George W 1856-1940 Jacoby.

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see, are not the result of cultural development, but
are the necessary outgrowth of natural laws.

Everybody knows that, in the man, the intellect
predominates, and in the woman the emotions; the
man thinks chiefly in abstract concepts, the woman
essentially in concrete pictures; the man looks on
things as they are, the woman as she would have
them; the man has the stronger powers of apper-
ception, the woman the more lively imagination
and a greater susceptibility to mysticism; the man
is more energetic and inconsiderate, the woman
more gentle and scrupulous.

Those, of course, are only the general differ-
ences between the two sexes. A sharp line of
demarcation does not exist in the mental activity
of the two. Numerous transition phases, as well



PECULIARITIES OF MENTAL ACTIVITY 99

as mixed forms, sometimes even men of a marked
female type and women of a pronounced male
type, physically or mentally or both, may be noted.
It is quite clear that the characteristics of the male
or the female mind can be dependent solely on a
different organization of the brain.

The differences between the male and the fe-
male brain have not yet been investigated in all
their details. While certain investigators have
found the female brain to weigh less and to have
less well- pronounced convolutions than the male
brain, others have asserted that the size and the
microscopical appearance of the various brain parts
are precisely the same in both sexes, and that,
therefore, any existing difference must be sought
for in the structure of the cells. However that
may be, the differences in the organization of the
male and the female brain, with the dependent
distinctiveness in mental action, constitute facts
which cannot be overthrown, and which, more-
over, conform thoroughly with the purposes of
nature.

To man, in consequence of his more aggres-
sive disposition, falls the struggle for existence; to
woman, because of her more passive traits, fall



100 SUGGESTION

the making of the home and motherhood. In
man are found united all the qualities requisite
for the acquisition of the necessities of life and for
the protection of the family. The woman pos-
sesses, above all, those traits which fit her for the
care of children and for the manifold duties of a
household.

Nature does nothing by halves. It has given to
man not only stronger muscles but also the more
penetrative understanding. To woman it not only
has assigned the task of bearing children, but it
has given an inexhaustible treasure of tenderness,
without which the care of the helpless, the feeble,
and the sick would be impossible.

That comparison of the mental distinctions of
man and woman proves there can be no ques-
tion of superiority or inferiority of sex. Man and
woman are of equal value. The contrasts between
them are such that the minus on the one hand is
always counterbalanced by a plus on the other;
an existing deficiency in woman always is com-
pensated for by a corresponding advantage in
man, and vice versa.

Far be it from any one, therefore, to say that
woman should be subordinate to man. The ful-



PECULIARITIES OF MENTAL ACTIVITY 101

filment of the functions for which nature has
chosen and equipped her is quite as important as
are those missions which fall to the lot of man.
Man and woman mutually supplement each other,
just as do the different yet equivaluable comple-
mentary colors, red and green. Hence, if woman
strives to free herself from oppression to gain that
freedom which the unhampered development of
her individuality justifies, she is battling in a good
cause. As soon, however, as she attempts to
imitate man in thought and feeling, her effort is
transformed into folly. In doing that she sacri-
fices her attractive individuality without ever at-
taining the goal of her endeavors. Existing ex-
ceptions to the rule simply corroborate it. It is
this species of denature against which Moebius
takes up arms in his well-known work on the
physiological weak-mindedness of woman.

Moebius by no means looks upon woman as
inferior to man. He shows how she surpasses
man in qualities of the heart, in patience and per-
severance, in the capacity for suffering and dep-
rivation, in powers of love and of hate, while she
stands below man in strength of intellect and
judgment, in the faculties of keeping apart per-



102 SUGGESTION

son and thing, and of reacting to objective reason-
ing. This "weak-mindedness" Moebius regards
as physiological, a normal state preordained by
nature. Woman, according to Moebius, becomes
a sterling being not by entering public life, not by
aspiring to political equality with man, or by turn-
ing to scientific vocations, but by fulfilling the
functions of motherhood, for which her bodily as
well as her mental individualities have been spe-
cially cast.

No amount of effort will develop properties
which are not already present in the seed. If,
however, the development of the female brain is
directed forcibly into paths for which woman has
not been destined by nature, then those qualities
which are to fit her for the state of motherhood
must become dwarfed. Moreover, all the acquire-
ments which are not in accord with her innermost
nature will always retain a dilettantish character.

Furthermore, Moebius emphasizes the fact that
certain deficits in the purely intellectual sphere of
woman's life cannot be considered defects, since
they are amply equalized by superior capabilities
in other directions. It is just those capabilities
which enable woman, in case she does not succeed



PECULIARITIES OF MENTAL ACTIVITY 103

in attaining her natural destiny through marriage,
to enter other vocations without in any way act-
ing contrary to her proper self.

Professor Max von Gruber, the well-known hy-
gienist of the LTniversity of Munich, has recently
expressed himself similarly on that subject. He
says :

" I once was among those who believe that if we
only would give woman the opportunity she soon
would show what she could accomplish in a men-
tally productive way. But the older I get the more
evident does it become that I was in error. As a
matter of fact, I cannot recall having received
from a woman, either in scientific or purely intel-
lectual fields, any new point of view, any idea of
her own production, which has helped my progress,
while hundreds of inspirations have come to me
from men. And history does not teach us differ-
ently.

"Note the positions of honor which the Ger-
manic and other peoples have opened to women;
note the exuberant enthusiasm with which men
have greeted every woman who seemed to be
coequal in accomplishment. If we compare those
instances with the productive accomplishments of



104 SUGGESTION

women in science and art, in State government,
we must give up every hope that woman, in car-
rying on man's work, will ever be able to achieve
the same results. Efface everything in those fields
which women have produced and you will hardly
notice the gaps. Only in the reproductive art of
the actress, the singer, the musical virtuoso has
woman accomplished anything really predominant.
And also in the field of romance, where the great
George Eliot will always maintain her place be-
side the greatest of men. . . .

" Individual women may be suffered to seek their
fortunes on the same roads as man, but neither the
individual nor the nation can be excused if the
mass of talented women be enticed into these
paths. . . . The worst is to be feared from the
obtrusion of women into leading positions. Sober
routine would consequently be dilated, short-
sighted utilitarianism and dilettantic superficiality
would flourish. . . . Man and woman are thor-
oughly different. The woman is not of lesser
worth, but of special worth. Just as woman is
physically different from man, even to her flesh
and bones and to the coloring matter of her blood,
so, too, is she different mentally. Just as she is



DISORDERED MENTAL ACTIVITY 105

constructed physically for motherhood, so does she
conform mentally to that, her main province. It
cannot be emphasized enough that the assertion
that the differences between man and woman are
a result of civilization is perfectly nonsensical."

E. Disordered Mental Activity

An exhaustive treatise on mental disorders is not
within the scope of this book. There is no occa-
sion for taking up the subject at length because
well-defined psychoses, for obvious reasons, are not
amenable to psychic treatment and therefore are
of little interest here.

We must never lose sight of the fact that neither
in a normal nor a pathological sense is there any
mental activity which is not dependent on the cen-
tral nervous system. Just as healthy mental ac-
tion is a product of the healthy brain, so diseased
mental action is an output of the diseased brain.
Certain psychiatrists as late as the middle of the
last century believed mental disorder was a condi-
tion bearing no relation to the bodily organs and,
therefore, that it had to be treated with psychic
remedies, by controversion of the delusions, etc.,
but that view has long been recognized as an error.



106 SUGGESTION

Doubtless reckless dissipation, alcoholic and sex-
ual excesses, etc., may cause a shattered nervous sys-
tem, thereby facilitating the outbreak of psychoses.
That result is the more likely if the excesses have been
preceded or accompanied by syphilitic infectipn.
Therefore, with Heinroth, we might look upon psy-
chic disorder, in a certain sense, as the result of
sin, or, with Ideler, designate it as an excrescence
of passion. In such cases, however, more recent
investigations have proven that not infrequently
pathologically altered nervous systems already had
existed and were a cause of the irregular mode of
life. Besides, it is also possible that mental strain,
intense fright, and other psychic irregularities may
be followed by mental disorder, but that is because
the disturbances bring about organic changes.

The distinct changes in the brain which lead to
psychoses are not always recognizable by our pres-
ent methods of investigation, especially when they
consist only in minute changes in the cell structure,
transitory anaemia, or hypergemia, toxic conditions,
etc., but when such changes are present they are
the cause of the disturbances in the functions of
the brain. The alterations in mental activity in
well-developed psychoses cannot be corrected so



DISORDERED MENTAL ACTIVITY 107

long as the cause, the actual changes in the brain,
continues. But, since such changes cannot be
eradicated by psychic treatment, as we said before,
the more severe forms of mental disorder need re-
ceive little consideration here, and reference need
only be made to them where it appears necessary
to elucidate those psychic processes which are on
the boundary line between health and disease.

In this book we limit ourselves chiefly to those
irregular mental activities which, while they cannot
be called normal, are amenable to psychic treatment
because they are not dependent on organic changes
in the brain.

The transition from health to disease is frequently
so gradual that it cannot be stated definitely where
health ceases and disease begins. Just as we find
it impossible to draw a sharp boundary between
health and disease in anatomic conditions or the
functioning of special organs, so we may encounter
many psychic peculiarities, perversities, and eccen-
tricities which, although they attract attention and
challenge criticism, cannot be called psychoses.
We must not forget that the false ideas which may
attain great power over all our mental activities
are not necessarily products of a diseased brain.



108 SUGGESTION

Frequently they are connected with difficulties in
digestion or other bodily disturbances.

In this connection we must mention, above all,
those persons who are hypochondriacally inclined.
As is well known, they never cease watching them-
selves with anxious care, and popular medical
books lead them to diagnose all possible dangers
to their health from the most insignificant changes
in their well-being. In many other ways does
reading play a great part in the production of false
concepts. Numerous eccentricities may be re-
ferred back easily to the reading of fantastic tales.
Persons of fanciful disposition, of seclusive ten-
dencies and lacking inclination to mix in the actu-
alities of life, frequently construct an entirely false
conception of the world for themselves from books.
Much of the bias and many of the whims of intro-
spective persons are due solely to their lack of
judgment in recognizing the misrepresentations in
books.

In many people there exists a certain receptivity
for distorted ideas, which becomes increased in
proportion to the insufficiency of their education
and intelligence in guiding them as to the critical
reserve which they should maintain toward the



DISORDERED MENTAL ACTIVITY 109

subject-matter of their readings. In a simple man
of the people, for instance, the conviction that the
sun moves around the earth might be regarded as
a mere error, while in a man of education, one of
suflScient insight to recognize that as a false notion,
the same conviction would have to be looked on
as a disordered idea.

The entire history of civilization confirms the
fact that false concepts frequently arise from an
absence of insight. Into the late Middle Ages,
and even into modern times, the conceptions of
the laws of nature, of the essence of physical,
chemical, and developmental processes, moved in
entirely false paths. The delusions into which
alchemy and astrology degenerated to-day appear
to us entirely insane. In the same class belong all
the medical superstitions, which were due in part
to the dogma that diseases were dispensations of
mysterious powers and in part to the fact that de-
ductive methods of investigation could not pos-
sibly lead to clear appreciation of the processes of
nature. Those deductive methods of investiga-
tion, which started from general propositions with-
out regard for the facts learned from experience
and observation, and drew conclusions concerning



no SUGGESTION

individual processes from a "priori assumption, en-
tirely intellectual in origin, without any proof of
their truth, must be designated as the original
source of all those false ideas which prevailed for
hundreds and thousands of years in the entire
field of culture. When such notions flourished, he
was regarded as deluded who, having advanced
beyond his contemporaries, was able to recognize
the fundamental error and to sweep aside the
"system" thought to represent an infallible truth,
substituting for that "system" the contrary prin-
ciple that single facts must first be recognized,
and that from a series of such observations only
could general doctrines be formulated. As late as
the middle of the last century, Julius Robert von
Mayer, who was the originator of the mechanical
theory of heat, and to whom we are indebted for
the law of conservation of energy, was sent to an
asylum for examination as to his mental condition.
So it might happen even to-day that insanity might
be laid to any extraordinary man who could soar
to such mental heights that his contemporaries
could not understand him.

The atheist or the agnostic may look on certain
religious views as delusional; the unlearned man



DISORDERED MENTAL ACTIVITY 111

fails to grasp the concepts of the scholar, and the
latter finds himself entirely astray in the circle of
ideas of the illiterate. Still all those who, being
under the influence of false concepts, fail to under-
stand one another may be perfectly healthy in
mind and capable of correct apperception and
logical thinking.

False concepts, in themselves, are by no means
evidence of insanity. Only if correction is impos-
sible may such ideas be looked upon as symptoms
of mental disorder. Such imperviousness to cor-
rection always is encountered where organic changes
have occurred in the brain, and it militates against
or completely excludes orderly association of ideas.
That explains why insane delusions cannot be
overcome by argument. When a person's powers
of apperception react only to false concepts, it is
misguided effort to attempt to talk him out of his
delusion by argument — that is, by awakening con-
trary concepts.

As examples of the futility of such effort we need
only refer to the causeless outbreak of hilarity or
anger in the maniac, the equally causeless states of
depression of the melancholic, and the nonsensical
ideas of grandeur of the paretic. Not only is the



112 SUGGESTION

endeavor to oppose such false concepts by means
of argument useless, but it is directly harmful in
that it causes the patient to become unnecessarily
excited. To-day argument of that nature is em-
ployed only for diagnostic purposes.

In those cases, of course, the physician does not
know a priori whether the false concepts are due
to a want of insight or whether they are evidences
of a disordered brain. If they are due to a want
of insight, they are open to controversion and cor-
rection; in the other case they are not. An inves-
tigation of the mentality is the only method by
which the truth can be ascertained with certainty.
The importance of this differentiation and knowl-
edge for the purpose of psychotherapy must have
become sufficiently evident from what has been said
previously.

A frequent source of psychic disorder in other-
wise healthy persons is false sensory perception.
That may be due to various causes. In conse-
quence of excessive fatigue, for example, the at-
tention and the power of perception become re-
stricted, so that exact observation is hindered.

How great a role fear and other severe emotions
fJay in the falsification of the sensory perceptions



DISORDERED MENTAL ACTIVITY 113

is shown most strikingly in the "seeing of appari-
tions," which occasionally afflicts people who other-
wise are entirely clear-minded. Similarly the sen-
sory perceptions may become clouded by febrile
diseases, by ansemia or hypersemia of the brain, or
by narcotic poisons. Since all our ideas are the
outgrowth of sensory impressions and memory
pictures, deductions and opinions based on false
sensory perceptions must necessarily be false.
When false concepts fasten themselves in the mind
and unswervingly oppose correction, then a dis-
order of psychic activity is inevitable, especially
as the emotional tones and the will impulses which
accompany such concepts add in their turn toward
forcing the mental life into a false direction.

Stoddart differentiates three forms of disorder
of perception: (1) Imperception, (2) hallucination,
and (3) illusion.

Imperception consists in the inability to com-
bine with a sensory impression the idea which
normally corresponds to it. We have already be-
come acquainted with "psychic blindness." That
depends on imperception, and the same is true of
the inability to comprehend the meaning of spoken
words or to recognize the sensation of taste, smell.



114 SUGGESTION

hearing, or touch. Such imperceptlon, of course,
may be looked upon as a mental disorder only
when similar sensory impressions, in a series of
experiences, have failed to produce the proper per-
ception, and when only those concepts and memory
pictures are lost which are connected with such
impressions. On the other hand, the inability to
interpret correctly a sensory impression experi-
enced for the first time cannot be called an imper-
ception, since in that case the thought connections
for comparison and differentiation of characteristics
are wanting. Hence there can be no suspicion of
imperception in children who have not yet learned
to differentiate their sensory impressions in an
exact manner.

By hallucination is understood the seeing, hear-
ing, smelling, tasting, or feeling of something which
does not exist. Hallucinations are not produced
by external stimuli, but in most instances are due
to memory pictures of especial intensity. This is
confirmed by the fact that persons born blind never
have hallucinations of sight, and those born deaf
never have hallucinations of hearing, whereas in
cases of acquired disease or destruction of the
peripheral sense organs, sensory deceptions of that



DISORDERED MENTAL ACTIVITY 115

nature are common. Hallucinations have pre-
cisely the same distinctness as actual sensory per-
ceptions, and therefore only by careful observa-
tion and logical deduction can it be ascertained
that they have not been produced by external
stimlui.

We must not neglect to mention that hallucina-
tions may be voluntarily produced by artists and
other people with very lively powers of imagina-
tion. A fitting example already mentioned is that
of Beethoven's ability to hear his compositions
when in a state of almost total deafness. In this
relation/ too, we may recall the well-known hallu-
cination of sight which Goethe experienced on the
road to Sesenheim, and which he describes in the
following words:

" Not with the eyes of the body, but of the mind,
I saw myself coming toward myself upon horse-
back, w^earing a dress such as I had never worn.
It was fish gray, with gold. As soon as I shook
myself out of this dream, the figure was entirely
gone."

An illusion, finally, is that form of sense decep-
tion in which an actual sensory stimulation is con-
sciously perceived but in a falsified manner. If



116



SUGGESTION



things are seen, heard, felt in a way different from
that in which normal people see, hear, or feel them,
we designate such conceptions as illusions. The
rustling of the leaves, for instance, may be taken
for a voice, a shadow for a human beinf^, etc.




The parallel lines, A, B, C, D, and E, in consequence of ttie diagonal
cross-lines, seem to converge or diverge.

The main difference between a hallucination and
an illusion is that in the former an external ob-
ject which might have produced a sensory impres-
sion does not exist, while in the case of an illusion
such an object acts correctly on the sensory organs,
but is falsely perceived. There exists a large num-
ber of illusions which because they are common to
all of us may be termed physiologic. Thus, for
instance, under certain conditions two lines of



DISORDERED MENTAL ACTIVITY 117

equal length seem unequal, two parallel lines seem
to converge or diverge, or, as before mentioned, of
two equal-sized squares the one seems to be larger
than the other, and a rod immersed in a basin of
water appears to be broken. Similarly, a small





Of the two equal squares, A and B. the black upon a white back^ound
appears to be smaller than the white upon the shaded background.

sphere, like a pea, rolled between the crossed in-
dex and middle fingers, seems to be two spheres.

Practically, a sharp differentiation between hal-
lucinations and illusions is not feasible. So far as
the senses of taste, smell, and touch are concerned,
we cannot always determine whether an abnormal
sensation — a fetid taste, for instance — is a halluci-
nation or whether there exists an illusory misrepre-



118



SUGGESTION




A straight rod immersed in water, as a result of the refraction of
light caused by the water, appears to be broken.



sentation dependent on an actual perception, such
as the pappy taste in a catarrhal condition of the
digestive tract.

While we are able to assume as
a rule that hallucinations and
illusions, in so far as they are not
dependent on diseases or destruc-
tion of the peripheral sensory
organs, have their origin in the
brain and that, more specifically,
disorders of circulation in certain
regions of the brain cortex are in-
volved in their production, there

iimex ana miatiie i jjUiili. i c

fingers gives the Can be no doubt that people or

sensation of touch- i ,111^1 1 1

ing two spheres. good mental health may be sub-




Aristotle's experi-
ment.

A marble rolled be-
tween the crossed
index and middle



DISORDERED MENTAL ACTIVITY 119

ject to sense deception. In such cases, however,
hallucinations are much less frequent than illusions.

Here again we must lay stress on the fact that
sensory deceptions in persons of healthy mentality
are of little significance inasmuch as they are sus-
ceptible of correction, while in the mentally dis-
ordered they usually obtain an irresistible influ-
ence over not only all the thought processes but
also the emotional tones and the impulses of the
will. If such sensory deceptions remain uncor-


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Online LibraryGeorge W 1856-1940 JacobySuggestion and psychotherapy → online text (page 6 of 18)