Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/366

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suggesting the act occurs not to one's self, but is introduced by another. In this line M. Guyau has pointed out a possible application of suggestion in moral therapeutics "as a corrective of abnormal instincts or as a stimulant of too weak normal instincts." He looks upon suggestion as an instinct in the nascent state created by the hypnotizer. Many and important results have been realized from suggestion since his remark was made. Of course, M. Guyau does not advise, but expressly condemns the introduction of hypnotism into normal education. He cites these pathological facts in order to deduce from them consequences relative to the normal condition. He considers hypnotic suggestion as simply the unhealthy and grossly artificial exaggeration of suggestive phenomena which are produced in a state of perfect health. Normal suggestion, which alone should find a place in education, is psychological, moral, and social; it consists in the transmission of ideas or impulsive feelings from one person to another, and in the possibility of fixing them. While in the normal condition we are not under the power of a determined magnetizer, it does not follow that' we are not "accessible to an infinity of little suggestions; now acting contrary to one another, now acting cumulatively and producing a very sensible average effect." Children in particular are open to all the suggestions of the medium. The state of an infant on coming into the world is compared by M. Guyau to that of a hypnotized person. There is the same absence of thoughts of its own or the same predominance of a single thought. "Everything that the infant will hear or see will therefore be a suggestion. This suggestion may be the foundation of a habit which may be developing during the child's whole life, as impressions of terror inculcated in children by nurses often do." If the introduction of new feelings is possible by a wholly physiological means, it should be equally possible by psychological and moral means.

Suggestion, which creates artificial instincts capable of balancing hereditary instincts, constitutes a new power comparable with heredity. Education, says M. Guyau, being a collection of co-ordinated and reasoned suggestions, we can understand the importance, the efficiency which it may acquire in both a psychological and a physiological respect. In our own view, suggestion is only a particular instance of the more fundamental law of idea-forces which rules in all pedagogic science.

Ideas have been sometimes despised and treated as having hardly any influence on the conduct. The philosophers of the eighteenth century, with Descartes and Pascal, on the contrary, regarded the feelings and passions as confused thoughts, as "precipitations" of thoughts. There is truth in this. Under all our feelings there is a collection of imperfectly analyzed ideas, a flood