Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/294

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nizes the necessity of a psychological point of view and technique; law has caught a glimpse of the fact that it has to deal with human nature; the ministry has hit upon the fact that the soul which is to be saved and made like unto the divine is the human mind; the merchant has discovered that impression, attention, interest, satisfaction and action in salesmanship can be enhanced by knowledge of the laws of human nature; the manufacturer is beginning to realize that skill, invention, economy of process, etc., can be improved by knowledge of the nature and laws of the psychophysic organism; the great wave of interest in the conservation movement which is sweeping over this country reveals the fact that the most serious depredations we have to check are the inroads upon the human mind, and the most precious resource which the country has to conserve is the mental energy of the race; preventive medicine and eugenics invoke the science of the mind to decrease ills and increase power, happiness and beauty of mind.

In short there is a very great demand for applied psychology. The world believes in it. What, then, shall be our attitude toward this demand? I venture to suggest a point of view in the following four propositions:

1. The facts of psychology are fast becoming common knowledge which will profoundly influence thought and action. Men in all walks of life will apply their knowledge of mental life; but, be they ever so well grounded in this science, psychology is not their calling, and they will treat it merely as one of many points of view in their broad outlook.

2. All psychology is more or less practical. The psychology of the class-room is not a mere decorative frill, and we are not all the time tuning our fiddles in the academic laboratory; but the primary aim and ambition in all is academical, and it should be.

3. Research in pure science is farsighted, and thus ultimately of the greatest service. The work must be fundamental. This is its chief merit and distinguishing trait. If the investigator who gave Marconi the principles of wireless telegraphy had aimed directly at the saving of ships at sea, he would probably have failed; but he devoted himself to the mastery of an abstract principle and laid a large foundation. Countless achievements may be built upon this foundation.

4. There remains a distinct field for the consulting psychologist, an expert in psychology who may be employed as adviser in matters pertaining to the ascertained facts of mental life with reference to their bearing upon a given practical situation, or may be employed to search for or verify such facts by special investigation. He is the Marconi of psychology; the man who works out the application.

For convenience we may divide the field open to the consulting psychologist into four large divisions, namely, (1) mental pathology.