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NERVOUS ILLS
THEIR CAUSE AND CURE

Boris Sidis, Ph.D., M.D.

1922

CHAPTER XXXII

FEAR SUGGESTIONS

        In my psychopathological and clinical work of the various manifestations and symptoms of psychopathic and functional diseases I come to the conclusion that the principal cause of all those morbid affections is the fear instinct, rooted in the very impulse of life, the impulse of self-preservation. Fears are not secondary effects, they are due to one of the most fundamental of all instincts, the instinct of fear which is primary and elemental.

        Anything which arouses the fear instinct in the inhibitory or paralyzing stages will necessarily give rise to psychopathic functional psychosis or neurosis. The fear instinct and the impulse of self-preservation, inherent in al life, are the alpha and omega of psychopathic maladies.

        The fear instinct is usually cultivated by a long history of events of a fearsome character so that fear instinct and the impulse of self-preservation become easily aroused on various occasions of external stimulation, producing general fear, mental or emotional, and often accompanied by sensory, motor and intestinal derangements of various organs with their secretions and hormones, as well as with general morbid, functional changes of the central nervous system, sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. This in its turn gradually cultivates a disposition to formation of hypnoidal states, that is, the brief momentary formation of trance states, in which the subconscious becomes through dissociation exposed to fear suggestions or fear stimulations, which arouse in the morbidly cultivated subconscious morbid fear symptoms, motor, sensory, intenstinal, emotional in their various combinations and associations.

        The cultivated predisposition to lapses into hypnoidal states is a prerequisite of psychopathic disturbances. We may, therefore, say that the three factors, namely, Self-preservation, Fear instinct, Hypnoidal states form the triumvirate of psychopathic, functional neurosis.

        Charcot with his sharp eye for observation as well as his long clinical experience observed, in what he termed hystericals, a brooding period which precedes the manifestations of the hysterical attacks and symptom complex of the hysterical manifestations. These brooding periods are of the utmost consequence, although Charcot and his disciples as well as the psychopathologists generally, hardly paid any attention to this important phenomenon.

        These brooding periods preceding the onset of the malady afterwards recur regularly before each attack of the malady, only the period is brief, and is hardly noticeable except by the one who looks searchingly. Psychopathologists pass the important stage without noticing its full significance. The period appears as a sort of psychic aura, a sort of momentary attack of epileptic petit mal. This brooding state is a modification of the hypnoidal state.

        It is during such hypnoidal states, when the conditions which I have shown to be requisite for the induction of trance or subconscious states, happen to be specially strong and the hypnoidal state is prolonged, that the unprotected subconscious becomes subject to fear suggestions or to stimuli arousing the fear instinct and the impulse of self-preservation.

        "Many patients," says the famous physiologist and physician Mosso, "die in the hospital from fear and depression who would probably have recovered had they been tended in their own homes . . . In their morning round the physicians find that the serious cases grown worse, while those who are better beg to be dismissed. . . . The physician, who has the night watch must walk up and down the whole night, and is kept busy preventing convulsive attacks, or fainting fits.

        "Fear attacks nullify every effort of the will. . . . Even Alexander of Macedon had to count with fear in his courageous army of select Macedonians. In order to insure victory he offered sacrifices to Fear before he joined the battle."

        Physical maladies becomes worse during the night, and especially during the early morning hours when the energy of the body is at its lowest level,―conscious and subconscious fears reaching their highest intensity. This holds specially true of nervous cases, and particularly of psychopathic patients, who are dominated by the impulse of self-preservation and the fear instinct. The fears and worries keep the patient awake, and the subconscious fears become emphasized by concentration of attention, monotony, limitation of field of consciousness, limitation of voluntary movements, and other factors favorable to dissociation and the induction of the hypnoidal state, in which the patient becomes sensitive to the awakening of the fear instinct, with all its horrible fear suggestions.

        The symptoms of the disease which are more or less under his control during the day become often so intensified in the dark, that the patients become demoralized with fear, suffering as they do the anxiety and anguish induced by the terrors of the night. Even medical men, professors of medical colleges, who have come under my care, have confessed to me that, when in a state of insomnia, the terrors of the night are so intense that they had to resort to morphine to still the anguish of the fear instinct.

        For years I lived in close relation with neurosis, psychopathic patients. I watched them day and night. I have been called by patients for medical aid in the late hours of the night, and more so during the vigil hours of the darkness of the night. I had to relieve and soothe the fears, the terrors of the night. It is in the night, when in a low state of neuron energy that patients feel the grip of horrors oppressing them with nightmares of the relentless and merciless instinct, the fear instinct. To be relieved of the night terrors many patients are willing to risk anything, even the consequence of deadly narcotics, the plagues of mental healers, and the sexual phantasms of Psychoanalysis.

        The hypnoidal state is induced artificially, often brought about by intoxication, as in the case of holy Soma drink among the Hindoos, or by fasting, as among the American Indians during the initiation periods, or by dancing, such as the corrobboree among the aborigines of Australia, or by singing, or by praying. All the conditions of disjunction of consciousness with the manifestations of subconscious activities are brought into play, in order to come in contact with demons, spirits, totems, and find among them guides and protectors.
        In prolonged hypnoidal states, the fear instinct and the impulse of self-preservation are clamed under appropriate conditions. Illusions and hallucinations which easily appeared in the twilight states of hypnoidal subconscious states became manifested as beneficent spirits, as agents favorable to the life existence of the individual, the spirit appearing as the totem, the guardian of the individual. Prayer and singing, which are the most successful of all the methods of inducing subconscious subwaking, twilight states, have survived to our present day.

        Of all the methods of utilization of subconscious subwaking, twilight states the most effective is prayer, especially, the individual form of prayer. Prayer admirably fulfills the conditions requisite for the induction of the hypnoidal state and for the getting access to the subconscious activities, subconscious illusions and hallucinations. Such subconscious states have been shown, on experimental evidence, to be not of a sensory, but of a purely delusional character, strong enough to affect the individual with an intense belief in its external reality.

        The deluded human mind in its craven fear of the unseen and the mysterious spirit-forces helps itself to any soporific or anaesthetic, narcotic stimulant, to bring about a scission of the conscious self from the subconscious activities. The induction of the hypnoidal state is brought about by all kinds of intoxicants, narcotics, fasting, dancing, self-mortification, sex excess which exhaust the devotee, and leave him in a state of trance. All such practices and rites seek blindly for some trance-state to still the morbid fear instinct.

        The psychoanalysis of Freud, Jung, Adler, Stoekel, with their sexual love, belongs to this category of narcotic sexual religions which inhibit the critical self.1

 

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1.     "The popular novelists try to disclose "The secrets of the heart" by means of Freudian sex phantasies, psychoanalytic mother complexes, and Jungian mystic sex libido. It is only in an era of philistinism and vulgarity with a literature of decadence and commonplace mediocrity that psychoanalysis can take root and flourish.
        "Die Theorie behauptet mit ausschliessender Sicherheit (?), das es nur sexuelle Wuenschregungen aus dem Infantilen sein koennen, welche in den Entwicklungsperioden der Kindheit die Verdraengung (Affectverwandlung) erfahren haben, in spaeteren Entwicklungsperioden dann einer Erneuerung faehig sind, sei es in folge der sexuelle[n] Konstitution, die sich ja aus der urspruenglichen Bisexualitaet herausbildet, sei es in folge unguenstiger Einfluesse des sexuellen Lebens, und die somit die Triebkraefte fuer alle pyschoneurotische Symptombildung abgeben." (S. Freud, 'Die Traumdeutung." p. 376, zweite Auflage 1909.) In other words, slippery and mutable as Freud's statements are, he clearly declares in his magnum opus the far-reaching generalization that neurosis is based on infantile sexual wishes, either due to bisexuality or to unfavorable influences of sexual life. Suppression of sexual experience can be easily observed (by competent observers, of course), in infants a few months old. If you miss the process of suppression in the baby, you can easily trace it by means of psychoanalysis to the early recollections of tender infancy. It is certainly lack of comprehension that induces Ziehen to dub Freud's speculations as Unsinn (nonsense). Freud's admirers with a metaphysical proclivity delight over the theory of suppressed wishes. The wish is fundamental and prior to all mental states. This piece of metaphysical psychologism is supposed to be used to be based on clinical experience. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. The Freudist manages to ride such horses.
        The following speculation of Jung's well represents the metaphysico-religious character of psychoanalysis: "By entering again into the mother's womb he (Christ) redeems in death the sin of life of the primitive man, Adam, in order symbolically through his deed to procure for the innermost and most hidden meaning of the religious libido its highest satisfaction and most pronounced expression ... In the Christian mysteries the resurrected one becomes a supermundane spirit, and the invisible kingdom of God, with its mysterious gifts are obtained by his believers through the sacrifice of himself and his mother. In psychoanalysis the infantile personality is deprived if its libido fixations in a rational manner. The libido which is thus set free serves for the building up of a personality matured and adapted to reality, a personality that does willingly and without complaint everything required by necessity. (It is, so to speak, the chief endeavour of the infantile personality to struggle against all necessities, and to create coercions for itself where none exist in reality.)" Such metaphysico-religious lucubrations parade under the term psychoanalysis.
        "Man," says James, "believes as much as he can," but the credulity of the psychoanalyst is limitless. The psychoanalyst with his allegories, symbolism, sublimation, incest, phantasies, bi-sexuality, sexual suppression, mother complexes, Oedipus and Electra phantasms, and all the other complex psychoanalytic instrumentalities is an excellent example of sex obsessed, delusional dementia praecox. Psychoanalysis is a sort of sexual mysticism. All mental life is reduced by psychoanalysis to "creation" or "procreation."


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