386 THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
sciousness, and would constitute a purely vegetative existence as long as it continued. One can readily understand this condition in the objective mind from the observation of physical phenomena. It is equally comprehensible how tiie subjective mind, or soul, may be deprived of a conscious existence when we remember the fundamental law of its being, the law of suggestion. We have already seen how the law of suggestion operates upon the soul in cases of cataleptic trance, where the suggestion is made that the patient is dead. In that case the suggestion was believed implicitly, and the preparations for the funeral did not disturb the equanimity of the patient in the least. Nor did the incongruity of the situation suggest itself to the patient; namely, the idea of being dead and of thinking of being dead at the same time.
The suggestion to the patient's subjective mind that he was dead, rendered that mind unconscious of its own mental operations, and he was, to all intents and purposes, dead.
This is, obviously, but a feeble illustration of the principle involved. It is, however, sufficient to show how the soul may be deprived of a conscious existence. A life-long scepticism regarding the existence of the soul, and a consequent disbelief in immortality, constitute a suggestion that must operate to deprive the soul of a conscious existence, if the law of suggestion is universal in its operations.
The phenomena of experimental hypnotism also demonstrate the truth of the proposition. Every hypnotist knows that a suggestion to a deeply hypnotized subject that he is dead will produce a condition of such profound lethargy or catalepsy as closely to simulate death, and were the impression not removed, it would doubtless end in death. When the subject remembers what has passed, he testifies that he believed himself dead, and saw no incongruity in the situation. A settled belief that the death of the body ends all, and the absence of any belief or knowledge of the subject, must each operate to the same end.
It is this principle which constitutes the difference between men and animals, and which gives the one the powei