THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE BRAZILIAN PEOPLE
Analysis of the collective character -- The interpenetration of Afro-Indian and Iberic cultures -- The white enslaver and miscegenation -- The result of the contact of the three initial cul- tures -- The harmony and incompatibility of certain original traits -- Some fundamental traits -- The domination of the effective, the irrational, and the mystical -- Attitude toward life -- Fatalistic resignation -- Tolerance and hospitality -- Instinct of reaction of defense: reserve and irreverence -- Brazilian humor -- Plasticity in adaptation to new situations -- Lack of economic interests -- Lack of foresight and spendthrift habits -- Delicate and highly excitable sensibility -- Lively and superficial intelligence -- Lack of the positive spirit of objectivity and exactness -- Explosive will -- Capacity for great effort -- Action made up of impulses without constancy and without spirit of continuity -- Value attributed to the human person -- Anarchic individualism -- Individualism hindering political concentration -- Absence of the spirit of cooperation -- A people of pioneers -- Personal prestige and the social hierarchy -- The man of the coast and the man of the interior -- North and south -- Diversity of regional types and fundamental unity -- Transformations of mentality and their internal and external causes.
IT IS NOT only in the peculiar characteristics of their life, their customs, their language, and their institutions that a people, or more generally a human group, is distinguished from others. It is also by its temperament and collective character. A product of a great variety of factors, geographic, ethnic, economic, and social, in which the first two play an important part but not a preponderant one in its formation, the collective character is a synthesis of the most diverse elements harmonizing and resistant, which combine or tend to combine, constituting the original physiognomy of a people or a nation. "A temperament, collective or individual," emphasizes Durkheim, "is an eminently complex matter and cannot be reduced to a simple formula. Character in groups as in individuals is the very system of all of the mental elements; it is what makes their unity. But this unity is not tied up simply to the preponderance of one or another particular tendency, more or less marked." It is not, then, by generalizing our observation of individuals, but by analyzing the natural environment, and more than that the human environment, the institutions, and the historic and social evolution of each people, that it becomes possible to reconstitute, at least in its main lines, their character -- "explicable in itself, not by any single geographic or racial cause, but by the combination of multiple influences." The great natural forces like the physical environment, the climate, and the race shape, in fact, a people profoundly at the moment when its soul is still virgin; and prolonging their action through their history, observes Boutmy,1 these factors are capable by modifying the human environment of perpetuating hereditary traits which were imprinted from the beginning on the first generations.____________________