Group Mind: A Sketch of the Principles of Collective Psychology, with Some Attempt to Apply Them to the Interpretation of National Life and Character:

By William McDougall | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
Introductory

IN the first Part of this book we have reviewed the most general principles of collective mental life, beginning with the unorganised crowd as affording the simplest example, considering then an army as the simplest example of the profound modifications of collective mental life effected by organisation of the group. In the second Part we passed on to apply these principles to the understanding of the mind of the nation as the most important, complex, and interesting of all types of the group mind.

In the third Part I take up the consideration in a general way of the processes by which national mind and character are gradually built up and shaped in the long course of ages. For just as we cannot understand individual minds, their peculiarities and differences, without studying their development, so we cannot hope to understand national mind and character and the peculiarities and differences of nations, without studying the slow processes through which they have been built up in the course of centuries.

In an earlier chapter, in connection with the question of the importance of homogeneity of mental qualities as a condition of the existence of the national mind, I argued that race has really considerable influence in moulding the type of national mind. I recognised that differences of innate qualities between races, at any rate between allied subraces, are not great, and that they can be, and generally

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