best illustration of the combination of all three interests as applied to a single topic.
The selection of this third group of topics for more especial notice is the natural one, as therein are contained the points of view that have directed the entire work as it became formulated in the author's mind, and upon the value of which its ultimate standing will depend. What is known as the 'recapitulation theory' becomes in Dr. Hall's treatment a direct aid to interpretation as well as a guide to interest and application. Its central message is fairly familiar, and emphasizes the fact that there is contained in our physical and functional heredity the vestiges of the several slow and tortuous changes that have intervened between the earliest forms of life and their successive unfoldment into that diversified series of organisms culminating in homo sapiens. The doctrine thus means that the oldest of human structural traits and functional tendencies must find their analogy, as well as their type of explanation, in a study of animal and of primitive human characteristics.
Like many a biological trait, and most typically like the great fact of sex itself, this principle has a wide range of secondary implications. Among these the accounting for present human traits, by means of those strongest in primitive life, of the type that we find among uncultured peoples, is of all the most comprehensive. It gives to that longer and more fundamental life of human endeavor a living participation in the make-up of present psychic traits, and prevents an overestimation of the importance of those newer and less inwardly absorbed tendencies which we too exclusively regard as coming within the ken of psychology, and too exclusively train in systems of education. More concretely, this principle emphasizes the importance, for the comprehension and the training of minds, of the life of the feelings and of the will. Men have felt and men have acted for ages before they guided their actions by thought; and the reverberation of these long emotionally ruled periods must have left decided traces upon those tendencies which will best be expressed in the early and adolescent stages of the individual. The history of philosophic opinion itself in interpreted by Dr. Hall in terms of a similar development, in which immature adolescent systems, staid senescent and blasé philosophies have appeared and appealed to their public in direct relation to the status of the culture-periods in which they found origin and favor. Our own day is decidedly that of the exaggeration of the rational processes, of complete subordination of feelings and will to thought. This type of cerebration is as evident in the studies that we teach, in the education that we favor, as in the philosophies that we read. With the last, indeed, Dr. Hall has a special issue; regarding, as he does, that this indulgence in speculation of the theory-of-knowledge type, has tended to inject unduly into psychological considerations the spirit and the