Amongst the several types of valences the least suspected and most interesting in terms of processing is the "synthetic valence. "
By synthetic valence we mean those valences which have never actually confronted the preclear in the flesh. The first valence is of course the preclear’s “own valence,” which is his own concept of himself. The next is the valence additive to him by the characteristics of his body. The next is the “direct valence” by which he has transferred identity with someone who has directly confronted him, and following this there is the “attention valence,” the valence one has assumed because it got attention from another valence. And at the end of this list there is the synthetic valence, and of all of them it is the most baffling.
The greatest historical example of this is probably Charles XII of Sweden who read the “romance of Alexander” by pseudo-Callisthenes and became so much an Alexander that he spent the remainder of his days attacking Russia in an effort to emulate his hero. Charles XII had never confronted Alexander — he had only been told about Alexander — but he had nevertheless assumed the valence of Alexander in most of his activities.
The little boy who looks at television and sees the cowboy in the white hat triumphing over all, or who sees Superman in the comic books, and then assumes these identities, is actually doing more or less a direct transfer. Where he is simply told about these and has never been confronted with any form of any kind to corroborate the telling, he would have a case of synthetic valence. He has been read to about Tom Sawyer and becomes Tom Sawyer without ever seeing Tom Sawyer or looking at Tom Sawyer. This would be a case of synthetic valence.
We get the synthetic valence in many amusing and non-aberrative games conditions and here it does us little problem making. But the synthetic valence can become an evil genius in a case when it has been carefully and expressly tailored as an alteration from the direct valence which might have occurred. As an example of this we have the case of the father who, in the mother's absence or even when she is sporadically present, tells the children consistently and continually what a bad mother they have. Father continually describes mother as a certain type of character and the children are then adjured not to transfer into this type of character. Naturally, resisting it, they do not actually transfer into mother's valence, but transfer into a synthetic valence of mother. In the case where mother, let us say, ran away or was lost to the family early in the child's life, he may have no real recollection of mother, but may have a synthetic valence of mother. This becomes very difficult to run because it is run mainly on a sonic level.
As another example, one is told consistently and continually that all men of force or all conquerors are bad, and one is warned never to become a conqueror. This is of course an excellent way to make nothing out of an individual, but here we have a false valence — a personality which never existed — and we discover in the lives of the conquerors that they actually were not totally possessed of bad characteristics. In order to dominate his fellow beings to the marked extent necessary in a conqueror, one could not possess totally bad characteristics, and the actual character of most conquerors is quite different than the assigned character given them by the society — a fact which does not make a conqueror any less liable for the crimes he commits, but which gives us an insight into the tailor-making of characters who never lived.
The keynote of all synthetic valences is that a character has been developed or created more or less out of whole cloth, possibly with some small foundation, but certainly with exaggeration, which puts into existence a being who never breathed or coughed or spat. The police and newspapers are continually doing this. You actually don't know whether the criminals who have been arrested by the police and tried in the newspapers were the people who were arrested or not, since they are assigned a synthetic valence and are condemned as very bad people indeed. Of course some of these criminals were or are bad, but the chances are that amongst this legion of people arrested and tried in the newspapers there were some who were quite deserving men and whose actual character and behavior did not even vaguely compare with the represented character.
We have a flagrant case of synthetic valences when newspapers and other public media, and even word of mouth gossip, begin to take to pieces anyone's character and put in its place some synthetic understanding which was never a real person. In this way we begin to believe there are many more bad people in the world than there are.
In my own experience with bad men — and I have met several of various nationalities — I have seen some men who could put up a rather ferocious front, but I have never found one of them totally lacking in human warmth. Yet were I to read the newspapers and popular books on such people I would begin to believe it would be possible for a complete demon to exist who would never respond to any decent impulse. Yet I have argued bandits into a more amenable state of mind and have even taken a gun away from a Federal Marshal and showed him how to use it and told him not to be nervous and put it back in his holster, when he was bound and determined to take me into custody. In other words, you can actually create an effect on almost anybody. The synthetic valence is an effort to tell you and people that beings can exist who are so bad that no effect can be produced on them. Of course this makes everybody subservient to them.
The greatest historical example of this was the invention of the Devil by the Persian priests who were called together to synthesize a new religion for Persia. The Devil they invented there was borrowed later on by the Christians and was set up as something so evil that nothing could affect it. The Devil, of course, is the championship synthetic valence of all time. There are no devils upon whom one cannot produce an effect.
The way to run out any synthetic valence, of course, is to run out the valence of the person or book which told one about the synthetic valence.