I and Me
A Master Key
Return to:Cover of Book 8
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See also:The Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science
The Dorι Lectures on Mental Science
The student of Hermetic Philosophy is tempted to smile when he reads and hears of these many "new" theories regarding the duality of mind, each school adhering tenaciously to its own pet theories and each claiming to have "discovered the truth". The student turns back the pages of occult history and finds references to the ancient Hermetic doctrine of the Principle of Gender on the Mental Plane the manifestation of Mental Gender. Examining further, he finds that the ancient philosophy took cognisance of the phenomenon of the "dual mind", and accounted for it by the theory of Mental Gender.
This idea may be explained in a few words to students who are familiar with the modern theories just alluded to. The Masculine Principle of Mind corresponds to the so-called objective mind, conscious mind, voluntary mind, active mind, etc. And the Feminine Principle of Mind corresponds to the so-called subjective mind, sub-conscious mind, involuntary mind, passive mind, etc. Of course the Hermetic Teachings do not agree with the many modern theories regarding the nature of these two phases of mind, nor does it admit many of the facts claimed for the two respective aspects, some of these theories and claims being very far-fetched and incapable of standing the test of experiment and demonstration. We point to the phases of agreement merely for the purpose of helping the student to assimilate his previously acquired knowledge with the teachings of the Hermetic Philosophy. Students of Hudson will notice the statement at the beginning of his second chapter of The Law of Psychic Phenomena that: "The mystic jargon of the Hermetic philosophers discloses the same general idea" i.e. the duality of mind. If Dr Hudson had taken the time and trouble to decipher a little of "the mystic jargon", he might have received much light upon the subject of "the dual mind" but then, perhaps, his most interesting book might not have been written. Let us now consider the Hermetic Teachings regarding Mental Gender.
While at first there seems to be only an "I" existing, a more careful and closer examination reveals the fact that there exists an "I" and a "Me". These mental twins differ in their characteristics and nature, and an examination of their nature and the phenomena arising from them will throw much light upon many of the problems of mental influence.
But we have proceeded too hastily. The "Me" of many men may be said to consist largely of their consciousness of the body and their physical appetites, etc. Their consciousness being largely bound up with their bodily nature, they practically "live there". Some men even go so far as to regard their personal apparel as a part of their "Me", and actually seem to consider it a part of themselves. A writer has humorously said that "men consist of three parts soul, body, and clothes". These "clothes conscious" people would lose their personality if divested of their clothing by savages upon the occasion of a shipwreck. But even many who are not so closely bound up with the idea of personal raiment stick closely to the consciousness of their bodies as being their "Me". They cannot conceive of a Self independent of the body. Their mind seems to them to be practically "a something belonging to" their body which in many cases it is.
But as man rises in the scale of consciousness he is able to disentangle his "Me" from his idea of body and to think of his body as "belonging to" the mental part of him. But even then he is very apt to identify the "Me" entirely with the mental states, feelings, etc., which he feels to exist within him. He is very apt to consider these internal states as identical with himself, instead of their being simple "things" produced by some part of his mentality, and existing within him of him, and in him, but still not "himself". He sees that he may change these internal states of feelings by an effort of will, and that he may produce a feeling or state of an exactly opposite nature in the same way, and yet the same "Me" exists. And so after a while he is able to set aside these various mental states, emotions, feelings, habits, qualities, characteristics, and other personal mental belongings he is able to set them aside in the "not-me" collection of curiosities and encumbrances, as well as valuable possessions. This requires much mental concentration and power of mental analysis on the part of the student. But still the task is possible for the advanced student, and even those not so far advanced are able to see, in imagination, how the process may be performed.
But the student soon finds that this is not all that exists within his inner consciousness. He finds that there exists a mental Something which is able to Will that the "Me" act along certain creative lines, and which is also able to stand aside and witness the mental creation. This part of himself he is taught to call his "I". He is able to rest in its consciousness at will. He finds there not a consciousness of an ability to generate and actively create, in the sense of a gradual process attendant upon mental operations, but rather a sense and consciousness of an ability to project an energy from the "I" to the "Me" a process of "willing" that the mental creation begin and proceed.
He also finds that the "I" is able to stand aside and witness the operations of the "Me's" mental creation and generation. There is this dual aspect in the mind of every person. The "I" represents the Masculine Principle of Mental Gender and the "Me" represents the Feminine. The "I" represents the aspect of Being, the "Me" the aspect of Becoming. You will notice that the Principle of Correspondence operates on this plane just as it does upon the great plane upon which the creation of the Universe is performed. The two are similar in kind, although vastly different in degree. "As above, so below; as below, so above".
These aspects of mind the Masculine and Feminine Principles; the "I" and the "Me" considered in connection with the well-known mental and psychic phenomena, give the master-key to these dimly known regions of mental operation and manifestation. The principle of Mental gender gives the truth underlying the whole field of the phenomena of mental influence, etc.
Persons who can give continued attention and thought to a subject actively employ both of the mental principles the Feminine in the work of active mental generation and the Masculine Will in stimulating and energising the creative portion of the mind. The majority of persons really employ the Masculine Principle but little, and are content to live according to the thoughts and ideas instilled into the "Me" from the "I" of other minds. But it is not our purpose to dwell upon this phase of the subject, which may be studied from any good text-book upon psychology with the key that we have given you regarding Mental Gender.
In the phenomena of telepathy it is seen how the vibratory energy of the masculine principle is projected toward the feminine principle of another person, and the latter takes the seed-thought and allows it to develop into maturity. Suggestion and hypnotism operate in the same way. The masculine principle of the person giving the suggestions directs a stream of vibratory energy toward the feminine principle of the other person, and the latter, accepting it, makes it its own and acts and thinks accordingly. An idea thus lodged in the mind of another person grows and develops, and in time is regarded as the rightful mental offspring of the individual, whereas it is in reality like the cuckoo egg placed in the sparrow's nest, where it destroys the rightful offspring and makes itself at home.
The strong men and women of the world invariably manifest the masculine principle of Will, and their strength depends materially upon this fact. Instead of living upon the impressions made upon their minds by others, they dominate their own minds by their Will, obtaining the kind of mental images desired and, moreover, dominating the minds of others in the same manner. Look at these strong people, how they manage to implant their seed-thoughts in the minds of the masses of the people, thus causing the latter to think thoughts in accordance with the desires and will of the strong individuals. This is why the masses of people are such sheep-like creatures, never originating an idea of their own, not using their own powers of mental activity.
The manifestation of Mental gender may be noticed all around us in everyday life. The magnetic persons are those who are able to use the Masculine Principle in the way of impressing their ideas upon others. The actor, who makes people weep or cry as he wills, is employing this principle. And so is the successful orator, statesman, politician, preacher, writer, or other person who commands public attention. The peculiar influence exerted by some people over others is due to the manifestation of Mental gender, along the vibrational lines indicated above. In this principle lies the secret of personal magnetism, personal influence, fascination, etc., as well as the phenomena generally grouped under the name of Hypnotism.
It is customary for the writers and teachers of Suggestion to explain that it is the "objective or voluntary" mind which makes the mental impression, or suggestion, upon the "subjective or involuntary" mind. But they do not describe the process or give us any analogy in nature whereby we may more readily comprehend the idea. But if you will think of the matter in the light of the Hermetic Teachings, you will be able to see that the energising of the Feminine Principle by the Vibratory Energy of the Masculine Principle is in accordance with the universal laws of nature, and that the natural world affords countless analogies whereby the principle may be understood. In fact, the Hermetic Teachings show that the very creation of the Universe follows the same law, and that in all creative manifestations, upon the planes of the spiritual, the mental, and the physical, there is always in operation this Principle of Gender this manifestation of the Masculine and Feminine Principles. "As above, so below; as below, so above". And more than this, when the principle of Mental Gender is once grasped and understood, the varied phenomena of psychology at once become capable of intelligent classification and study, instead of being very much in the dark. The principle "works out" in practice, because it is based upon the immutable universal laws of life.
The purpose of this work is not to give an extended account of psychic phenomena, but rather to give to the student a master-key whereby he may unlock the many doors leading into the parts of the Temple of Knowledge which he may wish to explore. We feel that in this consideration of the teaching of The Kybalion, one may find an explanation which will serve to clear away many perplexing difficulties a key that will unlock many doors. There is no point in going into detail regarding all of the many features of psychic phenomena and mental science, provided we place in the hands of the student the means whereby he may acquaint himself fully regarding any phase of the subject which may interest him. With the aid of The Kybalion, one may go through any occult library anew, the old Light from Egypt illuminating many dark pages and obscure subjects. That is the purpose of this book. We do not come expounding a new philosophy, but rather furnishing the outlines of a great world-old teaching which will make clear the teachings of others which will serve as a Great Reconciler of differing theories and opposing doctrines.