The title of this pamphlet has its attraction, and the author excites our curiosity by promising to prove that in every man there are the traces of a second personality. After a little examination one finds that Mr. Dessoir has nothing new to tell us; he simply takes advantage of words used too vaguely to state a view which his evidence cannot sustain. It is true, as he says, that consciousness and memory are the two elements of personality. It is also admitted that a man may lose for a time the remembrance of the antecedent and accompanying circumstances of his daily life, the when, where, and how which he habitually carries about with him. This is lost in dreams, and sometimes is missing on the first awaking from sleep, and in deep reverie. It is generally lost in the state of somnambulism and in the induced condition of hypnotism. Mr. Dessoir tells us that the hypnotized person or the sleep-walker forgets his previous condition in the ordinary waking state, while his memory runs back to events and experiences in the previous condition of somnambulism or hypnotism. This is certainly not always the case, but granting that it often is so, we cannot admit that it proves a double personality any more than that the dreamer is a different person from the man awake. Moreover, the sleep-walker or hypnotized person is not entirely deprived of memory. He retains his powers of language and acquired accomplishments. It is deeply interesting and deeply mysterious that one human being should have his memory running along two distinct links of association as in the cases of Felida and Leonie, cited by Mr. Dessoir. He tells us that Wolfart relates a case in which a woman remembered what had happened to her thirteen years before in magnetic sleep, of which she had no memory in the waking condition. Nevertheless, double memory will not make two distinct beings; neither will the consciousness of two parallel acts. We quite agree with Max Dessoir that a man can follow out two mental processes at once, especially if they are of a dissimilar character. This was well-known to the old metaphysicians. It has been explained as owing to the two hemispheres exerting themselves independently of one another. Dessoir rejects this explanation in a very summary manner.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.