The Subconscious Mind
( Originally Published 1908 )
ALONGSIDE of the religious movement we have alluded to, and no doubt profoundly influencing it, there has occurred one of the most interesting developments of psychology which have taken place in the history of that ancient science. This has consisted in the recognition of powers in man beyond those usually employed in his normal consciousness. To this obscure domain of the soul a great variety of names unfortunately has been given — the unconscious mind, the subconscious, the subliminal, the subjective, etc. While it would be a mistake to affirm that the existence of powers so designated is universally admitted by psychologists, yet it is certain that there is a growing disposition in this direction. Even those writers who formally deny the principle are not able to dispense with it in their explanation of what goes on in the human mind. We believe with Professor James that the subconscious powers of the mind really exist and that the recognition of them forms the most important advance which psychology has made since the days of Fechner and Weber. For this discovery suddenly transformed psychology from a purely theoretical science, a preoccupation of the learned, into a powerful instrument for the improvement of human life. Henceforth this particular child of philosophy can no longer be termed a sterile virgin. I remember a lecture on psychology delivered by Professor James a good many years ago which Dr. James began with some such words as these: "Perhaps you will ask me what are the practical benefits conferred on the world by this interesting science. So far as I am able to discern, absolutely none." To-day, if he so willed, Professor James might easily rank with the greatest neurologists in the treatment of a large group of diseases, and this solely by virtue of his consummate ability as a physiological psychologist. Spinoza says that every advance toward perfection gives us happiness, and it is safe to say that the buoyancy which characterizes contemporary thought, the hopeful outlook amid all dangers that threaten us, the sense of the added cubit to man's stature, are due largely to the recognition of powers for good within his soul of which he was not formerly aware.
1. As to the nature of these powers, opinion ranges from Janet who, true to the traditions of his school, sees in subconscious activity only a pathological phenomenon, the concomitant of hysteria, to those who discern in it the proof of a higher nature, the spiritual man, made in the image of God. While the scope of this work precludes theoretical discussion of the subject, we will here enumerate some of the evidences of unconscious mental action, as to which most unprejudiced observers agree. In animals and insects there has long been recognized a mind unlike our own in that it is not individual nor progressive, but which is sufficient for the purposes of their wonderful lives. In spite of his exaggeration and his willingness to accept the marvelous, no one has discussed this subject with more ability than Edouard Von Hartmann.' Von Hartmann defined instinct as a purposive action of whose purpose the actor is unconscious. A trout elects to lie in a dark, shady pool and he quickly takes on somber hues in harmony with his environment. He passes out onto the sunny riffles and he becomes bright again. I have seen old fishermen who could tell the very pools and rapids from which a string of bass had been taken by the colors of the fish. The physiological means by which such changes are effected pass our comprehension and the greatest physiologist can give no account of them except that they are effected through the eye, as blind fishes are incapable of such transformations. How much less can the fish know the processes by which such pigments are deposited on his scales as will render him least visible to his enemies or his prey, or the necessity of his so painting himself. So in man a thousand purposive activities go on as to which we are in total ignorance, and to bring these within the sphere of our consciousness is only to derange them. The very regularity, invariableness, and certainty of these processes differentiate them sharply from the uncertain and intermittent character of our conscious acts. We go to sleep and all our bodily functions go on as usual. Our heart continues to beat, our lungs are rhythmically expanded and contracted, all the digestive processes go on. Blood is supplied to every part of the system in exact proportion to each part's present need. Even in the deeper narcotic sleep of ether there is no failure, no cessation of each part to do its work. Grant that each organ mechanically responds to its stimulus, what power co-ordinates and controls them all through the long rhythms of sleeping and waking, and from the tropics to the poles maintains our inward temperature at the exact degree necessary to our health?
I desire to stretch out my arm and I have no difficulty in doing so. But do I know the complicated mechanism of nerves and muscles and tendons and bones which must be set in motion to perform this act? And even if as an anatomist I do know all this, have I any knowledge of where the lever of this machine lies or how to grasp it, or does such knowledge make my acts a whit better than those of a man who has never studied anatomy? On the contrary, is it not true that our more refined and difficult acts, such as balancing oneself on a bicycle, playing golf or the violin, are never perfect until they have passed the state of conscious effort and have become as we say automatic, i.e., under the control of the subconscious mind?
2. Again let us consider the power of our organism to maintain its own equilibrium, and to recover its equilibrium when attacked by disease or injury. The animal organism may be called a machine, but a machine which can regulate its own action, can repair its own waste and injuries, and substitute one part for another which has become defective, is controlled by a different principle from that which regulates the machines made by men's hands. However physiologists may ridicule the old so-called Vis medicatrix naturæ, and to-day one hears this spoken of with respect, it will ever remain the real means by which the sick recover health. "We amuse our patients," said one modest physician, "while nature cures them." Ambroise Pali wrote on the wall of his hospital: "I dressed the wound and God healed it."' It has been frequently stated by physicians that of all sick persons probably two-thirds would recover of their own accord without any medical assistance. Rural practitioners, especially in more sparsely settled regions, are in a position to observe this fact. A physician who formerly practised in a lonely hill country in New England once told me that in his early life he was constantly surprised to discover that his patients recovered from severe forms of disease such as diphtheria, pneumonia, and typhoid fever without any assistance from him. When a member of the family was taken ill a red flag was displayed. If he happened to see it while making his rounds, well. If not, the patient usually recovered anyway. I have observed the same in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is not merely that diseases have their term, are self-limited, but that the human body has means at its disposal to check and expel them, and since we have come to regard many forms of disease as due to the invasion of pathogenic microbes we no longer think of a malign principle in the body itself. The mere functioning of a diseased organ has a tendency to restore that organ to health.
This Vis medicatrix, to give a name to our ignorance, must work through the instrumentality of the nervous system, since no other part of our organism possesses a mechanism sufficiently complex and universal, but these processes never emerge into consciousness, but must be regarded as due to the action of the subconscious mind. In fact as we descend in the scale of conscious life we find the recuperative, reparative energy intensifying, and actin; apparently with greater purposive freedom. If a worm be cut in two the amputated part with all its organs will be replaced. In reptiles the loss of a leg or a tail is quickly made good by the growth of a new member. Even in man, in whom the scope of the subconscious mind is less, we see a thousand means employed to heal the injury or to check and eliminate the encroachments of the enemy. "Lymph is poured around the broken bone, abscesses are sealed up with an impenetrable wall, new vascular channels are dug in a diseased limb, gouty poisons are extracted in the convoluted kidney tubes."' Above all, in the marshaling and directing of the so-called phagocytes or white corpuscles of the blood, and in the self-production of antitoxic substances, we see a powerful effort on the part of nature to resist the invading armies of disease germs, and to secure immunity from the same in the future. Even pain and the painful symptoms of sickness are benevolent warnings which, sharply remind us of our condition and compel the repose which we require, or which deter us from admitting into our system substances which would be injurious to us. These statements are made not in the interest of a theodicy, but simply as physiologic facts. They not only point toward the existence of a subconscious mind, but they indicate how great a part that mind plays in the curing of every form of disease. Anything which weakens or depresses our subsconcious mind exposes us to disease by rendering us less able to resist its encroachments. And on the other hand we possess such allies and resources within ourselves that apart from surgical interference the physician's chief function is to awaken in his patient the will-to live and to employ every element of resistance which the system itself affords. Sir William Gull goes so far as to say, "What shall doctors do? Rest and be still. The workman that made the machine can repair it."'
As an example of this let me relate the following. Not long ago a serious abdominal operation was performed on a lady by an eminent surgeon in the presence of other surgeons of national reputation. Naturally every means to avoid sepsis was employed which their art suggested. In spite of their precautions the wound became badly infected and a culture revealed the presence of no fewer than three species of pathogenic microbes. The patient's temperature rose to a dangerous degree and her condition became very serious. As a last resort the opsonic treat-ment was employed which reduced the sepsis and the temperature. The patient, however, did not rally and her life was despaired of, one unfavorable symptom being that from the beginning she had evinced no desire to live. At length, one day, she turned to the gentleman who had per-formed the operation and said to him: "Doctor, are you prepared to be the physician of the soul as well as of the body?" and being assured as to this, she relieved her mind of a burden which had oppressed her, with the result that from that very day she began to mend and in a short time she was completely restored to health.
3. Memory. If we limit our conception of the soul to its conscious activities after the manner of the older psychologists, it is difficult to see what part is played by those latent memories which form more than ninety-nine hundredths of our soul's treasures. What becomes of these possessions when for years at a time they no longer emerge into consciousness? Do they cease to exist? and are they created anew in the old guise and wearing the old garments when we happen to think of them? Writers who deny the subconscious mind imagine that they avoid this difficulty by saying that such memories exist potentially, that they are latent, etc., but this explains nothing.' The plain truth is that not the millionth part of the mental possessions of an educated man exists in his consciousness at any one time. If you were to take a pen and a block of paper and sit down with the determination of writing without external assistance all that you really know or can remember you would be surprised to see how soon you would reach the end of your resources. The experience and laborious acquisitions of years can be expressed on a few sheets of paper, just as the achievements of a century are recorded in a few pages of an encyclopedia. As a matter of fact the little lamp of consciousness illumines only a tiny fraction of the soul's domain. Here and there a few points are illumined while all around the great dewy fields are wrapt in the darkness of night. This or that chamber of the soul's many mansions is lighted, then again it is wrapt in the darkness of night. So man lives in this world largely a stranger to himself. Not only do we possess and by means of the necessary associations can we recall to consciousness innumerable experiences which once claimed our attention, but apart from these there is an even vaster stream of experience consisting of fleeting impressions, trivial circumstances, vanished faces which made scarce an impression on us which are also preserved. The delirium of fever, a familiar per-fume, the peculiar lucidity which comes to the drowning, a dream, returning to the scenes of childhood, etc., some-times overwhelm us with a flood of memories of events so unimportant that they made scarce an impression on us when they occurred. Coleridge's account of the serving maid who in delirium fluently spoke the Rabbinical Hebrew which years before in the house of a learned pastor had fallen upon her unheeding ear, is the classical example of this. During all these years these memories have lurked in the obscure depths of our subconscious mind. It is probable that we forget nothing. Nor is the physical basis of our memories confined to the brain. Wherever there is nerve substance to be modified there is memory. On this rest all the marvelous aptitudes of our nervous system. I once took a terrible walk with an Indian through seven miles of pathless forest in Newfoundland on a night so dark that we had to hold our hands before our faces to avoid injury. The Indian walked steadily on, now skirting a deep ravine, now turning up the mountain to avoid an invisible swamp, now dodging a windfall, never baffled, never at a loss, and never stopping to consult the compass. At the end of several hours he brought me out of the woods within a hundred feet of the point at which we had entered them. I asked him how he did it and he replied, " Dunno, dunno, when I walk like dat my feet tink." In other words the impression on his moccasined feet conveyed by the texture and configuration of the ground over which he had passed but once awoke memories which enabled him to reconstruct in the dark an accurate image of the whole region. The mere facts of memory are sufficient to justify the conception of the subconscious mind.
We have all had the experience of attempting to recall a forgotten word or name. While we are consciously searching for it, it obstinately escapes us. We give up the search and think of something else and in a little while the desired name springs into consciousness. A few weeks ago I was spending Sunday in a town where a member of our class was sojourning in a large sanitarium. On going to bed on Saturday night it occurred to me that I had promised to pay this gentleman a visit. His name, however, which was a peculiar one, had wholly escaped me. I lay awake for an hour trying to recover it by placing the patient's face and physical appearance before me. In vain, it would not come. The next morning, however, while I was preaching and very much engrossed with my sermon, I suddenly heard almost as if a voice had uttered them the words "Mr. Blank." A medical friend was treating a nervous patient who in her disturbed mental condition constantly repeated snatches of poetry. Wishing to test the accuracy of her memory the physician committed her quotations to writing and later endeavored to verify them. After a good deal of trouble he succeeded with all but one quotation, as to whose source he could form no conjecture. Completely baffled he gave up the attempt until one morning, when in a fit of abstraction over another problem, he felt him-self impelled to walk to his bookcase and take down a volume which at the time he did not recognize. He turned over the pages and his eye soon fell upon the desired lines, which were unimportant. It was a volume of Longfellow with which he was familiar, though the lines in question had made no impression upon him.
The most striking example of subconscious memory occurs in the so-called state of dissociation. A person is profoundly hypnotized and certain suggestions are made to him. Advice is given to him or he is told to perform certain acts when he awakens, and also that he will possess no recollection of the suggestion. He performs the acts, but does not know why he is moved to do so, nor if the hypnosis has been complete can he remember the advice given to him which nevertheless produces its effect. The next time he is hypnotized, however, he can repeat in the minutest detail the suggestions given to him in a former hypnosis. Thus it appears that conscious and subconscious memories are distinct and may exist independently of each other.
This is more plainly exhibited in dissociations which are more or less permanent. This will be discussed later. Dr. Morton Prince's " Dissociation of a Personality" has been so extensively read that it is only necessary to refer to it. Forel and Boris Sidis have recorded other similar examples. In the case of Miss Beauchamp the dissociation was so profound as to produce a decided change of personality, or rather a series of personalities some of which were totally ignorant of the others, while some shared the others' consciousness and memories.
4. I shall now allude to certain processes of the conscious mind in which the subconscious plays an interesting part. Few persons who think and who create are able to work constantly for the reason that they cannot depend upon their minds to furnish them with the necessary ideas. Even Balzac had his periods of production and of intense creative activity when he labored like a miner in the bowels of the earth, and his periods of exhaustion and stag-nation. Goethe's "Faust" owes its supreme excellence doubtless to the fact that it was not written at one time: it represents the best thoughts, the noblest inspirations of Goethe's mature life. But most great poems are very un-equal. They have their great passages, as has Marlowe's Faustus, in which the poet's soul reveals itself with all its power, and they have many dull lines which would never make their fortune. Even we who are no geniuses have similar experiences in our little efforts. If we sit down to write in cold blood without inspiration or reflection the writing is forced and the result disappointing. But what we call reflection is seldom the conscious thinking out of a subject with all its details. It is rather the saturating of the mind with the matter in hand and then turning away from it and allowing it to work itself out as it will. If I may allude to so uninteresting a subject as the preparation of a sermon — my habit is to select a text and a subject as early in the week as possible. I try to keep this before my mind until I find my mind beginning to work, the thought fructifying, the parts forming. Then I dismiss the whole matter until I begin to write, when if I am lucky it is almost as if another person were dictating to me. All I have to do is to write with great rapidity and to criticise. The thought and even the language are sup-plied. Dr. Algernon S. Crapsey, who appears to think on his feet as well as any man I ever knew, once told me that in preaching he usually had the feeling of standing a foot or two from the speaker and of listening to another voice sometimes with surprise and even with disapproval. If this spell is broken and he is recalled to self-consciousness the sermon is spoiled.
In discussing this subject with a philosophical writer the other day this gentleman informed me that he has had many similar experiences. He was recently engaged on a series of philosophical monographs for a new encyclopedia, but he had great difficulty in composing them. The ideas apparently would not come or were incoherent and incongruous. As the articles had to be finished by a certain date this caused him much annoyance and he decided that he would dismiss the subject from his mind and wait until it suggested itself. Nor did he have to wait long, for in a few days he awoke with a strong impulse to write, and sitting down he was delighted to find his monograph writing itself, coming forth logically and symmetrically from his mind without any hesitation or effort on his part, the very language apparently given to him. He was afraid that on reviewing this work in cold blood he might find it like a dream composition; which seems very brilliant to the sleeper, but sheer gibberish a few moments later. His own judgment and that of the editor of the encyclopedia was that it was one of the solidest and best pieces of work he had done.
We all know the importance of sleeping on a difficult problem and the proverbial experience of many peoples declares that sleep brings wisdom. These experiences occur to every man who thinks and who creates, be he poet, philosopher, artist, composer, or writer of fiction. This sense of spontaneity and affluence, this uprush of powerful thought and feeling without any conscious effort of our own, is what we call inspiration, the breaking on us of another and a greater spirit. The ancient poets knew this. In their moments of rapt vision and utterance they felt themselves carried away by a higher power than their own which they called the Muse (the Inventress, the goddess of memory) and there is a certain touching illuminating quality in such compositions which distinguishes them from the studied efforts of conscious reason. Hence the time-honored comparison of inspiration with insanity.
In these phenomena psychologists have rightly recognized the action of the subconscious mind, and as in such creations of thought the subconscious is closely associated with the conscious intelligence they afford particularly good material for the study of the former. The works of genius bear the imprint of the Universal Spirit. Their most distinguishing note is their universality. They are not addressed to one generation nor are they limited to one place, but are at home everywhere and are contemporary with all times. But although this is true and although the subconscious mind from every point of view is more generic, and in closer touch with the universal processes of nature than our conscious intelligence, yet these two, the conscious and the subconscious minds, are most closely united, and normally form one personality, which, however, may be dissociated. The whole mind (conscious and subconscious) has been compared to a floating iceberg in which the portion which emerges above the waves is supported by the larger mass which is sub-merged. There is truth in this figure : its defect is that, the iceberg being homogeneous, it fails to distinguish the real differences which exist between these activities. To produce results of permanent value or even to function normally the conscious and the subconscious must operate harmoniously together. The subconscious mind, as Hudson affirms, does not originate thought, it can only elaborate and develop it along the lines imposed by reason. Left to itself it can only originate dreams by night and the delusions of the insane by day. Moreover, it must follow strictly the general tendencies of waking thought. The artist does not solve mathematical problems in his sleep. The last baffling difficulty in the way to invention is re-moved by the man who has pursued the train of thought up to this point. The novelist receives his inspirations in prose, the poet in verse, the painter in form and color, and the musician in harmony and melody. Moreover, with all their universality these compositions bear on every line the traits of individual genius. Along with his universal genius, his pure intuition of spiritual truth, Shakespeare possessed an astounding empirical knowledge of life, the result of close and shrewd observation. Balzac introduces a wealth of detail into his novels which would make them wearisome were it not offset by profound revelations of the moral life. This perfect balance of the inward and the outward, of intuition and observation, is to be found only in the greatest creators. In lesser men one element preponderates over the other. One thing however is certain, — the activity of the subconscious mind is no short cut to renown, no substitute for hard work. Before we can fly we must walk, yes run. It is only when the soul is lifted to a pitch of ardor by the most intense effort of thought and abstraction that the sub-conscious mind intervenes to complete our task and to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. This is also true in great degree of its therapeutic activity.
Few poets or creative artists have described their own mental processes with psychological insight. These words of the poet, Ola Hanson, are therefore the more valuable :
"It is, I believe, a matter of extraordinary difficulty to determine how and when the poet conceives the ferment which impregnates his spirit, and which in the course of time results in a poetical work. I know from my own experience that it is usually impossible for me to determine the instant of the first germination of the idea in me which later runs as the scarlet thread through my work. Yet there is a certain determinate moment when the process begins. Now there is something growing in my mind. Something has affected me as the revelation affected Saul on the. way to Damascus. Suddenly men and life assume new relations, new illumination, new perspectives. But on the other side of this stage, the emergence of poetic thought above the threshold of consciousness, ranges a whole chain of small hidden processes of which I had only a general and vague impression. In all stages of this process of growth, on both sides of the threshold which lies between consciousness and unconsciousness, something is present to which we may well give the name suggestion. Whether it be a brightening of the atmosphere or an expression in a human face, or a crisis in one's own life, or in the life of another, or a pas-sage in a book, or a hypothesis in a scientific work — the general result in every case has been that something which hitherto lay bound in me, awakened from its magic sleep, living and fruitful as a germ after it is impregnated. Then all the faculties and energies of my personality concentrated themselves as by a magic spell on this one germinating point. All the blood of my mind flowed round this embryo, weaving its tissues and envelopes until at last the moment came when the new organic creation took the form and lineaments of a concrete conscious thing.
"At the same moment, the poetical idea became a suggestive Kobold, an almighty ruler, a parasite, if I may use the expression, in me. From that hour onward, it was nothing less than the center of the universe, the lighthouse on the sea of existence, the fountain of truth, the goddess of fortune (Glucksherd), the magic princess in the fairy castle, the promised land east of the sun and west of the moon, the gospel of the future. In its mode of operation, it can best be compared to the wand and the eye of the hypnotist.
"In early times men called this the. sacred moment of conception or inspiration; on it follows the period of gestation and labor.
"From now on one goes the whole way hand in hand with the suggesting Kobold, hypnotized, will-less. This whole world, this whole life which one knew hitherto and still knows in hours which lie outside the magic circle, to be artificial, chaotic, full of contradictions and inexplicable, now stands before one, definite and luminous as a St. Elmo's fire, as a magic glow, as a far-beckoning light appears at night to one demented. The whole infinite complex of life's interpretations and theories of the universe, of human individualities, and personal fates and their determining factors, of historic knowledge and one's own experiences, all converge into this one point at which one stares till he is blind, which draws all things to itself, and which freed in us in the moment of deliverance I have described, becomes the focus of our inner life."
5. Perception of the lapse of time. Ability to estimate the lapse. of time during our waking hours is an accomplishment which few persons possess. Apart from external aids such as timepieces and the movement of the heavenly bodies, our reckoning of time is probably effected by the addition of the units of our perceptions. As these constantly vary they afford no fixed criteria, and our time-sense is therefore very inaccurate. In sleep, however, it is different. Our subconscious mind possesses an appreciation of the passage of time which our conscious mind cannot approximate and of which at present we can give no explanation. Almost all persons whose duties call them to awake at a certain hour of the day or night, after a little practice have no difficulty in doing so. In my early life I acted as chaplain of a college and my duties required me to awake an hour and a half earlier than I was accustomed to do. For the first few weeks I employed an alarm clock, but finding that it disturbed my sleep I dispensed with it and in the course of six years I overslept only once, and usually I awoke within five or ten minutes of the time I proposed to myself.
This capacity is also shared to a marked degree by the animals. Both dogs and horses are frequently aware of the recurrence of Sunday and resent being compelled to work on that day. While living in the country I owned a game-cock who used to sleep in a tree directly under my window. Every night at about the hour of twelve he would awake, flap his wings and crow two or three times, when he would go to sleep again. I timed him frequently and he was seldom ten minutes out of the way. I gave one of his offspring to an iron worker who had to waken at three in the morning to go to the mill. Every evening the cock was placed on the foot of the bed where he would waken his master summer and winter with great regularity. A very intelligent Micmac Indian who for many years had observed the flight of waterfowl and the migrations of the caribou in Newfoundland informed me that their movements take place with astonishing regularity from year to year.
Even more striking is the appreciation of time through hypnotic and post-hypnotic suggestion, a very interesting account of which is given by Bramwell.' "The suggestions (Delboeuf's) were to be carried out after the lapse of 350, 700, 900, 1500, 1600, 1150, 1300, and 3300 minutes respectively, were made at varying hours of the day and night while some fell due at night after the lapse of several days. Three of the suggestions were fulfilled at the moment they fell due, four were carried out, but not at the exact time. In these an impulse to carry out the-suggestion arose at the right moment." The two young women on whom the experiments were made were imperfectly educated and could with difficulty tell time by the clock. It would therefore have been impossible for them to reduce the minutes to hours and, by comparison with the moment when the suggestion was made, calculate the time when it would fall due. Bramwell's own experiments on the subconscious time sense are not less interesting. One of his patients was directed at the end of five hours and twenty minutes to make a cross on a piece of paper and to write down the time she believed it to be without looking at a clock or a watch. The suggestion was made in the so-called somnambulistic state and the subject retained no recollection of it after waking. It was carried out at the moment it fell due. Five minutes be-fore the appointed time the patient became restless and said "I must do something, but I don't know what," and on making the cross at the right moment said to her mother: "It's all silliness." Out of fifty-five experiments performed by Dr. Bramwell on the same subject, forty-five were completely successful and in no case did the error exceed five minutes.
6. The action of the subconscious mind in certain experiences of life. In the course of our lives most of us are confronted with tasks or emergencies which require strength, courage, resourcefulness in excess of our ordinary powers, or we undergo experiences which without conscious effort on our part transform us, shatter the habits of a lifetime and lift us to a higher plane of being. A woman is engaged in the ordinary duties of her vocation with just sufficient strength for daily needs when an unusual demand is made of her. Perhaps several of her children are very ill at the same time. For weeks she seldom undresses herself, she snatches her food at irregular hours. She sleeps but little, but night and day is engaged in the hardest kind of work, which taxes her moral nature even more than her physical nature. Yet she does not break down and she knows that she will be sustained until the emergency is past, and she performs tasks which without the stimulus of love and responsibility would be impossible.
Or we are intensely interested and preoccupied in what we are doing and we lose all sense of weariness and effort. Sometimes in hunting in the Rocky Mountains I have mounted my horse at daybreak and have spent the whole day in the hardest kind of walking and climbing, returning to camp at nine or ten o'clock at night without serious sense of fatigue, apparently quite able to set out again at once had the light permitted. This was due to the intense excitement of the chase, for on other occasions, e.g. in breaking camp, half that amount of work would completely exhaust me. This is the reason why, except in the single point of mountain climbing, the tenderfoot can frequently wear out the seasoned guide to whom the pursuit of game is an old story and who is therefore more keenly alive to fatigue.
Or our life is threatened, or someone we love is ex-posed to sudden danger, and we exhibit a coolness, a resourcefulness, a capacity for swift and intelligent action which astonishes the onlookers. Heroic actions are performed, clever expedients are conceived and executed with the rapidity of thought. Our friends compliment us on our courage and composure, but the chances are that we were totally unaware of what we were doing. In company with a guide I was once caught in a long rapid through which it was considered impossible for a canoe to pass. I can remember the first sickening sense of fear which passed away almost instantly when I began to wield my paddle; then my mind became a blank until the moment when. I found myself floating in a pool half a mile below, with only a few teacupfuls of water in the canoe. I have looked at that terrible water since and I cannot understand how we came through it alive.
Again, a new affection enters our life with all its cleansing energy. Old habits fall from us, our temptations and vices lose all power over us. Our moral nature has received such an increment of strength from the uprush of new and powerful feelings and motives that that which was almost impossible before we perform with scarce an effort. Maternal love also springs from the same subconscious sources and operates in a manner no less marvelous and awe-inspiring.
In this connection I should like to call attention to sexual love and attraction. No doubt the most brilliant and suggestive discussion of this subject is Schopenhauer's classical chapter. Schopenhauer recognizes the instinctive, subconscious basis of genuine love and passion that distinguishes it sharply from friendship which is based on rational considerations. He exalts and lauds love's mystical rapture, its sublime renunciations and sacrifices, even its crimes. Love is not the offspring of cultured reason, it is not bound by the conventions of society. It frequently enters our lives as a vast elemental force sweeping all before it and leaving ruin in its track. At last Schopenhauer comes to the interesting question why it is that two persons fall in love with each other. What is there in these two human beings that differentiates them from the rest of mankind to such a degree that the world itself depends upon their possession of each other, and all other men and women are absolutely indifferent to them? Schopenhauer answers this question by affirming that the Universal Unconscious Mind perceives that these two persons are best adapted to produce between them a perfect offspring, and that the Will which is fundamental to the universe impels them to this act. There is doubtless truth in this statement, which is only a more poetic rendering of the law of sexual selection. We agree with Schopenhauer as to the subconscious basis of all genuine love.' It is this which gives love its infinite quality, it is this which makes it blind to the ordinary considerations of reason and conscience. It opens to us a new and mysterious world of rapture and despair. We feel ourselves swayed by impulses of which we can give no account and over which we have little control. The world for us begins anew, and we wander for a while in that magical garden which opens once in our lives to receive us all. It may be doubted, however, if today the production of the perfect child who is yet to be born forms the sole ground for the irresistible attraction which so powerfully draws two human beings together. The majority of women and a good many men have passed beyond the stage where mere physical perfections enthrall them, and as for talent, brilliancy, and moral excellence, these, alas, offer no guarantee of their perpetuation in off-spring, as the children of the most gifted parents constantly prove. And yet all permanently happy unions have their subconscious basis. There is something in every loved man or woman which cannot be grasped by reason or expressed in words. We intimate this by saying that the person in question is congenial to us, i.e., that he or she partakes of our genius or spirit. Without this affinity in the subconscious realm, the deeper union of hearts never takes place. With it beauty and even intellectual brilliancy may be dispensed with. It is this which lifts true love out of the physical and the sensual, and which gives it its profound moral significance, for the subconscious mind is purer than the conscious and if any part of our being is permanent, we may believe this to be such.
7. The Subconscious Mind in Religion. In every form of religion there is a preponderating non-rational element, and it is in this sphere that the most characteristic phenomena of religion — faith, awe, reverence, fear, love, ecstasy, rapture — take place. This sphere is constantly invaded by reason, but it obstinately defends its right to existence. No sooner is mystery banished from one domain of religion than it reappears in another. This constitutes the struggle of religion and science which at bottom is the necessary reconciliation of the needs of the conscious mind with those of the subconscious. Libraries have been written on this problem, for the most part by men who lacked the key to its solution. Again and again philosophers have attempted to analyze and ex-plain religion, i.e., to make it purely rational, but their attempts have failed, for in religion as in music and poetry there is an infinite element which defies analysis. Its motive power springs from the obscure depths of the subconscious mind, and to cut this nerve paralyzes its functioning. Here the instinct of the religious believer must be respected. He does not regard these rationalizing investigations as constituting religion, for he feels that the springs of his religious life lie elsewhere, in the. obscure recognition of the Infinite Spirit by the finite spirit, in a sense of dependence, of guilt, of love and filial trust, in all those deep emotions which refuse to be translated into words, but which act as the most powerful motives of life. To banish these would be to take the mystical and poetical element out of life, and to sap religion at its root. But this cannot be done. When the rationalizing process has been carried to a point at which the religious life is really threatened there is always a reaction, of which we see a striking example to-day. The longer and more persistent the rationalistic attack, the more vigorous is the mystical and spiritualistic revolt, and yet each such struggle brings the day of final reconciliations a little nearer by forcing upon men the legitimacy of the conflicting claims. On the other hand, were reason to ignore the claims of religion, or in other words were the conscious mind to become dissociated from the subconscious in this highest region of their activity, the result would be disastrous to both. Science would be-come petty and uninteresting and religion would surrender itself to vagaries and superstitions of every kind. But this reason cannot do for it recognizes in religion its supreme problem. Naturally those who look upon man's spiritual evolution as a transition from unconsciousness to consciousness will take a different view of this subject; but we do not share this conception. We believe that those elements of being which belong to the realm of the subconscious, will and emotion, are fundamental and permanent, and that to eradicate these would be to annihilate progress.
8. The Physiological Action of the Subconscious Mind. In this section we come to those operations of the subconscious mind with which from a therapeutic point of view we are most concerned. These facts have been elicited largely through the instrumentality of hypnotic suggestion, since it is by this means that the necessary dissociation of the subconscious mind most readily takes place. While it would be a mistake to suppose that our conscious mind can effect no changes in our physical functions, since the heart's action can be altered by conscious attention and the cheek is suffused with blood in consequence of the spoken word, yet it is certain that the action of the sub-conscious mind is far more profound and universal. I shall not now rehearse the long list of physiological changes which can be effected by suggestion as these will be stated more fully in a subsequent chapter; here I will mention only a few which have occurred under my own observation. The temperature of the body can be elevated or lowered, and the pulse quickened or retarded. Perspiration can be produced, the action of the intestines can be stimulated, resulting in the removal of constipation. The occurrence of the menstrual period can be retarded or accelerated, its duration and volume regulated, and its painful symptoms alleviated. Many forms of pain depending on functional or trophic disturbance can be removed and parts of the body rendered insensible to pain. The sense of hearing in certain forms of deafness can be quickened. Some forms of eczema can be re-moved, and some forms of asthma can be checked at once. Stammering can be controlled, and nervous dyspepsia can frequently be cured. To this short list which is taken almost at random from our clinical notes, Bernheim, Forel, Bramwell, and Dubois add many other similar examples in support of the physiological action of suggestion. They prove beyond question that our sub-conscious mind acts through the instrumentality of our whole nervous system, both cerebro-spinal and sympathetic, and that through this complex mechanism it can effect important changes in our physical functions. Its action on the brain is seen more clearly in its modifications of consciousness, its control of the sympathetic system is indicated by trophic changes such as I have enumerated. Neither can it any longer be denied by men who are in possession of the facts now embodied in the orthodox literature of medicine and psychology.
Before bringing this long chapter to a close, let us look back over the path we have traversed and draw a few inferences as to the strange power of which we have been so long ignorant, though it resides within us and manifests itself in so many of the most important acts of our lives. It must be evident to anyone who surveys even the brief series of facts we have brought forward, that the subconscious mind is no pathological phenomenon, the psychical concomitant of hysteria. Janet came to this conclusion as did Charcot before him from a too limited induction of the facts in question. While the Nancy school, especially Liébault and Bernheim, and other practitioners like Forel, Bramwell, Moll, Lloyd, Tuckey and others were testing these principles of psychotherapeutics by applying them to thousands of patients, Charcot and his disciples contented themselves with hypnotizing a dozen or fifteen hysterical young women, and from these limited observations they have drawn their limited conclusions. According to their view only hysterical patients can be hyponotized. On the contrary, all experienced practitioners in this field state that between ninety and ninety-five per cent of all peoples on whom the experiment has been tried can be influenced hypnotically. Janet must therefore regard all mankind as suffering from hysteria. The element of truth in Charcot's statement is that hysteria is a disease of the subconscious mind. This, however, is not his discovery. A general survey of the facts leads us to a very different conclusion. A power which quickens our intellectual processes, which heightens our will power, cannot be regarded as pathological. The subconscious mind is a normal part of our spiritual nature. There is reason to believe that it is purer, more sensitive to good and evil, than our conscious mind. While normally these two energies are closely united, they can be dissociated in their functioning and in their memories. Although the subconscious mind has more direct control of our physical processes than the conscious, it would be a mistake to limit its action to this sphere, or to regard it as the mere psychical concomitant of the sympathetic nervous system, though it may well be this. On the contrary, we have seen the important part it plays in religion, in memory, and in the higher creations of thought. Neither should we regard it as a mere generalized mind-stuff without personal characteristics. Though it is doubtless more generic and in closer contact with the Universal Spirit than reason, yet its creations bear the imprint of individual genius. While it acts in conjunction with reason, its mode of activity is very different. Apparently it cannot originate thought, but the materials given it can work to the desired end with the astonishing facility, ease, and swiftness which belong to the acts of instinct. Further speculation into its nature and its relation to consciousness would lead us too far from our purpose.