Press, Radio and Billboard
One can hardly consider any treatment of the imponderable forces affecting
human life as at all adequate which omits the various agencies of propaganda.
Commonly these agencies commence their work soon after we arise in the morning;
at least as soon as we turn on the radio or glance at the morning paper.
As we drive to the office, or go to whatever work awaits us, their impact strikes us
from sign boards along the way, or from car signs placed conspicuously in the public
vehicles within which we must ride. Salesmen make their appearance during the day,
the magazine we read during the noon hour adds its weight, and in the evening, as we
relax a few moments before retiring, we turn on the radio again, and receive a final
From almost the moment of awakening until we go to sleep, and even after we go to
sleep if some member of the household keeps the radio on, we are under a constant
but subtle pressure to compel us to do something that someone else desires us to do.
Now there can be no objection to our obliging other people and complying with their
requests, provided such compliance is mutually beneficial, or not derogatory to the
welfare of society. Perhaps the greatest single economic problem of today is that of
distributing the products of industry. A high standard of living among the people can
be reached only through informing a wide public of the advantages that may be
derived from the purchase of new conveniences and improved articles. And it
requires education and salesmanship to break down prejudices that favor the old and
tried things. Advertising thus, when received with discrimination, is of utmost value
not merely to the producer but to the consumer.
But along with their benefits, not only advertising channels that are recognized as
such, but all avenues of education, are all too commonly used to warp and distort the
judgment of men, to the end that they shall act through the compelling force of subtle,
infiltrating suggestions, or through misinformation, to their own detriment and the
grossly selfish benefit of those who make it a business of exploiting others.
History Is Mostly Lies
–The histories that children study in school invariably inculcate in them the belief
that the conflicts of their country in the past were always forced upon them by the
outrages of some other nation. Children are led to believe that their patriots, their
generals, their great men, are superior to those of other nations. Their country has
always been right in its controversies. Their soldiers have always been noble and
brave. Opposing countries have always been base and vile.
Thus the histories of two countries about the same war, or the same crises, in which
they were antagonists, are always varnished in such a way as to convince the child
that his nation is vastly superior and that the other nation is filled with detestable
people. Napoleon, who made considerable history of sorts, and therefore was
entitled to his opinion, decided that history is mostly lies. That is, like so much else
we read, see, and hear, its chief concern is to convince us, regardless of the actual
facts, that someone was right and someone else was wrong.
Then we find, if Senate Investigating Committees are to be believed, when the child
has graduated from High School and gone to College, that he comes under the
influence of learned men, some of whom are granted salaries, much larger than they
receive from College, paid to them by large corporations. These additional salaries
are allegedly to enable them to do research or other special work; but in reality carry
the implication that the instructor is to give a slant to his discourses that will be
favorable to the political and other aspirations of the corporation.
Of course, the majority of college professors would scorn to take gifts or emoluments
from such corporations. But there are enough of them willing to do so that it is not
hard for such interests to place very capable speakers under their pay at such strategic
points in our institutions of education, and on lecture tours, as to make their influence
And even the instructors who would not take pay ostensibly offered to further
educational work vet with the implication that some corporation be favored, not
infrequently have strong and unreasonable prejudices in regard to religion,
prohibition, politics, and other things which so commonly rest upon the emotional
background of the individual rather than upon research and experiment.
I have singled out history as a single example in the schools, and corporation
propaganda as a single example in the colleges, and no doubt these are the most
obvious examples; yet numerous others might be cited, all going to show that from
the time a child enters an educational institution until he leaves college he is more or
less under the influence of those who are not impartial in their views. Propaganda of
some kind is constantly at work seeking to sway his thinking into biased channels.
The Slant of the Press
–Now I suppose no one needs to be told that such a thing as an impartial press is
practically non-existent at this day. Many of the newspapers and magazines which
carry other than fiction, are owned by syndicates who have purchased them with the
view of influencing public opinion in a definite direction. Many other periodicals not
actually owned by such syndicates are subsidized by them. And nearly all the others
at least have some definite political view which they are determined, at all costs, to
sell to the public. And even the most widely read stories are written chiefly with a
view to proving or disproving something; and not infrequently their authors are
assigned by the publisher to write a story of so many words showing something to be
true, the editor indicating the “slant” he desires.
Banks, railroads, political bodies–Anti-Saloon League, Anti-Prohibition League,
World Court Advocates, Anti-League of Nations Group, and every other powerful
group with an axe to grind–have their press agents whose work it is to manipulate
the public through their utterances in the press. It is estimated that New York City
alone contains no less than twelve hundred such press agents, all working to sell the
public some particular brand of thought.
An illuminating way in which to learn how prevalent and strong are the influences of
propaganda is to read the reports on the same important events in newspapers and
other periodicals that “slant” their news from different angles. Let us take, for
example, an account of some foreign disturbance, or even a local disturbance, as
reported in the Los Angeles Examiner (Democratic), the Los Angeles Times
(Republican), and The American Freeman (Socialistic).
If the event is really important, Mr. Hearst’s Examiner will show that in the last
analysis the trouble was due to prohibition; and that light wines and beer if easily to
be had would make of earth a paradise without hardships. The same difficulty will be
shown by the Los Angeles Times to be solely due to trade unions or radical labor
elements in their efforts to destroy civilization. And the American Freeman will quite
as convincingly prove that the only source of the difficulty was the greed of
Capitalists in their effort to exploit the downtrodden wage slaves.
When prohibition is solved, the Los Angeles Examiner will have something else to
blame for everything disagreeable but as the Times has always blamed the
workingman for every disaster, and the American Freeman can see no evil except it is
inspired by those of wealth, we may confidently expect them to retain their special
“slant” as long as they have existence.
What has been pointed out in connection with these three papers is largely true of
nearly every news sheet in the land. And not only many of the best stories, but
practically all the articles that appear in the magazines are written specifically to
support the views that the magazines are endeavoring to sell the public. Today there
is almost no such thing as an unbiased source of information.
–The radio programs do the same thing that is done by the press, but as a rule they
are more frank about it. The press is really trying to influence public opinion, trying
to sell people some idea, and uses the news as the avenue to get their attention and
confidence. But it does not inform the public that it is giving a biased version, or that
in its news items and articles it is selling an idea advantageous to itself. The radio
program, however, makes no secret that it is entertaining people, giving them
something they desire, in order to get their attention and sell them something. The
radio announcer makes his station call at intervals and plainly makes it known what
his sponsor wishes the public to buy.
Radio programs are mostly paid for by someone who is trying to sell something. As a
rule, about three minutes out of every fifteen are devoted to selling effort, and the
balance of the time is given over to holding the public attention through some form of
entertainment. It is the work of the radio announcer to word his sales talk so that you
will have the utmost confidence in what he says, and will be possessed by an intense
desire to buy what he has to sell.
In addition to these paid for programs, radio stations have what are known as
sustaining programs. These are periods of time which the station has been unable to
sell to some advertiser. The station procures as attractive entertainment as possible
for these sustaining programs, because in order to sell time to advertisers it must hold
the attention of its public. A good sustaining program adds to what in newspaper
work would be called “circulation.” This attracts to it those who wish to buy time; for
time is what the radio station has to sell. But the notable lecturer it hires to hold the
attention of the public and make the paid-for time of this station valuable to the
advertiser may, and usually does, have some particular “slant” which he is promoting
in his broadcasts.
–Billboards and posters are unlike the press and educational institutions in that no
one is led to believe they are not trying to sell something. They are like the radio,
except that they appeal to the eye instead of to the ear, in that although they use many
subtle methods to make sales, they are not so completely camouflaged as to their real
Not only is there practically no unbiased source of information available to the
public, but, human life being what it is, it is unlikely that such will be forthcoming in
Since men have been upon the earth they have had opinions formed from incomplete
data that they have been eager to persuade others to accept. They have had material
possessions which they were desirous of trading to others at the best possible profit to
themselves. They have wished other people to do certain things; and have ransacked
their wits to find some means by which they could induce the action that would,
irrespective of its effect upon society, be beneficial to themselves. And it is too much
to expect these tendencies to vanish. We may as well accept the situation as it now
exists, and as it probably will exist in the future, that there are many men either
through ignorance or self-seeking, using all available channels of information to
influence people to think and act in the way they desire they should.
This being the case, what can we do about it? How can we prevent, through the lies of
purported history, through smooth statements of half facts by educators, through the
“slant” of fiction and news items, and the subtleties of radio and billboard, forming
erroneous conclusions and acting as a consequence in a manner detrimental both to
ourselves and to society?
When we become conscious that all these sources of information have something
they are enthusiastically trying to sell, we can then make an effort to discern the
“slant” they give to information. That is, before accepting information as such we can
delve to find the real motive behind the source of its dissemination.
Add to this a clear comprehension of the chief methods by which we are subtly
influenced without usually being aware of it, and the common method by which fact
is distorted to make it signify something different and yet remain plausible, and we
have a means at our command by which we can discriminate effectively between the
real truth of any situation and the appearance that is given to that truth by the organ
presenting it. Through our knowledge of the methods of those purveying information
we will be able, in great measure, to separate the real kernel of truth from its chaffy
–There is a form of distorting facts in which a lie is resorted to, plain and simple.
Political opponents, on the night before election, sometimes publish a bare-faced lie
about their antagonist, and count on it swinging public opinion before it can be
proved false. But an unadorned lie usually can be made effective only over a brief
period of time; for unless it is very cunningly concealed amid such truth, or given
wide repetition, it is too easily proved untrue.
To maintain plausibility, and therefore confidence that it is not a lie, the common
method used by those both on the physical plane and in the astral slums, is to use
truth–the more obvious the truth the better–and within it to insert a very small and
inconspicuous distortion of the truth, which cleverly makes the meaning of the whole
just the opposite of its true significance. This method is called inversion; and because
it is the almost universal method employed by astral gangsters, they have come to be
known in occult circles as the INVERSIVE BRETHREN.
The success in misleading the public, of an inversion, depends chiefly upon three
1. It must present facts that are widely recognized to be true, or which can easily be
proved to be true; and if they have a strong emotional appeal, so much the better.
2. The inversive twist–the misinformation or misinterpretation–by which the
whole matter is made to appear to have a meaning exactly the opposite of its true
purport, must occupy so small a part of the whole presentation, or be so cunningly
concealed by sophistical handling, that it escapes the notice of all except those with
critical faculties highly developed.
3. The inversive twist–the misinformation or misinterpretation–must be so
worded that it can be subjected to no direct and simple test of accuracy. In fact, the
more loopholes left by which to sidestep any direct test of its truth the more it fulfills
To accomplish this last, for instance, no direct accusations are made against an
opponent; for these could be brought to trial. But instead insinuations are published,
which if brought to trial could be said to have meant something entirely different, and
to have no derogative import. Or, in setting forth some matter, so many alternatives
are left, any one of which seemingly supports the inversion, that as fast as one is
traced down and proved to be a lie, another can be substituted. Thus the number of
such substitute lies becomes so great that the public has not the patience to follow the
efforts of anyone who has the diligence to hunt them down, one after another. This is
the real hydra-headed monster which grows two heads in the place of each one which
is cut off. That is, when one lie is slain, those responsible for it have two others ready
at hand to take its place.
As illustrative of the inversive method, the Senate Investigating Committee
previously mentioned found that a certain huge corporation was granting large
salaries to certain college professors to travel about giving lectures. These lectures
were something in the nature of University Extension Work, under the auspices of
some college. The lecturer was always a man recognized as an authority on his
subject. And in his lecture he did his utmost to impart real information to his
audience. But subtly injected into these lectures, which were otherwise of much
educational value, were observations on economics which were given such a twist
that those listening felt the corporation in question had been much maligned, and that
when the matters affecting it were made a political issue, they should use their
influence to favor this benign and unselfish syndicate.
There is no question here as to the right of a corporation to hire a lecturer to inform
people of its virtues. The inversion consisted of hiding behind recognized colleges to
give the impression that those of unbiased authority were of the opinion that the
corporation was wholly benign; hiding the fact that the lecturer was actually being
paid for creating this impression, and in presenting half-truths thus cunningly
concealed amid a large amount of information of real value.
If we drop back to the commencement of the Christian era we see this principle of
inversion vigorously at work then.
There can be no question but that in all ages it has been quite common to abuse the sex
functions. Sex often has led to bestiality, to gross passions, and to extremes of
selfishness and grossness. Also, material possessions, from the most ancient times,
have caused many people to be dishonest, to become selfish and cruel, and to develop
unspiritual qualities. Such facts are so obvious and so well recognized that no one
requires them to be proved.
And because of the popular acceptance of them as facts, it became easy to use them
for inversive purposes; for the more widespread a belief the easier it becomes to use it
as a trap to snare the unwary.
It was therefore argued by church zealots that if sex and money were the source of
most of the evil in the world that the spiritual man should renounce both completely.
The other half of this truth was completely ignored; that sex and money are also the
sources of most of the good in the world. The fact that only by means of material
possessions are we able to alleviate the suffering caused by the poverty of others,
providing for them medical care, shelter and food, and that only through wealth–the
product of labor–can we sustain ourselves and develop the resources of the earth so
that people may have more comfort, education and more happiness; this was entirely
It was also ignored that family life is the most potent source of unselfish emotions in
the world. If spirituality is based upon unselfishness and love, family life is the most
effective training school of spirituality at hand. Man and wife frequently are
unselfish in their relations with each other; and parental love is commonly unselfish.
Therefore, the inversive doctrine that it is spiritual to renounce sex and wealth was
disseminated; resulting in a period during which monastic life flourished. And the
inmates of these holy institutions were so self-centered in their determination to
attain salvation for themselves that little of real spirituality could penetrate to them.
They shifted the responsibility of the world from their own selfish shoulders to the
backs of others; themselves seeking spiritual safety while materially provided for by
the institution they had joined. And having renounced love, except a vague and
abstract affection for all mankind, it is not surprising that the histories of these
monasteries are a record of epidemics of hallucination and outbreaks of mental
Following down the centuries to the settling of America, we find the Pilgrim Fathers
believing in a not unrelated inversion.
It has been noted throughout man’s development that he often spends time that
should be devoted to work in play, that he frequently dissipates wealth that should be
used in sustenance in securing enjoyment, and that in the quest of pleasure he often
disregards the rights of others and becomes gross and brutal. Hence, by the inversive
method, it was easy to get a following for the doctrine that all pleasure is wicked.
And as I have pointed out elsewhere, so-called “American nerves,” are probably
largely the result of the doctrine of suppression that has been handed down from the
early settlers of our country. Their religion cultivated a rigid austerity, the restraint of
every emotion, and looked with horror upon fun of any kind. The partial truth which
gave rise to this doctrine failed to recognize that pain is contractive and pleasure is
expansive, that pleasure is constructive and only its excessive and perverted use is
destructive, and that happiness is an aid both to constructive work and to spirituality.
That happiness or pleasure is a sin, according to the findings of psychology, and
according even to facts understood for centuries, is an inversion.
As an illustration of the complexity of alternate factors, which is a favorite method of
escaping detection when an inversion is given propaganda, I can find no better
illustration than the doctrine of repeated reincarnation.
I am well aware that many who read these lines will not agree with me in this. I am not
questioning their right to believe in repeated human reincarnation if they desire to do
so. Nor am I making any accusations against them because they thus believe; or
against those who now teach it; for I am sure they are sincere, and they have as much
right to their opinion as I have to mine. Yet, as a free soul, I maintain I have the right
both to have and to express my own ideas on this or any other subject.
The truth, as I see it, is that the soul does incarnate successively through various
lower forms of life in its evolution. It passes through various forms in mineral,
vegetable and animal kingdoms, but never reincarnates in the same species twice.
But when it has undergone experience once in the human species, this being the
climax of physical evolution, its progress from that point on is in worlds above the
physical. It no longer returns to the physical earth, because it has lessons to learn and
work to do in realms that offer it advantages that cannot be had on earth.
To me–and this is the Hermetic view–the truth that the soul reincarnates in many
forms of life has been used to cloak an insidious doctrine of materialism which
implies that nowhere can experience worth while be had except on the physical
plane. This materialistic doctrine demands that the soul keep coming back to earth to
gain experience and to pay debts; entirely overlooking the fact that when
self-consciousness is once attained through even a brief human incarnation, that any
further necessary experience–even the paying of debts–can be had in the next
Human reincarnation ignores that education, evolution, and constructive effort are
continued in other regions that are even more real than the earth. It loses sight of the
fact that as each soul is being prepared for a special mission in the cosmic scheme that
the experience, or education, of no two souls is the same. But these things I have set
forth in Course II, Chapters 7-8, and in Course XIX.
But any specific doctrine in connection with remembered past lives, the period
between rebirths, or how many times such rebirths can occur, as soon as it is attacked
in one quarter, is shifted in another quarter to an entirely different doctrine. It now
appears, from a lecture by an international authority on the subject given in Los
Angeles a few months ago, that human reincarnation is entirely optional. If one wants
to return to the earth to reincarnate he is privileged to do so, and if he does not wish
this additional experience on earth, he need not return.
In times past repeated births of a single soul have been traced back many, many
thousands of years. But when such a remembered series is shown, upon indisputable
historical evidence, to have been impossible, it is relinquished and someone comes
forth with the idea that, after all, incarnations take place quickly and are few in
number. If it can be shown, upon archaeological evidence, that no such dwellings
existed in a region at the time when a remembered life took place, this is also
relinquished and something else is quickly substituted.
But I think I have said enough to illustrate my point; for I have no desire to offend
anyone who holds to any belief. But whether it be in politics, in religion, or in
business, whenever the factors representing evidence can be shifted first to mean one
thing, then to mean another, and finally relinquished in favor of still other substitutes,
it is the part of wisdom not to accept them without the most careful research and
Additional Technique of Inversion
–Since the foregoing was written that master of inversive methods, Adolph Hitler,
rose to power and plunged mankind into World War II. Also, in these United States
certain unscrupulous academic scientists have endeavored to get laws passed
prohibiting both the teaching and the practice of astrology.
While enslaving the people of Germany, Hitler orated constantly on the great
benefits they would derive from the Socialistic State which he was championing. In
his book outlining his program, he set forth a method which later he successfully
used. And others, witnessing this success, have employed the same tactics. He said
that if one told a big enough lie people would believe it, because they were
themselves accustomed to telling small lies, but they would not believe anyone
audacious enough to tell a gigantic untruth.
In political campaigns in the U. S., we now find that an unscrupulous opposition at
times spreads a barrage of unreasonable lies about a certain candidate believing,
quite correctly, that in spite of the refutation of these lies by the candidate, these
“smears” will stick in the mind of the public and, due to personal bias, will influence
a certain number. It is recognized that some people, to raise their own opinion of
themselves relatively, are all too willing to believe any evil they hear or read about
One of the inversive methods employed by Hitler was to accuse those he wished to
destroy with the crime he was committing or contemplated. If he contemplated
appropriating the property and wealth of a certain minority group he first spread the
propaganda that this minority group had unfairly gained property and wealth from
others. When he desired to attack some other nation, he spread the propaganda that
this nation was arming to help in an invasion of Germany. He made accusation after
accusation so plausible that, to their ruin, the people of Germany believed him.
The inversive propaganda of certain academic science groups–which, to maintain
their prestige as the final authority on all information relative to natural law, are
determined to recognize no energies other than the physical, and no possibility of life
beyond the tomb–takes two chief forms. Straw men are set up and knocked down as
fake tests are made and given wide publicity through the press.
Astrology, as are other sciences, is progressive. In books of thirty years ago on
almost any material science one can find statements which since have been proved
erroneous and are no longer held by scientists. This is equally true of the science of
astrology. Thus it is possible for the foes of astrology to unearth such statements and
prove them false.
For many years competent astrologers have recognized, for instance, that sun-sign
alone is not a reliable guide to the vocation followed by an individual. Yet it is
possible to find astrological textbooks that state the sign Libra inclines to music.
And, other things being equal, it does give a love of music, although not necessarily
causing the individual to follow music as a profession.
But some years ago a professor at the University of California collected the birth-date
of over 1,000 musicians. He found more born under the sun-sign Scorpio than under
any other sun-sign. And this finding was given wide and repeated press publicity as
completely disproving astrology.
The latest such straw man set up and knocked down to disprove astrology appears in
TIME magazine, issue of September 24, 1945, page 52. Academic psychologist Mrs.
Lee R. Steiner went to an outstanding New York astrologer and got a reading for her
husband, and denounced the science of astrology because the astrologer did not tell
her her husband was dead.
Yet progressed aspects do not indicate inevitable events, merely probabilities. And it
is never wise to predict death, as due to precautionary actions or mental treatments or
other factors, the individual may slip by death’s door. If Mrs. Steiner had asked the
astrologer what happened to her husband during a given year–instead of
deliberately misleading the astrologer–she would have been told he had
experienced a most serious illness.
Where extra-sensory perception and psychic phenomena are concerned, the foes of
the belief in any other realm than the physical commonly employ a professional
skilled in legerdemain, who offers to reproduce the ESP test or phenomena. But
when he attempts to do so he employs his own paraphernalia and selects his own
conditions. Yet the wide publicity given such exhibitions convince many people that
all psychic phenomena is legerdemain.
–There are words which have come to mean those things which are highly desirable
to society and which, because of the desirability of those things thus generalized,
come to possess strong emotional power. The unconscious minds of people are so
accustomed to responding either favorably or unfavorably to the things designated
by these words, that the words themselves have come to be symbols that arouse a
special type of emotion, regardless of their association at the particular time.
Good, true, honest, unselfish, patriotic, benign, high-minded, noble, divine, and
charming are a few of such words as are responded to in a favorable manner. Murder,
avariciousness, selfish, coward, yellow, tyrant, grafter, seditious, crafty, cruel, and
bully are a few that thus incite instant antagonism.
Now, as has been learned by those who exploit the weaknesses of the public, if some
person, some cause, or some object can adroitly be coupled with one of these words,
due to the habit of emotionally associating only things of a definite kind with the
words, the unconscious reaction to the person, cause or object thus associated is that
habitually aroused by the word. The emotional reaction, because of the power of
habit, is so spontaneous as to lull reason. Before the critical faculties have time to
question whether the association between the person, cause or object and the word is
warranted, the habitual emotion aroused by the word has taken charge and embraced
the whole phrase or sentence in its customary pleasant or unpleasant feeling.
For instance, not long ago the subject of “birth control” came up in the city of
Syracuse, N. Y. In this country we are supposed to have free speech. Nor did those
who wished to stifle even a discussion of “birth control” commit the error of bringing
up the question of free speech. Yet they were convinced “birth control” is a terrible
thing, and that the surest way to prevent any change in the New York statute in regard
to it was to prevent the facts about it from being presented. How, in the face of the
constitutional guarantee of free speech, were they able to do this?
Well, it is commonly accepted by the public that murder is about the worst of crimes.
So they coupled the word murder with “birth control.” They gave wide voice to the
opinion that “birth control” is murder. Those thus appealed to responded
spontaneously to the emotion aroused by the word murder, and dominated by this
emotion failed to question the appropriateness of the association.
It seems never to have occurred to them, amid their repugnance at the thought of
murder, to inquire if it were possible to murder a child before it is even conceived.
And the emotional element so dominated the aldermen that they not only failed to
consider whether the present laws on the subject are just or not, but they stifled our
boasted free speech to the extent that they passed an ordinance, on the ground of
indecency, prohibiting all discussion of the subject, even any discussion of whether
the present laws on the subject are good and just.
As this is being written there are some 8,000,000 people seeking, but unable to get
employment in this country. Under such conditions it is bound to follow that there is
considerable hunger and privation. And at times there are parades of protest or
gatherings of people who are hungry and who wish food or employment by which
they can secure food. The word “Red,” because of the Russian revolution, has
become a word arousing terror in the hearts of those who have property. Therefore,
every parade no matter how just or how far removed from thought of revolutionary
activities, is reported by those who suppress it as a demonstration of the “Reds.”
Several such hunger paraders were shot down at Dearborn, Mich., a few days ago;
and the newspaper headlines screamed with the news of a “Red Outbreak.” The word
“Red” was used to justify the killing.
On the other hand, we have the words “Capitalistic Exploiter of the Masses,” and
“Capitalistic Grafter,” used by those who wish to disparage the usefulness of any
individual who is not utterly poverty stricken. No matter how much a man may have
added to the wealth of society, if he possesses, or even controls, some wealth, his
enemies can cause him to be hated by a large part of the populace. They keep calling
him a “Capitalistic Exploiter”; and those who hear and see this term used in
association with him are moved to hate, because it is their habitual reaction to the
words. The habit is so strong that it suppresses any desire they might have to make a
detailed inquiry whether or not, in his case, the term is appropriate.
And a man in the employ of the State is just as readily and unwarrantedly attacked by
repeatedly attaching to his name the words “Grafter” and “Tool of Big Business,”
The fact that those in public life have frequently been grafters, and tools of big
money, has developed an habitual emotional aversion to those words, and it comes to
the surface so quickly that it commonly suppresses reason. For reason would make
diligent inquiry to discover if the man so designated really does belong to the group
designated by the words.
–There is another type of influence that is very prevalent. It is really an inversion,
but is less cunningly concealed than the more elaborate inversions, and relies almost
wholly on suggestion to do its inversive work. To distinguish it from the more
complex inversions, it may be termed an insinuation. Some proposition is stated in
such a way that the public is led to believe that things are dependent upon each other
that in reality have little or no relation.
During the war it was recognized that people were desirous of helping win it.
Streetcar placards and bill posters appeared, therefore, advising the public to “Buy
Mr. Skokum’s Pills and Help Win the War”; “Patronize Your Corner Grocer and Do
Your Bit”; “Eat Sanded Wheat Husks and Help the Boys Over There”; “Mail Your
Son or Sweetheart Over There a Package of Cow Tobacco to Give Him Fighting
Strength.” I have not, of course, quoted the names of the firms exactly, but all will be
familiar with the type of advertising that was used.
As a matter of fact, there was no real help toward winning the war in any one of these
items; but the advertisement gave the suggestion strongly that doing the thing
suggested would help the cause which was so close to people’s hearts. And because
of the power of suggestion, when repeated over and over, many people, no doubt,
made such purchases with the feeling that they were doing something patriotic, when
in reality they were merely doing what the advertiser wished them to do for his own
And as this is being written I find some radio announcers, and many bill-boards and
newspaper advertisements, thus capitalizing the present period of unemployment
and money shortage.
We are told to go to a certain Finance Corporation and borrow money on our car, “To
Help End the Depression.” We are informed that we should buy certain nationally
advertised products, “To Provide Work for the Unemployed.” We are admonished to
buy our merchandise at a certain department store, “To Discourage Hoarding.”
In some of the advertising of this nature there may be a little truth, but most of it
merely makes use of the public desire to help restore prosperity to insinuate that this
need may be accomplished by borrowing, buying, or selling, to a certain firm, when
in truth the transaction urged has little or no bearing upon the restoration of
–Now we come to a factor that is unusually potent in getting an Inversion, a
Platitude, or an Insinuation accepted and acted upon. It is the power of suggestion
gained through repetition. This power is baldly stated by politicians thus: “In order to
get people to believe a lie it is only necessary to go on repeating it.”
Coue’, in his famous formula, “Every Day in Every Way, I Am Getting Better and
Better,” gave a world-wide demonstration of this power in its constructive aspect.
But constant repetition is quite as potent to hammer a lie into the unconscious mind
and get that lie acted upon as it is to heal the individual of his ills when constructively
If you see on the printed page and on bill-boards, twenty times a day for twenty-five
days a month, the words, “Smoke Hemp Rope and Get Kissable,” unless your critical
faculties are unusually awake you will unconsciously accept the idea that smoking
hemp rope actually adds to your attractiveness, and that others will have far less
desire to kiss you if you do not smoke anything.
Or if you have it dinned into your consciousness by the radio announcer that a certain
merchant sells for less, you will probably not stop to reason that where he is located
rents are higher, that his displays are costly, that his whole overhead is such as to
make it unlikely he can sell goods at as reasonable a figure as certain other merchants
you know. Because you hear his name so often, and the assertion that he sells
cheaply, when you desire merchandise you forget about the other tradesmen and go
directly to his place.
–In addition to the objective influence of inversion, platitude association,
insinuation, repetition and suggestion, when there is an enthusiastic body of thinkers
who desire to put over some program, or who desire that some idea shall be accepted,
there is also to be considered the very potent invisible influence exerted by their
thought-forms. These thought-forms once given sufficient impetus, and irrespective
of truth or reason, may gather as they move, like a snowball rolling down hill, until
they have sufficient power to sweep a whole nation into a war-hysteria, into a
stock-gambling mania, into a land-boom craze, or into a panic of depression. In this
country we have had all of these within less than a score of years.
Religious, political, occult, and other organizations which have some definite idea to
sell sometimes are able to enlist individuals who have oratorical and literary ability
to sway the public. In this enthusiasm for the “cause,” these protagonists send out,
perhaps quite unwittingly, powerful thought-forms impregnated with the mission to
make converts. These thought-forms, throughout the duration of their existence,
work unremittingly to convince people, through impression, or in extreme instances
even through obsession, to adopt the standard of the particular cause. And those who
become thus enlisted in the same effort, and zealous in its mission, unwittingly add
the strength of their thoughts to the thought-form creation already working out its
The unconscious response of people to such energetic thought-forms, when they
once gain headway, is illustrated by the well-recognized irresponsibility of a mob.
Incited by the words of a few leaders, who may be extremists and quite unbalanced,
otherwise well-poised people, when part of a mob, often abandon reason entirely and
help commit murder, arson and other crimes that undominated by such group
thought-form influence they would never dream it possible for them to countenance,
and for which, after reflection, they arc heartily remorseful.
Such thought–dissemination–or collection of smaller thoughts about a more
powerful nucleus for the accomplishment of a given work is usually, but not always,
a process unrecognized by those responsible for it. And used thus unconsciously, as
in the case of the religious evangelist to sweep a whole town into the fold at a revival
meeting, it may result in no great damage, or may, when public sentiment is aroused
thus in favor of some good cause, even help to bring about conditions more favorable
But used by crooked politicians, by those who make propaganda for selfish
advantage, and as encouraged by crooks and gangsters, it results in tremendous
damage. Where the underworld is concerned they, of course, are interested only in
promoting those conditions which assist them to prey upon more honest and spiritual
men. And while they may support many things that aid them in this, one thing in
particular that they sponsor, because it leads to disorganization of society and thus
weakens it and permits them to have their will, is confusion. Confusion of any sort
enables them to gain their selfish and unfair ends without discovery and punishment.
Nor are all those who use this thought-dissemination method–collecting the less
potent thoughts of those they have persuaded to sympathize with their movement
into a huge and powerful thought-form as snow is gathered into a ball as it rolls
along–of the physical plane. Racketeers, gangsters, and leaders in iniquity on the
astral plane find such thought-dissemination a potent means of getting the things
done on earth that they desire. They must, of course, make contact with some
negative individual whom they can influence to send out such thoughts and to
promote the ideas they have formulated. Anything that leads to confusion they hold
to be to their advantage, because a confused mind is one easily influenced by another