3 18 THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
stricken friends, and in a solemn voice announces that all is over, the patient is dead. Now, if it happens that it is merely a case of catalepsy, or suspended animation, the announcement by the physician that the patient is dead is an all-potent suggestion which is, and must inevitably be, seized upon by the subject and carried to its legitimate conclusion. A case of prolonged suspension of animation is the inevitable result, as the laws of hypnotism teach, if they teach anything. The patient actually believes that he is dead. The statement of this proposition seems almost ridiculous; but when it is remembered that no suggestion seems absurd or incongruous to the hypnotic subject, the proposition is seen at once to be an absolute verity. Who has not dreamed of being dead ? Few, if any, have not had this experience; and yet the incongruity of the two ideasof being dead and of calmly reflecting on the subject never strikes the dreamer's subjective intelligence. Subjective impressions never seem absurd or incongruous to the subject. This principle runs through all subjective mental action, from the dreams of the healthy sleeper to the hallucinations of the monomaniac. Subjective intelligence, be it remembered, is capable of exercising but one form of reasoning, the deductive. But it will reason deductively from any premise imparted to it, by any form of suggestion, with great acumen; and it never arrives at a conclusion inconsistent with the premise, that is, the suggestion. All the facts known to the individual's objective experience which are inconsistent with that premise stand for nought in presence of the one ever-present idea. That idea is the major premise, unquestioned and indisputable, of a syllogism which he will inevitably complete with logical accuracy.
It is easy to see from what has been said what an appalling, ever-present danger menaces the patient who, from any cause, becomes cataleptic, especially the one who has reached the crisis of a lingering illness, and is surrounded by physicians and friends who are ignorant of the psychological principles involved. The natural language of the