|Quick reference: rules for finding the True and False forms||True and False Mask||True and False Creative Mind|
True and False Faculties
Only the Mask and Creative Mind can be True or False, presumably because Will is too subjective to be either true or false, its possible misdirection being represented in the Mask, while Body of Fate is too objective to be either true or false, since it is the product of external Fate and Necessity. However, all four Faculties are part of the synergy that creates the Truth or Falsehood of the Mask and Creative Mind.
It is, however, clearer to start with what the soul ought to do in a given Phase before going on to the True and False forms of the Mask and Creative Mind.
The position of the Will determines whether a soul is in an antithetical or a primary incarnation, and the soul’s ‘true’ path is different in these two halves of the Wheel. It is worth bearing in mind that when the Will is in an antithetical incarnation, the Mask will be in a primary Phase (with opposite proportions of dark and light) and the Creative Mind in an antithetical Phase (with the same proportions of dark and light as Will), while in primary incarnations the Mask will be antithetical and the Creative Mind primary.
In an antithetical phase the being seeks by the help of the Creative Mind to deliver the Mask from Body of Fate.
Effectively, therefore, the being’s aim in:
Neither of these options is more valid than the other, but if the being tries to get real in an antithetical Phase or to follow its dream in a primary Phase, Yeats’s System sees this as being ‘out of phase’, and doomed to frustration and disappointment. Inevitably, also, no-one can be true to Phase all of the time, or at full pitch, and there is an oscillation between the various possible states and combinations, going through moments of greater truth and moments of greater falsity.
The soul at Phase 18, for example, the ‘emotional’ person, should seek to free ‘intensity through emotions’ from ‘enforced disillusion’ with the help of ‘emotional philosophy’, while the soul at Phase 24, the ‘end of ambition’, should seek to free ‘constructive emotion’ from ‘self-reliance’ by means of ‘objective action’. It should be remembered that these phrases are mnemonics for more complex ideas, but the fundamental tendency is clear: to objectify in primary Phases and to subjectify in antithetical Phases, and it underlines one reason why the two transitional Phases, 8 and 22, where neither Tincture is predominant, are so difficult, since the being’s aim is far less clear.
In this context, the True and False forms of Mask and Creative Mind become clearer, since the pairs are often a positive and negative form of a similar quality or point to an underlying intermediate term. Yeats generalises these ideas and forms in his treatment of the four Quarters.
The True and False Faculties in the Quarters
It is the defects of the ‘False Creative Mind which bring the False Mask’, and in the ‘primary phases these defects separate Mask from Body of Fate, in antithetical, Creative Mind from Body of Fate’ (AV B 103). In primary Phases, the Mask should be submerged into the Body of Fate, the ideal submitting to reality, while in antithetical Phases the Body of Fate should be understood by the Creative Mind, reality incorporated within the apprehension of truth. The natures of the False forms make this impossible, and Yeats enumerates the underlying defects by Quarter: in the First Quarter Creative Mind is prone to ‘Sentimentality’; in the Second, ‘Brutality (desire for root facts of life)’; in the Third, ‘Hatred’; and in the Fourth, ‘Insensitiveness’. The ‘Conditions of the Mask’ (True or False) are also determined by Quarter: that affecting the First Quarter is ‘Convention or systematization’; the Second, ‘Self-analysis’; the Third, ‘Intensity’; and the Fourth, ‘Tolerance’. In the First Quarter therefore, sentimentality imposes a conventional, unreflective set of responses on reality, making it impossible to find the Will’s natural instinct; in the Second Quarter, brutality submerges understanding in brute fact, and impedes self-analysis, without which, the Will’s true emotion is impossible; in the Third Quarter, hatred disables appreciation of the true situation, so that intensity is misdirected into the objects of hatred rather than the Will’s natural creativity; in the Fourth Quarter, insensitiveness turns tolerance into indifference, vitiating the moral perception of the Will’s natural bias.
Further modifications to the True and False Mask and Creative Mind develop the characterisation of each Phase with increasing subtlety. These modifications also vary by Quarter and Tincture, although the tables below, derived from Yeats’s rules, show that there is a clear and relatively simple pattern here again. The following section is slightly convoluted, and probably confusing for those who are just beginning to get to grips with the System or who have a distaste for this kind of systematisation; for those who would rather skip this, click here to go to the summary.
The True and False Mask and Creative Mind:
|Will||Tincture||Mask||True modified by||from||False modified by||from||CM||True modified by||from||False modified by||from||(BF)|
|Source Phase||Creative Mind||Body of Fate|
|AV B 96-99)||Mask||of||C M||of||Mask||of||C M||of|
The System is complicated, and it is practically impossible to remember all the rules; Yeats himself noted that: ‘Even now after years of use I could not re-create [the characterisations] if the Table were lost’ (AV B 87). However, with a little patience, it is possible to construct a fairly full picture of how the System works, by working from the first principles of the Tinctures and Quarters, and then, with recourse to the Tables, seeing how the detail works.
So that, according to the rules, Phase 3, the ‘Beginning of ambition’ should try to free ‘simplicity’, modified by ‘impersonal action’, from ‘innocence’, modified by ‘loss’, through the help of ‘interest’, but is liable to be misdirected into ‘abstraction’, modified by ‘pride’, bringing ‘folly’, modified by ‘creative imagination through antithetical emotion’, separating it from ‘interest’. Yeats elaborates on this to comment that:
The primary Phase 3, when it attempts to live antithetically, gives itself up to inconsequence because it cannot be creative in the Mask. On the other hand, when it lives according to the primary, and is true to phase, it takes from its opposite phase  delight in passing things, sees ‘a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower’ and becomes a child playing, knows nothing of consequence and purpose. (AV B 90-19)
In the treatment of the individual Phase, this becomes:
Out of phase and copying the opposite phase, he gives himself up to a kind of clodhopper folly [folly], that keeps his intellect moving among conventional ideas [abstraction] with a sort of make-believe [creative imagination]. Incapable of consecutive thought and of moral purpose, he lives miserably seeking to hold together some consistent plan of life [abstraction], patching rags upon rags [interest] because it is expected of him, or out of egotism [pride]. If on the other hand he uses his Body of Fate to purify his Creative Mind of the Mask, if he is content to permit his senses and his subconscious nature to dominate his intellect [impersonal action], he takes delight in all that passes [interest]; but because he claims nothing of his own, chooses nothing, thinks that no one thing is better than another [simplicity], he will not endure a pang because all passes [innocence modified by loss]. (AV B 108)
Yeats’s example here, shows how the elements can, when treated with care and confidence, be developed into a plausible synthesis.
However, the following sentences try to put the various elements discussed here together, simply by agglomeration, relying entirely on the phrases supplied by Yeats. Adaptation might make interpretation slightly clearer, but would impose my reading on the material rather than leaving it to the individual reader here. Although the sense can be rather hard to create, these clumsy phrases are often the starting points for Yeats’s own synthesis, as above, especially in the cases where he cannot bring in an historical example to flesh the ideas out further. It is certainly instructive to read the descriptions that Yeats gives with these composites in mind, to see how he brings the elements into a coherent portrait.
The list here is provided for reference, and the same composite is found in each of the Phase descriptions.
The True and False forms are separated, in order to reduce the number of combinations, though within any life the two movements will be mixed to a greater or lesser extent, and at some points the True Mask may be sought, but with the False Creative Mind, and so on, though ultimately the product of the False Creative Mind will be the movement towards the False Mask.
In the case of Phase 8, the antithetical paradigm is chosen as the closer to the true form, since this is needed to move on to the next Phase, but the modifications are suspect. In the case of Phase 22, the primary bias is chosen as closer to the true form. In neither case, though, is there necessarily a clear or easy aim for the individual, hence the repeated rebirths that are often necessary at these Phases.
|1||-||None except complete plasticity|
|2||true||Beginning of energy seeks to deliver hope, modified by the Fool, from the player on Pan's pipes, modified by enforced illusion, with the help of monotony.|
|false||Beginning of energy is misdirected into moroseness, modified by cunning, bringing fury, modified by oblivion, separated from monotony.|
|3||true||Beginning of ambition seeks to deliver simplicity, modified by impersonal action, from innocence, modified by enforced loss, with the help of interest.|
|false||Beginning of ambition is misdirected into abstraction, modified by pride, bringing folly, modified by creative imagination through antithetical emotion, separated from interest.|
|4||true||Desire for the exterior world seeks to deliver first perception of character, modified by the Hunchback, from passion, modified by enforced disillusionment, with the help of search.|
|false||Desire for the exterior world is misdirected into mutilation, modified by fascination of sin, bringing will, modified by emotional philosophy, separated from search.|
|5||true||Separation from innocence seeks to deliver social intellect, modified by persecution, from excess, modified by enforced failure of action, with the help of natural law.|
|false||Separation from innocence is misdirected to limitation, modified by spiritual arrogance, bringing limitation, modified by emotional intellect, separated from natural law.|
|6||true||Artificial individuality seeks to deliver ideality, modified by objective action, from justice, modified by enforced success of action, with the help of humanity.|
|false||Artificial individuality is misdirected to derision, modified by authority, bringing tyranny, modified by dramatisation of the Mask, separated from humanity.|
|7||true||Assertion of individuality seeks to deliver heroic sentiment, modified by success, from altruism, modified by enforced triumph of achievement, with the help of adventure that excites individuality.|
|false||Assertion of individuality is misdirected to dogmatic sentimentality, modified by self-driven desire, bringing efficiency, modified by domination of the intellect, separated from adventure that excites individuality.|
|8||true||War between individuality and the race seeks to deliver courage (modified by amalgamation?), from the beginning of strength, with the help of versatility (modified by temptation through strength?).|
|false||War between individuality and the race is misdirected to fear (modified by temptation through strength?), because impotence (modified by temptation through strength?) is separated from the beginning of strength.|
|9||true||Belief, taking place of individuality, seeks to deliver facility, modified by creation through pity, from enforced sensuality, with the help of self-dramatisation, modified by domination of the intellect.|
|false||Belief, taking place of individuality, is misdirected to obscurity, modified by success, because anarchy, modified by the enforced triumph of achievement, is separated from enforced sensuality.|
|10||true||The image-breaker seeks to deliver organisation, modified by constructive emotion, from enforced emotion, with the help of domination through emotional construction, modified by dramatisation of the Mask.|
|false||The image-breaker is misdirected to inertia, modified by objective action, because reformation, modified by enforced success of action, is separated from enforced emotion.|
|11||true||The consumer or pyre-builder seeks to deliver rejection, modified by rhetoric, from enforced belief, with the help of moral iconoclasm, modified by emotional intellect.|
|false||The consumer or pyre-builder is misdirected to moral indifference, modified by persecution, because self-assertion, modified by enforced failure of action, is separated from enforced belief.|
|12||true||The forerunner seeks to deliver self-exaggeration, modified by the beginning of the abstract supersensual, from enforced intellectual action, with the help of subjective philosophy, modified by emotional philosophy.|
|false||The forerunner is misdirected to self-abandonment, modified by the Hunchback, because war between two forms of expression, modified by enforced disillusionment, is separated from enforced intellectual action.|
|13||true||The sensuous man seeks to deliver self-expression, modified by supersensual receptivity, from enforced love of another, with the help of subjective truth, modified by creative imagination through antithetical emotion.|
|false||The sensuous man is misdirected to self-absorption, modified by impersonal action, because morbidity, modified by enforced loss, is separated from enforced love of another.|
|14||true||The obsessed man seeks to deliver serenity, modified by physical activity, from enforced love of the world, with the help of emotional will, modified by vehemence.|
|false||The obsessed man is misdirected to self-distrust, modified by the Fool, because terror, modified by enforced illusion, is separated from enforced love of the world.|
|15||-||None except complete beauty.|
|16||true||The positive man seeks to deliver illusion, modified by hope, from enforced illusion, with the help of vehemence, modified by emotional will.|
|false||The positive man is misdirected to delusion, modified by monotony, because opinionated will, modified by enforced love of the world, is separated from enforced illusion.|
|17||true||The Daimonic man seeks to deliver simplification through intensity, modified by simplicity, from enforced loss, with the help of creative imagination through antithetical emotion, modified by subjective truth.|
|false||The Daimonic man is misdirected to dispersal, modified by interest, because enforced self-realization, modified by enforced love of another, is separated from enforced loss.|
|18||true||The emotional man seeks to deliver intensity through emotions, modified by first perception of character, from enforced disillusionment, with the help of emotional philosophy, modified by subjective philosophy.|
|false||The emotional man is misdirected to curiosity, modified by search, because enforced lure, modified by enforced intellectual action, is separated from enforced disillusionment.|
|19||true||The assertive man seeks to deliver conviction, modified by social intellect, from enforced failure of action, with the help of emotional intellect, modified by moral iconoclasm.|
|false||The assertive man is misdirected to domination, modified by natural law, because the Unfaithful, modified by enforced belief, is separated from enforced failure of action.|
|20||true||The concrete man seeks to deliver fatalism, modified by ideality, from enforced success of action, with the help of dramatisation of the Mask, modified by domination through emotional construction.|
|false||The concrete man is misdirected to superstition, modified by humanity, because self-desecration, modified by enforced emotion, is separated from enforced success of action.|
|21||true||The acquisitive man seeks to deliver self-analysis, modified by heroic sentiment, from enforced triumph of achievement, with the help of domination of intellect, modified by self-dramatisation.|
|false||The acquisitive man is misdirected to self-adaptation, modified by adventure that excites the individuality, because distortion, modified by enforced sensuality, is separated from enforced triumph of achievement.|
|22||true||Balance between ambition and contemplation seeks to deliver amalgamation (modified by the beginning of strength?), from self-immolation (modified by the beginning of strength?), with the help of temptation through strength.|
|false||Balance between ambition and contemplation is misdirected to despair (modified by impotence?), bringing self-assurance (modified by versatility?), separated from temptation through strength.|
|23||true||The receptive man seeks to deliver creation through pity, modified by adventure that excites the individuality, from wisdom, modified by enforced sensuality, with the help of success.|
|false||The receptive man is misdirected to self-driven desire, modified by dogmatic sentimentality, bringing self-pity, modified by self-dramatisation, separated from success.|
|24||true||The end of ambition seeks to deliver constructive emotion, modified by humanity, from self-reliance, modified by enforced emotion, with the help of objective action.|
|false||The end of ambition is misdirected to authority, modified by derision, bringing isolation, modified by domination through emotional construction, separated from objective action.|
|25||true||The conditional man seeks to deliver rhetoric, modified by natural law, from consciousness of self, modified by enforced belief, with the help of persecution.|
|false||The conditional man is misdirected to spiritual arrogance, modified by limitation, bringing self-consciousness, modified by moral iconoclasm, separated from persecution.|
|26||true||The multiple man or Hunchback seeks to deliver the beginning of the abstract supersensual, modified by search, from self-realization, modified by enforced intellectual action, with the help of himself.|
|false||The multiple man is misdirected to fascination of sin, modified by mutilation, bringing self-abandonment, modified by subjective philosophy, separated from himself.|
|27||true||The saint seeks to deliver supersensual receptivity, modified by interest, from renunciation, modified by enforced love of another, with the help of impersonal action.|
|false||The saint is misdirected to pride, modified by abstraction, bringing emulation, modified by subjective truth, separated from impersonal action.|
|28||true||The fool seeks to deliver physical activity, modified by monotony, from oblivion, modified by enforced love of the world, with the help of himself.|
|false||The fool is misdirected to cunning, modified by moroseness, bringing malignity, modified by emotional will, separated from himself.|