This section is from the book "Handbook Of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science", by Henry S. Munro. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science.
Man, as an entity, has conscious psychic or mental activities, which correspond to the functions of the motor area of the brain - the gray matter, the higher centers, the voluntary processes. The functionating of these we designate as the conscious mind. These centers respond to stimuli that reach them through the five special senses - sight, hearing, feeling, taste, and smell - and through these all the bodily functions can be reached and influenced. Here is the seat of all voluntary action, the home of reason and the higher intellectual faculties.
So far as we know, our higher mental functions seem to have their immediate seats in the cortex of the brain, and of these mental functions the anterior frontal lobes appear to have the power of inhibition. This is as near as we can come to absolute localization of the mental faculties.
Articulation is a motor act, and, in common with other motor functions, is governed by groups of cells in Broca's convolutions; but the mind, which is symbolized by language, giving expression to our thoughts, desires, ideas, aspirations and volitions, is a psychic phenomenon dependent upon the entire brain and nervous system. All forms of life that have ideas, however crude they may be, have the power of symbolizing them. Language is but the symbolization of ideas, and even the lower forms of life have a language of their own, however elementary and primitive they may be.
The failure of memory, as we know, is dependent upon the dissolution of the entire nervous system. The latest acquired, and consequently the least organized, mental attributes disappearing first indicates that the mind, as exhibited by speech through the combined effort of feeling, memory, desire, and will, is an acquirement dependent upon environment, and quality and mode of neuron organization.
Our conscious mind, then, seems to be an outgrowth of education and experience, resulting from the conditions that environ us during our struggle for existence from the cradle to the grave. This is the mind that we use in our normal, waking consciousness, as we go in the smooth, even tenor of our ways, attending to our respective vocations in life, not dominated by fear, or anger, or emotion, but controlled by reason and will. This, I say, is the conscious mind and represents the higher brain centers in action.
Hypnotism is the process or method of using suggestion to influence the action of the conscious mind. By suggestion the functions of the motor area of the brain can be soothed, quieted, made still, passive, inactive, at rest, or placed in abeyance. As an individual the subject ceases to use these brain centers and consents to allow you to use them for him, and through them to reach and influence the lower nervous system, which presides over the involuntary physiological processes of the body.
Hypnotism, in one sense, is induced sleep. The only difference between induced sleep and natural sleep is that in natural sleep you are completely oblivious to the outside world, while in induced, or hypnotic, sleep the subject is, as it were, asleep to every one except the person who induced the sleep. He is en rapport with the operator - in relation with him. He hears and acts upon the operator's suggestions, but appears to pay no attention to any one else than the person who induced the condition referred to as the hypnotic state.
When the conscious mind is rendered passive, as when an individual is hypnotized, or in a condition of increased susceptibility to suggestion, we can better reach and influence all those psychic activities which lie below the threshold of consciousness, the study of which throws much light upon the subject at hand.