The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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134        THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
nothing more or less than subjective activity, or, in other words, instinctive action, the objective faculties being in almost complete abeyance for the time being. That this is true is further shown by the fact that a person in imminent and deadly peril will often emerge from the very jaws of death with nerves unshaken, the coolest and most collected person present. This is often mistaken for courage. It has, however, nothing whatever to do with the question of personal bravery. The veriest coward will, under circumstances of unavoidable danger, act with the same coolness, and evince the same presence of mind, as the bravest man. The most timid woman will fight like a demon, and display preternatural strength and courage, for the preservation of her own life or that of her offspring. The action is instinctive. In other words, it is the normal function of the subjective entity.
The condition of the person at such times is akin to, if not identical with, the state of hypnotism or partial hypnotism. It may be that the objective and subjective faculties act at such times in perfect synchronism; but certain it is that every evidence of subjective activity is present, even the phenomenon of anesthesia. This is shown by the fact that at such times the body feels no pain, no matter how severe the injury. The universal testimony of soldiers who have been in battle is to the effect that the time when fear is experienced is just before the action commences. When the first gun is fired, all fear vanishes, and the soldier often performs feats of the most desperate valor and evinces the most reckless courage. If wounded, he feels nothing until the battle is over and all excitement is gone. It is a merciful provision of nature that the nearer we approach death, the less we fear it. This law is universal. It is only in the vigor of youth and manhood that death is looked upon with horror. The aged view its near approach with calm serenity. The convicted murderer, as long as there is hope of pardon, reprieve, escape, or commutation of the death-penalty, evinces the utmost dread of the scaffold; but when the death-penalty is pronounced, and all hope has