Monday, June 26, 2017

Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death

Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death by F. W. H. MyersEver wonder what really happens when you dream, or when death occurs?

How about those moments you have an inspiration “out of the blue”? And why do affirmations work for certain people and in certain circumstances, but not for everyone and all the time?

FWH Myers lived a very full life, even surviving near death in his 20’s as only member of his gold-mining expedition. When he finally turned to getting trained as an M.D., his background led to the odd and unusual, the metaphysical instead of the straight materialist dogma of how the world worked.

These works are but a partial presentation of an ever-growing subject on personality and its survival after the body dies. This book is an exposition rather than a proof. What Myers tried to do is to render knowledge more easily gained by coordinating it in a form as clear and intelligible as his own limited skill and the nature of the facts themselves permitted.

Willis Harman listed Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death as among the ‘‘pioneering books in the exploration of supraconscious processes,’’ along with two contemporaneous classics, R. M. Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness and William James’s Varieties of Religious Experience.

As William James forcefully argued, Myers made the first attempts to map out the full range of the subliminal mind as a universal human phenomenon. In the process, he ‘‘quite overturns the classical notion of what the human mind consists in,’’ making the unconscious not secondary but central.

It was also the inspiration for Dorothea Brande in her breakthrough of Wake Up And Live.

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About the Author:

Frederic William Henry Myers (6 February 1843, in Keswick, Cumberland – 17 January 1901, in Rome) was a poet, classicist, philologist, and a founder of the Society for Psychical Research. Myers’ work on psychical research and his ideas about a “subliminal self” were influential in his time, but have not been accepted by the scientific community.

Myers was educated at Cheltenham College and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he received a B.A. in 1864, and university prizes, including the Bell, Craven, Camden and Chancellor’s Meda.

Myers was interested in psychical research and was one of the founding members of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in 1883. He became the President in 1900. Myers psychical ideas and theory of a subliminal self did not impress contemporary psychologists. Psychologists who shared an interest in psychical research such as Théodore Flournoy and William James were influenced by Myers.

In 1903, after Myers’s death, Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death was compiled and published. This work comprises two large volumes at 1,360 pages in length and presents an overview of Myers’s research into the unconscious mind. Myers believed that a theory of consciousness must be part of a unified model of mind which derives from the full range of human experience, including not only normal psychological phenomena but also a wide variety of abnormal and “supernormal” phenomena. In the book, Myers believed he had provided evidence for the existence of the soul and survival of personality after death.


“Exhaustive array of the phenomena of genius, sleep, hypnotism, sensory automatism, phantasms of the dead, motor automatism, trance, possession and ecstasy, with elaborate argument to prove that personality survives death.” -University of the State of New York Bulletin

“Probably the most complete and authoritative interpretation published of the conclusions reached by the special students of psychic phenomena.” -The Outlook

“Brilliant, almost dazzling conception of the ‘subliminal self’….Surveying the whole wide range of mental phenomena, the singular alterations and disintegrations of personality in disease, its evident limitations of faculty, counter-balanced at times by seemingly supernatural extension of faculty, Myers saw valid reason for asserting that the self of which we are normally aware – the self which one has in mind when he speaks of ‘my self’ – in is reality only a split-off from a larger self, just as the ‘secondary personalities’ of hypnotism and hysteria are split-offs from the self of everyday life. And to this larger self, the subliminal self, he referred, on the one hand, the intellectual uprushes and outpourings of genius and the achievements of humanity in time of stress, when, as the phrase is, a man seems to be ‘lifted out of himself,’ inspired with new energy, and capable of accomplishing deeds he had never dreamed possible to him; and, on the other hand, Myers likewise attributed to the subliminal self, as a faculty peculiarly its own, the power of telepathically transmitting messages from mind to mind and receiving and retaining them until some favoring condition permitted their presentation to the ordinary consciousness.” -New Outlook

“It is the impression that the unseen and eternal is beyond the reach of physical science, and it is the special object of faith. No one (we venture to say) will be persuaded by this book that does not end all, if not persuaded already. For faith is not belief in the existence of a religion beyond the reach of the senses. It is present intercourse with a living personality who is in the unseen, who has passed through bodily death. It is neither merely intellectual, nor merely emotional, it is the response of the whole personality to the personality now in the Beyond. That is the assurance of survival. There is no other; nor can be….And yet, how fascinating the book is. How unanswerable its many cases.” The Expository Times

“A full discussion of strange psychic phenomena of all sorts, including evidence of communication from departed spirits.” -The Literary Digest

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