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Now, le Bon, fully recognising the fact and importance of emotional contagion in crowds, had treated it as one manifestation of suggestion. I, on the other hand, had treated it as a fundamental phenomenon, distinct from all the phenomena of suggestion and requiring a different explanation or theory. That explanation I had supplied in the theory of primitive passive sympathy or direct induction of emotion. In this I had been anticipated in some measure by Malebranche, as Dr Drever has pointed out, but by no other writer. The theory is bound up with my view of the relation of the primary emotions to the instincts, and stands or falls with that view. The theory is based on a large array of facts of behaviour of the gregarious animals; namely, that among such animals the display of any instinctive reaction by one member of the species is apt to provoke similar instinctive emotional reactions in all other members of the species that perceive these reactions; as when the behaviour of fear in one member of a flock provokes fear behaviour in other members. For the explanation of these facts, my theory assumes. that each of the major instincts is so organised on its perceptual side that the expressions of the same instinct in other individuals of the species are effective provocatives of the instinct. And it postulates a similar special perceptual organisation of the major instincts of the species Homo sapiens. Freud, in saying of my theory, "that is, by means of the emotional contagion with which we are already familiar," reduces my explanation to a mere restatement of the facts in generalised form. It is true that we are all familiar with the facts of emotional contagion. The question is have we any theory adequate to the explanation of them? The fact or phenomenon is one of the most fundamental with which a theoretical Group Psychology has to grapple. I have endeavoured to progress from the purely descriptive stage, represented by le Bon, to a theoretical explanation of the fact. Freud entirely overlooks my theory in saying that I explain the fact "by means of the emotional contagion with which we are already familiar." I protest that I do not suffer from any such delusion as is here attributed to me by Professor Freud; the delusion, namely, that, in describing a large array of phenomena in general terms, I in any sense explain them. My theory of primitive passive sympathy is a perfectly definite and plausible theory for the explanation of the facts of emotional contagion; it is not a mere restatement of the facts in general terms. Let me illustrate the point by reference to laughter. Laughter is notoriously contagious. But why and how? We do not explain the fact by saying that it is a case of the emotional contagion with which we are already familiar. In saying that, we merely
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classify it with a wider group of similar phenomena. My theory is that the laughter instinct1 (like most of the major instincts of man) is so innately organised on its receptive or perceptual side that the auditory and the visual perception of laughter excite the laughter instinct. If we seek any deeper or further explanation, we may plausibly suppose that these special perceptual adaptations of the instincts of the gregarious species have been produced in the course of evolution, because they secure, among the members of any group, that emotional and impulsive congruity which is a principal foundation stone of all group-life, animal and human. There is no rival theory in the field, so far as I know. Freud does not further deal with the problem beyond implying that he agrees with le Bon in regarding emotional contagion as one of the manifestations "so often covered by the enigmatic word 'suggestion."" And he proceeds in the following chapter to deal with the enigma of suggestion. In fact the rest of the book is devoted to the elaboration of a theory of suggestion. He begins by insisting again on
the fundamental fact of Group Psychology-the two theses as to the intensification of the emotions and the inhibition of the intellect in primitive groups. Our interest is now directed to discovering the psychological explanation of this mental change which is experienced by the individual in a group.
It is clear that rational factors...do not cover the observable phenomena. Beyond this, what we are offered as an explanation by authorities upon Sociology and Group Psychology is always the same, even though it is given various names, and that is the magic word 'suggestion.' Tarde calls it 'imitation'; but we cannot help agreeing with a writer who protests that imitation comes under the concept of suggestion, and is in fact one of its results. Le Bon traces back all the puzzling features of social phenomena to two factors: the mutual suggestion of individuals and the prestige of leaders. But prestige, again, is only recognisable by its capacity for evoking suggestion. McDougall for a moment gives us an impression that his principle of 'primitive induction of emotion' might enable us to do without the assumption of suggestion. But on further consideration we are forced to perceive that this principle says no more than the familiar assertions about ‘imitation' or 'contagion,' except for a decided stress upon the emotional factor.
Now, if Professor Freud had done me the honour to read my Introduction to Social Psychology (a thing which, so far as I can judge, neither he nor any one of his many disciples has ever done), instead of reading only my Group Mind (which is explicitly founded upon the other book and is essentially an attempt to apply to the problems of group psychology the principles arrived at in the earlier work), he would have seen that I distinguish clearly between suggestion and emotional contagion, and, further, that I have there propounded, not only a theory of emotional contagion, but also a distinct theory of suggestion. He would then not
1 Cf. my theory of laughter in Outline of Psychology, p. 165.
have committed the error of saying that there has been, during thirty years, no change in the situation as regards suggestion and that there has been no explanation of the nature of suggestion, that is, of the conditions under which influence without adequate logical foundation takes place.
Since Freud has thus entirely overlooked my theory of suggestion I beg leave to restate it here, in order that the reader may compare it with the very complicated theory which is the main substance of Freud's book. My theory sets out from the fact of observation that among animals of gregarious species we commonly find relations of dominance and submission; we see some members of a herd or flock submitting tamely and quietly to the dominance, the leadership, the self-assertion of other members. This submission does not always or commonly seem to imply fear. Yet it is unquestionably instinctive. I have argued, therefore, that such behaviour is the expression of a distinct and specific instinct of submission: an instinct which is apt to be evoked by the aggressive or self-assertive behaviour of other, especially larger and older, members of the group, and whose goal or function it is to secure harmony within the group by prompting the junior and weaker members of it to submit to the leadership of others, to follow them, to "knuckle under to them" without protest, to accept their lightest word as law, to feel humble or lowly in their presence and to adopt lowly or 'crestfallen' attitudes before them. My theory maintains that the human species also is endowed with this instinct of submission; and that, with the development of language and intellect, verbal indications of the attitudes of the strong become very important means of evoking and directing this submissive impulse; that the impulse, the emotional conative tendency of this instinct, is the main conative factor at work in all instances of true suggestion, whether waking or hypnotic. Further, that, in human societies, reputation for power of any sort becomes a very important factor in evoking this impulse, supplementing and, in fact, largely supplanting the bodily evidences of superior powers which, on the animal plane, are the principal excitants of this impulse; such reputation constituting the essence of all that we call prestige, the power of using suggestion, of compelling bodily and mental obedience or docility, without evoking fear. The theory maintains that, if the human species were not gregarious, and if its native constitution did not comprise also this special submissive instinct, human beings would not be suggestible; and, therefore, the social life of man would be profoundly other than it is1.
1 I say that this instinct of submission is evidenced by the animals of many gregarious species. But I maintain that it is distinct from the gregarious instinct itself; that there
Freud and his disciples make frequent references to ego-instincts; but they have never, so far as I know, attempted to define these postulated ego-instincts. I imagine that, if they would undertake to attempt to define them, it would appear that these ego-instincts are identical with what I have attempted to distinguish and define as two distinct instincts, the instincts of self-assertion and of submission. But Freud does not seek in the ego-instincts the explanation of suggestion. Rather his theory of suggestion is very much more complex. I will try to sketch it briefly and fairly.
Freud's theory of suggestion derives all the phenomena of suggestion from his libido. "Libido' is an expression taken from the theory of the emotions. We call by that name the energy (regarded as a quantitative magnitude, though not at present actually measurable) of those instincts which have to do with all that may be comprised under the word 'love."
After a passage, in which he seeks to justify once more his acceptance of the popular usage of the word 'love' as evidence of the essential unity of all manifestations to which the word 'love' can with any propriety be applied, including, besides sexual attraction or lust, "on the one hand, self-love, and on the other love for parents and children, friendship and love for humanity in general, and also devotion to concrete objects and to abstract ideas," Freud goes on to say: "We will try our fortune, then, with the supposition that love relationships (or, to use a more neutral expression, emotional ties) also constitute the essence of the group mind." He adds: "Let us remember that the authorities made no mention of any such relations. What would correspond to them is evidently concealed behind the shelter, the screen, of suggestion." Freud then proceeds to the study of highly-organised groups, and especially churches and armies; for, as he says, "the most interesting examples of such structures are churches-communities of believers-and armies." He finds common to them one essential feature, namely, "the same illusion holds good of there being a head-in the Catholic Church, Christ; in any army its Commander-in-Chief-who loves all the individuals in the group with are species of animals which have the gregarious instinct, but lack the submissive instinct; just as there are men who are strongly gregarious, but in whom the submissive instinct operates very little, if at all; that is to say, I maintain that the gregarious and the submissive tendencies are independent variables and, therefore, cannot be properly ascribed to the same instinct. In this I dissent strongly from the teaching of Mr Wilfred Trotter, who, throughout his famous little book on Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War, assumes without question that all the phenomena commonly classed under the head of suggestion are sufficiently explained by invoking the 'herd instinct.'
an equal love. Everything depends upon this illusion; if it were to be dropped, then both Church and army would dissolve, so far as external force permitted them to." To all the members of the Church, Christ is "their father surrogate"; and to all the members of an army the Commander-in-Chief is their father surrogate. In the latter case the relation is multiplied by the official hierarchy:
Every Captain is, as it were, the Commander-in-Chief and the father of his company, and so is every non-commissioned officer of his section.
It is to be noticed that in these two artificial groups each individual is bound by libidinal ties on the one hand to the leader...and on the other hand to the other members of the group....It would appear as though we were on the right road towards an explanation of the principal phenomenon of Group Psychology-the individual's lack of freedom in the group. If each individual is bound in two directions by such an intense emotional tie, we shall find no difficulty in attributing to that circumstance the alteration and limitation which have been observed in his personality.
Precisely! If the individual is so bound, and, given the protean nature of the libido anything may follow, any phenomena of group life may with a little ingenuity be attributed to these alleged libidinous ties. But question remains-Are these ties really there in all groups? Are they really the fundamental factors of all group life? Or are they merely asserted to be there by Professor Freud in order to make Group Psychology a mere annex of his psycho-analytic system?
Freud finds in the panic evidence of the truth of his view. He would distinguish between collective fear and true panic. He writes:
The contention that dread in a group is increased to enormous proportions by means of induction (contagion) is not in the least contradicted by these remarks. McDougall's view meets the case entirely when the danger is a really great one and when the group has no strong emotional ties-conditions which are fulfilled, for instance, when a fire breaks out in a theatre or a place of amusement.
But he contends that in a body of troops panic may break out under no more threatening than others which they have encountered without disorder, and that in these cases the essential condition of this, the true, panic, as distinguished from mere collective fear, is the death
of the leader.
Now, if this new theory of the panic is true, there must have occurred during the late war a multitude of such panics; and we might fairly demand that Freud should support his theory by the citation of one or two authentic accounts of such panics induced by the death of leaders. But we find no such citations. In place of them we are offered in evidence only a scene from a play; or rather not even from a play, but from a parody of a play.
The typical occasion of the outbreak of a panic is very much as it is represented in Nestroy's parody of Hebbel's play about Judith and Holofernes—a soldier cries out: "The General has lost his head!" and thereupon all the Assyrians take to flight.