The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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DUALITY AND SUGGESTION.                   31
suggested. If he is told that he is the President of the United States, he will act the part with wonderful fidelity to life. If he is told that he is in the presence of angels, he will be profoundly moved to acts of devotion. If the presence of devils is suggested, his terror will be instant, and painful to behold. He may be thrown into a state of intoxication by being caused to drink a glass of water under the impression that it is brandy; or he may be restored to sobriety by the administration of brandy, under the guise of an antidote to drunkenness. If told that he is in a high fever, his pulse will become rapid, his face flushed, and his temperature increased. In short, he may be made to see, hear, feel, smell, or taste anything, in obedience to suggestion. He may be raised to the highest degree of mental or physical exaltation by the same power, or be plunged by it into the lethargic or cataleptic condition, simulating death.
These are fundamental facts, known and acknowledged by every student of the science of hypnotism. There is another principle, however, which must be mentioned in this connection, which is apparently not so well understood by hypnotists generally. I refer to the phenomenon of auto-suggestion. Professor Bernheim and others have recognized its existence, and its power to modify the results of experiments in one class of hypnotic phenomena, but apparently have failed to appreciate its full significance. It is, in fact, of coextensive importance with the general principle, or law, of suggestion, and is an essential part of it. It modifies every phenomenon, and sometimes seems to form an exception to the general law. Properly understood, however, it will be seen, not only to emphasize that law, but to harmonize all the facts which form apparent exceptions to it.
The two minds being possessed of independent powers and functions, it follows as a necessary corollary that the subjective mind of an individual is as amenable to the control of his own objective mind as to the objective mind of another. This we find to be true in a thousand ways. For instance, it is well known that a person cannot be hypno-