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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 can not 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
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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
All Thought-Elements Are Built of
Reproductive Desires and
Nutritive Desires
--As set forth in Course 5, 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
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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.
Psychoplasm Is Built of
-- 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 text-book 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
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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
In Course 1, Chapter 2, I have shown that all physical substance is inter-penetrated 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 Course 3, Chapter 4
I have shown, further, that a thought is an organization of astral substance. And in
Course 3, Chapter 5 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
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."
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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.
Thought-Elements Are the Only
Food the Astral Body Can
--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.
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
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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.
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.
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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.
Both Physical Cells and
Stellar-Cells Have Independent
--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.
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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
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
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 can not 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
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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.
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
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
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into the life such events and conditions as correspond to the way they have been
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.
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 Course 5, Chapter 8, 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
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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
Course 9, Chapter 2, 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.
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 Course 5, Chapters 7 and 8, 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
Course 5, Chapter 7, the individual Resolves the Conflict, perhaps through Sublimation, or
as explained in Course 5, Chapter 5 he builds into himself a Repression which, as explained
in Course 5, Chapter 8, 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
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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 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 Course 5, Chapter 8, 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
over-compensate. 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
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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 rising (see birth chart at front of lesson), 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
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 chart in
Chapter 2) 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,
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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
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.