Elizabeth Severn.

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C. K. OGDEN



THE PSYCHOLOGY
OF BEHAVIOUR



THE PSYCHOLOGY
OF BEHAVIOUR

A Practical Study of Human Personality

and Conduct with Special Reference

to Methods of Development



BY

ELIZABETH SEVERN

Author of "Psycho-Therapy"



LONDON

STANLEY PAUL & CO.

31, ESSEX STREET, STRAND, W.C.



PBINTED IN U. S. A.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

PAGE

SOME NEW ASPECTS OF MIND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE

UNCONSCIOUS 1

Growth of Psychological Inquiry The Value of the
Metaphysical Viewpoint Applied Psychology dis-
closes Human Motives and points the way to In-
dividual Development Introspection and Observation
the best Methods What determines Behaviour
How Mind and Character can be Formed The
(Superman a Scientific Possibility The Office of
Hypnotism, Psycho-analysis, etc., in determining the
Mental Content The Nature of Consciousness and
of Thought Various Levels of Consciousness The
Subconsciousness as the Seat of Innate Intelligence,
Common Sense, and Intuition How the Mind
Works, and the Unification of the Personality The
Self as the Organizing, Controlling Force Uncon-
scious Thinking The Source of Memory, Feeling,
Instinct, Intuition, Premonition, Inspiration, Genius,
etc. Manifestations of Consciousness in Sleep and
Dreams; How to utilize this Aspect The Plasticity
of the Mind; Suggestion and what it is; its Use and
Limitations; The Power of Influence; Auto-sugges-
tion The Will to Believe The Power of Affirma-
tion: Means of Developing the "Positive" Mentality
The Relation of the Personal to the Cosmic Con-
sciousness.

CHAPTER II
INTELLECT THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERCEPTION .... 53

Intellect, the Objective Self-Knowing Phase of Con-
sciousness Distinctions between It and the Uncon-

V



vi CONTENTS

PAGE

scious Intellect our only Medium for Reaching the In-
terior Consciousness Its Attribute of Discrimination
renders it the Guiding Faculty Comparable to the
"man at the head" of any Large Organization How
to Train the Intellect Development of Judgment
and Sense of Values Reasoning, Conscious and Sub-
conscious Importance of Logic Intellect as the
Supplying Agent Intellect as the Adjusting Agent
Intellect aa the Controlling Agent Developing At-
tention Importance of Sustaining it with Interest
and Desire Concentration, means of Development
How far Objective Matters should be made Auto-
matic Objective Control of Internal Organs of the
Body Value of Voluntary Passivity and Meditation
An Antidote to Modern Excessiveness and Over-
Stimulation Unconscious Rumination Directed
Thinking and Value of "Silence" Intellect the Door
to the Greater Possibilities of the Mind.



CHAPTER III

IMAGINATION AND MEMOBY THE PSYCHOLOGY OF EX-
TENSION AND RETENTION 110

Imagination: Reproductive Impressibility of the
Mind Memory, Conscious and Subconscious Noth-
ing ia Ever Forgotten A Good Memory Dependent
on Concentration Fixed Ideas The Imaginative
Temperament Readjustment of Mental Images
Imagination: Productive The Source of Originality
Imagination the Inception of all Action Con-
scious Visualization Two Kinds of Imaginative
Thinking, a. The Aimless; b. The Directed The
Value of Reverie and Relaxed Thinking The Imagi-
nation an Outlet for Repressed Energies The Cause
of Intoxication All Mental Images must Materialize
Expectation Plus Intention The Pathology of
Repressed Imagination Loss of the Sense of Reality
Education of the Child's Imagination "Imagi-
nary" Diseases Dangers of Uncontrolled Imagina-
tion All Mental Images Should Materialize in
Action Transmuting Undesirable Mental Images.



CONTENTS vii

CHAPTER IV

PAGE

WILL THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ACTION 146

Will Synonymous with Power: a Basic Manifesta-
tion of the Life-Force and Representative of the
Volition of the Universal Mind Will is Desire in
Action Will-power vs. Fate Free-will: dependent
upon Unity with the Universal Will Shallow Con-
ceptions of Will All Actions are the Expression
of Desire Conflict Between Conscious and Uncon-
scious Will Will to be Successful must be: a.
Unified in Itself; b. Concentrated in its Action; c.
Balanced with Intellect and Emotion The Weakness
of Indecision Lack of Self-knowledge in Questions
of Desire Need of Choosing a Goal Need of Re-
flection before Action The Dangers of Negativity
Lack of Self-Confidence Following Lines of Least
Resistance The Force of Habit Influence of Opin-
ions of Others Conflict of Will with Emotion
Erratic Results of the Use of the Will Different
Phases of the Personality Assume Control Need of
Unity in the Desires Need of Belief in Desire as a
Guide When Emotions Frustrate Will How to
Develop the Will Overdoing the Use of the Will
Effortless Activity Three Steps in any Act of the
Will: Concept, Intention, Execution The Discrep-
ancy Between Intention and Execution Man's Great-
est Weakness The Importance of Intention Leads
to Executive Ability Executiveness Without Crea-
tiveness The Need of the Affirmative Attitude-
Mastery of the Power of the Unconscious Deter-
mination the Equivalent of Causation.

CHAPTER V

EMOTION THE PSYCHOLOGY OF FEELING 191

Feeling a Generic Motive Power Instinct is Physio-
logical Feeling; Emotion is Psychological Feeling
Impulse is Unconscious Feeling Civilization repre-
sents the Development of an Awareness and Control
of Feeling Emotion now largely Superseded by
Intellect Feeling affords Deeper Revelation than
Intellect Emotional Repression and its Dangers
Applied Psychology establishes the Balance between



viii CONTENTS

PAGE

Will Power and Emotional Power Study of the
four principal Negative Emotions: Fear, Anger,
Grief, Self-love When reduced to their Constructive
Elements these become Positive Emotions Confi-
dence, Love, Joy, and Expansiveness Necessity and
Value of Emotion Dangers in Excessive or Uncon-
trolled Emotion Pleasure and Pain: terms repre-
sentative of Desire Satisfied (positive form), Desire
Unsatisfied (negative form ) Superiority to either
Pleasure or Pain the Ideal State The Need of
Natural Expression Study of Subconscious Conflicts
and Inhibitions Psycho-analysis as an Interpreter
of the Subconscious Emotional Life Harmonizing
Incompatible Mental and Emotional States: a. by
Conscious Recognition and Transmutation; b. by
.Re-education and Development of True Sensuousness
Pathological Results of Internal Discords Various
Emotional Outlets: Wit and Laughter, Play,
Dramatization, Music, Dancing, Painting, Crafts-
manship, Intoxication, and various Psycho-neurotic
States Abstract Emotions: Love of Beauty, Free-
dom, Wisdom, Humanity, Truth The Joy of Re-
sponsiveness How to Balance Emotion and Intellect.

CHAPTER VI
SEX THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE CBEATIVE LIFE . . .281

Sex of Paramount Importance General Ignorance
concerning it The Necessity for Clear Knowledge
Definition of Sex as the great Creative Principle
The Psychology of Sex Undeveloped as yet Should
be treated Metaphysically and Philosophically, as
well as Psychologically The Pathology of Sex
Sex-Education should begin in Childhood The Idea
of "Animal Instincts" repressed in the Human
Consciousness Study of Natural Sciences in Child-
hood a Partial Corrective Misconceptions Concern-
ing Sex Its Personal Value not less Important than
its Racial Value Sex not merely a Physical Func-
tion instinctive Sex: Appetite or Sensation Only
Sex as an Emotion or Idea Regeneration and
Transmutation: Mental and Moral Creativeness
Analysis of the Sex-Feeling Based on the Positive
and Negative Elements contained in the Masculine



CONTENTS ix

PAGE

and Feminine Principles Man Positive on the Ex-
ternal Plane, Woman Positive on the Internal Plane
Woman the True Leader in all Sex-Relations
Co-operation and Equality the Secret of Sex-Happi-
ness Personal Possibilities in Sex: a. Physical, b.
Emotional (Analysis of the Love-Feeling), c.
Psychical, d. Intellectual, e. Spiritual (Search for
the Ideal and the Completion of the Self) Social
and Economic Problems in Relation to the Personal
Sex-Problem.

CHAPTER VII
SELF THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE EGO 328

Self the Unity underlying all Psychological Phe-
nomena Synonymous with Individuality The True
Source of all Behaviour Personality the Aggregate
of External Characteristics The Self-feeling should
be Developed in its Positive Forms Its Negative
Forms lead to the Pathology of the Personality
Suicide and Insanity due to Derangement or Absence
of the Self-feeling What is an Ideal Character?
Types of Personalities Sanguine, Melancholic, Chol-
eric, Lymphatic The Purpose of Experience The
Development of Personality Self Culture in its Spir-
itual Sense the Key to all High Behaviour.



THE PSYCHOLOGY
OF BEHAVIOUR



THE PSYCHOLOGY OF
BEHAVIOUR

CHAPTEE I
SOME NEW ASPECTS OF MIND

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE UNCONSCIOUS

THE study of man's thoughts, feelings, and
motives is a universally fascinating one. Even
the least thoughtful of us love to watch and
speculate upon our neighbours' actions and
have sometimes an even greater interest for our
own. Any extensive or careful analysis, how-
ever, of "human nature" has been left almost
entirely to the great philosophers and moral-
izers, for the very good reason that the common
knowledge of the human mind and its springs of
action has been too limited and uncertain to
allow of any satisfactory conclusions by the lay-
man. Perhaps also it is because the race as a
whole has been so engrossed with purely ma-

i



2 THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BEHAVIOUR

terial pursuits as to remain naively uncon-
scious, for the most part, of the fact that it even
possessed a Mind.

Modern Psychology has now changed all this
and we are today embarking upon new voyages,
sailing for shores not too clearly perceived, but
with a serene confidence that the way is being
charted even as we go, and that we will surely
reach a goal. There is no doubt but that the
present day interest in Mental Science and va-
rious psychological problems is one of the more
hopeful signs of the times and of man's general
growth and evolution. The demand for au-
thoritative literature on the subject is growing
rapidly and the greediness of the public for
even very poor food, if it but be labelled "psy-
chological," is a living proof of the need, and a
readiness for new light.

Psychology has long been taught after a
fashion in the Universities, but as the habit of
academicians is, in the nature of their case, to
stick tightly to what is called " positive science,"
it has remained for a growing public to voice
its want of something more vital and "appli-



SOME NEW ASPECTS OF MIND 3

i

cable ' ' in this field ; to bring out of the dry dust
of polemical discussion into the liveness and
activity of everyday affairs, the facts and
principles which our researchers have long been
labouring to develop and formulate.

Owing partly to its "newness" and partly to
having been juggled at the hands of untrained
adherents of the "movement," "applied psy-
chology" is still suffering from many incrusta-
tions of ignorance, even in its own ranks, and
still more from the prejudices of its misappre-
hending critics. That its greatest usefulness is
yet to be developed is apparent, as so far it has
been greatly hampered by the narrowness of the
purely academical viewpoint on the one hand,
and by the unwarranted claims of its enthusias-
tic but ill-informed adherents on the other.

The present work is an attempt on the part
of the writer to elucidate some of these tangled
threads, and to make a small but new contribu-
tion to a rapidly growing science a contribu-
tion which has been developed through a wide
experience as a practising Psycho-therapist, in
a field where there is an almost unlimited op-



4 THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BEHAVIOUR

portunity for the study of human motives, needs
and failures.

The viewpoint is frankly metaphysical rather
than biological, and idealistic and suggestive
rather than materialistic and "positive." Yet
sight has not been lost of the need of exactitude,
where it is so easy to be vague; and emphasis
has been placed upon the governing principles
of human conduct rather than upon its particu-
lar phases. Metaphysical questions such as the
differences, if there are any, between Mind and
Matter, the extent of their mutual reactions, or
where one begins and the other ends, are not
discussed ; but that personality and its impulses
are explainable, and that there is in the human
mind a power which is definitely available for
great ends, is the premise and main thesis of
this work. This is not a new discovery; such
has been the belief of the great thinkers of all
time. It has merely remained for modern
Psychology to furnish a better key for unlock-
ing these latent forces of the human : J ind, open-
ing up to our vision treasures and possibilities
hitherto unattainable.



SOME NEW ASPECTS OF MIND 5

Foremost among these discoveries is the fact
that character and mentality are plastic things,
capable of indefinite modification a simple
enough statement, but of far reaching signifi-
cance. There has long been a curious fatalism
prevalent in our estimate of "character"; we
have believed ourselves -doomed to carry
through life just that with which we were born
character being used in this sense to signify
mental and moral strength and capacity. The
idea of "developing" his faculties has never
entered to any extent into man's estimate of
himself, regarding as he has, his particular
quota of instincts, traits, and tendencies, as
either God-given or inherited from his long-
gone ancestors and therefore, immutable.
Strangely enough the faults and defects are all
usually attributed to the poor ancestors, while
even the Deity doesn't receive much credit for
the virtues when they exist! The Idealism of
today has fortunately made us more or less dis-
satisfied with "things as they are," especially
with our mental equipment and our habitually
poor use of what we have. The prevalence of



6 THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BEHAVIOUR

the phrase " improve your mind" is a trivial
but significant indication of the trend of the
times.

Furthermore, we have not only come to be-
lieve in "improvement," but it is personal self-
improvement that interests us most. The tend-
ency of modern education in all its phases is
distinctly away from that kind of culture that
comes by plastering on new ideas from the out-
side ; it aims rather to draw out of each individ-
ual his latent and undeveloped faculties, much
as Luther Burbank and others have developed
strange and beautiful products in the plant
world by studying the potentialities of plant life
and providing different and more helpful con-
ditions of growth.

The process of mental growth is not essen-
tially different from that observable in all
phases of nature. The force that works
through the mind of man is similar to, if not
the same, as that in the growing plant, the only
vital difference being that man is a self-knoiving
creature and undertakes consciously and volun-
tarily that which in the lower forms is the



product of a blind, instinctive life-force. The
plant passes through birth, growth, experience,
unf oldment and dissolution. It follows certain
immutable laws and traverses unconsciously a
whole gamut of experience. On another plane,
human beings are going the same way, acted
upon by great laws of which they have little or
no cognizance, but hurrying nevertheless to the
fulfilment of their destiny. This process takes
place in every human life, but with this differ-
ence from the lower orders : with each degree of
knowledge and awareness developed, more
effort is required. Our whole progress and ex-
perience, whether we know it or not, is, and
should be, an endeavour to obtain more knowl-
edge of the laws governing our existence and
expression, thereby enabling us to become Mas-
ters rather than mere pawns in the scheme of
things. In so far as we understand this great
principle and ally ourselves to it, bringing the
pressure of our Wills and Knowledge to bear
upon our problems, in so far will we achieve
success in its highest sense and make real the
ideal called the Superman.



8 THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BEHAVIOUR

To take up the question seriously of delib-
erately acquiring the mental and moral charac-
teristics we desire, it is first necessary to under-
stand the implements with which we have to
work i.e., to analyse and learn to handle the
various and complex elements of the human
mind. For this we must turn to the findings of
Psychology, a field where in the last few decades
startling revelations have been set forth con-
cerning the hitherto little known workings of
the human consciousness. For, strange to say,
such knowledge as we had in this domain of sci-
ence was more in the nature of philosophical
generalizations rather than a means for exact
judgment of human thoughts and conduct.
Somehow the individual had escaped being sub-
jected to the microscope, whereas today he is
the pivot of all our observations. It is logical
perhaps that an examination of man's mental
activity should have been postponed until this
late date in history, though it is difficult with our
present array of material to explain why such
important investigations with such significant



SOME NEW ASPECTS OF MIND 9

bearings on vital personal matters should have
been so long delayed.

It is astonishing to realize that it is only
within the last few years that any serious, sci-
entific, or widespread effort has been made to
understand and classify the nature of human
personalities with all their complex springs of
action. There has always been an eager and
universal interest in the few ' * self -revelations ' '
that were available, all published personal
"Confessions," and the like. But perhaps ow-
ing to its intricacy and intangibility we were
slow in recognizing that the law of Cause and
Effect must prevail in the workings of the
human mind as elsewhere, slow to realize that
given results were inevitably the outcome of
certain causes. To establish any such law as
this it was necessary to observe and tabulate
the facts in a large number of individual in-
stances, and from these deduce certain "aver-
ages" or conclusions. We now have well or-
ganized methods of psychological experiment,
based on careful Introspection and Observation,



10 THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BEHAVIOUR

which incomplete though they may yet be, have
furnished us with invaluable material.

That man is able to study his own mind is in-
disputable, though naturally not all are equally
successful in such an endeavour. Certainly the
more intelligent person can easily acquire a
habit of dispassionate judgment of himself, and
if mentally honest, can expose to his own view
impulses and sources of action which were hith-
erto shrouded in mystery and alike inexplicable
to himself and others. To be sure, not every
one is mentally honest, and likewise, those of an
emotional or morbid bias would plainly be un-
fitted to report very accurately on their own
ideas and feelings.

Much the largest portion of such psycholog-
ical knowledge as we possess has come to us
through the careful investigations of trained
workers, and especially from researches in the
field of "Abnormal Psychology," where in the
study of mental pathology or diseased and dis-
turbed conditions of the mind, we have gained
through its very contrast our best perspective
of what a normal and equable mentality should



SOME NEW ASPECTS OF MIND 11

be. It is to the untiring research workers and
medical men that we owe our greatest debt, for
through them we have obtained our first clear
glimpses of the workings of our own interior
and intricate mental machinery. Psychology in
its present form really had its first inception in
the early French and English experiments in
Hypnotism, which barely antedate our present
generation. Back of this of course lies the mon-
umental work of men like Spencer and Darwin,
who by giving us a firm biological basis have
enabled us to step more fearlessly into the realm
of the purely psychic.

More recently we have the movement known
as Psycho-analysis, defined by Dr. Putnam of
Boston as "an attempt to make the facts and
principles discovered through the analysis of
individual lives, of service in the study of race
history and of life in general." This is, of
course, a broad statement and one equally ap-
plicable to many other forms of psychological
inquiry. Furthermore the psycho-analytic
movement must be distinguished from the
psycho-analytic method, which is really a minor



12 THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BEHAVIOUR

consideration, though the occasion of many hot
disputations. Taking its origin in pathological
studies made by Dr. Breuer, of Vienna, in 1881,
and later by his brilliant successor Dr. Freud,
Psycho-analysis today presents us with a large
mass of scientific observations and theories con-
cerning human emotions and experience ; all of
which has an important intrinsic value, and a
still greater value as a light upon the scientific
tendencies and momentum of our time. It is
interesting to note in this connection that this
most popular of the modern psychological
movements had a practically simultaneous birth
with the more thoroughly established and inval-
uable work of the great psychologists, Lange
and William James.

The somewhat limited and arbitrary methods
of Psycho-analysis and also some of its sweep-
ing but unproved conclusions, justly have many
critics and decriers ; but however wide the mark
some of its investigators may have fallen, and
however erroneous some of their conclusions
may prove to be, we must take the larger view
and admit that as pioneers in a new and difficult



SOME NEW ASPECTS OF MIND 13

field they have performed a great and needed
service.

In my personal work with students I have at
times used psycho-analytic methods with excel-
lent results, though I do not say that the appli-
cation of these methods has always, or even
often, led me to the same conclusions as those
of its originators. Like every independent
worker in this field, I have developed methods of
my own, which for my purposes and intentions
yield far better results, especially when working
with the individual for the alleviation of various
mental and physical disorders. But we have
the inspiration of their theories, which depart
boldly from the old established canons; only,
we must go much farther than Freudianism if
we are to understand man's deepest yearnings
and spiritual capacities.

We are led then to a brief consideration of
the human Consciousness itself, since that is the
field of all our operations. Fortunately we all
have some idea of its nature, although clear
definition is impossible owing to our being im-
mersed in it, as it were, and unable therefore to



14 THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BEHAVIOUR

gain the vantage point of a perspective. We
only know it as a form of universal, undiffer-
entiated activity existing within itself, having
Being or Reality distinct from other phenomena
which we designate as material or objective.
Also we must believe that it is an expression or
part of a greater Universal Intelligence of
which we are only very small portions. We do
not know therefore how to define it or where to
place its boundaries because of its very infin-
itude and universality. Yet through the human
process called Thought we 'are able to speak of
it in symbols, to analyse and become somewhat
acquainted with its manifestations, and to
realize it as a sort of stream constantly pouring
through us as an expression of that Supreme
Consciousness which, we are all more or less
aware, lies back of all manifested things.

Furthermore, Thought itself is not such an
intangible and elusive thing as we have imag-
ined. It should be regarded as a differentiated
and organized form of energy, much like other
forms with which we are better acquainted, such
as heat, light, or electricity. It is necessary to



SOME NEW ASPECTS OF MIND 15

understand something of this dynamic quality
of Thought, in order to have any key to the
psychology of man's behaviour. We often see
the phrase nowadays "thoughts are things,"
which serves to impress more of their reality
upon us, and is a very good statement of the
truth, especially if we accept Herbert Spencer's
definition of a thing as "a group of phenomena
which persists." Certainly Thought not only
tends to persist long after the moment of its cre-
ation, but has also the quality of movement or
vibration, is in fact primarily an etheric mode


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