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1922. Contents: Thoughts and Precepts; Observations on What
Autosuggestion Can Do; Education as it Ought to Be; A Survey of
Seances; Letters From Patients Treated by Coue's Methods; The Miracle
Within; and more.
We possess within us a force of incalculable power, which, when we
handle it unconsciously is often prejudicial to us. If on the contrary
we direct it in a conscious and wise manner, it gives us the mastery of
ourselves and allows us not only to escape and to aid others to escape,
from physical and mental ills, but also to live in relative happiness,
whatever the conditions in which we may find ourselves.
Emile Coue allows us the chance to enhance a function that we are born
with and utilize unwittingly everyday, only not usually to our
advantage. He gives us the simplest of all principles: conscious use of
our own innate awareness, and proves to us that pure autosuggestion
really can work to drastically change our lives for the better. Once
the premise of conscious autosuggestion is mastered through practice,
using it to aid students or clients is shared as a simple and effective
means of effective and long term treatment
The Conscious Self and The Unconscious Self
Will and Imagination
Suggestion and Autosuggestion
The Use of Autosuggestion
How to Teach Patients to Make Autosuggestion
Method of Procedure in Curative Suggestion
How to Practice Conscious Autosuggestion
The Superiority of This Method
How Suggestion Works
The Use of Suggestion for the Cure of Moral Ailments
and Taints Either Congenital or Acquired
Bring More Than 50 % to Correct Path
A Few Typical Cures
Suggestion, or rather Autosuggestion, is quite a new subject, and yet
at the same time it is as old as the world.
It is new in the sense that until now it has been wrongly studied
and in consequence wrongly understood; it is old because it dates from
the appearance of man on the earth. In fact, autosuggestion is an
instrument that we possess at birth, and in this instrument, or rather
in this force, resides a marvelous and incalculable power, which
according to circumstances produces the best or the worst results.
Knowledge of this force is useful to each one of us, but it is
especially indispensable to doctors, magistrates, lawyers, and to those
engaged in the work of education.
By knowing how to practice it consciously it is possible in the first
place to avoid provoking in others bad autosuggestion which may have
disastrous consequences, and secondly, consciously to provoke good ones
instead, thus bringing physical health to the sick, and moral health to
the neurotic and the erring, the unconscious victims of anterior
autosuggestion, and to guide into the right path those who had a
tendency to take the wrong one.
The Conscious Self and The
In order to understand properly the phenomenon of suggestion, or to
speak more correctly of autosuggestion, it is necessary to know that
two absolutely distinct selves exist within us. Both are intelligent,
but while one is conscious the other is unconscious. For this reason
the existence of the latter generally escapes notice.
It is however easy to prove its existence if one merely takes the
trouble to examine certain phenomena and to reflect a few moments upon
them. Let us take for instance the following examples:
Every one has heard of somnambulism; every one knows that a
somnambulist gets up at night without waking up, leaves his room after
either dressing himself or not, goes downstairs, walks along corridors,
and after having executed certain acts or accomplished certain work,
returns to his room, goes to bed again, and shows next day the greatest
astonishment at finding work finished which he had left unfinished the
It is however he himself who has done it without being aware of it.
What force has his body obeyed if it is not an unconscious force, in
fact his unconscious self?
Let us now examine the alas, too frequent case of a drunkard attacked
by delirium tremens. As though seized with madness he picks up the
nearest weapon, knife, hammer, or hatchet, as the case may be, and
strikes furiously those who are unlucky enough to be in his vicinity.
Once the attack is over, he recovers his senses and contemplates with
horror the scene of carnage around him, without realizing that he
himself is the author of it. Here again is it not the unconscious self,
which has caused the unhappy man to act in this way?
If we compare the conscious with the unconscious self we see that the
conscious self is often possessed of a very reliable memory while the
unconscious self on the contrary is provided with a marvelous and
impeccable memory which registers without our knowledge the smallest
events, the least important acts of our existence.
Further, it is credulous and accepts with unreasoning docility what we
tell it. And since it is the unconscious that is responsible for the
functioning of all our organs by the intermediary of the brain, a
result is produced which may seem rather paradoxical to you: that is,
if it believes that a certain organ functions well or ill or that we
feel such and such an impression, the organ in question does indeed
function well or ill, or we do feel that impression.
Not only does the unconscious self preside over the functions of our
organism, but also over all our actions whatever they are.
It is this that we call imagination, and it is this which, contrary to
accepted opinion, always makes us act even, and above all, against our
will when there is antagonism between these two forces.
Will and Imagination
If we open a dictionary and look up the word "will", we find this
definition: "The faculty of freely determining certain acts". We accept
this definition as true and un-attackable, although nothing could
be more false. This will that we claim so proudly, always yields to the
It is an absolute rule that admits of no exception. "Blasphemy!
Paradox!" you will exclaim. "Not at all! On the contrary, it is the
purest truth," I shall reply.
In order to convince yourself of it, open your eyes, look round you and
try to understand what you see. You will then come to the conclusion
that what I tell you is not an idle theory, offspring of a sick brain
but the simple expression of fact.
Suppose that we place on the ground a plank 30 feet long by 1 foot
wide. It is evident that everybody will be capable of going from one
end to the other of the plank without stepping over the edge. But now
change the conditions of the experiment, and imagine this plank placed
at the height of the towers of a cathedral. Who then will be capable of
advancing even a few feet along this narrow path? Could you hear me
speak? Probably not. Before you
had taken two steps you would begin to tremble, and in spite of every
effort of your will you would certainly fall to the ground.
Why is it then that you would not fall if the plank is on the ground,
and why should you fall if it is raised to a height above the ground?
Simply because in the first case you imagine that it is easy to go to
the end of this plank, while in the second case you imagine that you
cannot do so.
Notice that your will is powerless to make you advance; if you imagine
that you cannot, it is absolutely impossible for you to do so.
If tile-setters and carpenters are able to accomplish this feat, it is
because they think they can do it.
Vertigo is entirely caused by the picture we make in our minds that we
are going to fall. This picture transforms itself immediately into fact
in spite of all the efforts of our will, and the more violent these
efforts are, the quicker is the opposite to the desired result brought
Let us now consider the case of a person suffering from insomnia. If he
does not make any effort to sleep, he will lie quietly in bed.
If on the contrary he tries to force himself to sleep by his will, the
more efforts he makes, the more restless he becomes.
Have you not noticed that the more you try to remember the name of a
person which you have forgotten, the more it eludes you, until,
substituting in your mind the idea "I shall remember in a minute" to
the idea "I have forgotten", the name comes back to you of its own
accord without the least effort?
Let those of you who are cyclists remember the days when you were
learning to ride. You went along clutching the handlebars and were
afraid of falling. Suddenly catching sight of the smallest obstacle in
the road you tried to avoid it, and the more efforts you made to do so,
the more surely you rushed upon it.
Who has not suffered from an attack of uncontrollable laughter, which
bursts out more violently the more one tries to control it?
What was the state of mind of each person in these different
circumstances? "I do not want to fall but I cannot help doing so"; "I
want to sleep but I cannot"; "I want to remember the name of Mr. or
Mrs. So and So, but I cannot'; "I want to avoid the obstacle, but I
cannot"; "I want to stop laughing, but I cannot."
As you see, in each of these conflicts it is always the imagination,
which gains the victory over the will, without any exception.
To the same order of ideas belongs the case of the leader who rushes
forward at the head of his troops and always carries them along with
him, while the cry "Each man to fend for
himself!" is almost certain to cause a defeat. Why is this? It is
because in the first case the men imagine that they must go forward,
and in the second they imagine that they are
conquered and must fly for their lives.
Panurge was quite aware of the contagion of example, that is to say the
action of the imagination, when, to avenge himself upon a merchant on
board the same boat, he bought his biggest sheep and threw it into the
sea, certain beforehand that the entire flock
would follow, which indeed happened.
We human beings have a certain resemblance to sheep, and involuntarily
we are irresistibly impelled to follow other people's examples,
imagining that we `cannot do otherwise'.
I could quote a thousand other examples but I should fear to bore you
by such an enumeration. I cannot however pass by in silence this fact
which shows the enormous power
of the imagination, or in other words of the unconscious in its
struggle against the will.
There are certain drunkards who wish to give up drinking, but who
cannot do so. Ask them, and they will reply in all sincerity that they
desire to be sober, that drink disgusts them, but that they are
irresistibly impelled to drink against their will, in spite of the harm
they know it will do them.
In the same way certain criminals commit crimes in spite of themselves,
and when they are asked why they acted so, they reply, " I could not
stop myself, it compelled me, it was stronger than I."
And the drunkard and the criminal speak the truth; they are forced to
do what they do, for the only reason that they imagine they cannot stop
themselves from doing so.
Thus we who are so proud of our will, who believe that we are free to
act as we like, are in reality nothing but wretched puppets of which
our imagination holds all the strings. We only cease to be puppets when
we have learned to guide our imagination.
Suggestion and Autosuggestion
According to the preceding remarks we can compare the imagination to a
torrent, which fatally sweeps away the poor wretch who, has fallen into
it, in spite of his efforts to gain the bank. This torrent seems
indomitable; but if you know how, you can turn it from its course and
conduct it to the factory, and there you can transform its force into
movement, heat, and electricity.
If this simile is not enough, we may compare the imagination--"the
madman at home" as it has been called--to an unbroken horse which has
neither bridle nor reins. What can the rider do except let himself go
wherever the horse wishes to take him? And often if the latter runs
away, his mad career only comes to end in the ditch. If however the
rider succeeds in
putting a bridle on the horse, the parts are reversed. It is no longer
the horse who goes where he likes, it is the rider who obliges the
horse to take him wherever he wishes to go.
Now that we have learned to realize the enormous power of the
unconscious or imaginative being, I am going to show how this self,
hitherto considered indomitable, can be as easily controlled as a
torrent or an unbroken horse. But before going any further it is
necessary to define carefully two words that are often used without
being properly understood. These are the word suggestion and
What then is suggestion? It may be defined as "the act of imposing an
idea on the brain of another". Does this action really exist? Properly
speaking, no. Suggestion does not indeed exist by itself. It does not
and cannot exist except on the sine qua non condition of transforming
itself into autosuggestion in the subject. This latter word may be
defined as "the implanting of an idea in oneself by oneself."
You may make a suggestion to someone; if the unconscious of the latter
does not accept the suggestion, if it has not, as it were, digested it,
in order to transform it into autosuggestion, it produces no result. I
have myself occasionally made a more or less
commonplace suggestion to ordinarily very obedient subjects quite
unsuccessfully. The reason is that the unconscious of the subject
refused to accept it and did not transform it into autosuggestion.