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It is, however, very suggestive to note the fertilising influence on genetic psychology of the facts which the psycho-analytic method has made available. Varendonck brings out very clearly, for instance, the general genetic significance of the process of repression, in the evolution of the conscious faculties.

An interesting point is his view that in the evolution of mind "the psychic accent has passed from the object to the conscious subject." He bases this on the considerations that "conception is a synthesis in which the psychic accent bears on the mind-whereas in perception it carries on the outer world"; moreover, "wish, and then will, mark the initiative of the ego as definitely taken over from the non-ego"; and, finally, with self-consciousness, "the ego as cause becomes more important than the non-ego." This is, of course, the same phenomenon which other students have described as the progressive integration of mind, which is the special characteristic of the human organism, and which leads to the "gradual independence from the objective reality"; in other words, to the mechanical control of Nature.


Conflict and Dream. By W. H. R. RIVERS, LL.D., F.R.S., with a Preface by G. ELLIOT SMITH, F.R.S. pp. xi + 195. Price 12s. 6d.

Psychology and Politics and other Essays. By W. H. R. RIVERS, LL.D., F.R.S., etc. pp. vii+ 181. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1923. Price 12s. 6d.

From these two volumes we are in a position to estimate the value of Dr Rivers' cautious, methodical approach in the more problematical regions of science. To every question that engaged his mind he brought an attitude of austere doubt. As one reads his guarded, over-careful statements of facts, whose general acceptance would seem to raise them above the sphere of controversy, one cannot but receive an impression that Rivers was putting an almost violent check upon his own ardent and adventurous spirit. His attitude was the product of the logical empiricism of the natural science method of his day. He was in a sense wedded to science, and the human element of faith that was necessarily excluded from his scientific investigations found expression in a strong belief in and loyalty towards the scientific method of which he was so eminent an exponent.

Anyone who has ever had the privilege of personal contact with Rivers must have had a sense of almost tense eagerness, a spiritual radiation, as well as a quick personal sympathy, which gave a meaning to his words greater than their actual content. His personality glowed with a splendour that his reason could never express, and these works, behind their meticulous reasoning and sometimes almost finicky detail, reveal the same ardent spirit and the same deep sense of conflict.

It is, therefore, not without significance that the standpoint which Rivers selected as a basis for the interpretation of dreams was identified with the idea of conflict. The assumption that a dream is the expression of conflict is, of course, an a priori condition of its existence as a natural product, since everything in Nature arises from the conflict of opposing forces. As a spontaneous happening, arising independently of the will, the dream must be regarded as a process of energy, i.e. something emerging from a dynamic opposition, just

as a co-ordinated muscular movement presupposes a certain degree of tension between opposing muscle-groups. Hence the hypothesis which Rivers sets out to prove, and which his dreams naturally bear out, is really granted a priori as a metaphysical postulate. Similarly the wish-hypothesis of Freud is an inadequate restatement of Schopenhauer's "metaphysical will," since libido is constantly 'willing' new forms of expression. But this energy being unconscious and, therefore, wholly independent of conscious will, is at once deprived of its own independent character when interpreted as a wish, i.e. something definitely related to the ego.

It would follow, therefore, that as soon as the dream is recognised as a product of Nature (for it is certainly not the product of human will) both the hypotheses which Freud and Rivers have laboured so well to prove are already granted in the very nature of our existence as natural beings. But it by no means follows that the interpretations based upon these hypotheses are therefore valid. For unconscious 'willing' or tendency may have a quite different objective from that of the conscious, and a state of conflict in the unconscious is not merely an attempt to provide a solution for some problematical situation in the external world. Similarly when Freud relates unconscious tendency to the ego by calling it a 'wish,' he thereby disregards the whole raison d'être of the unconscious as a compensatory function to consciousness.

It would seem that both these standpoints err in attempting to interpret the unconscious product in terms of the conscious function. The unconscious 'standpoint' is not only compensatory but quite often antagonistic to that of the conscious, so that when it is interpreted as a mechanical product of repression, its possible positive value for life is obscured by its obvious negative value for the ego. The wish-hypothesis, therefore, is bound to ignore the possible validity of the unconscious 'standpoint' as such, since it assumes its contents to be merely a disguised and distorted rendering of aborted conscious motives. Similarly in Conflict and Dream there is an assumption that the dream (a product be it remembered of elemental subjective forces) is exclusively concerned with objective events, which clearly belong to the province of consciousness, and the possibility of a subjective interpretation in which the objective factors appear merely as symbols of certain subjective tendencies is entirely disregarded. It is, of course, not disputed that the dream can also bear an objective interpretation, but to ignore the other possibility means a denial of any other reality than the world of objective facts, which is absurd.

Accordingly, neither of these hypotheses can develop an interpretation of the dream which really adds anything of importance to the previous content of consciousness. The explanations are ingenious and often piquant, but they leave us unsatisfied. The dream obviously signifies more than the interpretation. But directly it is conceded that the unconscious individuality might have a point of view and a purpose which are at least as valid as the aims of the egocomplex, the task of relating the conscious standpoint to that of the dream becomes even more important than the effort to make the dream tally with a chosen hypothesis. The former would also appear to be the more scientific attitude. For the latter seems to regard the dream as an interesting specimen to collect and classify, just in so far as it can be shown to bear out the particular hypothesis, whereas the former perceives a living value in the dream, seeking to understand its nature, sense and purpose as a naturalist seeks to comprehend the living thing in relation to its own individual world. That the dreamexperience is manifestly a living process can hardly be denied, since the denizens

of the dream possess spontaneity and individual vitality in a very high degree, and these qualities cannot be explained as mere derivatives or residua of objective experience. The whole question of interpretation would have small significance for us, were it not the expression of a profound human need to relate our conscious experience to that of the dream. To regard the dream, therefore, not as a living experience but as a mechanical product, is to rob it of its essential character, i.e. as an expression of the creative activity of the living process.

The dream-denizens are natural phenomena like the skylark or the alligator, and although we may learn a lot concerning the structure of these creatures by a process of scientific analysis, yet much may also hang upon the way in which we relate our existence to theirs.

A considerable part of Rivers' book is devoted to a careful and damaging criticism of the Freudian formula, but he was himself so conditioned by his own psychological type, that he failed to perceive that the formula he proposed to put in its place is just as arbitrary and one-sided. It is the product of a psychic process which, though certainly gifted with keener powers of criticism, is equally conditioned by a one-sided empiricistic attitude that precludes any appreciation of the prospective or symbolic significance of the dream.

This attitude is a product of the absolutist tendency in science which assumes that absolute cognition is attainable by the empirical route. The more modern school of psychology headed by Jung is based upon the principle of relativity, and maintains that any but a relativist attitude to the psychic process must inevitably lead to a chaos of conflicting hypotheses whose partial validity can be maintained only by fanatical dogmatism.

In his other book, Psychology and Politics, Rivers is on surer ground, although here again his empiricistic standpoint leads him constantly to overvalue the behaviourist method of approaching social and political problems. To take an obvious example, an immense concourse of people lashed into fury by the eloquence of an orator presents a phenomenon whose real nature is not adequately explained by comparing their behaviour with that of a flock of sheep, or by enumerating crude biological analogies in which the conduct of the herd is determined by that of the leader. It is undeniable that such analogies exist, but it is evident that Rivers did not apprehend the inevitable implications of his own argument. For if the analogy holds good, it means that the great collective ideas by which the orator sways his audience have their roots in the deep instinctive levels of the psyche, i.e. in the primordial images of the collective unconscious whose existence Rivers denies. The concept of suggestion upon which he lays so much stress, merely denotes the factor of transmission, and is, therefore, wholly inadequate to account for a process of energy. But in order to account for the inexhaustible reserves of energy which, as we observed during the war, reveals itself in manifold forms whenever the fundamental collective ideas are deeply aroused, he would have been driven to adopt the concept of the collective unconscious, an intuitive acceptance wholly uncongenial to the behaviourist point of view. This concept not only embraces the primordial images (or function-engrams) but it also denotes the energy latent in these images which comes to the surface whenever the corresponding ideas are actively constellated.

The behaviourist method of approach is certainly useful for describing the 'how' of the political organism, but its value is biological rather than psychological, since it fails altogether to respond to the irrepressible 'why.' There is

a certain tragedy in the fact, that in spite of his rooted distrust of analogies. Rivers permitted himself to consider the complex factors of human politics. as analogous to cruder biological organisations.

His own allusions to Jung's concept of the collective unconscious show that it was quite foreign to his point of view, and, consequently, he entirely misunderstood its signification. It is not based, as Rivers believes, upon ethnological arguments in the narrower sense, and, therefore, is not in the least affected by Prof. Elliot Smith's migration-hypothesis. It rests upon the fact that certain collective ideas, e.g. the idea of God, are as universal as mankind, that they appear as ground-themes in the mythology of all races, and that these themes are expressed in images which by virtue of their immense antiquity dispose of incalculable energy. In so far as the theory of migration has any relation to this concept, it is concerned merely with the various forms in which these primordial images may appear. When, for instance, migration brought Christianity to these islands it certainly effected an exchange of an ancient tribal image for a more differentiated concept of God, but the same primordial image underlies both.

There is a regrettable note of petulance in Prof. Elliot Smith's remarks about this concept which prompts one to conclude that his eagerness to defend his own theory preserves him from the possibility of adequately understanding the views of others. There is in fact no incompatibility between his migration theory and the concept of the collective unconscious, and if Prof. Elliot Smith had informed himself of Jung's very careful definition of the symbol and the primordial image, he would have discovered that these were purely psychological conceptions whose validity is not in the least dependent upon ethnological controversy.

The loss to British psychology in the untimely death of Dr Rivers is all the more to be deplored, since he was clearly feeling his way to an independent psychological standpoint, and it is impossible to believe that he would have remained wedded to the narrow psychological outlook of the objectivist and the behaviourist points of view.


Primitive Ordeal and Modern Law. By H. GoITEIN. London: George Allen and Unwin, Ltd., 1923. Pp. xvii +302. Price 10s. 6d. net.

This book is an attempt to apply psychological and psycho-analytical conceptions to the problem of the origin and nature of law, and a very interesting and attractive attempt it is, with its pleasing exterior and get-up on the one hand and its agreeable style, varied and suggestive content and confident but moderate tone of optimism upon the other.

The author starts with an inquiry as to the nature of law. He rejects as hopelessly crude, from the psychological standpoint, the position that law is based on force, fear or convention. (This is on a par, he suggests, with the view that we like Homer or Hamlet merely because convention has so decreeda view which psychologists have shattered "by means of discoveries in the very front rank of importance.") The view of the other school for whom law is morality is also rejected, as depending on a psychology which, though perhaps not inconsistent with the facts, is yet inadequate to explain them. The author himself takes a strictly pragmatic view of law as growing out of procedure, Med. Psych. III


as a body of generalisations from decisions on practical affairs, on actual matters of dispute. If this view is correct, we must turn to the contemplation of the action at law, if we would learn more about the essential nature of law itself.

The action at law, the author endeavours to show us, has developed from the Ordeal. The Ordeal is a primitive but widespread institution, which involved a judicium Dei; it combined the three processes of detection of guilt, trial and punishment. An examination of the various forms of Ordeal (particularly those connected with the sea and water) suggests that the Ordeal, and therefore the action at law which subsequently developed from it, involved a regression of libido to the mother, in consequence of a failure to carry out the normal social adjustments, in face of an unusual situation. Like the analogous process of expiation, the Ordeal constituted in one of its aspects a symbolic death and rebirth. Themis herself, the personification of Right, was an emanation from earth (p. 99). The primitive prison is a womb symbol (it was underground in Mother Earth) and the infringement of tribal custom could only be atoned for by a process of symbolical rebirth.

The judicial process differs from the Ordeal chiefly in two respects--in its dependence on reason rather than emotion and in the institution of the human judge. The former change came about as the result of general mental and social development; particularly, it is suggested, through the application to social disputes of the powers of enumeration and generalisation and through that conscious recognition and approval of habits which is involved in custom. The human judge replaced the supernatural element of the Ordeal, probably to a large extent through the influence of the oath, through which he acquired some of the psychological significance of the supernatural element.

Next followed the era of codification, in which customary habits were formulated as rules-rules which permitted of extension and further application by analogy.

The characteristic mechanism involved in the Ordeal and the appeal to law is an inhibition (and consequent displacement) of the desire for immediate and complete revenge; an inhibition brought about through conflict with other instinctive tendencies (e.g. fear-especially of the blood feud, with its often prolonged and terrible social consequences). The cruder tendency to strike the offender dead gives way to the more moderate demand for punishment on the talion principle, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Following Ferenczi, the author sees here, in the talion principle, the influence of the castration (here called 'mutilation') complex. The motives that drive a man to law may be summarily described as Depreciation (of his good name or reputation) or Deprivation (of his due), and the origin of the burning sense of injustice and embitterment characteristic of the litigant is again to be found in the castration complex.

This complex the author, here following Stärcke, believes to be closely allied to the mother complex, so that the two main complexes revealed by the analysis are thus brought into relation with one another. The operation and satisfaction of these complexes constitute the ultimate psychological reason of the efficacy of the law, and justify the hope that law will continue to play a progressive part in combating many of the social evils which threaten humanity especially perhaps in the at present comparatively undeveloped sphere of international law.

This brief indication of some of the principal arguments of the book must inevitably fail to convey any satisfactory impression of its interest and

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