A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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vi                 THE ANATOMY OF HUMAN PERSONALITY             237
subject to contract his eye by his own volition without any exterior aid whatever.
Under the energetic leadership of J. B. Watson, Behaviourism became the prevalent American psychology for a time. Watson's own observations on the reactions of the child from birth were an important contribution to psychology.
' The human being at birth ', he says 237 (p. 28), ' is a very lowly piece of unformed protoplasm, ready to be shaped by any family in whose care it is first placed. This piece of protoplasm breathes, makes babbling, gurgling, cooing sounds with its vocal mechanisms, slaps its arms and legs about, moves its arms and toes, cries, excretes through the skin and other organs the waste matter from its food. In short, it squirms (responds) when environment (inside and out) attacks it (stimulates it). This is the solid observational rock upon which the behaviourist view is founded.'
The late Dr. Streeter223 has pointed out how, although the Christian theologian cannot accept the Behaviourist interpretation of life as it stands, he must welcome its demonstration of a subtle and intimate relation between the spiritual and the physical. By this it has settled once and for all the old fallacy which has troubled the Church ever since the days of the Gnostics, that there is a fundamental opposition between the spiritual and the material.
Among the Gestalt school, with which are associated the names of Wertheimer, Koffka ,3I»I32 and Kohler,133 we find a structural totality regarded as the unit of mental activity. The investigation has been carried out by means of the examination of perceptions, which it says could never exist unless they were preceded by a definite structure which was ready to receive them. They are more than a bundle of impressions somehow