THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
We shall best understand the real significance of the modern viewpoint in psychopathology if we trace its slow development and see why this development had to be so slow. Magic, religion, and science are the three chief methods through which man has tried to understand his place in the cosmos and to better it. Sir J. G. Frazer writes in his Golden Bough, "The movement of higher thought has been from magic through religion to science." He goes on to point out that recorded history of man's intellectual production could be compared to a web woven of three differently colored threads, the black thread of magic, the red thread of religion, and the white thread of science. History thus represented would be a long rope beginning almost wholly with black, then changing to black and red with a single white strand or two. Gradually and very slowly we come to modern times, where the black has tapered off and the white becomes predominant. Even today, however, the black of magic is clearly discernible and the red of religion is very striking. The individual sciences also could be illustrated by a similar picture. In modern times, the physical world about us is explained almost wholly scientifically; biological phenomena are explained at least semiscientifically; but we are only at the beginnings of a scientific psychology and sociology. It will be the purpose of this chapter to point out the how and why of this.
Despite the fact that there is a widespread belief that mental disorder is a modern problem, we can be fairly sure that it has always existed. Although social anthropological research shows that among primitive people the psychoses and the psychoneuroses are of a somewhat different sort, and perhaps less frequent than in modern industrialized society, we have no record of primitive tribes completely without mental disorders.1 Similarly, in the literature of early____________________
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Publication information: Book title: The Psychodynamics of Abnormal Behavior. Contributors: J. F. Brown - Author, Karl A. Menninger - Author. Publisher: McGraw-Hill. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1940. Page number: 23.