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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

suggestiveness. Though admittedly only sketching the rough outline of a psychological treatment of law-a treatment which will require much patient research before the full details can be fitted in the book undoubtedly constitutes, through its suggestiveness, a valuable contribution to this hitherto but little cultivated branch of applied psychology.


The Psychology of Laughter and Comedy. By J. Y. T. GREIG, M.A. London: George Allen and Unwin, Ltd., 1923. pp. 304. Price 12s. 6d. net.

The keynote of Mr Greig's theory of laughter is given in the formula on p. 110: "love behaviour, interruption, overcoming of the interruption." In the early chapters of the book the author records the observations of various writers on the laughter of infants and shows that the personal element is essential to the situations which provoke such laughter. Now laughter is a development of the smile and Mr Greig holds that the infant's earliest smile, which Freud and others have associated with the act of sucking, is a part of the as yet ill-coordinated behaviour of the instinct of love stimulated by the 'nursing embrace.' If this love behaviour be interrupted a quantity of psychophysical energy is mobilised to overcome the obstruction and, when the latter is weakened or removed, the surplus energy may be carried off in the laugh. The remainder of the book is devoted to testing this conclusion in relation to the laughter of adults and the art of comedy.

The writer admits that he has misgivings in choosing the term 'love'; the alternative 'sex' he rejects as too heavily loaded a word. 'Love' as he uses it seems to correspond closely to the Freudian libido. Hostility, which obviously enters into many laughter-provoking situations, is included in love behaviour, since hate is secondary, a derivative of love. In ambivalent behaviour, according to the theory of interruption, laughter is ready made (p. 92) but where hate is so violent as to exclude love there is no place for laughter. This point is developed in the chapter on derision, satire and irony; in the last of these devices "ambivalence is reduced to a technique" (p. 185). Certain stock jokes, e.g. those on women, depend on this ambivalence: on it rest "both the mother-in-law taboo of the savage and the mother-in-law joke of modern man" (p. 86).

There follows an analysis of the laughable, contained in chapters V-VIII. Laughter at the sexual proceeds from the conflict of our perennial pleasure in it and our cultural resistance to it. Children do not laugh at nakedness or natural functions, until a sense of shame or disgust has wakened in them. The writer distinguishes between the obscene and the indecent as having reference respectively to the directly sexual and the indirectly sexual (excretory) pro


In his chapter on laughter at the physical Mr Greig disputes Bergson's 'mechanical' theory and that of those writers who see in such laughter only a malicious joy at the degradation of others. True, physical deformities and personal violence contain an element of surprise (interruption), but surprise does not necessarily result in laughter. The question is: what is the nature of the behaviour within which the interruption occurs? The author endeavours to show that it is love behaviour. For example, the laugh raised by the knockabout of the circus clown is due to the unconscious stimulus to sexual behaviour given by physical violence.

Many of Mr Greig's conclusions are based on psycho-analytic theories and the chapter on "The Physical" contains an interesting section on symbolism. He shows that laughter may be provoked through the arousing of sexual behaviour by means of unconsciously perceived symbols. He gives the classical example of Punch, whose nose, hump, hat and stick are all phallic symbols, and suggests that in certain street mishaps such as a fall or the blowing-off of a hat there is a symbolic element.

The author next turns to the consideration of comedy. He defines the comic as "the laughable raised to a higher power and made fit for the uses of art” (p. 70). He discusses certain comic devices, e.g. the 'peep-bo' situation with its offshoots the disguise and the mistaken identity, and, while agreeing with Bergson that they owe much to childhood associations, he disputes that their laughter-provoking character depends on the principle of mechanism. He disputes further the intellectualist theory of laughter but admits that the laughter of high comedy, as typified in French classical comedy, is far less emotional than the laughter of the romantic comedy of Shakespeare.

Chapter IX contains a discussion on humour, the humorist's laughter being brought under the writer's formula by way of Walter Pater's definition of humour as the amalgam of mirth with pity; "for pity is love obstructed by sympathetic displeasure" (p. 197).

Perhaps one of the least convincing parts of the argument is the explanation of the displeasure felt by the person who is made the object of laughter. It is not easy to see exactly what is meant by the statement that, although the trivial interruption is within the behaviour of the laughter, the triviality passes over to the person at whom the laughter is aimed, making him 'feel small' (p. 187). Nor does the equivocal character of the laugh, the confusion of feeling resulting from its lack of a thorough-going hate, seem to account very satisfactorily for its sting.

In the chapter on "Wit" the author takes as his text Freud's Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious. While accepting the central thesis of the book Mr Greig makes three main criticisms of Freud's views: (1) with Rivers and others he would prefer to express the idea of the counter-forces within behaviour by some physiological parallel rather than by the conception of the endopsychic censor; (2) he disputes the notion of 'harmless' wit and maintains that all wit is, however remotely, 'tendency' wit; (3) he questions Freud's conception of the economy of psychic expenditure which is effected in wit. "The misconception of wit," we read on p. 216, "as economising psychic expenditure arises through confusing speed with force." And again, on p. 214, he quotes Freud's own question which he considers is never satisfactorily answered: "Is not the economy in verbal expression more than abrogated through the expenditure of intellectual work?" (Freud, Wit, p. 53, English translation). With Freud he sees in wit a 'compressing' tendency, but he considers that such compression, far from resulting in psychic economy, forces us to cover the same ground, as it were, several times in order to catch first one and then another meaning of the words and then to realise the compression which has taken place (p. 215). This, he says, involves additional psychic expenditure, breaking as it does the 'habit pattern' of the adult mind which pays attention to the meaning rather than the sound of words.

Further (and this is one of Mr Greig's objections to the idea of harmless wit) he denies that either children or adults treat words as mere sounds, finding pleasure in the manipulation of them as such. Even the pun, "that poor

relation in the family of wit," requires us to attend to both sound and meaning.

Now Freud himself (Wit, p. 56) repudiates Kuno Fischer's classification of the pun as 'sound-wit.' "The word," he says, "serves only as a sound to which this or that meaning attaches itself." He does, however, hold that the child naturally takes pleasure in playing with words until, as the power of reason exerts pressure on his mind, his delight in nonsense gradually manifests itself less freely.

To return to the question of economy. On the last page of Wit we read: "The pleasure of wit originates from an economy of expenditure in inhibition, of the comic from an economy of expenditure in thought." Does not Mr Greig's criticism confuse between the two kinds of economy indicated in these two formulae? According to Freud the economy effected in wit is of the nature of an alleviation. In tendency wit the psychic expenditure necessitated to maintain an inhibition is abrogated; in harmless wit there is an alleviation from the pressure exerted by critical reason and our intellectual up-bringing (Wit, p. 194).

The latter conception seems to Mr Greig to be the more difficult to grasp. If, however, as he holds, all wit is tendency wit and if he would concede that the removal of a repression does away with a certain psychic expenditure, we need go no further to justify Freud's assertion that there is economy of expenditure in inhibition. Freud does not maintain of wit, as he does of the comic, that there is an economy of expenditure in thought.


Character and the Unconscious. By J. H. VAN DER HOOP. Authorized translation by Elizabeth Trevelyan. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1923. pp. viii + 233. Price 10s. 6d. net.

The chief criticisms that the author brings against Freud's psychology and therapy are (1) the non-recognition of special creation in any sphere of life, (2) the inapplicability of this psychology to the normal human being, as it is derived entirely from a study of abnormals, (3) the non-guidance of the patient by the treatment as to his or her ethical position and selection of a method of life.

Dr van der Hoop states but does nothing to develop the arguments in favour of or against the moulding of the universe under the influence of external conditions; he simply asseverates his conviction that this hypothesis is unsatisfactory, whilst he seems to regard the hypothesis of creative evolution, of a vital impulse, as much the jollier. The author's parsimony in argument makes it unsuitable for the reviewer to have the fun of engaging him in battle. Dogmatically he will merely record: the influence of environment being the minimum hypothesis for the construction of the universe it has, upon the principle of Occam's razor, the maximum claim.

The validity of knowledge gathered from the abnormal for an understanding of the normal rests, in psychology, upon the same basis as for scientific method in general. The physiology of the brain, the characteristics of hydrogen, the behaviour of electrons are founded upon experiment that is abnormal upon brains, hydrogens and electrons.

Dr van der Hoop hardly makes it sufficiently clear that Freud and his followers do not, consequently, regard psycho-analysis as a course to be fol

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