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Esoteric Psychology II - Chapter II - The Ray of Personality - Introduction
A few souls come into incarnation of their own free will and accord; they work with clear knowledge and proceed to the task of the day. They are the key people in any age, and the determining factors, psychologically, in any historical period. It is they who set the pace and do the pioneering work. They focus in themselves both the hatred and the love of the world; they work as the Builders or as the Destroyers, and they return eventually to their own place, carrying with them the spoils of victory in the shape of the freedom which they have won for themselves or for others. They bear the scars, psychologically speaking, which have been given to them by opposing workers, and they bear also the assurance [263] that they have carried forward the task to which they have been assigned and which they have successfully undertaken.

This first category of people in incarnation has been greatly augmented during the past century and it is for this reason that we can look for the rapid development of the characteristics of the incoming Aquarian Age.

The second category of human beings, who, are here designated as personalities, is also becoming powerful. It merges with both the first group and the third.

We have in the world. today the following types of personalities:

  1. Personalities who are rapidly shifting into the category of "conditioning souls."
  2. Personalities who are integrated, coordinated men and women, but who are not yet under the influence of the soul. Their "self-will and self-love" is such a powerful factor in their lives that they exert a determining influence upon their environment. It would be well to note the esoteric difference between conditioning and determining. The first leaves the subject (be it a man or a race, or a civilization) free. It simply provides the influence and the conditions wherein the best in the race can flower forth to a state of perfection. The second does not leave the subject free, but "determines" through the exercise of power, selfishly applied and utilized for personality ends, the way, that a person, a race, or a civilization shall go.
  3. Awakening personalities are also found. These merge with our third classification and are the cream or the best expression of the third group.

It is with these personalities in their three groups that we are primarily to deal in this division of our treatise. The [264] word, however, is very loosely used, and it might be of value to give here a list of definitions of the word "personality", both those in common usage and those used in the true spiritual significance. It is of value (is it not?) if students know the many ways in which this word is used, both correctly and erroneously. Let us here list them:

A personality is a separated human being. We could perhaps equally well say a separative human being. This is the poorest and most loosely used definition; it applies to common usage, and regards each human being as a person. This definition is consequently not true. Many people are simply animals with vague higher impulses, which remain simply impulses. There are those also who are primarily nothing more or less than mediums. This term is here used to apply to all those types of persons who go blindly and impotently upon their way, swayed by their lower and dense desire nature, of which the physical body is only the expression or medium. They are influenced by the mass consciousness, mass ideas, and mass reactions, and therefore find themselves quite incapable of being anything definitely self-initiated, but are standardized by mass complexes. They are, therefore, mediums with mass ideas; they are swept by urges which are imposed upon them by teachers and demagogues, and are receptive - without any thought or reasoning - to every school of thought (spiritual, occult, political, religious and philosophical). May I repeat that they are simply mediums; they are receptive to ideas which are not their own or self-achieved.

A personality is one who functions with coordination, owing to his endowment and the relative stability of his emotional nature, and his sound and rounded out glandular equipment. This is aided by his urge to power and the proper [265] environing conditions. The above situation can work out in any field of human endeavor, making a man either a good foreman in a factory or a dictator, according to his circumstances, his karma, and his opportunity. I am not here referring in any sense whatever to the desirable coordination of soul and body, which is a later development. I am simply postulating a good physical equipment, and a sound emotional control and mental development. It is possible to have a superlative inner development and yet have such a poor instrument on the physical plane that coordination is not possible. In such cases the subject seldom affects his environment in any permanent or powerful sense. He cannot bring through or radiate out his inner power because he is blocked at every point by his physical equipment. A man of much less inner development but with a responsive physical body and glands which are functioning well will frequently prove a more effective agent of influence in his environing circumstances.

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