The Foundations of Personality

Author: Abraham Myerson

Chapter XVII. Some Character Types

There is one kind of energy discharger that we may call the hyperkinetic, controlled practical type. This group is characterized by great and constant activity, well controlled by purpose, with eagerness and enthusiasm manifested in each act but not excessively.

1. A. is one of these people. In school he specialized in athletics and was a fine all-round player in almost every sport. When he left high school to go to work he at once entered business. His employers soon found him to be a tireless worker, steady and purposeful in everything. In addition to carrying on his duties by day, A. studied nights, carefully choosing his subjects so that they related directly to his business. Despite the fact that his work was hard and his studies exacting, A. had energy enough left to join social organizations and to take a leading part in their affairs. He became quickly known as one of those busy people who always are ready to take on more work. Naturally this led to his becoming a leader, first in his social relations and second in his business. Always practical in his judgments and actions, A. fell in love with the daughter of a rich family and married her, with the full approval of her relatives, who were keen enough to see that his energy, power and control were destined for success.

The leading traits that A. manifests hinge around his high energy and control. He is honest and conventional, devoted to the ideals of his group and admires learning, but he is not in any sense a scholar. He is a poor speaker, in the ordinary sense of that term, but curiously effective, nevertheless, because his earnest energy and sturdy common sense win approval as "not a theorist." But mainly he wins because he is tireless in energy and enthusiasm and yet has yoked these qualities to ordinary purposes. The average man he meets understands him thoroughly, sympathizes with him completely and accepts him as a leader after his own heart.

So A. has become rich and respected. As times goes on, as he is brought more and more into contact with large affairs outside of business; as a trustee of hospitals and a director of charitable organizations, he broadens out but not into an "unsafe" attitude. He pities the unfortunate but is not truly sympathetic, in that it rarely occurs to him that success and failure are relative, that an accident might have shipwrecked his fortunes and that his good qualities are as innate as his complexion. For this man prides himself on his strong will and courage, whereas he merely has within him a fine engine in whose construction he had no part.

2. The hyperkinetic, controlled, impractical person. B. is, in the fundamentals of energy and control, singularly like A., but because of the nature of his interests and purposes their lives have completely diverged so that no one would ordinarily recognize the kinship in type. B. is and always has been a worker, enthusiastic and enduring, and he has stuck to his last with a fidelity that is remarkable. He is very likable in the ordinary sense,—pleasant to look at, cheerful, ready to joke, laugh or to help the other fellow. Nevertheless, he has only a few friends and is a distinctly disappointed man at heart, because his interests are in the ordinary sense, impractical.

B. early became interested in physiology. From the very start he found in the workings of the human body a fascination that concentrated his efforts. Poor, he worked hard enough to obtain scholarships and fellowships in one university after another until finally he became a Ph. D. Here was a great error from the practical standpoint; for had he become an M. D., he would have had a profession that offered an independent financial future. But, in his zeal, he did not wish to take on the extended program of the physician, and he saw clearly that he might become a better scientist as a Ph. D. He became a teacher in one school after another, did a good deal of research work, but has not been fortunate enough to make any epoch-making discoveries. He is one of those splendid, painstaking, energetic men found in every university who turn out good pieces of work of which only a few know anything, and from which in the course of time some genius or lucky scientist culls a few facts upon which to build up a great theory or a new doctrine. He married one of his own students, a fine woman but unluckily not very strong, and so there fell on him many a domestic duty that a thousand extra dollars a year would have turned over to a maid.

Thus B. is an obscure but respected member of the faculty of a small university. He teaches well, though he dislikes it, and he is happy at the times when he works hard at some physiological problem. He loves his family and has vowed that his son will be a business man. He feels inferior as he contemplates his obscure existence, with its precarious financial state, its drudgery and most of all the gradual disappearance of his ideals. He is frank to himself alone, wishes he had made money, but is apt to sneer at the world of the "fat and successful" as less than his intellectual equal. He compares his own rewards with that of the successful man knowing less and with a narrower outlook.

Thus, through success, A. is broadening and becoming something of an idealist. B. is narrowing and through failure is losing his ideals. This is not an uncommon effect of success and failure. Where success leads to arrogance and conceit it narrows, but where the character withstands this result the increased experience and opportunity is of great value to character. Failure may embitter and thus narrow through envy and lost energy, but also it may strip away conceit and overestimation and thus lead to a richer insight into life.

3. The hyperkinetic, uncontrolled or shallow. This type, although quick and apparently energetic, is deficient in a fundamental of the personality, in the organizing energy. This deficiency may extend into all phases of the mental life or in only a few phases. Thus we see people whose thinking is rapid, energetic, but they cannot "stick" to one line of thought long enough to reach a goal. Others are similarly situated in regard to purposes; they are enthusiastic, easily stirred into activity, but rarely do their purposes remain fixed long enough for success. As a rule this class is inconstant in affections, though warm and sympathetic. They gush but never organize their philanthropic efforts, so that they rarely do any real good. Often the most lovable of people, they are at the same time the despair of those who know them best.

M. is a woman who makes a fine first impression, is very pretty, with nice manners and a quick, flattering interest in every one she meets. She is usually classed as intelligent because she is vivacious, that is, her mind follows the trend of things quickly, and she marshals whatever she knows very readily. As one who knows her well says, "She shows all her goods the first time. You really do not know how slender her stock in trade is until you see the same goods and tricks every time you meet her." Needless to say her critic is a woman.

M. is interested in something new each week. The "new" usually fascinates her, and she becomes so extraordinarily busy that she hardly has time to eat or sleep. She is always put on committees if the organization heads do not know her, but if they do, she is carefully slated for something of no importance. After a short time her interest has shifted to something else. Thus she passes from work in behalf of blind babies to raising funds for a home for indigent actors; from energy spent in philanthropy to energy spent in learning the latest dances. Her enthusiasm never cools off, though its goal always changes.

Fortunately she is married to a rich man who views her with affection and a shrug of his shoulders. Her children know her; now and then, she becomes extraordinarily interested in their welfare, much to their disgust and rebellion, for they have long since sized her up.

She has often been on the verge of a love affair with some man who is professionally interested in something into which she has leaped for a short time. She raves about him, follows him, flatters and adores him, and then, before the poor fellow knows where he is at, she is out of love and off somewhere else. This mutability of affection has undoubtedly saved her from disaster.

Were she not rich, M. would be one of the social problems that the social workers cannot understand or handle, e. g., there is a type who never sticks to anything, not because he is bored quickly, or is inefficient, but because he is at the mercy of the new and irrelevant. Without sufficient means he throws up his job and tries to get the new work he longs to do. Sometimes he fails to get it, and then he becomes an unemployed problem.

This type of uncontrolled energy reaches its height in the manical or manic phase of the disease already described as manic depressive insanity. The "manic personality," which need not become insane, is characterized by high energy, vivacious emotions, rapid flow of thought and irrelevant associations.

4. The mesokinetic—medium or average in their energy (feeling and power)—run the range of the vast groups we call the average. This type is spurred on by necessity, custom and habit to steady work and steady living. Possessed of practical wisdom, their world is narrow, their affections only called out for their kindred and immediate friends. Their interests are largely away from their work and as a rule do not include the past or future of the race. Usually conservative, they accept the moral standards as absolute and are quick to resent changes in custom. They follow leaders cheerfully, are capable of intense loyalty to that cause which they believe to stand for their interests. Yet each individual of the mass of men, though he never rises above mediocrity, presents to his intimates a grouping of qualities and peculiarities that gives him a distinct personality.

C. is one of those individuals whose mediocre energy has stood between him and so-called success. At present he is forty and occupies about the same position that he did at twenty. As a boy he was fond of play but never excelled in any sport and never occupied a place of leadership. He had the usual pugnacious code of boys, but because he was friendly and good-natured rarely got into a fight. He liked to read and was rather above the average in intelligence, but he never tackled the difficult reading, confining himself to the "interesting" novel and easy information. He left high school when he was sixteen and immediately on leaving he dropped all study. He entered an office as errand boy and was recognized as faithful and industrious, but he showed no especial initiative or energy. In the course of time he was promoted from one position to another until he became a shipper at the age of twenty. Since this time he has remained at this post without change, except that when he got married and on a few occasions afterward, when the cost of living rose, his salary was raised.

C. is married, and his wife often "nags" him because he does not get ahead. She tells him that he has no energy and fight in him, that if he would he could do better. Sometimes he takes refuge in the statement that he has no pull, that those who have been promoted over his head are favorites for some reason or another, and he rarely recognizes the superiority of his immediate superiors, though he is loyal enough to the boss. He lives in that "quiet despair" that Thoreau so aptly describes as the life of the average man, and he seeks escape from it in smoking, in belonging to a variety of fraternal organizations, in the movies and the detective story. He is a "good" father and husband, which means that he turns over all his earnings, is faithful and kind. Except that he admonishes and punishes his children when they are "bad," he takes no constructive share in their training and leaves that to the mother, the church and the school. He and his wife are attached to one another through habit and mutual need, but they have some time since outlived passion and intense affection. She has sized him up as a failure and knows herself doomed to struggle against poverty, and he knows that she understands him. This mutual "understanding" keeps them at arm’s length except in the face of danger or disaster, when they cling to each other for comfort and support. This is the history of many a marriage that on its surface is quiet and peaceful.

The hypokinetic types. We cannot separate energy display from enthusiasm, courage, intelligence, persistent purpose, etc. If I have made myself clear in the preceding pages of this book, you will realize that no character of man works alone, but all feeling, thought and action is a resultant of forces. Nevertheless, there are those in whom the fire of life burns high and others in whom it burns low, and either group may be of totally different qualities otherwise.

There are people of low energy discharge, and these it seems to me are of two main kinds,—the one where nothing seems to arouse or create powerful motives and purposes, and the other in whom the main defect is a rapidly arising exhaustion. The first I call the simple hypokinetic group and the other the irritable hypokinetic group.

The simple hypokinetic person may be one of any grade of intelligence but more commonly is of low intelligence. In any school for the feeble-minded one finds the apathetic imbecile, who can be kept at work by goading and stimulation of one kind or another, who does not tire especially, but who never works beyond a low level of speed and enthusiasm.

5. A more interesting type is T. He may be called the intelligent hypokinetic, the high-grade failure. As a baby he learned to walk late, though he talked early and well. He played in a leisurely sort of way, running only when he had to and content as a rule to be in the house. He was not seclusive, seeming to enjoy the company of other children, but rarely made any efforts to seek them out. He was quick to learn but showed only a moderate curiosity, and he rarely made any investigations on his own account. It was noticed that he seldom asked "why" in the usual manner of intelligent children.

He did fairly well in school; he had a wonderful memory and seemed to see very quickly into intricate problems. It was always a great surprise of his teachers that he was so bright, as one said, in comparison to his standing. Once or twice a zealous teacher sought to stimulate him into more effort and study, but though he responded for a short time, gradually he slipped back into his own easy pace. He went through high school, and on the basis of a splendid memory and a keen intelligence, which by this time were easily recognized, he was sent to college. He took no part in athletics and little part in the communal college activities. He had so good a command of facts and with this so cynical a point of view that he became quite a college character and was pointed out as a fellow who could lead his class if he would. As a matter of fact, nothing could spur him to real competitive effort.

We may pass briefly over his life. After he left college, he drifted from one position to another. Usually in some hack literary line. Were it not for a small income he would have starved. After a few years he become very fat and gross looking, and then came a kindly pneumonia which carried him off.

We must not mistake the stolid for the hypokinetic. There was a classmate of mine in the medical school, a large, quiet fellow, D. M., who got by everything, as the boys said, by the skin of his teeth. He worked without enthusiasm or zeal, studied infrequently and managed to pass along to his second year, at about the bottom of the class. In that year we took up bacteriology, the "bug-bear" as one punster put it, of the school. Just what it was about the subject that aroused D. M. I never knew, but a remarkable transformation took place. The man changed over, studied hard, read outside literature and actually asked for the privilege of working in the laboratory Sundays and holidays so that he might learn more. When this was known to the rest of the class, there were bets placed that he would not "last," but quite to the surprise of everybody D. M. gained in momentum as he went along. As a matter of fact, his interest on the subject grew, and he is now a bacteriologist of good standing. In fact, his lack of interest in other matters has helped him, since he has no distracting tastes or pleasures.

Thus there are persons of specialized interest and energy, and it may well be that there is for most of the hypokinetic a line of work that would act to energize them. The problem, therefore, in each case is to find the latent ability and interest and to regard no case as really hopeless. I say this despite the fact that I believe some cases are hopeless. The pessimistic attitude on the part of parent or teacher kills effort; the optimistic attitude fosters energetic effort.

6. The irritable hypokinetic. Irritability[1] of a pathological type as a phase of lowered energy is well known to every physiologist and in the practical everyday world is seen in the tired and sick. There are people who from the very start of life show lowered endurance, who respond to certain stimuli in an excessive manner and are easily exhausted. This type the neurologist calls the congenital neurasthenic, and it may be we are dealing here with some defect in the elimination of fatigue products. This, however, is only a guess, and the disease factor, if there is any, is entirely unknown. I do not pretend that the person I am to describe is entirely representative of this group. Indeed, no dozen cases would show all the symptoms and peculiarities of the irritable hypokinetic group.

[1] One must take care not to mistake the irritability which is the characteristic of all living tissue for the irritability here considered.

E. is a man at present thirty years of age. In person he is of average height, rather slender, with delicate features, somewhat bald, quick in action and speech. He flushes easily and thus often has high color, especially when fatigued or excited. This "vasomotor irritability," as the physicians call it, is quite common in this group of people, and in fact in all neurasthenia, whether acquired or congenital. Though I have described E. as belonging to the slender type of person, it is necessary to say that stout, rugged-looking people are often irritable and hypokinetic.

As a child E. "never could stand excitement or strain," as his mother says. What is meant is this: that he became overexcited under almost any circumstances and became profoundly fatigued afterwards. As we have seen, the intense diffusion of excitement throughout the whole body is a sign of the childish and inferior organism; as maturity approaches and throughout childhood excitability decreases and is better localized. When a noise is heard an infant jumps, and so do people like E., but the better controlled merely turn their head and eyes to see what the source of the noise may be. This lack of control of excitement extended in E.’s case to play, entertainment, novelty of any kind, crowds and especially to the disagreeable excitement of quarrels, fights, terrifying experiences, etc. Under anger he trembled, grew pale, and his shouts and screams were beyond control; under fear he became actually sick, vomited and showed a liability to syncope of an alarming kind. E. was not the selfish type of the neurasthenic; he was gentle and kind and ready to share with everybody, a lovable boy of an intensely sociable nature. Nevertheless, his high excitability and his quick fatigue made it necessary to shelter him, for any effort at toughening merely brought about a "breakdown."

Here we must reemphasize the fundamental importance of the fatigue reactions. The normal fatigue reaction is to feel weary, to desire rest and to be able to rest and sleep. The abnormal reaction, one directly opposed to the well-being of the individual, is to feel exhausted, to become restless and to find it difficult to sleep. There are children who thrive on excitement and exertion; they sleep sounder for it, they recuperate readily and gain in strength and endurance with every ordinary burden put upon them. There are others to whom anything but the least excitement and exertion acts as a poison, making them restless and exhausted. Not all children who show this perverse fatigue reaction grow up with it. It may be only a temporary phase of their lives, but while it lasts it is very troublesome.

In E.’s case the overexcitable hypokinetic stage lasted until about the ninth year, and then there was a great improvement, though he still was of the same general type. He became a fairly good runner for a short distance, learned to swim, though he stood the cold water poorly, was clever and graceful as a dancer and was quite popular. At sixteen he left school to enter business, because of the straitened means of his family. He entered into adolescent period later and suffered greatly from his sixteenth to nineteenth year from, fatigue, hypochondriacal fears, and had to have a good deal of medical attention at this time. Sex questions perplexed him, for he became quite passionate and at the same time had much moral repugnance to illicit relations. His sexual curiosity was intense, and he read all manner of books on the subject, went to the burlesque shows on the sly and almost became obsessed on sex matters.

At this stage he made only a mediocre showing in his business career, though his evident honesty secured him promotion to a clerk’s position. After his nineteenth year he seemed to gain again in energy and endurance and was fairly well until his twenty-eighth year, though he had to nurse his endurance at all times, developed very regular habits of sleep, diet, etc., and in this manner got along. Once he had an opportunity to join an organization which would have paid him a better salary, but the hours were irregular, and it would have demanded much exertion and excitement, so he passed it by.

In 1917 he joined the army, partly because of patriotic motives, partly because he was convinced that army life might develop his endurance and energy. He was sent to an army post in the South and within two months of his entrance had "broken down." He was sleepless, restless, was irritable and "jumpy," had lost appetite and the feeling of endurance. Life seemed intolerable, though he had no desire to do away with himself, for he had no quarrel with life itself but was disgusted with his inferiority. He was hospitalized, but this did little good and he was afterwards discharged as medically unfit.

This, of course, hurt his pride, but essentially he was greatly relieved. He made but slow improvement until through the munificence of Uncle Sam he was given a new start in life through the Vocational Reeducation Board. Like many other city men, he has dreamed of the "chicken farm" as the ideal occupation free from too much work and yet lucrative. This, of course, is a mistaken notion, but while learning the work he is happy and is slowly regaining his energy. What time will bring forth no one can tell, but this is certain: throughout his life he will have to rely on good habits, carefully adjusted to his energy, in order to protect himself from the bankruptcy that so easily comes on him. A philosophy of life which will help to control his irritability is necessary, and the intelligent of the hypokinetic irritable acquire the habits and the philosophy necessary for their welfare.

Any neurologist could cite any number of such cases with varying traits of character, high intelligence or feeble-minded, controlled in morals or uncontrolled, happily or unhappily situated, whose central difficulty is an irritable and easily exhausted store of energy. They are easily excited and excitement burns them out; that is the long and short of their situation. Sex, love, hatred, anger, strain, fear in all its forms, illness,—all these and many other emotions and happenings may break them down. Such people, and those who care for them, must not make the mistake of thinking that rough handling, strenuosity, will cure what is apparently a fixed character.

There is an irritable, high-energy type—irritable hyperkinetic—that is well contrasted with the foregoing. This explosive personality works by fits and starts but does not wear out, merely, as it were, settles down to his ordinary pace when he rests up. He is like a six-day bicycle racer who plugs along but every now and then sprints like mad for a few laps and then comes back to a pace that would kill the average rider. I shall not trouble to cite such a case, but I can think of at least one man of good attainments who is of this explosive hyperkinetic type. He responds to every demand with a burst of energy, and his quota of ordinary activities is simply appalling.

Neglecting the further types of energy display for the simple reason that this quality shades off into every conceivable type and is also a part of every nature, we turn to the types of emotional mood display. With these it is necessary to consider excitability as well, and the most interesting beings are here our objects of study.

I wish first to emphasize my belief that where there is a great natural variation in excitability and emotionality in individuals, there is not nearly so much in races as we think, and that social heredity is tradition and cultural level plays the more important role in this. My friend and colleague, Dr. A. Warren Stearns, has made a study which shows that while the immigrant Italian is excitable and quick to anger and of revengeful reactions, his American-born descendent has so far controlled and changed this type of reaction that he does not especially figure in police records, in murders or assaults. My own studies of the second and especially the third generation Jew show there is an almost complete approach to the "American" type in emotional display, in what is known as poise. This third generation Jewish-American has dropped all the mannerisms of excitability in gesture and voice, and his adherence to good form includes that attitude of nonchalant humor so characteristic of the American.

1. The generally excitable, overemotional type. This type is more common in the Latin, Hebrew and Celtic races. In some respects it corresponds to the hypokinetic irritable, but it is not necessarily hypokinetic. The artistic type of person, so called, is of this group, but is, of course, talented as well. Talent need not be present, and there are persons of no artistic ability whatever who show a generalized, excitable-emotional temperament. All young children show the main traits of this type, and there is something essentially simple about all these folk, no matter how civilized or sophisticated they get to be.

A. L., a woman of fifty, belongs to this group. She is a Jewess and now a widow. All of her life her character and temperament have been the same, and though her experiences have been varied she has not in any essential altered. This last is rather characteristic of the group, for experience has but little effect on their emotional reactions.

A. L. cries very easily and readily, but her tears are easily dried and her joy is grotesquely childlike. She is readily frightened, worries without restraint and finds a melancholy satisfaction in the worst. At the same time, her fears do not persist and are easily dissipated by encouragement or good fortune. She is readily angered and "raises a row" with great facility and without restraint. For this reason her relatives and friends become panic-stricken when she becomes angry, for they know that she does not hesitate to make an embarrassing scene. In the efforts to conciliate her they are apt to give her her own way, as a result of which she is the proverbial spoiled child, capitalizing her weakness.

Our Jewess uses her emotions for effect, which means that she has become theatrical. Though there is reality in her emotional display, time and the advantages she has gained have brought enough finish and restraint to her manifestations to gain the designation artistic. True, it is a crude artistry, for intelligence does not sufficiently guide it, and her art is used sometimes indiscriminately and inopportunely. As she grows older the value of her tears is less, and she is becoming that prime nuisance, the elderly scold.

Among the emotional types well recognized by the neurologist is that known as the cyclothymic. In the individuals of this group there is a periodicity to mood (rather than to emotions). There is a definitely pathological trend to the cyclothymic, and in its most marked form one sees the recurring depressions and excitement of Manic Depressive Insanity.

Aside from these pathological forms, there are persons who show curious periodic changes in mood. They become depressed for no especial reason, are "blue" for day after day and then quickly return to their normal. Sometimes these blue spells alternate with periods of exaltation and happiness, but in my experience this is far less common than periodic blue spells, a kind of recurrent anhedonia.

L. D. is ordinarily what is known as a vivacious person. Bright, talkative, keen in her discriminations, she has all her life been at the mercy of strange alterations in mood, alterations which come and go without what seems to others adequate reason.

As a child L. D. was sick a great deal. She showed an unusual susceptibility to infection, and it was not until she was nine years of age that she attended school regularly. Her illnesses made it impossible to discipline her, and so she has always been a bit "spoiled," though her kind and generous nature makes her a charming person. But more important than the fact that she could not be disciplined is the lowering of energy that these sicknesses produced, a lowering marked mainly by a liability to fatigue and depression.

Let there come a sickness, and this woman’s stock of hopeful mood goes and there results a loss of interest in life, a loss of zest and joyousness.

A digression,—and a return to the theme of the first chapter of this book. The dependence of the mental life on bodily structure, equally true in the both sexes, is exquisitely demonstrated in woman. In many women there occurs an extraordinary increase of sex desire just before the menstrual period and in some to the point where it causes great internal conflict. Others show moderate depression and even confusion at this time, and to the majority of women some mood and thought change is taken for granted. At the menopause mental difficulties to the point of insanity are witnessed, and in some cases the change is permanent. Back of mood is the entire organic life of the organism, and back of the nature of our thoughts and deeds is mood.

A peculiarity of fatigue is remarkably well shown by this person. When she is tired or convalescent a depressing thought sticks, becomes an obsession, a fixed idea, to the plague of her life. Thus when she was nursing her first baby the night feedings exhausted her. One night, half asleep and half awake, with the vigorous little animal pulling away at her breast, she watched the pulsing fontanelle on the top of the baby’s head, and the thought came to her how dreadfully easy it would be to injure the brain beneath. Her heart pounced in fear, she almost fainted at the thought, and yet it "stuck" and came back to her with each random association. I need not detail how the idea recurred a dozen times a day and brought the fear that she was going insane. She stopped nursing the baby at night, got a good rest, and the idea disappeared. She was "able to shake off" when rested that which was a hideous obsession when fatigued.

Indeed, one might speak of persons of this type as hypothymic as well as cyclothymic. The hypothymic are those whose stock of courage and hope is easily exhausted, who become easily discouraged. They are borrowers of energy and vigor, they need sturdier folk around them; often they are said to be sensitive, and while this is sometimes true, it is more often the case that they are more affected. That is, two persons may notice the same thing or suffer the same sickness, but the so-called sensitive has a reserve of courage and energy that disappears, whereas the other has enough left in stock so that he does not feel any change.

The extraordinary complexity of human character is well illustrated by C. D. She is hypothymic or cyclothymic to the little affairs of life and to the minor illnesses. Yet when her family fortunes were greatly imperilled by a financial crisis, she stood up against the strain far better than did her husband, a man sturdy and buoyant in most of the affairs of life. His ego was more concerned with financial fortune than was hers, and against this ill she was the philosopher and not he.

We may well contrast L. D. with her husband. He belongs to the sturdy in emotions and morals,—the stable. Dark days and bright days, sickness and health, fatigue and rest seem to impair his courage, hope and general cheerfulness of mood but little. He has a high organic balance and a well-built-up philosophy. I started to say of him that he is an optimist, but this is not true. He is cheerful, but he does not sing, "Tra la la, all the things that are, are good." He says, "There are bad things, but I must carry on and fight the good fight." His is a philosophy of courage and endurance, but not of optimistic twaddle. He is too wide-brained to speak of life as "all good" when he knows of inherited disease, cruelty, preventable poverty, gross neglect and unmerited misfortune. Yet he lends hope and comfort to the afflicted, and he has an unvarying comfort for his cyclothymic mate.

He has built up his ego around a business, one in which there was sunk not only his own fortune but that of a host of friends. When this was so threatened as to seem inevitably lost, his ego was deeply wounded, he lost courage and hope and then needed the strength of his wife. This she gave, and when the tide of affairs turned, his own courage was ready and unimpaired. We are like trees,—the hard, strong, knotty parts of our fiber are distributed in irregular fashion, and he who seems strongest has a weak place somewhere. Attack that, and his resistance, courage and hope disappear.

While there are the types of mood and emotional make-up, there are curious monothymic types, people who habitually tend to react with one emotion or mood.

The fear type. It must again be emphasized that we cannot separate emotion, mood, instinct, intelligence in our analysis. And so we shall speak of individuals of this or that type when what we mean is that they reacted habitually and remarkably in one direction. Thus with the man F., who has quick imagination, and whose ability to forecast is inextricably mixed with a liability to fear. It is true that some do not fear because they do not foresee, and that placidity and calmness are less often due to courage than to lack of imagination.

F. feared animals excessively as a child and injury to himself as a boy, so that he played few rough games. To a large extent his parents fostered this fear in him by carefully guarding and watching him, by putting him through that neurasthenic regimen so brilliantly described by Arthur Guiterman in his story of the aseptic pup. Yet he had a brother as carefully brought up as himself who became a rough-and-tumble lad, with as little likelihood to fear as any boy. So that we may only assume that F.’s training fostered fear in him; it did not cause it.

At the age of thirteen the fear of death entered F.’s life, the occasion being the death of an uncle. The mourning, the quick fleeting sight of the dead man in the black box, the interment of the once vigorous, joyous man in the earth struck terror into the heart of the boy. From that time much of his life was controlled by his struggles with the fear of death, and his history is his reaction to that fear. At fourteen he astonished his free-thinking family by becoming a devout Christian, by praying, attending church regularly and by becoming so moral in his conduct as to warrant the belief that there was something wrong with him. Indeed, had a psychiatrist examined him at this time, there is no doubt he would have diagnosed his condition as a beginning Dementia Precox. But he was not; he simply was compensating for his fear of death.

At sixteen he entered an academy where he was forced to go into athletics. The fear of injury and death plagued him so that he broke down, but this breakdown did not last long, and he reentered athletics and did fairly well. Indeed, in order to break himself of fear, he became outwardly a rather daring gymnast, hoping that what he had so often read of the sickly and puny becoming strong and vigorous through training would be true of him. As soon as he reached a stage in school where compulsory training was dropped, he discontinued athletics, with much inward relief. In fact, pride, fear of being considered a coward, was mainly responsible for his efforts in this direction.

In college he fell under the influence of Omar Khayam and the epicurean reaction to death. He feverishly entered pleasure and swung easily from religious fervor to a complete agnosticism. He became a first-nighter, knew all the chorus girls it was possible for him to become acquainted with, learned to drink but never learned to enjoy it. In fact, after each sensual indulgence his reaction against himself led him to a despair which might have terminated in suicide were it not that he feared death more than the reproaches of his conscience. Then he fell under the influence of a group of men and women in his college town, philanthropists and social reformers, whose enthusiasm and energy seemed to him miraculous, and as he grew to know them he realized with a something like ecstasy and yet governed by intelligence, that in such work was a compensation for death that might satisfy both his emotions and his intelligence. Again to the surprise of his parents, and in the face of their prediction that he would soon "tire" of this fad, he entered into their activities and proved himself a devoted worker. Too devoted, for now and then he needs medical attention, and it was in one of these "neurasthenic" periods that I met him. I learned that the spur that kept him going, that made him energetic, was the fear that death would overtake him before he achieved anything worth while; that he hated to die and was appalled by the thought of death, but that he could forget all this in work of a socially useful kind.

F. might almost stand for mankind in his reactions to death. He seemed to me almost too good to be true as a demonstration of a pet thesis of mine, namely, that the fear of death is behind an enormous amount of men’s deeds and beliefs. His reaction was of the compensatory type, where the fear arouses counter-emotions, counter-activities. F.’s is a noble response to fear, just as the cowardly reaction is the ignoble response.

I shall not depict the coward. There are some in whose lives the fear of death, injury, illness or loss is in constant operation to prevent activity, to lower energy and effort. One finds the coward very commonly in the clinics for nervous diseases, and in some cases the formidable term of psychasthenia is merely camouflage for the more direct English word. There is a type of the timid, who will not stand up for their rights, who receive meekly, as if it were their due, the buffets of fortune. This type is well exemplified in F. B., who passes through life cheated by every rogue and walked on by any strong-willed person that comes along. As a boy he was bullied by nearly all his playmates, did the chores, was selected for the "booh" parts in games and never dared resent it, though he was fully conscious that he was being put upon. When he went to work in a factory he was the one selected for all those practical jokes in which minor cruelty manifests itself. His parents also bullied him, so that he was compelled to turn over most of his earnings to them and was allowed to keep so little that he was shabby, half-starved and without any of the luxuries for which even his timid soul longed.

F. B. was mortally afraid of girls; they seemed to him to be terrible and beautiful creatures, very scornful and awe-inspiring. They made him feel inferior in a way that sent him edging from their presence, and though he sometimes surged with passion he avoided any contact with them.

As a good workman he received good pay, for he chanced, by the merest luck, to fall into the hands of a kind employer, who profited by his kindness, for F. B. gave more than a dollar of value for each dollar he received. Timid, he gave to the employer a great loyalty, which was in part based on his awe of any aggressive personality.

In society this man was tongue-tied, embarrassed and overawed by the well-dressed and prosperous-looking. His sense of inferiority was in no way compensated for, and to avoid pain he became a sort of recluse, doing his work and returning to his shell, so to speak, each night.

When he was thirty-six his mother died, his father having died earlier. This left him rather well to do, for his thrifty parents had well utilized his earnings. At once a thoughtful woman of his acquaintance, distantly related by marriage, set out to capture him, and by forcing the issue led him to the altar. Needless to say, she ruled the household, and F. B.’s only consolation lay in the crop of children that soon appeared in the house, for timidity is no barrier to parenthood. This consolation rather tends to disappear as the children grow older, for they become his masters. Such men as F. B. have a collar around their necks to which any one may fit a chain.

Does F. B. rejoice in inferiority, in the masochistic sense spoken of before? Is his humility a sign of inversion, in the Freudian sense, a sort of homosexuality? Possibly, and there are very crude and coarse phrases of the common man indicating a sexual feeling in all victory and defeat. But I am inclined to call this a sort of monothymia, a mood of fear and negative selffeeling coloring all the reactions.

I have previously cited the case of the man obsessed by fear in all the relations of life,—shrinking, self-acknowledged inferiority—who lost it with "a few drinks under my belt." "Dutch courage" drove from many a man the inferiority and the fear that plagued his soul. True, it drove him into a worse situation, but for a few moments he tasted something of the life that heroes and the great have. If we can ever find something that will not degrade as it exalts, all the world will rush to use it.

Of the monothymic types the choleric or angry are about as common as those predisposed to fear. The anger emotion is aroused by a thwarting of the instincts and purposes, and in the main the strongly egoistic are those most given to explosive or chronic anger. The angry feeling, however, must be controlled, else failure or social dislike awaits the choleric. When a man wins success he frequently allows himself the luxury of indulging his anger because he feels his power cannot be challenged. The Duchess in "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland," with her choleric "off with his head" whenever any one contradicted her, is a caricature, and a very apt one, of this type of person. We think of the bull-necked Henry the Eighth—"bluff King Hal"—as the choleric type, though here we also assume a certain cyclothymia, great good nature alternating with fierce anger.

I have in mind G. as a type of the angry person. G. cannot bear to have any one contradict him. Either he swallows his resentment, if he is in the presence of one he cannot afford to antagonize, or else he starts to abuse the victim verbally. He is sarcastic or violent according to circumstances; rarely is he pleasant in manner or speech. Though he is honest and said to be well-meaning, his ego explodes in the presence of other self-assertive egos. When a man truckles to him he is angry at his insincerity; when the other disputes his statements, or even offers other views, he finds himself confronted by one who has taken deep offense. As a result G. has no real friends, and this has added fuel to his anger. Often he has made up his mind to "control" himself, to keep down his scorn and rage, but rarely has he been able to maintain a proper attitude for any length of time.

In the last analysis a high self-valuation is part of the chronic choleric make-up, a conceit of overweening proportions. The man who realizes his own proneness to err, and who keeps in mind the relative unimportance of his aims and powers, is not apt to explode in the face of opposition or contradiction. G. is as a rule absolutely sure of his belief, tastes and importance, though he is crude in knowledge, coarse in tastes and of no particular importance except to himself. He is the "I am Sir Oracle; when I ope my lips let no dog bark."

Anger is often associated with brutality or deeds of violence. There is cold-blooded brutality, but by far the most of it has anger behind it. I know one man who in his youth was hot-tempered, i. e., quick to anger and quick to repent, a charming man who gradually learned control and passed into late middle life serene and amiable.

One day he was driving his car when it became obstructed by two young rowdies driving another car. With him was his wife. When he expostulated with the men, one of them turned with a sneer and said something insulting at which the other laughed. The next thing my friend knew he was in the other car, striking heavy blows at the pair (he is a very powerful man.), and it was only the opportune arrival of a policeman that prevented a murder.

"Whatever came over me I hardly understand," said he afterwards sadly. "I used to have rages like that as a boy, but I have been very well controlled for over thirty years. I was a raging demon for a while, and it appalls me to think that in me there lurks such a devil of anger."

Akin to anger, akin to fear, is suspicion. There is a sullen non-social personality type whose reactions are characterized by suspicion. He never willingly gives his trust to any one, and when he hands over his destinies to any one, as all must do now and then, he is consumed with dread, doubt and latent hostility.

Every one is familiar with men like H. He is full of distrust for his fellow men. Himself a man of low ideals, he ascribes to every one the same attitude. "What’s in it for you?" is his first thought concerning anybody with whom he deals.

He has a little store and eyes each customer who comes in as if they come to rob him. As a result his trade is largely emergency, transient trade, those who come because they have nowhere else to go or else do not know him. The salesmen, who supply the articles he sells have long since cut him off their list for desirable goods, and his only callers are those salesmen who are working up new lines and are under orders to try every one. H. has moments and days when he believes the whole world is against him, and on such occasions he locks his store and refuses to see any one. But at his best he cannot yield his ego to full free intercourse with others. It seems as though there were a hard shell surrounding him, and the world as it flowed around never brought love and trust through to him.

H. is not insane in the ordinary sense, but he is one of those paranoid persons we spoke of previously. Turn to L., a true case of mental disease, a paranoid whose career strangely resembles some of the great historic paranoids, for it must be remembered that man has been imposed upon by those who deceived themselves, who fully believed the strange and incredible things they succeeded in making credible to others.

The fantastic paranoid is made up of the same materials as the rest of us, except that his ego feeling is without insight, and his suspicion grows and grows until it reaches the delusion of persecution. L. was a bright boy, always conceited and given to non-social acts. Thus he never would play with the other boys unless he were given the leading role, and he could not bear to hear others praised or to praise them! Parenthetically the role that jealousy plays in the conduct of men and women needs exposition, and I recommend that some Ph. D. merit his degree by a thesis on this subject. When he was a little older he got the notion that hats were bad for the hair, and being proud of his own thick black mop, he went without a hat for over a year, despite the tears and protestations of his family and the ridicule of his friends. There is no one so ready to die for a cause, good or bad, as the paranoid.

He entered the medical school, and to this day there is none of his classmates who has forgotten him. Proud, even haughty, with only one or two intimates, he studied hard and did very good work. Now and then he astonished the class by taking direct issue with some professor, disputing a theory or a fact with the air of an authority and proposing some other idea, logically developed but foolishly based, as if his training were sufficient. It is characteristic of all paranoid philosophy and schemes that they despise real experimentation, that they start with some postulate that has no basis in work done and go on with a minute hyper-logic that deceives the unsophisticated.

Though L. was "bright," there were better men in his class, and they received the honors. L. was deeply offended at this and claimed to his own friends that the professors were down on him, especially a certain professor of medicine, who, so L. intimated, was afraid that L.’s theories would displace his own and so was interested to keep him down. This feeling was intensified when he came up for the examinations to a certain famous hospital and was turned down. The real reason for this failure was his unpopularity with his fellow students, for they let it be known to the examiners that L. would undoubtedly be hard to get along with, and it was part of the policy of the hospital to consider the personality of an applicant as well as his ability.

L. obtained a hospital place in a small city and did very good work, and though his peculiarities were noticed they excited only a hidden current of amused criticism, while his abilities aroused a good deal of praise. Stimulated by this, he started practice in the same city as a surgeon and quickly rose to the leading position. His indefatigable industry, his absolute selfconfidence and his skill gave him prestige almost at once. His conceit rose to the highest degree, and his mannerisms commenced to become offensive to others. He came into collision with the local medical society because he openly criticized the older men in practice as "ignoramuses, asses, charlatans, etc.," and indeed was sued by one of them in the courts. The suit was won by the plaintiff, the award was five thousand dollars and L. entered an appeal.

From this on his career turned. In order to contest the case, and because he began to believe that the courts and lawyers were in league against him, he studied law and was admitted to the bar. He had meanwhile married a rich woman who was wholly taken in by his keen logical exposition of his "wrongs," his imposing manner of speech and action; and perhaps she really fell in love with the able, aggressive and handsome man. She financed his law school studies, for it was necessary for him to give up most of his practice meanwhile.

As soon as he could appear before the Bar he did so in his own behalf, for this case had now reached the proportions where it had spread out into half a dozen cases. He refused to pay his lawyers, and they sued. One of them dropped the statement that L. was "crazy," and he brought a suit against the lawyer. Moreover, he began to believe, because of the adverse judgments, that the courts were against him, and he wrote article after article in the radical journals on the corruptness of the courts and entered a strenuous campaign to provide for the public election and recall of judges.

These activities brought him in close relations with a group of unbalanced people operating under the high-sounding name League of Freedom. These people, led by a man, J., eagerly welcomed L., largely because his wife was still financing his ventures. Here comes a curious fact, and one prominent in the history of man, for this group, led by two unbalanced men, actually engineered a real reform, for they brought about a codification of the laws of their State, a simple codification that made it possible to know what the laws on any matter really are. This may be stated: the average balanced person is apt to weigh consequences to himself, but the paranoid does not; and so, when accident or circumstances[1] enlist him in a good cause, he is a fighter without fear and is enormously valuable.

[1] See Lombroso’s "Man of Genius" for many such cases.

This success brought L.’s paranoia to the pinnacle of unreason. He attacked the courts boldly, openly and publicly accused the judges of corruption, said they were in conspiracy with the Bar and the medical societies to do him up, added to this list of his enemies the Irish and the Catholic Church, because the prosecuting attorney in one county and the judge in that court were Irish and Catholic, and then turned against his wife because she now began to doubt his sanity. He brought suits in every superior court in the State, and at the time he was committed to an Insane Hospital he had forty trials on, had innumerable manuscripts of his contemplated reforms, in which were included the doing away with Insane Hospitals, the examination of all persons in the State for venereal disease and their cure by a new remedy of his own, the reform of the judiciary, etc., etc. He accused his wife of infidelity, felt that he was being followed by spies and police, claimed that dictagraphs were installed everywhere to spy on him and had a classical delusional state. He was committed, but later he escaped from the hospital and is now at large. The State officials are making no effort to find him, mainly because they are glad to get rid of him.

While the cases like L. are not common, the "mildly" paranoid personality is common. Everywhere one finds the man or woman whose abilities are not recognized, who is discriminated against, who finds an enemy in every one who does not kotow and who interprets as hostile every action not directly conciliating or friendly. In every group of people there is one whose paranoid temperament must be reckoned with, who is distrustful, conceited and disruptive. Often they are high-minded, perhaps devoted to an ideal, and if they convince others of their wrongs they increase the social disharmonies by creating new social wars, large or small according to their influence, intelligence and other circumstances.

The type of the trusting need not be here illustrated by any case history. Dickens has given us an immortal figure in the genial, generous and impulsive Mr. Pickwick, and Cervantes satirized knighthood by depicting the trusting, credulous Don Quixote. We laugh at these figures, but we love them; they preserve for us the sweetness of childhood and hurt only themselves and their own. Trust in one’s fellows is not common, because the world is organized on egoism more than on fellowship. Where fellowship becomes a code, as in the relations of men associated together for some great purpose, then a noble trust appears.

So I pass over those whose mood runs all one way the hopeful, the despondent, the pessimist and the optimist—to other types. We shall then consider the two great directions of interest, introspection and extrospection, and those whose lives are characterized by one or the other direction.

1. The introspective personality is no more of a unit than any other type. Intelligence, energy and a host of other matters play their part in the sum total of the character here as elsewhere.

H. I. is what might be called the intellectual introspective personality. From the very earliest days he became interested in himself as a thinker. "How do my words mean anything?" he asked of his perplexed father at the investigative age of five. "Where do my thoughts go to when I do not think them?" was the problem he floored a learned uncle with a year later. This type of curiosity is not uncommon in children; in fact, it is the conventionality and laziness of the elders that stops children in their study of the fundamentals. H. was not stopped, for the zeal of his interest was heightened as time went on.

He played with other boys but early found their conclusions and discussions primitive. He became an ardent bookworm, reading incessantly or rather at such times when his parents permitted, for they were simple folk who were rather alarmed at their boy’s interests and zeal. No noticeable difference from other boys was noted aside from precocity in study, yet even at the age of ten life was running in two great currents for this boy. The one current was the outer world with its ever varied happenings, the other was the inner world of thoughts and moods, deeply, fascinatingly interesting. It seemed to H. I. that there were "two I’s, one of which sat just over my head and looking down on the other I, watching its strivings, its emotions, its thoughts with a detached and yet palpitating interest. When I watched the other boys at play I wondered whether they too had this dual existence, whether they chewed the cud of life over and over again as I did."

Came puberty with the great sex passions. The vibrating life within him suddenly became tinged with new interests. One day at a party a vixen of a girl threw herself boldly in his arms and tried to push him into a chair. The bodily contact and the swift bodily reaction threw him into a panic, for the passion that was aroused was so powerful that he seemed to himself stripped of all thought and reflection and impelled to actions against which he rebelled. For he was fully acquainted, at second hand, with sex; he knew boys and girls who had made excursions into its most intimate practices and despised them.

This episode gave his introspective trends a new direction. From now on sex was the theme his fancy embroidered. Curiously enough, he became more austere than ever, shunned girls and especially the heroine of his adventure, and even avoided the company of boys who spoke habitually and "vulgarly" of sex. His mind built up sex phantasies, sex adventures in which he was the hero and in which girls he knew and those he imagined were the heroines, but at the same time, standing aloof as it were, another part of him seemed to watch his own reactions until "I nearly went crazy." He became obsessed by a feeling of unreality and adopted a Berkleyan philosophy of idealism: nothing seemed to exist except his own consciousness, and that seemed of doubtful existence. He took long walks by himself, read philosophy and science with avidity, yet turned by preference to these dreams of sex adventure, palpitating, alluring, and yet so unreal to his critical self. To others he was merely a bit moody and detached, though friendly and kind.

He went to college, and his interest in sex became secondary almost immediately. His student days were passed at Harvard at a time when Royce, Palmer, Santayanna, and James ruled in its philosophy, and H. I. became fascinated by these men and their subject. His mind was again drawn into introspection, but in an organized manner. He asked himself continually, "What are the purposes of life; why do we love; does man will or is he an automaton who watches the hands go around and thinks he moves them?" Where before his feeling of unreality was largely emotional, now it received an intellectual sanction, and he swung from hither to yon in a never-ending cycle. He became wearied beyond measure by his thoughts; he envied the beasts of the field, the laborer in the ditch and all to whom life and living were realities not in the least to be examined and questioned. Deliberately he decided to shift his interests,—to buy an automobile and learn about it; to play cards; to have his love affair; to taste emotion and pleasure and to seek no intellectual sanction for them.

He disappeared from college for a year and came back tanned, ruddy and at rest. He had found a capacity for interest and emotion outside of himself. He had experienced phases of life about which he would not talk at first, but in later years he admitted that he had been a "man of the world." He regretted much that had happened, but on the whole he rejoiced in an equanimity, in a capacity for objective interest, that he had never had before. His introspective trend was still very strong, but it lent subtlety and wisdom to his life, rather than weakness. Now and then he became harassed by a feeling of unreality, by a questioning skepticism that nullified happiness, and he felt himself divided by his intellect. These he shook off by dropping his work, by hunting, fishing and accepting simple goals of activity. Later on he married, and became a scholar of some note. I think he now relishes life as well as any really thoughtful man of middle life can.

There is a personality type, the emotional introspective, whose interest in life is directed toward their own sensations and emotions. They do not view people or things as having a value in themselves and for themselves; they deliberately view them as sources of a personal pleasurable sensation. I do not mean the crude egoist who asks of anything or anybody, "What good is it (or he) for me?" but I mean that connoisseur in emotions, casually blase and bored, who seeks new sensations. This is an introspective deviation of a serious kind, for the connoisseur in emotions rarely is happy and usually is most deeply miserable. Bourget in his remarkable psychological novel, "A Love Crime," has admirably drawn one of these characters. The exquisite Armand, seeking pleasure constantly, is divided into the sensualist who seduces and ruins and the introspectionist who watches the proceeding with disgust and disillusion. It is not an outraged conscience that is at work but the inability to feel without analyzing the feeling "Ah, for a single passion that might apply my entire sensibility to another being, like wet paper against a window pane." This is the eternal tragedy of sophistication,—that there results an anhedonia in large part manifested by a restless introspection. The mind is drawn away from the outside world, and everything is seen out of proportion.

The hypochondriac directs his attention to his health and is in part a monothymic of the fear type. Moliere’s "Le Malade Imaginaire" is a classical study of this person, and I do not, presume to better it. Modern popularizing of disease has distinctly increased the numbers of the hypochondriacs, or at any rate has made their fears more scientific. Brain tumor, gastric ulcer, appendicitis, tuberculosis, heart disease, cancer, syphilis,—often have I seen a hypochondriac run the gamut of all these deadly diseases and still retain his health. The faddy habits they form are the sustenance of those who start the varied forms of vegetarianism, chewing cults, fresh-air fiends, wet-grass fanatics, back-to-nature societies, and the mild lunacies of our (and every) age.

One such hypochondriac, J., after suffering from every disease in the advertising pages of the daily newspapers, developed a system of habits that finally became a disease in itself. He rose at 6.30 each morning, stood naked in the middle of the room, took six deep breaths, rolled around on the floor and kicked his arms and legs about for fifteen minutes, took a drink of cold water, had a shower bath and a rub-down, shaved, attended to "certain bodily functions" (his term, not mine), ate a breakfast consisting of gluten bread, two slices, one and one-half glasses of milk, a soft-boiled egg (three and one-half minutes) and an orange; walked to work, taking exactly twenty minutes to do it; opened the windows wide in his office (fighting with the other clerks who preferred comfort to fresh air), ate a health luncheon at noon consisting of Postum, nuts, health bread, and two squares of milk chocolate; walked home at six, taking exactly 20 minutes to do it; washed, lay on the couch fifteen minutes with mind fixed on infinity (a Hindoo trick, so he heard), ate dinner, which never varied much from rice, cream, potatoes, milk and, heritage of saner days, a small piece of pie! All the day he watched each pain and ache, noted whether he belched or spit more than usual, and at night went to sleep at 10.30. Needless to say he had no friends, was known as "that nut" and really broke down from too arduous an introspective existence.

The term self-denial has been used from earliest times to indicate what we have called inhibition. But self-denial is fundamentally a wrong term, since it implies that the self is that which lusts and shirks, and that which controls desire and holds the individual to a consistent and ethical line of conduct is not the self. In fact, the self is based on inhibition and control, and when there is failure in these regards there is self-failure.

Interesting is the under-inhibited person. I mean by this term the one who consistently and in most relationship shows an inability to control the primitive instincts, impulses and desires. J. F. may stand as a type that becomes the "black sheep" and in many cases the "criminal." He comes of what is known as a "good family," which in his case means that the parents are well-to-do, of good reputation and rather above the average in intelligence. The brothers and sisters have all done well, are settled in their ways and are not to be distinguished from the people of their social set in manners or morals.

It was impossible to discipline J. As a very young child he resisted his mother’s efforts to train him into tidiness or restraint. He stole whatever he desired, and though he was alternately punished and pleaded with, though he seemed to desire to please his parents, he continued to steal whenever there was opportunity. At six he entered a neighbor’s house, and while there took a purse that was lying on a table, rifled it of its contents and disappeared for nearly a day, when he was found in a down-town district, having gorged himself with candy and cake. From then on his peculations increased, and his conduct became the scandal of his family, for he stole even from the maids employed in the house, as well as from guests. In each case the stealing was apparently motivated to give a good time to himself and also to certain chums he made here and there in the city. He would lie to evade punishment, but finally would yield, confess his guilt, express deepest repentance and accept his punishment with the sincerity of one fully conscious of deserving it.

In school he did poorly. He was bright enough. In fact, he was somewhat above the average in memory and comprehension and may be described as keen, but it was difficult for him to keep his attention consistently on any subject, and the discipline of school irked him. He ran away several times to avoid school, and each time, until he was about fourteen, came back after a few days,—bedraggled, hungry and repentant. The freedom of the streets appealed to him as offering a life varied enough to suit his nature, and with excitement and adventure always in the air. So he mingled with all kinds of boys and men and at the age of fourteen shocked his parents by being arrested as one of a gang that was engaged in robbing drunken men in the slum quarters of the city. It took all kinds of influence to get him released on probation, but this was accomplished and then the boy disappeared from home.

He was gone three years and despite all search had completely disappeared. His people had given up all hope of seeing him again (although certain members of his family were not at all saddened by the prospect) when they received a communication from the police of a distant city with a photograph of the boy, asking if it was true that he was their son. It seems that J. had drifted from place to place, now working as newsboy, stable hand, errand boy, messenger, theater-usher, until he had reached this city. There he was wandering on the streets, hungry and ragged, when a philanthropic old gentleman noticed him. J. has the good fortune to be very innocent looking, and no matter what his crimes, his face might belong to a cherub. A friend once stated that if J. appeared at Heaven’s gate, St. Peter would surely take him to be an angel come back from a stroll and let him in. The philanthropist stopped, the boy and inquired into his history. J. told him a very affecting story of being an orphan whom a cruel guardian had robbed of his heritage and exaggerated his sufferings until the indignant old fellow threatened to have the police prosecute his betrayer. With a show of great magnanimity, J. refused to disclose his real name, and the philanthropist took him home. He had him clothed and fed, and then, taken by the boy’s engaging manners and bright ways, decided to educate and adopt him. He was dissuaded from the latter by a friend, but he sent J. to a private school of good grade. To the surprise of the old man, J. was continually getting into mischief, and finally he was accused of stealing. Unable to believe the school authorities, the old gentleman took the boy home and quizzed him. He gave an unsatisfactory account of himself and that night disappeared with a considerable sum of money. The police were notified, and a week later he was found in a house of the type—so euphemistically called—of "ill fame." There he was spending the money lavishly on the inmates and was indulging his every desire. One of the women, a police stool-pigeon, identified him as the boy who was wanted by the law, and he was arrested.

Despite the efforts of the parents and the philanthropist, the boy was given a prison sentence and is still serving it. Characteristic of this group of personalities are these traits: (1) an impatience with the arduous, an incapacity or unwillingness to wait for results in the ordinary way; (2) a decided dread of monotony, a longing for excitement; (3) an inability to form permanent purposes and to inhibit the distracting desires; (4) a desire to win others’ good opinion and sympathy,—therefore he always lavished his money on those whom that kind of "good fellowship" wins and told pathetic stories to those whose sentimentality made them easy victims; (5) a weak kind of egoism, seeking easy ways to pleasure and position, restless under discipline, always repentant after wrong-doing, fluent in speech but lacking the courage to face the difficulties of life.

This under-inhibited type may suddenly reform and apparently entirely emerge from difficulties. I have in mind a conspicuous case, a young woman now happily married and the mother of fine children. When she was thirteen or fourteen the petty pilferings of her childhood took on a serious character. She began to steal from the person of strangers and from the homes of friends. She romanced in the most convincing fashion, told strangers the most remarkable stories, usually of such a nature as to make her interesting and an object of sympathy, but which tended to blacken the reputation of her family. She lost place after place at work, was sent to a hospital to become a nurse and demoralized her associates by her lies and her thefts. She was a very sweet girl in every other way, kindly, generous, self-sacrificing, studious even, and her character-contradiction made people reluctant to believe she was not insane. She was discharged from the hospital, stayed at home for a few months,—and then came the miracle. She obtained a place in a large business house and worked there for seven years or up till the time of her marriage. She was steadily promoted and was accounted the most reliable and honest employee of the establishment. She handled money and goods, was absolutely truthful and her earnest efficiency was noteworthy. Her private life was in complete harmony with this business career. She helped her parents, who are poor, dressed modestly, studied nights and yet showed the same fondness for dancing and good times that the normal girl does. She met a promising young business man who fell immediately in love with this demure looking young woman, and they were later married. Once I asked her how the reform came about. "I don’t know myself," she answered frankly. "I never was happy—when I was the other way. I always vowed reform, but when there was money around I’d think and think about it until it was mine. Then I’d spend it in a silly way to get rid of it fast. I craved good things, and you know how poor we were. Then I lied just to have people like me and pity me, even though I called myself a fool while doing it. Often, often I tried to reform and for a week or two would be real good. Then perhaps I’d see some money, and I’d try to think of something else. But that money would come to my mind, and I’d get hot and dizzy thinking about it. Perhaps I’d say, ’I’ll just look at it,’ and finally I’d go and take it—and feel so relieved and spend it. After I left the hospital it seemed to me that I could never smile again. I cried all night long; I wanted to die. I could see one girl who thought I was so good and nice, and her face as she looked at me when I left! Her eyes were wide open, and her mouth was so stern, and she looked as if she wanted to speak but she turned around and walked away. One day I woke up after a restless night at home, and it seemed to me that I had strength, that something had turned around in my nature, and since that day I have never even wanted to steal. I haven’t had to try to be good; it came as natural as eating and sleeping."

The sexually under-inhibited are those whose sex control is deficient. This may be either from over-passionate nature, bad example, deficient mentality, vanity and desire for good times, as in certain girls, etc. To discuss these types would be to write another book, and so I forbear. But this I wish to emphasize: that neither age, sex protestation of indifference and control, occupation or social status, alters the fact that the history of the sex feelings, impulses and struggles is essential to a knowledge of character. Without detailing sex types, these are some that are important.

1. The uninhibited impulsive, passionate (the bulk of the prostitutes).

2. The controlled, passionate. Very common.

3. The frigid. Not so rare as believed.

4. The extremely passionate (nymphomania, satyriasis). Rare. Always in trouble.

5. The sensualist, a deliberate seeker of sex pleasure, often indulging in perversion. Common type.

6. The perverted types,—autoerotic (masturbator), homosexual, masochists, sadists, fetishist, etc. More common than the ordinary person dreams.

7. The periodic, to whom sex life is incidental to certain periods and situations. Common among women, less common among men.

8. The sublimators, whose sexual activity has somehow been harnessed to other great activities. Fairly frequent among these who either through choice or necessity are to remain continent.

9. The anhedonic or exhausted. Found in the sensualists and often reacted to by the formation of religious and ethical codes, which eliminate sex,—Tolstoy, the hermits, certain Russian sects, etc.

There is under-inhibition of a good kind. There are generous-hearted people always ready to give of themselves to anything or anybody that needs help. Often "fooled" by the unworthy, they resolve to be calm, judicial and selfish, and then,—their generous social natures over-ride caution, and again they plunge into kindness and philanthropy.

F. L. is one of these. As child, boy and young man he was free-hearted to an extraordinary degree. Ragamuffin, stray dog or cat, tramp, down and outer of every kind or description, these enlisted his sympathy and help despite the expostulation and remonstrance of a series of conventional good people, his mother and father, his best friends and his outraged wife. The latter never knew, she used to say, what he would bring home for dinner. "He always forgot to bring home the steak, but he never forgot to lug along some derelict." More than once he was robbed, often he was imposed upon. Once he met an interesting vagabond who spoke several languages, quoted the Bible with ease and accuracy, and so fired the heart of our simple man that he bought him clothes and brought him home to stay. His wife threw up her hands in despair. "But, my dear," said F. L., "he’s a scholar who has fallen on evil days." "Ah," she answered, "I fear it will be an evil day for us when you took him home." She had a good chance to say, "I told you so," when the rogue eloped with the best of their silver.

Not only is F. L. impulsive and uninhibited in his generosity, but his "pitch in and help" quality is about as well manifested in other matters. If he sees a man or boy struggling with a load, he immediately forgets that he is over fifty and well dressed and steps right in to help. He saw an ash and garbage man—this is his wife’s star story—struggling to lift a much befouled can into his wagon. F. L. left his wife and some friends without a word and with a cheery word threw the can into the wagon. Unfortunately some of the contents splashed, and F. L. suffered both in dignity and appearance as a consequence. He had to go home by back alleys and had to endure the mirth of his friends for a long time. But it did not change his reactions in the least, although he was really vexed with himself and endeavored to be conventional and self-controlled for a while. The point is that F. L. attempts inhibition of generous impulses and fails as ignominiously as a drunkard struggling with the desire to drink.

Of course he is of the salt of the earth. Upon such uninhibited fellowship feeling as his rests the ethical progress of the world. A dozen inventors contribute less to their fellow men than does he. For their contributions may be used to destroy or enslave their fellows, and it is a commonplace that science has outstripped morals. But his contributions spread kindly feeling and the notion of the brotherhood of man.

The over-inhibited, those whose every impulse and desire is subjected to a scrutiny and a blocking, often come to the attention of the neuropsychiatrist. But there are many "normal" people who fall into this group, and whose conduct throughout life is marked by a scrupulosity that is painful to behold. The over-inhibition may take specific directions, as in the thrifty who check their desires in the wish to save money, or the industrious who hold up their pleasures and recreations in the fear that they are wasting time. A sub-group of the over-inhibited I call the over-conscientious, and it is one of these whose history is epitomized here.

K. has always had "ingrowing scruples," as his exasperated mother once said. As a small child he never obeyed the impulse to take a piece of cake without looking around to see if his mother and father approved. He would not play unreservedly, in the whole-hearted impulsive way of children, but always held back in his enjoyment as if he feared that perhaps he was not doing just right. When he started to go to school his fear of doing the wrong thing made him appear rather slow, though in reality he was bright. The other children called him a "sissy," mistaking his conscientiousness for cowardice. This grieved him very much, and his father undertook to educate him in "rough" ways, in fighting and wrestling. He succeeded in this to the extent that K. learned to fight when he believed that he was being wronged, but he never seemed to learn the aggressiveness necessary to get even a fair share of his rights. His mother, a similar type, rather encouraged him in this virtue, much to the disgust of the father.

Not to spend too long a time over K.’s history, we may pass quickly over his school years until he entered college. He was a "grind" if there ever was one, studying day and night. He had developed well physically and because of his hard work stood near the top of his class. He took no "pleasures" of any kind,—that is, he played no cards, went to no dances, never took in a show and of course was strictly moral. It seems that the main factor that held him back was the notion he had imbibed early in his career that pleasure itself was somehow not worthy, that an ideal of work made a sort of sin of wasting time. Whenever he indulged himself by rest or relaxation, even in so innocent a way as to go to a ball game, there was in the back of his mind the idea, "I might have been studying this or that, or working on such a subject; I am wasting time," and the pleasure would go. By nature K. was sociable and friendly and was well liked, but he avoided friendships and social life because of the unpleasant reproaches of his work conscience and the rigor of his work inhibitions. He grew tired, developed a neurasthenic set of symptoms, and thus I first came in contact with him. Once he understood the nature of his trouble, which I labeled for him as a "hypertrophied work conscience," he set himself the task of learning to enjoy, of throwing off inhibition, of innocent self-indulgence, and my strong point that he would work the better for pleasure took his fancy at once. He succeeded in part in his efforts, but of course will always debate over the right and wrong of each step in his life.

This one example of a high type of the over-inhibited must do for the group. There is a related type who in ordinary speech find it "difficult to make up their minds,"—in other words, are unable to choose. Bleuler has used the term ambivalent, thus comparing these individuals to a chemical element having two bonds and impelled to unite with two substances. The ambivalent personalities are always brought to a place where they yearn for two opposing kinds of action or they fear to choose one affinity of action as against the other. They are in the position of the unfortunate swain who sang, "How happy I could be with either, were t’other dear charmer away."

M. is one of these helpless ambivalent folk, always running to others for advice and perplexed to a frenzy by the choices of life. "What shall I do?" is his prime question, largely because he fears to commit himself to any line of action. Once a man chooses, he shuts a great many doors of opportunity and gambles with Fate that he has chosen right. M. knows this and lacks selfconfidence, i.e., the belief that he will choose for the best or be able to carry it through. He lacks the gambling spirit, the willingness to put his destiny to fortune. Often M. deliberates or rather oscillates for so long a time that the matter is taken from his hands. Thus, when he fell in love, the fear of being refused, of making a mistake, prevented him from action, and the young woman accepted another, less ambivalent suitor.

M. is in business with his father and is entirely a subordinate, because he cannot choose. He carries out orders well, is very amiable and gentle, is liked and at the same time held in a mild contempt. He has physical courage but has not the hardihood of soul to take on responsibility for choosing. Sometimes he gets good ideas, but never dares to put them into execution and shifts that to others.

He hates himself for this weakness in an essential phase of personality but is gradually accepting himself as an inferior person, despite intelligence, training and social connection.

Yet his sister is exactly the opposite type. She makes decisions with great promptness, never hesitates, is "cocksure" and aggressive. If M. is ambivalent, his sister B. M. is univalent. Choice is an easy matter to her, though she is not impulsive. She rapidly deliberates. She never has made any serious errors in judgment, but if she makes a mistake she shrugs her shoulders and says, "It’s all in the game." Thus she is a leader in her set, for if some difficulty is encountered, her mind is quickly at work and prompt with a solution. If she is not brilliant, and she is not, she collects the plans of her associates and chooses and modifies until she is ready with her own plan. Her father sighs as he watches her and regrets that she is not a man. It does not occur to him or any of his family, including herself, that she might do a man’s work in the business world.

In pathological cases the inability to choose becomes so marked as to make it impossible for the patient to choose any line of conduct. "To do or not to do" extends into every relationship and every situation. The patient cannot choose as to his dress or his meals; cannot decide whether to stay in or go out, finds it difficult to choose to cross the street or to open a door; is thrown into a pendulum of yea and nay about speaking, etc. This psychasthenic state, the folie du doute of the French, is accompanied by fear, restlessness and an oppressive feeling of unreality. The records of every neurologist contain many such cases, most of whom recover, but a few go on to severe incurable mental disease.

I pass on, without regard for logic or completeness, to a personality type that we may call the anhedonic or simpler a restless, not easily satisfied, easily disgusted group. Some of these are cyclothymic, over-emotional, often monothymic but I am discussing them from the standpoint of their satisfaction with life and its experiences. The ordinary label of "finicky" well expresses the type, but of course it neglects the basic psychology. This I have discussed elsewhere in this book and will here describe two cases, one a congenital type and the other acquired.

T. was born dissatisfied, so his mother avers. As a baby he was "a difficult feeding case" because the very slightest cause, the least change in the milk, upset him, a fact attested to by vigorous crying. Babies have a variability in desire and satisfaction quite as much as their elders.

Apparently T. thrived, despite his start, for as a child he was sturdy looking. Nevertheless, in toys, games, treats, etc., he was hard to please and easy to displease. He turned up his nose if a toy were not perfection, and he had to have his food prepared according to specification or his appetite vanished. Moreover, he had a very limited range of things he liked, and as time went on he extended that list but little. He was very choice in his clothes—not at all a regular boy—and quite disgusted with dirt and disorder. "A little old maid" somebody called him, having in mind of course the traditional maiden lady.

As T. grew his capacity for pleasure-feeling did not increase. On the contrary his attention to the details necessary for his pleasure made of him one of those finicky connoisseurs who, though never really pleased with anything, get a sort of pleasure in pointing out the crudity of other people’s tastes and pleasures. This attitude of superiority is the one compensation the finicky have, and since they are often fluent of speech and tend to write and lecture, they impose their notions of good and bad upon others, who seek to escape being "common." In T.’s case his attitude toward food, clothes, companions, sports and work created a tense disharmony in his family, and one of his brothers labeled him "The Kill-joy." Secretly envious of other people’s simple enjoyment, T. made strenuous efforts at times to overcome his repugnances and to enlarge the scope of his pleasures, but because this forfeited for him the superiority he had reached as a very "refined" person, he never persisted in this process.

When he was twenty he found himself the theater of many conflicts. He was weary of life, yet lusted for experiences that his hyperestheticism would not permit him to take. Sex seemed too crude, and the girls of his age were "silly." Yet their lure and his own internal tensions dragged him to one place after another, hoping that he would find the perfect woman, able to understand him. At last he did find her, so he thought, in the person of a young woman of twenty-five, a consummate mistress of the arts of femininity. She sized him up at once, played on his vanity, extolled his fine tastes and never exposed a single crudity of her own, until she brought him to the point where his passion for her, his conviction that he had found "the perfect woman," led him to propose marriage. Then came the blow: she laughed at him, called him a silly boy, gave him a lecture as to what constituted a fine man, extolling crudity, vigor and virility as the prime virtues.

His world was shattered, and its shadowy pleasures gone. At first his parents were inclined to believe that this was a good lesson, that T. would learn from this adventure and become a more hardy young man. Instead he became sleepless, restless and without desire for food or drink; he shunned men and women alike; he stared hollow-eyed at a world full of noise and motion but without meaning or joy. Deep was this anhedonia, and all exhortations to "brace up and be a man" failed. Diversion, travel and all the usual medical consultations and attentions did no good.

One day he announced to his family that he was all right, that soon he would be well. He seemed cheerful, talked with some animation and dressed himself with unusual care. His parents rejoiced, but one of his brothers did not like what he called a "gleam" in T.’s eyes. So he followed him, in a skillful manner. T. walked around for a while, then found his way to a bridge crossing a swift deep river. He took off his coat, but before he could mount the rail his watchful brother was upon him. He made no struggle and consented to come back home. In his coat was a letter stating that he saw no use in living, that he was not taking his life because of disappointment in love but because he felt that he never could enjoy what others found pleasurable, and that he was an anomaly, a curse to himself and others.

He was sent away to a sanatorium but left it and came home. He began to eat and drink again, found he could sleep at night (the sleepless night had filled him with despair) and soon swung back into his "normal" state. He passes throughout life a spectator of the joys of others, wondering why his grip on content and desire is so slender, but also he thinks himself of a finer clay than his fellows.

As a complement to this case let me cite that of the ex-soldier S. He reached the age of twenty-two with a very creditable history. Born of middle-class parents he went through high school and ranked in the upper third of his class for scholarship. His physique was good; he was a joyous, popular young fellow; and wherever he went was pointed out as the clean young American so representative of our country. That means he worked hard as assistant executive in a production plant, was ambitious to get ahead, took special courses to fit himself, read a good deal about "success" and how to reach it, dressed well, liked his fellow men and more than liked women, enjoyed sports, a good time, the theaters, slept well, ate well and surged with the passions and longings of his youth. Had any one said to him, "What is there to live for?" he would have had no answer ready merely because it would have never occurred to him that any one could really ask so foolish a question.

Came the war. Full of the ardor of patriotism and the longing for the great experience, he enlisted. He took the "hardships" of camp life, the long hikes, the daily drills, the food dished out in tins, as a lark, and his hearty fellowship identified him with the army, with its profanity, its rough friendliness, its grumbling but quick obedience and its intense purpose to "show ’em what the American can do." He went overseas and learned that French patriotism, like the American brand, did not prevent profiteering, and that enlistment in a common cause does not allay or abate racial prejudices and antagonisms. This, however, did not prey on his mind, for he took his Americanism as superior without argument and was not especially disappointed because of French customs and morals. He took part in several battles, made night attacks, bayonetted his first man with a horror that however disappeared under the glory of victory.

One day as he and a few comrades were in a front line trench, "Jerry" placed a high explosive "plump in the middle of it." When S. recovered consciousness, he found himself half covered with dirt and debris of all kinds, and when he crawled out and brushed himself off, he saw that of all his comrades he alone survived, and that they were mangled and mutilated in a most gruesome way. "Pieces of my friends everywhere," is his terse account. He lay in the trench, not daring to move for hours, the bitterest thoughts assailing him,—anger, hatred and disgust for war, the Germans, his own countrymen; and he even cursed God. When he did this he shuddered at his blasphemy, became remorseful and prayed for forgiveness. A little later he crawled out of the trench and back to where he was picked up by the medical corps and taken to a hospital. He was examined, nothing wrong was found and he was sent back to duty.

From that episode dates as typical an anhedonia as I have ever seen. Gradually he became sleepless and woke each day more tired than he went to bed. The food displeased him, and he grumbled over what were formerly trifles. He wearied easily, and nothing seemed to move him to enthusiasm or desire. He gave up friendship after friendship, because the friends annoyed him by their noise and boisterousness. He dreaded the roar of the guns and the shriek of shells with what amounted to physical agony. He brooded alone, and though not melancholy in the positive insane sense, was melancholy in the disappearance of desire, joy, energy, interest and enthusiasm.

Fortunately the armistice came at this time. S. was examined and discharged as well because he made no complaints, for he was anxious to get home. This was his one great desire. At home, with a nice bed to sleep in, good food to eat and the pleasant faces of his own people, his "nerves" would yield, he had no doubt. But he was mistaken; this was not the case. He became no better, and though he tried his old "job," he found that he could not find the energy, enthusiasm or concentration necessary for success. He was then referred to the United States Public Health Service, where I saw him, and he became my patient.

My first problem was to restore the power of sleeping. This I succeeded in doing by means that were entirely "physical." With that accomplished, the man became hopeful of further results, and this enabled one to bring about a desire for food, again by physical means, medicine, in short. The problem of awaking S.’s interest simmered down to that of finding an outlet for his ambition. The Federal Vocational Board granted him the right to take up a business course in a college. Though he found the study hard at first, he was encouraged to keep on and told to expect little of himself at first. This is an important point, for if a man holds himself to a high standard under conditions such as those of S., then failure brings a discouragement that upsets the treatment. At any rate this method of readjustment, with its reliance on medicines to bring sleep and appetite and on training to bring hope and relief from introspection, worked splendidly.

The fact is that no abstruse complicated psychological analysis was necessary here or in most cases. A man is "jarred" from light-hearted health to a grim discouraged state. This discouragement brings with it sleeplessness and loss of appetite, and there gradually develops a series of habits which lower endurance and energy. The habit elements in this condition are not enough recognized, and also the fact that most of the disability is physical in its development though psychological at the start. That is, A. had a severe emotional reaction to a horrible experience; this brought about insomnia and disordered nutrition, and these, by lowering the endurance and ability, brought to being a vicious circle of fatigue and depression, in which fatigue caused depression and depression increased fatigue. The treatment must be directed at first to the physical factors, and with these conquered the acquired forms of anhedonia usually yield readily.

It would be interesting to consider other types related to the anhedonic personality. The complainer, the whiner, the nag, all these are basically people who are hard to satisfy. The artistic temperament (found rather frequently in the non-artistic) is hyperesthetic, uncontrolled, irritably egoistic and demands homage and service from others which exceeds the merit of the individual; in other words, there is added to the anhedonic element an unreasonableness that is peculiarly exasperating. I pass these interesting people by and turn to the opposite of the anhedonic group, the group that is hearty in tastes and appetites, easily pleased as a rule and often crude in their relish of life. There are two main divisions of these hearty simple people,—those who are untrained and relatively uneducated, and whose simplicity may disappear under cultivation, and another type—cultivated, educated, wise—who still retain unspoiled appetite and hearty enjoyment.

Briefly let me introduce Dr. O., an athlete in his youth and always a lover of the great outdoors.

O. is Homeric in the simplicity of his tastes. A house is a place in which to sleep, clothes are to keep one warm, food is to eat and the manner of its service is an indifferent matter. He enjoys with almost huge pleasure good things to eat and good things to drink, but as he puts it, "I am as much at home with corned beef and cabbage as I am with any epicurean chef d’oeuvre. I like the feel of silk next my body, but cotton pleases me as much." He is clean and bathes regularly, but has no repulsion against dirt and disorder. At home, among the utmost refinements of our present-day life, he prefers the rough bare essentials of existence. To him beauty is not exotic, but everywhere present, and he sees it in a workman clad in overalls and breaking stone quite as much as in a carefully harmonized landscape. He has no pose about the beauty of nature as against the beauty of man’s creations, and he thinks that a puffing freight engine, dragging a load of cars up a grade, is as much a thing to enthuse about as a graceful deer sniffing the scent of the hunter in some pine grove.

Imbued with a zeal for living and a desire for experience, O. has not been as successful as one more cautious and less impetuous might have been. He loves his profession so well that he would rather spend a day on an interesting case in the ward of some hospital than to treat half a dozen rich patients in his consulting room. His purpose is indeed unified; he seeks to learn and to impart, but the making of money seems to him a necessary irrelevance, almost an impertinent intrusion upon the real purposes of life. He is eager to know people, he shows a naive curiosity about them, an interest that flatters and charms. All the phenomena of life—esoteric, commonplace, queer and conventional—are grist to his mill.

His sexual life has not differed greatly from that of other men. In his early youth his passions outran his inhibitions, and he tasted of this type of experience with the same gusto with which he delved into books. As he reached early manhood he fell in love and pledged himself to chastity. Though he fell out of love soon his pledge remained in full force, and though he cursed himself as a fool he held himself aloof from sex adventure. When he was twenty-seven he again fell in love, had an impetuous and charming courtship and married. He loves his wife, and there is in their intimacy a buoyant yet controlled passion which values love for its own sake. He enters into his duties as father with the same zeal and appetite that characterizes his every activity.

O. is no mystic, proclaiming his unity with all existence, in the fashion of Walt Whitman. Rather he is a man with a huge capacity for pleasure, not easily disgusted or annoyed, with desires that reach in every direction yet with controlled purpose to guide his life. As he passes into middle age he finds his pleasures narrowing, as all men do, and he finds his appetites and tastes are becoming more restricted. This is because his purpose becomes more dominant, his habits are more imperious, his energy less exuberant. In thought O. is almost a pessimist because his knowledge of life, his intelligence and his sympathy make it difficult to understand the need of suffering, of disease and of conflict. But in emotion he still remains an optimist, glad to be alive at any price and rejoicing in the life of all things.

Apropos of this contradiction between thought and mood, it is sometimes found reversed. There are those whose philosophy is optimistic, who will not see aught but good in the world, yet whose facial expression and actions exhibit an essential melancholy.

In every category of character there are specialists, individuals whose main reactions are built around one great trait. Thus there are those whose egoism takes the form of pride in family, or in personal beauty, or some intellectual capacity, or in being independent of others, who worship self-reliance or self-importance. There are the individuals whose social instincts express themselves in loquacity, in a talkativeness that is the main joy of their lives, though not at all the joy of other lives. A fascinating series of personalities in this respect come to my mind—L. B., who talks at people, never with them, since he seems to take no note of their replies; T. K., who seems to regard conversation as largely a means of demonstrating her superiority, for she picks her subjects with the care a general selects his battlefield; F., who is a born pedagogue and seeks to instruct whoever listens to him, whose conversation is a lecture and a monologue; R. O., the reticent, says little but that pertinent and relevant, cynical and shrewd; and R. V., who says little and that with timidity and error. So there are specialists in caution and "common sense," self-controlled, never rash, calculating, cool and egotistic, narrow and successful. Every one knows this type, as every one knows the "fool," with his poor judgment, his unwise confidence in himself and others, his lack of restraint. There is the tactful man, conciliating, pliant, seeking his purposes through the good will of others which he obtains by "oil" and agreeableness, and there is the aggressive man, preferring to fight, energetic, at times rash, apt to be domineering, and crashing on to victory or defeat according to the caliber of his opponents and the nature of the circumstances.

Those whose ego feeling is high, whose desire for superiority matches up well with their feeling of superiority are often called the conceited. Really they are conceited only if they show their feelings, as, for example, does W. Wherever he goes W. seeks to occupy the center of the stage, brags of his achievements and his fine qualities. "I am the kind" is his prefix to his bragging. W. thinks that everything he does or says is interesting to others, and even that his illnesses are fascinating to others. If he has a cold he takes a remarkable pride in detailing every pain and ache and every degree of temperature, as if the experience were remarkable and somehow creditable. But W. is very jealous of other’s achievements and is bored to death except when he can talk or perform.

W. does not know how to camouflage his egoism, but F. does. Fully convinced of his own superiority and with a strong urge at all times to demonstrate this, he "knows enough" to camouflage, to disguise and modify its manifestations. In this way he manages to be popular, just as W. is decidedly unpopular, and many mistake him for modest. When he wishes to put over his own opinion he prefaces his statements by "they say," and though whatever organization he enters he wishes to lead, he manages to give the impression that he is reluctant to take a prominent part. A man of ability and good judgment, the narrow range of F.’s sympathies, his lack of sincere cordial feeling, is hidden by a really artistic assumption of altruism that deceives all save those who through long acquaintance know his real character. One sees through W. on first meeting, he wears no mask or disguise; but F. defies detection, though their natures are not radically different except in wisdom and tact.

Half and more of the actions, poses and speech of men and women is to demonstrate superiority or to avoid inferiority. There are some who feel inwardly inferior, yet disguise this feeling successfully. This feeling of inferiority may arise from purely accidental matters, such as appearance, deformity, tone of voice, etc., and the individual may either hide, become seclusive or else brazen it out, so to speak.

A famous Boston physician was a splendid example of a brusque, overbearing mask used to hide a shrinking, timid, subjectively inferior personality. Always very near-sighted and unattractive, he was essentially shy and modest but decided or felt that this was a rough world and the way to get ahead was to be rough. Towards the weak and sick he was kindness itself—gentle, sympathetic and patient—but towards his colleagues he was a boor. Distant, haughty, quick to demand all the consideration due him, he was noted far and wide for the caustic way he attacked others for their opinions and beliefs and the respect he required for his own. The general opinion of physicians was that he was a conceited, arrogant, aristocratic man, and he was avoided except for his medical opinion, which was usually very sound. Those admitted to the sanctum of this man’s real self knew him to be really modest and self-deprecatory, anxious to do right and almost obsessed by the belief that he knew but little compared to others.

One day there walked into my office a lady, head of a large enterprise, who had been pointed out to me some time previously as the very personification of self-assurance and superiority. A dignified woman of middle age, whose reserve and correct manners impressed one at once; she bore out in career and casual conversation this impression of one whose confidence and belief in herself were not misplaced, in other words, a harmoniously developed egotist. What she came to consult me about, was—her feeling of inferiority!

All of her life, said she, she had been overawed by others. As a girl her mother ruled her, and her younger sister, more charming and more vivacious, was the pet of the family. Brought up in a strict church, she developed a firmness of speech and conduct that inhibited the frankness and friendliness of her social contacts. Because of this, and her overserious attitudes generally, girls of her own age rather avoided her, and she became painfully self-conscious in their company as well as in the company of men. She wanted to "let go" but could not, and in time felt that there was something lacking in her, that people laughed at her behind her back and that no one really liked her. Her reaction to this was to determine that she would not show her real feelings, that she would deal with the world on a basis of "business only" and cut out friendship from her life. Her intelligence and her devotion to her work brought her success, and she would have gone her way without regard for her "inferiority complex" had not chance thrown in her way a young woman colleague who saw through her elder’s pose and became her friend. My patient drank in this friendship with an avidity the greater for her long loneliness, and she was very happy until the younger woman fell in love with a man and began to neglect her colleague.

This broke Miss B.’s spirit. "Had I not known friendship I might have gone on, but now I feel that every one must see what a fool I am and what a fool I have been. I am more shy than ever, I feel as if every one were really stronger than I am, and that some day everybody will see through my pose,—and then where will I be?"

Hide-and-go-seek is one of the great games of adults as well as of children. We hide our own defects and seek the defects of others in order to avoid inferiority and to feel competitive superiority. But there is a deep contradiction in our natures: we seek to display ourselves as we are to those who we feel love us, and we hide our real self from the enemy or the stranger. The protective marking of birds and insects "amateurish compared to the protective marking we apply to ourselves.

I forbear from depicting further character types. People are not as easily classified as automobiles, and the combinations possible exceed computation. Character growth, in each individual human being, is a growth in likeness to others and a growth in unlikeness, as well. As we move from childhood to youth, and thence to middle and old age, qualities appear and recede, and the personality passes along to unity and harmony or else there is disintegration. He who believes as I do that the Grecian sage was immortally right when he enjoined man to know himself will agree that though understanding character is a difficult discipline it is the principal science of life. We are only starting such a science; we need to approach our subject with candor and without prejudice. Though our subject brings us in direct contact with the deepest of problems, the meaning of life, the nature of the Ego and the source of consciousness, these we must ignore as out of our knowledge. Limiting ourselves to a humble effort to know our fellow men and our own selves, we shall find that our efforts not only add to our knowledge but add unmeasurably to our sympathy with and our love for our fellows.


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Chicago: Abraham Myerson, "Chapter XVII. Some Character Types," The Foundations of Personality, trans. Macaulay, Thomas Babington Macaulay, Baron, 1800-1859 in The Foundations of Personality (London: Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1831), Original Sources, accessed July 17, 2024,

MLA: Myerson, Abraham. "Chapter XVII. Some Character Types." The Foundations of Personality, translted by Macaulay, Thomas Babington Macaulay, Baron, 1800-1859, in The Foundations of Personality, London, Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1831, Original Sources. 17 Jul. 2024.

Harvard: Myerson, A, 'Chapter XVII. Some Character Types' in The Foundations of Personality, trans. . cited in 1831, The Foundations of Personality, Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, London. Original Sources, retrieved 17 July 2024, from