In Search of the Soul and the Mechanism of Thought, Emotion, and Conduct

Bernard Hollander

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Editore: Forgotten Books
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  • EAN: 9780259645399

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To know one's self is a task attended with Iio small difficulty and to suppose that we can attain self-knowledge by mere consciousness is an error as great as it is fatal. The difficulty of this study was acknowledged by the ancients in fact, the attainment of self-knowledge was regarded by them as worthy the attention of the gods, requiring the highest exertion of the soul. Know thyself, was a precept of thales, the Milesian, who said That for a man to know himself is the hardest thing in the world. It acquired the authority of a divine oracle, and was written in gold letters over the door of the temple of Apollo, at Delphos. Indeed, Apollo was supposed to be its author because, as Cicero said, it has such a weight of sense and wisdom in it as appears too great to be attributed to any man. A complete science of mind must include a science 0! Character. Possibly one of the reasons why this subject has been neglected so long is that — as with religion and politics, so with human character — everyone claims to have a knowledge of it, and to be able to discourse upon it if called to do so. Yet just because everybody appears to know all that can be said about it, the subject has been treated only in a popular manner and has so far not been subjected to a scientific analysis. Human character from all time has been' popularly studied, and all men may lay claim to a certain knowledge thereof but hitherto we have rested content with studying the actions of human beings, without searching for the hidden Springs governing them. What is it that makes one man place his happiness in the pose session of riches, someone else in the gratification of his thirst for glory, or yet another in his desire to do good to his fellow-men What is it that renders one man distinguished for his success in poetry, or music, or, mathematics or, say, statesman ship Why is it that in all ages and throughout all countries robberies and murders have been committed, and neither education, legislation, religion, the prison, nor the gallows, have yet been able to extirpate these crimes 2' Look at the large amount of domestic unhappiness from lack of a proper understanding of the character and motives of husband and wife Glance at the miseries of men whose career was determined by their parents against their natural inclinations and the consequent loss of brain capacity to the State Look at the crimes committed by persons in those early stages Of mental derangement which none but an expert knows to be indicative of insanity Think over all these problems, and you will arrive at the conclusion that there is one subject of study which has hitherto been neglected, namely, the study of human character.
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