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Chapter IX - Personal Magnetism

Chapter IX

Personal Magnetism



Perhaps the most interesting manifestation of Mind‐Power along the lines of telementation and mentative induction, at least to the beginner in the study of the subject, is the phase known as “Personal Magnetism.” We may as well begin by considering the use of the word “magnetism” in connection with mental influence, etc. We often hear of “personal magnetism”; “mental magnetism”; “magnetic personality”; “magnetic attraction”; “magnetic influence,” etc., etc., used in the sense of mental attraction; personal influence; fascination; charming; psychological influence, etc. Let us see just why the term is used. The explanation involves an interesting bit of little known occult history.

The word “magnetism,” of course, arises from the word “magnet.” Now here is an interesting bit of history. You will see in the dictionaries that the term “magnet” was given the lodestone, or natural magnet, because it was first discovered near Magnesia, a town in Asia Minor. This explanation is most amusing to those familiar with the records of the old occult brotherhoods, for the latter know that instead of the magnet being named after the town, the town was named after the magnet, the latter being known centuries before the town of Magnesia was built. The natural magnet was known in China, India, and Persia thousands of years ago. Its name “magnet,” arose from the same Persian word as “magic,” namely, “mag,” signifying the esoteric priesthood or Magians. The name was given because the power of the natural magnet resembled the mental power exerted by the Magians, and the stone was called literally “the Magian Stone,” or the “Magic Stone,” hence the words “magnet” and “magnetism.” So you see we come by our use of the word in a perfectly natural way.

An interesting fact (and one that goes to prove that minds work in accustomed channels) is to be noted in the circumstance that the mysterious phenomena of Mesmerism, etc., noticed in Europe and America during the past century or so, came to be naturally called “Animal Magnetism”; “Personal Magnetism,” etc., the mind of the public intuitively connecting the phenomena with that of the magnet, which it very much resembles. And, in our day, we speak of people being “very magnetic,” “lacking magnetism,” having a “magnetic presence,” etc., etc. And so history repeats itself. The magnet which was originally called the “Magian or Magic Stone.” because its force resembled the mentative attraction manifested by the Magi or Magians, serves to give a name to similar manifestation of mental force centuries after. The “magnet” gives back to the Twentieth Century Magians the name it borrowed from the Magians of Ancient Persia. It has repaid the debt.

While the phase of Mind‐Power which has to do with the operation of the force upon distant minds and objects is perhaps the most startling, still that phase which is called “Personal Magnetism” is one of the most important and remarkable. Its very frequent occurrence often causes us to overlook it, but it is the phase which is effectively used by those who understand it, and the one against which it behooves us to guard ourselves.

All have noticed that some individuals seem to have a “winning way” about them, and are able to induce others to fall into their way of thinking, and to do what they wish done. The so‐called “magnetic” man is able to sway audiences or individuals by his mystic power, and one often fails to realize just how it was done when he recalls the words spoken, or reads them in cold type the morning after. The secret lies not alone in what is said, or even in how it is said, but rather in how great a degree personal magnetism was emanated by the speaker.

Many persons who have dealings with the public in the direction of selling goods; securing subscriptions; selling life‐insurance, etc., etc., have acquired a degree of the art of using personal magnetism, often being unconscious of the force they are employing. And many large employers of agents have schools wherein the agents are taught the psychology of suggestion, personal influence, etc., and more or less of personal magnetism although under some other name. And, more than this, every person who is in earnest, when talking to another person manifests more or less personal magnetism, unconsciously, or consciously.

While the statement may bring down upon my head the wrath of those who believe that the phenomena of the “old‐fashioned revival” are due to the “workings of the Spirit,” I do not hesitate to affirm that all students of psychology know that the greater part of the fervor is due to emotional excitement produced by personal magnetism, manifesting along both the lines of mentative currents and suggestion. Anyone who has ever attended a negro revival or camp meeting has carried away with him a memory of the effects of a certain kind of personal magnetism upon a certain type of emotional minds. And not alone in the field of “emotional religion” does this force manifest itself so strongly—it is just as plainly demonstrated in the case of “emotional politics.” Let any man sit down and sanely consider the performances of the average man of the rank and file of either of the political parties during a campaign. See how men are swayed by emotional appeals to their prejudices and party spirit. See how they allow themselves to be blinded by glittering promises and statements, without a shred of reasonable argument, until they become fanatics. Their emotions are skillfully played upon by the leaders and speakers, and the current of personal magnetism, and suggestion, spreads over the body of the party until they become a mob possessed of certain fixed ideas that have taken possession of them. Families are split by factional differences, and hatred reigns when love formerly had its abode. The excitement grows fiercer and fiercer, until at last the day of the election is at hand, and the country goes into a paroxysm of emotional excitement. Then the result is announced. The next day every one suffers from a relapse, and the country begins to laugh over what has happened.

After the sting of defeat has worn off, and the elation of victory has melted away, it is found that the country is moving along about as usual—not going to the dogs because some man is defeated, nor taking great leaps forward because some other man has been elected Town Supervisor, or President, as the case may be. The people play their parts year after year—that is the majority of them—being swayed by emotional excitement rather than by reason, thought, or intelligence. And the men who pull the mental strings grin to themselves as they think over “what fools these mortals be,” and prepare themselves to pull the same strings again upon the next occasion, and to make their sheep‐like followers again dance to the tune of “My party, right or wrong, my party.”

And in both revival and political campaign the moving spirit is the same. Our old friend, personal magnetism, operates through the force of a few “feelings” conveyed from the minds of the few to the minds of the many, aided and abetted in its subtle influence by its mate, mental suggestion. Gaining force under the force of the desire and will of each person who adds his force to the original impulse it swells in volume until, like the rolling snowballs, it grows to mammoth proportions and sweeps all before it. You have often heard that “enthusiasm is infectious.” Did you ever wonder why? Have you ever wondered why you enjoyed a theatrical performance more when the house was filled than when only half its seating capacity was used? Have you ever understood the cause of the wave of enthusiasm that has swept over the large audience, including yourself, until you felt all in a mental glow? Have you ever realized that what is known as “the psychology of the crowd,” by which term is meant the influence that can be gained over a crowd, whereas the separate individuals composing the crowd could not be so affected, is due to personal magnetism and mental suggestion which is started into operation and then spread from mind to mind by the added desire and will manifested in mental states and their associated physical actions?

And there is another fact to be remembered while we are considering audiences and crowds. I allude to the fact that the speaker is affected by the personal magnetism of the audience, which flows back upon him, giving him increased power to send again to them his own ideas, awakening fresh emotional excitement in them. It is action and, reaction always. It is of the greatest importance that one understands the causes of these “mental epidemics,” for when the cause is once understood one is far less liable to be carried away by emotional excitement spread in this way. Many sober, sensible people have been swept off their feet by these waves of personal magnetism, and have done and said things that would otherwise have been impossible for them. They have allowed the personal magnetism to reach their minds through the emotive‐pole, arousing ideas and desires that otherwise would have been impossible.

We have seen, or heard, of respectable citizens, including the members of the so‐called learned professions, lawyers, doctors, teachers, preachers, joining in mobs and allowing themselves to be carried away by the personal magnetism and suggestion of the more excitable members thereof, and participating in acts that afterwards seemed like horrible nightmares to them. The emotional nature is always very near the surface, in the majority of men, and it should be ever guarded from outside arousing influences. The motive‐pole of the mind—the will‐power, should ever be on guard to resist this invasion of the emotive pole—desire‐force. And so should the will ever be on guard to neutralize the personal magnetism of others who in personal interviews seek to bend the minds of their hearers to their ideas, and by thus arousing desire mould them so as to work their wills upon them.

In all of these cases of personal magnetism, and mental suggestion whether along the lines of personal influencing, appeals, artful suggestion, etc., as well as in the cases of “mental epidemic,” the effect is produced by the mentator, or suggestor, obtaining the voluntary attention of the other or others, and thus holding his will engaged, and his emotive pole of mind thus unguarded, while he pours in his mentative currents, or suggestions (usually both) into the emotive pole of his hearers. He thus induces in them the desires, emotions and feelings which act as motive forces, causing them to act according to his wishes and will.

The person affected is rendered unable to reason correctly, or intelligently, for his will is “on a vacation,” and his reason is swayed by his desires, emotions and feelings thus induced, the necessary support of the will being lacking. The will of the man sending the mentative currents, or mental suggestions, is in control, instead of the wills of the hearers and persons influenced. In the cases of widespread “mental contagion” the influence spreads from mind to mind, along the same lines, and according to the same laws.

I trust that what I have said along these lines will appeal to the student in the direction of causing him to interpose a resistance to these currents and suggestions in cases such as I have mentioned. The remedy is in his own hands—simply the interposition of the will, in the manner of which I shall speak as we proceed. Surround yourself with an armor of will‐power which will act as a shield against influences of this sort, and which will beat them back upon their senders. If people but understood this law they would cause these selfish mentative currents to be reflected back upon the sender until he was swept away in the whirlwind of his own raising. It is apparent to all students of human nature that there is a wonderful difference in the degrees of what is called “personal force” observable in different persons with whom we come in contact. Some are very “forceful,” and others are quite “forceless,” and others form varying degrees between these two extremes. This difference in “personal force” depends upon the degree of dynamic “positivity” or negativity” in the “magnetism” of each person.

The man who is able to manifest a strong degree of Mind‐Power along the lines of motive polarity, or Will‐power, becomes dynamically “positive.” I use the word “positive” in this connection in the sense of Webster’s definition: “having the power to direct action or influence.” Passing down the scale, through varying and lessening degrees of “positivity,” we reach the case of the man who is almost devoid of this power of manifesting Mind‐Power—and his condition we call that of dynamic “negativity.” By “negative,” as I use it here, I mean:

“non‐positive; lacking the power of direct action or influence. “ Now, every person has his own degree of dynamic “positivity.”

Each one is dynamically positive to some others, and dynamically negative to others still—unless indeed one has reached the limit of positivity or negativity, which limit cannot be definitely fixed. Two persons meet each other. At once there ensues a silent, quiet struggle between their dynamic mentation, depending for its intensity upon the importance of the meeting. Still, in any and all events, the struggle ensues, usually unconsciously. It may be over in a moment, or it may last a long time, but from that struggle, sooner or later, one or the other must emerge a victor, unless, as is rarely the case, they are of equal degrees of positivity. And there is no mistake about the result—each one recognizes himself as the victor, or the defeated, and adjusts himself to his relative position. I do not mean by this that the degree of dynamic positivity is fixed permanently in either person. For the contrary is the case. One of the persons who is really stronger, usually, may be weaker at that particular time owing to his will being fatigued, or by reason of his having relaxed his will‐power, as is often the case. And in such a case, the defeated one may be the victor at the next encounter, or may even rally his energies in a moment later and turn the tables. One may have a strong will, in moments of activity, and yet in moments of passivity he may relax it very much. And, a still more important fact: One may so increase his will‐power that he will be able to completely dominate those who formerly over‐mastered and even over‐awed him. All of us know of instances of this kind in our own personal experiences.

At the extreme dynamic positive pole are to be found those wonderfully forceful men who seem to dominate all with whom they come in contact. These people fairly paralyze the wills of those around them, and induce emotive states almost at will. When in deep, earnest, mentative effort, they seem to actually “plunge” their will into the mind of the other persons, and set themselves up as the dominant force therein, taking the others’ wills captive and holding them obedient to the master will of the positive man. Such men are of course rare, and whenever they exist they make a strong mark on the history of their times, local or general. I do not like to Quote Napoleon Bonaparte as an example, for he has been used to illustrate almost everything. But still, the mind intuitively flies to him in thinking of the dominant will. Napoleon had a marvelous will— an almost superhuman will. It was manifested not only on the world at large, but also upon those closest to him in the way of personal contact. This man worked his will on those around him, and forced his desires upon them, also. He dominated everything and everybody, and his contemporaries, even his enemies, testify to this marvelous personal power. He is a very good example of this extreme positive type. Passing down the scale, we see men of strong personal force in all walks of life. These men formerly played the part of warriors or rulers of kingdoms, but the increasing importance of commercial life in the world’s affairs has developed and brought forth a new type of these positive men, who now show themselves as “captains of industry,” prominent figures in “frenzied finance,” makers and rulers of the great “trusts” of this country, and others. A little lower in the scale of personal force we find men of marked power, but still a little less strong than those above them. And so we pass down, through the varying degrees of the scale, meeting the average man and woman, and then on to the “weaklings” of the race. At the extreme negative end of the scale we find those impressionable creatures, known to students of experimental psychology as “somnambules,” or “impressionables,” who have merely to be told to do a thing, in an authoritative manner, in order to have them attempt to do it, or at least to feel impelled to do so.

There are many people upon whom the phenomena of extreme mental suggestion may be produced while they are wide awake. They will feel the “burn” on their hands, caused by your finger, if you but suggest it to them in the right way. They will be unable to draw apart their hands, which have been fastened together by your strong suggestion. They will be drawn backward, or forward, by your suggestion. There are many people of this kind, some more impressionable than others, but all quite impressionable, who will be driven this way or that way by those who understand the subject. Fortunately, this fact is not generally recognized, or else we should hear of still more cases of “strange influence,” etc., in the newspapers. But the subject is becoming more widely discussed and known now, and it is only a question of time when the law will be compelled to take cognizance of it.

Fortunately, however, the extreme negative condition may be overcome by one, by developing his will and learning the principles underlying the subject. Knowledge of the nature of the subject robs the force of much of its effect, the latter depending largely upon the passive ignorance of the subject. Give him the proper instruction, and he will be able to interpose a resistance. Every man has his present place on the scale, but he may improve his position!

Personal magnetism bears a close resemblance to that which in olden times was frequently caned “Mental Fascination.” “Fascination” means “the act of fascinating, or state of being fascinated.” The word “fascinate” springs from the Latin word “Fascinare,” meaning “to enchant; bewitch, charm by eyes or tongue; captivate, attract,” etc. The definition of the English word, “fascinate,” is as follows: “To act upon by some powerful or irresistible influence; to influence by an irresistible charm; to allure, or excite, irresistibly or powerfully; to charm, captivate, or attract powerfully; to influence the imagination, reason or will of another, in an uncontrollable manner; to enchant, captivate or allure, powerfully or irresistibly.” The above definition is condensed from a number of the best dictionaries, and gives the essence of the idea embodied in the word. In this work I use the term “Personal Magnetism” in the sense of: The action of Mind‐Power in the direction of powerfully influencing the imagination, desire, or will of another. This is my own broad definition which includes all the varied phenomena.


Page last modified on Monday 21 of January, 2013 03:39:24 MST

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