My great-grandfather in the paternal line began life, I am told, as a cobbler in his native wilds. He seems to have been a man of some spirit and originality, for he eloped across the border with an heiress and settled down in the north of England. One of his sons, my grandfather, early became the proprietor and headmaster of one of the old-fashioned boarding schools for boys. He was interested in chemistry, and this interest led him to become a pupil of John Dalton, the author of the atomic theory, and an intimate friend of Angus Smith, famous in applied chemistry, and of Sir James Simpson, the Edinburgh surgeon who first applied chloroform as an anaesthetic. He was interested also in agriculture, and he set out to apply his chemistry to the improvement of that art. He bought a tract of land beside his school and there developed a chemical factory in which were made a number of the products he had himself devised. He took his five sons into the business which soon did and still does a world-wide trade.
I remember my grandfather as a stern and very pious old gentleman whose hobby was the writing of articles to show that the Bible miracles were compatible with the teachings of science. I remember that, even as a young boy, I regarded this as a somewhat futile labor.
My father was a typical dark Highlander, that is to say, of the Mediterranean type, small, dark, long-headed, fiery, and markedly extroverted. His features were regular and well cut, and he was not without a harmless vanity. He had an active mind with a streak of originality. Although he became chiefly responsible for the chemical business, which brought in large profits, he built up alongside it an iron foundry in which to manufacture his own mechanical inventions, and later a paper-pulp factory for the same purpose. And in these enterprises he spent a large part of his profits. The same traits were shown in his religious life. He was successively a member of most of the leading Christian sects; and in his later life adhered to none, preserving a friendly and respectful neutrality towards them all. He was benevolent and affectionate, with a strong taste for poetry and music; as in his business, so also in religion, art, and domestic affairs, he was masterful, erratic, unpredictable, and always naïve. Though sometimes hasty, his anger did not endure, and he was always an indulgent father to his daughter and four sons. From
(192) an early age my respect and affection for him were tinged with a critical amusement. He was fond of denouncing the clannishness of the Scottish highlanders, yet showed the trait strongly in freely aiding large numbers of poor relatives.
My mother was of pure Saxon type, as were both her parents.` They came of a long line of yeomen who probably had cultivated the same field since the days of the Saxon Heptarchy, without marrying; outside of their own group. Both she and her mother were strikingly beautiful examples of the fair, calm, introverted Nordic. Some of her brothers were distinguished athletes. She combined all the virtues and was in every way an ideal wife and mother. Her defects were purely the defects of her qualities; she lacked the touch of erratic originality so strong in her husband.
I thus represent that blend of the Mediterranean and Nordic races which has produced the English people. But, whereas most Englishmen come from a crossing that took place many generations ago, I am of the first generation of crossbreds, what the geneticists call the F1, generation. I am inclined to attribute to this the fact that I have never felt myself to be altogether and typically English or altogether at home in the English social atmosphere. I have, I believe, inherited about equally from both parents, and my constitution seems to comprise elements from both sides which have not been sorted out, as in the products of older crosses, into an harmonious pattern. To this I attribute the fact that I have never fitted neatly into any social group, never been able to find myself wholly at one with any party or any system ; and, though not insensible to the attractions of group-life, group-feeling and thinking, have always stood outside, critical and ill-content. I have participated in the life of many groups, scientific, medical, academic, and social, but have belonged to none. Consequently, the list of my acquaintances on both sides of the Atlantic is immense; but I have very few intimates, and have always stood alone in my intellectual interests. This isolation has been an involuntary outcome of my nature, which I have learned to accept as inevitable.
I was a precocious child; and it was early made plain to me that I was expected to distinguish myself. At five years of age I went to a private boys' school where for some years I was the youngest pupil. I reacted by becoming somewhat domineering to boys of my own age; and I well remember my astonishment when, on taking by the ear a boy considerably older and bigger than myself, the worm turned and gave me a drubbing.
The headmaster of the school, an Episcopalian clergyman, was an admirable character and teacher. I still regard him with great respect and affection. I excelled in "Euclid" and could easily master the language lessons, beginning Latin and French at six years. Science was introduced as a weekly treat in the form of Huxley's little book on physiography, and I enjoyed it greatly. Before leaving the school at fourteen years I had begun to read extensively the better English novelists and to make acquaintance with some scientific classics. Hume and Gibbon were on my father's shelves; and, though they were bugbears to the prevailing non-conformist conscience, he encouraged rue to read them. My mother saw to it that the house was supplied with the best magazines and current literature.
At this time the family had moved from the neighborhood of the chemical works in the devastated Lancashire country-side in order to seek the educational advantages of a city. We lived in a large house in an outer suburb of Manchester. We had a garden with tennis court—then a novelty—and a large paddock and stabling. My father was fond of horses and kept several. He lived in the style of 12000 a year, which meant at that time a very comfortable ménage with four or more servants.
In those days the northern manufacturers were a class apart from the rest of the English social system. They were class-conscious, conscious of power and of their peculiar interests. Bright, Cobden, and Gladstone were their leaders. They regarded the public schools and the universities with a doubtful eye as strongholds of Toryism. My father shared these views; hence, when at fourteen I had absorbed what my school could give me, my further education became a problem. Germany had a high reputation for learning and education. So I was sent with my elder brother to spend a year at Weimar. There we attended the Real-Gyrnnasiunz and acquired the German language, an acquisition that has always been useful. In other respects, the year in Weimar was, I think, disturbing to my intellectual development. I was too young to appreciate the history and social system of the country. No doubt, we profited from regular attendance at the excellent theater and opera; but the language difficulty and the great differences in methods of instruction prevented my making as much academic progress as I should have made in a good English school.
On my return home in the summer of 1886, the problem of the next step arose. My father, proud of my precocity and noting that
( 194) I had a biting tongue, projected for me a brilliant career at the bar, culminating in the Lord Chancellorship. For in England the bar offers to the young man of brains, who can afford to work without earning until he is thirty-five or forty, the most brilliant rewards, wealth, fame, and titles. But I already was ambitious to do something worth while, and I was so arrogant as to think that the work of the successful barrister had no particular value. My father's alternative plan for me was that I should become an expert chemist and aid him in the development of his chemical industry. This plan, also, though it promised to bring at least wealth, I was too proud to accept; and my mother supported me in my objection. A career in pure science appealed both to her and to me as the most desirable. So I entered the recently constituted University of Manchester at the absurdly early age of fifteen years, and attended there during four years, continuing to live at home. The Faculty was strong on the scientific side; all the professors on that side were then, or later became, fellows of the Royal Society. I soon acquired the ambition to see myself a fellow of that august society and to write after my name the magic letters F. R. S.
At first I attended classes, mainly in the languages, history, and mathematics, but soon was drawn to biology. I read widely and before my first graduation in general science at seventeen years of age I had read nearly all of Spencer, Darwin, and Huxley, Lyell's Principles of Geology, and other standard works of science. The great controversy between evolutionary theory and religion was still raging, and I delighted in Huxley's smashing attacks on Gladstone and all the orthodoxies. In spite of my father's versatility in religious matters, he still led his flock regularly to church. At sixteen years I said to myself that the teaching of the Christian Churches was either a matter to be taken very seriously or a monstrous system of delusions. For a brief period I inclined to take it very seriously. But my reading turned me the other way, and I soon found myself very skeptical. I never, like Shelley, declared or felt myself to be an atheist. I had never been persecuted; I had no resentment against the Church, and no father-complex to prompt me to rebellion. My indulgent, erratic, rather brilliant father had never ruled me. I was a little exasperated sometimes by his inconsistencies; but, while appreciative of his qualities, I viewed his weaknesses and eccentricities with kindly tolerance. It is, I think, this relation to my father which makes for me now the whole elaborate Freudian structure of
( 195) the father-complex seem purely mythological and unreal when propounded, as it is, as a universal factor in the life of mankind.
The attitude to religion thus early acquired has never varied greatly. In those days the word "agnostic," recently popularized by Huxley, seemed to me the best banner under which to sail. But my agnosticism was not militant, aggressively negative, or hostile to religion. I said ignoramus, I could not follow Dubois Reymond in adding ignorabimus. It seemed to me that most of the men who took life seriously and worked for the improvement of the life of mankind were in one sense or another Christians. And so, though the moral and historical bases of Christianity seemed to me incapable of resisting any serious examination, I did not feel that the intellectual was either justified in attacking religion or required to make a public display of his own skepticism. I saw that, though it was impossible to prove the truth of any of the propositions taught or implied by the Churches, it was equally impossible to prove that there was no truth in them. In my fourth year at the Manchester University I specialized in geology, led thereto by the fine museum and the fascination of palaeontology as one of the great approaches to the study of evolution.
During these years, though I was a very serious youth, I did not scorn athletic pursuits. I represented my University in Rugby football, on the track, and on the river; and in the vacations I rode, swam, played tennis, and climbed mountains.
One effect of these years as a daily attendant at a university in a great, ugly, smoky manufacturing city was to engender in me a violent dislike of all such cities and a passionate love of natural beauty, especially of mountains and the sea. Our family was tied by my father's business to the neighborhood of Manchester where his main offices were. But he provided compensation in many holidays spent in the western-Highlands, ,in the Lake country, in the Welsh mountains, and in the Alps. I became a disciple of Wordsworth before I had read his poetry.
In other ways I was ill-content with my provincial university. What I read of Oxford and Cambridge fired me with a strong desire to study in one or other of those antique seats of learning. Their academic and social prestige were immense; and they were turning to the study of Science. Cambridge seemed to me the home of first-rate minds, Oxford of the second-rate. Chaucer, Milton, Cromwell, Pitt, Newton, Gray, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Darwin, all these
( 196) great men had dwelt and worked at Cambridge; and I must do the same. My father's prejudice against the Tory strongholds continued ; but he consented that I should go up to Cambridge if I could show myself able to win a scholarship there. So in December of 1889 I presented myself for the scholarship examination at St. John's College, Cambridge, and was offered < scholarship which I eagerly accepted. This, my first, visit to Cambridge enchanted me. The beautiful old courts, rich with memories of men who had played great rôles in the life of England, the rural surroundings, the primitive simplicity of the little town, all contrasting so violently with the environment of provincial commerce and industry which I had found so repugnant, combined to charm me. And so in the fall of 1890 I went up to Cambridge to make a new start, and, as it seemed to me, on a higher plane.
My position was a little unusual. I was a freshman just turned nineteen. My fellow freshmen were for the most part fresh from school, while I had graduated with first-class honors from a provincial university. While they had the childish outlook of the average public-school boy, I was in many ways extraordinarily mature. The result was that I lived a double life. As a freshman. I took part in and enjoyed the many boyish activities that make the daily round of the average undergraduate; I joined all the clubs and rowed in the college boat; I wined and sang and played cards. At the same time I looked on critically, despising a little these pursuits as somewhat childish. The Dons, seeing my participation in the social and athletic life of the college, wrote me down a lost soul. But I achieved a certain prestige among them by passing the Little-go with a first-class in Latin and Greek at the end of my first term, although I had studied no Greek before joining the college. And a few of them soon discovered the relative maturity of my mind and interests and gave me their companionship. During this freshman year, in my desire to be and do as other freshmen, I even accepted compulsory attendance at the college chapel.
At the end of my freshman year, my mother died of a most painful cancer. This incident completed the destruction of any remaining orthodox belief in a beneficent Providence. That a gentle woman whose whole life had been the blameless and faithful discharge of her natural duties, involving constant self-sacrifice, patient self-control, and active effort on behalf of others, that such a woman should die such a death was an unforgivable outrage—if there were any
(197) personal and all-powerful Director of our destinies. The moral of it for me was that mankind must rely upon their own efforts to ameliorate their lot; prayer as a petition for help or protection from evil was a childish substitute for personal effort. Only scientific research could mitigate such horrors in the future. I was sobered and turned back from my boyish activities to more serious effort. I ceased to attend college chapel. When the Dean demanded an explanation, I told him my conscience would no longer allow me to participate; and he wisely let me go. I decided to take the medical degree and to specialize in physiology. Geology seemed to me a worked-out science; physiology was then in its prime at Cambridge and full of promise of indefinite progress. Besides, the medical degree would enable me, if necessary, to earn my bread and butter; and, given my father's capacity, several times demonstrated, for squandering a fortune in unproductive manufacturing enterprises, I could not count upon financial independence. At the same time I determined that a fellowship of my college after graduation was a very desirable step towards a life of intellectual activity and achievement. In those days, and I suppose still, a prize fellowship in a leading college carried a considerable prestige; and a fellowship of my college could be had only through success in a very severe competition.
So in my second year I buckled down to work, played few games, and found my recreation chiefly in long walks. For in those days the flat Cambridgeshire country, which now seems to me woefully dull and insipid, was still capable of ravishing me with its rural charm and beauty. I caught in those fields and marshes something of "the vision splendid" which now for me has faded "into the light of common day." Not the least of the pleasures of such a walk was the return to the beautiful old college where Wordsworth had dwelt and where I was often conscious that just beyond the college wall was the statue of Newton, "with his prim and silent face, marble index of a mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone."
It was in those days no longer the practice to publish the marks scored in the final or Tripos examinations; but it was usually possible to ascertain privately the marks of those nearest the top of the list, and I set out to score the highest mark in the natural sciences Tripos at the end of my second year. Since most men took the examination at the end of the third year, this would have been a considerable achievement. I did not succeed, but came very near to the success my self-esteem demanded.
I now had two years before me in which to specialize in physiology, anatomy, and anthropology, these being my chosen subjects for the second part of the Tripos, the part taken only by the relatively few serious and successful students. The first of the two years was one of comparative leisure. I had no examinations to pass and no compulsory classes. I read widely and became more nearly acquainted with the English poets. And I dabbled in metaphysics and ethics, deciding that here was a field worthy of my metal, in which all remained still to be done. In 1894 I passed the second part of the Tripos with the highest honors obtainable and secured the university scholarship at St. Thomas' Hospital, London.
Looking back at my eight years of undergraduate life, I feel that I specialized too early in biology. I should have been better equipped for a career in science if I had carried my mathematics to a higher point; and I regret that I did not obtain a wider acquaintance with the classical Greek and Latin authors at first hand. It seems to me now that these studies would have been more profitable than my early poring over fossils and petrological specimens. This must remain a question that cannot be answered. There is perhaps no man living who has had a more intensive and varied training in the natural sciences; and what intellectual faults and virtues I possess must be largely due to this long process of education through study of natural science. I suspect that to it I owe something uncomprising in my pursuit of truth, an incapacity to be content with one kind of truth in science, another in philosophy or religion.
When I hear condemnation of lectures and examinations and of the competitive motive in educational institutions, the memory of my own experience makes me inclined to defend all of these. There is little or nothing to be said in defense of compulsion to attend lectures. But a lecture system under which lecturers have to attract and hold their audiences by giving them something worth having is innocent of the evils against which diatribes are so often directed. The perpetual examination and "quizzing," so general in American colleges, are no part of an ideal system; but a final examination in which the student is called upon to make the best use of the knowledge he has been accumulating through several years is by no means a bad thing in itself; and the anticipation of such a test, with acceptance of responsibility for preparing for it, is, I think, good as a spur to intellectual and moral effort. As for the competitive element—man is not a creature ideally fitted for sustained intellectual effort; and,
(199) with very rare exceptions, if a man is to make the sustained effort which alone will develop his powers to the utmost, it is necessary that motives other than sheer intellectual curiosity shall be brought into play. After desire for understanding and knowledge, the desire of excellence, of self-improvement, ranks next. Closely allied is the desire to fit one's self for useful work in the world. The competitive system plays upon these motives ; for it gives a man some measure of his progress towards these goals. And even the desire for public honors, for recognition as one who excels in some line of honorable effort, is not unworthy, and is perhaps the strongest of all motives upon which any system can make play. And that the student should be stimulated to intense effort seems to me the prime condition of preparation for an intellectual career. For myself, I can testify that I found profit in attendance at quite a number of lecture-courses, that I enjoyed the examinations and found them very stimulating, that all the motives mentioned above worked strongly, and that I was certainly not devoid of the desire for personal distinction. What proportion of motive power came from the last source I find it impossible to estimate; but I feel sure that it was no inconsiderable fraction. Especially the desire of the distinction of election to a fellowship of my college worked strongly within me. I was ambitious; but I looked down on all money-making vocations. All trade and business I regarded with mild contempt; and even the earning of a large income by the practice of law or medicine seemed to me unworthy of a free man.
It will be seen, then, that my youthful arrogance continued unabated. In deciding to take the medical degree of Cambridge University, it was not with the intention of practicing medicine; but rather I felt, as I still feel, that the course of medical study is a very desirable part of a thorough education, especially for one who aspires to work in any of the sciences concerned with man. There is no other way in which the student can bring himself into the most intimate touch with human nature in all its aspects. We see this in the effects of medical study. The men who enter upon it either fail to rise to its requirements and go to the dogs, or they become humanized, tolerant, understanding, sympathetic, and compassionate.
On going up to London in the fall of 1894, a further four years' course of study lay before me as preparation for the medical degree. I was not content to follow the regular courses in pathology, bacteriology, medicine, and surgery. I took also all the special courses
( 200) available and undertook research in the Physiological Laboratory of the Hospital, then under the charge of C. S. Sherrington, who already was giving promise of the eminence since attained. I was fascinated by the problem of muscular contraction, and spent each long vacation at Cambridge and part of my time in London in seeking to provide a solid foundation for the hypothesis I had formed.
During these years at St. Thomas' Hospital I still led the double life, the bustling life of the medical student in wards and laboratories, and the life of the studious recluse. In the latter I had one companion only, Walter Myers, a sensitive intellectual Jew of my own age, who later succumbed to yellow fever in Brazil, after joining the first scientific expedition for the study of that scourge. The most important effect of my reading at this time came from William James' Principles of Psychology. I had, while still an undergraduate, determined that a life devoted to the study of the nervous system was the most desirable of all; for in the brain, it seemed to me, were locked the secrets of human nature. But James showed me that neurological research is not the only road to the uncovering of those secrets, and led me to believe that they should be approached from two sides, from below upwards by way of physiology and neurology, and from above downwards by way of psychology, philosophy, and the various human sciences. My plans were widened accordingly; and it was in accordance with the wider plan that I presented, in support of my candidacy for a fellowship at my Cambridge college, two theses, one embodying my physiological research on muscle, and one giving the results of my reflections on the psychophysical problem, an essay in which I foreshadowed the now fashionable doctrine of emergence of mind from the physical realm.
I was duly elected to a fellowship, much to my satisfaction. And I was not disturbed on being told that the judges who reported on both my theses expressed extremely divergent opinions. At that time I was more confident of my own powers and of the value of my work than I have since become—more arrogant, in short. I accepted the diversity of verdicts on my work as evidence that it was at least not commonplace and was above the level of those who reported adversely upon it.
During those years in London I was still a practicing disciple of Wordsworth. I had rooms looking onto the grounds of Westminster Abbey. The Thames embankment was my favorite walk; and often in summertime I saw the dawn break over the City from Water-
( 201) -loo Bridge and could say, "Earth has not anything to show more fair." Often, after a day in the laboratory, I would take the train into the heart of Surrey and walk over the downs, sometimes returning only at breakfast time. On one wild morning I jumped out of bed at four o'clock and caught the newspaper-train to Cornwall in order to see the storm break on the cliffs.
My election to a fellowship played a part in determining me against pursuing medicine as a career. I was in the running for the highest honors in that profession ; and the career of a London specialist in neurology offered many attractions. But it seemed to me that the neurologist of that day did little more than achieve brilliant diagnoses of obscure organic disorders of the nervous system and prescribe mercury and potassium iodide with a vague hope of good results. The development of interest in the functional disorders, which now has reached so high a pitch, had hardly begun ; and I had not the genius to foresee the great possibilities in that direction. I saw how difficult it is to follow medicine as a profession and to maintain at the same time an active interest in research ; and I was all for research. Hence, when, during my time as interne in the hospital, I was invited to join the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to the Torres Straits, I accepted with enthusiasm. The party was under the leadership of A. C. Haddon and W. H. R. Rivers, two of my Cambridge` teachers whom I had learned to admire; and the task assigned to me was to help Rivers in making a complete survey of the sensory endowment of the negroid inhabitants of the islands. It was an opportunity to make intimate contact with a population of primitive culture; and I was already interested in such topics as totemism, I exogamy, and primitive religion, having read Tylor, Lang, Frazer, and other authorities in that field. Further, I had become involved' in a painful tragedy, the memory of which made me restless and illcontent with the life of cities and civilization.
We sailed from London early in 1899. My time in the islands of the Torres Straits was cut short by acceptance of an invitation from Dr. Charles Hose (then administrator of a very wild region in Borneo, part of the territory of the Rajah of Sarawak). He desired that some of the members of our party should spend a year with him, helping him to bring system and order into his prolonged and profound study of the many wild tribes of head-hunters, among whom he was establishing peace and prosperity. So I passed on from Torres Straits, after spending some five months in those remote islands, having greatly enjoyed the time, but having accomplished
( 202) very little. In Borneo, where the people were even less touched by European civilization than those of the Torres Straits, I began the cooperation with Hose which continued until the publication, in 1912, of The Pagan Tribes of Borneo, a large two-volume work in which we dealt pretty thoroughly with all aspects of the lives of the very interesting and likeable tribes of the interior of Borneo. The very extensive and intimate knowledge of the people required for the writing of that work was, of course, supplied by Hose. My share, besides the actual writing, consisted in directing attention to problems on which new data were required, and in formulating hypotheses. In two of the latter I continue to find some satisfaction first, the theory of the origin of totemism by way of the individual totem, an institution which, under the name Nyarong, we found flourishing among the Ibans or Sea Dayaks.
The second theory was that of the common origin and diffusion from a common center (in Asia north of the Himalaya) of the religion of the Kayans (one of the dominant tribes of the heart of Borneo) and of the religion of Ancient Rome. During my stay in Borneo I was strongly impressed with the similarities in general form and in certain details between these religions so widely separated in space and time. The theory of the essential oneness of the human mind seemed utterly inadequate to account for these similarities. On returning home I was able to find in the books on Roman religion more points of resemblance; and on publication of our article on the subject, Warde Fowler, a great authority on early Roman religion, was able to find others that had escaped me. I was thus a diffusionist before Eliot Smith's wide-ranging application of the principle of diffusion of culture-elements made the controversy—diffusion or independent origin—a central topic of contemporary anthropology.
After visiting China, Java, and India, where I learned to "hear the East a-calling," I returned to Cambridge. And now it was time to settle down to concentration along one line. In my desire to make as broad as possible my basis for the study of man, I was in danger of spending my life in excursions into the many possible fields. I was tempted to make field-anthropology my main line: for I greatly enjoyed wandering in wild places among primitive peoples and I had found it easy to make sympathetic contacts with such people. Looking back, I cannot now understand why I rejected this alluring prospect. I remember that my conscious ground
( 203) of rejection was characteristically arrogant. I said to myself, "That field is too easy for me"; and turned back to my original scheme of direct attack on the secrets of human nature.
I read Wundt's books and found them very dusty. I read also Külpe, Ziehen, Münsterberg, Höffding, Bain, Hobhouse, Lloyd Morgan, Ward, Stout, and Lotze. Of all these authors, Stout and Lotze seemed to yield more nutriment than the others. Among all the German philosophical writers I had sampled, Lotze was the only one who stirred me to something like enthusiasm. I attended lectures by Henry Sidgwick and James Ward. I was certain that there was something very much at fault in contemporary psychology; but I could not define the fault. I decided I must make first-hand acquaintance with the psychology and psychologists of Europe. I inclined to visit Janet, Bernheim, Kraepelin, and Freud ; but, under the advice of Ward (one of the very few instances in which I have accepted advice), I chose to sit under G. E. Müller at Göttingen, then the leading exponent of the exact laboratory methods in psychology. My choice was partly determined by what might seem an irrelevant consideration. I had, against my principles, fallen suddenly in love and become engaged to marry; and Göttingen promised to be a better scene for a year's honeymoon than Paris, Vienna, or other large city. We spent a delightful year in quaint, quiet Göttingen. My marriage at the comparatively early age of twenty-nine was against my considered principles; for I held that a man whose chosen business in life was to develop to the utmost his intellectual powers should not marry before forty, if at all. But nature was too strong for principles; and I have never regretted the step. It might be thought that for a charming young girl to marry an intellectual monstrosity like myself would be like making a bedfellow of a hedge-hog. But my wife has proved equal to the task she undertook. In intellect and temperament we were as unlike as possible, pure complementaries: I introverted, reserved, outwardly cold and arrogant, severely disciplined, absorbed in abstruse intellectualities ; she extroverted, all warmth and sympathy and charm and intuitive understanding. To do one's duty by a wife and five children does require the expenditure of considerable time and energy that might possibly be given to purely intellectual tasks. But I have always found delight and recreation in my home; I have never ceased to grow more grateful to my wife for her influence upon me and her perfect exercise of the privileges of her position; and I real-
(204) -ize that she has saved me from entanglements which, if I had followed my principle, might well have wrecked me. Then, too, I have learned more psychology from her intuitive understanding of persons than from any, perhaps all, of the great authors. I venture to think that the success of our marriage has been partly due to my recognition that the intellectual is apt to ruin his domestic relations by permitting himself to regard them as of less importance than his work. At a very early stage I resolved to avoid that error.
At Göttingen I followed Müller's lectures on psychophysics and on the experimental investigation of memory. They were admirably thorough and detailed. Yet I felt sure that these were not the main lines of progress for psychology. I was, then, not in close intellectual sympathy with Müller, though I admired his thoroughness, his energy and honesty and enthusiasm; and he and his wife treated us very graciously.
In my last year as an undergraduate at Cambridge, W. H. R. Rivers had entered on his duties as lecturer in the physiology of the sense-organs. He had recently returned from a long period of study under Kraepelin and Ewald Hering. Of the latter's theories he was an enthusiastic exponent. Those theories were in line with much, of the work of W. H. Gaskell, whose lectures at Cambridge I had greatly appreciated. And those theories were then dominant in the physiological and psychological circles of Germany, England, and America. At first I was much inclined to agree. But I soon rebelled, and began independent experiments in the field of light-and- color-vision, experiments which soon convinced me that Hering was on a wholly false line. I seemed also to see that his most fundamental physiological principles were wholly untenable.
This rebellion illustrates a tendency of my nature which has, I think, played a principal part in determining my lines of thought and work. It is allied to, but not wholly to be identified with, the arrogance which I have already mentioned. Whenever I have found a theory widely accepted in the scientific world, and especially when it has acquired something of the nature of a popular dogma among scientists, I have found myself repelled into skepticism. This tendency had already led me to espouse the cause of psychophysical interaction, as against the then popular and orthodox parallelism and epiphenomenalism. Now it led me to active rebellion against the dominant theories of Hering.
At Göttingen I carried on intensively my observations in the field
(205) of color-vision, finding the laboratory well equipped, owing to Muller's active interest in that field. I worked also on the development of a method for studying the problem of divided attention: for the singleness and limitation of the field of attention seemed to present problems of fundamental importance. Müller had written on both these topics, and, as usual, I found myself in opposition to his views.
At University College, London, James Sully had acquired, when Münsterberg went to Harvard, the apparatus which that distinguished pioneer had gathered in his laboratory at Freiburg. Sully's knowledge of the field of psychology was wide and deep, but he had not the least training for laboratory work. He desired to find a man to teach laboratory methods and had invited me to attempt this task. I undertook to give each year a short course of lecture-demonstrations, one meeting a week during one term only and at a nominal salary. In order to take up this work we returned to England and settled at the end of 1900 in a delightfully situated small house on the Surrey Downs near Haslemere. My very light teaching duties left me ample time for study. I read widely, especially in history, as preparation for an eventual Social Psychology. I also became interested in psychical research ; and I wrote a number of long and careful reviews of important books, an excellent exercise for a young man. But my chief work of this, my most productive period, was experimental. I made a laboratory of two attic rooms in my house; and there during four years I carried on the most enjoyable and profitable of my experimental researches, mostly in the field of vision.
As I conceived it, I was carrying on my attack on the secrets of human nature along both the possible lines. I would burrow in from below by penetrating the nature of the retino-cerebral processes. I would at the same time approach those secrets from above by continuing to study the phenomena of attention.
These studies issued in a series of papers, all of which fell in the province of physiological psychology as I conceived it. I continued to hold the view of the psychophysical relation which I had suggested in my first paper of 1899, namely, the view that the psychical qualities are engendered by (or as would now be said, "emerge from") the complex conjunctions of brain-processes (now called "configurations") but not as mere epiphenomena, rather as synthetic wholes that react upon the physical events of the brain or have causal efficacy
( 206) within the whole complex psychophysical event. About half of these papers were concerned with particular problems in the psychophysics of vision ; the other half were more speculative and concerned with the general functioning of the brain, the synaptic functions, inhibition, and the phenomena of attention. I also found opportunities to study the phenomena of hypnosis and to see mental and nervous cases.
Most of my papers seemed to be still-born; but at that time I was not troubled by the fact. It was not that I was indifferent to recognition ; but I had the naive belief that sound and original work is sure of recognition in the long run. To some extent this belief was justified, for it was in the main the papers of this period that led at a later date to my election to the Royal Society. But there were only two or three persons in Great Britain interested in the special problems with which I was busy. German academic circles were hardly accessible to British contributions; those of America were dominated by the Germans; and, in both, Hering's views were orthodox. In the field of visual theory I had found it necessary to reject both Hering and Helmholtz (whose rival views had for more than a generation occupied the field) and to go back to Thomas Young. As regards the general functioning of the brain, I could not accept the view then and still now current among the physiologists, namely, that each neuron merely transmits to its neighbors a stimulus. It seemed to me clear that the beginning of all understanding of brain-functioning was to regard the brain as the seat of action of fields of energy, within which fields there was widespread reciprocal influence and free flow of energy from part to part. In both my main interests, then, I was as usual opposed to the popular or orthodox views. In consequence, most of my contributions of that period have remained buried in their original depositories.
During my teaching at University College, a little group of persons interested in psychology began to gather for informal discussions in my laboratory. After a time we made ourselves into a formally constituted group, the British Psychological Society, with, I think, twelve original members; and presently we held larger and more formal meetings in various centers, and undertook to publish a journal, the British Journal of Psychology.
At this time, also, or later, I became a member of many scientific societies, the Physiological, the Neurological, the Royal Anthropological, the Sociological, the Medico-Psychological, the Aristotelian, the Mind Association, the Royal Society of Medicine, the Society
( 207) for Psychical Research, and the German Society for Experimental Psychology. Before all of these I read papers from time to time, and in most cases served on the governing body.
By 1904, when the Wilde Readership in Mental Philosophy at Oxford fell vacant, I had begun to realize that I was throwing my seed on stony ground, that my work along the lines I was pursuing could not find a public. I applied for the vacant post and was appointed. The post was in many ways an ideal one for me. The small salary was a welcome addition to my small income. The duties were very light—only two lectures in each of twenty-one weeks a year; and I was at liberty to choose my topics within a very wide field, a liberty of which I took full advantage. I ranged at large over the whole field of psychology conceived in the broadest way. I prepared my lectures with great diligence, writing out each one in full, and giving at least two full days' work to this task. During my tenure I must have prepared in this way at least thirty courses of lectures. This work was, I think, well worth while for me; though how much or how little my hearers profited I never knew. My classes were at first small, except when I lectured on such a sensational topic as hypnotism, with demonstrations; and then my large lecture room was crowded.
But the post had its drawbacks. It was, I think, T. H. Huxley who said that, if he had to devise a punishment for a very wicked scientist, he would condemn him to be a professor of science at Oxford. If I had been recognized as a teacher of science, my punishment would have been light; for by that date science was well established in Oxford. But I was neither fish, flesh, nor fowl. I was neither a scientist nor a philosopher pur sang. I fell between two stools. The scientists suspected me of being a metaphysician ; and the philosophers regarded me as representing an impossible and non-existent branch of science. Psychology had no recognized place in the curricula and examinations. For some years I was not even a member of the University; for I could not become a member without first becoming a member of some college; and a man in my position could not, without indelicacy, ask any college to accept him. Further, I was annoyed by the efforts of the founder of the Readership to dislodge me. He was an old manufacturer who had a great admiration for John Locke and a conviction that the mental life cannot be experimentally studied; and he had learned that I had been guilty of efforts along that line.
Still, some of my colleagues were kind, especially the Professor of Physiology (Gotch), who provided me with a good set of rooms in his laboratory where, as a private activity distinct from my work as University Reader, I could carry on research. In these rooms I did both experimental research and teaching, always having a small group of special students, among whom were W. Brown, Cyril Burt, G. F. Flügel, M. Smith, M. Bickersteth, and Horace English. These and a few others I was able to regard with satisfaction as brands plucked from the burning and turned into the channels of productive research.
A large part of my time, the most delightful and not the least profitable to my professional studies, was spent with my children, on all of whom I made detailed notes during their earliest years.
In 1907 I wrote my Social Psychology, which, I imagine, wilt be reckoned my most original contribution to psychology. It was written by invitation as a member of a projected series of semipopular scientific books, after the style of the old international series. The other members of the series never materialized. I had no thought that it might be used as a college textbook. I wrote for the general public. The genesis of the main thesis of that book is, I think, of some slight interest. Lecturing one day in 1906, I found myself making the sweeping assertion that the energy displayed in every human activity might in principle be traced back to some inborn disposition or instinct. When I returned home I reflected that this was a very sweeping generalization, one not to be found in any of the books; and that, if it was true, it was very important. I set to work to apply the principle in detail, becoming more and more convinced both of its truth and of its importance; and my Social Psychology emerged.
One of the greatest pleasures of my life fell in the year 1908, namely, a short visit from William James. I had never ceased to admire him greatly; an admiration which had increased when I met him for the first time in Rome in 1906. I felt that his visit was both a great compliment to me and a new evidence of the man's profound kindliness. During this visit James convinced me of the general validity of the pragmatic criterion of truth. Nevertheless, it seemed to me then, as it seems now, that James' pragmatism was not a philosophy nor a metaphysics (as so many have represented it), but just the extension to all fields of inquiry of the criterion long well established in the natural sciences. In 1910 I tried to express
( 209) my appreciation of James in a short memoir contributed to the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research. James and Stout are the only two men of whom I have felt myself to be in some degree the disciple and humble pupil.
The psychophysical problem continued to fascinate me; and I turned next to a book on that topic, seeking to make it both a comprehensive survey of thought on the topic and a constructive contribution. I had become more and more convinced that the mechanistic biology was unsound; also that my early "emergent" treatment of psychical functions did not go far enough; that in all living things there is some factor which does not work in accordance with mechanistic principles and which has its own peculiar nature and organization. The works of Hans Driesch confirmed me in this view. Souls were out of fashion, as James had said. But I had a predilection for unfashionable doctrines. And, seeing that so many scientists seem to find satisfaction in shocking the bourgeois, I would shock them by putting up a defense of an exploded superstition. In this spirit of defiance I wrote my Body and Mind and gave it defiantly the subtitle, A History and Defense of Animism (1911). This, perhaps, is the most accentuated illustration of that uncompromising arrogance which I have already mentioned. The publication of this book, like that of my Social Psychology, was like dropping a stone into a bottomless pit. I waited to catch some reverberation; but in vain. Each book received, I think, one favorable mention in the press; and that was all. I never could discover that anyone in Oxford had read either of them. And my colleagues, with one or two exceptions, seemed to be shaking their heads very gravely.
About this time I began to find it difficult to believe in the value of my work, a difficulty that has grown steadily greater. I was much tempted to turn to medical practice before it should be too late. However, in 1912 I was elected a fellow of the Royal Society; and also, chiefly through the kindness of F. C. S. Schiller and of Thomas Case, the metaphysician who presided over Corpus Christi College, a fellow of that College. My position was thus greatly strengthened; and I felt a certain obligation to persevere in the paths of pure science, however little I might effect.
During all these years I had been working sporadically on The Pagan Tribes of Borneo. Hose was now retired and living in England. In 1911 we spent the summer together and finished the book. This was largely a labor of gratitude on my part, for whatever kudos the book might bring would naturally and properly go to him.
In 1912 I was invited to write a small volume for the Home University Library, and produced my Psychology, the Study of Behavior. It embodied in small compass a good deal of hard thinking. In it I sketched very briefly the scheme of the psychology developed in more detail in my Outline of Psychology (1923). Although the little book was a very difficult one for the general reader, it has had a very considerable circulation, running somewhere near 100,000 copies.
During the ten years at Oxford before the War, I carried on work in the laboratory continuously, publishing a few experimental papers. But much of it was unfinished at the outbreak of war and remains unpublished. Among other things I was concerned to devise a series of mental tests that should be, as far as possible, independent of language and of learning, and universally applicable. And I worked especially on the influence of drugs on the brain functions. I was also preparing notes for a work which I projected as my magnum opus, a series of volumes on Social Psychology.
Shortly before the War, also, I had become much interested in psychoanalysis and, having met C. G. Jung in London, had made arrangements to visit him at Zurich in order to be analyzed by him.
But the War came, and I found myself a private in a French army, driving an ambulance and dodging German shells on the western front. Early in 1915 the British War Office began to realise the extent of its task, and there was a grave shortage of medical officers. I offered myself, was made a Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was put at once in charge of nervous patients. At this time there was a flood of mental and nervous cases streaming home from the armies on all fronts, and there was little preparation for dealing with them. But it soon became clear that the "shellshock" cases required mental treatment. I was put in a position where I could select from this vast stream whatever cases seemed most susceptible to treatment. And soon I was the head of a hospital-section full of "shell-shock" cases, a most strange, wonderful, and pitiful collection of nervously disordered soldiers, mostly purely functional. One had little time to think out the many theoretical problems. One thing was clear-successful treatment required the exploration and fullest possible laying bare of the causes of the trouble. Hypnosis proved very useful as a method of exploration, but not always indicated or feasible. Sympathetic rapport with the patient was the main thing, not a mysterious "transference" of a
(211) mythical "father-fixation" of the "libido"; but, under the circumstances, a very natural and simple human relation. It is true that I felt like the father of a multitude of helpless children, hopelessly stumbling on the brink of hell; and that they for the most part were very docile and dependent and grateful. It was a wonderful experience for a psychologist; and besides, for the first time in my life, except for my short period as house-physician at St. Thomas' Hospital, I was giving my whole time and energy to work that was indisputably worth while.
This medical work occupied all my time until the middle of 1919, when I returned to my university work; continuing, however, some psychotherapeutic work in a new branch of the out-patient department of the Oxford City Hospital.
During the War I had lost my laboratory, which was occupied by students of aviation problems; and after the War the rush of students to the Physiological Department made it impossible for the Department to return the rooms to me. It would have been most natural to devote myself to writing up my observations (filling thirty-five note-books) on nervous disorders. But I felt that I needed to digest them in the light of a more thorough study of the literature than I had then made. I felt also that it was very desirable to carry out my plan of submitting myself to psychoanalysis at the hands of an expert. I, therefore, found opportunities to visit C. G. Jung at Zurich and to be analyzed, so far as that process is possible for so hopelessly normal a personality as mine. I made an effort to be as open-minded as possible; and came away enlightened but not convinced. Before the War I had gathered a mass of notes for a book on Collective Psychology; and I felt that, if I did not at once work these into a book, the task would never be done. I was forty-eight, and though my father's family was long-lived, my mother's was less so; and physically I belonged to my mother's side. Therefore, I wrote my Group Mind. The title was unfortunate, for it antagonized many; but the thought I sought to express in this title was sound, namely, that a highly organized enduring group, such as a true nation, possesses an organization which in the main is mental; an organization which resides not in any one individual but rather is only very partially resident in any one member of the group; and which is what would now be called a configuration or Gestalt, an organized system of interacting energies, every part of which acts only through and under the influence of the
( 212) whole. My Social Psychology had been meant not as an introduction to the field, but rather as an indispensable preparation or propaedeutic. The Group Mind was a part of my projected magnum opus; but its reception was so unfavorable that the magnum opus went a-glimmering. For, as I have said, I have found it increasingly difficult to believe in the value of my work.
"Then came the invitation to Harvard. It was in every way a very flattering one. The Chair of Psychology at Harvard had not been filled since Münsterberg's death during the War. The tenure of it by James and Münsterberg and the great prestige of the Department of Philosophy and Psychology seemed to justify me in regarding it as the premier post in America, where psychology was so actively cultivated.
I had always felt the lure of life in America as a land of romantic possibilities; New England and its history had fascinated me. A visit and a most friendly reception in 1913 had in part confirmed my impressions. Especially I was attracted by the way America seemed to experiment, to act, to put things through on a large scale. Then, though I had inherited, on the death of my father in 1914, enough to make me modestly independent under pre-war conditions, prices were doubling, the income-tax took a third of my income, my children were at the most expensive age, and England was beggared.
On the other hand, I had a secure and comfortable position at Oxford in which I could live out my working years; and after the War there was a marked increase of interest in psychology; my regular lectures now had some two hundred hearers.
However, it had always been my principle to accept whatever challenge life might bring. Harvard would be a stimulating adventure; whereas at Oxford I might too easily subside into inactivity.
The motivation in such a decision is vastly complex. One factor was, I think, that in spite of the extreme and unremitting kindness of Sir William Osler, we had recently lost a child from rheumatic fever; and I was savage against the English climate, which also I blamed for total deafness in one ear. I was inclined to settle the question by the toss of a coin. I accepted and put myself in full harness for the first time in my forty-ninth year.
We went to America with good hopes and intentions. I knew my wife and children would make themselves much liked; and I was determined that, as far as in me lay, I would represent my country creditably, at least with unfailing good-will and courtesy.
( 213) My amiable anticipations were a little checked when my arrival coincided with a stinging and very hostile review of my Group Mind. I found Behaviorism ascendant and rampant. I found that, though my Social Psychology had enjoyed before the War a much larger vogue than I had realized, it and I were now back-numbers, relics of a bygone and superseded age. I had undertaken to give a course of Lowell lectures in my first year, and I incautiously lectured on national eugenics. The lectures, published as National Welfare and National Decay in England, were slightly altered to give them American application in the American edition, under the title, Is America Safe for Democracy? I did not then realize that in touching, however impartially, the racial question, I was stirring up a hornets' nest. To this raising of the racial question in 1921 is due, I must suppose, much of the hostility of the American press that has continued to greet my successive publications.
Another difficulty which I had not foreseen was that the numerous graduate students were drawn to Harvard in the main from other colleges and universities; and, with very few exceptions, they had been taught some form of mechanistic psychology, with the consequence that they looked upon me and my outlandish theories with suspicion, a suspicion which yielded, if at all, to a more receptive attitude only about the end of their period of study at Harvard.
In spite of these drawbacks, we have been very happy in America. My colleagues were perfectly genial; we have found many dear friends; and I have never regretted our adventure.
I was not director of the laboratory; and my favorite field of experiment, that of visual perception, was already filled by a colleague. There was vacant a small equipment for animal psychology. I eagerly seized the opportunity to begin an experiment I had long contemplated. In my Cambridge days I had rebelled as usual against the then all-dominant neo-Darwinism or Weissmanism. It seemed to me that the only ground of the dogmatic rejection of the Lamarckian theory was purely a deduction from the mechanistic dogma in biology ; and I had urged that some strong scientific society should initiate and maintain, in a way not possible to any individual, a prolonged experiment designed to settle the Lamarckian question once for all, using preferably dogs as the most likely material. Now, in 1920, the question seemed just as open as in 1890, and no nearer a decision. Meanwhile, I had become more firmly convinced that the mechanistic dogma is no valid basis for biological deductions.
It was clear that, if I should use dogs as my material, I could not hope to live long enough to carry the experiment to a conclusion. I chose, therefore, the white rat which, in addition to so many other advantageous features, breeds rapidly. So, with a small group of graduate students, I set out on this fool's experiment. Yet not altogether foolishly, for, even though the issue might be entirely adverse to the Lamarckian hypothesis, a clear-cut negative issue of a well-planned and long-continued experiment would he not altogether without value; since no such experiment had been made. And, in any case, the question at issue seemed to me the most important question yet formulated by the mind of man and clearly susceptible of solution by experimental procedure. And a positive answer indisputably established by experiment would not only give us a working theory of biological evolution, but would be a heavy blow to the mechanistic biology. It would place mind at the very heart of the evolutionary process, instead of leaving it as a by-product of that process, an unintelligible excrescence upon life.
The experiment, now in its tenth year and its twenty-forth generation, seems to promise a clean-cut and indisputable proof of the reality of Lamarckian transmission. If, in the next few years, this promise should be amply realized, the work will rank as by far my most important contribution to science; although the execution of it will have required little but great confidence in my own judgment and dogged persistence. This work has absorbed all the time and energy I have had for experimental research.
By devoting my long vacations to writing in a retreat among the beautiful White Mountains, I managed, in spite of the long and arduous academic year at Harvard, to produce several books, as well as many articles. Of these the largest and most important, as I suppose, are my Outlines of Psychology and of Abnormal Psychology.
The latter was the topic to which I felt I could make a definite contribution. But I had before me as a warning several distinguished examples of men who, while making great contributions to that field and through it to psychology in general, had gone widely astray through plunging into it without having first acquired a foundation in the shape of a consistent and workable general psychology. And I could find no book that would serve me satisfactorily as a text for a course of instruction in the general principles of psychology. Therefore, I wrote first my Outline of Psychology, developing as systematically as I could the principles briefly laid down in my
( 215) Social Psychology and my little volume of 1912. It embodies a scheme, more complete, I think, than any other, of the general structure or organization of the mind and of the development of that structure from its innate basis.
I had come to see more and more clearly that the main defect of the psychologies with which I had struggled in the opening years of the century was their acceptance, or their compromise with, the mechanistic biology, and their consequent neglect of the purposive or teleological aspect of all mental life. I seemed to see clearly that, whatever theory of the relation of mind to matter (of the psychophysical relation) one might hold, any psychology that ignored, or failed to bring out clearly, the fundamentally purposive nature of mental activity was doomed to sterility. It seemed clear also that that kind of purposiveness which is involved in the hedonist, the pleasure-pain, theory of motivation was utterly inadequate and misleading, especially when, as by so many of the nineteenth-century authors, it was clumsily attached to an otherwise thoroughly mechanistic associationism. The most essential character of life-processes seemed to be their goal-seeking nature. But goal-seeking is the type of activity we find most clearly displayed for our contemplation in all our own most developed activities. It seems, then, likely that where there is life there is mind, or, at least, that form of goal-seeking activity which becomes what we call mind in highly developed organisms. A word was needed to express this type of activity in the most general way; and the Greek word horme seemed the only one available. So, putting aside the psychophysical problem, leaving it an open question, I wrote a hormic psychology, of which the keynote is the hormic urge to live, differentiated in the course of biological evolution into the specialized forms that we call instincts. The innate basis of the human mind was thus for me not merely certain reflexes (mechanical even though called instincts in the more complex instances) together with a capacity for certain qualities of sensation. I could not follow Lloyd Morgan and his many disciples in supposing that by adding sensations and images to mechanical reflexes we can generate intelligent mental activity. Sensations were to me unreal abstractions; and "ideas" and "concepts" were anathema, the fountain-head 'of most of the confusion in modern philosophy and psychology. The mind was in some sense a unity from the beginning and developed not by accretion of sensations, images, and ideas, but by a process of perpetual differ-
(216) -entiation and specialization of its rudimentary powers of knowing, of feeling, of striving towards goals. Psychology must begin by recognizing frankly the peculiar nature of the facts it deals with, and must postpone, indefinitely if need be, the task of reconciling itself with the sciences of the inorganic world.
Bergson seemed to me to have established the radical difference between habit and true memory. Habit is a matter of connections between neurons; but whatever may be the foundation of memory, it is a continuously growing organization of a nature distinct from the neural basis of habit, yet functioning in intimate cooperation with that basis.
Rudimentary knowing, feeling, and striving are given in the innate basis, as functions of the relatively simple innate structure of the mind. Psychology, at present at least, must be content to accept these functions as primary postulates, its task being to describe the differentiation of them through the growth and differentiation of mental structure. Alongside the process of increasing differentiation of structure and functions that produces the organized intellect, goes on a process of increasing integration, the process of character formation.
The attempt made in my Social Psychology to define the innate basis of the mind in the human species had suffered a curious fate. It had been adopted en bloc by many authors, and cited by many more in a non-committal way; but hardly any serious criticism or attempt to correct or improve upon it had been made, though a multitude of superior persons had jeered at it. In America I was known as a writer who had flourished in the later middle ages and had written out a list of alleged instincts of the human species. Yet it was certain that my attempt, if it was an approximation to the truth, was very important. The psychoanalysts, who, like myself, founded all human activity on a basis of instincts, were floundering wildly through lack of any comparative study of instinct, any attempt to define what instinct is and does and can do, and what instinctive tendencies are proper to man. I could not see that in the fifteen years elapsed since my Social Psychology any progress had been made with this fundamental problem. Nor could I find that my scheme needed radical alteration; it seemed to require only improvement in detail and completion.
On the basis provided by my Outline, I built up my Abnormal Psychology, incorporating what seemed most sound in the teachings
( 217) of Freud, and Jung, and Morton Prince, especially the principles of conflict, repression and dissociation, and the subconsciously working complex.
In my Social Psychology the functional units of mental life were described as sentiments, each sentiment being regarded as a structural system comprising all knowledge of and all affective tendencies directed upon some object; and the formation of character was the integration of the sentiments in one balanced self-consciously operative system. That such functional units are very real was obvious; but the great majority of psychologists had remained content to use the vague notion of "the complex" (defined as a repressed emotionally toned idea) or the still vaguer term "attitude."
This scheme of the mind's general structure and modes of functioning could, of course, at best be only approximately true; but I found strong support for it in the fact that it lent itself readily to the interpretation of the whole range of functional disorders. And, in fact, the only serious objection hitherto offered is just the fact that it does work so smoothly and neatly. It seems to be felt in many quarters that in psychology a working hypothesis that works is an anomaly and something of a monstrosity.
In my Abnormal Psychology I endeavored to develop as a scientific hypothesis the monadic theory of human nature. For this seems to me the only view capable of reconciling the facts of the unity of consciousness with the facts of disintegration of personality, of multiple consciousness, and of relatively independent subconscious mental activities. The theory, of course, raises many difficulties; but that is true of every possible psychophysical theory. My aim, as in my Body and Mind, was to bring this problem down from the airy region of metaphysical speculation onto the plane of science and scientific method.
Since publishing my Abnormal Psychology in 1926 I have made one further step in my own thinking, embodied in a small volume, Modern Materialism. This volume aims to establish the reality of purposive action as a form of causal efficacy distinct in nature from all mechanistic causation. It points out that, in spite of all the contemporary talk of the reconciliation of Science with Religion, no such reconciliation has been effected or can be effected so long as biological science remains essentially mechanistic, recognizing only mechanistic explanation, namely, explanation through events, however immaterial, that lie wholly in the past, explanation that makes no refer-
( 218) -ence to the future. For biological processes are teleological, they require teleological explanations, explanations which refer to ends or goals; and, so far as we can see, such reference can be intelligibly conceived only as mental reference. Hence foresight of goals, stirring to action and directing the hormic energies of the organism, would seem to have real causal efficacy in the life of the organisms.
The admission of the reality of such teleological causation, an admission that Science has not yet made, seems to me essential to all religion and all morals. To reconcile Science with morals seems to me a more urgent need than its reconciliation with Religion. I have never yet been able to convince myself that religious belief of any kind is an imperative human need. And I cannot conceal from myself the fact that religious belief has been and is now the ground of much dishonesty, that it becomes increasingly difficult to hold and profess such belief without dishonesty. On the other hand, belief in the efficacy of moral effort and in the reality of moral choice does seem to me an imperative human need. Without it, we are discouraged, paralyzed, and thrown back, individually and socially, into moral chaos. The Mechanistic Science that is still dominant does deny us such belief. Hence, if such science is in error, the importance of speedily convicting it of error.
When I use the words "religious belief" I mean belief in some theocratic governance of the world. I know that it has long been customary to apply the term to beliefs about the world which are not in any sense theocratic. But that seems to me one instance of the dishonesty into which the prestige of religion is apt to betray good men. A system of belief that contains no theocratic element cannot properly and honestly be called religious. To give it that title is to deceive and to deceive intentionally. Religion has been defined as "the art and theory of the internal life of man." But this art and theory are the art and theory of morals, not of religion. And though, no doubt, such art and theory have been the concern of all churches and of all the higher religions, they are no essential part of religion. When I say, then, that I doubt if religious belief is an imperative need of mankind, I mean theocratic belief. I do not doubt that, if we could see good grounds for accepting such theocratic belief as William James inclined to, such belief would be of moral value. The mystical experience of the few who attain to it seems to suffice for their conviction. But I see no way in which such experiences can be made evidential for the rest of us. And, apart from such ex-
( 219) -perience, the desire of theocratic belief seems to be the only ground of it. I am still prepared to believe that the Christian religion may be in essence true; but I still see no sufficient ground for such belief, though in a vague way I share the desire. The desire of belief in theocracy, however universal, is, to my mind, no sufficient ground. If it proceeds from lack of courage to stand alone in the world, it seems to me of no great merit. If it is a form of benevolent desire to see mankind rendered happier by such belief and encouraged in right doing, it has some moral justification. Yet if it leads us to distort the evidence, to blind ourselves to any part of it, to weigh it with less than the strictest honesty, such desire and such belief are morally stultified.
What then of my dabbling in Psychical Research? What is my apology for such pandering to superstition"? It is probably true that the majority of those who have taken an active interest in this field have done so in the hope of providing surer foundations for religious beliefs, especially for the belief in the continuance of personality after the death of the body. I was led to make some study of this field by my desire to know the truth. Here, it seemed to me, was a body of ancient beliefs all of which Science seemed utterly to deny. Yet the ground of such denial was plainly inadequate. It was in the main an inference from the assumption that the universe is a strictly mechanical system. Here were phenomena alleged to occur in all times and places, an allegation supported by a body of strong testimony. And Science frowned upon it all and said: "Such things cannot happen." As usual I was thrown into rebellion against this orthodoxy. Further, I saw in the Society for Psychical Research a body of earnest seekers after truth, conscientiously using methods which might reveal truth; and these researches were largely in the field of psychology. Yet not only scientists in general, the philosophers, the churches, and the men in the street, stood coldly aloof or actively scoffed, but also the psychologists. And it seemed to me a scandal that psychologists should refuse to lend a hand or at least moral support to this heroic effort. Therefore, though without much hope or anticipation that any phenomenon (beyond those that fall under the head of telepathy) would he established, I threw myself to the support of Psychical Research. I felt that even a purely negative result of a long sustained cooperative research would be of great importance. For, until such research shall have been made and shown to be incapable of finding any basis of reality in the al-
( 220) -leged supernormal phenomena, the world must continue divided into ignorant partisans and ignorant deniers.
It is peculiarly difficult to maintain a strictly scientific and impartial attitude in this sphere; a fact illustrated by the very small number of persons who have succeeded in doing so. It is difficult to avoid the influence of the confidence of the scientific world in the adequacy of its own principles, without falling under the contrary influence of traditional religion. But also a positive temptation of a very real nature besets the inquirer into these obscure questions; especially, if he has any reputation to lose or to throw into one or other scale. If, on investigating some notorious case that has excited popular interest, he hastily and roundly denounces it as purely fraudulent, he earns the applause of one half of the world ; but, as I know from my own early experiences of such sensational "exposures," he does little or nothing to clarify the field. If, on the other hand, he affirms its genuineness as an instance of supernormal happening, he wins the plaudits of the other half of the world and is accepted as a shining light among them. But if he devotes much careful study to it, and renders a judicial report, balancing carefully the pros and cons, then he becomes to both parties an object of vituperation and contempt. Although the last fate has been mine, I nevertheless find a certain satisfaction in having maintained the scientific attitude of impartial inquiry in spite of all difficulties and unpleasant consequences.
I have served on the council of the English Society for many years. I have presided over it and over the American Society, and have taken an active part in founding the new Boston Society. And, though my contacts with the field in America have brought many very disagreeable incidents, I do not repent. I have given the minimum of support which, as a psychologist occupying a position of some slight influence, I could give without reproaching myself with cowardice. If I had not found it necessary to earn some income, I should perhaps have chosen to give all my time and energy to work in this field. During my thirty years of Psychical Research I have grown rather more skeptical of the "physical prenomena" (though even now
I am not prepared to assert that they do not occur) and more inclined to believe in the reality not only of telepathy but also of some of the other "mental phenomena."
What of my attitude toward Philosophy? I have associated much with philosophers and have read philosophy all my life. It has become increasingly clear to me that there is no method (call it
( 221) metaphysical or what you will) distinct from the scientific method for the ascertainment of fact and of the nature of reality. I am convinced that the scientific or pragmatic criterion of truth is the only valid one. Yet I do not, therefore, like many men of science, deny the right of Philosophy to existence as an independent discipline. I deny that it has any right to attempt, or any method for, the building up of cosmologies or ontologies. But I recognize that Philosophy has a large field of its own which must forever remain outside the province of Science, namely, the field of valuation, the investigation of values and of judgments and standards of value. But I recognize also that, in all this important work, Philosophy has been hitherto very seriously hampered by the lack of sound psychology. And because psychology stands in this relation to all the philosophical inquiries (and also to all the sciences of man and society, a relation far more intimate than that of the other sciences), I still hold, as I held in my youth, that it is the science of most urgent importance in the present age, when, for lack of sufficient knowledge of human nature, our civilization threatens to fall into chaos and decay.
I am, then, interested in "the art and theory of the internal life of man." It is, I think, my fundamental interest, that which has led me to devote such powers as I possess to the study of psychology. For the art and theory of the internal life of man have inevitably remained rudimentary and highly disputable for lack of a foundation of scientific knowledge of man. If I thought that psychology were incapable of furnishing the required foundation, I should not regard it as of much interest, and should not have given my time to it. It is the most difficult of the sciences, and the most unsatisfactory of all fields of research. It is far too difficult for most of us who are engaged in it; and I see no clear prospect of steady advance. To hardly any major question within its field is it possible by any method to find an answer which shall compel the assent of all qualified students. We shall continue to stumble along, divided into warring sects, accumulating vast masses of data, but unable to interpret them in terms of any one comprehensive and generally acceptable scheme. But somehow, no doubt, and however slowly, progress will be made.
When I entered the field of psychology it was a field for specialists alone, and in my own country such specialists were very few, though in America and Germany their number was rapidly growing. At the present time psychology is not only strongly represented in most universities (outside of Great Britain), but has secured pretty general
( 222) recognition in the fields of Education and Medicine. It has also attracted the attention of a very considerable part of the general public. It may even be claimed that psychology is now the most popular of the sciences. But I find no great encouragement in the last fact. In many ways the popular interest in psychology is a disturbing and distorting influence, especially in that it gives an undue prominence and prestige to views that are extreme, ill-balanced, fantastic, and bizarre, if only they contain some modicum of truth and are put forward with persuasive skill. In America, especially, the general public, including not merely the seekers after personal benefits but also the more cultivated public, is keenly interested in the extravagances of the Freudian school, in the equally ill-balanced system of Adler with its gross exaggeration of one factor of our constitution to the neglect of all else, and in the still more ill-balanced, extravagant, and bizarre dogmas of the behaviorist school, in the equally inadequate and lopsided doctrines of Couéism and of Christian Science, and in the sensational claims of the Spiritists. On the other hand, it ignores the labors of those who try to maintain and., by patient research, to develop a sane, all-round, well-balanced system of psychology that founds itself on general biology and takes account of facts revealed by all relevant lines of research, by biology, by physiology, by anthropology, by the study of animal behavior, by the medical and the social sciences, by "psychic research." For the general public such psychology is too difficult, too laborious, too lacking in sensational claims, in promises of immediate solutions of practical problems, too humdrum, too tame, too full of unverified hypotheses and confessions of ignorance. What the public likes is to be told straightforwardly and dogmatically that it has an Unconscious, source of all mysteries and all solutions; or a terrible Oedipus Complex, source of all disorders; or an Inferiority Complex, source of all achievement; or a few Conditioned Reflexes that explain all human activity; or a miracle-working power of Auto-Suggestion; or an Etheric body; or an imperishable Soul. And whatever the dogma, it must be one that promises immediate profits in health, or pocketbook, or domestic harmony and relief from personal responsibility.
Of all the great problems that confront the psychologist none seems to me so urgent as that of the nature and extent of the innate basis of our mental life. As regards both our intellectual and our moral nature, the question remains obscure ; and there is room for wide differences of opinion. I have given much thought to it, but can see no method for its sure elucidation ; for the experiments that
( 223) would throw a clear light upon it are barred by moral considerations.
The problem of the relation of mind to body is equally obscure, and, in principle, even more baffling. Here the methods of psychical research may possibly bring light. The man trained in science finds it difficult to accept freedom of the will, telepathy, or survival of personality after death. Yet these may be in some sense intelligible; the intellect may reconcile them with the rest of scientific knowledge. But, when we are confronted with what seems good evidence of clairvoyance or of prevision, we are simply nonplussed. In every direction we seem beset with impenetrable barriers against which we dash ourselves in vain.
Do I then regret the choice of my line of work? Sometimes I do. Similar abilities, energy, and sustained effort, applied in any other line of work, might well have brought considerable reward. Some of my books have been moderately successful in finding readers among the general public. But if, as the majority of my colleagues say or imply, they are utterly misleading, what a weight of responsibility lies at my door in having misled so many innocent readers! I sometimes contrast my work with that of William James, my model. It is on record that, within a few weeks after the publication of one of his less popular books, he received letters about it from some five hundred persons. Whereas, if I receive from those to whom I have sent copies of a newly published book three or four postal cards and a couple of letters, I feel that I have done pretty well. The more I write, the more antagonism I seem to provoke. Yet, except in one or two reviews written when I was still a green hand, I have been at much pains to be strictly fair to those with whom I do not agree. I have not been able to acquire James' magic touch which made all his readers his friends. I suppose it is that my uncompromising arrogance shows through, in spite of the taming it has undergone.
Yet in the main I have lived hitherto the sort of life which in my youth I judged to be the most desirable; and that perhaps is all a man can properly demand. Even if my books are very much at fault, many of their readers may have profited in some degree from the intellectual effort to comprehend them. I have done no great wrongs; and, as I often tell myself, it is something to have done my part in bringing up a little flock of whom I may justly be proud. And yet, was it right to bring them into existence? Was the Buddha's teaching true? It is a deep question, and I have found no answer.