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them and us. It is not to take up their tasks but to
burden them with ours. It is psychologically akin
to the necrophilism which cannot part with corpses.
It is to camouflage the grim fact of death and to help
mourners to flee from, rather than to face its reality
courageously. The position of the Protestant church
in this country ought to be clear and articulate on
this theme, but it is not, and its clergy are too proue
to fall into the old, cheap, and easy way of minister-
ing to the afflicted, not realizing that in so doing they
are opening the doors to a superstition that is as old
as the cave-man and as persistent as rudimentary

Conservative England, which best of all countries
in the world illustrates the dual housekeeping of a
Diesseits and a Jenseits, is naturally the world's



chief breeding-ground of (and as produced through
the Psychic Research Society) the most subtle and
pervasive examples of this other-worldness. No-
where have intelligent people found it so hard to see
that the only real phenomena here are subjective and
not objective, and been so prone to ignore the warn-
ing of Kant, who after reading Swedenborg refused
to accept "the dreams of a visionary interpreted by
theories of a metaphysician." To this predilection
for dual housekeeping we must attribute not only
British religiosity and the long lack of rapport with
the Teutonic mind, which from Wundt to Freud has
contributed so much, but the backwardness and un-
productivity of the English mind, as a whole, in psy-
chology, and its tendency to regard all psychological
questions from the standpoint of philosophy rather
than as matters of purely empirical science.

In this country cultured and half-cultured Greater
Boston, too, has always been uniquely susceptible to
cults that tend to split or dualize the soul. In Puri-
tan days the other world stood over against this in
the sharpest contrast, and both were really real. The
Concord transcendentalists refined but in no degree
lessened this contrast. Then came the circa ten years
of the Concord summer school, in which W. T. Harris
and his group sought to graft upon Emersonianism
an exotic German idealism. Spiritism here centered
in Boston, with its two chief journals; and so later
did Eddyism and Emmanuelism. The faltering but
profoundly sympathetic attitude of William James,



who died just before the psychanalytic movement was
felt in this country, helped greatly to prepare the
soil for Sir Oliver and writers like King, Bond,
Cameron, Hill, Hyslop, et al. Like the medieval
church Sir Oliver preaches a domain of faith and in-
tuition over against that of science and reason. All
church-goers exercise a kind of flight from modern
reality on Sundays, but Greater Boston has long
since learned to do so on week-days as well. Hence
mystic cults, crystal gazing, automatic writing, etc.,
are symptoms of mental dissociation. When the in-
hibitions of true culture that always tend to repress
spiritism are lessened by respectable advocacy and
put in modern terms, it becomes a veritable Poti-
phar's wife to which all adherents of double stand-
ards of mental housekeeping, like Sir Oliver, prove
no Joseph.

To form an intelligent opinion in this field one
must have the following essential qualifications:

1. He must have a knowledge of what sleight of
hand can do. The magician Keller claimed to be
able to perform every one of the so-called physical
phenomena of spiritism by natural means, though
many who witnessed him insisted that he was really
aided by spirits and was a traitor to them because
he would not acknowledge it. Practically all medi-
ums who deal with physical phenomena fall back on
some of these tricks, at least, if the spirits do not
work, and whoever heard of even an amateur presti-
digitator who accepted the spiritist creed!



2. The investigator must know border-line psy-
chology, of which a good introduction would be the
story of the wonderful performances of the German
horse, Hans, before it was found to be muscle-reading,
as all mind-reading is. One must understand hypno-
gogic and hypnopompic states; hallucinations, indi-
vidual and collective; what the imagination, and at-
tention w r ith its tonic cramps can do ; the psychology
of doubles and imaginary companions, often supple-
mental in character; something of those cases of in-
sanity which begin in belief in transcendental person-
ages and energies and end as these beliefs clear up;
hypnotism ; and all the rest.

3. He must know normal psychology, and most of
all the unconscious, wherein live and move all the
primitive springs of thought and feeling, and in which
are recorded all man's individual and phyletic experi-
ences from his savage and animal ancestors. He must
realize how prone men are to believe with the heart,
which often leads them to the crudest credo quia ab-

.What up-to-date psychologist of repute believes in
spiritism or can follow the Tabulations of Sir Oliver?
Again, the messages are inane and trivial. Those that
purport to come from great minds from Washington
down to Roosevelt suggest that these noble souls are
in various stages of decrepitude not to say decomposi-
tion. What have any of them ever added to our knowl-
edge? All the mediums I have tested will bring fic-
titious and impossible personalities to the spiritual



end of the phone just as readily as they do real per-

Of all this Sir Oliver knows nothing, and in the
narrow field left him his views are naive and poetic,
and he relies solely on his own personal intuition
and refuses to take notice of any criticism. He be-
lieves in a universal ether, as do most physicists, as
something diffused through all space, more real than
matter, which was secreted or precipitated from it
and to which all physical things are porous. Out of
it all worlds and all that is in them came, and into it
they will be resolved. This is hidden to sense, which
can only apprehend corporeal forms of existence,
which are not really real. But it is revealed to a few

Now, ether is the modern conception which all the
ontologists from Parmenides to Hegel anticipated in
their ideas of the pure and primal being, which is
equal to nothing because no predicates, save negative
ones, can be assigned to it. It is not unlike Spinoza's
Substance or the Indie Nirvana. But all such con-
ceptions have always been and must forever be pan-
theistic. The corollary of them all is absorption, in-
cluding personality, into the One and All. It knows
nothing of any form or limit and is homogeneous.
Thus to admit that it is the medium in which spirits
live, move, and have their being is to destroy its very
nature, and also to make our knowledge of it depend-
ent upon our knowledge of the somatology and psy-
chology of spirits.



Again, Sir Oliver believes in the preexistence of
souls, as Plato did, and which he seems to think nec-
essarily involved in the belief in their postexistence.
Children come into the world haunted by prenatal
reminiscences, as Wordsworth thought, but lose them
slowly with advancing years as the "shades of the
prison-house" close in about them. The brain is a
'"screen" which keeps out supermundane experiences,
and men were made thus blind to celestial things
that they might not be ravished by them but "stick
to their job" of living out their lives here and now.
To this the answer we deem both obvious and over-
whelming. All these vestigial intimations of a higher
life in infancy are perfectly explained in modern
padology as due to the larger racial and hereditary
momenta developed in the long experience of the hu-
man stirps and its animal forbears which tend to crop
out in tender years because childhood is older, larger,
and more generic than adulthood, the stages of which
have been added slowly step by step as man evolved.
Thus the infant recapitulates the stages of the devel-
opment of the race and is a better representative of
it than the adult soul. Infant souls thus preexist,
but solely in their progenitors, and are developed
according to Mendelian laws.

Again, if the brain were made a "screen" thus from
supernal influence, it would seem that Sir Oliver's
brain and that of those who long to penetrate the veil
between this and the next world were imperfect and
leaky and had failed in some degree of performing


their function as a filter to keep man at his job here.
Bad filters cause often the most malignant epidemics.
Of old it was thought that the gods punished those
who pried into things not permitted man's estate, and
we may well hope that Sir Oliver, who has left his
laboratory to propagate superstition, will not illus-
trate this Nemesis. Excessive devotion to other-
world studies has driven many able men to insanity.
"One world at a time and this one now" would seem
to be the moral from his own conception of man's
anatomical and psychological makeup.

Just as life has progressed from the amoeba up to
man, so Sir Oliver conceives an unbroken order after
death through saintly communion, supernal beings
or angels, to God himself. But this would require
some kind of transmigration of souls. If I did
descend from the amoeba, the amoeba is not immortal
in me. There is no more of it in me than there will
be of me in the angel that may evolve out of my life
in Sir Oliver's other world, and my desire for another
life will find no more satisfaction in this angel tfian
the amoeba gets in me. Indeed the gulf is wider in
the former case for there is a somatic continuum be-
tween the amoeba and me.

Telepathy is, of course, the last stronghold of all
spiritistic phenomena, and all spiritists assume that
souls communicate without the mediation of any of
the organs of sense. This very many people believe
from their own experience, but it can never be ac-
cepted by science as a fact until we can so control its



conditions that we can announce in advance that at
such a time and place we will demonstrate it. Now
in fact all nerve fibers are so isolated that even in
the nerve centers an impression never leaps from one
fiber to another even within the same sense; much
less does the strongest sound impression jump over
to the nerves of sight, etc. Now if impressions can-
not thus leap over such microscopic distances, how
improbable that they should be transmitted between
individuals or across continents ! Psychologists agree
that cbincidences, similarity in the structure and
function of the minds of friends and relatives, aided
by credulity, fondness, and a preexistent appercept-
ive organ, account for all these telepathic phenomena
and that there is no wireless between souls, as stu-
dents of electrical phenomena are so prone to infer
by analogy and literary tropes. Psychology, too, no
less fully explains the "sense of presence," deja vu
experiences, sudden and intrusive ideas with appar-
ently no associative link, and all the rest.

Thus if culture would keep its own morale high, it
must resolutely refuse, despite the intense desire of
the soul to answer the great question whether if a
man die he shall live again, so incalculably intensi-
fied throughout the world by the vast harvest of dear
ones cut off in their prime by the war, to capitulate
to this recrudescence of troglodyte superstition. The
universe is not so made that it gratifies every human
wish. Even the love of life, the strongest of all de-
sires, is negated by the grueling reality of death. One



writer says, "If death ends all, ring down the curtain.
Life is a lie, there is no God, and evil shall become my
good." This is the petulance of a spoiled child of civ-
ilization. We have at least the immortality of good
deeds, which the Buddhist exhorts all to think on as
their chief comfort as the soul is entering Nirvana.
There is also the immortality of the stirps ; if we liva
right, we live in and for future generations and make
the world more fit for them. These are the mundane
surrogates for immortality, and we can cultivate
them here. The admonition of morale, in view of the
holocaust of death by the war, is to close up the ranks
as best we can, cherish as sacred the memory of the
fallen, resolve that their death shall not be in vain,
and press onward, true Soldiers of Life.

III. The morale of hate and anger. Anger is the
most sthenic of all states. A man who is thoroughly
mad to the point of abandon can do and say many
things impossible to him in any other state. It rings
up latent powers of nerve and muscle, it flushes the
blood with the most combustible of all the high ex-
plosive physiological products, adrenalin, like oil
sprayed into a furnace. Savages work themselves up
to a frenzy of rage before rushing upon their foe.
Hate, for our purposes here, may be considered as a
kind of deep-settled and prolonged anger, or at least
a permanent possibility and proclivity to its more ex-
plosive form. The conditions of modern warfare,
however, are radically changed in this, as in so many
other respects. The boy who is liable to fits of Ber-



serker rage and warns his pal not to get him "mad"
has no place in the modern army. The old morbid
iracundia, excessive touchiness, and even the old furor
teutonicus, which was so terrible in primitive Ger-
many, avail little in campaigns where the enemy is so
rarely seen and remains impersonal. It is a little
doubtful whether the German songs of hate and their
cult of hatred, especially against England, have made
them really more effective in war. Kipling's threat-
ening poem when England begins to hate, the old ap-
peals to this impulse in the cry, "Remember the
Maine" or "Remember the Lusitania" have produced
really little result. Such waves of public indignation
are generally more or less harmless and transient
vents of animosity. Even in a bayonet scrimmage of
man against man the evidence indicates that not so
much hate as the instinct of self-preservation impels
the thrust fatal to the enemy. Moreover, Fritz when
captured or met under any other conditions is found
to be not such a bad fellow. He is, after all, but a man
much like ourselves. Again, it is very difficult, if not
impossible, to maintain anger for any length of time
at a high pressure. Its very nature is more or less ful-
minating, and there is a certain tendency to subside
and to lapse into a state of indifference, or perhaps
even to react to a certain degree of friendliness by
the law of compensation.

True, the wrath of Achilles was the theme of
Homer, as the wrath of God is one of the chief themes
of the Old Testament, and the achievements of Or-


lando Furioso sometimes had a certain epic sublimity ;
but the day for all this has passed. Even the out-
rageous atrocities of the Germans leave only a deep
and settled conviction that something drastic must be
done to prevent their recurrence, and they can hardly
be said to have furnished the motive of chief strength
in the conduct of the war. Never was there a more
colossal psychological blunder made than when the
foe decided on the method of frightfulness, for by this
he aroused a deep and. righteous sentiment of retribu-
tion which had the very opposite effect from that he
calculated, namely stimulating recruits and loan sub-
scriptions and nerving the arm of the Allies with
something of the energy of desperation. It was these
deeds, and the ever clearer conviction that they were
planned with deliberate purpose, that has done more
than even the ambitious conquest and the affront to
the rest of Europe implied in the superman assump-
tion to make real peace hard, and put off beyond the
vision of those now living the day of the reestablish-
ment of international friendliness in the world. Men
can pardon legitimate war but not these unprece-
dented barbarities.

The whole spirit of the Allies, especially of the Eng-
lish, was totally different. They took into the field the
habits of games played according to rule by gentle-
men who would scorn to take an unfair advantage,
in which even the less noble-minded of the contestants
were anxious that only the best man should win.
Games are played with the utmost energy and some-



times almost desperation but never by the true sports-
man with personal antagonism. And so the war on
the part of the English was a repulsive job that sim-
ply had to be done, like the cleaning out of Augean
stables. The more monstrous the atrocities the
greater the need of quelling the menace. Instead of
cultivating hate in the school and the community, this
was left to itself, and the chief appeal was to a sense
of need and duty to down the Kaiser as the common
enemy of mankind or a mad dog.

I heard a college president preach to soldiers that
instead of hating the German when he thrust his bayo-
net into his abdomen he must love him and offer a si-
lent prayer for his soul. Such an attitude is a psy-
chological impossibility. 8 It may be a relic of the
savage custom of propitiating the souls of victims lest
their ghosts come back to wreak vengeance on the
slayer ; but even this was done not in the heat of con-
flict but afterwards.

We conclude, therefore, that it is not only legiti-
mate but necessary that our soldiers should know au-
thentically and impartially all we can tell them in re-
gard to outrages that lie without and beyond the
sphere of war precedents and of humanity.

The Frenchman who had seen his home or that of
his fellowman destroyed, his orchards ruined, his
tools and cattle stolen, his wife, daughter, and sister
outraged or enslaved, must have found hate and re-

8 See N. Wyrubow : Zur Psychoanalyse des Hasses, Zeitsclhrift f.
Psychotherapie it. Medizinische Psychologic, V. 5, 42, 1914.



venge a tremendous source of militant energy. We
have many instances which show how he burned to
give the Germans a taste of their own medicine on
their own soil, and how hard it was for him to refrain
from all excesses when after the armistice he crossed
the German frontier. This we Americans can sympa-
thize with but can never feel, for we have not suffered
in this way.

Thus with the conquest of the German arms we
must believe at least that the policy of frightfulness
in war has been given its coup de grace. Never again
will a nation, however arrogant and powerful, dare to
arouse the awful Nemesis of revenge by thus outrag-
ing, as the Germans have done, the basal instincts of
humanity and justice. The 'bitter resentments thus
kindled will die slow and hard. At the moment of
writing they threaten to impel the French toward a
policy of reprisals, which are abundantly justified but
which the other nations believe should be repressed
at least from motives of policy. Thus we should see
clearly all the hateful things the enemy has done and
should not attempt to restrain our righteous indigna-
tion. But wars, especially long wars, will be won, if
they scourge the world again, as this one has, not
by anger; and no nation after this object lesson of its
futility will ever adopt the policy; of atrocities.



I. Humor, wit, and fun Its compensatory value for morale II.
Music as the organ of affectivity Its development in this country,
France, England, and Germany War poetry III. The soldier's

I. The morale of humor. This is far more seen in
the Anglo-Saxon race and in those who speak the Ro-
mance languages than among the Teutons, whose ran-
cor in war makes them so serious that none accuse
them of the "curse of jocularity." Humor is perhaps
the very best camouflage for fear. In looking over
files of the trench journals of the Allies nothing has
struck me more forcibly than the desperate and pa-
thetic attempts to jest, even about death itself in its
most horrid aspects. This often seems most shocking
to civilian readers, while some of the attempts to joke
are so abortive as to be simply pathetic. Coningsby
Dawson writes, "Pretty well every man I have met
out here has the amazing guts to wear his crown of
thorns as though it were a cap and bells." Jests nor-
mally belong to the most carefree moments of life,
but at the front they are used to cover up the most
serious and solemn of all human experiences, viz., the
envisagement of death. The instinct to turn the most
solemn facts in the environment into a theme of
laughter is partly an attempt of the individual to re-



lease his own thoughts from a present too excruciat-
ingly agonizing to be long borne, but it is also partly
to signal to others that he can keep his soul free and
happy in the face of danger ; while a third ingredient
is the social one of heartening others to do the same.
Thus a "funny" man in the army is a godsend, and
men instinctively turn to the mirth-maker, even
though they are conscious that his levity is half affec-
tation. In peace and in sickness it is often a great re-
source to be able to see the humorous side of things.
It indicates a superfluity, margin, or reserve of en-
ergy and rests from the acutest mental strain, even if
it requires a certain bravado. As has been often re-
marked, humor is more obvious and perhaps strained
in the early stages of a war and tends to die out as
men become seasoned. It is the new recruit who
strives most desperately to be merry over cooties,
mud, fatigue, and the rest, for it is at bottom a defense
mechanism. The rookie would fain be able to look
the most horrid form of death straight in the face and
laugh and snap his fingers as if defying him to do his
worst. It is not impossible that this instinct now in
some sense vicariates for the anticipated joys in some
warriors' heaven, which was clung to as a kind of
compensation for death. At any rate, the soldier who
is devoid of humor lacks one of the elements of the
morale of good psychic regimen.

We should go mad with the tragedy of the atroci-
ties of this war if there were no diversions from it,
and Harold Beg'bie is woefully wrong in thinking it is



all too serious for fun or that soldiers and friends at
home are shocked by all mirth-making and would
think a funereal mood the best. This logic would ban-
ish fun from the world, for life itself is not only seri-
ous, but a battle. Someone has called the French shrug
and smile a mind-sweeper. It means superfluous vi-
tality. The American soldiers who marched down the
middle of a Paris street with a deadly air-raid above,
carrying Japanese paper parasols as a protection, in-
voked laughter from those who had crowded the door-
ways and bomb-cellars while explosives were falling
all about; the boy who showed a sympathetic chap-
lain what appeared to be a Morocco-bound Testament
in which a Hun bullet had been stopped and so saved
his life, though it had wounded him severely, and,
after listening to the obvious religious lesson, showed
him that it was a pack of cards; the noted English
airman at St. Quentin who stole high up into the air,
disguising the identifying marks of his machine and
drawing a fusillade from Teuton aircraft guns, all in
order to drop what seemed to the terrified crowd be-
low to be a bomb but proved to be only a Rugby foot-
ball, that instead of exploding bounded high into the
air; the straw and plug hats an American company
wore from a nearby hat-shop in place of their helmets;
the fun of the Sammies with the French language;
the pet names given to effective big guns; the ac-
ceptance of the French perky Nennette and Rintintin
against air-raids, worn everywhere by both sexes ; the
love of pets and mascots ; the incessant and clever ap-



plication of the familiar terms of football and base-
ball to. war incidents; the rich and clever trench
slang; the interest in films of the Chaplin and Fair-
banks order; the passion for farce, satire, comedy,
and extravaganzas generally all these, and countless
more serve many a purpose of high morale. First of
all, laughter makes friendships, even with those who
speak another tongue ; a mutual smile brings souls to-
gether. Again, it flaunts the fact that one refuses to
be scared ; and, thirdly, it transforms pathos into hu-
mor, just as Hood when dying of consumption found
comfort in caricaturing his own more and more lethal
symptoms. And there are the pathetic jests which
are sometimes the last words of the dying, e. g., Heine,

Online LibraryG. Stanley (Granville Stanley) HallMorale, the supreme standard of life and conduct → online text (page 5 of 25)