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Chapter 5
Why Repression Is Not
Morality
MORALITY is a particular kind of conduct. And as all conduct is the product of
energies released and directed by desires, morality must depend upon desires which
have sufficient energy at their command to overcome all other desires which tend to
release their energies in the direction of immorality. Any comprehensive knowledge
of how morality can be attained, therefore, must reveal first, just what line of conduct
is truly moral, and second, how desires can be established which have at their
command energy enough to overcome opposition, and that release their energies in
the direction of such moral conduct.
Because desires and their energies, biologically speaking, are much older than
morality, it seems better first to consider in some detail the ten families of desires
present in every human being the energies of which, in various combinations, must
enter into special channels of release if man attains to that which he calls morality;
Then we can take up the practical details of diverting these energies into chosen
channels; and reserve for another lesson a discussion of what those channels should
be if they are to serve truly moral interests.
POWER URGES
--The oldest of all desires is the desire to survive and to be something. It is the
driving force behind every soul, which impels it to struggle on, ever striving, even
though blindly, to fulfill the destiny mapped for it by its ego. This desire for
significance is the most deep-seated of all, and laboratory experiments in psychology
demonstrate that so long as life lasts the soul will not relinquish it. The soul will
relinquish any other conception, even that of physical survival, or that of the survival
of offspring, sooner than relinquish the belief that it has some importance in the
scheme of things. That this belief is grounded in fact is set forth in Chapter 1
(Doctrine of Esoteric Psychology).
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In connection with the development of morality, and in the handling of desires and
their energies for other purposes, it is essential to remember that the soul never can be
made to admit its own insignificance, and that of the thought-cells embraced in the
dynamic stellar structures of the astral body where are stored those energies that
constitute the various types of desires, those for significance are more powerful than
any others. They have been in existence longer, and have had added to them the
energy of more experiences. To enlist them in any given cause, therefore, is to
acquire a powerful ally. The family of thought-elements that express as the desire for
Significance is called Power family. The dynamic stellar structure in the astral body
the thought-cells of which are chiefly composed of these Power-elements is mapped
in the birth-chart by the Sun.
The Three Hereditary Drives
--Desires which are so strong that their energies cannot be repressed or held in
check, but are sure to find an outlet through some channel, may appropriately be
called Drives. And this Drive for Significance not only is the oldest and most
powerful of all, but is the evolutionary source of all the thought-elements, just as it is
held by some that the Sun is the parent of the various planets. It is, at least, the center
about which they swing. And this is the strongest of the three hereditary Drives.
The desire for Significance, as well as the electrical charges that comprise an atom of
matter, expresses as a positive and a negative. Protons and electrons are the factors of
which all elements of matter are composed; and Reproductive Desires and Nutritive
Desires are the factors of which all the mental elements are composed. Significance
can release the energies of its desire either in expressing outside of the form it
occupies--as a Reproductive activity which is the positive expression--or in
expressing inside the form it occupies--as a Nutritive activity, which is the negative
expression.
Because these two primitive trends, the one positive and the other negative, enter in
different proportions into the composition of all the ten thought-elements--even
being embraced within the parental Power Urges--they do not attain the dignity of
being called mental elements. Rather they are mental protons and electrons. Yet next
to the Power Urges which fathered them, they are the oldest mental factors, and the
most deep-seated.
Self Preservation in all its various aspects is an expression of the Nutritive Desire.
And because it's so deep-seated and powerful that it cannot be prevented from
finding some outlet, having been added to constantly since the soul first commenced
its cyclic journey, it may be considered as one of the three Hereditary Drives.
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The other Hereditary Drive is that which in its various aspects is an expression of the
Reproductive Desire. Only those forms of life exist on earth today whose
reproductive desires have become strong enough to overcome all inhibitions and all
obstacles. When the drive for self-preservation is weak the individual fails to survive
and his strain dies out. When the drive for Race Preservation is weak the individual
either fails to leave offspring, or if he does reproduce the strain, he so poorly provides
for them that they perish. Thus since life on earth began there has been a constant
weeding out of those forms of life that had nutritive desires so weak they failed in
Self Preservation, and those that had reproductive desires so weak they failed to
leave, and properly provide for, their progeny.
In various combinations these two primitive mental factors, Nutritive Desires and
Reproductive Desires have entered into the construction of and have built up all
those more specialized mental factors which are termed elements. That is, just as
there are chemical elements which combine to form the protoplasm of the physical
body; so there are mental elements which combine to form the psychoplasm of which
the stellar-cells and stellar structures of the astral body are composed. And these
mental elements in turn are built of Nutritive and Reproductive Desires.
Bearing in mind that each element of the ten Families contains not merely one of the
simpler types of mental factors, but both Nutritive and Reproductive, although in
different proportions, let us now consider briefly how such elements have been
formed. But in so doing, because Nutritive Desire and Reproductive Desire are
technical terms, it will probably make the matter clearer if instead of Nutritive Desire
we speak of the drive for Self Preservation; and instead of Reproductive Desire we
speak of the Drive for Race Preservation.
Domestic Elements
--On the side of Self Preservation, if the form is to persist it must have sustenance.
Nutrition is essential to the continued well being of the form. On the side of Race
Preservation, a home for the offspring, food for them, and ministering to their various
needs is essential. Through such experiences were formed and built into the astral
body those mental elements called Domestic. The dynamic stellar structure in the
astral body the thought-cells of which are chiefly composed of these Domestic
elements is mapped in the birth-chart by the Moon.
Intellectual Elements
--Even the lowest form of life finds intelligence, of whatever degree it is able to
manifest, an advantage to it in Self Preservation. Survival depends upon ready and
adequate adaptation, and intelligence is the greatest aid to such adaptation. It is no
less valuable in procuring a mate, and in insuring that the offspring shall be properly
provided for. Race Preservation is more certain to those individuals that exercise
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intelligence than to those that do not. It is through experiences in the exercise of
intelligence, both to preserve the self and to preserve the race, that those mental
elements were built into the astral body called Intellectual. The dynamic stellar
structure in the astral body the thought-cells of which are chiefly composed of these
Intellectual elements is mapped in the birth-chart by the planet Mercury.
Social Elements
--Creatures that band together often are more secure from their enemies than those
that live solitary lives. Fish in the sea, birds of the air, antelope on the plains, and even
many plants find close association an aid to Self Preservation. And it is the rule that
Race Preservation requires the members of opposite sexes to mingle. Such
experiences when they enter the astral form become those mental elements known as
Social. The dynamic stellar structure in the astral body the thought-cells of which are
chiefly composed of these Social elements is mapped in the birth-chart by the planet
Venus.
Aggressive Elements
--All creatures are subject to attack and invasion. All creatures, likewise, are
confronted by obstacles. Self Preservation is aided by the ability to repel invasion, to
destroy the enemy, and to use initiative in the attack on obstacles. The ability to
defeat an opponent in the struggle to secure a mate, the courage to battle for the
welfare of the offspring, and the initiative to face difficulties for the sake of the
progeny, all are aids to Race Preservation. It is through such experiences in combat,
in construction and destruction, and in the courageous attack upon obstacles that
those mental elements were built into the astral body called Aggressive. The
dynamic stellar structure in the astral body the thought-cells of which are chiefly
composed of these Aggressive elements is mapped in the birth-chart by the planet
Mars.
Religious Elements
--The confidence of the members of a group that their wise and more experienced
leaders will provide for emergencies, and that they need only have faith in that
leadership, is a decided aid to Self Preservation; as is also the spirit of tolerance and
good fellowship which prevents destructive strife from being a constant menace.
And the confidence of the young that their parents will provide for their needs, and
that the parents should be obeyed because they are benevolent and wise, is an aid to
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Race Preservation. It is through experiences with such faith and such good
fellowship, and the effort to seek the favor of others and of the ruling authority, that
those mental elements were built into the astral body called Religious. The dynamic
stellar structure in the astral body the thought-cells of which are chiefly composed of
these Religious elements is mapped in the birth-chart by the planet Jupiter.
Safety Elements
--All life-forms are beset with dangers. The ability to escape from enemies, to avoid
harmful conditions, and to provide for security is an essential if the individual is to
survive. It thus is a necessary asset to Self Preservation. The young also need to be
kept away from enemies and from destructive conditions. Providing security for the
young is a necessary asset to Race Preservation. And it is through experiences which
have sought the escape from danger and the attainment of security that those mental
elements were built into the astral body called Safety. The dynamic stellar structure
in the astral body the thought-cells of which are chiefly composed of these Safety
elements is mapped in the birth-chart by the planet Saturn.
Individualistic Elements
--Conditions are in a state of constant flux. The old way of doing things may suffice
for a while; but the ability to depart from the conservatism of the past, to do
something that has not been done before, in time becomes an assistance to survival.
This departure from the common methods of the race thus lends itself to Self
Preservation. Not only is it valuable to invent better ways of doing things for the self,
but the development of better ways of caring for the young, and better ways of
handling conditions that affect their welfare assist in Race Preservation. It is through
such experiences, in which the individual had departed from customary practices and
had acted differently from the other members of his race that those mental elements
were built into the astral body called Individualistic. The dynamic stellar structure in
the astral body the thought-cells of which are chiefly composed of these
individualistic elements is mapped in the birth-chart by the planet Uranus.
Utopian Elements
--All creatures, in addition to their external life, also have experiences in which the
unconscious mind is somewhat dominant. We cannot say that plants dream, although
we are sure that dogs and some others of the higher animals do. But even the lower
forms of life draw from their inner, astral experiences. Vague yearnings for better
conditions for themselves and their race. The feeling that finer things such as they
sense on the inner plane are possibilities of attainment. Such forerunners of that
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which we call ideals assist Self Preservation through the instinctive search for more
pleasant relationships. And they aid Race Preservation through the success, in some
measure, of the individual in realizing these finer relationships, and leading others of
his kind into similar realization. It is through such experiences, largely filtering
through from the inner plane, in which there has been an effort to externalize the
yearning for a higher kind of life that those mental elements were built into the astral
body called Utopian. The dynamic stellar structure in the astral body the
thought-cells of which are chiefly composed of these Utopian elements is mapped in
the birth-chart by the planet Neptune.
Universal Welfare Elements
--Cooperation between the individuals of a species helps all to survive and thus
assists Self Preservation. Through cooperative effort, in which specialization of parts
and division of labor are possible, we gain the highest types of organizations. The
human body is such an organization of cells and organs. A modern industrial plant
attains mass production with possibilities of low costs and high wages through such
cooperative effort. Social insects, such as ants and bees, are outstanding examples of
this spirit of cooperation. And as that which gives advantages to all, helps the young
as well as the adults, cooperation is an aid to Race Preservation. It is through
experiences in which cooperation of some kind has been practiced that those mental
elements were built into the astral body called Universal Welfare Urges. The
dynamic stellar structure in the astral body the thought-cells of which are chiefly
composed of these Universal Welfare elements is mapped in the birth-chart by the
planet Pluto.
The LAW of ASSOCIATION
Operates through Energy
Relationships Established Between
Mental Factors
--As these various mental elements were built into the stellar-cells of the astral body,
they were CONDITIONED by the pleasure or pain accompanying the experience
which gave them origin. Their energies were under tensions which tended to release
in certain channels and not in others. That is, each stellar-cell acquired in some
degree, Conditioning Energy, such as commonly we call Desire.
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Other experiences of a more complex nature, including mental experiences as well as
those more directly derived from environment, ASSOCIATED certain stellar-cells
into a thought-structure. This process was also accompanied by Feeling which gave
to the organization so formed further conditioning Energy, or desire. The dynamic
stellar structures in the astral body, such as are mapped in a birth-chart by the
positions of the planets are the most highly charged of all with such Conditioning
Energy. That is, they contain the most energy under high tension, and therefore
indicate the most energetic desires within the individual's astral form.
The relations between various thought-cells and various groups of thought-cells are
as numerous as the experiences of life itself. Where there is Resemblance between
two experiences, no matter where individually they may have built mental elements
or more complex structures into the astral body, that Resemblance when
recognized--because Resemblance is the recognition of kinship in Feeling--is an
energy relation between them. Things which are Contiguous either in time or space
enter consciousness together--are likewise associated through an energy
relationship, no matter how far removed from each other they may be in the astral
body.
When an act has been performed in a given way, the thought-cells and stellar
structures have made that act possible through the release of the energies of their
desires. Those stellar-cells and thought structures responsible for the act have been
united in a particular way so that their energies have been released in a given
sequence. This fact, that their energies have been thus released in a certain type of
action ASSOCIATES them in this manner and permits the energies of their desires to
find more ready release over the line thus established than through some other
channel, the associations of which have not yet become established.
Anything done once, through the principle of Contiguity, establishes definite energy
relationships between the mental factors involved. And the more often it is done, the
stronger becomes the energy relationship between these mental factors. All habits
are formed through such energy relationships between the thought-cells, thought
structures, and dynamic stellar structures of the astral body.
At sometime in the past the thought-cells and stellar structures have learned how to
handle the chemical elements that build up the physical form, they have learned how
to construct the various glands and organs of the body, how to provide for secretion
and assimilation, and all the other innumerable processes that are not directed by
objective consciousness.
These processes, like that of walking, were learned little by little, as the desire of the
stellar-cells and thought structures found channels of expression that favored
survival. Yet when any such channel--energy associations between thought-cells
and thought structures that permitted their desires to express--was once established,
it became the easiest conduit for such energy release, and the process became
habitual.
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Each organism is a collection of habit-systems, and the significant thing is that once
the energies of desires have established a channel of release, because to break a new
path is painful, they resist the effort to make them express through another avenue for
which as yet they have no precedent.
A noted biologist says: "If it were possible for a given period of time to compare in
humanity, taken as a whole, the total number of acts produced by voluntary attention
with the total number of those produced without it, the ratio would be nearly as zero
to infinity."
What is character, upon which we so pride ourselves? It is the organization of the
thought-cells and thought structures of our finer form which gives rise to our habitual
mode of thought and expresses outwardly as our habitual actions.
What is that which we so admire and call genius? It is habitual facility of execution.
Do you think that difficult music could be played if the conscious volition must be
directed to each little action? Certainly not. Each little movement is learned
separately, and the thought-cells responsible for it thus associated with other
thought-cells governing other movements, the whole forming a chain of
desire-release set off by the proper stimulus. Once the chain of thought-cell
association has been established no attention need be paid to such separate
movements. The volition--directed desire--merely gives its attention to playing the
whole piece, and thus serves to connect up the releases of the various desires in the
thought organization of the astral body so that their energies can flow through their
habitual channels of expression.
Thus it is also with morality. Once we have determined what actions are moral and
what immoral, it is but a matter of establishing habit-systems which release the
energies of our desires in moral actions, each learned one at a time and separately,
and gradually associated with the volitionally directed desire to be moral.
The difficulty to be encountered in such a method is that so many channels of energy
release have already been established that the desires find it vastly easier to express
through these less civilized channels than through those which wisdom teaches are
more advantageous.
Within our astral bodies are tendencies built into it in forms of life lower than the
human. Those that actuate the spider, the monkey, the tiger and the snake all are
there. But gradually the desires which actuated these creatures have been taught to
release their energies in more acceptable ways. When food is in sight the more
primitive desire is to grab it. Yet civilization says it may be procured only in certain
ways. If it belongs to another, civilized desires require that it be purchased, or in some
manner obtained only with the other person's consent. This does not mean that the
energy of the desire to grab food is no longer present, merely that it has been
Conditioned to flow through a different channel of release.
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In fact, life advances, step by step, through finding better channels of release for its
energies than those which previously were habitual. There is a vast difference,
however, between diverting energy into a new channel of flow, that is, into a new
chain of associations, and in repressing it.
What happens to the rivulet flowing down the mountain side if the attempt be made to
repress its flow? Like the gross and sensual desires that persist within the astral form
of every man as a heritage from his animal past, the rivulet is there and cannot be
obliterated. It cannot be made to run back up the mountain. Nor can the primitive
desires of man be made to flow back to their source. The most that can be
accomplished in either case is to dam up the stream. But when so dammed up it
inevitably rises until at last it breaks the dam or spills over the top.
The old Mississippi steamboat captains, during a race, used to hang a
monkey-wrench on the safety valve. This worked very well for a short time. But if
they thus kept the valve closed too long, the engine blew up. Many a fine steamboat
found a river grave because its captain failed properly to estimate the pressure the
engine could stand. And most of the ills which neurologists and psychoanalysts treat
likewise have risen from the efforts of people not to find some more acceptable
release for the desire tensions within their astral bodies, but to completely block such
energies from finding egress.
Any desire which acquires sufficient energy is in a position to defy efforts at blocking
its expression. Certain experiences in human life may so charge a group of
thought-cells with the Conditioned energy of emotion, that they gain such power.
But the three Hereditary Drives have acquired that power through the energy added
to them before birth. No one can prevent the Desire for Significance, the Desire for
Self Preservation and the Desire for Reproduction, from releasing their energies.
When their energies are confined over a period of time, and they find no other avenue
of release, they perform as did the steam in the old river boats, they wreck the whole
concern.
These old steamboats when the monkey wrench was hung on the safety valve did not
always blow up. Sometimes seams gradually opened so that the steam found a
devious outlet before the pressure became too great. And likewise the pressure of
repressed desires, not finding other outlet, may seep into expression through
neurosis, psychic instability, and peculiar quirks of character.
Let us here take for granted, that which there is a vast clinical data to prove, that no
one ever successfully prevents the energies of the three Hereditary Drives from
finding expression. But this does not mean that these desires do, or should find
expression through channels which are primitive or immoral, although it is true that
all three are based on animal impulses which expressed in the animal way are socially
unacceptable.
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The Drive for Significance, on the plane of the animal soul has no regard for the
rights and feelings of others, and cares not what it destroys so long as it gains in
selfish power. Rule or ruin is its natural outlet. Yet on the plane of the divine soul it
finds complete satisfaction in the feeling of importance attained whenever it
contributes to the welfare of others. Significance in the realm of man is measured,
each according to his own standards, in terms of human relationship.
The Drive for Self Preservation, on the plane of the animal soul has no consideration
for the rights and feelings of others. A dog or a cat, having more than it can eat,
nevertheless, will guard the excess Food so that no other animal, no matter if it is
famishing, can secure it. And if it is strong enough, it will drive other creatures from
food which they have secured and need, and which is of no benefit to it. Yet on the
plane of the divine soul the same impulse can, and does, find satisfactory expression
in providing for the welfare, here and hereafter, of others. In a society where all are
taken care of and which is progressing to higher states, its own security and
opportunity is greater, and the effort to be helpful to others builds into its finer form
those thought-vibrations which insure its progress in realms of the future.
The Drive for Race Preservation, on the plane of the animal soul tends to the baser
expressions of the sexual impulse, in which lust is dominant, promiscuity is the rule,
and there is no thought of tenderness or the well being of the sexual object. Yet
creative expression of all kinds, such as art, literature, drama, invention, engineering,
and other constructive effort, is an expression of the Reproductive Desire, which is
the chief avenue of egress for the Race Preservation Drive. On the plane of the divine
soul, therefore we find that this impulse gives rise to tenderness, to fine affection, to
exalted love, and finds adequate satisfaction in creative activities which have for
their object the delight of the loved one and the welfare of the race.
There may be other desires that, through special circumstances, have become
endowed with enough energy that they can not be prevented finding a characteristic
outlet; but the energies of these three Hereditary Drives always are sufficiently
strong that they markedly express in spite of any attempt to hang a monkey wrench
on the safety valve.
Repression
--Civilization has developed certain standards of conduct which it imposes on all its
membership. From infancy the child is taught, and comes to believe, that whenever it
departs from these conventional standards, and to the extent it so departs, it becomes
an inferior being. The esteem of others, and the esteem of itself, depend upon its
following the line of conduct which it has been taught to believe is the only moral
one. And as it gains Significance only through self esteem, which usually in turn is
largely dependent upon and measured by the esteem of those by whom it is
surrounded, and as this desire to express Significance is the strongest of all Drives,
powerful desires are built up to follow the conventional standards.
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Because he believes that certain actions denote an inferior being, and because his
Drive for Significance does not permit him to become such an inferior being, he
builds up desires which are powerful enough to prevent these actions. Commonly the
individual finds considerable opportunity to express the desire for Significance in the
field of such accomplishment as is acceptable to conventional standards. Commonly
also he finds opportunity to express the Drive for Self Preservation through working
for a living, or in other ways providing for financial demands. But in the matter of the
expression of the Reproductive Desires--Race Preservation--the teachings from
his childhood often have built desires of a kind that oppose themselves to all
expression.
His religion and his associates have led him to believe that sexual impulse is
prompted by the devil, or at least is a sign of degeneration. So much emphasis has
been placed by society upon sex that when the newspapers announce that some
person has been guilty of immorality or that a moral charge has been brought against
someone, it is always accepted that it has to do with sex. A stranger on our planet,
reading the papers, might conclude that murder, arson, theft, and burglary were not
considered particularly immoral, but were minor offenses compared to sexual
misconduct.
Thus many individuals are raised in an atmosphere which adds so much energy to
those thought-cells that oppose their desires to the Reproductive Desires, that these
conventionally conditioned thought-cells are able to prevent the energy of the
Reproductive Desires being recognized by the objective mind. The individual
convinces himself that he has no such base impulses. He has no thought of sex,
because he is a superior being, and all sex impulses are nasty. Other people may have
such gross desires, but not so superior and moral a person as himself.
When a powerful desire is thus opposed by a contrary powerful desire to the extent
that its recognizable expression is completely blocked, it is said to be repressed.
Other desires--particularly the desire for Significance--can be, and often are, thus
blocked, and exist in a state of repression. But the most common one to be repressed,
and therefore the one that gives the psychiatrists the most work, is the Reproductive
Desire, because it commonly finds more opposition to its expression.
Repression, however, does not prevent the energy from finding escape. The person
has merely built other desires which hypnotize him into the belief that the repressed
desires have no existence. They cannot find expression through the avenues of their
original tendency because the censorship desires--those stronger desires opposing
them--are too powerful to overcome. But after they are held back until they
accumulate sufficient energy they do one of two things, they either find seams in the
boiler through which their energy escapes, without being recognized by the censor,
or they blow up the ship.
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Psychoanalysis was developed to discover these repressed desires, and to release
their energies through less destructive channels. All the various kinds of neurotic
complaints which are relieved by psychoanalysis are expressions of repressed
desires which finding no normal or constructive outlet, dodge the censorship desires,
and express themselves under symbolic disguise.
This being widely recognized through the investigations of Freud, Jung, Adler and
their host of followers, and proved by a whole library of clinical data, let us next
consider the three methods by which the energy of such powerful desires can be
released.
Three Methods of
Desire-Energy Release
--First, of course, the energy of a desire when not too strongly opposed by other
desires, finds expression through carrying into action that which the tension craves
for satisfaction.
Second; when the desire energy is repressed it always finds some substitute channel
of expression. What it is not permitted to do in one direction it COMPENSATES for
by finding a subterfuge outlet in which its activities are permitted. Because such
COMPENSATION activities are unrecognized as to their source by the objective
mind, they are not controlled by it. Hence, more often than not, they are highly
inimical to the welfare of the individual, and at times even dangerous to society.
Third; although this can be done only when the barriers of repression have been
sufficiently removed that the desire can be recognized, such powerful desires can be
associated with activities that are socially acceptable and through them find an outlet
for their energies that completely satisfies them, and at the same time makes them an
asset to the individual and to the race.
Sublimation
--When more gross or primitive desires are led through the process of
CONDITIONING into channels of expression that are higher and more spiritual they
are said to be SUBLIMATED. Most truly great men have succeeded in sublimating
their most insistent desires. A single example will indicate what is meant:
Michelangelo never married, yet his name marks the pages of history as a man of
almost super-human talent and energy, both of which were devoted to a high
accomplishment. He records in his own words how he Sublimated his great passion
for the one woman of his choice into energies that were expressed by him in his
works of art:
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"As a stone, when an intaglio is cut upon it, becomes more precious than in its natural
state, so am I of greater worth since your image has been graven on my heart. When a
sculptor would give shape to an idea, he makes a mold of it in some base material,
such as clay or wax; then he puts it into marble and secures its immortality. So, I, born
but the model of my future self, have been reformed and made by you, O, lofty and
noble lady, into a more perfect expression."
Censorship of desires is never successful as psychoanalysis, and the Prohibition Law
which developed the worst crime wave in history, amply prove. And the evasions
practiced to express usually lead to actions which are detrimental. Instead of
repressing desires, therefore, the wise course is to carry out an intelligent process of
CONDITIONING. Its aim should not be to prevent the expression of whatever
strong desires have been built into the thought structure of the astral body, but to
permit them to express fully through some acceptable and beneficial channel.
Dr. Frank Crane, writing many years ago, gave a hint of this process in these words:
"Peace and poise with sex instinct, are not to be attained by lawless indulgence;
human nature shrinks from this; the angel within us cannot endure it; the bogs of
sensuality are no dwelling place for so imperial a creature as the soul. Neither is the
solution to be found in the utter denial and eradication of desire, as various cults have
vainly fancied. That way madness lies, and outraged human nature wrecks the
baffled spirit by perversion. In trying to kill the beast the spirit becomes worse than
beastly.
"It was Dante and the Troubadours who found the secret the Church Fathers missed.
Not by suppressing, but by idealizing the passions, can they be made wholesome.
Dante's `Vita Nuova,' is a sort of Fifth Gospel. It also points the way to redemption.
For it shows how the lust of the flesh may be transmuted in the alembic of the
imagination into the most ennobling spiritual impulse. The material craving
awakened in him by the little girl Beatrice is made to guide his striving spirit through
hell and purgatory, and to expand at last into that glow that dyes the garments of the
cherubim and colors the white radiance of `the rose of heaven' with a human
warmth."
From this it should not be inferred, however, that the desire for sex is either immoral
or degrading.
Had it not been for sex you and I and all other creatures on the earth had been
prevented from experiencing physical life. The desire for sex expression, like the
desire for significance and the desire for security, is normal to every healthy person.
Only those physically so deficient in a glandular secretion that is an absolute
necessity for any measure of success in life have never experienced sexual desire.
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It must be reserved for Chapter 7 (How to Apply Suggestion) to indicate the direction
of true morality; but enough already has been said to indicate that it cannot
be found through repression; if for no other reason because repression is never
successful. The energies thus blockaded by the Civilized desires always escape by
devious paths which lead to disease and inefficiency.
Instead of repression, not only the energies of the three Hereditary Drives, but those
of as many stellar-cells, dynamic structures and other desires as possible should be
CONDITIONED, through proper association, to flow, and find harmonious
expression through, those channels which have been decided upon as most truly
moral.
As it is impossible to direct a flow of energy of which one is unaware into any
channel, the first thing to be done is to recognize all the desires for exactly what they
are. Instead of being ashamed of them, even if they are primitive, be glad they are
there, because they alone afford the energy necessary to accomplishment. Yet
recognize their primitive conditions and that their energies can be diverted into truly
spiritual expression.
Whatever these desires may be, consider them in the light of their biological past.
Then set about to CONDITION them so that their energies will find satisfactory
expression through moral lines of conduct. Pleasure attracts, and pain repels. Yet
wherever possible, it is better to use pleasure.
In such Conditioning bear in mind that the energy of each Hereditary Drive, and the
energy of each stellar structure, and the energy of each stellar-cell can be made to
express only in terms of its own essential nature. Yet that essential nature can find
satisfaction through a wide variety both of destructive and constructive activities.
Thus it is that the creative energy must always find expression through destruction or
construction. The drive for significance must find expression through the channels
that in some manner contribute to the feeling of importance. And the drive for
self-preservation must gain satisfaction through activities that can be associated with
security.
Recognizing each desire for exactly what it is, and when finding for it a more
acceptable channel by which its own essential nature can express, tends to avoid
conflicts between the different sets of desires. Through discrimination, the desire is
not held back, but is given satisfaction of a nature that is not opposed by other desire
groups. One group is not set against another group, no more so than when a child
becomes a woman and has children of her own she needs still to play with dolls to
find satisfaction for her maternal impulses. Discrimination reconciles the old habit of
playing with dolls to finding a higher pleasure in looking after her real children.
Then when the more suitable outlet for the energies of a desire has been chosen, the
next thing is systematically to CONDITION the desire to find greater satisfaction
through this expression than through the old one. This is accomplished by
associating with the new method of expression as many and as strong pleasures as
possible.
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Practice in Sublimation
--Although there are other desires needing sublimation, because this one is subject
to so much emphasis in current literature, as an example of the method let us consider
too insistent sexual desires. Obviously, because of their essential nature, they can
find satisfaction only through creative activities.
When some morally acceptable creative activity which is suitable to the abilities and
temperament has been selected into which to sublimate the sexual energies, the next
thing is repeatedly to think of as many pleasurable things as possible in connection
with this activity. Whenever the sexual desires begin to intrude, turn to this
expression and through tying to it as many pleasures as possible, build it up until it is
more pleasurable than would be the primitive and more gross expression. Think of it
not only as a more highly gratifying expression than gross indulgence could ever be,
but also recognize it as a higher, more spiritualized expression of the reproductive
urge.
Get all the thrill possible out of this higher creative activity, and dwell at length on
how it adds to the feeling of significance (Power Urges); how better it enables you to
provide for the weak and helpless (Domestic Urges); what a fine thing it is to use so
much intelligence (Intellectual Urges); how it conduces to peace and harmony
(Social Urges); how exhilarating to thus gain the victory (Aggressive Urges); how
noble thus to do something beneficial to aid God's Great Plan (Religious Urges);
how satisfying is the greater sense of security (Safety Urges); how interesting thus to
devise new methods of expression (Individualistic Urges); how fine it is to possess
such high ideals (Utopian Urges); and how much better thus to cooperate in the
progress of the race (Universal Welfare Urges).
In some manner tie in as pleasantly as possible the thought and the practice of the new
expression with the desires of each dynamic stellar structure in the astral body, and
with as many other desires as can be recognized. And this process of sublimating any
gross desire is identical in method with that just outlined. To SUBLIMATE any of
them find a more acceptable channel that will permit the essential nature of the desire
to express. Then guide its energies into this channel through associating the desire
with this expression, and with the pleasant realization of as many other desires as
possible.