book intro – Constructive Psychology

The introduction to Constructive Psychology or The Building Of Character By Personal Effort by J D Buck a masonic author

The seething and noisy human mass rush to opposing standards and yell themselves hoarse, forgetting in the frenzy of contagious enthusiasm how they have been grouped and whipped into line by their trainers and middlemen who held them like sheep with the dogs of party strife and political expediency, and the epidemic at Chicago is only equalled by the cyclone at Denver.

Back of these political champions stand the captains of industry, and the autocrats of wealth, with one eye on their millions grabbed from natural resources and the impotency or helplessness of the hungry toiling masses, and watching the throw of a card or the trend of events, in order to grab again from the human hopper in the mills of the gods of chance.

Beneath all this surface turmoil there may be distinctly heard an undertone, a rumble as of distant thunder, with here and there a flash from a distant cloud.

It is the cry, the groan, the unrest of the toiling masses, resentful at the inequality and injustice that everywhere oppress them. They are determined to die rather than submit.

They are not counted in the race, but the champions on either side undertake to conciliate, and in so doing yield just so much as may serve to keep them quiet and expectant of better conditions, and enable them to choose the least of two evils, well knowing that justice is not considered, but only expediency, in order that the few may still dominate the many, and wealth and power and privilege still hold place.

From time immemorial this has been the history of statecraft, priestcraft, politics. But never before in the history of man has enlightenment, education and intelligence, with the resulting spirit of Liberty and the demand for common Justice, been so generally diffused among the toiling masses as in the United States today.

The masses have always held the balance of power, but they did not realize it.

If they undertook to co-operate and use their power, statecraft, prince-craft or priestcraft contrived to throw an apple of discord into their midst, dividing them into hostile factions or fanatical partisans, and while they were destroying each other the autocrat retired to smoke his pipe of peace in safety.

Socialism, however defined, means today that the masses are drawing nearer together, waking from the lethargy and dumb sleep of ages, and beginning to hold together and to sense the principle and the necessity of co-operation and solidarity.

They are getting ready to make common cause against all their oppressors.

They need only the nucleus in order to crystallize the idea, or a Peter the Hermit to rouse them to enthusiasm or fanaticism that will sweep away all opposition.

To call these natural instincts and this innate sense of common justice “Anarchy” only helps their cause.

The effort to label the demand for a square deal and fair play “Indecent,” as is done in the cowardly and contemptible “Penrose Bill,” sneaked in under cover of an “appropriation” near the close of the last Congress, can have but one effect, viz. : of deepening the sense of injustice and multiplying resentment on every hand, and only hastening the day of deliverance or retribution.

The politicians doubtless think they “turned a clever trick.” If there were statesmen in the last Congress, and certainly there were some, they well knew that Nemesis is tacked on to the Penrose Bill, as the Bill itself was tacked on to an “appropriation.”

They dare not do openly what they seek to do by fraud and trickery, and the head of the Post Office Department will scarcely avoid responsibility by committing the execution of the “Law” to the passion, caprice or partisanship of the local postmaster.

They all fail to take into account the increased intelligence of the masses, as a whole.

Passing from these surface indications and open public issues to the status of the individual, the units that compose the mass, Constructive Psychology may do for the individual what Socialism in its strictest constructive sense and most scientific and philosophical form may do for the masses.

It will enable them to apprehend and utilize their inherent faculties, capacities and powers and so to make the best of their opportunities as intelligent, rational and free men and women.

The evolution of the individual and the constructive solidarity of society are inseparable.

It is important, above all things, to find the lines of least resistance, greatest progress and permanent results.

No new theory is herein proposed. A different grouping of facts, the pointing out of things already familiar, with their natural sequence and co-ordinate relations, is all that is in any sense new, or herein attempted.

What co-operation and fraternal consideration will do for any group of individuals in securing the highest good to all concerned, Constructive Psychology will do for each individual through the recognition of his own resources and by enabling him to utilize them so as to secure the highest and best results, both for himself and for any community of which he is a part.

In other words, Constructive Sociology and Constructive Psychology are one.

The building of individual character and the upbuilding of society in the highest and best sense are inseparable.

These basic principles are not abstruse and difficult to understand, though they go to the foundation of things and compass all life.

Like the laws of physical health, they are few and simple ; or, like the principles of mathematics, concise and definite.

True, they are hedged about by the speculations and the guesswork of ages, and the ground pre-empted by “squatter sovereigns” of every age, nation, kindred and tongue, the dogmatists in religions having the largest paw and the strongest grip, while superstition and fear of the unseen and unknown serve as a bugaboo to prevent the children of men from peacefully claiming and using their Natural and Divine heritage.

If anyone attempts to do this, he is met at the border of the domain of thought with a sign of warning, or a patent of pre-emption; and if he steps over the fence he is served with a writ of ejectment, with the air full of muttered warnings and maledictions.

Strenuous indeed must be the struggle of the soul for liberty and enlightenment, when the intellectual and spiritual domain, like the broad acres of the earth, are owned by someone else.

“The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.”

The war between radicalism and conservatism is like that between the two great contending political parties in America to-day.

The guns of each party are turned against the other, while Truth and Justice sit enthroned serenely above them and above the din of battle.

Each of these parties or factions claims too much, and denies too much.

Repose dwells on the mountain tops above the mists and miasmas of the dark valleys. Here the soul, at peace with itself, may commune with the silence and find Divinity smiling through the starry hosts.

The complexity of human nature and the diversity of human interests and pursuits are indeed perplexing and often bewildering.

Civilization endowed with intelligence, like the present, carries with it the records of the past, the lessons of history and a very labyrinth of conjecture, theory and experiment.

Meantime, “things settled by long use, if not absolutely good, at least fit well together.”

But today it is the custom to challenge all these things, to overturn and attempt to rebuild. In every department of knowledge these signs are manifest.

Constructive Psychology turns the thoughtful and intelligent individual back upon himself and undertakes to make exceeding plain those few simple principles by which he may adjust himself by personal effort and establish harmonious relations to God to Nature and to his fellowmen.

He will find no necessity for consulting libraries, philosophies, authorities, or theologies, helpful as these may be at certain times or under certain circumstances.

He will appeal solely to his own intelligence, his own conscience and his own experience. This is the only source for him of actual knowledge.

He knows only that which he has learned by definite, personal experience.

He is not to be indoctrinated, converted, or exploited. He is to undergo continual transformation.

He himself must become ‘‘the builder of the temple,” thrown upon his own resources, and by personal effort must create his own heaven or his own hell, with the distinct understanding and unalterable decree, that he must live in the house he builds and keep it in constant repair by eternal vigilance and unremitting personal effort.

Eternal vigilance is indeed the price of liberty. Every human being is a slave till he has mastered himself. When he has achieved this conquest, he is for the first time Freeborn. Henceforth no power in the three worlds can ever enslave him without his assent.

Eternal vigilance is indeed the price of liberty. Every human being is a slave till he has mastered himself.

When he has achieved this conquest, he is for the first time Freeborn. Henceforth no power in the three worlds can ever enslave him without his assent.

Such building of character means work. It has to have a beginning, and the only possible initiative is when the individual determines to begin now!

With his first real step in advance, the “Demons of the Threshold” — superstition and fear — recede, and at last die.

There will always be those who will deny man’s right to this God-given privilege, this natural heritage, just as there will always be those ready to degrade the sacred name of Liberty to license.

Every real seeker will hold to the middle of the road undisturbed by the warnings or the menace from either side, though he will be just to all.

– J D Buck, 1908

Article by: J D Buck


Dr. Jirah Dewey Buck (1838 - 1916) was an American homeopath, naturopath, theosophist.

He was professor of physiology and microscopy at Cleveland Homeopathic College in 1866–1871.

From 1880, he was professor of physiology at Pulte Medical College.  In 1882, he was elected dean and professor of theory and practice of medicine.

He became President of the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1890.

Buck was a freemason and was vice-President of the Theosophical Society of America and vice-president of the Cincinnati Literary Club and the American Section of the international Theosophical Society in 1886.


Constructive Psychology Or the Building of Character by Personal Effort

By: J D Buck

This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy.

In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition.

We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.


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