Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 5.djvu/302

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THE progress of Psychology has been determined by agencies which may, with much precision, be discriminated as two sets of conflicting yet coöperating forces—those maintaining equilibrium, and those producing motion. This language would be justly condemned as mechanical if it in any degree presupposed the vulgar notion of force, as acting on visible masses of matter and causing sensible motion. But since vital, mental, and even social phenomena, as well as the oscillations of molecules and the ethereal undulations, are now alike interpreted in terms of mechanism, we may reasonably claim that the phraseology shall receive the greatest latitude of interpretation consistent with the admission of no mechanical assumptions. If, with more propriety, it be censured as scholastic, as raising mere observed uniformities into self-acting entities, it may be replied that the term force is scholastic only when used scholastically, that it has a true and unmistakable meaning as a generalization simply, and that progress of all kinds can be best described in the language of the science which has clothed the laws of the action of force with the greatest possible precision and certainty. Under these reservations, we use no mere metaphor in describing the development of Psychology as due to two sets of forces, which may be styled kinetical and statical respectively, according as their function has been to produce external change or to effect those internal readjustments which previous changes had rendered necessary.

The statical factor in psychological history is Theology. The mother of all the sciences, it gives birth to Psychology first of the sciences of mind; all the great problems, the discussion of which carries the science through its subsequent revolutions, are raised by it; and we may find that its perpetual function, of which it can never be discharged, is to recall attention from temporary physical solutions to the insoluble problems themselves.

The kinetical factor is constituted by the whole series of the physical sciences, though at any particular epoch it takes the character of the dominant science. Each stage in the development of Psychology corresponds to some stage in the evolution of the natural sciences; by each such transition has each psychological development been caused and conditioned; and the progress of Psychology in fundamental truth, and its more complete emancipation from Theology and Meta-physics, are to be measured by the degree in which physical methods, physical conceptions, and even physical metaphors, have been applied to the interpretation of the facts of mind.

The primitive savage, looking out upon the world, finds no God; gazing inward upon himself, perceives no Soul; and thinking of the