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CHAPTER I - INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

Three desires prompt the writing of this book: the desire to bring together the materialistic or external psychology and the introspective or internal psychology, and, secondly, looking past scientific psychology to the larger realm of race thought and race psychology, the desire to harmonise the materialistic West and the introspective East, and finally to show that all these conflicting aspects are but facets of the one truth and that, together, they constitute the one Reality.

These desires grow out of the present position of psychological teaching in the world. There are today two dominant types of psychology, and Will Durant, in "The Mansions of Philosophy," has well summarised them as follows:

"There are, as we have seen, two ways of studying man. One begins outside with the environment, and [14] considers man as a mechanism of adjustment; it reduces thought to things and `mind' to `matter,' and issues in the disguised materialism of Spencer and the behaviourism of Watson.... The other way begins within; it looks upon man as a system of needs, impulses, and desires impelling him to study, to use, and to master his environment; it would love to reduce things to thought, and matter to mind; it starts with the `entelechy' of Aristotle (who held that an inner purpose determines every form), and issues in the vitalism of Bergson and the pragmatism of William James." {i}1

Dr. W.B. Pillsbury believes this twofold system involves a needless duplication:

"If the behaviouristic theory is retained it means that we must have two psychologies, an external and an internal, a psychology viewed from the outside and one viewed from the inside. This seems at the best an unnecessary complication." [ii]2

Recognising this duplex situation, and agreeing with Dr. Pillsbury that two lines of interpretation are unnecessary, I am convinced of the possibility of fusing the two into a third, a single unit. I seek, therefore, to present an hypothesis to prove the correctness of the mechanistic school, and the equally correct position of the school of introspectionists, and I seek also to show that both schools are necessary to account for all the facts, and that each is really complementary to the other. Thus we may establish a third or composite school, [15] based upon the exact knowledge of the Occident and the introspective wisdom of the Orient.

In considering these two schools of psychology, it is evident that modern psychology is largely materialistic and the most popular school entirely so. A study of the latest books on psychology, emanating from the many and varied schools in Europe and America, shows that the majority are primarily concerned with endorsing or rejecting the mechanistic philosophy of the Behaviouristic School. If they are not thus occupied they are presenting another form of a materialist psychology. Dr. Wolfgang Köhler in Gestalt Psychology says, for instance:

"It is the layman's belief that in general, he himself directly feels why at one time he has one attitude, and later on another; also that, for the most part, he knows and understands directly why he is inclined to do one thing in a certain particular situation and why a definitely different thing under subsequent different conditions. In his view, then, he is experiencing directly and truly much of that dynamical context, the development of which constitutes mental life. Opposed to this belief and altogether foreign to it, we have the view of most learned psychologists at the present time. From their viewpoint, one is inclined to do one thing now and then another, because, in the first instance, certain nerve paths are most available, and, in the second instance, certain other paths are most open. Fortunate those people in whom the most permeable nerve paths in practice are usually the right and appropriate ones!" [iii]3

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All is, however, in a state of confusion, and, as has been said by Will Durant—"Psychology has hardly begun to comprehend, much less to control, human conduct and desire; it is mingled with mysticism and metaphysics, with psycho-analysis, behaviourism, glandular mythology and other diseases of adolescence." [iv]4

Psychology is wandering in that borderland of the unseen which we dignify with the words energy—whether nervous, atomic or vital—force, etheric vibrations, and electric currents and charges and the freely floating force of the psychologists, to which has been given the name libido. All the sciences seem to be converging on this same no-man's land, on the indefinable. Perhaps the veil, when lifted, will reveal to us the promised land of man's dreams and aspirations. A spirit of uncertainty and expectancy is paralleling the certainties and cold facts of modern science. It is almost as if mankind were standing before the curtain in a cosmic proscenium, waiting for it to rise and reveal the next act, in which humanity can participate intelligently. It is a humanity with a long past, much gained experience and accumulated knowledge, which stands thus waiting, but it is also a humanity which realises that it may be called upon to take part in a revelation and a development wholly unexpected, and for which its present equipment and understanding of life may prove inadequate.

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Meanwhile in this cosmic proscenium, and in the approach to truth through various lines, science has arranged the known facts and is deducing the next possible development and is proceeding in its many branches and activities upon hypotheses which, correct or incorrect, merit experiment and test. Voicing what should be the attitude of mind for students in all fields of human knowledge, Bertrand Russell says: "What we need is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." [v]5

The best type of mind to cope with this scientific situation today is that which is sceptical, yet willing to be convinced; agnostic, yet determined to investigate fairly; questioning, yet open to conviction when supposed facts are proved to be favourable of demonstration; and above all broadminded, realising that only in the formulated truths of the many can the one Truth be known. Only the small mind, the little man, is atheistical, dogmatic, destructive in criticism, static, with back turned to the light, and to the new day.

This searching, enquiring, scientific type of mind and of investigation is especially appropriate in psychology, the oldest branch of knowledge in the world, and yet the youngest to enter the realm of true scientific study. Only a willingness to consider the field as a whole, and not a particular school alone, only by reserving opinion until more is known, will the investigator avoid the dangers [18] of one whose vision is limited, who sees only isolated points but never the panorama in which they lie, and who deals in fractions and decimals without ever achieving an integral unit.

One of the most hopeful signs of the time is the growing understanding of the Oriental point of view, and the tendency to investigate it. The psychology of our two hemispheres is so widely different, the approach to truth so dissimilar, that only lately have students considered the possibility of their fundamental unity, and that a new outlook on man and his environment may emerge out of the fusion of the Eastern and Western interpretations of life. Old interpretations may fail, yet ancient truths will stand: old misconceptions may be recognised as misleading, but reality will radiate clearer light and beauty. From the union of our different sciences, thought and deductions, a new psychology may emerge based on the comprehension, so familiar to the West, of the structure which man uses, and the comprehension, so familiar in the East, of the energy or spirit with which man animates and directs his structure. These—the structure and the motivating energy—are not antagonistic but mutually interdependent. They have an essential unity.

Western psychology concerns itself primarily with the structure, with the tangible objective universe and with the reaction of objective man to that world. It deals with man as an animated body; it emphasises the mechanics of his nature, [19] and the instrument he uses. It is therefore mechanistic and deals only with that which can be subjected to tests and experiment. It investigates the body and accounts for the emotions and the mentality, and even for what it calls the soul, in terms of the body. Durant points out this position in the following words: "As for the Self or Soul, it is merely the sum total of the hereditary character and the acquired experiences of the organism." [vi] 6 It explains various types and temperaments in terms of the mechanism. Louis Berman sums up this position in his interesting book as follows:

"The most precious bit of knowledge we possess today about Man is that he is the creature of his glands of internal secretion. That is, Man as a distinctive organism is the product, the by-product, of a number of cell factories which control the parts of his make-up, much as the different divisions of an automobile concern produce the different parts of a car. These chemical factories consist of cells, manufacture special substances, which act upon the other cells of the body, and so start and determine the countless processes we call Life. Life, body and soul emerge from the activities of the magic ooze of their silent chemistry precisely as a tree of tin crystals arises from the chemical reactions started in a solution of tin salts by an electric current.

Man is regulated by his Glands of Internal Secretion. At the beginning of the third decade of the twentieth century, after he had struggled, for we know at least fifty thousand years, to define and know himself, that summary may be accepted as the truth about [20] himself. It is a far-reaching induction, but a valid induction, supported by a multitude of detailed facts." [vii] 7

Thus Western psychology emphasises the physical and seen and, in its chosen field, is scientific. It is constitutionally opposed to the idle and dreaming speculations of the visionary mystic. The result of its efforts has been to isolate a body of facts which do effectively embody the truth about man, his behaviour and equipment. This knowledge should be invaluable in producing a better mechanism through which a finer race can function.

Western psychology, in its more extreme schools, is actively deterministic for it relates all feeling, thinking and activity to the functioning of the physical cells and the bodily organs. Freewill is therefore largely ruled out in favour of the organism, the nervous apparatus, and of the endocrine system. The following quotations bear this out.

"Watson in his `Psychology from the standpoint of a Behaviorist,' would teach that `emotion is an heredity pattern-reaction involving profound changes of the bodily mechanism as a whole, but particularly of the visceral and glandular systems" (p. 195); and that `thought is the action of language mechanisms' (page 316); is `highly integrated bodily activity and nothing more' (p. 325); and that `when we study implicit bodily processes we are studying thought.' By this Watson does not mean to identify thought with the correlated cortical activity of the brain—not at all; [21] but with all the bodily processes that are involved, implicitly and explicitly, in the production of spoken, written and sign language—the muscular activity of the vocal apparatus, diaphragm, hands, fingers, eye-movements, etc. (p. 324). [viii]8

"Psychology studies the world with man left in it, i.e., it studies experience as dependent upon the nervous system, whereas physics studies experience as though existing independently of the nervous system. Psychology should, therefore, be classified with the general sciences as a discipline laying bare the general traits of mind, where mind is defined as the `sum total of human experience considered as dependent upon a nervous system.'... Psychology studies the total environment viewed as existing only at the moment when it affects the (human) nervous system, whereas physics studies the total environment viewed as existing beyond the moment when it affects the (human) nervous system. [ix]9

"Thirdly, the faith of the mechanist implies two assumptions which we must carefully distinguish; for one of them may be false, though the other be true. These two assumptions are (1) that all processes in the world are fundamentally of one kind only (2) that all these processes are of the kind commonly assumed by the physical sciences in their interpretations of inorganic nature; namely mechanistic, or strictly determined, and therefore strictly predictable, events." [x]10

Dr. Rubin says, "the physical appearance of the individual, his psychic traits, or what might be called the chemistry of his soul, are demonstrated [22] in a great measure by the character and amount of the internal secretions of his various glands." [xi]11

Some schools go so far to deny consciousness altogether and regard it (the Eastern investigator would say they rightly regard it) as inherent in matter. Dr. Leary says, "Consciousness characterizes nerves as vibration characterizes other forms of matter." [xii]12

Thus it is defined elsewhere as "a complex integration and succession of bodily activities which are closely related to or involve the verbal and gestural mechanisms and hence most frequently come to social expression." [xiii]13

Watson warns his readers that they "will find no discussion of consciousness and no reference to such terms as sensation, perception, attention, will, image and the like. These terms are in good repute, but," he says, "I have found I can get along without them both in carrying out investigation and in presenting psychology as a system to my students. I frankly do not know what they mean nor do I believe that anyone else can use them consistently. [xiv]14

Finally we are told that "When psychology has become quite divorced from psyche and gets in bed with living beings we shall be able to throw the word `consciousness' into the discard—along [23] with `mind' and `memory.' Human behavior then will be on a scientific basis and not a branch of literature, or philosophic or religious speculation. `Mind' will give way to personality, `consciousness' in general to specific exhibitions of learned behavior, and `memory' to the calling out of some part of the individual's striped or unstriped muscle-tissue organization." [xv] 15

This intensely materialistic trend of Western psychology is the more surprising when we remember that, according to its derivation, psychology is the `logos' or word of the psyche or soul.

The West, however, has its dissenting voices. There is the introspective school of psychology, more frequently called the introspectionist, and also the mentalist. They admit the fact of consciousness and assume a conscious entity. Dr. Leary defines these groups as follows:

"The introspectionist is interested in consciousness, awareness, awareness of awareness, the self, the `I' images, and all sorts of other things that the behaviorist of strict training and rigid technology scorns, ignores and denies.... The introspectionist turns his attention inwardly; remembers, compares mentally, derives data from self-communion, asks others to do the same; the behaviorist theoretically treats the human animal the same as he would any lower form of life, and observes merely the overt and objective responses the animal makes in much the same manner as would be used by the physicist or chemist in observing the reactions of bodies or compounds in their laboratories. [24] Furthermore, the subjective school is apt to be ultra-rational and systematic; the behavioristic more empirical and pragmatic....

"The mentalists insist that psychical activity is not the mere reflection of physical activity; that over and above the body and the brain there is something different, on a different level, call it mind, spirit, consciousness, what you will. Thought is not the functioning of matter. The materialists on the other hand, while differing among themselves, would hold just the reverse, namely, that all is physical, and that all human conduct, be it thinking, feeling, emotions, muscle activity or nerve activity, is all the functioning of physical, material cells, and that without such structure there can be no activity at all. Whatever acts is physical, however it acts. On the one hand we have an informing power or spirit using the structure of the physical body; on the other we have structure as the basis, solely and indispensably, of function, however complex, however delicate, however noble that functioning may be in terms of morals or religion." [xvi] 16

The introspectionists and mentalists have not, however, demonstrated their point scientifically, and the position of these schools is still further weakened by the many diverse groups into which psychology is divided. Dr. Hocking, of Harvard, says:

"True, psychology does not speak with a single voice. There is dynamic psychology and purposive psychology, Gestalt psychology and reaction psychology, Freudian psychology, structural psychology, behavioristic psychology, and various other schools. They produce [25] different portraits of the self. But the composite of them has a distinctly physiological cast; and we may take behaviourism as the pure instance, because it is the extreme instance, of this character." [xvii] 17

A broad and general division is outlined for us by Dr. Prince as follows:

"Psychologists are divided into three camps—the self-psychologists, the selfless psychologists and the middle grounders. The first group maintain that the content of every conscious process includes a self—an awareness of self, a self-consciousness. Hence that all consciousness is a consciousness or awareness of something by a self.

"The second group, the selfless ones, claim to be unable to find any self, or consciousness of self by introspection; deny its reality and hold that mental processes function without any such reality. The `I' and the `You' are merely compulsory expressions required by the necessities of language." [xviii] 18

Western psychology in the mass is clearly materialistic. It is mechanistic, thriving in an age of machines and machinery.

The position of the Western mechanistic psychologist is, therefore, almost impregnably strong, for it is based upon known truths and demonstrated facts. He can prove his position and cite his cases, and his knowledge of the mechanism of man which he claims is the entire man, is based upon experiment and tests, with objective and tangible results.

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Against this materialistic psychology, the criticism which emerges immediately is the almost exclusive consideration that the Western Psychologist gives to subnormal, deficient, and pathological cases. The super-normal, the genius, and the so-called highly spiritual individual have been neglected, and much that is beautiful, essential and true to the average man is explained away. Had He been subjected to psycho-analysis, Christ would no doubt have found Himself neatly tabulated and classified, as suffering from a "Jehovah complex" and regarded as subject to hallucinations. Yet the type of structure that He used, and the quality of the "consciousness characterizing His nervous system" was such that He has set His mark upon the ages. How can such a structure again be duplicated? What can be done to reproduce a similar mechanism?

Modern psychology is only at the threshold of its career, and Walt Whitman visions the greater field thus:

"Hurrah for positive science! Long live exact demonstration!"...

Your facts are useful, and yet they are not my dwelling,

I but enter by them to an area of my dwelling."

 [xix] 19

In sharp contrast with the Western School is the Eastern one of which the introspectionists and mentalists in the West, though arising independently, [27] are but a hazy reflection. Eastern psychology deals with that which it claims lies back of the form. It is spiritual and transcendental. It assumes a soul and a spirit and all its deductions and conclusions are based on this premise. It fully admits the form and the structure, but lays the emphasis upon the one who uses the form and the energy with which he drives it forward. It is the psychology of life and energy.

From time immemorial this has been the thought of the East, and it is clearly pictured in that venerable scripture of India, The Bhagavad Gita:

"The Supreme Spirit, here in the body, is called the Beholder, the Thinker, the Upholder, the Taster, the Lord, the Highest Self.

"Illuminated by the power that dwells in all the senses, yet free from all sense-powers, detached, all supporting, not divided into powers, yet enjoying all powers.

"Without and within all beings, motionless, yet moving, not to be perceived is That, because of its subtlety, That stands afar, yet close at hand. XIII:22, 14, 15.

"These temporal bodies are declared to belong to the eternal lord of the body, imperishable, immeasurable. II:17.

"They say the sense powers are higher than objects; than the sense powers, emotion is higher; than emotion, understanding is higher; but higher than understanding is He. III:42."

Thus Oriental psychology deals with the cause, with the creator, with the self, whether that self [28] is the human divine self, functioning in its own little world of mental, emotional and physical activities, or the great Self, in whom all lesser selves live and move and have their being. It claims its great Demonstrators, and has produced those claiming to know the Self, and through that knowledge to be in touch with the subjective Self, with the Over Soul. These claims, they state, can be substantiated and proven by any who will study their methods and submit to their special training. In the sphere of the energising Self, of the spirit behind and beyond, their position is as clear as that of the Western psychologist in the realm of the energised form.

The defects of the two systems are plain and produce deplorable results in each case. The West emphasises the mechanism, and its tendency is towards the denial of the soul and of a motivating intelligent power. For it, man is but dust of the ground and into his nostrils was never breathed the spirit of God. The East recognises the physical but scorns it, and, in so doing, becomes responsible for the miserable physical conditions of the Orient. Serious as these defects are, is it not true in this field also that in union there is strength?

If the Self exists—and this must be demonstrated—and is the conscious divine Soul, can it not be aware of the physical plane as well as of its divine affiliations? If it is the dominant energy, producing all manifestation—and this too must be proved—cannot that energy be adapted to the [29] structure which it uses in such a wise and significant manner that the best results may be achieved? Cannot the scientific knowledge of the West about the form, and the accumulated and inherited wisdom of the East about the nature of the Soul be brought together intelligently so that a perfect expression of the Soul may be produced through the medium of the mechanism? Cannot matter reach upwards towards mind and Soul and Spirit—call it what you will—and cannot Spirit, assisting that urge upward, perfect the vehicle through which it demonstrates, and thus shine more radiantly?

It is in this hope that I write—the hope of combining the materialistic and introspective psychologies, and of harmonising the West and the East, and so indicate that in their union lies strength and reality.

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