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Chapter 5
How To Be Attractive
EOPLE 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.
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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
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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
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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 5) 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.
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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.
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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 9), 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.
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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 anti-social.
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.
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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,
1
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.
1
Out of Print
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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.
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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.
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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 door-mat.
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
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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 a
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.
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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
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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
become 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.
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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 Course IX,
Chapter 07, 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.