of the mother, is often the nurse. If the child grows up in the home of foster parents believing these to be the real parents, it loves them just as it would its real parents if they had treated it in the same manner. When the mother, for some reason, does not administer to the child’s wants in early years, the child is usually taught that it is the proper thing for it to love its mother, and because of the power of such teaching may love the mother with great intensity even though it has never seen her. But this love also is a result of conditioning, of experience acquired through precept.
Experiments carried out on infants and children in the John Hopkins Hospital and the Harriet Lane Hospital have given us much reliable information upon just how the manner in which a child reacts to a given circumstance is determined. It is determined, except the few unconditioned responses mentioned and certain reflex actions of the muscles, by the experiences of the child after birth. That is, both the mental attitude toward things and the skill with which actions are performed, all are acquired. They are not instinctive.
When something is placed near the infant that it desires, its first motions are at random. If it touches the object in these random movements, next time it reaches, it is less at random and with more certainty. With practice it learns to touch the objects it desires at once. So also in learning to walk. Its first efforts are not coordinated. Gradually it learns to use certain muscle groups at once that enable it to walk. When these movements become habitual they constitute the walking habit system, and perform their actions without detailed direction. All acts requiring skill are learned and become habitual in the same way. In fact, one never becomes skillful in an act until its habit system has been developed to a point where the details are left to the unconscious, that is, to habit.
The child’s social adjustments are learned in the same trial and error way. Imitation also has a strong influence in shaping the child’s reactions. Thus the habit pattern of the parents or other close associates is profoundly effective. In learning to talk, the child adopts the peculiarities of accent and pronunciation of its associates. If it is constantly associated with a mother who is nervous and fearful, the child adopts this behavior pattern, and we have a timid nervous child. If it is constantly associated with an irritable father, the child adopts this behavior pattern, and is apt also to develop irritation. Children brought up in homes where there is refinement have better opportunities of rising in life not because of superior inheritance of intelligence, but because the early environment stamps upon them strongly the desire for and appreciation of culture.
A child early in life may be faced with a rather difficult situation. Its experiences up to this point have not led it in the direction of fear. Instead of seeking to circumvent by subterfuge it meets the situation squarely, truthfully, and is praised for this attitude. It finds that it gets more pleasure from the praise elicited for honesty, than it would get from what it acquired dishonestly. Should it try dishonesty and get caught and be punished, it still further tends to establish the habit system of honesty.
Another child, differently reared, is always punished, sometimes for misdemeanors and sometimes when there is only suspicion of wrong doing. This child does something and fears punishment. It lies about it, and the lie is undiscovered. This leads to more cunning in the future. Other lies are undiscovered, and other punishments escaped. Additional desired results are also obtained through falsehood. This child is not a born liar, but the lying habit system has by this time such a hold on him that he will probably be a great liar as long as he lives.
Still another child wants something, and filches it. He is undiscovered. Again he steals and is not caught. He finds that he gets what he wants by stealth and subterfuge, and this habit system becomes so firmly established that if given a position of trust later in life he cannot resist the temptation to become an embezzler.
Yet another child early in life is alternately scolded and petted. Sometimes he gets what he wants immediately. At other times the parents deny him. The child tries various means—as most children do in early years—to gain his point. He tries sulking. He tries crying. He tries going into a tantrum. In a tantrum the child is a great annoyance to the busy parents. They yield to this violent outbreak which may take on alarming proportions; for the child may hold his breath until unconscious. Next time the child wishes something very much he throws another tantrum. Again he gains his point. When he goes to school he is known for his violent temper and uncontrolled behavior.
A girl growing thus to womanhood is temperamental and hysterical and may spend much money on doctor bills trying in vain to find a cure for her nerves. A boy growing thus to manhood may be known as a competent business man, except for his violent temper which makes it impossible for anyone to work with him, and which spoils most of the opportunities that are brought to him by life.
The fundamental urges back of human life are not learned. All normal persons desire security, self-respect, respect of others, adventure, and sexual expression. But the manner in which these fundamental urges, which may be classified in ten groups (Course IX, Mental Alchemy), find expression is acquired through experience. We meet a situation in one way, and another person meets it in another, not because our fundamental urges, our primary desires, are different; but because the environmental conditions of our lives have been such that we have built into ourselves different habit systems.
We have developed certain work habit systems, which determine whether we are industrious, neat about our work, thorough or careless, accustomed to watch the clock or to give good service, change employment frequently or continue in one place and in one line. Likewise we have developed study habit systems, domestic habit systems, eating habit systems, sleeping habit systems, recreation habit systems, social habit systems, etc. From knowing one habit system of an individual it is impossible to form a judgment of his other habit systems. A person who is always polite and agreeable in others’ company may be a tyrant in his own home. He has developed a company habit system that is in contrast to his home habit system. On the other hand, some of the world’s most notorious criminals have been unusually kind parents and loving faithful husbands or wives. Their domestic habit systems were conditioned socially, but certain other habit systems were decidedly antisocial.
What we should realize, and keep constantly before us, is that we are made up of various habit systems. Such habit systems become strongly entrenched, and greatly resist change. As a rule, however, it is not impossible to change them. The form of the body, except in the matter of weight, is not easily susceptible to much change. But the balance of the personality is made up of various habit systems. Upon them depends whether or not one is attractive. By changing the habit system involved the power of attracting others may be developed.
Before taking this up, lest someone jump to the conclusion that all persons are born with the same ability to acquire habit systems, and that environment after birth exclusively determines the trend of life, let me explain further:
As a result of the experiences before human birth each person has groups of thought cells organized in his astral body that relate to all the fundamental desires. He is born at such a time that the planets in the sky accurately map not only the degree of activity of each such group of thought cells, and the department of life experiences with which formed them, but also their relation to other thought cells, and whether their desires are harmonious or discordant. That is, the birth chart maps the result of all the experiences before human birth as these have formed thought cells within the soul.
The events which are attracted after birth correspond in their characteristics to the planetary nature of the thought cells and their harmony or discord. The more active thought cells—those mapped by more prominent planets—attract more important events, and these events are characteristic of them. The more active thought cells also influence the thoughts and the tendency to behavior. That is, the environment both in childhood and in later life which tends to condition the individual’s attitude toward different departments of his life, is influenced by the factors mapped in the chart of birth. Furthermore, because certain groups of thought cells are more active, and certain groups are more harmonious, in one child’s astral body than in another’s, one child will react to a set of circumstances quite differently than will another child, even though both have grown up in the same home and within the same general environment.
The child who has Mars dominant in his birth chart not only attracts the type of environment that conditions him to give the anger reaction instead of the fear reaction; but the anger reactions develop quicker and stronger than they do in other children even under the same environmental conditions. The child that has Saturn dominant in the birth chart, on the other hand, not only attracts such events as tend to develop in him fear reactions, but because of his astral makeup he develops fear reactions much more quickly and much more fully than another child would under the same circumstances.
But when we stop to consider it, this merely removes the source of our habit systems to a more remote period in the past. The birth chart with which we are born indicates the tendencies to form habit systems that result from experiences in the past. The formation of these habit systems takes place after birth. Whatever we are, successful or unsuccessful, happy or unhappy, attractive or unattractive, is the result of habit systems, and these are due to experience. And when desirable, through other intelligently attracted experiences, we can change in such direction as we desire, these habit systems. If we are unattractive, by developing the habit systems that cause one to be attractive, one may acquire that quality.
That Which the Birth Chart Indicates Can Be Changed
This is not merely a theoretical assertion; it is based upon much painstaking research. The result of this research is set forth in detail, and comprises Chapter Two—Important Knowledge Gained From Progressed Aspects of Twins—of the book WHEN AND WHAT EVENTS HAPPEN and is still further considered in the chapter on The Astrological Quantum of Action in the book ASTROLOGICAL LORE OF ALL AGES.
The Brotherhood of Light Astrological Research Department carried out extensive Case History Studies of the events which come into the lives of people with practically identical charts and progressed aspects. These studies embraced the characters and lives of identical twins, natural twins, and astrological twins. And they show that such twins when reared amid different environments develop different attitudes toward things and different skills. As identical twins have exactly duplicate sets of genes, and thus the same physical heredity, these differences cannot be due to heredity. And when such identical twins have almost identical birth charts the differences cannot be attributed to differences in astrological factors. This means that the training they have received by being in different environments is responsible for the observed differences in personality.
University scientists have made a study of twins, comparing the lives and personalities of those who were separated from each other early in life with the lives and personalities of twins not thus separated. In some instances the separated twins had about the same educational advantages and a fairly similar social environment, and in other instances the environment was markedly different in both respects. Some of the separated twins had chances to visit each other at times, but in other cases there was no contact for years.
The result of the research of these scientists is the conclusion that human intelligence is not definitely fixed by heredity, but may be distinctly influenced by such environmental factors as education and social position. The conclusion reads: “Not only can intelligence be influenced by environment, but personal traits such as temperamental and emotional attitudes are affected by environment to an even more marked degree. But heredity is dominant in all physical characteristics except the obvious one of body weight.”
Other studies conducted by Dr. Skeels, professor at the University of Iowa, showed that when children attended a nursery school or were transferred from a bleak orphanage to good homes, their I.Q.’s invariably improved. Dr. George Dinsmore Stoddard, Director of the University of Iowa’s Child Welfare Research Station holds that, “With good upbringing even a dull child may become bright.”
To support this view, in addition to his own observations he points to the report of the year book that identical twins reared in separate homes had different I.Q.’s, and that Southern Negroes who moved to Harlem, and thus got better schooling, raised their I.Q.’s. And Robert Ladd Thorndike found when he examined the records of some 1,000 children in three famed progressive schools (Horace Mann, Lincoln, Ethical Culture), that in two schools the children’s I.Q.’s were static, but in the third (unidentified) there was an average I.Q. gain of more than six points.
In a similar manner our Case History Studies of people with almost identical charts show that while the thought-cell energy mapped by the birth chart tends to express in a manner characteristic of the planet mapping it, and through the departments of life the houses of which the planet rules, the importance, the special manner, and even the harmony or discord of its expression, are largely determined by the environment.
This means that while it seems to be impossible to prevent the energy mapped by a given planet expressing in characteristic manner, that it is not too difficult to divert the energy into expressing the constructive activity of the planet rather than in something displeasing.
Furthermore, even as the scientists mentioned relative to increasing intelligence, any quality can be given greater activity through adopting a proper habit system. The energy of a given group of thought cells may be increased by giving exercise to the quality expressing them, and the quality of their expression can be improved by cultivating a habit system which permits and encourages them to express more pleasantly. And if this pleasant expression is designed to give great attractiveness to the personality the individual will become an attractive person.
The Attractive Personality
As already pointed out, there is no mystery why one person is attractive and another unattractive. If the attractiveness is looked upon as a single unit the differentiation becomes difficult, because there are a large number of factors which contribute to it. But if the qualities of the personality are broken up for the purpose of analysis into its various habit systems, and each of these is considered as contributing to or detracting from the attractiveness, the mystery vanishes.
Thus, because of training from childhood—although many other animals than man also put forth much effort in the same direction—people desire to keep clean. Filth is repulsive to the normal human being. No one likes to see soiled clothing. No one likes to see dirt on the hands or face of another. Black-bordered and untrimmed fingernails do not induce the feeling of pleasure in others. Gleaming white teeth, well cared for hair, and a skin that if not fresh at least appears clean and wholesome, all have attractive power.
Neatness, also, is an asset to personality. People like to see clothes that are well cared for. It gives the impression that the person has some respect for himself if his trousers are always creased and his linen freshly laundered. Polished shoes, like a clean face, give pleasure to those who look at them. Dusty shoes and soiled or disheveled wearing apparel give those who look at them a feeling of displeasure. Slovenliness, however, is not confined to wearing apparel. Some people walk carelessly, slouching along; talk carelessly, mumbling their words; and sit carelessly, just slumping down in a heap, or sprawling in a chair in a way that is most distressing to others who have to watch them. How can one expect to have the respect of others if one lacks respect enough for himself to walk gracefully, to talk plainly, and to sit as if life had some meaning. Any form of untidiness, awkwardness, or carelessness in speech tends to give our associates a feeling of uncomfortableness. When we give others pleasure, and only then, are we attractive. Neatness and cleanliness and an appearance that indicates one has some respect for oneself, are all habit systems that when established give other people pleasure, and hence attract them.
Even a very plain face may be made attractive if it shows life, sympathy, and a joy of living. People desire to live, and they find some vicarious fulfillment of this desire in witnessing abundant life in others. No one likes a frown. Sadness and sorrow are things we shun, and we recoil from them when mirrored in the countenances of others. A smile and a laugh are contagious. People enjoy themselves when they smile and laugh. The person who smiles gives others pleasure, and they like him. Cheerfulness likewise communicates its joy. Cordiality too has its value. Show that you are pleased to meet people and to be with them, and they will respond by being pleased to be with you. The face can show sympathy, interest, life, and pleasure, and these each have attractive quality.
People are attracted by the pleasure you give them. For that matter, the fundamental attractive principle of all life is pleasure, and the repellent principle is pain. But on this account do not become a “yes” man. No one likes a human jellyfish. People do not like obstinacy, or argumentativeness, but they like strength and character. To have the courage of one’s convictions tends to be an attractive quality among people worth attracting. This does not mean, however, the unnecessary intrusion of one’s personal convictions.
While it is known to be a fallacy that the person who looks one straight in the eye is more honest than the one who does not, yet to look straight at another when talking to him or when listening to him gives a favorable impression. The person who shifts his eyes when he talks to another is probably over sensitive, and may have an inferiority complex. He may be quite honest. Yet to be able to look men and the whole world straight in the eye conveys an attribute of character that most people admire. It gives most people more real pleasure to associate with a person of character than with a living doormat.
I suppose nearly everyone is rather sensitive to voice quality. Few things have greater power to repel than does a rasping or a strident voice. The high-pitched voice denotes nervous tension. It is none the less disagreeable. Then there is the flat voice. That is, the voice without inflection or expression. Conversation is a part of our everyday lives, yet the tones most of us produce are anything but attractive. People who spend much money on clothes and much time on beauty treatments, often have voices that drive others almost distracted. A little time spent freeing the voice from its disagreeable contractions, and developing resonance, would yield far better results. We all must speak. The tones we utter are attractive or the reverse. We may not be able to take vocal culture, but at least we can listen to our speech and strive to soften and give resonance to the tones so that they will have a pleasant effect upon the ears of others. A pleasant voice is one of the most attractive attributes that a personality can have.
I suppose in some rather constrictive quarters I will be deemed a heretic when I voice the opinion that it is everyone’s duty as well as privilege to dress and act in as charming a manner as is practical. Some will say that clothes and voice and posture are only the external coverings of the real man, and the thing that counts is the character. What matters it that a man goes about in rags; and as we sometimes witness here in Los Angeles, with a flowing beard somewhat matted in spots with dirt, and incrustations of soil on the neck and behind the ears; if he has a beautiful soul?
To these I must answer that all we can know of a man’s soul is what he reveals to us through his actions. And it is true that some ragged and decidedly untidy individuals who occasionally appear on the streets of Los Angeles have kindly hearts and commendable sympathies for suffering mankind. That is, they have certain habit systems of helpfulness to others that are admirable. Nor is anything detracted from their usefulness, perhaps, by dressing in an unusual manner. Individuality is sorely needed in this land of standardization. But such habit systems as repel people through untidiness or uncouthness, instead of adding to the saintliness, as seems to be expected, I am sure, detract both from the saintliness and the usefulness.
According to my standards at least, one of the qualities of saintliness is the faculty of giving pleasure and relieving pain. But a repulsive exterior, regardless of the inner motives, causes others aesthetic pain and by driving them away makes it more difficult to help them. It seems to me that the notion of severity of attire, like the attitude that poverty is linked with virtue, derives from a past in which religion perverted almost every fundamental principle of psychology to the lasting detriment of the human race.
One of these psychological principles is the law of change. Already I have mentioned the tiring effect of monotony. It is a strain to direct the attention steadily for long to any one object. In fact, unless the attention moves at least slightly the concentration results quickly in unconsciousness, in sleep. Life is activity. Where there is no change there is no life. Life has become accustomed through its long evolution to rapid adjustments to new situations. The habit of constant change has become entrenched through a million generations. No wonder, then, that all human beings crave change! No wonder when the war bugles sound that a million men rush to the colors! Patriots? Yes. But more than patriotic, desiring change.
Without admitting it even to themselves they are tired of the monotony in which they have been living. There is no romance and too little variety in the daily occupation. Going at night to the same home, to the same wife, to eat the same kind of food, and retire at the same hour. Not but that their homes, their wives and their food are good; they simply have seen them so often that the monotony is irksome, Unconsciously they feel that almost any change is better than such deadly monotony. But to throw up a good job, a good wife and home and go rambling would be to acknowledge oneself a fool, and a knave as well. But when the country calls, adventure is in the air. Change is in sight, and such change as wins the approval of oneself and one’s fellow man. As long as homes are dull and occupations largely routine there will be little lack of those who warmly welcome going to war.
But how is this psychological principle of change to be applied by those who instead of going to war go out socially to converse with others? It is to be applied by variety in attire, by inflection in speech, by new subjects of conversation, by new interests, by having something new to do or to suggest doing, by acting differently at one time than another, and by consistent endeavor to break up monotony with something new and when possible something original.
It is a mystery to most men why women must have so many new clothes. But it need remain a mystery no longer. No matter how beautiful a garment, seen too often it loses its charm. Women have learned this no doubt through observation.
The clothing of men has become so standardized that the amount of change in appearance has been reduced to narrow limits. Still, wearing a different tie each day and a shirt of different pattern, gives a little variety. A golf suit for recreation, a business suit of a different shade now and then for the office, and an evening suit for after dinner wear offer some opportunity of change. How many suits a man should own, of course, depends upon financial and other circumstances.
But whether it is a man or a woman we are considering in relation to attractiveness we cannot neglect the manner of dress. We have been taught to love the beautiful in nature and to recoil from the sordid. Education has given us some appreciation of a well-painted canvas or a finely proportioned statue. We are taught from childhood to be attracted to grace of line, to properly blended colors, and to the harmonious in design. When we see a person in whom the clothing is of such a nature and so worn as to suggest these artistic attributes we cannot be unattracted to that person without breaking up our long established habit system of being attracted to the beautiful.
Considering the matter still further, is it not one of the functions of a useful life to give pleasure to others? Circumstances compel most of us to live among people. Is it noble of us to inflict the pain of compelling others to look at something disagreeable when in our presence? I think not. The beautiful and artistic have the power to exalt the spirit. They lift the soul from a contemplation of the mean and sordid in life. Why not, then, contribute to the joy and spiritual yearnings of others by making ourselves appear as artistic, as beautiful, and consequently as attractive, as we are able?
The very first step in attraction, of course, is capturing the attention. One is neither attractive nor unattractive to people who are unaware of one’s presence. To be attractive one must, by some means, emerge into the field of people’s attention.
The unusual always attracts attention. Also, action of any kind is quickly noticed. A bird in a tree is hard to see until it flies. Motion makes objects obvious. Therefore, when with a crowd, to stand out from the unnoticed mass, make it a point to be different enough from others to attract attention, or do something. Attention may be attracted, however, either pleasurably or disagreeably. Newspaper headlines are given over to people who are unusual, or who have done something. That is, they have attracted attention. But more often than not the manner in which they are different, or the character of their acts, causes people to be repelled rather than attracted to them. To be attractive one must not only attract attention, but attract it in a way that will give others pleasure.
One who desires to be a social success should have some “line.” That is, he should have something that he can do well that in a gathering will contribute to the life and pleasure of the party. A good story teller is always in demand. One who plays some musical instrument, and is willing to do so tends toward popularity. Singing is an asset. One who can make a short speech, give a recitation, or otherwise contribute to the activity and variety of an evening also has some advantage. And on many an occasion have I witnessed someone who could read the tarot cards, and was willing to do so, become the chief center of attraction of the evening. People are always interested in themselves. To be popular at a gathering, do something to contribute to the welfare or entertainment of those present.
Coming back to the thought just expressed that people are always interested in themselves, this peculiarity may be utilized by encouraging them to talk about their affairs and interests. Everyone is interested in something, and it never fails to give him pleasure to find someone else who has some interest in the same subject, and with whom he can exchange ideas. To talk to a person intelligently about his hobby is often to win his everlasting friendship. And why should we not be interested in people and in their ideas? Is life so narrow that we need confine our sympathies to a single highway? It will help us to get out of the slender rut in which we travel to be come genuinely interested in other people and in their hobbies and ambitions.
This matter of talking, however, should not be one sided. Give the other person opportunity to talk at least half of the time. When he is talking, especially if talking about something he is interested in, he is enjoying himself. By all means do not talk merely of the things that interest you. Such talking is not conversation, it is of the nature of a soliloquy in which the other person, out of politeness must listen though immeasurably bored. Conversation may be stodgy, commonplace, and verbose; but to be pleasant should have in it an element of life, and an interesting give and take of thought.
Another thing that gives pleasure, and is a saving grace in many situations is a sense of humor. When unpleasant things happen, and everyone is all keyed up, if someone can see and express the ridiculous side of the situation, in the laugh that follows the nervous tensions are released and everyone feels better. It is quite possible, even if it is naturally lacking, to cultivate the ability to perceive the incongruities and bring them to the attention of others. The perception of incongruities is the foundation of humor. Humor tends to bring people into sympathetic understanding, making them feel easy and congenial. Of course, one may become quite a pest by continued attempts to be “funny;” but such a state of affairs is but the miscarriage of a laudable ambition. People rarely fail to like the person who is exceptionally humorous.
Wit and humor, however, are in different categories. Fun at the expense of another’s self-esteem is to incur the other’s enmity. Nothing so humiliates a person as to be made the butt of a joke, to be made to appear ridiculous in public, and to be laughed at. It is a form of punishment that seldom finds forgiveness, and while others may laugh, no one really likes the person who habitually causes other people this kind of pain.
The Complete Circuit
When we talk to another person, and when we think of another person, energy from us goes out to that person. Our words, perceived by the person, cause him to feel a certain way. Our thoughts, impinging upon his astral body have an influence upon it that causes him, without being consciously aware of the reason, to feel in a certain way. But feelings, to influence the unconscious mind of another, are stronger than ideas. That is, thoughts vitalized by emotions have dynamic power. But to exert their full power rapport must be established, as explained in Chapter 7 (Serial Lesson 101), Course IX, Mental Alchemy, between the two persons. If we would be powerfully attractive to others, we must sympathize with them, or get them to sympathize with us. This causes the establishment of rapport which permits the exchange of both electromagnetic and astral energies. Then we must strongly feel toward them as we would have them feel toward us. The circuit of energy is thus completed, energy flowing from us to them, and from them to us, of a kind determined by the person whose feelings at the moment are the stronger.
Edward Doane Chart
October 13, 1892, 2:58 :34 a.m. LMT., 97W21. 40N19.
((Data from him personally.))
1898-99, many vivid inner-plane experiences: Sun sesquisquare Neptune r, Mercury conjunction Uranus r.
1906-08, formulated independent philosophy: Sun conjunction Uranus r.
1917, joined army, quick promotion: Sun square Mars r.
1919, contacted Brotherhood of Light: Saturn trine Pluto p, M.C. trine Uranus r.
1929, lost all physical possessions: Mars opposition Venus r.
1933, pledged self to devote life to Church of Light work: Saturn trine Pluto r, Mars trine Uranus p.
Charles Fillmore Chart
August 22, 1854, 4:00 a.m. LMT., 94:15W. 46N.
((Data given in Unity’s Fifty Golden Years.))
1864, crippled with tubercular hip: Mars opposition Pluto r.
1874, moved and got job: Sun trine Jupiter r.
1881, married Myrtle Page: Venus trine Pluto r.
1886, March, attended convincing metaphysical lecture: Mars opposition Uranus r, sextile Jupiter p; Sun sextile Venus r.
1889, April, began publishing Modern Thought, developed a dream code: Sun inconjunct Pluto r, Mercury sextile Moon r.
1890, Unity’s prayer ministry begun: Sun inconjunct Pluto r, Venus opposition Neptune r, Mercury trine Saturn p.
1909, Unity Correspondence School started: Mars semisquare Jupiter r, inconjunct Pluto r.