Illusions





A physician who wishes to use psychotherapy effectively should know

something about physiological psychology, or analytical or

experimental psychology, as it is variously called, because of the

help that he will derive from it in understanding many of his

patients' symptoms. Fortunately this branch is now being taught in

some of the medical schools, and the greater requirements for

preliminary training bring to the medical school men who have already

had a course in this subject. The chapter on Illusions is particularly

important because it affords many illustrations of how easy it is to

be deceived by the senses and, therefore, how many precautions have to

be taken in order to be sure that impressions produced on patients'

minds that seriously disturb them may not merely be due to

exaggeration of the significance of information brought them by their

senses.



These illusions are of special interest because they represent not

only failures of the senses to convey truth, but because they

illustrate how easy it is for the mind to be led astray by the senses.

People often declare that they have seen things with their own eyes or

in some other way have definite sensory knowledge of them, yet these

illusions make it clear that it is perfectly possible for such sensory

phenomena to convey quite mistaken information. People who are

suffering from many symptoms are persuaded that they must pay

attention to their sensations. The main purpose of the

psychotherapeutist often is to have them neglect their sensations and

correct them by means of information gathered from other sources. We

do this with regard to our sensory illusions, why not also with regard

to many sensations which are probably quite as mistaken, in certain

individuals at least, as these universal illusions of mankind. The

argument from analogy holds very well and can be used to decided

advantage in many cases.



A startling illusion which makes it clear that care is needed in

interpreting our sensations, is the so-called tube illusion or

experiment. If a sheet of note paper be rolled into a tube of

something less than an inch in diameter and then held close to one

eye, both eyes being kept open, while the hand opposite to the eye

before which the tube is held is placed palm faceward against the side

of the tube about its middle, a hole will be seen, as it were, through

the palm of the hand. This false vision is as clear as can be and

persists after any number of repetitions of the experiment. It merely

illustrates two-eyed vision. We have a picture in each eye and we

combine them. When the pictures cannot be combined for any reason,

optical illusions result. There are many more optical illusions than

we think and there are many reasons besides two-eyed vision for them.



Other illusions of two-eyed vision may be illustrated rather easily.

If two dots are made on a sheet of paper about two inches apart

and the eyes look at them in a dreamy way, looking far beyond the

paper, with vision more or less fixed between them, after a few

moments a number of things happen. Usually the two dots exhibit a

tendency to float together.






After an interval four dots will be seen--each of the dots having a

picture in each eye. Then only one dot may be seen because the

pictures combine. Sometimes three dots will be seen. When the dots

swim toward one another, a curious feeling of insecurity comes over

the experimenter, showing how much our sense of stability is dependent

on vision and illustrating why vision from a height is so disturbing

because objects cannot be properly fixed on the distant background.




vertical line, a bird)]



Just as the two dots may be made to come together, so, after a little

practice, a bird may be made to go into a cage (Fig, 27) or an apple

made to go onto a plate (Fig. 28),






These illusions show how many things that people "see with their

own eyes" are not so. All depends on the attention and the state of

mind at the time when the seeing is done. In day-dreams these

illusions often occur and may be the basis of delusions.






There are, however, a number of optical illusions which illustrate

certain defects of our vision that cannot be corrected, no matter how

much we may desire to see correctly. We continue to see them not as

they are but as they seem, and we must correct our vision by

information from other sources. The Mueller-Lyer lines are familiar and

are given here (Fig. 29) because they show how easily the senses

may deceive us, even that most acute of our senses, vision, as to the

sizes of things.




each is like a funnel cut parallel to its axis and laid flat. )]



Figure 30 illustrates how easy it is to be deceived by the

juxtaposition of different portions of objects. I have had a woman who

had cut out high collars for children and who happened to put them in

the juxtaposition of the sketch here given think that she was either

losing her sight or her judgment was being affected by the nervous

condition in which she was. Nothing would persuade her that some

serious development was not taking place until I showed her this

illustration. In this illusion the juxtaposition of the short curved

line to the long curved line of the other figure produces all the

disturbance of judgment of size.



The illusions of filled and unfilled space are interesting and are

quite inevitable. They are due to physiological visual effects and are

very strikingly illustrated by what is known as the sun and moon

illusion. Both these luminaries seem larger at the horizon than they

are at the zenith. This is entirely an optical illusion. The horizon

seems farther away than the zenith because vision to it is

interrupted. The heavens appear not to be a half sphere, but more like

an old-fashioned watch glass.




vertical lines; B--a square consisting of closely spaces horizontal

lines; C--a empty square with only its exterior boundaries.)]



Since the sun and moon occupying the same space on the retina are,

because of this apparent difference of distance, judged to be farther

away at the horizon than they are at the zenith, we are inevitably

forced to the conclusion that they are larger in size than when in the

other position. The over-estimation of filled space as compared with

the unfilled is mainly due to the interrupted muscular action of

the eyes in traveling over the space requiring more effort. This makes

it seem longer. Probably physiological processes on the retina also

contribute to the illusion. A series of objects, even dots, will cause

a greater physiological excitation of the retina than an equal amount

of space, the boundaries of which alone are brought to our attention.



Illusions of size are even more startling than illusions of distance.

It is perfectly possible to take three spaces, each exactly a square

inch, and by drawing lines in two of them in different directions to

make the figures appear of very different size. This is a rather

disturbing illusion, particularly for women who are apt to think that

perpendicular lines make them appear tall and thin, while horizontal

lines have the opposite effect. This is true if the lines are not

placed quite close together. The reason why women wear many ribbons,

however, whether they themselves recognize it or not, is that the

attraction of attention to these makes the space in which they are

seem longer. Hussars are dressed in uniforms with many rows of gilt

cord or braid running across their chests in order to increase their

apparent height. As a rule, a cavalry man must not weigh over 140

pounds or his horse will break down in long, forced marches. Such men

are often of small stature and their apparent height must be increased

by their uniform, so as to make them look formidable. Advantage is

taken of this optical illusion of filled space to produce this effect.






Other illusions of size are quite frequent. It is rather hard for the

ordinary observer to think that the half circles, a and a' (Fig.

32), are the same size, or that b and b' in the same chart are the

same curve. The interruption in the circles c and c' produce very

curious erroneous impressions which require a knowledge of this

illusion to correct.



Optical illusions with regard to directions of lines are extremely

common. Quite unconsciously we translate directions into special

meanings. This is what enables perspective to be effective in

drawings. It has many disturbing features, however. Some of these are

striking illustrations of the defects of our vision.




lines passing under them.)]




diagonal white lines; each diagonal line has several intersecting

lines; the upper left diagonal has horizontal intersecting lines,

the next diagonal has vertical intersections; etc.)]



Poggendorf's illustration of the displacement of oblique lines (Figure

33) and Zoellner's distortion of parallel lines as illustrated by

Figure 34, make it very clear that our judgment of direction must

depend on many factors besides our vision, if we are not to make

serious mistakes.



These optical illusions might seem to be of little significance, but

the Greeks thought them of so much importance and recognized so

thoroughly that they could not be corrected, and that the distortions

and displacements would inevitably take place, that they deliberately

put certain optical corrections into their great architectural

monuments in order to avoid these false appearances. These have been

traced very accurately in the Parthenon, for instance. In a word, the

Greeks, knowing of these optical illusions, in order to make the lines

of their buildings appear correct, deliberately made them wrong to a

sufficient degree to correct the optical illusion; This frank mode of

yielding to a limitation of human nature is a fine lesson for patients

to learn if they can only be made to learn it from these

illustrations.



It is with regard to colors, however, that we have the best examples

of optical illusions depending on the individual and his special

anatomy and physiology. Color-blind people are quite sure that they

see color, just as other people do, until their defect is demonstrated

to them. A man who is color blind for red thinks that he sees that

color as other people do, while all that he sees is a particular shade

of brightness which, because other people call it red, he has come to

call red. When asked to pick out red from a series of other colors he

may often succeed. When asked, however, to take a skein of red wool

selected for him to a basket containing a number of different colored

wools, and to bring back all those that are of the same color, he will

select grays and browns and sometimes greens as well as reds, and

present them as all matched colors. A man who is color blind for all

colors will still think that he sees colors as other people do. The

ingenious illustration of the American flag as it appears to people

suffering from different forms of color blindness, though they are all

persuaded that they see the same kind of flag, is an interesting

example of how different may be people's sensations, though their

conclusions are the same. It may be seen in many of the text books of

analytical or experimental psychology.







Dalton, to whom we owe the atomic theory, was himself color blind for

red and made the first investigations in that subject. He was of

Quaker origin and found that a great many of his brethren were

deficient in color vision. It becomes much easier from this to

understand why they resolved to wear nothing but gray. They did not

see colors as other people do and therefore could not understand nor

sympathize with the joy of other people in color. Dalton tells the

story of a Quaker prominent in his sect who once went to town to buy a

gray waistcoat and purchased instead one of bright red. When he

appeared at meeting in this he was promptly tried for heresy and

violation of church regulations.



There is an interesting tendency on the part of people who are

themselves defective in certain faculties of sensation, to conclude

that when other people are wrapt in admiration of something that they

cannot perceive, it is because these other people have some mental

defect that leads them to enthuse too easily over their sensations. A

story is told of a newspaper man who used to insist that all that was

said about the beauty of the song of birds was due to the vivid

imagination of the writers, for he could find nothing to admire about

the songs of birds. He was placed in a room with a number of fine song

birds all round him and it proved that he could not hear any of the

higher notes at all. It was easy, then, to understand his condemnation

of the enthusiasm of others as hysterical and imaginative. Nearly this

same thing is true of many quite intelligent people with regard to

music. They hear ordinary sounds, as did the newspaper man, very well.

They are tone-deaf however, that is, they are quite unable to hear and

appreciate combinations of sounds or even to catch melodious

successions of single notes. They cannot recognize one tune from

another and often do not know "Yankee Doodle" from the "Doxology," or,

at most, know only the most familiar tunes, but they set themselves up

very calmly as judges of the intellects of others and conclude that

music lovers are really a hysterical set of people who go into

ecstasies over certain quite insignificant sensations.



These interesting tendencies are helpful in enabling the physician to

understand his patients better. They often serve as texts from which

the physician can explain curious things to patients who are prone to

draw wrong conclusions from them and often suggestions unfavorable to

their health.



These illustrations and their discussion serve to make very clear the

distinction between illusions, delusions and hallucinations, which are

often confounded. Illusions are deceptions of the senses. If a man

walking along a country road where he fears the presence of snakes

sees in the gathering twilight a piece of rope coiled, he will almost

surely mistake it for a snake. This is an illusion produced by the

conditions in which the object is seen. If walking along the same road

the next day, more timorous than ever as to snakes, he should see in

broad daylight the same coil of rope, he might in his fright not stay

long enough to decide whether it was a snake or not, and his illusion

would continue, though it would partake somewhat of the nature of a

delusion due to fright disturbing his judgment. If, in spite of

careful examination, however, of it, such as would satisfy any

ordinary mind that it was a coil of rope and not a snake, he should

still insist in believing that it was a snake, this would be a

delusion. There is always a mental element in delusions. If, having

seen nothing, he should insist, owing to fright and nervousness

or to some other cause, that he sees a snake where there is nothing at

all resembling a snake and where evidently whatever is the basis of

his idea of the presence of the snake, is within his own mind, then he

is suffering from an hallucination.



Illusions may be quite inevitable. Most of the optical illusions

continue to appeal to us as truths even when we know that they

represent errors of vision. In spite of the fact that we know that the

sun and moon are not larger at the horizon than they are at the

zenith, by optical illusion we continue to see them of larger size. It

is our duty to correct such illusions by information gathered from

other sources. To follow an illusion, that is, to give it credit, when

we should correct it, is a delusion. To think that because we cannot

see red that therefore there is no red, or because we do not hear the

sounds of notes of birds that they do not utter any notes, in spite of

the fact that we have the testimony of nearly the whole human race to

the contrary, is a delusion. When, using the verb in its broadest

sense, as "perceive," we seem to see things very differently from the

generality of people around us, there is every reason to suspect that

there is some specific or individual limitation of our senses which

makes us fail to perceive these things as others do. We have to

suspect our sources of information then and to correct them by what we

can learn from the experience of others. These are important

considerations for many of the ideas that patients cherish with regard

to themselves and their ills.



Hallucinations are entirely mental. But the phenomena that sometimes

appear to be hallucinations may be due to illusions of the senses

within the organism. For instance, those who indulge in cocaine often

have the feeling of having a veil over the face, or of having run into

a cobweb or something of that kind. The presence of the veil or the

cobweb on the face is probably not an hallucination, but is due to

certain disturbances in the circulation, or perhaps in the nerves

themselves, which affect the nerve endings of the face, causing them

to tingle in a particular way, and this sensation is translated as

coming from without in terms of something that has been felt before.

Some of the appearances of muscae volitantes, or of specks before

the eyes, or occasionally of wavy lines, are due to disturbances of

the circulation within the eyeball which cause corresponding

disturbances of the optic nerve, with consequent apparent visions.

When the eyeball is pressed upon, the sensation first produced is that

of light and not of pain, because whenever a nerve of special sense is

irritated, it produces its own specific sensation in the brain.



The chilly stage in malaria is a typical example of a physical

condition having an effect upon sensory nerves that more or less

necessarily produces a delusion. The patient is actually at the height

of his fever when the chilliness and shivering come on and when he

demands a larger amount of covers in order to protect himself from the

cold he will often have a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, or

even higher. What has happened is that the little blood vessels at the

surface of the body are shut up by the effect of the plasmodium upon

the system. Whenever we are cold these little blood vessels shut up in

order to protect the blood from being chilled by the external

atmosphere. The shutting up of the little blood vessels deprives, for

the time being, the terminal nerves in the neighborhood of some of

their nourishment. Their response is to set up a tremor or shivering,

which will mechanically tend to open the blood vessels so that

they may have their nourishment once more. Whenever we have a set of

sensations that correspond to this connected set of events, we

translate them as feeling cold. The outer air does feel cold to the

body because the blood is not flowing through to the surface as it

would normally in order to warm it. Hence the chilliness. This is not

an hallucination; but an illusion with something of a delusion in it;

until we know how things are. Nervousness may set our teeth chattering

just as it may cause tremor through our sympathetic nervous system,

disturbing the flow of blood through muscles and so disturbing control

of them. Vehement emotion, anger, fright, and even those of less

violence may cause similar effects. All these phenomena illustrate the

close relation between mind and body.







APPENDIX II



RELIGION AND PSYCHOTHERAPY





Religion and psychotherapy have, of late, come to have many relations

to each other and many interests in common, at least in the minds of a

number of clergymen, and in popular estimation. There is no doubt but

that religion can do much to soothe troubled men and women, even when

their troubles are entirely physical in nature and origin. It at least

lessens the unfavorable effect of worry in exaggerating such

pathological processes as are at work. All diseases, functional and

organic, are rendered worse by solicitude, while many troublesome

symptoms become quite bearable if only the patient does not dwell on

them too much but takes them as they come, carefully refraining from

emphasizing them by over-attention. That is the very essence of

psychotherapy. Religion, in the sense of trust in divine wisdom, can

do much to originate and maintain this imperturbed frame of mind.

People who are without religion, that is, without the feeling that

somehow all their ills are a part of the great plan of the universe,

the mystery of which is insoluble, but the recognition of which is

demanded by reason, and who lack the assurance that somehow, in

Browning's phrase:



"God's in His Heaven-

All's right with the world!"



-- are more prone to give way to over-anxiety and consequently to make

themselves suffer more in all their ills, than is necessary or even

likely in the more favorable state of mind of those whose trust in

Providence is thorough and efficient.



In recent years there has been in the general population a distinct

loss of faith in the great religious truths that are so helpful in

engendering a peaceful state of mind in suffering. Many have come, if

not to doubt of the Providence of the Creator, at least to feel that

we do not know enough about it to place any such supreme dependence on

it in the trials of life as would make it a source of relief, or at

least consolation, in suffering. This same spirit of doubt has

paralyzed faith in the hereafter and in all that trust in it brings,

to sufferers, of consolation to come for their ills if these are borne

as becomes rational creatures whose suffering has a purpose, though we

may not comprehend it. Some people are destined by their physical

make-up or by accidental conditions to considerable suffering. There

are many ailments that are incurable and are definitely known to be

incurable. Some of these entail great suffering of body and even more

suffering of mind. Such suffering becomes quite unbearable unless the

patient is of a very stoic disposition, or unless the thought of a

hereafter in which the sufferings of this life will have a meaning is

present to console.







Great scientists in the midst of all our advance in science--one need

but mention here such men as Lord Kelvin, Clerk Maxwell, Johann

Mueller, Laennec, Pasteur, Claude Bernard, though the number might

easily be multiplied--have insisted that the existence of a Creator is

absolutely demanded by what we know of the physical universe. "Science

demonstrates the existence of a Creator," is Lord Kelvin's expression.

The existence of a Creator implies, also, the existence of laws made

by Him, by which His universe is regulated in every detail, nothing

being left to chance. Chance is indeed only a term which indicates

that we do not know the causes at work. If somehow the Creator's power

has been sufficient to bring the manifold things of the universe into

existence according to a plan in which there is no such interference

with one another as would cause serious disturbance of the universal

order around us, then He can be trusted also to care for even the

minutest details of creation and of human life.



In the gradual disintegration of the religious sense which has come as

a consequence of certain materialistic tendencies in nineteenth

century education and science, these religious sources of consolation

have been shut off from a great many people. They have come to the

feeling of being portions of a machine that moves hopelessly on,

somehow, on the old principle, "The mills of the gods grind slow, but

they grind exceeding fine." The sufferings of humanity then, are, for

these people, only a portion of a great universe of suffering that is

constantly going on but for which they can see no reason and no

purpose. Lucretius's lines which make human sufferings the butt of the

jokes of the gods who look gleefully on from their Elysian happiness,

would represent the feelings of these doubters better than any

religious expression. We have come back in this age, when evolution

has so much influenced the thought of the time, after the curious

cyclic fashion in which human thought repeats itself from era to era,

to the attitude of mind of the old Roman poet who almost singly among

his contemporaries, had been deeply affected by the same doctrine of

evolution. The pessimism he was prone to as to the significance of

human life has become once more the fashion.



Such pessimistic thoughts do not come, as a rule, while people are in

good health, but they assert themselves with double emphasis in

moments of trial and suffering. Lucretius himself is said to have

committed suicide. The result of the diffusion of this materialistic

pessimism in our time has been a gradual preparation for a revulsion

of feeling in many minds. One manifestation of this reaction has been

seen in a form of religion which denies entirely the existence of

evil. God the Creator is good and therefore there can be no evil in

His world. Whatever of evil there is, is only due to man's failure to

see the entirety of things. Evil is an error of mortal mind--only that

and nothing more. In spite of the manifest absurdity of the underlying

principle, if people can only be brought to persuade themselves that

there is no such thing as evil or suffering, then many of their

discomforts disappear, all of their symptoms grow less and a sense of

well-being results. It is, indeed, surprising how many even physical

ills will be relieved by this state of mind if sincerely accepted. It

is the highest possible tribute to psychotherapy and the curative

influence of mind over body.



Another phase of this revulsion of feeling has been the institution of

a church movement that would make sufferers realize once more all the

consolations there are in religion. The sufferer is brought to a

renewed lively sense of the presence of the Creator in the universe

and of His care for His creatures. The great purpose of suffering in

making people better and stripping them of their meanness and

selfishness is brought out. Anyone who has ever had called to his

attention the difference between two brothers, one of whom has been

chastened by suffering above which he has risen by character

development, and another who has enjoyed good health and prosperity

all his life, will realize how much of good suffering means in the

world. Pain is not in itself an evil, but a warning, and most of the

trials of life can rather readily be shown to partake of this

character. A man who can be made to submit himself, then, to the will

of the Creator and be persuaded to acknowledge that somehow we must

try to work out our part in the great scheme of things behind which

the Creator stands, is somewhat like the soldier ready even when tired

and worn out, to go in on a forlorn hope, because he has confidence

that he is executing a part of the plan of his general for his

country's welfare, though he does not know how, and he is quite well

aware that it is going to cost him much in pain and suffering, and

perhaps his life.



There is no doubt that an abiding sense of religion does much for

people in the midst of their ailments and, above all, keeps them from

developing those symptoms due to nervous worry and solicitude which so

often are more annoying to the patient than the actual sufferings he

or she may have to bear. While religion is often said to predispose to

certain mental troubles, it is now well appreciated by psychiatrists

that it is not religion that has the tendency to disturb the mind, but

a disequilibrated mind has a tendency to exaggerate out of all reason

its interests in anything that it takes up seriously. Whether the

object of the attention be business, or pleasure, or sexuality, or

religion, the unbalanced mind pays too much attention to it, becomes

too exclusively occupied with it, and this over-indulgence helps to

form a vicious circle of unfavorable influence. While many people in

their insanity, then, show exaggerated interest in religion, this is

only like other exaggerated interests of the disequilibrated, and

religion itself is not the cause but only a coincidence in the matter.



Clouston, in his book on "Unsoundness of Mind" (Methuen, London,

1911), put this very well when he said, "It is true that religion,

touching as it does, in the most intense way the emotional nature, and

the spiritual instincts of mankind, sometimes appears to cause and is

often mixed up with insanity. But in nearly all such cases the brain

of the individual was originally unstable, specially emotional,

over-sensitive, hyperconscientious, and often somewhat weak in the

intellectual and inhibitory faculties and, if looked for, other causes

will usually be found." He had said just before, "To talk of

'religious insanity' as if it were a definite and definable form is in

my judgment a mistake."



On the contrary, there is now a growing conviction that a deep

religious feeling, a sense of dependence on and trust in the Almighty,

will do more than anything else to keep people from those neurotic

manifestations which so often are seen in our day and are growing more

and more frequent as life becomes more strenuous and more attention is

paid to the material side of things, to the exclusion of the

spiritual. How true this is may be judged from expressions that have

been used in recent years by well-known specialists in nervous

diseases and in psychology. These have included men who were often not

believers in religion themselves but who recognized its influence for

good for others. Such expressions are to be found in the writings of

men of every nationality. Not infrequently, in spite of their own

religious affiliation, they acknowledge what a profound influence

certain forms of religion have over people. These testimonies have

been multiplying in our medical literature in recent years, because

apparently physicians have come to appreciate much better by contrast

the influence for good of religion over some of their patients, since

so many of the sufferers from nervous diseases they see have not this

source of consolation to recur to.



In America we have a number of such testimonies. In his "Self Help for

Nervous Women" Dr. John K. Mitchell of Philadelphia, who may be taken

to represent in this matter the Philadelphia School of Neurologists,

to which his father has lent such distinction, said:



It is certainly true that considering as examples two such widely

separated forms of religious belief as the Orthodox Jews and the

strict Roman Catholics, one does not see as many patients from them

as from their numbers might be expected, especially when it is

remembered that Jews as a whole are very nervous people and that the

Roman Church includes in this country among its members numbers of

the most emotional race in the world.



Of only one sect can I recall no example. It is not in my memory

that a professing Quaker ever came into my hands to be treated for

nervousness. If the opinion I have already stated so often is

correct, namely that want of control of the emotions and the

over-expression of the feelings are prime causes of nervousness,

then the fact that discipline of the emotions is a lesson early and

constantly taught by the Friends, would help to account for the

infrequency of this disorder among them and adds emphasis to the

belief in such a causation.



Prof. Muensterberg, who may be fairly taken to represent the German

school, but whose long years of residence in America have made him a

cosmopolitan, is quite as positive in his declaration of the place

that religion may hold in making human suffering less. In his

"Psychotherapy" he devotes considerable attention to the subject. The

religious discipline, that is, the training of human beings from their

earliest years to recognize that there is a higher law than their own

feelings and that they must suppress many of their desires and take

evil as it comes as a portion of human life, is of itself, he insists,

an excellent preparation to enable the individual to bear up under the

physical and mental trials of life and to make many symptoms that

would otherwise be almost intolerable, quite bearable. It is from

earliest years that this training must make itself felt, and Prof.

Muensterberg insists that from early childhood the self-control has to

be strong and the child has to learn from the beginning to know the

limits to the gratification of his desires and to abstain from

reckless self-indulgence. A good conscience, he says, a congenial home

and a serious purpose, are, after all, the safest conditions for a

healthy man, and the community does effective work in preventive

psychotherapy whenever it facilitates the securing of these factors.



Self-denial has always been one of the main elements of religious

training, and indeed was declared a chief source of merit for the

hereafter. The modern psychotherapeutist, however, preaches

self-denial almost as strenuously as the religious minister of the

olden time, only now not for any religious merit or reward, but

because it makes life more pleasant and by that much happier. When men

and women have learned to deny themselves in their younger years, it

is not hard to stand even pain when they grow older, and pain is

inevitable in every human life and the training to stand it is

therefore worth while. Pain borne with equanimity is lessened by

one-half if not in its intensity then at least in its power to

disturb, and since religion will do this it possesses an important

remedial value. Here is where religion is particularly valuable and

the passing of it from many minds has thrown them back on themselves

and left them without profound interests, so that they occupy

themselves overmuch with the trivial incidents of life within them and

disturb the course of many of their functions by giving exaggerated

thought to them. Religion adds a great purpose to life and such a

purpose keeps men and women to a great extent from being disturbed

about trifles.



Of course, it would be too bad if religion should do no more than

this. This, however, is the only phase of it with which we are

concerned here. We may think very strongly with Prof. Muensterberg,

that it would be quite wrong to assign to it only this place in life.

He says: "The meaning of religion in life is entirely too deep that it

should be employed merely for the purpose of lessening the pains and

aches of humanity and the dreads that are so often more imaginary than

real." He insists that "It cheapens religion by putting the accent of

its meaning in life on personal comfort and absence of pain." He adds,

"If there is one power in life which ought to develop in us a

conviction that pleasure is not the highest goal and that pain is not

the worst evil, then it ought to be philosophy and religion."

Present-day movements, however, tend to subordinate religion to

this-worldliness rather than to other-worldliness, and by just that

much they take out of religion its real significance. We are here on

trial for another world is the thought that in the past strengthened

men to bear all manner of ills, if not with equanimity, at least

without exaggerated reaction. It has still the power to do so for all

those who accept it simply and sincerely.





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