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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/756

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ness to the fact that our intelligence is often but a tool in the hands of our emotions.[1]

I have had frequent occasion to refer to the objectivation of subjective sensations as a phenomenon of dreaming. It is, indeed, so frequent and so important a phenomenon that it needs some further reference. In hysteria (which by some of the most recent authorities, like Sollier, is regarded as a species of somnambulism), in "demon-possession," and many other abnormal phenomena it is well known that there is, as it were, a doubling of personality; the ego is split up into two or more parts, each of which may act as a separate personality. The literature of morbid psychology is full of extraordinary and varied cases exhibiting this splitting up of personality. But it is usually forgotten that in dreams the doubling of personality is a normal and constant phenomenon in all healthy people. In dreaming we can divide our body between ourselves and another person. Thus a medical friend dreamed that in conversation with a lady patient he found his hand resting on her knee and was unable to remove it; awakening in horror from this unprofessional situation he found his own hand firmly clasped between his knees; the hand had remained his own, the knee had become another person's, the hand being claimed, rather than the knee, on account of its greater tactile sensibility. Again, we sometimes objectify our own physical discomforts felt during sleep in the emotions of some other person, or even in some external situations. And, possibly, every dream in which there is any dramatic element is an instance of the same splitting up of personality; in our dreams we may experience shame or confusion from the rebuke or the arguments of other persons, but the persons who administer the rebuke or apply the argument are still ourselves.

When we consider that this dream process, with its perpetual dramatization of our own personality, has been going on as long as man has been man—and probably much longer, for it is evident that animals dream—it is impossible to overestimate its immense influence on human belief. Men's primitive conceptions of religion, of morals, of many of the mightiest phenomena of life, especially the more exceptional phenomena, have certainly been influenced by this constant dream experience. It is the universal primitive explanation of abnormal psychic and even physical phenomena that some other person or spirit is working within the subject of the abnormal experience. Certainly dreaming is* not the sole source of such conceptions, but


  1. It may be added that they also present evidence—to which attention has not, I believe, been previously called—in support of the James-Lange or physiological theory of emotion, according to which the element of bodily change in emotion is the cause and not the result of the emotion.