Friday, April 29, 2016

Book Review: Psychology of The Nations

‘Psychology of The Nations’ By A. L. KIP is an amazing book. It is well known that every nation is different from all the others. This book is trying to find the central and substantial national difference, from which all the minor differences flow as consequent effects. What emotional or intellectual faculty of a nation is causing this? It begins with the identification of the globe with the brain in a general way. Just like the division of human faculties to cerebrum, cerebellum etc, it places the dwellers of the eastern hemisphere with greater aptitude for intellectual activity, and the western hemisphere inhabitants with mostly emotional activity etc. “Thus, in a general way, Australasia corresponds to the abstract emotional faculties; Asia, to the abstract intellectual faculties; Europe, to the concrete intellectual faculties Africa, to the emotional intellectual faculties, North America, to the emotional feelings and South America, to the intellectual feeling”.
The book then goes into a deep study of each nation to identify the peculiarities of the countries’ ambience and the defining part of her people’s nature. “Of the Lesser Sunda Islands, the cluster from Lombok to Ombay seems to correspond to the faculty of rejoicing the good things of others; and, in the opposite, to be envy of them. The island of Sumba seems to correspond to the faculty of recognizing that no one can have everything; and the island of Timor, to the faculty of being glad in one's own possession.” People are identified as having certain qualities by virtue of their belonging to a particular country. For example, those from Uruguay are grave, resolute, and resourceful, and are noted for the vigor and earnestness with which they have resisted encroachments on their liberties and possessions. Whereas, Argentina corresponds to the faculty of indifference, which is the antithesis of the faculty denoted by Uruguay. In such a manner this book covers all nations of the Earth, to reach certain interesting conclusions. “In a general continental aspect, North and South America are masculine and initiative; while Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australasia are feminine and receptive in comparison with them: for the male is the intellectual expression of good, or intellectualized feeling; and the female is the emotional expression of truth, or emotionalized intellectual.” The author makes a suggestion that such disposition of intellectual faculties to different parts of the globe could be due to the unequal influence of land and water in different countries. Those in America, Asia, Europe etc, in fact are surrounded by varying amount of water. Or take the way the book treats India, a country of intuition. “India is the picture of a faculty more powerful at the top than at the base. It is evidently the faculty of intuition. As so little is known in regard to the nature of this faculty, it will be well to give the correspondences of all the provinces of India. In a most general way, they are as follows: Assam is intuition as to who are worthy objects of kindness and generosity, Bengal is intuition as to what is true, the Central Provinces are intuition as to what is good, Rajputana is intuition as to what is right and best to do…”
This I found is a novel approach to demystifying human society. However, many of the conclusions drawn regarding the nature and character of people in various countries seem to be arbitrary. But though the connections are not unequivocally established, a link between the character of people belonging to a country and its geographic particularities, I think, was a bold step, that too in 1910!


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