Formation of Character

I hope we agree that to understand and realise humantruth is vital. Automatic conditioning is a serious obstacle to that understanding. Given time and determined effort, however, it can be surmounted. But conditioning has the physical/mental effect of forming a specific character by constructing the conscious mind in a particular way. When determination of conscious will is concentrated on upholding and defending that character, then its conditioning is unlikely ever to be broken down, because the individual is mostly unaware of it.

The reason for our unawareness is that our thinking – that which appears true to us – is formed by our particular construction of mind, a construction of which we do not allow ourselves to be critically doubtful if our determination to defend it is strong. In our confused and contradictory society a strong character can appear to be an asset, and is generally admired, but the fact that such personal bias is common means that many people, especially as they get older, seem wilfully beyond the possibility of finding true awareness.

As everybody knows, all kinds of different characters exist, but each has been formed, however differently, for similar reasons: we are given the strong desire to live; we see no alternative but to make a place for ourselves in the Machine; we are subject to all-round pressures of conditioning; and our intelligence gives us cause somehow to justify our existence to ourselves, to others, or to some group consensus.

This does involve a pursuit of truth, but only up a limited point – the pursuit is not taken to the ultimate humantruth. The problem is that humantruth is made up of many parts and is wholly true only when all its parts are present. But each part, or small selection of parts, is true in itself and can cover a false situation with a cloak of apparent truth provided that the other parts are steadfastly ignored.

A sense of the whole truth can persuade people to dedicate themselves to an ideal and, rarely, to the profound search for that whole truth, a search which does not allow the mind to be made up until it is completed, nor the character fully formed until the humantruth is realised. But idealists are presently in the monority. The majority of humans are realists, and since existing reality is false they cannot truly justify their consenting support of it except to say, ‘you have to do the best you can in the here and now’. They might even repeat that supine quotation from Candide – ‘all’s for the best in the best of all possible worlds.’

The upshot of what I have said so far – a central problem of humanity which this whole book addresses – is firstly that our evolved reality is hostile to our intellectual potential and requires us to function well below our true level. Secondly, that we have become so adjusted to this reality as to render ourselves evidently incapable of achieving our intellectual potential. And by becoming so thoroughly automated as to be thus unable, as well as unwilling, to function at a higher level, we give our higher minds little or no encouragement independently to fulfil themselves despite their imprisonment.

As very young children our minds are clean sheets which, as we grow up, we fill in and try to balance by processes of reason. But general reality does not make reasonable sense, so this has to be contrived reason by which we attempt to make sense of reality. Our early experiences are largely imposed on us, the backwash of automatic instinctive drives. Our reactions and subsequent actions also derive from our own instincts, ancient and modern, from inherited emotional tendencies, and from our own attempts to reason whether we should go along with the norm or turn against it.

That children display a certain innate aggressiveness could be a throw-back to the early humans’ violent extermination of the ape folk, a hitherto unnatural tendency towards killing one’s own kind reflected in numerous subsequent wars. Similarly, the attitude of our male/female relationships, though now changing, must have been inherited from our early survival struggles when the male functions of hunting, defending and fighting were put first and the female role took second place together with all other activities behind the front line of struggle.

We are given to judging other peoples’ moral characters by certain set standards, but the formation of human character is presently a balancing act with very different personal circumstances, capacities and feelings. Sometimes it is an impossible act and the resultant imbalance becomes intolerable, with dramatic consequences. It is important to realise that whatever any of us does – however wrong, bad or inexcusable it may appear to others – it is right and good, or understandable, or unavoidable for us; the result of a decision which was the only one we could make in our circumstances; a matter of logic.

Any behaviour can be traced back to a cause which explains it. In a world of baby battering, torture, mugging, terrorism and war this is a comforting thought, for it recognises that these horrors are not inbuilt human characteristics, but the superimposed effects of unreasonable causes. We all have moral values, but some of us are pressed by the amoral and immoral Machine to break them.

The accepted standard of morality is that of the privileged middle class, unaware of its own contribution to immorality. Part of our reality is that if we were to choose a purely moral course we would not survive. In order to succeed in the Machine some degree of amorality or immorality is essential.

It is true that with determination virtue can triumph in certain cases, and circumstances cannot always entirely be blamed for our shortcomings. But the way to look at it is that present reality does not work for the encouragement and strengthening of morality, but against it. Very often our circumstances are such that we do not have the strength or resources to rise above them. We are drawn along by the attractions of the Machine, as well as pushed along at its direction, and are not united by our common true humanity. This lack of unity prevents us gravitating to a common morality.

Existing reality being competitive and divided, humans are separated into different places, circumstances and ranks. We all feel compelled to fill roles in the monetary system of supply and demand, according to competitive laws of cause and effect – to submerge the potential character of the inner core under an assumed character imposed on the superficial outer shell of self by position in this automatic reality. So practically all individuals think of themselves as moral, but their morals have been bent already to suit their personal situation.

For example, a soldier in his private life may be gentle and peacable, but in war becomes a ruthless killer. The first is his private character for which he is answerable; the second is his public character or outer shell, his duty to the Machine for which it is responsible, not he. A priest, in both his private life and official capacity, may be and is expected to be gentle and peacable too, yet he will bless the soldier before battle. The priest evades his moral compunction – to oppose the battle and persuade the soldier to lay down his arms – with the devious argument that he himself is not breaking his vows, whilst the soldier has taken a different oath and is further justified by the fact that he is defending the ‘true’ faith.

The kindly economist, who would rather die than see his wife and children harmed or deprived, can calmly justify the deprivation or starvation of millions by putting it down to ‘inevitable’ market forces. All these characters would claim to be moral. The dedicated protestor cum terrorist with a genuine cause has as good a claim to morality as they, because he or she, to put right a great wrong and relieve the suffering of many others, will risk or suffer death by causing a much lesser wrong. Yet the terrorist is almost universally condemned whilst the others are not, because he or she is outside the Machine and they are within it.

Why is it that these amazing contradictions are accepted as normal and credible? It is because their setting is an equally contradictory reality, and both have characterised our civilisation since its beginning. We were not born with such differences; they have been built into us since – incorporated into the individual construction of the consciuous mind which we call self. We are born with the same instincts, and with differences of temperament, but, given ideal circumstances, we could control and keep these within acceptable limits, for our high intelligence tells us broadly what is right and good, what is wrong and bad. But we are not born into ideal circumstances; we are born into a reality which harnesses us to the Machine.

Required to adopt its fundamental concepts and aims, which go contrary to our moral values, most of us comply for the sake of survival, believing we have no alternative. This may affect us temperamentally, our moral objections giving us difficulties which cuase emotional distress. To avoid distress, many of us isolate or adulterate our morals in order to make them compatible with our activities. Some of us, who want to be highly effective and succesful units in the Machine, capitulate altogether to its amoral or immoral values, hardening our hearts against human moral niceties and giving ourselves up to the instinctive drives and the aggressive parts of temperament. I repeat, a high degree of moral sensitivity is a disadvantage in this automatic reality.

There are many divergent interests in the money economy, many opposing sides in the competitive conflict, and many different departments of the Machine. Humans are selected to serve those departments according to suitability, having learned to prepare themselves through education and by deliberately adjusting their characters, as far as they are able, to achieve suitability. Machine efficiency brings automatic security and reward, and those who achieve it spontaneously, because they are exactly conditioned, can, in their human incompleteness, nevertheless be contented and acceptable to themselves and to automatic society. Generally speaking the highest status and reward goes to the most integrated with the Machine, i.e. to the most automated.

An alternative, truly human, society would be adjusted to human morality and accord with it, by which all people would be united. In this existing reality humans adopt or capitulate to automatic amorality, or immorality, by which they are disunited. This is my recurrent theme, fully dealt with in Part VII. The foregoing explains why there are so many different human characters, but not how the mind is made to stoop to them, and maintain them.

This is a biological process, already described in Part 1, Chapter 3. The conscious combined with the utilized part of the post conscious – i.e. the conscious mind – is subject to the conscious will, which loosely confines its thinking and recording to matters which are of actual or likely concern to the individual’s chosen version of reality.

The self then selects from this the memories and processes of reason which are of especial significance to its precise position in reality and gives them superior signal strength, so building, out of these limited correlations, a ‘mind within a mind’ – a personal construction of even more limited, and therefore false, thought. Most of us presently think with this personal construction whose calculations, actually, the products of incomplete reasoning and external and internal conditioning, appear to us as true thoughts.

The following Figure 9 attempts to demonstrate how the normal mind presently works. Its greatest part is the independent postconscious, and I believe this to be the large brain area which, according to physiological examination, has no apparent function. It appears to have no function because it has no directc onnection with, and is not used by, consciousness. Were it to be removed, and indeed a large part of the utilised postconscious also, the automatic performance of the individual would not noticeably be affected.

The independent postconscious is kept alive by the universal influence for truth, which recognises it as vital to the fulfilment of intelligence, which is the flame of hope; otherwise it would die out. An alternative explanation as to why the independent postconscious remains alive, though neither used nor to any great extent heeded by consciousness, is that it is the true representative of the human being. As such it is even more subject to the life-force impulsion to go on living than the conscious mind and body. Though largely neglected throughout our history, it will not die out as long as hope remains.

The influence of the independent postconscious on the human individual is indirect; we can admit it or shut it out, encourage or discourage its development, which is by way of forming atoms of thought into molecules, globules, then constructions – a process whose ultimate end is to become one completely true construction. The utilised postconscious develops in the same way but under direction of the conscious will, and certain of its limited constructions and globules of thought are given preference by the conscious self in order to form the self’s peculiar thinking and reasoning, and to determine its actions and reactions.

How do these mind constructions work? Well, to begin with they are created by, and then perpetuate acceptance of, a false and contradictory reality which requires this deception. Because of our belief in the existing automatic reality, we invent or allow to be imposed upon us a personal language which describes our reality to us and us to it. We need this limited language in order to cope with reality. More than language, it is a kind of window on the world which shows us only what we require to see.

It is the preferred thought of the conscious mind (incorporating part of the utilised postconscious,) to which all incoming data is chiefly referred for comment, opinion and decision. It eliminates worries which do not directly concern us, so that if well provided for we can be happy though millions elsewhere may be starving. It enables us to so concentrate on a special skill, such as medicine or law, that we make few errors, yet fails to make us aware of alternative views of more profound significance. It facilitates a prescribed interpretation of all things, such as a particular religious or ideological outlook which gathers false strength from its refusal to examine itself critically.

This personal language, related to a limited construction of thought, allows the mind to fix its purpose unswervingly upon some duty or objective, making that duty or objective an end that justifies any means of achievement by overruling all moral objections. It enables the conscious mind to be trained in such a way as to function principally as a memory bank, with its process of recalling bare knowledge little hindered by critical interference from the much more vital pure reasoning processes of the independent postconscious mind whose function is the discovery of optimum truth.

As a result of forming our characters in these ways we cut them short of their true human potential so that they fail to work together for the common good. We mould them to a selection from the many and variously limited functions of the Machine. These functions can only be described as good according to limited automatic values; according to their success in achieving their own limited objectives.

They cannot be described as wholly good, or as good in terms of the true interests of humanity at large. So the ‘good’ character, member of a prosperous and dominant nation, admired for being his own man, courageous, honourable, loyal to his own social circle, can, to the rest of the world and by being true to this character, become a ‘bad’ politician, general or tycoon. The big American businessman who boosts the wealth of his nation is good in the USA, but bad in the Third World.

The individual who puts optimum interest and energy into one worthy objective may turn with maximum aggression against anybody who threatens it. Institutions presently seen as virtuous might not really be so, for only those activities which genuinely contribute to the good of the whole may be regarded as truly virtuous. Instituted charity, for example, is ineffective because it is a limited reaction to the Machine which falls short of the ideal – it is a small humane hand offering help here and there whilst the large automatic hand is causing neglect – and it helps to perpetuate an uncaring society by trying to fill the gaps which a good society would not leave unfilled.

A vast amount could be, and has already been, written about the presently possible variations of human character and behaviour. It is now generally accepted that the effects of childhood vary from one emotional extreme to the other because the temperament and character of parents, and of the genes passed on by parents, so vary; that our relationship with our parents is the salient factor in the development of our character, and we tend to believe that our consequent characteristics are inevitable. Adolf Hitler might be quoted as a dramatic example.

The second world war and the cruel extermination of millions of Jews might be attributed to the suspicion that this one man’s father was the result of a ‘disgraceful’ adultery between a domestic servant and a son of the Jewish family which employed her, and to the fact that this father treated the young Adolf like a dog. Nevertheless, it is most important to realise that the effects of such early experience are not irrevocable, and that such traumatic early events do not necessarily lead to such dramatic consequences, for the postconscious mind – true representative of the self, unaffected by emotion and dedicated to truth – can and should take responsibility for any and every individual. This is a fundamental truth of the supraconscious philosophy.

Bad parents are those who are themselves victims of harsh experience, probably beginning with their own ill-treatment in childhood – links in a chain of suffering continually forged because of the failure of human intellect to fulfil itself above all. Whether this chain continues unbroken depends upon how the mind reacts to circumstances. Whether accumulated feelngs of hate are overcome and dissipate themselves through time, or erupt in violent revenge, depends on the opportunities open to the individual concerned.

Presumably Hitler neither had time nor space intellectually to come to terms with his past. But he was given power enough for the perpetration of ghastly deeds which his gut-feelings dictated, whilst his reason was so twisted as to abscure from his awareness his own inhuman immorality. Otherwise he too must have recoiled in horror. But the independent postconscious remains true in every case and can prevail against false emotions and twisted conscious reason, if only it is enabled by awareness and allowed by will.

If and when this awareness generally prevails in the world, it shall eradicate not only the circumstances which produce bad parents but also the opportunities for unreasonable and violent emotions to have broad and serious effect will also be eradicated.

In this present reality, generally speaking, it is still considered a weakness publicly to doubt, question or criticise the fundamental norm on moral grounds. This is because the fundamental norm is an automatic reality, and for that reason all the Machine’s top executives are automated to a degree. Yet our society is the scene of a battle between our essential humanity and the Machine. Therefore it might be expected that our elected representatives would be strongly on the human side in this battle, but this is not so. As often as not those at the top of the political hierarchy are equally unshakeable automated personalities, hopeful of influencing but bent on asserting automatic policy.

We who elect them have many different characters, hold all kinds of contrary opinions, and thus disagree. Consequently, even though the Machine fails to sustain so many of us and clearly does not represent our true human qualities, we normally support the automated hierarchy because it is established, solid and seemingly invincible; because there appears no clear and coherent moral alternative, and because human thinking is confined to the conscious mind and dominated by conscious will. We are accustomed to believing that differences of character and opinion are inevitable, so that complete agreement is impossible.

It is of the utmost importance to overcome this attitude because we must be united if we are to assert ourselves over the Machine, and we cannot unite as long as we disagree. A particular example of this general problem is the fate of many marriages in the UK at present – divorce for one out of every three couples.

We should work towards agreement and cooperation. This is not a matter of becoming the same but of essentially harmonising. Consider this example. Three characters (X), (Y) and (Z) are each incomplete and apart. By each becoming (XYZ) they do not lose (unless individuality is regarded as a matter of deliberately being as different as possible) because their characters and relationships are now richer. Marriages of (X)(X), (Y)(Y) or (Z)(Z) seem ideal but are potentially unstable because all the partners are incomplete and liable, due to their separate and different roles, to change differently and grow apart.

But marriage which grows into (XYZ)(XYZ) has enough in common that it should be permanently stable. Of course dissimilar people are atracted and join together for natural reasons. When (X) and (Y) marry they need to change themselves and each other, for intelligent reasons, to become (XY)(XY) at least. Otherwise there is disharmony, a symptom of disagreement over essentials which might seem to be cured by (X) divorcing (Y) and going off with another (X) but which does nothing to prevent the fundamental disease but merely maintains separate groups of (X), (Y), (Z) and untold other characters who, even of they can sustain agreement among themselves, remain pledged to disagreement with every other group.

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