Exploring Your Mind (1928) by Albert Edward Wiggam- PDF ebook

Exploring Your Mind by Albert Edward Wiggam

Exploring Your Mind
Exploring Your Mind (1928) by Albert Edward Wiggam-

One of the easiest things in the world to do is to write a book expressing your own opinions. One of the hardest things to do is to write a book expressing somebody else's opinions. 
This book is made up en- tirely of personal interviews with some of our leading psychologists and, therefore, expresses other people's opinions.

It happens in most cases they are by force of evidence my own opinions ; but this does not lessen the difficulty of giving them a living expression. Men and women never needed psychology so much as they need it to-day. 

Young men and women need it in order to measure their own mental traits and capacities with a view to choosing their careers early and wisely ; adults need it in order to make the mental adjustments necessary for meeting the stress and strain and keeping the swift pace of modern life; businessmen need it to help them select employees; parents and educators need it as an aid in rearing and educating children; all need it in order to secure the highest effectiveness and happiness. 
You can not achieve these things in the fullest measure without the new knowledge of your own mind and personality that the psychologists have given us.

For these reasons I have devoted this present volume almost entirely to interviews on psychology, especially to a few of the remarkable achievements of the psychologists in measuring the mind and person- ality, although it is only a partial introduction to this vast new field and not in any sense a systematic treatise on the subject. 

It is the first volume of a general series which I hope my time and strength will permit me to bring to the public during the coming years under the general title, Making Science Human. What I have tried to achieve in this book has been to write every-day psychology for everybody in a new way by making a number of the great psychologists of our time real, living and friendly personalities in your life as they have come to be in mine.
 I wish I could enable them to help you as much as they have helped me. You can not go to their laboratories and homes and visit them ; you can not go out on the golf course or go fishing or play billiards and talk with them about science, life, work, habit, success, failure, duty, beauty, death and destiny, as I have done with some of them for a good many years ; and they can not come to visit with you. You can not even read all of their books because most of them are of necessity written in a technical language as unknown to the general public as San- skrit. 

Yet, you should know these men and women in a warm and friendly way, and they should know you and would like to know you in the same* way, for you have so much in common; and, moreover, I believe that such men and women as are brought to you in this book are among the saviors and prophets of the modern world, and the originators and custodians of most of its progress. It has appeared to me, therefore, that the most helpful thing I could do would be to bring a living message from them to you and, in so far as possible, bring their personalities with it. It may seem to you that writing an interview is a very easy matter. 

You perhaps have in mind the newspaper reporter who chats a while with some passing traveler, some new arrival in your city, and then hasten back to the office and within a few minutes a report, partly true, partly imaginative, of what the stranger said is being sold in the newspapers on the street. The stranger is usually pleased and sur- prised that he has talked so well and expressed so many new and important ideas. Since I was once a police and hotel reporter myself, I confess this idea of a great many interviews is entirely justified. 

But a careful interview that seeks to interpret a scientist's life-work and thought, as well as his person- ality, is a very different and a vastly more ardous un- dertaking. An interview of this character, instead of being a mere stenographic record of a few offhand remarks, becomes, if it be successful in achieving its aim, as genuine a creation of art as any other form of liter- ary expression, and a new contribution to popular science as well. 

It may be therefore, that the reader would be inter- ested in a glimpse of the writer's own workshop and in learning something of the mechanics of a book such as this. My only reason for being so personal is that I have been trying for years to encourage some of the abler young men and women of our colleges and uni- versities to consider scientific journalism as a possible life profession. 

There are only a few such persons living, and for every really qualified scientific journalist today we need at least a score, perhaps a hundred. Should any young man or woman who chances to read this book aspire to such a profession, may I say there are four things you must do if you would be worthy of the material you work with, on the one hand, and the objective to be achieved, on the other, which is the enlightenment and inspiration of the public through the artistic interpretation of science. 

In the first place, you must become thoroughly in- fused with the scientific spirit as the very core and meaning of your own life. All the discoveries of science have come from the fact that a few unique and wonderful men have entered into a new kind of life, a new sort of intellectual existence, a new type of spiritual devotion never before known in the world.

You must therefore become imbued with this exalting attitude of mind, this unconcern for anything except truth, this hatred of dogma, this fearlessness in chal- lenging tradition, particularly the tradition of your own opinions, and you must become possessed with the scientist's endless passion for knowledge.

 In the second place, you must become quite thoroughly and technically acquainted with some one field of science ; you must learn scientific methods as well as imbibe the scientific spirit. 

It matters not what this field shall be, if only it be science. This is the only thing that will preserve you from writing about near-science, and near-science isn't science at all ; it is the only thing that will teach you how to dis- tinguish the fine shades of falsity that lie between science and pseudo-science sometimes a very dif- ficult and delicate logical task.

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