We now have an answer to the question , “What is LIfe?” We can see why the operations of life in vital processes proceed intelligently.
Thus far we have studied the matter from the biological standpoint, in what may be called normal relations. When we come to study the organism under abnormal conditions, as in disease, difficulties arise. It seems as if vital processes should proceed as intelligently in disease as in health, but judging from the effects of disease Hahnemann was moved to call the life force blind, unintelligent, unreasoning, helpless, or worse, and apparently he was right.
Professor Gates says:
“Pathology is abnormal cellular mentation.” In this sentence is the key to the problem, and also to the meaning of Hahnemanns phrases, “rational mind” and “higher human mind” already referred to, which imply the existence of a lower human mind. For the further elucidation of this matter I shall appeal to another author, Thompson Jay Hudson, in whose remarkable book, “The Law of Psychic Phenomena,” the first satisfactory attempt was made to harmonize various more or less conflicting psychological theories, and to propound a working hypothesis for the study and investigation of the vast mass of psychic phenomena.
Mr. Hudsons book is quite is harmony with the teaching of Professor Gates.
It is quite superfluous to say that the human mind is a very wonderful thing. It is wonderful enough in its ordinary more or less normal operations; but when we begin to investigate the phenomena of telepathy, of somnambulism or trance, of hypnotism, of mesmerism, of spiritism, of the various forms of mental or metaphysical healing, etc. to say nothing of certain forms of insanity and other diseases, we begin to sympathize with the simple rustics in Goldsmiths “Deserted Village,” as they listened to the village schoolmaster engaged in an argument with the parson:
“Amazed, the gazing rustics ranged round-
And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew”.
A subject in hypnotic trance, for example, brings up from his inner consciousness so many things he didnt know he knew, and does so many seemingly impossible things that we rub our eyes in amazement.
There have been many theories about all this, but no satisfactory working hypothesis until Mr. Hudson brought out his epoch-making book.
During trance, artificially produced, and sometimes during sleep, or natural trance, and in certain febrile conditions, as we know, the mind may compose beautiful poems (Coleridge thus produced his most exquisite poem-“Kubla Khan”); may deliver learned disquisitions; pronounce orations; solve intricate mathematical problems (as Sir John Herschel did); complete valuable inventions, suspended in despair during waking hours (as Edison has repeatedly done); compose music; write sermons (as Surgeon once did); recall experiences long forgotten, and do many other remarkable things, all the time being perfectly oblivious to the external world, with every objective sense in abeyance, and of which there is not the slightest recollection after waking.
It is not necessary, nor is there time to give illustrations of these peculiar powers of the mind as brought out in the various ways already referred to. They have been appearing in the public print for years. I will therefore only point out some significant facts in regard to these phenomena, bring forward the hypothesis which explains them, and then show its application to the subject immediately in hand.
“It is well known to hypnotists that when an idea is suggested to a subject, to matter of how trivial a character, he will persist in following that idea to its ultimate conclusion, or until the operator releases him from the impression. For instance, if a hypnotist suggests to one of his subjects that his back itches, to another that his nose bleeds, to another that he is a marble statue, to another that he is an animal, etc., each one will follow out the line of his particular impression, regardless of the presence of others, and totally oblivious to all his surroundings which do not pertain to his idea; and be will persist in doing so until the impression is removed by the same power by which it was created. The same principle prevails when a thought is suggested and the subject is invited to deliver a discourse thereon. He will accept the suggestion as his major premise, and whatever there is within the range of his own knowledge or experience, whatever he has seen, heard, or read, which confirms that idea, he has at his command and effectually uses it, but is totally oblivious to all facts or ideas which do not confirm and are not in accord with the one central idea. It is obvious that inductive reasoning, under such conditions, is out of the questions”.
This characteristic of all hypnotic conditions, and Hudson goes on to point out the factors upon which he bases his hypothesis. The principal one is, that “hypnotic subjects are constantly amenable to the power of suggestion; that suggestion is the all-potent factor in the production of all hypnotic phenomena.” He then lays down three propositions, drawn from exhaustive studies of the phenomena of hypnotism, telepathy, mental healing, etc. These propositions are as follows:
First: “Man has, or appears to have, two minds, each endowed with separate and distinct attributes and powers; each capable, under certain conditions, of independent action. It should be clearly understood at the outset that for the purpose of arriving at a correct conclusion it is a matter of indifference whether we consider that man is endowed with two distinct minds, or that his one mind possesses certain attributes and powers under some conditions and certain other attributes and powers under other conditions. It is sufficient to know that everything happens just as though he were endowed with a dual mental organization”.
Mr. Hudson assumes this to be true, and designates one as the objective, and the other as the subjective mind. Other authors use the terms conscious and unconscious or subconscious mind or self, and still others speak of the subliminal mind or self.
Second: The subjective mind is constantly amenable to control by suggestion.
The third or subsidiary proposition is, that the subjective mind is incapable of inductive reasoning. Hudson shows that the broad idea of the duality of mans mind is very old, but that it has always been indefinite, and that no successful attempt has ever before been made to define clearly the nature of the two elements. He says:
“In general terms the difference between mans two minds may be stated as follows:
“The objective mind takes cognizance of the objective world. Its media of observation are the five physical senses. It is the outgrowth of mans physical necessities. It is his guide in his struggle with his physical environment. Its highest function is reasoning.
In this state many of the most wonderful feats of the subjective mind are performed. It sees without the use of the natural organs of vision, and in this, as in many other grades or degrees of the hypnotic state, it can be made, apparently, to leave the body, and travel to distant lands and bring back intelligence, oftentimes of the most exact and truthful character. It also has the power to read the thought of others, even to the minutest details; to read the contents of sealed envelopes, and of closed books. In short, it is the subjective mind which possesses what is popularly known as “clairvoyant power,” and the ability to apprehend the thoughts of others without the aid of the ordinary, objective means of communication.
Hudsons opinion is that the objective mind is merely the function of the physical brain, while the subjective mind appears to be a distinct entity possessing independent powers and functions, having a metal organization of its own, and being capable of maintaining an existence independently of the body. In other words, he believes it to be the soul. he does not attempt to localize it any more definitely than this. Special emphasis is laid upon the unqualified susceptibility of the subjective mind to suggestion.
“The subjective mind accepts, without hesitation or doubt, every statement made to it, no matter how absurd or incongruous or contrary to the experience of the individual. If a subject is told he is a dog he will instantly accept the suggestion, and, to the limit of physical possibility, act the part suggested. He may be thrown into a state of intoxication by being made to drink a glass of water under the impression that it is brandy. if told that he is in a high fever, his pulse will become rapid, his face flushed, and his temperature increased”.
These facts have been demonstrated thousands of times.
It is also true that “the subjective mind of an individual is as amenable to the control of his own objective mind as to the objective mind of another,” and in this we have the key to the cause and cure of certain forms of disease by mental means.
“The objective mind is capable of reasoning by all methods- inductive and deductive, analytic and synthetic”.
“The subjective mind is incapable of inductive reasoning, while the individual is in the state of hypnotism or trance”.
“The feats of the subjective mind have caused amazement for ages, but it has never been noticed heretofore that its reasoning is always deductive or syllogistic. It never classifies a series of known, facts, and reasons from them to general principles; but given a general principle to start with it will reason from that down to all legitimate inferences with a marvelous cogency and power”.
There is a good ground for believing that the memory of the subjective mind is perfect; that no experience through which the individual passes, nothing that he has ever perceived through any of his senses, is ever lost. Many illustrations of this could he given if time permitted; of extraordinary feats of memory during illness-of a forgotten language received; of whole pages of Greek and Hebrew remembered and recited by an illiterate servant girl, who, years before, had worked in the house of a prescriber who was in the habit of reading aloud passages from Greek and Hebrew authors, which her ear casually heard while she was working about the room, etc. Suffice it to say that Mr. Hudsons book of four hundred pages is devoted to the application of this hypothesis to the explanation of a vast number of strange and mysterious things, and that it does explain them satisfactory.
I have already quoted his opinion that the subjective mind is a separate entity, independent of the physical organism. In another place he says: “Subjective memory appears to be an inherent power, and free from anatomical relations, or at least it does not appear to depend upon the healthy condition of the brain for its power of manifestations”.
At this point the theories of Hahnemann, of Professor Gates and Mr. Hudson meet and complement each other. Something was lacking in each which the others supply and a fair consideration of all greatly elucidates the subjective we are discussing. Hahnemanns “life force” corresponds to Professor Gates “cellular mind,” which is nothing more nor less than Hudsons “subjective mind,” Professor Gates definitely locates Hudsons subjective mind and shows how it does its work in bringing about structural changes. A little reflection will show why hahnemanns “life force” is “blind,” “unreasoning,” etc., and why it is not to be trusted in disease. It is subject to every evil suggestion, conveyed from the objective mind of its own or other individualities, and it can only reason deductively. Every mental functioning works cellular and tissue change, and the physical evidences of disease are the result of morbid suggestions.
Hahnemanns “rational mind” and “higher human mind” correspond to Hudsons “objective mind,” the highest function of which is to reason, and which is able to reason inductively as well as deductively, analytically as well as synthetically.
Hahnemanns vital force was not, as he thought, unintelligent, unreasoning and blind, neither is it automatic in the ordinary sense of the word. It reasons correctly, but deductively, even from a false premise. Working in harmony with the “rational” or objective mind during health, it manifests the highest intelligence and most beautiful reasoning powers, as Hahnemann partly recognized. It is only when it is divorced from the objective mind or subjective to evil suggestion that it goes wrong. Even then it is true and consistent, and even admirable, though wasting its energy in reasoning on a false premise, as when it suppurates an eye away in the attempt to remove a splinter from the cornea. If the “rational mind” would first remove the splinter this, same subjective mind, this same “blind and unintelligent force,” would immediately and effectually heal the wound, and by precisely the same process that, carried too far, becomes suppuration. The same is true in the case of the broken bone and other illustrations used by Hahnemann, already quoted and easily explained. Professor Gates studies of pathology, or, as the calls it, “abnormal cellular mentation,” were supplemented and brought nearer to completion by the work of Mr. Hudson.
The attention of the psychologists was centered upon the performances of the subjective mind during the abnormal condition of spontaneous or induced hypnotism. They noticed the strange modification of organic and mental functions during this state and commented upon them. But it seems to have occurred to nobody that the power which intelligently presides over the vital functions of the human organism in its normal state, which go on quite independently of the objective mind, is identical with that power which operates in the abnormal hypnotic condition, namely, the subjective mind. Professor Gates experiments demonstrated this, although he apparently did not make this particular deduction.
Few have seen, in this connection, the great possibilities of the Hahnemannian “proving” as a method and instrument in biological and psychological research. The living human organism is the most delicately responsive regent in the world. By means of drugs properly used, we may bring into view nearly every phase of every function of the economy, mental and physical, for observation and study.
It is only when, in the slow progress of science along the higher lines, we find the most advanced of the workers developing and using methods which are essentially but modifications of the method devised and used by Hahnemann nearly a century ago, that we realize how great is our inheritance from that inspired man. The beauty and utility of his method of sounding the depths of the human mind and body consisted in its directness, simplicity and naturalness. Men of today engaged in analogous or related lines of investigation are trying to accomplish similar results by methods which, though similar, are vastly more complicated and indirect, not knowing that in instrument, formed and perfect, is lying ready at their hand.
Professor Gates might well have devoted some time to a careful study of Hahnemanns “Organon,” with special attention to the method and principles of drug-proving. If he had put it to practical use Hahnemanns debt to him for elucidating the vital force would have been more than paid, for Professor Gates, it seems, thought he was on the eve of discovery of the fundamental law of cure, although he has not yet announced it. It would be interesting indeed if it turned out to be a verification of Hahnemanns discovery.