It must not be forgotten that C was not a spiritist, and that the whole bent of his mind inclined to materialism. He frequently expressed the most profound astonishment at the replies he received. This was held to be an evidence that the replies were not evolved from his own inner consciousness. Indeed, it was strenuously urged by some of the company present that he must have been talking with an independent intelligence, else his answers would have coincided with his own belief while in his normal condition. The conclusive answer to that proposition is this: He was in the subjective state. He had been told that he was talking face to face with a disembodied spirit of superior intelligence. He believed the statement implicitly, in obedience to the law of suggestion. He saw, or thought he saw, a disembodied spirit. The inference, for him, was irresistible that this was a demonstration of the truth of spiritism; that being assumed, the rest followed as a natural inference. He was, then, simply reasoning deductively from an assumed major premise, thrust upon him, as it were, by the irresistible force of a positive suggestion.
His reasoning was perfect of its kind, there was not a flaw in it; but it was purely syllogistic, from general principles to particular facts.
It will doubtless be said that this does not prove that he was not in actual converse with a spirit. True; and if the conversation had been confined to purely philosophical subjects, its exalted character would have furnished plausible grounds for a belief that he was actually in communion with the inhabitants of a world where pure intelligence reigns supreme. But test questions were put to one of the supposed spirits, with a view of determining this point. One of them was asked where he died. His reply was, "In a little town near Boston." The fact is that he had lived in a little town near Boston, and the somnambulist knew it. But he died in a foreign land, - a fact which the somnambulist did not know. C was subsequently, when in his normal condition, informed of the failure of this test question, and was told at the same time what the facts were concerning the circumstances of the death of the gentleman whose spirit was invoked. He was amused at the failure, as well as at the credulity of those who had believed that he had been in conversation with spirits; but at a subsequent sitting he was again informed that the same spirit was present, and he at once manifested the most profound indignation because of the deception which had been practised upon him by the said spirit, and demanded an explanation of the falsehood which he had told concerning the place of his death.
Then was exhibited one of the most curious phases of subjective intelligence. The spirit launched out into a philosophical disquisition on the subject of spirit communion, and defined the limitations of spiritual intercourse with the inhabitants of this earth in such a philosophical and plausible manner that not only was the young man mollified, but the spiritists present felt that they had scored riumph, and had at last heard an authoritative explanation of the fact that spirits are limited in their knowledge of their own antecedents by that of the medium through whom they communicate.
For the benefit of those who will say that there is, after all, no proof that C was not in actual communication with a superior intelligence, it must be stated that at a subsequent seance he was introduced to a very learned and very philosophical pig, who spoke all the modern languages with which C was acquainted, and appeared to know as much about spiritual philosophy as did the ancient Greek. C had been told that the pig was a reincarnation of a Hindoo priest whose "karma" had been a little off color, but who retained a perfect recollection of his former incarnation, and had not forgotten his learning. It is perhaps unnecessary to say that the pig was able to, and did, give a very learned and eminently satisfactory exposition of the doctrine of reincarnation and of Hindoo philosophy in general. As C was then fresh from his reading of some modern theosophi-cal works, he was apparently much gratified to find that they were in substantial accord with the views of the pig.
The inference to be drawn from these facts is obvious and irresistible: the subjective mind of the young man accepted the suggestion of the operator as an absolute verity. The deductions from the premises thus given were evolved from his own inner consciousness. But that he believed them to have been imparted to him by a spirit, is as certain as that he believed that he saw a spirit.
It must not be understood from the statement of the general proposition regarding the subjective processes of reasoning that persons in the subjective state necessarily go through the forms of syllogistic reasoning. On the contrary, they seldom, if ever, employ the forms of the syllogism, and it is rare that their discourses are argumentative. They are generally, in fact, dogmatic to the last degree. It never seems to occur to them that what they state to be a fact can possibly be, in the slightest degree, doubtful. A doubt, expressed or implied, of their perfect integrity, of the correctness of their statements, or of the genuineness of the phenomena which is being exhibited through them, invariably results in confusion and distress of mind. Hence they are incapable of controversial argument, - a fact which constitutes another important distinction between the objective and subjective minds. To traverse openly the statements of a person in the subjective state, is certain to restore him. to the normal condition, often with a severe nervous shock. The explanation of these facts is easy to find in the constant amenability of the subjective mind to the power of suggestion.
They are speaking or acting from the standpoint of one suggestion, and to controvert it is to offer a counter suggestion which is equally "potent with the first. The result is, and must necessarily be, utter confusion of mind and nervous excitement on the part of the subject, These facts have an important bearing upon many psychological phenomena, and will be adverted to more at length in future chapters, my present purpose being merely to impress upon the reader's mind the general principles governing subjective mental phenomena.
It will be seen from the foregoing that when it is stated that the subjective mind reasons deductively, the results of its reasoning processes are referred to rather than its forms. That is to say, whilst it may not employ the forms of the syllogism, its conclusions are syllogistically correct, - are logically deducible from the premises imparted to it by suggestion. This peculiarity seems to arise from, or to be the necessary result of, the persistency with which the subjective mind will follow every idea suggested. It is well known to hypnotists that when an idea is suggested to a subject, no 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 he 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 or illustrates that idea, he has at his command and effectually uses it, but is apparently 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 question.