Criminal Psychology
by Hans Gross
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

The next degree of difference is in the difference of observation. Schiel says that the observer is not he who sees the thing, but who sees of what parts it is made. The talent for such vision is rare. One man overlooks half because he is inattentive or is looking at the wrong place; another substitutes his own inferences for objects, while another tends to observe the quality of objects, and neglects their quantity; and still another divides what is to be united, and unites what is to be separated. If we keep in mind what profound differences may result in this way, we must recogruze the source of the conflicting assertions by witnesses. And we shall have to grant that these differences would become incomparably greater and more important if the witnesses were not required to talk of the event immediately, or later on, thus approximating their different conceptions to some average. Hence we often discover that when the witnesses really have had no chance to discuss the matter and have heard no account of it from a third person, or have not seen the consequences of the deed, their discussions of it showed distinct and essential differences merely through the lack of an opportunity or a standard of correction. And we then suppose that a part of what the witnesses have said is untrue, or assume that they were inattentive, or blind.

Views are of similar importance.[1] Fiesto exclaims, "It is scandalous to empty a full purse, it is impertinent to misappropriate a million, but it is unnamably great to steal a crown. The shame decreases with the increase of the sin.'' Exner holds that the ancients conceived Oedipus not as we do; they found his misfortune horrible; we find it unpleasant.

These are poetical criminal cases presented to us from different points of view; and we nowadays understand the same action still more differently, and not only in poetry, but in the daily life. Try, for example, to get various individuals to judge the same formation of clouds. You may hear the clouds called flower-stalks with spiritual blossoms, impoverished students, stormy sea, camel, monkey, battling giants, swarm of flies, prophet with a flowing beard, dunderhead, etc. We have coming to light, in this accidental interpretation of fact, the speaker's view of life, his intimacies, etc. This emergence is as observable in the interpretation also of the ordinary events of the daily life. There, even if the judgments do not vary very much, they are still different enough to indicate quite distinct points of view. The memory of the curious judgment of one cloud-formation has helped me many a time to explain testimonies that seemed to have no possible connection.

Attitude or feeling—this indefinable factor exercises a great influence on conception and interpretation. It is much more wonderful than even the march of events, or of fate itself. Everybody knows what attitude (stimmung) is. Everybody has suffered from it, everybody has made some use of it, but nobody can altogether define it. According to Fischer, attitude consists in the compounded feelings of all the inner conditions and changes of the organism,

[1] Marie Borst: Recherches experimentales sur l'ducation et la fidelit du temoignage. Archives de Psychologie. Geneva. Vol. III. no. 11.

expressed in consciousness. This would make attitude a sort of vital feeling, the resultant of the now favorable, now unfavorable functioning of our organs. The description is, however, not unexceptionable, inasmuch as single, apparently insignificant influences upon our senses may create or alter our attitudes for a long time without revealing its effect on any organ or its integration with the other mental states. I know how merely good or bad weather determines attitude, how it may be helped immediately by a good cigar, and how often we may pass a day, joyous or dejected, only to discover that the cause is a good or a bad dream of the foregoing night. Especially instructive in this regard was a little experience of mine during an official journey. The trouble which brought me out was an ordinary brawl between young peasants, one of whom was badly cut up and was to be examined. Half-way over, we had to wait at a wayside inn where I expected a relieving gendarme. A quarter of an hour after the stop, when we renewed the journey, I found myself overcome by unspeakable sadness, and this very customary brawl seemed to me especially umpleasant. I sympathized with the wounded boy, his parents, his opponents, all strangers to me, and I bewrayed the rawness of mankind, its love for liquor, etc. This attitude was so striking that I began to seek its cause. I found it, first of all, in the dreary region,—then in the cup of hot coffee that I had drunk in the restaurant, which might possibly have been poisonous;—finally, it occurred to me that the hoof-beats of the horses were tuned to a very saddening minor chord. The coachman in his hurry had forgotten to take bells with him, and in order to avoid violating police regulations he had borrowed at the inn another peal, and my sad state dated from the moment I heard it. I banished the sound and immediately I found myself enjoying the pretty scenery.

I am convinced that if I had been called to testify in my sad state, I would have told the story otherwise than normally. The influence of music upon attitude is very well known. The unknown influence of external conditions also makes a difference on attitude. "If you are absorbed in thought,'' says Fechner, "you notice neither sunshine nor the green of the meadows, etc., and still you are in a quite different emotional condition from that which would possess you in a dark room.''

The attitude we call indifference is of particular import. It appears, especially, when the ego, because of powerful impressions, is concerned with itself; pain, sadness, important work, reflection, disease, etc. In this condition we depreciate or undervalue the significance of everything that occurs about us. Everything is brought into relation to our personal, immediate condition, and is from the point of view of our egoism, more or less indifferent. It does not matter whether this attitude of indifference occurs at the time of perception or at the time of restatement during the examination. In either case, the fact is robbed of its hardness, its significance, and its importance; what was white or black, is described as gray.

There is another and similar attitude which is distinguished by the fact that we are never quite aware of it but are much subject to it. According to Lipps[1] and Lotze,[2] there is to be observed in neurotic attitudes a not rare and complete indifference to feeling, and in consciousness an essential lack of feeling-tone in perception. Our existence, our own being, seems to us, then, to be a foreign thing, having little concern with us—a story we need not earnestly consider. That in such condition little attention is paid to what is going on around us seems clear enough. The experiences are shadowy and superficial; they are indifferent and are represented as such only. This condition is very dangerous in the law court, because, where a conscientious witness will tell us that, e. g., at the time of the observation or the examination he was sick or troubled, and therefore was incorrect, a person utterly detached in the way described does not tell the judge of his condition, probably because he does not know anything about it.

There are certain closely-related mental and physical situations which lead to quite a different view. Those who are suffering physically, those who have deeply wounded feelings, and those who have been reduced by worry, are examined in the same way as normal people, yet they need to be measured by quite a different standard. Again, we are sometimes likely to suppose great passions that have long since passed their period, to be as influential as they were in their prime. We know that love and hate disappear in the distance, and that love long dead and a long-deferred hatred tend to express themselves as a feeling of mildness and forgiveness which is pretty much the same in spite of its diverse sources. If the examiner knows that a great passion, whether of hate or of love, exists, he thinks he is fooled when he finds a full, calm and objective judgment instead of it. It seems impossible to him, and he either does not believe the probably accurate witness, or colors his testimony with that knowledge.

[1] T. Lipps: Die Grundtatsachen des Seelenlebens. Bonn 1883

[2] R. H. Lotze: Medizinische Psychologie. Leipzig 1882.

Bodily conditions are still more remarkable in effecting differences in point of view. Here no sense-illusion is presented since no change occurs in sense-perception; the changes are such that arise after the perception, during the process of judgment and interpretation. We might like an idea when lying down that displeases us when we stand up. Examination shows that this attitude varies with the difference in the quantity of blood in the brain in these two positions, and this fact may explain a whole series of phenomena. First of all, it is related to plan-making and the execution of plans. Everybody knows how, while lying in bed, a great many plans occur that seem good. The moment you get up, new considerations arise, and the half-adopted plan is progressively abandoned. Now this does not mean anything so long as nothing was undertaken in the first situation which might be binding for the resolution then made. For example, when two, lying in bed, have made a definite plan, each is later ashamed before the other to withdraw from it. So we often hear from criminals that they were sorry about certain plans, but since they were once resolved upon, they were carried out. Numbers of such phenomena, many of them quite unbelievable in appearance, may be retroduced to similar sources.

A like thing occurs when a witness, e. g., reflects about some event while he is in bed. When he thinks of it again he is convinced, perhaps, that the matter really occurred in quite another way than he had newly supposed it to. Now he may convince himself that the time at which he made the reflections was nearer the event, and hence, those reflections must have been the more correct ones— in that case he sticks to his first story, although that might have been incorrect. Helmholtz[1] has pointed to something similar: "The colors of a landscape appear to be much more living and definite when they are looked at obliquely, or when they are looked at with the head upside down, than when they are looked at with the head in its ordinary position. With the head upside down we try correctly to judge objects and know that, e. g., green meadows, at a certain distance, have a rather altered coloration. We become used to that fact, discount the change and identify the green of distant objects with the shade of green belonging to near objects. Besides, we see the landscape from the new position as a flat image, and incidentally we see clouds in right perspective and the landscape flat, like clouds when we see them in the ordinary way.'' Of course, everybody knows this. And of course, in a criminal case such considerations will

[1] Handbuch der physiologischen Optik. Leipzig 1865.

hardly ever play any rle. But, on the other hand, it is also a matter of course that the reason for these differences might likewise be the reason for a great many others not yet discovered, and yet of great significance to criminalists.

Such is the situation with regard to comparison. Schiel laid much emphasis on the fact that two lines of unequal length seem equal when they diverge, although their difference is recognized immediately if they are parallel, close together, and start from the same level. He says that the situation is similar in all comparison. If things may be juxtaposed they can be compared; if not, the comparison is bound to be bad. There is no question of illusion here, merely of convenience of manipulation. Juxtaposition is frequently important, not for the practical convenience of comparison, but because we must know whether the witness has discovered the right juxtaposition. Only if he has, can his comparison have been good. To discover whether he has, requires careful examination.

Conception and interpretation are considerably dependent on the interest which is brought to the object examined. There is a story of a child's memory of an old man, which was not a memory of the *whole man, but only of a green sleeve and a wrinkled hand presenting a cake of chocolate. The child was interested only in the chocolate, and hence, understood it and its nearest environment —the hand and the sleeve. We may easily observe similar cases. In some great brawl the witness may have seen only what was happening to his brother. The numismatist may have observed only a bracelet with a rare coin in a heap of stolen valuables. In a long anarchistic speech the witness may have heard only what threatened his own welfare. And so on. The very thing looks different if, for whatever reason, it is uninteresting or intensely interesting. A color is quite different when it is in fashion, a flower different when we know it to be artificial, the sun is brighter at home, and home-grown fruit tastes better. But there is still another group of specific influences on our conceptions and interpretations, the examples of which have been increasing unbrokenly. One of these is the variety in the significance of words. Words have become symbols of concepts, and simple words have come to mean involved mathematical and philosophical ideas. It is conceivable that two men may connote quite different things by the word "symbol.'' And even in thinking and construing, in making use of perceived facts, different conceptions may arise through presenting the fact to another with symbols, that to him, signify different things. The difference may perhaps not be great, but when it is taken in connection with the associations and suggestions of the word used, small mistakes multiply and the result is quite different from what it might have been if another meaning had been the starting-point. The use of foreign words, in a sense different from that used by us, may lead us far astray. It must be borne in mind that the meaning of the foreign word frequently does not coincide with the sense it has in the dictionary. Hence, it is dangerous in adducing evidence to use foreign expressions when it is important to adhere strictly to a single meaning. Taine says, correctly: "Love and amour, girl and jeune fille, song and chanson, are not identical although they are substituted for one another.'' It is, moreover, pointed out that children, especially, are glad to substitute and alter ideas for which one word stands, so that they expand or contract its meaning haphazard. Bow-wow may first mean a dog, then a horse, then all animals, and a child who was once shown a fir tree in the forest said it wasn't a fir tree, for fir trees come only at Christmas.

This process is not confined to children. At one time or another we hear a word. As soon as we hear it we connect it with an idea. This connection will rarely be correct, largely because we have heard the word for the first time. Later, we get our idea from events in which this word occurs, of course, in connection with the object we instantaneously understand the word to mean. In time we learn another word, and word and meaning have changed, correctly or incorrectly. A comparison of these changes in individuals would show how easy both approximations and diversifications in meaning are. It must follow that any number of misunderstandings can develop, and many an alteration in the conception of justice and decency, considered through a long period, may become very significant in indicating the changes in the meaning of words. Many a time, if we bear thoroughly in mind the mere changes in the meaning of the word standing for a doubtful fact, we put ourselves in possession of the history of morals. Even the most important quarrels would lapse if the quarreling persons could get emotionally at the intent of their opponent's words.

In this connection questions of honor offer a broad field of examples. It is well known that German is rich in words that show personal dislikes, and also, that the greater portion of these words are harmless in themselves. But one man understands this, the other that, when he hears the words, and finally, German is in the curious position of being the cause of the largest number of attacks on honor and of cases of slander in the world. Where the Frenchman laughs and becomes witty, the German grows sullen, insulting, and looks for trouble. The French call sensitiveness to insignificant and worthless things, the German way of quarreling (faire querelle d'allemand). Many a slander case in court is easily settled by showing people the value of the word. Many who complained that they were called a creature, a person, etc., went away satisfied as soon as the whole meaning of the words had been explained to them.

In conclusion, just a word concerning the influence of time on conception. Not the length of past time, but the value of the time- span is what is important in determining an event. According to Herbart, there is a form of temporal repetition, and time is the form of repetition. If he is right it is inevitable that time, fast-moving or slow-moving, must influence the conception of events. It is well-known that monotony in the run of time makes it seem slow, while time full of events goes swiftly, but appears long in memory, because a large number of points have to be thought through. Mnsterberg shows that we have to stop at every separate point, and so time seems, in memory, longer. But this is not universally valid. Aristotle had already pointed out that a familiar road appears to be shorter than an unfamiliar one, and this is contradictory to the first proposition. So, a series of days flies away if we spend them quietly and calmly in vacation in the country. Their swiftness is surprising. Then when something of importance occurs in our life and it is directly succeeded by a calm, eventless period, this seems very long in memory, although it should have seemed long when it occurred, and short in the past. These and similar phenomena are quite unexplained, and all that can be said after numerous experiments is, that we conceive short times as long, and long times as short. Now, we may add the remarkable fact that most people have no idea of the duration of very small times, especially of the minute. Ask any individual to sit absolutely quiet, without counting or doing anything else, and to indicate the passing of each minute up to five. He will say that the five minutes have passed at the end of never more than a minute and a half. So witnesses in estimating time will make mistakes also, and these mistakes, and other nonsense, are written into the protocols.

There are two means of correction. Either have the witness determine the time in terms of some familiar form, i. e., a paternoster, etc., or give him the watch and let him observe the second hand. In the latter case he will assert that his ten, or his five, or his twenty minutes were, at most, no more than a half or a whole minute.

The problem of time is still more difficult when the examination has to be made with regard to the estimation of still longer periods— weeks, months, or years. There is no means of making any test. The only thing that experience definitely shows is, that the certainty of such estimates depends on their being fixed by distinct events. If anybody says that event A occurred four or five days before event B, we may believe him if, e. g., he adds, "For when A occurred we began to cut corn, and when B occurred we harvested it. And between these two events there were four or five days.'' If he can not adduce similar judgments, we must never depend upon him, for things may have occurred which have so influenced his conception of time that he judges altogether falsely.

It often happens in such cases that defective estimates, made in the course of lengthy explanations, suddenly become points of reference, and then, if wrong, are the cause of mistakes. Suppose that a witness once said that an event occurred four years ago. Much later an estimation of the time is undertaken which shows that the hasty statement sets the event in 1893. And then all the most important conclusions are merely argued from that. It is best, as is customary in such cases, to test the uncertainty and incorrectness of these estimates of time on oneself. It may be assumed that the witness, in the case in question, is likely to have made a better estimate, but it may equally be assumed that he has not done so. In short, the conception of periods of time can not be dealt with too cautiously.

Section 84. (e) Nature and Nurture.

Schopenhauer was the first to classify people according to nature and nurture. Just where he first used the categories I do not know, but I know that he is responsible for them. "Nature'' is physical and mental character and disposition, taken most broadly; "nurture'' is bringing up, environment, studies, scholarship, and experience, also in the broadest sense of those words. Both together present what a man is, what he is able to do, what he wants to do. A classification, then, according to nature and nurture is a classification according to essence and character. The influence of a man's nature on his face, we know, or try to know, but what criminal relationships his nurture may develop for us, we are altogether ignorant of. There are all sorts of intermediaries, connections and differences between what the goddess of civilization finds to prize, and what can be justified only by a return to simplicity and nature.

Section 85. I. The Influence of Nurture.

Criminologically the influence of nurture on mankind is important if it can explain the development of morality, honorableness, and love of truth. The criminalist has to study relations, actions, and assertions, to value and to compare them when they are differentiable only in terms of the nurture of those who are responsible for them. The most instructive works on this problem are those of Tarde,[1] and Oelzelt-Newin.[2] Among the older writers Leibnitz had already said, "If you leave education to me I'll change Europe in a century.'' Descartes, Locke, Helvetius assign to nurture the highest possible value while Carlyle, e. g., insists that civilization is a cloak in which wild human nature may eternally burn with hellish fire. For moderns it is a half-way house. Ribot says that training has least effect at the two extremes of humanity—little and transitively on the idiot, much on the average man, not at all on the genius. I might add that the circle of idiots and geniuses must be made extremely large, for average people are very few in number, and the increase in intellectual training has made no statistical difference on the curve of crime. This is one of the conclusions arrived at by Adolf Wagner[3] which corroborates the experience of practicing lawyers and we who have had, during the growth of popular education, the opportunity to make observations from the criminalistic standpoint, know nothing favorable to its influence. If the general assertion is true that increased national education has reduced brawling, damages to property, etc., and has increased swindling, misappropriations, etc., we have made a great mistake. For the psychological estimation of a criminal, the crime itself is not definitive; there is always the question as to the damage this individual has done his own nature with his deed. If, then, a peasant lad hits his neighbor with the leg of a chair or destroys fences, or perhaps a whole village, he may still be the most honorable of youths, and later grow up into a universally respected man. Many of the best and most useful village mayors have been guilty in their youth of brawls, damages to property, resistance to authority, and similar things.

[1] G. Tarde: La Philosophie Pnale. Lyon 1590 La Criminalit Compare 1886. Les Lois de l'Imitation. 1890. Psych. Economique. 1902

[2] Kosmodicee. Leipzig and Vienna 1897.

[3] A. Wagner: Statistisch-anthropologische Untersuchung. Hamburg 1864.

But if a man has once swindled or killed anybody, he has lost his honor, and, as a rule, remains a scoundrel for the rest of his life. If for criminals of the first kind we substitute the latter type we get a very bad outlook.

Individuals yield similar experiences. The most important characteristic of a somewhat cultivated man who not only is able to read and to write, but makes some use of his knowledge, is a loudly- expressed discontent with his existence. If he once has acquired the desire to read, the little time he has is not sufficient to satisfy it, and when he has more time he is always compelled to lay aside his volume of poetry to feed the pigs or to clean the stables. He learns, moreover, of a number of needs which he can not satisfy but which books have instilled in him, and finally, he seeks illegal means, as we criminalists know, for their satisfaction.

In many countries the law of such cases considers extenuating circumstances and defective bringing-up, but it has never yet occurred to a single criminalist that people might be likely to commit crime because they could not read or write. Nevertheless, we are frequently in touch with an old peasant as witness who gives the impression of absolute integrity, reliability, and wisdom, so much so that it is gain for anybody to talk to him. But though the black art of reading and writing has been foreign to him through the whole of his life, nobody will have any accusation to make against him about defective bringing-up.

The exhibition of unattainable goods to the mass of mankind is a question of conscience. We must, of course, assume that deficiency in education is not in itself a reason for doubting the witness, or for holding an individual inclined to crime. The mistakes in bringing-up like spoiling, rigor, neglect, and their consequences, laziness, deceit, and larceny, have a sufficiently evil outcome. And how far these are at fault, and how far the nature of the individual himself, can be determined only in each concrete case by itself. It will not occur to anybody to wish for a return to savagery and anarchy because of the low value we set on the training of the mind. There is still the business of moral training, and its importance can not be overestimated. Considering the subject generally, we may say that the aim of education is the capacity of sympathizing with the feeling, understanding, and willing of other minds. This might be supplemented, perhaps, also with the limitation that the sympathy must be correct, profound, and implicative, for external, approximate, or inverted sympathy will obviously not do. The servant girl knows concerning her master only his manner of quarreling and his manner of spitting but is absolutely unaffected by, and strange to his inner life. The darker aspects of culture and civilization are most obvious in the external contacts of mankind.

When we begin to count an intelligent sympathy, it must follow that the sympathy is possible only with regard to commonly conceivable matters; that we must fundamentally exclude the essential inward construction of the mind and the field of scientific morality. Hence we have left only religion, which is the working morality of the populace.

According to Goethe, the great fundamental conflict of history is the conflict of belief with doubt. A discussion of this conflict is unnecessary here. It is mentioned only by way of indicating that the sole training on which the criminalist may rely is that of real religion. A really religious person is a reliable witness, and when he is behind the bar he permits at least the assumption that he is innocent. Of course it is difficult to determine whether he is genuinely religious or not, but if genuine religion can be established we have a safe starting point. Various authors have discussed the influence of education, pro and con. Statistically, it is shown that in Russia, only 10% of the population can read and write, and still of 36,868 condemned persons, no fewer than 26,944 were literate. In the seventies the percentage of criminals in Scotland was divided as follows, 21% absolutely illiterate, 52.7 half educated; 26.3% well educated.

The religious statistics are altogether worthless. A part of them have nothing to do with religion, e. g., the criminality of Jews. One part is worthless because it deals only with the criminality of baptized Protestants or Catholics, and the final section, which might be of great interest, i. e., the criminality of believers and unbelievers, is indeterminable. Statistics say that in the country A in the year n there were punished x% Protestants, y% Catholics, etc. Of what use is the statement? Both among the x and the y percentages there were many absolute unbelievers, and it is indifferent whether they were Protestant or Catholic unbelievers. It would be interesting to know what percentage of the Catholics and of the Protestants are really faithful, for if we rightly assume that a true believer rarely commits a crime, we should be able to say which religion from the view point of the criminalist should be encouraged. The one which counts the greater percentage of believers, of course, but we shall never know which one that is. The numbers of the "Protestant'' criminals, and those of the "Catholics,'' can not help us in the least in this matter.

Section 86. (2) The View, of the Uneducated.

"To discourse is nature, to assimilate discourse as it is given, is culture.'' With this statement, Goethe has shown where the deficiencies in culture begin, and observation verifies the fact that the uncultured person is unable to accept what is told him as it is told him. This does not mean that uncultured people are unable to remember statements as they are made, but that they are unable to assimilate any perception in its integrity and to reproduce it in its natural simplicity. This is the alpha and the omega of every thing observable in the examination of simple people. Various thinkers in different fields have noted this fact. Mill, e. g., observes that the inability to distinguish between perception and inference is most obvious in the attempt of some ignorant person to describe a natural phenomenon. Douglas Stewart notices that the village apothecary will rarely describe the simplest case without immediately making use of a terminology in which every word is a theory. The simple and true presentation of the phenomenon will reveal at once whether the mind is able to give an accurate interpretation of nature. This suggests why we are frequently engaged in some much-involved process of description of a fact, in itself simple. It has been presented to us in this complicated fashion because our informants did not know how to speak simply. So Kant: "The testimony of common people may frequently be intended honestly, but it is not often reliable because the witnesses have not the habit of prolonged attention, and so they mistake what they think themselves for what they hear from others. Hence, even though they take oaths, they can hardly be believed.'' Hume, again, says somewhere in the Essay, that most men are naturally inclined to differentiate their discourse, inasmuch as they see their object from one side only, do not think of the objections, and conceive its corroborative principles with such liveliness that they pay no attention to those which look another way. Now, whoever sees an object from one side only does not see it as it comes to him, and whoever refuses to think of objections, has already subjectively colored his objects and no longer sees them as they are.

In this regard it is interesting to note the tendency of uneducated people to define things. They are not interested in the immediate perception, but in its abstract form. The best example of this is the famous barrack-room definition of honor: Honor is that thing belonging to the man who has it. The same fault is committed by anybody who fails to apprehend the *whole as it comes, but perceives only what is most obvious and nearest. Mittermaier has pointed out that the light-minded, accidental witness sees only the nearest characteristics. Again, he says, "It is a well-known fact that uneducated people attend only to the question that was asked them last.''[1] This fact is important. If a witness is unskilfully asked in one breath whether he murdered A, robbed B, and stole a pear from C, he will probably answer with calmness, "No, I have not stolen a pear,'' but he pays no attention to the other two portions of the question. This characteristic is frequently made use of by the defense. The lawyers ask some important witness for the prosecution: "Can you say that you have seen how the accused entered the room, looked around, approached the closet, and then drew the watch toward himself?'' The uneducated witness then says dryly, "No, I can not say that,'' although he has seen everything except the concealment of the watch. He denies the whole thing solely because he has been able to attend to the last portion of the question only. It is very easy to look out for these characteristics, by simply not permitting a number of questions in one, by having questions put in the simplest and clearest possible form. Simple questions are thankfully received, and get better answers than long, or tricky ones.

For the same reason that prevents uneducated people from ever seeing a thing as it comes to them, their love of justice depends on their eagerness to avoid becoming themselves subjects of injustice. Hence, weak people can never be honest, and most uneducated people understand by duty that which *others are to do. Duty is presented as required of all men, but it is more comfortable to require it of others, so that it is understood as only so required. It may be due to the fact that education develops quiet imperturbability, and that this is conducive to correcter vision and more adequate objectivity in both events and obligations.

There is another series of processes which are characteristic of the point of view of the uneducated. There is, e. g., a peculiar recurring mental process with regard to the careful use of life preservers, fire extinguishers, and other means of escape, which are to be used *hastily in case of need. They are found always carefully

[1] Die Lehre vom Beweise. Darmstadt 1843.

chained up, or hidden in closets by the ignorant. This is possible only if the idea of protecting oneself against sudden need does not make itself effective as such, but is forced out of the mind by the desire to protect oneself against theft.

Why must the uneducated carefully feel everything that is shown them, or that they otherwise find to be new? Children even smell such things, while educated people are satisfied with looking at them. The request in public places, "Do not touch,'' has very good reason. I believe that the level of culture of an individual may be determined without much mistake, by his inclination to touch or not to touch some new object presented him. The reason for this desire can hardly be established but it is certainly the wish of the uneducated to study the object more fundamentally and hence, to bring into play other senses than that of sight. It may be that the educated man sees more because he is better trained in careful observation, so that the uneducated man is really compelled to do more than merely to look. On the other hand, it may be that the uneducated man here again fails to perceive the object as it is, and when it appears to him as object A, or is indicated as that object, he is inclined to disbelieve, and must convince himself by careful feeling that it is really an A.[1] It may be, again, that "trains of association'' can help to explain the matter.

That an understanding of the character of an object is dependent on training and educated observation has been verified many times, incidentally, also by the fact that the uneducated find it difficult to get on with representations. Now this can not be accounted for by only their defective practice. The old, but instructive story of the peasant-woman who asked her son what he was reading, the black or the white, repeats itself whenever uneducated people are shown images, photographs, etc. For a long time I had not noticed that they see the background as the thing to be attended to. When, for example, you show an uneducated man a bust photograph, it may happen that he perceives the upper surroundings of shoulder and head as the lower contours of the background which is to indicate some fact, and if these contours happen to be, e. g., those of a dog, the man sees "a white dog.'' This is more frequent than we think, and hence, we must pay little attention to failures to recognize people in photographs.[2] One more story by way of example— that of a photographer who snapped a dozen parading young drag-

[1] Cf H. Gross's Archiv, II, 140, III, 350; VII, 155.

[2] Cf H. Gross's Archiv, VII, 160.

oons, and had gotten the addresses, but not the street numbers of their parents. He sent for that reason to the twelve parents, for inspection, a photograph each with the notice that if some mistake had occurred he would rectify it. But not a parent complained of the photographer's failure to have sent them the pictures of their own children. Each had received a soldier, and appeared to be quite satisfied with the correctness of his image. Hence it follows again, that denials of photographic identity by the uneducated are altogether without value.

In another direction images have a peculiar significance for children and ignorant people, because they show ineradicable ideas, particularly with regard to size. Nobody recalls any book so vividly as his first picture book and its contents. We remember it even though we are convinced that the people who made our picture book were quite mistaken. Now, as it frequently happens that the sizes are incorrectly reproduced, as when, e. g., a horse and a reindeer occur in the same picture, and the latter seems bigger than the former, the reindeer appears in imagination always bigger. It does not matter if we learn later how big a reindeer is, or how many times we have seen one, we still find the animal "altogether too small, it must be bigger than a horse.'' Educated adults do not make this mistake, but the uneducated do, and many false statements depend on ideas derived from pictures. If their derivation is known we may discover the source of the mistake, but if the mistake occurred unconsciously, then we have to combine the circumstances and study further to find the reason.

Finally, the general influence of the failure of ignorant people to see things as they are, upon their feeling-tone is shown in two characteristic stories. Bulwer tells of a servant whose master beat him and who was instigated to seek protection in court. He refused indignantly inasmuch as his master was too noble a person to be subject to law. And Gutberlet tells the story of the director of police, Serafini, in Ravenna, who had heard that a notorious murderer had threatened to shoot him. Serafini had the assassin brought to him, gave him a loaded pistol and invited him to shoot. The murderer grew pale and Serafini boxed his ears and kicked him out.

Section 87. (3) One-Sided Education.

Just a few words about the considerable danger in the testimony presented by persons of one-sided education. Altogether uneducated people warn us in their own way, but people who have a certain amount of training, in at least one direction, impress us to such a degree that we assume them to be otherwise also educated and thus get involved in mistakes.

It is hard to say correctly what constitutes an educated man. We demand, of course, a certain amount of knowledge, but we do not know the magnitude of that amount of knowledge, and still less its subject matter. It is remarkable that our time, which has devoted itself more than all others to natural science, does not include knowledge of such science in its concept of the educated man. Some ignorance of history, or of the classics, or even of some modern novels, failure to visit the theaters and the picture exhibitions, neglect of French and English, etc., classifies a man at once as lacking essential "culture.'' But if he knows these things, and at the same time exhibits in the most nave way an incredible ignorance of zology, botany, physics, chemistry, astronomy, etc., he still remains "an educated man.'' The contradiction is inexplicable, but it exists, and because of it, nobody can definitely say what is meant by a one-sided education. The extent of one-sidedness is, however, illustrated by many examples. We mention only two. Linnaeus' own drawings with remarks by Afzelius show that in spite of his extraordinary knowledge of botany and his wonderful memory, he did not know a foreign language. He was in Holland for three years, and failed to understand even the Dutch language, so very similar to his own. It is told of Sir Humphrey Davy, that during the visit to the Louvre, in Paris, he admired the extraordinary carving of the frames of the pictures, and the splendid material of which the most famous of the Greek sculptures were made.

Now, how are we to meet people of this kind when they are on the witness stand? They offer no difficulty when they tell us that they know nothing about the subject in question. Suppose we have to interrogate a philologist on a subject which requires only that amount of knowledge of natural science which may be presupposed in any generally educated individual. If he declares honestly that he has forgotten everything he had learned about the matter in college, he is easily dealt with in the same way as "uneducated people.'' If, however, he is not honest enough immediately to confess his ignorance, nothing else will do except to make him see his position by means of questions, and even then to proceed carefully. It would be conscienceless to try to spare this man while another is shown up.

The same attitude must be taken toward autodidacts and dilettantes who always measure the value of their knowledge by the amount of effort they had to use in getting it, and hence, always overestimate their acquirements. It is to be observed that they assert no more than their information permits them to, and their personality is easily discoverable by the manner in which they present their knowledge. The self-taught man is in the end only the parvenu of knowledge, and just as the parvenu, as such, rarely conceals his character, so the autodidact rarely conceals his character.

There is an additional quality of which we must beware—that is the tendency of experts to take pride in some different, incidental, and less important little thing than their own subject. Frederick the Great with his miserable flute-playing is an example. Such people may easily cause mistakes. The knowledge of their attainment in one field causes us involuntarily to respect their assertions. Now, if their assertions deal with their hobbies many a silly thing is taken at its face value, and that value is counterfeit.

Section 88. (4) Inclination.

Whether a scientific characterization of inclination is possible, whether the limits of this concept can be determined, and whether it is the result of nature, culture, or both together, are questions which can receive no certain answer. We shall not here speak of individual forms of inclination, i. e., to drink, to gamble, to steal, etc., for these are comparatively the most difficult of our modern problems. We shall consider them generally and briefly. Trees and men, says the old proverb, fall as they are inclined. Now, if we examine the inclination of the countless fallen ones we meet in our calling we shall have fewer difficulties in qualifying and judging their crimes. As a rule, it is difficult to separate inclination, on the one hand, from opportunity, need, desire, on the other. The capacity for evil is a seduction to its performance, as Alfieri says somewhere, and this idea clarifies the status of inclination. The ability may often be the opportune cause of the development of an evil tendency, and frequent success may lead to the assumption of the presence of an inclination.

Maudsley points out that feelings that have once been present leave their unconscious residue which modify the total character and even reconstruct the moral sense as a resultant of particular experiences. That an inclination or something similar thereto might develop in this way is certain, for we may even inherit an inclination, —but only under certain conditions. This fact is substantiated by the characteristics of vagabonds. It may, perhaps, be said that the enforcement of the laws of vagabondage belongs to the most interesting of the pyschological researches of the criminal judge. Even the difference between the real bona fide tramp, and the poor devil who, in spite of all his effort can get no work, requires the consideration of a good deal of psychological fact. There is no need of description in such cases; the difference must be determined by the study of thousands of details. Just as interesting are the results of procedure, especially certain statistical results. The course of long practice will show that among real tramps there is hardly ever an individual whose calling requires very hard or difficult work. Peasants, smiths, well-diggers, mountaineers, are rarely tramps. The largest numbers have trades which demand no real hard work and whose business is not uniform. Bakers, millers, waiters are hence more numerous. The first have comparatively even distribution of work and rest; the latter sometimes have much, sometimes little to do, without any possible evenness of distribution. Now, we should make a mistake if we inferred that because the former had hard work, and an equivalent distribution of work and rest, they do not become tramps, while the latter, lacking these, do become tramps. In truth, the former have naturally a need and inclination for hard work and uniform living, have, therefore, no inclination to tramping, and have for that reason chosen their difficult calling. The latter, on the other hand, felt an inclination for lighter, more irregular work, i. e., were already possessed of an inclination for vagabondage, and had, hence, chosen the business of baking, grinding, or waiting. The real tramp, therefore, is not a criminal. Vagabondage is no doubt the kindergarten of criminals, because there are many criminals among tramps, but the true vagabond is one only because of his inclination for tramping. He is a degenerate.

Possibly a similar account of other types may be rendered. If it is attained by means of a statistic developed on fundamental psychological principles, it would give us ground for a number of important assumptions. It would help us to make parallel inferences, inasmuch as it would permit us to determine the fundamental inclination of the person by considering his calling, his way of approaching his work, his environment, his choice of a wife, his preferred pleasures, etc. And then we should be able to connect this inclination with the deed in question. It is difficult to fix upon the relation between inclination and character, and the agreement will be only general when a man's character is called all those things to which he is naturally, or by education, inclined. But it is certain that a good or bad character exists only then when its maxims of desire and action express themselves in fact. The emphasis must be on the fact; what is factual may be discovered, and these discoveries may be of use.

Section 89. (5) Other Differences.

The ancient classification of individuals according to temperaments is of little use. There were four of them, called humors, and a series of characteristics was assigned to each, but not one of them had all of its characteristics at once. Hence temperaments determined according to these four categories do not really exist, and the categorical distinction can have no practical value. If, however, we make use of the significant general meaning of temperament, the apparatus of circumstance which is connected with this distinction becomes superfluous. If you call every active person choleric, every truculent one sanguine, every thoughtful one phlegmatic, and every sad one melancholy, you simply add a technical expression to a few of the thousands of adjectives that describe these things. These four forms are not the only ones there are. Apart from countless medial and transitional forms, there are still large numbers that do not fit in any one of these categories. Moreover, temperament alters with age, health, experience, and other accidents, so that the differentiation is not even justified by the constancy of the phenomenon. Nevertheless, it is to some degree significant because any form of it indicates a certain authority, and because each one of these four categories serves to connect a series of phenomena and assumes this connection to be indubitable, although there is absolutely no necessity for it. When Machiavelli says that the world belongs to the phlegmatic, he certainly did not have in mind that complex of phenomena which are habitually understood as the characteristics of the phlegmatic humor. He wanted simply to say that extremes of conduct lead to as little in the daily life as in politics; that everything must be reflected upon and repeatedly tested before its realization is attempted; that only then can progress, even if slow, be made. If he had said, the world belongs to the cautious or reflective person, we should not have found his meaning to be different.

When we seek clearly to understand the nature and culture of an individual, an investigation into his temperament does not help us in the least. Let us consider then, some other characteristic on which is based the judgment of individuals. The proverb says that laughter betrays a man. If in the theater, you know the subject of laughter, the manner of laughter, and the point at which laughter first occurred, you know where the most educated and the least educated people are. Schopenhauer says that the intelligent man finds everything funny, the logical man nothing; and according to Erdmann (in ber die Dummheit), the distressing or laughable characteristics of an object, shows not its nature, but the nature of the observer. It would seem that the criminalist might save himself much work by observing the laughter of his subjects. The embarrassed, foolish snickering of the badly observing witness; the painful smile of the innocent prisoner, or the convicted penitent; the cruel laughter of the witness glad of the damage he has done; the evil laughter of the condemning accomplice; the happy, weak laughter of the innocent who has adduced evidence of his innocence, and the countless other forms of laughter, all these vary so much with the character of the laugher, and are so significant, that hardly anything compares with them in value. When you remember, moreover, that concealment during laughter is not easy, at least at the moment when the laughter ceases, you see how very important laughter may be in determining a case.

Of equal importance with laughter are certain changes which may occur in people during a very short time. If we observe in the course of the daily life, that people, without any apparent reason, so change that we can hardly recognize them, the change becomes ten times more intense under the influence of guilt or even of imprisonment. Somebody said that isolation has revealed the greatest men, the greatest fools, and the greatest criminals. What, then, might be the influence of compulsory isolation, i. e., of imprisonment! We fortunately do not live in a time which permits imprisonment for months and years in even the simplest cases, but under certain circumstances even a few days' imprisonment may completely alter a person. Embitterment or wildness may exhibit itself, just as sorrow and softness, during the stay under arrest. And hence, the criminalist who does not frequently see and deal with his subjects does not perform his duty. I do not mean, of course, that he should see them for the purpose of getting a confession out of an attack of morbidity; I mean only, that this is the one way of getting a just and correct notion of the case. Every criminalist of experience will grant that he sees the event, particularly the motives of the criminal, otherwise after the first examination than after the later ones, and that his later notions are mainly the more correct ones. If we set aside the unfortunate cases in which the individual held for examination is instructed by his prison-mates and becomes still more spoiled, I might permit myself the assertion that imprisonment tends to show the individual more correctly as he is; that the strange surroundings, the change from his former position, the opportunity to think over his situation may, if there are no opposing influences, help the criminalist a great deal, and this fact is confirmed in the superior results of later to earlier examinations.

In addition, the bodily condition and the health of the prisoner change almost always. The new mode of life, the different food and surroundings, the lack of movement, the moral effect, work directly on the body, and we must confess, unfortunately, on health. There are, however, cases in which health has been improved by imprisonment, especially the health of people who have led a wild, irregular, drunken life, or such who have had to worry and care too much. But these are exceptions, and as a rule the prisoner's physique suffers a great deal, but fortunately for a short time only. The influence of such effects on the mind is familiar. The bodily misfortune gives a wide opening for complete change in moral nature; health sustains the atheist in darkness. This fact, as mentioned by Bain, may serve to explain the origin of many a confession which has saved an innocent person at the last moment.

Nor must we forget that time—and for the prisoner, imprisonment is time endowed with power—effects many an adjustment of extremes. We know that utter evil is as rare as perfect virtue. We have nothing to do with the latter, but we almost as infrequently meet the former. The longer we deal with "bad men,'' the more inclined are we to see the very summit of devilment as the result of need and friendlessness, weakness, foolishness, flightiness, and just simple, real, human poorness of spirit. Now, what we find so redistributed in the course of years, we often find crushed together and fallen apart in a short time. Today the prisoner seems to us the most dreadful criminal; in a few days, we have calmed down, have learned to know the case from another side, the criminal has shown his real nature more clearly, and our whole notion of him has changed.

I frequently think of the simple story of Charles XII's sudden entry into Dresden. The city fathers immediately called an ex- traordinary session for the next day in order to discuss, as the Swedish king supposed, what they should have done the day before. Every examined prisoner does the same thing. When he leaves the court he is already thinking of what he should have said differently, and he repeats his reflections until the next examination. Hence, his frequently almost inexplicable variety of statements, and hence, also, the need of frequent examination.

Finally, there is the fact Mittermaier has pointed to—the importance of the criminalist's own culture and character. "If a girl testifies for her lover and against her brother, the question in judgment arises, which voice is the more powerful? The judge will not easily be able to divorce this standard of judgment from himself and his own view of life.'' This is a frequent occurrence. You consider a difficult psychological case in all its aspects, and suddenly, without knowing how or why, you have found its solution: "It must have been so and not otherwise; he has acted so and so for this reason, etc.'' A close examination of such a definite inference will convince you that it is due to the pathetic fallacy, i. e., you have so inferred because you would have done so, thought and desired so, under similar circumstances. The commission of the pathetic fallacy is the judge's greatest danger.

Section 90. (6) Intelligence and Stupidity.

The three enemies of the criminalist are evil nature, untruth, and stupidity or foolishness. The last is not the least difficult. Nobody is safe from its attacks; it appears as the characteristic of mankind in general, in their prejudices, their preconceptions, their selfishness, and their high-riding nature. The criminalist has to fight it in witnesses, in jurymen, and frequently in the obstinacy, dunder- headedness, and amusing self-conceit of his superiors. It hinders him in the heads of his colleagues and of the defendant, and it is his enemy not least frequently in his own head. The greatest foolishness is to believe that you are not yourself guilty of foolishness. The cleverest people do the most idiotic things. He makes the most progress who keeps in mind the great series of his own stupidities, and tries to learn from them. One can only console oneself with the belief that nobody else is better off, and that every stupidity is a basis for knowledge. The world is such that every foolishness gets somebody to commit it.

Foolishness is an isolated property. It is not related to intelligence as cold to warmth, Cold is the absence of heat, but foolishness is not the absence of intelligence. Both are properties that look in the same direction. Hence, it is never possible to speak of intelligence or stupidity by itself. Whoever deals with one deals with the other, but it would be a mistake to conceive them as a developing series at one end of which is intelligence, and at the other, stupidity. The transition is not only frequent, but there are many remarkable cases in which one passes into the other, gets mixed up with it, and covers it. Hence, a thing may often be at one and the same time intelligent and stupid, intelligent in one direction and stupid in another; and it is not incorrect, therefore, to speak of clever stupidities, and of clever deeds that are heartily foolish.

The importance of stupidity is due not only to the fact that it may lead to important consequences, but also to the difficulty of discovering it in certain cases. It is before all things correct, that foolish people often seem to be very wise, and that as a rule, much intercourse alone is able to reveal the complete profundity of a man's foolishness. But in our work we can have little intercourse with the people whom we are to know, and there are, indeed, persons whom we take to be foolish at the first encounter, and who really are so when we know them better. And even when we have learned the kind and degree of a man's foolishness, we have not learned his way of expressing it, and that discovery requires much wisdom. Moreover, an incredible amount of effort, persistence, and slyness is often made use of for the purpose of committing an immense act of foolishness. Every one of us knows of a number of criminal cases that remained unexplained for a long time simply because some one related event could be explained by a stupidity so great as to be unbelievable. Yet the knowledge that such stupidity actually exists could explain many a similar matter, simply and easily. This is especially true with regard to the much discussed "one great stupidity,'' which the criminal commits in almost every crime. Assume that such a stupidity is impossible, and the explanation of the case is also impossible. We must never forget that it is exactly the wise who refuse to think of the possibility of foolishness. Just as everything is clean to the cleanly, and everything is philosophic to the philosopher, everything is wise to the wise. Hence, he finds it unintelligible that a thing may be explained from the point of view of pure unreason. His duty therefore, is, to learn as much and as accurately as possible about the nature of foolishness.

There are, perhaps, few books on earth that contain so many clever things as Erdmann's little text "Concerning Foolishness '' (ber die Dummheit). Erdmann starts with small experiences. For example, he once came early to the Hamburg Railway Station and found in the waiting-room one family with many children, from whose conversation he learned that they were going to visit a grandfather in Kyritz. The station filled up, to the increasing fear of the smallest member of the family, a boy. When the station grew quite full he suddenly broke out: "Look here, what do all these people want of grandfather in Kyritz.'' The child supposed that because he himself was travelling to Kyritz all other people in the same place could have had no different intention. This narrowness of the point of view, the generalization of one's own petty standpoint into a rule of conduct for mankind is, according to Erdmann, the essence of foolishness. How far one may go in this process without appearing foolish may be seen from another example. When, in the sixties, a stranger in Paris spoke admiringly of the old trees on a certain avenue, it was the habit of the Parisians to answer, "Then you also do not agree with Haussmann?'' because everybody knew about the attempt by the Parisian prefect, Baron Haussmann, to beautify Paris by killing trees. If, however, the trees in the churchyard of the little village are praised, and the native peasant replies, "So you know also that our Smith wants to have the trees chopped down,'' the remark is foolish, because the peasant had no right to assume that the world knows of the intentions of the village mayor.

Now, if you decrease the number of view-points, and narrow the horizon, you reach a point where the circumference of ideas is identical with their center, and this point is the kernel of stupidity, the idiot. Stupidity is the state of mind in which a man judges everything by himself. This again may be best illustrated by a figure of speech. If you go about a room and observe its contents you soon notice how the objects change place and appearance with the change in your point of view. If you look *only through the key-hole, you do not, however, recognize that fact; everything seems equal. The idiot is he whose egoistic eye is the only key-hole through which he looks into the decorated parlor we call the world. Hence, the defective individual, l'homme born, who has real narrowness of mind, possesses only a small number of ideas and points of view, and hence, his outlook is restricted and narrow. The narrower his outlook, the more foolish the man.

Foolishness and egoism are privileges of the child; we are all born foolish and raw. Only light sharpens our wits, but as the process is very slow, there is not one of us who has not some blunt edges. To distinguish objects is to be clever; to confound them, to be foolish. What one first notices in defective minds is the unconditional universality of their remarks. The generalizations of stupid people are then unjustly called exaggerations. Where they say "always,'' the clever will say, "two or three times.'' The foolish man interrupts his fellow because he presses to the front as the only justified speaker. What is most characteristic of him is his attempt to set his ego in the foreground, "*I do this always,'' "This is one of *my traits,'' "*I do this thing in quite another way.'' Indeed, every high grade of foolishness exhibits a certain amount of force which the fool in question uses to bring his personality forward. If he speaks about reaching the North Pole, he says, "Of course, I have never been at the North Pole, but I have been at Annotook,'' and when the subject of conversation is some great invention, he assures us that he has not invented anything, but that he is able to make brooms, and incidentally, he finds fault with the invention, and the more foolish he is, the more fault he finds.

These characteristics must, of course, be kept apart, and foolishness must not be confused with related qualities, although its extent or boundaries must not be fixed too absolutely. Kraus, e. g., distinguishes between the idiot, the fool, the weak-minded, the idea-less, etc., and assigns to each distinguishing character-marks. But as the notions for which these expressions stand vary very much, this classification is hardly justified. A fool in one country is different from a fool in another, an idiot in the South from an idiot in the North, and even when various individuals have to be classified at the same place and at the same time, each appears to be somewhat unique. If, for example, we take Kraus's definitions of the idiot as one who is least concerned with causal relations, who understands them least, and who can not even grasp the concept of causation, we may say the same thing about the weak-minded, the untalented, etc. Kant says, rightly, that inasmuch as fools are commonly puffed-up and deserve to be degraded, the word foolishness must be applied to a "swell-headed'' simpleton, and not to a good and honest simpleton. But Kant is not here distinguishing between foolishness and simplicity, but between pretentiousness and kindly honesty, thus indicating the former as the necessary attribute of foolishness. Another mode of distinction is to observe that forgetfulness is a quality of the simpleton who is defective in attention, but not of the fool who has only a narrow outlook. Whether or not this is true, is hard to say. There is still another differentiation in which foolish- ness and simplicity are distinguished by the lack of extent, or the intensity of attention.

It is just as difficult to determine what we mean by navet, and how to distinguish that from foolishness. That the concepts nowhere coincide is indubitable. The contact appears only where one is uncertain whether a thing is foolish or nave. The real fool is never nave, for foolishness has a certain laziness of thought which is never a characteristic of navet. The great difficulty of getting at the difference is most evident in the cases of real and artificial navet. Many people make use of the latter with great success. To do so requires the appearance of sufficient foolishness to make the real simpleton believe that he is the cleverer of the pair. If the simpleton believes, the mummer has won the game, but he has not simulated real foolishness; he has simulated navet. Kant defines navet as conduct which pays no attention to the possible judgment of other people. This is not the modern notion of navet, for nowadays we call navet an uncritical attitude toward one's environment, and its importance in our profession is, perhaps, due to the fact that—pardon me—many of us practice it. Naturalness, openness of heart, lovable simplicity, openness of mind, and whatever else the efflorescence of navet may be called, are fascinating qualities in children and girls, but they do not become the criminal judge. It is nave honestly to accept the most obvious denials of defendant and witness; it is nave not to know how the examinees correspond with each other; it is nave to permit a criminal to talk thieves' patter with another in your own hearing; it is still more nave to speak cordially with a criminal in this patter; it is nave not to know the simplest expressions of this patter; and it is most nave to believe that the criminal can discover his duty by means of the statutes, their exposition, and explanation; it is nave to attempt to impose on a criminal by a bald exhibition of slyness; and it is most nave of all not to recognize the navet of the criminal. A criminalist who studies himself will recognize how frequently he was nave through ignorance of the importance of apparently insignificant circumstances. "The greatest wisdom,'' says La Rochefoucauld, "consists in knowing the values of things.'' But it would be a mistake to attempt always to bring out directly that alone which appears to be hidden behind the nave moment. The will does not think, but it must turn the attention of the mind to knowledge. It can not will any particular result of knowledge. It can only will that the mind shall investigate without prejudice.

The proper use of this good will will consist in trying to find out the quantity of intelligence and stupidity which may be taken for granted in the interlocutor. I have once shown that it is a great mistake to suppose the criminal more foolish than oneself, but that one is not compelled to suppose him to be more intelligent than oneself. Until one can gain more definite knowledge of his nature, it is best to believe him to be just as intelligent as oneself. This will involve a mistake, but rarely a damaging one. Otherwise, one may hit on the correct solution by accident in some cases, and make great mistakes in all others.

Intelligence in the sense of wisdom is the important quality in our interlocutor. The witness helps us with it, and the defendant deceives and eludes us by its means. According to Kant, a man is wise when he has the power of practical judgment. According to Drner, certain individuals have especial intuitive talents, others have capacity for empirical investigations, and still others for speculative synthesis. In the former, their capacity serves to render the object clearly, to observe it sharply, to analyze it into its elements. In the latter, there is the capacity for the synthesis, for the discovery of far-reaching relationships. Again, we hear that the wise head invents, the acute mind discovers, the deep mind seeks out. The first combines, the second analyzes, the third founds. Wit blends, sharpness clarifies, deepness illuminates. Wit persuades, sharpness instructs, deepness convinces.

In individual cases, a man is completely and suddenly understood, perhaps, in terms of the following proverb: "There are two kinds of silence, the silence of the fool and the silence of the wise man— both are clever.'' Kant says, somewhere, that the witty person is free and pert, the judicious person reflective, and unwilling to draw conclusions. In a certain direction we may be helped, also, by particular evidences. So, when, e. g., Hering[1] says, "One-sidedness is the mother of virtuosity. The work of the spider is wonderful, but the spider can do nothing else. Man makes a bow and arrow when he can get no prey in his net, the spider goes hungry.'' This distinguishes mechanical cleverness from conscious wisdom completely. Of the same illuminating character are such salse dicta as: "The fool never does what he says, the wise man never says what he does.'' "You can fool one man, but you can not fool all men.'' "Stupidity is natural, wisdom is a product of art.'' "To depend on accident is foolishness, to use accident is wisdom.'' "There are stupidities which can be committed only by the wise.'' "Wisdom is as different from foolishness, as man from monkey.'' "Fools speak what wise men think.'' "Understanding is deficient, but stupidity never is.'' etc. These and countless other maxims help us considerably in individual cases, but give us no general characterization of the function of wisdom. We may, therefore, get some sort of pragmatic insight into the wisdom or unwisdom, of an action in the assertion: "To be wise is to be able to sacrifice an immediate petty advantage to a later and greater advantage.'' This proposition seems not to have sufficient scope, but on closer examination seems to fit all cases. The wise man lives according to law, and sacrifices the petty advantage of immediate sensual pleasure for the greater advantage of sustained health. He is prudent and sacrifices the immediate petty delights to the advantage of a care- free age. He is cautious in his speculation, and sacrifices momentary, doubtful, and hence, petty successes, to the greater later success of certain earning. He is silent, and sacrifices the petty advantage of appearing for the moment well-informed about all possible matters, to the greater advantage of not getting into trouble on account of this. He commits no punishable deeds, and sacrifices advantages that might be gained for the moment to the later greater advantage of not being punished. So the analysis might be continued, and in each case we should find that there was no wisdom which could not be explained in this way.

[1] ber das Gedchtnis etc. Vienna 1876.

The use of our explanatory proposition is possible in all cases which require determining the real or apparent participation of some individual in a crime. If the degree of wisdom a man may be credited with can be determined by means of this analysis, it is not difficult afterwards to test by its use the probability of his having a share in the crime in question.

Finally, cases are again and again observed in which very foolish people—idiots and lunatics—either because of anxiety, terror, wounds in the head, or shortly before death, become intelligent for a brief period. It is conceivable that the improvement of mental activity in these cases arises when the defect has depended on the pathological dominance of an inhibitory center, the abnormally intensified activity of which has as its result an inhibition of other important centers (acute, curable dementia, paranoia). A light, transitory, actual increase of mental activity, might, possibly, be explained by the familiar fact that cerebral anemia, in its early stages, is exciting rather than dulling. Theoretically this might be connected, perhaps, with the molecular cell-changes which are involved in the disintegration of the brain. The difference between the effects of these two causes will hardly be great, but testimony dependent on this altered character of mental activity will have little reliability. Hallucinations, false memories, melancholic accusations of self, particularly, may also be explained in terms of such excitement. We criminalists have frequently to deal with people in above- named conditions, and when we receive intelligent answers from them we must never set them aside, but must carefully make note of them and estimate them in the light of expert advice.

To this class belongs the interesting phenomenon that we very frequently meet fools who never do anything foolish. It is not true that these are simply misjudged, and only appear to be foolish. They are really foolish but they are helped by certain conditions in every instance of their conduct. To begin with, they are not so foolish as to deceive themselves; they are, therefore, in possession of a certain notion of their own weakness, and do not attempt things which are too much for them. Then, they must have a certain degree of luck in their undertakings. The proverb says that conceit is the force behind the fool, and if these fools apply their conceit to appropriate situations, they succeed. Then again, they sometimes fail to see dangers, and are therefore free from swindles which are dangerous, even to the cleverest persons. "The fool stumbles across the abyss into which the wise man regularly tumbles,'' says the proverb again. And if routine may properly be called the surrogate of talent, we must suppose that custom and practice may carry the biggest fool so far as to help him in many cases to success.

According to Esser, the fool thinks in terms of the following proposition: "Things that are alike in a few points are identical, and things that are unlike in a few points are altogether diverse.'' If this is true, the fool can fail only when he is drawing inferences of this kind; if, however, none of the important events in his life involve such inferences, he has no opportunity to exhibit his essential foolishness. The same thing is true of his interests. No fool has a real eagerness for knowledge. He has, instead, curiosity, and this can never be distinguished with certainty from knowledge. Now, if the fool is lucky, he seems to be moving forward, shows himself possessed of interests, and nobody proves that this possession is only idiotic curiosity. The fool must protect himself against one thing— action. Foolishness in action is rawness—true rawness is always foolish and can not be mistaken.

Here, again, we draw the extraordinary conclusion that we criminalists, as in all other cases, must not take man to be what he seems most of the time, but what he shows himself as, in exceptional cases. The worst man may have done something absolutely good, the greatest liar may today tell the truth, and the simpleton may today act wisely. We are not concerned with man as such; what is important for us is his immediate self-expression. The rest of his nature is a matter of judgment.


Section 91. (a) Habit.

Habit may be of considerable importance in criminal law. We have, first of all, to know how far we ourselves are influenced in our thinking and acting by habit; then it is important, in judging the testimony of witnesses, to know whether and how far the witness behaved according to his habits. For by means of this knowledge we may be able to see the likelihood of many a thing that might have otherwise seemed improbable. Finally, we may be able properly to estimate many an excuse offered by a defendant through considering his habits, especially when we are dealing with events that are supposed to have occurred under stupefaction, absolute intoxication, distraction, etc.[1] Hume, indeed, has assigned to habit the maximum of significance; his whole system depends upon the use of habit as a principle of explanation. He shows that the essence of all our inferences with regard to facts relates to the principle of causation, and the foundation of all our beliefs in causation is experience, while the foundation of inference from experience is habit. As a matter of fact, it is strange how often an obscure event becomes suddenly clear by an inquiry into the possibility of habit as its cause. Even everything we call fashion, custom, presumption, is at bottom nothing more than habit, or explicable by habit. All new fashions in clothes, in usages, etc., are disliked until one becomes habituated to them, and custom and morality must attach themselves to the iron law of habit. What would my grandmother have said of a woman whom she might have seen happily bicycling through the streets! How every German citizen crosses himself when he sees French sea-bathing! And if we had no idea of a ball among the four hundred what should we say if we heard that in the evening men meet half-naked women, embrace them vigorously, pull them round, and bob and stamp through the hall with disgusting noise until they must stop, pouring perspiration, gasping for breath? But because we are accustomed to it, we are satisfied with it. To see what influence habit has on our views of this subject, just close your ears tightly at some ball and watch the dancers. As soon as you stop hearing the music you think you are in a lunatic asylum. Indeed, you do not need to select such a really foolish case. Helmholtz suggests looking at a man walking in the distance, through the large end of a telescope. What extraordinary humping and rocking of the body the passer-by exhibits! There are any number of such examples, and if we inquire concerning the permissibility of certain events we simply carry the question of habit into the field of conduct. Hunting harmless animals, vivisection, the execution of back-breaking tricks, ballets, and numerous other things, will seem to us shocking, inconceivable, disgusting, if we are not habituated to them. What here requires thought is the fact that we criminalists often judge situations we do not know. When the peasant, the unskilled laborer, or the craftsman, does anything, we know only superficially the deed's nature and real status. We have, as a rule, no knowledge of the perpetrator's habits, and when we regard some one of his actions as most reprehensible,—quarrel or insult or maltreatment of his wife or children—he responds to us with a most astounded expression. He is not habituated to anything else, and we do not teach him a better way by punishing him.

[1] H. Gross's Archiv. II, 140; III, 350; VII, 155; XIII, 161; XIV, 189.

Questions of this sort, however, deal with the generality of human nature, and do not directly concern us. But directly we are required to make a correct judgment of testimony concerning habit, they will help us to more just interpretations and will reduce the number of crass contradictions. This is so because many an assertion will seem probable when the witness shows that the thing described was habitual. No definite boundary can be drawn between skill and habit, and we may, perhaps, say rightly, that skill is possible only where habit exists, and habit is present where a certain amount of skill has been attained. Skill, generally, is the capacity of speedy habituation. But a distinction must be drawn. Habit makes actions easy. Habituation makes them necessary. This is most obvious in cases of bodily skill,—riding, swimming, skating, cycling,— everything in which habit and skill can not be separated, and with regard to which we can not see why we and other untrained people can not immediately do the same thing. And when we can do it, we do it without thinking, as if half asleep. Such action is not skilled, but habitual, i. e., a part of it is determined by the body itself without the especial guidance of the mind.

We find the hunter's power to see so many animals, tracks, etc., inconceivable. When, e. g., we have once properly mastered the principle of a quite complicated crystal, we cannot understand why we had not done so before. We feel in the same way with regard to an unclear drawing, a new road, some bodily activity, etc. Anybody who has not acquired the habit might have to take all day to learn the business of dressing and undressing himself. And how difficult it is just to walk, a thing we do unconsciously, is confirmed by the mechanic who wants to construct a walking figure.

That all people are equally subject to habit, is not asserted. The thing is a matter of disposition, in the sense of the recurrence of past ideas or tendencies. We must assume that an inclination evinced by idea A makes possible ideas a', a'', a'''. Habits may develop according to these dispositions, but the knowledge of the conditions of this development we do not yet possess. Nevertheless, we tend to assume that the famous historian X and the famous Countess Y will not get the habit of drinking or opium-smoking— but in this case our assumption is deduced from their circumstances, and not from their personality. Hence, it is difficult to say with certainty that a person is incapable of acquiring this or that habit. So that it is of importance, when the question arises, to discover the existence of implied habits whenever these are asserted in the face of apparently contradictory conditions. There is a certain presumption for the correctness of the implication, when, e. g., the practiced physician asserts that he counted the pulse for a minute without a watch, or when the merchant accurately estimates the weight of goods within a few grams, etc. But it will be just as well to test the assertion, since, without this test, the possibility of error is still great.

Somebody asserts, e. g., that he had been distracted and had paid no attention to what two persons close to him had said. Suddenly he began to take notice and found himself able to recapitulate all their remarks. Or again, a musician, who is almost altogether deaf, says that he is so accustomed to music that in spite of his deafness he is able to hear the smallest discord in the orchestra. Yet again, we hear of insignificant, hardly controllable habits that become accidentally significant in a criminal case. Thus the crime of arson was observed by the firebrand's neighbor, who could have seen the action through the window, only if he had leaned far out of it. When he was asked what he wanted to see in the cold winter night, he replied, that he had the habit daily of spitting out of the window just before going to bed. Another, who was surprised in his sleep by an entering thief, had heavily wounded the latter with a great brush, "because he happened to have had it in his hand.'' The happening was due to his habit of being unable to fall asleep without a brush in his hand. If such habits are demonstrable facts they serve to explain otherwise unexplainable events.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15     Next Part
Home - Random Browse