Recurring in this connection to the preceding proposition, that "a state of perfect passivity on the part of the patient is the most favorable condition for the reception of telepathic impressions or communications for therapeutic purposes," the conclusion is obvious that the condition of natural sleep, being the most perfectly passive condition imaginable, must of necessity be the most favorable condition for the reception of telepathic suggestions for therapeutic purposes. It is especially adapted for the conveyance of therapeutic suggestions, for the reason that for such purposes it is not necessary that the suggestions or impressions should rise above the threshold of the patient's consciousness. Indeed, as we have before observed, it is better that they should not. The object being merely the restoration of health, it is not necessary that the objective mind should feel, or be conscious of, the impressions or suggestions made. It is precisely as it is in hypnotism; the suggestions, whether oral or telepathic, are made to the subjective intelligence; and, in case of profound hypnotic sleep, the objective mind retains no recollection of the suggestions.
In either case the subjective mind is the one addressed; and that, being the central power in control of the functions and conditions of the body, accepts the suggestions and acts accordingly.
There are not wanting facts which show clearly that the power exists to convey telepathic messages to sleeping persons, causing them to dream of the things that the agent desires. As long ago as 1819, Councillor H. M. Weser-mann, of Dusseldorf, recorded, in the "Archiv fur den thierischen Magnetismus," l a few experiments of his own which show this to be true. The following items are reproduced in "Phantasms of the Living," 2 from the original article above mentioned: -
I endeavored to acquaint my friend, the Hofkammerrath G. (whom I had not seen, with whom I had not spoken, and to whom I had not written for thirteen years), with the fact of my intended visit, by presenting my form to him in his sleep, through the force of my will. When I unexpectedly went to him on the following evening, he evinced his astonishment at having seen me in a dream on the preceding night.
Madame W., in her sleep, was to hear a conversation between me and two other persons, relating to a certain secret; and when I visited her on the third day, she told me all that had been said, and showed her astonishment at this remarkable dream.
1 Vol. vi. pp. 136-139.
2 Vol. i. pp. 101, 102.
An aged person in G------was to see in a dream the funeral procession of my deceased friend S.; and when I visited her on the next day, her first words were that she had in her sleep seen a funeral procession, and on inquiry had learned that I was the corpse. Here there was a slight error.
Herr Doctor B. desired a trial to convince him, whereupon I represented to him a nocturnal street-brawl. He saw it in a dream, to his great astonishment. (This means, presumably, that he was astonished when he found that the actual subject of his dream was what Wesermann had been endeavoring to impress on him.)"
It would thus seem to be reasonably well established that the state of natural sleep is the best possible condition for the reception of telepathic suggestions for therapeutic purposes.
The next inquiry in order is, therefore, as to what is the best means of conveying telepathic suggestion to the sleeping patient. In a previous chapter it has been shown that a successful mesmerizer must necessarily be in a partially subjective condition himself in order to produce the higher phenomena of mesmerism. It may, it is thought, be safely assumed that the phenomenon of thought-transference cannot be produced under any other conditions Indeed, it stands to reason that, inasmuch as it is the subjective mind of the percipient that is impressed, the message must proceed from the subjective mind of the agent. In other words, it is reasonable to suppose that, the subjective or passive condition being a necessity on the part of the percipient or subject, an analogous condition is a necessity on the part of the agent or operator. This fact is shown, not only in mesmerism, but in the methods of Christian scientists. The mesmerist, as we have seen, quietly fixes his gaze upon the subject and concentrates his mind and will upon the work in hand, and thus, unknowingly, it may be, partially hypnotizes himself. The Christian scientist sits quietly by the patient and concentrates his mind, in like manner, upon the central idea of curing the patient.
And, in either case, just in proportion to the ability of the operator to get himself into the subjective condition will he succeed in accomplishing his object, whether it is the production of the higher phenomena of mesmerism, or the healing of the sick by telepathic suggestion.
If, then, the passive, or subjective, condition of the agent is necessary for the successful transmission of telepathic suggestions or communications, or if it is the best condition for such a purpose, it follows that the more perfectly that condition is attained, the more successful will be the experiment. As before observed, the condition of natural sleep is manifestly the most perfectly passive condition attainable. It is necessarily perfect, for all the objective senses are locked in slumber, and the subjective mind is free to act in accordance with the laws which govern it. Those laws are, it is true, at present but little understood; but this much has been demonstrated, namely, that the subjective mind is controllable by the mysterious power of suggestion, and is always most active during sleep.
Theoretically, then, we find that the most perfect condition either for the conveyance or the reception of telepathic impressions or communications is that of natural sleep. The only question that remains to be settled is whether it is possible for the agent or operator so to control his own subjective mind during his bodily sleep as to compel or induce it to convey the desired message to the sub-consciousness of the patient. To settle this question, we must again have recourse to the record of the labors and researches of the London Society for Psychical Research. It might well be inferred that this power must necessarily be possessed, when we take into consideration the general law of suggestion, coupled with the fact that the subjective mind is perfectly amenable to control by auto-suggestion.