The Unadjusted Girl

Chapter 6: The Measurement of Social Influence

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IN the last chapter we have seen the development of definite methods and very positive successes, but everybody who deals with human beings professionally -- the educator, the criminologist, the statesman -- feels that he has no certain method for the control of behavior, that there are obscure and incalculable elements, that the same procedure does not secure the same results when applied to different individuals, that the successes are often as unintelligible as the failures, and that such successes as there are depend on common sense, personality, and trial and error rather than on any known system of laws.

For example, among the social sciences criminology has a larger amount of concrete material bearing on behavior, more printed and unprinted cases than any of the others. Certainly there is the strongest possible motive for understanding the criminal and reforming him, and preventing crime in general. But a recent appeal to the public by the President of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology for funds to study the effects of criminal procedure indicates how far criminology is from being a science:

. . . The institute asks that special inquiry be made of the wisdom and success of probation, - parole, indeterminate sentence and the entire handling of criminals after conviction; that present acute differences of opinion among equally public-spirited citizens be clarified and sound conclusions


reached as to the treatment of convicted criminals, neither in the interests of sentimentality nor of vindictive vengeance, but for the better protection of the public and the promotion of law and order. The public may be shocked to know that no one now has facts to answer the above inquiries.[1]

The whole criminal procedure is based on punishment and yet we do not even know that punishment deters from crime. Or rather, we know that it sometimes deters and sometimes stimulates to further crime, but we do not know the conditions under which it acts in the one way or the other.

Similarly the most successful workers with delinquent children report that sometimes their charges reform themselves spontaneously and, so to speak, in spite of the efforts of the institution.

The second type, those who unexpectedly make good by their own plan, which is not of our making, is of profound sociological significance. "We possess only that which we set free", said an old Chinese philosopher. How many of us know girls whom we have not set free, but who have taken the bit in their teeth and run away from us, later to emerge. decently clothed, resourceful, Industrious, successful and adjusted to life beyond our fondest hopes. Recently I visited some thirty state institutions for the training of de-


-linquent girls. Most of the superintendents reported stories of rebellion, escape, followed by the inexplicable "making good." Many commented on fortunate marriages contracted because the girl strayed in forbidden paths, dancehalls, piers, rinks, cafés and other loafing places of Prince Charming. We are more familiar with this type of fortuitous success in boys than in girls, boys who flee from us to navy, army or wild west. Many a candid probation officer will tell you that she has met with it in girls.[2]

Detective Burns, speaking of the counterfeiter Wilken, says below (document No. 92, p. 236): "I have often wondered whether his talents would have been smothered by convention if he had been kept in the straight and narrow path. The most commonplace man becomes sometimes the most startlingly original crook. The reformed crook, on the other hand, turns to honesty and becomes duller than ditchwater. "

In the paper quoted above as document No. 88, p. 200, Jessie Taft says:

The intimate psychological or psychiatric interpretation, the individual intensive treatment, are fundamental for solving the problems of delinquency. No matter how ideal the social conditions, no matter how farsighted the laws, there will always be compensatory behavior in the lives of individuals, and some of this behavior is bound to be unwholesome and socially undesirable. Instinctive protective reactions on the part of society, even the more enlightened mass treatment in institution, will bring results only by accident.

What we need is a treatment of behavior so scientific that results instead of being accidental will be subject to intention and prediction. Biology studies the life-history


of individual forms and explains any particular details of their behavior in the light of the life of the organism as a whole from birth to death. Where does a similar case study of human beings belong? Without it there can be no scientific solution of the problems of delinquency.

Our best efforts to reform the delinquent, or even to control the behavior of the young child in such a way as to secure a balanced, efficient, creative, and happy schematization of life are very imperfect. The juvenile court and the experimental schools do not completely realize the hopes they inspired. The most careful methods may result in failure and the most imperfect methods and even neglect of method may result in, or at least not prevent success. We sometimes see a poor, obscure, and underfed boy assuming a definite life-direction, planning to be something, and pursuing his aim with the certitude of the homing instinct, while a boy with the choicest opportunities of life -- money, schools, tutors, and travel --remains a nonentity or becomes demoralized.

Now the example of the physical and biological sciences shows that the human mind has the power to work out schemes which secure an adequate control over the material world and over animal and plant life by a series of observations and experiments which have been sufficiently thorough and detailed to discover series of facts and their causal connections which lead to the establishment of general chemical, physical, mechanical, and biological laws, and the same objective methods will lead to similar results in the field of social theory and practice.

There is, indeed, no sharp line between the commonsense method of the average man in determining facts and causal relations and the method of the scientist.

(226) When we have found that a certain effect is produced by a certain cause the formulation of this causal dependence has in itself the character of a law; we assume that whenever the cause repeats itself the effect will necessarily follow. The agriculture of the peasant and of the old-fashioned farmer was scientific to the degree that they had observed a causal relation between manure, lime, moisture, seasonal changes, varieties of soils, animal and plant pests, and the success or failure of their crops. But science is superior to common sense in its methods of experimentation, measurement, and comparison, in its isolation and intensive study of problems from mere scientific curiosity, without regard to the practical application of its results. Science is called cold because it is objective, seeking the facts without regard to whether they confirm or destroy existing moral and practical systems.

But science is always eventually constructive. A large number of specialists working in many fields, upon detached and often apparently trivial problems - primroses, potato bugs, mosquitoes, light, sound, electricity, heredity, radium, germs, atoms, etc. establish a body of facts and relationships the social meaning of which they do not themselves suspect at the time, but which eventually find an application in practical life, - in agriculture, medicine, mechanical invention.

Science accumulates facts and principles which could never be determined by the common sense of the individual or community, and of so great a variety and generality that some of them are constantly passing over into practical life. The old farmer has learned the value of soil analysis, though with reluctance and suspicion, and he has learned to spray his orchards to

(227) preserve them from pests whose existence he did not suspect. At this moment science is advising him to put a bounty on the head of the turkey buzzard instead of imposing a fine for killing it. His common sense had told him that the vulture was valuable as a scavenger. Now science tells him that it is an ally of the paralysis fly and carries cattle, hog, and other diseases over the country. "Probably more than the income from a million dollars is spent each year in the several marine biological institutions for the study of three lowly forms, - the sea urchin and its progeny, the coral, and the jelly-fish." An American entomologist has spent many years in measuring the influence of physical environment on potato bugs. He established colonies of these insects in Mexico, moved them from one temperature to another, one degree of humidity to another, one altitude to another, and recorded the changes shown in the offspring. He then moved the new generations back to the old environment and recorded the results, -whether the spots and other acquired characters changed or remained. His object was to determine certain laws of heredity, -whether and under what conditions new species are produced, whether acquired characters are hereditary. To common sense this procedure seems trivial, almost insane. But assuming that a biologist determines a law of heredity, this will presumably have a practical effect in the fields of agriculture, eugenics, crime, and medicine.

These examples show that a science which results in a practical and efficient technic is constituted by treating it as an end in itself, not merely as a means to something else, and giving it time and opportunity to develop along all the lines of investigation possible,

(228) even if we do not know what will be the eventual applications of one or another of its results. We can then take every one of its results and try where and in what way they can be practically applied. We do not know what the future science will be before it is constituted, and what may be the applications of its discoveries before they are applied.

But, on the other hand, the scientist will naturally be influenced in setting and solving his problems by the appreciation that if discoveries are made in certain fields practical applications will follow. He may know, for example, that if we can discover the scarlet fever germ we can control this disease, and he may work on this problem, or he may suspect that if we knew more of the chemistry of sugar we could control cancer, and may work on that problem.

There is no question that a more rational and adequate control in the field of human behavior is very desirable. And there are no powers of the human mind necessary to the formation of a science in this field which have not already been employed in the development of a science and a corresponding practice in the material world. The chief obstacle to the growth of a science of behavior has been our confidence that we had an adequate system for the control of behavior in the customary and common sense regulation of the wishes of the individual by family, community, and church influences as outlined in Chapter II, if only we applied the system successfully. And the old forms of control based on the assumption of an essential stability of the whole social framework were real so long as this stability was real.

But this stability is no longer a fact. Precisely the marvelous development of the physical and biological

(229) sciences, as expressed in communication in space and in the industrial system has made the world a different place. The disharmony of the social world is in fact due to the disproportionate rate of advance in the mechanical world. The evolution of the material world, based on science, has been so rapid as to disorganize the social world, based on common sense. If there had been no development of mechanical inventions community life would have remained stable. But even so, the life of the past was nothing we wish to perpetuate.

Another cause of the backwardness of the science of society is our emotional attachment to the old community standards or "norms." I described in Chapter II how much emotion enters into the formation of everyday habits. It is well known that men have always objected to change of any kind. There was strong condemnation, for example, of the iron plow, invented late in the eighteenth century, on the ground that it was an insult to God and therefore poisoned the ground and caused weeds to grow. The man who first built a water-driven sawmill in England was mobbed; the man who first used an umbrella in Philadelphia was arrested. There was opposition to the telegraph, the telephone, the illumination of city streets by gas, the introduction of stoves and organs in churches, and until recent years it would be difficult to find a single innovation that has not encountered opposition and ridicule.

This emotional prepossession for habitual ways of doing things enters into and controls social investigations, particularly social reforms. The Vice Commission of Chicago, for example, which undertook an investigation of prostitution, was composed of thirty

(230) representative men, including ministers, physicians, social workers, criminologists, business men and university professors. In the introduction to its report it was at pains to state that it was anxious to make no discoveries and no recommendations which did not conform to standards accepted by society. " [The Commission] has kept constantly in mind that to offer a contribution of any value such an offering must be, first, moral; second, reasonable and practical; third, possible under the constitutional powers of our courts; fourth, that which will square with the public conscience of the American people." This commission made, in fact, a very valuable report. It even included items of scientific value concerning prostitution which led the federal authorities to exclude the report from the mails (the decision was later reversed) but it had determined beforehand the limitations and character of its investigation and results, and excluded the possibility of a new determination of behavior norms in this field.

A method of investigation which seeks to justify and enforce any given norm of behavior ignores the fact that a social evolution is going on in which not only activities are changing but the norms which regulate the activities are also changing. Traditions and customs, definitions of the situation, morality, and religion are undergoing an evolution, and a society going on the assumption that a certain norm is valid and that whatever does not comply with it is abnormal finds itself helpless when it realizes that this norm has lost social significance and some other norm has appeared in its place. Thus fifty years ago we recognized, roughly speaking, two types of women, the one completely good and the other completely bad, -- what we

now call the old-fashioned girl and the girl who had sinned and been outlawed. At present we have several intermediate types, -- the occasional prostitute, the charity girl, the demi-virgin, the equivocal flapper, and in addition girls with new but social behavior norms who have adapted themselves to all kinds of work. And some of this work is surprisingly efficient. Girls of twenty and thereabouts are successfully competing in literature with the veteran writers. But no one of these girls, neither the orderly nor the disorderly, is conforming with the behavior norms of her grandmother. All of them represent the same movement, which is a desire to realize their wishes under the changing social conditions. The movement contains disorganization and reorganization, but it is the same movement in both cases. It is the release of important social energies which could not find expression under the norms of the past. Any general movement away from social standards implies that these standards are no longer adequate.

A successful method of study will be wide and objective enough to include both the individual and the norms as an evolving process, and such a study must be made from case to case, comparatively and without prejudice or indignation. Every new movement in society implies some disorder, some random, exploratory movements preliminary to a different type of organization answering to new conditions. Individualism is a stage of transition between two types of social organization. No part of the life of the individual should be studied as dissociated from the whole of his life, the abnormal as separated from the normal, and abnormal groups should be studied in comparison with the remaining groups which we call normal.

(232) There is no break in continuity between the normal and the abnormal in actual life that would permit the selection of any exact bodies of corresponding materials, and the nature of the normal and the abnormal can be understood only with the help of comparison. When we have sufficiently determined causal relations we shall probably find that there is no individual energy, no unrest, no type of wish, which cannot be sublimated and made socially useful. From this standpoint the problem is not the right of society to protect itself from the disorderly and anti-social person, but the right of the disorderly and anti-social person to be made orderly and socially valuable.

But while we have prepossessions which have stood in the way of an objective study of behavior there is no doubt that the main difficulty at present is the lack of a concrete method of approach. This method will have to be developed in detail in the course of many particular investigations, as has been the case in the physical sciences, but the approach to the problem of behavior lies in the study of the wishes of the individual and of the conditions under which society, in view of its power to give recognition, response, security, and new experience, can limit and develop these wishes in socially desirable ways.

Correlated with the wishes of the individual are the values of society. These are objects directly desired or means by which desired objects are reached, -- immediate values -- or instrumental values. Thus a coin, a foodstuff, a' machine, a poem, a school, a scientific principle, a trade secret, a dress, a stick of rouge, a medal for bravery, the good will of others, are values which the individual wishes or uses in realizing his wishes. Money is the most generalized value; it

(233) is convertible into many values which may be used in turn in pursuing the wishes. A value is thus any object, real or imaginary, which has a meaning and which may be the object of an activity. The sum total of the values of a society is its culture. Any value may provoke in the individual a variety of tendencies to action which we may call mental attitudes. Thus money as a value may provoke one or another of the attitudes: work for it, save it, borrow it, beg it, steal it, counterfeit it, get it by gambling or blackmail. The attitude is thus the counterpart of the social value; activity, in whatever form, is the bond between them.

The problem of society is to produce the right attitudes in its members, so that the activity will take a socially desirable form. In Chapter II we saw that society is more or less successful to the degree that it makes its definitions of situations valid. If the members of a certain group react in an identical way to certain values, it is because they have been socially trained to react thus, because the traditional rules of behavior predominant in the given group impose upon every member certain ways of defining and solving the practical situations which he meets in his life.

It is, of course, precisely in this connection that the struggle between the individual and his society arises. Society is indispensable to the individual because it possesses at a given moment an accumulation of values, of plans and materials which the child could never accumulate alone. For example, a boy can now construct a wireless plant or build an engine, but he could never in his life accumulate the materials, devise the principles alone. These are the results of the experience of the entire past of a cultural society. But the

(234) individual is also indispensable to society because by his activity and ingenuity he creates all the material values, the whole fund of civilization. The conflict arises from the fact that the individual introduces other definitions of the situation and assumes other attitudes toward values than the conventionalized ones and consequently tends to change plans of action and introduce disorder, to derange the existing norms. A new plan may be merely destructive of values and organization, as when a counterfeiter imitates a bank note or a girl destroys her value and that of her family by prostituting herself, or it may be temporarily disorganizing but eventually organizing, as when an inventor displaces the hand-loom by the power-loom or the biologist introduces a theory of evolution which contradicts the theory of special creation. Society desires stability and the individual desires new experience and introduces change. But eventually all new values, all the new cultural elements of a society are the result of the changes introduced by the individual.

If now we examine the plans of action carried out by children and men with reference to social values, whether they are good or mischievous, we find that the general intellectual pattern of the plan, the quality of ingenuity, is pretty much the same in any case. When, for example, children have escapades, run away, lie, steal, plot, etc., they are following some plan, pursuing some end, solving some problem as a result of their own definition of the situation. The naughtiness consists in doing something which is not allowed, or in ways which are not allowed. The intellectual pattern is the same whether they are solving a problem in arithmetic, catching a fish, building a dog house,

(234) or planning some deviltry. And the psychological pattern followed is the same as that involved in the desire for new experience which I illustrated in Pasteur's pursuit of a problem, document No. 6 , p. 10. From the standpoint of interest the nature of the problem and the means of its pursuit and solution make no difference. The latter are moral questions.

The celebrated Himmelsbriefe (correspondence with heaven) may be taken as an example of an immoral scheme which is intellectually beyond reproach. These letters are a pathetic and comic expression of the ingenuity, artistic imagination, business enterprise and desire for recognition of a young peasant girl. It will be seen that this "correspondence" has a remarkable resemblance to the pages of Anatole France; it lacks only the irony and the elaboration.

91. Cölestine Wurm, aged 13, was sick, bedridden, afflicted with boils and oppressed by the feeling that she was a burden to her parents. A neighboring family named Korn had lost a daughter named Ursula. Cölestine represented that she had had a letter from the dead daughter, who was then in purgatory and needed money to get out. A sum was provided, 1,000 marks, and committed to Cölestine for transmission. A letter was then received from Ursula describing paradise, the joy of the saints, and how Mary, mother of Jesus, was overjoyed with an oven Ursula had bought for her. In later letters it appeared that Ursula was desirous of improving her status among the saints and she requested money to buy a fine bed, some golden buckets, kitchen utensils, etc., which were for sale dirt cheap. Mary herself wrote a letter of appreciation to the parents of Ursula informing them that they had been in danger of losing two valuable cows through the machinations of the devil, but that out of gratitude to Ursula and themselves, she had sent twenty angels to guard them. Jesus also sent a letter, sign-


-ing himself, "Your Son of God, Jesus Christus. " First and last Cölestine collected 8,000 marks on her enterprise.[3]

In more mature minds the socially unregulated scheme may be admirably elaborated and executed, corresponding in ingenuity with the most complete business or scientific plan and yet remain dangerously immoral because its application is in a form not sanctioned by society. In the following astonishing case we have an anti-social pursuit of a problem executed with all the ardor and resources of a Pasteur. I call the case astonishing because working under such handicaps, clandestinely, stealing the values of society, this boy yet knew bow to use these values, the materials accumulated by society - the paper mill, the library, the printing office - so much better than we have been able to use them in an organized system of education. Pasteur's scheme, and his later schemes of the same pattern, were socially organizing because they contributed to the development of medicine, agriculture, grape culture, etc., while Wilken's scheme was socially disorganizing and personally demoralizing.

92. Henry Russell Wilken is the only man who has ever successfully counterfeited the fabrics on which we print our paper money. He did that so well that the people who make it for the Government accepted it as genuine. Now that I'm out of the Government service I can grin at what happened at that paper mill. He was a clever boy and a nice one. You'd like him.

There have been counterfeiters and counterfeiters. Some were almost brilliant. Others were plain dubs - clumsy lowbrows, who were clowns at work that required delicate artistry. But here you have a boy who had never seen an engraver at work, who knew no more about the engraving


and printing industry than he did about paper making and chemistry. I assure you his knowledge of these industries, prior, of course, to launching upon his great enterprise, amounted to nothing at all. In fact, he told me, and I verified it, that he had never been in an engraving or printing plant in his life before he decided to compete with the United States Mint. . . .

One morning in February, 1910, he came across a small item in a Boston newspaper wherein it was stated that a milkman out in Dorchester had found a packet of one dollar bills. The milkman took them to a bank. The bank informed the milkman that the bills were counterfeit, and very obvious counterfeits at that.

And there, on that morning in February, 1910, the criminal career of Henry Wilken was launched. As he told us afterward, he gave the matter much thought. Here he was earning $25 or $30 a week. There was a girl he liked and who liked him. There were certain relations who looked upon him as something of a castoff, a misfit, a ne'er-do-well, a drifter. And there were clubs that rich young men belonged to - rich young men who were not particularly top-heavy with brains, but who had money, and lots of it. There was but one thing for him to do -- make money. . . .

The boy was ambitious for success, for wealth, for position, for luxury. At that particular moment Boston was being pestered by a youth who lacked everything but several million dollars, and the city knew him as "The Millionaire Kid." Wilken had scraped acquaintance with the Kid and the sight of the latter's spending orgies merely added fuel to the fierce desire for wealth.

I have told you that Wilken knew nothing about chemistry, paper-making, engraving, printing, dyeing, and photography - all of them necessary arts of the counterfeiter. I assure you he knew absolutely nothing about any one of those things. But he did the thing that must commend itself to all successful men.

He stuck to his advertising job by day and spent his


nights in the public libraries. He read every available technical volume treating on engraving. Then he went out and bought the tools of the engraver. Next he practiced until he became an engraver quite as clever as any man in the Government service. That's likely to stagger you. There are folks who will not believe that. But here we have the records and the confession. In a moment I shall tell you facts that will indicate just how clever he really was. . . .

He read chemistry and paper making until he was something of a magazine of information on the subject. He limited his chemistry to that part of the science that has to do with paper making. He read volumes on dyeing and struck up an acquaintance with a well-known printer in Boston. This printer did the better grade of work and was so amused by Wilken's enthusiastic desire for knowledge on the subject that he permitted the young man to browse about his plant of nights watching the various processes.

I merely mention all this detail to show you how, when Wilken set out to make his first counterfeit bill, he had mastered every phase of the complex industry. And all this studying took time, although not so much time as you would think. Certainly it was not more than a year. At any rate, he devoted himself for twelve months to the study of how to make a one-dollar bill.

There is just one firm making bank note paper for the Government. That firm turns out this paper in one factory. Government inspectors are there to check up the product and there is never any surplus. The mints [Bureau of Engraving and Printing] consume it as it is turned out; or, rather, it is turned out as the mints need it.

This mill is located in Dalton, Mass. The firm takes a certain amount of pride in it. Visitors are quite welcome, and there are guides to take callers through the plant. In one batch of visitors to this plant came Wilken.

He was about 26 years old at the time. I am ready to believe that he could see more in a given time from a given point than any man I ever knew. He had two exceedingly


sharp eyes and a retentive memory. He told me that he could read faster than most men he knew and collect more in his fast reading than the majority of his acquaintances could by attentive study. I don't think he was boasting. His was a remarkable mind. . . . It seems as though he had been built by nature for the job. I have often wondered whether his talents would have been smothered by convention had he been kept in the straight and narrow path. The most commonplace man becomes sometimes the most startlingly original crook. The reformed crook, on the other hand, turns to honesty and becomes duller than ditch-water.

Wilken went to that paper mill in Dalton three times. On each occasion he went as a visitor, of course, and spent inside the mills only the comparatively few minutes it takes the visitor to be ushered from process to process and room to room. If you have ever been conducted through an industrial plant you will realize how little you actually see of processes. . . .

Wilken left the paper mill convinced that he was quite ready to start business. He moved to New York City and set up a studio at 250 West 125th street. To make everything appear regular he got a job with an advertising firm. He drew pictures of soap and suspenders, and so on, and did rather good work arranging display type for posters. That required only a small part of his time. . . .

First he made the necessary paper. Just how well he worked will be apparent in a few minutes. Then he set about utilizing his book-learned etching and engraving. Little by little he added to his equipment. He never used a camera. In this fact alone he stands conspicuous among counterfeiters. So far as I know, he was the only counterfeiter of any ability at all who did not first photograph the bank note he was about to counterfeit and work from that. . . . . [Then he made one-dollar bills.] I must say to begin with that not all the Wilken bills were detected. Really relatively few of them came into our hands. We took several of the bills to the paper mill in Dalton. They de-


-clared the paper to be genuine! We looked back over the production records and checked them against consumption. The two figures balanced! In other words, the United States Mint had used all that had been produced. There seemed to be nothing to do but watch the factory. For six months we hung around and nothing happened.

In a month or so Wilken, so we learned later, decided it was time to go to work again. He did. He set up a studio in West Twenty-third Street, New York City, and began to turn out ten dollar bills that passed the tellers of some of the most important banks in America. They even passed the scrutiny of experts in the Treasury Department. I have samples of them here. They are magnificent frauds. I have never seen finer engraving.

And to think that he learned this engraving in a public library. [4]

And there are many cases in the records of courts and prisons showing a high degree of imagination, ingenuity, constructive intelligence, artistic ability, and careers as long continued in crime as legitimate life careers in physics, engineering, or art.

93. Adrian Gorder, born in Holland, the son of a night watchman, set about making of himself a counterfeit priest with as much thoroughness as Wilken set about making counterfeit money. He learned all the technique of the. church service, including music and church history, celebrated Mass perfectly, posed as member of various religious orders, dressed richly, was poetic and plausible. He visited, for example, Budapest, made certain representations of himself to the clergy there, showed pictures of eminent ecclesiastics and spoke of them as his friends. Talked intimately about church affairs, celebrated Mass, borrowed money or cashed worthless paper and disappeared. He


was not so perfect a counterfeit as Wilken's bills because he had not completely mastered Latin as a spoken tongue, but in spite of frequent incarcerations he operated for twentyfive years over a large part of the world.[5]

All the types of wishes coexist in every person, - the vague desire for new experience, for change, for the satisfaction of the appetites, for pleasure; the new experience contained in a pursuit, as in the cases of Pasteur and Wilken; the desire for response in personal relations ("there was a girl Wilken liked and who liked him ") ; the desire for recognition (Wilken was " ambitious for success, for wealth, for position, for luxury ") ; and the desire for security, - the assurance of the means and conditions for gratifying all the wishes indefinitely. And all of these classes of wishes are general mental attitudes ready to express themselves in schemes of action which utilize and are dependent .upon the existing social values. These values may be material, as when Wilken used the library, the printing office, the paper mill, or they may be the mental attitudes of others, as when a bogus nobleman imposes on the desire for recognition of a bourgeois, or a scientist appeals to a philanthropic person to endow an institution for medical research. That is, the attitudes of one person are among the values of another person.

The attitudes of a given person at a given moment are the result of his original temperament, the definitions of situations given by society during the course of his life, and his personal definitions of situations derived from his experience and reflection. The character of the individual depends on these factors.

Any mobilization. of energies in a plan of action means that some attitude (tendency to action) among

(242) the other attitudes has come to the front and subordinated the other attitudes to itself for the moment, as the result of a new definition of the situation. This definition may be the counsel of a friend, an act of memory reviving a social definition applicable to the situation, or an element of new experience defining the situation. Thus in Wilken's case the newspaper item stating that a package of counterfeit money had been picked up identified itself with a wish that was present and seeking expression; the fact that Wilken already had some skill in drawing entered into the definition of the situation, and the result was an attitude and a plan: get money by counterfeiting.

The definition of the situation by Cölestine was determined by the death of Ursula, and the scheme was made possible by the current theological definition of heaven and the credulity of Ursula's parents, used as values by Ursula. In Gorder's case we may assume that his observation of the life of priests, and certainly some particular expression of this, caught his attention and defined the situation for him. It may be remarked that this whole process is similar to the steps in a mechanical invention, -a particular datum working on a body of previous experience, producing a new definition of the situation and a plan or theory.

The moral good or evil of a wish lies therefore not in the cleverness or elaboration of the mental scheme through which it is expressed but in its regard or disregard for existing social values. The same wish and the same quality of mind may lead to totally different results. A tendency to phantasy may make of the subject a scientist, a swindler, or simply a liar. The urge to wandering and adventure may stop at vaga-

(243) -bondage, the life of a cowboy, missionary, geologist, or ethnologist. The sporting interest may be gratified by shooting birds, studying them with a camera or pursuing a scientific theory. The desire for response may be expressed in the Don Juan type of life, with many love adventures, in stable family life, in love lyrics, or in the relation of the prostitute to her pimp. The desire for recognition may seek its gratification in ostentatious dress and luxury or in forms of creative work. That is to say, a wish may have various psychologically equivalent expressions. The problem is to define situations in such ways as to produce attitudes which direct the action exclusively toward fields yielding positive social values. The transfer of a wish from one field of application to another field representing a higher level of values is called the sublimation of the wish. This transfer is accomplished by the fact of public recognition which attaches a feeling of social sacredness to some schemes of action and their application in comparison with others,-the activities of the scientist, physician, or craftsman on the one hand and the activities of the adventurer, the criminal, or the prostitute on the other. This feeling of sacredness actually arises only in groups, and an individual can develop the feeling only in association with a group which has definite standards of sacredness. Practically, any plan which gets favorable public recognition is morally good, -- for the time being. And this is the only practical basis of judgment of the moral quality of an act, -- whether it gets favorable or unfavorable recognition.

The problem of the desirable relation of individual wishes to social values is thus twofold, containing (1) the problem of the dependence of the individual upon

(244) social organization and culture, and (2) the problem of the dependence of social organization and culture upon the individual. In practice the first problem means: What social values and how presented will produce the desirable mental attitudes in the members of the social group? And the second problem means: What schematizations of the wishes of the individual members of the group will produce the desirable social values, promote the organization and culture of the society ?

The problem of the individual involves in its details the study of all the social influences and institutions, -- family, school, church, the law, the newspaper, the story, the motion picture, the occupations, the economic system, the unorganized personal relationships, the division of life into work and leisure time, etc. But the human wish underlies all social happenings and institutions, and human experiences constitute the reality beneath the formal social organization and behind the statistically formulated mass-phenomena. Taken in themselves statistics are nothing more than symptoms of unknown causal processes. A social institution can be understood and modified only if we do not limit ourselves to the study of its formal organization but analyze the way in which it appears in the personal experience of various members of the group and follow the influence which it has on their lives. And an individual can be understood only if we do not limit ourselves to a cross-section of his life as revealed by a given act, a court record or a confession, or to the determination of what type of life-organization exists, but determine the means by which a certain life-organization is developed.

In connection with this problem we may again refer

(245) to the natural and biological sciences. These have obtained their results, the establishing of laws, by the use of experiment. Having isolated a problem, say the problem of heredity, they make conjectures as to what would happen under changed conditions, and consciously introduce all changes which are conceived as having a possible meaning for the problem. In these sciences the experimenter is not hindered from introducing changes by the consideration that he may spoil his materials. The chemist or entomologist expects to spoil many materials in the course of his tests. Human material is, however, so precious that the experimenter is not justified in assuming the risk of spoiling it. The child is more precious than the problem. The only field in which experiment on the human being is recognized, or rather practiced without recognition, is medicine, where the material is already threatened with destruction through sickness, and the physician introduces an experimental change, say the use of a serum, which gives a chance of preserving life and restoring health.

Nevertheless, as the result of a series of experiments on the behavior of animals, one of the psychologists assumed that similar work might be done on the newborn child with no more discomfort than he suffers in having his ears scrubbed and certainly no more damage than he receives from the strains and distortions suffered in the act of being born. I quote from the record of these experiments:

On the psychological side our knowledge of infant life is almost nil. . . . A prominent professor of education once said to us, " You will find when you have taught as many children as I have that you can do nothing with a child until it is over five years of age." Our own view after studying


many hundreds of infants is that one can make or break the child so far as its personality is concerned long before the age of five is reached. We believe that by the end of the second year the pattern of the future individual is already laid down. Many things which go into the making of this pattern are under the control of the parents, but as yet they have not been made aware of them. The question as to whether the child will possess a stable or unstable personality, whether it is going to be timid and beset with many fears and subject to rages and tantrums, whether it will exhibit tendencies of general over or under emotionalism, and the like, has been answered already by the end of the two year period.

There are several reasons why the minute psychological study of infant life is important. . . . (1) There are no standards of behavior or conduct for young infants. Our experimental work, which even at the end of two years is just beginning, has taught us that the study of infant activity from birth onward will enable us to tell with some accuracy what a normal child at three months of age can and should do and what additional complexities in behavior should appear as the months go by. Psychological laboratories in many institutions ought to be able to make cross-sections of the activity of any infant at any age and tell whether the streams of activity are running their normal course, and whether certain ones are lagging or have not even appeared. After sufficient work has been done to enable us to have confidence in our standards we should be able to detect feeble-mindedness, deficiencies in habit, and deviations in emotional life. If a proper analysis of the activity streams can be made at a very early age the whole care of the child may be altered with beneficial results. . - At present we simply have not the data for the enumeration of man's original tendencies, and it will be impossible to obtain those data until we have followed through the development of the activity of many infants from birth to advanced childhood. Children of five years of age and over axe enor-


-mously sophisticated. The home environment and outside companions have so shaped them that the original tendencies cannot be observed. The habits put on in such an environment quickly overlay the primitive and hereditary equipment. A workable psychology of human instincts and emotions can thus never be attained by merely observing the behavior of the adult. . . . (2) By reason of this defect the study of vocational and business psychology is in a backward state. The attempt to select a vocation for a boy or girl in the light of our present knowledge of the original nature of man is little more than a leap in the dark. High sounding names like the constructive instinct, the instinct of workmanship, and the like, which are now so much used by the sociologists and the economists, will remain empty phrases until we have increased our knowledge of infancy and childhood. The only reasonable way, it would seem to us, of ever determining a satisfactory knowledge of the various original vocational bents and capacities of the human race is for psychologists to bring up under the supervision of medical men a large group of infants under controlled but varied and sympathetic conditions. Children begin to reach for, select, play with and to manipulate objects from about the 150th day on. What objects they select day by day, what form their manipulation takes, and what early habits develop upon such primitive instinctive activity should be recorded day by day in black and white. There will be marked individual differences in the material selected, in the length of time any type of material will be utilized, and in the early constructive habits which will arise with respect to all materials worked with by the infant. Without instruction one infant (eighteen to twenty months in an observed case) will build a neat wall with her blocks, with one color always facing her. If the block is turned while she is not looking she will quickly change it and correct the defect. In other children such a bit of behavior can be inculcated only with the greatest difficulty. Still another child cannot be made to play with blocks but


will work with twigs and sticks by the hour. Variations in the selection and use of material are the rule in infancy, but until we have followed up the future course of such variations upon infants whose past we have watched day by day we are in no position to make generalizations about the original tendencies which underlie the vocations. (3) Finally, until we have obtained data upon the emotional life of the infant and the normal curve of instinctive and habit activity at the various ages, new methods for correcting deviations in emotional, instinctive and habit development cannot be worked out. Let us take a concrete example. A certain child is afraid of animals of every type, furry objects, the dark, etc. These fears are not hereditary. Our experiments will be convincing upon that point. What steps can we take to remove these fears which, unless they are removed in infancy, may become an enduring part of the child's personality? [6]

It will be seen that the Watsons are here studying attitudes -- what ones appear, in what order they appear, what ones are universal, and what ones are particular to certain children. They introduce values - the materials and influences - only as means of determining the presence of attitudes, of calling them into action, of modifying them, and of giving them application in different fields. They consciously introduce change on the basis of some hypothesis and measure the effect of the new influences on personality development. Already in this brief passage and this unfinished experiment they indicate methods of determining (1) occupational aptitudes, (2) defective mental efficiency, (3) the age levels at which influences are to be presented and the order of their presentation, and (4) the conditions of stable or neurotic personalities.

(249) Their task is the measurement of influence under conditions which they prepare and control. All scientific experimentation involves the measurement of influence. The chemist measures the influence of a material, say coal tar; the technician uses this influence in preparing a dye or a medicine. The measurement of the influence is the definition of the situation preliminary to action.

Now the world in which we live presents to the child influences comparable with those artificially prepared in this experiment, and the first task of behavior studies is to measure these influences as shown in their effect on personality development.

There are in society organized sources of influence, institutions, and social agencies, including the family, the school, the community, the reformatory, the penitentiary, the newspaper, the moving picture. These are sources of mass influence and will naturally be the main objects of study and change. But in order to supplement and make scientific these studies and to give them an adequate method it is necessary to prepare at the same time more complete records of the personal evolution of individuals. Eventually the life of the individual is the measure of the totality of social influence, and the institution should be studied in the light of the personality development of the individual. And as we accumulate records of personal evolution, with indications of the means by which the wishes seek expression and of the conditions of their normal satisfaction, we shall be in a better position to measure the influence of particular institutions in the formation of character and life-organization and to determine lines of change in the institutions themselves.

The "human document", prepared by the subject,

(250) on the basis of the memory is one means of measuring social influence. It is capable of presenting life as a connected whole and of showing the interplay of influences, the action of values on attitudes. It can reveal the predominant wishes in different temperaments, the incidents constituting turning points in life, the processes of sublimation or transfer of interest from one field to another, the effect of other personalities in defining situations and the influence of social organizations like the family, the school, the acquaintance group, in forming the different patterns of life organization. By comparing the histories of personalities as determined by social influences and expressed in various schemes of life we can establish a measure of the given influences. The varieties of human experience will be innumerable in their concrete details, but by the multiplication and analysis of life records we may expect to determine typical lines of the genesis of character as related to types of influence. It will be found that when certain attitudes are present the presentation of certain values may be relied upon to produce certain results.

Human experience and schemes of personal behavior are the most interesting of all themes, as is evidenced by fiction, the drama, biographies, and histories. And works of this kind contain materials which will be given a scientific value as we analyze, compare, and interpret them. Even fictitious representations axe significant when viewed as showing the tendency at a given moment to idealize certain schematizations of life. The autobiography has a more positive value for the student, but usually tends to approach the model of fiction, idealizing certain situations and experiences and repressing others totally. Incidentally

(251) one of the largest and most important bodies of spontaneous material for the study of the personality and the wishes passes through the mails. The letters of the Bedford girl, for example (document No. 86, p. 172) appeal to me as the most significant document in this volume, in spite of the fact that they relate to one incident and cover a relatively short time. The short life-histories of approximately six thousand Jews printed in the New York Forward, and representing the effort to find new definitions of new situations on the part of the million and a half Jewish immigrants in New York City, and to some extent of the three million Jews in America, are a rich contribution to the study of the wishes. These records, hidden from the eye of the "goi" behind the Hebrew alphabet, have the intimacy and naivete of personal confessions.

Another type of behavior record is now being prepared by those social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists who have to handle the problems of maladjustment in the courts, schools, and reformatories and in private practice. Under the pressure of practical needs they have already assumed the standpoint I have outlined and are studying the evolution of personal life-organization and making the record as complete as possible. They meet the individual at the point of some crisis, some experience or breakdown calling for readjustment, but from this point they work backward into the history of the case and follow its development into the future. In the beginning they over-determined the value of the psychometric test, because this was the only method psychology had put in their hands, but at present the measurement of intelligence is recognized as having a limited usefulness. "Feeble-mindedness" is partly a classi-

(252) -ficatory term for those personalities whose behavior we have not been able to conform to the usual standards because of lack of knowledge and method. We shall not know what conditions to call feeble-minded until we have determined the limits of the social influences which we can apply. Certain social workers are taking case after case pronounced subnormal by the clinicists and developing in them activities which enable them to live in a society where they could not live before, while a large proportion of those now pursuing peaceful callings would be called morons if they were rounded up and gathered into some of the clinics. The government records determined that 47.3 per cent of all Americans called out in the draft for enlistment in the war were mentally deficient. They showed the mentality of a twelve-year-old child or less.[7] A report of this kind really loses all significance, because it makes no provision for lack of uniformity in the social influences. There are certainly cases of constitutional inferiority, but the clinical psychologists are now realizing that these must be studied, like the cases of the maladjustment of the normal, in connection with life records showing the social influences tending to organize or disorganize the personality. These institutional records obtained by testing, observation, and inquiry should be supplemented by a life-record written by the subject. In many cases it is not difficult to obtain this, and wherever the subject of the study participates, giving the incidents of life which have been determining factors the record gains in value.


From this standpoint the merit of the psychoanalytic school of psychiatrists consists in the study of the personality. I do not refer to theories or cures but to the method of studying the life-organization by an analysis of the wishes, by enlisting the participation of the subject, and using a special technic to revive all possible trains of memory. The defect of this particular practice has been its lack of objectivity. The operator has been using an interesting theory -- sex as the basis of life-organization -- and his methods have been adapted to the confirmation of the theory. More recently "recognition" has assumed a prominent place in the theory, lack of recognition being indicated as the source of the "inferiority complex." But taken simply as cases the psychoanalytic records are increasingly important for the study of behavior. And the general method of psychoanalysis, or at least methods inspired by it, are being used with the best results in connection with delinquent children in the psychological clinics and by case-workers, as in documents No. 88 and No. 89.

But we cannot rely entirely on the spontaneous production of autobiographies nor upon the efforts of practical workers who make records with reference to equilibrating maladjusted personalities. Research into behavior problems through the preparation of records, including life-histories, should be associated with every institution and agency handling human material from the standpoint of education or reform, but in addition specialists in behavior, psychologists, social psychologists, sociologists, psychiatrists, social workers, should isolate and study selected personalities as the biologist studies selected organisms. Ordinary and extraordinary personalities should be in-

(254) -cluded, the dull and the criminal, the philistine and the bohemian. Scientifically the history of dull lives is quite as significant as that of brilliant ones. The investigator may, of course, select cases having special significance; for example, secure the life-histories of the girls mentioned at the beginning of this chapter who were not influenced by the institution but made good in spite of the institution. The analysis, comparison, and publication of the various records would continuously influence social practice, as in the case of medical and technological research.

We saw in the records given at the end of the last chapter that very rapid and positive gains are being made in the treatment of delinquency, but for a fundamental control and the prevention of anti-social behavior a change in the general attitudes and values of society will be necessary.

Up to the present, society has not been able to control the direction of its own evolution or even to determine the form of life and relationships necessary to produce a world in which it is possible and desirable for all to live. Common sense has not been adequate to these problems. We have evidently overdetermined certain values and underdetermined others, and many important situations are undefined -- without policy. The most general and particular studies of the wishes and the determination of the laws by which attitudes are influenced by values and values by attitudes, the development of a technic for the transfer of the wishes from one field of application to another, and the development of schemes by which not only the wishes of the individual may be sublimated but the attitudes

(255) and values of whole populations controlled will be necessary before we are able consciously to control the evolution of society and to determine an ideal organization of culture.

Among the general problems involved in the study of attitudes and values - the history of personality development and the measurement of social influences - are the following:

1. The problem of abnormality -- crime, vagabondage, prostitution, alcoholism, etc. How far is abnormality the unavoidable manifestation of inborn tendencies of the individual, and how far is it a matter of deficient social organization, - the failure of institutional influences? There is a quantitative difference of efficiency between individuals, but if there is hardly a human attitude which if properly controlled and directed could not be used in a socially useful and productive way, must there remain a permanent qualitative difference between socially normal and anti-social actions?

2. The problem of individualization. How far is individualism compatible with social cohesion? What forms of individualism may be considered socially useful or socially harmful? What forms of individualism may be useful in an organization based on a conscious cooperation in view of a common aim?

3. The problem of nationalities and cultures. What new schemes of attitudes and values, or what substitute for the isolated national state as an instrument of cultural expansion, will stop the fight of nationalities and cultures ?

4. The problem of the sexes. In the relation between the sexes how can a maximum of reciprocal response be secured with a minimum of interference with personal interests? How is the general social

(256) efficiency of a group affected by the various systems of relations between man and woman? What forms of cooperation between the family and society are most favorable to the normal development of children?

5. The economic problem. How shall we be able to develop attitudes which will subordinate economic success to other values? How shall we restore stimulation to labor? The bad family life constantly evident in these pages and the consequent delinquency of children, as well as crime, prostitution and alcoholism, are largely due to the overdetermination of economic interests - to the tendency to produce or acquire the largest possible amount of economic values - because these interests are actually so universal and predominant and because economic success is a value convertible into new experience, recognition, response, and security.

The modern division and organization of labor brings a continually growing quantitative prevalence of occupations which are almost completely devoid of stimulation and therefore present little interest for the workman. This fact affects human behavior and happiness profoundly, and the restoration of stimulation to labor is among the most important problems confronting society. The present industrial organization tends also to develop a type of human being as abnormal in its way as the opposite type of individual who gets the full amount of occupational stimulation by taking a line of interest destructive of social order, the criminal or vagabond.

The moralist complains of the materialization of men and expects a change of the social organization to be brought about by moral or religious preaching; the economic determinist considers the whole social

(257) organization as conditioned fundamentally and necessarily by economic factors and expects an improvement exclusively from a possible historically necessary modification of the economic organization itself. From the viewpoint of behavior the problem is much more serious and objective than the moralist conceives it, but much less limited and determined than it appears to the economic determinist. The economic interests are only one class of human attitudes among others, and every attitude can be modified by an adequate social technic. The interest in the nature of work is frequently as strong as or stronger than the interest in the economic results of the work, and often finds an objective expression in spite of the fact that actual social organization has little place for it. The protests, in fact, represented by William Morris mean that a certain class of work has visibly passed from the stage where it was stimulating to a stage where it is not, - that the handicrafts formerly expressed an interest in the work itself rather than in the economic returns from the work. Since every attitude tends to influence social institutions, we may expect that an organization and a division of labor based on occupational interests may gradually replace the present organization based on demands of economic productivity. In other words, with the appropriate change of attitudes and values all work may become artistic work. And with the appropriate change of attitudes and values the recognition of economic success may be subordinated to the recognition of human values.


  1. James Bronson Reynolds: Communication to the New York World, March 6, 1922.
  2. Miriam van Waters: "The True Value of Correctional Education." Paper read at the 51st American Prison Congress, November 1, 1921.
  3. Based on E. Wulffen: " Psychologie des Verbrechens ", Vol. 1, p. 173
  4. William J. Flynn, Former Chief of the United States Secret Service: "My Ten Biggest Man Hunts". New York Herald, January 29, 1922.
  5. Based on E. Wulffen: "Psychologie des Verbrechens ", Vol. 2, p. 320.
  6. John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner Watson: "Studies in Infant Psychology". Popular Science Monthly, December, 1921. pp. 494, 515.
  7. "Psychological Examining in the United States Army". Report prepared by Charles M. Yerkes, in " Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences". Vol. 15.

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