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The Journal of Abnormal Psychology

Part 4 out of 8

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giving it directly to the world. If she had a rest and got well connected
socially perhaps she might be able to do it. People who had met her casually
told her that she had done them good. But she could never tell them about
having seen Christ, they don't understand. The egoism of her faith is shown
by her statement that, having met Christ in practical life, she had no more
use for any church or ritual. Her great hope was for the future. When she
passed away, she was to develop her powers more and when reincarnated was to
come back with the big minds of the world. Once she had a vision of herself
in some high trees and the "Master mind" told her what it meant. In the
future she would have a great mind. She has it now, but the circumstances of
her life are such that it is not recognized.

The essential feature of this case, for our purpose, is that we have in this
woman a paranoid psychosis of a definitely dementia praecox type which after
ten years has shown only suggestive signs of deterioration in her lack of
purpose in work, and her dulling in emotional response. This failure to
deteriorate seems to stand in definite relationship to her system of ideas.
That these have a constructive tendency is shown by the translation of her
cruder thoughts into the setting of the occult with the suggestion of
propaganda and in their pragmatic value. With her "new religion" she has
provided herself with an argument in favor of a life of desultory
prostitution and general vagabondage. She was advised to go to a hospital
but refused, though she will certainly be committed soon, as it is
inevitable that she will run counter to society in some way.

Such cases as these first two are familiar to you all and these have been
chosen for this paper practically at random. Any large hospital will provide
dozens of similar history whose clinical pictures would serve as well as
what we have given. The next two cases represent two special types of
psychoses: one a chronic manic and the other a definite praecox with
recurrent attacks. Any institutional physician is familiar with the
chronically elated patient, who has become a hospital character-- a good
worker often who seems to be sufficiently repaid for his toil by the
privilege of stopping the passerby to expound his ideas. Such a case is
usually diagnosed as a chronic manic or a dementia praecox, according to the
taste of the examiner.

Numerous works have demonstrated how the symbolism of the modern fraternal
organization has grown out of alchemy, mysticism and rosicrucianism. Some
centuries ago these symbols were charged with a literal meaning. If a man,
however, in the 20th century attaches a similar significance to these
symbols he is rightly adjudged insane. For instance, no one in a modern
civilization can retain his mental balance and believe in a literal,
physical rebirth. The patient whose case we shall now briefly recite had
done this. He was observed at only one set interview because it was found
that a few questions, apparently innocent, led to the awakening of some
cruder ideas to which he reacted rather strongly with the statement that the
physician was accusing him of harboring murderous designs which were, as a
matter of fact, not even remotely suggested. The patient C. G., is a Hebrew,
married, age sixty-one. When forty he had an attack of excitement lasting a
few weeks. He was admitted to the Manhattan State Hospital in October 1899
and remained till April 14, 1900 with a similar attack. He was readmitted
in April 1901 again in an excitement and has remained there ever since. It
is claimed that these attacks were all preceded by a spree. The records of
these admissions state that he was excited for some years, apparently with
exacerbations, during which he is frequently noted as being delusional and
hallucinating. No content is noted so that we cannot give the development of
his ideas. He does not hallucinate now. All we know is that for five or six
years he was a rather intractable patient, who worked intermittently but
that of more recent years he has sufficiently adapted himself to the
hospital environment to be granted ground parole which he uses largely to do
a considerable amount of quite useful work. Any one who has once talked to
him is saluted from a distance with the words--"Pleased to meet you,
Doctor!" "Five fingers up!" or "Da liegt der schwarze Hund begraben!" All
this is followed by an elated volubility. When asked what "Pleased to meet
you!" meant, he said that was the password for entrance to the "Fellowship
Lodge" of a certain fraternal order. He produced a match box with the
insignia on it of a Grade in the Lodge. With this match box, once off
Ward's Island, he insisted that it could get him his bread all the world
over and hundreds of friends. He would never have been committed had he not
been drunk and forgotten to make use of his signs. The world belongs to the
Fellowship of Men. He spoke of his wife's ill treatment of him and then
went on to "I am married to the American flag and it will go to the grave
with me." This referred, he explained, to joining the red, white and blue
lodge. "Five fingers up!" was shaking hands, the clasped hands on his match
box. These hands, he said, were those of Moses and the Lord, for Moses was a
"Fellowman," which is like the Fellowship of the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost. However, he went on to say that Moses, the Trinity and God were all
a dream; Israel and the High Grade are real--the High Grade is the Lord. G.
stands for God and he belongs to the G Lodge, therefore he belongs to God's
Lodge. But he has a uniform of the High Grade at home, so he must be the
High Grade himself. By using the symbols of his order in this way he
disposes of his wife who has not treated him well, identifies himself with
God (while he abolishes the regular God) and endows himself with the
supremest power in a Lodge which he regards as omnipotent in the world.
Another group of his ideas refer to his race. He has been put on Ward's
Island as a result of the great struggle between Christians and Israel. But
Israelites are the head of the Fellowship Lodge, so all Christians must
follow him, the patient.

This is the explanation of "Da liegt der schwarze Hund begraben!" He is like
a dog in the house and he is considered to be nobody, a corpse on the floor.
But he really lies here buried--the missing man of the tribe. Once off
Ward's Island, therefore, he will come to life as head of Israel, and head
of the omnipotent Lodge. Patiently, hopefully, he awaits rebirth. The
egoism of these ideas is obvious. Wherein do the constructive factors lie?
Simply in this: this expansiveness could easily be formulated directly. But
he does not do so. His ideas include two objective and potentially
altruistic interests his lodge and his race. He is interested in them; in
fact one can probably say that it is just in so far as he is insane that the
selfish determination for these interests become manifest.

We have also studied two cases of recurring excitements in patients one of
whom was an evident praecox, the other of doubtful classification. Both
showed queer behavior during their intervals with mild indications of their
ideas which gained freer expression in their attacks. These episodes showed,
of course, markedly a typical feature in a tremendous amount of queer
behavior and more excitement than true elation. As there was nothing in
their ideas essentially different in principle from the cases already
quoted, they need not be further detailed.

The last case, R. E. O'M., is one of no less interest from a formal
standpoint than from a psychological one, while the trend presented is so
copious that it can well serve as a resume of the cases we have just
recited. He is now an unmarried man of thirty-three, and although he was
diagnosed dementia praecox ten years ago is now earning $1200 year as a
stenographer in the government service. His father was an Irishman banished
from Great Britain because of his political agitations. His mother was a
French woman of Huguenot extraction who died of cancer before the patient
reached his teens but to whom he was greatly attached. He has a sister two
years older than himself, given to hysteric attacks, for whom his love is
"Platonic," to use his own term. Although of more than normal intellectual
vigor, judging by his success in school work, he probably always had a
psychotic tendency. At seven or eight he saw a vision of God in the clouds;
at puberty he masturbated considerably and used to stand before the mirror
and "hypnotize" himself. In the fall of 1903 (then twenty-one) he was
staying at a summer hotel where he met a girl who made love to him, when he
began to have frequent emissions. Being caught together out in a storm, in
an effort to protect her his hand found its way to her hair. He was greatly
upset. On returning to the hotel he endeavored to avoid her, and, his father
being slightly ill, he became convinced he was going to die. A month or so
later he moved from Baltimore, which had been his home, and began employment
with the government in Washington. He had more emissions and immediately
developed hysterical heart trouble, and from his retrospective account also
had ideas of people influencing him. A year later (June 1905) a frank
psychosis with considerable manic flavor developed. Secretary of State Hay
had died, and peace negotiations between Russia and Japan were in progress.
He got the idea that he was to succeed Hay (whose face he saw in the clouds)
and that he would make peace between the nations. The accompanying
excitement was so intense that when he came to see his father in Baltimore
the latter had him committed to the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital.[3] He
remained there for one year and eight months, during which time his mood
showed great variability. At times he would be elated, again depressed or
anxious, often silly with irrelevant laughter. Towards the end of his
admission he had quite long intervals when he appeared normal. Eight months
after his discharge he began to have monthly attacks lasting from one to two
weeks. At the beginning of 1911 he came under the observation of one of us
at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Dispensary. His case was followed minutely
for some months when the following extraordinary clinical picture was seen
to develop with regular periodicity. His interest would gradually withdraw
from his work and an abstracted, "dim" look come into his eyes. He ceased
to sleep either day or night. Ideas, in the intervals latent, would become
more insistent, and he talked of them in a distracted way with occasional
silly laughter and some scattering. At the same time he would show
considerable physical unrest: rocking in his chair, nodding his head,
sucking with his lips, and making occasional grimaces. A sharp word would,
however, bring him to reality and normal behavior and speech, or the same
result could be obtained by his own volition. In fact sufficient effort from
either without or within could, it was several times demonstrated, postpone
the further development of these symptoms for several days. Inevitably,
however, control over his psychosis was lost. He became more excited; was
assaultive till chastised by his father, after which that symptom no longer
appeared; he would give none but irrelevant answers to questions; he
masturbated openly. In the next phase he refused to answer questions
altogether, sat in a chair by the window, rocking and tapping the floor or
wall with his feet; reading a paper in a whisper or tearing it into scraps;
spitting on the floor, his clothes or the window pane and then drawing
pictures with his finger on the wet glass; intermittently chanting the same
air over and over again with words, totally indistinguishable, except for
the name "Jesus Christ" apparently interpolated irregularly in the course of
the song. All this time he wore a silly smile occasionally breaking into a
low chuckling laugh devoid of real emotion. In a short time his clothes and
his immediate surroundings were in a state of horrid filth from his saliva
and the torn papers. Towards the end of the attack he ceased making any
sounds, simply rocked, spat and grinned. He would often pass twenty-four
hours without emptying his bladder, though he never wet nor soiled himself.
Few psychiatrists would have required more than a casual examination to give
a diagnosis of hopeless deterioration, if they saw the patient only in the
latter stage of one of these attacks. Yet in from seven to fourteen days
after the first onset he would go to bed, sleep well, and in the morning
appear perfectly normal and resume his efficient work. And this story had
been repeated regularly once a month for four years! When normal his memory
was hazy for the external events occurring during his attack, corresponding
with his objective lack of contact with his environment, but the
recollections of his ideas showed that he had been living in a perfect riot
of fancies. The inference from this is inevitable that what we regard as a
"Trendless praecox" or a taciturn dement may simply be one who does not
choose to talk and not necessarily a vegetative wreck with neither delusions
nor hallucinations.

[3] For the privilege of using observations made on this patient at the
Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, we wish most heartily to thank the
Superintendent, Dr. Edward N. Brush.

His ideas were found to be no less interesting than his formal picture. In
fact, if the theory we are now advancing be correct and we had had it then,
we believe it would have been possible to state at the time of his first
attack that his psychosis would not show rapid deterioration; we might even
have gone further and predicted that he would reach some such stage of
relative sanity as he now enjoys. He has presented three types of ideas.
The first is crude expressions of bald sexual fancies; the second is
transitional in that--as many praecox patients do--he gave these ideas a
religious or philosophical setting, but in the hallucinations and delusions
embodying them, still retained his personal connection with the fancies. For
instance, he identified himself with Christ, or he suffered from
psychological influences exerted by others on him. These two types occurred
only during attacks. The third type represented the real constructive
tendency, during his "normal" intervals when he objectivized these ideas in
the form of speculations as to the origin of life, the laws of society,
religion, etc. The second type--the transitional--represented reciprocally
two tendencies: in the psychosis it showed his constructive, healing
capacity, while the development of such fancies, as allied himself directly
with his speculations when "normal," was invariably the signal for another
attack, the severity of which was in direct proportion to the crudity which
his formulations reached. The complexity and number of his theories when
going about his work was tremendous, which could be partially accounted for
by his omnivorous reading. He read all sorts of historical, occult,
scientific and philosophical works, the material of which he absorbed only
in so far as he could weave it into the fabric of his depraved speculations.
This colored his transitional ideas as well, for in each attack he would
have a new dramatization of his fancies determined by what he had just been
reading. To present these ideas with anything like completeness would take
hours. We must be content, therefore, with a few fragmentary examples.

The more important of his crude ideas were: His trouble was caused by loss
of semen (his attacks were always ushered in by emissions), to prevent which
he sometimes put rubber bands around his penis; numerous homosexual fancies,
he was a woman, he had a vagina, there was a maiden head in his forehead
which was operated on to cause him to lose semen; different people made
immoral proposals or had designs on his virginity. These people he all
identified directly or indirectly with his father. Finally there was an idea
that his mother's marriage with his father was not right, that he was not
his father's son, and that his father was inimical to him. He talked of
killing different persons whom at other times he identified plainly with his
father. During an attack he assaulted his father; not infrequently he would
take his father's picture from the wall and spit on it. The relations
between his father and mother were adulterous, he claimed.

If we now take the crude homosexual fancies and study their first
elaboration we find that he had many ideas about eunuchs. They worked on him
by psychological influence. The eunuchs, who could control sun and moon,
influenced him through them. Once he had a vision of the sun approaching him
with which he was physically connected; the vision would disappear if he
lost his virginity. These influences when referred to himself were agencies
causing loss of semen, so that he would become a eunuch himself. At the
time of his heart attack and later he thought there was a snake around his
heart. This was a man who had turned himself into a snake in order to
incorporate himself into the patient's body. His religious fancies
apparently began with his delusion that he was Christ and in connection with
this we find he had the theory that Christ was a virgin. One setting of his
"psychological influence" experience, when he was in bed in one room and
eunuchs were influencing from the next. he duplicated by saying he was
Jesus Christ in one room and God was in the next. He explained after one of
his attacks that his attention was fixed on the windowpane on which he spat
because there was a flower there. During an attack he was heard to say
something about the struggle of men against being raped by ions and flowers.
In these primitive elaborations we find an effort at distortion, a getting
away from the absolutely crude and that the added elements which cause this
distortion are in the form of ideas which imply a certain degree of
philosophizing. The truly constructive delusions appear when he has ceased
to dramatize these theories with himself as the hero and treats them
objectively. We then find that eunuchs are very important people in his
philosophy (the medium of their power we shall see shortly). All women are
eunuchs because they have no testicles. There is no difference between men
and women; if a woman is stronger than her husband, he takes on her
qualities. In India men suckle the children. He says that this is a
well-known fact. A person could change himself into a cancer and so get into
another's body. This is perhaps an echo of something he had read of
Ribbert's theory of neoplasms. Another pseudoscientific theory concerns a
method of reproduction which could be developed, he thought. If a
beautiful, strong man reaches his normal growth, all life above that is
moulded by his ideals. He can develop within himself another personality
which may be divorced from his body. Immaculate Conception takes place this
way. An argument he had in favor of this view was prenatal influence and the
strong influence a woman's belief is supposed to have on pregnancy. Eunuchs
control the sun and moon. The Jews have a secret process of eunuchry; they
have a way of inserting an instrument (a drawing of which he made, showing
distinctly phallic features) by psychological means into the glands or
bodies of men, thus cleaning them out. The eunuchs of the Romans used to
cure their fellow countrymen of snakes growing around the heart by
ingratiating themselves into persons, thus displacing the snakes and killing
them. The government has many eunuchs in their employ. The influences of
these men are malign or beneficial. They can injure enemies of the
government or the government can incorporate them into bodies of other men
to save the latter. All cardinals, most diplomats and many missionaries are
eunuchs. The psychological influence exerted by such individuals may cause a
loss of blood to their victims or they may use this power beneficially. The
Romans, for instance, put blood of crucified people into the hands of
eunuchs, who impregnated it by psychological influence into others. This
would save their lives and eventually save the nation.

The ideas we have mentioned showing rivalry with his father, apparently in
relation to his mother, were largely elaborated in political and religious
disguises in their transition states, which in turn led to an objective
interest in politics and religions. He spoke of killing the President which
may be taken as a disguise for killing his father since he often claimed
that his father was this or that ruler. He also spoke of killing one of his
employers. He was prone to speak of his father as Edward VII. His envy of
this situation of authority was shown when he once told the physician that
his face was suspended in the face of the physician who was a King of
England. But not the real King, he added, Edward VII was the real King.
Again he said that he was Robert Emmet and the physician was Lord Norbury,
the judge who convicted Robert Emmet, after whom the patient was named. In
that role the physician told him it was all up, that there was no more Irish
race. (It must be remembered that his father was a Fenian.) A fruitful
source of speculations about international politics was found in the
transitional ideas he expressed about the extraction of his parents.
Beginning with his cogitations about the friction which actually existed
between his parents, he ascribed this to their differing nationalities and
religions. This led in turn to his fancying that on both sides his blood
was drawn from many sources. He was particularly fond, for instance, of
identifying his father with Hebrews, or Chinese; his mother with Romans,
Italians or Spaniards. His original interest in the union (or disharmony)
of his parents was easily transferred to this international setting and most
of his attacks were heralded by dramatizations of political ar international
situations with which he was intimately connected. This was true of his
first attack when he had an idea that he was to succeed Secretary Hay and
make peace between Russia and Japan (his mother and father). On recovery
these fancies were objectivized into a most intense interest in diplomacy.
He knew the history and achievement of every diplomatist in Europe, though
of course his data were always being distorted to fit with his insane
theories. Intermarriage, for example, was the cause of political trouble.
He developed the ideas as follows: When an Irishman marries one of another
race a confusion of races results; this was what took place in the tower of
Babel; this is what causes disunion between states. He elaborated, too, on
popular associations of certain customs with certain peoples. Gypsies, it is
popularly supposed, frequently abduct children. With the patient this became
an elaborate theory about an Egyptian custom or Egyptian influence. The
Egyptians, he said abducted children and brought them up as their own
acquiring a sinister influence over them because of the belief the children
had that these adults who were their guardians were their real parents. In
one attack he spoke of his father as "An Egyptian influence." This is
plainly the same idea as he put into another form when he remarked that he
would be all right if he could become English. When in his free intervals,
he made it a practice sedulously to cultivate English people.

This undercurrent of rivalry with the father came out in a religious
disguise as well. His first attack when he was for many months interned he
described as a religious mania. By means of identifying himself with Christ
he dramatized both his subjugation and defiance. He went through many
crucifixion experiences; said he was commanded by God. On the other hand he
said Christ was a virgin and retained his virginity in order that he might
discover the secrets of the elders. For this reason he was crucified. The
crudest expression he gave of defiance in a religious form was when he said
"I was two persons in one--God and Jesus Christ. God was damned." The more
constructive tendency was shown by his fasting. This was due to an
experience of some duration when he was translated back to the first
century, was in a convent (sic!) and was tempted by the devil to eat. His
fasting, he claimed, saved the other patients. His most constructive
delusion was that all the churches would come together and then there would
be only one church. During his first attack this was his "prophecy," during
his saner intervals there were endless ramifications of this idea which are
too tedious to recite. It is important to note as evidence of the purely
psychotic character of his ideas that he has never been either religious in
his spirit or in action a propagandist.

Perhaps the most luxurious fancies this patient evolved were around the
theme of semen. We have seen that his emissions were his constant worry, an
increase in their frequency heralded an attack and he was convinced that if
he could but retain this secretion he would be permanently cured; nay more,
if he could retain enough he would grow to be like the giants of old.
Whenever he had an emission he felt on waking a pain in his head and could
never get totally rid of the idea that this was cancer. In his attacks the
cancer was the result of a homosexual assault and in his intervals he
elaborated theories as to the origin of cancer; it came from friction,
therefore coitus could produce it, it might be the result of adultery or
cancer of the breast could come from a man rubbing his penis on the breasts
of a woman; the cancer germs might come from semen if one believed in cancer
and in germs. Life both as vital force and in the biological sense he
identified with semen. Psychic activities too had the same origin which he
explained thus: food taken into the mouth goes into the stomach and becomes
chyle, chyle passes to the scrotum, thence to the spine and brain. Brain
power is in direct proportion to the amount of semen retained. We see now
why eunuchs had such power according to his philosophy. By childish
reasoning, since they could not have emissions, their semen must be
retained. He spoke of psychological influence in these terms: "It is the
transformation from the moisture state of the life principle to the moist
electric state of warmth and its transference from the central ducts and
glands to the head and being thrown out of the head in waves from the top of
the head and eyes. It redounds to the other person's good. Have an eunuch
near you--it tends to make semen go to the head and gives the mental mouth
something to think of. It could be used in a baleful way if one had will
power over another person like hypnotism--(Svengali and Trilby)--In
hypnotism the will goes on the same lines as psychological influence." The
Jews, he said, lay around temples so much that their life had to go into
sensuality or wisdom and it mostly went into wisdom. Continual seminal
losses, he claimed, would lead to a change in personality. "Life," he said,
permeated nature, it could not be lost. Wind was thus identified with it:
"life" goes on a sheet (from an emission), the sheet is washed and the
"life" passes to the water, then is taken up by the air and breathed. Thus
he suffered both immediate and remote effects from emissions. The first
result was to make him incapable of work; by breathing in the "life" later
on he became a degenerate. Wind or the spiral movements of air was another
origin of life. Wind is a spirit, in defence of which he quoted the Greek
pneuma. The words wind and word are the same, the former being derived from
the latter through wird. (Cf. "In the beginning was the word," or "The word
was made flesh"). A cyclone is an effort hampered by civilization of what
the world was originally. Life began as a spiral movement of air. Wind as
the origin of life could be duplicated by mechanical methods or eunuchry.
The sun he claimed was an accident. Men lived for centuries without it,
till an accident, internally, led to vital forces being emanated and that
was the origin of sun. The accident was the cutting of some man's testicles.

Now what was his further course? We have seen that in his attacks he
expressed resentment against his father's domination. At the beginning of
one of them, for instance, which he said was brought on by "Egyptian
influence," he had a dream of an old Hebrew play of father and son. In this
play they were trying to make him return to the old situation of bondage to
his father. This bondage was an actuality. Owing to his monthly attacks he
could hold no regular position and so worked for his father. The latter gave
him no money except occasional small silver but bought for him clothes or
anything else he might need. A psychotic man of nearly thirty, with a
feminine character, he was hopelessly dependent on his father. It is small
wonder that he sought relief in recurring psychotic episodes. But a change
came. On May 12, 1911, his father died suddenly of heart trouble. The
patient was beginning to go into an attack at the time but pulled himself
together, managed the funeral three days later, got his sister home, who had
a hysterical attack at the grave, and then proceeded to indulge in his
postponed attack. The sister was unable to care for him so he was sent again
to the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital. In a few days he recovered. He
was then talked to, told that this baleful relationship was over and that
there was no longer any reason for his having attacks. With the exception of
one attack at the beginning of 1912 he has had none, and seems to be able to
maintain the mental equilibrium that previously characterized his intervals.
For two and a half years he has been employed in the Customs House,
Baltimore, a position which he secured by competitive examination, and has
received an advance in salary from $900 to $1200 a year. He was recently
written to and replied in exceptional literary form detailing more of his
ideas. They seem to be essentially similar to those held four years ago.
One may be quoted. A favorite "scientific" method with him has always been
(from boyhood, he said) to divide up or distort words so as to get at their
true meaning. This is now his explanation of the word "cancer."

"You may remember the origin of the word 'cancer' was once the topic of our
meeting and strangely this matter has kept revolving itself in my mind ever
since. My new solution is 'Kahns' and 'Ur.' You know there are a good many
people named 'Kahn' and as probably you have noted in the Bible allusion to
the ancient race of the name 'Ur.' Now, you can place what construction you
will on the combination. There are several; here is one: I have heard it
stated that the word 'Ur' originally meant 'wife' hence, from our point of
view the solution is easy, Kahn's Ur or Kahn's wife, but what has puzzled me
is what she is doing in so many people.

"Here's another: Signifying the overcoming of the Jew by Ur or Kahn by Ur
(Kahn by 'er) much on the same principle as the words 'Spanish-American' and
'Graeco-Roman' are used with reference to the late 'unpleasantness' and the
ancient one.

"Here's another: Simply meaning that Kahn is not a Jew at all but simply an

"So you see I have not altogether forgotten some of the topics of our

If our claims be allowed we should be able to make some deductions of value
to psychiatric theory. The first is an explanation of scattering of
thought. We find that, in all our cases showing constructive delusions, the
utterance of these highly elaborated fancies is not accompanied by
scattering. On the other hand it is an every day experience that a dementia
praecox patient may show no scattering when conversing on indifferent
subjects but that his train of thought loses logical sequence when he
launches into his ideas. These findings may be reconciled by studying the
reaction with types of ideas such as the last patient showed. In his
intervals he was (and is) continually busy with delusional thoughts but of a
constructive character, but was never scattered as long as these were alone
present. As soon, however, as an attack commenced and cruder ideas appeared
he became scattered. Where were these crude ideas in the intervals? They
were represented in his constructive delusions it is true, but in their
native form they did not appear. The cruder fancies must therefore have
been in the unconscious during his intervals. Now actual verbatim records
show with him that these crude ideas did not come to expression in logical
sequence but that each appeared in response to an idea previously in his
consciousness which was a distorted formulation of the crude fancy next to
appear. His utterances during these attacks would have a logical sequence if
they were translated into terms of the underlying crude ideas. The
scattering, therefore, was due to the fact that his utterances were a
mixture of crude and elaborated fancies. Had they been entirely one or the
other there would have been no scattering. During his intervals he dealt
with objective fancies and was logical. As these fancies, however, could be
easily demonstrated to be derived from the unconscious crude ones, which
appeared during his attacks, we are safe in assuming that one factor at
least in the production of an attack was the lifting of some inhibition
which kept the cruder ideas from entering consciousness except in a form in
which they could be objectively viewed and so logically arranged. Scattering
of thought therefore arises from the intermittent action of this censor or
from an incomplete abolition of the inhibition allowing varying formulations
of the crude ideas to gain expression which have no logic surface
connection. If entirely done away with, of course, the latent ideas
appearing in perfect crudity would have a logical connection. The content
of consciousness is what is within the sphere of introspection. We can
therefore say that the praecox who is scattered really does not know his own
ideas. This is, of course, an every day experience for those who examine
such patients. A suitable case left to himself will give expression to a
limited number of delusions which he does not correlate. A few suggestive
questions, however, will educe a mass of delusions, which when pieced
together demonstrate the logical unconscious ideas that give rise to them.
If such a patient be asked "What are your ideas?" he can give no reply. Ask
him, however, if any one is mistreating him and you will start a train of
thought in which one fancied insult leads to another or to delusions which
do not represent mistreatment at all. On the other hand approach a patient
with constructive delusions with the same question as to his ideas and he
will produce a theory of the universe, often with a chronological account of
how these ideas developed. He is insane in that his fancies do not reach an
outlet in action being an end in themselves; but he is sane in so far as he
keeps his ideas within the range of introspection and has not allowed them
to become autonomous. The inferences from this to the laws of normal
association are obvious.

The second point is really a historical one. Psychiatrists are often asked,
"Was Joan of Arc crazy?" "Was Saint Louis a dementia praecox?" In an
endeavor to answer such questions wise books have been written detailing the
"psychoses" of historic or religious leaders. There is probably not a single
delusion expressed by any one of the patients whose cases have just been
recited that is not duplicated or paralleled by the belief of savants of a
few centuries ago or the uneducated of to-day. The last patient said "All
nature is artificial, man made it all. All the world would disappear, if man
lost the power of reproducing. The reproduction of nature by man is founded
on faith--constant reiteration and association with a thing will produce
that thing." Is this not analogous to the working hypothesis of the
alchemists? The more sincere among them sought salvation for their souls. To
gain this they worked with metals to which they ascribed abstract or moral
qualities. Their metallurgy was primarily symbolic, yet they seriously
hoped for results by working with symbols. And to what extent of absurdity
and crudity did they go? Many of their metallurgic terms were sexual
processes. Their "prima materia" was called by the name of many of the
secretions or excretions of the body. A whole school--the
Seminalists--adhered to the view that the great original substance was
semen. Other thought it was hermaphroditic. Paraceleus spoke of the birth
of monsters as a result of sodomy. A natural history[4] written three
centuries ago tells of semen being carried by wind. Notoriously there was
no limit either to the absurdity or crudity of these conceptions. Were these
men--the wisest of their time--insane? Here again we may quote the last
patient--"Insanity," he says, "is the elemental human mind left to itself,
unimproved by other minds." The last is the important phrase. What minds
were there to improve those of the alchemists? What critic was there to
tell Joan of Arc that visions and voices were pathological? That was the
regulation form of inspiration in her day. Comparative mythology like a
comparison of mysticism, alchemy, rosicrucianism and masonry shows that the
human mind left to itself will formulate similar ideas. These ideas,
however, are modified by the advance of learning as time goes on. The
individual whose critical faculty allows him to maintain an idea
incompatible with the knowledge of his age and his fellows is insane.

[4] The Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes, by Edward Topsell, London, 1607.

Our last point is a corollary to the claim we have just made. It has been
the sport of iconoclasts for many years to discount all religious beliefs as
psychopathic. This is not the forum where the problem of science versus
religion may be discussed but these cases have certain features which should
warn us to be wary of such generalizations. We have seen that religious
formulations have been used to embody crude fancies. That does not preclude
the possibility of the formulations having an actual basis. A flag may gain
its importance to a given individual because it symbolizes for him his
native land but that does not prove that the flag has not an existence of
itself. This, however, is a matter of logic and not of psychiatry. Let us
now grant that all religious formulations have an unconscious origin. But
there still remains a wide gulf between patients such as we have been
describing and the devout church-goers. The former show in their productions
how their religious ideas arise, their egocentric quality is patent, they
manifestly are but thin cloaks for selfish wishes. The latter, however,
never in consciousness connect their religious formulations with their
subjective creations. To the true believer his God is as objective a
reality as is the electron of the physicist. Finally, real religious faith
has a pragmatic value. Granting it be only a theory it nevertheless produces
results in conduct. This is in sharpest contrast to religious delusions.
They never lead to sustained effort, they bring with them no social
potentiality. They exist for the comfort of the patient alone.

To sum up: We have endeavored to establish the claim that delusions in
dementia praecox which takes the form of objective speculations rather than
subjective experiences are an evidence of a milder psychotic reaction and
hence warrant a prognosis of chronicity rather than deterioration. From the
cases presented we argue that scattering of thought arises from a failure to
formulate underlying fancies in an objective way; that the insanity of ideas
depends not on themselves but on the critical judgment of the age which
produces them, and lastly that there are essential psychological differences
between creeds and religious delusions.



Assistant Resident Alienist, Psychopathic Department of Bellevue Hospital of
New York

(Read before the Vidonian Club, New York, October 16, 1914.)

"CONSCIOUSNESS had reached this point in Greece, when in Athens, the great
forum of Socrates, in whom subjectivity of thought was brought to
consciousness in a more definite and more thorough manner, now appeared.
But Socrates did not grow like a mushroom out of the earth, for he extends
in continuity with his time, and this is not only a most important figure in
the history of philosophy--but perhaps also a world famed personage."

"When Columbus set sail across the untraversed western sea, his purpose was
to reach by a new path, a portion of the old, known world, and he lived and
died in the belief that he had done so. He never knew that he had
discovered a new world. So it was with Socrates. When he launched his
spiritual bark upon the pathless ocean of reflected thought, his object was
to discover a new way to the old world of little commonwealths and narrow
interests, and he probably died thinking he had succeeded. He did not dream
that he had discovered a new world--the world of humanity and universal
interests. But so it was; and tho mankind are still very far from having
made themselves at home in that world, and from having availed themselves of
its boundless spiritual treasures, it can never be withdrawn from their
sight, or, the conquest of it cease to be the object of their highest
aspirations." Thomas Davidson.


The Hellenic influence upon the intellectual development of the world is
infinite. The intellectual force emanating from the sources of Greek art,
literature and philosophy permeated thru the ages and have helped to shape
the destiny of our civilization. "Except the blind forces of Nature," says
Sir Henry Sumner Maine, "nothing moves in this world which is not Greek in
its origin." [1.] Without a shadow of doubt, Greek Philosophy forms the firm
background of progressive and reflective thought in all its phases and

In the history and evolution of Hellenic thought, we find two tendencies of
inquiry,--one dealing with the objective manifestations of the universe, and
the other directed towards the study of the mind. To the former class
belong Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Pythagoras, and others that
attempted to discover some principle for the explanation of the natural
phenomena. To accomplish this end, mathematics, physics, metaphysics, etc.,
were resorted to. The other great epoch, which may be termed the
Renaissance of Greek Philosophy, was conceived by the Supreme Greek thinker,
Socrates, who forms the subject thesis of this paper.

Socrates was the father of psychology and the grandfather of modern
psychopathology. He was the first one that attempted to study man from the
point of view of subjectivity. In the words of Snyder, "In Socrates, the
human mind burst forth into knowing itself as thinking."[2.] And Zeller very
thoughtfully remarks: "The interests of philosophy being thus turned away
from the outer world and directed towards man and his moral nature, and man
only regarding things as true and binding of the truth of which he was
convinced himself by intellectual research, there appears necessarily in
Socrates a deeper importance attached to the personality of the
thinker."[3.] In Phaedrus, Socrates speaks: "I am a lover of knowledge, and
in the cities I can learn from men; but the fields can teach me
nothing."[4.] Although Aristophanes pictures Socrates in the clouds as
preaching natural philosophy, yet there is no authentic record of this.

The source of information regarding the biography of Socrates and his
philosophy comes from two authors, Xenophon and Plato. The former portrays
him as a moral philosopher and in his book, Memorabilia, he seems to
eulogize his master. The latter however presents him as a thinker, and it
is maintained by many critics that Plato put into the mouth of Socrates his
own ideas. It is lamentable that this great philosopher committed nothing
of his monumental work in writing.


It is difficult to construct a biographic sketch of Socrates in a
chronological and systematic order. He was born in the year 469 B. C. His
father was Sophroniscus, a sculptor, and his mother Phaenarete, a midwife.
He followed his father's vocation and it is believed that he showed poor
skill in the profession. We know nothing of his early intellectual and moral
development. Since he was bred in Athens, he most probably received the
usual education peculiar to that age. He was a soldier and took part in
military campaigns and wars. It is maintained that in military life he
displayed considerable bravery, endurance and fortitude. The exact date of
his appearance in public arena is difficult to ascertain, however, "in the
traditions of his followers he is almost uniformly represented as an old, or
as a gray-headed man."[5.]

There are distinctive traits in the personality of Socrates that are worthy
of emphasis because of their dynamic import.

He was described as eccentric in his general mode of conduct. He "strutted
proudly barefoot along the streets of Athens; he was careless and shabby in
his dress; in his manner he was affected and haughty and was subject to
ecstatic trances and visions. During these trances he would maintain a
standing posture for hours, buried in his thoughts, and was quite oblivious
to the external world. There was a celebrated occasion in the camp at
Poteidaice, when Socrates was not quite forty; on that occasion he stood
motionless from early morning on one day till sunrise on the next, right
through a night when there was a very hard frost. When the sun rose he said
his prayer and went about his business." [6.] It is also claimed that he
would give vent to bursts of anger and fiery passion.

Ever since early boyhood Socrates is supposed to have heard an inner voice,
which he called a divine sign. It came to him quite often both on important
and on insignificant occasions. According to Xenophon, this voice gave him
both negative and positive warnings; however, Plato holds that this voice
only exercised its influence in opposing the execution of certain things.
"And not only was he generally convinced" says Zeller, "that he stood and
acted in the service of God, but he also held that supernatural suggestions
were communicated to him, not only through the medium of public oracles, but
also in dreams, and more particularly by a peculiar kind of higher
inspiration which goes by the name of the Socratic daimoviov."[7.]

Even by his contemporaries he was regarded as singular and eccentric and his
general behavior was ever foreign to his compatriots. Indeed Lelut [(8)]
boldly asserts that Socrates was "un fou." Nevertheless "attempts were not
wanting to excuse him," so writes Zeller, "either on the ground of the
universal superstition of his age and nation, or else of his having a
physical tendency to fanaticism."[9.]

Another interesting feature in the life of Socrates is that he married late
and that his matrimonial life was far from being happy, and in the words of
Schwegler, "He nowhere shows much regard for his wife and children; the
notorious, though altogether too much exaggerated ill-nature of Xantippe,
leads us to suspect, however, that his domestic relations were not the most
happy."[10.] It is also important to note that there was a turning point in
the history of his life when he took up the preaching of philosophy. It must
be borne in mind that he took no money for his teaching and at the same time
he left his wife and children destitute. In regard to this Draper remarks,
"There is surely something wrong in a man's life when the mother of his
children is protesting against his conduct, and her complaints are
countenanced by the community."[11.]

It is also significant that Socrates displayed a certain degree of
masochism; our historians tell us that Socrates would deny himself bodily
comforts and insist on enduring hardship. Xenophon in Memorabilia says:
"But they knew that Socrates lived with the utmost contentment on very small
means, that he was most abstinent from every kind of pleasure, and that he
swayed those with whom he conversed just as he pleased by his
arguments."[12.] Again, "Is it not the duty of every man to consider that
temperance is the foundation of every virtue, and to establish the
observance of it in his mind before all things? For who, without it, can
either learn anything good or sufficiently practice it? Who, that is a
slave to pleasure is not in an ill condition both as to his body and his
mind? It appears to me, by Juno, that a free man ought to pray that he may
never meet with a slave of such a character, and that he who is a slave to
pleasure should pray to the gods that he may find well-disposed masters; for
by such means only can a man of that sort be saved."[13.] And, "He appeared
also to me, by such discourses as the following, to exhort his hearers to
practice temperance in their desires for food, drink, sensual gratification,
and sleep, and endurance of cold, heat and labor."[14.]

Although he condemned poederastia, yet he was always fond of the male sex,
particularly of the young. This, however, may be explained on the ground
that his object was to appeal to the young. Nevertheless, dynamic psychology
demands a deeper meaning for such a motive. In this connection it would be
interesting to quote Xenophon: "As to love, his counsel was to abstain
rigidly from familiarity with beautiful persons; for he observed that it was
not easy to be in communication with such persons, and observe continence.
Hearing, on one occasion, that Critobulus, the son of Criton, had kissed the
son of Alcibiades, a handsome youth, he asked Xenophon, in the presence of
Critobulus, saying, "Tell me, Xenophon, did you not think that Critobulus
was one of the modest rather than the forward, one of the thoughtful rather
than of the thoughtless and inconsiderate?" Certainly," replied Xenophon.
"You must now, then, think him extremely headstrong and daring; one who
would even spring upon drawn swords, and leap into the fire." "And what,"
said Xenophon, "have you seen him doing, that you form this opinion of him?"
"Why, has he not dared," rejoined Socrates, "to kiss the son of Alcibiades,
a youth extremely handsome, and in the flower of his age?" "If such a deed,"
returned Xenophon, "is one of daring and peril, I think that even I could
undergo such peril." "Unhappy man!" exclaimed Socrates, "and what do you
think that you incur by kissing a handsome person? Do you not expect to
become at once a slave instead of a freeman? To spend much money upon
hurtful pleasures? To have too much occupation to attend to anything
honourable and profitable? And to be compelled to pursue what not even a mad
man would pursue?" "By Hercules," said Xenophon, "what extraordinary power
you represent to be in a kiss!" "Do you wonder at this?" rejoined Socrates;
"are you not aware that the Tarantula, an insect not as large as half an
obolus, by just touching a part of the body with its mouth, wears men down
with pain, and deprives them of their senses?" "Yes, indeed," said
Xenophon, "but the Tarantula infuses something when it bites." "And do you
not think, foolish man," rejoined Socrates, "that beautiful persons infuses
something when they kiss, something which you do not see? Do you not know
that the animal, which they call a handsome and beautiful object, is so much
more formidable than the Tarantula, as those insects instil something when
they touch, but this creature, without even touching, but if a person only
looks at it, though from a very great distance, instils something of such
potency, as to drive people mad? Perhaps indeed Cupids are called archers
for no other reason but because the beautiful wound from a distance. But I
advise you, Xenophon, whenever you see any handsome person, to flee without
looking behind you; and I recommend to you, Critobulus, to absent yourself
from hence for a year, for perhaps you may in that time, though hardly
indeed, be cured of your wound." Thus he thought that those should act with
regard to objects of love who were not secure against the attractions of
such objects; objects of such a nature, that if the body did not at all
desire them, the mind would not contemplate them, and which, if the body did
desire them, should cause us no trouble. For himself, he was evidently so
disciplined with respect to such matters, that he could more easily keep
aloof from the fairest and most blooming objects than others from the most
deformed and unattractive. Such was the state of his feelings in regard to
eating, drinking, and amorous gratification; and he believed that he
himself, with self-restraint, would have no less pleasure from them, than
those who took great trouble to pursue such gratifications, and that he
would suffer far less anxiety."[15.]

There is another interesting anecdote which is worthy of mention: "The
Syrian soothsayer and physiognomist, Zopyrus, saw in the countenance of
Socrates the imprint of strong sensuality. Loud protests were raised by the
assembled disciples, but Socrates silenced them with the remark: 'Zopyrus is
not mistaken; however, I have conquered those desires.' "[16.]

It is also evident that Socrates' mother must have played some role in his
mental life. It should be recalled that at first he followed his father's
profession, which seemingly made no impression upon him, and later he took
up his new vocation, preaching philosophy, which he loved to identify with
that of his mother, and indeed by reason of this the positive side of the
Socratic method is known as "the art of intellectual midwifery." "Socrates
compared himself," writes Schwegler, "with his mother, Phaenarete, a
midwife, because his office was rather to help others bring forth thoughts
than to produce them himself, and because he took upon himself to
distinguish the birth of an empty thought from one rich in content."[17.]

Further evidence of the deep reverence for his mother is seen in Memorabilia
where his eldest son, Lamprocles, finds fault with his mother, and Socrates,
though apparently entertaining very little love for his wife, yet takes up a
defensive attitude towards her and offers the following argument to his son:
"Yet you are displeased at your mother, although you well know that whatever
she says, she not only says nothing with intent to do you harm, but that she
wishes you more good than any other human being. Or do you suppose that your
mother meditates evil towards you?" "No indeed," said Lamprocles, "that I do
not imagine." "Do you then say that this mother," rejoined Socrates, "who is
so benevolent to you; who, when you are ill, takes care of you to the utmost
of her power that you may recover your health, and that you may want nothing
that is necessary for you, and who, besides, entreats the gods for many
blessings on your head, and pays vows for you, is a harsh mother? For my
part, I think that if you cannot endure such a mother, you cannot endure
anything that is good." [18.]

And in Crito, Socrates relates a dream shortly before his death, in which
his mother appeared, and to quote Plato: "Crito says, 'And what can this
dream have been?' Socrates replied, 'I thought a woman came to me, tall and
fair, and clothed in white, and she called me and said 'Socrates, Socrates,
in three days' time you will come to the fertile land, Phthia.' "[19.]

To sum up briefly, the personality of Socrates showed some psychopathic
traits. It must also be borne in mind that in that critical period, middle
age, a sudden change occurred in his mental life when he suddenly commenced
to exhibit profound interest in preaching philosophy. Moreover, it must be
emphasized that he apparently reacted to hallucinations of an auto psychic
nature. The self-asceticism, and most probably the mother-complex cannot be
passed without mention. Although he presented these negative qualities,
nevertheless he left a great school of philosophy, which beyond doubt is
still felt in the intellectual and moral world. Despite this, Athens
committed an unpardonable crime in putting Socrates to death. He, like
other martyrs, shared the same fate of the mob. Lowell's verse very justly
applies to Socrates:

"Truth forever on the scaffold; Wrong forever on the throne."[20.]

With this characterization of Socrates, we are now in a position to discuss
that part of his philosophy which has a definite bearing on modern
psychopathology. Three important phases of his philosophy come under

1. The dialectic method; 2. The conception of virtue; 3. Know thyself.


In Socratic philosophy the Dialectic Method occupies a lofty position. By
this method he was enabled to penetrate deeply into human nature and unfold
all phases of man's experience. Aristotle characterizes this method as the
induction of reasoning and the definition of general concepts. Gomperz,
speaking of the great zeal that Socrates exhibited in this method, says, "to
him (Socrates), a life without cross-examination, that is, without dialogues
in which the intellect is exercised in the pursuit of truth, is for him not
worth living."[21.] And Schwegler pertinently asserts "that through this art
of midwifery the philosopher, by his assiduous questioning, by his
interrogatory dissection of the notions of him with whom he might be
conversing, knew how to elicit from him a thought of which he had been
previously unconscious, and how to help him to the birth of a new

Briefly stated, the Dialectic Method is divided into two parts, the negative
and the positive. The former is known as the Socratic Irony. By this
method the philosopher takes the position that he is ignorant and endeavors
to show by a process of reasoning that the subject under discussion is in a
state of confusion and proves to the interlocutor that his supposed
knowledge is a source of inconsistencies and contradictions.

On the other hand, the positive side of the method, "the so-called
obstetrics or art of intellectual midwifery"[23] leads to definite
deductions. To illustrate the two phases of this method, the following
example may be taken. A youth of immature self-confidence believed himself
to be competent to manage the affairs of state. Socrates would then analyze
the general concept of the statecraft, and reduce it to its component parts,
and by continuous questions and answers would show to this supposed
statesman that he was lacking true knowledge. Again, a young man of mature
judgment, but of an exceedingly modest temperament, being reluctant to take
part in the debates of the Assembly, Socrates would prove to him that he was
fully competent to undertake such a task.

In a word, the Socratic method presents two striking tendencies; one
destructive, the other constructive; the former annihilates erroneous
conceptions, and the latter aids the building up of a healthy mental world,
in which men may find pleasure. In a broad sense, the dialectic method bears
some resemblance to the psychoanalytic, inasmuch as both seek to analyze
human nature in the light of individual experience; to find the ultimate and
predominating truth underlying such an experience; both attempt to make the
individual realize the extent of his limitations and capacity of adjustment
by subordinating the antagonistic forces and at the same time aiding the
construction of a world of healthy concepts.

Before attempting to discuss the Socratic Conception of Virtue, it is
important to call attention to two facts;

1st, The principles of mental life, and

2nd, The Greek conception of the state.

Roughly speaking, mental life is composed of two parts; the unconscious, or
instinctive, and the conscious. In the early development of the child,
mental adjustment is purely instinctive or unconscious. As the child grows
older, the unconscious life becomes gradually subordinated to the
conventional and cultural requirements. The influence of education,
religion, morality and environment begin to exert their influence upon the
child and the conscious life commences gradually to assert itself. The
characteristic difference between a very young child and the conventional
adult, lies in the fact that the former's behavior is not controlled by
conventionalities or tenets, whereas the latter conforms with all the rules
and customs of society.

The Greeks entertained a very high idea of the function of the state. It was
invested with a high moral value and pedagogic aim. In fact, Plato's
republic demonstrates this very well. An important point must be emphasized,
that the state exercised a potent influence upon the development of the
conscious life of the individual.

Now we can understand the Socratic Conception of Virtue in relation to the
conscious and unconscious life. What Socrates maintained was that true
virtue must depend upon knowledge; hence knowledge is the strongest power of
man and cannot be controlled by passion. In short, knowledge is the root of
moral action, and, on the other hand, lack of knowledge is the cause of
vice. In other words, no man can voluntarily pursue evil, and to prefer evil
to good would be foreign to human nature. Hence, in the Socratic sense, in
the unconscious lies the root of antisocial deeds, and, as Forbes puts it:
"Socratic view of sin, in fact, keeps it in a region subliminal to
knowledge. The sinner is never more really than an instinctive man, an
undeveloped, irrational creature; strictly speaking, not a man at all."[24.]

Since Socrates identified virtue with knowledge, and made knowledge a
conscious factor in mental life, it is evident that education, environment,
religion and conventionality are the determining factors in the cultivation
of the conscious. "What may be called institutional virtue," writes Snyder,
"is for Socrates the fundamental and all-inclusive Virtue, the ground of the
other Virtues. He believes in the State, obeys the Laws, performs his
duties as a citizen. This does not hinder him from seeing defects in the
existent state and its Laws, and trying to remedy them. Indeed, his whole
scheme of training in Virtue is to produce a man who can make good Laws, and
so establish a good State. 'What is Piety?' he asks, not a blind worship of
the gods, but worship of them according to their laws and customs, which one
must know. That is, one must know the law of the thing, the time of mere
instinctive action and obedience is past." [25.] And Zeller expresses
himself in a similar manner: "Of the importance of the state and the
obligations towards the same, a very high notion indeed is entertained by
Socrates:--He who would live amongst men, he said, must live in a state, be
a ruler or be ruled. He requires, therefore, the most unconditional
obedience to the laws, to such an extent that the conception of justice is
reduced to that of obedience to law, but he desires every competent man to
take part in the administration of the state, the well-being of all
individuals depending on the well-being of the community. These principles
were really carried into practice by him throughout his life. With devoted
self-sacrifice his duties as a citizen were fulfilled, even death being
endured in order that he might not violate the laws. Even his philanthropic
labors were regarded as the fulfillment of a duty to the state; and in
Xenophon's Memorabilia we see him using every opportunity of impressing able
people for political services, of deterring the incompetent, of awakening
officials to their sense of their duties, and of giving them help in the
administration of their offices. He himself expresses the political
character of these efforts most tellingly, by including all virtues under
the conception of the ruling art."[26.]

To recapitulate briefly; the Socratic conception of the unconscious conforms
in many respects with our present knowledge of it, especially insofar as our
psychoanalytic experience shows us conclusively what a potent factor is
exercised by the unconscious in the determination of psychotic and neurotic
phenomena. Indeed in the Socratic sense such manifestations are anti-social
and cannot be identified with virtue, hence they are not conscious. One may
say that Socrates unconsciously conceived the modern idea of the dynamics of
the unconscious.


The great Socratic Maxim, "Know Thyself," is one of the strongest moral
precepts in Ethics. Although the sophists had already called attention to
the fact that "man is the measure of all things," however they applied to
the individual and not to human nature in general. "But Socrates proclaimed
that this self-knowing Ego knows itself likewise as object, as the principle
of the world, in which man is to find himself in order to know it."[27.]

To know one's self implies calmness of self-possession, fearlessness and
independence. Furthermore it leads one to a striking realization of one's
limitations and shortcomings, which form the foundations of success, and, as
Forbes expresses it, "in this self-knowledge is the secret of blessing and
success in the handling of human affairs, and right relationship with

Socrates, discussing his maxim with Euthydemus, gives a clear and
comprehensive idea of this interesting subject: "Socrates then said: 'Tell
me, Euthydemus, have you ever gone to Delphi?' 'Yes, twice,' replied he.
'And did you observe what is written somewhere on the temple wall, Know
Thyself?' 'I did.' 'And did you take no thought of that inscription, or
did you attend to it, and try to examine yourself to ascertain what sort of
a character you are?' 'I did not indeed try, for I thought that I knew very
well already, since I should hardly know anything else if I did not know
myself.' 'But whether does he seem to you to know himself, who knows his own
name merely, or he who (like people buying horses, who do not think that
they know the horse that they want to know, until they have ascertained
whether he is tractable or unruly, whether he is strong or weak, swift or
slow, and how he is as to other points which are serviceable or
disadvantageous in the use of a horse so he), having ascertained with regard
to himself how he is adapted for the service of mankind, knows his own
abilities?' 'It appears to me, I must confess, that he who does not know his
own abilities, does not know himself.'

" 'But is it not evident,' said Socrates, 'that men enjoy a great number of
blessings in consequence of knowing themselves, and incur a great number of
evils, through being deceived in themselves? For they who know themselves
know what is suitable for them, and distinguish between what they can do and
what they cannot; and, by doing what they know how to do, procure for
themselves what they need, and are prosperous, and by abstaining from what
they do not know, live blamelessly, and avoid being unfortunate. By this
knowledge of themselves too, they can form an opinion of other men, and, by
their experiences of the rest of mankind, obtain for themselves what is
good, and guard against what is evil.'

"But they who do not know themselves, but are deceived in their own powers,
are in similar case with regard to other men, and other human affairs, and
neither understand what they require, nor what they are doing, nor the
character of those with whom they connect themselves, but, being in error as
to all these particulars, they fail to obtain what is good, and fall into

"They, on the other hand who understand what they take in hand, succeed in
what they attempt, and become esteemed and honoured; those who resemble them
in character willingly form connections with them; those who are
unsuccessful in their affairs desire to be assisted with their advice, and
to prefer them to themselves; they place in them their hopes of good and
love them, on all these accounts, beyond all other men.

"But those, again, who do not know what they are doing, who make an unhappy
choice in life, and are unsuccessful in what they attempt, not only incur
losses and sufferings in their own affairs, but become in consequence,
disreputable and ridiculous, and drag out their lives in contempt and
dishonour. Among states, too, you see that such as, from ignorance of their
own strength, go to war with others that are more powerful, are, some of
them, utterly overthrown, and others reduced from freedom to slavery."[29.]

What Socrates attempts to show, is that self-knowledge is conducive to human
happiness. Indeed, sanity in a broad sense, depends upon insight into one's
true knowledge of his limitation and capacity for adaptation. However,
Socrates holds that madness is not ignorance, but admits that for "A man to
be ignorant of himself, and to fancy and believe that he knew what he did
not know, he considered to be something closely bordering on madness. The
multitude, he observed, do not say that those are mad who make mistakes in
matters of which most people are ignorant, but call those only mad who make
mistakes in affairs with which most people are acquainted; for if a man
should think himself so tall as to stoop when going through the gates in the
city wall, or so strong as to try to lift up houses, or attempt anything
else that is plainly impossible to all men, they say that he is mad; but
those who make mistakes in small matters are not thought by the multitude to
be mad; but just as they call 'strong desire' 'love,' so they call 'great
disorder of intellect' 'madness.' "[30.]

This Socratic principle plays an important role in psychopathology; in
psychoanalysis, what the physician does is to acquaint the patient with the
unconscious mental processes, thus putting him in full knowledge of his
condition to enable him to adjust himself to his environment. In mental
diseases the prognosis of a psychosis is not looked upon so gravely when the
patient has some realization of his situation, and likewise the recovery
from a mental infirmity is more hopeful when the patient exhibits
considerable insight into his condition. It is a well known fact that in a
malignant psychosis, self-knowledge does not exist, and this in part is
responsible for its malignancy. On the other hand the benignant nature of a
psychoneurosis may be in part attributed to the patient's appreciation of
his affliction.

However, the Socratic maxim has another moral and social value, that is, by
only knowing one's self can one understand his fellowmen. Indeed, Plato
makes Socrates say, in Phaedrus, that it is ridiculous to trouble one's self
about other things when one is still ignorant of one's self. It is well
known to every psychoanalyst that a patient cannot be analyzed by the
physician unless the latter has conquered his own resistances and adjusted
his complexes. The Immortal Poet, Shakespeare, truly says:

"This above all--to shine own self be true And it must follow as the night
the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. "
Hamlet Act I, III.


[1.] Sir Henry Maine--Village Communities and Miscellanies, Page 238. Amer.

[2.] Denton J. Synder--"Ancient European Philosophy," page 216.

[3.] Zeller--"Socrates and the Socratic School, 1877--London," Page 116.

[4.] Plato--Phaedrus.

[5.] Schwegler--"History of Philosophy," Page 63.

[6.] Gomperz--"Greek Thinkers," Page 87.

[7.] Zeller--"Socrates and the Socratic School," Page 81.

[8.] Lelut--"Du Demon de Socrates--1836.

[9.] Zeller--"Socrates and the Socratic School," Page 83.

[10.] Schwegler--"History of Philosophy," Page 84.

[11.] Draper--"Intellectual Development of Europe," Vol. I, Page 147.

[12.] Xenophon--"Memorabilia," Page 8. (Dutton & Co., Every Man's Library).

[13.] Ibid--"Memorabilia, Page 29.

[14.] Ibid--"Memorabilia" Page 35.

[15.] Ibid--"Memorabilia," Page 21-23.

[16.] Gomperz--"History of Philosophy," Page 48.

[17.] Schwegler--"History of Philosophy," Page 75.

[18.] Xenophon's "Memorabilia," Page 417-418.

[19.] Plato--"Crito."

[20.] Lowell's "Present Crisis."

[21.] Gomperz--"Greek thinkers," Page 59.

[22.] Schwegler's "History of Philosophy," Page 75.

[23.] Ibid--"History of Philosophy," Page 741.

[24.] Forbes--"Socrates" Page 191.

[25.] Denton Snyder--"History of Ancient European Philosophy," Page 248-249.

[26.] Zeller--"Socrates and the Socratic School," Page 167.

[27.] Denton Snyder--"History of Ancient European Philosophy," Page 234.

[28.] Forbes--"Socrates," Page 173.

[29.] Xenophon--"Memorabilia," Page 121-123.

[30.] Ibid--"Memorabilia," Page 97-98.


[*] Read by title at the Sixth Annual Meeting of the American
Psychopathological Association, New York, N. Y., May 5, 1915.

BY ISADOR H. CORIAT, M. D. First Assistant Visiting Physician for Diseases
of the Nervous System Boston City Hospital, Instructor in Neurology, Tufts
College Medical School

THE complex construction of a psychoneurosis in an adult, due to the
influence exerted by the multiplicity of factors of civilization and
cultural advancement, is sometimes so bewildering as to almost defy all
attempts at analysis. In children, the organization of a psychoneurosis is
usually very simple, almost monosymptomatic, and in children too, we often
discover these neuroses in the actual process of making. When adult life is
reached, the individual has left behind him all the factors of his childhood
life and all the repressed experiences and desires which tend to produce his
adult characteristics. Among adults of primitive races however, where the
mental organization is far less complex than that of civilized man, certain
psychoneurotic disturbances are found, which if analyzed, might disclose the
mental mechanisms of these disturbances reduced to their simplest terms.

It has been my good fortune to be able to secure data of this sort,
pertaining to certain curious nervous attacks which occur among the
primitive races of the Fuegian Archipelago. These facts were supplied me,
following along the lines of a questionnaire, by the well known explorer
Charles Wellington Furlong, F. R. G. S., who in 1907-1908, was in charge of
the first scientific expedition to cross through the heart of Tierra del
Fuego. Mr. Furlong's keen powers of observation, have made the data
unusually complete. While he had no theory to offer in explanation of the
attacks as seen among these primitive tribes, yet it is interesting to note,
that certain of the facts corroborate the well-known ideas of sexual
repression as elaborated by Freud. The mental organization of these people
likewise, seems to substantiate certain psychoanalytic conceptions. For a
clear comprehension of these attack, certain preliminary anthropological and
geographical data are necessary.

The following data relates to the running amuck or outburst, among the
Yahgan and Ona tribes of the Fuegian Archipelago. This data was obtained in
1907 and 1908 during expeditions through the regions of the Fuegian

The Yahgans, some forty years ago, numbered perhaps 2,500 but in 1908 had
been reduced through contact with civilization and principally through an
epidemic of measles to 173. These peoples are canoe Indians and inhabit
today the island coasts from Beale Island to the Wollastons inclusive, in
the neighborhood of Cape Horn; from about 54 degrees 50' S. Lat. to about 55
degrees 56' S. Lat., making them the southern-most inhabitants of the world.
The Ona Indians, a taller and finer race physically, who are foot Indians,
occupy the mountain and forest regions of southern Tierra del Fuego from
approximately 53 degrees 50' S. Lat. to 55 degrees 3' S. Lat. The Onas
formerly occupied the entire northern half of Tierra del Fuego and possibly
numbered some 3,000, but through contact and warfare with the whites, who
drove them south off the open lands of the north, they have been reduced to
about 300. These peoples are of a light cinnamon colored skin, black
haired, and of a decided Amerindian type. The Onas are above average
stature, the Yahgans below it.

It is not an infrequent occurence for individuals among both the Yahgans and
Onas to be subject to sudden outbursts of furor and violence. At such times
the individual will generally dash from the wigwam and rush wildly away, and
will continue running until nearly or completely exhausted. The one
afflicted may dash madly through the woods or sometimes climb up dangerous
cliffs. At such times, however, it is the custom of some of the men to
follow closely behind to see that harm does not come through injury against
trees, stumbling, or falling from the cliffs. However, at such times they
rarely touch the afflicted one except to prevent harm, and finally will lead
him back to the camp, when the attack is over or when he is exhausted.

While the attack occurs both among men and women, it seems to be more
prevalent among men. The individuals in whom these attacks predominate are
men in the prime of life, ranging from 25 to 35 years of age. These people
are polygamous and as it is the custom for the old men to marry young girls,
thus leaving the old women to the younger men, which in many instances
causes a scarcity of women, it leaves a somewhat undesirable condition.

In many instances the character of the attack confines itself to the mad
rushing away, as above described, at other times attempts to injure or kill
others are made. For instance, a rancher of Tierra del Fuego, was in the
company of some Onas when suddenly a hatchet whizzed by him, barely missing
his head, and buried itself in a log of the Indian shelter. This was the
result of an attack which seized upon one of the Onas who was afflicted thus
from time to time. The actual outburst in this case was sudden, although it
is difficult to tell how long it might have been coming on in the form of
brooding, which seems to be a premonitory phase of this condition.

Concerning a personal experience with one of the early phases of an attack,
Mr. Furlong states as follows:--"I am fully convinced that one night, while
camping alone with Onas in the heart of the Fuegian forests, that my head
man Aanakin, who had a good many killings to his credit, was brooding as he
sat in his wigwam, which opened towards the fire; he watched me for nearly
an hour with an attitude and expression which reminded me of the look a dog
takes on sometimes before he snaps. Aanakin I knew to be of a very moody
nature but this particular mood was so marked and portended evil so
noticeably toward me without any apparent cause, that I decided to do
something to break its mental trend. So putting fresh wood on the fire, to
make a more brilliant blaze, I walked directly into his wigwam and motioned
to one of his two wives, who were lying beside him. There was a passing
look of half-anger, half-surprise, but I gave no time for his mind to dwell
in the same mood, for simultaneously I produced my note book and pencil and
began to make drawings of animals and other things they were familiar with.
They like to watch one draw and name the thing, and so I kept them busy for
perhaps an hour, and finally had them in gales of laughter. I am quite
convinced that I forestalled an attack or a condition akin to it."

It seems that an attack usually begins suddenly. However, an instance is
given where an Ona became moody and realized that one of these attacks was
coming on and putting his hands together begged to have his wrists and feet
bound in order that he would not do himself or others any harm, or that it
would not be thought that he meant to kill and consequently be shot in self
defence. This would in a way seem to indicate that there was no amnesia for
the attack, as the Indian undoubtedly realized what he had done in previous

The moody state and the realization of what might follow as the attack comes
on demonstrates a sense of uneasiness as the premonitory symptom of an
attack, which ends in a state of utter exhaustion and sleep. The normal
condition is resumed, practically on the awakening from sleep and recovery
of strength.

From a description of Donald McMillan the explorer, the Eskimo Piblokto
strongly resembles these attacks of the Ona and Yahgan Indians with the
exception that Piblokto was particularly prevalent among the women.

How an attack begins is shown by the case of Aanakin, an Ona of Furlong's
expedition. A certain form of melancholia, brooding or moodiness, seems to
precede many of these attacks, with a realization sometimes that an attack
is coming upon them. The Onas not being naturally a quarrelsome people, it
may be that this realization and foreboding of the attack accounts for their
tendency to run away from their associates, when they have endured the
strain as long as they can, thus placing themselves in a position to avoid
deliberate attack or injury to those about them.

It was further stated, in answer to the questionnaire--"I cannot give you
absolute data regarding laughing or crying in an attack, screaming, yells,
foaming at the mouth, biting of tongue, tearing of clothes, although I am of
the opinion that any or all of these things may and do occur. As to violent
resistance, the case, where the man wished to be bound, would show there was
violent resistance, and it is probable that partly for this reason the Onas
and Yahgans do not molest the afflicted except to prevent them from harming
themselves, preferring to wait until the paroxysm exhausts them. I cannot
state positively as to whether the attack is explained by the natives as
being due to an evil spirit. While these people are polygamous, though
having no religious form of worship, they usually believe when any one has a
disease that something has entered them or some one who dislikes them has
surreptitiously sent some small animal or an arrow into them. Among the
Yahgans the 'Yuccamoosh' (doctors) or magicians proceed to pretend to
extract these objects by a form of squeezing and hugging the patient, in the
meantime blowing, hissing, etc., to force the object or evil out. I have
never known of their doing this, however, to a person suffering from an

"I am unable to supply any direct data as to the relation of love, hunger,
sexuality, death of relatives or absent relatives to an attack. On the death
of a relative the Yahgans go through incantations in the form of a sort of
weird death chant, which they often sing in unison at certain times of the
day and night. They paint their faces to show the death to strangers, but
they rarely mention the name of the dead, in fact by most it is considered
an offence to do so. They say simply 'He is gone,' 'He is no more'; they
feel the loss of relatives very keenly and sorrow for them, and sometimes
become violent with grief and rage.

"Regarding the primitive type of mental organization among these
natives,--despite Darwin's first opinion of them, which was subsequently
modified, I consider these people inherently intelligent, though of a very
primitive type as far as their culture is concerned, probably the most
primitive in this hemisphere, perhaps in the world, as the Onas are today
living in the Stone Age. Dr. E. Von Hornbostel of Berlin University, who
has collaborated with me in making a special study of my phonographic
records of their songs, informs me that these songs are the most primitive
American-Indian songs of which they have any record." Of importance for a
clear understanding of the mental traits of these Indian tribes, as the
source from which these attacks develop, are the study of their dreams,
their system of taboos and their myths. So far as could be determined from
the data supplied, the dreams of these primitive races strongly resemble the
dreams of children, as these aboriginal tribes possess many childlike
attributes. In fact up to a certain age the civilized child is really a
little savage, with his strong egotism and feelings of rivalry, his taboos,
his jealousies and his few or no altruistic tendencies. In the child as in
the savage, the wish and the thought are synonymous, both want their desires
immediately gratified, although such gratification may be impossible in
reality. The dreams of the Yahgan Indians are simple wish fulfilments,
without disguise or elaboration, like the dreams of a civilized child.

The Yahgan attitude toward death is the same as that of many primitive
races. Any reference to death is strongly tabooed amongst them and to
transgress this taboo, exposes the individual to grave danger and severe
punishment, even the punishment of the thing tabooed. Thus the person who
transgresses this taboo becomes himself taboo by arousing the anger or
resentment of other members of the tribe. However, a certain ambivalent
tendency seems to be present, for while the word death and the mention of
the dead is prohibited, yet they feel deep grief and sorrow for dead
relatives. Transgression of the taboo may arouse the other aspect of the
ambivalent attitude, (for instance anger instead of sorrow) and it thus
becomes a source of danger to the guilty individual and so by contagion and
imitation to the community. This ambivalent tendency which leads to taboos
is prominent among primitive races as well as in civilized children for
instance, in the latter, the taboo of pronouncing certain words which leads
to stammering or the taboo of objects possessing a sexual significance in
producing kleptomania. As civilization and cultural advancement increase or
as the child becomes the adult, the taboo tendency gradually declines, yet
under certain conditions it may manifest itself as a psychoneurotic symptom.
Since these particular primitive races have no conception of immortality,
this taboo cannot be a religious or a moral obligation or prohibition, but a
social phenomenon for the benefit of the tribe or for the physical welfare
of the individuals comprising the tribe. Freud also has pointed out how the
avoidence of the names of the dead because of fear of offence to the living
is found among certain South American tribes.

A third factor of importance is a study of their myths. These are the
savage's day dreams. The relation between myths and dreams is well known,
both having their roots in the unconscious thinking of the race. In the
individual this unconscious mental process produces dreams, in the race and
society, myths. Only one instance will be cited, the legend of the Yahgan
Indians concerning the creation of the first man and woman. When one of the
tribe was asked how the first human being came into the world, he replied
that a long time ago the first man came down from the sky on a rope and
later, the woman followed. Here is a striking instance of how an adult
Indian had applied his knowledge of individual births literally to a cosmic
process, a genuine creation myth as a form of symbolic thinking. There seems
little doubt in this case, that the sky, which to all savages appears like a
bowl, represented the uterus and the rope, the umbilical cord. The
resemblance of this myth to certain birth and parturition dreams, as
encountered in the psychoanalytic investigations of civilized adults, is
certainly striking.

How is this mass of material to be interpreted? The mental traits of these
people, as shown by an analysis of their taboos, myths and dreams, are very
primitive in organization, in fact, according to Mr. Furlong, they represent
the most primitive types of culture in the world and are today actually
living in the Stone Age. Individuals of such primitive mental traits have
not learned to successfully repress their emotions and hence are liable to
sudden emotional outbursts. Substitution and repression in civilized races
are utilized to cover our complex and multifarious ways of expressing our
social wishes and wants. In the savage there is little or no repression and
substitution, because his desires are simple and easily satisfied.

These primitive people therefore resemble children, without inhibitions or
repressions and hence their attacks of violence and furor as above described
are sudden emotional reactions, perhaps hysterical, but without any
phenomena of conversion. The relation of the attacks to an unsatisfied
sexual craving is shown by the fact that the attacks occur only in young men
whose libido remains unsatisfied, because according to tribal custom they
are compelled to marry old women, or, in the words of the explorer who lived
among these people, "old derelicts." This factor, combined with the
observation that the victims of the attacks are free from loss of
consciousness and amnesia and the absence of an absolute evidence pointing
to foaming at the mouth or biting of the tongue, would seem to indicate that
the outburst was hysterical rather than epileptic in nature. It would thus
correspond to the Piblokto of the Eskimos as described by Brill. This
resemblance was also noted by the explorer in his comparative description of
the two disorders.

It seems that the attacks themselves are motivated, not so much by the
actual gross sexual as by an ungratified or only partially gratified love
which would occur in a man who is compelled by social and tribal custom to
marry an old woman. Among the Eskimos this factor is at work in the women,
among the Fuegians in the men. Conversion phenomena were absent, because
their mental organization is very simple, in the same way that childhood
hysteria is free from conversion symptoms or at the most is monosymptomatic.


A. Brill--Piblokto or Hysteria among Peary's Eskimos. Journal of Nervous
and Mental Disease, Vol. 40 No. 8--1913.

S. Freud--Totem und Tabu--1913.

E. Kraepelin--Vergleichende Psychiatrie. Centralblatt f. Nervenheilk. U.
Psychiatrie. Bd. XV. July, 1904.



The Ohio State University

THE first case here reported came to the notice of the writer through the
attending physician; the second case was reported by the father of the child
after the attending physician had failed of satisfactory treatment. The
second case is especially interesting and serviceable in connection with the
phenomenon of visual space perception.

The first case is that of a boy, nine years of age, healthy, vigorous, who
in his play ground and street reactions parallels that of any normal boy of
his age. Aside from measles and an occasional disturbance of digestion he
has been singularly free from childhood's common diseases. The father and
mother are strong Hanoverian Germans holding with puritanic strictness to
the dogmas of the Lutheran religious faith. So far as is ascertainable there
can be no question of faulty inheritance, at least not so far as the
immediate parents and grandparents enter into the problem.

The child upon retiring and usually while still wide awake uttered wild
screams of terror. Upon inquiry the child complained of falling and
clutched vigorously to the bed clothes and the arms of the parents. Usually
the phenomenon disappeared when he was taken out of bed and walked about but
reappeared when he lay down. He complained of pain in his eyes, neck and
fore- and after-parts of his head. No amount of persuasion dispelled the
illusion. It should be emphasized that the illusion occurred in full waking
state and rarely as a dream.

An attempt was made to correlate the illusion with the momentum of the day's
activity. According to the parents the illusion appeared in aggravated form
when the neighborhood boys congregated in a cluster of trees at the edge of
the village and when playing "train" in which case the barn-top functioned
as the locomotive while a high board fence and an adjoining neighbor's barn
functioned as the cars and caboose respectively.

The village physician offered no explanation. He prescribed a hot bath and
a "closer supervision of the evening meal." The dilatation of the cutaneous
capillaries consequent to the bath lowered the cerebral circulation and to
some extent reduced the intensity of the illusion.

The cue to the cure appeared when the child, in expressing his fear,
complained because he could not see the parent who sat beside him on the
bed. Upon lighting the room the child seemed pacified but still held tightly
to anything within reach. As a rule the illusion disappeared within thirty
minutes after illumination. It was then suggested that the child be put to
bed in a well lighted room. This was done but the phenomenon reappeared
although in a less aggravated form. Degree of illumination and intensity of
the illusion appeared related. The phenomenon failed to appear at all when a
coal oil lamp was placed beside the bed not over two feet from the child's
head. For six months the boy went to sleep facing the full glare of the
lamp. Gradually the lamp was removed until it occupied a position in the
hall. Whenever the illusion recurred the lamp was replaced in its original

It is quite probable that the intensity of the visual stimulus (the lamp)
deflected the nervous current from the neural processes underlying the
illusion and thus changed the direction of attention. Any intense
distraction, other than the one employed, would probably have served the
same purpose. At the end of a year and a half the phenomenon entirely

The second case is that of a six-year-old girl, the daughter of highly
educated parents. With reference to this case two interesting phenomena
were observed: (a) that of mirror-writing of the common variety and (b)
that of ambiguous interpretation of the retinal impressions.

The phenomenon of mirror-writing here observed parallels that of many other
cases in which the left-right direction is reversed. These commoner cases
take on an added interest when considered in connection with a case of
double space inversion. Such a case is on record.[1] The double inversion
consists in writing all verbal symbols and digits up side down and backward.
In this case the boy had perfect pseudoscopic vision at the beginning of his
school work. Stratton, by a system of lenses, artificially produces the
same distortions and throws some light on the phenomenon.[2]

[1] G. F. Arps, a Note on a Case of Double Space Inversion. Annals of
Ophthalmology, July, 1914, Vol. XXIII, p. 482.

[2] Psychological Review, Vol. IV, pp. 341-360 and 463-481.

It is in the phenomenon of ambiguity in the interpretation of the retinal
eye processes that this case finds its value. At the dinner table the child
complained of the decrease in size of a number of objects in the room,
especially was this true of the apparent size of the father's head. The
frequency of the complaint led the father to seek the advice of an occulist
who pronounced the child's vision perfect in every way. Over and over again
while seated at the dinner table the child would exclaim, "O father how
small your head is!"

The explanation of this phenomenon is found in the method employed to
dispell the illusion. It was suggested that, at the moment of the
appearance of the phenomenon, the child be requested to fixate the end of
the father's index finger which was revolved, in the air, to form various
geometrical figures. This had the desired effect. Clearly we have here a
case of the object altering its apparent size without altering its distance.
Under normal conditions a change in size is followed by a corresponding
change in the distance. It is probable that we have here inadequate
convergence and that the optic axes do not intersect at the object but
beyond, so that the axes are more or less parallel. Thus the feeling of
convergence is less intense than experience teaches is necessary to perceive
the object as such a size and at such a distance. If degree of convergence
is a criterion for distance and if distance is a measure for the apparent
size of an object then we have the conditions necessary for the appearance
of the illusion.

Here we have the retinal image constant for the apparent and the real size
of the object (head). Obviously the retinal processes are constant for the
two interpretations of magnitude and the ambiguity is due to the concomitant
factor of convergence.

The conditions necessary to decrease the real size of an object while still
maintaining an unaltered image are produced without artificial means.
Wheatstone, a long time ago, arranged his stereoscope so that a negative
correlation obtained between the degree of convergence and size of the
retinal image.[3]

[3] Philosophical Transactions, 1852.

Very interesting is the fact that Stratton demonstrated by artificial means
what was naturally the case in that of the boy reported in the Annals
referred to above. Wheatstone demonstrated by artificial means what was
naturally the case in that of the girl here reported.


Macmillan Co., N. Y., 1914. 599 pp., illustrated.

Two comprehensive attempts have been made in recent years to study the
inheritance of mental abnormality, one in England at the Eugenics Laboratory
of the University of London, the other in this country under the leadership,
more or less immediate, of the Eugenics Record Office. Both the English and
the American school of workers agree that different grades of mental
ability, mental defect and insanity are strongly inherited. But the two
schools have reached very different conclusions as to the manner of
inheritance of mental traits and mental defects. Each school entertains
profound disrespect for the scientific methods and conclusions of the other
and with the frankness and honesty which devotion to truth demand has freely
criticised the other. By this criticism, at the bottom friendly though
sometimes caustic, science has undoubtedly profited. The later work of each
school begins to show the chastening influence of adverse criticism.

The English school has leaned backward in its devotion to the inductive
method of accumulating inheritance data, ostensibly without prejudice for or
against any particular theory but in reality with an ill-concealed bias
against anything savoring of "Mendelism." The American school recognizing
in Mendelism a great advance and an important instrument for the discovery
of new truth, has ignored the possibility that other undiscovered laws of
heredity may exist and has cast aside as superfluous the valuable biometric
tools wrought with much patient toil by Galton and Pearson. It will be the
part of wisdom for students of genetics to imitate the hostile attitude of
neither school, but to utilize the positive results of both. This is what
Dr. Goddard has done in the work under review.

He apparently began studying the inheritance of feeble-mindedness without
theoretical prejudice, but with a practical end in view, to discover, if
possible, the causes of feeble-mindedness so as to deal intelligently with
the inmates of the Vineland (N. J.) institution with which he is connected.
Goddard received inspiration and suggestion from the Mendelian principles
which dominate the work of the Eugenics Record Office, but has published his
observations in detail so that the reader may test by them any theory he
likes. This method can not be too highly commended for it gives permanent
value to the publication, however much prevailing theories may change. The
book contains a detailed study of 327 "cases," each being the family history
of a different inmate of the Vineland institution, as made out by trained
investigators who visited the homes of the inmates and held interviews with
their parents, relatives, friends and neighbors. English criticism of
American work of this sort had prepared the reader to expect carelessness of
method and inaccuracy in the accumulation of data, but Dr. Goddard is
evidently on his guard against this. He goes very fully into the method of
obtaining and verifying the data, and in doing so gives a very strong
impression that the data are "reliable." His treatment of the data is also
cautious but thorough, so that when he works his way to a conclusion it
stands firmly established. The conclusions reached are numerous and
important, but the one of greatest theoretical interest is this, that
feeble-mindedness is inherited as a simple recessive Mendelian
unit-character. This conclusion, so far as earlier publications were
concerned, might be regarded as insufficiently established, but the evidence
presented in this work renders it, I think, beyond question. Goddard was
himself apparently considerably surprised at the conclusion reached. He had
expected to find different kinds or grades of mental defect independently
inherited as units and confesses to leanings toward views of the
physiological independence of different mental functions, but his "cases"
give him no evidence of such inheritance. He finds only that feeble minds
are minds of arrested development in regard to all functions, and that
different grades of feeble-mindedness correspond with different stages of
normal mental development completely arrested. How different grades may
occur in one and the same Mendelian unit is apparently a puzzle to Goddard,
who does not attempt its explanation. It is indeed an absurdity to the "pure
line" Mendelian, but not to one who appreciates the fact that Mendelian
units are subject to quantitative variation sometimes continuous, sometimes
discontinuous. An example of the former is found in the hooded pattern of
rats,[4] of the latter in albinism and other Mendelizing characters which
assume multiple allelomorphic conditions.[5] Pearson has steadfastly refused
to admit that albinism in man is a Mendelizing character, because it may
assume various forms ranging from colorless to quite heavily pigmented
conditions (blondes). We now find that albinism in guinea-pigs shows an even
greater range of variation,[6] yet there can be no doubt of its fundamental
unity as a Mendelian character, each grade of which is allelomorphic to
every other grade and to normal pigmentation.

[4] Castle and Phillips, 1914, Publ. No. 195, Carnegie Inst. of Wash.

[5] Castle and Fish, Amer. Nat., Feb., 1915.

[6] Wright, S. Amer. Nat., March, 1915.

Goddard's findings as regards feeble-mindedness fit in perfectly with this
scheme. That Goddard was unaware of it when his conclusions were reached is
all the more evidence of their soundness because it shows that they were
reached independently. Among albinos every higher grade of pigmentation
dominates all the lower grades in inheritance, and so apparently it is with
mental development; the higher grades dominate the lower. At every point
there appears to be agreement in method of inheritance between albinism and
feeble-mindedness. Each is a unit character but showing graded allelomorphic
conditions which correspond probably with different stages of arrested
development of pigmentation or mentality respectively.

The fact noted by Goddard that the feeble-minded resemble savages, that is
backward races of low mentality, has much interest to the student of
evolution. It indicates that the evolution of intelligence has occurred by
a gradual progressive advancement, stages in which reappear as the higher
grades of feeble-mindedness. Of course it is not certain that the
ontogenetic stages, at which mental development may be arrested, correspond
accurately with earlier phylogenetic stages, but the idea receives
considerable support from the observed resemblance between the mentality of
morons and that of savage peoples, if the observation may be accepted as
accurate. I do not understand however that Goddard makes any claim to
first-hand familiarity with the mental life of savages, so that no great
emphasis should be laid on the point. But the mere fact that RETROGRESSIVE
variation in mentality is GRADED favors the view that its PROGRESSIVE
evolution has been gradual, rather than the view that it has arisen by
mutation or sudden loss of inhibitors. (Bateson, Davenport).

Goddard points out that a high grade moron may be a useful and
self-supporting member of society in some environments (usually rural)
whereas he would be quite helpless in the keen competition of urban life.
This suggestion leads the reader to wonder whether many peasant and peon
populations of the old and new world represent survivals of an older and
lower grade of mental evolution than has been attained in the more advanced
nations, or whether it is merely lack of opportunity that makes these
populations backward. The fact that in every generation great men come from
the lower social levels shows that the lower classes are not entirely devoid
of capacity; nevertheless it seems probable that a low grade of intelligence
would stand a better chance of escaping elimination in the struggle for
existence when placed in a simple environment than when placed in a complex
one. Consequently, under modern conditions, we might expect a peasant or
peon population to average lower in mental capacity than a community more
advanced in civilization. Whether the peasant population would equal in
average intelligence a band of North American Indians or a tribe of native
New Zealanders is very doubtful, for in such peoples natural selection for
intelligence was undoubtedly severe because of their intense struggle with
nature and with other tribes, unaided by the accumulated knowledge and tools
of civilized communities. Among such peoples greater demands were probably
made on inborn intelligence than among modern industrial populations.

As regards the CAUSES of feeble-mindedness Goddard's findings are wholly
negative, but not less valuable on that account. His case histories
statistically studied indicate no causal relation to a number of reputed
agencies in the creation of feeble-mindedness, such as alcoholism (which he
regards as oftener a symptom than a cause), tuberculosis, sexual immorality,
insanity, syphilis, accident and consanguinity. He recognizes HEREDITY as
its principal source, i. e. he recognizes feeble-mindedness as a stage of
mentality already existing and transmissible by the ordinary mechanism of
heredity, but does not attempt further to account for it, either as a
survival or as an atavism.

That humanitarian governments by shielding and supporting the moron without
putting a limit on his naturally high reproduction will speedily increase
this class at the expense of the more intelligent classes of the community
is self-evident, if it is admitted that feeble-mindedness is hereditary, as
all who have investigated the matter carefully now declare. Goddard shows
further that a large percentage (probably more than half) of the alcoholism,
pauperism, prostitution, and crime, of the United States are directly
traceable to hereditary feeble-mindedness, another strong reason for taking
measures to reduce it.

How is this to be done? Goddard has no cure-all to offer but urges first of
all that the mental grade of each individual be accurately determined and
education and occupation be provided suited to his capacity. This will tend
to make the moron a useful and contented member of the community, not a
menace to it. Segregation is recommended so far as practicable, but in view
of the large number (estimated at 300,000 to 400,000 in the U. S.) Goddard
considers segregation of all impracticable. Nevertheless he urges further
and energetic efforts in this direction, that as many as possible may be
segregated as a safeguard against their reproduction. In individual cases
"sterilization wisely and carefully practiced" must be employed to insure

In this volume there is a pleasing absence of the rant which pervades some
eugenic literature. The author has something of importance to contribute to
science and he presents his contribution in a sober, dignified manner in
keeping with the important character of his contribution. W. E. CASTLE.

(Francis Griffiths, London; pp. 394).

This is an attempt to expound the symbolism of the Christian religion. It is
divided into three main parts: ancient cults (phallism and sun worship);
ancient cults in the Old Testament; ancient cults in the New Testament. The
author's main thesis can be stated in a sentence: the essential constituents
of every religion, and the underlying meaning of its symbolism, are
phallicism and sun worship. Of these the former is the more important, more
primary, and more wide-spread; the latter is a superimposed layer better
adapted to more civilized and educated people, but rarely penetrating into
the hearts of the common people to the extent that the former has. "The
great branches under which all the religious systems of the past have
developed may be classed as based, on the one hand on the consideration of
our world and the continuity of life upon it, expressed in Phallic
symbolism, and on the other hand, on the Sun as the great giver and
sustainer of man, expressed in Solar symbolism." (p. 21). "As the Phallic
cult was much the older, it retained its position after the rise of the
Solar cult. It required a much higher intelligence to grasp the facts of
Solar worship, so it never entered the 'hearts' of the common people as did
the Phallic worship, but it had a much more intelligent priesthood, and was
the arbiter in all questions of dates, and regulated al) feasts; and, what
was more important to the people, fixed the time for payments of debts or
interest, and regulated the times of sowing and harvesting, so it became a
much more 'official' religion than Phallism." In support of these
conclusions the author marshals a huge number of facts, so that the work
becomes a veritable encyclopaedia of symbolism.

Now in spite of the fact that the reviewer fully accepts the main thesis of
the book, as stated above, and therefore has no prejudice or hostility on
the score of the conclusions encunciated being distasteful, his judgment of
the book is entirely unfavourable, for the following reasons: In the first
place, any presence of the book to be a scientific, and therefore impartial,
contribution to knowledge is invalidated by the author's moral bias evident
from beginning to end, against religion in general, and Christianity in
particular, which he maintains is the most phallic of all religions. His
point of view is that of the older rationalists, to whom religion is nothing
but an unfortunate instinct for "delight in the miraculous," expressing
itself in phallic and sun worship, and fostered by the exploiting tendencies
of priests. His desire seems to be, in writing the book, to "show up"
religion and, by discrediting it, hasten its end.

In the second place, there is not a single new idea in all its closely
packed pages, and therefore no excuse for writing them, since the material
here laboriously brought together is easily accessible in other books. It
never seems to dawn on the author that pointing out the sexual basis of
religion, which countless other writers have already done, is but the
beginning of the problem, the starting-point of all sorts of complex
riddles. Having dogmatically divided all religious symbols into male and
female, he is self-satisfied enough to think that he has explained religion.
There is no inkling of the points of view suggested by such words as
determinism, significance, genesis, so familiar to the modern psychologist.

Side by side with all this goes a disorderly arrangement and very imperfect
powers of criticism. The latter feature is especially marked in the field
of etymology, where the author fairly lets himself run wild. The following
gem is a typical example (p. 110): "Bacchus became degraded into the God of
Wine, and his fetes became drunken orgies, but he was originally the
beneficent sun who ripened the fruits, and hence God of Wine, from which,
indeed, is derived the English name of all our gods, angels, prophets, or
even parsons,--"divines," "dei vini," "Gods of Wine." Jesus was the "True

The merits of the book are that it may direct the attention of some people
to the connection between sex and religion, if there are any who are still
unaware of this, and that it possesses a good index that may be useful to
readers with limited facilities for looking up particular symbolisms; it is
also well illustrated. ERNEST JONES.

by C. Brereton and F. Rothwell. (Macmillan, London, 1913. Pp. 200).

In this stimulating little book Professor Bergson propounds his theory of
the comic, which is shortly to the following effect. Noting first that
laughter is purely a human phenomenon, and therefore probably has a social
significance, he seeks for this by trying to define what are the essential
features of the comical. He reduces the various characteristic features in
the main to one, namely, automatism on the part of the comical person or
thing. This automatism is of a special kind; especially is it an automatism
that is out of place, that occurs at the expense of spontaneity, vitality,
and freshness. It may thus be defined as "something mechanical in something
living," "a kind of absentmindedness on the part of life." "The comic is
that side of a person which reveals his likeness to a thing, that aspect of
human events which through its peculiar inelasticity, conveys the impression
of pure mechanism, of automatism, of movement without life." "To imitate
anyone is to bring out the element of automatism he has allowed to creep
into his person. And as this is the very essence of the ludicrous, it is no
wonder that imitation gives rise to laughter. "This bald statement of
Bergson's conclusion is, in the reviewer's opinion, made very convincing by
the delicate analysis he proffers of numerous illustrations.

Up to this point Bergson's theory of the comic fairly well coincides with
that of Freud. The latter author, it is true, summarises his conclusions in
different language. But the meaning is not very different. For him the
feeling of comicality is an "economy of ideational expenditure," and it is
evoked by the sight of another person who in a given performance displays
either a lack of mental activity or an excess of physical, i.e., who is
either stupid or clumsy. Compare this formulation with Bergson's. The latter
says that the opposite of the comic is gracefulness, rather than beauty. "It
partakes rather of the unsprightly than of the unsightly, of rigidness
rather than of ugliness." The replacement of mental by physical activity is
insisted on in the following passage: "Any incident is comic that calls our
attention to the physical in a person, when it is the moral (i. e. mental)
that is concerned." Again, he compares a comical person to "a person
embarrassed by his body." His automatism is essentially a lack of mental
nimbleness, a formal lack of mental elasticity, a defective capacity for
rapid adjustment, in short, a mental laziness. And especially is this defect
one of consciousness. The failure is on the part of the higher mental
activities, which should be the most alert, and what happens is a relapse
into unconscious, automatic modes of functioning, a form of absentmindness.
"The comic is that element by which the person unwittingly betrays
himself--the involuntary gesture or the unconscious remark. Absentmindedness
is always comical. Systematic absentmindedness, like that of Don Quixote,
is the most comical thing imaginable . . . . . . . No one can be comical
unless there be some aspect of his person of which he is unaware, one side
of his nature which he overlooks; on that account alone does he make us

In substantial agreement on this general conclusion as to mental rigidity
and bodily clumsiness, the two views diverge from here. According to
Bergson, the comic presupposes "something like a momentary anaesthesia of
the heart;" "laughter is incompatible with emotion." For Freud this absence
of emotion is much more characteristic of humour than of the comic, two
matters that Bergson quite fails to distinguish. Then, whereas Freud
explains the subjective side of the comic purely on hedonic principles,
Bergson sees in it an important social function. According to him, laughter
is one of society's weapons for dealing with tendencies that threaten to
diverge from the conventional and accepted norm. It "restrains eccentricity"
and "corrects unsociability." "Any individual is comic who automatically
goes his own way without troubling himself about getting into touch with the
rest of his fellow-beings. It is the part of laughter to reprove his
absentmindness and wake him out of his dream . . . . Each member must be
ever attentive to his social surroundings; he must model himself on his
environment; in short, he must avoid shutting himself up in his own peculiar
character as a philosopher in his ivory tower. Therefore society holds
suspended over each individual member, if not the threat of correction, at
all events the prospect of a snubbing, which, although it is slight, is none
the less dreaded. Such must be the function of laughter. . . . It represses
separatist tendencies." "Unsociability in the performer and insensibility
in the spectator--such, in a word, are the two essential conditions." This
interesting theory leaves some questions unanswered. Why, for instance,
should onlooking society remain emotionally cold in one case, and merely
laugh, and in another case adopt much graver measures? Bergson deals with
this point rather imperfectly. It is not the seriousness of the case that
decides, for "we now see that the seriousness of the case is of no
importance either: whether serious or trifling, it is still capable of
making us laugh, provided that care be taken not to arouse our emotions."
Nor is it the immoral nature of the deviation from the normal. "The comic
character may, strictly speaking, be quite in accord with stern morality.
All it has to do is to bring itself into accord with society." "It is the
faults of others that make us laugh, provided we add that they make us laugh
by reason of their UNSOCIABILITY rather than of their IMMORALITY." The most
specific criterion seems, in Bergson's opinion, to be that of vanity. "It
might be said that the specific remedy for vanity is laughter, and that the
one failing that is essentially laughable is vanity."

We may briefly refer to some other matters dealt with more incidentally;
wit, and the relation of the comic to art and to dreams. The discussion of
wit is perhaps the weakest part of the book. No analysis is given of the
different forms of wit, and the important subject of what may be called its
technique is quite passed by. Wit is identified in a superficial manner with
the comic in general, the fundamental differences between the two, which
Freud has dealt so exhaustively with, being altogether ignored. Bergson
gives a more interesting and profitable study of the relation of the comic
to art; especially of the nature of comedy as distinct from other forms of
drama. According to him, comedy portrays character types rather than
individual persons. He repeatedly insists on this point, adding that "it is
the ONLY one of all the arts that aims at the general; so that once this
objective has been attributed to it, we have said all that it is and all
that the rest cannot be." Further, "comedy lies midway between art and
life. It is not disinterested as genuine art is. By organizing laughter,
comedy accepts social life as a natural environment, it even obeys an
impulse of social life. And in this respect it turns its back upon art,
which is a breaking away from society and a return to pure nature. "The
discussion of the relation of the comic to dreams is, on the other hand,
less satisfying. Comic absurdity is stated to be of the same nature as that
of dreams. The main point of resemblance seems to be that in both cases
there occurs an absence of social contact. In both there is a mental
relaxation from the effort of "seeing nothing but what is existent and
thinking nothing but what is consistent." This really applies much more to
wit than to the comic itself.

As may be expected, the whole book is written in Professor Bergson's
pleasing style, and is full of suggestive hints and fresh points of view.
The most significant contribution, one which pervades the book throughout,
is the view of laughter as a social censor. Even if this hypothesis is
substantiated by detailed investigation, however, it cannot rank as a
complete theory of laughter, or of the comic, until it is supplemented by
some explanation, not given by the author, of the most striking feature of
laughter, its capacity for yielding pleasure.

It only remains to say that the translation is literally excellent. ERNEST

HOPKINS HOSPITAL. The American Journal of Insanity, Special Number, Vol.
LXIX, No. 5. The Johns Hopkins Press, 1915.

This special number of the American Journal of Insanity contains the
exercises and papers delivered at the opening at the Phipps Psychiatric
Clinic at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md. The contents of the
entire volume should prove to be of the greatest interest to all students
and lovers of psychiatry. The volume opens with a brief but fitting
Introduction by Dr. Adolf Meyer, Director of the Clinic, a man to whom
American psychiatry owes so much for the stimulus and inspiration which he
has injected into others. This is followed by A Word of Appreciation by
Henry D. Harland, President Trustees, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, some brief
remarks on The Psychiatric Clinic and the Community by Stewart Paton, the
heart-to-heart talk on Specialism in the General Hospital by Sir William
Osler, and a short talk on The Purpose of the Psychiatric Clinic by Prof.
Adolf Meyer. There then follow a series of fascinating and inspiring
papers, as follows: The Sources and Direction of Psychophysical Energy, by
William McDougall; Autistic Thinking by E. Bleuler; Personality and
Psychosis by August Hoch; The Personal Factor in Association Reactions by
Frederic Lyman Wells; A Study of the Neuropathic Inheritance by F. W. Mott;
On the Etiology of Pellagra and its Relation to Psychiatry by O. Rossi;
Psychic Disturbances Associated with Disorders of the Ductless Glands, by
Harvey Cushing; Primitive Mechanisms of Individual Adjustment by Stewart
Paton; Demenzprobleme by K. Heilbronner; The Inter-relation of the
Biogenetic Psychoses by Ernest Jones; Prognostic Principles in the
Biogenetic Psychoses, with Special Reference to the Katatonic Syndrome by
George H. Kirby; Anatomical Borderline between the So-called Syphilitic and
Metasyphilitic Disorders in the Brain and Spinal Cord by Charles B. Dunlap;
and Mental Disorders and Cerebral Lesions Associated with Pernicious Anemia
by Albert Moore Barrett. The number is concluded by the penetrating Closing
Remarks of Prof. Adolf Meyer.

The papers by Mott, Rossi, Cushing and Heilbronner are of the greatest
interest. The discussions by McDougall and Bleuler are fascinating and
uplifting. McDougall's paper is a masterpiece. Kirby, Jones and Hoch
present us with the modern standpoints in the conception of the psychoses.
Throughout the volume one sees the adoption of the broad biological
standpoint in mental life. The adoption of the term "biogenetic psychoses"
is indicative of the general trend. The adoption of this well-chosen phrase
is, I venture to suggest, the product of Dr. Meyer.

The reviewer regrets that the papers do not very well lend themselves for
brief reviews. Furthermore, he would not attempt to briefly present the
views which have been so lucidly and succinctly expressed by the individual

Prof. Meyer is to be commended for the very splendid program presented at
the opening exercises of the Phipps Psychiatric Clinic.

May it be a lasting inspiration for those who drink at the fountain of
psychiatry and psychopathology. MEYER SOLOMON.


SLEEP AND SLEEPLESSNESS. By H. Addington Bruce. Pp. IX + 219. Little, Brown
& Co., 1915. $1.00 net.

THE MEANING OF DREAMS. By I. H. Coriat. Pp. XIII + 194. Little, Brown &
Co. $1.00 net.


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