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This is a variation of the Moulin Process for determining the
sensitiveness of a person to magnetic influence. As the subject does
not know the operator's intention, theie can be no possibility of
fraud. — Page 88.





Author of "Our Hidden Forces" ("La Psychologie inconnue")





cop !

Copyright, 1918, by
Frederick A. Stokes Company

All rights reserved


The immediate success which the translation of La
psychologie inconnue {Our Hidden Forces) received,
and the sympathetic response it created in all sections
of the American public, justly encouraged me to trans-
late the present work. Its title, " The Psychology of
the Future," seems to me fully justified; for the mat-
ter contained in its pages constitutes an entirely new
departure in the field of psychological study and ex-

Hitherto, psychological experimentation has been
limited to the investigation of mental processes, to the
principles of appeal and response as applied to business
and everyday life, to the relieving of mental and nerv-
ous ills, to self-analysis with a view to determining vo-
cational aptitudes, the qualities and defects of the psy-
cho-physiological organism of man. In a word, the
psychology of the present day has limited itself to the
field of man's conscious and unconscious, objective
and subjective, activities; but it has not as systematic-
ally devoted itself to the investigation and experimen-
tation of his hyperconscious activities.

In the world of learning, there are always two as-
pects : the academic and the pioneer. As a rule, the
academic aspect is years behind the true facts which
constitute human knowledge. For years it lingers in
reticence, routine, and scepticism. It abhors the birth
of new things which tend to alter or change its funda-


mental concepts of life and man. Its organism is like
that of an old man : made up of habits, opinions and no-
tions, content in routine.

But, as in the scheme of the universe new things
always supersede the old, and are revolutionary
in their process of evolution, so we may trace, in
the habits of the old man or of the old system, the ap-
parent resistance to their adoption. Conventional
thought and conventional habits form, therefore, the
primary obstacles to the speedy evolution of human
progress, in society as well as in knowledge. And if
we could only remove the beam of conventional-think-
ing from our eye, we would at once see clearly and
justly into the realm of the mysterious subconscious
and hyperconscious self.

Although the subjects dealt with in this book have
been known to exist by a few scientific pioneers of
thought, and have been practised by a still greater
number of unscientific enthusiasts, it is but very recently
that the academic bodies of learning have been willing
— though reluctantly so — to lend their ear to the
overwhelming accumulation of facts. The mass of
evidence, now gathered, of the phenomena of thought-
transmission, divination, prophecy, psychic and mental
healing, and transcendental manifestions, has opened
wide the breach into the citadel of conservatism.
These facts are at last about to conquer " their place
in the sun " in the world of academic thought. They
have crossed their Rubicon.

Do we not already see experiments of thought-trans-
mission in certain psychological laboratories? Are
there not many large business houses employing the


services of psychologists and psychics as advisers,
whether in the selection of " the right peg for the right
hole," or in the counseling of future policies? Are
there not to be found, daily, advertising men and
" knights of the pen " who are consciously alive to the
fact that their thoughts are flying about and are " being
caught "? And where are the employers who are not
conscious of the " harmonious atmosphere " of their
secretaries and managers; and do they not reject those
whose " personal atmospheres " they find not to har-
monize with their own mental and personal atmos-
pheres ?

I feel that it would not be too presumptuous to say
that when political, military, and business heads will
have found the method whereby they can select their
co-workers by their " personal atmospheres " uner-
ringly, there will be fewer cabinet changes, fewer blun-
ders made, and less time and energy lost, not to men-
tion the friction and the life enmities often created.
But theirs is not the business to find the method. It is
for science to make haste and find it, and give it to the
world. It is for scientists trained in the conventional
schools of learning to divest themselves of their en-
cumbering mental baggage, to take their coats off, and
go energetically to work in their laboratories, with new
methods of research and newer ideals.

With the advent of radium, X-rays, wireless teleg-
raphy, and telephony, new problems have been created
to which new solutions have had to be found. With
the coming of psycho-therapy and psycho-analysis —
which have laid bare the soul of man, to himself and
to others — new problems, also, have developed; new


faculties have been found in activity. Within himself,
man — the microcosm — has the potentialities of a
universe: his will, his thoughts, his "radiations," his
presentiments, his visions.

Man : body, soul, and spirit. A carnal self, a mental
self, an unconscious and a superconscious self. A
higher self and a beastly-brutal self. Man's conscious-
ness is the go-between that links the higher and the
lower realms of his own universe. In the life of the
poet, the artist, the mystic, consciousness of the higher,
super-normal activities is of daily occurrence. Not so,
however, with the materialist; for his mind is too en-
grossed with material concepts: dollars and cents and
power and possession. They obscure his consciousness
of the higher, the better, the truer things of life.

The democratic-consciousness which is sweeping the
world to-day, hurling crowns and princes into the abyss
of dark oblivion, heralds the coming of a new age. It
speaks of the beginning of a new cycle in the evolution
of man. It brings in its trail: freedom of thought,
freedom of action, equality, and the emancipation from
the old order of things. The old is making place for
the new. A new sense is being born. It is the " sense
of life."

But on the battlefields of the old world many are
they, also, who are developing a new sense : " the sense
of death " — that inward sense, the sense of premoni-
tion which tells the conscious self that the old must
make place for the new. A new life in a new world; a
new humanity in place of the old.

The eighteenth century was the age of rationalist
reaction. The nineteenth that of science and of me-


chanical inventions, material withal. The twentieth is
the age of psychology, the age of the " science of man."
Vocational and applied psychology together with
psycho-therapy already pave the way. Another step
forward will bring us nearer to the realization of the
Soul in man, then the God in man.

May this work, therefore, help to hasten the making
of the science of man. May it find a sympathetic re-
sponse at the hands of young and new pioneers : makers
of the new race where men shall judge their brothers,
not in the light of their worldly, weighty possessions,
but in the light of their souls, and with the " single eye "
of their spirit.

W. de Kerlor.

New York, January, 191 8.



Translator's Note v

Introduction i

I How the Psychical Sciences Stand To-Day 19

II The Right and the Wrong Methods . . 32

III Observation, the First Step 41

IV How to Experiment 52

V The Role of the Hypothesis 64

VI Our Latent Psychic Faculties .... 76

VII Hypnotism, or Artificial Hypnosis ... 94

VIII Suggestion: As a Fact and as an Hypoth-
esis 107

IX An Unknown Force: Animal Magnetism . 145

X The Communication of Thought, or " Dia-

psychism " 175

XI Clairvoyance, or " Metagnomy " . 232

XII Spiritism and Cryptopsychism 264


Note I Science and Magic . . . .291

Note II The Religious Problem and

the Psychical Sciences . . 296

Note III The Radiation of the Human

Brain 311


The Boirac Method Frontispiece



The Pendulum 28

Automatic Writing 60

The Moutin Process 86

Inducing Somnambulism 158

Exteriorization of the Sensitiveness 214

Crystal Gazing 258


Can the study of psychical phenomena really become
a science?

A science, according to the general conception, con-
sists in a systematized ensemble of knowledge of facts,
each clearly defined yet all so closely related as to form
a veritable system in which each supports and explains
the other in logical sequence: as, for example, mathe-
matics. This was the idea of the ancient philosophers,
and it has become the classical conception.

Science as thus understood acquires a dogmatic
authority. It is opposed absolutely not only to igno-
rance, but also to more or less probable opinion or
belief. When once established, it becomes as immu-
table as Truth itself. It is transmitted through teach-
ing; and the disciple or pupil can but accept it docilely
from the hands of those who have received and treas-
ured it. It is in this sense that the libraries, schools,
universities, and academies have become the sanctu-
aries of science.

But it is evident that all those who hold this concep-
tion find it difficult to think of psychical matters as a
science. Vainly might one search for a series of doc-
trines, solidly established and rigorously related, that
would correspond to that" title. But does such a con-
ception of science actually conform to reality? Does
it not represent an ideal toward which all the sciences
lean, which might not be entirely realized in any of



them, not even in mathematics, the closest of all?

If science were to fall from heaven, ready-made by
some supra-terrestrial genius, it no doubt would verify
the definition just given; as it is left in the hands of
men to make, and as men must make it slowly, pro-
gressively, not without hesitation and error, the result
is that two periods are obtained: (i) that in which
science is in the process of being made; (2) that in
which it is made, at least to some extent. This cor-
responds to the period in-fieri of the scholastics, and to
that of science in-facto. Perhaps these are not two
successive periods, but rather two points of view which
coexist and from which all science can and must be
judged : the point of view of the researcher who creates
it and that of the professor who teaches it. There is
always, in it, on the one hand a knowledge acquired and
integral, and on the other hand a knowledge in the
process of acquisition and integration, a static in-facto
and dynamic in-fieri. It can be demonstrated through
numerous examples that the proportion of the in-facto
and of the in-fieri varies from one science to another,
and even in a particular science according to the period
of its history in which it is being considered.

Mathematics appears to many the perfect type of
established science, forever immobilized in the posses-
sion of eternal truths. Yet do we not behold, with
each successive generation, a host of new thinkers, con-
quering new fields in the domain of thought? For a
mathematician of genius, such as Descartes, Liebnitz,
Cauchy, Poincare, for example, is not the real science
that which he invents and to which he gives life?


The history of physics shows, it would seem, succes-
sive periods in which the static and the dynamic view-
points alternately predominate. Take the first half of
the past century, for instance: the physicists were not
far from considering that their science had been com-
pleted, at least in its essential parts. Each chapter of
which it was composed — weight, sound, light, heat,
electricity — undoubtedly might be capable of new de-
velopments; but it was not believed possible that any
new chapters could be opened. Nature, as a whole,
it was thought, was virtually understood in all her
phases, and the task of the future would lie solely in
depth and not in width. Yet, one after the other, the
successive discoveries of the " X-rays " and of the ra-
diating properties of matter, radium, etc., came to de-
throne the limits too hastily fixed. And it would not
be an exaggeration to assert that what we know of
physics to-day is practically nothing in comparison with
what yet remains to be discovered.

This is true also of chemistry and biology. For in
these sciences too we can distinguish, on the one hand,
an ensemble of acquired knowledge ready to be used
for the purpose of education, while on the other hand
we see an ensemble of researches being made, or still
in the stage of project, awaiting the moment of being
taken out of the laboratories then to be handed to the

Should we, then, reserve the name " science " ex-
clusively for that of the two which turns its attention to
the past, and refuse it to that which is directed toward
the future? Is not the researcher entitled to the name


of scientist at least as much as, if not more than, the

Let us say that the more complex a science is, the
more difficult, the more recent its constitution, the
greater is the part played by researches than that by
knowledge. And this is just the position of the psy-
chical sciences. As yet they are hardly organized, but
this makes them all the more attractive for the student
bent on research, for the unknown quantities are full of
promises and of hopes.

In order to justify the existence of these sciences,
therefore, it is sufficient to show the existence of the
object of their researches, and that it really belongs to
the world of realities.

That, precisely, is the aim of this book.

Perhaps it would be well to trace the principal
reason for the defiant objections leveled against psy-
chical sciences. At first they were called occult sci-
ences. They belonged in the beginning to that en-
semble of empiric observations and traditions known
as astrology, alchemy, chiromancy, magic, and other
such pseudo-sciences of the Medieval and Renaissance
periods. It is only since barely two centuries ago that
they have emerged from this chaos, although we may
still see the mystic attitude of mind of the ancient
adepts in those who conduct their investigations to-day.
This should form a stronger reason, therefore, for
scientists to introduce, with all the concentrated efforts
of their energies, the real scientific spirit of the experi-
mental method.


And, with this attitude of mind, just as astronomy
emerged from astrology and chemistry from alchemy,
so will the psychical sciences emerge from magic and

One might say that all the sciences, without excep-
tion, and including mathematics, pass successively
through two phases in their history: a mystic phase, to
which occultism corresponds; and a positive phase,
which is that of positive science.

The sole difference between them is that some passed
rapidly from the first phase to the second; in certain
others this passage was effected slowly and gradually;
and in still others, it occurred after a greater lapse of
time and the transition was sudden and quick. In this
we find a sort of verification of the celebrated law of
the three states formulated by the founder of the posi-
tivist school, Auguste Comte, according to which all
human knowledge passes necessarily through the theo-
logical state (or mystical) to the positive state (or sci-
entific), passing through the metaphysical state (or
philosophical) as intermediary by its position and na-
ture between the other two.

It is true that it might be objected that this trans-
formation has not been quite complete and that in cer-
tain of the sciences, and particularly in the psychical,
the old or occult form remains side by side with the
modern or positive form. At the present time there
are still believers in animal magnetism and in spiritism
whose state of mind does not differ to any appreciable
extent from that of the occultists of the Middle Ages
and of the Renaissance period. Similarly it may be
said that alchemy and astrology still retain a host of


firmly convinced partisans and believers. This may be
a regrettable fact, but is it astronomy and chemistry
that suffer? The loss is wholly for those who persist
in confounding doctrines built on mere faith and imag-
ination with researches which depend exclusively upon
experimentation and reasoning.

Hitherto, we have spoken of the psychical sciences,
as if the study of psychical phenomena must necessarily
be divided into several distinct sciences. But would it
not be more legitimate to say that there is but one
psychical science: that which we ourselves have called
unknown psychology {psychologie inconnue) ?

We have attempted to show that there is no con-
tradiction in admitting certain particular psychical
sciences side by side with a general psychical science,
according to one's position : analytical or synthetical.
On the one hand, the phenomena which are the object
of these sciences can be classified in groups sufficiently
distinct so that each of them may become a special
science; on the other hand, they have in common such
important characteristics, they are related to one an-
other by such close and numerous ties, that, in order
to study them profitably, one must necessarily take into
consideration the keen affinity and the intimate solidar-
ity which unites them.

To designate these different sciences and their own
particular orders of phenomena it has seemed to us
indispensable to devise new names. This is done con-
stantly in the case of all sciences which encompass new
objects and new relations as they grow. In Our Hid-
den Forces we found it necessary to introduce such


new words as hypnology, cryptopsychism, psychody-
namy, telepsychism, hyloscopy, etc.; and in the present
work we are using metagnomy, biactinism, diapsychism,

We have been reproached for the creation of these
neologisms taken from the Greek, and which appear
somewhat barbarous and pretentious. Yet the im-
portance of the language and vocabulary in the gen-
eral economy of science is generally recognized. Con-
dillac's aphorism, " All errors, without exaggeration,
proceed from our habit of using certain words before
determining their proper signification, or even before
having felt the need of determining it," is especially
applicable to the psychical sciences.

Unfortunately, the students of these sciences have
not always been aware of the importance of having a
really appropriate language. They were satisfied with
the use of current words to designate new facts or to
express new ideas; and it is those very words which now
are an obstacle to the formation of a rational vocabu-
lary. For many of the difficulties which have impeded
the progress of the psychical sciences have been due to
the insufficiency of their verbal equipment.

Take, for instance, the controversies between the
School of Nancy and the School of the Salpetriere upon
the nature of suggestion and hypnotism. In current
language, the word suggestion designates a very simple
and banal fact which, from the psychological point of
view, is reduced to an association of ideas. To use it
to designate an entirely different and less ordinary fact,
in which the customary laws of thought and action ap-
pear momentarily upset, — does this not give the im-


pression, prior to all examination, that the two facts are
identical in reality? Similarly, when Braid coined the
word hypnotism to designate a certain state in which
human beings can be placed by means of certain proc-
esses, he asserted that this state was of the same
nature as sleep. It is wholly a theory which is insin-
uated by this word, no less misleading than the word
suggestion; and unless we were put on our guard we
should be dragged into endless discussions such as were
instigated by the Schools of Charcot, Liebeault, and

We cannot propose the substitution of ideoplasty and
hypotaxy, created by Durand de Gros, for the words
suggestion and hypnotism, although the phenomena are
rendered less equivocal by their use. It is too difficult
to swim against the current of acquired habits!

In the same way, the term animal magnetism, intro-
duced by Mesmer and his disciples to designate a whole
ensemble of parapsychical facts, irreducible by hypoth-
esis to the facts of suggestion and hypnotism notwith-
standing their analogies, is responsible for a great
part of the repugnance which scientists still manifest
toward it. This term not only designates a certain
order of facts : it implies at the same time an hypothe-
sis, it prejudges the explanation of these facts. And
as a result, all those to whom this hypothesis is repug-
nant, all those who find the explanation inadmissible,
reject the facts themselves and refuse to study them.

For this reason we have found it desirable to sub-
stitute a new term for the old. The word biactinism,
without allusion to any hypothesis, to any explanation,
serves to designate merely " the action which the nerv-


ous systems of two individuals may exert, one upon the
other; any communication whatsoever that is estab-
lished between them," with the ensemble of the result-
ing effects.

A similar contention might be made as to the word
spiritism, which is as equivocal and misleading as the
others. For it is now applied to a certain philosophi-
cal, if not religious, doctrine which admits of the inter-
vention of the dead, — souls or spirits, — in the affairs
of this world. And it is applied equally to a certain
ensemble of enigmatical facts which some pretend to ex-
plain by. an intervention of this nature, but for which
J a totally different explanation may be conceived — facts
that can and should become the objects of systematical
study. Here, again, it would be necessary to find a new
denomination, foreign to all the old associated ideas,
one which would not implicate a sort of tacit faith in
" discarnated spirits." But such a denomination has
yet to be found.

A third disadvantage in terms borrowed from or-
dinary language is that they are difficult to handle and
do not lend themselves well to the formation of deriva-
tives and compound names, which science needs con-
stantly. If, for instance, physics had to limit itself to
the words warmth and heat it would be most embar-
rassed, in speaking of all that relates to heat and
warmth, in dealing with the measure of heat and the
instruments pertaining to it, with the theory of the rap-
ports existing between mechanical work and heat quan-
tities, etc. All the difficulty is eliminated, however,
by the use of such words as thermic, thermometer, ther-
mometry, thermodynamic, and others.


This is precisely what the psychical sciences will need
in the process of their evolution: a vocabulary that is
at once supple and easy of manipulation. We easily
can see, in this connection, that the term hypnotism is
preferable to nervous sleep or artificial somnambulism,
which it has replaced; for how could one obtain with
those words the equivalent of such derivatives as hyp-
notic, hypnotizable, to hypnotize, hypnotist, hypnotizer,

For the same reason, instead of the terms lucidity,
clairvoyance, second-sight, double-sight, etc., we would
prefer the word metagnomy ; for this, besides the
greater generalization of its meaning, has the advan-
tage of giving the derivative metagnomic, and of per-
mitting such expressions as metagnomic perception,
metagnomic memory, metagnomic rays, metagnomic
negatives, etc. And similar neologisms, in connection
with other popular expressions, would be more than

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Online LibraryEmile BoiracThe Psychology of the Future → online text (page 1 of 22)