Phenomena, under the name "Hypnotism," draw increased and deserved attention. For nearly one hundred and fifty years it has been known and, under various names, produced for amusement, mystifying, study, or physical benefit. It has been best known as "Mesmerism" and "Animal Magnetism." It now has a literature of its own and occupies much attention in the secular press. Its friends are in every walk of life. Schools and mail courses of study are plentiful. It is destined to be a most powerful factor in the therapeutic, educational and reformatory growth of the new century. That these phenomena exist is now no longer doubted. Their importance is admitted by all who give the subject even a casual study.
The author believes that the principle involved in this phenomena is the most important man has yet discovered, that it is destined to produce greater changes in man and his environments than any previous discovery. Believing this, he is devoting his energies in assisting the development of a proper understanding of this Principle in popular mind. He believes it to be the one Thought needed to bring in the age foretold by prophet and priest.
His intention is to explain these phenomena, to show their harmony with all other perceptions of Truth, to make from them a basis, through philosophy for the soon-to-be, "Science of Life" and an "Art of Living." Knowledge that is easily obtained from this so long neglected field of research, will enable any person to attain this Art. The Law that underlies these phenomena is more practical than the multiplication table.
But the author wishes to say, first of all, that he uses the word "Hypnotism" under a protest. The name is a misnomer. It comes from "hypnosis," meaning sleep. Sleep is not necessary to the phenomena nor to receive benefits from the use. In but few experiments is sleep necessary. Besides, the word carries with it the misconceptions of a false theory. There is no such thing as "hypnotic power" or "hypnotic phenomena." The phenomena occur, but they are not hypnotic. They are not the effect of a power that the operator possesses, but are the effect of the subject's own mind. All the phenomena produced by an "hypnotic" subject are as honest as those produced by him in school, home or workshop and are as natural and normal as those are really identical in origin. The phenomena exist as a part of the daily life of all persons. In a subject, they are artificially reproduced and exaggerated.
The only power the operator has is that which teacher, merchant, preacher, mother or friend possesses over others. It is what, in ordinary speech, is termed "Influence." The only difference between the "Hypnotic Professor" and men in other walks of life is that he understands and uses consciously the same power that other men in other phases of life use unconsciously and instinctively. These phenomena contain more knowledge within them for the upbuilding of manhood and the reformation of society than can be obtained from all phenomena with which physical science deals.
It is the object of this book to remove all mystery from Hypnotism, to cause these phenomena to be considered as natural and as normal as the functions of every day labor and, by so doing, to prepare mental conditions for a clear understanding of the Principle of Suggestion, in accord with which all phenomena of life occur, and to prepare the way for its application in daily life. It is the thought, born in ignorance of Cause, that gives birth to the belief that hypnotic phenomena are caused by one person's having the will of another in thrall. No person can thus enslave another. No person ever did so enslave. These phenomena are the work of the individuals who manifest them.
As I write this introduction, there comes to my exchange table a valued journal showing that its otherwise very intelligent editor has still this misconception. He says: "We are individuals and refuse to surrender the control of ourselves or our mentality to anyone." When one shall understand what Suggestion is, he will see that, instead of a surrender of individuality, it is a development of individuality. It places him in full control of himself. Suggestion is the road to self-control. It is only putting into practice the law which it is man's province to bend to his Will, the law of Concentration.
To learn our powers and how to use them, is the province of education. There is no other way equal to a knowledge of Suggestion. The end of this knowledge is self-control and self-control is the acme of character. Those who oppose hypnotism do so only through a misunderstanding of the law of Suggestion. "If one can thus destroy another's will," it is said, "then he can influence to evil and crime." This I deny and deal with it at some length in this book.
I write from over thirty years' experience as teacher, lecturer, subject and operator, and, therefore, as an expert, I declare that man has found no law of so much importance to his well-being as that explained in this book.
—Henry Harrison Brown
San Francisco, Cal., January, 1902.
More Articles by This Author Henry Harrison Brown
- Born in 1840
- An early leader in the New Thought movement
- Published NOW magazine which was "...a Monthly Journal of Positive Affirmations, devoted to Mental Science and the Art of Living."
- Unitarian Minister