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acts which, in the opinion of a particular society, at a particular time, are considered to deserve punishment by that society... a crime is an act which is legally wrong, and which is, essentially, an infringement of the criminal law. The question as to whether the act is ‘morally' wrong does not come in” (p. 2).
A review of the various theories of punishment leads the author to a consideration of the thorny problem of responsibility. He avows himself to be a thorough-going determinist and declares that “the metaphysical theory of the 'freedom of the will’” has no place in any scientific scheme. He rejects the idea that responsibility is something intrinsic to the individual, but regards it rather “as expressing the idea of the reaction of Society to a given act” (p. 10).
In what he says regarding the relation of Society to the criminal, Dr Hamblin Smith illustrates the difficulty, if not the impossibility, of trying to adhere to strictly deterministic terminology when dealing with the facts of human conduct. He says: “If Society chooses to decide that under special circumstances its normal reaction to some act will be modified, it is, of course, at complete liberty to do so" (p. 10). Yet, surely, to claim liberty of choice when we are speaking of the reactions of Society is even less defensible than when the reactions of the individual are in question. It would perhaps be well if it were more generally recognized that 'determinism' is just as much a metaphysical theory as the 'freedom of the will' and that with metaphysical theories the scientist quâ scientist has no concern. Determinism is a postulate of all scientific inquiry, and whenever we doubt the validity of its application to any problem we are doubting the possibility of solving such problem by the methods of science.
The various theories of punishment that have, at one time or another, been put forward are here reduced to three: Retaliatory, Deterrent and Reformatory. The author believes that the comparatively unsuccessful result of reformatory punishment has been due to a failure to investigate fully the mind of the individual offender; and in such full investigation he sees the hope of the future. Inquiry into the
mental states of offenders is a very specialized matter, and this book contains Dr Hamblin Smith's experience in this direction. He hopes that his work may be of practical use to his fellow-workers who are engaged in the study of offenders, to magistrates and others whose daily work lies with offenders, and to social workers, teachers in schools and others.
The author insists on the importance of a complete physical examination of the offender before the investigation of his mental state is entered upon;
but he does not labour this point and the greater part of the book is devoted to the methods employed in the investigation of the offender's mind. A broad division is made between the examination of the conscious mind and of the unconscious mind, and the methods employed in each respectively are described in some detail.
Not the least valuable part of the book is the description given of the mental tests used by the author himself in his examination of criminals. He believes the Binet and Terman schemes to be useful for work in Children's Courts, but in his own Court work he has to deal with no children under the
years and with comparatively few offenders between the ages of 16 and 18 years. He has therefore devised a series of tests, suitable for adolescents and adults, and he invites reports from any workers who give a trial to this scheme.
In entering upon his account of the investigation of the offender's unconscious mind the author prepares his readers for the standpoint from which the topic is viewed by stating at the outset that “this book is written, so far as
the subject of psycho-analysis is concerned, from the Freudian position.” He makes it plain that, as a rule, modifications of Freud's views promulgated by others are regarded as resting upon “a fundamental and irreconcilable difference from the views of Freud.” Yet on some points there is evidence that he has not been uninfluenced by some of these innovations. His description of what we are to understand by the terms conscious, preconscious and unconscious is not as clear as we should have desired; and a predilection for the term complex, which is unfortunate in the present state of uncertainty regarding the most appropriate use of this word in psychology, leads to a blurring of some of the finer points related to the theory of repression and to the elements on which repression essentially bears.
On page 70 it is stated that “a complex may become repressed into the unconscious. The unconscious into which this repression takes place is regarded as being, in some respects, distinct from the primary unconscious.... It has been termed the secondary' or 'Freudian unconscious.' We should have been glad of the reference to Freud's works where this distinction is made. It is reminiscent of Tansley rather than of Freud.
On page 73 we are told that “A repressed complex may escape into consciousness by taking the form of a physical symptom. In this case we get what is known as a 'neurosis' or a 'psycho-neurosis.'” This is, to say the least, misleading, and the layman may be led to suppose that in every psychoneurosis there must be physical symptoms.
The brief reference to ‘symbolism' on page 74 seems to the reviewer far from satisfactory. The disguise afforded by symbolism is here ascribed to the censorship; and to evade this activity it is said that "emotions, thoughts and memories strive to get into consciousness by clothing themselves in symbolic shapes.” But this is not Freud's teaching; he explicitly states that symbolism is a second and independent factor in dream-distortion, existing side by side with the censorship" (Introductory Lectures, p. 142).
Dr Hamblin Smith's chapter on “The Various Classes of Offenders" is very helpful and suggestive, especially in regard to the group of mental defectives. Recognizing the serious and far-reaching results of certifying a person as being mentally defective, he inclines towards giving the offender the benefit of the doubt whenever such doubt arises in the examiner's mind. He strikes a necessary note of warning of the danger of deciding on the results of mental tests alone. He does not believe that the mere failure to attain any particular standard of 'mental age'is, per se, enough to bring a person under the heading of mental deficiency. In every doubtful case we have to weigh all the factors and not that of intelligence alone.
But this relegation of the intellect to its proper place in relation to conduct appears to be forgotten by the author when he comes to deal with Moral Insanity and Moral Imbecility. He asks the question, “Is there such a thing as a ‘moral sense,' apart from the intellect?” And he states his view that there is no such sense. He thinks that the doctrine of psychical determinism, to which he repeatedly avows his allegiance, renders any such position untenable.
If, as would seem to be the case, Dr Hamblin Smith is using the term ‘moral sense' as it was used by the English Moralists of the eighteenth century, then it may be conceded that few at the present day would disagree with his conviction that 'there is no such sense.' But if he implies that there are no forces in the mind which are determinants of conduct other than those derived from the intellect, then there are good grounds for disagreeing with his conclusions. Indeed, such a view is totally opposed to the findings of psychoanalysis (quite apart from all other considerations that may be put forward), for no other psychological discipline has more strongly emphasised the importance of affective factors, and the relative unimportance of purely cognitive or intellectual ones, in the conduct of life. Moral judgment is a function of intelligence only in so far as it is a process of classifying acts as 'right' or 'wrong,' but moral judgments to be effective in conduct must be prompted by the emotions and based upon the sentiments. It may be true that all moral imbeciles are primarily abnormal intellectually, but this does not carry with it the proof that their moral imbecility is the direct consequence of their abnormal intellect. There may be a concomitant faulty development of the emotional life and an absence of the ‘moral sentiments,' and it may be these rather than the intellectual defect which determine the moral imbecility.
In his final chapter Dr Hamblin Smith is chiefly concerned with the reaction of Society towards crime. It is not necessary, he says, that the reaction of Society should for ever take the form known as 'punishment,' and he declares that “this book will have been written in vain if the author has not impressed upon his readers this one moral-not punishment but treatment." Throughout his work he maintains the scientific attitude towards the offender which psychoanalysis requires from those who practise it in the treatment of the neurotic patient: not praise or blame but dispassionate inquiry into the contents of the unconscious. Just as only by finding out where the libido development has gone astray can we solve the problem of neurotic illness, so “to find out why a man does wrong is the only true solution of the problem of delinquency."
The study of individual offenders will reveal to Society its own shortcomings and thus provide an opportunity for reform, for "faulty reaction on the part of an individual to Society may mean that Society has handled him incorrectly.” Thus, in Dr Hamblin Smith's opinion, “the study of the offender leads not to despair, but to an enlightened optimism.” He believes that the day has come for a re-examination of our penal system and of its bases, in the light of our newer and fuller scientific knowledge and in the hope that we might devise something better."
However this may be we can heartily recommend this book as a propaedutie to all who have the reformer's spirit towards the many problems provided by the relations of Society and the criminal.
T. W. M.
Psychoanalysis and the Drama. By Smith Ely JELLIFFE and LOUISE BRINK,
A.B. Nervous and Mental Diseases Monograph Series, No.34. Washington,
There is little to recommend the publication of these papers in the form of a book. It is a collection of ten essays of quite unequal merit, mostly reprints from medical journals, which lose by being brought into juxtaposition. No doubt the few valuable ideas, which are presented over and over again, in relation to different plays and different problems, are impressed by this means on readers to whom they are new.
The first paper originally bore the title “The Physician and Psychotherapy." It stresses the idea that the drama, because it deals with deep human problems, is very helpful to psychological understanding, and further of course, that Psychoanalysis is helpful to a deeper understanding of the drama. The writers deplore that the ordinary physician knows so little of psychology, and recommends attendance at the theatre as a means of enlightenment upon the obscure problems of the soul.
Not only is the drama recommended for physicians but also for patients. “The hours at the theatre should greatly relieve the strain of repression and... furnish food for thoughtful speculation. It is difficult to see how the drama, per se, which is almost as old as man, and in which it is not easy to discover à “growing intellectual and artistic value” can teach man more than it has ever taught him. In the fourth century B.C. Aristotle spoke of Tragedy as a "catharsis through pity and fear.” Again, if Sophocles could not of old time impress upon man the importance of his problem not only with the gods, but with the mother, will the drama of to-day do it more effectually? Is not the expectation that insight will arise from attendance at the theatre a putting of the cart before the horse? Much of the enjoyment experienced at the theatre is the satisfaction that comes from unconscious identification, an automatic process of doubtful psychological value. Undoubtedly pleasure, especially pleasure from the drama, ministers to our well-being; but in the technical sense it cannot remove repression, and the removal of strain is merely through distraction from the problems which press for understanding and solution. While not denying a therapeutic value to the theatre, it is strange that analysts should be at pains to impress these reasons upon the profession and the public, who already avail themselves of them. What psychoanalysis has pointed out is why such tactics generally fail of their aim, and that what is essential is not distraction but analysis. It is a question of making the unconscious conflict conscious to the individual concerned, and it would seem as if the writers consider this a probable or possible result.
The reviewer contends that a person who is unawakened to unconscious processes in life will be very unlikely to detect them in the drama; that physicians will not learn psychology from it if they have not begun to learn it outside the theatre; and that the theatre is no place for our patients to study psychological pathology. Any insight shown in the discussion of the plays enumerated in the book before us comes from a self-conscious study of personality which is derived not from the drama, but from psychoanalysis.
CONSTANCE E. Long.
NOTES ON RECENT PERIODICALS.
Internationale Zeitschrift für Psycho-Analyse, Vol. viii, part 1, 1922. Dr Imre Hermann contributes an article entitled “Marginal notes on the compulsion to repetition.” The compulsion to repetition, a conception first elaborated by Freud in Jenseits des Lustprinzips (1920), is treated by Dr Hermann in the following aspects:
(1) its 'meaning' in the mental structure;
(1) In order to find the ‘hidden meaning’of a mental phenomenon, we ask ourselves the questions: “Whence is it derived?” “What purpose does it serve?” That is to say, that the objective criteria of ‘meaning' in such a phenomenon, e.g. a dream or a symptom, are the representation or reproduction of a former situation and the serving of a purpose. Now repetition and purpose secure the continuity of the single psychic individual (personality), and the most primitive method of securing this continuity is that of the compulsory repetition of previous situations. In order that this principle of continuity may be preserved in the case of the instincts with their purposive, yet irrational, character, Freud conceives of the instinct as a force within the living organism, urging it to reproduce an earlier state. This necessitates the extension of the idea of continuity from the individual to the race, and upon this phylogenetic continuity (typical symbols) depends such correctness of interpretation as is possible in the analysis, by means of the subject's own free associations, of the products of other minds.
(2) It is in relation to pleasure-pain as elements of consciousness that the writer considers the compulsion to repetition. According to the Breuer-Freud theory, the question is one of the increase or decrease of excitation in the perceptual (W.; Bw.) and object-memory (Er.) systems. The effect, painful or otherwise, is discussed of simultaneous and repeated stimuli; in the case of the latter the effect varies with the intervals between the repetitions.
(3) Dr Hermann shows that the compulsion to repetition which, as belonging to the primary process, has no regard to time or place, encounters a function of the preconscious system belonging to the secondary process, a function which he terms ‘Ordinanz' (will to order). In both the race and the individual, 'Ordinanz' develops in the service of the reality principle and would appear to be connected with morality, being conspicuously lacking in morally defective children. He suggests that light may be thrown on this connection by a study of pathological manifestations of the primitive compulsion to repetition (faulty development, regression, morbid attraction of anal and urethral erotism).
Dr S. Feldmann's article “On Blushing” is a contribution to the psychology of shame. The first part of the paper is an account of the analysis of a young man, whom he treated for this symptom of blushing, and shows how it was successively found to be related to the patient's "beauty-complex,' to exhibitionism with urethral erotism, and finally, to the castration-complex, accompanied in this case with repressed homosexual tendencies. Certain significant points emerged in the analysis: the symptom tended to be less troublesome or to disappear, when the patient practised onanism; when this was discontinued, the symptom again became acute. The nose was to him an erotogenous zone; moreover, he endeavoured to motivate his blushing, of which he was painfully conscious, by rubbing and vigorously blowing his nose. From dreams and other evidence it was clear that, by the mechanism of displacement, the face (nose) was standing for the genitals (penis). Deeper analysis revealed at the bottom of all the castration-complex. The patient suffered from a sense of inferiority in respect of the size of his penis and from a dread of castration. Dr Feldmann be.