Page:Psychology and preaching.djvu/242

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


feet of the brain rather than the lack of proper education. There are, of course, all degrees of defective variation from the normal organization of the brain. Many who are not technically classed as " defectives " are nevertheless not up to the standard of normality. They live among normal people, and participate usefully in the ordinary functions of life and keep their heads above water in the competitive struggle; but are exceedingly suggestible and are always under the control of more powerful minds, because their mental life can never attain to the unity and coherence necessary for self-direction.

We must turn now to the consideration of the effective methods of suggestion.

i. Normal suggestion, in order to be effective, must be indirect. It must not come as a command. Yielding to a command, whether based upon recognized authority or upon force, is a different thing from accepting a sugges tion. Even in hypnosis the suggestion is received not as a command based upon recognized authority or force; and in the normal process the distinction is still broader. If the suggestion is given as a command in normal suggestion it at once arouses the resistance of the organism to the abridg ment of its autonomy. After a person has been brought by some means under the abnormal control of the suggester, the suggestion may be given in the form of a command ; but has a different significance to the subject even then. Under ordinary conditions the suggestion is ineffective if given in a form likely to make the subject feel that the control of an other is being forced on him, or that he is being made the dupe of another. The more highly developed the person ality of the subject is, the more necessary is the skilful avoidance of any act or manner which would make the im pression that there was an intention to interfere with his per sonal autonomy, the more evident must be the scrupulous respect for his personal independence. To evince a high valuation of the subject s personality adds much to the ef fectiveness of the suggestion, and in the case of weak or

�� �