THE AUTHOR’S PREFACE.
During the past few years the most serious part of the author’s study and reflection has been devoted to the subjects discussed in this book. These, briefly stated, are as follows: Firstly, that all mental or cerebral faculties can by direct scientific treatment be influenced to what would have once been regarded as miraculous action, and which is even yet very little known or considered. Secondly, in development of this theory, and as confirmed by much practical and personal experience, that the Will can by very easy processes of training, or by aid of Auto-Suggestion, be strengthened to any extent, and states of mind soon induced, which can be made by practice habitual. Thus, as a man can by means of opium produce sleep, so can he by a very simple experiment a few times repeated—an experiment which I clearly describe and which has been tested and verified beyond all denial—cause himself to remain during the following day in a perfectly calm or cheerful state of mind; and this condition may, by means of repetition and practice, be raised or varied to other states or conditions of a far more active or intelligent description.
Thus, for illustration, I may say that within my own experience, I have by this process succeeded since my seventieth year in working all day far more assiduously, and without any sense of weariness or distaste for labour, than I ever did at any previous period of my life. And the reader need only try the extremely easy experiment, as I have described it, to satisfy himself that he can do the same, that he can continue it with growing strength ad infinitum, and that this power will unquestionably at some future time be employed with marvellous results in Education. For, beyond all question—since any human being can easily prove or disprove it by a few experiments— there is no method known by which inattention, heedlessness, or negligence in the young can be so promptly and thoroughly cured as by this; while on the other hand, Attention and Interest by assiduity, are even more easily awakened. It has indeed seemed to me, since I have devoted myself to the study of Education from this point of view, as if it had been like the Iron Castle in the Slavonian legend, unto which men had for centuries wended their way by a long and wearisome road of many miles, while there was all the time, unseen and unknown, a very short and easy subterranean passage, by means of which the dwellers in the Schloss might have found their way to the town below, and to the world, in a few minutes.