The Mind And Suggestion
( Originally Published 1908 )[an error occurred while processing this directive]
THE most important fact which has yet been discovered in regard to the subconscious mind is that it is suggestible, i.e., it is subject to moral influence and direction. In this it does not differ from our ordinary consciousness, except that under certain conditions it is more amenable to external control, and it is in closer contact with our physical functions. All human beings are influenced by their affections and by their relations with others, but some much more than others. There are positive dominating personalities whose mission in life seems to be to influence others, and there are receptive, passive natures which readily yield themselves to such influence. So, in the subconscious realm, some persons are far more suggestible than others. At the outset of this discussion I should like to remove from the mind of the reader, if it is necessary, the idea that there is anything morbid or uncanny in suggestion. On the contrary it is something which consciously or unconsciously we practise every day of our lives. A little girl falls down and hurts herself. Mother kisses the spot and "makes it well." We control our children, if we are wise, not by harshly rebuking their innocent naughtiness, but by diverting their minds, i.e., suggesting something better. Politeness compels us to control our annoyance under a pleasant demeanor and in a little while it passes away. We are kept awake by unpleasant thoughts and we turn away from them by suggesting to ourselves thoughts that are more agreeable, and we go to sleep. A few words of commendation and praise brighten the whole day. If we can forget our pain for a little while the pain is apt to cease. In its therapeutic aspects suggestion is like all science, a particular application of common knowledge.
The psychological principle on which suggestion rests is known as dissociation, the concentration of the mind on some things to the exclusion of others. This can readily be extended to the isolation of the subconscious mind from the conscious, and as the former is the more potent factor in the removal of disease, it is to the sub-conscious mind that suggestions are usually addressed. Yet I would not by any means limit suggestion to the treatment of disease. Its power is coextensive with life itself. The most valuable lessons we learn are not given us in the form of didactic instructions, — they are those germinal thoughts which drop into our minds as the seed corn drops into the soil prepared for it, which the mind appropriates and transforms and which end by transforming us.
In therapeutic practice the action of suggestion rests largely upon faith. Whatever the method employed, its success depends upon the belief in the mind of the patient that it is likely to attain the desired result. A curative suggestion is an effect obtained through the conviction that it is about to take place. I tell a young girl that she is blushing and the chances are that she will blush immediately. I place a man in a comfortable reclining chair, cut off the stream of external sensations by darkening the room and insuring quiet, and I earnestly tell him that in a few moments he will be asleep. If he knows that hundreds of other persons have undergone this experience he will be more certain to accept my assurance and to obey the suggestion. I visit a woman who has been bed-ridden for months or years, convince myself that her in-ability to move does not proceed from true paralysis and I assure her that she can arise and I earnestly command her to do so, which she proceeds to do. A patient comes to me in violent agitation with palpitating heart and distress of mind. I soothe him by a few gentle and quiet words and tell him that his nervousness is passing away, that his heart is beating quietly and regularly and that in a few moments he will be calm and happy. He listens to me, believes me, and the prediction is fulfilled. Another patient is suffering from acute pain. I divert her mind, place my hand on the suffering part to heighten the impression that something is about to be done for her, or to direct her subconscious mind more strongly to it, and I confidently inform her that the pain is diminishing, that it is going down by degrees and that in a given time, five minutes, it will have disappeared. This also is completely successful. Still another is suffering from constipation. I inform this one that the action of the intestines can be controlled by the mind, that many persons have been cured by suggestion and that for the next few days he will have two evacuations daily. At the end of a week he returns and asks me to reduce the number to one. These are not fancy pictures, they are simply recitals of actual occurrences. They point to the fact that the mind has immense power over the functions of the body and that the active instrumentality which is faith can frequently be directed by suggestion. Great as is the efficacy of this instrument in a large group of disorders, its action is strictly limited. The physiological changes involved in the cases I have alluded to are doubt-less due to the stimulation or inhibition of various organs through their controlling nerve centers by means which we do not as yet fully understand. If, however, these organs through disease or lesion are incapable of responding to such stimuli, no results will follow. It is useless to address suggestions to a brain withered by paresis, or to command a hand shaken by paralysis agitans to stand still. If the patient above mentioned had been suffering from valvular disease of the heart, my word would have no effect upon the heart's action. A toothache caused by the irritation of a nerve frequently can be cured by suggestion, but the pain caused by the pressure of an abscess cannot be so removed. For the same reason purely organic mental cases such as idiocy, paresis, etc., can never be improved by suggestion, because such diseases rest upon organic degeneration. Yet in many forms of organic disease, e.g., in tuberculosis, the importance of suggestion as a subsidiary agent is not to be overlooked. Pain can be checked, coughing can frequently be controlled or diminished, sound sleep can be obtained. Above all the patient can be inspired with the firm conviction that the means employed will be successful and that he will be restored to health. Moreover, it is well known that the injury of one organ will frequently derange or inhibit the function of another, which latter may be restored by suggestion.
Further, the value of suggestion as an adjunct to surgery is now generally recognized. The most successful surgeons are beginning to appreciate the importance of the moral preparation of their patients for operations. By the calming and stilling of the patient's natural apprehensions and by direct suggestion, some of the worst effects of ether and the knife can be avoided or reduced to a minimum. Moral shock can be eliminated. Resistance to etherization and the ensuing nausea can frequently be overcome, with the result that the patient suffers less and recovers more rapidly. This is especially to be remembered in the case of nervous and timid persons and in diseases which tend to disturb the mental and moral faculties, e. g. in operations for exophthalmic goitre which Möbius defines as " crystallized fear." Quite recently three women were about to be operated on for this disease in a hospital in the middle West. The first patient reached the etherizing chamber in a state of terror which the operating surgeon cleverly diagnozed as " stage fright." Her temperature rose to about I4°, her pulse registered more than 200 beats, and it was very evident that an operation was impossible. The patient accordingly was taken back to her room where she died within an hour. The second patient underwent the same experience and also died. The surgeon, a very able and skilful operator, was in despair. He had still another patient to be treated: the omission of the operation meant death, and its performance in the light of his two previous experiences seemed likely to result in the same melancholy end. He at once determined to prepare this woman for her operation by reducing mental activity to its lowest terms and this resulted in complete success, the patient's pulse falling, while she was on the operating table, to 84 beats. In this instance sedatives were employed, but the same result could probably have been attained by moral influence and suggestion. The means, however, are of secondary importance; it is the result which counts.
It is, however, in the sphere of the functional neuroses that suggestion finds its legitimate field. Here its importance is the greater, because in these disorders the beneficent action of drugs and medicines is but slight, and what power they possess is due largely to their suggestional effect. These nervous sufferers with their insomnias, their shifting hysterical pains, their phobias, their hallucinations, their manias, depressions, and harmful exaltations, their intense irritability, their profound weakness, their moral perversion, their morbid feelings, their bad habits, are the despair of the ordinary practitioner and they will continue to be such until the physician enlarges the sphere of his culture and qualifies himself to treat the whole man. There is no class of patients so neglected and I may say no class of patients who can be more easily treated than many of these, provided the method be correct and be sufficiently elastic and individual. In almost all such cases the real cause of the disorder is moral or psychical. The cause of the disease being central, it is useless or next to useless to attack it at the circumference. One may remove local pain by local treatment only to experience the mortification of having the pain reappear at a new point. The ordinary sedatives may afford a necessary night's sleep, but they cannot remove insomnia, on the contrary they are antagonistic to natural sleep. Powerful tonics may act as a stimulant, but what the exhausted nerves need is rest, not stimulation. And when we approach the moral and psychical aspects of these disorders we see more clearly the futility of chemical and mechanical agencies. What drug or medicine, electric current, bath or system of exercise can remove the moral effect of shock, dispel melancholy and remorse, uproot destructive habits, eradicate fixed ideas, bring peace to troubled consciences, or supply a motive for living to one who has lost such motive and with it all desire to live? The plain truth is, moral maladies require moral treatment; physicians apprehend this, and usually abstain from administering medicines in cases where they are likely to do no good. The difficulty is that on account of their ignorance of psychological methods few physicians feel themselves competent to undertake such treatment. The time is coming, however, when a knowledge of physiological psychology will be considered as necessary to the art of healing as a knowledge of anatomy.
In saying this I by no means wish to ignore the value and importance of many subsidiary aids and adjuncts, of which from the beginning we have made the freest use. Psychical disorders give rise to innumerable physical disturbances, e.g., in the digestive tract, and these may re-quire physical and local treatment. Even if the effect of electricity or massage in these cases is largely due to their influence on the mind, that does not diminish their value, since a curative suggestion can often be best administered in this way. Dr. Weir Mitchell, who is the teacher of us all, has proved the great value of rest, isolation, and abundant nourishment, in a brilliant series of cures extending over a long term of years. But on the other hand Dr. Mitchell's patients owe even more to their contact with his remarkable personality, as is proved by the fact that his rest cure, valuable as it is in itself, in other hands fails to produce the astonishing results that are associated with his name.
I said a little while ago that the active agent in all so-called moral recoveries is faith. Physicians, whatever their school of practice, ought to recognize this principle and pay more attention to their moral relations with their patients, for these are frequently more valuable than their prescriptions. Dr. A. T. Schofield beautifully says, "When the eye of the patient meets the eye of the physician the cure begins if it is likely to take place." Physicians like other men owe their success in life to two sources, — to what they are and to what they know. Of these the latter at present engrosses almost their whole attention, to the neglect of the powers of their own personality. Many things are taught in the medical schools which at present have absolutely no bearing upon the curing of disease, while principles which are useful in the treatment of all diseases, and indispensable to the cure of some, are totally ignored. Yet any physician learned in the literature of his profession knows how constantly the fashions of medicines vary and how few are indicated in any form of disease with infallible certainty. Remedies which were constantly given a generation ago are seldom heard of now. When they were frequently mentioned and prescribed by celebrated men they worked many cures. Now no one expects much of them. The same fate will befall drugs that are popular today. Only a few old standbys such as iron, quinine, opium, and its derivatives, mercury in its various forms, the bromides and iodides, arsenic, strychnia, digitalis, etc., maintain themselves from generation to generation. Yet we ought not to ignore the psychical value of medicine. A prescription recommended by a trusted physician with the assurance that it will accomplish the desired result acts as a powerful suggestion. This is the cause unquestionably of many of the cures effected by homeopathy and especially by patent medicines which are compounds of inert or even deleterious substances. The glowing advertisement excites the patient's imagination. The marvelous testimonials bearing witness to striking cures inspire faith in the purchaser. A remedy that has relieved so many others will surely help him, and it not infrequently does so. When these remedies are analyzed their physiological potency is usually seen to be nil, and without their psychical appeal they would probably cure no one. The same result is often obtained in anticipation of the expected action of a well-known drug. A patient told me he could not go to sleep without sulphonal. I asked him how soon the dose affected him and he said in five to ten minutes. As sulphonal dissolves but slowly it was plain that it was not the physiological action of the drug that affected him but his expectation of its action. I therefore requested one of our physicians to dissolve a very few grains of sulphonal in a bottle of water, which I gave him telling him to take only one teaspoonful in case he could not sleep. Finding that this succeeded quite as well, I explained to the patient what I had done and easily persuaded him to discontinue the use of sedatives altogether.
One reason why American physicians are so slow to avail themselves of psychical influence in combating disease is that they have been educated in a too narrowly materialistic school of science which assumes that only material objects possess reality and which thinks that the mind can safely be ignored. The trend of science to-day is in the opposite direction. The importance of the mind as a chief factor in health and disease is so apparent to all persons who allow themselves to be influenced by the facts that it cannot longer be ignored. The next great development of medicine will be along psychical lines. The way is already prepared in the disinclination of educated physicians to prescribe drugs and in the dis-inclination of educated patients to take them. At this crisis, when the physician realizes what a powerful and delicate instrument suggestion places in his hands, he will not be slow to avail himself of it, but to use this instrument successfully he must have faith in the soul and its powers and he must cultivate his own moral nature. The value of suggestion lies in its character and in the character of the man who makes it. Mere routine phrases and parrot-like repetitions have no effect on the sick. It is true, psychology is as yet a very imperfect science, and it may be that the question how the mind affects the body is forever insoluble to man. But on the other hand, what is more obscure or uncertain than the physiological action and the therapeutic value of the great mass of drugs which from time to time have constituted our materia medica?
This brings me to the discussion of faith as a therapeutic agent. Although in every form of disease faith in the physician and in the means he employs is of the utmost importance, yet mere blind and undirected faith seldom cures the sick. I have had abundant opportunities to test this, as many persons come to me full of faith confidently expecting that a single interview, one prayer, or the placing of my hand on the affected part, will remove a malady of years' standing. This, I need not say, seldom takes place, although occasionally it does occur. A woman, e.g., came to me about six months ago and told me that she had suffered agonizing pain in her head for four or five days in the week for a period of fifty-five years. Her sufferings were so great that when her daughter sickened and died she was unable to care for her or even to attend the funeral. I believed her affliction to be a kind of reverberation of an old pain, the perpetuation in memory and imagination of a former condition. She was suffering acutely at the time, and having seated her in a comfortable position and having made her very quiet, I placed my hands on her head and assured her earnestly that the pain was diminishing, that it was in fact disappearing, and that in ten minutes it would be gone and that it would not return. The suggestion succeeded, the pain punctually ceased, and the patient has informed me from time to time that it has not returned. A man who was not able to visit the church wrote me from a distance that he and his wife were slaves of alcohol, and begged my assistance. I wrote him that he could break off this habit, that he would be helped in his struggle against drink, and that his first duty when restored was to help his wife to overcome her temptation. After six weeks I was gratified to receive a letter from my correspondent stating that since he had heard from me neither he nor his wife had tasted alcohol, and that greatly to their astonishment they found that they did not desire to do so. I could give other striking examples of immediate recovery, but I admit they are exceptional and unusual. In our practice we neither look for nor desire sudden and spectacular cures, partly because of the publicity which attaches to them, partly on account of the moral effect on other patients, which is apt to be bad, and lastly because such cures are seldom permanent. Although we try to awaken faith on the part of our patients, we do not desire blind or fanatical faith. We lay absolutely no claim to personal power, we explain as fully as possible the nature of the means we employ, and call attention to the limitations of such methods, and accept as patients only persons suffering from functional disorders. We encourage the patients to acquaint them-selves with the principles involved, by maintaining a good library of standard works which we freely lend them. We avoid all fetiches and material adjuncts as means of suggestion and rely only upon moral, spiritual, and rational means. Faith may be strong, but it needs accurate and skilful direction in order to be useful as a therapeutic. agent; hence the need of careful diagnosis, which is not merely physical, but also moral. This is not a task which every shepherd is qualified to perform. It re-quires careful observation of temperament, capacity, and idiosyncrasy which will tax the resources of the most gifted man. This study of conscience, this analysis of a life's experience in order to discover the cause of the present disturbance and to trace its history, requires time, sympathy, and some psychological acuteness. When the cause of the malady has been determined, it requires no less thought and skill to devise means of removing it. Here again the temperament, the culture and the moral nature of the patient must be taken into account. In this work there is no such thing as routine method or a system that applies to all cases. Each patient presents a new problem and requires individual care. Treatment which would be beneficial to one might have no effect or a bad effect upon another. In order to obtain the necessary co-operation of the patient, the thought presented must be such as the patient's mind is able to grasp, and it must gain his approval, otherwise it will be rejected. Motives which powerfully affect one man will have absolutely no effect upon another. Nor is it necessary merely to satisfy the reason: the will also must be aroused, possibly from the slumber of years. The task we are attempting is above all a moral undertaking. In the majority of cases, before the patient can be restored to health it is necessary to eradicate powerful habits, to supply new motives, to supplant the most intense egotism by new and real interest in others, to hew out new paths in the brain, some-times to create or recreate a will. This requires an effort on the part of the physician greater than is involved in writing a prescription. It demands moral qualities of the highest order, intuition, sympathy, kindness of heart, and an absolutely inexhaustible patience. Character can be imparted only by those who possess it. But on the other hand, like every other moral victory it brings its own reward. No relations with men and women are so sacred as those which pertain to the moral life. No physician can do this work conscientiously and success-fully without reaping a rich reward in his own character.
In order to obtain the best results in psychotherapeutics the physician and the patient must work together. There are many things which the patient can do for himself which will be discussed in the chapter on auto-suggestion, and there are many things which he cannot do by himself, but which an able and trusted adviser can help him do. Sometimes the patient can carry his recovery to a certain point, but he cannot advance beyond it. The cure tarries and he becomes discouraged. Then the co-operation of another personality is needed and with this help the recovery is completed. I believe this was what Christ had in mind when he said: "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them by my Father which is in Heaven."' At all events I have seen some startling illustrations of the truth of this word.
In regard to the nature of the faith proposed to the patient, honorable men will differ according to the ends they propose to themselves and according to their personal prepossessions. No right-minded person could desire the physician to demand of the patient a faith which he himself does not share. It has frequently been stated that it is the intensity of faith rather than its character or its object which is important in the treatment of disease, or, as Dubois puts it, "It matters little what banner we raise provided we hold it high." There is a sense in which these words are true. It is no doubt the intensity of faith which is valuable as a therapeutic agent. If we look no further than the control of pain, the removal of symptoms or even the cure of disease, any faith which will accomplish these results is sufficient for our purpose. But in the task we have set ourselves we do look further than this. Our work is essentially ethical and spiritual. Our chief interest in the men and women who seek our care is a moral and religious interest. In other words, we desire not merely to give them temporary relief, but to do them permanent good, to open to them the possibility of a new life, not merely to restore them to health but to give them motives for living. If we look at this reconstruction with reference to life as a whole I am of the opinion that it does make some difference by what form of faith these necessary changes are effected. I know a hospital in which a number of persons have been cured by two tuning forks. It is suggested to the patient that these are powerful magnets, contact with which will remove pain and cure many forms of disease. With a certain class of patients this works well, but I should expect no moral regeneration, no new and higher life to proceed from such a source, and on the educated who would recognize them, such objects would have no curative effect at all. When a man has become profoundly discouraged and his own life has lost its spring and motive and he realizes his inability to help himself, some ideal aid he must have. The great majority of normally constituted men and women find or may find such support in religion. Others find help in a noble philosophy, in art, in science, in music, in literature.
Since we have learned more of the nature of faith we are more sure than ever that it does make a difference what form of faith a man lives by. There are forms of faith professed and practised in this country which are almost worse than disease. On the whole I think I would rather be sick than crazy. On the supposition that the character of faith is a matter of indifference it is a little hard to see why physicians should object to Christian Science, which is certainly able to inspire faith strong as the strongest. It is always pleasant to see an old truth in a new light, and one of the greatest pleasures of my life has been to discover how exquisitely the religion of Christ is adapted to the sick, especially to moral and nervous sufferers. This is doubtless because Jesus lived much with such persons and had them constantly on his mind. It is not long ago that religion was regarded as a predisposing cause of melancholia, hysteria, and insanity (Maudsley), but to-day we know that the type of character created by Christ, calm, loving, patient, unselfish, fearless, trusting, is the type best able to resist every form of nervous disease and moral evil (Schofield). Therefore it is that we offer this religion to those who seek our aid, seldom without success. In fact the willingness of even worldly-minded and apparently irreligious men and women to accept the character and teachings of Christ and to live by them has been one of the happiest experiences we have been permitted to enjoy. Again and again have I heard a man who had not thought seriously of religion for years exclaim, 'I don't know whether I am going to recover my health, and the curious thing is I don't care now nearly as much as I did. But if I live I am going to be a better man than I have been in the past." As a matter of fact we possess in our religion the greatest of all therapeutic agents, if only we deal with it sincerely. The thought of a loving God within us, above us and about us, Who desires our peace, our happiness and salvation, and Who has greater and better means than ours to re-move our anguish which He incessantly employs, is a consolation greater than our greatest need. I am tempted to quote a few words from a letter which was written by a lady who sought my aid in an intensely nervous condition caused by long-standing insomnia and the use of alcohol and morphia, and which reached me as I was writing these words. "I am astonished at the power which is doing this recreating for me, because I am perfectly conscious that it is in no wise my will. You most certainly set free some potent imprisoned spring of action. I feel no struggle, only a simple process of accomplishment."
Returning now to the more technical aspects of suggestion, I would repeat that its successful employment depends upon a certain degree of dissociation in which the command or assurance dominates our mind to the exclusion of other thoughts. I believe this is as true of waking suggestions as it is of suggestions given in sleep. I once read an old book of travels and voyages in which it was stated that John and Sebastian Cabot had discovered several fine pearls in America which they presented to the King of England. The statement made no impression on my mind when I read it, but in the night it suddenly occurred to me that if the Cabots had picked up pearls in the rivers they visited four hundred years ago, I might be able to do so now as it is highly probable that no one had disturbed them since. The following summer I sailed along the coast where I believed the Cabots had made their landfall and examined the beds of several rivers which, as I expected, contained large unio mussels, and from these in the course of a few days I extracted more than three hundred good pearls. Hundreds of per-sons had read that volume without perceiving the significance of this remark. What made the suggestion effective in my case was strong conviction that nothing stood in the way of its accomplishment. So when Dubois assures his patient that a symptom, e.g. a tendency to constipation, no longer exists or is about to be removed, Dubois' authority as a physician, the positive character of the assurance, and the well-known fact that he has cured hundreds of persons by the same means, tend to produce a state of dissociation by inhibiting the doubts and misgivings which would naturally arise Were such a declaration to be made by an ordinary person, and the promised result probably follows. This, of course, is pure suggestion and is to be co-ordinated with a long series of similar phenomena. Dubois, probably from the wish to give an air of greater originality to his work, calls it per-suasion, but the name is of no consequence. Dubois' brilliant recital of cures effected by waking suggestion is undoubtedly genuine, and we are in a position to substantiate many of his statements and to add to his list of disorders amenable to this treatment. Any adequate treatment of suggestion therefore must include both of its phases, sleeping and waking.
I would remind the reader at once that this problem, the causal connection between mind and body, is at bottom insoluble to man. If, as Tyndall said,' "the passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding facts of consciousness is unthinkable, the reverse passage from the changes of consciousness to changes of our physical organism is just as incomprehensible." As to this whole question, Dubois Reymond, one of the greatest physiologists of the nineteenth century, has said, "Ignoramus et ignorabimus." Yet after the manner of all science, we may leave the fundamental problem and describe the empirical processes as far as we are able to follow them. It is well known today that every mental change is pre-ceded and followed by physical changes. A sensation finds its way to the brain, it emerges as a thought and that thought results in an action of some sort. The more powerful its centripetal action, the more powerful the centrifugal reaction. A man receives an affront or an insult which evokes an outburst of passion. His mind is shaken with angry thought, but the effect does not end there. He trembles, his brow darkens, his hand clinches, his features become pallid, showing the convulsed action of the heart. Only by inhibition of the higher centers of the brain is his fury prevented from manifesting itself in violent deeds, and even then the storm does not die away without profoundly depressing his muscular and nervous system. What was the cause of this great discharge of nervous energy? Undoubtedly the moral emotion awakened by the affront to his personality which might have been offered without the least physical violence. The older physiologists who wished to eliminate the perplexing mental factor attempted to account for such phenomena by describing them as pure nervous reflexes of which the state of mind was the effect not the cause. A Danish philosopher expresses this by saying:" What the mother feels who mourns for her dead child is in reality the fatigue and languor of her muscles, the coldness of her anaemic skin, the inability of her brain to think clearly and quickly. All this becomes evident from the consideration of the cause of such phenomena. Take away from the frightened person the bodily symptoms, let his pulse beat slowly, his gaze be firm, his color healthy, his movements quick and certain, his thoughts clear, and what be-comes of his fright?" Statements to this effect are so obviously perversions of facts that they need no refutation, especially as to-day by simple suggestion we can produce the same physical symptoms of which the mind is the sole cause. The well-known fact is that the mind is able to control to a marked degree the functional activity of our physical organs.
In our normal life the phenomena most closely resembling the changes effected by suggestion are the results of powerful emotions such as I have described. The ordinary operations of our minds have rarely any appreciable influence upon our physical condition; but emotions such as fear, anger, despair, hatred, act directly upon our nervous and muscular mechanism, profoundly affect our secretions and excretions and stamp themselves upon the very tissues of our organism, producing in fact very much the same conditions that are produced by suggestion.
The moral and physiological effect of these phenomena is yet to be considered. Here I would call attention to the fact that powerful emotion also is attended by marked dissociation. It occupies the mind to the exclusion of all else and the subject is frequently insensible to pain and to the dictates of self-preservation and reason. Soldiers carried away by the excitement of battle often fail to feel their wounds and injuries; in the edifying auto-biography of John L. Sullivan, that hero states that he never felt a blow received in the ring. Two bull moose, elk, or caribou while fighting will allow themselves to be approached without alarm, and during the mating season they lose much of their habitual caution. Standing in an open marsh I have called up a wild bull moose to a distance of a hundred feet from me, and I only ceased calling for fear that he would attack me. Persons suffering from intense grief forget to eat and are frequently insensible of weakness, weariness, and pain. Intense fear both in animals and man can paralyze limbs, inhibit flight, and even produce the rigidity known as catalepsy. In all these phenomena, dissociation, anaesthesia, analgesia, paralysis, catalepsy, and other marked somatic changes, we have the true counterpart of the phenomena produced by suggestion. In both cases we may well refer such changes to the action of the subconscious mind.
These changes certainly take place through the instrumentality of the nervous system, both sympathetic and central. They are effected either by the direct stimulation or inhibition of the action of the glands and organs or through the contraction or dilation of the blood-vessels and lymphatics which regulate the supply of nourishment afforded each part. How these results are obtained passes our comprehension, but that they really take place there can no longer be any doubt. When I say to a patient, your pain is diminishing, it will soon cease, I am no more giving scientific directions for the accomplishing of this result, than in the act of stretching out my arm I am giving the power that effects it anatomical and physiological instructions as to the means by which the act is to be performed. All that is necessary is to put the suggestion before the mind in such a form that the mind will accept it and act on it. But to do this the mind must believe that the act proposed to it is possible and right. Otherwise it will reject the suggestion and the act will not be per-formed. For this cause it is necessary as far as possible to guard against counter-suggestions of reason, paralyzing doubts, the persistence of old habits, and all those moral and intellectual inhibitions which would thwart our purpose and render our attempt futile. Waking suggestions therefore must be brief, and it is frequently better to give them indirectly as hints which will be seized by the mind, than to issue them as commands. The more one can gain the faith and co-operation of the patient, the better the suggestion will succeed. For this reason suggestions conveyed by electrical machines, placebos or ideas contained in books are often of great curative value. The reader appropriates the thought that is congenial to him and acts upon it, or rather it acts upon him. In order to avoid the danger of opposition and counter-suggestion some practitioners prefer to treat the patient silently. If the nature of the treatment and the character of the suggestions thus silently offered are fully explained to the patient in advance, I can see no reason why such suggestions should not be effective, but to imagine that there is a telepathic bond between the operator and every subject he attempts to treat, and that thoughts arising in the consciousness of the former are reflected in the mind of the latter, is, in the light of our present knowledge, a base-less assumption. In cases in which the practitioner is ignorant of the disease he hopes to cure, and the patient knows not the means by which he is treated, cures when they take place must be credited to the general account of faith.
Again, in order to deepen the dissociation and to guard against adverse influences many of the ablest neurologists prefer to give their suggestions through the medium of hypnosis. In this condition the action of the higher cerebral centers which may cause disturbance is more or less inhibited, and it is believed by many that suggestions so given are addressed directly to the subconscious mind and that they will be more vigorously fulfilled. While I have absolutely no prejudice against hypnotism in safe hands, and while I know its employment to be almost necessary in certain disorders, I doubt very much whether it is necessary or peculiarly beneficial in the treatment of the ordinary neuroses. The method of suggestion which I have found to be most effective in dealing with the large number of nervous persons who come to us is first to make the patient calm and quiet. This in itself is a decided advantage, especially if one explains to the patient how to attain to this condition at home. If a very nervous person who is suffering from acute moral or physical agitation can become profoundly still for an hour, the benefit is frequently noticeable. The bad habit is broken at least for a time, and I have more than once had the pleasure of seeing recovery begin after one or two such treatments. I place the patient in a comfortable reclining chair, instruct him how to relax his arms, his legs, his neck, head and body, so that there shall be no nervous tension or muscular effort. Then standing behind him I gently stroke his forehead and temples, which has a soothing and a distracting effect. Without attempting to induce sleep I inform him that his body is resting and that his mind too will rest, that he will not let his thought run on unchecked, but that it will lazily follow my words, and that when I make a useful suggestion to him he will repeat it to himself. I then tell him that all nervousness is passing from him, that everything is still within him, that his heart is beating quietly and regularly and that he is breathing gently and slowly. I suggest to him that he is entering into peace, that his mind is abstracted and his thoughts are becoming vague and indistinct. As soon as I see that these suggestions are effective I pass to the curative suggestions. If the patient is suffering pain I assure him that the pain is diminishing and that in a little while it will be gone. If I am treating a patient for insomnia, I tell him that he will sleep soundly to-night, that he will feel drowsy and fall asleep soon after he goes to bed and that if he awakens at all in the night he will make a few suggestions to himself and immediately fall asleep again. In short I make the suggestions as positively and simply as possible and under these conditions I usually find it advisable to repeat them more than once. During this treatment, which usually lasts from fifteen minutes to an hour according to the difficulties I encounter, a small proportion of patients will fall asleep and take a short nap, as some persons are so constituted that they will sleep anywhere if they are allowed to rest quietly. I have never observed, however, that such sleep had any particular significance.
I ought perhaps to add that I personally attach a religious importance to this state of mind. When our minds are in a state of peace and our hearts open and receptive to all good influence, I believe that the Spirit of God enters into us and a power not our own takes posssession of us. Thus I am tempted to explain the marked moral and physical improvement which I have frequently seen follow such brief periods of complete repose, and especially moral changes which occur with very little effort on the part of the patient. When a man who has struggled unsuccessfully for years against sexual vice or alcoholism suddenly finds himself free, it is evident that one of two things has happened to him. Either the old temptation has died within him, or a new spiritual energy has entered into him which lifts him above its power. Again and again I have heard men and women who had undergone this experience express surprise that it had taken place with so little effort of their own and, like the woman whose letter I have cited, they say this change has not taken place through their own effort or volition but through the instrumentality of a higher power. We may call this suggestion, but I can hardly believe that the mere assurance of a human being can effect moral changes so stupendous and to the unaided victim so impossible. A woman who had been bedridden for years through a form of hysterical paralysis, and who had been apparently restored to health and strength, told me that when she became profoundly still and concentrated her mind on the thought of God's presence within her, she frequently felt such a sudden increment of strength that it frightened her. In this connection it is to be remembered how earnestly Jesus warned men against injurious agitation and passion, against anger, fear, and anxious care, and the importance which He attached to calm and peace. We have just begun to fathom His motives, but there can be no doubt that in His colossal task of the moral regeneration of the world He counted on a higher power than man's unaided will. To-day we recognize the universe to be a great storehouse of invisible energy, contact with which has enormously increased the potentiality of human life. Is it probable that all those energies are mechanical? Does not the whole moral and religious life of man testify to the existence of unseen spiritual powers which are friendly to us? Such unquestionably was the belief of Christ. It is natural that the scientific discovery of the mechanical aspects of this Power should come first. (" Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural and afterward that which is spiritual.") But the discovery of the other will follow. Many perfectly sane persons believe that we are on the brink of that discovery to-day, and that just as our own physical life has already been transformed by the employment of energies which have always existed though we had not recognized them, so our moral and spiritual life is destined to be evermore profoundly transformed. We shall learn the secret of Christ's personal life. Whatever the surprises of the future, faith which opens our heart to the universe, love through which we escape from the narrow limitations of self into the life of humanity, and the possession of an inward peace which the world cannot take from us, will never lose their ancient power.
There is a very easy and rational way by which many childish faults and nervous weaknesses can be removed, that is by making good suggestions to our children while they are in a state of natural sleep. This may strike some persons with surprise and it raises interesting questions as to the relations of natural and induced sleep, but I have employed this method so many times with success that I feel justified in mentioning it. By this means I have removed childish fears, corrected habits of masturbation, bed-wetting, biting the nails and sleep-walking. I have checked nocturnal emissions and nervous twitchings, anger, violence, a disposition to lie, and I have improved speech in two stammering children. My method is to address the sleeping child in a low and gentle tone, telling it that I am about to speak to it and that it will hear me, but that my words will not disturb it nor will it awake. Then I give the necessary suggestions in simple words, repeating them in different language several times. The child rarely awakens and if it does it usually drops to sleep again immediately. I have had the best results with children I know well and for this reason I think it best for the mother or some other loved and trusted person to make the suggestion when this is possible. The difficulty in employing this method with grown persons is that they usually awake when spoken to. With some children, however, one can carry on a conversation. When questioned they will answer very much as persons do in hypnosis. This is a perfectly harmless and, in competent hands, an effective means of improving certain undesirable habits and tendencies in children.
I wish now to attempt to remove two objections to the employment of suggestion which rest on misapprehension or ignorance. Many persons who have no practical knowledge of these matters imagine that through suggestion one person can acquire an undue power over the will and conscience of another. This they think will lead to dependence, a weakening of the will and even to the undermining of character. Other persons ask, if suggestion is so powerful an instrument for good, why may it not also be equally powerful for evil? At the present time these are matters of exact knowledge and observation, and no one lacking such knowledge ought to expose himself to merited rebuke by passing a priori judgments on them. It is true these misapprehensions have been encouraged, if not created, by the misleading language employed by some earlier writers on hypnotism, especially those of the so-called Salpêtrière School of Paris. The theories of this school, as Bramwell says, are now generally disregarded by those practically engaged in hypnotic work. At no time did Charcot and his colleagues employ hypnosis extensively for therapeutic purposes, and most of their views and statements have been superseded or corrected by later investigators. They made little use of suggestion, but believed in a kind of necromantic power inhering in material objects. Like certain quacks in America, they believed that medicines are able to exercise an influence within sealed tubes. They asserted that symptoms can be transferred at will from one patient to another or even to a glass of water,' that a sealed tube of laurel water when presented to a Jewish prostitute compelled her to adore the Virgin Mary, etc., aberrations which on the part of scientific men, especially after the sober and rational views of Braid, seem incredible. In speaking of the dozen or fifteen hysterical young women on whom their experiments were conducted, they allowed themselves to use very misleading language, calling them "pure automata," "things," "absolute machines," etc. But it is the conviction of recognized authorities on this subject (Bernheim, Forel, Moll, Bramwell, Lloyd Tuckey, etc.) that no such state exists and that Charcot and his disciples were deceived in this and other beliefs. Bramwell observes, "Where the act demanded is contrary to the moral sense, it is usually refused by the normal subject, and invariably by the hypnotized one." Moll, Forel, and Bramwell have so ably argued the case of hypnotism and have so abundantly proved how unreal are its supposed "dangers" in experienced and conscientious hands that it is only necessary to refer to their works . In my own experience I have never seen any instance of weakening of the will or of enfeeblement of personality through suggestion, though I have seen in-numerable examples of the strengthening of character and liberation of the will from bondage and evil habit. It ought to be remembered that the operator has no power in himself. He cannot impose his will upon the subject, whether the latter be sleeping or waking. He can only evoke powers which are dormant in the patient's soul or invoke divine powers as one chooses to look at it. If he were to suggest anything contrary to the subject's moral sense, his suggestion would be absolutely rejected. Neither is there any danger in my judgment that the patient will become dependent upon the physician so that his presence and services cannot be dispensed with. In this respect the effect of suggestion is the reverse of that of the. drug habit. On the contrary, as the moral nature awakens and assumes control, it becomes independent and needs no longer external support and assistance. The danger lies in this direction rather than in the other, as the patient sometimes believes himself stronger than he is and wishes to discontinue the treatment too soon.
The second objection to suggestion both waking and sleeping is that if good and helpful suggestions will be accepted and acted on, evil and harmful suggestions may also be imposed on passive and unresisting minds. It is one of the encouraging facts in regard to human nature that this natural apprehension has proved to be unfounded. I do not mean to say that criminal suggestions might not be accepted by criminal minds, though it is difficult to see why this should be attempted, as criminals do not need the aid of hypnotism to be incited to crime. Neither do I deny that crimes may be perpetrated on the deeply hypnotized, just as they may be perpetrated on the sleeping, though as Ford observes such acts would be full of danger as one can never judge absolutely of the mental condition of the hypnotized nor predict what memories they may bring with them into consciousness. Nor lastly do I deny that a perversion of character might take place in hypnosis through the repeated efforts of a cunning and wicked person, though the corruptor would meet with far greater difficulty than if he attacked his victim in his or her normal consciousness. But I do assert with distinctness and confidence that no virtuous man or woman will accept a suggestion which is repugnant to his or her moral nature. On the contrary, what we observe in hypnosis is an elevation of the moral faculties, greater refine-ment of feeling, a higher sense of truth and honor, often a delicacy of mind which the waking subject does not possess. In my opinion the reason for this is that the subconscious mind, which I believe is the most active in suggestion, is purer and freer from evil than our waking consciousness. Every once in a while the story of crime committed through hypnotism is recorded in the papers. I have investigated several of these and have found either that they were pure fabrications or that hypnotism was not employed. The mere fact that the few established instances of the criminal use of hypnotism, the Cynzski case, the murder committed by the half insane Gabriele Bompard, the beggar Castellar who induced a poor girl to follow him, etc., have been cited for years by the text-books shows how insignificant is the number of crimes committed through hypnotism in comparison with those committed every day by other means. Von Lilienthal, who has published perhaps the best statement of the forensic aspects of hypnotism, concludes that the laws at present contain sufficient provisions for the protection of society against its abuse. Into this aspect of the subject I shall not go except to say that two important legal uses of hypnotism, its application in the detection of crime and in the reformation of the criminal, have been but little employed in this country. The latter consideration is a very important one. We have succeeded so well with many persons of criminal tendencies at large in society that it would be well worth the effort to apply the same methods to those confined in prison. The abuse of hypnotism is certainly attended with less danger than the abuse of medicines. Many useful drugs, if taken in too large doses, or when they are not indicated, are dangerous poisons, but this is no reason why they should not be prescribed in proper quantities by competent physicians. In fact hardly a therapeutic agent can be cited, not even the rest cure, which in unskilful hands may not produce harmful results? In this country, what has tended to bring hypnotism into disrepute more than anything else is the curious indifference of public opinion which has permitted irresponsible vagabonds to employ it in exhibitions which are degrading to human nature.
A great deal of importance has been attached to the fact that suggestions of imaginary crimes are frequently accepted by hypnotized persons. A girl is commanded to put a certain piece of sugar which she is told contains arsenic into her mother's tea, and she obeys. From this it is argued that a virtuous young woman in a state of hypnosis does not scruple to commit a detestable crime. The weak point of these experiments is that the experimenters forgot to ask the patients of their opinion as to the nature of the act they are performing. Bramwell, however, whose discussion of the subject is the best I have seen,' took this precaution. He suggested to his patient, Miss D., that she should steal a watch placed conveniently for the purpose on the table. This she refused to do. He asked her later why she had not obeyed his suggestion, and she said, "Because I knew it would be wrong." The same patient in hypnosis told Dr. Bramwell that his suggestion of stealing the watch was only an experiment, but that she would not obey it because she would not do what was wrong even in jest. She admitted, however, that she would put a lump of sugar into her mother's teacup even if Dr. Bramwell said it was arsenic, because she knew it was sugar and such an act would not be even doing wrong in jest. Bramwell cites a number of instances in which his suggestions, though perfectly innocent, were rejected because in some way they offended the moral sense of the subject, e.g., the case of a young woman who refused to see a décolleté photograph of herself, who said: "I never should have my photograph taken in such i low-necked dress, and did not wish to see it, or describe it to you, as the idea offended me." Of course the kind of suggestion which will be accepted or rejected depends largely upon the normal individuality of the subject, but even in the most striking examples of imaginary crime, e.g., that cited by Forel, in which "an old and very suggestible man discharged two blank cartridges at Mr. Hoefelt," we may be sure, as Forel himself admits, that the patient was well aware that the operator would not ask him to commit a real crime. On this subject Moll says: "There is no doubt that subjects can be made to commit all sorts of imaginary crimes in one's study, but these laboratory experiments prove nothing, because some trace of consciousness always remains to tell the subject he is playing a comedy. Bramwell sums up the result of twelve years' experiment and observation in these words: "I have never seen a suggestion accepted in hypnosis which would have been refused in the normal state. I have observed that suggestion could be resisted as easily in the lethargic as in the alert stage. I have frequently noticed increased refinement in hypnosis; subjects have refused suggestions which they would have accepted in the normal state.
"Examination of the mental condition in hypnosis revealed the fact that it was unimpaired."
"Although I am willing to admit that it is possible that harm may be done through the mismanagement of hypnotic cases, I have personally seen no evidence of this either in my own practice or in that of others. Further, I have never seen the slightest bad effect follow carefully conducted hypnotic experiments."' In general it may be said that while virtuous and normal persons are well protected against evil suggestion, the defective and morally weak may be injured by the unscrupulous. This is a subject of which the laws will have to take cognizance. Far more important to us, however, is the suggestion of mob violence conveyed without the instrumentality of hypnotism, by which the nature of honorable and humane men is temporarily transformed, causing them to commit barbarous and inhuman deeds.
I pass now to a more speculative consideration of the moral and physical changes effected by suggestion. The scope of this work precludes a discussion of the innumerable views advanced to account for hypnotic phenomena, and this is less necessary as a full and admirable discussion of the leading theories is contained in Bramwell.' The facts to be accounted for are of the most varied character and it is safe to say that no sufficiently comprehensive and exact explanation of them has as yet been given. Indeed the very nature of so-called hypnotic sleep has not yet been determined, but this is not to be wondered at when we remember our ignorance of natural sleep. The belief of the older mesmerists in an external invisible agent, an odylic force, etc., need not detain us. The purely physical theories, such as Charcot's, Heidenhain's, and Ernest Hart's, may also be rejected, since we know that hypnosis can be induced without mechanical stimulation, that the hypnotized are not automata capable only of reflex action, and lastly that the observed physical changes take place through suggestion and not as the result of mere nerve stimulus. Neither, on the other hand, is suggestion in itself, as Bernheim seems to think, the sole factor to be considered, for, as Bramwell says, there are certain conditions within the subject, willingness to obey and the ability to do so, which are necessary to the successful employment of suggestion. Moreover, the state of hypnosis itself, whether it be induced by suggestion or by mechanical stimulation, presents certain problems which must be reckoned with.
The relation of hypnosis to natural sleep is a most interesting question. Bernheim regards the two states as practically identical. This view is open to objection on the ground that hypnotized persons usually preserve a degree of intelligence and invariably a moral sense which are not present in normal sleep and dreaming. Yet it must be admitted that the conditions to which one is subjected are very different. The sleeping person lies in a quiet, dark room cut off as far as possible from all sense stimulation, while the mind of the hypnotized subject is invaded by the suggestions of the operator. I have been hypnotized several times for intense fatigue when I was unable to obtain natural sleep, and after the suggestions had been given I was allowed to sleep for several hours. As far as I was able to recall my sensations they differed decidedly from those experienced in a sound nap in the daytime, in that, although profoundly relaxed and unable to move, I did not really lose consciousness. On one occasion I failed to awake at the command of the operator. I heard the order to awake plainly enough and knew what it meant, but I calculated correctly that it was not necessary for me to awake so soon, and I enjoyed my rest so much that I did not wish to be disturbed. Only when I perceived that the operator was about to dash water in my face could I make the necessary effort. My experiments with sleeping children lead me to believe that there is less difference between induced and natural sleep than is usually supposed. Of course it may be said that my assurance that the child will hear me, but will not awake, causes it to pass from natural sleep to hypnosis. In view of the difficulties others have met in effecting this transition this seems to me unlikely. A little boy of my acquaintance, now about nine years old, talks a good deal in his sleep as the result of vivid dreaming. By entering into the situation presented in his dream it is often possible to engage him in conversation without awakening him. New situations can be suggested to him which he will accept and develop sometimes in a very lively and natural manner. At the present time I am treating a woman of sixty-three for nervous debility and melancholia attended with acute insomnia. I began by visiting her in the afternoon, but finding that my suggestion as to sleep did not produce the desired effect I changed the hour to nine in the evening and treated the patient after she had gone to bed, suggesting that she would fall asleep at once and sleep all night. This has succeeded much better as the patient usually falls into a quiet sleep while I am with her or a few minutes afterward, and does not awake until morning when she finds herself much refreshed. What I wonder is, where hypnosis if it exists ceases and natural sleep begins.
It is probable that the majority of persons who are not good sleepers put themselves to sleep by suggestion, either by concentrating their minds upon the thought and expectation of sleep or at least by excluding all disturbing and exciting thoughts. Bramwell, in arguing against the identity of natural sleep and hypnosis, cites Hirsch's objection that young children do not put themselves to sleep in this way. That is true, their mothers and nurses do it for them. They divert the mind and render the infant slightly dizzy by rocking it. They croon into its ears monotonously repeated lullabies whose sole burden is the oncoming of sleep. If the wakeful child is old enough to understand they give it verbal suggestion. In short, they exhaust the methods of the hypnotists old and new.
The question has been raised whether hypnosis is to be regarded as sleep at all, as in this condition consciousness persists. In reply it may be asked whether consciousness is ever totally extinguished in natural sleep. It is true we are frequently unaware of a single dream during the night, but that may be due to a more vigorous amnesia than that which usually obliterates our dreams a few moments after we awake, an amnesia which can also be readily effected through suggestion in the deeper phases of hypnosis. My friend, Dr. Mumford of Boston, has informed me of extensive experiments on this subject which were once made in the Massachusetts General Hospital in that city. When patients had to be awakened in the usual routine at night they were immediately asked about their dreams, and in every case they were found to be dreaming. I think it very doubtful if hypnotized subjects ever really lose consciousness even in the deeper stages of hypnosis. In my own experience I have invariably retained a pretty clear perception of what was going on around me. In spite of the operator's command that I should hear nothing but his voice, I have heard whispered conversations, the ticking of a clock, etc., and have been able to study my own organic sensations. In fact about the only indication which convinced me that I was really influenced was the fact that I did not feel a pinprick, could not lift my eyelids or resist commands in regard to the movement of my limbs, though I tried to do so. In this my experiences tallied closely with those of Professor Bleuler's, although I think some of my hypnoses were deeper than those he describes. I have asked many per-sons immediately after hypnosis as to their sensations and they have almost invariably told me the same thing. In fact in the lighter forms of hypnosis it is difficult to make patients believe that they have been influenced at all, as the state of consciousness is so different from the profound sleep they had anticipated. Sometimes, how-ever, they are surprised to discover how much time has elapsed. The only exception that has come under my personal observation is in cases of deep lethargy into which a few persons pass as soon as they are directed to go to sleep. While in this condition such persons show little if any mental activity. It is usually impossible to elicit any rational response from them, and they frequently fail to hear or at least to obey the simplest suggestions. I believe this condition to be pathological and not due to suggestion, as in several instances I have seen the same persons pass into it when merely seated in a comfortable position, without any suggestion of sleep being given to them.
Comparing the most striking phenomena of natural and induced sleep one observes in both the same inertia and relaxation, fixation or closing of the eyes, reduced action of the heart, measured and regular breathing, which, however, can be disturbed by both dreams and suggestions. Whether in hypnosis one finds the cerebral anemia supposed to be present in natural sleep is questioned by Heidenhain on the grounds that hypnosis has followed inhalation of nitrate of amyl which causes hyperemia of the brain, and because no change appeared in vessels at the back of the eye during hypnosis. In dream consciousness we have a condition analogous to the thoughts, images, and hallucinations which can be evoked in hypnosis by suggestion. Sully objects to this that the greater part of our dream material in nightly sleep comes from within the organism, not from without as in hypnosis, that the natural dream is more complex and varied than the hypnotic, and that the hypnotical subject tries to translate his hallucinations into actions in a manner that finds no parallel in natural sleep. All these statements may be questioned. Dreams, for example, are believed to arise from two sources, from stimulation of the external senses, and from organic feeling or central action causing or continuing an association of ideas. Of these the former class of dreams occur far more frequently than the latter. Maury, Preyer, and others have shown by classical experiments how readily the dream consciousness follows sense stimulation. A bottle of eau de cologne held to Maury's nostrils caused him to dream that he was in Farina's shop in Cairo. Sprinkling of his face caused Leibner to dream of a shower, etc. Maury, moreover, relates a number of things which returned to his memory in dreams, though when awake he knew nothing of them. Exactly the same phenomena occur in hypnosis without the intervention of spoken suggestion. Moll's experiments in this field are interesting.' He hypnotized a person and blew with a pair of bellows without speaking. The subject translated this sound as the exhaust of a steam engine, and by an association of ideas dreamt that he saw a train and the railroad station at Schonberg. Moll drummed with his fingers on the table and the subject dreamt of military music, a parade, etc.' Thus two of Sully's statements fall to the ground. Most dreams proceed from external stimulation, and, as Miss Calkins of Wellesley has shown, through the ear rather than through the eye as in hypnosis. Dreams in hypnosis may be as complex as ordinary dreams of normal sleep. Neither is it strictly true to say that the normal dreamer shows no disposition to translate his hallucinations into actions. Somnambulists it is well known execute difficult and dangerous feats which they would not dare to undertake or could not execute in their waking moments. Nervous persons who never walk in their sleep frequently act out their dreams by laughing, weeping, and gesticulating. If the covering is removed they will draw it on again. If a fly or mosquito alights on them they will brush it off again. I have seen my little boy strike out vigorously with his fists when dreaming of fighting. Though not a good rider I have slept soundly on horseback and for more than two hours at a time while the pack train was moving over rough country in the Rocky Mountains, only awaking when my horse suddenly dropped his forefeet down a declivity. Forel' describes in a very interesting manner his experiments with a dormouse sunk so deep in lethargic sleep that it could not be awakened. Forel placed the little animal on the top branch of a small fir tree, and although asleep the contact of the sole of its foot with the branch caused it to cling to the branch with its claws. As it sank into a deeper sleep the muscles of the clinging foot gradually relaxed until the dormouse seemed about to fall. Then, however, its nervous system was pervaded by a sort of instinctive flash and its other foot seized the next lower branch when the same scene was repeated, the dormouse going profoundly to sleep again and saving itself only when just about to fall. It slowly lowered itself from branch to branch until it reached the floor of the cage, when it continued to slumber. This experiment was repeated several times on two dormice with the same result; neither fell and neither awoke.
Thus it appears that hypnosis and natural sleep resemble each other in their physical phenomena and in their dream consciousness more closely than most writers are disposed to admit. Their most fundamental difference consists in the preservation and even the heightening of moral consciousness in hypnosis, and in a capacity for logical thought which dreams do not possess. Both these peculiarities are of great interest. There are few more curious aspects of human nature than the moral character of our dreams. No one apparently is protected against these strange metamorphoses of character which cause us in our sleep to perform acts cheerfully and with-out remorse which we shudder to think of when we are awake. Our dream consciousness is not controlled by moral judgments, in our dreams we lose for the most part our sense of right and wrong. A trifling circumstance affects us prodigiously while the commission of a crime seems to us quite natural. In hypnosis, however, we see the very reverse of this. The hypnotized person not only preserves his mental rectitude, but his sense of right is heightened, his moral faculties are more sensitive, his delicacy and refinement of feeling are increased and he will frequently refuse suggestions which waking he would accept without scruple. Yet we see an interesting analogy to the moral character of our dream consciousness in the willingness of many hypnotized subjects to commit imaginary crimes. This moral apathy, I believe, proceeds in both cases from the same source. We are warned by an inward sense of the utter unreality of the whole performance. This would not apply to immoral acts actually performed by somnambulists, but these are pathological in their nature, and must either be referred to the perverted waking consciousness or regarded as a moral degeneration resulting from the causes which produce this condition.
The intellectual activity of our dream consciousness is also marked by certain striking characteristics, most noticeable of which is the absence of logical consistency. In our dreams we accept without suspicion the most improbable situations. We pass from one scene to another without sense of incongruity or inconsequence. This is probably due to the fortuitous stimuli which find their way to the passive and sleeping brain, awakening now one and now another association center, which are uncoordinated by attention. We have seen that the same conditions can be produced in hypnosis through the stimulation of the external sense. In spoken suggestion, however, the suggestion claims the attention of the subject, steadies his thought and gives it a purposive and logical character which dreams seldom possess. I would call attention, however, to the fact that apart from our dreams a logical and purposeful mental activity of a very high order frequently occurs during sleep, resulting in the solution of problems, the composition of poems (Voltaire and Coleridge) and the working out of many valuable ideas. These trains of thought seldom if ever emerge as dreams. They are of a more permanent fabric than the stuff which dreams are made of, and they are doubtless to be referred to the action of the subconscious mind.
As the field of hypnotic experimentation has broadened, its phenomena have become richer and more complex, but their very richness and complexity point more inevitably to the one cause which is sufficient to account for them. We have to consider not merely the somatic changes and the dissociations of personality which can be produced by hysteria, but the elevation of moral character, the improvement of certain intellectual processes, abnormal appreciation of the lapse of time, recollection of forgotten events, the overthrow of old and powerful habits and the formation of new ones, the cessation of pain, and the positive removal of innumerable functional disorders. It is obvious that effects of this character point to a psychical cause, in fact to a mind that possesses qualities moral and intellectual. It is equally evident that this mind functions otherwise than our ordinary waking consciousness, for not only are its activities unattended by a sense of effort and conscious attention which characterizes the latter, but it operates in a field whither consciousness cannot follow it, attaining its results through the instrumentality of the sympathetic nervous system, the unstriped muscles, vaso-motors, glands, etc., which lie outside the sphere of consciousness and over which conscious volition has no control. Moreover, it is to be remembered that these phenomena take place not as the result of mechanical nerve stimulation, but by suggestion. All this points in the same direction as the facts already recorded, to a subconscious activity which is essentially moral, but which controls our physical functions to a far greater extent than our consciousness. This is the only hypothesis which is sufficient to account for the facts, but in accepting it we by no means reject all physiological theories as to the manner in which the subconscious mind functions. Bramwell,' for ex-ample, ridicules Boris Sidis' ingenious theory of dissociation through the contraction of the minute fibers of the nerve cells, on the ground that the facts to be explained are increased volition, memory, intelligence, etc. Yet, granting this, it is certain that dissociation takes place in hypnosis, and Sidis' explanation of the physical concomitant of this condition, the isolation of association centers, may well be correct. Frederic Myers and Delboeuf have written with their usual brilliancy and perspicacity upon the possible origin of our subjective consciousness. Delboeuf suggests that in lower forms of life the animal was just as conscious of what was taking place in its interior as of what was happening at its periphery. With the progress of development, however, its attention would be directed more or less exclusively, on the one hand to the organ which placed it in direct relationship with the external world, and on the other to the means of attack or defense which it learned to use from day to day with greater certainty and vigor. At the same time the cares of the interior would be got rid of more and more completely, and would be confided to a servant who had been trained to look after them, and whose zeal could be depended upon. In a highly developed animal such as man, the importance of conscious life distracted the attention from the phenomena of vegetative life; the continual obligation to provide for the necessities of existence absorbed the will, while the mechanical regularity with which internal organs acted rendered conscious attention regarding them unnecessary. The care of the vegetative life had been handed over by the will and nervous mechanism which had learned to regulate themselves, and which in general fulfilled their task to perfection. Sometimes the machine went wrong, and intervention became desirable. The power which formerly regulated it had, how-ever, dropped out of the normal consciousness, and if we desire to find a substitute for it we must turn to hypnotism. In the hypnotic state the mind was in part drawn aside from the life of relation while at the same time it preserved its activity and power. Voluntary attention could be abstracted from the outer world and directed with full force upon a single point, and thus the hypnotic subconsciousness was able to put in motion machinery which the normal consciousness had lost sight of and had ceased to regulate. If a contrary opinion had till now prevailed, this is because observation has been exclusively directed to the normal exercise of the will. The will, however, in the hypnotic state can regulate movements which have become irregular, and assist in the repair of organic injury. In a word, hypnotism does not depress but exalts the will by permitting it to concentrate itself upon the point where the disorder is threatened.
Myers suggests that the stream of consciousness in which we live may not be our only one. Possibly our habitual consciousness may be a mere selection from a multitude of thoughts and sensations. The self below the threshold of ordinary consciousness Myers terms the subliminal consciousness, and the empirical self of common experience the supraliminal. He holds that subliminal consciousness and memory possess a far wider range of physiological and psychical activity than the supraliminal. The latter is limited by the need of concentrating itself on recollections useful in the struggle for existence, while the former includes much that is too rudimentary to be retained in the supraliminal memory of an organism so advanced as man's. The recollection of processes now performed automatically, and needing no supervision, passed out of the supraliminal memory but might be retained by the subliminal. The subliminal or hypnotic self can exercise over the nervous, vaso-motor and circulatory systems a degree of control unparalleled in waking life.
Further, Myers suggests that the spectrum of consciousness as he calls it is indefinitely extended at both ends in the subliminal self. Beyond its supraliminal physiological limit lies a vast number of complex processes belonging to the body's nutrition and well-being. These our remote ancestors may have been able to modify at will, but with us they seem to be withdrawn from the field of volition. If we wish to modify them we employ drugs and medicines. At the superior or psychical end lies an unknown mass of impressions which the supraliminal consciousness is unable to receive directly and which it must apprehend through messages from the subliminal consciousness. Myers arranged hypnotic phenomena in three grand divisions. I. The great dissociative triumph of hypnotism in the inhibition of pain under conditions of nerve and tissue with which it is otherwise inevitably connected. 2. The associative or synthetic triumphs of hypnotism in the production and control of organic processes which no effort of normal consciousness can effect. 3. The intellectual and moral achievements of hypnotism in the removal of physical cravings for alcohol, morphia, etc., and the eradication of destructive habits and tendencies. This is believed to be effected through the paralysis of the lower appetitive centers by hypnotism and the exaltation of the will.' These views are important because they have contributed largely to the development of the doctrine of the subconscious mind.
The chief criticism I should make of Myers' and Delboeuf's illuminating theories is that they identify the subconscious mind too closely with the phenomena of hypnosis. It is true that in the hypnotic state the dissociation of the subconscious mind from consciousness is most complete and its activity most striking, but we should not forget how large a part is played by the subconscious mind in our normal lives and without the intervention of hypnosis. It is certain, e.g., that far more diseases have been cured by the emotional effect of strong faith and expectation than have been cured by hypnotism. In-tense preoccupation or excitement can render one as insensible to fatigue and pain, as hypnotic suggestion. Innumerable events of our past lives are flashed on us by subconscious memory without external aid. Permanent pathological dissociation certainly occurs, and with the greatest achievements of the subconscious mind, the inspirational creations of genius, hypnotism has nothing to do. I mention these facts because it would be an error belittling to our subject to identify the subconscious mind with its hypnotic activity, as Charcot identifies hypnosis with hysteria.
Myers' and Delboeuf's suggestion that the physical functions now regulated by the subconscious mind were perhaps originally within the field of consciousness and under the control of the will may be true. At all events conscious emotional states still possess somewhat the same power. It can hardly be doubted that dissociation which inhibits counter-suggestion and concentrates the whole power of the will upon the act to be performed is an important factor in all curative suggestions. Bramwell questions this on account of the undiminished intelligence of hypnotized subjects, but it is only necessary to remember the gross hallucinations to which they are subject to perceive how limited the sphere of their mentality is and how incapable such subjects are of comparing and analyzing their sensations. The rapid changes in the coloration of fishes to harmonize with their environment might be cited in support of Myers' theory. This may be regarded as a conscious act in so far as it is effected through vision. I would also call attention to a fact which so far as I have noticed has been overlooked in the discussions of this question, i.e., the tendency of injured animals to sleep. The sick or wounded bird or animal as a rule falls into a profound sleep, thus escaping from pain, and in this sleep recovery takes place. Animals also appear to possess a capacity for the inhibition of pain which we do not know. It is unusual to see in them indications of suffering after the injury has occurred. Fowls will pick up food only a few minutes before death. Horses after receiving ghastly wounds in battle have been found contentedly cropping grass. In general it is interesting to observe how the trend of modern thought tends to substantiate Schopenhauer's position that the unconscious volitional element in man is fundamental, while the conscious, rational element is acquired, and that the former which normally regulates our functions is also most active in the elimination of disease.