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”.