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Low, B. (1924). The Machinery of the Mind. By Violet M. Firth. Foreword by A. G. Tansley. (Messrs. George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., London. Pp. 95. Price 3 s. 6 d. net.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 5:388-389.

(1924). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 5:388-389

The Machinery of the Mind. By Violet M. Firth. Foreword by A. G. Tansley. (Messrs. George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., London. Pp. 95. Price 3 s. 6 d. net.)

Review by:
Barbara Low

It is a little difficult to see the raison d'être of this volume, since so many small books of the kind were already in existence at the time of its publication, and one is surprised to read in the Introduction (p. 12) the following: 'So far as she (the author) is aware, there is no book that deals with psycho-pathology not from the point of view of the student, but from that of the patient, who needs an elementary knowledge of the laws of the mind in order to enable him to think hygienically'. Surely there is no lack of such books!

As the author states in her Introduction (p. 12) that 'the teachings of no special school of psychology are adhered to; the writer is indebted to all, but loyal to none, holding that in the absence of any accepted standard of authority in psychological science each student must review the doctrines offered for his adherence in the light of his own experience', we get, as might be expected, a good deal of confusion between various theories (such as a physiological and psychological conception of mind and brain) and, with a seeming adoption of the psycho-analytical standpoint, some serious misunderstanding of fundamental matters involved in such a standpoint. For example, in Chapter VI (p. 28) we read: 'When an idea enters the mind it does not remain an independent unit for very long. It seems to be a fundamental characteristic of ideas that they form alliances among themselves, and these groups of idea are technically known as complexes'.

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