Social Psychology: An Analysis of Social Behavior

Chapter 17: Personality and the Content of Culture

Kimball Young

Table of Contents | Next | Previous

A. The Reality of the Group and Its Culture Patterns.

We have not questioned the reality of the group, since our present concern has been the relation of language to forms of social reality. In some recent literature of social psychology the use of the concept of the group has been sharply criticized. Allport objects to the term group as a scientific concept on the grounds that groups do not exist, but only individuals. We see at once that we are faced with the medieval problem of nominalism and realism over which the scholastics argued long and vigorously. It is not our purpose here to indulge in any of the niceties of this debate. Certainly the reality of the group and of culture as a unit has been called into question, together with the concept of a "group mind," a "crowd" or "collective consciousness," or "group unconscious." The question is clearly one of point of view, that is, of the philosophic premise from which one operates. It is a question, in other words, of metaphysics. Throughout this volume we have assumed the conceptual validity both of the group and of culture patterns. Much of the older controversy over the group or collective mind would be dissipated if psychological terms were eliminated from sociology. If it were necessary, we could maintain that social phenomena may be scientifically described in terms of culture-patterns and group action without any reference to individual psychological mechanisms. So long as we held to our premises and were logically consistent in our description, we should be well within the canons of scientific method and good logic. However, we do not care to enter into this dark region of academic discussion. A recognition of the place of belief and of the power of images, ideas, and attitudes in determining behavior will offer us a simple solution. In spite of Allport's contention that the concept nation is a snare and a delusion, men the world over act as if there were national groups. The curious thing is that the AS IF's are as significant in social behavior as are the biological organisms and the alleged reality of the individual. If it satisfies

(428) anyone, we may say that in this section we shall discuss the AS IF's of behavior. If a man pictures his family as a unit and as a value, no academic contention will convince him that he is wrong. In spite of logical arguments he will continue to act as if his family as a unit were real. So, too, with the concept nation. We may assure a good patriot of the Union League that the national group is non-existent, but he will still be moved to vote particular ways by the words and symbols which revolve around that concept. Possibly Allport and others have been over-impressed by the rise of a new kind of individualism which cuts across older groupings, and have in this way arrived at a new defense of the individualistic thesis. After all, even philosophic premises are not cut off from the cultural background and the personal history of the individual who constructs these premises. The present writer no more believes that the group— family, lodge, trade union, church, or state— has a collective nervous system and a distinct consciousness than do our contemporary nominalists. He does hold that the group is more than a mere enumeration of its constituent individuals; at the very least the interaction of individuals produces some precipitates of behavior which we call culture patterns. Among these are concepts of groups as units. And these concepts of groups become values in themselves as part of our culture. Furthermore, these culture patterns are carried along generation after generation. They are modified by social interaction, but nevertheless maintain an existence independent of any particular individual. The concept of the group, like the concept of customs, of techniques of food-getting and of other culture patterns, is not the product of one individual or even of a generation. All culture patterns are so persistent that we must reckon with them in one way or another if we are to understand human behavior.

B. The Social Content of Images and Attitudes.

1. Content and Meaning.— In Part II we pointed out that what went on within the organism was as important as the externally observable activity. Both internal and external reactions are dependent upon intra-individual as well as external stimuli. In the earlier chapters we were concerned with the mechanisms of this relation of organism to environment. We must now deal with the content and social meaning associated with these internal and external factors. The external environment is made up of material objects and personalities. Toward these we have attitudes and habits.

(429) The internal environment is constituted of images and ideas which modify and also determine these same attitudes and habits. A man's image of his mother will be of great importance in aiding us to understand his attitudes and reactions not only toward his mother but toward other women as well. So, too, a man's image of his country, as symbolized by the map or the flag, will assist us to understand his behavior in time of war. The "pictures in our heads" of the negro race in general will definitely affect our relations with individual members of the black race. Our concepts and images of the individual negro, our like or dislike for him, our treatment of him will be determined by the nature of these general images and ideas. Not all images and concepts are visual. They may be auditory or vocal-motor, or may involve other sensory-motor processes of the organism.

The content and meaning of anticipatory and consummatory behavior are determined both by personal-social and by cultural conditioning. Except for descriptive purposes, these types of conditioning are inseparable. Doubtless a man's image of his mother is fixed by infantile personal-social interaction with her, whereas his image and concept of his country grows out of the more conventionalized, standard culture norms to which his family, the school, the church, and the state have exposed him. These concepts are the core of the values which grow out of our social participation. As we noted in Chapter VII, social value is social meaning. We get these meanings only out of social interstimulation. That is to say, we get largely from others our values or content-meanings. They have no significance apart from social life. The attitudes and habits we build up around values are the individual counterparts to these value stimuli. We have already noted how definitely these values are correlated with feelings and emotions.

The importance of the content of images and ideas has been stressed by most social psychologists. What Durkheim and his follower, Lévy-Bruhl, termed "collective representations" are essentially these formalized contents and their meanings. What Lippmann called "stereotypes" are about the same thing. Pareto, the Italian economist and sociologist, calls them "residues."

2. Organization of Attitudes and Habits around Stereotypes.— These internal objects of attention become, then, the center around which our basic attitudes and habits are built up. They furnish the means by which we interpret or react to the external objects and persons. They constitute the

( 430) "apperceptive mass" which Wundt emphasized in discussing psychological phenomena. Shand and McDougall used the term sentiment to describe the organization of attitudes and habits around these cores. McDougall defines the sentiment as "an organized system of emotional dispositions centered about the idea of some object." Were it not for the unfortunate associations which the term sentiment has acquired, we might employ the concept "sentiment" to denote this patterning of attitudes around these images and ideas.

Any new reactions which we experience are always recast into already existing patterns of attitudes around the old core of content. The direction, then, which new conditioning will take is absolutely determined by the condition of the organism at the time when the new stimuli reach it. We have already observed how novel stimuli come to be interpreted, that is, re-built into the behavior system of the individual only in terms of his past. The crisis of the laborer in the face of technological changes in production is an easy instance. Or, the learning of new facts from science may lead to a reformation of one's philosophy, but only in terms of previous conditioning. The previous conditioning remains fundamental in the development of new attitudes and habits. Our early experiences are so profound in effect that a novel situation merely causes a partial re-orientation of our patterns of action. The cultural stereotypes can never quite be removed once they have been laid down in early life.

The development of stereotyped attitudes can be seen as whole groups develop an Oriental fatalism or an Occidental individualism and self-styled progressivism. Again both intimate personal-social experiences and cultural norms play a part here. Radical resistance to authority or fatalism may arise from parent-child relations, or may be acquired from the folkways and traditions. For example, the fatalistic ethos of some Oriental groups may arise from a long cultural heritage created by population pressures, the caste system, and. a certain inertia in material change. In contrast, our Western individualism and our optimistic faith in progress result from an outburst of exploration and exploitation of new land areas, and they are stimulated by mechanical inventions, capitalistic economics, and religious, especially Protestant, formulations with their emphasis upon individual rights and duties in a grand drama of salvation.

Since stereotyped images and ideas are socially determined, language and pictorial presentation provide the form which they normally take. Lan-

(431) -guage is, as we know, the essential carrier of most of our residues. As we have observed, language has the nature of an attitude rather than of a complete overt act, and it is through language that men communicate and interstimulate each other in terms of contents and meanings. It is the content of language and not its mechanism which is significant in communication.

3. Stereotypes and Definitions of Situations.— Individual and social definitions of situations are made largely in verbal terms. Since communication is basic to social life, it is easy to see how social definitions of situations rapidly become stereotypes. For the individual, situations are usually delimited by the word formula he has received from either personal-social or cultural conditioning. If the individual has been powerfully conditioned by his personal-social relations, his definitions of situations tend to be hedonistic. If cultural conditioning predominates, his definitions tend to be more acceptable to his group because they are utilitarian. If they are personal-social, a conflict may arise within the individual between his own definitions and those of his group. The hedonistic selection of imagery and activity may be labeled anti-social or pathological. If this selection of activity is too divergent, as with the criminal, it may provoke social punishment. If it takes an extreme dereistic direction, as in schizophrenia, it may lead to medical attention. In contrast, the utilitarian selection of the group standards keeps the individual within the bounds of accepted standards.

The verbal stereotypes serve, then, as a means by which the group keeps its members in restraint. All in-groups have words or phrases to describe the recalcitrant member: "stool pigeon," "radical," "traitor." So, too, the relations of in-groups to out-groups are revealed in these language stereotypes. They expose the images, ideas, and attitudes which members of the group have toward outsiders. The trade unionist calls the strike-breaker a "scab." "Wet" or "Dry" describes people in their differences on the liquor question. "Nigger-lover" is an epithet applied to self-appointed friends of the negro by those who maintain more traditional attitudes.

Slogans, catchwords, shibboleths, myths, and legends all represent the verbal images and ideas held by members of a group to describe both themselves and other groups. Sets of such stereotypes grow up to describe every type of group toward which we are oriented, either as members or as non-members. These stereotypes occur equally in primary and in secondary

( 434) in-groups and out-groups. Like attitudes and habits, they arise in all sorts of crises: in the crises of birth, puberty, marriage, death; in economic crises, such as strikes and lockouts; in crises caused by floods or fires or earthquakes; in crises of war. These stereotypes aid us in defining the novel situations in terms of past experience. They help to balance and stabilize us when otherwise we might not know how to evaluate or define the new situation.

Since language is bound up with the nature of social reality, and since it is often closely connected with dereistic conditioning, stereotypes show both objective and dereistic form. The logic of feeling, which is the basis of so much of our social definition and reaction to situations, is revealed in the nature of the stereotypes. Whether words, phrases, or myths, they are frequently surcharged with autistic associations. If so much of our reaction to the world around us is determined by emotion rather than by reason, the anticipatory stereotypes should and do indicate it. Thus the stereotyped language of social reality grows out of the non-logical or illogical organization of our world of values. Since we live in a world of non-logical, irrational conditionings, the content and meaning of our world reflect the same thing. Our world of values is not an immaterial, non-personal, logical, super-terrestrial sphere. It is constructed out of our emotions and our egocentric desires for satisfactions of a fantastic, autistic sort, as well as out of reasoned consideration of our needs and of methods of satisfying them. In the world of material culture, perhaps, we may be more rational than in art, politics, religion, and philosophy. The material world dealt with by science has become de-personalized, inhuman, and almost static. But in these other dimensions of life we are still emotional, dereistic, and driven by desires which are cluttered up with all sorts of primitive and irrational vestiges of infantile conditionings.

Because stereotypes are bound up with social reality, they are like other phases of social life in having a certain continuity. Not only is this seen in the persistence of slogans, catchwords, and shibboleths, but it is evident in superstitions and in so-called fictions of a more organized and definitely patterned sort.

C. Myths and Legends as Organized Pictures o f Our Social World.

1. Nature of Myths and Legends.— Not only do brief stereotypes of all sorts enter into our mental content or sets of values, but the stories of

(433) heroes and of past and current events furnish us with an organized, more or less complete picture of our culture which colors practically everything else in life. These stories we discuss as myths and legends. We may define myth as the more illusory, imaginative material which is poured into us from our social contacts. By legend we mean those stories which have some factual basis, but which in the re-telling and recasting have lost their objective accuracy and have accumulated all sorts of imaginative details. Both legends and myths are highly important for the continuity of social life and culture patterns. Without them the past and present, as well as the future, would seem chaotic. With them the world takes on meaning and form, and does not need to be constantly recast by us or for us. They make our social reality stable, predictable, and capable of being endured.

The ordinary man today is as unaware of the myths and legends about him as myths and legends, as is the primitive person. Our rationalistic tradition is so omnipresent that we imagine myths and legends to be consciously fantastic, purely imaginative, make-believe stories which only ignorant pre-literate folk believed. Presumably in our own enlightened age they do not exist except in the pretty books which we buy for children at Christmas. We are no more conscious of our own myths and legends as something false, than are native peoples. With us, as with them, myths are a real and actual part of our psycho-social environment. What Malinowski says about myths in primitive groups applies equally well to our own:

Myth as it exists in a savage community, that is, in its living primitive form, is not merely a story told but a reality lived. It is not of the nature of fiction, such as we read to-day in a novel, but it is a living reality, believed to have once happened in primeval times, and continuing ever since to influence the world and human destinies. The myth is to the savage what, to a fully believing Christian, is the Biblical story of Creation, of the Fall, of the Redemption by Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross. As our sacred story lives in our ritual, in our morality, as it governs our faith and controls our conduct, even so does his myth for the savage.[1]

The myth is not merely a symbolic or superimposed story of creation, or an extraneous narrative of a possibly fictitious event.

Studied alive, myth is not symbolic, but a direct expression of its subject-matter; it is not an explanation in satisfaction of a scientific interest, but a nar-

(434) -rative resurrection of a primeval reality, told in satisfaction of deep religious wants, moral cravings, social submissions, assertions, even practical requirements. Myth fulfils in primitive culture an indispensable function: it expresses, enhances, and codifies belief; it safeguards and enforces morality; it vouches for the efficiency of ritual and contains practical rules for the guidance of man. Myth is thus a vital ingredient of human civilization; it is not an idle tale, but a hard-worked active force; it is not an intellectual explanation or an artistic imagery, but a pragmatic charter of primitive faith and moral wisdom.[2]

Myths and legends, then, are considered genuine and real by the believers. We are not conscious of our own myths and legends as anything strange, foreign, or devised for amusement, but as actual accounts of events and meanings.

It is evident that savage myths and legends mean little to us largely because they are outside our culture. Gomme, a great student of mythology, remarks: "The story into which the myth is woven is not a story to those who believe in the truth of the myth. It is just this belief in the truth of the myth or legend which sets it distinctly apart from romance or fiction." Moreover, myths are not created out of nothing, but have, as a basis, some crisis. They deal with economic needs, with warfare, adventure, success or failure in life, with birth, puberty, marriage, death, and future life. They may arise as a wish fulfilment in the presence of some difficult situation, yet they serve to stabilize us in the presence of our own difficulties.

Myths and legends come down to us from the past as a part of our cultural heritage. They are, however, never static. They are in the making today just as they have always been. In modern propaganda myths and legends are deliberately constructed for the purpose of social control.

We shall leave an analysis of propaganda to a later section. Our present purpose is to examine the more or less unconscious growth of myths and legends. As a clue to this growth we must examine their psychological features.

2. The Psychology of Legend- and Myth-Making.— The psychological basis of myth- and legend-making lies in the field of perception, memory, and imaginative association which we examined in Chapter VI. We noted there the fact of individual differences in sense capacity. Some people hear more accurately than others. Some see better. Others may have keener touch, or smell, or taste. Apperceptive mass, that is, retained past experi-

(435) -ences, greatly influences all perception. We see largely what we are trained to see by our family or friends. If we perceive what we unconsciously wish to perceive, our very wishes have been shaped by what we have been taught to expect and to want to see. Thus perception is a synthesis of past experience or meaning and present sensation. The apperceptive mass or meaning is determined by personal-social and cultural conditioning. Stories of heroes and our childhood instruction in the meanings of our culture form the substratum on which all subsequent perceptions are built. Moreover, emotions and feelings color our perceptions, especially in the formative years. It is in this period of early childhood, in fact, that dereistic associations with their emotional accompaniments are most easily formed. These early conditionings, so largely made up of language, are the basis of our adult social reality. In short, all perception is affected by individual differences in sensation, by the situation in which it occurs, by the direction of attention to particular aspects of the situation, by emotional factors, and by the traces of past experience.

Now, memory of past experiences is not an accurate photographic reproduction of perceptions and actions. It also is affected by other images, other perceptions and emotional states, and by the lapse of time. The process of forgetting and recalling is as dynamic as perception or any other anticipatory response. Says Stratton: "The memory not only grows less clear, but it actually tells a different story as time proceeds." Not only do we find in memory transposition of items in time and space, condensation, typification, secondary elaboration and dramatization, as the studies of Freud, Crosland, and Whipple have shown, but in the very process of communication of memories from person to person these alterations are enhanced. A story may gather or lose detail in the re-telling. Narration in this way is a creative process. Although individuals may be certain that their accounts are accurate, we know how faulty they actually may be. To indicate the manner in which legendary material takes form in every-day life, we quote at some length:

In 1871 Alexander Jester started cast from Kansas in a light spring wagon with canvas top, drawn by two small pony horses. While fording a stream near Emporia, as the horses were drinking, he fell into conversation with Gilbert Gates, a young man who was returning from homesteading land in Kansas. Young Gates was travelling in what was then known as a prairie-schooner drawn by a pair of heavy horses. Jester had three young deer in his wagon, and

( 436) Gates a buffalo calf. They decided to travel together and give exhibitions with their animals to meet expenses. When they reached Paris, Missouri, Gates had disappeared. Jester's explanation, at the preliminary hearing, was that he became homesick and sold his outfit to him that he might hasten home by rail. Jester was seen leaving Paris driving Gates' heavy team with his own lighter team tied behind. Later he sold the heavy horses and various other articles known to have belonged to Gates, but which he claimed were purchased. It is not the purpose of the writer to decide the merits of the case, but rather to call attention to certain exceedingly interesting psychological features.

Jester was soon arrested but escaped, and was not brought to trial until 190l. Thirty years had therefore passed since the events concerning which witnesses were called upon to testify. Besides, there was a blinding snow-storm at the time when the crime was supposed to have been committed; and, of course, this would have interfered with accurate observation. Further, when the witnesses "saw" the things which they related they were not aware that a crime had been committed. Two preliminary questions thus suggested themselves: First, would any one note, as carefully as the subsequent testimony indicated, the peculiarities of a chance traveller on the road, especially in a blinding snowstorm, and at a time when no reason existed, so far as known, for unusual observation? Second, would observers, under these circumstances, be likely to remember, after the lapse of thirty years, the minute details of what they had seen?

The incidents were of the unimportant, uninteresting sort that were frequently experienced at that time. Even the prairie-schooner could hardly have been exceptional enough to attract special attention.

When the trial was held, two women described the size and color of all the horses, the harness of the heavy team, the figure and appearance of Jester— height, a little over six feet, weight about one hundred and eighty pounds, with a hook-nose, gray eyes, powerful physique, and large hands. They further testified that, looking into the first wagon as it approached, they saw lying in the bottom the outlines of a human form with a buffalo-robe thrown over it; and they gave this testimony confidently, thirty years after the crime, notwithstanding they were twelve and fourteen years of age, respectively, when the events transpired, and though they were riding at a canter in the face of a heavy snow-storm, with veils tied over their faces, and the horses which they met travelling at a fast trot when they passed in the storm. A farmer swore that the buffalo-robe was covered with blood, and still another witness that, while helping Jester start his wagon, the canvas New hack and he saw the body of a man with his throat cut. The description of the body was that of young Gates.

A man who had just been married, and was taking his wife behind him on his horse to their new home, described the horses attached to each wagon, the wagons, and the dog; and this in spite of the fact that his own horse was going at the "single foot" gait, that jester's horses were trotting past, that it was snow-

(437) -ing hard, and that, being on his honeymoon, other thoughts and interests would seem to be occupying his mind.

A man of thirty-six, who consequently was six years of age at the time of the crime, testified that later, during the thaw and heavy rains of spring, he and his father saw the body of a young man of eighteen or twenty years of age floating down the stream. He described the color of his hair and complexion, and said that he had on a blue-checked shirt and blue overalls. His description of the shirt agreed with that of Mrs. Gates of a shirt which she had made for her son. It is interesting to note, in this connection, that neither the father of the six-year-old boy nor the girls who saw the outlines of a human form in the wagon, nor the man who helped start jester off, said anything about their observations until Gates' disappearance and Jester's arrest had been published.

It is quite evident that, whatever the merits of the case, the testimony of these witnesses, after a lapse of thirty years, was amazingly exact. Yet it would be unfair to assume that they were dishonest. All of those from whose testimony we have quoted were people of good standing in the community. They could be relied upon both in word and deed. The attorney for the defense, to whom the writer is indebted for the facts in the case, speaks in the highest terms of these witnesses. "They were among the best people of Monroe County," he says. "They wanted to be truthful, and they were very friendly to me, entertaining me overnight when I was looking up evidence preparatory to the trial."

What then was the explanation of their remarkable exactness, even in the smallest and in some instances least noticeable and least interesting details? The key to the mystery lies in the way in which the case was worked up, in the publicity that it received, and in human psychology. After Jester's final arrest, Pinkerton detectives were employed and seven or eight leading criminal lawyers of Missouri and Chicago were engaged to assist the prosecution. The detectives, as they secured one fact after another, cultivated the information by suggestive questions and statements to those with whom they conversed. When, for example, a prospective witness said that there was a buffalo-robe in the wagon the detectives would ask if it covered the outlines of a human form. The man would think it likely, and soon that it did. Of course the case was featured in the county newspapers. It was a first class news story. Pictures were published, pictures of Jester and Gates, pictures of the horses and wagons, pictures of the dog, and pictures of scenes in the chain of events leading to the alleged crime. The pictures were based on what witnesses said they saw, and what the detectives said they must have seen, and reportorial imagination supplied whatever was lacking. The clothing of Gates was described. the articles he had with him enumerated, the fats to which certain witnesses would swear were told to other witnesses and reported in the newspapers. Indeed, all the events of the crime as it was conceived by witnesses, reporters, and detectives were portrayed and described with much the effect of a moving-picture representation, until fact and fiction were indistinguishable. It is a well-known principle of psychology that if you tell a man something often enough he finally accepts

( 438) it; and as he continually repeats it, even as a possible fact, it ends by becoming firmly fixed. Then he believes that he saw or heard it.

We must not forget that all this happened thirty years after the events. The undetected vagueness of memory-details of the witnesses furnished a fertile soil for the growth of imaginary pictures. The attempt to see faces in the moon is comparable to their experience. With a dim outline, or a sketch with several possibilities, there is always a strong tendency to fill in the outlines, usually with what is in one's mind .[3]

An amazing illustration of the extent to which myths are believed is the popular reaction to McCutcheon's novel, Graustark. Published a generation ago, it had an immense sale. The story was so vivid and engrossing that people all over the country imagined it to be factual history. The following account reveals some of the serious beliefs of the people who wrote Mr. McCutcheon about Graustark:

A woman in Cleveland asked him to give her directions for reaching Graustark by rail after landing in Europe. Her daughter was an invalid, and the mother was quite sure that the climate of Graustark would be "of untold benefit to her." Another woman wrote that her husband was dying of consumption and she felt that if they could buy or rent a house on the mountainside at Edelweiss they could avert the death that seemed so near. These were the letters that hurt him to answer.

Brighter was the telegram Mr. McCutcheon once received from an Eastern city. It read: "To decide a bet, what is the quickest way to get to Graustark?" Then there was the Cincinnati cynic who took exception to the hour fixed in one of the Graustark stories for the departure of a passenger train. "Such stupidity spoiled the book" for him. Then there were the persons who asserted or suggested relationship with the royal families of Graustark or the adjacent States, or with the American heroes and heroines. The publication of Beverly of Graustark moved one correspondent to write with the hope of establishing a family connection with Beverly Calhoun. Her object was: "I am getting up a family tree so that I can join the Daughters, and it may be that you can help me some. "

A Washington man wrote that he was organizing a Graustark Club in his lodging-house with the idea of escorting the entire party to the principality as soon as the weather was favorable for the trip. Of course there were the Tales of travelers who professed to know all about Graustark and found Mr. McCutcheon seriously at fault in his local color. One such traveler, however, was generous. A San Francisco woman who wrote to ask the longitude and latitude of Graustark said, "I have a friend here who has traveled extensively.

( 439) She says she has been in Graustark twice and loves it very much. Your description of the country is excellent, she says. We expect to go abroad this fall, and I am writing to ask how we can reach Graustark. My friend is in the East and I can not find the place on the map. She says she has seen the Princess Yetive, and has gone through the castle."[4]

If confusion of fact and romance can arise in this manner, it is not surprising that in crises of larger social importance, both perception and memory may become even more inaccurate and imaginative. Van Langenhove's study of the growth of legends about the guerilla warfare of the Belgian civilian population against the invading German army in 1914 is an interesting illustration from contemporary history. From slight incidents, often themselves misperceived, wild stories of the cruelty of Belgian civilians became fixed in the minds of Germans, both at home and in the army. These stories were supplemented by legends of similar civilian guerilla activities against the Germans during the Franco-Prussian War. As they were relayed home by letter and by narratives of wounded soldiers sent back to recuperate, the stories grew. They frequently developed stereotypes which exposed an anti-Catholic prejudice. There had been some misinformation about the activities of Belgian priests in inciting civilians to action against the German army. The Protestant North Germans, who made up large sections of the invading army, found it easy to believe the original tales. The legends finally grew until they were woven into newspaper accounts, into fiction, and even into official military reports. Of course the Germans at home expected colorful accounts of adventures against the enemy. Children are not alone in wishing war to be glorious and cruel at the same time. In the presence of eager listeners the soldier on leave from the front must have felt an irresistible social pressure to embroider his stories with vivid accounts of the heroism of his comrades and the satanism of the enemy. Doubtless many of these legends are living today. Thousands of Germans accept them as factual material. These legends with their patriotic stereotypes must still color German attitudes toward Belgium and the ,whole tragedy of the World War.

Now we must not suppose for a moment that this sort of thing is peculiar to something called "the German mind." It happens inevitably in all stories of critical situations as they are remade over and over again in the telling.

( 440) In exactly the same way, tales of German atrocities circulated in all of the Allied countries. The favorite tales described satanic Germans who poisoned wells, cut off children's hands and women's breasts, and delighted in wholesale rape and plunder. During the emotional, almost hysterical, state induced by war, people are ready and anxious to believe the wildest tales. During the war this incident occurred in one American city, and it could be duplicated almost anywhere.

A speaker at a public meeting described the horrors which the German invaders had brought upon Belgium. He described German troops riding into a town, seizing children right and left and cutting off their hands. He said that he had himself actually seen these children running about the streets the next day with the stubs of their arms exposed. The audience was shocked but fascinated by these gory details. A surgeon among the listeners, who retained some semblance of sanity, could not swallow this particular statement. He asked the speaker if he did not know that as evidently there had been no medical care provided for the children, they would bleed to death in a few hours. His simple question would have made it impossible for any "sane" person to affirm or believe the story. But the lecturer lost his temper and tacitly accused the doctor of unpatriotic sympathies by saying: "The gentleman evidently does not want to believe my story." The hearty applause of the audience made it only too evident to the doctor that it was futile to attempt the simplest argument with a crowd and a speaker emotionally attuned to believe anything vicious about an enemy.

We may summarize the factors which are significant in the development of legends about an observed event:

(1)The emotional state of the observers. This is usually increased at the time of observation, if the situation is dramatic.

(2)Errors of perception at the time of observation. If the event is spectacular or unfamiliar, it is more difficult to perceive it accurately. Attention will be limited to a few details.

(3)Errors in recall. These are especially evident when the event is later being described to others.

(4)Predispositions, the apperceptive mass, of the observers. These predispositions are made of old stereotypes, Prejudices. and legends still persisting in the observers.

(5)False interpretation by the observers. As far as they imagine the characteristics of the observed individuals, the observers will err in interpreting their acts.

(6)The time elapsing between perception and recall. After a very brief in

(441) -terval, the event as recalled differs from the actual event. As the time elapsing between the event and its recall increases, observers begin to add or change or forget innumerable details.

We have already noticed that early emotional associations have a more powerful effect upon behavior than the more intellectual notions acquired in later life. The following is from the notes of an American who was in Germany from 1912 to 1914.

In the years before the war I used to hear hot and obviously sincere speeches by socialists who said that never would they go to war for the Kaiser. They would rather shoot their officers than their French fellow-workmen. Or if forced to shoot, they would shoot into the sand or into the air. Yet some of these very orators were the most anxious and ready to go to the front when the war was actually declared. The reason is not far to seek. Newspaper propaganda and ignorance of actual international events were important. Patriotic attitudes toward the mother country, her sacredness, her great history and wonderful future had been instilled in them as children in emotionally appealing colors. The effects of early home and school training outweighed the adult accumulations of the Marxian ideology. In a time of supposed national danger their economic theories about a world-wide utopia under the control of communists and proletarians disappeared in the emotional desire to defend their home and country.

In England and America large numbers of declared pacifists were soon comfortably uttering the stereotyped war cries. These renegade pacifists were often most bitter against their former leaders, persons like David Starr Jordan and Jane Addams, who maintained some consistency of attitude in the new situation. Preservation of the in-group is fundamental in all culture patterns. Those who in time of crises do not conform are bound to lose the respect and good-will of those who follow the traditional patterns, and who believe the myths of national greatness which they may relive in the enthusiasm of conflict.

D. The Social Function of Myths and Legends.

The myth and legend are adult extensions of the infantile world of fantasy and make-believe. For the adult they furnish socially acceptable frameworks for understanding the past and the present and for defining future responses. They give continuity to social reality. They are part and parcel of the social world in which we live and move and have our being. The

(442) particular errors of perception and memory which play a part in the rise of myths and legends are merely the natural psychological processes by which the social reality grows up through group participation. They gratify the wish to appear superior to other groups. Our own egos expand as we participate in groups imagined sacred and motivated by highest ideals. All myths and legends are self-justificatory. In this way they are like rationalizations; but they are more continuous, more integrated, and furnish something of order and meaning to the world. While myths may have less basis in fact than legends, the psychological mechanisms in their development are much the same. There is more than a dash of imagination in the myth. There is perhaps less concrete fact at the outset, but it remains, nevertheless, as important as the legend in serving as the foundation of ideologies and as an interpretative tool in getting about in our world. We may say that legends are modified accounts of the past events and of historic personages, whereas myths are imaginative accounts of the meaning of life. In this sense they are the basis of philosophy. In other aspects they are a projection of our wishes into the future. Yet the differences between myth and legend are rather of degree than of kind.

The most significant myths and legends arise around crises and concern the major operations of our physical and social world. They are a part of our value-meanings which aid in social control. The more common life situations around which myths and legends have arisen and still arise involve religion and supernaturalism, economic or material culture, and political problems. Much of what passes for history is loaded with myths and legends of various sorts. Our purpose, however, is not to criticize these pictures but only to interpret them as they affect behavior.

1. Religious Myths and Legends.— One of the most persistent types of religious myth is the belief in a millenium or future blissful state in which all problems will be solved and no difficulties will ensue. Confronted with a difficult world in which to live, we turn to fantasy for release and emotional balance. These fantasies arise out of historical crises which the group has met. They become crystallized into standard forms and may persist for hundreds of years as the basic beliefs of nations anti peoples. The force provoking critical situations are often conceived as hostile spirits or demons, against which are arrayed the forces of light and well-being. Thus the notion of a future perfect state was injected into later Hebrew mythology. As Israel met disaster after disaster, the whole thought of many of her

(443) leaders ran to fantasies of release from their intolerable situations by some fiat of Jehovah.

Rebuffed on every hand, persecuted and denied social status, the early Christians developed a whole mythology of the impending end of the world, the return of Jesus, and the restoration of all good things imaginable. The outbursts of John in the Book of Revelation are obviously an extended wishful myth. The wicked and hateful Roman Empire will be destroyed, and then God and the saints will come in all their glory.[5]

Hebraic-Christian millenarianism is not an isolated phenomenon. Similar hopes have existed in other groups far removed from them. They existed in Egypt, Babylon, and Persia long before the Christian era. Throughout the entire period of Christian, that is to say, Medieval European and Modern Euro-American history, these hopes of blissful future states have arisen over and over again.

As the year 1000 n. n. approached there were many people who thought that the consummation of perfection would soon be reached. Various groups prepared themselves for the end of the world. In the latter half of the twelfth century Joachim of Floris, an Italian monk, developed a mythological picture of the future.

Three formative factors are observable in the making of his system of interpretation. In the first place he was an ardent admirer of the monastic life in its stricter forms; consequently his future church was to be an idealized monastic order. He was also inclined toward ecstasy and was fond of meditating upon the supposed hidden schemes of God in history. Thirdly, he applied his mystical temperament to the interpretation of the Bible, and particularly to its prophetic elements, as a means of determining the future course of events. The outcome of Joachim's reflections was a new division of human history into three epochs. First, there was the age of law, or the age of the Father, when the supreme demand upon men was obedience. The appearance of John the Baptist marked the transition to the second age, which is that of the gospel, or of the Son. This is the age to which the present earthly church belongs, when men are striving toward the attainment of mystical knowledge. The third age, which is that of the Spirit and of the truly spiritual church, has not yet dawned. The date for the end of the present order and the inauguration of the age of (tic spirit was fixed at the year ratio, the years during which the true church had remained hidden being equal to the days that the woman mentioned in Rev. 12:1-6 re-

( 444) -mained in the wilderness. When the new era arrived the present church would not be abolished, but marvelously purified and restored to its primitive simplicity. The elect would be assembled from the west and from the east, both Jews and Gentiles being converted. After a final conflict with the powers of evil, to be followed by the final judgment, a new order would be inaugurated. This new society was to be organized after the model of a great monastery in which monks as the truly spiritual men would displace the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and humanity would enter upon its final Sabbath day of peace and purity.[6]

Just before the Reformation, there were numerous similar attempts to reinterpret the bad times in terms of scriptural prophecy. Militz of Kromeriz, a forerunner of John Huss, made such an attempt. The Taborites and their successors, the Bohemian Brethren, had some real influence in provoking revolt against the Roman Church. The Pope was declared the Antichrist. The second advent of Jesus was frequently predicted. Throughout the whole period of stress following Luther's revolt from the Church, there arose throughout Europe various millennialistic formulations. Definite dates for the second coming of Christ were fixed and the downfall of the Roman Church was commonly predicted. One interesting English movement is thus described:

By the year 1663 millennial teaching had crystallized into a definite political propaganda known as the Fifth Monarchy Movement, bitterly antagonistic to Cromwell. Its advocates professed allegiance to King Jesus only, affirming that he was about to appear and establish a fifth world-monarchy. The four previous monarchies were reckoned as the Assyrian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman, the last-named still existing in the form of the Roman church. The champions of these views believed that duty called them to fight for King Jesus, thereby demonstrating their fitness to receive him at his coming. Heretofore they had been praying and preaching, but now they believed that the time had come to act for God. This conviction expressed itself in two unsuccessful attempts at insurrection, one in 1657 and the other in 1661.

The motive of the Fifth Monarchy Movement was not only hatred for Rome, but also a strong leaning toward communistic ideals and mystical experiences. One quotation from their official declaration reads:

We freely give up our lives and estates unto our Lord King Jesus and to his people, to become soldiers of the Lamb's army, abhorring mercenary principles and interests. And for this work's sake we desire not to love our lives unto the death, neither will we ever (if we may speak so great a word with reverence

(445) in the fear of God) sheath our swords again until Mount Zion becomes the joy of the whole earth.

One of the prophetesses of the movement stresses mystical knowledge as a peculiar source of millennial wisdom, in contrast with the information to be derived from careful study. While in a state of trance she enjoins her companions thus:

Thou shalt read the visions John had,
Not after the learned doctor's way;
But thou shalt read them in plainness,
And clear light in the day.
Thou shalt not read what's spoke of Dragon and Beast
With university art;
But thou shalt read with kings' seven eyes
And an enlightened heart.
Thou shalt not run to antichrist's libraries,
To fetch from thence any skill
To read the Revelation of Christ,
But be with knowledge fill'd. [7]

In the eighteenth century the interesting Ronsdorf sect arose in Germany, and spread to Switzerland, Holland, and England. Mixed with its millennial hopes were mystical elements; a young girl received dereistic visions of the glories of the new kingdom to be established in 1730. The Shaker movement in England and America evidenced another sort of millennial fervor. After the French Revolution, Napoleon was made the Antichrist in the ideologies of various groups which looked for a catastrophic end of evil and a sudden installation of the good. In the nineteenth century a number of sects built on millennial hopes arose in England: for example, the Catholic Apostolic Church (Irvingites) and the Plymouth Brethren (or Darbyites). In America the rise of Mormonism, of the Millerites, and other adventist sects has almost the same general pattern.

All of these movements have much in common. They appeal to the imagination of the depressed classes and to those who can not believe in any slow, evolutionary changes in the world. They appeal to those who look for some divine fiat to cure the world's ills.

Evidently millennialism arises in the psychology of fantasy. In times of crisis common sense and the techniques of science often fail to offer solutions, or at best they seem slow and halting. The form which these psy-

(446) -chological fantasies take is to be understood only in terms of historical events and current situations. From the outset Christianity has been marked by these culture traits: belief in the innate evil of the world; in a sudden, catastrophic end of the world; in the coming of God to sit in judgment; in the restoration of the world to as perfect and satisfactory a state as existed in the Garden of Eden. Psychologically this is an infantile return to a state of perfect bliss where no conflicts or problems trouble the human mind. In the Christian picture there is a future return to the golden age when man knew no sin and no hardship. Not only in religious formulations, but in economic and political mythology, this fluctuation from good to bad to good again is very common. Man in his adult fantasies seems to fluctuate between hopes for a millenial perfection and hopes for a return to some arcadian past of untrammeled freedom and beauty.

2. Economic Mythology.— Not only do we find millennialism in the church, but the various utopias of a perfect economic order are millennial in pattern. The religious and political fantasies have frequently contained distinctly economic features. Yet it is especially in the modern period that men have time and again announced schemes by which the depressed classes might raise themselves by their own bootstraps out of poverty, illness, and early death. In the eighteenth century Abbé Morelly and François Babeuf outlined plans for ideal communistic societies. In the postNapoleonic period of reactionism we find Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, Étienne Cabet, Louis Blanc, and Robert Owen each announcing socialistic schemes of economic-political reconstruction. The quasi-utopian scheme found in the ideology of Marx and Engels—  is ostensibly based upon Hegelian dialectic. According to Marx, the proletarian labor movement was the third and final step in Hegel's dialectical scheme of evolution. It was as inevitable an outgrowth of historical sequences as any other millenial schema. It differed from others only in that the secondary rationalization was more elaborate and more profound. Unlike most economic radicals, George Sorel in his Reflections on Violence showed a keen insight into the place of the myth in instilling solidarity into the proletariat and in moving men to mass action in the general strike. Throughout. the whole range of radical ideals the same strain of fantasy is found. In contrast with communism, for example, most anarchism is not built on a utopian future so much as on a return to a primitive naturalism which shall be free of the Antichrist of the political state.

( 447)

There are no more urgent needs than hunger, thirst, and shelter. The failure of men to satisfy these valid needs leads them naturally and almost inevitably to formulate visions of future states which are either a return to an imagined pristine purity or a construction of new and everlasting forms.

3. Political Mythology.-Political millenniums are as common as those of religion and economics Not to go further afield in ancient history, one may mention Plato's Republic as a utopian wish done in the grand manner. It is so well conceived and so incisively treated that it has been the inspiration for hundreds of later utopias, religious, economic, and political. Plato's dream was not realistic, but imaginary throughout. Another classical utopia, although it professes to be historical, is Plutarch's idealistic description of the life of Lycurgus of Sparta. Similar utopias occur in Greek, Norse, Celtic, and Arabic legends, which describe an earthly paradise to the west or in the Atlantic Ocean. The whole series of stories of a lost Atlantis are of this sort. They were as implicitly believed in their time as are our verifiable facts today. Saint Augustine's City of God illustrates the early Christian fantasy of a perfect world.

Thomas More's Utopia (1516) set a new pattern in political and economic myths. After his time various ideal descriptions of the political state were attempted by Hobbes, Filmer, and Rousseau, among others. Sir Francis Bacon's New Atlantis (1624-1629) shows the growing faith in science as the key to universal happiness— a type of myth which has continued with amazing persistence to our own day. Tommaso Campanella's Civitas Solis (1635), an ideal communistic society, was probably much influenced by Plato's Republic. De Mandeville's Fable of the Bees is unique in that it describes the downfall of an ideal commonwealth. Other utopian pictures appeared throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In the nineteenth century we have Bulwer Lytton's The Coming Race (1871), Samuel Butler's Erewhon (1872) and Erewohn Revisited (1901), Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward (1888), William Morris's News from Nowhere (1890), various books of H. G. Wells, and hosts of utopias of a distinctly socialistic or communistic sort, like Theodor Hertzka's Reise each Freiland (1893), which depicts an imaginary communistic society in central Africa.

The whole series of religious, economic, and political utopias gives further evidence of the tendency to project the solution of contemporary problems into a realm of rationalized fantasy. These fantasies are always dressed in a garb of contemporary political and social phraseology de-

( 448) -signed to catch the imagination of men who can not come to grips with the concrete problems of their society. Yet we must not imagine that even these fantastic pictures are without value to the groups that believe them. They not only give emotional solace in every-day crises, but, if they sufficiently fire the imagination, they may be the basis for attempts to alter the present order in the direction of the imagined better one. Just as the gang members live out their romantic day-dreams, the ideologies of a religious, economic, or political group may become the basis for attempts to alter the social organization. There are doubtless forces which will control the direction which these efforts at change will take, for men do not live by faith alone. Their forms of faith, nevertheless, are important in determining their attempts to control their environment. The whole doctrine of social progress is linked up in many ways with millennial hopes. During the French Revolution, with the shadow of the guillotine upon him, Condorcet had such amazing faith in progress as to write:

The result of my work will be to show, by reasoning and by facts, that there is no limit set to the perfecting of the powers of man; that human perfectibility is in reality indefinite; that the progress of this perfectibility, henceforth independent of any power that might wish to stop it, has no other limit than the duration of the globe upon which nature has placed us . . . . What a picture of the human race, freed from its chains, removed from the empire of chance as from that of the enemies of its progress, and advancing with a firm and sure step on the pathway of truth, of virtue, and of happiness. . . [8]

A great deal of mysticism and fantasy has always been connected with the theory and doctrine of progress. Auguste Comte's Religion of Humanity is very definitely a utopian dream. The faith in science, first made prominent by Francis Bacon, continues ever stronger today. The whole ideology of large cities, large-scale production, rapid transit, easy communication, and the other quantitative aspects of our modern culture bespeaks its foundation in this faith in an ever upward and forward moral advancement of mankind. Many social reformers actually look upon "progress" as a kind of mystical power which inevitably Nvill accomplish the ultimate perfection and complete salvation of man.

4. Historical Legends and Social Attitudes.— In each generation the children in a tribe, community, state, or nation are early brought into contact

(449) with the history of their society. This history conveniently introduces them into the folklore of the group, its ways of doing things, and its ideals and standards of conduct. Moreover, this introduction is essential to the continuity of culture patterns of the group. It is necessary to social stability and social control. One of the most impressive devices is the narration of the life stories of great men, the heroes of the past. While political events may constitute the major part of even contemporary history texts, it is a fair assumption that the things which most impress children are the personalities of history. We need to believe in great men. If we do not have them, we create them out of any material at hand. This is a natural phase of our ethnocentrism. Every group believes in the importance of its own past, including therein its heroes. In the telling and retelling of the great events surrounding our heroes, the imagination rich in wish-fulfilment is given free scope. Just as the narration of an occurrence before a court, or the re-telling of experiences in war or other crises is colored by emotional toning, so in the frequent repetition of the tales of our heroes, bits are constantly added here and there until the original actuality of personality and event is completely obscured. Every historian knows this. He realizes that aside from the most careful and painstaking approach and use of his data, history is not scientific in any ordinary sense of the word. It is more akin to literature and art than to science. Some historians dislike to admit this, but only because to be scientific is in the folkways and to believe in a place for fictions and art is to be out of caste. The fact remains that men unconsciously construct the pictures of their heroes to fit their wishes. Thus they satisfy their own egos by vicarious participation in the great events of their heroes. No one would maintain that Plutarch's Lives are scientific pictures of the characters he describes, and yet they live for us in an amazing way. We have a kind of scale of legends— the earliest go back to such mythical characters as Perseus, Hercules, and Odin. Then we have such heroes as Achilles, Ulysses, and Aeneas, and in northern Europe the romantic legends of King Arthur. Yet colossal legends have grown up about actual historical figures like Alexander the Great, Julius Cxsar, Charlemagne, Richard the Lion-Hearted, and Joan of :arc. In modern history the most tremendous figure is Napoleon. Around him has collected such an overtowering mass of legend and counter-legend that the historian is baffled and the layman is at the mercy of each new writer, as again and again the picture of this man is changed in color.


In our own country the legends run from those about John Smith, Miles Standish, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, John Brown, and Abraham Lincoln, down to the current legends of Roosevelt, Wilson, Walter Hines Page, and Calvin Coolidge. A good many ardent members of the conservative class in the country have been disturbed by the biographies of Washington by Rupert Hughes and W. E. Woodward, because these men have smirched some of the rosy pictures painted of the father of our country. This is perfectly natural reaction by persons whose faith in the legends is strong and who feel that the maintenance of the legend is essential for patriotism, as possibly it really is. Our school children are given fanciful pictures of our national heroes at a time when their minds are peculiarly prone to fantasy and fairy tale anyway. We wonder if psychologically it could be otherwise. We induct them into history at an age when their minds are dominated by emotional thinking, and yet we wonder later why as adults they are so incapable of objective thought on national questions.

The process is really inevitable. If we did not have our present legends to hand on, we would unconsciously create others. For that matter, the attempts of contemporary writers to "de-bunk" our history after all merely create a new type of legend. It is utopian to believe they make us any more rational about our forefathers.

One of the most interesting instances of the stretch between legend and fairly reliable historical facts is the case of John Brown. Apparently he was one of those curious mixtures of personal shiftiness and half-mystical belief in a great mission. His life was replete with shady business dealings, and he clearly lacked a sense of social responsibility toward the community and even toward his family. Yet after the Harper's Ferry episode he was a figure around which public opinion crystallized in an amazing fashion. The legend of Brown as a crusader had a most profound effect upon the attitudes of thousands of Northerners at the outbreak of the Civil War.

No character in American history is more generally interesting than Abraham Lincoln, around whose personality have grown up legends of all sorts. The legends satisfy the various groups of people of our country. The religiously-minded see in his humanity a great and deep religious soul. The more tough-minded repeat the legends that he did not follow any creed and that he once wrote an essay in defense of atheism which his literary executors are said to have destroyed or suppressed. Many people

(451) object to the legend of his ribald stories. Others see in them a picture of a real man on the frontier. Certain legends attempt to make him out the offspring of poor white trash, while others try to rescue him from such "infamy." Some emphasize his steadiness of work, while others show him to have been a bit shiftless and inclined to take life easily. Then, too, the "log-cabin to president" stereotype is supported by the story of Lincoln's rise to the White House. The Civil War period is replete with legends about Lincoln. Yet there is a certain sectional difference in the concepts of Lincoln, as anyone knows who has lived south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Especially in the generation after the Civil War Southern boys and girls were not given the same accounts of Lincoln that their Northern neighbors got. For them, instead, were tales of Davis and Lee which differed profoundly from the stories told of these personalities in the Union states.

As we have become more and more skilled in advertising and conscious propaganda, legend-making has become more deliberate. This is clearly the fact with the legends of Roosevelt, Wilson, Page, and Coolidge. We all remember the deliberate stimulation of interest in Roosevelt which swept through the public schools a few years ago. Legends, favorable and unfavorable, concerning Wilson are still being manufactured. The rise of the Coolidge myth, and of the legends about Walter Hines Page are phenomena of yesterday.

Whether legends are deliberate or not, the fact remains that the masses of mankind live in these images. They serve a distinct purpose in arousing hero worship, in bolstering up in-group patriotism and in affording vicarious satisfactions for the common man. As with religious formulations, if tomorrow we destroyed the myths and legends about our heroes, we would the next day begin unconsciously to make new ones. And so the process of myth- and legend-making never ceases. We have but to look about us to see the rise of stories of political leaders like Ex-Governor Smith, Senator Vare, and Secretary Mellon, or to witness the growth of legends about business and industrial leaders such as Morgan and Ford, or about inventors such as Edison. We can note, too, the rise of legends about prize-fighters, baseball players, arctic explorers, and airplane heroes. The process is ever-present. Failure to take cognizance of it as it affects the concept of social reality and helps determine behavior is to be wilfully blind.

There are a good many earnest persons who belittle or regret mythmaking. They consider it foolish or pathological and somehow a bit devil-

(452) -ish or evil. This very attitude is but an illustration, in another dimension of our lives, of the persistence of the eighteenth-century cult of rationalism and of its myth that man is largely an intellectual, deliberate, and scientific creature.

While for the professional historian history may be objective and scientific in method and even in content, for the populace it always was and still is rich in emotional suggestiveness. It is a dynamic part of our cultural environment. It is not something superimposed on us as cold fact, but teems with life and gives us courage in crises, affords us solace in disaster, and provides all of us with a world of vicarious but nevertheless real living. We must remind ourselves that man does not live alone in a colorless world of passive objectivity, but in a subjective, emotionally toned world of attitudes and images, and that this world of image and attitude determines his conduct quite as often as does the purely physical universe.[9]


A. Further Reading: Source Book for Social Psychology, Chapters XVI, nos. 108-115, pp. 419-49; and XVII, pp. 461-79.

B. Questions and Exercises.

1. Discuss questions and exercises for assignment in Source Book, Chapters XVI, nos. 1-11, p. 458; and XVII, pp. 479-80.

2. Discuss the reality of the group and of culture patterns. Is it legitimate to use such concepts?

3. Why is it essential to know the content of mind and behavior as well as the mechanisms? Show why the analysis of mechanisms alone will not reveal the complete picture either of anticipatory or consummatory behavior.

4. Illustrate the development of stereotypes from present-day cases.

5. What is the relation of stereotypes to language? (Cf. Chapter XVI.)

6. What is the relation of stereotypes to definitions of situations? Illustrate.

7. Correlate the growth of the myth and legend with the psychology of childhood fantasies. What are the differences between infantile fantasies and these adult myths and legends?

8.What is the significance of the current myth and legend in social behavior?


9. Cite some of the common contemporary myths and legends of events and personalities: in (a) history, (b) politics, (c) religion.

C. Topics for Class Reports and Longer Written Papers.

1. See assignments for reports and longer papers in Source Book, Chapters XVI, p. 459, and XVI, p. 480.

2. Report Frazier, "Psychological Factors in Negro Health," Social Forces, 1925, vol. III, pp. 488-90; and Johnson, "Newspaper Advertisements and Negro Culture," Social Forces, 1925, vol. III, pp. 706-09 as illustrating the influence of myths and legends on attitudes and habits.

3. The contribution of psychoanalysis to an understanding of the place of myth- and legend-making. (Cf. Ricklin, "Wishfulfillment and Symbolism in Fairy Tales," Nervous & Mental Diseases Monograph, 1915, no. 21; Abraham, "Dreams and Myths: A Study in Race Psychology," Nervous & Mental Diseases Monograph, 1913, no. 15; Rank, "The Myth of the Birth of the Hero," Nervous & Mental Diseases Monograph, 1914, no. 18; Burrow, The Social Basis of Consciousness and other psychoanalytic materials in the files of The Psychoanalytic Review, etc.)


  1. B. Malinowski, Myth in Primitive Psychology, 1926, p. 18. Courtesy of W. W. Norton and Company.
  2. Ibid., p. 19.
  3. E. J. Swift, Psychology and the Day's Work, 1920, pp. 273-77. Courtesy of Chas. Scribner's Sons.
  4. Frorn "Buying a Ticket to Graustark," Literary Digest, 1928, vol. XCIX, p. 51. Courtesy of author, Arthur Maurice.
  5. It would be interesting to know, for example, how many times the somewhat obscure and certainly dereistic writings of Saint John have been reinterpreted to fit contemporary conditions and made to serve as the basis for recasting the myth of the impending end of evil and the bringing in of the good.
  6. From The Millennial Hope, by S. J. Case, pp. 184-186. Copyright by the University of Chicago Press, 1918.
  7. Ibid., pp. 192-93
  8. From Marquis de Condorcet, Equisse d'un tableau historique des progres de l'esprit humain.
  9. Certainly we can not separate sharply the objective or material from the subjective or emotional world. Our own interpretation of the material world is of course affected by our own images and attitudes. Physical science can no more escape from its own intellectual premises than can any other human activity, and the famous Newtonian concept of an absolute and mechanical eternal world is badly shattered by contemporary physics.

Valid HTML 4.01 Strict Valid CSS2