The Dual Mind
by Howard L. Page (1909)
One of the commonest characteristics of persons who are possessed of gifts of the imagination, such as writers, painters, actors, etc., is a lack of power of concentration. The much abused term artistic temperament, is properly used to designate this very common place defect. Under whatever name, it has seriously hampered the productivity and injured the work of persons who suffer from it. Hitherto this has been supposed to an irradicable, constitutional tendency which could not be cured. Certainly it was far too subtle a mental disorder to be reached by the ordinary methods of material science.
Recent experiments however have shown that there is very real hope for the sufferers in hypnotism. Dr. John Quackenbos, the eminent New York physician, who is one of the leading authorities on hypnotism in this country, in his book, Hypnotism in Culture, gives a remarkable account of the results he obtained in the treatment of persons who suffered from an inability to concentrate their thoughts. His experiments were made principally in the case of ﬁction writers, and he declares that in hypnosis he imparted to them, “a knowledge of the canons of narration, viz., the law of selection, which limits the storyteller to appropriate characteristic or individual circumstances; the law of succession, which governs the disposal of the selected incidents in the order of a climax; and the law of unity, secondly, of the laws of construction in the case of the novel, its functions and technic, and its legitimate material.”
“This philosophy is readily grasped,” he continues, “assimilated and utilized in post-hypnotic creation; and the mode of instruction puts out of countenance the conventional wrestling with the precepts of a text book.”
In the light of instantaneous apprehension, barrenness gives place to richness of association, the earnest thought and honest toil of the old method to a surprising facility, disinclination to select details, to zest in appropriating whatever is available. Opportunity and mood are thus made to coincide, and the subject spontaneously conforms to the eternal principles of style. Under the inﬂuence of such inspiration, rapid progress has been made in the chosen ﬁeld of authorship.”
Such evidence contributed by an indisputable expert should be convincing. The importance of this discovery to humanity may easily be underestimated. The great lament of all lovers of art and beauty for centuries has been that the great geniuses have given so little to the world. Their paucity of output has been, to a large extent, due to their inability to work steadily. Coleridge and Poe are notable instances. Both gave to the world work of inestimable value, but how poor in quantity compared with the wealth of their imaginative gifts; The reason in both cases was the same. For months at a time the authors of The Ancient Mariner, and The Raven, would remain in idleness and apathy, pitifully anxious to work but incapable of concentrating their minds on their labors. If they had been treated hypnotically with the results achieved by Dr. Quackenbos and others. In Similar cases, the world undoubtedly would be the richer to -day by a number of masterpieces, eternal and priceless. It is undoubtedly true that a considerable number of the great works of fiction, plays, poems, pictures, and sculpture, have been executed under hypnotic inﬂuence, which was unconsciously self-induced. As a matter of fact inspiration is really nothing more than suggestion. A beautiful woman is said to inspire a painter or a poet. The phrase simply means that she exercises a suggestive inﬂuence over his subconscious mind, and he works under that inﬂuence without exercising his conscious intelligence to any appreciable extent. The most magniﬁcent feats in the world of art and literature have been accomplished while the actor was in an abnormal and genuinely subconscious condition The absent-mindedness of men of genius which has passed into a proverb is of course simply a lapse of the conscious mind. It means that they are under the control of their subliminal selves, or in other words in a state of partial hypnosis.
That Napoleon could dominate his fellowmen to so tremendous an extent is marvellous enough, but what explanation is to be given of the fact that he actually dominated circumstances? He made circumstances and Prometheus-like deﬁed the gods to change them. In the small and insigniﬁcant frame of Napoleon there lay a mysterious, intangible force which could make millions of men do his bidding, destroy mighty nations, and turn to folly all the wisdom which the world had learned in the school of experience
Hypnotism enters into this case inasmuch as the inﬂuence which was exerted by Napoleon on those who came into his presence was purely hypnotic. His conscious mind was so much superior to those of all other men that it broke them down and forced irresistible suggestions upon their subconsciousness. In a far less degree this may be seen in any circle.
If properly understood, the subjective mind becomes a faithful and obedient servant. The knowledge that you have such a mind should always be with you. Persistence in remembering this idea is the prime factor in subjective development. While it is true that mental constitutions differ, and that some will ﬁnd their subjective minds respond more readily than others, it may be stated positively that all who will may call upon this wonderful side of their nature for help and encouragement by faithful study and practice.
The Little Match Girl by Arthur Rackham