The Conscious Self And The Unconscious Self

In order to understand properly the phenomena 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
henomena 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, 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 day before.

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? [*]

[*] And what aversions, what ills we create for ourselves, everyone

of us and in every domain by not "immediately" bringing into play

"good conscious autosuggestions" against our "bad unconscious

autosuggestions," thus bringing about the disappearance of all unjust


If we compare the conscious with the unconscious self we see that

the conscious self is often possessed of a very unreliable 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 it is told. Thus, as it is the unconscious that is

responsible for the functioning of all our organs but 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