Page 4, 18th March 1938

18th March 1938
Page 4
Page 4, 18th March 1938 — Evolution Of Modern Psychology

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Organisations: Royal Empire Society


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Evolution Of Modern Psychology

Will Bring Us Back To Christian Truth Sex Psychology in Education. By Rudolf Ph.D. (Herder, 10s. 6d.) The New Psychologies. By Rudolf Allers.

Alters. Translated by Sidney A. Raemers, (Sheed and Ward, 2s. 6d.) Reviewed by AIDAN ELRINGTON, O.P.

Sex Psychology in Education attempts to deal with an important problem in the development of the individual personality. It is not one that should be treated independently, but as a part of education as a whole. But why has this question come to acquire such an important place of late years? In the past there was no " sex question " though sexual morality was often low. There was, however, greater freedom of expression, less repressions, one might say, in these matters.

Dr. Allers in philosophic vein appears to ,attribute the modern tendency to isolate sex and its problems from others to the influence of "nominalism." This may appear rather remote, and we may perhaps look for more accessible influences in literature and other forms of artistic expression; as well as to a general change in outlook, without having recourse to metaphysics.

Psycho-analysis is attacked, because, according to the author, it believes that the place of prominence in education should be accorded to sex. Dr. Alters in no wise minimises the importance of the problem or the necessity of presenting in some form the facts of sexual life as a part of general education.

The treatise begins with a discussion on the Genesis of the "Sex Question," and then proceeds to consider the part played by sex in the development of the personality as a whole, This is followed by a study of the Psychology of Sex Life in which he touches somewhat lightly on Day Dreams and their sexual accompaniments; the development of the notion of Purity and Modesty, distinguishing between a merely passive purity, and an active purity which embraces far more than mere sexual restraint.

These chapters are a prelude to a discussion on education in general and the education of sex. Dr. Alters once more repeats that this does not form a particular part of education, or is it meant to train some particular phase of the personality? The author fully realises the difficulties which will be encountered and is more skilful in pointing these out than in providing solutions.

There is a tendency to digress into vague philosophical generalisations and pious aspirations rather than to tackle the issues concretely.

On one point the author is firm: "If we wish to educate our children in a Chris tian spirit we must not allow ourselves to be influenced in any way by psycho-analytic opinions." No doubt the " will to power " of the Adlerian psychology is more in keeping with the Christian spirit, and it is this psychology to which the author, with due reservations, is in general committed.

The New Psychologies deals with the modification undergone by empirical and experimental psychology from its rise in the latter part of the last century to the present day.

The main change in the general outlook is that from the study of " elements "from an " atomistic " psychology to the study of the personality as a whole. The concept of "totality" replaces that of " elements." Psychology has indeed gained thereby as it paves the way for more harmonious relations with the general philosophy of human nature as set forth by the scholastics.

The section on psYcho-analysis is marred by a travesty of its doctrines. The author sets out what he considers to be the fundamental propositions of psycho-analysis, and then proceeds to demolish them. This is of course the usual method. It ignores all that is generally recognised to be valuable to concentrate on the disputable facts. The truly fundamental concept of psycho-analytic theory, namely the unconscious and repression are barely alluded to, the point of the attack being directed to the Freudian conception of impulse and sexuality as the driving forces of conduct.

A noteworthy omission is any reference to the psychology of Carl Jung, which has many adherents today. It is, however, a difficult psychology for many.

The essay closes on an optimistic note, believing " that the gradual evolution of modern psychology will bring it still nearer to the great truths worked out by the Fathers and the great Christian thinkers of a later date."

In Our Valley, by Vincent McNabb, O.P. (Burns, Oates and Washbourne, 2s. 6d.). Retreat conferences full of the originality of thought and deep sympathy that is associated with the name of McNabb.

Crucial Problem of Imperial Development, being a record of the conference on Imperial Development, convened by the Royal Empire Society. With an introduction by Malcolm MacDonald, M.P. (Longmans, 2s. 6d.)

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