Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/575

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557
LITERARY NOTICES.

such a vocation and the thought of working by prescribed routine methods are very apt to clash. Yet what is the man or the woman with such a vocation to do? Set up in opposition to the State? Well, sometimes they do, and in certain parts of the country private schools are gaining steadily on the State-supported ones, but manifestly the competition of the State is a serious thing to reckon with, and quite sufficient to deter many a one from following his or her strong desire and bent. We are disposed to believe that in this way the larger part of the special talent which would otherwise go into the work of education is diverted into other channels. All we can do, therefore, for the present is to unfold and enforce right methods, as President Eliot has done in his article, hoping that here and there the good seed may fall on good soil and yield fruit abundantly.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

Les Altérations de la Personalité (Disorders of the Personality (or Consciousness)). By Alfred Binet. Paris: Félix Alcan. Pp. 325. Price, six francs.

Physiologists and philosophers have been much interested during the last fifteen years in researches in pathological psychology, based upon the study of hysteria and suggestion; and a considerable quantity of observations and experiments has been collected in a very short time. Hallucinations, paralyses by suggestion, morbid affections of the personality or consciousness, disorders of the memory and of the muscular sense, suggestions in the waking state and during hypnosis, and unconscious suggestions, are some of the principal questions that have been examined and profoundly searched into. Numerous discussions have arisen among the investigators as the researches have multiplied and extended; discordant theories have been put forth, and important assertions made by some have been disputed by others, and school has been arrayed against school. Such controversies, which appear inseparable from new systems and are useful in their way, have cast some doubt on the real value of the collected material. The author's intention in writing this book is not to continue controversies or to oppose his own experiments to those of other observers, but, collecting all the results that have been reached, to inquire what ones among them are in accord and can be grouped under a common synthesis. For this he retains only the experiments which, repeated by many or all of the observers, have led to the same conclusion, whatever might have been the object of the experimenter, while he has put aside without judging concerning them, phenomena which have been observed by only a single person, and which do not logically relate themselves to an assemblage of known and acquired facts—subjecting his own observations, too, to the operation of this rule. The phenomena of double personality or consciousness include those in which the two states succeed or alternate with one another—successive personalities—and those in which they are coexistent. The modifications or transformations in the former case are spontaneous or provoked. It is mentioned as an advantage in the study of the spontaneous phenomena, and as a reason for beginning the discussion with them, that they are influenced only in the most insignificant degree, if at all, by the persons who observe them. They have not been prepared at long range and unconsciously by an author whose opinion was already formed; they consequently respond to no preconceived theory. They consist of incidents of hysteria, dreaming, intoxication by various drugs, aberrations caused by disordered circulation, and effects of epilepsy. In these cases the patient has, psychologically, two lives, quite distinct from one another—his usual normal life, and his life under the influence of his aberration—in either of which he has no consciousness or recollection of his experiences in the other; while, on the other hand, he often takes up the thread of life in either stage, when he resumes it, where it was dropped on coming out from the last preceding spell. Somnambulism affords the most familiar instances of this form of double personality. The study of provoked somnambulism, or hypnotism, is more subject to error, and the distinction between the hypnotic and the normal state is not so clearly marked as in spontaneous somnambulism. But experimentation has the