Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 5985

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5985. A subordinate is one through whom the thoughts and utterances of many are focused and is accordingly the means by which many present themselves as a single unit. Also, since none of the subordinate's thoughts or speech originate in himself but come from others, and their thoughts and speech find vivid expression in him, those others who enter him suppose that their subordinate is a kind of nonentity with hardly any life of his own, a mere receiver of their own thought and speech. And for his part the subordinate imagines that what he thinks and utters originates not in others, but solely in himself. Thus both parties are deluded. I have often been allowed to tell a subordinate that nothing he thinks or speaks originates in himself but comes from others. I have also said that those others imagine that a subordinate is incapable of independent thought or speech, so that it seems to them as though he has no life at all of his own. Having heard what I said one who was a subordinate was highly indignant. But in order that he might be convinced I was allowed to talk to the spirits who were entering him. They confessed and said that nothing at all of what a subordinate thinks or speaks comes from himself, which being so they see him as a thing with hardly any life of its own. It also happened on one occasion that someone who said a subordinate was a nonentity became a subordinate himself, at which point the rest declared that he was a nonentity, which made him extremely angry. Even so the experience taught him the truth of the matter.

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