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The Data of Alienism

  • Charles Mercier

If I fix a square peg into an oblong hole, the fact that they do not fit is instantly perceptible; but it is manifest that the. several percepts of the peg and of the hole must precede the perception of the relation of non-adjustment subsisting between them. Furthermore, if I want to determine how much the peg lacks in size, I must measure separately both the peg and the hole before I can calculate the amount of the hiatus between them. What is true of this simple case of adjustment is true of the complex case of the adjustment of the organism to its environment. However rapid and apparently immediate may be the cognition that a patient is insane—is unadjusted to his environment—yet that cognition must be preceded by a previous knowledge both of the organism itself and of the environment with which his adjustment has failed. The truth of this statement, which is involved in the definition of Insanity, may not be at once apparent, but a little consideration will render it clear. It is manifest that before pronouncing a man insane, we must first know something about him, but that we must also take into account his environment is, perhaps, not so self-evident.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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The Data of Alienism

  • Charles Mercier
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