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Neuronal mechanism of single personality dissociation (splitting) into separate multiple personalities

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Pierre Janet (one of the founding fathers of psychology) in year 1889 in his doctorate of science thesis provided graphical schema which shows the underlying neuronal mechanism of single personality dissociation (splitting) into separate multiple personalities. Unfortunately this graphical schema was ignored and forgotten by later researchers. We have made animated version of Janet's graphical schema which is available below.

T1, T2, T3 denotes tactile sensations;
M1, M2, M3 denotes muscular sensations;
V1, V2, V3 denotes visual sensations;
A1, A2, A3 denotes auditory sensations;
P, P1, P2 denotes personalities.

Animated schema is based on Pierre Janet's doctorate of science thesis “Psychological Automatism: Essay of Experimental Psychology on the Lower Forms of Human Activity”, which was published in year 1889.

Ecerpt from pages 305-343:
[translation by Google Translate]

VI. Psychological disintegration

The phenomenon which occurs in our consciousness as a result of an impression made on our senses and which results in these expressions: “I see a light... I feel a sting”, is a phenomenon already very complex: it does not it is not only made up of simple raw sensation, visual or tactile; but it still contains an operation of active synthesis and present at each moment which links this sensation to the group of images and previous judgments constituting the ego or the personality. The apparently simple fact which translates into these words: “I see, I feel”, even without speaking of ideas of exteriority, distance, location, is already a complex perception. We have already insisted on this idea when studying automatic acts during catalepsy; we have adopted the opinion of Maine de Biran, who distinguished in the human mind a purely affective life from sensations alone, phenomena conscious but not attributed to a personality, and a perceptual life from sensations united, systematized and attached to a personality.

Psychological Automatism. Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

We can, while attaching to these representations only a purely symbolic value, to imagine our conscious perception as a two-step operation: 1st the simultaneous existence of a certain number of tactile conscious sensations, such as TT’T”, muscular like MM’M”, visual like VV’V”, auditory like AA’A”. These sensations exist simultaneously and in isolation from each other, like a quantity of small lights which would light up in all the corners of a dark room. These primitive conscious phenomena, prior to perception, can be of different kinds, sensations, memories, images, and can have different origins: some can come from a current impression made on the senses, others be brought about by the automatic play of association as a result of other phenomena. But, in order not to complicate a problem which is already quite complex, let us first consider, in this chapter, only the simplest case and suppose main holding that all these elementary phenomena are simple sensations produced by an external modification of the sense organs.
2nd An active and actual operation of synthesis by which these sensations are linked to each other, aggregate, merge, merge into a single state to which a main sensation gives its nuance, but which probably does not resemble completely none of the constituent elements; this new phenomenon is perception P. As this perception occurs at every moment, following each new group, as it contains memories as well as sensations, it forms the idea that we have of our personality and henceforth we can say that someone smells the TT’T” images MM’M”, etc. This activity, which thus synthesizes the various psychological phenomena at each moment of life and which forms our personal perception, should not be confused with the automatic association of ideas. This, as we have already said, is not a current activity, it is the result of an old activity which formerly synthesized some phenomena into a single emotion or perception and which left them with a tendency to occur again in the same order. The perception we are talking about now is the synthesis at the moment when it is formed, at the moment when it brings together new phenomena in a unit at each new moment.
We don’t have to explain how these things happen; we have only to ascertain that they happen thus or, if one prefers, to suppose so and to explain that this hypothesis allows to understand the preceding characteristics of hysterical anesthesias.

Psychological Automatism. Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.

In a theoretical man, such as there probably does not exist, all the sensations included in the first operation T T’ T”, etc., would be united in the perception P, and this man could say: “I feel”, with regard to all the phenomena which take place in him It is never so, and in the best constituted man there must be a host of sensations produced by the first operation and which escape the second. I am not speaking only of the sensations which escape voluntary attention and which are not understood “in the clearest point of gaze”; I am speaking of sensations which are absolutely unrelated to the personality and which the ego does not recognize, not to be conscious, because, in fact, it does not contain them. To represent this, let us suppose that the first operation remaining the same, the second only is modified. The power of synthesis can no longer be exerted, at each moment of life, that on a given number of phenomena, on 5 p ar example and not on 12. Of the twelve supposed sensations TT’T” MM’M”, etc., the ego will only have the perception of five, of TT’MVA for example. Regarding these five sensations, he will say: “I felt them, I was aware of them”; but if we talk to him about the other phenomena of T’V’A’, etc., which, in our hypothesis, were also conscious sensations, he will answer “that he does not know what we are talking about and that he does not has known nothing of all this”. Now, we have carefully studied a particular condition of hysterics and neuropaths in general which we have called the narrowing of the field of consciousness. This characteristic is precisely produced, in our hypothesis, by this weakness of psychic synthesis pushed further than usual, which does not allow them to unite in the same personal perception a large number of the sensitive phenomena which really take place in them..

The things being thus, the sensitive phenomena which occur in the mind of these individuals are divided naturally into two groups: 1st the group TT’MVA which is united in the perception P and which forms their personal consciousness; 2nd the remaining sensory phenomena T’M’M”V’V”A’A”, which are not synthesized in the perception P. For the moment we are only concerned with the first group.
In most cases, the phenomena which fall into the first group, that of personal perception, while being limited in number, may however vary and do not always remain the same. The operation of synthesis seems to be able to choose and relate to the ego, consequently to the personal consciousness, sometimes some, sometimes others, the sensations of the tactile sense as well as those of the visual sense; at one point, the perceived group will be TT’MVA, at another, it will be MM’V’AA’.

Psychological Automatism. Fig. 6.
Fig. 6.

When things happen in this way, there are indeed at each moment phenomena that are ignored and which remain unperceived, such as M ‘at the first moment, or V at the second; but, on the one hand, these unknown phenomena are not perpetually unconscious, they are only momentarily, and, on the other hand, these phenomena, which are unconscious, do not always belong to the same meaning; they are sometimes muscular sensations, sometimes visual sensations. This description seems to me to correspond to what we have observed in a particular form of narrowing of the field of consciousness by distraction, by electivity or systematized aesthesia, in a word, in all anesthesias with variable limits. The distracted hysterical subject who hears only one person and does not hear the others, because he cannot perceive so many things at the same time and that, if he synthesizes the auditory and visual sensations which come to him from a person, he can do nothing more, the hynoptic who hears everything his magnetizer says and knows everything he does, without being able to hear or smell any other person, the natural sleepwalker who sees his lamp and smells his own movements, but not noticing the other visual sensations forming in his mind, are striking examples of this first form of weakened and restricted synthesis. In these people, in fact, no sensation is perpetually unconscious, it is so only momentarily; if the subject turns towards you, he will hear what you say to him; if I put you in touch with the hypnotized he will speak to you; if the sleepwalker dreams of you, she will see you. In addition, the disappeared sensations do not always belong to the same sense and, if the subject is questioned by a person successively on each of his senses, he will prove to him that he smells very well everywhere and does not apparently have any real anesthesia.
It is to this type, at least I am inclined to believe it, that hysterics without anesthesia must be attached. They are very rare; Mr. Pitres says he met two of them, but I have not had the opportunity to see any. These hysterics must still have the essential characteristic of their illness, the narrowing of the field of consciousness, the diminution of the power of perceptual synthesis; but they have retained the power of successively exercising this faculty over all sensitive phenomena whatever they may be.
For what reason do they perceive at a time such a group of sensations rather than another? There is no voluntary choice here as in attention, because, for such a choice to be possible, there must first have been a general perception of all sensitive phenomena, then a reasoned elimination. The electivity is only apparent here, it is due to the automatic development of such or such a sensation which is repeated more frequently, which associates more easily with such or such another. When a hysteric looks at a person, she will rather hear the words of that person than the words of another, because the sight of the speaking mouth, of the gestures, of the attitude, is associated with the words spoken by that person, and not with the words spoken by others. A sleepwalker who does her housework will more easily see her falling lamp than she will see a stranger in the room, because the sight of the lamp combines with the sight of other household objects and fills this small field of consciousness, without leaving room for the image of the foreigner. In other cases, a feeling remains dominant and brings those related to it, because it dominated in a moment of still greater shrinkage of the field of consciousness reduced almost to unity. At the start of hypnotism, the semi-cataleptic subject can perceive only one sensation; that of the magnetizer is essential, because he is present, he touches the hands, he speaks to the ear, etc. The field of consciousness widens a little; but it is always the thought of the magnetizer which retains its supremacy and which directs the associations towards this or that other sensation. In all these cases, systematized aesthesia is a form of this automatism which brings together in the same perception the sensations having between them some affinity, some unity. The current activity, by a kind of laziness, does little more than continue or repeat the syntheses already made in the past.

Psychological Automatism. Fig. 7.
Fig. 7.

But things can turn out quite differently. The weak power of synthesis can often be exerted in the same direction, unite in the perception of sensations always of the same species and lose the habit of bringing together the others. The subject makes more use of visual images and rarely addresses the images of touch; if its power of synthesis decreases, if it can only bring together three images, it will completely renounce perceiving the sensations of such or such a species. At the beginning, they lose them momentarily, and he can find them again; but soon the perceptions which allowed him to know these images not being made, he can no longer, even if he tries it, relate to the synthesis of the personality the sensations which he has let escape. He thus gives up, without realizing it, sometimes the sensations which come from a part of the cutaneous surface, sometimes the sensations of an entire side of the body, sometimes the sensations of an eye or an ear. It is still the same psychic weakness, but this time it results in a much clearer and more material symptom, in a permanent anesthesia with a fixed limit of the arm, the eye or the ear. The subject you are questioning can only tell you what he perceives and cannot talk to you about the sensations that are happening in him without knowing it, since he never perceives them again.

Why does the anesthesia localize in certain ways? We suspect it in some cases, we hardly guess it in others. Hysterics are more likely to lose tactile sensitivity, because it is the least important, not psychologically, but practically. At the beginning of life, the tactile sense is used to acquire almost all notions; but later, thanks to acquired perceptions, the other senses almost always replace it. These people tend to lose sensitivity on the left side rather than on the right side, probably because they use that side less often. I thought I noticed that there are parts of the body, fingertips, lips, etc., to which they retain sensitivity longer than others, probably because the sensations they provide are particularly useful or pleasant. A hysterical woman I observed had lost sensitivity to her limbs, but retained sensitive bands in all her joints: this may have favored her movements. But if we consider the scattered islets of anesthesia that some subjects have on the skin, we do not know enough about the variations in local sensations, their similarities and their differences to understand the reasons for these bizarre distributions.
The sensations provided by these anesthetic parts still exist, and it only takes the least of things for the perception which has lost the habit of grasping them to hang up once, if I can put it that way. Force them to think of a visual image usually linked to a tactile image, tell Marie that a caterpillar is walking on her arm and the whole arm becomes sensitive again; only this cannot last, for the field of consciousness has remained very small; it has moved, but it has not grown, and it will be necessary for it to return to the most useful sensations on this subject which does not have enough psychic strength to allow itself to luxury perceptions. It is the same for the sensations of the two eyes which are associated together and complement each other. However weak their power of perception may be, these subjects cannot, however, stop at half a word when the neighboring sensation which is indeed present forms the complete word. The sensations of the right eye, which are kept in the center of the small field of perception as useful and indispensable, bring about the perception of the images provided by the left eye, as soon as there is some reason for taking them up again, such as the he image of a caterpillar on the arm brings up the tactile sense of the arm. But that there is no longer, in the restricted field of perception, an evocative image, that the right eye is closed, or even that the right eye is looking at an object arranged so as to be able to be seen in its entirety, by only one eye, and the sensations supplied by the left eye, too neglected by perception, are not taken up. If I am on Marie’s right and if I speak to her, the people approaching from the left are not seen, although she has both eyes open; if I pass to her left, drawing her attention, she continues to see me with her left eye. Anesthesia seemed to have a fixed limit, but, as there is no absolute separation between these various kinds of anesthesia, it behaves in many cases like a systematized anesthesia with variable limit. It is the importance of the dominant perception which causes the sensation to change and which brings to light, according to the needs, such and such an image, since none had really disappeared.
Perhaps the metal plates, the currents, the passes act the same. It is possible, but, without commenting, I would admit that I doubt it. These processes, which can ultimately lead to the last somnambulism, that is to say a complete widening of the field of consciousness, seem to me to directly increase the force of perception. But no matter what, for one reason or another, the ego now contains the sensations it had lost, it regains them as they were with the memories recorded in its absence. He recognizes a drawing that he has not seen, he remembers a movement that he has not felt, because he has picked up the sensations which had seen this drawing and felt this movement. Complete anesthesias which embrace an entire organ therefore differ from systematized anesthesias only in degree. The same weakness of perception, which causes such a person to neglect a particular image, causes another to neglect almost entirely the images furnished by the left eye, except when they are necessary to supplement those of the right eye, and brings about a third to permanently neglect, so as to no longer be able to find them, the sensations of an arm or a leg.
Without doubt, this is only one way of representing things, an attempt to bring together facts which appear contradictory and consequently unintelligible. This supposition has obvious advantages from this point of view. It explains how certain phenomena can both be known by the subject and not be known by him; how the same eye can see and not see, because it shows us that there are two different ways of knowing a phenomenon: impersonal sensation and personal perception, the only one that the subject can indicate by his conscious language. This hypothesis further explains to us how impressions made on the same sense can be subdivided, because it teaches us that it is not always all the raw sensations of a sense that remain outside personal perception, but sometimes only a part, while the others can be recognized. These explanations seem to summarize the facts with some clarity and that is why we are disposed to consider systematized or even general anesthesia as a lesion, a weakening, not of sensation, but of the faculty of synthesizing sensations in personal perception, which brings about a real disintegration of psychological phenomena.

VII. Simultaneous psychological existences

Let us refer once again to the symbolic figure which enabled us to understand anesthesia and now study it from another point of view. Instead of examining the three or four visual or auditory phenomena VV”AA’ (fig. 8, below) which are united in the personal perception P and of which the subject accuses consciousness, let us now consider in themselves the remaining sensations TT’T”M, etc., which are not perceived by the subject but which nevertheless exist. What becomes of them? Most often they play a well-effaced role; their separation, their isolation makes their weakness. These facts contain a tendency to movement which would take place if he were alone, but they mutually destroy each other and above all they are stopped by the stronger group of other sensations synthesized in the form of personal perception. At most, they can produce these light tremors of the muscles, those convulsive tics of the face, that tremulation of the fingers which give many hysterics a special character, which make it so easy to recognize, as they say, a nervous woman.

Psychological Automatism. Fig. 8.
Fig. 8.

But it is easy enough to promote their development, it suffices for that to remove or reduce the obstacle which stops them. By closing his eyes, by distracting the subject, we reduce or divert in another direction the activity of the main personality and we leave the field free to these subconscious or not perceived phenomena. It suffices then to evoke one, to raise the arm or to move it, to put an object in the hands or to pronounce a word, so that these sensations bring about, according to the ordinary law, the movements which characterize them. These movements are not known to the subject himself, since they occur precisely in that part of his person which is anesthetic for him. Sometimes they take place in limbs whose sensation the subject has completely and perpetually lost, sometimes in limbs with which the distracted subject is not concerned at this moment; the result is always the same. Leonie’s left arm can be made to move without any other precaution than to hide it with a screen, because it is still anesthetic; you can move your right arm by diverting your attention elsewhere, because it is only anesthetic by accident. But, in both cases, the arm will move without her knowing it. Strictly speaking, these movements determined by the unconscious sensations are not known by anyone, because these disaggregated sensations reduced to the state of mental dust, are not synthesized in any personality. They are indeed cataleptic acts determined by conscious sensations, but not personal ones.
If things sometimes happen this way, it is not difficult to see that they are often more complex. Subconscious acts do not always manifest simple impersonal sensations; here they are obviously showing us memory. When the arm of a hysterical anesthetic is raised for the first time to verify partial catalepsy, it is necessary to hold it in the air for a while and to specify the position which one wishes to obtain; after a few tries, all you have to do is lift your arm a little for it to assume the desired position by itself, as if it had understood half a word. Has an act of this kind been done in a determined circumstance, it repeats itself when the same circumstance occurs a second time: I have shown an example of Leonie’s subconscious acts to M. X..., by making her left arm do snaps that she does not suspect; a year later, when Léonie sees this same person again, her left arm is raised and starts to thumb her nose again. Certain subjects, like Marie, are satisfied, when one guides their anesthetic hand, to repeat the same movement indefinitely, to always write the same letter on a piece of paper; others complete the word they were made to begin; others write from dictation the word that is pronounced when they are distracted and do not understand by a kind of systematized anesthesia, and finally here are some, like N..., Léonie or Lucie, who begin to respond in writing to the question put to them. This subconscious writing contains correct reflections, detailed accounts, calculations, etc. Things have changed in nature, they are no longer cataleptic acts determined by simple raw sensations, there are perceptions and intelligence. But this perception is not part of the normal life of the subject, of the synthesis which characterizes it and which is represented at P in our figure, because the subject ignores this conversation held by his hand, just as he ignored the partial catalepsies. It is absolutely necessary to suppose that the sensations which have remained outside the normal perception have in their turn been synthesized in a second perception P’. This second perception is probably composed, it will be necessary to verify it, of tactile and muscular T’M’ images which the subject never uses and which he has definitively abandoned, and of an auditory sensation A” that the subject can grasp, since, in certain cases, he can hear me, but that he has momentarily left aside, since he deals with the words of another person. A second psychological existence has formed, at the same time as normal psychological existence, and with those conscious sensations that normal perception had abandoned in too many of them.

Psychological Automatism. Fig. 9.
Fig. 9.

What, in fact, is the essential sign of the existence of a perception? It is the unification of these various phenomena and the notion of the personality which is expressed by the word: “I or me”. Now this subconscious writing constantly uses the word “I”, it is the manifestation of a person, exactly like the subject’s normal speech. There is not only secondary perception, there is secondary personality, “secondary self”, as some English authors used to say, when discussing the experiments on automatic writing that I had published in the past. No doubt this “secondary self” is very rudimentary at the beginning and can hardly be compared to the “normal self”, but it will develop in a very unlikely way.

Having noticed, not without some astonishment I admit, the secondary intelligence which manifested itself in Lucie’s automatic writing, I had the following conversation with her one day, while her normal self was chatting with another person. “Can you hear me, I said to him? – (She answers in writing) No. -But to answer we must hear. – Yes, absolutely. – So how do you do it? – I do not know. – Does someone have to hear me? – Yes. – Who? – Other than Lucie. – Oh well! another person. Do you want us to give it a name? – No. – Yes, it will be more convenient. – Well Adrienne [1]. – So, Adrienne, can you hear me? – Yes.” – No doubt it was I who suggested the name of this character and thus gave him a kind of individuality, but we saw how much he had developed spontaneously.

[1] There was a little difficulty about the name of this character, he changed his name twice. I do not insist on this trivial detail that I have discussed elsewhere. Revue philosophique, 1886, II, 589.

These denominations of the subconscious character greatly facilitate the experiences; moreover, automatic writing almost always takes a name of this kind, without anything having been suggested, as I have observed in automatic letters written spontaneously by Léonie.
Once baptized, the unconscious character is more determined and clearer, he shows his psychological characters better. He shows us that he is especially aware of these sensations neglected by the primary or normal character; it is he who tells me that I am pinching my arm, or that I am touching the little finger, while Lucie has long lost all tactile sensation; it is he who sees the objects which the negative suggestion has removed from Lucie’s consciousness, who notices and indicates my crosses and my figures on the papers. He uses these sensations that have been abandoned to him to produce his movements. We know in fact that the same movement can be performed, at least by an adult, in different ways, thanks to visual images or kinesthetic images; for example, Lucie can only write by visual images, she bends down and ceaselessly follows her pen and paper with her eyes; Adrienne, who is the second simultaneous personality, writes without looking at the paper, because she uses the kinesthetic images of writing. Each has its way of acting, like its way of thinking.
One of the first characteristics that this “secondary self” manifests and which is visible to the observer is a marked preference for certain people. Adrienne, who obeys me very well and who willingly chats with me, does not bother to answer everyone. Let another person examine this same subject in my absence, as happened, they will not notice either partial catalepsy, or subconscious acts by distraction, or automatic writing, and will come and tell me that Lucie is a normal person, very distracted and very anesthetic.. Here is an observer who has seen only the first self with its shortcomings and who has not entered into relations with the second. According to the observations of MM. Binet and Féré, it is not enough for a hysteric to be anesthetic for her to present with partial catalepsy. Without a doubt, this phenomenon requires one more condition than anesthesia, a sort of bringing the experimenter into contact with the subconscious phenomena. If these phenomena are very isolated, they are provoked by any experimenter, but if they are grouped in personality (which happens very frequently in severely ill hysterics), they manifest preferences and do not obey everyone.
Not only does the secondary self not obey, but it resists the stranger. When I lifted and put Lucie’s arm or Léonie’s arm in the cataleptic position, which presents the same phenomenon, no one can move them. If you try to move it, the arm seems contracted and resists with all its strength; if you bend it with effort, it rises as if by elasticity to its first position. As I touch the arm again, it suddenly becomes light and obeys every impulse. We must remember this elective characteristic which belongs to the subconscious character and which will serve us later to better define its nature.

This personality usually has little will, she obeys my slightest orders. We do not have to insist on this already well-known character: the suggestion is explained in this case, as in the circumstances previously studied. It is produced here, as always, by the smallness, the weakness of this personality grafted next to the first and which is even narrower than it. The only fact to remember, because we already know it, is that these suggestions are executed (in typical cases, the only ones that we consider now) [2] without being known by the subject himself.

[2] See exceptions in the next chapter.

It is a second individual even more suggestible than the first who acts alongside and without the knowledge of the subject we are studying, but who acts according to exactly the same laws.
However, just as the most suggestible individuals have shown themselves capable of resistance and spontaneity, so too the secondary character is sometimes very rebellious. I had some very funny quarrels with this character of Adrienne who was so docile at first and who, as she grew up, became less and less so. He would often reply in a sassy manner and write “No, no”, instead of doing as I commanded him. He was so angry with me one day that he refused to answer me altogether; Partial catalepsy, unconscious acts, automatic writing, everything had disappeared through Adrienne’s simple bad humor. Can we, like certain authors, consider these phenomena of catalepsy in the waking state as purely physiological and muscular phenomena, when we see them suddenly disappear as a result of anger which is manifested by writing? automatic? I was then forced to chat with the normal character, with Lucie, who, quite ignorant of the drama that was going on within herself, was in a very good mood. When I was able to reconcile myself with Adrienne, the cataleptic acts began again as before. Such facts are far from rare and I have observed them on several other subjects.

These resistances of the secondary character prepare us to understand more easily his spontaneous acts, because I was forced to note that there were similar ones. Another subject, Léonie, had learned to read and write fairly well, and I had taken advantage of his new knowledge to make him write a few words or a few lines unconsciously the night before; but I had sent her away without suggesting anything further. She had left Le Havre for over two months when I received the most unusual letter from her. On the first page was a small letter in a serious tone: “she was indisposed”, she said, “more in pain one day than the next, etc., and she signed with her real name “Woman B...”; but on the back began another letter of a completely different style and which I will be allowed to reproduce as a curiosity: “My dear good sir, I have come to tell you that Léonie, all true, all true, makes me suffer greatly, she can’t sleep, she hurts me a lot; I am going to demolish it, it bothers me, I am also sick and very tired. It is from your very devoted Léontine.” When Leonie returned to Le Havre, I naturally asked her about this singular missive: she had kept a very exact memory of the first letter; she could still tell me the content; she remembered having sealed it in the envelope and even the details of the address which she had hardly written; but she didn’t have the slightest memory of the second letter. Besides, I explained this oversight to myself: neither the familiarity of the letter, nor the freedom of style, nor the expressions used, nor above all the signature belonged to Léonie in her waking state. On the contrary, it all belonged to the unconscious character who had already manifested himself to me through many other acts. At first I thought there had been an attack of spontaneous sleepwalking between the time she finished the first letter and the time she sealed the envelope. The secondary character of somnambulism who knew the interest I took in Leonie and the way in which I often cured her of her nervous accidents, would have appeared for a moment to call me for her help; the fact was already very strange. But since then, these subconscious and spontaneous letters have multiplied and I have been able to better study their production. Fortunately, I was able to surprise Leonie once, when she was performing this singular operation. She was near a table and still held the knitting she had just worked on. The face was very calm, the eyes staring upward with a little fixedness, but she did not seem in a cataleptic attack; she sang in a low voice a country round, her right hand wrote quickly and as if stealthily. I began by taking away his paper without his knowledge and I spoke to him; she turned around immediately wide awake, but a little surprised, for in her distracted state she had not heard me come in. “She had spent”, she said, “the day knitting and she sang because she thought she was alone.” She had no knowledge of the paper she was writing. It all happened exactly, as we have seen with the unconscious acts, inadvertently, with the difference that nothing had been suggested.
This form of subconscious phenomena is not as easy to study as the others; being spontaneous, it cannot be subjected to regular experimentation. Here are just a few remarks that chance allowed me to make. First of all, the secondary character who writes these letters is intelligent in his spontaneous manifestations, as in his provoked manifestations. In what he writes, he shows a great deal of memory: one letter contained the story of Léonie’s very childhood; he shows common sense in ordinarily correct remarks. Here is even an example of unconscious insight, as M. Richet would say. The subconscious person noticed one day that the conscious person, Leonie, was tearing up the papers she had written when she left them within reach at the end of the distraction. What to do to keep them? Taking advantage of Leonie’s longer distraction, she started her letter over again, then went to carry it in a photo album. This album, in fact, formerly contained a photograph of M. Gibert who, by association of ideas, had the property of putting Leonie in catalepsy. I took the precaution of having this portrait removed when Leonie was in the house; but the album still retained a sort of terrifying influence on her. The secondary character was therefore sure that his letters put in the album would not be touched by Léonie. All this reasoning was not done in sleepwalking, I repeat, but in the waking state and subconsciously. Distracted Leonie sang or dreamed of a few vague thoughts, while her limbs, obeying a somewhat foreign will, thus took precautions against herself. The second person thus benefits from all his distractions. Léonie walks alone in the streets and recklessly abandons herself to her reveries; when she pays attention to her way, she is quite surprised to find herself somewhere else in the city. The other found it spiritual to bring him to my door. If we warn her by letter that she can return to Le Havre, she finds herself there without knowing how; the other, in a hurry to arrive, made him leave as quickly as possible and without luggage. Finally, let us add, as a last remark, that these subconscious and spontaneous acts have yet another feature of resemblance to the acts provoked; they bring into normal consciousness a particular void, a systematic anesthesia. Leonie having often come to see me, I thought she knew my address well; I was astonished, chatting with her one day while awake, to see that she was completely unaware of him, much more, that she did not know the neighborhood at all. The second character having taken all these notions for himself, the first seemed to no longer manage to possess them.
We cannot terminate this study on the development of the subconscious personality without recalling a fact already pointed out and on which consequently we will not dwell. Subconscious acts and latent sensations may exist during sleepwalking, as during waking, and also develop at this time in the form of a personality. Sometimes she will present the same characters as during the day before, as happens with Lucie; sometimes it will be quite different, as happens with Léonie. These possible complications should not be forgotten.

We have insisted on these developments of a new psychological existence, no longer alternating with the normal existence of the subject, but absolutely simultaneous. Knowledge of this fact is indeed essential to understand the behavior of neuropaths and that of the insane. We have only studied, in this chapter, typical cases, so to speak theoretical, of this duplication, in order to see it in the simplest circumstances and to be able to recognize it later when the cases become more complex. This notion, which is important, we believe, in the study of pathological psychology, does not lack a certain seriousness from a philosophical point of view either. We have become accustomed to accepting successive personality variations without too much difficulty; the memories, the characteristic which form the personality could change without altering the idea of the ego which remained one at all the moments of the existence. It will be necessary, we believe, to set back still further the true nature of the metaphysical person and to consider the very idea of personal unity as an appearance which can undergo modification. Philosophical systems will certainly be successful in coming to terms with these new facts, for they seek to express the reality of things, and one expression of truth cannot be in opposition to another.

VIII. Simultaneous psychological existences compared to successive psychological existences

By studying, in certain subjects, this second personality which has revealed itself to us below normal consciousness, we cannot help but some surprise. We do not know how to explain the rapid and sometimes sudden development of this second consciousness. If it results, as we have supposed, from the grouping of images that have remained outside normal perception, how could this systematization have taken place so quickly? The second person has a character, preferences, whims, spontaneous acts: how, in a few moments, has she acquired all this? Our astonishment will cease if we are to notice that this form of consciousness and personality does not exist now for the first time. We have already seen her somewhere and we have no difficulty in recognizing an old acquaintance: she is quite simply the character of sleepwalking which manifests itself in this new way during the waking state.

It is memory which establishes the continuity of psychological life, it is this which has enabled us to establish the analogy of various somnambulic states, so it is again this which will bring the subconscious existence which takes place closer together, during the day before the subject, of the alternating existence which characterizes somnambulism. We can show in fact: 1st that the subconscious phenomena during waking contain the memories acquired during sleepwalking, and 2nd that we find during sleepwalking the memory of all these acts and all these subconscious sensations.
1st The first point could already be considered as demonstrated by the study we have made of post-hypnotic suggestions. The subject sometimes executes all the suggestion without knowing it, as we saw Lucie do, but, in other cases, he makes, at least in this way, all the calculations, all the remarks necessary to correctly execute what was ordered from him. When the suggestion is attached to a point of reference, it is the unconscious person who keeps the memory of this signal: “You told me to do such and such when the hour strikes”, Lucie writes automatically after waking up from sleepwalking.. It is also she who recognizes this signal which the normal person does not care about. “There is a stain on this paper at the top and to the left,” Adrienne wrote of the portrait experience. It is she who combines the procedures in these unconscious deceptions so curious that Mr. Bergson had pointed out [3].

[3] Bergson. La simulation inconsciente. Revue philosophique, 1886, II, 525.

When there is a calculation to be made, it is again this same character who takes care of it, who counts the noises I make with my hands, or makes the additions that I have ordered. Lucie’s automatic writing confirms this at every moment. Mr. Gurney [4] relates that he had ordered a subject to do an act in ten days and that he questioned him the next day using the spiritualists’ planchette (this is a process in my opinion very useless, including the English are almost always used to trigger automatic writing).

[4] Gurney. Proceed. S. P. R, 1887, 294.

This subject, who consciously did not remember any suggestion, wrote, without knowing it, that it was still necessary to wait nine days; the next day he wrote that he would do the deed in a week. I wanted to repeat the experiment and I obtained a different result, but just as demonstrative. I suggest Rose, while sleepwalking, write me a letter in forty-two days, then wake him up. The next day, without putting her back to sleep, I ask her, according to the procedure already described for distraction, when she will write to me. I thought she was going to write, like Mr. Gurney’s subject “in forty-one days”, but she simply wrote: “October 2”. And, in fact, she was right, it had been a good forty-two days and the subconscious character had just done the math. The suggestion became a simple suggestion with an unconscious point of reference which, moreover, was carried out very correctly.
When it is necessary to suppress the sight of an object to the conscious character, in the experience of negative hallucination or systematized anesthesia, it is again our second character who takes care of it. He takes for himself the sight of this object of which he retains the memory and, consequently, prevents the primary character from bringing these sensations together in his ordinary perception. Here is an example which summarizes all these phenomena. I ordered Lucie one evening, during the sleepwalking state, to come the next day at three o’clock to Dr. Powilewicz. She did indeed arrive the next day around half-past three: but when she spoke to me on entering, she seemed to experience a singular hallucination; she thought she was at home, took the cabinet furniture for her own and maintained that she had not gone out all day. Adrienne, whom I questioned then answered sensibly in writing that, on my order, she had dressed at three o’clock, that she had gone out and that she knew very well where she was. The memory of the suggestion, the recognition of the signal, the commanded act, the systematic anesthesia, everything depended on the second character who carried out my orders during the vigil below the conscious person, as he would have done during sleepwalking himself. In short, the post-hypnotic suggestions establish a very clear link between the first somnambulism and the second simultaneous existence.
But the suggestions only form a small part of the memories of sleepwalking, and the subconscious writing still shows the memory of all the other incidents. Here’s an easy-to-repeat experiment Mr. Gurney [5] describes.

[5] Proceed. S. P. R., 1887, 294.

During the sleepwalking state, he chats with a subject and tells him some story, then he wakes him up completely. At this moment, the subject has completely lost the memory of what has just been said to him, but if he puts his hand on “the planchette” and lets it write apparently at random, we will read the story on the paper, complete of this story that the subject claims to ignore and that he cannot tell, even if he is offered a sovereign to do so. Here are similar facts: For various experiments I had asked N.... while she was sleepwalking, to draw in pencil some small drawings, and she had sketched a house, a small boat with a sail and a figure in profile with a long nose. Once awake, she has no memory of it all and talks about something else entirely; but her hand, which has picked up the pencil, begins to draw on a paper without her knowing it. N... finally noticed it and, taking the paper, said to me: “Here, look at what I have drawn: a house, a boat and a head with a long nose; what took me to draw this?” I had shown V..., while sleepwalking, a small dog on her knees and she had caressed it with great joy. When she was awakened, I noticed that she had a weird movement of her right hand which seemed to still be stroking something on her knees; she had to be put back to sleep to get rid of this idea of the little dog, which persisted in the second consciousness. We had made the mistake of talking about spiritualism in front of Leonie while she was sleepwalking. When she woke up, she kept various subconscious movements, trembling of the hand, as if she wanted to write, and singular movements of the head and the eyes which seemed to seek something under the furniture: the second person was still thinking of spirits. It is unnecessary to cite other examples; it suffices to recall that with a subject presenting to a high degree automatic writing, like Lucie, one can continue by this means, during the day before, all the conversations started during the somnambulism.
We have already observed that, during the sleepwalking itself, the subject can sometimes rediscover the memory of certain states forgotten during the vigil and yet distinct from the hypnotic state, the memory of certain dreams, of some delusions and sometimes of crises. ‘hysteria. So we will not be surprised if the subconscious writing also contains these memories. While Léonie has forgotten her natural sleepwalking, her nightmares and her crises, when she is awake, her automatic handwriting which marks Adrienne will tell us all the incidents of these kinds of crises. This is a very natural fact which results too simply from the preceding phenomenon for me to insist on it.
Another consequence of this recollection is that the subconscious person has completely the characteristic and the paces which characterize sleepwalking itself. The subjects, when they write unconsciously, take the same names that they have already taken in such and such a hypnotic state: Adrienne, Léontine, Nichette, etc. They show, in acts of this kind, the same electivity as during somnambulism. If the unconscious acts, if the partial catalepsy can only be provoked by me on Lucie or Leonie, it is because, being asleep in a daze, they also obey only me alone. Finally, the nature of intelligence during somnambulism has the greatest influence on the nature of the unconscious act. Lem has no memory during sleepwalking, so cannot perform post-hypnosis suggestions when due. The unconscious acts of N... are childish, like the very character of N. 2 or Nichette, but, as she has a great memory, these unconscious acts can be obtained at any time with great precision. Here is an observation made by chance on this subject, which is nonetheless curious. In the first studies that I had made on N.... I had observed a very great aptitude for suggestions by distraction in the waking state; I then ceased these experiences and lost sight of this person for several months. When I saw her again, I wanted to try these same suggestions without prior sleepwalking, but they did not have the same result as before. The subject, who was talking to another person, did not turn around when I commanded him something and seemed not to hear me: there was therefore the systematic anesthesia necessary for the subconscious act, but this act was not not executed. I then had to put the subject to sleep, but even in somnambulism, N’s demeanor remained so unique that I no longer recognized the characters studied some time before. The subject heard me badly or did not understand what I was saying to him: “What is the matter with you today? I tell him at the end. – I can’t hear you, I’m too far away. – And where are you? – I am in Algiers on a large square, I must be made to come back.” The return was not difficult: we know these journeys of sleepwalkers by hallucination. When she arrived, she heaved a sigh of relief, straightened up and began to speak as before. “Will you explain to me now, I said, what you were doing in Algiers? – It’s not my fault; it is M. X... who sent me there a month ago; he forgot to bring me back, he left me there... Earlier you wanted to order me, make me raise my arm (that was the suggestion I had tried to make the day before), I was too far away, I couldn’t obey”. Checking this out, this singular story was true: another person had put this subject to sleep in the interval between my two studies, had caused various hallucinations, among others that of a trip to Algiers; not attaching sufficient importance to these phenomena, she had awakened the subject without removing the hallucination. N.... the awake person, had remained apparently normal; but the subconscious personage who was in her retained more or less latent the hallucination of being in Algiers. And when, without prior somnambulism, I wanted to give him commands, he heard but did not believe he had to obey. The hallucination once removed, everything went as before. A modification in intelligence during sleepwalking had therefore brought, even two months later, a corresponding modification in the subconscious acts, just as the anger of Lucia 2 during sleepwalking brings after waking up the bad mood manifested by the automatic writing.

2nd Another consideration, to which we can now pass, brings these two states closer together, is that the subconscious acts have a sort of hypnotizing effect and by themselves contribute to inducing somnambulism. I had already noticed that two subjects especially, Lucie and Léonie, frequently fell asleep in spite of myself in the midst of experiments on unconscious acts in the waking state; but I had related this sleep to my presence alone and to their habit of somnambulism. The following fact brought me back from my mistake. M. Binet had been kind enough to show me one of the subjects on which he was studying subconscious acts by anesthesia, and I had asked his permission to reproduce the suggestions on this subject by distraction. Things happened quite according to my expectations: the subject (Hab...), wide awake, was chatting with M. Binet; placed behind him, I unwittingly made him wave his hand, write a few words, answer my questions by signs, etc. Suddenly, Hab... ceased speaking to M. Binet and turning to me, eyes closed, continued correctly, by conscious speech the conversation she had started with me by subconscious signs; on the other hand, she no longer spoke to M. Binet at all, she no longer heard him, in a word, she had fallen into elective somnambulism. The subject had to be awakened, who naturally had forgotten everything when he woke up. But Hab... didn’t know me in any way, so it wasn’t my presence that had put her to sleep; sleep was therefore here the result of the development of subconscious phenomena which had invaded and then erased normal consciousness. The fact, moreover, is easily verified. Leonie stays wide awake with me as long as I don’t provoke phenomena of this kind; but when these become too numerous and too complicated, she falls asleep. This rather important remark explains to us a detail which we had noted, without understanding it, in the execution of the post-hypnotic suggestions. As long as they are simple. Leonie performs them without her knowing it, talking about something else; when they are long and complicated, the subject talks less and less while performing them, ends up falling asleep and quickly performs them while sleepwalking. The post-hypnotic suggestion is sometimes performed in a second sleepwalking, not because the subject has been suggested to go back to sleep, but because the memory of this suggestion and the performance itself form a subconscious life so analogous to sleepwalking that, in some cases, it produces it completely.

The subject is now again in somnambulism: the analogy between the states we want to compare will show itself in yet another way. All the authors have noticed that the subject executes the post-hypnosis suggestions on awakening without knowing who gave them to him, but that, in a new somnambulism, he finds this memory [6].

[6] Gilles de la Tourette. Op. cit., 153.

One might think that the subject only remembers the order received during a previous sleepwalking and that there is only a memory from one sleepwalking to another. We can choose suggestions which were executed unconsciously, but whose execution was characterized by a small unexpected detail, and we see that the subject, when we put him to sleep again, has a complete memory of these acts. which have not been known to normal consciousness. It is useless to cite examples: we only have to remember the post-hypnotic suggestions of which we have spoken and whose unconsciousness we noted during the day before. All the subjects repeat, when I put them to sleep again, what they did to obey me and the various incidents which characterized the execution of my commandments.
Everything I just said applies exactly to spontaneous subconscious acts, especially those of Leonie. Sleepwalking in the state of Leonie 2, she keeps a recollection of it. In the letter I mentioned, there was an ignored part of the awakened subject and signed with the name of Leontine. We can now see what this name meant, for this is how she designates herself during the sleepwalking state. She could tell me in effect in this state that she had wanted to write to me to tell me of the disease of the other and recited to me the terms of the letter. An excellent proof, moreover, that acts of this kind are indeed actions of Leonie 2, is that, as we have said, the subject can fall asleep while they are being performed: the same acts are then continued during the sleepwalking without modification. I caught Leonie once, writing a letter unconsciously in the way I have described and I was able to put her to sleep without interrupting; Léonie 2 then continues her letter with much more activity.
It is useless to describe this phenomenon of memory in other subjects, because it remains absolutely identical; but I will move on to a very important remark. Some subjects, like N.... have, from the onset of somnambulism, the memory of all the subconscious acts of the day before, whatever they are, even those which were obtained by anesthesia or by distraction. The subject Mr. Gurney often talks about was this kind. “When he has written a sentence automatically on the clipboard, he ignores it in the waking state, but, asleep, he almost always repeats it without error [7].”

[7] Gurney. Proceed. S. P. R., 1887, 296.

It should not be imagined that all subjects do so, for we would very quickly encounter a number of exceptions to the law which we point out. Lucie does not find in this first somnambulism any memory of her subconscious acts, Léonie, Rose or Marie only find in this same state the memory of a certain number of acts of this kind.

When this happens, when a subject does not find, once in somnambulism, the memory of his subconscious acts of the day before, we will notice that these acts still exist in the same way and that the consciousness continues to present the same duplication. Partial catalepsy on the left side, and unconscious acts by distraction still exist in Leonie during the first somnambulism. Furthermore, these acts seem to remain associated with those which occurred during the previous day and which were not remembered. With Lucie, the subconscious character, when he was writing during the vigil, signed his letters with the name of Adrienne, he still signs them with the same name during sleepwalking and continues to show in these letters the same knowledge and the same memories. During the day before, did I order Leonie an act which was performed without her knowing it during a distraction; she still ignores it when she is now sleepwalking. But if, during this very state, I take advantage of a distraction to order “the same act as earlier”, without specifying more, this act is very exactly reproduced, but still unbeknownst to Léonie 2, see you later, by Léonie 1. When I make speak, either by signs or by automatic writing, this unconscious which still seems to subsist, it can very exactly recount all the other unconscious acts which still remain ignored. It therefore seems that, in this subject, the subconscious acts and the images on which they depend, below somnambulism, a new synthesis of phenomena, a new psychic existence, just as the somnambulist life itself existed below waking.
When things are like this, the subject should be put to sleep more, because the persistence of subconscious acts as well as anesthesia indicates that there is deeper sleepwalking. We know these varied somnambulic states which one obtains sometimes by insensible gradations, sometimes by sudden leaps through lethargic or cataleptic states. Each new state of sleepwalking brings with it the memory of a certain number of these subconscious acts. Léonie 3 is the first to remember certain acts and attributes them to herself. “While the other was talking”, she said of an unconscious act from the day before, “you said take out her watch, I pulled it out for her, but she wouldn’t look at the time...” “While she was chatting with M. un tel”, she said about an unconscious act of sleepwalking, “you told me to make bouquets, I made two, I did this and that...”, and she repeats all the gestures that I have described and which had been completely ignored during the preceding states. Leonie 3 also remembers well the actions which were performed during the complete catalepsy which, in this subject, precedes the second somnambulism. It is to this memory that we alluded at the beginning of this work, to show that the actions carried out in this state were not absolutely devoid of conscience. Lucie who had absolutely no recollection of the subconscious acts in the first somnambulism, nor of the character of Adrienne, takes up these memories in the most complete way in her second somnambulism. We must not therefore deny the relationship between successive existences and simultaneous existences, because the subject does not immediately find, in his first somnambulism, the memory of certain subconscious acts; it is often enough to put him to sleep more for his memory to be complete.

These facts are easily understood, moreover, if we reflect on the conditions already studied for the return of memory. The memory of an act is linked to the sensitivity which served to accomplish it, it disappears with it, remains subconscious as long as this is not linked to normal perception, it reappears when this sensitivity is itself restored. Let’s take an example: while Léonie is wide awake. I put a pair of scissors in her left hand, which is anesthetic; the fingers enter the rings, alternately open and close the scissors. This act obviously depends on the tactile sensation of the scissors, and it is unconscious, because this sensation is disaggregated, exists apart and is not synthesized in Leonie’s normal perception at this time. I put the subject to sleep and I see that in this new state, he is still anesthetizing his left arm. It is therefore quite natural that the memory of the previous act has not reappeared and remains outside personal consciousness. I put the subject in another state, he has regained the sensitivity of the left arm and he now remembers the act he has just done with the scissors. This is a new, but easy to predict, application of the studies we have made on memory. In this case, several simultaneous subconscious personalities are formed, just as several successive somnambulisms have previously been formed.
I will attach to this remark a fairly well-known fact. when a suggestion has been given to a subject in a particular sleepwalking, it can only be removed by reducing the subject to exactly the same sleepwalking. If I gave a command to Leonie 3, I will not remove it by talking to Leonie 2, or Leonie 1. Why is that? Because my command is part of a certain group, of a certain system of psychological phenomena which has its own life apart from the other psychological systems which exist in the head of this individual. To modify my command, it is necessary to start by reaching this group of phenomena of which it is part, because one does not change an order given to MA, by going to make a speech to MB Sometimes these subconscious psychological systems, formed apart from personal perception, are in small number, two at Lucie or Léonie, only one at Marie, three or four at Rose; sometimes they are, I believe, very numerous. A subject’s sleepwalks are almost never identical to each other, they change especially when they are produced by different experimenters. I would thus explain to myself the misadventures of a somnambulist told by M. Pitres [8].

[8] D’après Gilles de la Tourette. Op. cit., 127.

A bad joke had put her to sleep and suggested to her the desire to kiss the hospital chaplain, then woke her up and left. The suggestion abominably tormented this unfortunate woman, but no one could succeed in taking it away from her, although she was put into hypnotic sleep. It was because we couldn’t reproduce the same hypnotic sleep. The group of psychic phenomena which had received the suggestion always remained outside the state of consciousness which could be provoked and continued to act in the direction it had taken. This remark, which shows us different subconscious existences like different somnambulisms, is not of great theoretical importance, but is often very useful in practice.

Psychological Automatism. Fig. 10.
Fig. 10.

These relations between the subconscious and simultaneous existences on the one hand, and the various successive sleepwalking on the other hand, are obviously complicated and perhaps, despite all my efforts, difficult to understand. So I once tried [9] to represent these facts by a schematic figure which unfortunately did not seem very clear, perhaps because I had tried to include too many things.

[9] Les actes inconscients et la mémoire pendant le somnambulisme. Revue philosophique, 1888, I, 279.

Let us now try to represent the result of these observations in a different and, I hope, simpler way. The conscious life of one of these subjects, Lucie for example, seems to be made up of three parallel currents one under the other. When the subject is awake, the three currents exist: the first is the normal consciousness of the subject speaking to us, the other two are groups of sensations and acts more or less associated with each other, but absolutely ignored by the person who is speaking to us. When the subject is asleep in the first somnambulism, the first current is interrupted and the second emerges, he shows himself in broad daylight and makes us see the memories he has acquired in his underground life. If we pass to the second somnambulism, the second current is interrupted in its turn, to leave alone the third which then forms the entire conscious life of the individual, in which we no longer see either anesthesia or subconscious acts. Upon awakening the upper currents reappear in reverse order. The figure would have to be complicated to represent other subjects who have more sleepwalking states, natural somnambulisms, hysterical attacks, etc., but the general arrangement could, I believe, remain the same.

IX. Relative importance of the various simultaneous existences

A truth must never be exaggerated under penalty of turning into an error: that subconscious life resembles sleepwalking life, this is obvious: that it is absolutely identical to sleepwalking and can be assimilated to it, this is what we cannot admit. Léonie 2, the somnambulist, talkative, petulant, childish character, cannot exist complete and as is below Léonie 1, this elderly woman, calm and silent. This mixture would lead to perpetual delirium. Also, the sleepwalking character who has the absent sensitivities would still complement the normal character and leave him with no visible paralysis. Here is a detail that my brother told me about it. A hysterical woman with anesthetic legs, Witt.... rests her feet on a ball of hot water and, feeling nothing, does not notice that the water is too hot and burns her feet. This subject, however, contained a second personality which manifested itself perfectly by subconscious signs or in a profound somnambulism and which then had tactile sensitivity. When questioned, this second character claimed to have felt the pain in his feet very well. “Well then why didn’t you pull the legs? – I do not know [10].”

[10] See in this connection the very interesting experiments of M. Binet, in the article of which I spoke above, on the phenomena of subconscious pain. Revue philosophique, 1889, I, 143. The author notes, like me, that these simple pain phenomena produce less movement than the precise sensations; and he gives a reason that seems very correct to me, and that is the simplicity and the lack of coordination of these phenomena. We have already made an allusion to facts of the same kind in the first chapter of this work, p. 61, discussing Bain’s theories.

It is obvious that the second figure who possesses the tactile sensitivity of the legs was not to exist during waking in the same way as he now exists in deep sleepwalking. In short, the second personality does not always exist in the same way and the relations or the proportions between the different psychological existences must be very variable.
To examine these variations, we can start from a first extreme point: The state of perfect psychological health. The power of synthesis being great enough, all psychological phenomena, whatever their origin, are united in the same personal perception, and consequently the second personality does not exist. In such a state, there would be no distraction, no anesthesia, neither systematic nor general, no suggestibility and no possibility of producing somnambulism, since one cannot develop subconscious phenomena which do not exist. The most normal men are far from always in such a state of moral health, and, as for our subjects, they very rarely succeed. However, for over eighteen months, Lucie remained without anesthesia, without suggestibility and without being able to hypnotize her. Marie is now in a period of this kind, I do not know for how long. It is a relative state of health.
When this perfect health does not exist, the power of psychic synthesis is weakened and lets escape, apart from personal perception, a more or less considerable number of psychological phenomena: this is the state of disintegration. I do not call this the hysterical state, although this state exists constantly during hysteria, for I believe that the state of disintegration is something more general than hysteria and that it can still exist in many years. ‘other circumstances. It is the moment of distractions, of systematized anesthesias, of general anesthesias, of suggestions carried out consciously by the subject. But the disaggregated phenomena still remain incoherent, so isolated that, except for a few which still lead to very simple reflexes, they have, for the most part, no action on the behavior of the individual, they are as if they did not exist. When Witt... burned her feet, there were phenomena of pain somewhere in her, but so elementary, isolated and incoherent that they could at most provoke a few convulsive contractions here and there, but could not directing an overall, coordinated movement, such as spreading and moving the legs. It is in this state that our subjects remain most often, when we do not take care of them and especially when we have not put them to sleep for a long time.
The only changes that occur naturally in this state are the various distributions of anesthesia. So, to take an example, Marie, for several months, oscillated between three forms of anesthesia. 1st It is most often left hemi-anesthetic: the body is divided into two parts by a vertical line passing through the middle. On the right, all general or special sensitivities are preserved, on the left all the sensations of all the senses have disappeared. 2nd After having remained fifteen days or three weeks in this first state, it often passes, without apparent reason, in a second. It is still semi-anesthetic, but in a different way: the body is divided into two parts by a horizontal line passing a little above the breasts, at the level of the shoulders. The whole lower part is absolutely anesthetic; the entire upper part including the head and the special senses (excepting for special reasons the left eye and temple) cover full sensibility. Often it changes again and is felt for some time all over the body, but in an extremely obtuse manner; as if the same amount of sensitivity had spread by halving over a double surface. Other subjects will be able to distribute their sensitivity in another way, by choosing in each direction, to perceive them, certain particular impressions and by abandoning the others. We have seen that electivity and distraction are forms of the narrowing of the field of consciousness and of psychic disaggregation, like anesthesia itself. These are some of the variations which a state of disintegration left to itself will naturally present.

If the person who puts the subjects to sleep approaches them, they experience a very special emotion which makes them feel a change in their consciousness. This is because the subconscious and disintegrated phenomena have grouped together under this excitation, have gained strength and even robbed normal consciousness of some phenomena of which it had retained until then the property. The anesthesia increased: Lucie, who previously heard everyone, can no longer hear me. “I see your lips moving”, she said, “but I can’t hear what you are saying.” It is because the subconscious character who formed took my words for him at that moment. Suggestibility has also increased, but it is exercised in two ways, sometimes provoking the conscious acts of the first character, sometimes the acts of the second ignored by the first; it is the moment of partial catalepsy, of suggestions by distraction and of automatic writing. This is the state in which the spiritualists are so happy to see their mediums, in order to evoke the spirits through the intermediary of the disaggregated phenomena. This state corresponds fairly well, it seems to me, to that which has already been described under the name of somnovigil or sleepwalking [11].

[11] Beaunis. Somnambulisme provoqué, 166.

We criticized this name, saying that it was not from the day before. Obviously, if the word awake is understood to be an absolutely normal psychological state, the subject is not in a normal awake state. We are not in the habit, when we are wide awake, to walk or write without knowing it; but it should not be concluded from this that the subject is in a state of complete hypnotic sleep. Mr. Beaunis [12] gives the proof very well: it is that there is continuity of memory between the normal vigil and the words of the subject in this state he will remember indefinitely a part of what he did he was therefore at least partly in the standby state.

[12] Beaunis. Somnambulisme provoqué, 166.

But the other part of his being whose existence and characters we have abundantly shown and which is now manifest, is indeed in somnambulism, as is shown by another continuity of memories which we have just studied. But here again the somnambulic state is not complete. The second character has a little hearing which he delighted with the first, he feels the touch and the movements; but he does not see, at least usually, he does not move very easily and above all he does not speak or very hardly, all things that he could do during complete sleepwalking. It is therefore a half-somnambulism like a half-wake, and M. Ch. Richet had obviously found the right word, which we will keep to designate this state, when he called it a hemi-somnambulism [13].

[13] Ch. Richet. Les mouvements inconscients, dans l’hommage à Chevreul, 93.

The previous state is a transient and so to speak fragile state which oscillates between a more perfect wakefulness and a complete sleepwalking.
Let us excite these systems of subconscious ideas a little more, or make this unsteady first personality disappear by some sort of fatigue, and we arrive at true somnambulism. The first personality no longer exists, but the second personality is enriched at the expense of the first; it has now taken, in addition to the phenomena which were proper to it, those which belonged to the other synthesis; she sees, she moves, she speaks as she wants. She remembers her previous humble existence: “It was I who did this, who felt this” but she does not understand how she could neither move nor act just now, because she does not realize of the change that has occurred. After somnambulism, the first personality reappears and the second diminishes without disappearing entirely. This persists for a longer or shorter time depending on its strength and the post-hypnosis suggestions made to it; it gets up from time to time to accomplish them, then it decreases still further so as to occupy only the small space left to it by anesthesia during the state of disintegration which is now reestablished. If the return to health were complete, it would disappear entirely and there would be a new restoration of psychic unity which would undoubtedly take place around another center, but which would be analogous, for the extent of the field of consciousness, and for independence, to complete sleepwalking. Let us try, in a new figure a little less schematic than the previous one, to represent these relative extents of the various personalities, assuming for simplicity that there are only two.

Psychological Automatism. Fig. 11.
Fig. 11.

The problem of the relations between the successive secondary personality during sleepwalking and the simultaneous secondary personality during waking may be presented in a more precise manner and take a particular form: we know that, during complete sleepwalking, the second person has memory, not only from her own actions during previous sleepwalking, or even from acts she did during hemi-sleepwalking below primary consciousness, but even from actions consciously performed during waking by the first person, by “the other”, as the somnambulists say. Since this somnambulist personality already exists during the hemi-somnambulism under the consciousness of the day before, is it not natural that it already has at this moment the knowledge of the acts performed above it by the ordinary personality? I had been struck by this reasoning and, in my first articles on this subject, I had admitted, as a kind of law, that the first personality completely ignored the second acting below it, but that the latter knew the first very well; I even used this remark to explain the memory of the day before during sleepwalking. Mr Gurney, who soon after published studies on the same problem, still accepted this law, but began to have reservations [14].

[14] Proceed. S. P. R., 1887, 320.

“In many cases”, he said, “it is not at all obvious that the second personality has exact knowledge of the first when it acts above it.” Not only do I now recognize the correctness of Mr. Gurney’s reserves, but I am prepared to increase them further.
We must not give in to this illusion which leads us to identify the second personality during sleepwalking with the second subconscious personality during hemi-somnambulism. It has, in the first state, when it is complete, knowledge and memories which are due to the sensitivities which it has recovered; she remembers the actions of the day before, because she took over the sensibilities of the day before, in addition to her own. But when she was rudimentary or flawed next to normal consciousness, she didn’t have those sensitivities and didn’t have to have full knowledge of what the first character was doing. When Lucy 1 or Lucy 2, to take an example, exist simultaneously, they generally act on their own, and they ignore each other. If one knew the other, if the images of the tactile sense were associated with the images of the visual sense, a common consciousness for the benefit of one of the two people would be reconstituted, which does not seem to take place.
One of the great difficulties of observation, when we want to verify these things, is that it is not possible to question the second personality on any fact, without thereby giving him knowledge of it and without taking away from the primary personality. “The subconscious character”, said Mr. Gurney [15], “however, hears signals, describes objects from the outside world about which he is asked to speak.”

[15] Proceed., 1887, 317.

No doubt, but it is easy to verify that at this moment, the first personality ignores these signals and no longer sees these objects; when the normal ego really continues to see something, it is not at all certain that the abnormal ego also sees it at the same time; we no longer dare to conclude, like Mr. Gurney, that there is a difference between the two personalities and that one knows the other without being known by her: the situation must be the same for both.

We must not forget, moreover, that we are only talking in this chapter of the simplest cases of disaggregation, the most theoretical in a way. It is easy to observe a very large number of varieties and complications in which the two characters can more or less know each other and react to each other. We now avoid entering into the study of these complications.

The examination of the schematic figure that we have just studied suggests to us yet another new reflection which is of interest. We immediately notice that the representation of the complete somnambulic state is absolutely identical to that of perfect health, these two states also being characterized by the reunion of all psychological phenomena in one and the same consciousness. From a certain point of view this resemblance should not surprise us and agrees quite well with previous studies which have shown us the absolute integrity of sensitivity and will in complete somnambulism, as in perfect health. But, on the other hand, this resemblance raises a difficulty. Do we not know, in fact, that, during sleepwalking, memory too is intact and embraces all periods of life, even the periods of waking, while waking and the normal state would be characterized by forgetting sleepwalking states. How, if this difference in the state of memory is real, could these two states of complete sleepwalking and perfect health be the same? When two psychological states are absolutely similar, the memory must be reciprocal.
Well, maybe it really is, maybe the state of perfect health, when it exists, brings about the full recollection of sleepwalking itself. If our subjects, after waking up, do not retain the memory of their sleepwalking, it is because they do not return to perfect health and that they always retain more or less visible anesthesias and distractions; if they were radically cured, if they widened their field of consciousness to embrace definitively in their personal perception, all the images, they would have to find all the memories which depend on them and to remember completely even their periods of crisis or somnambulism. I must say that I have never noticed this return of memory and that this remark is based on the examination of a schematic figure and on reasoning more than on experience. Perhaps we could have seen something like this during the times when Lucie seemed completely healed; but I was not thinking of this problem then and I did not do any research on this point. I also believe that they would have had a negative result, I have never seen these hysterical people find after their apparent recovery the memory of their second existence. Perhaps these women who are still young, and in whom slight signs of hysteria reappear from time to time, never have a sufficiently complete cure for this phenomenon to be manifest.