METAPHYSICS VERSUS HYPNOTISM. Is Mind Cure Mesmerism? The advent and success of mental methods of healing have called attention to the fact that some influence other than medical can be beneficially exerted in sickness, resulting in the conviction that mind can act directly upon mind, without the intervention of the physical senses. Scientific investigation in various quarters of the globe has forced this conclusion, and the existence of an influence, at least not purely physical, now must be acknowledged by those who would recognize the progress of the age.
To some thinkers the theories of mesmerism seem to offer the most plausible explanation of the various phenomena of mental healing.
The power of mesmeric influence has been generally denied, and its practice condemned, by many who were supposed to understand its ground, since it was first brought to notice by Mesmer, in Vienna, in 1776.. Extended experiment has proved, however, that power rests in that particular phase of mental action to a greater extent than has generally been admitted. This having been proved, the subject demands recognition and a suitable classification among the powers of the human mind.
The name Mesmerism had fallen into disrepute because of general condemnation of the subject and the word Hypnotism, with which the public are not quite so familiar, appears to have been adopted as a new garment for the old subject. Under this name the theory that the will of one person may be controlled by exercise of willful determination on the part of another, is rapidly becoming an established fact with medical men of all schools, and is now considered as possessing some degree of curative influence.
Until the nature and extent of mental action is understood, it seems easier to comprehend a mental influence which is supposed to be exerted through a means which is physical in part, than one attributed to a purely mental agency. This may account for the frequency with which we hear the question: Is Mental Healing Mesmerism or Hypnotism? Occasionally the statement is seen in print over the signature of some one claiming authoritative information, that mind cure - what there is to it - is only a form, or feature of Hypnotism, and that eventually it will disappear in that "science." No greater mistake can be made than to suppose that the active influence of Metaphysical Healing, or of any real mental cure, is applied through the same modes of action which govern the influence now being exercised in hypnotic experiment. Those who make this assertion are either incorrectly informed as to the real nature of mental cure, or they are unacquainted with the curative influence of metaphysical principles when exerted through the action of intelligent understanding; - perhaps, with the principles themselves.
The English word Hypnotism is derived from the Greekmeaning sleep, particularly an normal or somnambulistic sleep, seemingly induced by external means; - a state of trance or some degree of insensibility to surroundings.
During hypnotic influence the subject surrenders his will to that of the operator, who thereupon takes possession of the mental mechanism of the submissive victim and does with it what he chooses, while the subject acts according to the will of the other, neither knowing what he does nor caring for results. This is the brutal control of one personality by another, without either moral element or agency. The action takes place entirely upon the lowest mental plane, that of the animal will - the brute plane of human life, where animal tendencies prevail. Its resultant action is a downward moral tendency for both subject and operator; neither can tell where the tendency will cease.
The Hypnotic Subject unconditionally surrenders his personality to the dictates of another, ceases to exercise his own faculties, and is temporarily without will, determination, moral or physical sensibility, choice, desire or power for independent action in any direction whatever. The operator acts through the mental mechanism of the subject, exercising control over the physical mechanism also, by the action of animal will. If the subject yields to this influence, he for the time being becomes practically nonexistent except as the operator permits him to exist in imitative act.
Will is here falsely placed above Intelligence - a position which cannot be permanently maintained. The force exerted is limited in action to the extent of animal will, which possesses much less power than is usually supposed. The limit of the animal will is reached before that of any other of the mental faculties.
The moral side of this question will not be discussed here, further than to suggest that there is moral degradation in the unconditional surrender of one personality to the willful control of another at any time, in any manner or under any circumstances; and no rightlyinformed person, unless he is to some extent morally degraded, would consent to deprive another of independent action for any other purpose than to save life or to do some great good not to to be performed in any other way.
In metaphysical treatment, however, an influence of an entirely different character is brought to bear upon the subject. No willful control of the patient occurs at any time or under any circumstances. If personal control, or selfwill power, is exerted, the act is unmetaphysical, and the operator not a true metaphysician.
The patient is left at all times in the utmost freedom of possession of all his mental faculties; indeed, this freedom is always cultivated as the most desirable condition for effective mental treatment.
Metaphysical treatment is based upon the Intelligence instead of the Will. Intelligence is considered of first importance, because it is a higher faculty than Will, purer in character and more powerful in action. Even on the highest plane of spiritual action, where the higher element of divine will in man's constitution is the instrument of action, the will is entirely subservient to Intelligence.
Metaphysics appeals to spiritual faculty rather than to animal impulse. It speaks through intelligent understanding of the principles of Being, to the spiritual intelligence of the human soul, presenting to that Intelligent Individual the facts of his own existence for superconscious consideration, and on them he may or may not act receptively, as he intelligently decides for himself. In this manner Metaphysics instructs, and metaphysical healing guides the wanderer out of the path in which he suffers, into a higher path of understanding, leaving the will free and untrammeled that it may develop to higher degrees of intelligent activity.
Truths are presented mentally which the individual may receive or reject with perfect freedom; an attempt to force him into undesired paths would render the act abortive, because Intelligence never forces except through the shedding of Light, and light brightens, rather than beclouds the intellect - it quickens, but never stupefies either faculty or function. Metaphysical influence elevates both intellectually and morally; it can never by any possibility degrade.
No good result can be produced through hypnotic control, even under the most favorable circumstances, which cannot be produced with greater benefit through an adequate knowledge of Metaphysics, and without the dangerous features, both moral and physical, that invariably attend the surrender of will and conscious intelligence.
Comparison of Hypnotic and Metaphysical influence may be made as follows: Hypnotism is a mental influence based upon the act of overpowering the animal will, which is the lowest degree of mental determination, or choice of action, and its power for action rests entirely with this one limitation of man's mental nature, while Metaphysical Healing is a mental act based upon spiritual intelligence, and covers the entire mental and spiritual nature, including the element of Divine Will - which is the only real element of will. The power proceeds from intelligent comprehension of the principles of the universe; this comprehension includes all true power
for mental action.
When the nature of hypnotism is fully understood, its present feature of a willful control of one by another on the self plane will be eliminated, and man's real power for mental action will be recognized; that power is a loving guidance - by means of intelligent understanding - of the element of Divine Will which inheres in the real nature of every Individual. Then all selfish purpose will disappear and the power of hypnotism, now so astonishing, will be increased a thousandfold; its present disagreeable name and character will vanish, and its power for good will have merged into the parent power - intelligent understanding of the laws of Being rightly named, Metaphysics. When this is accomplished the branch will be justly. recognized as an active part of the living tree, from which it sprang and on which it must depend for further existence. The present methods of hypnotism lead downwards, and, if continued, must end in disaster to the theories and final annihilation.
Recent accounts of hypnotic experiments made in France mention achievements in the diagnosis of difficult cases, in which mental causes of disease were discovered by means of awakened memory on the part of the subjects, while in hypnotic trance. In one instance the subject recounted the details of an incident in childhood, which was considered a mental cause of her sickness. This cause was rendered quiescent, for the time being, by stating to her while in the trance state, that which the operator desired her to believe about the occurrence. This was considered necessary and justifiable because of the ends to be attained.
If there were no other way possible of giving relief, this might, perhaps, seem justifiable; but, as a matter of fact, the result obtained by this means is only the most feeble kind of a repetition of that which Mental Cure has been doing for many years, and has successfully accomplished in thousands of instances, both as regards the diagnosis and the cure, without any interference with perfectly free action of will on the part of the patient, without trance or any unnatural condition, and entirely independent of any hypnotic or mesmeric influence whatever.
Moreover, metaphysical understanding of the principles involved, enables the operator to permanently efface the troublesome element of fear or mental emotion which caused the disease, by causing the mental image to disintegrate, fade and vanish, while consciously speaking the truth in regard to it and knowing why the statements are true. This is one advantage possessed by the higher branch of the healing art.
In metaphysical diagnostication, similar mental causes, often fifty, sixty, seventy or more years past in life are brought forward in the memory - sometimes by questioning, at other times, where conscious memory does not work with clearness, by intelligent treatment which clears the mental faculties and freshens the memory; and instances are not uncommon in which they have been discovered psychically, without volition or conscious memory on the part of either the operator or the patient.
Metaphysical Healing has several ways of reaching the mental causes of sickness, any of which is better than hypnotic trance, because more natural and entirely harmless, while equally effective and absolutely permanent, with no possible chance for undesirable complications. Metaphysics strikes at the root of every harmful mental influence and annihilates it without danger or injury to any faculty.
Metaphysics encourages., while Hypnotism suppresses, intelligence on the part of its subject. Because of this fact metaphysical healing in every branch invariably meets its greatest success with the most intelligent people, in the most intellectual and spiritual families; while business and professional people of marked mental ability, strengthened by the power of intelligent comprehension of principles, are the most susceptible to its healing and restoring influence. The greater the degree of intelligence the more prompt and effective the response to treatment, and restoration to health.
On the other hand it is notorious that Hypnotism and all external mesmeric influences, find their most submissive subjects among the uncultured and mentally inactive. The subservient invariably prove the best subjects for hypnotic experiment. This is because a submissive will is necessary to a pliant hypnotic subject, while intelligent mental activity is incompatible with willing submission to unjust influence. Intellectual power renders one rightly independent and unsubmissive to selfish personal dictation, under all circumstances and in all degrees of consciousness.
In hypnotic experiment the subject must submit, either consciously or subconsciously, to the willful act of the operator, before any appreciable degree of control can be exerted. It is because of this fact that under experiment so many people prove poor hypnotic subjects. No intelligent individual can be hypnotized or mesmerized against his will when properly exercised, - or without his own consent. This statement holds absolutely true with regard to direct influence when the subject is present with the operator; in the Case of absent influence it will be equally true if the subject be naturally independent and intellectually active in assertion of his own higher will, through knowledge of the laws of real being, and alert to recognize influences which it is required to counteract. Knowledge is an absolute protection; - the hypnotic act is powerless without some degree of compliance on the part of the subject.
In metaphysical treatment appeal is made to the Individual Intelligence, and ideas that have been proved the facts of universal life are presented for intellectual comprehension on the higher plane of mentality, where the finest and best of human faculties are exercised, and where Fundamental Truths will be recognized on presentation. On this plane of consciousness the patient is always within reach of the guiding influence of right thoughts in regard to the activities of his own life.
Because of these Principles, metaphysicians, to be universally successful, must be honest and conscientious; rightly, not morbidly sympathetic, possessing clear intellectual comprehension of the affairs of human life, together with pure understanding of the spiritual side of human nature as expressed in the Divine Will, the good influence of which man shares in common with all Being.
If we recognize these facts, it is easy to understand that it is not, as frequently supposed, the mentally feeble, the weak, vacillating mortal, the imaginative, credulous or cranky specimen of humanity, - neither is it necessarily the inexperienced, the unsophisticated, the ignorant, or the least important member of the human family that is the most susceptible to the influence of metaphysical healing, but quite the reverse.
Metaphysics appeals most powerfully to the greatest minds, building an adamantine tower of understanding on a rock foundation of fact; while Hypnotism, even in the highest acts of its present aspect is, comparatively, but the plaything of children in the sand. A dangerous plaything, at that - a twoedged tool, daggerpointed at either end.
Principles rule activities. Right eventually prevails.