The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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This branch of the subject has been dwelt upon somewhat at length, not merely for the purpose of showing that the adherents of the Nancy school carry the doctrine of suggestion too far, but because it is an important point in the study of the subject, and throws a flood of light upon many important and perplexing problems, as will be seen hereafter. The principle to be borne in mind is this: hypnosis can be produced by Braid's method either with or without the aid of suggestion.
This does not militate in the slightest degree against the doctrine of suggestion when its powers and limitations are properly understood. It still remains true that all hypnotic phenomena subsequent to the induction of the condition are the result of suggestion in some form. This is the grand discovery of the Nancy school; and when it is once appreciated and understood, it will be found to constitute the master-key which will unlock the secrets of every psychological mystery. That it is unqualifiedly true no longer admits of serious doubt; it is acknowledged by nearly every scientist in the civilized world who has given the subject intelligent attention. It is true that the great name of Charcot has commanded a following; but however valuable may have been his observations in the infancy of the science, it has become obvious to most of his former followers that his fundamental hypothesis is defective, and that his conclusions are therefore necessarily unreliable.
The discussion of the merits of the Paris school will be brief, and will be chiefly confined to a statement of the reasons for considering its experiments and conclusions unreliable, and to pointing out a few of the more obvious sources of its errors.
The first source of error lies in the fact that the experiments of this school are made almost exclusively upon hysterical women. The assumption is that hypnotism is a nervous disease, and that the disease is found in its most pronounced form in hysterical subjects. That this proposition is unqualifiedly wrong is positively known to every student of hypnotism outside the Paris school, and needs