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Esoteric Psychology II - Chapter II - The Ray of Personality - Problems of Disciples and Mystics
c. Diseases connected with Group Conditions

We can only briefly touch upon this theme, owing to the fact that group work (esoterically understood) is relatively new, and because the individual, working at this time in a group, is scarcely affected at all by these factors, owing to his relatively partial integration. I refer here to his integration in the group. People are still so insulated in their personalities that they are shut off, in many cases, from group stimulation, group effects and group impulses. It is only as they become decentralized and, therefore, more easily responsive to the group ideas, the group idealism, and to the group aura (with its outbreathing and its inbreathing and its group livingness) that they can and do succumb to those difficulties which group life imposes. Today it is the central figure in the group life, the dominant personality or soul, who is the one to whom the group life and the group thought turns, with all the consequences of such turning. It is this person, upon whom the group life pivots (if I may use such a term), who is the group victim and it is he who pays the price of any group weakness. The expression of the group attitude finds its outlet in him and he is, at times, practically "killed" by the group. No group today is a perfect group. They are in the experimental stage and are largely composed of a few Aquarians, many Pisceans and a number of people who are in a transition stage between these two. The leader or leaders of the new groups are usually of as pure a type of the new age or Aquarian character as is possible or available at this time. This accounts for the failure of the group, as a rule, either to understand the [616] leader or to cooperate with the new ideals as is desired. The leader is a pioneer in a new field of thought and of intention and, therefore, suffers the penalties of his daring and of his spirit of enterprise.

It is not my intention to deal here with group difficulties, for that is not my theme. I am considering the difficulties (amounting often to physical disease) and the problems of the individual who is sensitive to group pressures and group life - a very different thing to the usual problems of the mystics of the past. These can only be studied and investigated today by a consideration of the lives, physical condition, problems, difficulties and deaths of group leaders. I would call this definitely to your attention. The group members - little as they may like to recognize this fact - are not as yet prone to suffer much from the group life, the group emanation and the group energy for they are not yet sufficiently integrated into the group.

The problem we are considering falls into two major categories and as I seek to deal with them I realize that there is relatively little that I can say. The next century will see the problems more defined and the difficulties more clearly delineated. They are:

  1. Those arising as a result of the directed thought of the group. On this I can say something.
  2. Diseases, connected with the respiratory tract. On these I can say but little.

Let us, therefore, look at these problems. We shall have to study the first from the angle of the one most affected by them - the leader or focal point of the group. These same problems may also affect the three or four people who, with the group leader and in collaboration with him, direct the group policies. [617]

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