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Title: A monograph on sleep and dream: their physiology and psychology
Author: Cox, Edward William
Language: English
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                               A MONOGRAPH
                            SLEEP AND DREAM:
                       PHYSIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY.

                             EDWARD W. COX,
                                AUTHOR OF
         _“The Mechanism of Man,” “Heredity and Hybridism,” &c._

                    LONGMAN AND CO., PATERNOSTER ROW.


Some papers on the Phenomena of Sleep and Dream, read before _The
Psychological Society of Great Britain_, having excited much interest
and caused considerable discussion, I was requested to put them into the
more formal shape of a treatise. For this purpose I found it necessary to
recast and rewrite the whole.

The modern endeavour to pursue Psychology, as all the physical sciences
are now pursued, by the study of facts and phenomena, instead of by
metaphysical abstractions, consulting of inner consciousness and
argument _à priori_, has invested the subject of this monograph with
extraordinary importance, because Sleep and Dream are familiar physical
and psychical conditions, disputed by none and which cannot be ascribed
to prepossession, dominant ideas, or diluted insanity. Therefore a
profound, fearless, and searching investigation of their characteristics,
causes, and operations could not fail to throw a flood of light upon many
of the seeming mysteries of mental philosophy and psychology, promising a
solution of some most difficult problems of life and mind, and revealing
to us—as do the phenomena of dream—much of the structure and action of
the Mechanism of Man.

The marvel is that such obvious means of access to hidden springs of
that mechanism should have been so long neglected by Physiologists and

In dealing with a subject so old and yet so new, I can do little
more than _suggest_ explanations of phenomena. I do not venture to
_assert_ them. Those suggestions are submitted to the reader to induce
him to think and as subjects for further examination and discussion
rather than as dogmatic assumptions of ascertained truths. The _facts_
and _phenomena_ reported are vouched for so far as my own means of
ascertaining their truth enable me; but _causes_ and _conclusions_
can of necessity be little more than conjecture until a much larger
collection of the facts be made. To the gathering of such facts I
hope this little book may stimulate many observers. I shall deem the
communication of them a valuable contribution to science, and a favour to

                                                           EDWARD W. COX.

CARLTON CLUB, _1st January, 1878_.


                 CHAPTER I.

    WHAT SLEEP IS                    _page_ 1

                CHAPTER II.

    THE PHYSIOLOGY OF SLEEP                 4

                CHAPTER III.


                CHAPTER IV.

    THE SEAT OF SLEEP                      12

                 CHAPTER V.

    OF DREAM                               17

                CHAPTER VI.


                CHAPTER VII.

    THE PSYCHOLOGY OF DREAM                42

               CHAPTER VIII.

    THE PHENOMENA OF DREAM                 51

                CHAPTER IX.

    THE PSYCHOLOGY OF DREAM                72

                 CHAPTER X.

    FALLACIES OF DREAM                     76

                CHAPTER XI.

    CONCLUSIONS                            88




Sleep is necessary to the health of the human organism. The Mechanism of
Man depends for its sustainment and reparation upon recurring seasons of

The condition of sleep is probably a requirement of organic structure.
So far as we can trace it, all animal life sleeps. There is almost
conclusive evidence that vegetable life sleeps also.

In this respect organic structure differs from inorganic structure.
Minerals do not sleep. Only things that have _life_ sleep. Wheresoever
life is there is probably (it is not _proved_) a conscious individuality
that “goes to sleep.” As sleep seems, so far as we can trace it, to be an
attendant upon consciousness, a requirement, in fact, of nerve structure,
the sleep of vegetable life would appear to indicate the presence of

But sleep is not a suspension of vital action. The processes conducted
by the vital force continue their work in sleep often more vigorously.
The intelligence, also, is not wholly suspended in sleep. The functions
of nutrition are performed even more perfectly than in the waking state.
Rest appears to be required mainly for the muscular structure and for the
nerve system that moves the muscles. The senses are often wholly, always
partially, sealed in sleep. But it is doubtful if this be the result of a
requirement for rest by the senses. The more probable inference is that
the suspension of the senses is necessary to the suspension of muscular

Sleep, therefore, may be defined in general terms as the suspension,
more or less perfect, of the action of the external senses, so that they
cease to convey vividly to the mind the impressions made upon them. The
action of the Will is likewise suspended, so that it ceases to convey
the commands of the mind to the body. Thus is the rest procured that is
required for the body.

The entire mechanism of the body and mind does not sleep, but only a
part of it. In sleep the _body_ performs all functions necessary for its
continued healthy being. The _mind_ dreams. The consciousness of the
Individual Self is awake, for we note our dreams as they occur, believe
that we are acting them and remember them afterwards.



Various conjectures have been advanced as to the precise physiological
change that attends the condition of sleep. Some have located the source
of sleep in the heart and others in the head. It was formerly a favourite
theory that the action of the heart slackened and then the blood,
flowing slowly through the brain, caused a kind of congestion there.
This was, in fact, to look upon sleep as a species of coma that produced
unconsciousness by pressure upon the fibres of the brain.

The later and better opinion is, that sleep is produced by the reverse of
this process; that it is not a state of congestion but of collapse; that
the blood flows _from_ the part of the brain that sleeps, which is thus
left in a state of depletion, with a consequent collapse of the brain

Observation of the actual brain of a man who had been trepanned and
over a part of whose brain a movable silver plate was placed entirely
confirmed this conjecture. In sleep, the convolutions of his brain were
depressed; when awake, they resumed their normal form; when his mind was
exerted, they swelled visibly.

Any reader who has been suddenly wakened may recal a sensation as of
swelling of the brain by the blood rushing into it. This sensation was
probably the result of the rapid erection of the flaccid brain fibres.

Other facts strongly support this theory. When the action of the heart
is stimulated by any excitement, mental or bodily, sleep will not come.
So long as the brain is busy we court sleep in vain. To induce sleep
we apply remedies that tend to draw the blood from the brain to the
extremities. A full meal engenders sleep; but not, as formerly supposed,
by congesting the brain, but by attracting the blood to the stomach and
so depleting the brain. Rapid motion in a cold wind causes drowsiness
when warmth is restored. Why? The blood is borne swiftly back to the
surface of the body and quits the brain. Many other instances will
readily occur to the reader.

Note in another the process of “falling sleep.” The eyes move more and
more slowly, the eyelids descend, the head nods and droops, the limbs
relax, the book falls from the hand. Usually, before positive sleep
occurs, involuntary endeavours at resistance are made. The eyes open with
a stare. Consciousness is regained with an effort and a start. The thread
of waking thought is resumed. But it is for a moment only. Again the head
nods, the eyes blink and close, the limbs relax. He is _asleep_.

What are our own sensations when we _go to sleep_? Thought wanders.
Ideas come straying into the mind unbidden and with no apparent
association. External objects grow dim to the eye and sounds fall faint
upon the ear. The communications of the senses to the brain are dull and
uncertain. We are conscious that the power of the _Will_ is relaxed. We
strive to retain it. We recover it by an effort. We resume the work on
which we were engaged. Vain the struggle. The thoughts wander still. The
unbidden pictures flit again before the mind’s eye. We are conscious of
the relaxation of the limbs and the closing of the eyelids. Then we cease
to be conscious of external existence. We sleep.

But we are not conscious of _the act_ of falling asleep—for itself is a
suspension of consciousness. With some sleepers sleep is, as they affirm,
a condition of entire unconsciousness. These tell us they have no sense
of existence until the moment of waking and that, however protracted
their slumber, the moment of waking is to them as the moment after having
fallen asleep. It is impossible to contradict those who thus affirm,
for their mental condition in sleep cannot be read. But if a judgment
may be formed from their _actions_ in sleep, as talking and motions of
the limbs, the probable explanation will be that they dream but do not
remember their dreams. _All_ dreams vanish from _their_ memories as
_some_ dreams vanish from the memories of those who habitually dream.

If we observe the aspect of a sleeper, we note the features placid, the
breathing regular, the pulse soft and even, the limbs relaxed, the skin
moist. Occasionally there are quiverings of the limbs and expressions of
the face which betray the presence of mental emotions.

This is the _physiological_ condition of Sleep.

We turn now to its _mental_ condition.



Of all the phenomena exhibited in Psychology and Mental Physiology there
is none more marvellous than that which is presented to every one of us
every night. It only does not astonish us because it is so familiar.
Perhaps the reason why so few have given a moment of reflection to its
marvels is because they are seen so often. When the attention of the
reader is more closely invited to these phenomena he will doubtless be
surprised to find what a world of wonder is opened to him.

The passage from waking to sleeping is momentary. The closest observer
of his own mental action fails to note it. But what a change is made in
that moment! A complete mental revolution has been effected. The man
himself has changed entirely. He has ceased to be a rational being! He is
almost wholly severed from the external world, which exists for him no
longer! His _Will_ (which is the name we give to the _expression_ of the
Conscious Self) is paralysed. He has ceased to command his thoughts and
his emotions. He has no control over his limbs. With the sole exception
that he dreams, he is but a breathing clod. Of the forces that move his
Mechanism, Life alone is active, working steadily and harmoniously as
before. As we shall presently see, the other forces that move and direct
the mechanism—the forces of _Mind_ and _Soul_—are not inactive. But they
have withdrawn from their waking work. They exist and their existence is
manifest. But they have ceased to control and the mechanism has ceased to

Some proof this—is it not?—that these Psychic Forces are distinct from
the vital force and from the physical forces and have another origin.
These phenomena of sleep supply further and most cogent evidence of the
fallacy of the contention of the Materialists, that the vital force alone
governs the mechanism of Man, and that all the forces that direct the
mechanism are generated within the machine.

In sleep the vital force continues to do its normal work. At the same
moment some other force or forces are engaged in doing abnormal work,
thus establishing the fact that some force or forces, other than the
vital force or the physical forces, are employed in moving the mechanism
of Man.

Pause to think for a moment what is this wonderful mental change that in
a moment converts _the Man_ into something less than a mere animal—into
little more than a senseless vegetable!

What, then, is the _mental_ process of sleep?

The first perceptible signs of its coming are what are well called
“wandering thoughts.” The Will resigns its control, at first fitfully,
then at intervals continually diminishing. Nevertheless the Will strives
to retain its hold upon the brain, then relaxes, then seizes it again,
but with ever lessening power. “_Attention_” to the subject before the
mind wanders—is recalled—wanders again—and then ceases altogether.

With this relaxation of the _Will_, and consequently of
“attention,”—which is an effort of the Will—ideas begin to flow unbidden
into the mind. At first they are banished almost as soon as they appear.
But presently they return and disturb the train of waking thought; then
they mingle with it; then they put it altogether to rout, and usurp its
place. At the beginning, we are competent to sever the intruding ideas
from the true ones and we make an effort to banish them if we desire to
be wakeful. But they return ever more vividly and persistently, until at
length they take possession of the mind. If we are courting sleep, we
welcome the intruders and willingly resign the control of our thoughts.
In either case the state of actual sleep occurs at the instant when the
_Will_ ceases to work and _attention_ ends.

Then begins the condition of _Dream_, to be treated of presently.

Our business now is to trace, so far as we can, the _mental_ change that
attends the condition of sleep. The phenomena just described are the
action of the mind in the process of _falling asleep_. The _state of
sleep_ presents other features.

The mental condition of sleep, apart from dream, is very remarkable and
should be carefully noted and remembered by the Student of Psychology.

The _Senses_ are suspended—but not entirely. They are rather dulled than
paralysed. We hear, but imperfectly, and we are unable to measure the
sound. Often a loud noise is not heard when a whisper wakens; or a slight
sound seems to the sleeper like the report of cannon. The sense of touch
is only dulled, as we know by the manner in which it influences dream.
Whether the sense of sight ceases entirely we cannot know, because the
eyelids veil the eyes and external impressions are consequently not made
upon them. Taste and smell are dimmed but not effaced.



These facts point to the conclusion that the partial paralysis to
which the senses are subjected in sleep does not occur at the points
of communication with the external world, but somewhere between the
extremity of the sense-nerves and the brain, or at the point of
communication between the brain and the Conscious Self. There can be
little doubt that impressions are made upon the nerves in sleep as when
we are awake. There is some evidence that the impressions so made are
conveyed by the afferent nerve to the ganglion at the base of the brain
hemispheres. The experiments of Professor FERRIER have proved this
ganglion to be the centre upon which the sense-nerves converge; that to
this centre those impressions are conveyed and thence are transmitted
to the brain hemispheres, or at this point the hemispheres of the
intelligence receive notice of their presence.

In Sleep the brain is unable to convey its commands to the body. The
nerves do not obey. Something that operates between the brain and the
nerves and which was active in the waking state is inactive in sleep.
What is that _something_? It is the _Will_. The Will has ceased to act
and thus the body has ceased to be controlled by the mind. This is the
process by which the needful rest of the body is brought about.

Here the question comes, in what part of the mechanism does the change
occur that thus causes the suspension of the power of the Will and the
partial severance of the Conscious Self from its normal control of the
body? _How_ does sleep accomplish so great a revolution? If the whole
mental mechanism were inactive in sleep this question would be answered
easily. We should say, “the entire of the brain is sleeping and therefore
the whole mechanism is at rest. The motive forces that move and direct
the machine in its waking state have ceased for a time from their work
and the structure stands still.”

But that is not the condition. All the forces have not ceased from their
work. The vital force continues in full activity, keeping the machinery
in motion and performing the work of nutrition, reparation and growth.
The _mind_ is not at rest; the phenomena of dream directly contradict
such a conclusion. The whole mental mechanism is certainly not at rest. A
part of it is very busy. The hemispheres of the brain are not sleeping—or
sleeping but partially. They are enacting dreams. They are in truth
working with infinitely greater speed and power when we are asleep than
when we are awake!

If, then, the brain hemispheres are waking above and the body is sleeping
below, the communication between them must be severed by sleep at
some part of the mechanism below the brain hemispheres (which are the
mechanism of the Intelligence) and the point where the brain branches
into the nerve system—which is the mechanism by whose action the vital
force forms and sustains the organic structure.

_That point is obviously the point at which the Will exercises its power
of control over the body._ Thus does this inquiry into the Psychology
of Sleep and Dream promise to throw light upon that mysterious part
of the mechanism of man. Professor FERRIER has proved that _the Will_
is exercised through the brain hemispheres, which are the organs of
the Intelligence. In the waking and normal condition of the structure
the Will commands and controls the body. In sleep and other abnormal
conditions the Will ceases to command the body. Between the brain
hemispheres and the nerves that move the body something seems to be
interposed which either paralyses the Will or ceases to transmit its
commands. What is that _something_? Anatomically we find two ganglia, one
being the centre upon which the nerves of the senses converge. We know,
also, that in sleep the senses cease to transmit their impressions, or
do so but dimly. The conclusion is, that the seat of sleep is in this
ganglion. Because that is slumbering, the commands of the Will cannot be
conveyed from the brain to the body, nor can the messages sent by the
senses from the body be conveyed to the brain.

It is a moot point if the entire of the mechanism of the brain, or parts
of it only, and, if so, what parts, fall into the condition of sleep.
But, however that may be, there can be little doubt, from the facts
stated above, that the ganglion at the base of the brain hemispheres
is the seat of sleep. It is certain that the entire of the two brain
hemispheres does not always sleep or dream could not be. Whether the
ganglion that interposes between the cerebral centre and the body, and
whence streams the nerve system, succumbs to sleep we have no certain
knowledge. The presumption is that it does not, for the nerves whose
office is to sustain the functions of the vital organs do not sleep. Why
they need not the rest that is required by other parts of the mechanism
we do not know. Rest appears to be necessary for that portion of the
mechanism only that is subject to _voluntary action_. Where _the Will_
controls, the repose of sleep is required for all structure subjected to
it. Why?

Does the nerve system that moves the mechanism of the body sleep? The
bonds that link brain and body are relaxed. The Will has ceased to
control either of them. The material form is at rest. But it rests only
because the power of the controlling Will is paralysed. All _in_voluntary
actions continue and with the more regularity and efficiency because they
are not subjected to the disturbing influences of the Will.

And what is this potent Will?

_The Will_ is merely the expression of the Conscious Self—the power which
the Conscious Self exercises over the material mechanism of the body and
through the body upon the material world without.



As already stated, at the first approach of sleep we are conscious of
inability so to control our thoughts as to keep them in the orderly train
they had been pursuing previously. Ideas come uncalled for. Pictures
rise before the mental eye and vanish instantly. Other pictures intrude,
having no apparent association with their predecessors. They enter
and pass before us unbidden. The mind falls into confusion. There is
entanglement of the threads of thought. Even while the eye is yet open,
the objects on which it gazes fade and vanish. Sounds fall faintly upon
the ear and die away. The vision of the mind grows dim or is eclipsed
by other unsummoned pictures, often altogether incongruous, which blend
with the picture present, then melt into it, then usurp its place, and
then are in their turn displaced. We are conscious that we can no longer
control the movements of the mind. Momentary resistance to the influence
but provokes its more vigorous return. For an instant we wake with a
start to consciousness of the external world. If we desire to resist
the coming on of sleep, we exert the Will fitfully, start into waking
life for a few moments, contract the relaxed muscles, open the drooped
eyelids, stare with a peculiar expression of imbecile amazement, strive
to look as if we had _not_ been surprised by sleep, and for a while
the mind resumes its normal action. But soon again the thoughts are
dislocated and replaced by a swarm of yet more dissevered ideas. We feel
again the dropping lid, the relaxing muscle, the nodding head. Strive as
we may, we are unable to note the moment when unconsciousness begins. We
remember _falling asleep_, but we do not remember, and no human being has
ever yet remembered, the very act of _going to sleep_.

The mental condition of _falling asleep_ resembles very closely the
dissolving views at exhibitions. So do the pictures of the mind steal
into the field of view and mingle and melt away; nor can we discover
where one ceases and the other begins, so imperceptibly do they glide in
and blend.

We sleep.

What is then our _mental_ condition?

It is a condition of _partial unconsciousness_. In this respect it
differs from the condition of coma and of trance, in which there
is _entire_ unconsciousness. In the most profound sleep perfect
unconsciousness never prevails. Impressions may be made upon the senses
of the soundest sleeper that will waken him. The degree of oblivion
caused by sleep varies immensely with various persons and with all
persons at various times. Some are “light” and others “heavy” sleepers.
Some are wakened by the slightest noise or the gentlest touch. Others
will slumber, though rudely shaken, or while cannon are roaring. It
is a remarkable fact, not yet sufficiently explained, that a whisper
will often waken a sleeper by whose side a gun might be fired without
disturbing him. Others will answer aloud to questions whispered to them
when sleeping, and there are recorded cases of conversations being thus
sustained and inconvenient revelations made by the sleeper which have
astonished him on their subsequent repetition—there being in such case no
after memory of the dialogue so strangely conducted.

The _senses_, therefore, are but partially sealed in sleep. They are
dulled, not paralysed. They convey imperfect sensations—or the sensations
conveyed are imperfectly perceived—we know not which. As will be shown
presently, they more or less influence mental action. They suggest
dreams. But their reflex action has ceased. The nerves that convey the
messages to the brain are sluggish. The nerves that convey the consequent
message from the brain to the body are for the most part inactive.

The aspect of the sleeper to the observer is that of unconsciousness.
There are occasional motions of the limbs, but these are involuntary. He
seems dead to the external world and to have ceased from active life.

Nevertheless, while that form is so still and seemingly so
senseless—while consciousness of a world without is suspended—in this
sleep that has been called the twin brother of death—the senseless
sleeper is making a world and living a life of his own within himself.
That brain is not sleeping with that body. It is awake and busy—often
more busy than when the body is awake. It is enacting whole dramas—living
new lives—wandering away among worlds of its own creation—crowding into
an hour the events of years—doing, saying, seeing, hearing, feeling, even
while we gaze, a hundredfold more than the waking senses could possibly
convey or the waking frame perform.

Is it not marvellous when we thus think of it? Would it not be pronounced
incredible—impossible—the narrator a “rogue and vagabond”—the believer a
credulous fool—were it not that it is _a fact_ familiar to all of us? Is
it not in itself as marvellous as any of the phenomena of other abnormal
mental conditions, which are received with such incredulity and ridicule
only because they are of less frequent occurrence and less familiar?

But before we pursue the inquiry into the phenomena of Dream, it will
be necessary to describe the material mechanism by the operations of
which those phenomena are produced. This will be properly the theme of a
distinct chapter.



It is difficult to describe, without the use of technical terms, the
structure of the mechanism by which Dream is produced. But as these
are at once unintelligible and repulsive to the non-scientific reader,
indulgence is entreated for an endeavour to present the subject in shape
and language that may be understood by everybody.

It must be premised that this description is partly derived from the
recent treatise of Professor FERRIER on “The Functions of the Brain,”[1]
in which he details the experiments that have thrown so much light alike
upon physiology and psychology.

The spinal cord expands at its upper end into a ganglion or cluster of
nerves called the _medulla oblongata_.

At this point the brain is said to cease and the nerve system to begin.
But there is no perceptible beginning nor ending either of the brain or
of the nerves. The entire nerve system is, in fact, only an extension
of the brain. When a nerve is irritated at the point of the finger the
brain as well as the nerve is affected. The nerve transmits the sensation
and the brain feels it. Psychologists would venture a step further, and
say, “It is not the brain that feels, but the intelligent individual
entity, the living soul or self, of whom the brain is only the material
transmitting organ.”

It is at the extremity of this ganglion that the cords wrapped within
that great bundle of nerve cords which constitutes the spinal cord cross
each other and pass into opposite sides of the brain and of the body.
The nerves that control the left side of the body pass into the right
side of the brain, and those that control the right side of the body pass
into the left side of the brain. As the consequence of this exchange, the
right side of the brain controls and directs the left side of the body,
and the left side of the brain the right side of the body.

Above this basal ganglion, but connected with it, is a ganglion which
anatomists have divided into two parts, but which for the present purpose
it will be convenient to recognize as one whole lying at the base of the
brain and crowned and inclosed by the cerebral hemispheres. From this
great basal ganglion small white threads radiate into the two cerebral
hemispheres in the form of a hollow cone.

Above the basal ganglion lies another great ganglion (the _cerebellum_),
also divided into lobes, and which is connected with the basal ganglion
by two bands (or peduncles). It is connected also with the two cerebral
hemispheres by two bands. It is connected with the central ganglion by a
thin lamina, which stretches to the other ganglia, thus connecting all
the ganglia with the centres of the senses and the centres of motion—that
is to say, with the centre that receives the messages of the senses and
with the centre that conveys the commands of the Will to the body.

Above and extending in front of these are the _cerebrum_, the organ of
the intelligence, composed of two hemispheres, which crown, inclose, and
overlap the ganglia at the base of the brain.

These two great hemispheres are distinct bodies, each complete in itself
but united by fibres that pass from one hemisphere to the other and thus
secure their united action. These fibres are observed to connect together
corresponding regions of the two hemispheres.

At their bases the two hemispheres are in direct contact with the
ganglion above described as the central ganglion, but which has been
anatomically subdivided into two pairs of ganglia. For the purposes of
this treatise, however, minute divisions are not necessary.

This ganglion is the centre upon which all the nerves of the senses
converge and each division of it is supposed to be appropriated to a
distinct sense. But even if each part has its own work to do, it is not
less a whole than is the cerebral hemisphere, which is now proved to have
various parts devoted to various mental operations.

The cerebral hemispheres are formed of great bundles of fibres, in the
shape of rolls, plainly visible on the outside, but which baffle the
attempts of the most dexterous anatomist to sever them below the surface.

And the whole brain is covered with an extremely delicate and highly
sensitive membrane, which is now conjectured to be the medium by means of
which all the parts of the brain are brought into communication, and the
co-ordination and unity of action of the entire organ preserved.

The substance of the brain itself is insensible, although it is the
recipient and supposed seat of the pains and pleasures of the body—or
rather of the nerves, for what we call the body is only the insensible
clothing of the nerves. The nerves feel; the flesh and bones do not feel.

Is not this fact another powerful argument _against_ the doctrine of the
Materialists that consciousness and mind are only states of brain or
conditions of matter? If the brain is not conscious of injuries done to
itself, if it is insensible even to its own destruction, how can it be
the “_Conscious_ Self?”

But the enveloping membrane of the brain is exquisitely sensitive. It
is the seat of headache, of _delirium tremens_, of brain fever, of
hydrocephalus, and probably of many more diseases which we are wont to
refer to the substance of the brain.

_We_ refer—_Who_ refers? _What_ refers? The brain to the brain? Or one
part of the brain to another part of the brain? Will the Materialists

It is probable that this envelope of nerves unites all the parts of the
brain and by transmitting to each part the condition of all the other
parts produces co-ordination of the parts and unity of action. But this
membrane of nerve cannot surely be deemed by the most bigoted Materialist
to constitute the Conscious Self.

Professor FERRIER has proved, by a multitude of minutely detailed
experiments, that not only has each ganglion its function, but that each
part of each ganglion is devoted to some special duty, thus completely
shattering the theory that holds every mental operation to be an act
of the whole brain. He establishes at least the grand basis of modern
mental Science, the assumption that the brain is the material organ of
the mind; that distinct parts of the brain are devoted to distinct mental
operations; that not the whole brain, but only parts of it, are employed
in any mental operation. The question is still open for observation and
experiment to ascertain what are the parts of the brain so appropriated
and what are the precise functions of each part.

Professor FERRIER has made considerable advances towards the
determination of this question. His experiments have demonstrated what
are the functions of the ganglia at the base of the brain, not being
the seat of the Intelligence. His experiments were attended with more
cruelty than I could excuse even for the important accessions they have
brought to our knowledge. But they are not therefore the less valuable as
contributions to Physiology and Psychology. I can but briefly describe
the results of such of them as bear immediately upon the subject here
treated of.

Let me, however, first confirm, by the authority of Professor FERRIER,
the proposition I have ventured to advance as to the various functions of
various parts of the brain.

“That the brain is the organ of the mind,” he says, “and that mental
operations are possible only in and through the brain, is now so
thoroughly well established and recognized that we may, without further
question, start from this as an ultimate fact.” He proceeds:

    The physiological activity of the brain is not, however,
    altogether co-extensive with its psychological functions. The
    brain as an organ of motion and sensation, or presentative
    consciousness, is a single organ composed of two halves;
    the brain as an organ of ideation, or re-presentative
    consciousness, is a dual organ, each hemisphere complete
    in itself. When one hemisphere is removed or destroyed by
    disease, motion and sensation are abolished unilaterally, but
    mental operations are still capable of being carried on in
    their completeness through the agency of the one hemisphere.
    The individual who is paralysed as to sensation and motion by
    disease of the opposite side of the brain (say the right),
    is not paralysed mentally, for he can still feel and will and
    think, and intelligently comprehend with the one hemisphere.
    If these functions are not carried on with the same vigour as
    before, they at least do not appear to suffer in respect of

As the object of this treatise is not anatomy but psychology, it will be
unnecessary to describe minutely the entire of the brain structure. It
will suffice for the present purpose to view the brain, above roughly
sketched, as having three well marked divisions, each with definite and
distinct functions.

The ganglia at the base of the brain govern the actions of the body. The
ganglia in the centre of the brain are the recipients of the impressions
made upon the senses and thus connect us with the external world. The two
hemispheres at the summit of the brain are the organs of the Intelligence.

Professor FERRIER’S experiments were made with a view to ascertain
whether the theory of Dr. CARPENTER is true, that the whole brain works
in each mental action, or if the phrenological doctrine be the true one,
that the several parts of the brain have several and distinct functions.
Dr. CARPENTER had prematurely boasted that he had killed Phrenology.
The boast would have been justified if his assertion (for it was merely
a dogma, not a proved fact) had been found to be true. But Professor
FERRIER’S experiments have decisively _disproved_ the boast of Dr.
CARPENTER and killed his theory of mental unity.

The experiments were conducted chiefly with monkeys and dogs. The former
were the most valuable, because the brain structure of the monkey is
almost identical with that of man. The experiments were certainly cruel
and I should object to procure even such valuable knowledge at such a
price. But, as it is obtained, we may use it.

The experiments were performed by making the animal insensible by
chloroform and then extracting in mass certain portions of the brain,
or destroying parts of the brain by the actual cautery. Electrodes were
applied to the various parts of the brain to which access had been thus
obtained and their effects upon the actions of the animal were carefully

I will not attempt to detail these experiments—but merely state some of
the results. For the many important facts that were discovered by them
reference must be made to the valuable volume in which they are reported.

He found the entire brain to be connected with the nerve system by the
process of interlacing. Excitation of the right brain was shown by the
left side of the body; of the left brain by the right side. So it was
with the nerves of the senses. Whether the like structure exists in the
duplex organ of the intelligence he could not trace, because the mental
results were incapable of being expressed by experiment upon animals,
who cannot tell us what are their emotions. But he entertains no doubt
that the same structural scheme is observed in the action of the two
hemispheres also.

The great ganglia at the base of the brain, whether excited by
electricity or destroyed by cautery, yielded the same result. They proved
beyond doubt that _their_ function is to direct the actions of the body
under the peculiar conditions of its duplex structure—that is to say, a
formation by two distinct and not wholly similar halves joined together
and requiring community of action. This process of separate action for
each part combined with motion in _co-ordination_—that is to say, the
regulation of the motions of the limbs, so that the two halves of which
the body is builded may act in definite relationship—was found to be the
special business of those basal ganglia, any disturbance in those ganglia
being attended with imperfect movements of the body, even to the extent
of causing the animal to walk in a circle, having lost entirely the
power to “walk straight.” The results of this ingenious experiment are
extremely curious and throw great light on the physiology of locomotion.

The second division of the brain, lying in its centre, overlapped behind
by the cerebrum, resting on the centres that direct bodily actions and
dominated by the hemispheres that are the organs of the intelligence,
is shown by these experiments to be the centre upon which the senses
converge. To this common centre the impressions made upon the senses by
the external world are conveyed. The experiments seem to indicate that
a distinct ganglion is devoted to each sense, although all are united
in one mass for the common purpose of reception of the information they
bring. The destruction of different parts of this brain centre is found
to be followed by the loss or impairment of different senses. It was
found, also, that this part of the brain was duplex, like the other
parts, for destruction of the right side of the ganglion caused paralysis
of the senses on the left side of the body and _vice versâ_.

A question of much interest arises here. What is the precise function
of this sense-receiving portion of the brain? Is _itself_ perceptive
of the sense-impressions brought to it, or is it merely the medium
for transmitting those impressions to the hemispheres above? That in
health it does communicate to the intelligence the same impressions that
it receives there can be no doubt, for we take cognisance of them in
almost every mental act. We know also that when the brain is diseased
false impressions are conveyed to the Intelligence. But in exploring
the psychology of Sleep and Dream, it would be of great advantage to
ascertain if the same receiving portion of the brain is an active or
merely a passive agent.

The experiments of Professor FERRIER are almost conclusive upon this most
important point. He removed the two brain hemispheres of a monkey and
of a dog. The animals lived and appeared to enjoy health, but _they had
lost intelligence_. They had not, however, lost the use of the _senses_
and they were manifestly conscious of the impressions brought by the
nerves of sense. The external world continued to exist for them and was
perceived by them as before the organs of the intelligence were removed.
But when this central division of the brain was taken away and nothing
left but the lower lobes that govern muscular motion, all the senses
ceased to act, or consciousness of action had ceased. Nevertheless the
power of locomotion and the co-ordinate action of the limbs was preserved
with very little loss of power.

Above the central sense-organ tower two hemispheres—_two_ brains, each
distinct and complete in itself and each capable to act without the
other. The function of these hemispheres is that we term _mental_. They
are the organs of the intellect and of the sentiments. Through them we
think, reason and feel. Injury to parts of these injures more or less,
_not_ the _whole_ mind, but _parts of the mind_—certain mental faculties
only. Destruction of the entire of these hemispheres is not death but

Let it then be clear in the mind of the reader, when surveying the
phenomena of sleep and dream and inquiring into their causes, that for
the purpose of such an outline of the Physiology of the Mind as this,
the brain is to be viewed by him as having _three_ marked divisions—the
organ of the _intelligence_ at the summit, of the _senses_ in the centre,
of _bodily motion_ at the base.

There are many sub-divisions of the brain known to anatomists and
necessary to be known by the Student of Physiology. But these will
suffice for the Student of Psychology. They are easily understood and
readily remembered.

In the waking and normal state, the whole brain is awake, all its parts
acting in concert and preserving strict co-ordination. The reasoning
faculties correct the senses; the senses correct the imagination; the
intelligence controls the emotions; the emotions give vigour to the Will;
the Will commands the entire mechanism of the body and expresses upon the
external world the results of that combination of intelligent actions and
emotions which we term “_the mind_.”

In sleep this relationship is changed. The reasoning faculties cease to
correct the senses; the senses no longer correct the imagination; the
emotions are unable to influence the Will; the Will loses its command of
body and mind alike.

However it may be in dreamless sleep, in the condition of dream the
entire mechanism certainly does not sleep. Some part of it is awake and
active. What is that waking part?

It is undoubted that the cerebral hemispheres are wholly or partially
awake in the process of dream. In deep sleep the sense-ganglia are
wholly asleep. In all sleep the senses sleep, only sometimes not so
profoundly as completely to exclude cognizance, by the Conscious Self, of
the sense-borne impressions. Sleep affects also the ganglia at the base
of the brain that control the actions of the body. This, indeed, would
appear to be the primary purpose of sleep. Sleep is obviously designed
to give rest to the _material structure_—time for growth and renovation.
It is for this reason that the Will, which in the waking state directs
the motions of the structure, ceases to control it during sleep. The
Will itself wakes—for we are self-conscious in dream—but in sleep the
material mechanism does not obey the command of the Will, because itself
is sleeping.

The central and basal portions of the brain are, therefore, the seat of
sleep. Unless they sleep we do not sleep. If they sleep we sleep, even
although both brain hemispheres are at the same time wide awake.

And this raises the question, so important in the Psychology of Dream;
do the brain hemispheres, that duplex organ of the intelligence,
sleep wholly or partially, or do they continue to be awake while the
sense-brain and the body-moving brain are sleeping?

This problem can be solved only by careful examination of the phenomena
of dream. Suppose that Professor FERRIER could do with us as he did
with the monkeys and dogs—take out a portion of the brain—and it were
possible to remove altogether the middle and basal sections, leaving
the hemispheres alone in the skull, would they sleep wholly or in part
or, if awake, would they exhibit the phenomena of dream as they are now

Contemplate, then, if you can, a duplex intelligent brain, in a state
of activity, but cut off from all communication with the external world
through the media of the senses and from all control over the body;—in
fact, an isolated, self-acting, self-contained mechanism, the organ of
intelligence and emotion.

How would it work?

First, it must be set in motion. Thus we are brought directly to the
problem “What moves the mind?” Why does _this_ particular thought or
feeling come into the mind at this moment rather than some other?

The solution commonly accepted is that ideas come by _suggestion_. This
means that ideas are, as it were, linked together and consequently that
when one idea comes it is followed by certain other ideas which at some
former time were connected with it. Probably the greater portion of the
ideas that come to us apparently without such association are suggested
by some impression brought by the senses, but received by the sensorium
unconsciously to ourselves and that thus the “train of thought” is

If it be so in one waking time, when the mind is busy with a multitude of
impressions flowing in upon it from every sense—much more is it likely so
to be when the impressions made by the senses are few, as is proved by
the experience of every reader. In sleep, a slight sound falling upon the
ear will suggest a dream of roaring cannon or rattling thunder.

But the idea, once suggested, draws after it whole trains of associated
ideas, and these ideas excite the _emotions_ precisely as they would have
done had they been brought by the senses in the waking state. Thus far,
then, we learn that the faculties which produce what we call ideas and
sentiments and passions are not asleep. Some, if not all, of them are
certainly awake and as active as in waking life.

The Will, too, is not asleep, although powerless to command. In dream we
_will_ to speak and do, but the body does not obey the Will. The efforts
of the Will to command the limbs to move—as to escape from dreamed-of
danger—and the failure of the limbs to obey, are often attended with
consciousness of painful efforts made in vain.

So far the phenomena of dream are consistent with the entire of the
duplex brain organ of the intelligence being awake while the lower
portion of the brain is sleeping. Certainly it is difficult to conceive
of parts of such an organ as the two hemispheres sleeping, relaxed, and
insensible, while other parts of it are awake and active.

For, if Professor FERRIER is right, and distinct functions belong, not
only to each ganglion but to various parts of each ganglion, the brain
hemispheres, which are the material mechanism of the intelligence, must
consist of many parts having different duties. We know that anatomically
these parts, if they exist, are in intimate connection, lying closely
packed together if not actually interlacing, and it is difficult to
suppose that one part can be sleeping while its neighbour is awake,
especially as sleep is attended, if not caused, by a depletion of blood
from the fibres of the brain, retreating from the entire hemisphere and
not from parts of it.

Nevertheless, there are characteristics of Dream which appear to indicate
a suspension of activity in some parts of the intellectual mechanism.
Although perfectly conscious of the presence of the dream, we are unable
to discover that it is not real; we cannot discern incongruities, nor
recognize impossibilities. The dead of long ago come to us and we are not
amazed. We walk the waters and float in the air and are not astonished.
Nothing is too impossible to be done and nothing too monstrous to be
implicitly believed. We are, in fact, insane in dream.

What is the solution of this problem? Some faculty that corrects the
action of the mind when we are awake is certainly absent or paralysed
during dream. Something must come to us from without or operate upon the
mind within that restores us to sanity when we wake, enabling us then
to discern the false from the true, the shadow from the substance, the
impossible from the possible.

What is this absent faculty?

The solution most favoured by psychologists is that in sleep we lack the
correcting influence of the senses. The mind, they say, having nothing
wherewith to compare its own creations, necessarily accepts them as
realities; it puts implicit faith in them, however monstrous, simply
because they are presented to it as facts and in the same manner as facts
are presented when it is awake.

I confess to great doubt if this explanation be adequate. True, that we
believe the impossibilities of our dreams _to be_ because they appear
to the mind to be. But that does not explain the strange absence of
perplexity and wonder when we witness (as we then verily believe) the
dead alive, the distant near, and impossible things performed with ease.
In our waking state, if the like dreams come into the mind at some moment
of idleness, they are never mistaken for realities. Reason rejects them,
and if entertained for awhile it is only as a pleasant vision. Nor is
the problem solved by the suggested slumber of the reasoning faculties.
These are not always asleep in dream, for often we dream that we are
exercising them readily and effectively. The power of reasoning employed
in dream is, however, very limited. It can exercise itself on the subject
of the dream, but not upon its surroundings. It is not uncommon for the
sleeper to dream that he is making a speech or preaching a sermon. The
discourse is argumentative and logical. It is not merely that he dreams
he is logical; he is so in fact, for the dream is often remembered after
waking and no flaw is found in the argument. Nevertheless, at the moment
that our reasoning faculties are constructing a strictly logical and
perfectly rational discourse, they are unable to inform us—as when we are
awake they would have done—that the place where we suppose the speech to
be spoken, the occurrence and the occasion, are not merely fictitious but
attended with the most palpable absurdities.

Looking, then, at one hemisphere only of the brain, it is difficult to
infer that one or more parts of it are sleeping while the other parts
are awake. May the solution of the problem be found in the fact that
we have _two_ brains? Can it be that in the condition of dream one
hemisphere—that is, one mind—is awake while the other is asleep?

To answer this it is necessary to inquire what is the action of _two_
brains working, like the two eyes, together or separately?

For the common purposes of life the two brains act in complete accord.
Like the two nerves of vision, they co-ordinate. Either can act alone
for the ordinary uses of existence, just as one eye will do the usual
work of sight. But as we see more perfectly, extensively, and roundly
with two eyes than with one—so it may be reasonably concluded that we
think more truly and clearly, and feel more strongly, when the two brains
act together than when one is working alone. The faculty of _comparison_
is one of the most important of the mental powers, for it is the basis of
accurate knowledge. But it is doubtful if this faculty can do its work in
one brain unless co-ordinated with the same faculty in the other brain.
Unlike the other mental faculties, “comparison” can exercise itself
only upon _two_ ideas. Its very purpose is to make us conscious of the
resemblances and differences between any two ideas presented to it. All
mental processes are successive—that is to say, no two mental actions
are performed by the same mental faculty at the same instant of time.
Consequently, the faculty of comparison cannot exercise itself without
having before it _two_ ideas to contrast. As one brain can present only
one idea at any one moment, one brain cannot provide the materials
wherewith comparison can work. The process of comparison cannot therefore
be effected without the aid of the other brain. This, in healthy waking
life, is done instantly, perfectly and unconsciously, by means of the
power of co-ordination possessed by the two hemispheres.

Such being the action of the waking brain, does sleep present any
conditions that might be explained in like manner? Suppose the state of
dream to be the slumber of one hemisphere only, the other being awake.
May not this solve the problem?

In dream we believe shadows to be substances, ideas to be things,
incongruities to be natural, and impossibilities to be realities; and so
believing, we have no sense of surprise and reason is not shocked.

Nothing of these results presents itself when we are awake. Why?

Waking, the faculty of _Comparison_ is enabled to do its work. It
compares the idea with the reality, the shadow with the substance, the
dream within with the impression without, the present picture of the
mind with the stored knowledge of the past. The differences being thus
discovered, the mind dismisses them as being the mere visions that they

The mental operation is performed somewhat in this manner. Two ideas are
present in the mind, which compares them and traces their resemblances
and differences. The sense-borne idea being thus brought face to face, as
it were, with the brain-born idea, the distinction is discovered, and the
latter is relegated to the limbo of visions, the former is accepted as a
reality and made the basis of action.

But inasmuch as two ideas cannot be presented at the same instant of
time by one brain hemisphere, the presence of the two ideas requisite
to the process of comparison can be had only by the combined action of
both hemispheres. Hence the usual inability of persons afflicted with
hemiplegia to compare or reason accurately.

If the action of the faculty of comparison were paralysed, we should
dream when awake. The suspension of the action of this faculty in dream
would suffice to account for the accepted incongruities of dream, without
assuming the sleep of the entire hemisphere.

But, as observed above, it is difficult to assume the slumber of one
mental faculty alone, packed as all are among many with which they are
intimately united. It is more probable that in dream the entire of one
hemisphere sleeps. The facts are in accordance with such a suggestion.

But, however this may be, it does not disturb the conclusion, that the
seat of sleep is in the ganglia at the base of the brain. That portion
of the brain which directs the motions of the body sleeps always. Sleep
reigns more or less perfectly in the portions of the brain that receive
the impressions of the senses. Sleep is very partial in the cerebrum, the
duplex organ of the intelligence, and probably—(for it is as yet only
conjectural)—partial sleep prevails there, if at all, by the contrivance
of slumber by one hemisphere while the other is awake.

Such being the _Physiology_ of Dream—so far as science has yet succeeded
in tracing it—we proceed now to investigate its _Psychology_.

[1] _The Functions of the Brain._ By DAVID FERRIER, M.D., F.R.S. London:
Smith, Elder, & Co., 1876.



The base of the brain being quite asleep, the central ganglia being
partially asleep, the cerebral hemispheres or some part of them being
awake, we have the physiological condition in which occur the Phenomena
of Dream.

The first coming on of Dream is found at the moment of “falling asleep,”
before actual sleep has begun. _Then_ we _are_ conscious for an instant
that we are dreaming—that the mental impressions are not external
realities. But this consciousness is for a moment only. Either we start
into waking life and the incipient dream is banished, or we fall into
actual sleep and the condition of complete dream is established.

The process is worthy of note. You are engaged in some occupation—say
that you are reading a novel. You “feel sleepy;” your eyes continue to
pass over the page; your mind pictures the persons, actions and emotions
of the story. But by degrees the ideas become dim and shadowy and the
_attention_ flags. Then your mind wanders away to other scenes and
persons, which come into it uncalled for and even against your Will. But
the power of that Will is lessening also. At first it is strong to banish
the intruding thoughts; but as “the attention” relaxes more and more,
so more and more does your Will cease to control the now thick-coming
fancies. In that incipient stage of dream you know that these
dream-pictures are only dreams. Never do you mistake them for realities.
Soon the influence of sleep steals over the mind. The eyelids close and
exclude the impressions of the external world that are made through the
sense of sight. The other senses are paralyzed also. The creations of
the brain take full possession of the mind. You are now _asleep_ and

If the condition of dream were not so familiar—if it did not occur to
all of us, but only to some few persons in abnormal conditions, it would
appear to the whole world as very wonderful. Suppose that dreaming were
a faculty possessed only by persons of a certain constitution; that
a Dreamer had told you how, when he was asleep, he saw and conversed
with the dead, beheld distant places, lived another life, walked upon
water, flew through the air, performed impossibilities, felt passions
and sentiments and exercised intellectual powers far exceeding those of
his waking life, should we not say of him that he was a madman or an
impostor? Would he not be prosecuted by the high priests of physical
science as a rogue and vagabond, and sent to prison by the Scientists or
to an asylum by the Doctors?

But because all of us do these things nightly the wonder of them does
not strike us. We do not pause to think how great the marvel is, nor how
it comes _to be_. May I venture to hope that the reader will be induced
to look upon this marvellous mental phenomenon with some curiosity and
hereafter to recognise in the phenomena of dream, not only something to
awaken curiosity, but something to command his serious attention, as
being peculiarly fitted to reveal to the inquirer some of the mysteries
of Mind, its structure, its faculties, the manner of its action. The
phenomena of Dream open to us the path by which we may hope to make the
first advances into the science of Psychology, for they are _facts_
known to all, disputed by none and which even the Materialists cannot
deny. Happily, neither their vocabulary of abuse, nor their weapons
of prosecution and persecution, can be directed against those who
investigate the phenomena of dream. Their existence cannot be denied, nor
can they be explained by attributing them to imposture.

How comes this transformation from sanity to insanity, wrought in a
moment, when Sleep has closed upon the Mind the portals of the senses and
left it almost isolated from the real material external world to revel in
its own imaginary world?

Some rein that held the mind in check when awake has certainly been taken
from it at the instant sleep occurs.

What is that lost rein—that paralyzed power?

It is not _Consciousness_. We do not lose our individuality in dream.
Never does the dreamer suppose himself to be another person. He may dream
that he has assumed other characters, that he is a king, or a beggar, but
still it is _himself_ who has become a king and is _acting_ king.

Nor is _the Will_ absent. The dreaming mind is conscious of the exercise
of its Will and believes that its commands are obeyed. But the Will is
powerless to compel action. Its commands are _not_ obeyed. In dream we
_will_ to speak, to run, to do what the body does freely when in our
waking state we _will_ to do. We _will_ in dream as we _will_ when awake,
but the mechanism of the nerves that move the body refuses to obey the
mandate of the Will however strenuously exerted.

_Imagination_, on the other hand, is even more lively in dream than in
our waking time.

The _Reasoning Faculties_ are not asleep, for we _argue_, often
rightly—only we reason upon wrong premisses. We accept the visions of the
mind—the ideas presented to the Conscious Self—as being real and then we
reason upon them rationally. What Lawyer has not often dreamed that he
was addressing a logical legal argument to an approving Court and, when
wakened, remembering and reviewing that argument, has found it to be
without a flaw?

The _Emotions_ are not extinguished when we dream. The presentation of
imaginary incidents which, if they had been real, would have kindled
the passions in waking life, rouse those self-same passions to equal if
not to greater fury in dream. Nor is the _passion_ fanciful. We do not
merely dream that we are angry. Very real and hot anger is kindled by the
fancy-born picture of the dream, as the reader will readily discover if
he recalls the sensation that attends upon being awakened at the moment
of irritation in a dream. It is with all the other passions and emotions
as with anger. The incidents of a dream excite them as if those incidents
were true. Wherefore? Because they appear to the mind to be true.

Thus by a process of exhaustion we may hope to arrive at some knowledge
of the cause of the special characteristic of dream—that is to say,
the _absolute belief we have in its reality during its enactment_. The
inquiry cannot fail to throw a great light upon mental structure and upon
the relationship of the mind to the body and to the external world.

The first fact we learn from observing the action of the mind, when
thus severed from communication with the external world, is its perfect
independence, its entire unconsciousness of its loss, its capacity
to create a world for itself and live a life of its own. If such a
condition could be imagined as a mind continuing to live in a dead body,
we might find in this phenomenon of sleep how the mind could exist in the
same state of activity as now, feel the same emotions of pleasure and of
pain, and enjoy a life as real to itself, although imaginary in fact, as
is the actual existence of any living man.

But it teaches a lesson yet more important. If the mind can thus live
a life of its own when severed from the influences of the body by the
paralysis of a section of the brain in sleep, is not the presumption
strong that this _something_ that does not sleep with the body, that
preserves an individual consciousness, that has memory and a Will, can
create a world of its own and live and act in it with entire belief in
its reality and which has a perfect sense of pleasure and of pain, is not
the material brain merely, but something other than brain and of which
the brain hemispheres are only the material mechanism? If the Conscious
Self lives and works thus when the body is dead to it in sleep, may it
not well be—(nay, does it not suggest even a probability?)—that when
permanent severance by death is substituted for the temporary severance
by sleep, the same Conscious Self may continue to exist with other
perceptive and receptive powers adapted to its changed conditions of

Why, then, are we in dream so credulous as to believe implicitly that
whatever visions are presented to us by the busy fancy are realities?
Why do we accept impossibilities and incongruities without a question of
their truth and scarcely with a sense of surprise or wonder? We have seen
that it is _not_ because the _reasoning_ faculties are asleep,—for often
they are very active in dream.

Simply, it is because we accept as real and as having been
sense-conveyed, and therefore as representing external objects, the ideas
that are in fact created by the mind itself.

And wherefore do we thus accept them?

The answer throws a flood of light upon the Mechanism of Mind and the
Mechanism of Man.

All our sensations are mental. Whether self-created within or brought
from without by the senses, we are conscious only of the _mental_
impression. That alone is _real_ to us. That alone _exists_ for us.

But by what faculty do we, in the waking state, distinguish between
the self-created and the sense-borne ideas and impressions, so as to
recognise the former as ideal and the latter as real?

For instance; you think of an absent friend, and you have in your mind
a picture of him more or less accurate. You see your friend in person
and then another picture of him is in your mind, brought to it by the
sense of sight. Your perceptions of both are merely mental pictures.
But, nevertheless, you readily distinguish them and call the mind-drawn
image _ideal_ and the sense-brought image _real_—meaning by these phrases
that the former has no objective existence, but the latter is actually
existing without you.

By what process is this result obtained? What enables you so to
distinguish them?

It can only be that you are _conscious_ of the action of the _senses_.
You feel that your eye is employed in the process. You have learned by
_experience_ that the actual presence of an external object is only to
be accepted when the information of it is brought to you by one of your

Thus it is that, when we are awake, the senses correct the action of the
mind and our capacity to distinguish the real from the ideal is due to
the information given by the senses.

It is plain now why in dream we believe the ideal to be real. The
_senses_ being severed from the Mind by sleep, the Mind has lost the
instrument by which it learns, when awake, what is shadow and what
substance. As the necessary consequence, all ideas appear to it to be
real because they are all alike. Inasmuch, then, as all the pictures that
throng the mind were originally brought to it by the senses, it has no
means, when an idea comes before it, of discerning whether it is a newly
brought idea or only the revival of an idea already existing in itself.
Hence it is that the Mind cannot but accept all its self-creations as
realities and when these are combined in a connected drama, the whole is
viewed by the Conscious Self as an actual adventure of the body, and not,
as in the waking time it would have been viewed, as merely a creation of
the busy fancy.

But the conclusion from this is that there is a Conscious Self, distinct
from the brain action which it contemplates and criticises.

That in fact we _have_ Souls.

Or rather that we _are_ Souls, clothed with a molecular mechanism
necessary for communication with the molecular part of creation, in which
the present stage of being is to be passed.



Such being the _Physiology and Psychology of Dream_—that is to say, the
conditions of the bodily and mental mechanism under which the phenomena
of Dream are presented—let us observe those phenomena and from the facts
noted endeavour to learn what light is thrown by them upon Psychology.
A mental state so strange and abnormal cannot fail to assist in the
solution of that great problem of the Mechanism of Man which it is the
vocation of Psychology to solve. Is that Mechanism moved or directed by
any but a self-generated force? Is it compounded of any but the tangible
material structure? Does Soul exist and, if it exists, what is its
relationship to the body?

A Dream is not a confused crowd of disconnected ideas. It is a succession
of associated incidents more or less orderly, even when incongruous,
improbable or even impossible. The mind of the sleeper constructs a
drama, often having many parts played by many persons; but always himself
is one of the actors. As _suggestion_ is the process by which the mind
works in waking life—one idea suggesting another with which it had
been at some past time associated and then another linked with that,
and so forth—so does the unsleeping mind of the sleeper present to the
Conscious Self a succession of suggested pictures which other mental
faculties weave into a story that is enacted before himself with all its
scenery and machinery! And this drama is not performed in dumb show or
in pantomime merely, but it is a drama spoken as well as acted by the
players, men, women, or animal, who appear to the dreamer to play before
him and with him their several parts as perfectly as they would have been
enacted in actual life.

Hence we learn that in dream, as in the waking state, the mind acts in
obedience to the laws of mind. The various mental functions are not
exercised vaguely, but in more or less of orderly relationship to one
another. Thus, imagination presents pictures which are accepted as having
been brought from without by the senses and therefore to the sleeper
are as real as if they had been objects of sight. These ideal pictures,
thus received as real, according to their various characteristics excite
precisely the same emotions as they would have excited had they been
real. But although the picture is imaginary, the emotion is actual. We do
not merely dream that we are angry or fearful; we feel actual anger and
real fear. The reader may remember that often the emotion excited by the
dream has continued to be felt after waking and when the dream itself has
vanished. Indeed we know not how much the mental character of the day is
influenced by the passions and emotions that have been stimulated by the
dreams of the night, the mental excitement continuing after the cause of
it has vanished and is forgotten.

The most wonderful of the many wonders that attend the condition of dream
is the development of the _inventive_ faculty so far beyond its capacity
in the waking state. Reflect for a moment what this performance is. Every
dreamer, however ignorant, however stupid, however young, performs a feat
which few could accomplish in the waking state, when in full command
of all their mental faculties. Every dream is a story. Most dreams
are dramas, having not a story merely, but often many actors, whose
characters are as various as on the stage of real life.

What does the dreaming mind?

Not merely does it invent the ideal story; it invents also all the
characters that play parts in it! Nor this only. It places in the mouth
of each of those characters speech appropriate to the character of each!
Yet are all of these dialogues invented by the mind of the sleeper! In
a restless night many such dream-dramas, each having its own distinct
plot and actors, will be invented by the dreamer, and a dialogue will
be constructed by himself in which each of the actors will play his
proper part. Strange as the assertion may appear, it is _a fact_ which
a moment’s reflection will confirm, that the ignorant ploughboy in his
dreams has made more stories and invented vastly more characters to enact
them and constructed more appropriate dialogues for those characters than
the most copious dramatist or novelist—aye, more than Shakespeare himself!

Another suggestive feature of the phenomena of dream is the _marvellous
speed_ of the mental action. Working untrammelled by the slow motions of
the body, the dreaming mind sets at defiance all the waking conceptions
of time. A dream of a series of adventures which would extend over many
days is, by the mind in dream, enacted in a few minutes; yet it is all
performed—all perfect—all minutely perceived, said and done; proving
that, when the mind is untrammelled by the body, it has other very
different conceptions of time. May it not be that time, as counted by
our waking thoughts, is in truth the ideal time, and that mental time as
measured in dream is the real time?

Not long ago I was enabled to apply some measure to this remarkable
difference between the action of the mind independently of the body and
its action when conducted through the slow moving mechanism of the body.
Called at the usual hour in the morning, I looked at my watch and in
about two minutes fell asleep again. I dreamed a dream of a series of
events that in their performance occupied what the mind conceived to be
a whole day—events in which I was an actor and played a part that would
have occupied a day in actual doing. Waking suddenly with the influence
of the dream upon me and the memory of it full before me, I looked at
my watch again, thinking that I must have been sleeping for an hour and
had lost the train. I found that, in fact, I had been asleep but four
minutes. In four minutes my mind had passed through the history of a
day, had invented that history, and contemplated it as a whole day’s
action, although it was in fact a day’s work done by the mind in four
minutes. This may give us some conception of what is the capacity of the
Soul for perception and action when, if ever, there is a falling away
from it of the cumbrous bodily material mechanism through which alone,
in its present stage of evolution, it is adapted to communicate with the
external material world.

Another phenomenon of Dream is _exaltation of the mental faculties_
generally. Often there is an extraordinary development of special
faculties in special dreams. A proof of this is found in the fact,
already noted, that dream itself is an invention of the mind whose then
capacities far exceed anything of which it is capable when the body
is awake and imposing upon it the conditions of its own slow, because
material—that is molecular—action. Not only do we _invent_ the dream,
but we _act it_ in thought. Not merely do we act in it ourselves, but
we paint the scenery, construct the dresses and decorations, invent the
characters, and put into their mouths the language that would properly
be theirs had they been beings of flesh and blood instead of shadows
summoned by the fancy. Almost every faculty of the mind must be exercised
upon such a work. Even the waking mental condition will not enable us
to do this. If you doubt, try it. Set yourself to invent a dream and
describe it on paper, making each one of the personages with whom you
have peopled it talk in his proper character. Unless you are a skilful
and practised dramatist you will find yourself wholly at fault. Remember
that what you in the full possession of your intellect have failed to do,
the most ignorant and stupid do every night and you will begin to measure
this marvel of the exaltation of the mental powers that attends upon the
condition of dream. If you indulge in the pleasant but dangerous practice
of reading in bed, have you not often, on closing the book, extinguishing
the candle, and turning to sleep, continued in a state of dream to read
on, believing that you were still reading the book. But what was the
fact? Your mind was then composing all you dreamed that you were reading.
It was inventing a continuation of the argument or narrative, or whatever
you may have been perusing when sleep stole upon you and you lapsed
into dream. Have you never dreamed that you were preaching a sermon,
or reading aloud, or composing music, or singing a song? Probably, in
your waking state, you could do neither. In dream, your mind does it all
without a conscious effort. Nor is it, as some have suggested, merely a
fancy that the mind is so acting and not a positive action of the mind.
If wakened while so dreaming, the argument, the speech, the song, will
recur to the waking consciousness and become a positive memory capable
of being subsequently recalled. Sometimes the dream vanishes after an
interval and cannot be recollected by any effort of the Will, although
it may recur in dream long years afterwards. In this manner COLERIDGE
composed that beautiful fragment of a poem, “Kublai Khan.” His mind had
wrought the whole in a dream. Suddenly waking with a vivid impression of
that dream, he grasped a pen and began to write the remembered rhymes of
what had been a long poem, although composed in dream with the speed at
which the mind works when untrammelled by the conditions of its material
mechanism. He seized pen and paper and had set down the beautiful
lines that have been preserved when he was interrupted by some matter
of business. On his return to resume the work, the dream had vanished
and the world to its great loss has received nothing but the exquisite
fragment we read now.

This mental exaltation so frequent in dream is recognised in some
familiar practices, the reason for which is, perhaps, not known to
those who resort to them. In our schooldays, a lesson was best learned
by reading it when going to bed. It was then easily remembered in the
morning. The advice so often given, when a matter of moment is presented,
to “Sleep upon it,” is a recognition of this higher mental action in
sleep. The Mind seems in sleep unconsciously to work upon the idea
presented to it, and we wake with clearer conceptions and larger views
of the _pros_ and _cons_. I have known cases in which a doubting mind
has thus been “made up” without conscious perception of the convincing

Although in dream the mind works with such wonderful rapidity that the
events of a day may be enacted in a few minutes, it has not quite lost
its consciousness of the measure of external time. A desire to wake at
a particular hour will often be followed by an actual awakening at that
hour. Continued mental consciousness of the desire is unintelligible. But
in what manner does the mind count the flight of a time whose measure is
so different from its own conceptions of time?

Say, that you want to wake at six o’clock. You fall asleep with this
impression upon the mind; but you fall also into the condition of dream
and in that condition your mind is engaged in inventing adventures
that are the business of a long day. Nevertheless, it preserves the
consciousness of the time as it is in the external world and you wake
at the desired hour. I can suggest no other solution of this than that
the brain that dreams, and the Conscious Self that perceives the dream,
are two entities, and that it is the Conscious Self or Soul that notes
the flight of time in the external world, while the dreaming brain is
revelling in its own conception of time as measured by the flow of its
own ideas, and not in hours measured by the motions of the earth and
moon. Another solution suggests itself. May not the duality of the mind,
the action of the double brain, which explains so many other mental
phenomena, account for this also?

But these phenomena of dream are proofs that to the mind “time” is more
ideal than real; that the measure of it may differ in individuals and
still more in races. May it not be that thus lives are equalised and that
to the ephemera its one day of life may appear to be as long as our lives
appear to us? A life is practically as long or short as it _appears_ to
the mind to be.

Dreams are rarely, if ever, without foundation; that is to say, they are
the product of some _suggestion_, although it may be difficult to trace
them to their sources. Very slight suggestions suffice to set the mind in
motion, as is proved by a multitude of recorded cases which the memory of
every reader will present to him. The senses are not wholly paralysed in
ordinary sleep. They carry to the mind impressions of various degrees
of power and act with more or less of force according to the condition
of the recipient ganglion. Sounds are heard and suggest dreams. But the
loudest sounds are not always perceived most readily. The unaccustomed
sound most startles the consciousness. Often a whisper will waken when
the roar of cannon makes no impression upon the sleeper. A dweller in a
noisy street sleeps soundly amid the roar of carts and carriages and is
wakeful in the country by reason of the silence. Habit governs this as so
many others of our sense impressions. We learn _not_ to hear. Hence the
influence of trifling impressions upon the sleeping senses when powerful
ones fail to reach us. Very slight impressions suffice to suggest the
subjects of dreams. The mind having taken the direction given by that
impulse forthwith employs its inventive faculties in the construction of
a story based upon the faint lines of that suggested subject.

Even when awake we are ignorant what impulses set up trains of thought.
We know not why this or that idea “comes into the head.” The suggesting
cause is often so slight as to be imperceptible. The brain is an organ of
inconceivable sensitiveness. Its fibres are so delicate that millions are
packed into the circumference of a sixpence. Yet has each fibre its own
function and each is a musical chord competent to catch and to vibrate to
motions of the ether which the senses cannot perceive. It is probable
(not proved) that in sleep, when not distracted by the claims of the
nerve system and the thronging impressions brought by the senses; these
brain fibres are vastly more sensitive and moved by still slighter action
of the ether than in waking life.

In Dream we never lose the consciousness of our own identity. We retain
our individuality. You dream often that you are _something_ other than
you are, but never that you are some other _person_. Does not this
indicate the existence of an entity, other than the dreaming brain, which
preserves its oneness and its sanity while the material organ with which
it is associated and through which it communicates with the external
world is, as it were, forgetting its reason, its experience and itself,
and so becoming in very truth insane.

And here we touch upon the most perplexing characteristic of dream. We
are conscious of existence, of individuality, and, in a slight degree,
of sense impressions. We have ideas, reflections, emotions, sentiments,
passions. We can invent stories, construct characters, endow them with
dramatic language, paint ideal pictures, make speeches, compose music
and conduct a train of argument. But withal we are not rational. We can
_think_ wise things, but we _are_ the veriest fools of nature. Every
mental faculty is awake and alive—save one—namely, the faculty, whatever
it be, that enables us to distinguish between fancy and fact, between
the possible and the impossible, the congruous and the incongruous; the
faculty, in brief, which separates sanity from insanity.

In dream, with rare exceptions, we are not conscious that we are
dreaming. Fancies are accepted as facts, shadows as substances, the
ideal as the real. And they are so accepted without suspicion or doubt.
We _see_ them, _hear_ them, _feel_ them. Nothing in our actual waking
life is more real to us than are the unrealities of dream at the moment
of dreaming. Probably there are few readers who have not occasionally
dreamed that they were dreaming, and while noting the drama have said
to themselves “this is a dream.” But these are rare exceptions to the
rule that a dream is accepted by the sleeping mind as an event of actual
occurrence and the scenes and persons implicitly believed to be objective
and not subjective; that is to say—as being then actually existing in the
external world.

So believing, what are the materials to which this implicit credence is
given? Here we arrive at the most perplexing of the problems presented by
the phenomena of dream.

We accept without hesitation, or questioning, or even a suspicion of its
unreality, that which in waking life would have been banished instantly
as the baseless fabric of a vision. We believe implicitly in objects and
actions which, when awake, we should have pronounced to be impossible.
Moreover we contemplate the wildest conceptions of the fancy without the
slightest consciousness of their incongruity or folly. Nothing is too
impossible or unreal for acceptance by the dreamer as facts that cause
him neither surprise at their presence nor wonder how they come to be.

What is the change in the mental condition that has wrought this mental
revolution—not slowly and by degrees, but wholly and in a moment? At this
instant, the mind is competent to discern the ideal from the real, the
shadow from the substance, the practical from the impossible. In the next
moment it can distinguish neither—all appears to itself to be equally
possible, probable, real. Starting from sleep, the normal state is
recovered, but not so speedily as it is lost. The dream itself sometimes
continues after the senses are restored. The memory of it remains longer
and its unconscious influence longer still. Passions and emotions which
the dream has kindled do not subside at once and often the agitation
continues to disturb the mind long after the cause of it has vanished
from the memory.

Two answers present themselves.

1. This marvellous character of dream may be consequent upon the
severance of the mind from its communication with the external world by
reason of the partial paralysis of the senses.

2. Some one or more of the mental faculties may be sleeping while others
are awake and active.

The first is the solution commonly accepted. It is contended that
the senses correct the vagaries of the mind; that we are enabled to
distinguish between the creations of the mind and the impressions brought
to it from the external world solely by the consciousness we have, when
we are awake, of the action of the senses and the knowledge we have that
the impressions borne to us by the senses are objective—that is, made by
something existing without ourselves. If, for instance, you close your
eyes and give rein to the imagination, a stream of ideas—pictures of
persons and places—flows before the mind’s eye. You do not mistake these
for realities. You are conscious that they are born of your own brain.
Had you been asleep and dreaming, instead of being awake and using your
senses, you would not have discovered that these mental pictures were
subjective only; you would have accepted them implicitly as objective
impressions brought to you by your senses.

This, however, explains but a portion of the phenomenon. Even if it be
a true solution, it accounts only for the acceptance in dream of the
ideal as real. It leaves wholly unexplained the more remarkable feature
exhibited in the entire unconsciousness by the dreamer of the absurdities
and impossibilities presented in the dream and the absence of surprise
and wonder how such things can be. In the waking state, the mind would
therefore reject them instantly as the illusions they are. Hence the
reasonable conclusion that, in addition to the sleep of the senses and
of the _will_, some part of the material mechanism of the mind is also
sleeping or its activity is suspended during dream.

The investigation is of serious moment, for it raises some other
questions of even greater importance. If the explanation be sufficient,
it determines some moot points in Mental Physiology. It proves that the
mental machine, the brain, is _not_ one and indivisible—that the _whole_
brain is not employed in each mental act, as contended by Dr. CARPENTER.

To what mental faculties are we indebted for our waking consciousness of
incongruity, impracticability, absurdity, irrationality? Obviously these
faculties must be slumbering in dream. To _their_ temporary paralysis
this most remarkable phenomenon of dream is certainly due.

The popular notion is that _reason_ is the slumbering faculty. We talk
of reason as being the special attribute of Man. In fact there is no
such faculty. There is a mental process we call reasoning; but it is
performed by the joint action of various mental faculties. One presents
the things to be reasoned upon; another compares them and presents their
resemblances and differences; a third enables us, by the process we call
_reasoning_, to apply these resemblances and differences to some third
subject and thus from the known to predicate the unknown.

It is familiar to every reader that this process of reasoning is not
always suspended in dream. On the contrary, it is sometimes abnormally
active. We reason rightly often, but on wrong premisses. What we are
unable to discover in dream is the unreality of the subject matter upon
which we are reasoning.

If, for instance, you dream that you are making a speech or preaching a
sermon. In your dream you pursue a logical argument, but you found it
upon imagined facts that are untrue and improbable, which the waking mind
would not entertain for a moment, but which in your dream you accept as
true and implicitly believe to be real.

We shall, perhaps, arrive at the solution of this problem by the process
of exhaustion.

The faculty of imagination, that shapes to the dream ideal pictures
of things, is not sleeping. The faculties that perform the process of
reasoning are not sleeping. _Comparison_—the power to compare the ideal
with the real—alone is wanting. We mistake the shadows of the mind for
substances. We accept the brain-born visions as realities. Why? Because
we are unable to compare them. In brief, Comparison is the faculty,
paralysed in sleep, whose absence causes the credulity of dream.

Of this fact there can be no doubt. But a very formidable difficulty here
presents itself. How and why is it that this faculty alone is found to
slumber when the greater part of the mental mechanism is awake and active?

It has been one of the most perplexing problems of Psychology. A solution
of it has occurred to me which I submit to the consideration of the
reader, but as a suggestion merely. It is too novel to be offered as
anything more than a suggestion.

Each mental faculty can perform only one act at the same instant of time.
It is one of the conditions of existence here that all consciousness
shall be in succession. Hence indeed our conception of time. If any
other being could obtain many perceptions simultaneously, and not in
succession, to that being there would be no _time_, in our sense of the
term. But the process of comparison involves the contemplation together
of the two things (or ideas of things) to be compared. This difficulty
is removed by the double brain. Each brain presents one of the ideas to
be compared and upon these the faculty of comparison employs itself,
discerning their resemblances and differences. If so it be, the cause
of our incapacity to discover the absurdities of dream is the partial
paralysis (or sleep) of one of the two mental faculties that present
the ideas of objects and the consequent incapacity of the faculty of
comparison to discharge its proper function of informing us what of our
mental impressions are real and what illusory.

And this raises a curious question as to the relative functions and
operations of the two brains. In profound slumber, when both brains are
sleeping, there is no consciousness—time is annihilated to such a sleeper
and awakening seems to follow immediately upon falling asleep, although
in reality many hours may have passed. When the brain is sleeping but
partially there is some consciousness of time in sleep and of the lapse
of time upon awaking. Is such partial sleep the slumber of _one brain
only_, and are these phenomena of dream due to the action of that one
brain deprived of the correcting influence of the other brain? Does the
faculty of comparison fail to show us that our mental impressions are
subjective and not objective because it is not assisted by the normal
action of the duplicate faculty of the other brain? Comparison is the
foundation of the process of reasoning. It has been noticed that persons
suffering from hemiplegia—that is, from disease of one brain only—often
lose the power to compare and consequently the capacity for reasoning
readily and correctly. May it not be that a similar condition is produced
by temporary paralysis of the brain in sleep? As already stated, the
power to reason is not absent in dream. We often reason elaborately
and well, taking the ideal pictures as real incidents. We accept as
objective facts what are merely mental impressions and thus build an
argument on an incorrect assumption. The reasoning is right, but the
basis of it is false. Question each mental faculty in turn and it will
appear that but one is at fault in dream—namely, _comparison_. We are
unable to discern the difference between the mental and the sensual
impression—the self-created and the sense-borne idea—because we are
incompetent to compare them and it is by comparison alone that we can
distinguish the false from the true. I throw out this, as a suggestion
merely, to Mental Philosophers and Psychologists.

Indeed, the fact that we have two perfect brains with every mental
faculty in duplicate (as contended by Sir HENRY HOLLAND and now
conclusively established by the experiments of BROWN-SEQUARD and
Professor FERRIER), has opened a new field to the Mental Philosopher and
Psychologist. It must have the most intimate relationship, not to the
phenomena of Sleep and Dream alone but to all the phenomena of Mind. In
this great fact will doubtless be found the obvious solution of many
problems hitherto insoluble. Foremost among those philosophical puzzles
has been the instantaneous lapse of the Mind into _insanity_ in dream,
and the no less marvellous manner in which upon waking we pass almost as
quickly out of that insane condition into sanity.

These are the principal phenomena of Dream and the study of them cannot
fail to throw a flood of light upon mental physiology and psychology.
In them we are enabled to view the operations of the mind and the
relationship of soul and body under conditions that reveal to us parts
of the mechanism of man that are wholly concealed from us in the normal
state of that relationship. The strange neglect of such an obvious means
of knowledge is doubtless due to the fundamental error that has excluded
Mind and Soul from the category of physical sciences and consigned them
to the hopeless region of metaphysics, persisting in their pursuit by
abstractions, argument and conjecture, and refusing to them investigation
by _facts_, as the other sciences are now investigated. If the phenomena
of dream were strange and rare as are those of somnambulism, they would
as much excite our curiosity and strike us with amazement. But they are
not wondered at only because they are so familiar. If dream, instead of
being common to us all, were developed only in a few, the persons subject
to it would certainly be denounced as impostors and prosecuted as rogues
and vagabonds by the High Priests of Science. But the very facility
for examination of the mental condition of dream should induce those
who really desire to promote the most important of all knowledge—the
knowledge of ourselves, our constitution, our mechanism, and our
destiny—to seek where we may most reasonably expect to find it—in the
condition in which the Mind is every night practically severed from its
connection with the body and works by its own impulses, without the aid
or incumbrance of the senses, and without the directing power of the
intelligence and its _Will_.



Dream is essentially a psychological condition and therefore an important
study for the Psychologist, for in dream we learn, not only what is
the mechanism of the Mind, but also much of the manner in which its
operations are performed. Dream teaches us what recent physiologists
have by their experiments confirmed—that the mind is not structured as
one homogeneous entity, the whole of which is employed in every mental
act; but that it is a machine composed of parts, each of which has its
own special function, exhibited in the various expressions which we call
ideas, sentiments and emotions.

For convenience we have given to the entity, of which these various
faculties are parts, the collective name of “Mind.” But it may well be
questioned if such an entity exists. Certainly we cannot find it, whether
we observe the action of our own minds or that of others. All that we can
discover by help of our senses and by reasoning upon their information is
the existence of a wonderful piece of Mechanism—the brain—by which the
functions of Mind are performed and whose structure regulates the entire
character of the Mind.

It is conclusively established that the individual Self, in its normal
state of relationship to the body, can receive and convey impressions
only through the medium of the brain. Remove the brain and _mind_ ceases
to be, although life may linger long. Extract a part of the brain and a
part of “the mind” goes with it. This result is sometimes obscured by
the fact, not sufficiently recognised by the Physician and the Mental
Philosopher, that we have _two_ brains—two organs of Mind—one of which
can act alone when the other is wholly or partially disabled. If a
Dream be analysed, it is not difficult to trace the action of each
separate faculty. The imagination supplies the picture, which we mistake
for a reality because we have lost the means by which, when awake, we
distinguish the mere mental creation from the impressions borne to us by
the senses. Hence mental action precisely as if the ideal picture had
been real as it is believed to be. The other mental faculties are called
into play by the drama of the dream as they would have been by a living
drama. It is not an imagined anger, or fear, or hate, that we feel in
dream. The passions, emotions and sentiments are actually excited as they
would be by the same objects presented when we are awake, only they are
kindled by shadows created within and not by substances existing without.

But Psychology will gather from the phenomena of dream some very
important conclusions. In dream the Mind is awake and at work, but it
works wildly, insanely, without self-control. Something is absent in
sleep that controls its action when we are awake. That absent controlling
and directing force is the WILL.

What is THE WILL?

The WILL is the expression of the SELF—of the INDIVIDUAL BEING. It is the
“I”—the YOU—that commands, controls and directs thought and action.

This Conscious Self, which possesses the power we call the _Will_, is
not, and cannot be, the material brain, nor the product of the brain, as
the Materialists assert; for we see that in Dream the brain is in part
awake and working without the assistance or control of the Will; proving
that the Self, of whom the Will is the expression, is not identical with
the brain.

Moreover, the Conscious Self, although taking cognizance of the action
of the mind in dream, is nevertheless unable to direct its action;
thus affording another proof that the Conscious Self and the material
mechanism are not identical.

The phenomena of Dream, then, are the _facts_ first presented in the
scientific investigation of Psychology from which we derive physical
_proofs_ of the existence of a _Soul in Man_, not as a vague theory
merely, but as shown by the positive _evidence_ of his mechanism in



Always and everywhere Superstition has dallied with Dream. The notion
that dreams are sometimes prophetic is still so widely diffused and so
often made the theme for gossip and material for fiction that there are
few, even among the educated, who can wholly divest themselves of the
influence of a startling dream.

Neither evidence nor argument has been adduced to support this claim
of the sleeping mind to prophetic power. There are no natural means by
which _new_ impressions can be conveyed to the mind in sleep, and we have
already seen that in this condition the mind is less, not more, capable
of reasoning out the probabilities of the future.

It will be said, perhaps, that prophecy is not an act of reason but
a gift of inspiration; that the prophet only speaks—his are not the
thoughts uttered. But in what manner is this gift made more easy by
sleep? It _should_ be more active in the waking state. The prophetic
dream is either a creation of the sleeping mind or it is brought into
the sleeping mind by a miracle. It is highly improbable that the mind
should have superior wisdom when in its most imperfect condition. It
is still more improbable that a miracle should be wrought for such a
purpose. Moreover, the information alleged to be imparted thus is always
of something _to come_, while there is no instance of a revelation of
things that have been done in the past and therefore capable of being
tested. A gift to tell what _has been_ would surely be more easy than a
gift to tell what is _to be_. It is strange and suspicious that none are
seers of _the past_.

The widespread notion of prophetic dream is probably based upon a belief,
almost as widely diffused, that in sleep the Soul can and does sometimes
pass out of the body and obtain information by direct impressions
received through its own vastly extended power of perception. It is not
uncommon to hear an assertion, when a place is seen for the first time,
that there is a memory of the same place having been seen before, and
there are some curious reports of cases of this kind that deserve to be
investigated. But many of these apparent marvels may be accounted for
by coincidence or by memories of which the link has been lost. When the
multiplicity of dreams that occur in a lifetime are taken into account,
occasional resemblances of external objects or events to some portions
of former dreams are by no means improbable. The same explanation
applies to many dreams that are supposed to have been prophetic because
something afterwards occurs having some resemblance to the dream. Memory
also has a large share in these recognitions. Memory may exist without
recollection. Thousands of things are stored away in the memory which we
cannot recal even if we try to do so, but which come back to us suddenly,
at unexpected times, for no cause that we can trace although certainly
suggested by something associated with the revived idea. Thus the eye may
well recognise a strange place as having been seen when, in fact, the
memory has unconsciously received some picture of it or of some place
very like it, the existence of which had been forgotten, but which is now
revived by the suggestion of the place itself.

Somnambulism, although commonly supposed to be a phase of sleep, has
really no relationship to it. Its physiological and psychical conditions
are entirely different. There is the aspect of sleep, but nothing more.
The somnambule is not sleeping, for he performs often the work of his
waking life although with certainly closed eyes and probably sealed up
senses. The somnambule has no memory of the doings of either mind or body
during his trance existence. The sleeper is conscious at the time of
dreaming and remembers his dream. As there is Somnambulism without sleep,
so there may be Somnambulism in sleep, and indeed, with a constitutional
tendency to it, the state of sleep is so favourable to the inducement of
the condition of Somnambulism that the one may well lapse into the other.

Nor is “sleep walking” the only exhibition of Somnambulism; it is but one
stage of it. Somnambulism often occurs without action of any limb, for it
is a mental and not a muscular condition. But, inasmuch as the uninformed
spectator notes only the instances of “sleep walking,” the much more
numerous cases of somnambulism occurring with the patient at rest are

To this cause, then, may many of the reported phenomena of dream be
assigned. It would be beyond the scope of this monograph to treat at any
length of the manifold phenomena of Somnambulism, but some of them will
certainly explain cases of dream apparently not to be accounted for, as
all facts and phenomena may be, if rightly investigated, by reference
to natural causes, without invoking the assistance of the supernatural.
Somnambulism proves the presence of two abnormal mental conditions,
namely, supersensuous perception and mental sympathy. The former is
the name given to a faculty the mind has, under certain conditions, of
perception beyond the range of the senses (whatever the _modus operandi_
may be). The other refers to a special form of sympathy of thoughts
and emotions of one sensitive mind with other minds having a certain
relationship with it.

Many of the authentic cases of cognizance of the distant in dream may
be thus accounted for. The sleeper has lapsed into somnambulism, is
then, in fact, a somnambulist and not a dreamer. Possessing the abnormal
development of the perceptive sense which is so familiar a fact in
natural somnambulism, the mind has perceptions beyond the range of the
senses and is susceptible of sympathies with other minds which the bodily
senses cannot convey.

That such mental conditions exist is proved conclusively by the
numberless cases of natural somnambulism recorded in the medical journals
of all countries and which are indeed familiar to every reader because of
their frequent occurrence in common life.

Dream is not merely a reproduction in new combinations of impressions
made upon the mind unconsciously as well as consciously, forgotten
as well as remembered. The fact must also be taken into account that
in dream mental action is vastly increased and the flow of ideas so
accelerated that if life be measured, as it should be, by the number
of ideas that are presented by the mind, the life of dream is vastly
longer than waking life. If the ideas that would occupy many waking
hours are compressed into a sleep of one hour, the whole dream-life must
have presented to the mind infinitely more ideas than the whole waking
life. The wonder would be if, of this vast multitude, many were not
found to be coincident with events of actual occurrence afterwards. A
further explanation of dreams that appear to convey information from some
external intelligence, or to be prophetic, will be found in this—that
many things impress themselves upon the mind when we are not giving
attention to them and, therefore, unconsciously to ourselves. We thus
lose some of the links of association which, if they had been perceived,
would have shown us the connection between the dream and the incidents to
which the dream related and which, if we had known, would have stripped
the coincidence of its marvellousness. Yet a further explanation will
be found in the exaltation of the mental faculties in dream, which
enables us often to perceive, more clearly than in our waking state,
ideas and chains of ideas and to think about them more correctly than
is practicable in waking life, when the influx of external impressions
represses to some extent the independent action of the mental faculties.

There is a popular belief that in sleep the Soul sometimes quits the
body and personally visits the scenes and persons of the dream which, in
truth, is not all a dream. This is nothing more than a poetical fancy.
There is no evidence of such journeying. The proof of it would be if
the dreamer could tell us of actual occurrences passing elsewhere at
the moment of his dream. There is, indeed, abundant evidence of mental
communion in sleep, suggesting a dream that has relation to that distant
person; but there is no satisfactory evidence of a positive perception
of an event then passing far off. It is remarkable, indeed, that dreams
to which this solution has been applied usually refer to something that
is _to be_, or that _has been_, and not to events actually happening at
the moment and which alone could be positively conclusively proved by
reference to the persons whose sayings and doings are seen, heard and
reported. The same remark applies to this as to prophecies generally.
Why do they not tell us of something that _is doing_ far away, or
something that _has been done_ in the distant past and therefore capable
of verification? Surely the power that could prophesy the future, the
dreaming that foreshadows what _is to be_, could, with vastly more ease,
tell us what has been done or what is being done elsewhere at the moment
of its exercise! Why is so simple a test invariably avoided?

_Sympathetic_ dreams admit of another explanation. Two persons dream
the same dream at the same time. They may be in the same room, in the
same house, or far apart. The two dreams are not always identical in
their details, but the main incident is substantially the same in both.
The instances of this are too many to be accidental coincidences. The
explanation is to be found in that _mental sympathy_ the existence of
which cannot be doubted by any person who investigates psychological
phenomena. The limit to which that sympathy extends is not yet measured.
We know only that it is not bounded by the narrow range of the senses.
Perhaps it is a purely _psychic_ faculty. If it be, we know as yet so
little of the nature and powers of the Soul that it would be vain to
speculate in what manner the operation is performed. But of this we may
be assured, that, whatever the capacity of the Soul when we are waking
and the external world is, as it were, pressing in upon us at all sides
and occupying the whole mind, those powers are vastly extended when the
material mechanism is at rest and the sleepless Soul alone is busy. If
there be, under any conditions, communication between minds without
the intervention of the senses, we may reasonably conclude that these
would be greatly facilitated in the time of sleep, when the Soul is
less subjected to the restraints of that mechanism by means of which it
communicates with the _material_—that is to say, the _molecular_—world in
which the present stage of its evolution is to be passed.

The proofs are many that dreams may be suggested by the influence of
other minds in unconscious communication with the sleeper. If the finger
be placed upon the head where, according to the phrenologists, is the
seat of the mental faculty of mirth, a smile will be seen soon to
steal upon the sleeping face. Touch in like manner the asserted seats
of combativeness or destructiveness, the features assume an aspect
of excitement which will be removed by touching the asserted seat of
benevolence. The explanation of this phenomenon is that the brain thus
excited to action suggests or moulds a dream in accordance with the
emotion thus denoted. This fact has been advanced by the phrenologists as
proof that they have rightly mapped out the brain. But such is not the
necessary conclusion from the fact. It may well be that it is the _mind_,
and not the finger, of the waking operator that directs the mental action
of the unconscious sleeper. The waking _Will_ possibly controls the
sleeping Will. We know that it does so in Somnambulism and it is probable
that it does the like in ordinary sleep.

But, explain it as we may, the fact remains.

Direct suggestion of dream by external causes is less disputable.
So sensitive is the mind in sleep, when relieved from the thronging
impressions of the senses, that impressions so slight as to be wholly
unnoticed in our waking state are doubtless perceptible and operate as
suggestions when we are asleep. A slight touch or sound often serves to
change the entire character and direction of a dream, the mere sound
giving rise to the train of new ideas thus suggested, because it is
uncontrolled by the Will. The surest method of banishing an unpleasant
dream is to turn in the bed. Continuance in the same posture and with
the same pressure of blood within and of the pillow without upon the
same part of the brain seems to preserve the action of the dream, which
is disturbed at once by directing the flow of blood and the pressure to
another part of the brain. If a sleeper is seen to be agitated in his
sleep by painful dream, exhibited in moaning, restlessness and expression
of distress upon the countenance, remedy may be found in gently moving
the head into another position, if the body cannot be moved and it is not
desired to waken.

It is said that musicians are very prone to the composition of music
in dream. It was thus that Tartini wrote the Devil’s Sonata. The most
unmusical are often haunted by scraps of tune that no effort will banish.
Airs are composed in dream which are remembered upon waking. Perhaps
it is not that music is more the subject of dream than other mental
creations, but it is the most capable of being retained by the mind
and expressed after the dream has vanished. My own experience of this
capacity of the dreaming mind has been to myself very surprising; but
perhaps the like may have occurred to others, although not recorded. Some
time ago I dreamed that I was present and heard as well as witnessed the
performance of an entire opera of my own composing. The strange part
of it was that I am not a musician and never composed a bar of music
in my life. I have a bad musical ear and no musical memory. Yet did my
utterly unmusical mind in the dream compose the whole of an opera in two
acts, overture and all, with a full band and half a dozen characters,
each acting his own part, and the stage, the scenery, machinery and
decorations, as perfect as any I have ever beheld and enjoyed at Covent
Garden. Certainly it was not a mere dream of a dream. What other solution
is there than this—and it is sufficiently marvellous—that my mind,
free to act without the incumbering trammels of the sleeping body and
exercising its unfettered faculties far beyond their capacity in waking
life, had made me a musician, a dramatist, an actor, a painter—for all
these that mind was in the invention and performance of that dream?
If that mind or Soul be nothing more than the material form, or a
function of that form, how comes it that it is more active and that its
faculties are more exalted when the body, of which it is said to be a
part, is asleep? If the mind or soul be a part of the body, or, as the
Materialists contend, a mere function of the body, it ought, according to
all known laws of science, to be sleeping with the body, or at least its
activity and capacity ought not to increase in proportion as the activity
and capacity of the body decrease.

I have here used the term “Mind,” because it is familiar to the reader,
and any other name would mislead by the prejudices that attach to
it. But I must be understood as intending by that term the thing,
whatever it be, which, in the Mechanism of Man, directs and controls it
intelligently, whether it be called Soul or Mind, and if it be a distinct
entity, as Psychology contends, or only the product of the material
structure, as the Materialists assert. This, indeed, is the great problem
of this age, to be solved, not by dogmatic assertions, but by scientific

There are many other Phenomena of Dream of less interest or importance,
the description of which would occupy many pages; but those above will
suffice for the purposes of this monograph.



This view of the Physiology and Psychology of the very familiar but very
marvellous condition of Sleep and Dream seems to conduct the inquirer to
some conclusions, whose importance and interest it would be impossible
to exaggerate; for, if there be any truth in them, they point directly
to revelations of the hidden structure of the Mechanism of Man, which
have been taught as a dogma and accepted as a faith, but for the proof of
which by science as a fact in nature evidence has hitherto been wanting.

The condition of Sleep indicates a _dual_ structure—that mind and body
are not one, as the Materialists teach; for when the body sleeps the mind
is awake, and often the mind is more active and more able when it is thus
partially released from the burden of the body.

In sleep the phenomena of dream exhibit this independence of the body
yet more powerfully. The mind lives a life of its own, with its own
measurements of time and space, so different from those to which it is
limited by the material structure of the body.

Self-consciousness is preserved in dream while the mind is inventing
a whole drama of events and persons, so that we contemplate the work
of the mind as if it was something existing without. This proves that
the contemplating consciousness is something other than the thing
contemplated. The “I” that views and remembers the action of the brain
(which is the material organ of the mind) cannot be the brain itself, nor
the mind itself, but must be something distinct from either, although
intimately associated with both.

That conscious and contemplating something is the _thing_—the entity—the
“I”—the “You”—the being—the individual—which may be called “Soul” or
“Spirit,” or by any other name, but which we intend to designate when we
use those terms.

These phenomena go far to prove that Man is a “living Soul” clothed with
a material body—that this Soul is in fact the person—the individual—the
being—of whom the molecular body is but the incrustation, the atoms
agglomerated into molecules at the point of contact with the molecularly
constructed world in which the present stage of its existence is to be

True it is that the phenomena of dream, while throwing so much light
upon the structure of the mind and the manner of its action and going
far to prove the existence of Soul, does not impart to us any knowledge
of the structure of Soul. But we may learn this much, that although it
is imperceptible by any of our senses, which are constructed to perceive
only that form of matter we call molecular, it is not also and therefore
unknowable, as the materialists contend. The existence of Soul can be
proved in precisely the same manner as the existence of electricity
and magnetism and heat are proved, which also are imperceptible by our
senses, but not therefore unknowable. We learn the fact of their being by
their operations upon the molecular structure our senses are constructed
to perceive. In like manner we learn something of their qualities and
powers. The process of proof is identical. If it be admissible evidence
for the one, it is no less admissible for the other. To what extent it
goes in the way of proof of the existence of Soul is, of course, a fair
question for argument and investigation. My contention is only that the
inquiry “if Soul be” must not be permitted to be summarily disposed of by
any such dogmatic dictum of Physicists as that Soul not being perceptible
to our senses is incapable of proving its existence through the senses,
and therefore is, and must ever remain, unknowable and consequently a
vain pursuit and an impossible Science.

In the phenomena of dream we find abundant proof that there is something
other than the sleeping molecular structure that does not sleep—that the
individual “I” preserves its consciousness of identity, its sense of
oneness in dream. This something cannot well be the body contemplating
itself—at once the actor and the spectator. Reason concludes that it must
be one thing contemplating another thing and Psychology contends that
this contemplating thing that wakes and dreams when the body is asleep
is what has been called by many names, but which here is designated as
“Soul,” without affirming anything of its structure, its nature, its
qualities, or its destiny.

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