The Secrets Of Your Mental Power - The Essential Writings - William Walker Atkinson - ebook

The Secrets Of Your Mental Power - The Essential Writings ebook

William Walker Atkinson



William Walker Atkinson was one of the spearheads to the New Thought movement and a widely acclaimed occultist. The secrets of how to train your mind to dominate matter have influenced people ever since. This book contains his writings: How To Read Human Nature The Inner Consciousness Memory - How To Develop, Train And Use It Practical Mental Influence Practical Mind Reading The Psychology Of Salesmanship The Secret Of Success Thought-Force In Business And Everyday Life Thought Vibration - The Law Of Attraction In The Thought World

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The Secrets Of Your Mental Power - The Essential Writings

Its Inner States And Outer Forms

William Walker Atkinson


How To Read Human Nature

Chapter I - Inner State And Outer Form

Chapter Ii - The Inner Phase : Character

Chapter Iii - The Outer Phase: Personality

Chapter Iv - The Temperaments

Chapter V - The Mental Qualities

Chapter Vi - The Egoistic Qualities

Chapter Vii - The Motive Qualities

Chapter Viii - The Vitative Qualities

Chapter Ix - The Emotive Qualities

Chapter X - The Applicative Qualities

Chapter Xi - The Modificative Qualities

Chapter Xii - The Relative Qualities

Chapter Xiii - The Perceptive Qualities

Chapter Xiv - The Reflective Qualities

Chapter Xv - The Religio-Moral Qualities

Chapter Xvii - Chins And Mouths

Chapter Xviii - Eyes, Ears And Noses

Chapter Xix - Miscellaneous Signs

The Inner Consciousness

Lesson I. Inner Consciousness.

Lesson Ii. The Planes Of Consciousness.

Lesson Iii. The Basements Of The Mind.

Lesson Iv. The Mental Storehouse.

Lesson V. "Making-Over" Oneself.

Lesson Vi. "Automatic Thinking."

Lesson Vii. Inner-Conscious Helpers.

Lesson Viii. "Forethought."

Lesson Ix. The "Leland Method."

Lesson X. Intuition And Beyond.

Memory -  How To Develop, Train And Use It

Chapter I. Memory: Its Importance.

Chapter Ii. Cultivation Of The Memory.

Chapter Iii. Celebrated Cases Of Memory.

Chapter Iv. Memory Systems.

Chapter V. The Subconscious Record-File.

Chapter Vi. Attention.

Chapter Vii. Association.

Chapter Viii. Phases Of Memory.

Chapter Ix. Training The Eye.

Chapter X. Training The Ear.

Chapter Xi. How To Remember Names.

Chapter Xii. How To Remember Faces.

Chapter Xiii. How To Remember Places.

Chapter Xiv. How To Remember Numbers.

Chapter Xv. How To Remember Music.

Chapter Xvi. How To Remember Occurrences.

Chapter Xvii. How To Remember Facts.

Chapter Xviii. How To Remember Words, Etc.

Chapter Xix. How To Remember Books, Plays, Tales, Etc.

Chapter Xx. General Instructions.

Practical Mental Influence

The Law Of Vibration

Thought Waves

Mental Induction

Mental Concentration

Mental Imaging


Influencing At A Distance

Influencing En Masse

The Need Of The Knowledge

Magic Black And White


Practical Mind Reading

The Nature Of Mind Reading

The Proofs Of Mind Reading

"Contact" Mind Reading

Development Exercises

Simple Demonstrations

Difficult Demonstrations


Sensational Feats

Higher Phenomena

The Psychology Of Salesmanship

Chapter I - Psychology In Business

Chapter Ii - The Mind Of The Salesman

Chapter Iii - The Mind Of The Salesman (Continued)

Chapter Iv - The Mind Of The Buyer

Chapter V - The Mind Of The Buyer (Continued)

Chapter Vi - The Pre-Approach

Chapter Vii - The Psychology Of Purchase

Chapter Viii - The Approach

Chapter Ix - The Demonstration

Chapter X - The Closing

The Secret Of Success

The Secret Of Success

The Individual


Latent Powers


The Power Of Desire

The Law Of Attraction

Personal Magnetism

Attractive Personality

An Afterword

Thought-Force In Business And Everyday Life



The Nature Of The Force

How The Thought Force Can Aid You

Direct Psychic Influence

A Little Worldly Wisdom

The Power Of The Eye

The Magnetic Gaze

The Volic Force

Direct Volation

Telepathic Volation

The Adductive Quality Of Thought

Character Building By Mental Control

The Art Of Concentering

The Practice Of Concentering


Thought Vibration – The Law Of Attraction In The Thought World

The Law Of Attraction In The Thought World

Thought Waves And Their Process Of Reproduction

A Talk About The Mind

Mind Building

The Secret Of The Will

How To Become Immune To Injurious Thought Attraction

The Transmutation Of Negative Thought

The Law Of Mental Control

Asserting The Life-Force

Training The Habit-Mind

The Psychology Of Emotion

Developing New Brain Cells

The Attractive Power - Desire Force

The Great Dynamic Forces

Claiming Your Own

Law, Not Chance

The Secrets Of Your Mental Power - The Essential Writings, W. W. Atkinson

Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck

86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9


ISBN: 9783849627027

[email protected]

Cover Design: © James Steidl -



" Human Nature" is a term most frequently used and yet but little understood. The average person knows in a general way what he and others mean when this term is employed, but very few are able to give an off-hand definition of the term or to state what in their opinion constitutes the real essence of the thought expressed by the familiar phrase. We are of the opinion that the first step in the process of correct understanding of any subject is that of acquaintance with its principal terms, and, so, we shall begin our consideration of the subject of Human Nature by an examination of the term used to express the idea itself.

" Human," of course, means "of or pertaining to man or mankind." Therefore, Human Nature means the nature of man or mankind. "Nature," in this usage, means: " The natural disposition of mind of any person; temper; personal character; individual constitution; the peculiar mental characteristics and attributes which serve to distinguish one person from another."

Thus we see that the essence of the nature of men, or of a particular human being, is the mind, the mental qualities, characteristics, properties and attributes. Human Nature is then a phase of psychology and subject to the laws, principles and methods of study, examination and consideration of that particular branch of science.

But while the general subject of psychology includes the consideration of the inner workings of the mind, the processes of thought, the nature of feeling, and the operation of the will, the special subject of Human Nature is concerned only with the question of character, disposition, temperament, personal attributes, etc., of the individuals making up the race of man. Psychology is general—Human Nature is particular. Psychology is more or less abstract— Human Nature is concrete. Psychology deals with laws, causes and principles— Human Nature deals with effects, manifestations, and expressions.

Human Nature expresses itself in two general phases, i.e., (1) the phase of Inner States; and (2) the phase of Outer Forms. These two phases, however, are not separate or opposed to each other, but are complementary aspects of the same thing. There is always an action and reaction between the Inner State and the Outer Form— between the Inner Feeling and the Outer Expression. If we know the particular Inner State we may infer the appropriate Outer Form ; and if we know the Outer Form we may infer the Inner State.

That the Inner State affects the Outer Form is a fact generally acknowledged by men, for it is in strict accordance with the general experience of the race. We know that certain mental states will result in imparting to the countenance certain lines and expressions appropriate thereto; certain peculiarities of carriage and manner, voice and demeanor. The facial characteristics, manner, walk, voice and gestures of the miser will be recognized as entirely different from that of the generous person ; those of the coward differ materially from those of the brave man ; those of the vain are distinguished from those of the modest. We know that certain mental attitudes will produce the corresponding physical expressions of a smile, a frown, an open hand, a clenched fist, an erect spine or bowed shoulders, respectively. We also know that certain feelings will cause the eye to sparkle or grow dim, the voice to become resonant and positive or to become husky and weak ; according to the nature of the feelings.

Prof. Wm. James says: "What kind of emotion of fear would be left if the feeling neither of trembling lips nor of weakened limbs, neither of goose-flesh nor of visceral stirrings, were present, it is quite impossible for me to think. Can one fancy the state of rage and picture no ebullition in the chest, no flushing of the face, no dilation of the nostrils, no clenching of the teeth, no impulse to vigorous action, but in their stead limp muscles, calm breathing, and a placid face ? "

Prof. Halleck says: "All the emotions have well-defined muscular expression. Darwin has written an excellent work entitled, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, to which students must refer for a detailed account of such expression. A very few examples must suffice here. In all the exhilarating emotions, the eyebrows, the eyelids, the nostrils, and the angles of the mouth are raised. In the depressing passions it is the reverse. This general statement conveys so much truth, that a careful observer can read a large part of the history of a human being written in the face. For this reason many phrenologists have wisely turned physiognomists. Grief is expressed by raising the inner ends of the eyebrows, drawing down the corners of the mouth, and transversely wrinkling the middle part of the forehead. In Terra del Fuego, a party of natives conveyed to Darwin the idea that a certain man was low-spirited, by pulling down their cheeks in order to make their faces long. Joy is expressed by drawing backward and upward the corners of the mouth. The upper lip rises and draws the cheeks upward, forming wrinkles under the eyes. The elevation of the upper lip and the nostrils expresses contempt. A skillful observer can frequently tell if one person admires another. In this case the eyebrows are raised, disclosing a brightening eye and a relaxed expression; sometimes a gentle smile plays about the mouth. Blushing is merely the physical expression of certain emotions. We notice the expression of emotion more in the countenance, because the effects are there more plainly visible ; but the muscles of the entire body, the vital organs, and the viscera, are also vehicles of expression."

These things need but a mention in order to be recognized and admitted. This is the action of the Inner upon the Outer. There is, however, a reaction of the Outer upon the Inner, which while equally true is not so generally recognized nor admitted, and we think it well to briefly call your attention to the same, for the reason that this correspondence between the Inner and the Outer— this reaction as well as the action— must be appreciated in order that the entire meaning and content of the subject of Human Nature may be fully grasped.

That the reaction of the Outer Form upon the Inner State may be understood, we ask you to consider the following opinions of well-known and accepted authorities of the New Psychology, regarding the established fact that a physical expression related to a mental state, will, if voluntarily induced, tend to in turn induce the mental state appropriate to it. We have used these quotations in other books of this series, but will insert them here in this place because they have a direct bearing upon the particular subject before us, and because they furnish direct and unquestioned authority for the statements just made by us. We ask you to consider them carefully, for they express a most important truth.

Prof. Halleck says: "By inducing an expression we can often cause its allied emotion. . . . Actors have frequently testified to the fact that emotion will arise if they go through the appropriate muscular movements. In talking to a character on the stage, if they clench the fist and frown, they often find themselves becoming really angry; if they start with counterfeit laughter, they find themselves growing cheerful. A German professor says that he cannot walk with a schoolgirl's mincing step and air without feeling frivolous."

Prof. Wm. James says: "Whistling to keep up courage is no mere figure of speech.

On the other hand, sit all day in a moping posture, sigh, and reply to everything with a dismal voice, and your melancholy lingers. If we wish to conquer undesirable emotional tendencies in ourselves, we must assiduously, and in the first instance cold-bloodedly, go through the outward movements' of those contrary dispositions which we wish to cultivate. Smooth the brow, brighten the eye, contract the dorsal rather than the ventral aspect of the frame, and speak in a major key, pass the genial compliment, and your heart must indeed be frigid if it does not gradually thaw." Dr. Wood Hutchinson, says: "To what extent muscular contractions condition emotions, as Prof. James has suggested, may be easily tested by a quaint and simple little experiment upon a group of the smallest voluntary muscles of the body, those that move the eyeball. Choose some time when you are sitting quietly in your room, free from all disturbing influences. Then stand up, and assuming an easy position, cast the eyes upward and hold them in that position for thirty seconds. Instantly and involuntarily you will be conscious of a tendency toward reverential, devotional, contemplative ideas and thoughts. Then turn the eyes sideways, glancing directly to the right or to the left, through half-closed lids. Within thirty seconds images of suspicion, of uneasiness, or of dislike will rise unbidden to the mind. Turn the eyes on one side and slightly downward, and suggestions of jealousy or coquetry will be apt to spring unbidden. Direct your gaze downward toward the floor, and you are likely to go off into a fit of reverie or abstraction."

Prof. Maudsley says: "The specific muscular action is not merely an exponent of passion, but truly an essential part of it. If we try while the features are fixed in the expression of one passion to call up in the mind a different one, we shall find it impossible to do so."

We state the fact of the reaction of the Outer upon the Inner, with its supporting quotations from the authorities, not for the purpose of instructing our readers in the art of training the emotions by means of the physical, for while this subject is highly important, it forms no part of the particular subject under our present consideration— but that the student may realize the close relationship existing between the Inner State and the Outer Form. These two elements or phases, in their constant action and reaction, manifest the phenomena of Human Nature, and a knowledge of each, and both give to us the key which will open for us the door of the understanding of Human Nature.

Let us now call your attention to an illustration which embodies both principles— that of the Inner and the Outer— and the action and reaction between them, as given by that master of subtle ratiocination, Edgar Allan Poe. Poe in his story "The Purloined Letter" tells of a boy at school who attained great proficiency in the game of "even or odd" in which one player strives to guess whether the marbles held in the hand of his opponent are odd or even. The boy's plan was to gauge the intelligence of his opponent regarding the matter of making changes, and as Poe says: "this lay in mere observation and admeasurement of the astuteness of his opponents." Poe describes the process as follows: "For example, an arrant simpleton is his opponent, and, holding up his closed hand, asks, 'are they even or odd?' Our schoolboy replies, 'odd,' and loses; but upon the second trial he wins, for he then says to himself, 'the simpleton had them even upon the first trial, and his amount of cunning is just sufficient to make him have them odd upon the second ; I will therefore guess odd ; ' —he guesses and wins. Now, with a simpleton a degree above the first, he would have reasoned thus : ' This fellow finds that in the first instance I guessed odd, and, in the second, he will propose to himself upon the first impulse, a simple variation from even to odd, as did the first simpleton; but then a second thought will suggest that this is too simple a variation, and finally he will decide upon putting it even as before. I will therefore guess even;' he guesses even and wins.'' Poe continues by stating that this "is merely an identification of the reasoner's intellect with that of his opponent. Upon inquiring of the boy by what means he effected the thorough identification in which his success consisted, I received answer as follows: "When I wish to find out how wise, or how stupid, or how good, or how wicked is any one, or what are his thoughts at the moment, I fashion the expression of my face, as accurately as possible in accordance with the expression of his, and then wait to see what thoughts or sentiments arise in my mind or heart, as if to match or correspond with the expression. This response of the school boy lies at the bottom of all the spurious profundity which has been attributed to Rochefoucauld, to La Bougive, to Machiavelli, and to Campanella."

In this consideration of Human Nature we shall have much to say about the Outer Form. But we must ask the reader to always remember that the Outer Form is always the expression and manifestation of the Inner State, be that Inner State latent and dormant within the depths of the subconscious mentality, or else active and dynamic in conscious expression. Just as Prof. James so strongly insists, we cannot imagine an inner feeling or emotion without its corresponding outward physical expression, so is it impossible to imagine the outward expressions generally associated with a particular feeling or emotion without its corresponding inner state. Whether or not one of these, the outer or inner, is the cause of the other— and if so, which one is the cause and which the effect— need not concern us here. In fact, it would seem more reasonable to accept the theory that they are correlated and appear simultaneously. Many careful thinkers have held that action and reaction are practically the same thing— merely the opposite phases of the same fact. If this be so, then indeed when we are studying the Outer Form of Human Nature we are studying psychology just as much as when we are studying the Inner States. Prof. Wm. James in his works upon psychology insists upon the relevancy of the consideration of the outward expressions of the inner feeling and emotion, as we have seen. The same authority speaks even more emphatically upon this phase of the subject, as follows :

"The feeling, in the coarser emotions, results from the bodily expression. . . . My theory is that the bodily changes follow directly the perception of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the same changes as they occur is the emotion. . . . Particular perceptions certainly do produce widespread bodily effects by a sort of immediate physical influence, antecedent to the arousal of an emotion or emotional idea. . . . Every one of the bodily changes, whatsoever it may be, is felt, acutely or obscurely, the moment it occurs. . . . If we fancy some strong emotion, and then try to abstract from our consciousness of it all the feelings of its bodily symptoms, we have nothing left behind. ... A disembodied human emotion is a sheer nonentity. I do not say that it is a contradiction in the nature of things, or that pure spirits are necessarily condemned to cold intellectual lives; but I saw that for us emotion disassociated from all bodily feeling is inconceivable. The more closely I scrutinize my states, the more persuaded I become that whatever 'coarse' affections and passions I have are in very truth constituted by, and made up of, those bodily changes which we ordinarily call their expression or consequence. . . . But our emotions must always be inwardly what they are, whatever may be the physiological ground of their apparition. If they are deep, pure, worthy, spiritual facts on any conceivable theory of their physiological source, they remain no less deep, pure, spiritual, and worthy of regard on this present sensational theory."

Kay says: ''Does the mind or spirit of man, whatever it may be, in its actings in and through the body, leave a material impression or trace in its structure of every conscious action it performs, which remains permanently fixed, and forms a material record of all that it has done in the body, to which it can afterward refer as to a book and recall to mind, making it again, as it were, present to it? . . . We find nature everywhere around us recording its movements and marking the changes it has undergone in material forms,— in the crust of the earth, the composition of the rocks, the structure of the trees, the conformation of our bodies, and those spirits of ours, so closely connected with our material bodies, that so far as we know, they can think no thought, perform no action, without their presence and co-operation, may have been so joined in order to preserve a material and lasting record of all that they think and do."

Marsh says: "Every human movement, every organic act, every volition, passion, or emotion, every intellectual process, is accompanied with atomic disturbance." Picton says : " The soul never does one single action by itself apart from some excitement of bodily tissue." Emerson says: "The rolling rock leaves its scratches on the mountain; the river its channel in the soil; the animal its bones in the stratum ; the fern and leaf their modest epitaph in the coal. The falling drop makes its sculpture in the sand or stone. . . . The ground is all memoranda and signatures, and every object covered over with hints which speak to the intelligent. In nature this self-registration is incessant." Morell says: "The mind depends for the manifestation of all its activities upon a material organism." Bain says: "The organ of the mind is not the brain by itself ; it is the brain, nerve, muscles, organs of sense, viscera. . . . It is uncertain how far even thought, reminiscence, or the emotions of the past and absent could be sustained without the more distant communication between the brain and the rest of the body. " And, thus, as we consider the subject carefully we see that psychology is as much concerned with the physical manifestations of the mental impulses and states as with the metaphysical aspect of those states— as much with the Outer Form as with the Inner State— for it is practically impossible to permanently separate them.

As an illustration of the physical accompaniment or Outer Form, of the psychical feeling or Inner State, the following quotation from Darwin's "Origin of the Emotions," will well serve the purpose:

"Fear is often preceded by astonishment, and is so far akin to it that both lead to the senses of sight and hearing being instantly aroused. In both cases the eyes and mouth are widely opened and the eyebrows raised. The frightened man at first stands like a statue, motionless and breathless, or crouches down as if instinctively to escape observation. The heart beats quickly and violently, so that it palpitates or knocks against the ribs ; but it is very doubtful if it then works more efficiently than usual, so as to send a greater supply of blood to all parts of the body ; for the skin instantly becomes pale as during incipient faintness. This paleness of the surface, however, is probably in large part, or is exclusively, due to the vaso-motor centre being affected in such a manner as to cause the contraction of the small arteries of the skin. That the skin is much affected under the sense of great fear, we see in the marvelous manner in which perspiration immediately exudes from it. This exudation is all the more remarkable, as the surface is then cold, and hence the term, a cold sweat ; whereas the sudorific glands are properly excited into action when the surface is heated. The hairs also on the skin stand erect, and the superficial muscles shiver. In connection with the disturbed action of the heart the breathing is hurried. The salivary glands act imperfectly ; the mouth becomes dry and is often opened and shut. I have noticed that under slight fear there is a strong tendency to yawn. One of the best marked symptoms is the trembling of all the muscles of the body ; and this is often seen in the lips.

From this cause, and from the dryness of the mouth, the voice becomes husky or indistinct or may altogether fail. ... As fear increases into an agony of terror, we behold, as under all violent emotions, diversified results. The heart beats wildly or fails to act and faintness ensues; there is a death-like pallor; the breathing is labored; the wings of the nostrils are widely dilated; there is a gasping and convulsive motion of the lips ; a tremor of the hollow cheek, a gulping and catching of the throat; the uncovered and protruding eyeballs are fixed on the object of terror; or they may roll restlessly from side to side. The pupils are said to be enormously dilated. All the muscles of the body may become rigid or may be thrown into convulsive movements. The hands are alternately clenched and opened, often with a twitching movement. The arms may be protruded as if to avert some dreadful danger, or may be thrown wildly over the head. The Rev. Mr. Hagenauer has seen this latter action in a terrified Australian. In other cases there is a sudden and uncontrolled tendency to headlong flight; and so strong is this that the boldest soldiers may be seized with a sudden panic."

In conclusion, let us say that just as the above striking description of the master scientist, Darwin, shows us that the particular emotion has its outer manifestations— the particular Inner State its Outer Form so has the general character of the person its outer manifestation, and Outer Form. And, just as to the eye of the experienced observer at a distance (even in the case of a photographic representation, particularly in the case of a moving picture) may recognize the Inner State from the Outer Form of the feeling or emotion, so may the experienced character reader interpret the whole character of the person from the Outer Form thereof. The two interpretations are based on exactly the same general principles. The inner thought and feeling manifest in the outer physical form. He who learns the alphabet of Outer Form may read page after page of the book of Human Nature.


Do you know what " character" is? The word itself, in its derivation and original usage, means: "a stamp, mark or sign, engraved or stamped." As time passed the term was applied to the personal peculiarities of individuals, and was defined as: "the personal qualities or attributes of a person ; the distinguishing traits of a person. Later the term was extended to mean: "the part enacted by anyone in a play." In the common usage of the term we seek to convey an idea in which each and all of the above stated meanings are combined. A man's character is the result of impressions made upon his own mind, or those of the race. It is also the sum of his personal qualities and attributes. It is also, in a sense, the part he plays in the great drama of life.

Each man's character has its inner phase consisting of the accumulated impressions of the past which seek to manifest in the present. And, likewise, the character of each man manifests in an outer phase of form, mark, and stamp of personality. There are no two characters precisely alike. There is an infinite possibility of combination of the elements that go to make up character. This is accordance with what appears to be a universal law of nature, for there are no two blades of grass exactly alike, nor two grains of sand bearing an exact resemblance to each other. Nature seems to seek after and to manifest variety of form and quality. But, still, just as we may classify all things, animate and inanimate, into general classes and then into subordinate ones— each genus and each species having its particular characteristics, qualities and attributes, so we may, and do, classify human character into general classes and then into particular subdivisions into which each individual is found to fit. This fact makes it possible for us to study Human Nature as a science.

The character of each individual is held to be the result of the impressions made upon the plastic material of the mind, either in the form of past impressions upon his ancestors or of past impressions received by the individual. The past impressions reach him through the channel of heredity, while the personal impressions come to him through environment. But by heredity we do not mean the transmission of the personal characteristics of one's parents or even grandparents, but something far deeper and broader. We believe that one inherits far less of the qualities of one's parents than is generally believed. But, we believe that much that goes to make up our character is derived from the associated qualities and impressions of many generations of ancestors. Inasmuch as each individual contains within him the transmitted qualities of nearly every individual who lived several thousand years ago, it may be said that each individual is an heir to the accumulated impressions of the race, which however form in an infinite variety of combinations, the result being that although the root of the race is the same yet each individual differs in combination from each other individual. As Luther Burbank has said: " Heredity means much, but what is heredity? Not some hideous ancestral specter, forever crossing the path of a human being. Heredity is simply the sum of all the effects of all the environments of all past generations on the responsive ever-moving life-forces."

The records of the past environment of the race are stored away in the great region of the subconscious mentality, from whence they arise in response to the call of some attractive object of thought or perception, always, however, modified and restrained by the opposite characteristics. As Prof. Elmer Gates has said: "At least ninety per cent of our mental life is sub-conscious. If you will analyze your mental operations you will find that conscious thinking is never a continuous line of consciousness, but a series of conscious data with great intervals of sub-consciousness. We sit and try to solve a problem and fail. We walk around, try again and fail. Suddenly an idea dawns that leads to a solution of the problem. The sub-conscious processes were at work. We do not volitionally create our own thinking. It takes place in us. We are more or less passive recipients. We cannot change the nature of a thought, or of a truth, but we can, as it were, guide the ship by a moving of the helm."

But character is dependent upon race inheritance only for its raw materials, which are then worked into shape by the influence of environment and by the will of the individual. A man's environment is, to some extent at least, dependent upon the will. A man may change his environment, and by the use of his will he may overcome many inherited tendencies. As Halleck well says: "Heredity is a powerful factor, for it supplies raw material for the will to shape. Even the will cannot make anything without material. Will acts through choice, and some kinds of environment afford far more opportunities for choice than others. Shakespeare found in London the germ of true theatrical taste, already vivified by a long line of miracle plays, moralities and interludes. In youth he connected himself with the theatre, and his will responded powerfully to his environment. Some surroundings are rich in suggestion, affording opportunity for choice, while others are poor. The will is absolutely confined to a choice between alternatives. Character then, is a resultant of will power, heredity and environment. The modern tendency is to overestimate the effects of heredity and environment in forming character; but, on the other hand, we must not underestimate them. The child of a Hottentot put in Shakespeare's home, and afterward sent away to London with him, would never have made a Shakespeare ; for heredity would not have given the will sufficient raw material to fashion over into such a noble product. We may also suppose a case to show the great power of environment. Had a band of gypsies stolen Shakespeare at birth, carried him to Tartary, and left him among the nomads, his environment would never have allowed him to produce such plays as he placed upon the English stage."

Many persons are reluctant to admit the effect of heredity upon character. They seem to regard heredity as the idea of a monster ruling the individual with an iron hand, and with an emphasis upon undesirable traits of character. Such people lose sight of the fact that at the best heredity merely supplies us with the raw material of character rather than the finished product, and that there is much good in this raw material. We receive our inheritance of good as well as bad. Deprive a man of the advantage of his heredity, and we place him back to the plane of the savage, or perhaps still lower in the scale. Heredity is simply the shoulders of the race affording us a place for our feet, in order that we may rise higher than those who lived before. For heredity, substitute evolution, and we may get a clearer idea of this element of character.

As for environment, it is folly to deny its influence. Take two young persons of equal ability, similar tastes, and the same heredity, and place them one in a small village, and the other in a great metropolis, and keep them there until middle-age, and we will see the influence of environment. The two may be equally happy and contented, and may possess the same degree of book-education, but, nevertheless, their experiences will have been so different that the character of the two individuals must be different. In the same way, place the two young persons, one in the Whitechapel district, and the other amidst the best surroundings and example, and see the result. Remember, that in environment is included the influence of other persons. The effect of environment arises from Suggestion, that great moulding and creative principle of the mind. It is true that, "As a man thinketh, so is he," but a man's thoughts depend materially upon the associations of environment, experience, and suggestion. As Ziehen says : "We cannot think as we will, but we must think as just those associations which happen to be present prescribe."

But, without going further into the question of the elements which go toward forming character, let us take our position firmly upon the fact that each individual is stamped with the impression of a special character— a character all his own. Each has his own character or part to play in the great drama of life. The character of some seems fixed and unchangeable, while that of others is seen to be in the process of change. But in either case each and every man has his own character or manifestation of Human Nature, in its inner and outer aspects. And each individual, while in a sense forming a special class by himself, nevertheless belongs to a larger class, which in turn is a part of a still larger, and so on.

Instead of studying the philosophy or metaphysics of character, or even its general psychology, let us in this particular volume devote our attention to the elements which go to form the character of each and every person, so that we may understand them when we meet them in manifested form. And let us learn the Outer Form which accompany these Inner States.

Upon the stage of Life move backward and forward many characters, each having his or her own form, manner and appearance, which like those of the characters upon the mimic stage, may be recognized if we will but bestow a little care upon the subject. The Othellos, Hamlets, Shylocks, Iagos, Richards, Lears, and the rest are to be found in everyday life. The Micawbers, Chuzzlewits, Twists, and the rest are in as full evidence on the streets and in the offices, as in the books. The person who is able to read and interpret Human Nature is possessed of a knowledge far more useful to him than that contained within the covers of musty books upon impractical subjects.


Just as character is the inner phase of Human Nature, so is personality its outer phase. To many the two terms are synonymous, but analysis will show the shades of difference between them. A man's character is his inner self, while his personality is the outward indication of his self. The word, in this sense, is defined as: "That which constitutes the personal traits of a person, as his manner, conduct, habits, appearance, and other observable personal peculiarities."

The word is derived from the Latin word, persona, meaning, "a mask used by play-actors," which in turn was derived from the two words per, meaning "through," and sono, meaning, " to sound, " or combined, " to sound through." And the derivation of the term really gives us an idea of its inner meaning, for the personality is really the mask worn by the character, and through which it sounds, speaks, or manifests itself, Jeremy Taylor once said: "No man can long put on person and act a part but his evil manners will peep through the corners of his white robe." Archbishop Trench once said that the real meaning of the phrase, "God is no respecter of persons" is that the Almighty cared nothing for what part in life a person plays, but how he plays it. The old-time play-actor was wont to assume a mask of the features of the part he played, just as the modern actor "makes up" for the part and walks, speaks and acts in accordance therewith. Whether or not the individual be aware of the fact, Nature furnishes to each his mask of personality— his persona— by which those who understand may recognize the part he plays, or his character. In both the inner character, and the outer personality, each individual struts the stage of life and plays his part.

The mask or "make up," of personality, by which men may read each other's character, is evolved and developed from the instinctive physical expression accompanying thought, feeling and emotion. Just as the frown accompanying the feeling of annoyance or anger will, if repeated sufficiently often, become fixed upon the countenance of the man, so will all of his general thoughts, feelings and emotions register themselves in his manner, gait, tone of voice, carriage and facial expression. Moreover, his inherited tendencies will show themselves in the same way.

Professor Wm. James says, regarding the genesis of emotional reactions: "How come the various objects which excite emotion to produce such special and different bodily effects ? This question was not asked till quite recently, but already some interesting suggestions toward answering it have been made. Some movements of expression can be accounted for as weakened repetitions of movements which formerly (when they were stronger) were of utility to the subject. Others are similarly weakened repetitions of movements which under other conditions were physiologically necessary concomitants of the useful movements. Of the latter reactions, the respiratory disturbances in anger and fear might be taken as examples— organic reminiscences, as it were, reverberations in imagination of the blowings of the man making a series of combative efforts, or the pantings of one in precipitate flight. Such at least is a suggestion made by Mr. Spencer which has found approval."

Herbert Spencer says, on this subject: To have in a slight degree such psychical states as accompany the reception of wounds, and are experienced during flight, is to be in a state of what we call fear. And to have in a slight degree such psychical states as the processes of catching, killing, and eating imply, is to have the desires to catch, kill and eat. That the propensities to the acts are nothing else than nascent excitations of the psychical state involved in the acts, is proved by the natural language of the propensities. Fear, when strong, expresses itself in cries, in efforts to escape in palpitations, in tremblings ; and these are just the manifestations that go along with an actual suffering of the evil feared. The destructive passion is shown in a general tension of the muscular system, in gnashing of teeth and protrusion of the claws, in dilated eyes and nostrils in growls ; and these are weaker forms of the actions that accompany the killing of prey. To such objective evidences every one can add subjective evidences. Everyone can testify that the psychical state called fear consists of mental representations of certain painful results; and that the one called anger consists of mental representations of the actions and impressions which would occur while inflicting some kind of pain."

Professor Wm. James adds the following to the discussion: "So slight a symptom as the snarl or sneer, the one-sided uncovering of the upper teeth, is accounted for by Darwin as a survival from the time when our ancestors had large canines, and unfleshed him (as dogs do now) for attack. Similarly the raising of the eyebrows in outward attention, the opening of the mouth in astonishment, come, according to the same author, from the utility of these movements in extreme cases. The raising of the eyebrows goes with the opening of the eye for better vision, the opening of the mouth with the intensest listening, and with the rapid catching of the breath which precedes muscular effort. The distension of the nostrils in anger is interpreted by Spencer as an echo of the way in which our ancestors had to breathe when, during combat, their 'mouth was filled up by a part of an antagonists 's body that had been seized.' The trembling of fear is supposed by Mantegazza to be for the sake of warming the blood. The reddening of the face and neck is called by Wundt a compensatory arrangement for relieving the brain of the blood-pressure which the simultaneous excitement of the heart brings with it. The effusion of tears is explained both by this author and by Darwin to be a blood-withdrawing agency of a similar sort. The contraction of the muscles around the eyes, of which the primitive use is to protect those organs from being too much gorged with blood during the screaming fits of infancy, survives in adult life in the shape of the frown, which instantly comes over the brow when anything difficult or displeasing presents itself either to thought or action." Thus, it will be seen, the fact that all inward states manifest themselves to some degree in outward physical expression, brings with it the logical inference that particular mental states when habitually manifested tend to fix in the physical organism the expression associated with them. As "thoughts take form in action," so habitual mental states tend to register traces of those actions. A piece of paper folded in a certain way several times shows plainly the marks on the folding. In the same manner the creases in our clothing, shoes and gloves, show the marks of our personal physical form. A habitual mental state of cheerfulness is accompanied by a frequent exercise of the muscles expressing the physical signs of that feeling, and finally the smile wrinkles are formed that all may read them. In the same way the gloomy, pessimistic mental attitude produces the marks and wrinkles showing the habit of frequent down-turning of the corners of our mouths. A habitual mental attitude of suspicion will tend to impart the appearance of the "suspicious peering" to our eyes. The mental attitude of combativeness will likewise give us the traditional set jaw and tightly compressed lips. The mental attitude of lack of self-respect will show itself in our walk, and so, in the opposite manner with the mental attitude of self-respect. People grow to walk, talk, carry themselves, and "look like" their habitual mental attitude.

Dr. A. T. Schofield, says: " 'He is a dull scholar,' it is said, 'who cannot read a man's character even from a back view.' Round a statue of the prince Consort in Edinburgh stand representative groups paying homage to him. If you get a back view of any of these you can see unconscious mind impressed on matter, and can tell at once the sailor or soldier, peasant or scholar or workman. Look at the body and face of a man when the mind is gone. Look at the body of a man who has lost his self-respect. Look at the body of a thief, of a sot, of a miser. Compare the faces and expressions of a philanthropist, of a beggar, of a policeman, of a scholar, of a sailor, of a lawyer, of a doctor, of a shop walker, of a sandwich man, of a farmer, of a successful manufacturer, of a nurse, of a refined girl, of a servant, of a barmaid, of a nun, of a ballet dancer, of an art student, and answer to yourself these two questions: First, are these different expressions of body and face due essentially to physical or psychical causes? And, secondly, do these psychical causes act on the facial and other muscles in consciousness or out of consciousness. The only possible answers to these two questions leave us with this .fact, were no other proof possible, that we each have within us an unconscious psychical power (here called the unconscious mind) which has sufficient force to act upon the body and display psychical conceptions through physical media."

It is impossible for us (at least by any of the five senses) to peer into the mental chamber of other men and there read the record of their character, or to interpret the combination of Human Nature therein moulded and formed. But nevertheless we are not balked in our desire, for by learning to interpret the outward signs of personality we may arrive with a wonderful degree of success at an understanding of the character, mind, or Human Nature in others. From the seen Outer we may deduce the unseen Inner. We may discern the shape of that which is concealed, by observing the form of the covering which hides it from sight. The body, like the fabled veil of the goddess, "conceals but to reveal. "


The student of Human Nature soon discovers that among men, as among the animals, there is to be observed a great variety of "quality," and various classes of "temperament." Among cattle we notice great differences of form which differences indicate certain qualities inherent in the beast. Certain qualities are recognized by their outward forms as being indicative of sturdiness, staying-qualities, strong vitality, etc., which render their possessor valuable for draught oxen. Other qualities indicate the value of another animal for meat producing. Others, the production of large quantities of milk. Others, prolific breeding. And, so on, each set of qualities being recognized by its outward form and being taken into consideration by breeders. In the same way, breeders recognize certain qualities in horses which they take advantage of in breeding for the strength of draught horses; the speed of thoroughbred runners and trotters; the docility and gentleness of driving horses and saddle animals. The draught horse and the thoroughbred runner or trotter may be easily distinguished by the eye of the average person, while it requires the eye of the expert to distinguish other points and signs of quality which prove the existence of certain traits of temperament in the animal. The same is true in the case of chickens and other fowls. Some types are adapted for laying, others for meat purposes, others for gameness, etc. Not only the physical qualities but also the temperamental traits of the beast or bird are distinguished by the expert, and are taken advantage of in breeding to develop and evolve the indicated trait or quality.

Nearly anyone may distinguish the temperamental difference between the savage dog and the affectionate one— between the vicious horse and the docile one. We know at once that certain dogs may be approached and others kept at a distance— that certain horses are safe to ride or drive, and that others are unsafe and dangerous. A visit to a horse and cattle show, or a poultry and pigeon exhibition, will show even the most skeptical person that Inner States manifest in Outer Form. And a little further study and observation will show that what is true of these lower animals is likewise true of the human being. Men, like animals, may be intelligently and scientifically classified according to the general "quality" or "temperament. " While each individual is different in a way from every other individual, nevertheless, each individual belongs to a certain class and may be labeled accordingly. A few outward signs will indicate his class, and we may confidently expect that he will manifest the leading qualities of that particular class.


The first classification of the individuals of the human race is that of Quality. Independent of the various temperaments, although in a way related to them, we find the various degrees of Quality manifested by different individuals. "Quality" may be defined as the "degree of fineness.'' It is that which we call "class" in race-horses; "breed" in other animals and often "blood" in men and women. Perhaps one may understand the classification better if he will recall the differences apparent between the mongrel cur and the highbred dog ; the " scrub " horse and the thoroughbred; the common cow and the carefully bred Alderney or other choice variety ; the ordinary barnyard fowl and the prize-winner at the poultry show. It is an intangible but real and readily recognized difference, which however is almost impossible to convey by words.

Men and women of the highest Quality are essentially fine-grained, possessed of fine feelings, refined natures, high tastes, and manifest the signs of true natural refinement and culture, which cannot be successfully imitated by those who have acquired merely the artificial manner and the outward polish. One may possess Quality in a high degree and still be ignorant of the forms and little manners of so-called "polite society," and yet will be recognized as one of " Nature's noblemen," and as a "natural gentleman. "

Descending the scale we find lessening degrees of the manifestation of Quality, until, finally we reach the lowest degree of the scale, that of low Quality. In this lowest degree we find individuals showing all the outward signs of being coarse-grained, vulgar, of low tastes, brutal instincts, and manifesting the signs of lack of refinement and culture. Persons of low Quality are found in all walks of life. Some of those possessing wealth and education belong to this class, and are never able to counterfeit the reality. Quality is a matter of "soul," and not of wealth, education or material advantages. A greyhound and a hyena give us animal symbols of Quality, high and low.

We meet many instances in which the individual is of too high Quality for his environment, occupation or place in life. Such individuals suffer keenly and are to be pitied. They incline toward high ideals and are wounded and discouraged by the grossness which they see on all sides. Those individuals of an average degree of Quality of course fit into the usual environment far better than those above or below them in the scale. We also meet individuals of low Quality in surroundings in which they are out of place — we see many instances of "pigs in the parlor." These individuals, however, find it much easier to descend to their own level, than it is for the high Quality individuals to ascend to theirs. The coarse man finds but little trouble in meeting with boon companions whose tastes are harmonious to his. The person of extremely high Quality may be said to have been born before his time, while those of the lowest Quality are atavistic and born after their time. Remember, always, that Quality is an attribute of " soul, " and not of birth, wealth, or even of education. We may find many "gentlemen" of humble birth, small means and limited education; and also many "educated pigs" of high lineage and full coffers.

The Outer Form of Quality is shown by the relative fineness of general structure, and by the general form, appearance, manner, motion, voice, laughter, and more than all by that indescribable impression of "fineness" and "distinction" which they produce upon observing persons with whom they come in contact.

It must be remembered that Quality is a very different thing from intellectuality or morality. A high Quality person may be immoral and not specially intellectual, although there is almost always a keenness of perception, and almost intuitive recognition, in these cases— the immorality is generally lacking in coarseness, and is usually connected with perversion of the aesthetic faculties. In the same way, the person of low Quality often may be moral according to the code, but will be coarse in the manifestation of that virtue, and may possess a certain low cunning which with many persons passes for intellect and "brains." In speaking of Quality, the words "fineness" and "coarseness" come easily to the mind and tongue and are perhaps the terms most suggestive of the two extremes of this attribute of the Man.


Next in the order of consideration we find what is called Temperament. Temperament is defined as: "That individual peculiarity of organization by which the manner of acting, feeling and thinking of each person is permanently affected; disposition or constitution of the mind, especially as regards the passions and affections."

Hippocrates, the ancient Greek philosopher-physician (B. C. 468—367) held to the existence of four temperaments, which he attributed to certain qualities of the blood and the several secretions of the body such as the bile, etc. While his theory was rejected by later investigators, his classification continued until very recently under the name of (1) the Sanguine; (2) the Lymphatic or Phlegmatic; (3) the Choleric or Bilious; and (4) the Melancholic temperaments, respectively. As a matter of general information on the subject we herewith give the old classification with the attributes of each class :

The Sanguine temperament was held to be characterized by red or light-brown hair, blue eyes, a fair or ruddy complexion, large arteries and veins, a full and rapid pulse, slight perspiration, impatience of heat, febrile tendency, and lively and cheerful temper, excitable passions, a warm, ardent, impulsive disposition, and a liking for active pursuits;

The Lymphatic, or Phlegmatic temperament was held to be characterized by light, sandy, or whitish hair, light grey eyes, pallid complexion, skin almost devoid of hair, flabby tissues, much perspiration, small blood-vessels, a feeble and slow pulse, want of energy, lack of activity, deficient spirit and vividness ;

The Choleric or Bilious temperament was held to be characterized by black hair often curling, black or hazel eyes, and dark but ruddy complexion, hairy skin, strong full pulse, firm muscles, great activity and positiveness, strength of character, and an active brain.

The Melancholic temperament was held to be characterized by black hair, black or hazel eyes, a dark leaden complexion, pulse slow and feeble, and a disposition toward study, poetry, literature, and sentiment.

Some later authorities added a fifth temperament, called the Nervous temperament, which was held to be characterized by a medium complexion, large brain, small physical frame, fineness of organization, thin hair, finely cut features, quick lively disposition, intellectual tastes and tendencies, sensitive nature, high capacity for enjoyment and suffering.

The latest authorities, however, discarded the old classification and adopted one more simple although fully as comprehensive. The new classification recognizes three classes of temperament, viz: (1) the Vital; (2) the Motive; and (3) the Mental, the characteristics of which are held to be as follows :

The Vital temperament has its basis in the predominance of the nutritive system, including the blood-vessels, lymphatics and the glands. Its organs are the heart, lungs, stomach, liver, bowels, and the entire internal vital system. It is characterized by a large, broad frame; broad shoulders; deep chest; full round abdomen; round plump limbs; short thick neck; comparatively small hands and feet ; full face ; flushed and florid cheeks ; and general "well fed" appearance. Those in whom it is predominant are fond of out-of-door exercise, although not of hard work; crave the "good things of life;" fond of sport, games and play ; love variety of entertainment and amusement; are affectionate; love praise and flattery; prefer concrete rather than abstract subjects of thought ; look out for themselves ; are selfish, but yet " good fellows" when it does not cost too much physical discomfort to themselves; usually enjoy good health, yet when ill are apt to be very weak ; tend to feverishness and apoplexy, etc.

Persons of the Vital temperament may have either fair or dark complexion, but in either case the cheeks and face are apt to be ruddy and flushed. Those of the dark type are apt to have greater power of endurance, while those of the light type are apt to be more sprightly and active. This temperament is particularly noticeable in women, a large proportion of whom belong to its class. This temperament furnishes the majority of the good companions, sociable friends and acquaintances, and theatre goers. A leading phrenologist says of them that they "incline to become agents, overseers, captains, hotelkeepers, butchers, traders, speculators, politicians, public officers, aldermen, contractors, etc., rather than anything requiring steady or hard work." We have noticed that a large number of railroad engineers and policemen are of this temperament.

The Motive temperament has as its basis the predominance of the motive or medianical system, including the muscles, bones and ligaments— the general system of active work and motion. Its organs are those of the entire framework of the body, together with those muscles and ligaments, large and small, general and special, which enable man to walk, move, and work. It is characterized by strong constitution, physical power, strong character, active feeling, and tendency toward work; large bones and joints; hard muscles; angular and rugged figure; usually broad shoulders and deep chest; comparatively small and flat abdomen; oblong face; large jaw; high cheek-bones; strong large teeth; bushy coarse hair; rugged features and prominent nose, ears, mouth, etc. Those in whom it is predominant are fond of physical and mental work; are tenacious and try to carry through what they undertake; resist fatigue ; are "good stayers;" are full of dogged persistence and resistance; and are apt to manifest creative effort and work.

Persons of the Motive temperament may have either dark or light complexion. The Scotch or Scandinavian people show this temperament strongly, as also do a certain type of Americans. The world's active workers come chiefly from this class. This temperament is far more common among men than among women. The righting nations who have in different times swept over other countries display this temperament strongly. This temperament, predominant, although associated with the other temperaments has distinguished the "men who do things" in the world's history. It's "rawbone" and gawkiness has swept things before it, and has built up great things in all times. Its individuals have a burning desire to "take hold and pull," or to "get together and start something." As the name implies, this temperament is the "moving force" in mankind.

The Mental temperament has its basis in the predominance of the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. Its organs are the brain, or brains ; the spinal cord with its connecting nerves — in fact the entire nervous system, including the "sympathetic" nervous system, the various plexi, and the nervous substance found in various parts of the body. It is characterized by a light build; slight frame; comparatively large head ; quick movements ; sharp features ; thin sharp nose; thin lips; sharp and not very strong teeth; keen, penetrating eye; high forehead and upper head ; fondness for brain work; disinclination for physical drudgery; sensitive nature; quick perception; rapid mental action; developed intuition; fine and shapely features; expressive countenance, expressive and striking voice, generally rather "high-strung," vividness and intensity of emotion and feeling, etc.