Psychoanalysis and Psychic Research
A Panoramic Evaluation
BY DR. EMILIO SERVADIO (Staff Meniber of the Società Italiana di Metapsichica)
Journal of the A.S.P.R. 1938
The recognition of unconscious activity in the human psyche has become an integral part of all psychology worthy of the name. To continue to deny, as a few do today, the existence or the importance of the psychical unconscious , is simply to hold an old concept of psychology which is most limited and which has been vastly improved upon; to put it differently, it means that these same people, despite the fact that they call themselves psychologists, are no longer genuinely working in the field since they limit themselves to a methodology of the past century-a methodology, which unaided will never succeed in coming into effective contact with the life and soul of man.
Above all, it is necessary to point out that the most modern schools of psychology do not mean by the. term “unconscious” only those simple automatic or sensi-automatic processes which are developed, so to speak, “at the margins” of consciousness, but rather a vast zone of personality, a gigantic group of ideative processes and contents, totally unconscious, in respect to which reflexes and common automatisms become quantities of secondary importance.
The richness and multiformity of the psychical unconscious is such that for a certain period, psychoanalytical researches have been quite absorbed by it, and it is only during the last few years that they have returned with greater attention to the study of the psychical mechanisms of the Ego and of consciousness.
Secondly, the unconscious psyche must not be thoughtof as something inert or as a sort of precipitate of past and useless things at the bottom of the soul, which serves as a vessel; but as a group of powerful forces, capable of conflict and susceptible to the most varied deformations and transformations. And finally the criteria which are relevant to conscious processes must be abandoned when dealing with the unconscious, since, to borrow one of Freud’s figures of speech, in this “foreign internal territory”, sui generis laws are in force, different or directly opposed to those of the Ego, which they do not take into account at all.
It is not easy to accept or realize fully these three essential points which characterize the unconscious. Only long experience can bring us to admit that there are continually developed in us, without the least conscious awareness on our part, psychical processes which re notable in richness and importance. We will try to indicate, briefly, some of the ways in which such a conclusion has been reached.
An initial group of phenomena through which such psychical unconscious processes shine forth, like an unexpected indication of an unknown world, is made up of the simple and prosaic facts of ordinary experience:sudden forgetfulness, actions which we accomplish without conscious thought and then ask ourselves why we have done them, mislaying objects . . . all that which Freud calls “the psychopathology of everyday life”.
It would be well, here, to consider concrete cases. Let us examine only a small group of these which, with reason, are called “symptomatic acts”-the forgetting of objects. The object which passes from one person to another establishes a bond between them: as every one knows, this is the psychological basis of a gift. And it is quite admissible that the thing itself can be felt unconsciously to be a part or a representative of the donor. It is a universal practice to give one’s own picture as a gift, or, more romantically, a lock of hair or a ribbon or something which has been in direct contact with one’s person. On these foun dations, it has been established by psychoanalysts that the person who forgets an object and leaves it behind with another person, is manifesting an unconscious desire to prolong and conserve his relations with that person; or, that his act of forgetfulness exhibits a confidence that the object is perfectly safe with this person. A woman of our acquaintance forgot, successively, in the home of her psychoanalyst, a lighter, a pair of gloves, a silver cigarette case, a passport and a book, besides a great number of illustrated magazines. A famous American psychoanalyst, Dr. Brili, writes that he always has on hand a collection of articles left by his patients who return for them even after considerable lengths of time.
If such is the generic significance of forgetting or leaving something with some one else, that of mislaying things or of breaking them involuntarily is quite different. This mislaying or breakage of things is never due to chance, according to the results of minute psychoanalysis, but always to a conflict between two opposed tendencies-one which wants to keel) the object and the other which wants to detach itself from it or destroy it. We should examine the symbolic significances in this order of cases as we did with the first group. But without going into these symbolic meanings, it is easy to see that if a woman forgets the key to her home at the house of a gentleman, it has not the same significance as forgetting a pencil or a newspaper at the same house; and if a man loses his wedding-ring in a vaudeville theatre it has more significance than losing a scarf or a box of matches! At any rate, it will be observed that those objects which we carry least willingly are those which are most frequently lost; lost and found offices are overloaded with umbrellas, and who is there who likes to carry an umbrella?
One of our acquaintances, a university professor, wrote to his brother once to ask his advice on a business matter. This brother was not a man of great culture but he was very competent in business matters. Well, the letter remained for four days on the professor’s desk. The fifth day he finally seemed to become aware of its presence and took it out with him. It fell on the floor of the bus and a fellowpassenger returned it to him, and the professor mailed it, but in the box set aside for printed matter instead of the box for letters. Three days later the Post Office sent it back because “Rome” was written on it, instead of “Padua”. In such cases it really seems as if a malicious demon were enjoying himself by frustrating our conscious efforts. There is no need to say, however, that if the professor consciously desired his brother’s advice, on the one hand, he was consciously annoyed at having to be dependent on his brother who was inferior to him, socially and intellectually, when the opposite would have been much more logical. Thu arose the conflict and the mishaps with the letter which was finally correctly addressed after the series of lapses was explained.
The cases which we have considered are simple ones, and their interpretation superficial. But sometimes the analysis of a lapse or a symptomatic act which appears to be quite futile will reveal profound psychic activity and conflict. The very progress of a psychoanalytic treatment may be radically transformed by the correct interpretation of a lapse of a patient. But the description of more complex cases would require the introduction of criteria too technical for this paper. Let us proceed, therefore, to another method of exploring the unconscious. The most important one, which Freud calls the via regia, is the analysis of dreams.
Entire libraries have been written on dreams and their interpretation. It will suffice to recall here some essential concepts. Two aspects of the dream must be distinguished. One appears to the dreamer and is called the “manifest content”, the other must be discovered by the analysis of the dream and is called the “latent content”. The first derives from the second through a complicated series of deformations and elaborations called dreamwork” . The latent content of a dream is identified by a special technique, very patient and meticulous, which makes use above all of the association of ideas which the dreamer can furnish for every single element of the dream. Through the analysis of thousands of dreams, the conclusion has been reached that at least a large part of them represent the deformed realizations of latent and unconscious tendencies, whose origin goes back to the infancy of the individual and which have been recalled to life through unconscious association by even futile events which occurred the preceding day.
The explanation of dream interpretation entails such a vast elucidation that we hesitate to attempt to explain it in concrete form. There is nothing, however, which can give us a better idea of the modern method of exploring the unconscious than a study of the elaborate analysis of a dream. The dream, as we have pointed out, has a life of its own and in a manner of speaking, a language of its own. This language is only clear, however, to the practiced ear. The language of the dream has more than a superficial resemblance to the expressions of children and primitive peoples, and to the symbolicism of legendary stories. Such expressions differ from those of the adult in social intercourse through greater frequency and the concreteness of images; through an abundant use of symbols; through scant respect for the chronological sequence of events and through frequent condensations of several concrete things into one. And it is precisely this that we find in the unconscious. In order to understand a dream, it is often necessary to turn the sense around or reverse the temporal succession of events, or to consider some of the elements as symbols of others, or to separate several contents so as to form a single image. Such an analysis is only possible after we have become sufficiently orientated through’ the associations of the dreamer. The following case illustrates the method of dream analysis:
A woman dreams: “I found myself by the lake at night, during my summer stay at X (here the name of a famous health resort). I threw myself into the water where the moon was reflected in the lake.”
The woman cannot associate anything with the locality of the dream,-the health resort-but the psychoanalytic treatment which she had taken. In such cases, one either gives up trying to understand the dream or tries to understand the symbolic language of it directly. Now water, and entering into it or coming out of it, very often symbolizes birth-the coming into the world,-an interpretation which is confirmed by a whole series of equivalents in natural history, embryology, mythology and folklore. Natural history teaches us that life has arisen from the water and that the first forms of life were exclusively aquatic. We learn from embryology that the foetus before birth resides in amniotic water. The mythology of the most varied people tell us of heroes who have appeared into the world in some way connected with water or coming from water. Thus it was with Moses, Romulus and Remus, Perseus, Tristan, Lohengrin and I know not how many others. Folklore offers us popular little stories about babies coming from a well or carried by a stork from a marsh, or something similar. Shall we try to apply these equivalents to the dream of the patient? If so, we would say that she is expressing, reliving in a certain sense, her own birth in the dream. The darkness of the water might represent, then, the dark humidity of the prenatal state. And what about the moon? The moon fully confirms the interpretation, because here we are dealing with a maternal symbol. In many ancient traditions and cosmogonies, the sun and the moon represent paternity and maternity. Why then did this woman realize her own birth symbolically at the place where she had been treated? The patient herself furnishes us with the explanation. She says, that the analytical treatment and the benefit derived from it represent “a second birth” to her. The dream, therefore, expresses the desire to continue the analysis even during her stay at the vacation resort. If you remember that dark water also symbolizes the unconscious, and that the analysis for that reason can be considered as a “descent into deep waters”, the significance of the dream will be more readily appreciated. Incidentally only a few brief factors have been considered. Several other observations could be made about it. Birth and motherhood can be symbolized in many different ways and only a deep analysis is able to show why the unconscious of the patient should have made use of the moon and water instead of other symbols. If the things symbolized in the unconscious are relatively few, the manner of representing them is legion. Pages would be filled, for example, if we were to list all the symbols which represent fecundation, woman, or death, or others of the elements and forces of universal or primordial character.
We must turn now to another group of psychic events which permit us to gain some knowledge of the zones of the unconscious. This group consists of the neurotic symptoms and various psychopathological phenomena.
It is well-known that psychoanalysis, the most modern means of exploring the unconscious, arose as a method of treating nervous diseases. Today, it is a vast body of scientific doctrine which contributes to many diversified branches of learning. But its therapeutic value has not been diminished; on the contrary, it has become enriched through the experiences of half a century. If neurotic symptoms are no longer considered incomprehensible, it is due to the introduction of the concept of the unconscious and all its consequences into the examination of these cases; and to the admission that such symptoms are expressions of unconscious conflicts. If we try to consider any symptomfor example the fear of crossing an open space, the socalled agoraphobia, we find ourselves confronted with a dilemma. We either conclude that such a phobia has no meaning, or that it has a hidden sense, since there is no evident sense in the psychical mechanism whereby the individual feels unable to face an open space or any general situation which presents no objective danger. For the psychoanalyst there is no dilemma at all. We know very well that agoraphobia, like all phobias and psychic disturbances, has a precise construction. and that the relative symptoms result through patient analysis into terms which are explicable and can be reconducted to unconscious situations and meanings. These meanings are often so strange to the conscious mind, that to announce them without some sort of preparation or precaution runs the risk of arousing strong reactions of incredulity. But to disbelieve in a thing does not mean that it is not true. Incredulity did not spare such notions as the motion of the earth, the circulation of the blood or the existence of microbes. He who has the good sense not to deny in an a priori fashion and the patience to search long enough, can demonstrate, for example, that such a phobia as the fear of leaving the house can indicate an unconscious fear of exposing one’s self to the “temptations” of the street, or a regression to an infantile staths of subordination. (Children do not leave the house alone.) Naturally such reasons appear absurd if judged from the standpoint of a rational civilized adult, but the unconscious is neither civilized nor rational. Psychologically, its characteristics are those of a child and closely related to the savage and instinctive stage. The wide adoption of symbolic equivalents and exchanges, the unaltered permanence of archaic situations which are not overcome by the individual because they are unconscious, the criteria of reactions which in themselves are not actual and are strange and disproportionate;-these are the characteristics of the unconscious psyche. In the symptoms we notice compromise formations between the impulses of the unconscious and the automatic forces of defence, unconscious themselves, which try to impede these other impulses to consciousness. The result is that the impulses arrive at some expression but deformed as in a curved mirror. It is necessary in this case, as with the dream, to straighten out the reflection or interpret the expression in order to reconstruct whatever the unconscious was attempting to make evident.
In certain very grave psychopathological forms such as Meynert’s amentia or schizophrenia, some of the pro cesses and characteristics of the unconscious appear without veils; in amentia, for example, one often witnesses an immediate realization of impulses and conflicts of the unconscious in hallucinatory form. It is a sort of continuous realistic open-eyed dream. In schizophrenia the condensations and accumulations of meanings, characteristics of the unconscious system, extend into verbal language. The origins are hardly recognizable in the strange fusions and mixtures of words. The conscious effort to bring forth rational thoughts and phrases is seen in these expressions, -an effort which is constantly and completely frustrated by a kind of infiltration or inundation on the part of the unconscious. The dikes which habitually defend the field of the conscious mind give way, and the swamp invades the productive land.
By means of the lapse, the dream, the symptom and several other phenomena which were at first neglected or misinterpreted, psychological knowledge has been able to advance to a notable degree, as would not have been thought possible at the end of the last century. The results of research have made a complete methodology possible-a technique for exploring the region of the unconscious.
Such exploration has brought forth most interesting results even in fields quite different from those in which they were originally undertaken. If the unconscious has certain definite characteristics, they are bound to be reflected, not only in the manifestations which we have examined above, or in similar ones, but more or less clearly in every expression of the human spirit; in the elaboration of myths; in popular custom; in poems and epic narratives and in primitive religious rites; in the demonstration of warlike heroism; in children’s games; in the primitive drawings of neolithic man as well as in the painting of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Some students, beginning with Freud himself, have undertaken the task of searching into entire historical periods, or into vast cycles of legends, for the profound and eternal motives and the archaic fundamentals of created things. These studies are extremely interesting to read. They constitute enthusiastic journeys into a land which still remains largely unexplored-where the life-blood of cultures and personalities is distilled.
It is well understood that the contents of the unconscious appear in the vast series of phenomena mentioned under the most diverse forms and are susceptible to transformation into manifestations of the highest grade; especially in work of artistic creation. The process which is known as “sublimation” is not thoroughly understood, however. It would be obviously absurd to place the dream of the lake and the moon which I have related above, on the same spiritual level as a famous painting or a poem in which the same symbolism may be apparent. Although it may be possible to recognize in poems such as “L’Infinito” (The Infinite) or “Canto Notturno di un Pastore Errante deli’Asia” (Night Song of a Wandering Shepherd of Asia) the desperate nostalgia of Leopardi – symbolically expressed – for the love which his mother could not or would not give him during his childhood; it is obvious that a great difference lies between such expressions of sentiment and those that dreams and symptoms reveal to us. Before the gift of figuration and transfiguration of the truly great artist or poet, the scientist can but stop and admire.
We will now consider a field which until recently has been regarded by the majority as either non-existent or insidiously dangerous: the realm of psychical research.
We will not discuss the phenomena in detail but will consider them in the light of the psychology of profundity which takes into account the processes of the unconscious. Let us examine the commonest and most generally studied of the various automatisms: automatic writing, designing and drawing. The subject writes or draws as if that which his hand traced did not concern him. The products of this automatic activity vary tremendously. They range from chaotic words and signs without connection to elaborate and notable work worthy of consideration from the artistic standpoint. Usually when the subject puts this faculty into practice he falls into a “second state”, ranging from a light hypnosis to somnambulism or semi-somnambulism and even as far as the true and genuine trance of the medium, In every case, the conscious is “skipped over” by the forces which come from the unconscious. Even when the consciousness is in a state of full awareness, the elaboration of these unconscious forces takes place without its participation. Starting with such a premise, the analytic exploration of the products of automatism becomes of the highest interest. What are the origins-the unconscious roots of expression produced by such means? To what profound tendencies does this automatic message answer, to what purpose the design or picture executed by a subject in one of those periodic states of rapture which are always regarded by the imprudent as some sort of possession by spirits or beings of another world? These are the questions which the researcher must necessarily pose. Until now, the best studied case of this type is that of Rélène Smith. This subject, while in a somnambulic state, claimed to be guided by the spirits of great personalities, already dead, and wrote the most interesting texts in a sort of deformed sankrit and then expressed herself in various languages which were absolutely incomprehensible. These she defined as “Martian”, “Ultraniartian” and “Uranian”. Finally her paranormal activities turned to painting a series of large pictures almost totally of sacred subjectsalways while in a profound state of somnambulism. Miss Smith, whose real name was Elise Muller, died a few years ago at Geneva.
Luckily this magnificent example fell into the capable hands of the great Swiss psychologist, Théodore Flournoy. During the last years of the nineteenth century, he succeeded in reconstructing a large part of the profound psychological processes which were the basis of these manifestations. They were really extraordinary for their dramatic and complex content. He showed, for example, that the so-called ultra-mundane languages with their strange phonetic construction, were nothing more than a very elaborate transposition from the French, readily comprehensible in the case of Miss Smith; he succeeded in reconstructing the alphabet, the grammar and even the vocabulary of these languages. Less elaborate were Flournoy’s studies of the “personalities” under whose influence the subject claimed to be. According to Miss Smith, they were Count Cagliostro, an Indian princess, and even supernatural beings.
Flournoy was prevented from studying the pictorial cycle by some dissension with the subject and her subsequent death. This second cycle was studied by Professor Walter Deonna, an archeologist, a competent art critic, and a capable psychologist. He made profitable use of Flournoy’s research and with the aid of his knowledge of psychoanalysis, he was able to illustrate many unconscious psychic processes related to Miss Smith’s paintings. And he was also able to show the psychological reasons for the old and new “trance personalities”, all of whom were more or less reducible to the fantasies of the subject which had become unconscious and elaborated even in early childhood. I was occupied several years ago with a modest little work on the Smith problem and was able to point out profound ulterior unconscious aspects of this most interesting personality.
The method and care adopted in this case were really exceptional but that does not lessen the value of other researches of the same kind which illustrate the quality and value of unconscious participation.
We must now consider another type of phenomena which we can call “metapsychical” with more reason because they depart definitely from the more usual unconscious expressions that we have been discussing. These include the vast group of telepathic phenomena to which so many careful experiments and studies have been dedicated in recent years. Without going into the discussions raised by these studies, we will observe that the participation of the unconscious in telepathic phenomena is beyond argument. If we think of telepathy as a transmission of psychic contents from the agent to the percipient, we notice that transmission in spontaneous cases comes about without conscious participation. In fact, the consciousness does no more than “accept” what has developed without being aware of the process. The fact that the majority of such cases occur during sleep or a condition of oblivion proves that consciousness in its usual and dynamic sense of active awareness is not involved in such phenomena – in other words, that they occur when the light of consciousness is eclipsed or veiled. For example, one sleeps and suddenly awakes after dreaming of the death of a relative, or a friend, or of danger, or a similar happening. In positive cases, verification of the correspondence to reality is discovered. But the process by which the consciousness becomes aware of such knowledge is unknown to it. The consciousness only registers the knowledge without taking part in its acquisition and the process generally remains totally ignored both in its essence and in its mechanism, in the same way that the image projected by the moving picture machine remains invisible and unknown before it is made evident by the screen.
It is less easy to discover the contribution of theunconscious in experimental telepathy. The percipient has no knowledge except that of the “point of arrival” of the experience; his participation is purely passive. Moreover, transmission of the chosen thought is not always successful but replaced by an irrelevant idea or image which is vague or recently forgotten in the mind of the agent. And more notably, there is often transmitted a thought with considerable emotional content, which was not only undesired as a choice for transmission by the agent, but may have been transmitted against the agent’s conscious wish. Not only have we been able to confirm such observations but we have been able to show that the percipient’s degree of facility depends upon his particular attitudes or his “psychic complexes” of which he is entirely unconscious. To cite only one example: it was observed that a percipient in a telepathic experiment received correctly only ideas or images of “fire” or “serpents”. Subjects closely connected with these two were successfully perceived in a clearly preferential manner. It was later discovered that these two subjects were related to childhood events in the life of the percipient, which had long been completely forgotten, but which were, nevertheless, always present and active in the unconscious. It appears, therefore, that when the thoughts or images chosen for transmission are related to such unconscious contents, the “syntonization” between the agent and the percipient is easier, and the idea or image is more rapidly and clearly perceived by the conscious mind of the percipient.
So much for telepathy. Let us pass on to a consideration of the most usual forms of clairvoyance: reading the contents of a sealed envelope; identifying a text through a page or a line; or perhaps the recital of the most minute details of the life of someone that the subject has met for the first time. Such phenomena cannot be controlled absolutely by the subject and we do not know how such factual knowledge develops in his unconscious mind. Pascal Forthuny, one of the most celebrated subjects of the present time, who has been studied at great length by the Institut Métapsychique in Paris, has tried to narrate what takes place in him when he begins to exhibit his exceptional faculties:
“At the beginning of the experience, the awakening of the clairvoyant gift comes from such profound depths that it would be useless to try to be aware of it …. One feels, in a confused way, that it is no longer dormant; that it begins to desire to act although still in the sleep from which it is slowly drawing away. In the middle of the night its approach is barely expressed by a disturbance in respiration rapid breathing apparently caused by a kind of suffocation and sometimes there is a sensation of weight which suddenly bears upon the solar-plexus. It does not last. With a decisive progress which can be slow and unequal, or at other times hurried as if stimulated by a kind of joyous impatience, the genius of clairvoyance rises to the heights of the subconscious as far as the zone of light, like Alberich of the Neibelung ring, who is overjoyed in raising the golden block above the waters in the sight of gods and men. Then in the field of- consciousness, the mental images appear. . .”
If we ignore the excellent picturization of Forthuny’s description, we see two things: that the subject can tell us almost nothing of what has taken place so profoundly within him, and that the unconscious character of the process is very evident. It is interesting to note that the images which he has adopted to define the unconscious, darkness and water, are the same which we have seen assume symbolic value in the dream of the patient which we narrated!
The psychical state of those gifted in clairvoyance does not often differ greatly from that favorable to telepathic manifestations. Subjects like Forthuny, and that other celebrated clairvoyant, the Polish engineer, Stephen Ossowiecki, present only slight differences in respect to conscious awareness, a kind of estrangement from the surrounding world while using these faculties, in order to give greater attention to the images they are perceiving with the mind’s eye,-impressions which come forth from the most profound. regions of the unconscious. But for other clairvoyants, this estrangement is much greater and some even fall into a hypnotic sleep, sometimes spontaneous and sometimes provoked by others. For still others clairvoyance only manifests itself during periods of trance.
In considering true mediums, whatever the certainty relative to this or that phenomenon may be, we are faced with a mass of complex facts, and it is difficult even with the aid of the new psychology to distinguish the real from the unreal and the normal from the pathological and abnormal. We are not alone concerned with a curious kind of psychology, but also with a strange type of physics, biology, and physiology of which it is difficult to ascertain principle or define a particular.
Limiting ourselves to the psychological side of the question, with which we are chiefly concerned in this article, certain fundamental problems arise.
The first of these is the problem of the so-called “trance personality”. This problem has already been posed in the case of Hélène Smith, but now presents itself with greater vigor. We find that we are faced with psychic personalities which manifest themselves when the medium is completely unconscious-personalities, which are finely balanced, coherent in every one of their manifestations, and sometimes endowed with knowledge and powers of which neither the medium nor those who assist him are capable. The hypothesis that such personalities are totally independent of the medium’s mind may be considered as yet unproven. The questions remain, however, relative to their formation and appearance; their significance and their function. It is hardly admissible that such personalities are totally separated from the consciousness of the medium. But then, what are the points of contact between them and the secondary or unconscious personalities of the medium, and of the sitters? What are the differences between them? To make a fundamental study of such cases, it is necessary to carry out an accurate psychological exploration of the medium, the trance personalities, and the regular sitters. We are only at the beginning of such work. Up to the present time no attempt has been made to carry out such an investigation using the psychoanalytic technique.
The problem of the trance-personalities of a medium is of course perfectly correlative to the problem of his psychological personality. We must concern ourselves further with such studies, using the new and more powerful means that a more enlightened science can now give us, and applying such means to episodes even more clearly abnormal than the classic case of Hélène Smith. A systematic exploration of the unconscious personality of the true medium would undoubtedly throw much light on the meta~ psychical phenomena of the mental order, and even perhaps give us clues on those of a physical nature. The following outline may help the reader to glimpse the nature of this terribly difficult problem:
It appears that as soon as the consciousness of the medium is obliterated, the dynamisms of his unconscious enter into action; they may translate themselves into more or less chaotic flowerings of latent ideas and tendencies in a primitive or symbolic manner. In this great sea of manifestations which are psychopathological more than anything else, there may shine forth now and then bursts of extranormal knowledge, often veiled or expressed through enigmatic personifications which are more or less united and coherent. Making use, then, of processes which belong to an occult physiology and physics of which we do not even know the simplest elements, the unconscious forces may finally become evident on the conscious plane. The chaotic phenomena of certain trance performances are possible exceptional objectivizations of the disordered aspects of the unconscious. At least we may suppose so. But we must not forget that alongside of these, we have phenomena which reveal an organization, a deliberation and a finality which constitute, together with certain admirable manifestations of paranormal knowledge, the highest and most stupendous aspects of modern metapsychics. Everyone may see, even from this brief outline, how necessary it is to make use of the instrument of psychoanalysis to carry out a true exploration of the unconscious,-an instrument especially adapted to throw light into those “dark regions”. If one were successful in throwing this light on many who believe themselves to be mediums and on many more who believe in them, the vast field of neurotics in which the plants of pseudo-mediumship try to take root, would be greatly decreased. And a salutary discrediting of such subjects would result in an advantage to those who are authentic and deserving of study. The true mediums, in their turn, should be studied in the light of modern psychological criteria and not those of fifty years ago which are still popular.
So much for the contribution of Psychoanalysis to Psychic Research. But could not the inverse be true? Are not the two studies twin sisters, perhaps, as a capable student, Dr. William Mackenzie, wrote a few years ago? Such is my opinion. Metapsychical phenomena reveal planes and dimensions of the human soul which cause us to suspect even more dazzling ones-and with which psychoanalysis has not as yet dealt at all. Such phenomenological aspects are not totally independent of those which form the relevant field of analytical researches. It cannot be admitted that psychoanalysis is outside the range of such phenomena as the telepathic dream or the premonitory dream; they are closely connected with one of the cardinal principles of the psychoanalytic doctrine: the doctrine of the dream-or independent of such problems as the particular conscious and unconscious mentalities of the trance personality, or the eventuality of telepathic transmission during an analysis.
The value and the frequency of metapsychical phenomena should be taken into consideration by psychoanalysts to broaden their horizons.
Such growth is of infinite importance. The famous scientist, Alexis Carrel, lamented the excessive specialization in scientific research, and pointed out the misfortune that so many specialists do not succeed in seeing beyond the narrow limits of their subject, when they should be achieving greater heights and distances. Psychoanalysis and psychic research are two fertile fields from which we may hope for extraordinary discoveries in the realms of the little known and mysterious human mind. It would be simply absurd if reciprocal ignorance ruled in two branches of research which, besides both belonging to the science of the mind, have so much in common! In the final analysis, let us remember that psychoanalysis and psychic research are but two names beyond which lives and shines that human spirit, to which they contribute so much by revealing to us its marvelous resources,-that spirit which will not be imprisoned by a name or retarded by a system. If today the most daring psychologists are beginning to reconnect themselves with ancient cultures and traditions; and to consider some of the aspects of the life of the spirit which science has so long disdained or sought to reduce at any cost to the realm of psychopathology or superstition, the phenomena of religious life; mysticism; occidental and oriental esotericism, it is because the sense of the great unity and transcendentalism of the psychic life is becoming more evident. This psychic life goes beyond our comprehension and evolves by surpassing at every instant the limits of the habitual and ordinary, from the prodigious event of the first word of the child to the thought of an Einstein or a Marconi. This psychic life ranges from the banal neurotic symptom to the metapsychical manifestation of a superior nature; from the shout of the savage in delirium before his own idol to the superhuman and ineffable ecstasy of the ascetic and the saint.