SUGAR OF MILK.—A saccharine substance prepared from cows' milk. It is a white powder, much less sweet than ordinary cane-sugar, and is largely used in making milk mixtures for bottle-fed babies, as it is less apt to ferment and cause trouble than cane-sugar. Given in large doses, sugar of milk increases the amount of urine, and is sometimes used for this purpose in dropsy. It is much used as a basis for various medicinal powders.
SUGGESTION.—This is a phenomenon of mental life which is very difficult of definition, and one which probably for a long time, if not always, will defy analysis. It has been defined as the coming into the mind from without of an idea, a presentation, or any sort of intimation having a meaning for consciousness, which effects lodgment and takes the place it would have if internally aroused within the mind itself by associative processes. This broad definition, as given by Baldwin, makes suggestion a process started by influences from without ; and it is quite conceivable that it has many different phenomena. Thus, there are (a) the suggestions in the sensory-motor sphere due to suggested sensations, such as, for instance, the peculiar quiver which goes up the spinal cord when one sees an accident take place ; (b) ideo-motor suggestions, Nvhich may be quite similar, and result in a like quiver when the idea of the accident comes up, either by passing the place where it occurred or by other external suggestions ; (c) motor suggestions, which may be induced by the sight of emotion, and which are very frequent in the mimicries of children, who run, make faces, and do other motor acts in imitation of others ; (d) pure sensory suggestions, whereby a sensory idea is made to convey the sense-perception, such as the transfer of a red light to a green one, or shadow into substance ; (e) suggestion of personalities, often seen in the influence that one person may have over another, purely by domineering or masterful personal relations.
One can define all the different kinds of suggestibility on a purely phenomenal basis. It seems not impossible that all impressions that come into the mind set up at least two sets of opposing forces. This is seen in many ways—as, for instance, in muscular movements where agonists and antagonists are in constant play. Stimulative and depressive mechanisms are found in all the organs of the body, intestines, blood-vessels, sphincters, etc. ; and in the play of ideas there always appear opposites : love and hate, sympathy and aversion, etc. Those in the mental sphere are probably the result of a definite, existing mechanism. These are particularly noticeable in children, where it is not unusual to observe, for instance, a child hang back when offered a sweet ; and everyone knows how frequent is the inclina tion to bite on a sore tooth, notwithstanding the pain produced. In this way we get two suggestible forces : a positive suggestibility which induces one to do something, and a negative suggestibility which would check or restrict that doing.
In physiological conditions the contrary idea is constantly coming into play, and, moreover, has its very important self-preservative qualities. If one should immediately react to every suggestion, one can see how serious might be the consequences, and therefore the important self-preservative action that contrary or negative suggestions may have in human develop ment. They prevent the mind, as it were, from being taken by surprise ; and, by starting a wave of opposition, they directly permit time to elapse so that the judgment may act. In some diseased conditions it is not at all improbable that the negative suggestions which are a product of the stimula tion of the primary suggestions come to be exaggerated in activity, and thus we have a distinct negativism which may predominate the diseased condition. This is particularly true in the disease known as dementia praecox, and is not infrequent in hysteria, constituting at times one of the most important features of the disease, although hysteria is, above all, that disease in which the immediate effect of the primary suggestion is carried out without the helpful physiological antagonism of the contrary suggestion. Suggestibility is probably largely brought about by the affective life, or what has been termed the emotional life ; and emotional stimuli are the most potent sources of suggestive reactions. In modern thought suggestion has often been limited to the series of reactions resulting from the stimulus of other persons, and the vast held of induced suggestions by hypnosis or by other external processes is now made the subject of very active investiga tion. It is essential, however, to bear in mind that suggestibility is a very natural process, and that everyone possesses it in a greater or less degree. It is represented in its extremes, on the one hand by the profound hysteric, who is excessively sensitive to all forms of suggestibility, both external and internal, and, on the other hand, by the negative dement who resists all influences of whatever kind.
SUICIDE.—The voluntary taking of one's own life. Self-destruction and mental derangement are associated much more frequently than the lay mind supposes, it having been proved that the majority of persons who commit suicide are either insane or, at least, mentally abnormal.
Statistics furnished by Professor Heller, of Kiel, and based upon 300 autopsies made on the bodies of suicides, show conclusively that 43 per cent. were positively, and an additional 18 per cent. probably, in an irresponsible condition at the time of the deed. In cases of self-murder, when no other cause is known, it is therefore of importance that the mental condition of the suicide be investigated. The material results of the act, such as the non-payment of life insurance or the refusal of religious burial, make this precaution a duty.