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This precision in diagnosis would be a great advantage in the classification of records, etc., and would obviate such a clumsy mouthful as
suffering from a “repression” due to a thought in that “part” of the "unconscious proper” which had never been "conscious”? or, 'suffering from a thought once conscious but now repressed into the unconscious proper, etc. Possibly it might prevent the science becoming too popular, a real danger. The more technical a study the less popular will it be.
The terms found fulfill all four previously determined conditions, confirm Freud's teaching regarding infantile and childhood's impressions and choice of material, and are therefore Freudian in nature and typically Freudian in respect of the dynamic states of mind as classified by Ernest Jones in the second edition of his book Papers on Psycho-Analysis1.
If better and more acceptable terms which fulfil the four necessary conditions can be found, let them be found as speedily as possible, so that, if possible, the chaos in the science due to the lack of unmistakable and scientific technical terms may be brought to an end. To persist in the use of words found in popular speech in the hope that the differing authorities will be able to agree as to the exact shade of technical meaning they are to connote is but to perpetuate the chaos. After subtracting the footnote concerning the purely personal motive which led my immer to select the word amazon for the root of the technical terms maz and zon, the remainder of the terms are such as might have been worked out by other personalities, for the latent significance of the remaining terms is probably the common heritage of humanity.
1 Pp. 122, 621 and 637.
The Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual. By F. MATTHIAS
ALEXANDER. Methuen. Price 10s. 6d.
The real substance of this book lies in the author's theses that badly co-ordinated physical movements are the rule rather than the exception; that to obtain better adjustment in their pupils physical trainers should not rely upon verbal or written instructions because in that case the pupils will try to execute the required movements under the guidance of the kinaesthetic sensations ) which they are accustomed, and which, therefore, seem to them to be the right ones although in point of fact they are the outcome of those very motor habits which the pupils have to break; that, therefore, the trainer should himselı so manipulate the pupil's limbs as to make him perform the required movement in the right way; the pupil must learn to associate the resulting kinaesthetic sensations with the idea of the action to be carried out, and to inhibit all inclination to act under the guidance of his former motor imagery. This deliberate attention to the difference in feeling between actions rightly and actions wrongly performed is what the author means by constructive conscious control.
All this is reasonable enough, and it is not only possible but probable that Mr Matthias Alexander is personally exceptionally quick to note peculiarities of physical movement and expression of feeling, and that he could, if he would, write a very valuable little manual on the principles of physical training. It is also possible that he has succeeded in training his assistants to do their work efficiently. He has certainly succeeded in impressing Prof. John Dewey. But damit ist alles gesagt. The rest of the book is only an elaborate attempt to impress the general public. There is no evidence in it whatever that Mr Matthias Alexander possesses any expert acquaintance with anthropology, physiology, or—to use his own expression—"what is called “psychological knowledge. These fallings short of high scientific attainment may, perhaps, not seriously detract from the practical value of his system of physical training, and there would be no need to refer to them were it not for the inordinate pretentiousness and censoriousness of the book. In these respects it comes second only to Science and Health. Physicians, surgeons, psycho-analysts, and all who attempt "to supply and satisfy the real needs of the individual in the educational, social, political, economic, industrial, religious and other spheres” are alike characterised by a propensity to aim directly at some specific end instead of considering the means whereby it is to be attained and a general state of right psycho-physical co-ordination established, while mere“ people” live in a state of chronic delusion.
The language of the book is extremely cumbrous. Not only are the sentences, as a rule, very long but they are often vaguely general and couched in terms peculiar to the author which do not always seem to possess any very precise meaning. The book is prefaced by an introduction by Prof. John Dewey, in which the statement is made that, except by Mr Matthias Alexander, “The one factor which is the primary tool in the use of all these other tools, namely ourselves, in other words, our own psycho-physical disposition, as the basic condition of all agencies and energies, has not even been studied as the central instrumentality."
R. GORDON MILBURN. that we
The Purpose of Education. By ST GEORGE LANE Fox Pitt. Revised Edition.
Cambridge University Press. Pp. xxix + 92. Price 4s.
There are three excellent things about this book; first, its title is most alluring and should command for it a ready sale; second, the make-up of the book is admirable and free from all minor blemishes; third, and most important, it contains a “lettre préface" by Emile Boutroux which deserves to be read and pondered. This preface is written with that clarity and simplicity of thought that belongs pre-eminently to French philosophers. For those who require it, a translation is provided from the pen of Professor Wildon-Carr.
Mr Fox Pitt's book in itself is not an easy one to review. It is clever, stimulating and readable. On the other hand, it can hardly be said to live up to its excellent title. The author takes so broad a view of his subject that the reader is apt to become disorientated. We read on p. 85 “If instead of postulating the incongruity that 'we were meant to be happy,' we were to say all should, as in duty bound, learn how to become truly happy, we would be nearer the mark; and indeed this amended postulate supplies us in a nutshell with a serviceable formula for the purpose of education.” Roughly speaking, then, education ought to help us to accept our circumstances and to adjust our passions and desires to them, rather than to concern ourselves with the adjustment of our environment to ourselves.
In working out this thesis Mr Fox Pitt touches upon many subjects--so many subjects indeed that the reader may have difficulty in recognising their relevance. Many of the chapter titles are, like that of the book itself, thoroughly intriguing-Human personality-Emotion and Instinct-Incentives to Effort -Religions, Ideals, the Twice-born--and we are told in the preface to this edition that “a new chapter has been added dealing specifically with psychological inversion.”. All this is very promising, but the subject-matter is occasionally disappointing. For instance, the said chapter on Inversion occupies but four pages and it cannot be said to constitute an up-to-date presentation of the subject. We are told that “there is a form of mania known as “hysterical anorexy!” and that such cases “illustrate specific inversions, arising out of some trifling mental obsession.” Few modern psychopathologists would endorse this view. In this, as in other purely psychological questions, the author adheres to Janet's teaching. On p. 19 we read “What then is emotion? It is none other than our vital energy.
." The author constantly insists on the importance of psycho-physical biology' and of its application to educational problems. This is a brave saying, but the reviewer must confess that he received less illumination than he had hoped for both as to the nature of psychophysical biology and as to its application to education. For example, we are told on p. 57 “that our general powers of observation lead us to infer that every living organism is capable of experiencing such definite recurrences of psychophysical phases with such regularity and persistence as to indicate seemingly the existence of an “environment' independent of the organism itself.”
In pursuing his subject the author quotes at considerable length from Professor Rhys Davids' translation of the Sutanta; he devotes 13 pages to Economics (tracing the origin of the Treasury Note); he dismisses in hardly more than three pages the fascinating subject of Specialization, and ends up with an appendix on ‘Determinism' of a page and a half. One would have thought that these two last-named subjects were more germane to the purpose of education than is that of Economics.
Analytical psychologists will assuredly disapprove of Mr Fox Pitt's use of the word complex. It is true that he anticipates disapproval by defending his very special use of the word. He claims that Professor Rhys Davids used it “more than forty years ago to translate certain Buddhist philosophical terms." Nevertheless, it seems a pity to heap ambiguity on ambiguity by persisting to use a word in a sense other than that which has gained currency in modern psychology. And as for the author's 'Great Complex' we can only imagine that he means by the term what might be expressed by the phrase 'complexfree state. Certainly the conception of man striving to attain to the 'Great Complex' appears to be a contradiction in terms.
It has been stated already that this book is stimulating. So it is. It will stimulate both reflection and annoyance. Perhaps it were best to end this review with a quotation from p. 82:
“Wherever one looks, human nature, in its existing stages of development, is very far from perfect, and, recognising this fact, let us avoid all unnecessary harshness of criticism."
NOTES ON RECENT PERIODICALS
Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, Part III, 1924. The first original article in this number is by Professor Freud and is entitled “The Passing of the Oedipus Complex.” In it he traces the process by which the Oedipus complex succumbs to the fear of castration, the child's ego proving, as a rule, victorious in the conflict with his libidinal attachment to the parents. The phallic phase then gives place to the latency period, identification replaces objectcathexis and the formation of the super-ego is begun.
This paper has already appeared in Vol. u of Freud's Collected Papers (published by the Institute of Psycho-Analysis and the Hogarth Press).
Dr A. J. Westerman Holstiju (Amsterdam) writes an appreciation of the work of Professor Jelgersma and of his influence on the Leyden school of psychiatry.
In 1911, in his Rectorial Address, Prof. Jelgersma declared himself an adherent of psycho-analysis and in 1917 he took an active part in the founding of the Dutch Psycho-Analytical Society.
The writer speaks of Prof. Jelgersma’s remarkable psychological insight and sympathy, of his tolerance of the opinions of others and, above all, of his steady insistence on strictly scientific and empirical methods. It is largely due to his pioneer work that psychology in Holland has made so great an advance in the last fifteen years.
Dr Carp contributes an article on the part played in perversion by the pregenital fixation of the libido. He gives an account of a case of obsessional neurosis with oral fixation and homosexual tendencies. He shows that here the attempt to overcome the Oedipus complex by means of one (the oral) instinct-component resulted in the transference of libido to the subject's own penis as a surrogate for the mother's breast (introjection). Later, the object-fixation reappeared in perverse practices (suckingerotism) in which the primary organ-pleasure was repeated. Dr Carp found that the patient's homosexual tendencies, to which his anal erotism contributed, represented by a process of displacement from above downwards an identification with the mother. The penis, as before, represented the nipple and the anus was equated to the mouth. The writer's experience has led him to believe that it is not uncommon for this form of homosexuality to originate in a strong oral fixation of the libido.
Dr J. M. Rombouts writes on “Asceticism and Power.” He remarks that it is not uncommon to find cases of obsessional neurosis and of schizophrenia in which one side of the subject's personality is so strongly developed in the direction of asceticism as almost to constitute a secondary personality. He illustrates his observation by the case of a young man in whom periods of sexual temptations alternated with periods of rigid asceticism. He shows that the latter fulfilled a double purpose, being in part an expiation for the sins of the flesh and in part an expression of the desire for power. Where the ascetic tendency has the latter motivation the lower, hated impulses are regarded as alien forces, sometimes as actually outside the subject's personality. There is an attempt to return to the primitive narcissistic phantasies of omnipotence, and object-cathexes are resented and withdrawn as being an impoverishment of the ego. Thus in some schizophrenic patients we meet with the idea that a part of the ego is lost in the sexual act, an idea which forms an additional incentive to asceticism. Other incentives are found in identification with the mother, who is conceived of as wholly pure, or with the father-imago when the father is regarded as being far above anything weak or base. By means of these stages it is possible to arrive at a stage of narcissistic omnipotence, in which the subject, free from all object-cathexes, conceives of himself as God-like or even as God Himself.
Dr Jelgersma contributes an article entitled “A Peculiar Custom on the Island of Mark in Holland.' A translation of his article appears in the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. The custom referred to is that of dressing the boys of the island in girls' clothes, until they are seven years old, when they are at once dressed like adult men. Dr Jelgersma traces the custom to the parents' unconscious fear of incest.