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that such a cure had happened, we should say at once, Of course, I see how it is done.”'
Now, a maiden's blush is far more than a pretty analogy. For, as a matter of fact, we are all constantly and continually blushing, and the regulation of the vaso-motor system by the action of the small arteries is the prime means of both mental and physical health and activity. Every time we move a muscle, that muscle blushes, unseen and unsuspected by us; whenever we think, the brain blushes. When we dine, the stomach blushes - as well it may, in some of us. All the organs of the body are fed with the blood, and the amount of it increases at those parts of the body that are being used. Every part, indeed, of the body (with the exception of such tissues as the nails, hair, teeth, and the horny part of the skin) is bathed in blood, and the supply of the blood is regulated in constantly varying proportions by the contraction or dilatation of the small arteries. These arteries are worked by the vaso-motor nerves; and thus the blood is passed on according to the needs of the body to the miles upon miles of minute capillaries by which the tissues are fed with blood. It is like the fertilising of the soil by a marvellously intricate system of irrigation-canals, supplied from a great central pump, and regulated by the intelligent raising and lowering of sluices. Thus, to use Huxley's words,
everywhere all over the body, the nervous system by its vaso-motor nerves is continually supervising and regulating the supply of blood, sending now more, now less blood, to this or that part." These nerves, like the others, are ultimately centred in the
sympathetic system, and through this are linked up with the higher part of the brain where consciousness dwells.
The health of the body is in fact maintained by the proper manufacture of food in the digestive organs, by its absorption into the blood, and by the appropriate regulation of the blood through the vaso-motor system. Conscious blushing shows that the vaso-motor system can be affected by thought, and stigmatisation shows that it can be still further affected by concentrated thought. Let us leave the matter there for awhile. The blood has supplied us with a useful illustration, and a very important one. We must now return to the realms of psychology
THE UNDERMIND OR SUBCONSCIOUS SELF
The Discovery and Nature of the Undermind: The
Psychology of the New Testament WHEN we said that there are nerves almost everywhere in the body, and therefore nervous force almost everywhere, and that mind is the highest form of nervous force, and that therefore there is mind in some sort or form everywhere, it was clear that we were giving to the word “Mind” a wider
a sense than it popularly bears; for in ordinary use mind implies consciousness, and we are clearly not conscious of what the greater part of our nervous system is doing.
Thus physiology itself suggests that the Mind or self” is not the simple thing which was imagined by the older psychologists. It was indeed from the medical world that this suggestion first came. Already in the middle of the last century some doctors were coming to see that the anatomy and action of the nerves must have some bearing on psychology, and that a theory of hidden mental action was necessary for the explanation of physiology: in the sixties we find Dr. Laycock and Dr. Carpenter disputing as to which of them had invented the idea of “ unconscious cerebration." 1 Meanwhile from another 1 T. Laycock, Mind and Brain, 1869, II, pp. 172-5.
quarter the discoveries in hypnotism by great pioneers like Dr. Braid, in and about 1840, had shown that hitherto unsuspected powers of the mind required explanation. In 1886 psychology responded to the demand by the momentous discovery of the subconscious self.
Like other great facts of nature this is simple in its broad aspect. Man's mind is something far larger than that which he is conscious of; his consciousness is but a speck of light illuminating one portion of his whole self — like a lamp in the midst of a dark for
a est that is full of trees and quiet moving creatures.
Or, to put the matter in a still simpler metaphor, the mind is like an iceberg of which the greater part is hidden under the sea: so is the greater part of us submerged in unconsciousness. The part which we know in ordinary life is but a fraction of our human personality, and that which is continued below the level of our normal consciousness is called the subconscious self, or the unconscious mind, or the subliminal self.
Thus we may divide the mind into conscious and subconscious, or supraliminal (that which is above the threshold of consciousness) and subliminal (that which is below it). I shall venture to make but slight use of these somewhat cumbrous scientific terms, and to coin instead the word undermind for the subconscious self, which may make it easier for these matters to be discussed in self-respecting prose, and may even make it possible for the poets of the future to allude to that important part of our being. For, really, if we do not simplify our terminology, poetry will be forced to confine itself for ever to the
subjects of pre-scientific knowledge. Therefore let us in common speech have a manageable word, so that it might be possible for a modern writer to begin a sonnet with such a line
shall we say ? as, My undermind is heavy with sad thoughts.
Once revealed, the fact of our subconscious existence is of fundamental importance. To know that we have an undermind is like knowing that we have a heart: thenceforward, in every day of our lives we are reminded of its intimate reality because it is constantly accounting for hitherto unrelated facts, and making our existence more abundant in opportunities of development and of guidance. We have an added sense of greatness, a knowledge of hidden power which is already bearing fruit. The generation that is brought up in the knowledge of its subconscious existence will surely be wiser and mightier, purer and more sane, than our own.
In this broad aspect, indeed, the subject is simple enough. But when we try to define the powers of the undermind, or to lay down its possibilities and limitations, we find ourselves in a maze of conjecture, and we are confronted moreover with experimental facts, or supposed facts, so startling that they are strenuously and even scornfully disputed. The subtlest powers, the most amazing accomplishments are claimed for this part of our being, and that by men who have devoted many years of severe scientific experiment to the subject. As a natural consequence, while men of the older school are apt to ignore the results of psychic research altogether, untrained minds are constantly tempted to draw upon