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Mesmerism

"Mesmerism is the art of inducing a state of complete coma?, or insensibility, or of somnambulism?, in which the operator claims to control the actions, and communicate directly with the mind, of the recipient. The operator, having the higher power, dominates the will of the patient, who involuntarily becomes so submissive under the influence of mesmerism that he has practically no will of his own, but obeys, in detail, the will of the operator. He becomes but a minor part of the operating force, or motive power, and for the time ceases to be an individual being. This power cannot be forced on anyone. The recipient must first submit himself to the influence of the operator. A man cannot be mesmerised without in some way aiding and abetting, although that may be done in ignorance." David Sinclair, A New Creed the book

Below Quimby discusses Mesmerism and "Magnetic Fluid" and "Animal Magnetism" theories. These are claimed to act by way of a "fluid" between operator and subject. In the end Quimby says there is no "fluid" and the action at a distance is caused by a "mind to mind" connection. Elsewhere Quimby clearly states mind is a tenuous substance or matter. So there is 'something' between the causative and receptive minds. This tenuous substance while not a liquid or fluid per se is obviously the connecting link - sympathy - which Quimby does also claim. This section is important to SVP because it illustrates a principle at work in the Dynaspheres. At the core of each Dynaspheres is a Neutral Center - a zone of consciousness. Many of the actions of the Dynaspheres can be related to a connection between minds of those nearby and the device itself - as born out in direct experience (external link). This connection is a sympathetic (what some have called Love) link from mind to Neutral Center - the center of consciousness of the Dynaspheres.

MESMERISM

from Lecture Notes Book III


Anton Mesmer?, a Swiss Physician, about the year 1750 was distinguishing himself by his philosophical writings. From some cause or other, he left his native country and appeared in France in 1778. Soon after his arrival, he introduced the new science of Animal Magnetism, which has since been sometimes called Mesmerism from its supposed discoverer. The phenomena exhibited by Mesmer under the influence of his new science had been familiar in one form or other to the inhabitants of the world so far back as history extends; yet he claimed the honor of discovering its powers and its laws. He introduced the doctrine of the "magnetic fluid" and was accustomed to magnetize trees by whose power in turn subjects were thrown into the magnetic state etc. I believe it has generally been conceded by all who have succeeded him and who have claimed much honor for having advanced the science, that Mesmer first operated with the Animal fluid. In the year of 1784, the subject of Animal Magnetism excited much interest in Paris and the King was finally induced to direct a committee of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Paris to give the subject a thorough consideration and report their opinion of its merits. The American Philosopher, Dr. Franklin?, was then Ambassador at the Court of France and was appointed a member of this committee. It appears during the progress of their investigations that two principles were to be decided. First, whether the experiments were really performed as they appeared or were they a species of deception practiced by collusion, contact or by previous practice. Second, whether, if there should be no deception practiced, there is sufficient evidence from the facts developed to establish a theory of "Magnetic Fluid" through which all these strange appearances of the mind were exhibited. The committee decided that there was not sufficient evidence exhibited to show that the phenomena called Magnetic were caused by the action of a fluid, as had been contended by the disciples of Mesmer. This settled, with them, the second part of their enquiry. The results, however, and the facts witnessed, were more difficult to reject. They were thought to be "singular and wonderful" and were finally attributed to the power of the imagination. The mysterious influence of `mind over mind,' was readily conceded; yet they supposed the medium to be (not a magnetic fluid), but "Imagination." We find no fault with this report except in the term used as its cause, namely, the "Imagination," believing that even the facts disclosed before the honorable committee were such as to require another expression. If I imagine a picture or scene, it will not appear real to me. I might create images corresponding to certain names which would be given them, but there would be no belief on my part of the real existence of such created images. The poet may rely upon his powers of imagination and portray in measured verse ideal existences which please and amuse, but should he portray what he believed to exist or knows to exist just as he would describe any fact, no one would contend that the work was a species of imagery, but a relation of facts by the author, or at least, what was believed to be true by him. Milton?, in Paradise Lost has displayed the highest powers of the imagination, but we do not presume he believed himself relating simple facts, which actually transpired according to the description he has given. Yet to some minds who have read this work of genius and have a belief and a conviction of the reality of his imagery, it is with them a matter of fact. Imagination can have no permanent effect over the conduct of an individual, because an impression produced upon the mind by an imaginary cause ceases to control him, the moment he is conscious of this fact. If I should read an account of some wonderful event in the columns of a newspaper and I believed it to be a fact, there would be no imagination upon my part, although the whole scene might be the work of the editor's imagination. It would be imagery to him, but reality to me. Now the committee did not pretend that collusion or consent of action produced such results as were exhibited before them, but that it was by some unknown mystery, the influence of "Imagination."

It must be admitted at the present day that all subjects act from impressions and that they really believe in the reality of the cause of these impressions, else they would not appear so sincere or would not be sincere. If it were the result of the imagination, it would indeed be a species of polite deception because a subject could not be supposed to act sincerely and know at the same time that it proceeded from false causes and that he was deceiving himself. The operator, or rather the controller of the mind of a subject in the mesmeric state, may produce impressions upon the recipient, from false causes; yet those causes would be real to his subject and produce the same results as though every impression were the result of a real cause. A mesmerizer may imagine a book before the subject and the subject will see and feel it, although no book be in a room; that is, the same impression is made upon his mind by the mind of the operator as though a book had really been placed before him. The operator thinks or imagines the book, but the subject receives a real impression and acts as though the object was before him. I have frequently amused myself with experiments of this nature, fully demonstrating the effect of imagination producing real impressions upon the subject. I have handed Lucius?, my subject, a six inch rule and imagined it to be twelve inches. He would immediately divide the rule into twelve inches by counting. Present him with the rule and ask him how many inches it contains and he would answer correctly unless, by the operation of my mind I should produce an impression that it contained twelve inches. I have first asked him to tell me how long it was and he would answer me correctly. I would then ask him to look again, and then I would imagine any length I please and he would answer me according to the impression I produced by my imagination or thought. So in regard to other impressions which I would cause to be made upon his mind, always producing the same results as though the real object were presented. I understand the term, imagination, as employed by the honorable Committee, to refer to the subject and not the operator — that it is a result of the imagination of the subject. Our remarks above, we think, explain precisely how much the imagination has to do with this subject, believing as we do that the mesmerized mind acts from impressions regulated by the same laws as when impressions are made by the communication of the bodily senses?. In the experiments we have named, and no doubt it was so before the Committee, whatever imagination has to do with the experiments at all is confined, not to the subject but to the operator or individual who is in communication with the subject.

We believe the Committee had good and conclusive evidence against the theory of a fluid and we are equally unbelieving in the imagination as being the result of all they witnessed. We are aware that much, very much, appears at first view to be the power of imagination; but a further investigation into the results will prove that with the mesmeric subject, there is no such power as imagination.

There was an interesting experiment which was performed before the Committee at Paris of this nature. A tree was magnetized, as the operator supposed, and the subject was to be led up to it and the magnetic fluid would pass into him and throw him into the magnetic state. This was performed several times with perfect accuracy. But the Committee finally hit upon this method. Instead of taking him to the magnetized tree, he was led up, blindfold, to one not magnetized and quite as mysteriously fell into the mesmeric condition. This proved to the Committee, as it must to everyone, that in fact one tree possesses the same principle and quantity of magnetism as the other, which the operator had acted upon; or that neither of them was impregnated with magnetism but that some other cause, called by the Committee imagination, produced the mesmeric sleep. Query, was this imagination! The subject in the first instance believed that he was led to the magnetized tree, which was true, and there could not have been imagination about this. In the second instance he was led to the natural tree, but he believed it to be magnetized and of course the same impressions and the same results would follow, if you reject the magnetic fluid. Every circumstance to the subject would be the same in both experiments, and if like causes produce like effects, it could not be the result of a magnetic influence because one tree was magnetized and the other was not and the impressions being real in both cases could not have affected the imagination. Imagination supposes something not real. These impressions, from which the subject acts, are real and not imaginary to him.

If the reply is that imagination produced both results, we answer that every thing which makes an impression upon the mind is, then, the result of the imagination. All the impressions we receive are imagined, and man's whole conduct is nothing but a series and succession of imaginations.

If I direct my subject to do a certain thing at such a time, informing him what that is and the result I wish to produce, and nothing further is said or thought about the direction until the time arrives, and should the subject by his own voluntary act do according to my direction, is it the result of his imagination? If on the other hand, I desire him to do something at a certain time, but do not communicate to him my desire, and he should without further cause perform the very act I wished, would it be the power of his imagination? If these are all the result of imagination, every thing which surrounds us exists only in imagery and the world is ideal. The system of Berkeley concerning the non existence of matter and that material existences are but images etc. - might be well adopted; and to carry up the science a little further, Hume, with his creations of images and impressions, would be the pattern philosopher of the images of men!

We are rather disposed to confine the use of the word imagination to its proper definition and not to confound it with realities. We must therefore reject both the "magnetic fluid" and the "imagination" as being the cause of the phenomena called mesmeric. We embrace a doctrine which both the Committee and the followers of Mesmer do not deny, namely, the influence of mind over mind, not through the medium of a "fluid" or the "Imagination" but by direct contact with and action upon mind.

We shall now proceed to examine the theory of a "Fluid" and to show what deception those who have adopted and advocated the theory have practiced upon themselves. It has been remarked, (and with what truth our readers will hereafter decide), that Animal Magnetism is a stupendous humbug, that it is a species of polite deception held up to the community as something strange, wonderful and real — a delusion played upon the credulity of honest citizens by artful and designing operators. The facts resulting from experiments, in this enlightened age, cannot be refuted; but I am aware that the oddity and unreasonable methods of accounting for them by the writing and lectures of the advocates of a Fluid theory are so inconsistent with many experiments performed by the followers of Mesmer, themselves, that not only the animal fluid, but all the strange phenomena of mind, arising from the mesmeric state, are rejected at once and passed over to the grave of delusion.

But the rejection of facts should be more carefully done, than of falsehood. Nor should we give up the whole facts because the system of explanation is inconsistent and absurd. It is not really the community who are so essentially humbugged as those who adopt and defend the "Fluid Theory." They are really deceived, supposing they have the agency of a fluid when, in fact there is no fluid about the experiments. Their belief, however, enables them to perform their experiments and they proceed as though they were really doing something by its agency. If they should adopt the theory of solids instead of fluids, it would be quite as reasonable and they might perform all the experiments which they now perform with the fluid, or reject both and then all the experiments can be better performed which could be performed by "fluids and solids."

The Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend A.M. late of Trinity Hall, Cambridge has published a volume of some four hundred pages, entitled "Dispassionate Inquiry into Mesmerism". It is on the whole a very interesting work, and serves rather to amuse than to instruct and direct the enquirer after truth. His experiments were good and expressed in beautiful language and with scientific terms. But the error of all his labor was in the first impression from a false cause. He was a believer in the magnetic fluid and endeavored to bring all the facts he discovered under its agency. Like the Religionist who first writes out his creed and then bends every possible principle he can discover in the Bible to support a fabric which he has, himself, designed, he appears to be more intent upon settling the question of a fluid agency and bending all his experiments to support his Theory than to branch out in opposition and undertake to prove the falsity of his position.

On page 276, Book fourth, we find the following principle laid down.

"First, I affirm that, productive of the effects called mesmeric, there is an action of matter as distinct and specific as that of light, heat, electricity or any other of the imponderable agents, as they are called; that, when the mesmerizer influences his patient, he does this by a medium, either known already in other guise, or altogether new to our experience.

"What proofs, it will be asked, can I bring forward to this assertion? I answer, such proofs as are considered available in all cases where an impalpable, imponderable medium is to be considered; facts, namely, on certain appearances, which, bearing a peculiar character, irresistibly suggest a peculiar cause.

"Let us take only one of these. Standing at some yards distant from a person who is in the mesmeric state, (that person being perfectly stationary, and with his back to me), I, by a slight motion of my hand (far too slight to be felt by the patient through any disturbance of the air) draw him towards me as if I actually grasped him.

"What is the chain of facts which is here presented to me? First, an action of my mind, without which I could not have moved my hand; secondly, my hand's motion; thirdly, motion produced in a body altogether external to, and distant from myself. But it will at once be perceived, that, in the chain of events, as thus stated, there is a deficient link. The communication between me and the distant body is not accounted for. How could an act of my mind originate an effect so unusual?" Here then follows the explanation. "That which is immaterial, cannot, by its very definition, move masses of matter. It is only when mysteriously united to a body that spirit is brought into relationship with place or extension, and under such a condition alone, and only through such a medium, can it propagate motion. Now, in some wondrous way spirit is in us incorporate. Our bodies are its medium of action. By them and only by them, as far as our experience reaches are we enabled to move masses of foreign matter. I may sit and will forever that yonder chair to come to me, but without the direct agency of my body, it must remain where it is. All the willing in the world cannot stir it an inch. I must bring myself into absolute contact with the body which I desire to move. But in the case before us, I will; I extend my hands; I move them hither and thither and I see the body of another person - a mass of matter external to myself, yet not in apparent contact with me - moved and swayed by the same action which stirs my own body. Am I thence to conclude that a miracle has been performed, that the laws of nature have been reversed, that I can move foreign matter without contact or intermediate agency? Or must I not rather be certain, that, if I am able to sway a distant body, it is by means of some unseen lever, that volition is employing some thing which is equal to a body, something which may be likened to an extended corporeity which has become the organ of my will?"

Lecture Notes - Booklet IV


Here we have the experiment and the explanation. Let us examine the reasoning. First, "that which is immaterial cannot by its very definition move masses of matter." "I must bring myself into absolute contact with the body which I desire to move." The person at a distance is then brought into "absolute contact" by the agency or electricity. He "wills, extends his hands and moves them hither and thither" and the patient at a distance, being in actual contact with him by this electric agency, extends his hands, moves them hither and thither etc. The body or arm and hand of the patient is moved by the mind of the operator just as it acts in his body, electricity being the medium of communication as though the body of the operator, his mind, and the body of the patient are one person. Now if electricity or any other fluid can so connect mind and matter, I do not see why we may not connect ourselves with the chair in the supposition above and mind with its new organ of contact will cause the chair to move, on the same principle of connection as the body of the patient. Mind, no doubt, has equal power to connect itself with a chair as with any other material body by the agency of electricity. The body of the patient, without his mind, or acting independent of his own will, as it must, if it were moved by the mind of the operator, would be like every other material thing and susceptible of action upon it by another mind to the same degree, as the chair, being no more or less. And if he proves to you that the motion of the patient's hands is from the same mind as the motion of the operator's through the agency of electricity, I will as conclusively prove that by the same agent your minds may be in "absolute contact" with any, or all, material bodies and that you can as easily move the universe of matter by the mind, as the body of one man. But was not the experiment really performed? We answer, yes, without electricity or any other fluid - not by the mind of the operator acting on the body of the patient, but upon his mind. It was mind acting upon mind. The proposition laid down by the Rev. gentleman, that immateriality cannot move masses of materiality does not apply to destroy the influence or action of mind, being immaterial, over immaterial mind. We trust we have shown, by such experiments as have been introduced into the former part of this work, the great laws by which such facts are produced, that mind in the excited or mesmeric state is present with everything - that space, distance and material objects are no impediments to its action - that it is susceptible of impressions from other minds and will act under such impressions as it receives. Suppose, then, the operator is impressed to extend his hand; that impression is immediately made upon the mind of his patient and all the organs of his body, being under this control of his mind, act in conformity to the impression. The distance from the patient is no obstacle because mind, acting directly without the medium of the bodily senses?, knows nothing of space and distance. It only requires direction and it is present with the object. If electricity be the "lever" by which the operator moved the arm of the patient, as asserted by the Rev. Mr. Townshend, we would ask where the fulcrum rests by which he gets his power. It might be answered that it rests where the fulcrum of the globe's foundation was supposed to - upon the "back of an enormous tortoise."

We will say further, that the experiment above could have been performed without the motion of the hand of the operator, by his willing the patient or impressing his mind to extend the hand. So that all that is necessary to be done in such experiments is to give an impression to do an act upon the mind of the subject and the result immediately follows.

"A friend of mine at Cambridge," says the Rev. Mr. Townshend, "was susceptible of being influenced by myself but transiently and imperfectly, while on the other hand, he was at once and invariably brought into the mesmeric state by being subjected to the action of a young fellow student, who (as to the rest) used no art in his manipulations and merely imitated rudely my proceedings and gestures." Also the following is extracted from his work on mesmerism. "E. A.," whom I could mesmerize in a few seconds, was operated upon for an hour by another person, who in other cases had displayed immense mesmeric power without experiencing any effect whatever." Here are two cases directly opposite in their character. The first could only be partially operated upon by an experienced and powerful magnetizer; but a fellow student could throw him into the mesmeric sleep without exercising the least effort to pass the fluid. If it had been a fluid, he, who knew best how to direct it, of course would magnetize better than one who neither knew how nor used effort but only imitated the actions of a mesmerizer. The second case proves conclusively that the fluid, by which Mr. Townshend and the powerful magnetizer operated upon their subjects, and of course it must be the same, did not produce a result when under the control of one, which it did under that of the other, upon the same subject. If it was a fluid why did not the same results follow from the same causes. Both were powerful magnetizers and of course knew how to use and direct the fluid.

From facts like these Mr. Townshend concludes that it is not the power of the magnetizer, but the "proportions between the respective strengths of mesmerizer and patient which insures success and that the less or more on either side would indifferently prevent a perfect result." So that he has ventured to predict that in the progress of this science, a "neurometer, or instrument to ascertain the nervous power of a person, might give to mesmerism that precision which science requires." We fear however that he advanced beyond what we shall ever realize from the fluid theory that his mind had probably been exhilarated by a surcharge of electricity, which enabled him to predict an event, which, if it ever transpires, we think, must be very far distant in the future.

We have endeavored in every portion of our work to keep distinctly in view the theory of "mind acting upon mind," not through a medium, because we see no necessity of an agent different from itself, but by direct action. To those who are partial to a theory of fluid and are sincere and, as they say, conscious of the fact, we will remark that on the whole, we differ but little from them, save in the fluid. They are obliged to admit that it is often all "mind acting upon mind"; yet all the followers of Mesmer? must complicate this operation by intermixing it with some imponderable agent, as though immateriality cannot act upon immateriality without the agency of matter. If "mind acts upon mind" at all, (and we contend it does) without the agency of the bodily senses?, we see no reason why it may not act directly, carrying the influence home to the very soul of the subject, as well as to wield the lever of a fluid to make an impression, or to mount its thoughts astride of a streak of electricity to be conveyed to the mind of the subject. It is a little surprising to us, however, that some of the "Doctors" of mesmerism have not put their theory to the test, not by always supposing that a fluid is necessary, but by experimentising without the fluid in such cases as could not have been possible for any fluid to pass. Had this been the case, the theory of a fluid would have been abandoned long ago; for it would have been ascertained that all the fluid which really exists is in the mind of the operator, being like Berkeley's composition of matter, made up of ideas, impressions etc.

See Also

Compound Interetheric
Connecting Link
Etheric Elements
False Gods
Fascination
Hypnotism
Interetheric
Knowing
Love
Mentation
Mind
Mind to Mind
Neutral Center
Spell
Spellbound?
Sympathetic Association
Sympathy
Telementation
thraldom


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