A term first used by A. H. Pierce of Harvard University for
sensations beneath the threshold of consciousness, too vague to
be individually recognized. F. W. H. Myers extended the
meaning to cover all that takes place beneath the consciousness
thresholdsensations, thoughts, and emotions that seldom
emerge but form a consciousness quite as complex and coherent
as the supraliminal one, since they demonstrate processes
of mentation and exhibit a continuous chain of memory.
Nevertheless, Myers did not consider the subliminal consciousness
a separate self but, together with the supraliminal
(normal consciousness) one, a fragment of the larger self revealed
through an organism that cannot afford it full manifestation.
In this concept he came close to the Hindu Vedanta concepts
of jiva (individual soul) as part of atman (collective soul).
Myers attributed most supernormal psychical phenomena
to the subliminal self, but not as a complete explanation or exclusion
of the spirit hypothesis. On the contrary, his inference
was that if our incarnate selves may act in telepathy in at least
apparent independence of the fleshly body, the presumption
is strong that other spirits may exist independently of the body
and may affect us in a similar manner.
Myers divided the influence of the subliminal on the supraliminal
into three main areas (1) When the subliminal mentation
cooperates with and supplements the supraliminal, without
changing the apparent phase of personality, we have
genius. (2) When subliminal operations change the apparent
phase of personality from the state of waking toward the direction
of trance, we have hypnotism. (3) When the subliminal
mentation forces itself up through the supraliminal, without
amalgamation, as in crystal vision, automatic writing, and so
forth, we have sensory or motor automatism.