The Play of Man

Chapter 3: Playful Use of the Higher Mental Powers

Karl Groos

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Rousseau, who dwells upon the fact that a man's education begins at his birth, illustrates clearly, if somewhat exaggeratedly (being under the influence of Condillac), the threefold biological significance of youth when he says in the first volume of Émile that if man came into the world full grown he would be "un parfait imbécile, un automate, une statue immobile et presque insensible." These words exactly fit into our subject and its classification. Having treated of the sensor and motor aspects of experimentation, we now proceed to examine its value to the higher mental life, where by its help man is rescued from the danger of remaining " un parfait imbécile."

The influence of experimentation is felt in the activity of intellect, feeling, and will alike. Of course all play, including the limited group which we have been considering, is of great importance to the whole mental make-up, since it acts in all directions, sharpening the intellect, exercising the will, and furnishing occasion for the discharge of emotion. But the special aim of the present discussion lies in the investigation of how far these powers of the mind are themselves the subjects of experimental play, and accordingly in what follows we shall not inquire as to the advantageous effect of play on attention, imagination, reason, etc., but will examine cases where these capacities are directly experimented with.



If we ask ourselves what aspects of intellectual activity are most conspicuously subjects of playful experimentation we naturally turn to memory, imagination, attention, and reason. Our first subject for consideration, then, is memory, where again we must distinguish between simple recognition and reflective recollection.

1. Memory

(a) Recognition

Recognition is the link which connects the present with what we have known in the past. The new psychology repudiates the common idea that the present impression is compared with a memory picture of the past and the two recognised as identical, since it is not borne out by the facts. Neither the emergence of a genuine memory picture nor its comparison with the present object is demonstrable. When I select my own from a number of hats I simply recognise it, and can tell no more about it. But a careful study of cases in which the recognition is hesitating clearly distinguishes the two following stages. First there is the simple knowledge: I have seen this before, the recognition having been accomplished by the " Coefficient of Recognition " [1] (Höffding) without our necessarily knowing why we recognise the object. It is difficult to say what grounds this feeling. Physiologically there may be special reasons for the accompanying nervous processes. Speaking psychologically, there seem to be certain shadowy feelings of warmth and intimacy. In any case the content of the memory picture is genuine, though it does not stand alone, but blends with the impression of the moment by the process of assimilation.[2] A second stage is reached through the fact that we are able to place the object suitably; we know that we have had something tû do with it, and this is often facilitated by a hasty reversion to its earlier psychic milieu of space and time relations, as well as of word

(123) and idea connections. When not too mechanical, as sometimes when dressing we put on everything in its right relation but without attention, recognition is pre-eminently pleasurable. Even the mere coefficient of recognition is accompanied with a mild satisfaction such as Faust experienced when after a foreign sojourn he found himself once more in his study. " Ali, when in one's own narrow cell the friendly lamp is burning." But much more intense is the effect of the second stage, for here comes in joy in accomplishing a task, in overcoming some difficulty, however slight. A short time ago I found on my table a fragment of porcelain decorated with gold. I knew it at once; the pattern was one I had often seen, but where? My glance accidentally fell on the curtain cord, and immediately I felt that the scrap must be from one of the porcelain knobs which it was looped on. The result was lively, almost triumphant satisfaction. The act of recognition being so pleasurable, we would naturally expect man to make use of it for its own sakethat is, experimentally. Aristotle, indeed, grounds appreciation of art in pleasurable recognition, and, while not going to that length, we must admit that the idea deserves consideration.

We have already spoken of visual recognition, which is a prominent division, and will now consider play connected with it. The earliest manifestations of pleasure in the perception of form recorded by child psychologists are no other than acts of recognition. In its second quarter the infant begins to recognise its mother and nurse. There is nothing playful about this, of course, but very soon experimentation becomes prominent as the same form appears in changed conditions with consequent uncertainty involving the stimulus of difficulty to be overcome. At six months Preyer's baby saw his father's resection in a mirror, and made a sudden motion toward it.[3] The little girl observed by Pollock at thirteen months recognised pictures in a newspaper, calling out " Wah, wah " to the animals, trees, etc.[4] In Sully's beautiful experiment, made in the seventeenth month, the

(124) playful character is more evident. " The young thinker," he says in the diary, " achieved his first success in geometric abstraction, or the consideration of pure form, when just seventeen months old. He had learned the name of his rubber ball. Having securely grasped this, he went on calling oranges 'Bo.' This left the father in some doubt whether the child was attending exclusively to form, as a geometrician should, for he was wont to make a toy of an orange, as when rolling it on the floor. This uncertainty was, however, soon removed. One day C— was sitting at table beside his sire, while the latter was pouring out a glass of beer. Instantly the ready namer of things pointed to the bubbles on the surface, and exclaimed ` Bo !' This was repeated on many subsequent occasions. As the child made no attempt to handle the bubbles, it was evident that he did not view them as possible playthings. As he got lost in contemplation, muttering `Bo, bo!' his father tells us that he had the satisfaction of feeling sure that the young mind was already learning to turn away from the coarseness of matter and fix itself on the refined attribute of form."[5]

At this time, too, the child begins to enjoy recognising things from their mere outline. Sigismund records progress in this direction at about the end of the second year. "They already know many things by the simple outline. My boy, who, by the way, has seen few pictures, recognised my shadow in his twenty-first month, being frightened for the first moment, then clearly delighted, calling out `Papa!' and has probably not been afraid of any shadow since. On the contrary, he, like other children of his age, likes to watch shadow pictures,[6] especially moving ones." They soon learn to know the outlines of their own. How deeply must the essence of individuality be impressed upon them when these meagre outlines of a

(125) figure which they are accustomed to seeing filled out are sufficient for recognition! Perhaps for children who do not see pictures early, shadows serve to introduce the latter and explain them, just as, according to the Greek fable, they led to the art of drawing. Children are so fond of looking at pictures that they often enjoy the representation more than the reality. "A house!" exclaims the little picture gazer delightedly when he comes to one, while he would hardly notice the real thing. Does this pleasure arise from the solving of a riddle, as Aristotle seems to say?[7] This would make the enjoyment of recognition identical with that derived from overcoming difficulties, and there can be no doubt that this is an important element in all art appreciation, if it be not, indeed, the very kernel of aesthetic enjoyment. In the enjoyment of a landscape, it is safe to say that for nine tenths of the observers the chief satisfaction comes from recognising the various peaks, villages, castles, etc., in the panorama. There is one more point. As soon as anything like a contest is involved, a stronger shock, a sturdier resistance to the act of recognition, a comic colouring is given to the enjoyment. Marie G—, who from the time she was two years old had a veritable passion for having things drawn for her, considered it a great joke when she could not make out what was meant without some effort. For older children and adults puzzle pictures are skilfully prepared with a view to rendering recognition difficult, and success is followed by triumphant laughter. Finally, it may be added that primitive folk are sometimes unable to see the meaning of photographs and other pictures,[8] a fact which makes their early recognition by children the more wonderful. On the other hand, I recall Charles de Lahitte's observation of an imprisoned Guayaké, a littleknown and utterly uncivilized tribe of southern Paraguay) which proves that [lie very lowest savage may recognise a photograph and be overjoyed with it. "Re recognised his picture after some instruction, and broke out with expressions of pleasure and astonishment, crying re-

(126) -peatedly as he slapped his body, ` Gon, gon ! ' which equals ` me ! ' [9]

Acoustic recognition, too, is more important and significant for art than one might at first suppose. We find even in children who repeat a simple melody indefatigably that pleasure in repetition forms a psychological basis for a physiological impulse, and in the musical pleasures of adults this feeling is much stronger.[10] The playful feature is emphasized when acoustic conditions vary, as in changed pitch or some other modification, so that overcoming difficulty enters. Potpourri and variations are instances. In Wagner's music there is a peculiar satisfaction in the emergence of a leading motive from the overwhelming mass of tones; like a friendly island rising in the midst of surging seas. All modern music, indeed, is evolved from the intricacies and modifications of such acoustic play; to follow them and identify the unity in variety is a pleasure which grows with the hearer's technical appreciation, until at last, in fuguelike movements, actual beauty is subordinated to the artfully ordered formal features of the composition.

In poetry, playful repetition takes manifold forms,[11] such as rhyme, alliteration, and that chainlike reiteration of words referred to earlier. But still more ingenious and charming is the device of bringing the repetition so close on its own heels that the first impression still dwells in the mind when the second demands attention. Pure enjoyment of repetition as such is simplest when the same or similar forms are separated by a long interval, allowing the first impression to sink below the threshold of consciousness before its analogue appears. A passage of this kind occurs in. Goethe's poem quoted above, " O gieb vom weichen Pfuhle," etc., and is still better illustrated by the similarity of the second and eighth verses of a triolet. Take this of Gleims:


" Ein Triolet soll ich ihr singen ?
Ein Triolet ist viel zu klein,
Ihr grosses Lob hineinzubringen.
Ein Triolet soll ich ihr singen ?
Vie sollt ich mit der Kleinheit ringen,
Es müsst' ein grosser Hymnus sein !
Ein Triolet sell ich ihr singen
Ein Triolet ist viel zu klein ! [12]

It is but a step from this to the familiar and primitive refrain.[13] To serve this purpose, interjections, single sounds, words, and sentences are repeated after so long an interval that there can be no question of sensuous enjoyment; it becomes mere repetition. As the soothing satisfaction of a melody is produced by dwelling on the keynote, so with the refrain. This principle is even more strongly brought out in the turn, which is so prominent a feature in much lyric poetry, and also in the form originating in Spain and Portugal in which a single verse of a familiar stanza is made the keynote of a new poem. This is play to the producer and hearers as well. Such analogy of lyric form to musical variation as is shown in the " freien Glosse " actually deserves to be called variation itself.[14]

In the imitation of particular sounds poetry offers further indulgence to the enjoyment of repetition, to the amusement of adults and delight of children. This is really imitative play and as such belongs to a later division of our subject; yet for the listener it is also an exerise in repetition, and is conspicuous in many refrains. Minor says: "The imitation of musical instruments by means of articulate or nondescript sounds is common in folk songs. The shepherd's pipe, the horn, trumpet, and

(128) drum are introduced in pastoral, hunting, and military pieces." [15] Children are especially partial to the mimicry of animals, and some of the formula have become traditional. The German robin sings, it seems,

" Buble witt witt witt,
I will dir a Krui-zerrle gean."

The sparrow says " Twitter, twitter "; the quail " Bob White, peas ripe?" the cackling hen in English, "Cut, cut, cadahcut," and in German " Duck di duck Alli Stuck Unter mi Ruck."

Finally, we must not forget a very popular game founded on recognition. A whole company will dance around a blindfolded person until he hits on the floor with a stick, whereupon they all stand still, and he touches one and attempts to identify him by the sound of his voice, having three trials. Sometimes the sense of touch is allowed to assist the recognition, as in blindman's-buff and the Greek muinda.[16].

(b) Reflective Memory

Playful exercise of the recollective faculty, dependent on the enjoyment of reproduction as such rather than on any quality of the memory picture, is confined almost exclusively to children, and indeed to those not yet of the school age. From about the third year [17] to the end of the sixth, when enforced mental exercise is begun, we find in children outspoken satisfaction in the voluntary exercise of reproduction. During this time mental feats almost unachievable by adults are performed, such as learning by heart thick books of nursery rhymes, long poems, interminable stories—acquirements which stir the proud parents with hope and mistaken conclusions as to the extraordinary mental endowments of their offspring.

That children of this age often burden their minds with

(129) lists of unconnected and meaningless words and take pride in reciting them, proves that enjoyment of the mere ability to do it is the chief incentive. Thus, when she was in her sixth year, Marie G — learned to count in French from one to one hundred, and enjoyed going over the numbers when she supposed herself to be unobserved, as when lying in bed in the morning. Carl Stumpf's report of the prodigy Otto Poehler,[18] who at two years of age had learned to read fluently without teaching, is highly interesting in this connection. Stumpf says of the boy, then four years old and in other respects normal, having, indeed, a decided disinclination for systematic education when others tried to impose it on him: "Reading is his greatest passion, and the most important thing in his life. Ile knows the birth and death year of every German Kaiser from Charles the Great, as well as of many poets, philosophers, etc., and can tell the birthday and place of most of them. Besides, he knows the capitals of most countries, and the rivers on which they are situated, etc. He knows all about the Thirty Years' War from beginning to end, with the leading battles of this and other wars. According to his mother's statement, he has acquired all this without aid, and by diligent study of a patriotic almanac and similar literature about the house, and from deciphering monumental inscriptions in the city, an amusement which he dotes on. I myself can witness to the lasting impression which such facts make on his mind. At the Seminary I showed him pictures of Fechner, Lotze, and Helmholtz, mentioning their full names. Of each he asked at once when and where he was born and died, and some days later could give not only name and surname of every one, but the full date of birth and death, mentioning day, month, year, and place." Since Stumpf tells us that there was no trace of vanity or a desire to show off, we must explain these accomplishments as the result of the child's desire to experiment playfully with his own mental powers.

In assigning such play chiefly to the period between

(130) the third and sixth years, I did not by any means intend to imply that it is suspended thereafter. It is, indeed, often seriously impeded by the compulsory methods common in our schools, yet it does not entirely vanish. Lessing is a brilliant example of the scholar by whom even erudition may be turned to playful account, and who is able to assimilate every kind of pabulum that falls in the way of his omnivorous brain. When the teacher is able to direct his pupils to the discharge of their tasks with interest and pleasure, there may still be something playful about the mental exercise of school work. Subordination to authority does not exclude play so long as the obedience is voluntary. Children never submit so absolutely to any one else as to a leader among their playfellows. Fénelon was not far wrong when he said: " The common way of educating is very mistaken—to place everything that is pleasant on one side and all that is disagreeable on the other, connecting the latter with industry and study and regarding the former as waste of time. How can we expect anything else than that the child will grow impatient of the restraint and run to his play with the greatest eagerness? "[19] Those who, on the other hand, protest against making play of instruction are mistaken in supposing that it is thereby turned into a jest, for we well know that play can be prosecuted with great zeal and earnestness. Yet they are not altogether wrong, for it is most important to impress the necessity for doing what is repugnant to us, and for this merely playful study, even if it accomplished all else that we want, would always be inadequate. Finally, with regard to the adult: it does occasionally happen even in our rushing times that some one commits a poem to memory with the avowed intention of giving exercise to his mind. Were this practical end the only one, play, indeed, would not be Involved; but, as a rule, pleasure in acquisition as such is combined with the other motive. Such exercise was formerly much more common, and at a time when few could read surprising feats were performed. A

(131) survival of this may be found now in the Balkan countries, where the heroic songs are still orally preserved. In mental exercise of this kind it is difficult to draw the line between the emotions aroused by the content of the piece and what pleasure is derived from the act of learning, and we will not here go into that phase of the subject, only mentioning, in closing the section, that conjuring up one's own past is another form of memory-play with the feelings.

2. Imagination

The phenomena which the exigencies of language compel us to include under the words imagination or fantasy naturally fall into two quite clearly differentiated groups, namely, illusion, either playful or serious, and the voluntary or involuntary transformation of our mental content. Considerable controversy has arisen as to which of these groups shall be taken as the basis of a definition, and it is in opposition to the prevailing view that I have designated the capacity for illusion as my choice for that purpose. Yet on reflection I consider it more prudent not to attempt a comprehensive definition, but rather to keep separate the two distinct departments of mental life which the usages of language too closely associate, and which, while they are closely interwoven in some of their aspects, are yet of so heterogeneous a character that we may hope to distinguish between them in all essentials.

(a) Playful Illusion

This heading includes all those manifold cases in which mental presentation is accepted as actual, whether they are concerned with genuine memory pictures or merely some mental content worked up for the occasion. When a fever patient sees an absent friend bodily before him, we call this imagination as well as when he seems to see absurd or grotesque things. The distinguishing feature is whether the illusion appears as a substitute for reality, as in dreams, delirium, hypnosis, and insanity, or as the product of conscious self-deception (K. Lange's "bewusste Selbsttäuschung," P. Souriau's "illusion volontaire "), where the knowledge that we have ourselves produced the illusion prevents actual substitution, as in

(132) play and art. Transition from one to the other of these states is easy. The dreamer or fever patient may have the feeling that the fantasy in which he lives and suffers is, after all, an unreal thing; and, on the other hand, illusion is often so strong for playing children and artists that it forms a perfect substitute for reality. Just now we are concerned with conscious illusion only. In inquiring how far experimentation is involved in it we must bear in mind that there are two sides to all illusion, one which has reference to an internal image, and the other blending with external phenomena. It is a distinction similar to that between hallucination and illusion in the narrower pathological sense.

The illusion which depends on internal images can, as we have seen, elevate actual memories as well as convertible mental contents to the appearance of reality. So we see that the two kinds of mental activity included under the name imagination are intimately and variously related, while neither alone covers the entire ground. Enjoyment of play with memory pictures which are more than ordinarily faithful to fact is practised almost exclusively by adults, and more especially by the aged. The psychological condition of this is that by means of strong concentration of attention on the mental picture (we are reminded again of hypnosis) the actual present is thrown very much into the background, and the past thus conjured up loses many of the usual characteristics of a past, since the memory picture, from lacking the usual projection, assumes the expression of reality. The following is a beautiful example of this distinction between mere reflective memory and playful illusion where the differentiation was gradually built up. When Goethe as a mature man took up his Faust manuscript, he said to himself, "I thought over this subject a great deal ten years ago; but drat would be only a memory." Yet as lie lost himself in the joyful or painful memories connected with that period, he came to ignore the fact that they were long past, and more and more substituted them for the present, which in its turn became gradually submerged. These words reveal the play of his imagination:


"My pulses thrill, tears flow without control,
A tender mood my steadfast heart o'ersways ;
What I possess as from afar I see,
What I have lost is the reality to me."
 Miss Swanwick's translation.

A strange characteristic of these playful reminiscences is that what displeased us at the time of its occurrence may give pleasure when revived by memory. When, for instance, a traveller recounts his adventures on a mountain tour he takes pleasure in dwelling on the hardships which he endured. Is this entirely due to the knowledge that it is all over now? I think not. First comes selfcongratulation on having borne such grievous difficulties, i. e., the feeling of power which we find to be the chief source of satisfaction in almost all play.

Playful pretence[20] that the personified and elaborated mental contents are real is psychologically important to productive artists, and still more so to the enjoyment of poetic creations. Artists often refer to their as yet unembodied conceptions as to very real things, and frequently these assume the rôle of relentless taskmasters or of veritable demoniacal possessions. Then, of course, they cease to be playful. A. Feuerbach writes: " If it were not for this Gastmahl I would be happy; but it pervades everything and gets in my way. It haunts my thoughts. It feeds on my heart's blood and saps my inmost life."[21] Yet the artist often exults in the fact that he has a self-created world all his own—he plays with the illusion. "It would concern the reader little, perhaps," says Dickens about his David Copperfield, " to know how sorrowfully the pen is laid down at the close of a two years' imaginative task; or how an author feels as if he were dismissing some portion of himself into the shadowy world when a crowd of the creatures of his own brain are going from him forever. Yet I have nothing else to tell, unless, indeed, I there to confess (which might he of less

(134) moment still) that no one can ever believe this narrative, in the reading, more than I have believed it in the writing." This sort of illusion is essential to msthetic enjoyment in hearing or reading poetic creations. The child who listens absorbedly to a fairy story,[22] the boy for whom the entire external world sinks and vanishes while he is lost in a tale of adventure, or the adult who follows with breathless attention the development of a captivating romance; all allow the authors' creations to get possession of their consciousness to the exclusion of reality, and yet not as an actual substitute for it.

In a second kind of conscious illusion the mental content blends with actual external phenomena and shares in their reality. Here, according to Wundt's terminology, we have a kind of simultaneous association which is very like the imagination that transforms reality. Each of our ordinary concepts is a mixture of sensuous impression with its associated memory picture, and it first becomes illusion when the association assumes the character of hallucination, and is susceptible of correction by an appeal to common experience. When a white spot dimly revealed by the moonlight appears to me as unmistakably a towel, I see more than sense-perception warrants; but when I firmly believe that it is a white-robed figure, then I have fallen into an illusion, and, as they say, my imagination has played me a trick. Yet there are degrees of difference between serious illusion and the playful kind which concerns us here. When I had fever, as a boy, I saw on the bright coverlet the most marvellous feast spread out, and at the same time had an amused consciousness that it was all an illusion caused by my illness. Von Bibra's experiences from hasheesh-smoking were quite similar to this, as he tells us in his book previously cited. In this are two distinct kinds of play, first the substitution of an image for its original, and second the lending,

(135) as it were, of our own personality. The first has been treated exhaustively by K. Lange in his study of conscious illusion. Not only the little girl who makes a favourite baby of a knotted handkerchief or some other formless object, and the boy who calls a stick a horse, a pile of sand a mountain, a collection of chairs a railroad train, etc., but also the adult in his enjoyment of plastic art and scenic effect, using his own mental content to verify the appearance, is making playful use of his capacity for illusion, and he, too, takes pleasure in so doing. Lending one's own personality reveals illusion as operative in another direction; here we impart our own mental states to the object under consideration; we "lend" to it the emotions which we conceive would be ours under like conditions (the shoe is made to fit the last). From our feeling of sympathy or inner imitation we then experience all the resulting states of mind, cheerfulness and brightness from what is attractive, or solemnity from the sublime. In speaking of imitation we shall have occasion to refer to this again.

(b) Playful Transformation of the Memory-Content

Simple recollective processes by no means give an adequate picture of reality. In the tenth chapter of his book on illusions Sully gives such a list and description of important mental illusions as is calculated to shake our faith in the trustworthiness of memory. It seems that our recollections are often mere fragments of a formerly well-known whole (we may recall, for example, only one or two features of an acquaintance), and as a result of this analytic process we are prone to make new combinations of the detached elements. Thus, a short time ago I thought that I could clearly picture to myself the house of my brother-in-law by the power of association, but I afterward discovered that I had conceived the bricks to be far too bright a red, and had evidently substituted the colour of some other house. What we call constructive imagination then turns out to be constantly renewed manipulation of previously verified impressions. We need not here touch upon the wide field of involuntary productive imagination, since it is only play directed by, 10

(136) the will that is engaging us; yet before going on to concrete cases, it should be stated that in constructive imagination as well the pictures formed are to a considerable extent involuntary, the will aiding more by its influence in concentrating the attention on the trend of the internal processes and in discriminating between them, than in forming the picture itself. This is why the efforts of great artists are so often like inspirations.

Building air castles is the simplest exercise of constructive imagination .[23] It most commonly manifests itself as voluntary playful forming of cheerful and ambitious images of ourselves or our friends amid the most fortunate surroundings.[24] We may see how it is done by watching little children who have enjoyed a new kind of treat at a birthday party or some such occasion—how they will remember and repeat it in their future plays. All the details will be copied sometimes just as in the model, sometimes in new combinations, or turned into a joke. The inestimable value of such play for making life worth living is self-evident. It veils the sordidness of everyday existence with a double illusion, the first being our conception of the air castle as a reality, and so getting immediate possession of this radiant dream (here the two kinds of imagination converge). Such illusion supplies the psychological interest in Faust's bargain; he enjoys the " schönsten Augenblick," although his present satisfaction is merely premonitory. The second illusion is exemplified in our implicit trust that the future will verify our hope,[25] that buoyant and vivifying emotion which accompanies us all through life.

Conjuring up all sorts of hindrances, difficulties, and dangers is a modification of this castle building, and gives more play to the intellectual faculties as we weigh the varying possibilities of success or failure, develop the probable consequences of a proposed stop, and try to find

(137) the best and easiest road to success. By such processes the crude picture is moulded into shape. Here. again, the capacity for illusion is of importance in connection with imaginative combination, since each possibility that is considered has the appearance of reality in its turn, but such mental activity is playful only when the combinations as such are enjoyable. Every creative artist, statesman, writer, or scholar must often work on an imaginative basis which he knows he can never verify. Many persons like to take, with the help of a Baedeker, long journeys which they can never hope to indulge in in any other way, and to solve complicated problems based on hypothetical games of chess.

Leaving castle building, let us see what other forms of constructive fantasy can be practiced playfully. In speaking of illusions we have noticed the blending of memories with external phenomena, which is so conspicuous in child play and in aesthetic enjoyment. The process of "assimilation " which grounds playful selfdeception is so closely related to constructive imagination that it is difficult to locate the boundary between them. The psychic process which transforms a splinter into a doll's milk-bottle, a few chips stuck up into men and trees, a cloud [26] into the greatest variety of faces, animals, etc., which endows lifeless objects with our own spiritual capacities of desire, emotion, and temper—all this is synthetic activity which may quite as well be called assimilation as constructive imagination. Its pleasurable quality is inherent,[27] especially— where a perfect imitation of reality would give us so little room for the exercise of imagination as to be on the whole less satisfactory.

Constructiveness which is concerned purely with ideas, not blending them with external objects, is quite as important. One of its uses. though one not clearly defined, may be to direct the attention, when there exists but a vague idea of the completed picture, to a choice

(138) among the multifarious internal images which make up the material supplied by memory. This process is of the greatest importance in the origination of artistic compositions, but its relatively simple beginnings may be clearly traced in the play of children. While we may not hope to follow the imaginative process into all its ramifications and refinements, nor to account for individual variations in memory content, visual, motor, etc., three general, constantly recurring forms of its constructive activity are distinguishable: 1. The conjunction of concepts which are not connected, or not so connected in reality. 2. The abstraction of certain elements from a complex and their transference to other combinations. 3. Exaggeration and depreciation. It will be readily seen that these three forms of imaginative activity are useful for playful experimentation as well as in actual artistic production, which, however, rarely makes playful use of fantasy.

The first of these activities is often so capricious in children that it can hardly be called experimentation; it seems a mere disconnected succession of fancies and selforiginated images, very much as in the case of mania and other abnormal states. Striimpell's little daughter, aged one and a half years, is responsible for the following: " Go gramma and buy a pretty doll gramma for me under the bed for me to play the piano. Bring papa golden sheep; take mamma's white sheep too. Go on, there, driver, gramma is going. Get up, Klinglingling. Gramma comes up the steps. Oh, oh, ah, ah, lying on the floor, all tied up, no cap on. Theodosia [her doll] lie on the bed, bring yellow sheep to Theodosia. Run, tap, tap, tap for Lina. Strawberries, gramma, wolf lie on bed. Go to sleep, darling Theodosia, you are my dearest; everybody is fast asleep. May makes the trees green—let me—on the brook violets are blooming I want to go to walk. A cat came in. here, mamma caught it, it had feet and black boots on—short cap, band on it. Papa ran—the sky—gramma gone—grampa resting," etc.[28] In

(139) this, attention seems to be entirely lacking, so that there can not be said to be any aim, however indefinite. Genuine constructive imagination is more apparent in the attempts of small children to tell stories. 1 have the following note on Marie G—, made at the age of three years and one month. She insisted that I must lie on the lounge after she had gone through the motions of " making the bed." Then the little mother warmed the gruel in a heavy cigar cutter, made me drink at the peril of my teeth, and ordered me to shut my eyes. Then she seated herself, pretended to sew, and told a story to put me to sleep: " The other day I went down town. There were beautiful shops and there were flowers. Anna [her doll] wanted to pick one, and a bear came up. All my six children were dreadfully scared and hid in the bathroom stove, and I locked the door and took out the key, and the bear went away; and I was so frightened! " It was evidently her intention to make a connected story, although the first situation, the scene down town, was transferred to a different one without any proper transition. Yet the various processes are easily traced in spite of their complexity. First, the idea of the city where the romancer takes her doll, as she was often taken by her mother. The memory picture of the florists' shops which led to an overweening desire on the part of the doll to take a flower. Then judicial wrath appears in the frightful shape of the bear, and at once the whole situation is changed; there are now the six children of the familiar tale, who hide. But where? In our bathroom stove (an improvement on the tale), which develops a lock and key for the occasion (confusion with the attributes of a closet door). Here, then, are divisions 1 and 2 clearly defined—namely, the combining of complex presentations, and the detachment and transposition of some features. Analogy with artistic methods is too obvious to need enlarging upon .[29] An interesting example ûÎ the inventiveness of an older child endowed with genius is the volumi-

(140) nous romance which the young Goethe used to tell 'again and again to his playmates, and has transcribed in his biography. It will be seen that the imaginative process is much less easily traced in it than in the earlier instance.[30]

One important branch of imaginative composition is the picturing of the fantastic creatures of mythology, such as animals with human heads, mermaids, and the grotesque blending of animal and vegetable life, yet with the essential features taken from Nature. As Dickens says of his characters, that, being made up of many people, they were composite,[31] so with these creations. The following dialogue of Marie G— with her doll near the end of her fifth year will illustrate the use of this faculty in the case of concepts which transcend the limits of actuality. " So, little sister Olga, you have come in from your walk. Tell me about everything that you saw. A little lamb, a cow, a dog, a horse. Yes, and what else

Blue bells and green primroses and red leaves—but that can not be; you are fibbing, my little sister." Such playful and grotesque combinations are often introduced in art, but they no longer appeal to superstitious fear. In the temptations of St. Anthony, in Oriental tales of strangely deformed men, in the taste for grotesque gargoyles and other ornaments, we find instances. In some fantastic creations the imagination is given unbridled license, with the result that the production acquires more of the characteristics of play.[32]

The third division of constructive fantasy, comprising exaggeration and depreciation, is also an object of playful activity. All children delight in giants and dwarfs, whether because they excite pleasurable emotions by their disproportionateness, which appeals to the comic sense, or whether it is the strong stimulus of what

(141) is unusual that accounts for the attraction. Marie G improvised a rare tale when she was five and a half years old, which well illustrates exaggeration, as well as conscious illusion and imaginative combination. The child was lying in bed in the early morning with a copy of Grimm's tales, and pretended to be reading from it. " Once upon a time there was a king who had a little daughter. She lay in the cradle. He came in and knew it was his daughter, and they both had a wedding. As they sat at the table the king said, `Please draw me some beer in a big glass: Then they brought a glass that was thirty yards high, and went to sleep; only the king stayed up as a watchman. And if they are not dead they are living there yet." Of course the child had no clear idea of how high this glass would be, but she evidently pictured one whose size far transcended the limits of reality—of this I subsequently satisfied myself. Adults are constantly using this sort of imaginative exercise in a playful way in verbal exaggeration. The talk of students and of girls abounds in superlatives, and they are employed by satirists with telling effect—so much so that the recounter himself is sometimes deceived by his own extravagance. Schneegans says in his interesting book: " The grotesque satirist is often carried away by his own work, and gradually loses sight of his original aim; . . . and finally the conclusion is forced upon us that the writer has yielded to his passion for gross exaggeration." This is certainly true of Rabelais, when he says that Pantagruel had but to put out his tongue to protect his whole army from the rain, or that his arrows were as large as the beams of the bridge at Nantes, and yet with one of them he could shoot an oyster from its shell without breaking the latter; or when he describes the people who needed no tailor, since one of their ears served as hose, doublet, and vest, while the other was aced like a Spanish mantle. This last morsel recalls some ûf the folk tales which have amused the masses for more than two thousand years. While we may not lightly affirm that the grotesque extravagance of some of these stories is always due to imaginative play, yet we can trace it in such of them as the Greenland myth of little Kagsagsuk, whom

(142) the men lifted by the nostrils until they grew enormous, while the rest of his poorly fed body remained as small as ever, and in the account of his subsequent marvellous strength. Kagsagsuk divided the mob as though it had been made of little fishes, and ran so vigorously that his heels hit the back of his neck, and the snow flying up around him made shining rainbows [33].

Playful lying should be mentioned along with other forms of exaggeration. Children's lies have been studied carefully of late years, and the conclusion is general that they are usually playful. Untruthfulness must be playful when it is indulged in merely to tease others or to get amusement from their credulity, or to heighten the recounter's sense of the marvellous.[34] Only such examples are useful for our purpose as find their chief incentive in the enjoyment of invention. Compayré rightly calls this experimentation, and says that children play with words as they do with sand or blocks.[35] The real stimulus which lying affords to imaginative activity is best demonstrated in the progressive lie: " I have thirty marbles; no, fifty; no, a hundred; no, a thousand!" or " Je viens de voir un papillon grand comme le chat, grand comme la maison."[36] One of my nephews, Heinrich, was a great romancer, and the same peculiar, almost divergent fixing of his eyes characterized him then as when listening to a marvellous tale. At three and a half years north Berlin was the scene[37] of his inventions, a name which the little Stuttgarter had in some way picked up. There he had seen fish resembling sharks with boots on their feet. On one occasion he related the following: "In north Berlin hares and hounds are on the roofs; they climb up on ladders and play together, and then—and then—comes a telephone, a long wire, you know, and on that they come

(143) to Stuttgart. That's the way they get here.''[38] It is easy to see the connection between this and rudimentary artistic production. Guyan says:[39] " The lying of children is usually the first exercise of their imagination, the first evidence of the germ of art." Such playful experimentation is, of course, quite different from actual deception. Perhaps nowhere is finer discrimination in this direction shown than in Goethe's remarks on his boyish story-telling: " It greatly rejoiced the other children when I was the hero of my own story. They were delighted to know that such wonderful things could befall one of their playfellows, and yet they did not seem to marvel that I could play such tricks with time and space as these adventures implied, for they were well aware of my goings and comings and how I was occupied all day long. None the less I must choose the scenes of these adventures, if not in another world, at least in a distant place, and yet tell all as having taken place to-day or yesterday. They therefore made for themselves greater illusions than any I could have palmed off on them. If I had not gradually learned from my natural bent to work up these visions and conceits into artistic forms, such a vainglorious beginning could not have been without injurious consequences to me." Even when the playful lie becomes artistic production there is always a leaning toward genuine deception. Goethe says: "I took good care not to alter the circumstances much, and by the uniformity of my narrative I converted the fable into reality in the minds of my auditors. Yet," he adds and this is proof that the deceit was playful" I was averse to falsehood and dissimulation, and would by no means lightly indulge in them."[40] The same remarks apply to the corresponding amusements of adults, such as fishing and hunting stories, and Munchausen tales generally.

In concluding this subject the temptstion is strong to go into some of the special forms of fantasy, Such as, for instance, the association of sensuous impressions with

(144) abstract ideas. Poetry has the task of justifying such combination, and this quatrain affords a simple instance

" Woher kommt der Blutegel ?
Aus der Reisfeld treibt er in den Fluss.
Woher kommt die Liebe ?
Aus dem Auge senkt sie sich in's Herz."
Whence comes the leech, then?
Out of the rice field it turns to the stream.
Whence comes love, then?
From the eye it sinks down to the heart."

From this doggerel to " Warte nur, balde ruhest du auch," suggested by a view of wooded hills standing in evening quiet, is but a matter of development. Metaphor ensues when abstract form is superseded by sensuous impression. The designer and novelist Töp$er gives a beautiful instance of such materializing of the spiritual in this interesting contribution to child psychology when he tells us how he always conceived of conscience in the form of his teacher. "For a long time I did not distinguish between the inner voice of conscience and the admonitions of my instructor. When I felt the stirrings of the former I pictured the latter before me in his black robes, with his scholarly air, and his spectacles on his nose."[41]

3. Attention.

As I have attempted to set forth in former efforts,[42] attention is probably in its earliest manifestations rather a means for the furtherance of the struggle for life than a so-called faculty of the mind. The instinct of lying in wait (by which we must understand not merely holding one's self in readiness to seize prey, but also a preparedness for flight) is, as I conceive, the elementary form of attention. Some sense-perception called forth by the prey or the enemy, as the case may be, warns the animal to brace his organism for the utmost swiftness and accuracy of aim in view of what is conning; secondly, to hold his muscles tense and ready for lightning-quick reaction to the approaching stimulus; and, thirdly, to keep such restraint on his whole body as to repress all sounds and

(145) movements which might betray him. Among the higher animals, and especially man, " theoretic " attention has developed from this motor attention, which reacts to the anticipated stimulus with special external movements. In the former the reaction is an internal, brain process, not involving the second of the steps given above; it is sufficient to seize and master the object—to lie in wait apperceptively, as it were. The characteristic holding of the powers in check seems to argue the derivation of this sort of attention from the motor, thus grounding both on instinct. Expectancy is not then a variation, but rather a fundamental form of attention, and concentration on an object present before it results from a succession of constantly renewed expectations.

Both forms of attention are of real importance in the world of play, but we will note only those cases in which the effort of attending is itself the subject of playful exercise. Sikorski has asserted forcibly that children frequently make use in their play of the expectation of a familiar impression whose memory picture is already present in the mind; what Lewes calls " preperception," and Sikorski " reproduction préparatoire." He says: " It is very interesting to notice how children use attention in their play. It is one of the most salient features of all the mental operations of children in all their busyness and destructiveness. It may be called a sort of mental auxiliary which gives variety to play."[43] He goes on to instance Preyer's son, who opened and closed the cover of a can seventy-nine times in succession, and evinced the closest attention all the while.[44] The expectation of a resulting sound is no doubt an essential part of such play as this. Alternate stress and relaxation of attention account for the charm of hide and seek. Darwin says that his son on the one hundred and tenth day was delighted when a handkerchief was put over his face or his playfellows and then suddenly withdrawn.[45] While surprise was probably the principal cause of this delight at first, on its repetition expectation and the sudden reve-

(146) -lation must play a part. When a child throws stones in water or at a mark, batters an old pot, awaits the tossedup ball or watches a rolling one, we must reckon with the pleasure which is derived from the exercise of close attention, as well as that in movement as such, and in this kind of play the comparison of memory pictures with present reality. " In all such play," says Sikorski, after instancing several examples, " a particular result is expected and awaited as something desirable. The sound of the stone striking the water, the direction taken by the soap bubble the moment it is tossed off,[46] all such consequences are pictured in advance, and the essence of the enjoyment consists in the coincidence of reality with the mental image."[47]

At this point we may again take up the process of recollection which is attended with some difficulty. The progressive power of rhythmical repetition, especially when musical or poetic, to whose chains we are such willing captives, is nothing else than attention fixed on what is to come. Still stronger is the tense expectation aroused by artistic productions which require time for their presentation. In the drama and recitation especially must we ascribe value to continuity, for here true art consists not so much in taking the hearer or reader by surpriseindeed, this is an insignificant element—as in contriving to make him suspect the coming situation and await it with intense concentration. On this depends not only the effectiveness of tragedy (O. Harnack has compared Ibsen's Ghosts in this respect with the antique Oedipus), but in large measure that of all narrative poetry. " The poor satisfaction of a surprise!" exclaims Lessing. " I am far from thinking that the enjoyment we get from the work of a great artist is due to concealment of the denouement. I believe, moreover, that it would not transcend my powers to create a work in which the climax shall be revealed in the first scene, and from that very circumstance derive its strongest interest." Finally, we must notice the interesting phenomena of attention in its connection with gambling, for the tremendous effects

(147) of which many diverse causes must conspire. Ribot says of it, " C'est la complexité qui produit l'intensité."[48]

The tension of interest in gaming depends on the two possibilities, winning and losing. It must be one thing or the other, and this fact differentiates it from our previous examples. Hope of winning usually looms large in the foreground, the possibility of losing assuming more the character of an auxiliary, adding intensity to the process. " Gambling," says Lazarus justly, " has ruined many, enriched few, yet every player expects to be of the minority."[49] As games of chance will come up for more exhaustive treatment later, I merely mention here that the effort of attention is one ground of their strong effect.

We now take up playful apperception of new impressions. The deep-rooted impulse to bring everything within the sphere of our own powers is especially powerful in the presence of novelty, of what is unfamiliar. We experience an almost irresistible desire to examine closely any strange object and make ourselves acquainted with its properties. Curiosity is the name given to the playful manifestation of attention which results from this tendency. Since I introduced it among the plays in my work on animals I have been told that curiosity is no play; but if we keep to our principle that the exercise of an impulse merely for the sake of the pleasure we derive from it is to be called play, then I am unable to see why curiosity should form an exception. It stands midway between two kinds of perception as applied to what is new, but is identical with neither. On one side is the impulse to inquire into the practical use of the unfamiliar object, whether it is beneficial or injurious; on the other side is thirst for knowledge, not entirely with a view to appropriation, but more concerned with placing the object properly in our system of things known. But curiosity, while it does depend on the stimulus [50] of novelty. concerns itself primarily neither with the practical value of the thing nor with its theoretic significance. It simply

(148) enjoys the agreeable emotional effects which arise when a new concept does not readily adjust itself to the beaten track of the habitual, and requires paths at least partially new to be opened before it. The interest attaching to scientific investigation is logical and formal, but that excited by curiosity may be said to be material. The freshness of the untried belongs to this new mental heritage, and is as exhilarating as the mountain climber's discovery of a new path to some coveted summit. Where such pleasure becomes the ground of activity, that activity is play. For illustrative purposes let us suppose a landslide. Practical interest would at once apply to the proper authorities to find out the extent of damage caused by the catastrophe; scientific and learned curiosity would investigate the causes; while the simply curious would run from all directions just to see what was happening, using their powers of attention playfully.

In The Play of Animals I have presented quite a collection of examples, and I insert another here, which was not at that time available. When Nansen was on his north polar expedition a valuable gun accidentally fell into the sea. As the water at that place was but ten metres deep an attempt was made to recover the weapon. "While we were so engaged a bearded seal constantly swam around us, regarding us wonderingly, stretching his great head now to this side and now to that side of us, and drawing nearer and nearer as if he were making efforts to discern in what sort of nocturnal labour we were engaged."[51] When we read such reports and see how widespread these phenomena are in the animal world, we naturally expect to find them universal among men. Yet it has been maintained by some that the lowest orders of savages have extremely little or no curiosity at all. Spencer has published a note in his Data of Sociology to the effect that it is entirely wanting among such peoples. "Where curiosity exists we find it among races of not so low a grade."[52] I do not think that this can be substantiated. The numerous reports of travellers which

(149) seem to give colour to it can, I believe, be explained in two ways: First, the savage is too suspicious to show his curiosity; and, secondly, many reporters in speaking of the lack of curiosity refer rather to scientific curiosity, or thirst for knowledge. The Bakaïri of central Brazil, who are certainly primitive enough, displayed, according to K. von den Steinen, lively curiosity, while they had absolutely no desire for knowledge. " Our clothes," he says, "were as strange to these good people as their nakedness was to us. I was escorted to the bath by both men and women, and it was amusing to see with what interest my clothes were examined. It never seemed to occur to them that I might resent the inspection. They showed some interest in my Polynesian tattooing, but were evidently disappointed not to find something marvellous concealed under all this careful and unheard-of wrapping."[53] Just as curiously they investigated the contents of his pockets; admired his watch, which they called "moon," because it did not sleep at night. A genuine desire for knowledge was nowhere shown, only a playful curiosity. K. von den Steinen has also recognised this distinction. " Nothing could be more mistaken," he says, "than to suppose that frank curiosity is a genuine desire for knowledge or a longing to understand the cause of things."[54] He is a firm upholder of the other view, having lived for some time alone among the Bakaïri, and says that much which he had observed as characteristic of them vanished when the larger company arrived; the perfect naiveté disappeared, and their manner became more and more that of the savage as usually described to us. [55] That the higher standing races are extremely curious is a familiar fact, admitted and illustrated by Spencer himself. I instance only Semon's humorous account of the Ambonese. A committee from the village made visits lasting fir hours on the chip where he was busy with his mete. All hints that they might be needed on shore were unavailing, and for two days I bore it uncomplainingly when they crowded into my tiny cabin. On the third day I thought it best to

(150) speak to them plainly, and asked them in Malay to sit before the cabin door . . . . And the rest were just as curious, although they did not come on board ship. My morning dip in the sea was a treat to the whole village. A crowd of spectators gathered to witness the show, observing every detail, and not scrupling to express their criticisms."[56]

In children, curiosity is useful as an antidote to instinctive shyness in the presence of what is new and strange, and as an introduction to the general desire for knowledge. It is stimulated by surprise, but can be called true curiosity only when the perception of what is unusual has a directly pleasurable effect, as, for example, when an infant six months old regards a veiled face with close attention and signs of delight. Tiedemann reports as early as the end of the second month: " He makes more and more unmistakable efforts to add to his store of ideas, for new objects never seen before are followed longer with the eye."[57] " All little children," says Preyer, " make ineffective sympathetic movements of various kinds when they hear new sounds, music or songs. They like to move their arms up and down. The child, on hearing, seeing, or tasting something new, directs his attention toward it, and experiences a pleasant sensation of gratified curiosity which induces motor discharge."[58] Sully regards curiosity as the best offset to fear in children, and considers it a fortunate circumstance that the commonest causes of fear—namely, new and strange phenomena—are also the originators of a feeling such as curiosity, with its attendant impulses to follow and to examine. It would indeed be detrimental to intellectual development if new things roused feelings of fear exclusively. Yet in spite of these differences, fear and curiosity are probably closely related, since the caution and suspicion which characterize fear may be the point of departure for curiosity. Caution impels the animal to examine with careful attention every unusual object which makes its way into his environment,

(151) with an eye to its possible injurious or useful character. Assuming that this impulse is emancipated gradually from its double practical aim, we see it converted into curiosity before our eyes, while ontogenetically it is the antecedent of the thirst for knowledge, just as the practical aim precedes it phylogenetically. Perez has described this evolution beautifully. Playful exercise of the sensor and motor apparatus, which is at first mere obscure impulse toward sensation and movement, achieves more and more the clearness of intellectual activity as it becomes associated with curiosity. Yet all this results "not so much from the necessity for knowing what things are and what they can do, as from the demand for new and fresh impressions."[59] Veritable thirst for knowledge, with its unappeasable questioning, gradually develops from this, making without difficulty the transition from the realm of play to that of genuine scientific investigation.

This demand for novelty plays a conspicuous rôle in the life of an adult as well. The masculine half of the race exhibits a praiseworthy self-denial in ascribing this quality to the other sex exclusively, but the women are about right when they say that men are quite as curious as themselves. Without going into the merits of this controversy, we will confine our discussion to the province of curiosity in aesthetic enjoyment. It is no doubt true that the highest and most complete aesthetic pleasure is independent of the stimulus of novelty, as is proved by the fact that our appreciation of a work of art is undiminished by repeated examination, and it remains "herrlich wie am ersten Tag." Yet there is a peculiar charm attaching to a first view of even the most perfect work of genius, which E. von Hartmann has likened to that of the first kiss, and which must be at least in part due to novelty. This advantage depends not entirely on the diminishing of the satisfaction by use, but also on a positive, independent pleasure in the apperception of a new thing, and new, original, in the sense of being a revelation, are the productions of genius. In the develop-

(152) -ment of art, too, a disinclination to get into ruts, together with positive enjoyment of original work, is a decidedly progressive force, as opposed to the multiplication of reproductions and imitations. Before the revolution caused by a new thing has become an accomplished fact, behold ! it is no longer new, and the danger is of achieving only the pre-classical, as it were, and not the classical. Of following the prophets, perhaps, but not the Messiah.

4. Reason

We need no chain of reasoning to prove that the logical faculty is involved in very many plays, even those of simple movement; but now, as heretofore, we will strictly exclude all uses of it except those in which it is the very object of the play, those in which it is playfully experimented with. Two bearings of the subject will engage our attention:' first, causality; and, second, inherence. Both are prominent in the playful use of reason, while some special forms involve the use of judgment as well, as in the play of wit, for instance.

How far the gratification afforded by play is dependent on causality is strikingly shown by the fact that there is not a single form of it which does not exhibit in one shape or another the joy of being a cause as the germ of its attractiveness. It is true that this universal fact directs the attention more to the feeling of being a cause than to the logical idea of causal connection, yet we find enjoyment of logical activity prominent in the categories which we have designated as "hustling things about," and as destructive and constructive movement play. The tendency toward such play was chosen for our point of departure, and the indications are that it is of the first importance to the child, and that only through frequent repetitions of the post hoc does independent interest in the propter hoc gradually arise. Still, it can not be denied that the true characteristics of play are in inverse ratio to the intensity of the desire for knowledge, and it should be clearly stated that we are now on the frontier territory of play and earnest. The steps by which we have reached this point can be clearly traced by every reader of what goes before; therefore, without

(153) stopping to recapitulate, I cite this striking remark of Preyer's as a fitting climax. He says in reference to the evolution of a feeling of individuality: " Another important factor is the perception of change brought about by his own activity, in the familiar objects by which he is surrounded, and, psychologically speaking, or, indeed, from any standpoint, a red-letter day in the infant's life is the one on which he first grasps the connection between his own movements and the sense-perceptions caused by them. The sound produced by tearing and crumpling paper was still unrecognised by this child till in his fifth month he discovered that it gave him a new sensation, and he repeated the experiment day after day most energetically until the stimulus of novelty wore away. Still, there was no clear apprehension of causality, but the child had now had the experience of being an originator, and of combined sight and sound perceptions, regular in so far that when he tore paper it became smaller for one thing, and sound resulted for another. Other such amusements were shaking keys on a ring, opening and shutting a box or purse (thirteen months), repeatedly filling and emptying a table drawer, piling up and scattering sand and gravel, rustling the pages of a book (thirteenth to nineteenth month), digging in sand, pulling footstools back and forth, laying stones, shells, and buttons in rows (twenty-one months), pouring water .in and out of bottles, cups, and cans (thirty-first to thirtythird month) and throwing stones in water."[60] Miss Shinn also gives a pretty example in the case of her little niece: "In the twentieth month (five hundred and ninetieth day) I saw her outdoors, especially when driving, cover her eyes several times with her hands. I thought the sunlight might be too brilliant, but it is more likely that she was experimenting, for in the following weeks she would often cover her eyes with her hands, and take them away, hide her face in a cushion or on her own arms, often saying `Dark,' then look up, `Light now."[61] Tormenting animals is another direc-

(154) tion in which the quest for a causal connection is evident. When Andrée Theuriet was a four-year-old boy he threw a newborn puppy in the water just " pour voir," and then wept bitterly because he could not rescue it.[62] As these demands of reason become prominent we can clearly see that we are approaching the limits of play.

There are other cases, however, where the search for a causal connection can more assuredly be called playful. An essential feature of the enjoyment derived from mental contests is the calculation of the result. Several possibilities are before the player, and he enjoys the intellectual effort of testing each and using the most advantageous. In the solution of whist and chess problems and such like, rivalry becomes an insignificant feature, and logical experimentation forms the central interest. Just so with the common and often ancient mechanical and mathematical puzzles. Pleasure in conquering their logical difficulties is derived from the gratification of a "general impulse or general instinct to exercise the intelligence as such." [63] Causality plays a prominent part in poetry, too, since we require it to reveal to us the inner relations of the events set forth and to exhibit cause and effect in clearer and more orderly sequence than the complexities of reality admit of.[64] Especially is this the case with tragedy. In my Einleitung in die Aesthetik I expressed the opinion that the treatment of tragical climaxes as logical necessities is an important means of

(155) bracing us for the increasingly painful inner imitation which is so essential, without weakening or modifying its effect. " When the course of the tragic tale is so far developed as to suggest that a catastrophe is imminent, it should also appear inevitable. Stern necessity must urge the hero toward the fearful goal so persistently that escape shall be unthinkable, a logical impossibility. This feeling of necessity is calculated to fix the aesthetic illusion, and consequently help on the effect by rendering more strenuous the mental tension and directing it so forcibly toward the climax that consciousness is a captive to inner imitation until the tragedy has culminated. In other words, fear of the catastrophe is so absorbing as to create the illusion that the apprehended event is just at hand, and consequently all sense of the painfulness of the situation is merged in the stress of this illusion, since it alone is competent to relieve the tension."[65] I might have continued to the effect that such manifestations of the law of cause afford us a positive logical satisfaction, and in spite of the impression forced upon us by the crushing blows of Fate, weave some threads into the intricate texture of aesthetic enjoyment, because in them we recognise a proof of the existence of a universal causal nexus.

A glance over the sphere of inherence, too, will help us to a proper orientation for this inquiry. By the word inherence we signify the relation of a thing to its qualities, or, abstractly speaking, the relation of a concept to its characteristics. A common and well-nigh universal form of play depends on this principle—namely, the making and solving of riddles. The large majority of them involve an effort to find the concept whose characteristics are given, and the task is intentionally rendered difficult, with the result that the solution is attended with a proud sense of success. The exercise ensily leads to a contest, but it is grounded in experimentation with the logical faculty, and many persons enjoy the amusement for this reason alone.[66]

Children as young as four years sometimes indulge

(156) in a sort of preliminary exercise in riddle solving, such as the simple game in which one child, noticing the peculiar colour of some object in the room, says, "I see something you don't see, and it's yellow," and his comrade must guess it. The play here is connected with sense perception by the relations of things to their qualities, and there are many games for large companies much like it. In a genuine riddle the enumeration of characteristics must be imperfect or in some way misleading to render the solution troublesome, and still sufficiently complete to make it possible; many are made sufficiently puzzling by the lack of logical oridkos without the introduction of other means of mystification;— such, for example, as

" Drufg'schloh,
Ufg' deckt,
Usse g'nô,
Dra gschmockt,
Und dann wiederum versteckt"

Inside whole,
Outside full of many holes."

"Two legs sits on three legs
And milks four legs."

" Oben spitz and unten breit
Durch and durch voll Süssigkeit"

"First white as snow,
Then green as clover,
Then red as blood,
They taste to all children good."

The play is more genuine, however, when the characteristics are more veiled, as in (1) metaphor and (2) apparent contradiction. The riddles which follow are evidently calculated to put one on the wrong scent. On the coast of Malabar two familiar riddles are " Little man, strong voice," and "A little pig in the woods." The

(157) answer to the former is Grasshopper, and to the latter Pediculus cervicalis.

"There is a little man
With a stomach of stone;
He has a red cloak
And a black cap on."

"S'itzt etwas amme Rainle,
Es wackelt ihm sein Beinle ;
Vor Angst and Noth Wird ihm sein Kopfle feuerroth."

"An iron steed with silken reins,
The faster runs the horse the shorter grow the reins."
(Needle and thread.)

Apparent contradiction is a favourite means of mystification, as in the questions " What teaches without speaking? " A book. " What two things are together early and late, and yet never touch each other?" Parallel lines. The East African Schamlala have a riddle which is metaphorical. " My grandfather's cattle low when they are driven away, and are quiet coming home." This refers to the water gourds carried by the women, which clatter when taken away empty, and are silent as they come back filled.[67] A German riddle of this kind is

" Ich hab' einen Rücken and kann nicht liegen;
Ich hab zwei Flügel and kann nicht fliegen;
Ich hab ein Bein and kann nicht stehen;
Ich kann wohl laufen, aber nicht gehen."

I can not here examine other forms of logical experimentation with the exception of the phenomena of wit, which are too important to be omitted from our review.


Primarily wit should be classed with the comic, of which we shall speak in another connection, but at times it overreaches these limits and more general grounds must be assigned for it in logical experimentation. When wit is free from sarcasm and assumes the form of playful judgment, as Kuno Fischer says, then its most natural expression is in the riddle and the proverb. The evolution of such serious wit as Jean Paul's is possible only to a highly cultured people, and Nietzsche, the most brilliant German exponent of modern witticism, displays a certain tendency to proverb. " To be stiff to his inferiors is wisdom for the hedgehog" has the true flavour of the terse sayings found among all primitive people. The satisfaction afforded by true wit is due to the playful conquest of logical difficulties; some statement is made which confuses by its unusual conjunction of ideas, and we hail as a victory the sudden emergence of the hidden meaning. Therefore it would be a mistake to call the pleasure produced by wit exclusively a play with reason, since constructive imagination and the formulation of the abstract are also involved. When the negro produces this" God keeps the flies off the ox that has no tail "—he gives us an expression of wit illustrating abstract judgment which may be accompanied by the stronger emotion.


That a man may play with his emotions is a wellknown fact, but one which has not to my knowledge been adequately investigated in all its ramifications. While the "luxury of grief" is often referred to, the interesting distinction of its varying degrees has not been gone into. It can not be labelled, I think, simple play with pleasurable sensations, partly because the concentration of attention on the feeling itself instead of on the accompanying sensations and ideas tend% to weaken the very feeling in question, and also because the division of consciousness which attends such a survey of one's own emotional life is less operative in the sphere of pleasure.[68] There must

(159) be a distinct recognition that it is genuine pain which we are enjoying before the sense of being a spectator arises, and we can become conscious that we are playing with our emotions. The various feelings which may be involved in this process are physical pain, mental suffering, surprise, and fear. Besides these four, the mixed feeling of suspension between pain and pleasure might be mentioned, but as it has already been referred to it will be included in our treatment of surprise.

1. Physical Pain

I have frequently had occasion to note that we commonly enjoy stimuli whose effect is distinctly disagreeable because they are calculated to satisfy our craving for intense impressions. A sensitive tooth is constantly visited by the tongue, a stiff neck is constantly experimented with, any slight wound is repeatedly pressed and rubbed, etc. Hall [69] and Allin testify that this is especially the case in childhood. We have already noticed the shock of a cold bath and the sting of sharp drinks. The pleasure which we derive from eating pungent horseradish, which brings tears to the eyes, is a relative, distant and humble it is true, but still unmistakably a relative of our enjoyment of tragedy. Our satisfaction in strong, self-produced excitement is so intense as to make physical pain to a great extent enjoyable. It is true that while these phenomena are so far quite normal, secret but direct paths connect them with the realm of pathology. While some individuals display this in a somewhat anomalous desire for taste stimuli, in others pleasure in petty selftorture develops into a sort of sport, having as its object not merely a test of their power of endurance (of that we shall speak in the section on will) but some obscure delight in actual suffering as well. Cardanus confesses in his autobiography to a diseased condition which could not dispense with pain, so that if he found himself perfectly comfortable he was at once moved by an irresistible impulse to torture his body until tears came. Mante-

(160) -gazza tells of a veteran who took a strange delight in scratching the inflamed edges of an old wound in his leg.[70]

In some forms of insanity the patient maltreats his person, inflicting the most frightful wounds and mutilations, which would be incredible if his sensibilities were not to a great degree blunted. In the attempt to explain these phenomena some have thought them an exception to the rule that pleasure accompanies only what is in some way useful, but it seems to me that a sufficient explanation of normal cases is found in the utility of the experimental impulse, which in seeking strong stimuli takes a certain amount of pain with the rest. So long as pleasure predominates over pain in the experience, play is possible. In pathological cases sexual excitement is often aroused sufficiently to neutralize the suffering, and where this is not the case we must suppose a perverse directing of the fighting instinct against one's own body, furthered by the deadening of sensibility to pain.

2. Mental Suffering

Psychologists have given special attention to the enjoyment which is derived from contemplating unpleasant images and subjects. Perhaps the most familiar passage on the subject is that of Spencer's on the luxury of grief, yet, as he himself admits, his idea of self-pity does not clear it up, and he goes on: " It seems possible that the sentiment which makes a sufferer wish to be alone with his grief, and makes him resist all distraction from it, may arise from dwelling on the contrast between his own worth as he conceives it, and the treatment he has received—either from his fellow-beings or from a power which he is prone to think of anthropomorphically. If he feels that he has deserved much while he has received little, and still more if instead of good there has come evil, the. consciousness of this evil is qualified by the consciousness of worth, made pleasurably dominant by the contrast . . . . That this explanation is the true one, I feel by no means clear. I throw it out simply as a suggestion, confessing that this is a peculiar emotion which

(161) neither analysis nor synthesis enables me to understand."[71] This is indeed an unsatisfactory explanation, and the play idea seems to bring us nearer to one, for here, as in the case of physical pain, it is the deep-rooted need of our nature for intense stimuli which enables us to enjoy our own suffering. That unassuageable longing of Faust which had exhausted the meagre emotional recourses of study, and now dragged him out in search of life and experience, was a longing for both pleasure and pain, since both could stir up life's deep sea, which now lay stagnant:

" Sturzen wer uns in das Rauschen der Zeit,
Ins Rollen der Begebenheit!
Da mag denn Schmerz and Genuss,
Gelingen and Verdruss
Mit einander wechseln, wie es kann
Nur raselos bethätigt sich der Mann."

Contemplative natures, not given to activity, have a tendency to play with their suffering, and by a strange division of consciousness stand as on some rocky height, beholding with pleased appreciation the foaming torrent of their own feelings. In the closing chapter of my Play of Animals I treated the subject of divided consciousness at some length, and will not here repeat what is said there. For a specific instance we need only point to the artist who brings a tragic tale to a close with real regret, and, in spite of the suffering it has caused him, is filled with the joy in being a cause, in his power to create. When Kleist finished Penthesilia in Dresden he went to his friend Pfuel in tears. " She is dead! " he wailed, and yet, in spite of his deep and genuine grief over the death of his heroine, in the depths of his soul he was conscious of joy in his creation. This is a good example of play with mental suffering, and Marie Bashkirtseff furnishes another illustration which I have cited in my earlier work. "Can one believe it?" she writes in her journal, at the age of thirteen; "I find everything good and beautiful, even tears and pain. I love to weep, I love to despair, I love to be sad. I love life in spite of all; I wish to live. I must be happy, and am happy to

(162) be miserable. My body weeps and moans, but something in me that is above me enjoys it all." By these words she reveals most clearly that division of consciousness in which, behind the suffering I, another seems to stand, which has the power to change the grief to bliss. Goethe, too, seems often to have felt the same. His Werther blames himself because he is prone to cower before petty ills. Further than this there is such a thing as emotional pessimism founded on temperament. For Schopenhauer it was an evident satisfaction to work himself up to a condition of the utmost indignation over the evils of the world. Kuno Fischer has sharply exposed this playful characteristic of his pessimism. It is true, he says, that Schopenhauer takes a serious and even tragic view of the world, but, after all, it is only a view, a spectacle, a picture. "The world tragedy is played in a theatre; he sits in the audience on a comfortable divan commanding the stage, using his opera glass with discretion. Many of the spectators forget the suffering world at the buffet, none follow the tragedy with such close attention, such deep earnestness, such a comprehensive glance as his. Then, deeply moved and soul-satisfied, he goes home and writes down what he has seen."[72] Melancholy, too, in the ordinary sense, not the pathological, belongs here, the melancholy of lovers, poets, and artists, the condition typified by the phrase " dégustation complaisante de la tristesse." [73]

Finally, pleasure in the tragic, of which we have spoken in another connection, should be mentioned here. Augustine, the great prober into the problems of the soul, has set forth this question with inimitable clearness in the third book of his Confessions. " Why," says he, " should a man sadden himself by voluntarily witnessing what is painful? The spectator does undeniably feel sad, and the very sadness is a pleasure. How can we explain this sympathy with unreal, theatrical sorrows? `the hope of ultimate rescue is not the only thing that appeals to him—it is the actual accumulation of misery as well, and he praises the play in proportion as it moves him. When

(163) common woes are so represented as not to affect the hearer, he goes away dissatisfied and complaining. If he is affected, on the contrary, he listens attentively, and weeps with delight." If I understand Augustine aright, he finds the solution of the puzzle in the idea of a sort of sympathy which he distinguishes from real or moral sympathy, and which is at bottom nothing else than the play of inner imitation, that aesthetic feeling of fellowship of which we shall hear more later. He puts his finger on the real reason why fellow-feeling for the sufferer has a ,special charm when he admits that tragic representation affected him with sharp, creepy sensations, like the scratching of a finger nail. Thus he concludes, as we have done, that the foundation of enjoyment of tragedy is the result of intensive stimuli. As Du Bos[74] remarks, we take the pain accompanying the emotion in the bargain because we like the emotion, the agitation of feeling, so well. This recalls the Aristotelian dogma of the catharsis, but the objection to this theory lies, as its name implies, in the fact that it seeks a practical end for the play of aesthetic pleasure. For Aristotle the question is to establish the purifying effects of a thunderstorm, not the enjoyment of its grandeur, and for this reason the doctrine of the catharsis, however clear it may be, does not directly answer our question. Delight in the tragic element is not concerned with the lull after the storm, but only with the surging might of the tempest itself, in which we are playfully involved. Weil and Bernays seem to me to have the right idea when they speak of the need for violent emotional play, and of enjoyment of ecstatic conditions. And Lessing also, when he says that strong passion gives more reality to feeling. But it is doubtful whether Aristotle considered this side of the question in forming his theory.

3. Surprise

Surprise is connected with fear, and for this reason is in itself a disagreeable sensation; yet, on account of its

(164) strong psychophysical effect — namely, the shock which it produces—it becomes highly enjoyable in play, and displays, perhaps more clearly than any of the other cases, the charm of strong stimuli. Children indulge very early in play involving the shock of surprise, and its effectiveness as a means of giving pleasure becomes more and more intense. Darwin relates that his son, from the one hundred and tenth day, was wildly delighted when a handkerchief was laid over his face and then suddenly withdrawn, or when his father's face was hidden and revealed in this way. " He then uttered a little noise, which was an incipient laugh." I referred to this in speaking of expectancy, which, indeed, goes hand in hand with surprise, however opposed they may appear, since surprise which is entirely unexpected is of course no part of play. There is always playful experimentation with the shock when we expect it, but do not know when or in what form it will appear. It is just this combination which makes the emotional effect of surprise greater than it would otherwise be. When, for example, we hold a lighted match over a lamp, we are the more startled by the slight explosion because we have attentively awaited it; and there are many games for children in which the combined effect of expectation and surprise furnish an essential part of the pleasure, such as those where persons or objects are hidden. The excitement, too, which is caused by loud and sudden sounds is of the same character. M. Reischle, in his fine paper on child's play, distinguishes a special group of expectation and surprise games, and points out that the little ones peek while their comrades are hiding, and yet are overjoyed to find them, and apparently surprised. In many throwing and catching games both elements are influential in heightening the stimulus, and special plays grow out of them, such as " hide-and-Seek," "Blind-Man's Buff," "Drop the Handkerchief," as well as many games of chance. Indeed, in the last named the stimulus of surprise is often of special importance,[75] and one of the chief sources of pleasure

(165) is the tension of expectancy followed by the sudden decision on the fall of dice.

Yet more interesting is the significance of surprise in relation to the comic. While the latter is more than a play with surprise, this feature becomes a factor that should by no means be overlooked in studying comic effects, especially when we reflect that previous efforts to explain this modification of aesthetic enjoyment have proved abortive, possibly through failure to give due weight to this very element. E. Hecker advances the theory, it is true, that laughter from tickling accounts for the origin of enjoyment of the comic, but in this purely physiological explanation he seems to overlook the fact that as a rule we laugh only when we are tickled, not when we tickle ourselves—that is to say, that contact with finger tips becomes tickling only when the hand is a strange one. Even in physical tickling, then, there must be some psychic factors, of which surprise may be one, even though it is inadequate alone to explain the phenomena. The fact that surprise not carried far enough to frighten is one of the first causes of laughter in children gives colour to this idea. Zeising has shown conclusively that there is a double surprise in the comic, the first being the intuitive start at something unusual, and contrasted with what is normal and typic, be it occasioned by some anomaly in the object itself or depending only on the momentary milieu—such, for instance, as the ridiculous appearance of a tiny cottage in a row of palatial residences.[76] This first shock is followed by a moment of suspense. " When the entirely unexpected happens," says Goethe in Tasso, "the mind stands still for a moment," which again is interrupted by the new surprise of finding the first one negatived or reversed.[77] Here we have the counter shock, whose pleasureable effect is strong enough to more than neutralize the first. and render their combined result agreeable. [78] As Kant, with his unrivalled penetration, has

(166) remarked, we play with the error as with a ball, tossing it back and forth and looking after it each time; in this way we are hurried through a succession of tensions and relaxations.

While this illustration shows clearly how the essence of comicality is due to the peculiar character of the double shock, yet it remains true that even in this case surprise as such is pleasurable, and plays its part in the complicated effect.

4. Fear

That even fear, the most abject of all affections, may become the object of playful experimentation is one of the riddles of soul life. Here, too, we can only apply the theory of pleasure in intense stimulus to that of divided consciousness. When Lukrez dwells upon the pleasure of gazing on a stormy sea from the vantage ground of a rocky crag he illustrates this state, only here the soul is both in the midst of the storm and on the rocks as well. Apart from and above the terror-stricken personality stands another, safe and free, and enjoying the fascination of painful excitement. For the power of fear is fascinating, even benumbing in its effect. Souriau says: " I remember, as a child, seeing a snake, cut in two by a spade, convulsively writhing on the garden walk. The sight filled me with terror, which rooted me to the spot. Fascinated, I stood perfectly still, my eyes following the agonized twisting of the creature while I felt waves of pain surging through my own body." [79] Of course, such a condition can be playful only in case of an aesthetic illusion when the fear is but apparent, and may be dispelled at will, and when pleasure is stronger than pain in the experience. Nevertheless, there are transitions between real and apparent fear which are particularly operative when curiosity becomes the counter irritant. Every one's childhood will furnish an example of this. George Sand tells us how she as a little girl tried with a playmate to get a glimpse into the spirit world by means of mystic oaths and incantations. The children waited long in fear and trembling, for blue flames, protruding devil's horns, etc.

(167) This was only a play, "but a play that set our hearts beating."[80] Although fear in this instance has more the character of a necessary accompaniment than of an object of play, real delight in the gruesome is undeniably evident in the world of art. In the first place, there are legends and stories with horrible fantasies. The child is wrapped in breathless interest in accounts of ghosts, wicked magicians, werewolves, etc., and while safe in his own home enjoys the terrors which these ideas excite. As a small boy I listened with nameless horror to the crude account of the fate of Faust secretly read to me by our gardener out of a popular book. I remember how, when the devil led Faust through the ceiling, his skull was broken and his brains spattered on the wall. For some time after that I was afraid to pass shady places in the garden, even in the daytime. With older boys descriptions of battles and adventures, and, above all, Indian stories, take the place of fairy tales. The Leather Stocking Tales were my chief delight, especially The Pathfinder, and I can still recall the rapt attention with which I followed the frightful perils which threatened my hero, whenever I could get a quarter of an hour off. How meagre is our capacity for aesthetic enjoyment in later years compared with the absolute, unconditional surrender to it of a youthful soul! Adults enjoy the gruesome in poetic creations such as those of Hoffman and Victor Hugo. When we read of the struggle with the polypus in Toilers of the Sea the strong stimulus imparted by fear is certainly the chief source of pleasure. My grandfather in extreme old age liked nothing better than to read such thrilling tales of hairbreadth escapes, and the strong preference for detective stories evinced by the masses is based on the same grounds. Savages, too, like children, always prefer tales which deal with demons and magic.

Finally, we must notice an aesthetic phase which is related to fear—namely, exaltation. Since Kant's thoroughgoing elucidation the principle is fixed that exaltation is the result of a rebound from fear. First depres

(168) -sion, then exaltation. At first, the object of our reverence oppresses us, and for a moment we are painfully conscious of our impotence and nothingness; then comes a reaction; we throw off the oppression and begin to study the revered object with serious pleasure. In my Einleitung in die Aesthetik I did not attribute the first part of this process to aesthetic pleasure, because I found that inner imitation on which I based my investigation only in the second stage.[81] While I still regard it as the highest and most important element in aesthetics, yet I am aware that my view as there presented was somewhat one-sided, as is almost unavoidably the case if one attempts to carry out a theory systematically. As I shall return to this point, let it suffice to say here that probably the depression itself is pleasurable, and so forms a part of the aesthetic satisfaction. It is characteristic of our complex natures that along with our demand to control our surroundings we also feel the need of the domination of a higher power. When we encounter an incontestably overpowering force we gladly surrender unconditionally, and take pleasure in acknowledging that we are insignificant and helpless. The significance of this spirit for religion is apparent. Schiller has designated awe as the noblest human trait, and Schleiermacher found the springs of religion in the feeling of dependence. The first stage in the satisfaction derived from exaltation is akin to this when we enjoy our self-abasement in order to render more conspicuous the subsequent expansion of an individuality, in the second stage when by the exercise of inner imitation we identify ourselves with the revered object, thus partaking of the greatness which at first overawed us. While it is true that only the second part of this process attains the summit of enjoyment, the first, too, is playful. " How felt I myself so small—so great? " asks Faust, and attributes both q(,ntirn(,ntq to the selfsame moment. This play with depression is facilitated by repeating the whole process frequently. The mind is not only attracted to the

(169) object, but alternately repelled from it, and in this process of repetition depression assumes more and more the character of play.


Since our inquiry in this closing section is not as to the general use of the will in play, but rather into playful experimentation with the will itself, we must direct our attention to the control of movement. Play requires that those movements which depend on both inhprited and acquired brain paths shall be under voluntary control. The pleasure accompanying this control is founded on the feeling of freedom and of mastery over self; and ,it is to be specially noted that almost all the related phenomena take the form of contests and appeal to the fighting instincts. The majority of cases require the suppression of emotional expression or of such reflexes as are connected with them. Thus, for example, winking is not an expression of emotion in the ordinary sense, and yet when it follows closely on the sudden presentation of some object before the eyes it seems to indicate that the person is startled or even terrified. Children often play with this refractory reflex, one moving his hand rapidly before the eyes of another, who makes desperate efforts to keep them open, and a forfeit game is played as follows: Two persons sit or stand opposite one another; one moves his hand close to the other's eyes while the following colloquy takes place: " Are you going in the woods? " " Yes." " Going to take some bread with you? " " Yes." " And you want some salt on it? " " Yes." " Are you afraid of the wolf?" If he holds his eyes open all the time he is not afraid, but if he winks he must pay a forfeit .[82] The attempt is often made, too, to resist the impulse to laugh while two persons gaze into each other's eyes. Indeed, such games are too numerous to mention. The effort to repress the expression of pain is still more interesting. Self-control during the suffering of physical pain is everywhere regarded as a proof of manliness, and is earnestly cultivated by savages as by our own boys.

(170) The quiet submission to painful tattooing, the endurance displayed by Indian children often in gruesome ways, the effort of our schoolboys to bear corporal punishment unflinchingly, the self-control of students who joke while their wounds are being sewed, and—to carry the struggle against self-betrayal into the field of mental suffering as well—the apparent indifference of gamblers to the reverses of fortune; while all of these can by no means be called playful, still the cases are sufficiently numerous in which there is actual playful experimentation with the powers of endurance. For example, Rochholz describes this test: Two persons strike the knuckles of the doubledup fists together, and measure their will power by the length of time that they can endure the pain. Another is to strike the first and middle fingers against those of the other person. A friend of mine told me that as a boy (probably after reading some Indian tales) he once wagered with a comrade as to how long they could hold lighted matches in their fingers. He won the bet, but had to go with a bandaged hand for a long time.

A playful exercise of the will which suppresses not only every admission of suffering, but the fighting instinct as well, is related by Goethe of his youth. After remarking that " very many sports of youth depend on a rivalry in such endurance, as, for example, when they strike with two fingers or the whole hand until the limbs are numb," he goes on: " As I made a sort of boast of this endurance, the others were piqued, and as rude barbarity knows no limits, they managed to push me beyond my bounds. Let ,one instance serve to illustrate. It happened one morning that the teacher did not appear at the hour of recitation. As long as all the children were together we entertained ourselves very well, but when my friends left after waiting the usual time, the others took it into their heads to torment and shame me and to drive me away. Leaving the room for a moment, they Came bank with switches from a broom. I saw what they meant to do, and, supposing the end of the hour to be near, I at once resolved to resist them until the clock struck. They lashed my legs unmercifully, and in a way that was actually cruel. I did not stir, but soon found that I had

(171) miscalculated the time, and that pain greatly lengthened the minutes. My rage swelled the more I endured, and at the first stroke of the clock I grasped my most unsuspecting assailant by the hair, hurled him to the floor in an instant, pressing my knee upon his back. The second, who was younger and weaker, and who attacked me in the rear, I held with his head under my arm. The last, and not the weakest, remained, and only my left hand was free, but I caught hold of his clothes, and by a dexterous twist on my part and an awkward slip on his, I brought him down too, striking his face on the floor."

Another impulse whose suppression is sometimes an end in play is imitation. Perhaps the most familiar game illustrating it is "All Birds Fly," in which one of the children says "Pigeons fly, ducks fly, bears fly," etc., and raises her hands in the air each time, while the others must follow her example only when a bird is mentioned. The Mufti—comme-ça described by Wagner is similar. All stand in a circle except the one who is in the centre making various motions. When he calls out " Mufti," all stand still; but when he continues "comme ca," they imitate him. In the English " Simon says," the players make all the gestures that he commands, regardless, of those which he may be making.[83]

All these examples are concerned with the repression of inborn reflexes, expresssive movements, and instincts, but acquired habits are no less difficult to withstand. Many games are founded on the assumption that the ability to do so is a proof of will power, and emphasizes the freedom and self-control of the subject. It is particularly well illustrated in vocal exercises. To omit a particular syllable in a familiar rhythmic verse, or possibly several verses, requires a sudden check to the accustomed movements. A well-known German example is the song —

Europa hat Rube,
Europa hat Ruh',
Und wenn Europa Rube hat,
So hat Europa Ruh' '

(172) in which the first, second, or third syllable of the word Europa, or even the word or all the other words, are omitted. Kreis mentions a similar play for children. It consists simply in substituting other meanings for the words (stretching for bending, for example), so that when the order is given " Bend," the arm is stretched out, etc.[84] There is such a thing, too, as playful resistance of old habits. How many smokers resolve as a sort of jest to do without cigars for a week! It is the merest playful experimentation; they want to see if they are really absolute slaves of the pleasant vice, or whether the habit is still under the control of their will. If the experiment succeeds, they contentedly go back to their cigars; it is not at all a serious effort to reform. Many frivolous persons play thus with their habits, and take a childish delight in the little conquests achieved by their will, yet without permanently or seriously altering their manner of living.


  1. See Baldwin, Mental Development, etc., p. 315. Baldwin uses the term " coefficient of recognition."
  2. Ibid., p. 308, where the motor process is emphasized in connection with attention.
  3. Die Seele des Kindes, p. 38.
  4. F. Pollock, An Infant's Progress in Language. Mind, vol. iii, 1878.
  5. Sully, Studies in Childhood, p. 4921. See alto Sikorski's report an his eight-months-old child, who recognised the crescent shape of the holes in a pigeon house as connected with the moon (p, 414).
  6. The French animal psychologist, E. Alix, says the same thing of an Arabian dog which he owned (see The Play of Animals, p 91). Play with shadows by adults might be dwelt upon. With us it is hardly more than trivial amusement for an idle company, but among other peoples it becomes much more important, as witness the highly interesting silhouettes hanging in the Berlin Museum. See, further, F. v. Sumasch, Das turkische Schattenspiel, Internat. Archiv für Ethnographic, vol. ii, p. 1.
  7. Kind and Welt, p. 169. See Hiss Shinn, op. cit., p 71.
  8. K. v. d. Steinen, Steinzeit-Indianer in Paraguay. Globus, vol. lxvii, 1893, p. 249.
  9. R. Andrée, Etbnographische Parallelen and Vergleiche, p. 57.
  10. We may perhaps find the moving "Qualität der Bekanntheit" in the recurrence of the keynote of a melody.
  11. Zola frequently applies the Wagnerian leading-motive method to the characterization of some figure in his novels often with wearisome persistence, yet a not uninteresting study might be made of the subject.
  12. See Fr. Kaufmann, Die Deutsche Metrik nach ihrer geschichtlichen Entwickelung, Marburg, 1897, p. 224. We may find a fine English example in a triplet of Walter Crane's
    "In the light, in the shade, Hope is born and not made,
    This is time and life's measure; And the heart finds its treasure
    With a heart unafraid In the light, in the shade;
    In the light, in the shade, This is time and life's measure."—TR.
  13. R. M. Meyer regards the refrain as a survival from the first beginning of poetry. Ueber die Refrain, Zeitschr. £ vgl. Literaturgeschichte, Vol i (1887), p. 44.
  14. See Minor, Neuhochdeutsche Metrik, pp. 393, 460.
  15. See Minor, Neuhochdeutsche Metrik, pp 393, 460.
  16. Grasberger, p. 46. For other forms of this game see Gutsmuths, p. 377.
  17. "The third year" says Sully, "is epoch-making in the history of memory. It is now that impressions begin to work themselves into the young consciousness so deeply and firmly that they become a part of the permanent stock in trade of the mind."Studies of Childhood, p. 437.
  18. Sonntagsbeilage zur Vossischen Zeitung, January 10, 1897.
  19. Die Erziehung der Töchter, wie solche Herr von Fénélon, Erzbischoff von Cambray beschrieben, aus dem Französischen übersetzt. Lubeck, 1744, p. 36.
  20. Fur wirklich halten : It is recommended by the authorities of Baldwin's Dictionary of Philosophy that the term "semblance" be used as the equivalent of the German "shein " or illusion—that which is " taken for real "—in this field of the aesthetic and play functions.—ED.
  21. See A. Oelxelt-Nevin, Ueber Phantasie-Vorstellungen. Graz, 1889, p. 42.
  22. It may often be observed that the child's eyes lose their convergence as their interest is absorbed—a means of detachment from surrounding reality. Even in half-grown children the power of detachment is much greater than in adults. The great modern poets are at a disadvantage in that their appeal is to an audience whose power of imagination is on the wane. It was otherwise with less cultured people when, first, the adults were less literal and, second, the poets themselves less intellectualized.
  23. See Baldwin's Handbook of Psychology, vol. i, p. 227.
  24. That some temperaments play with dreams of an unhappy future there is no doubt. We shall encounter such phenomena later in noticing enjoyment of pain.
  25. Games of chance which keep the participants long in suspense are among the special forms of adult play which make use of such picturing of the future.
  26. Even the serious Lucca Signorelli was not ashamed to place two clouds, which. showing distinct faces, back of the Christ in his Crucifixion.
  27. See in this connection the more thorough treatment in the section on inner imitation.
  28. Strümpell, Psychologische Pädagogik, p. 364. The child, of course, spoke a baby German. This effort at translation serves only to show the versatility of her imagination and its disjointed expression.—TR. For example of amentia, see Kraepelin, Psychiatric, p. 331.
  29. While Strümpell's example was suggestive of the wanderings of a diseased mind, this one recalls the tales told by savages. Compare it for example, with the Bushman's story of the grasshopper in Ratzel's Völkerkunde (vol. i, p. 75). Of course, we do not know whether there may not be some closer connection of ideas than we can trace.
  30. See Paola Lombroso, Saggi di Psicologia del Bambino, chap. ix, especially p 155 ; B. Perez, L art et la poésie chez l'enfant chp. ix.
  31. John Forster, The Lie of Charles Dickens, vol. ii p. 71.
  32. They diverge from play, first, in that an end outside of the sphere of play is added to that of satisfaction in production for its own Bake; and, second, that much of the artist's effort is spent in improving, altering, and being otherwise occupied with technical conditions, etc., and not engaged in for the pleasure which it affords. We may compare what was said above in regard to sport.
  33. Grosse, op. cit., p. 250.
  34. When Daudet was thirteen years old he took an independent voyage on a ship with some soldiers on their way home from the Crimea. " With my southern power of imagination," he writes in Gaulois, °` I made myself out an important personage."
  35. Op. cit., p. 309. See Guyan, Education et Hérédité, p. 148.
  36. Perez, Les trois premiéres années, etc., p. 121.
  37. Like ancient and modern wonder tales whose occurrences always take place in distant and almost inaccessible lands.
  38. The close of this recalls the numerous efforts of primitive folk to account for natural phenomena.
  39. Op. cit., p 148.
  40. See, too, Sully's Studies of Childhood, p. 254.
  41. B. Perez, L'enfant de trois à sept any, Paris, 1894, p. 239.
  42. The Play of Animals, p. 214. Zum Problem der unbewussten Zeitschätzung, Zeitschr. f. Psyc holog. u. Physiol. d. Siunesorgane, vol. ix.
  43. Op. cit., pp 418, 545.
  44. Die Seele des Kindes, p. 212.
  45. A Biographical Sketch of an Infant, Mind, vii (1877), p. 289.
  46. See Stern's remark quoted above on watching movement.
  47. Op. cit., p. 418.
  48. La psychologie des sentiments, p. 322.
  49. Die Reize des Spiels, Berlin, 1883, p. 61.
  50. James says that the stimuli of scientific curiosity 11 are not objects, but ways of conceiving objects" Principles of Psychology, vol. ii, p. 430.
  51. Fr. Nansen, In Nacht and Eis, Leipsic, 1897, vol. i, p. 151.
  52. H. Spencer, The Principles of Sociology, vol. i, p. 86.
  53. Unter den Naturvblkern Centralbrasiliens, pp. 59, 67, 79.
  54. Ibid.
  55. Ibid.
  56. Im Australischen Busch, etc., p. 526.
  57. Dietrich Tiedemann, Beobachtungen über die Entwickelung der Seelenfähigkeiten be! Kindern, Altenburg, 1897, p.14.
  58. Die Seele des Kindes, p. 140.
  59. Les trois premières années, etc., p. 117.
  60. Die Seele des Kindes. p. 283.
  61. M. W. Shinn, Notes on the Development of a Child, p. 11.
  62. Compayré, op. cit., p 308.
  63. Ernest H. Lindley, A Study of Puzzles. Amer. Jour. of Psychol., viii (1897), p. 436.
  64. The amusing rhymes illustrating cause and effect which children are so fond of, are in point—for instance, The House that Jack Built—and this one in German
    " Der Teufel holt den Henker nun,
    Der Henker hangt den Schlachter nun,
    Der Schlachter schlägt den Ochsen nun,
    Der Ochse läuft das Wasser nun,
    Das Wasser löscht das Feuer nun,
    Das Feuer brennt den Prügel nun,
    Der Prügel schlagt den Pudel nun,
    Der Pudel beisst den Jockel nun,
    Der Jockel schneidet den Hafer nun,
    Und kommt auch gleich nach Haus."

    See the similar Hebrew verse about the kid in Tylor's Anfange der Culture, vol. i, p. 86.
  65. Op. cit., p. 353.
  66. Ernest Lindley, loc. cit., p. 455.
  67. A. Seidel, Geschichten and Lieder der Africaner, Berlin, 1896, pp. 176, 309. Similar riddles used for the amusement of children are given by Tylor. Op. cit., vol, i, p. 91. Words used in a double or multiple sense (homonyms) are particularly effective.
  68. Annoyance over one's own enjoyment is, of course, not play.
  69. The Psychology of Tickling, Laughing, and the Comic. Amer. Jour. of Psychol., vol. ix.
  70. See Ribot, Psychologie des sentiments, p. 64.
  71. Principles of Psychology, vol. ii, p. 590.
  72. Kuno Fischer, Arthur Schopenhauer, Heidelberg, 1893, p. 125.
  73. Ribot, La Psychologie des sentiments, p. 64.
  74. See Hubert Rotteken's interesting article, Ueber ästhetische Kritik bei Dichtungen (Beilage zur Allgem. Zeit., 1897, Nos. 114, 115). Volkelt (Aesthetic des Tragischen, p. 389) seems to me to undervalue this point.
  75. Max Reischle, Das Spielen der Kinder in seinem Erziehungswerth, Gottingen, 1897, p. 17.
  76. Lipps gives special attention in his Psychologie der Komik to this point Philosph. Monatshefte, 24 and 25).
  77. I shall not here discuss the relative importance of the two.
  78. Even the first shock is not entirely unpleasant, since we usually have a premonition of the approaching counter shock.
  79. La Suggestion dans l'art, p. 39.
  80. See Sully, Studies in Childhood, p. 501.
  81. "The first stage, depression, is in itself considered entirely extra-aesthetic. For as soon as inner imitation comes into play—that is, as soon as the aesthetic aspect is assumed—the projection of the I into the object begins and depression gives place to exaltation." Op. cit., p. 336.
  82. Herman Wagner, Spielbuch für Knaben, p. 572.
  83. H. Wagner, Spielbuch für Knaben, p. 542.
  84. I. von Kreis, Ueber die Natur gewisser Gehirnzustande. Zeitschrift f. Psych. u. Phys. d. Sinnesorgane, viii (1894), p. 9.

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