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Money-Kyrle, R. (1935). Applied: Edward Glover, Morris Ginsberg and John Rickman: 'A Symposium on the Psychology of Peace and War.' British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1934, Vol. XIV, Part 3, pp. 274–293.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 16:491-492.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Applied: Edward Glover, Morris Ginsberg and John Rickman: 'A Symposium on the Psychology of Peace and War.' British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1934, Vol. XIV, Part 3, pp. 274–293.

(1935). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 16:491-492

Applied: Edward Glover, Morris Ginsberg and John Rickman: 'A Symposium on the Psychology of Peace and War.' British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1934, Vol. XIV, Part 3, pp. 274–293.

Roger Money-Kyrle

Dr. Glover: War is a disease, a functional abnormality, or better, an inexpedient form of instinct adaptation to be diagnosed and treated on psycho-analytic lines. Crises leading to mental illness are due either to inefficiency or to excessive function of the unconscious defensive mechanisms developed by the mind in its early struggles with primitive destructive and sexual instincts. Of these mechanisms none are more dramatic than projection and introjection, which are typical of the paranoid and melancholic psychoses of adult life and correspond with homicidal and suicidal systems respectively. Thus war illustrates the operation of projection, while in pacifism, introjection has on the whole prevailed. In the general public, who are neither militarist nor pacifist, projection and introjection have established a rough balance, which however has three drawbacks: it will not withstand a crisis, and it prevents the man in the street realizing that the external problem of war is urgent, or that it is identical with his own internal problem. The man in the street is too peaceful to be a pacifist; the pacifist in his urgent need to arrive at conclusions and results is too militant to be effective; and the militarist is too desperately in need of inner peace to forego war.

Professor Ginsberg: According to August Compte, there are three stages of social development in the theoretical realm which correspond with three stages in the practical realm; the theological, metaphysical and positivist stages being correlated respectively with aggressive militarism, defensive militarism and peaceful industrialism. Herbert Spencer, on the other hand, distinguished two types of society: a militant type based on coercion, and an industrial type characterized by voluntary co-operation. Society,

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in his opinion, was becoming more industrial and less militant. Both philosophers were blind to the rise of industrial imperialism. Both illustrate the defects common to the comparative method in sociology. They choose their data in accordance with their preconceptions, and pass too readily from empirical sequences to laws.

Psycho-analytic theories have the immense advantage of being based on concrete data. But there seems to be some ambiguity in the opposition between endopsychic and environmental factors. Are the endopsychic factors innately determined? Or are they partly determined by early environment? If so, the form taken by aggressive impulses within the family, which is used to explain aggression within the larger whole of society, may be itself influenced by variations in the social setting. And in general, without sociological studies (of early and later environmental factors) we cannot say why the aggression expresses itself now in war, now in other forms of violence.

Dr. Rickman opening the discussion: The factors of heredity and environment approach each other most closely in the period (before five) when the child is building up a critic, judge or friend within himself. If, in the formative years, the primitive impulses are predominantly destructive, this mentor will be harsh and the individual's mental life will be unstable and he will be prone to war; if the primitive impulses are predominantly friendly, the mentor will be kindly and the individual's mental life will be stable and he will live at peace. Now the child exists chiefly in a world of his own emotions and will regard frustrations as harsh, though in fact they are neutral or benevolent, if his destructive impulses are at the time pressing strongly for action. It is therefore most unlikely that a deliberate change in the policy of nursery discipline will affect the incidence of war.

A prerequisite of the state of peace in the individual is the capacity to bestow affection on unidealized objects and to accept the fact of there being destructive impulses in himself and in others.

It is questionable whether the total abolition of war, or other forms of aggression, is really desirable for man as we find him to-day. How far do the ambivalent emotions of citizens towards their state require the split into hated foreigners and beloved fatherland for the full working of their social instincts? If they were told that there would be no more war, many of them might lose their patriotism, which, however inadequate, may be all they are capable of.

Then there is another problem: A 'change of illness' may be in progress, more cyclical and less chronic in one phase. Man may be becoming less war-like; but not less 'war-prone'.

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Article Citation

Money-Kyrle, R. (1935). Applied. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 16:491-492

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