The Psychologist and The Magician – The Story, Part Two
From Christian Science, Its Clear, Correct Teaching by Herbert Eustace
As von Scholtz faced about, ready to retrace his steps to the mouth of the cave, it was not surprising that he should heave a sigh of relief over the fact that he had accomplished something no man had ever done before. His experience in doing this, however, did not make him feel overconfident in his ability to return without great care and study of each condition he might now encounter. Moreover, he already felt greatly fatigued. He sat down a few moments to rest, inclined to give way to a feeling of drowsiness. He felt hungry, too, though thirst distressed him more.
As he sat leaning with his head against the wall of the cave, he was consuming a great deal of mental energy by trying to overcome his sense of weariness, and by trying to ignore the demands of physical appetites, and in this situation, he fell asleep.
When he awoke he heard the gentle splashing of water. He arose to investigate and found a spring of water issuing from the wall a few feet from him. His thirst was burning! Should he drink the water? Was this thirst genuine, or was it a false sensation superimposed by the thoughts of the Magician? He must get down to first principles and not be thrown off at a tangent. The thing he had started out to do was not yet accomplished and all the sensations and appearances that hindered him from returning to the mouth of the cave were to be regarded as false and misleading, but any sensation or appearance that contributed to his well-being, though he knew it to be false, he would use if it were to his advantage to do so; for example: after having calculated the unusual amount of exercise he had made in coming through the rugged cave and the length of time he had been without water, he concluded his thirst was genuine, but having noticed the absence of water in the cave during the previous day, its presence was now an appearance only, and if he drank or seemed to drink, and the seeming water quenched, or seemed to quench his thirst, would this yielding to Marbado’s suggested water prevent him from reaching the mouth of the cave? Or, again, if the seeming water appeared to quench his thirst, would not he be less fatigued than if he tried to get along without the water or tried to think he was not thirsty?
Some psychologists hold to the theory that the moment a subject yields to the suggestions of another, he virtually renounces his objective mind and becomes the obedient servant to carry out the will of another.
Von Scholtz accepted this theory with some reservations, namely, (a) that it depended somewhat upon the subject to be influenced; (b) upon the purpose the subject has in being influenced; and upon what mental reservations he keeps while submitting to the suggestions of another.
The learned Professor held that if a subject knows definitely what he wants and is determined to get it at all hazards, that even though he submits to a suggestion unacceptable to reason, so that the objective mind of the subject is set adrift in an abnormal direction, the subjective mind will nevertheless not cease to carry out its own normal purposes during the time the contrary influence is at work.
It would be possible in that case for an individual to act as having two personalities working at cross purposes, the objective mind of the subject being obedient to the will of the suggester and the subjective mind of the subject carrying out his own will.
In holding to this theory, von Scholtz did not underestimate the art, skill, or the strength of Marbado. On the contrary, he had reasons aplenty to acknowledge them as potent factors to be weighed carefully before he would drink of the magic water. His mission was not only to convince Marbado that he could get to the end of the cave and come out again, but that he was there also to study at first hand from a scientific standpoint Marbado’s methods, and if he went out of the cave again as he came in by denying or ignoring the things he saw, he would be very little wiser than when he came in, so that in order to enter into a more thorough study of his subject he must abandon his subjective mind to Marbado’s art, enter into the spirit of the occasion and follow the motives of the Magician. To do this he felt the purpose of science would be better served and the real genius of the Magician better understood.
He was aware, of course, that life or limb, or both, were being jeopardized but in von Scholtz’s estimate, the scientist should devote his life to the finding of the truth, and if it were lost in its pursuit, it had served its purpose. So reasoning he stooped and drank of the magic water and felt greatly relieved, but in looking about him he found himself in an open country; the cave was not visible to his senses.
To all appearances, the fields were green, the sky blue, the sun shone and the birds sang, the scenery was new, the landscape unfamiliar, the fauns were docile and numerous, and the flowers were beautiful and fragrant, the plumage of the birds brilliant, and their songs remarkable for sweetness.
But where was the cave? He arose to investigate. He had not taken many steps when he noticed behind a clump of bushes a banquet table spread for a feast with a tempting meal upon it.
“This will serve my purpose as did the water,” said the Professor and he sat down to eat. As he did so, he saw Marbado seated at the opposite side of the table. “Well, comrade,” said von Scholtz, addressing Marbado, “this is very thoughtful of you to spread such a feast in a wilderness of difficulties. It comes just in the nick of time. I was getting a little fagged.”
“As a host,” said the subtle Hindu, “I have been very neglectful of your comfort. You have been forty-eight hours without your usual necessities, but you seem to be prospering in spite of my neglect; you know the mind works best when the stomach has an occasional rest.”
“You are right,” replied the Professor. “We Germans are great eaters, but really, I had not thought of my needs until I reached the end of the cave, being so completely taken up with the fascinating study of your art.”
Von Scholtz, having finished what he regarded as a feast, looked in the direction of Marbado, but the Magician had vanished.
Von Scholtz was not the man to be distracted from the problem before him. He saw everything, it is true, and noted its qualities for this was part of his mission. But the one great thing he had set out to do was not yet accomplished. Believing himself no longer in the cave, and searching as he thought in the open country for it, we must admit he had passed in a degree under Marbado’s influence.
Could he regain the mouth of the cave now that he had submitted his subjective mind to be controlled by Marbado’s suggestion? Let us follow him and see where his own subjective mind leads him and see if possible in what way the Magician controls his subjective mind.
After having partaken of the magic water and of the magic meal, we observe von Scholtz has already lost his objective sense of locality in the fact that he does not know that he is still in the cave but he thinks he is in an open country, and his objective mind, controlled by Marbado, is wandering about in the shadows of the superimposed thought to find his way again into the cave.
Now to find how von Scholtz’s subjective mind is working in connection with and yet independent of Marbado’s influence, we must follow him and note his every act, and when he comes out of his hypnotic trance, or rather when again he is in control of his objective mind, he will tell us in his own words what were the thoughts and influences that caused him to think, feel, and act in an abnormal way.
We see von Scholtz walking up and down the cave as though in a partial trance, first very steadily, but with hands up and fists closed and a foot and a half apart as if he were holding something such as a wheel which every now and then he would turn slightly to the right, then to the left. His countenance was serene as though he were contented, but soon he looked more serious as he turned the wheel more often, began staggering like a drunken man as he walked along within the cave. But as he neared the mouth of the cave, the contortions of his face, the quick turning to the right, then to the left, his sudden glance up to the roof of the cave and down to its floor denoted that his objective mind was greatly alarmed.
When he reached the mouth of the cave he fell over from exhaustion into a sound sleep.
While in this condition, Marbado found him and called his attendants to bring a stretcher and carry the Professor to his tent.
Evidently the Professor’s subconscious self directed him through the cave to its mouth, while at the same time the Magician was using his influence to baffle the Professor’s objective mind and caused the unusual antics of the learned man as he wended his way to his determined goal.
After von Scholtz was allowed to sleep for some time, Marbado struck two loud raps on a gong to call him to dine. At the second stroke, von Scholtz opened his eyes, looked around bewildered, took in the situation, then stretched out his hands to Marbado and said: “How did you do it, Marbado, how did you do it?” The Magician smiled and said: “I might ask you the same question, Professor, how did YOU do it? You went to the end of the cave and out again and I did my best to stop you, but you won. Now tell me how you did it.”
Von Scholtz sat silently for a moment, as if to collect his thoughts and said: “Marbado, I would not have missed this experience for a million dollars. It has substantiated some of my theories, but I shall not go into that now. I will relate to you, however, my experience after I partook of your magic hospitality. You know, of course, I lost my bearings as to the whereabouts of the cave and sought my way out. My objective mind being controlled by you, it was absolutely of no service to me. I saw what you would have me see and heard and felt what you would have me hear and feel, but you did not make me swerve from my course, because I had previously charged my own subconsciousness definitely with what I wanted and was determined to get at all hazards. What you did was to influence my objective mind with the experience which I will now relate.
“I was trying to find the cave and get back to its mouth regardless of the mental picture I had of a strange open country. I followed what I thought was a path through the woods and found a lake upon which near a landing was a yacht at anchor. I inspected the yacht and found it in perfect condition and started to sail across the lake in the direction in which I thought the cave lay. A slight breeze was blowing in a favorable direction, the water smooth, so that I saw distinctly the pebbly bottom of the lake. After having sailed for an hour or more, the shore toward which I was sailing appeared much farther away than when I started and the shore I had left behind seemed but a few rods behind the vessel, yet I was traveling at a brisk rate of speed, for the breeze was fast becoming a wind and the bottom of the lake, distinctly seen, was sweeping past at a rapid rate. I felt the influence of your mind trying to turn me back to the shore I had left, because the shore was near and easy to reach, while in front of me difficulties multiplied.
The wind was turned into a gale; tiny clouds were noticed ahead; the gentle lake was becoming transformed into a turbulent sea; but on I sailed, straight ahead. The storm was upon me, great black clouds hurried about as scouts preparing for battle, shutting off the light of the sun that I might not escape, while behind their sombre skirts was concealed the artillery of heaven. A distant peal of thunder was the signal for action. The lightning’s flash revealed ahead a yawning whirlpool toward which I was fast approaching; as if to mock me, it as suddenly withdrew the light and dyed the air an inky blackness. Rain fell in torrents. The thunder rolled on in derision, while the wind laughed diabolically as she snatched the rigging from my vessel, and set me adrift as in a tub, but through all this, my subconscious mind forsook not its assigned position and held me to the vessel, steering straight ahead. It was tossed up and down, sidewise, round and round, this rotary motion becoming more and more apparent even among the warring elements. The winds and waves no longer tossed my frail bark, but it was borne steadily round and round a central point that lay far below me, but toward which I was steadily approaching. The noise of the whirlpool was deafening. As I sank deeper and deeper into the vast funnel I almost regretted my decision in assuming that the magic phenomena was natural, but whether real or imaginary, I seemed to have lost control of the craft in which I was sailing.
“I found it too late to recede from the mental attitude I had taken. There was nothing to do but to face the awful consequences of my chosen method of research. Swiftly and more swiftly I was whirled around the vortex when suddenly the noise of the whirlpool ceased for a second and nothing could have stopped its hungry bellow save food for its insatiable maw which I and my vessel furnished and which were swallowed in one gulp. I met my doom, or at least thought I had, but instead of blank forgetfulness, as I had expected, I found myself still conscious in the water and as I stretched out my hands as if to swim, I felt something hard and clutched it with all the desperation of a drowning man. It soon dawned on me that I was not in the water at all, but in a submarine in which I found myself giving orders to its crew as if it were my accustomed duty. The vessel was completely under my control, delving to the bottom of the sea or rising at will to its surface by manipulating a series of levers placed conveniently at hand.
“I saw in the distance as I arose to the surface an enemy battleship appearing. I submerged my craft, steered to the leeward of the vessel and gave a command, ‘Fire.’ “At the report of the explosion I saw a great smoke arise from my target and the vessel parted in two and sank. I sailed boldly forward and spied another vessel coming toward me, but before I could fire or submerge, I saw a flash from the enemy’s vessel and almost instantly I felt the rude shock and heard a loud explosion as my submarine went to pieces. I thought surely my end had come, but being still conscious, I decided to open my eyes in order to note what the bottom of the sea looked like, and as soon as I opened them, I was greatly surprised and chagrined to find myself in your tent.”
Marbado arose and, taking the Professor’s hand and pressing it warmly, replied: “You surely had a right to be surprised, Professor, but hardly to be chagrined. You have met my condition and won. If there is to be any chagrin, it shall be mine.”
Then taking a Medal of Distinction from his own breast, he pinned it on the Professor’s.