It is well known to all students of the science of vibration that certain hypnotic influences are conveyed through sounds as well as sight.
Such influences can indeed be developed through the avenues of any of the senses.
The sound waves of a clear-toned bell will place a sensitive subject almost immediately in a trance condition; so will the dripping of water or the ticking of a clock.
In states of weariness the most positive person will find the humming of a bee or the chirping of a cricket bring a sense of drowsiness and languor which is the first stage of negative conditions.
On the other hand, the shrill notes of the fife and the beating of the drum in time of war will arouse the populace to a condition of patriotic hysteria and produce the frenzy necessary to soldiers before they will expose themselves to the inhuman conditions of the battlefield.
Yet we do not often realize the power of sounds in words.
Every word spoken by human lips carries with it in the utterance a concentration of hypnotic force applied through its vibrations.
These vibrations meet with a response from every mind attuned to a sympathetic key.
Thus is the power of thought concentrated in a word and transmitted by a breath.
In words we find both sedatives and stimulants of all degrees of force, which is largely varied by the tones of speech.
There is no word in any language without this vibratory power.
All students of the occult know the use made of this principle in Oriental religions. The central thought of the Hindoo is concentrated in the syllable "om," while in the Hebrew the most sacred of the names of Deity was never allowed to be pronounced.
It is even claimed that the vibrations of certain words will produce physical results as great as those reported of the shouts and trumpets of the besiegers before the walls of Jericho.
The secret passwords of Masonic orders are given always in a whisper, while the most careful conditions are prescribed for the utterance of others, all of which is of an occult significance but little understood in our secret societies of the western world.
It is a scientific fact that certain chords upon the violin will produce results of almost incredible force.
The words we use so lightly are possessed of truly magic powers to him who knows their secret application. When hurled with the force of passion or breathed with the gentleness of love, they wound or win beyond our expectation.
In the science of mind it is an essential help to right development to make the air about us vibrant with such words as "freedom," "truth," "love," "health," "opulence," and "wisdom."
A wealth of words rightly applied and carefully toned is a mental medicine-chest of incalculable value. A word may have all the fabled power of an amulet.
The success of any popular movement is greatly forwarded by a discreet choice and use of names and titles.
This is curiously shown in two of the most remarkable organizations of the century: "The Salvation Army" and the "Christian Science Church."
Let us analyze the words by which they conjure and examine the conditions under which they have been developed.
The Salvation Army works on the lowest social planes of human life.
It had its origin among a people who had always been familiar with the armed forces of the European governments which were daily paraded before their eyes.
In these they had no part because they were of the class which General Booth has named "the submerged tenth."
To them the king, queen, commander, captain, soldier, represented power in which they could not share, but to which they must always submit; while the clergy preached the dangers of an unknown future from which they could escape only through acceptance of a creed.
Thus for their salvation they must look to another life where they, too, could be kings and priests; the rulers, instead of the ruled.
These two words, "army" and "salvation," thus appealed to the two governing motives of their lives, the desire to be identified with massed forces representing power, and to be assured of "beer and skittles" in the next world (glorified to "harps and crowns"), which they had sadly missed in this.
To such minds the "army" stands on the physical plane as the type of strength and safety, while "salvation" promises deliverance from all their fears of the hereafter.
The changes rung on these words form the burden of the constant services of the Salvation Army.
All their methods appeal to the senses: drums, trumpets, cymbals, assail the ear, while flags and uniforms attract the eye. War cries and exhortations impress and stimulate the mind that has been sensitized by poverty, dissipation and distress.
Christian Science works at the other social extreme and appeals to the intellectual classes. Its chief instruments are two books with singularly well-chosen names, added to a constant reminder of its leader as the "discoverer and founder."
To the intelligent mind of the nineteenth century Christianity and Science embody all that is worthy of aspiration.
The strongest efforts have been made to harmonize the two, and to make the one the interpreter of the other.
Christian Science boldly claims the monopoly of both in its fraternity,—a sort of "religious and scientific trust."
No combination of words could be more effectual than those found in its titles to him whose most earnest desire is to solve the problem of the "at-one-ment," and whose investigations of the Scriptures have left the longing for a "key."
To many such the unprofitable conflict between science and religion has only ended in their own minds in disease.
Having failed to find satisfaction in the church, they turn to the new cult, and accept in place of the "Revised Version," which they hailed with approval a few years since, the latest "Key to the Scriptures," duly copyrighted and stamped with the name of the discoverer and founder,— sole proprietor,—a bunch of keys, indeed, for with it goes "Science and Health,"—a combination claiming to open with its patent wards, the treasure house of health and happiness, of mind and body.
Are we to wonder that with the successful experience of these suggestive forces which have been so useful to the cause of Christian Science, its discoverer and founder should so persistently warn her followers of the dangers of "malicious magnetism," notwithstanding "all is good."
This is the new devil of the new religion, the very suggestion of which compels its devotees to cross themselves with daily treatment and repeat their "Ave Marias" with the fear and trembling of the monk of the middle ages, pronouncing his exorcism of the hosts of Apollyon.
"Malicious magnetism" is found in every thought and word of criticism to the new religion; consequently all literature is proscribed except that provided by its canonical books.
The panacea for this danger is the new "Hail Mary!"
Far be it from us to be inhospitable to the grand central thought of Christian Science, or the noble purpose of the Salvation Army.
With both of these all intelligent minds must find themselves in fullest sympathy.
We would only divest these movements of their personality and meretricious aids and build them upon universal principles.
Truth is something infinitely beyond our petty personalities and egotistical limitations. It is far above all definitions of the broadest minds that have ever lived.
It "is not an infant," as Dr. Holmes once said, "to be carefully wrapped up every time it is taken out for an airing lest it should take cold."
It does not need the organization of a "church," or "army," or "keys" fashioned by mortal minds to unlock its treasures.
It does not need the fostering care of any "cause."
It comes in the silence into every heart that it finds open for its reception,—or rather it opens gently our heavy eyelids to perceive that we live amid its glories and in its very courts, that it broods and permeates us like the very atmosphere we breathe, this "light that never shone on land nor sea."
We simply have learned that "good is love." We have no more desire to organize and proselyte than we have to bottle up the sunshine and paste on our own labels.
Our only aim is to unfold our being, as the flower opens its petals to the light and dew.
The science of mind brings us to a larger recognition of our own thought centers.
When we rest in these our equilibrium is never disturbed by the hypnotic thought or word of any leader or discipleship,— "we do not throw away our legs to go upon crutches," as says Marcus Aurelius.
We have found the "power of good unto salvation."
We have recognized in ourselves "the image and likeness of good."
We have learned to confess that "all things are ours."
This is the "truth that makes us free."
It is the full perception that in "good we live and move and have our being."
It is the answer to the watchman's challenge "What of the night?" "The morning cometh."
There is much in life suggestive of a shadow pantomime.
A hypnotized subject can be sometimes influenced to an attempt at robbery or murder. We smile at the mock act, but to the performer it is real.
In actual experience can we deprive another of his life, or property, or anything belonging to him?
Does the murderer ever reach the real life of the one we call his victim? Is not all crime but a shadow pantomime in which the only sufferer is the criminal himself who has been mesmerized by a false and vicious purpose?
The law courts are beginning to recognize hypnotic suggestion as an incentive to crime.
The next step will be the recognition of responsibility in the criminal for the conditions that made it possible for him to be thus influenced.
We may all become self-hypnotized. All crime and disease are the results of that condition.
In shadow pantomime the figures grow in size as they recede from the canvas. In real life we easily exaggerate the size and proportion of our fellowmen as their perspective lengthens.
We often find them shrink in size as they approach.
Until we learn to recognize the real man in ourselves and in our fellows we are subject to many illusions.