Reason and Intuition
AS REASON and intuition are the very latest products of evolution, perhaps the best
way to understand what they are and how they work is to trace the outstanding steps
by which they gradually developed. Let us, therefore, start at the beginning, with the
energy of the spiritual ego striving to realize that function in the Cosmic Plan for
which it was called into being–which is the driving force behind every soul–and
follow through to the present manifestation in a human form.
This urge to fill in its ego’s blueprint manifests in all life-forms as the struggle to
survive and to be something. That is, the desire for Significance is the oldest of all
impulses with which the soul is endowed. And, as determined experimentally
through laboratory work, it is the strongest of all desires. It is the one which, so long
as life lasts, the soul will not relinquish. The thought elements built into the astral
body by experiences that give additional energy to this most deep seated of all
tendencies are called the Power elements. Their most energetic thought-structure in
the astral body is mapped in the birth chart by the position of the Sun.
The Three Irresistible Drives
–These Power elements, in their expression, give rise to two primeval desires of
opposite polarity, just as the ego evolves a positive and a negative soul. The two
primeval desires are not thought elements, but the still more primitive factors of
which all thought elements are built.
In our physical universe positive and negative charges of electricity (see Chapter 2,
Astral Substance in Course 1)), as protons and electrons, are the building blocks
of which all the elements of matter are composed. And in a similar manner, all true
thought elements are composed of Reproductive Desires and Nutritive Desires in
some proportion. That is, the elements (belonging to 10 distinct families) of which
the psychoplasm in the thought-cells is composed, are themselves built up of still
simpler tendencies, called Reproductive Desires and Nutritive Desires.
Next to the desire for significance the two strongest are the positive desire to attain
that significance through expression outside of the self and the negative desire to
attain that significance through adding something to the self. The positive
reproductive desire manifests as the tendency to perpetuate the race, or in the desire
to perform some creative work; both of which give some satisfaction to the desire for
significance. The negative, nutritive desire gives rise to all those activities having for
their end self preservation, which, in turn gives opportunity for significance.
Experimental work in psychology determines that the unconscious mind of man will
give up life, or even sacrifice his offspring, rather than consider himself inferior.
Nevertheless, love of life and the impulse to perpetuate are so strongly built into the
astral body as a part of itself–that is, as an essential portion of the thought elements
of which it is composed–that it is impossible to suppress their energy.
In every person, therefore, as well as in all lower forms of life, there are three
hereditary Drives: the Drive for Significance, sometimes called the Will to Power;
the Drive for Race Preservation; and the Drive for Self Preservation. Behind all the
elemental thoughts of which the stellar body is composed, as the original source of
energy, is the Drive for Significance. But entering into their construction, even as
protons and electrons enter into the construction of all matter, are the Reproductive
Drive and the Nutritive Drive. We say they are hereditary because every living
creature is born with them. They have been acquired in all stages of the soul’s past
coincident with those processes which built up the astral form.
Deferring until Chapter 5 (Why Repression is Not Morality), to indicate how
the Reproductive Desire and the Nutritive Desire have combined to produce the ten
families of thought elements–Power elements, Domestic elements, Intellectual
elements, Social elements, Aggressive elements, Religious elements, Safety
elements, Individualistic elements, Utopian elements, and Universal Welfare
elements–let us now turn our attention to the underlying law which determines how
experiences combine in the unconscious mind that enables it, when the process has
evolved sufficiently, to express as Reason and Intuition.
–Starting with a simple sensation: A disturbance at the end of a receptor, or sensory
nerve, results in an etheric movement called a nerve discharge being sent along the
nerve to the cells in the brain, where it gives up its motion. This electric motion
communicates energy to the astral body in that compartment relating to such
experiences, and when there is a recognition that it has some relation to previously
acquired motions residing in the thought-cells there, it is then felt as a sensation. So
long as the etheric motions in the physical brain cells vibrate with the energy also
communicated to the astral form, there is Objective Consciousness of the sensation.
But when the etheric motions of the sensation subside all Objective Consciousness of
The sensation is not lost, however, for the rates of motion imparted to thought-cells in
the astral body, due to the frictionless nature of astral substance, persist. Under
suitable stimulus, such as other etheric motions later setting up associated vibrations
in the astral body, they may be communicated through etheric motions to the cells of
the physical brain. The sensation is then remembered by the Objective
The more nearly the vibrations imparted to the etheric substance–which
communicates the energy from the astral thought-cells again to the physical cells of
the brain–resemble the original nerve discharge, the more perfect is the memory of
Sensations commonly are the stimuli which produce physical motions. And that the
reports of the senses may not be confused with the executive orders based in the soul,
or unconscious mind, or even Objective Mind, upon these reports and upon the
reports of long ago, there are different organic wires, or nerves. Those specially
constructed to transmit messages, or electric motions, from the body to the Central
Station, or brain, are called afferent, or ingoing nerves. Those parallel wires so
constructed as to carry messages from the Central Station, or from those substations
called plexuses, back to the same point are called efferent, or outgoing nerves.
For the purpose of securing information about the environment the soul has
developed special organs called senses. Material science commonly recognizes but
five such senses, whose relative accuracy is determined by experience. But the
ancient wise men recognized not merely seven physical senses; but also seven
psychic senses by which the soul could apprise itself of the conditions in its astral
environment. And it goes without saying that the reliability of these psychic senses
also can only be determined by carefully checking their reports against subsequent
The report of a psychic sense, because it does not come in over a physical nerve, nor
by means of etheric motion, does not register directly on the cells of the physical
brain. Its motions are carried to the thought-cells of the astral body by means of
vibrations in four-dimensional substance. But they are, nevertheless, registered in
the energies of the thought-cells as completely as are the motions received through
nerve currents which directly impress the physical brain.
Thus when suitable conditions arise that enable these energies, through associated
vibrations being set up by etheric energies that connect with the brain, to impart their
motion to the physical brain cells, they are remembered. Recognition by Objective
Consciousness of the report of one of the psychic senses is always, not a direct
stimulus like a physical sensation, but a bringing up from the Unconscious Mind
something which it has recognized on the four-dimensional plane. That is, even
though the interval since the experience is infinitesimal, it is in the nature of a
–The awareness of a sensation–or of a combination of sensations; for what the
individual is aware of is not just one sensation but various impressions that reach him
from the environment–is called a PERCEPTION. Yet any given perception is not
the simple thing it seems. The whole relation between sensation and objective
phenomena has been established already through a process of trial and error. Thus
the infant reaches for the moon and cries when it eludes him; but later experience
teaches him that certain objects are too far away to be touched. Also that some other
objects which look very nice, when reached for, give rise to pain.
Since it came into existence the soul has been gathering sensations. And the energy
of these sensations, which when brought up into objective consciousness we call
memory, is still retained in the thought-cells of its astral body. A sensation coming in,
therefore, stirs up the thought-cells with which it becomes associated in the astral
body, and these give up some of their memory energy to the physical cells of the
brain. That is, the awareness of a sensation, such as may be called a Perception, is
never simply the recognition of the energy which has come in over the nerves; for to
this energy always is added that of associated experiences which has been stored in
the thought-cells of the unconscious mind.
–An apperception is the contribution of the mind–of the stellar cells in the astral
body–based upon previous perceptions. And psychologists agree that
APPERCEPTION contributes more to any perception than does the action of the
stimulus upon the sense organ at the time. In other words, how an object looks, feels,
tastes, smells or sounds to us, depends more upon the experiences stored away in the
thought-cells of our unconscious mind than upon the report of the sense organ then
A savage looking at a beautiful painting may see only a few daubs of color where an
artist will view a living scene of glory. The perspective of this or any other picture is
simply an appeal to Apperception. It depends for its efficacy upon the fact that the
observer has had innumerable experiences viewing objects whose lines presented
similar gradations of shading and convergence, and in such cases the originals of the
lines were found experimentally to have possessed three-dimensions.
Apperception, while commonly facilitating the correct appraisal of environment,
also may give rise to errors in perception. Writers, for instance, find utmost difficulty
in proofreading their own mental output. So familiar are they with the way it should
read, and with the spelling they intended to use, that in reading their copy for the
purpose of detecting errors, they see it as they intended to write it rather than as it
–A preperception is an anticipatory mental image. Thus, as an example which
everyone has seen, an outline drawing of a cube may be made to seem to stand on one
edge, or it may be made to seem to stand on its bottom, at will by expecting the
position it will assume while steadily looking at it. Or an outline drawing of
interlaced rings may seem to be solid rings interlinked; or simply rings cut to fit each
other snugly at the point of intersection.
An illusion may be produced by associated preperceptions. Thus if a visiting card
bent to enclose an oblique angle be stood on end with the vertical fold away from the
observer, and he stands about a yard away and looks a little downward into the cavity
and imagines the two sides bent in just the opposite way so as to form a convexity,
thinking the vertical line of the fold to be nearer than the edges, he will find he can
then banish the illusion and make the card appear concave, as it actually stands.
Another illustration of illusion through preperception may be produced by handing
some person a small box and a large one of equal weight and asking him to estimate
the difference in weight. Far better still, have the small box lighter and have him fill it
with sand until it exactly equals the weight of the larger. It will be found that because
of the person’s PREPERCEPTION, or expectation, that the smaller box will be
deemed equal in weight to the larger when in reality it is very much lighter. A small
object is expected to be light, and when given additional weight it seems unduly
When we see an object its picture is actually formed upside down on the retina of the
eye. It might be expected, therefore, that instead of an object out in space in front of
the eye and right side up, we should behold this small inverted picture in the
immediate region of the eye. But Apperception and Preperception cause
consciousness to refer the sensation to the outside world, right side up and in its
Due to the same influences, when a clairvoyant sees an image–which rises like a
vivid memory into subjective consciousness from a perception of an astral
image–the thing seen commonly presents itself as if it were at a particular place in
front of, behind, or at the side of the seer. This is because previous images derived
from three-dimensional sources have registered in consciousness as occupying
definite spatial relations. Consciousness has come to expect images to be related to
the three-dimensional world. Thus also, when we visualize a past experience from
memory, even though the original setting of the occurrence has changed or been
destroyed, we perceive it in the space relations with which once we were familiar.
Visual images are more important to man than those auditory. Yet the sense of
hearing is subject to the same laws of perception.
Vibrations of the air strike the ear drum and thus communicate motion to three little
bones, to the liquid and otholiths in the vestibule, and thence to the membrane and
nerves leading to the brain. The disturbance which impresses consciousness really
occurs within the head. But through Apperception and Preperception it is referred to
a definite location in the external world.
As with visual images, by appealing to Apperception and Preperception, it is easy to
produce illusions. For instance, by looking upward in an anticipatory manner the
attention of others is attracted to the region above, that is, a preperception is
established that something is happening there. Then by speaking without lip
movement, and in a voice that suggests effort yet is of diminished volume,
apperception is brought into play. The hearer often has heard voices at a distance
such as to give a similar impression of tension and lack of volume. It seems to him,
therefore, that the sound must come from a distance. And because his attention has
been directed in an anticipatory manner to a high place, it will seem to come from
there. He will be made to think the voice is that of a person on a high building, when
in fact it is the voice of someone at his elbow. Such are the means used by
The Two Kinds of Attention
–Not only do we never experience simple sensations, because they are always
coincident with apperception–that is, perceived only coincident with related
sensations previously stored in the stellar cells of the unconscious mind–but
apperception and preperception can be used to increase the range of sense
This may be demonstrated by having someone sit in a quiet room with his eyes
closed. Let a watch be brought into the room and carried at the level of his head
toward one of his ears, and the distance measured where its ticking first is heard.
Then hold the watch for some minutes close to his ear until he has become thoroughly
familiar with the sound, after which gradually move the watch from the ear while he
endeavors to hear it, until at last he can no longer discern the sound. In this second
experiment it will be found that the sound can be detected at a greater distance. The
memory of the ticking (apperception) and the expectation (preperception) both aid in
perceiving the sound.
Had his attention been focused on some other sensation, or on some mental process,
he would not have heard the ticking of the watch even when it was adjacent to his ear.
This circumstance derives from the well known fact that the number of factors that
can be attended to simultaneously by the mind is limited; and that the awareness of
any additional sensation diminishes the clearness of other perceptions which are
already before the mind. Concentrating the energies upon a mental process or upon
perception increases the efficiency in that direction.
The attention which is drawn to a perception or mental process, through the energy of
the perception or mental process such as hearing a fire alarm or thinking about an
absent loved one, is called SPONTANEOUS ATTENTION. It is the kind of
attention animals lower than man in the evolutionary scale use almost exclusively,
and also the kind man tends habitually to use. It gives rise to Fantasy Thinking, which
has its use, but which also, through lack of critical discernment, is the source of most
of our errors.
The attention, on the other hand, which is focused in the manner decided upon after a
selective appraisal of various possibilities, and in spite of the distracting stimuli of
irrelevant sensations and desires, is called DIRECTED ATTENTION. Directed
attention makes possible critical analysis and the separation of facts from the beliefs
encouraged by desire. It gives rise to a form of thinking of which animals lower in the
evolutionary scale than man are incapable, and which is the crowning glory of man’s
All Mental Processes Are Governed by the Law of Association
–Sensations, perceptions, and other mental factors bear relations of likeness or of
contrast to certain other sensations, perceptions and mental factors. And as
experiences, either directly with the outside world or of a subjective character, add
their energies to the thought-cells and thought-structures of the astral body these
energies enter into combination with other energies added at the same time or already
present in the thought-cells. And with what energies they thus combine is determined
by the likeness or contrast between the two sets of energies.
To be more explicit, things are similar to each other, or dissimilar to each other
according to size, color, weight, odor, taste, sound, form, feel, place in space, place in
The similarity or dissimilarity in time or space has been given a special name. It is
called CONTIGUITY. Two objects seen at the same spot, or near the same spot, at
different times or at the same time are contiguous in space. Two objects seen at the
same time, or near the same time, whether adjacent in space or not, are contiguous in
Other types of similarity or dissimilarity than those of time and space are classified
under the term RESEMBLANCE. A red apple and a red nose resemble each other
because both are red A red apple and a white apple resemble each other by contrast
between red and white. And a red apple and a baseball resemble each other, not so
much through color as through form; that is, both are round. In a psychological sense,
when the color of black suggests the color white, the images join in the mind through
Taken together, Resemblance and Contiguity (which is really space or time
resemblance) form the LAW OF ASSOCIATION.
That is, whatever enters the mind (adds its energy to the thought-cells and
thought-structures of the astral body, or rearranges the thought-cells and
thought-structures into different organization) combines with the factors already
there, and exerts whatever influence it does, according to its Resemblance or
Contiguity. And every and all mental processes, whether they rise into the region of
objective consciousness or perform their activities wholly within the unconscious
mind, are carried out under the influence of Resemblance or Contiguity, that is,
according to the Law of Association.
Sensations Combine to Form Perceptions
–Granting that one sensation does not reach consciousness from the environment
entirely apart from other sensations, and that when the soul is born in human form it
has a wide background of experiences associated in its astral form, it is nevertheless
both convenient and accurate to consider sensations as the building blocks of which
all consciousness, however complex it may be, is composed.
The sun and fire give rise to similar sensations both of feeling and of sight, and
become associated in the mind through this similarity; and the sun and ice give rise to
contrasting sensations both of feeling and of sight, and become associated in the
mind through this dissimilarity. The association between both the sun and fire and
the sun and ice derives from psychological Resemblance.
Light and warmth, however, and ice and cold– because the light of the sun or of a
fire is often experienced at the same time as heat, and cold is frequently felt in the
presence of ice–are associated through Contiguity.
Light, stimulating the optic nerve may, therefore, bring to mind the thought of ice,
through the Law of Association; light being associated with cold, and cold being
associated with ice. And in some such manner, through chains of contiguity and
resemblance, are all processes of which the mind is capable carried out.
However, what we now perceive is not just a simple sensation, but a combination of
them greatly modified by apperception. When we see an apple –or the first time it
presents to our vision the form of a disc and the additional sensation which we call the
color red. Both the round form and the red color, as they enter consciousness are
associated there with previous experiences of red and round, so that when on first
sight the impression an apple gives is somewhat complex.
Let us then walk around the apple. The disc appearances which it presents from
different angles then become fused, that is, the various sensations of form unite in the
thought organization of the astral form, to produce an image of a sphere. When the
apple is taken into the hand this spherical image is confirmed, and to it is added the
sensation of hardness which in the consciousness is correlated to previous
experiences with softness, hardness and elasticity.
The apple then may be tasted, and the texture, flavor, and juiciness become
associated together through contiguity, and associated with other sensations
previously experienced through resemblance. When the core and seeds are
encountered these give rise to definite sets of sensations, which in turn are associated
through contiguity with the other sensations derived from the apple, and through
resemblance with experiences with other things that have been recorded in the
The sensations we experience with the apple are retained in the mind in association
with each other through Contiguity, and they join with other sensations already in the
mind through Resemblance.
When, therefore, we again see a small red disc, the sensations experienced are much
more complex than the color red joined to a round form. Instantly, through the Law of
Association, the small red disc image connects up with a large variety of other
sensations which, through experience, have become used with it. We perceive the
apple not as merely a small red disc, but as being spherical, as having firmness, as
possessing flavor, and containing seeds and a core. Apperception has played its part,
and the fusion of many simple sensations has given rise to a composite picture
presenting to us the many qualities which experience has taught us to expect in a red
apple. In a parallel manner all perceptions are fusions of numerous simple
Perceptions Fuse to Form Conceptions
–Things having qualities in common give rise to perceptions which, through
Resemblance or Contiguity, become associated in the thought organization of the
unconscious mind. In biology, for instance, a species embraces many individuals
having almost identical characteristics; a genus embraces individuals having
characteristics in common, but not so nearly identical; a family embraces individuals
that may belong to a number of genera, and which have at least a number of points in
common; a class embraces individuals still more widely varying from each other; a
phylum may include many classes, and a kingdom contains a vast number of
individuals belonging to different phyla, classes, families, genera, and species. Yet
because each of these terms embraces only individuals with points of resemblance it
is called a CONCEPTION.
A Conception is built up somewhat after the manner of a composite photograph. By
photographing successively on one plate a number of faces, allowing for the total
exposure of all only the time commonly employed for one, a picture may be obtained
such that all points in which the faces agree are brought out vividly, and those in
which they disagree are hardly noticeable.
In a similar manner are all ideas built up.
Apple, for instance, is a composite of all our perceptions of various kinds of apples.
The image in our mind brings out strongly all the points in which the apples of our
experience agree; but those in which they differ, one from another, are left vague.
As an idea retreats from specific sensations toward the fusion of a wide variety of
sensations into one composite whole, moving toward generalities, it is said to
become more Abstract. Jonathan apple is rather specific, applying to individuals
joined in the mind by a number of well defined and identical characteristics. The idea
apple, however, growing more Abstract, embraces many varieties and a number of
species. When we speak of the Rose family, if we are familiar with botany, we
include not only apples, but pears, strawberries, plums, cherries, peaches, apricots,
almonds, etc. The Vegetable Kingdom includes a still wider abstraction, and when
we mention a living thing, there are still fewer points in common, and the term
embraces a still wider field of individuals.
Finally, following this process, the fusion of points in common is so remote from
suggesting any individual that it is called an ABSTRACT IDEA. Thus the number
10, because it does not bring to mind specific instances, but suggests so wide a scope
of possibilities, is an abstract idea. The adjectives, such as good, bad, high, low; and
such nouns as quality, honor, and integrity, while less abstract than numbers, are
terms, nevertheless, which include points in common which have been derived from
so wide a variety of perceptions, that they also must be considered Abstract in nature.
Conceptions Unite to Become Reason
–Let us take for a major premise the thought that all apples grow on trees. This
signifies there have been many perceptions registered in the stellar cells of the
unconscious mind of apples, and many perceptions also registered there of another
group of objects which we have regarded as trees. The first group, apples, has been
formed by fusing all the sensations and perceptions of our experience with a certain
type of fruit. The second group has been formed by fusing all the sensations and
perceptions of our experience with woody plants of that size and texture which we
have come to call trees. Apple is one idea, or conception; tree is another idea or
conception; and to grow is a third.
These three conceptions have been bound together in the mind by their Contiguity,
that is, by observing that whenever we found apples growing they were always in
space and time associated with trees.
Now if we take for a minor premise that this object is an apple, it signifies that we
have recognized a full resemblance between a group of images in the minor premise
and a group of images in the major premise. Apples thus become a common factor.
When, then, the two propositions–the major premise and the minor premise–are
brought together, their Contiguity reveals a full Resemblance between concepts in
both. They unite on this common ground to give rise to the Conclusion: The Object
Grew on a Tree.
We do not, of course, in the common process of reasoning, state the matter in the
form of a logical syllogism, as I have here presented the matter of the apple and the
tree; but in all Reasoning there is, nevertheless, a clear establishment of associations
between different states of consciousness by an intermediate state of consciousness,
which by definite associations with both brings about their amalgamation.
–Only when the chief steps in the process of arriving at some conclusion are
recognized by the Objective Consciousness, that is, when the energies are
communicated through etheric vibrations to the physical brain cells, may it be called
Reasoning. But this bringing together of different mental factors, including
conceptions, is also a normal function of the Unconscious Mind.
Thought-cells fuse, exchange energies, become organized into complex structures,
and discharge their accumulated tensions, in the four-dimensional realm which is
their proper plane of movement. These activities take place in obedience to the Law
of Association whether etheric energies connect them up with the physical brain or
not. Psychoanalytic experiments prove that asleep or awake, man’s mind is never
still; trains of thoughts are constantly in motion, many of which never gain
recognition by objective consciousness.
When a problem is presented, or the interest is aroused in some subject, this interest,
or desire, focuses the attention upon it. The energies thus directed through the Law of
Association, connect up with various factors in the unconscious mind that have a
bearing upon the matter. If the interest– desire to know or observe–is keen enough,
it may stimulate the psychic senses of the astral body to pick up additional
information from the four-dimensional plane. The Law of Association then brings
together all the available information possessed by the unconscious mind having an
influence upon the thing under consideration, and a Conclusion emerges.
This Conclusion, which is the result of a process similar to reasoning carried out
below the threshold of objective consciousness, because there is no necessity to
impart energy to the ponderous physical brain cells in each operation, may be
reached instantly. The four-dimensional realm is frictionless, and its facilities for
speed almost limitless; so that when Reasoning is carried out exclusively in the
four-dimensional region of the unconscious mind, its processes seem to take no time.
When, as the result of attention being directed to some situation, the unconscious
mind thus reaches a conclusion, objective consciousness may never be aware that
such a conclusion has been reached. It is only when conditions are present that enable
the conclusion reached by the reasoning of the unconscious mind to impart, through
etheric energies, that Conclusion to the cells of the physical brain, that objective
consciousness is aware of it. When it does thus rise, apparently full formed and
spontaneously, into the region of objective consciousness, it is called INTUITION.
Intuition is due to a process similar to reasoning carried out by the unconscious mind;
and because from the four-dimensional plane so many more facts are discernible
than from the three-dimensional plane, if it is unwarped while coming through from
the four-dimensional region of the unconscious, it is apt to be a far more reliable
guide to truth than clumsy and ponderous Reason.
It is well to cultivate the Intuition, not only because it now may be made to yield such
accurate conclusions, but because, in a few years, it must chiefly be depended upon;
for after we have left the physical body behind, Reason, which is dependent upon
physical brain cells, can no longer offer guidance.
To do this the thought must be vigorously and positively held that the unconscious
mind can form correct conclusions regarding the various problems of life. It should
be recognized that its range of perception, through the use of the psychic senses of the
astral body, is vastly greater than that of the three-dimensional brain, and that in it are
stored a vast number of facts and impressions long forgotten by objective
consciousness, upon which it can draw. Confidence should be placed in it to form
correct conclusions, and to find the opportunity to project them up into the physical
brain cells as Intuition.
Then, to give assurance that it is being relied upon, the impressions should be alertly
watched with the intention of discerning that feeling or inner knowledge which is
Intuition. Every such impression should be noted. Not that it should be accepted as
fact; for in each instance its accuracy should be subjected later to a rigid test of
verification. The reliability of Intuition, of any psychical or physical sense, or of
reason, can only be ascertained by checking it against subsequent experience. But by
giving it the proper kind of exercise the power and accuracy of the Intuition can
vastly be increased.
–Intuition, the reports of the psychic senses, and reason often are warped and
distorted through the influence of some dominant idea; that is, of some organized
group of thought-cells which have so much energy that they can determine what
impressions shall, and what shall not, be imparted to the cells of the physical brain.
Emotions, particularly those experienced in early childhood before the critical
faculties have acquired sufficient experience to appraise values and evidence, often
add energy in unusual volume to the thought-cells relating to some conception.
Those of shame, those of religious import, and those related to sex are particularly
potent in this respect. When an idea attains an inordinate amount of power, through
energy thus added to it in great volume, it is then able to dominate the unconscious
mind to such an extent that no perception, impression, or fact in conflict with it can
impart its energy to the physical brain cells. It acts as a censor, and anything that gets
objective recognition must subscribe to its policies.
Suggestion, also through concentrating the attention, and therefore much of the
energy, upon a given idea or image, temporarily exercises a similar function.
We hear a great deal about the power of suggestion, about its use as a therapeutic
agent, and sometimes unfortunately, how it can be used by one person to take unfair
advantage of another.
It is not necessary that a person be asleep or in a trance to be susceptible to
suggestion. It is merely necessary that the critical faculties shall be off guard or held
in abeyance. A state something between the full waking condition and sleep, in
which the person is aware of what is being said, but takes no pains to analyze the
statements, nor to recognize inconsistencies, is fully as advantageous in
As previously mentioned, the mind can give its attention fully to but a very limited
field at any one time. To the extent the attention is completely occupied by one
thought or one sense impression, are all other thoughts or sense impressions shut
from the consciousness. Let the experimenter, for instance, while looking at a
picture, call vividly to mind some scene of his childhood and hold it attentively. He
will find that, even though looking steadfastly at the picture, it will vanish and in its
place he will see only the picture imaged by his memory.
Then, while still holding the mental picture before the attention, if a portion of this
attention be transferred to his objective surroundings, he will perceive dimly the
physical picture and some environmental objects, but these will not be vividly
recognized; they will seem a part of memory’s scene. Thus, in hypnosis, or under the
state of half sleep, half wakefulness in which suggestions best are applied either by
another or to oneself, the attention is directed by the operator to certain images,
which for the time are so vivid as to inhibit the clear recognition of objective reality
which in any manner conflicts with them.
If the hypnotic operator suggests to his subject that a stick is a snake, the mental
image of snake becomes so blended with the sense reports regarding the stick that the
two are blended, and the subject sees the stick as a snake. He feels and acts toward it
just as if it really were a snake.
In the case of the unscrupulous real estate operator who takes his victim to a suburban
cottage and paints for him a rosy hued mental picture, never permitting his prospect’s
attention to wander, or even to think about anything but what the operator is saying;
the effort is made to build up an attractive picture which is so vigorous that it will, for
the time being, exercise a censorship to keep the critical faculties in abeyance.
To give the image power, as many and as strong desires are appealed to as possible. It
is the energy of desire, as the salesman knows, that leads to action. Thus he builds up
the good qualities of the property in the prospect’s mind, careful that he shall have no
opportunity for calm reflection. Aware from experience that reflection will enable
the critical faculties to impose disadvantages upon the image, the salesman increases
his own enthusiasm and endeavors to flush a quick sale before the glamour, which
has been created by his suggestions, wears off. He knows that if his victim comes
from under the influence of the dominant image built thus painstakingly into his
unconscious mind, before the sale is made, that it will not be made at all.
Later, after he has placed his name on the dotted line, the victim wonders why he was
so stupid as not to think of this disadvantage and that detraction, which were quite
obvious, but which he completely overlooked while the salesman’s suggestions were
dominant enough to rivet his attention and prevent the entrance of images that were
in conflict with them.
Apperception and Preperception in Psychic works
–A person who is able to make no predictions as to the future, or to gain no unusual
information without such aids, by the use of coffee grounds or tea leaves in the
bottom of a cup, or by looking at clouds or into a flame, may be able to gain
information quite inaccessible to the physical faculties, or to make predictions of
startling accuracy as to the future.
Such methods of divination utilize the Law of Association in connection with
apperceptions and preperceptions to bring up into objective recognition that which
perceived by the senses of the astral body, or which already has found lodgment in
the unconscious mind.
The psychic senses, functioning on the four-dimensional plane, are able to perceive a
great variety of facts concerning a person, that are inaccessible to the objective
consciousness of anyone. By combining these factors the unconscious mind is able to
deduce correct conclusions not merely regarding the present but also regarding the
Unless the person, whose unconscious mind has been directed to ascertain the facts
of present and future regarding someone, is a very gifted seer, without artificial aids
his unconscious will be unable to project the conclusions up into the physical brain
cells with sufficient force to receive recognition.
A certain group of leaves, grounds, clouds, or forms in the flame may remotely
resemble some animal. It may really resemble the picture of a tree, a horse, a pig or a
locomotive as closely as it resembles that of a dog, depending upon the angle from
which is it viewed. But apperception and preperception cause it to be seen as the thing
which is suggested by the unconscious mind.
There is anticipation that something will be seen in the divinatory instrument which
will reveal the information sought; that is, there is a preperception that the image seen
will represent information possessed by the unconscious mind. The unconscious
mind under this impetus has sought out the information and has had its attention
focused upon it. The nerve current set in motion by the image registered by the
physical sense of sight thus connects up, through the Law of Association, with the
information on which the attention of the unconscious mind is focused. The image in
the unconscious mind, struggling to find an avenue into the realm of objective
consciousness, thus all at once finds the necessary electric energy available to which
it can impart its motions with sufficient intensity that the impact is registered by the
physical brain cells. Thus to the image registered by the physical sense of sight is
added apperception–that is, the image with which it has become associated in the
unconscious mind. And this apperception contributes so much energy that the
physical perception is made to resemble the apperception. If the image dog is in the
unconscious mind, and has sufficient energy, when it is connected up with the
physical brain through electric energies, it can make any object seen, whatever it may
be, so strongly resemble a dog that the thought of a dog will register in the objective
And where, as in most divinatory instruments, there are a wide variety of images, or
alternate readings to select from, the attention is easily directed by the unconscious
mind to such an image as needs no great distortion through apperception to enable the
Information it is striving to impart to gain recognition from objective consciousness.
Evolution of Mind
–Starting with merely the energy of the desire for significance, the soul acquires the
ability to feel sensations. Sensations twine together to form perceptions, perceptions
fuse into conceptions, and conceptions unite to produce those mental processes of
which man is so proud, which, when the conclusion alone is presented to the
objective consciousness, we call Intuition; but which when the intermediate steps
also are objectively recognized, we call Reason.