The individual will grow outward toward the world, encountering and forming a practical experience, traveling outward from his center in almost vine-like fashion, forming from the fabric of physical reality a conglomeration of pleasant or aesthetic, and unpleasant or prickly events.
The vine of experience in this analogy is formed in quite a natural fashion from “psychic” elements that are as necessary to psychological experience as sun, air, and water are to plants. But as the individual’s personal experience must be seen in the light of all of these issues, so mass events cannot be understood unless they are considered in a far greater context that unusual.
The question of epidemics, for example, cannot be answered from a biological standpoint alone. It involves great sweeping psychological attitudes on the part of many, and meets the needs and desires of those involved — needs which, in our terms, arise in a framework of religious, psychological and cultural realities that cannot be isolated from biological results.
I have thus far stayed clear of many important and vital subjects, involving mass realities, because first of all the importance of the individual is to be stressed, and his or her power to form this or her private events. Only when the private nature of reality was emphasized sufficiently would show how the magnification of individual reality combines and enlarges to form vast mass reactions — such as, say, the initiation of an obviously new historical and cultural period; the rise or overthrow of an obviously new historical and cultural period; the rise or overthrow or governments; the birth of a new religion that sweeps all others before it; mass conversions; mass murders in the form of wars; the sudden sweep of deadly epidemics; the scourge of earthquakes, flood, or other disasters; the inexplicable appearance of periods of great art or architecture or technology.
There are no closed systems. This also means that in world terms, events spin like electrons, affecting all psychological and psychic systems as well as biological ones. It is true to say that each individual dies alone, for no one else can die that death. It is also true that part of the species dies with each death, and is reborn with each birth, and that each private death takes place within the greater context of the existence of the entire species. The death serves a purpose species-wise while it also serves the purposes of the individual, for no death comes unbidden.
An epidemic, for example, serves the purposes of each individual who is involved, while it also serves its own functions in the greater species framework.
When we consider epidemics to be the result of viruses, and emphasize their biological stances, then it seems that the solutions are very obvious: We learn the nature of each virus and develop an inoculation, giving [each member of] the populace a small dose of the disease so that a man’s or woman’s own body will combat it, and he or she will become immune.
The shortsightedness of such procedures is generally overlooked because of the definite short-term advantages. As a rule, for example, people inoculated against polio do not develop that disease. Using such procedures, tuberculosis has been largely conquered.
In the first place, the causes are not biological. Biology is simply the carrier of a “deadly intent.” In the second place, there is a difference between a virus produced in the laboratory and that inhabiting the body — a difference recognized by the body but not by our laboratory instruments.
In a way the body produces antibodies, and sets up natural immunization as a result of say, inoculation. But the body’s chemistry is also confused, for it “knows it is reacting to a disease that is not “a true disease,” but a biologically counterfeit intrusion.
To that extent — the body’s biological integrity is contaminated. It may at the same time produce antibodies also, for example, to other “similar” diseases, and so overextend its defenses that the individual later comes down with another disease.
No person becomes ill unless that illness serves a psychic or psychological reason, so many people escape such complications. In the meantime, however, scientists and medical men and women find more and more viruses against which the population “must ” be inoculated. Each one is considered singly. There is a rush to develop a new inoculation against the newest virus. Much of this is on predictive basis: The scientists “predict” how many people might be “attacked” by, say, a virus that has caused a given number of deaths. Then as a preventative measure the populace is invited to the new inoculation.
Many people who would not get the disease in any case are then religiously inoculated with it. The body is exerted to use its immune system to the utmost, and sometimes, according to the inoculation, overextended [under such] conditions. Those individuals who have psychologically decided upon death will die in any case, of that disease or another, or of the side effects of the inoculation.
Inner reality and private experience give birth to all mass events. Man and woman cannot disentangle himself or herself from the natural context of his or her physical life. His or her culture, his or her religion, his or her psychologies, and his or her psychological nature together form the context within which both private and mass events occur. My discussions will be devoted to the nature of the great sweeping emotional, religious, or biological events that often seem to engulf the individual, or to lift him or her willy-nilly in their power.
What is the relationship between the individual and the gigantic mass motions of nature, of government, or even of religion? What about mass conversions? Mass hysteria? Mass healings, mass murder, and the individual?