Part 8 out of 8
been emphasized in my mind by illustrations obtained by an extended study of
the dreams of normal people, and notably, by the agreement of my conclusions
with those of Professor Woodworth and of Dr. Morton Prince. And I am led to
believe that a development of this conception should harmonize with accepted
principles of psychology, normal and abnormal, as formulated in Ladd and
Woodworth's text-book, and in Prince's "The Unconscious."
Greater precision must be conferred upon this conception by showing
specifically in what ways, and by what associative mechanisms, the
persevering and unadjusted stimuli evoke the dream-images. Granting that
unadjusted stimuli persist in their effects upon dream life, or in other
terms, that primary stimulus-ideas may evoke secondary dream-images, and so
on unto the third and fourth "generations;" then, in what manner does the
process go on or come to an end? The answer to this question is an eminently
practical one, to which Psycho-analysis has already brought the complication
of its own still immature formulation of Ab-reaction and of Catharsis.
The matter still requires further study. In particular, it is necessary to
formulate, through specific examples, a conception which shall be the
pendant or complement of the theory of the perseveration of the unadjusted,
and which I will call the "resolution of the unadjusted."
Already, I have taken the preliminary steps in this direction by adopting
the physiological conception of trial percepts and applying it to dream
interpretation. As a result, I have come to regard the successive
evocations of imagery in the dream and even their reciprocal adaptations
under the influence of creative fancy, as being trial apperceptions or
attempted responses to one or more cues, either sensory or psychic.
RESOLUTION OF THE UNADJUSTED
The operation of any cue, waking or sleeping, implies the endeavor of the
organism to provide a channel of escapement for the nervous excitation
emanating from the stimulus. The best channels, of course, are furnished by
those neurograms, or vestiges of previous experience, originally
constellated with the stimulus-idea. Indeed, as in the Scratch-Reflex dream,
we find that the stimulus does immediately tend to pass into such channels.
But the same example shows that it takes time for the excitation to raise
into consciousness the image most closely related to, or agglutinated with,
the stimulus; this being, no doubt, due to the passive inertia in the
corresponding neurogram. Meantime, during the apperceptive delay, the energy
spills over into less appropriate neurograms, albeit they are more quickly
mobilized, with the result of evoking bizarre imagery; what I have called
trial apperceptions. Sometimes, too, this is adequate to meet the
situation; for the resolution of the unadjusted is complete so soon as the
stimulus is drained off, re-distributed and dynamically absorbed, as in the
case of mechanical "lost motion." A useful and intelligent solution is by no
means requisite: mere rambling often suffices.
Yet in sleep the process of trial-and-error may often result in highly
constructive resolutions, as in what the French call reve utile. This is
especially true in case the unadjusted cues are highly persistent psychic
stimuli. Here, the excitation rises instead of seeming to wear down and can
be followed in its working up, through trial-and-error, to the elaboration
of a more or less logical response to the demands of the mental
situation;--after which, the excitation appears to trouble the sleeper no
further. Unfortunately, time does not permit my giving the examples I would
like of the varieties of resolutions in dreams--with their every degree of
relevancy and irrelevancy, of a propos and bizarrerie. Instead, I will
briefly dwell on a suggestive example of mental adjustment to specific cues,
in the waking state.
A Japanese poetess is asked to combine into one word-picture the ideas of a
triangle, of a square and of a circle. After a short pause, taken up (as we
may believe) by what Ernst Mach calls the conflict of ideas, and which I
think of as imageless trials and errors, the poetess evolves the following
phantasy: "Detaching one corner of the mosquito netting, lo, I behold the
moon." This resolution left nothing to be desired.
All resolutions of problems, of riddles, of charades, and, according to my
experience, most dreams if not all, represent a trial-and-error method of
working out a reconciliation among unadjusted mental tendencies, the goal of
which is illustrated by the case of the Japanese poetess. Dreams, however,
usually exhibit only the preliminary efforts. Those are hidden in this
example, which stands midway between the severe reasoning of Euclid and the
free-play of a dreamer's response to the reproductive tendencies playing
upon his memory.
As to the theory of the resolution of the unadjusted, I must resist the
temptation to dwell on its many attractive phases, in bringing this
discussion to a close. One of its neglected aspects, however, may be
indicated within the present context, by remarking upon the feeling of
incompleteness that would at this stage, be left in the mind of the hearer,
if I should make an end, abruptly, like a phonograph stopped in the middle
of a tune. My discourse would inevitably be left at loose ends, owing to
the persistency of a number of questions which have been raised, agitated,
but not fully set at rest. These would continue to act as so many persisting
and unadjusted stimulus-ideas. These are embodied in the feeling we now
have, that a summary should be made of what has gone before concerning the
Scratch-Reflex dream and the various methods of interpreting it. Thus, our
"unfinished feeling" represents in itself an obscure demand for a resolution
of the unadjusted; it corresponds to that inner compulsion which operates
upon the imperfect consciousness of the dreamer, or upon the mentality of
any person seeking the solution of a problem or "perplex," either asleep, or
awake--as I trust you all still remain. The present demand for the
resolution of the unadjusted must be met without going deeper into the
theory of the matter.
THE RECONSTITUTION SUMMARIZED
Accordingly, I will now point out the fact that the analysis of the
Scratch-Reflex dream has been carried to the stage where the dream stands
reconstituted as follows:--
It is an attempt of the nervous mechanism to resolve a specific sensory
stimulus-idea (A) by the discharge of nervous energy into a previously
prepared or "facilitated" set-of-the-mind or context (Hidden Z). This, in
the premises, happened to possess associative affinity for the stimulus, and
was therefore, by the same token, chosen, i. e., brought into play, as a
spillway for the stimulus. The secondary images (C) in the dream, evoked by
the derivation of excitement through the channels of the given context
(conversation with Dr. X.) are explained as forming--in the order of their
appearance-- a chain of apperceptive pictures, or trial-and-error series,
whose links or steps approximate gradually to the characteristic features of
the primary stimulus-idea (scratching sensation). But while regarding this
immediate influence as the principal cue to memory (calling it A), we must
admit an ulterior influence or motive-power, itself in the nature of an
accessory cue, namely a wish (B), revived along with the memory of the
conversation. This wish (to substitute reflexology for histology)
contributes a special configuration or phantastic, wishful arrangement to
the group of successive trial apperceptions called forth by the physical
stimulus (A). The corresponding motives of desire and of aversion,
(concisely pictured as positive interest in the reflex and disinterest in
the microscope), although seeming to spring out of the system of memories
(Z), which form the context, are none the less separate from it as
self-acting sources of stimulus, as a wish apart from the mere brute memory
of the talk about reflexes. The wish is thus an accessory cue (B) operating
in conjunction with the external stimulus, although revived by the energy of
the latter. In this case, the imaginary wish-fulfilment achieves an
immediate, though limited, success. Correspondingly, it does not exhibit on
its own account the feature of trial-and-error which we have learnt to
recognize in the working of the unadjusted sensory stimulus (scratching).
While this dream does not exemplify trial-and-error processes in response to
a psychic cue, it is proper to state that the same mechanism can be
demonstrated in the more purely psychic dreams, as well as in this one,
wherein we have followed the trial apperceptions of a stimulus, from their
incipience, to the point of awaking to a conscious recognition of the source
of excitation. Moreover, by a more delicate and intricate use of the
reconstitutive method it is possible to discover the stimulus-ideas in those
cases where the dreamer is not able to testify to their character, as I was
in this simple instance; purposely chosen, I may add, to outline the method
in its simplest aspect.
According to the reconstitutive method, a dream is sufficiently interpreted
and explained by having formulated the operation of the several specific
factors, as in the foregoing example; that is, no preconceptions as to
content or meaning or transcendental symbols are imported into this sort of
purely mechanistic interpretation.
THE PSYCHO-ANALYTIC DILEMMA
Unfortunately, the psycho-analyst, if he applies the current conceptions of
symbolism, may well doubt whether the reconstitution has gone far enough,
and whether ALL the stimulus-ideas, or all the wish-factors have been found.
This is because he does not make it a rule to check up his guesses as to
meaning, by specific investigations of the settings-of-ideas, by
auscultating the so-called "fringe of thought," or by laying out crucial
tests for his own hypothesis in the given case. Such methods, which belong
no less to general psychopathology than to the reconstitutive method, do not
leave one free to argue from analogy; a privilege which most psycho-analysts
enjoy, and have been known to abuse, as Freud and Jung themselves have done.
It follows that one might properly expect the psychoanalyst to dwell
especially upon the seemingly phallic "symbols" in the Scratch-Reflex dream,
which could be made out in the geometrical features of the microscope and
cover-glass. He would thus, as I have shown, be led to unearth a sexual
motive--which might be a mare's nest. This searching for sexual symbolism on
a purely a priori basis, when no evidence internal or external, and no real
clues to a sex idea exist, may become a mere obsession, a habit of
interpretation which is not scientific at all. Unable to distinguish the
subconscious operation of a non-sexual context, from that of the more
familiar sexual context, the interpreter is at the mercy of superficial
resemblances between the properties of the dream-objects and those of the
well-known sexual symbols. The ambiguity which has resulted from this
condition of affairs, maintains the Psychoanalytic Dilemma: that of not
knowing when to stop in apperceiving sexual allusions. Indeed, it is part of
the interpretative policy of psycho-analysts not to exclude sexual meanings,
in case of doubt; but rather to take the sexual sense for granted.
How far this policy has been carried may perhaps be suggested by the
following instance: A well-known physiological psychologist, attempting to
show the absurdity of extreme sexual interpretations, remarked to a
well-known psycho-analyst that even the geometry of Euclid would, according
to the methods under criticism, be open to the imputation of sexual motive.
To this the psycho-analyst replied that he did not feel at all sure that
Euclid might not have been inspired to write his Geometry by the sexual
ideas which men have, from time immemorial, embodied in circles and
triangles and diameters.--This instance, be it said, implies no criticism of
Psycho-analysis beyond the fact that its conception of symbols in dreams and
elsewhere is transcendental and historical rather than truly psychological
as it purports to be; a state of opinion which the use of the reconstitutive
method is calculated to correct.
The difference between the psycho-analytic methods and the reconstitutive
method, in a given case, is that the former assume the validity of sexual
symbolism unless it can positively be proved absent, which is rarely
attempted; whereas, the reconstitutive method assumes no symbolism and no
meaning to be present in the mind of the dreamer except as the probability
can be demonstrated by specific investigations and inferences as to the
interplay of CUES and CONTEXTS or apperception-masses. Moreover, a special
technique is used to study the "fringe."
Reverting for a moment to the sexual interpretations of the Scratch-Reflex
dream that I manufactured by applying the Freudian ready-made symbolism,
and, again, by imitating the constructive fancy of Jung; they must both be
judged as having no merit beyond, perhaps, that of coinciding with inherent
probabilities in the premises. That is, what they purport to reveal might be
made out of whole cloth to fit almost any unmarried man, barring a few
individual adaptations, to suit the known circumstances of the dreamer. As
these interpretations stand, they do not fit the psychogenesis of the dream.
They are rank confabulations on my part; yet they appear to hold water,
Enough has been said to suggest, I think, that while Dr. Freud may be
honored as the father of dream analysis, with Dr. Jung as its foster-father,
yet, to neither of these gentlemen of psycho-analytic fame should be
conceded the right to bring up the "child!" That is a task for the
psychologist, because he can afford to go deeper into normal processes than
has so far been possible in psycho-analytic practice. But he must take
pains to employ those scientific methods which comport the rigorous
application of logic even to the vagaries of dreams, and the rejection of
the argument from mere authority. Of such methods, the exemplars are to be
found only among those writers who today are worthily carrying forward the
mechanistic traditions originated by Descartes. In so far as
psycho-analysts depart from these traditions and, relying on the authority
of their leaders, follow them into metaphysical speculations about the
Libido, and transcendental notions of symbolism, they are wandering on
ground full of pitfalls to common sense.
The question here considered is whether dream interpretations shall
represent the state of the dreamer's mind or the mere fancy of the
interpreter. Criticism is directed at the aprioristic and oftentimes
hit-or-miss practices of the Vienna and Zurich schools of Psycho-analysis.
For illustration, a simple dream is interpreted by the current methods of
Psycho-analysis: first, according to the "reductive method" of Freud, it is
made out as symbolizing an infantile and sexual wish-fulfilment, expressing
a "voyeur" component of the Libido. Secondly, the dream is re-interpreted
by Jung's "constructive method" so as to gloss over the gross Freudian
phallicism. It is now made to mean that the dreamer is impelled to higher
biological duties, namely marriage and professional success.
The plausibility of these interpretations once shown, they are next proved
to be wide of the mark, by the fact that the dream can be more adequately
accounted for in another way, i. e., by a proposed "reconstitutive method."
This method aims to "reconstitute" the dream-thought (both imaged and
imageless) by tracing the wave of nervous excitation from its origin in
primary stimulus-ideas (sensory or psychic) through a specific
apperception-mass into a consequently derived system of secondary images,
which form the manifest dream content. The derivation of the secondary
images must be concretely followed through the authenticated channels of
association--not assumed on the basis of "fixed symbolism," or any other a
The reconstitution of this particular dream illustrates the reductio ad
absurdum of the two previous psycho-analytic "solutions." The fact that
either of them would apparently have satisfied the demands of the problem,
is characterized as an artifact evolved through the interpreter's deliberate
confabulation and forcing of analogy; thus causing the scant data of the
dream to fall into artificial agreement with the preconceived notions of the
Vienna and Zurich schools, respectively. As a guarantee of scientific
accuracy, it is urged that the interpreter trace the process of imageless
thought (Woodworth) back of the dream, and, in particular, seek the meaning
in the Unconscious Settings-of-Ideas (Prince). The reconstitutive method is
the extension of these two formulations from normal and abnormal psychology
into the field of dream analysis, through the study of Individual
Differences (Cattell) and the Application of Logic (Alfred Sidgwick).
It is not denied that Freud's dream theories serve very well to interpret a
considerable proportion of common dreams; but the psycho-analytic technique
embodies a fallacious assumption that there is a transcendental symbolizing
activity in the Unconscious, as it were a language of dreams. This gives
rise to a biased "will to interpret." The alleged meaning may thus often be
the work of the interpreter's mind although not that in the dreamer's mind.
The reconstitutive method brings into relief the trial-and-error character
of the dreaming process: the organism as attempting the physiological
resolution of persisting and unadjusted stimulus-ideas. Psychologically
speaking, the images evoked in the dream are called trial percepts or trial
apperceptions of the stimulus-ideas, corresponding more or less closely to
the latter; not through analogy necessarily, but through mere contiguity, as
the case may be.
In certain cases, the erroneous apperceptions are observed to form a series
of approximations to the correct apprehension of one of the stimulus-ideas
at a time. In other cases, the apperceptive errors may take the form of a
blended reaction to two or more cues, more or less perfectly achieved.
These mechanisms, when they go wrong, as they often do, produce the
incoherency and bizarrerie of the dream; but they do not preclude a
significant reconstitution of the process of which the dream is a
by-product. Such reconstitutions require to be validated by specific tests
and inferences, of such logical character as to bear comparison with the
methodology of other sciences. The psychoanalytic arguments from analogy,
from precedent and from authority are alike to be rejected.
REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. Emerson, R. W., "Demonology," 1839; Vol. X, Complete Works, 1904;
Houghton, Mifflin & Company, Boston.
2. Freud, Sigmund, "Die Traumdeutung;" Three editions, 1900, 1909, 1911;
Franz Deutike, Leipzig und Wien.
3. Same work, A. A. Brill trans., "The Interpretation of Dreams," 1914; The
Macmillan Company, New York.
4. Jung, C. G., "Studies in Psychoanalysis," Psychoanalytic Review and
Monograph, 1914; Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases Company, New York.
5. Internationale Zeitschrift fur Aerztliche Psychoanalyse, Officielles
Organ der Internat. Psychoanalitischen Vereinigung; first number, 1913;
Heller pub., Leipzig und Wien.
6. Jung, C. G., "Psychoanalysis," An address before the Psycho-Medical
Society of London, 1913, August; Transactions of the Society.
7. Prince, M., "The Mechanism and Interpretation of Dreams"--A Reply to Dr.
Jones; Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1910; See especially pp. 248 et seq.
8. Jung, C. G., "Morton Prince, M. D.: 'The Mechanism. etc.,'--A Critical
Treatment;" Jahrbuch fur Psychoanalytischen Forshungen, 1910-11.
9. Freud; See (3) page 81, on symbolical method.
10. Freud, "Ueber den Traum;" translator M. E. Eder, "On Dreams," 1914,
Rebman Co., New York; compare views in (6) with Chapter XII, esp. page 105.
cf. p. 106, "unconscious thinking."
11. Emerson, R. W., "The Poet," Complete Works, Vol. III pp. 34-5.
12. Freud, "Interpretation of Dreams," p. 243.
13. Russell, Bertrand: Lowell Lectures, 1914; Cf. Lect. VIII, pp. 219,
sec. 2, 222, sec. 2; Title, "Scientific Method in Philosophy," Open Court
Publishing Company, Chicago, London.
14. James, William, "Principles . . . .," I, 270; Algebra-analogy; see also
"Fringe," p. 258.
15. Hobbes, Thomas, "Leviathan," Chapt. III.
16. Sidgwick, Alfred, "The Application of Logic," 1910; The Macmillan Co.;
especially pp. 93-94.
17. Delage, Ives, "Une Theorie de Reves," Revue Scientifique, II, July,
18. Prince, "The Unconscious," 1914; The Macmillan Co.; (a) "The Meaning of
Ideas as Determined by Unconscious Settings;" (b) Role of same in phobia:
especially p. 389, footnotes pp. 392-3, 408. Also, Journ. Ab. Psychology;
(a) Oct.-Nov., 1912; (b) Oct.-Nov., 1913.
19. Ebbinghaus, "Abriss der Psychologie;" Max Meyer's version, Cf. pp.
94-5; "Ebbinghaus's Psychology," 1908; D. C. Heath & Co., Boston.
20. "Inventorial Record Forms of Use in the Analysis of Dreams," Jour. Ab.
Psychology, Feb.-Mar., 1914.
21. Descartes, Rene, "Discours de la Methode pour bien conduire sa raison
et chercher la verite dans les sciences;" Leyde, 1637.
22. Spencer, Herbert, "The Physiology of Laughter," 1860; in Essays.
23. Fontenelle, B. le B. de, "Entretiens sur la Pluralite des Mondes,"
24. Freud, "Interpretation of Dreams," pp. 237-9.
25. Freud, "Drei Abhandlungen . . . ," trans.: "Three Contributions to the
Sexual Theory," Monograph, Journ. Nerv. and Mental Dis. Co., New York,
26. Jones, Ernest, "Papers on Psycho-Analysis," Chapter XX; W. Wood & Co.,
27. Prince, "The Unconscious;" doctrine of secondary images.
28. Galton, Francis, "Inquiries into Human Faculty," 1883; Macmillan; see
essays on association, doctrine of blends.
29. James, William, "Principles . . . ;" The Mental Cue, II, 497, 518; for
phrase, "Talks to Teachers," p. ix--118, 1900; Henry Holt & Co., New York.
30. Sherrington, C. S., "Integrative Action of the Nervous System," 1906;
Scribners, New York.
31. Bechterew, W. von, "Objective Psychologie oder Psychoreflexologie,"
1913; from the Russian, B. G. Teubner, Leipzig and Berlin.
Pavlow, "Study of the Higher Mental Functions," British Medical Journal,
32. Ladd & Woodworth, "Elements of Physiological Psychology," 1911; p. 594;
Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.
33. Woodworth, R. S., "A Revision of Imageless Thought," in Psychological
Review, January, 1915; Presidential Address, American Psychological
Association, Philadelphia, 1914, December. See esp. pp. 26-27.
34. Hobbes, "Leviathan," Chapter II; cf. Compound imagination.
35. Freud, "Selected Papers on Hysteria and other Psychoneuroses;" trans.
A. A. Brill, Monograph, Journ. Nerv. and Ment. Dis. Co., 1909, New York; pp.
5, and 177.
36. Spencer's conception of the escapement of nervous excitation is
fundamental in connection with the dream theory here sketched: see the
essays on Laughter and on Music, also many passages in the Synthetic
Philosophy (Biology, Psychology). This conception is not to be confused with
Janet's idea of "derivation," as stated in "Obsessions et Psychasthenie."
The present formulation of the meaning of "apperceptive delay" in dreaming
is based on the neurographic hypothesis, ("The Unconscious," Chapt. V.), and
may be more precisely stated as follows:--
In the given instance, the original or primary neurogram possessed a certain
passive inertia in responding to the stimulus, and it took a relatively long
time for the excitation to raise the neurogic tonus of this primary
neurogram so as to attain the level requisite for conscious imagination. But
it was otherwise with the secondary or sequential neurograms, whose inertia
had already been overcome by the facilitation (Bahnung) of the recent
conversation about scratch-reflexes. For these neurograms to flash their
imaged (conscious) equivalents into the dream-thought, it was enough that
there should be a slight spill-over of excitation from the original
Many examples could be cited from dreams, drowsy states and lapses of
thought, showing the ways in which sequential neurograms produce trial
apperceptions, pending the final revelation, through consciousness, of the
original neurogram. The phenomenon of mental groping, here alluded to, is
familiar in certain aspects; but, as an explanation of cryptic dreams, has
not received the recognition that it deserves. Hence, the trial-and-error
theory of dreams.
37. "Perplex," neologism of the writer; used to indicate a phenomenon
frequent in both normal and psychopathic subjects; to wit, a group of
delimitable stimulus-ideas, persisting as such, and unadjusted--a complex of
persisting and unadjusted stimulus-ideas, demanding resolution; not the same
as "complex" in Psycho-analysis. Cf. Prince's definitions of the varieties
of complexes ("The Unconscious").
A CASE OF POSSESSION
BY DONALD FRASER, M. D., GLASGOW
THE Demonaic possession of the middle ages and of times nearer to our own
was largely hysterical in character, and generally occurred in Epidemics.
It was associated with the more superstitious and emotional side of
religious beliefs, where a real Hell fire and a personal Devil with
attendant Angels or Demons were believed in, and feared, much more intensely
and widely than they are today even amongst the ignorant and superstitious,
while suggestion and contagion played a large part in its spread, as it did
in that other and more hateful form of it known as witchcraft.
Esquirol who wrote clearly about it in his "Maladies Mentales" under the
heading of "Demonomania," spoke of it as being propagated "by contagion,
and by the force of imitation." This was illustrated in the Epidemic of
Loudun, amongst others referred to by him. This epidemic spread to
neighbouring towns menaced all the high Languedoc, but was arrested by the
wisdom of a Bishop, who did this by depriving the movement of its marvellous
elements. In this epidemic form it was in its bodily and mental
manifestations really hysteria with characteristic stigmata and convulsions.
An excellent example of this religious hysteria was presented as recently as
1857 in an epidemic at Morzines in upper Savoy. It began with two little
girls, pious and precocious, who had convulsive attacks. It spread to other
children and then to adults. Amongst the younger of those affected,
ecstasy, catalepsy, and somnambulism were seen, and later, convulsions only;
convulsive attacks returned several times a day. An attack usually began
with yawning, restless movements, the aspects of fear passing into fury with
violent and impulsive movements, with vociferations and cries that they were
lost souls in hell, the mouth-piece of the devil, etc. These attacks would
last from ten minutes to half an hour. A feature of this epidemic was the
absence of coarse and erotic speech or gestures. Between the convulsions
the victims were restless, idle and inattentive, being altered in character
for the worse. In our day such epidemics are represented, though in tamer
fashion, by Revivalism in its more noisy and extravagant eruptions. At all
times, even when such manifestations are not much if at all out of harmony
with ordinary religious feeling and action, there is a tendency to
pathological conditions. Often its subjects, in the words of Professor
James "carry away a feeling of its being a miracle rather than a natural
process, voices are often heard, lights seen, or visions witnessed;
automatic motor phenomena occur; and it always seems after the surrender of
the personal will as if an extraneous higher power had flooded in and taken
possession." These are some of the more striking phenomena of mysticism, and
are also largely pathological being amongst the major symptoms of hysteria.
The history and course of our case illustrated very well this mixed
condition. It has been pointed out that the ecstasies, trances, etc., of
the mystic, while essentially pathological, have the evil effects of such
morbid manifestations modified or largely neutralized by the idealism behind
them, by that measure of true religious faith and feeling which dominates
the whole process in the case at least of the higher mystics. The ore may be
rough and very mixed, but the precious metal is there also, as it was in our
patient, though the divine influence for which she craved was perverted into
that of the "Evil one." In the individual cases described by Esquirol we
recognize a more profound mental disturbance than is shown in the epidemic
or hysterical variety. We indeed see many similar cases in our asylums
though we generally speak of them as Religious Melancholics rather than as
Demonomaniacs. In such cases recovery is slow or may not occur, the patient
passing into a state of chronic mania, or of Dementia. There are other
cases where the religious emotions and ideals are completely subordinated to
or become identified with feelings of fear or remorse, the result of fixed
ideas of a shameful, distressing or frightsome character. A good example of
this condition though essentially hysterical in its nature, is detailed by
Pierre Janet. The patient, a neurotic, respectable business man
thirty-three years of age, a good husband and father, on his return from a
business journey of some weeks' duration is found to have become depressed
and taciturn, and as the days pass his melancholy deepens. At first he would
not speak, but soon when he wished to speak could not, making vain attempts
at articulation. Under the influence of medical ideas suggested to him his
symptoms simulate first Diabetes next Heart disease and his prostration
becomes profound. By and bye he passes into a state only to be described as
acute Demonomania marked by maniacal outbreaks in which he cried out and
blasphemed, lamenting in quieter intervals his powerlessness to resist the
Devil who was, he believed, actually not figuratively within him, who spoke
and blasphemed through him, prevented him sleeping, etc. After some months
he was sent to the Salpetriere where he came under the observation of
Charcot and Pierre Janet. He was cured by means of suggestion by the
latter, who also ascertained by his methods that the illness was the result
of remorse for an offence committed during the business journey which
preceded the outbreak.
 For a detailed account of it see the "Dictionary of Psychological
Medicine" under the heading "Demonomania."
 The Varieties of Religious Experience; William James p. 228.
 "Nevroses et Idees Fixes" Vol. I, p. 377.
In many ways our case differs from cases of this type. An important
difference was in the intermittent character of the symptoms. For a period
of two years the patient alternated between a condition of acute misery from
the delusion that the evil one had entered into her body, and one of
apparent sanity. At the end of two years she was dismissed cured, and has
remained well for several years. She differed also in the absence of
blasphemous, extravagant or obscene speech or action. The Devil never at any
time used her as the mouthpiece for devilish words or thoughts. He was
there, and as she insisted, in bodily form within her, making her intensely
miserable by his presence, and with the feeling that she was cast away from
"grace" and the privileges of the religious life. Nor were there, as in the
case above referred to shameful or remorseful complexes at the root of her
mental condition. In presenting the facts of the case, names and special
marks of identification have been altered.
Mrs. A., a widow, aged fifty-two years, was admitted to the Paisley District
Asylum in 1910 with a history of having suffered for a month previously from
mental depression said to be due to distressing delusions of a religious
character such as that she was lost, was past forgiveness and dominating and
originating all such thoughts was the belief that she was possessed by Satan
or an evil spirit, who was in bodily form within her. This delusion caused
her acute misery, and so absorbed her thoughts that she had ceased to take
any interest in her household affairs, and had even talked of suicide.
Her condition on admission and for two years subsequently was that of
recurring states of this acute mental distress, when she would rock to and
fro, moaning and crying out, often with tears over her lost and dreadful
state, and the presence in her inside of Satan or the "Evil one" whom she
said she felt within her, and who made her "repulsive." This condition was
varied with intervals of usually from one to three days of apparently
complete sanity, when though quiet and somewhat reserved in manner, she was
quite cheerful. When questioned at such times as to her delusion, she would
admit its absurdity, but refer to an uneasy sensation in the region of the
left hypochondrium, which, as she put it, surely meant that there was
something wrong there. She would be occasionally normal in this way for a
week or more, and on more than one occasion was so well as to be allowed out
on parole, but had often to be brought back next day as depressed and
delusive as ever. She was always worse in the mornings, and often improved
as the day went on. She was a stout, pleasant featured and intelligent
woman, somewhat anaemic, and with a slight bluish tinge of lips, though
beyond a lack of tone in sounds, the heart was normal. Her anaemic condition
was accounted for by her having suffered from menorrhagia for the greater
part of two years, which only stopped a few months before her admission to
the Asylum. It had during its continuance brought on breathlessness on
exertion, and what she called spasms or "grippings at the heart," no doubt
the basis of her uneasy feelings in left hypochondrium. There was a slight
enlargement of the thyroid gland, but no symptoms referable to it. None of
these physical conditions beyond the "grippings at the heart" it maybe,
appeared to have any appreciable influence on her mental condition, which as
has been noted above was normal until a month before her admission. An
interesting feature of the case was the relation between her blood pressure
and her varying mental states. Her blood pressure was taken with a Riva
Rocci Sphygmomanometer morning and evening, sometimes oftener, during the
greater part of 1912-13, and it was noted that her depressed or delusional
states were marked by a low pressure, while a high or relatively high
pressure marked her sane and cheerful states, contrary to what is usually
observed in melancholia, though similar to what is seen in agitated
melancholia and mania. Thus at a pressure of 130" HGs, she was generally
very well; at or about 120" HGs she was often well; at 110" HGs or 100" HGs
she was always ill. When recovering, and few weeks before dismissal there
was a fairly steady pressure of 118" HGs to 120" HGs day after day. It had
been also noted throughout, that during a continuous period of depression,
or of well-being, the pressure kept steadily high or low day after day
according to the mental condition. There was obviously then a constant and
close relationship between her blood pressure and her mental states. At
first sight it looked as though those states were directly affected by the
varying pressure as it may have influenced the nutrition and therefore the
functions of the brain, and on physiological grounds it is difficult to
exclude such an influence altogether, even though we come to the conclusion
as we did that the variations followed the emotional conditions, and did not
precede or cause them. The broad general statement has been made that "each
pleasurable emotion raises the general blood pressure and increases the
blood flow through the brain and each painful emotion: brings about the
opposite result." It cannot be said, however, that increased blood
pressure will give pleasurable emotion. The splanchnic area can be acted on
so as to raise the blood pressure without influencing the emotions. We know
also that when it is raised in melancholia the increased pressure is
associated with the reverse of pleasurable emotion. Still on therapeutical
as well as on other grounds it appeared to us important to determine what,
if any, influence the raising of her blood pressure by drugs or otherwise
would have on her mental state. We did this by baths, by abdominal pressure
by means of a large sand-bag laid over the abdomen, and by such drugs as
adrenalin and pituitrin. The results were disappointing so far as therapy
was concerned though of interest otherwise. The pressure was raised by all
these measures without any improvement following such as occurred when it
rose naturally. The rise by abdominal pressure was marked and occurred
quickly, but without any apparent effect on her mental condition. When it
was raised to 140"HGs under the influence of pituitrin there was marked
depression as is shown in the chart for July, 1912. Pituitrin given in m.
v. hypodermically three times a day, and after some days in larger doses by
the mouth, kept the pressure between 125" HGs and 130" HGs, but with no
corresponding mental improvement. For some days after the pituitrin was
stopped its influence seemed to persist as the pressure kept high while the
mental condition was low. One of her longest spells of continuous mental
depression which lasted for twenty-seven days, occurred while her pressure
was high under the influence of adrenalin. Digitalis, by the way, had no
influence in any way on either her blood pressure or her mental condition.
The only drug we found of any value was tinctopii in moderate doses three
times a day, but it gradually ceased to do any good.
 Maurice Craig, Lancet June 25, 1898.
 Leonard Hill, "Cerebral Circulation" p. 74.
Four charts from a very large number are given which illustrate the above
It must be understood that these experiments while accurate so far as they
go, and carefully conducted under my supervision by a competent assistant,
were not made in a well appointed laboratory, but were clinical observations
made in the crowded ward of a hospital for the insane. The central
disturbance here was the result of shock from sudden and excessive fear
acting on a highly sensitive subject as will appear later. It has been
shown by Cannon that such major emotions as fear, rage, or pain acting
upon the adrenal glands through the autonomic nervous system are accompanied
by an increased discharge of adrenalin into the blood, and by a passing of
stored glycogen from the liver for circulation through the body as dextrose,
the object of which is the increasing and liberation of muscular energy for
the animal's successful flight or fight. This discharge takes place very
quickly, and we are told that fright exhausts the adrenal glands, a somewhat
puzzling statement at first sight, but borne out by the experience of our
case where a fall of pressure occurred under the paralyzing effect of
extreme fear and distress continued not merely for minutes but for hours at
a time. By and bye as her distress lessened and her expression of it became
more and more automatic, there was a return to the normal adrenal discharge
and consequent normal rise in pressure. It is possible, of course, that
there may be another explanation in the inhibition of metabolism caused by
fear. Most of us have experienced the arrest of salivation and digestion
under the influence of fear or rage. This inhibition would affect the
products upon which the adrenal secretion depends, but the more likely cause
is where this fear, in this case really a recurring representation of the
original shock, acts through the autonomic nervous system on the adrenal
glands. The emotional disturbance here then was primarily of central origin,
and was certainly not originated by circulatory or visceral changes which
were secondary to it, and the facts do not support the James, Lange theory
of the emotions as it is generally understood. In this connection we may
refer very briefly to the laboratory experiments of Sherrington and
Bechterew. The former by spinal and vagal transection in a dog removed
"completely the sensation of the viscera, of all the skin and muscle behind
the shoulder. The procedure at the same time cuts from connection with the
organs of consciousness the whole of the circulatory apparatus of the body.
Yet the dog exhibited rage, fear, disgust, etc., under appropriate stimuli
as a normal dog might do." The conclusion reached after admitting possible
objections to them is that, "the vasomotor theory of the production of
emotion becomes, I think untenable, also that visceral presentations are
necessary to emotion." Bechterew, discussing this question as to whether the
vascular changes are anterior to the other processes, which determine the
alterations of the neuropsychic tone according to the James, Lange theory,
states that the experiments in his laboratory by Dr. Serenewsky, appear to
lead to an opposite conclusion having shown that under the effects of fear
the alteration of the neuropsychic tone is produced before the appearance of
the cardiovascular phenomena. There are no doubt objections to accepting
laboratory experiments upon inferior animals as conclusive where the psychic
part of the process in question is after all the dominant one, nor must we
forget that biochemical changes may be as important as the integrity of
nerves. We have however referred to these experiments because of their
bearing on the conclusions to be drawn from the above described clinical
facts which so far as the initiation of the emotional process is concerned
confirm them; though we feel that the bodily concomitants of the emotion are
essential to its full development, and that we owe much to James's
presentation of his theory even admitting its "slap dash" character to
use his own phrase. It was to be expected that the artificially raised blood
pressure would have had some effect in improving the patient's mental
condition, and in the case of adrenalin, at any rate, some such effect
should have occurred if we are to accept the recently published conclusions
of Crilel to the effect that "adrenalin causes increased brain action,"
"that brain and adrenalin action go hand in hand, that is, that the adrenal
secretion activates the brain, and that the brain activates the adrenals."
More in harmony with the clinical experiences here is the fact according to
Biedl "that the adrenalin affects the intracranial and the pulmonary
vessels only slightly if at all." We presume that what is true of adrenalin
in this respect will be true of all drugs which increase blood pressure. And
while the rise of the arterial pressure generally will accelerate the flow
of blood through the brain, yet we know that the cerebral circulation is in
"all physiological conditions, but slightly variable." Besides, while
that increased flow must necessarily lead to increased cerebral activity,
that activity may be pathological as well as physiological, as in our
patient, who was quite uninfluenced mentally by the rise of blood pressure
which followed the administration of those drugs. The nature and genesis of
the emotional disturbance in this case may be understood from the following
history and observations.
 The interrelations of emotion as suggested by W. B. Cannon. Recent
physiological researches, The American Journal of Psychology, April, 1914.
 The Integration of the Nervous System--Sherrington.
 Bechterew "La psychologic objective," p. 312.
 Psychological Review, Vol. I, where Prof. James admits the defective
presentation of his theory and uses the above words to express it. He gives
all due importance to the associated memories, and ideas to which are
related the incoming currents as well as all pleasure and pain tone
connected with them, etc.
 S. W. Crile, "The Origin and Nature of the Emotions," 1915.
 Biedl innere secretion--Quoted by Cannon, 2 ed. 1913.
 Leonard Hill--The Cerebral Circulation.
She had married happily at the age of nineteen years, had a family of eight
children, but had been a widow for about twenty years. Her husband died
suddenly abroad, where she had lived with her family for two years after his
death, and acting on the advice of her friends, she came back to this
country bringing all her children with her. This involved her in years of
struggle and anxiety to bring them up creditably, which she managed to do.
During all these years of widowhood and stress she was mentally well, and
latterly she described her life as a happy one surrounded as she was by an
affectionate and well doing family. She had been brought up in a puritan
household. Her father and her husband had been deeply and consistently
religious though strict in their belief and observance of the letter. This
upbringing favoured a natural tendency towards religious mysticism which was
also promoted by the creed of the church to which she latterly belonged, and
of which she was a deaconess. In this church the "gift of tongues" and of
"prophesying" was recognized as a part of its heritage, and as she informed
me in one of her normal times, she occasionally spoke or prophesied in the
public assemblies of the congregation. I gathered that her utterances were
generally but a word or two of exhortation or pious aspiration, given
expression to in a moment of exaltation. From her description of her state
at such times, she was carried out of herself, was oblivious for the moment
of the presence and actions of those about her, was in short in a state of
ecstasy when she "prophesied." A natural tendency to self-depreciation, and
to ideas of unworthiness asserted themselves outside of those periods of
exaltation, which were generally followed by doubts as to her fitness to
take part in such work, and by the feeling as she expressed it "that she had
presumed as she was unworthy," and that God would be angry with her for her
presumption. Throughout her religious life she had been always lacking in
"assurance." Latterly this feeling had grown in her and was evidently part
of a deeper feeling of mental depression, as she began to think often, and
with a feeling of dread that she had been surely too happy these later years
which stood in such contrast to the poverty, struggles and disappointments
of the early years of her widowhood. This was her mental condition for some
little time before her attack of acute mental disturbance which began one
night a month before admission to the asylum. She went to bed feeling ill
and shivering as if from a chill. In the middle of the night she woke up in
a fright from a vivid dream the contents of which merged in a strong
sensation as of a hand being pressed on her shoulder. She described the
sensation as being that of a positive feeling of pressure, and with it came
a feeling of dread, and the conviction that it was the hand of Satan, so
that she cried out aloud to him to go out of the house, as it was blessed,
referring to the fact, as is the custom in her church that the minister had
blessed the house when she went to live in it. She thought of calling to
her daughter who was asleep near her, but did not, and after a time fell
asleep again being "comforted by the feeling that the Lord would take care
of her." Next morning the effects of the "chill" had passed off, but there
was left a more or less constant feeling of vague dread and fear of death,
and with this a haunting idea born of this strongly felt hallucination of
external touch that Satan was within her. The feelings of dread and fear
grew steadily and became too strong for her faith in the Lord taking care of
her, and very quickly her obsession as to possession by Satan, became the
definite delusion it was on admission to the asylum. Hallucinations of what
might be termed internal touch leading to this idea of possession, are not
unknown in the annals of mysticism of the more morbid types of it. Indeed
the more ecstatic the mystic becomes, the more he merges himself in his
feelings and tends to develop hallucinatory sensations. He is possessed, and
desires to be possessed, fortunately for him, by the Divine and not the evil
spirit. Hallucinations of external touch are as might be expected more
rare, though not uncommon we understand in the more abnormal types, and
occur in people supposed to be normal. Havelock Ellis tells of a "Farmer's
daughter who dreamt that she saw a brother, dead some years, with blood
streaming from his fingers. She awoke in a fright and was comforting herself
with the thought that it was only a dream when she felt a hand grip her
shoulder three times in succession. There was no one in the room, the door
was locked and no explanation seemed possible to her. She was very
frightened, got up at once, dressed, and spent the rest of that night
downstairs working. She was so convinced that a real hand had touched her,
that although it seemed impossible, she asked her brothers if they had not
been playing a trick on her. The nervous shock was considerable, and she was
unable to sleep well for some weeks afterwards." The writer's
explanation is:--"it is well recognized that involuntary muscular twitches
may occur in the shoulder, especially after it has become subject to
pressure, and that in some cases such contractions may simulate a touch." In
illustration of this he quotes from the Psychical Society's Report on the
"Census of Hallucination" the case of an overworked, and overworried man
who, a few minutes after leaving a car, had the vivid feeling that someone
had touched him on the shoulder, though on turning round he had found no one
near. He then remembered that on the car he had been leaning on an iron
bolt, and therefore what he had experienced was doubtless a spontaneous
muscular contraction excited by the pressure. Touches felt on awakening in
correspondence with a dream are not so very uncommon. We think as to this
likely enough explanation, that whatever the local sensation may have been,
or however slight, as it probably was, it could only give rise to an
hallucination of having been touched by some external personality when it
was absorbed into, and became a part of a considerable emotional disturbance
as in the case of the girl above referred to, and of my patient, in both
cases associated with a frightsome dream. The illness of the latter began
with a dream, and its continuance was in our opinion, largely due to dreams
of a painful character. During the whole period of her residence it was
noted that she dreamt a great deal, and that they were terrifying or
alarming dreams, and that her bad days were generally preceded by a bad
dream. Notes of her dreams were regularly made, at one time for ten
consecutive nights, and only three of them were so far as she remembered
free from dreams. All of her dreams she described as "awful." Many of them
were of being mixed up with objectionable people who behaved roughly and
used profane language, but, and of this she was very certain, who never
talked or acted obscenely. She frequently dreamt of being on high
precipitous places from which she was either falling, or could not get away
from. She described one vivid dream during which she suffered great misery,
and awoke from in great distress. She dreamt that she was listening to a
preacher with open Bible in his hand, that he spoke about Peter whom he was
accusing of disobedience; a number of people were present but she saw
particularly only one man who looked very happy; the sermon ended, and she
awoke in "agony," this feeling being due, she said, to the conviction
present with her, that the sermon, and the man's happiness were intended to
show her how much she had lost since she was cut off from "grace" by Satan
dwelling in her body. Again she dreamt of a near relative whom she heard
singing, "And they all speak in tongues to magnify the Lord." This brought
sorrow to her of which she was conscious during the dream and after she
awoke as she thought Satan was putting this before her to show her what she
had lost. In another dream she saw three unpleasant looking men talking
together. The worst looking of them of Jewish appearance, came close to her
face, and argued with her about the evil spirit. She said "he was in her
body," and he answered "away with him." She fell asleep and dreamt the same
dream again. These dreams were obviously governed by her dread and fear as
to her religious position. The following one is somewhat different:--"A big
brown beast came up to her and pressed against her face; she slept again and
dreamt she was in a big ship sailing in black and dirty water; that she
tried hard to get out of the ship, but could not, and awoke in great
distress." We presume Freudians would find in the latent content of all
these dreams, particularly in this last one, evidence in favour of their
positions, though to us they reveal only, in the blurred and broken way
dreams do, the prevailing trend of thoughts governed by morbid religious
fears and garbed in the phraseology and symbolism of a judaic faith. The
sameness of their ending and meaning to her being obviously due to their
relation to the dream which ushered in her illness to which indeed most of
them were closely related in geneses and content. No doubt Freudian
psychoanalysis would be able to carry her memory back into the region of
long forgotten infantile or early sex memories where, as in every normal
human being they lie, the shadowy outlines of instinctive feelings whose
roots are in a far away, phylogenetic past, having apart from suggestion no
role as factors in the production of morbid fears or fancies. The
fantastical and too often repulsive dream interpretations of this school
forcibly remind us of the words of Lord Bacon, "With regard to the
interpretation of natural dreams it is a thing that has been laboriously
handled by many writers, but it is full of follies." All kinds of trivial
incidents of childhood and early youth are stored up by all of us, and are
recalled in sudden and unexpected ways, but not because of any relaxation of
a supposed "censor," nor necessarily because of any content of a sex nature,
but because they are more often than not associated with fear, chief of the
coarser emotions, and a more primitive and more enduring emotion than any of
those connected with reproduction, and more alien to the organism than sex
memories even of a perverse order, their resurrection being due to some
subtle association between the present and the past, generally a sensory
one, visual or auditory most frequently. In our own case the earliest
recollections of childhood are so associated and recollected. Sunshine
amongst trees, and birds singing bring back to us at very long intervals a
country scene where as a child we were frightened by threats of a "bogie
man." The only childish incidents which unexpectedly recur with us were
associated with childish fears and disappointments of a usual and ordinary
character never with morbid elements or emotional complexes which were
repressed or censored in the Freudian sense, and in this we are not
"The World of Dreams," p. 182.
Again and again, association tests, as prescribed by Jung, and repeated
examinations of a psychological character were made without our being able
to obtain the slightest indication of their being erotic or similar
influences of the slightest value as factors in the causation of her mental
disturbance. The chief value of Jung's Tests we have found to be the
suggestion of lines of inquiry or the confirmation of evidence obtained in
other ways. The results here were negative and in that confirmed what we
knew from the history and character of our patient as a pure minded woman of
blameless life. She was constitutionally timid, and all her life liable to
doubts and fears of a morbid type. As an instance of this she told us that
when twelve years of age while influenced by the death of her step-mother,
which had just taken place, one morning early her father went out to his
work leaving her in bed, and alone in the house. Immediately after he left
she heard or more likely thought she heard, someone lift the latch of the
door, as if to come in, but though no one came in she was left in a state of
great fear, so marked that for long afterwards she dreaded being left alone,
and still remembers vividly her feelings during that experience. This
temperament she carried into her religious life which as we have seen was
marked by fears and doubts. "No one will deny that fear is the type of
asthenic manifestations. Yet is it not the mother of phantoms of numberless
superstitions, of altogether irrational and chimerical religious
practices." The strength and character of her beliefs as well as the
religious teachings and influences to which she had been subjected from her
earliest years, all tended to develop the mystical in a temperament ready
for the dissociation necessary to enable the mystic to attain to that
ecstasy or absorption in something outside and beyond the self which is the
essence of that state. Why the ecstasy which she knew and desired should
pass into its opposite is not difficult to understand when the above history
 Ribot "The Creative Imagination." p. 34.
The shock which originated the attack gave form and reality to fears and
doubts which had been assailing her for some time, and to the influence of
which she was specially liable at this time by the lowered physiological
tension, the result of her previous menorrhagia, and by the fact that the
comparative ease and comfort of her later life had given her opportunities
for introspection absent during her previous life of struggle for and
interest in others. She was then scrupulous, timid and superstitious, a
mystical, a psychopathic temperament, taking her place all the same with
John Bunyan and other chief of sinners whose self-depreciation and
absorption in the struggle for salvation from sin and the power of the
Devil, though morbid in character was not pathological. But when Satan
became not merely a spirit influencing her, but had entered bodily into her,
the border was crossed, and she was to herself literally possessed, and
became filled with fear, a fear pathological in action, dominating her
mentally and physically during her dissociated states. Once initiated it is
not difficult to see how these dissociated states which recurred so
regularly and persisted so long were kept up by her temperament, and her
constantly recurring dreams of a terrifying or depressing character, which
were, as we have already indicated, but representations of the original
shock. The following quotation applies closely to her case. "On this view an
intense, sudden painful experience, especially if the significance of it can
be dimly felt, but not understood, may persist long and latently
unassimilated by the central consciousness and without fusion with it,
almost as if it were a foreign body in the psychic system." Professor
James has termed the pathological emotion an objectless emotion, but as
Professor Dewey puts it "from its own standpoint it is not objectless; it
goes on at once to supply itself with an object, with a rational excuse for
being." Here the sensations in the left hypochondrium which she had
described as "grippings at the heart," became the object which, under the
influence of the initial shock with its unusual and alarming sensations and
feelings, she interpreted as she did.
 Stanley Hall on Fear--The American Journal of Psychology, April 1914.
 Psychological Review, Vol. I, page 562.
Her recovery was very gradual and marked by many relapses. In her treatment
as in our ideas as to the causation of the disorder, we put the accent on
the psychic rather than on the physical factors. We did not however
underrate the latter but constantly sought to improve her bodily health and
condition. When at her worst in 1911 her weight, taken monthly, was round
about one hundred and sixty pounds. In 1912 it went up from one hundred and
sixty-six to one hundred and eighty-eight pounds and averaged one hundred
and seventy-six pounds. But as in the case of her blood pressure, the rise
was due largely to her mental improvement. It may be of interest to note
here that during and after a somewhat severe attack of diarrhoea with
hemorrhage from the bowels, her mental condition was better than usual, as
might even have been expected considering the mental distraction the attack
We were satisfied that we could have shortened materially the duration of
her illness--two years,--by hypnotic suggestion, but unfortunately her
friends objected to this mode of treatment. Suggestion in the waking state
had been abundantly used, but with little apparent effect of an immediate
THE SEX WORSHIP AND SYMBOLISM OF PRIMITIVE RACES
BY SANGER BROWN II., M. D.
Assistant Physician--Bloomingdale Hospital
PLANT AND FLOWER SYMBOLISM
A number of plant and flower symbols have a different significance from that
which is generally given to them. We are all quite familiar with the grape
vine of Bacchus and the association of that deity with grapes. According to
R. P. Knight, this too, symbolizes a sexual attribute. Speaking of Bacchus,
he writes, "The vine was a favorite symbol of the deity, which seems to have
been generally employed to signify the generative or preserving attribute;
intoxicating liquors were stimulative, and therefore held to be aphrodisiac.
The vase is often employed in its stead to express the same idea and is
often accompanied by the same accessory symbol."
We have often seen in sculptures and paintings, heads of barley associated
with the God of the Harvest. This symbol would appear to be self
explanatory; yet we are told by more than one writer that it contains
another symbolic meaning as well. H. M. Westropp, speaking of this says,
"The kites or female organ, as the symbol of the passive or productive power
of nature, generally occurs on ancient Roman Monuments as the Concha
Veneris, a fig, barley corn, and the letter Delta." We are told that the
grain of barley, because of its form, was a symbol of the vulva.
A great many other female symbols might be mentioned. The pomegranate is
constantly seen in the hands of Proserpine. The fig-cone is carried by the
Assyrian Baal, and the fig in numerous processions has a similar
significance. When we add to these the various forms of tree worship
described above, we see to what an extent the products of nature were used
as symbols in the worship of sex.
Among flower symbols there is one which recurs constantly throughout the art
and mythology of India, Egypt, China, and many other Eastern countries. This
is the lotus, of which the Easter lily is the modern representative. The
lotus appears in a number of forms in the records of antiquity. We have
symbolic pictures of the lion carrying the lotus in its mouth, doubtless a
male and female symbol. The deities of India are depicted standing on the
lotus, or are spoken of as being "born of the Lotus." "The Chinese,"
says the author of Rites and Ceremonies, "worship a Goddess whom they call
Puzza, and of whom their priests give the following account;--they say that
'three nymphs came down from heaven to wash themselves in the river, but
scarce had they gotten in the water before the herb lotus appeared on one of
their garments, with its coral fruit upon it. They were surprised to think
whence it could proceed; and the nymph upon whose garment it was could not
resist the temptation of indulging herself in tasting it. But by thus eating
some of it she became pregnant, and was delivered of a boy, whom she brought
up, and then returned to heaven. He afterwards became a great man, a
conqueror and legislator, and the nymph was afterwards worshipped under the
name of Puzza.' " Puzza corresponds to the Indian Buddha.
 O'Brien: The Round Towers of Ireland.
In Egyptian architecture the lotus is a fundamental form, and indeed it is
said to he the main motive of the architecture of that civilization. The
capitals of the column are modelled after one form or other of this plant.
That of the Doric column is the seed vessel pressed flat. Earlier capitals
are simple copies of the bell or seed vessel. The columns consisted of
stalks of the plant grouped together. In other cases the leaves are used as
ornaments. These orders were copied by the Greeks, and subsequently by
We may ask ourselves, what is the meaning of this mystic lotus which was
held in sufficient veneration to be incorporated in all the temples of
religion, as well as in myths of the deity. This, too, refers to the
deification of sex. O'Brien, in the "Round Towers of Ireland" states, "The
lotus was the most sacred plant of the Ancients, and typified the two
principles of the earth fecundation,--the germ standing for the lingam; the
filaments and petals for the yoni."
R. P. Knight states, "We find it (the lotus) employed in every part of the
Northern Hemisphere where symbolical worship does or ever did prevail. The
sacred images of the Tarters, Japanese or Indians, are all placed upon it
and it is still sacred in Tibet and China. The upper part of the base of
the lingam also consists of the flower of it blended with the most
distinctive characteristics of the female sex; in which that of the male is
placed, in order to complete this mystic symbol of the ancient religion of
the Brahmans; who, in their sacred writings, speak of Brahma sitting upon
his lotus throne."
Alexander Wilder, states that the term "Nymphe" and its derivations was
used to designate young women, brides, the marriage chamber, the lotus
flower, oracular temples and the labiae minores of the human female.
 The Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology.
The lotus then, which is found throughout antiquity, in art as well as in
religion, was a sexual symbol, representing to the ancients the combination
of male and female sexual organs. It is another expression of the sex
worship of that period.
Our present conventional symbols of art are very easily traced to ancient
symbols of religion. We may expect these to be phallic in their meaning, to
just the extent that phallicism was fundamental in the religions where these
symbols originated. From the designs of some of the ornamental friezes of
Nineveh, we find these principles illustrated. On those bas-reliefs is
found the earliest form of art, really the dawn of art upon early
civilization. Here is the beginning of certain designs which were destined
to be carried to the later civilizations of Greece, Rome and probably of
Egypt. These friezes show the pine cone alternating with a modified form of
the lotus: the significance of which symbols we have explained. There are
also shown animal representations before the sacred tree or grove, a phallic
symbol. From these forms and others were designed a number of conventional
symbols which were used throughout a much later civilization. (See "Nineveh
and Its Remains." A. Layard.)
One sees in the religions of antiquity, especially those of India, Assyria,
Greece and Egypt, a great number of sacred animal representations. The Bull
was sacred to Osiris in Egypt, and one special animal was attended with all
the pomp of a god. At one time in Assyria the god was always associated with
a sacred animal, often the goat, which was supposed to possess the qualities
for which the god was worshipped. Out of this developed the ideal animal
creations, of which the animal body and the human head and the winged bulls
of Nineveh are examples. The mystic centaurs and satyrs originated from this
source. At a later time the whole was humanized, merely the horns, ears or
hoofs remaining as relics of the animal form.
We learn that in these religions the animal was not merely worshipped as
such. It was a certain quality which was deified. The Assyrian goat
attendant upon the deity, was in some bas-reliefs, not only represented in
priapic attitudes, but a female sexual symbol was so placed as to signify
sexual union. We shall show later that certain male and female symbolic
animals were so placed on coins as to symbolically indicate sexual union.
An animal symbol which has probably been of universal use is that of the
snake or serpent. Serpent worship has been described in almost every
country of which we have records or legends. In Egypt, we find the serpent
on the headdress of many of the Gods. In Africa the snake is still sacred
with many tribes. The worship of the hooded snake was probably carried from
India to Egypt. The dragon on the flag and porcelain of China is also a
serpent symbol. In Central America were found enormous stone serpents
carved in various forms. In Scandinavia divine honors were paid to serpents,
and the druids of Britain carried on a similar worship.
Serpent worship has been shown by many writers to be a form of sex worship.
It is often phallic, and we are told by Hargrave Jennings that the serpent
possibly was added to the male and female symbols to represent desire. Thus,
the Hindu women carried the lingam in procession between two serpents; and
in the sacred procession of Bacchus the Greeks carried in a sacred casket
the phallus, the egg, and a serpent.
The Greeks also had a composite or ideal figure. Rays were added to the
head of a serpent thereby bringing it into relation with the sun god Apollo;
or the crest or comb of a cock was added with similar meaning.
Many reasons have been offered to explain why the serpent has been used to
represent the male generative attribute. Some have called attention to its
tenacity of life; others have spoken of its supposed mystic power of
regeneration by casting its skin. Again, it seems probable that the form is
of symbolic significance. However this may be, we find that this universal
serpent worship of primitive man was a form of phallicism so prevalent in
Many other animals may be mentioned. The sacred bull, so frequently met
with in Egypt, Assyria and Greece, was a form under which Bacchus was
worshipped. R. P. Knight speaks as follows; "The mystic Bacchus, or
generative power was represented under this form, not only upon coins but
upon the temples of the Greeks; sometimes simply as a bull; at other times
as a human face; and at others entirely human except the horns and ears."
We would probably be in error to interpret all these animal symbols as
exclusively phallic although many were definitely so. Thus, while Hermes was
a priapic deity, he was also a deity of the fields and the harvests; so the
bull may have been chosen for its strength as well as its sexual attributes.
There are many animals which were symbolic of the female generative power.
The cow is frequently so employed. The Hindus have the image of a cow in
nearly every temple, the deity corresponding to the Grecian Venus. In the
temple of Philae in Egypt, Isis is represented with the horns and ears of a
cow joined to a beautiful woman. The cow is still sacred in many parts of
Africa. The fish symbol was a very frequent representative of woman, the
goddess of the Phoenicians being represented by the head and body of a woman
terminating below in a fish. The head of Proserpine is frequently surrounded
by dolphins. Indeed, the female principle is regularly shown by some
representative of water; fire and water respectively being regarded as male
and female principles.
Male and female attributes are often combined on coins for purposes of
sexual symbolism. R. P. Knight explains these symbols as follows; "It
appears therefore that the asterisk, bull, or minotaur, in the centre of a
square or labyrinth equally mean the same as the Indian lingam,--that is the
male personification of the productive attribute placed in the female, or
heat acting upon humidity. Sometimes the bull is placed between two
dolphins, and sometimes upon a dolphin or another fish; and in other
instances the goat or the ram occupy the same situation. Which are all
different modes of expressing different modifications of the same meaning in
symbolical or mystical writings. The female personifications frequently
occupy the same place; in which case the male personification is always upon
the reverse of the coin, of which numerous instances occur in those of
Syracuse, Naples, Tarentum, and other cities." By the asterisk above
mentioned the writer refers to a circle surrounded by rays, a sun symbol of
male significance. The square or labyrinth is the lozenge shaped symbol or
yoni of India.
The above interpretations throw much light on the obscurity of the animal
worship of antiquity. This explains the partly humanized types, and the
final appearance of a human deity with only animal horns remaining, as
representing the form under which the deity was once worshipped. The satyrs,
centaurs, and other animal forms are all part of these same representations
and are similarly explained.
Our main object in giving the above account of these various symbols has
been to illustrate the wide prevalence of sex worship among primitive races.
Another end as well has been served; our study gives us a certain insight
into the type of mind which evolves symbolism, and so a few remarks on the
use of symbolism as here illustrated are not inappropriate.
We feel that while this symbolism may indicate a high degree of mechanical
skill in execution, it does not follow that it expresses either deep or
complicated intellectual processes. In fact, we are inclined to regard such
symbolism as the indication of a comparatively simple intellect. It appears
obscure and involved to us, because we do not understand the symbols. From
those which we do understand, the meaning is graphically but simply
On coins, bas-reliefs and monuments; we find the majority of these simple
emblems. If the desire is to express the union of male and female
principles, a male symbolic animal is simply placed upon the corresponding
female symbol. Thus, a goat or bull may be placed upon the back of a
dolphin or other fish. This is a graphic presentation but certainly one of a
most simple nature. Sometimes the male symbol is on one side of the coin
and then the female is always on the reverse. Unions are made which do not
occur in nature, and the representation is not a subtle one.
In India, if there was a desire to express a number of attributes of the
deity, another head or face is added or additional arms are added to hold up
additional symbols. In Greece, when the desire was to express the androgyne
qualities of the deity, a beard was added to the female face, or one half of
the statuette represented the male form, the other the female. Such
representations do not indicate great ingenuity, however skillfully they may
SUN WORSHIP AND SUN MYTHS
As is generally known, traces of sun worship are found in almost every
country of which we have a record. In Egypt Ra was the supreme sun god
where there was very elaborate worship conducted in his honor. In Greece
Apollo was attended with similar festivities. In the Norse mythology, many
of the myths deal with the worship of the sun in one form or another. In
England, Stonehenge and the entire system of the Druids had to do with solar
worship. In Central America and Peru, temples to the sun were of amazing
splendor, furnished as they were with wonderful displays of gold and silver.
The North American Indians have many legends relating to sun worship and
sacrifices to the sun, and China and Japan give numerous instances of the
same religion. Sun worship is so readily shown to be fundamental with
primitive races that we will not discuss it in detail at this time, but
rather will give the conclusions of certain writers who have explained its
At the present day, the sun is regularly regarded as a male being, the earth
a female. We speak of Mother Earth, etc.; in former times, the ancients
depicted the maternal characteristics of the earth in a much more material
way. Likewise the sun was a male deity, being often the war god, vigorous
and all powerful. We readily see to what an extent the male sun god was
portrayed in mythology as a human being. In many myths, the god dies during
the winter, reappears in the Spring, is lamented in the Fall, etc., all in
keeping with the changes in the activity of the sun during the different
The moon was associated with the female deity of the ancients. Isis is
accompanied by the moon on most coins and emblems. Venus has the same
symbols. Indeed, the star and crescent of our modern times, of the Turkish
flag and elsewhere, are in reality the sun and crescent of antiquity, male
and female symbols in conjunction. Lunar ornaments of pre-historic times
have been found throughout England and Ireland, and doubtless explain the
superstitions about the moon in those countries. The same prehistoric
ornaments are found in Italy. In the legends of the North American Indians,
Moon is Sun's wife.
The full extent of these beliefs is pointed out by Mr. John Newton in
"Assyrian Grove Worship." Here we see that the ancient Hindus gave a much
more literary relationship between the sun and earth than we are accustomed
to express in modern times. He states, "This representative of the union of
the sexes typifies the divine Sakti, or productive energy, in union with the
pro-creative or generative power as seen throughout nature. The earth was
the primitive pudendum or yoni which is fecundated by the solar heat, the
sun, the primitive linga, to whose vivifying rays man and animals, plants
and the fruits of the earth, owe their being and continued existence."
It is not possible to discuss Sun worship at any length without at the same
time discussing phallicism and serpent worship. Hargrave Jennings, who has
made careful study of these worships, points out their general identity in
the following paragraph. He states: "The three most celebrated emblems
carried in the Greek mysteries were the phallus, the egg, and the serpent;
or otherwise the phallus, the yoni or umbilicus, and the serpent. The first
in each case is the emblem of the sun or of fire, as the male or active
generative power. The second denotes the passive nature or female principle
or the emblem of water. The third symbol indicates the destroyer, the
reformer or the renewer, (the uniter of the two) and thus the preserver or
perpetuater eternally renewing itself. The universality of serpentine
worship (or Phallic adoration) is attested by emblematic sculptures or
architecture all the world over."
The author of the "Round Towers of Ireland" in discussing the symbols of sun
worship, serpent worship and phallicism, found on the same tablet,
practically reiterates these statements. He says: "I have before me the
sameness of design which belonged indifferently to solar worship and to
phallic. I shall, ere long, prove that the same characteristic extends
equally to ophiolatreia; and if they all three be identical, as it thus
necessarily follows, where is the occasion for surprise at our meeting the
sun, phallus and serpent, the constitutent symbols of each, embossed upon
the same table and grouped under the same architrave?"
By a number of references, we could readily show the identity of all these
worships. The preceding paragraphs give, in summary form, the conclusions
of those writers who have made such religions their special study. We shall
not exemplify this further, but will now point out the general relationship
of sun worship to the religious festivals and mythology of the Ancients.
This relationship becomes important when it is appreciated that the sun
worship expressed in the mysteries is also a part of phallicism. On some of
these festive occasions the phallus was carried in the front of the
procession and at other times the egg, the phallus and the serpent were
carried in the secret casket.
ANCIENT FESTIVALS AND MYSTERIES
The Ancients expressed their religious beliefs in a dramatic way on a number
of occasions throughout the year. The festivities were held in the Spring,
Autumn, or Winter. These were to commemorate the activities of the sun, his
renewed activity in the Spring calling forth rejoicing and his decline in
the Fall being the cause of sorrow and lamentation. As well as the
festivities, there were the various mysteries, such as the Eleusinia, the
Dionysia and the Bacchanalia. These were conducted by the priests who
moulded religious beliefs and guarded their secrets. The mysteries were of
the utmost importance and the most sacred of religious conceptions were here
Mythology also gave expression to the religious ideas of the time and we
find that the most important myths, dramatically produced at the religious
festivals, were sun myths.
The annual festivities and mysteries will be discussed together because both
were intended to dramatize the same beliefs. Both were under priestly
control and so were national institutions. The festivals were for the common
people but the mysteries were fully understood only to the initiated.
While no very clear account of the mysteries has been given, a certain theme
seems to run through them all, and this is found in the myths as well. A
drama is enacted, in which the god is lost, is lamented, and is found or
returns amid great rejoicing. This was enacted in Egypt where the
mourning was for Osiris; and in Greece for Adonis, and later for Bacchus.
All these are, of course, sun gods, and the whole dramatization or myth is
in keeping with the activities of the sun.
 The Enactment and Rebirth.
On these occasions, the main object seems to have been to restore the lost
god, or to insure his reappearance. The women took the leading part and
mourned for Osiris, Adonis or Bacchus. They wandered about the country at
night in the most frenzied fashion, avoided all men and sought the god. At
times, during the winter festival, the quest would be fruitless. In the
Spring, when they indulged themselves in all sorts of orgies and
extravagances, Adonis was found.
The underlying motive appears to have been to enact a drama in which the
deity was supposed to exercise his procreative function by sexual union with
the women. This was an ideal which they wished to express dramatically. In
order to realize this ideal obstacles were introduced that they might be
overcome; in the old myth, Adonis was emasculated under a pine tree, and in
Egypt Osiris was similarly mutilated, his sex organs being lost. But at the
festivals it was portrayed that Adonis was found, and in the myth, Osiris
was restored to Isis in the form of Horus (the morning sun). In a number of
myths, the god is said to have visited the earth to cohabitate with the
women, an occurrence which was doubtless desired, in order that the deistic
attributes might be continued in the race. Thus, judging from what we have
been able to learn of this subject, the worship expressed in the mysteries
revolved about sexual union, the desire being to dramatize the continued
activity of deistic qualities.
This character of many of the festivals and mysteries is very evident. In
the Eleusinian mysteries the rape of Persephone by Pluto, the winter god, is
portrayed. The mother, Demeter, mourns for her daughter. Her mourning is
dramatically carried out by a large procession, and this enactment requires
several days. Finally Persephone is restored. The earlier part of the
festival was for dramatic interest, and the real object was the union of
Persephone with Bacchus. "The union of Persephone with Bacchus, i.e., with
the sun god, whose work is to promote fruitfulness, is an idea special to
the mysteries and means the union of humanity with the godhead, the
consummation aimed at in the mystic rites. Hence, in all probability the
central teaching of the mysteries was Personal Immortality, analogue of the
return of the bloom to plants in Spring."
 Dr. Otto Rhyn, Mysteria.
The mysteries of Samothrace were probably simpler. Here the phallus was
carried in procession as the emblem of Hermes. In the Dionysian mysteries
which were held in mid-winter, the quest of the women was unsuccessful and
the festival was repeated in the Spring. The Roman mysteries of Bacchus
were of much later development, and consequently became very debased. Men as
well as women eventually came to take part in the ceremony, and the whole
affair degenerated into the grossest of sexual excesses and perversions.
We have stated what appears to us to have been the underlying motives of the
religious festivals and mysteries; namely, the enactment of a drama in which
the reproductive qualities of the deity were portrayed. The phallus was
carried in procession for this purpose and the women dramatized the motive
as searching for the god. Our account can be regarded as little more than an
outline, but it is sufficient for our present purposes. It indicates that
the mysteries give an expression of phallic worship, just as do the various
monuments of art and religion to which we have referred. It may also be
said that this same worship is represented in what may be termed early
literature, for much of the early mythology deals with the same subject. The
study of origins in mythology, however, cannot be dealt with adequately in
our present communication.
We have now traced the worship of sex, as recorded by the monuments of
antiquity, through its various phases. In its simplest form, the generative
organs are worshipped without disguise; the sexual act also forms a part of
religious ceremonies. Later, a rude symbolism develops. As the race becomes
more advanced, this becomes more elaborate, until finally a considerable
degree of ingenuity and skill are evidenced. The worship of sex is not only
expressed in religious usages, but comes to dominate early art as well; it
is also expressed in mythology, and so we find the same symbolical and
allegorical expressions in early literature. In fact, the deepest thoughts
of primitive races, as expressed in their religion, eventually dominate most
of the customs and usages of every day life.
We may appropriately ask, why did primitive people deify the sexual organs?
This question may be answered when we understand the religious ceremonies of
primitive tribes. The earliest objects worshipped were those which were of
known benefit to man. The Aborigines of Australia have very elaborate
ceremonies which superficially seem meaningless but when understood have a
very definite meaning. This aim is to ensure some certain product of the
earth. If it is a Yam ceremony, an elaborate procedure is carried out
which is supposed to make yams grow. There is a secret ceremonial object
which is a symbol of the yam and which bears to it more or less resemblance.
Other ceremonies are carried out for similar purposes. The meaning of all
these semi-religious performances, as clearly shown by Spencer Baldwin, is
to ensure the benfits which nature gives. This, in brief, explains nature
worship, and were it our object at present, it would be most interesting to
show the peculiar resemblance of these ceremonies to those carried on in sex
 A kind of sweet potato.
As the early races advanced in knowledge, they came to know that the
perpetuation of the race depended upon generative attributes. For this
reason human generative attributes were deified and appropriate ceremonies
were held, just as in the case of nature worship. These are not "lewd
practices," as they are not infrequently called. It is indeed regrettable
that the subject of sex worship has been disregarded by many historians, as
thereby erroneous impressions are given. The facts of nature worship have
always been much better understood and its importance has been realized;
those of sex worship have been less carefully recorded.
The literature and philosophy which we are accustomed to associate with
Greek thought are of a later date. Once such abstract reasoning is possible,
sex worship is no longer seriously entertained. The symbolism remains, but
is, associated now, not so much with religion as with art. Likewise in
India, the early Buddhism, which was sex worship, has changed to the present
day Buddhistic Philosophy, the symbols alone remaining.
From all this we are inclined to believe that in sex worship we are dealing
with important motives in the development of the race. We make no presence
of having exhausted the subject in this communication. The decadence of this
religion, as observed in the early Christian period, and in fact well
through the middle ages, forms a very interesting history. It is not our
purpose, however, to deal with it at present. Likewise, it should be
understood that the motives which we have been discussing are not
necessarily the earliest manifested in racial development; we have a record
of a time in the history of man when the worship of sex had not yet made its
appearance but this period also is not a part of our present topic.
The influence of early racial motives upon present day civilization is a
topic of great interest. Its importance is, in fact, the main object of
studies of this kind. However, we wish our account to be mainly an
historical one, and so will not at present make reference to a number of
applications which arise. We have also refrained from making use of the
modern writings on matters of sex, as we thereby avoid criticism to the
effect that our findings have been drawn from biased sources. We feel that
while the reader may disagree in certain details as here set forth, the
universal appearance of sex worship at a certain stage of racial development
is scarcely to be denied. The writers whom we have cited are all of a former
generation, and they were searching for origins in religion, not in sexual
life; inadvertently they found the latter, in fact could not avoid it, and
so their conclusions are all the more valuable to us.
 For a number of additional references consult New York Library under
Cox, Rev. G. W.: The Mythology of the Aryan Nations.
Deiterich, A.: Mutter Erde.
Fraser, J. G.: Adonis, Attis and Osiris; Balder, the Beautiful; Psyche's
Grosse: The Beginnings of Art.
Higgins, Godfrey: The Anacalypsis; Celtic Druids.
Harrison, Miss Jane: Ancient Art and Ritual; Themis.
Howitt, A. W.: The Native Tribes of South East Australia.
Inman, Dr. Thomas: Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names; Ancient Pagan
and Modern Christian Symbolism.
Jennings, Hargrave: The Rosicrucians; The Indian Religions.
King, C. W: The Gnostics and their Remains; Hand-book of Engraved Gems.
Knight, R. P.: The Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology; Two
Essays on the Worship of Priapus.
Layard, A.: Babylon and Nineveh; Nineveh and its Remains.
Murray, Gilbert: Hamlet and Orestes.
Newton, John: Assyrian Grove Worship.
O'Brien, Henry: The Round Towers of Ireland.
Rawlinson, G.: History of Ancient Egypt; Ancient Monarchies.
Rhyn, Dr. Otto: Mysteria.
Rocco, Sha: Ancient Sex Worship.
Spencer, B.: Native Tribes of the Northern Territory of Australia.
Westropp, Hodder M.: Primitive Symbolism.
Wood, Rev. J. G.: The Uncivilized Races.
(Primitive customs, religious usages, etc.)
Bryant: System of Mythology.
DeGubernatis, Angelo: Zoological Mythology.
Judson: Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes..
Langdon, S.: Tammuz and Ishtar.
Perrot, and Chipiez: History of Art in Phrygia, Lidia, Caria and Lycia;
History of Art in Persia.
Prescott: Conquest of Peru.
Rousselet, Louis: India and Its Native Princes.
Stevens, J.: Central America, Chiapez and Yucatan.
Solas, W. J.: Ancient Hunters.
Wood-Martin: Pagan Ireland.
THE MEANING OF DREAMS. By Isador H. Coriat. Little, Brown and Company,
Boston, 1915, Pages xiv plus 194.
This concise and well written little book hardly needs reviewing for the
readers of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology as all who have followed Dr.
Coriat's writings for the last few years will know at once the nature of the
book and what it contains. His purpose is evidently to give a simple clear
statement of the position of the Freudian school and he accomplishes this
with more than ordinary success. He is lavish in his praises of Freud and
seemingly accepts unquestionably the whole mass of Freudian doctrines. One
searches in vain for the least question or the slightest suggestion that
some of the Freudian concepts might possibly be wrong. Everywhere the words
of Freud and the beliefs of the author are given as absolute, eternal and
unquestionable. He incorporates some of the recent additions to the
Freudian teachings, such as Brill's treatment of the "artificial dream," but
concerning the fundamentals he leaves the original doctrines without
noticeable modification. In discussing the mechanisms of dreams he adds a
fifth to the original four, calling his addition "reinforcement."
Reinforcement is the mechanism by which "the prominent or primary wish of
the dream is reinforced, expressed anew for the purpose of emphasis by means
of a second dream following the first, really a dream within a dream." With
this exception he leaves the original Freudian teachings intact and
unchanged. He says that a dream is the fulfilment of a wish and no
modifications of the statement follow that could possibly make one think he
meant anything else. His definite position is stated as follows: "The term
'wish' in psycho-analysis is very comprehensive and connotes in a broad
sense all our desires, ambitions or strivings." He illustrates his points
by numerous dreams which he has himself analyzed. He will probably meet some
objection from those who are not ardent Freudians concerning some of these
dreams as the interpretation is not always "perfectly clear" as he says it
is to him. Some may say that at least a dozen other interpretations might
just as well and just as logically have been given, but this is the
objection that is raised concerning all Freudian literature. The best
characterization of the book is to say that it is typically Freudian.
(As a side issue, it is interesting to notice how many of the dreams given
relate to the European War. Some one has said that America shows her
concern over the war by the way Americans dream.)
There are two characteristics of the book which are worthy of special
mention and for which Dr. Coriat needs special praise. One of these is that
it is so simply written that the general public can read it and understand
it. No other Freudian publication which the reviewer has seen can boast of
the same simplicity. The other point is that absolutely everything
concerning sex which could possibly be objectionable has been ruled out.
There is not a word or a sentence in the book that a precise maiden lady
need hesitate to read to her Sunday School class or at a pink tea. In doing
this Dr. Coriat has indeed achieved the impossible as all will readily
agree. This book is probably too elementary for the majority of the readers
of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology but it is destined to fill a place
which no previous Freudian publication could ever fill; it is a book for the
general public and the beginner in psychology and for this purpose it is
truly a little gem. RAYMOND BELLAMY. Emory and Henry College.
THE PSYCHONEUROSES AND THEIR TREATMENT BY PSYCHOTHERAPY. By Professor J.
Dejerine and Dr. E. Gauckler. Authorized Translation by Smith Ely Jelliffe,
M.D., Ph. D. J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, Pa.
This book is another instance of the lack of a common nomenclature in
psychopathology. Psychological mechanisms are penetratingly discussed; and
important syntheses are made regarding categories which many American
psychopathologists name differently not to speak of the nomenclature of the
repressionist of Vienna. It seems to the reviewer indeed, that what the
authors call neurasthenia is merely a somewhat complex elaboration of the
psychosis by induction to which Babinski has restricted the name hysteria.
It is true that certain manifestations of this, especially a false
gastropathy, may lead to an increased fatigue, and to this the name
neurasthenic might appropriately be given. But still more often one sees the
appearance of increased fatigue on account of the patient's faulty notion;
and to this the name neurasthenic should certainly not be given.
To place in the same rubric a simple somatic hysteria like a paralysis and
the complications of what are comprised in psychological neurasthenia as so
lucidly described in this book, seems at first sight irrational; but so at
first appeared the placing together of clinical pictures as unlike as
cervical struma, phthisis pulmonalis and ossious caries under the rubric of
tuberculosis, and in a nearer field the synthesis of catatonia, hebephrenia
and cementing paranoia into the rubric of dementia precox. So, recognizing
the accuracy of the beautiful analysis of Professor Dejerine of what he
calls neurasthenia, we venture to assimilate it with the equally true
analysis which Babinski has made of the immediate mechanism of what he
wishes to call pithiatism. It is the condition which we personally term
hysteria, and the mechanism of which we have more especially studied in the
traumatic neuroses and the occupational dyskinesias and some other disorders
incident to the exercise of trade or profession. Indeed, the authors
say:--"One can see that the helmet headache, the pain in the nape of the
neck, and the pain in the spine are frequent among cultivated people and
educated neurasthenics, but much rarer among the others" and he explains
this by saying that these disturbances "are due to the diffusion of the
attention towards obsessions or preoccupations;" and he gives as an example
the reply of a patient "I think of my illness or such vicissitude by which
it was brought about." Indeed, in one place, Professor Dejerine goes so far
as to permit himself to say that the hypochondriac preoccupation itself
constitutes originally a purely intellectual conception, a propos of which,
but secondarily to it the patient really may work up an emotion, but which
is really NOT OF EMOTIONAL ORIGIN, a position first taken and long insisted
upon by the reviewer.
What is this when traced to its source but the mechanism of suggestion? The
portion of the book describing the functional manifestations of the
digestive system is charged with most illuminating instances of
associational mechanism typifying the induction of morbid reactions by
suggestion. No one perusing them can fail to perceive that the psychological
process at work does not differ in principle from that found in the somatic
hysterias, from which therefore their separation seems unjustifiable, and at
the hands of so eminent an author is likely to maintain rather than diminish
present psychological misunderstanding.
The dissimilarity of terms and resemblances of ideas has another
illustration in the reference to energy and the will; here it is clearly
pointed out that the apparent aboulia of the "neurasthenic" is not a lack,
but an unfruitful directing of the will while the Viennese school imply the
same idea in their doctrine of sublimation.
The authors believe that neurasthenia differs from the psychasthenia of
Janet in that the latter is constitutional, and that the obsessions are
secondary, when analysed profoundly, to some pain-bearing contingency which
by the mechanism of association has pervaded the mind and which henceforth
distorts it with subsequent realities. And yet when Dejerine lays stress
upon the fact that badly organized moral hygiene conduces to the emotional
preoccupations which lead to obsessions and which he regards as the
essential characteristics of the neurasthenic constitution, he leaves no
apparent distinction from the psychasthenia of Janet.
"The fundamental distinction of neurasthenia is causation by emotion," but
the authors have not extricated this factor from the role played by
induction either of idea or its secondary emotion. In such a fundamental
matter as anaesthesia for instance, they say: "In our opinion there exist
three classes of hysterical anesthesia. In the first series of facts one may
place the cases due to simulation. In the second group of cases we shall
range the patients in whom the disturbances of sensibility are directly due
to suggestion. Finally there remains a third class of patients in whom the
disturbances of sensibility seem to us to be residual emotional phenomena."
"Emotion is able to suppress sensibility entirely by producing absolute
side-tracking, and that under such circumstances it was really a question of
total anesthesia and not purely psychoanesthesia. When the state has passed
and the emotional cause has disappeared the sensibility may return, but
anesthesia which is preserved may also persist, either by auto-suggestion or
as in the case of the individual who remarks that he felt none of the
various injuries which he has experienced, or it is a question of simple
residual phenomenon independent of all suggestion." And yet, further on, the
authors say that the phenomena of auto-suggestion cannot be separated from
the emotion. All this lacks clarity; and except in the instances of failure
of perception or of auto-suggestion, the mechanism is not intelligibly set
The authors, however, although under the deplorable classification of
neurasthenia or hysteria, depart from the usual therapeutic methods and seek
the cause of the patient's disease outside of the objective symptoms and
declare that the "element of diagnosis lies chiefly in the origin of the
They make much of the assertion that Dr. Weir Mitchell's method of treatment
is based practically upon isolation, rest in bed, over-feeding, douches,
massage and electricity, in fact on purely physical measures and Professor
Dejerine adds: "I was not long in discovering that unless the patient's
state of mind improved, the therapeutic results were far from satisfactory;"
and he gives examples.
But in spite of the objections to the nosology and psychopathological theory
of the authors, there remains nothing but the highest praise for the
presentation of the clinical facts and of the sound advice regarding the
therapy of various functional manifestations, and concerning the role of the
physician in the prophylaxis of the psychogenic neuroses. It is most
desirable that every physician should be aware of the clinical facts which
Professor Dejerine has accumulated in his vast experience. In gynaecology,
gastroenterology, cardiology. and genitounary disease the psychogenetic
affections are ignored by most physicians.
This book will give a better understanding of what every practitioner of
those specialities should be familiar with. TOM A. WILLIAMS.