The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
but one of many processes of inducing sleep. He imagined that he had discovered a full explanation of all psychic phenomena of the class then known as mesmeric; whereas he had only discovered the one fact that the sleep could be induced by producing an abnormal physical condition of certain nerve-centres. It was a very important discovery, for psychic science would be incomplete without it; but it does not constitute the whole science. It does, however, explain many phenomena otherwise inexplicable, and marks a line of distinction which could not otherwise be drawn. The methods of the Charcot school are essentially Braidian, and hence its results are limited largely to physical phenomena, and its conclusions necessarily pertain to physical science.
The Nancy school, on the other hand, produces all its phenomena by oral suggestion, and ignores the fact that the sleep can be induced in the absence of any form of suggestion. It repudiates Braid's method of inducing it as unnecessary, and also as injurious, in that the physical disturbance of the nerve-centres unduly excites the patient.
The mesmeric school differs from both the others in methods and theory, as we shall see further on.
It seems necessary, therefore, that the terminology of the science should be changed so as clearly to define the theoretical differences of the three schools. It is obvious, however, that the terminology cannot be based on results, for they are inextricably intermingled. Thus, the Braidian or Charcot operator might accidentally produce psychic phenomena identical with that produced by the mesmerists, and vice versa. And so might the suggestive school. Indeed, the writings of both schools occasionally betray the fact that they sometimes catch glimpses of something in their patients which defies chemical analysis, and cannot be carved with the scalpel.
The terminology must, therefore, refer to the methods of inducing the subjective state. If the word " hypnotism " is to be retained because it embraces all degrees of induced sleep by whatsoever process it may have been induced, it