The purpose for which this is written is briefly to define in simple language the various forms of Occult Mania, Disease or Idiosyncrasy. The conclusions drawn are the result of a series of investigations covering a period of over five years. All of the types and ailments described have come under the personal observation of the writer. Every day the press and pulpit attack the occult sciences and all too often, with very good reason. Any study, profession, art; in fact, any object, maybe an innocent cause of endless trouble. Any idea may become an obsessing influence and over-development of any mental, emotional or physical organism may result in unbalance. If unbalance and insanity are not synonymous, there is certainly a point where one blend into the other.
Unbalance is the deadly enemy of reason and the product of unbalanced thinking is always comparatively worthless. Occultism and kindred sciences must be approached with cool logic, discerning sagacity and absolute sanity. The aspirant to the wisdom of Nature must himself be as wise’ as a serpent. Where unbalance steps in with its principle of undue emphasis on certain points and lack of emphasis on others equally important, the value of the reflection is lost.
If a person wishes an honest opinion of a subject, they must approach it in a completely disinterested manner. A person who loves a thing or who dislikes a thing is totally unfitted to express an honest opinion of that thing. The mind of an occult student must be a laboratory of experimentation. Here qualities, factors and influences must be weighed and the decisions withheld until the evidence is in. No small number of modern psychologists, occultists, metaphysicians, etc., have built up true lines of reason or it might be better to say consistent lines of reason upon a false hypothesis. As a result of this, we have a magnificent edifice but it is built upon shifting sands and is doomed to collapse the moment that the first proposition is disproved.
We cannot be too careful in weighing and measuring the evidence on hand in every problem of life. This is true of religion as well as politics and ethics and while all too many accept unquestioningly the words of others, this does not justify such an attitude. Wrongs are not righted because they have become customs. Every day the effects of the mind are demanding greater consideration from the scientific world. Every day demonstrates more clearly to a trained observer the power of mind over matter until finally, this organ becomes the dictator of the individual life and of the mass of civilization. Not uncommonly the mind takes the bit of guidance between its teeth and performs a John Gilpin’s Ride. The mind is man’s most useful servant, but when it usurps the throne of high authority there is generally trouble in the world below.
There is not peace and harmony amidst the people when a false hand dictates rulership and a usurper delegates authority to a small clique of favored ones. This often happens in the human body, but because it is not so clearly evident as when the newspapers tell about it, we pass it quite unnoticed and unrealized. Undue emphasis generally denotes a form of mania. But undue emphasis seldom denotes an excess of intelligence.
There are people with only one story to tell, one idea to elucidate, one theory to expound. They have a form of monomania which centralizes itself around the theorem that the world only needs one thing and they have it. This emphasis denotes unbalance and where it exists there is generally to be found total ignorance on other subjects. Excessive intelligence on one line and total ignorance and lack of interest on others denotes mental unbalance and if persisted in long enough gradually assumes the proportion of a fanaticism and may if not properly restrained result in violent homo-cidal or suicidal mania. It seems that this very important line has been neglected by the majority of teachers and students of occultism, mysticism and psychology. The realization of the possibility of overdoing a virtue and in that way transmuting it into a vice seems to be totally overlooked and as a result of this attitude, the world is filled with people who are absolutely worthless, both to themselves and other people. A worthless person is the product of worthless living, worthless emotions, and worthless thinking and the only correction lies in a complete change of mental and physical outlook. A healthy outlook on life will produce a mind capable of healthy thinking and remove the morbidity which is so often present among people of aesthetic leanings.
During the examination of over five hundred cases of mediumistic depression, obsessional control, direct and indirect mental unbalance and even violent forms of insanity, certain traits, qualities and elements appear repeatedly, and always in similar combinations, produce similar effects.
The work of the author has been entirely confined to religious fanaticism and mania dealing with ethical, philosophical moral or spiritual conditions. In all cases where insanity or violence appeared, it was always preceded by unbalance. The causes of unbalance range from intensive religious fanaticism to melancholia and general depression. Few of those suffering mentally were healthy physically and the greater percentage were anemic. All had biased and crooked outlooks on life. And these gradually gaining control of the organisms resulted in an abdication of reason in favor of a petty idea.
It behooves every individual to watch himself or herself that the dominance of an idea does not produce a mental habit or vampirize other parts of the organism for its survival.
The following thesis is divided into three parts, part one being a general definition of terms; part two a brief outline of occult manias and their cause; part three a series of type cases with suggestive forms of treatment. The whole may be taken as either a guide to assist in keeping the organisms balanced, a warning to the thoughtless and a sentence of inefficiency imposed by nature upon those who systematically disregard her laws. This work does not appeal to the sentiments, may not be considered optimistic; in fact, it may even be branded as pessimistic, but we dedicate it to a humanity, long suffering from the ailments therein described. It is an honest exposition of the fact which can be vouched for by everyone not suffering from the maladies herein described. One of the peculiar phases of insanity generally is that the person himself does not know and will not admit that he is afflicted, therefore we dedicate this book especially to those who know they do not need it.
Part One: A General Definition of Terms
- In order that any intelligent line of induction or deduction may be carried on it is necessary to exactly define the base hypothesis and the exact meaning and interpretation which it is intended later that general terms should imply. Words have no other general meaning that that which flashes to the mind of a person hearing or reading them. Let us, therefore, begin this study by finding out just exactly what state a person must be in that the terms insane may be applied to them.
- According to Funk and Wagnall, the word insane is defined as: not sane; mentally deranged; crazy; irrational. The actual meaning of the word being, “not sound,” from the Latin. Insanity is defined as: A persistent, morbid condition of mind, usually connected with some abnormal condition of the brain or nervous system. It is characterized by deficiency of control, by disordered activity of the fantasy and by perverted action of one or more of the mental faculties. It may or may not be developed on a basis of heredity. And as a third definition is given: Lack of sound sense; extreme folly. Among its synonyms are hallucination; frenzy; delirium. The antonyms of insanity include wisdom and this indicates indirectly that things which do not partake of wisdom, partake of insanity.
- Let us next consider obsession. Again referring to Funk & Wagnall, we find the following definitions: A vexing or haunting as by an evil spirit or a morbidly dominant idea; the fact of being thus haunted; also that which dominates or afflicts anyone in such manner. Physiologically, haunting idea consisting of transformed reproach; a characteristic symptom of compulsion, neurosis.
- With these definitions before us we wish to make certain enlargement and qualifications adapting them especially to those expressions which are most common to people of intellectual and neo-spiritual lives. At the present time there is no division made under normal conditions between obsession and insanity. Yet these two conditions demand entirely different treatment. An obsessed person should never be incarcerated with those actually insane for this will probably result in their becoming insane. Modern science never knows under these conditions the terrible wrong that is done to society and the individual. 5. Occult insanity is generally due to mental outlook based on unbalance. Any or all of the attitudes listed below may be the cause of insanity by gradually tipping the reason out of the straight and narrow way which leads to intelligence.
Greed-The spirit of accumulation.
In occultism, we find this among a group of people who have become mildly unbalanced on prosperity tangents. Man is given two hands, a well-regulated mind, capable of being educated into productive channels and it seems quite unnecessary for him to extend his spirit of commercialism into the temple of his God. The Master turned the money changers from the portico of the temple; so it seems they have gone out and started a number of religions of their own.
There is a great deal of difference between attitudes and affirmations. In reality, affirmations are given to proper attitudes. A person can have a happy, prosperous attitude without the spirit of commercialism. Man must learn to enter his temple with a gift for his God instead of going in that his Deity may present him with something that he has not earned. Accumulation is a fallacy from beginning to end except that one form which is called in the scriptures “the laying up of treasures in heaven”.
Our modern prosperity religions are based upon a false hypothesis. God does not desire that any man shall be rich, but he gives man certain opportunities, or more correctly, man’s self-created environments make accumulation possible. Our commercial ethics were not a divine inspiration but the result of certain mental attitudes among the creatures here below. Accumulation and the ownership of things is morally justified by need and by the ability to properly use the thing acquired. In Nature, the ability to use a certain thing better than anyone else is the recommendation for the acquirement of that thing. People who pray to God for cash, houses and lots, matrimonial partners and similar things are to be termed insane because of the proven unsoundness of their line of reasoning, for they are arguing against natural law. And sanity is harmony with reality.
The critical mind.
The second consideration under the general heading of unhealthy mental attitudes is the spirit of destructive criticism. An honest critic is one of man’s best friends. But one who assumes the attitude of appointed judge of the merits of all things, but who lacks either the knowledge or the spirit which will enable him to do this constructively; such a one produces nothing except disintegration wherever he goes.
Habit is the base of criticism. It becomes habitual with some to find fault until finally everything is condemned by a mind which has overdeveloped the organ of condemnation. Their criticism ceases to be of any value because it is perpetual. It ceases to be just because it is a mass thing. For with the establishment of the habit, everything falls under the ban. This type of critic, when pinned down can seldom justify his criticism but radiates his toxins on general principles. This is a form of insanity capable of becoming violent mania and is always the result of petty nagging and fault finding and a generally unhealthy outlook on life.
The most valuable assets that a student can bring to the shrine of occultism is a healthy, cheerful, radiant outlook on life and the complexities thereof. A healthy outlook is more valuable than experience. It is more desirable than talent and serves the great plan far better than many highly intellectual things which have soured themselves. A person who is sour on things is a curse to both themselves and society and have no place in a world of ethics. Their mental acidity breeds poisons in their own body and spreads dissension among those around them.
No student to whom all the world looks wrong has any right to try and serve the world. He must first make himself right with himself and brother creature and then come and make his sacrifice upon the altar. Those who serve the world in the capacity of an illuminated teacher must love the world they serve, must be gentle and kind and yet always firm in the principles of right. The masters criticize, but even the criticism becomes an inspiration because the one who gives it sees the light. Those who criticize in darkness spread only the gloom of their own souls.
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Source: “The All-seeing Eye” Magazine (March 1927). By Manly P. Hall
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