Hans Förstl


Karl Philipp Moritz


oder Magazin zur Erfahrungsseelenkunde als ein Lesebuch für Gelehrte und Ungelehrte



or Journal of Empirical Psychology,  a reader for the learned and unlearned


Trembling I proceed 10 the realization of an undertaking, the importance and usefulness of which shines brighter in my eyes from each day to the next, and whose great difficulties I begin to understand more clearly. What a field it is, whither I direct my uncertain steps; what untrodden paths, what darkness, what a labyrinth! How easily may a wrong step mislead the seeker who chases an illusion for all of his life, and never finds the faint ray of truth. That ray can only delight the one who takes the quiet path of wisdom with his hand guided by reason, far from enthusiasm or coldness. Oh - if I could only succeed in seeing this gentle beam before I am covered by the night of the grave - how easily would I rest my head and die! When I make the readers my witnesses, this is not presumptuous. It is not that I feel able to act as their representative in exploring the depths of a science for their benefit, depths which have not been explored before by even the keenest minds. I only wish that my zeal and goodwill could be a foundation when I presume to compile some material for a building which still awaits its architect, who will probably be found in the future. One thing consoles me when I add another volume to the contemporary flood of books: I will deliver facts, and no idle moralistic talk, no novel, no comedy, and no excerpts from other books. Furthermore, with regard 10 the plan of this journal, I refer to my detailed announcements in various public papers and journals, particularly to the advertisement for such a journal in the German Museum (Deutsches Museum) from the month of June this year. Following a suggestion of Moses Mendelssohn I will apply the classification system of pharmacy to Empirical Psychology (Erfahrungsseelenkunde) and I will try to order the articles in this journal into the categories of psychophysiology (Seelennaturkunde), psychopathology (Seelenkrankheitskunde), psychosemiology (Seelenzeichenkunde), psychodietetics (Seelendiätetik), etc.

Concerning Psychopathology 

Grossglogau, 8 May 1782
As I understand from an advertisement that contributions to a journal of Empirical Psychology can be submitted to you, I have been tempted to record a case which I observed in my younger years. Soon after my time at the university, thirty and some years ago, I was a legal administrator in Prince Ferdinand's office in Brauchitsdorf between Liegnitz and Lüben. There, on one of the farms, I once met a human figure. He was sitting on the ground near a wall, looked about twenty years old, and wore a linen shirt and no trousers. When I addressed him I did not receive the slightest answer. Afterwards I enquired about this man and was informed that he was the principal farm hand's son. In spite of his perfectly human form, he did not have the least degree of human intelligence, not even in so far as to request necessary food. I asked further whether anyone could give or surmise a cause as to how and hence this man would be in such a condition. I was told that no other cause could be given than that his mother, when she was pregnant with him, commonly took food to a madman in a hermit's cell. I have recently enquired of the new preacher in Brauchitsdorf whether the described man had died in such miserable circumstances or whether he had perhaps shown a glimmer of human reason before his death; whereafter I received the following answer: - I am, etc. . .
Royal Court, Criminal and Justice Commissioner
 Brauchitsdorf, 2 May 1782
According to your wish I have enquired about the man who was lacking any intellect and was formerly living here. The organ player Metzig - whom you will certainly remember - had already been in his position at that time, and together with others who formerly served on the farm where this man lived, all agree after my meticulous questioning that this Gottfried Friese (such was his name) remained in the same state from his days of health until his death and that he never acquired any human reason. In both disease and health he clapped his hands and usually shouted 'cluck cluck'. Nobody could say that anything special occurred before or at his death which could suggest a change in his earlier condition or a suggestion of some intelligence. According to our church register, this imbecile Friese died on 16 September 1748 at the age of 24 years and 9 months, 6 years before I took up my office. This man never desired to eat or to drink and his parents had to give both to hirn, just as to a little child. I am, etc . . .
J. A. Schönau

Some records
from the life of the deceased
Johann Mattias Klug
(I was generously informed about this case by Defence Secretary Dohm)  This man was born in Soest and was a former secretary to the English Commission during the last war; previously he was a governor with the GRAF VON TRUCHSSES. After he had been living in Arolsen for 16 years, he died on the 7th of January 1776 at the age of sixty years. Among his bequests there was a book-collection which was not very large, but exquisite. He was very well read and had good judgement, as can be seen from the notes which he wrote in his books. His command of the German language was as good as can be expected from a scholar. He also understood Latin, French and English, and spoke the last very well. His studies comprised all parts of law, philosophy and history; he had also gained some experience in higher theology and had not neglected pharmacy. It was his great gift to produce things necessary for a comfortable life, which distinguished him from most other professional scholars (I will give examples later on). He seems also 10 have claimed to be an author, but I cannot decide whether with real or only with imagined justification. However, woe betide all writers, if their good and beneficial intentions are attained so badly as with Mr Klug! For here lies the root of his very peculiar way of life which makes him noteworthy in the history of mankind and of human decay. We must not ignore his assertion that he had written a book against the King of Prussia, or more particularly against his views of religion (I do not know whether this is true because it may also be empty imagination. As far as I know, neither the original, nor a copy of such a piece have been found after his death). From this developed his false idea that this great King would be extremely angry with him and do everything he could to gain power over him. For some time, while he was staying in Arolsen, he had pondered on this thought. He still enjoyed the company of his friends. On one occasion some 14 years ago he was invited by the now deceased Bisen, his relative and close friend, to take a walk in a nearby forest and was called into a dark mews. There Klug believed, lay an ambush. His friend had been bribed to betray him to his enemies. Therefore he declined not only to take the walk, but also to seek company ever again, and barricaded himself in his chamber. At that time he lived in the house of an Italian merchant called Brentano (who still lives in Frankfurt am Main). But when Councillor Hermann bought the house seven or eight years ago, he was keen to get rid of this hermit. None of the measures taken was sufficient to expel Klug from his chamber. He would rather face extreme force than come down (and the dangers of such an undertaking will be shown in the course of our report). He begged with such insistence that Councillor was eventually persuaded to keep this man in his house. The security precautions in his chamber, which was situated under the roof opposite the stairs (so that whoever came up the stairs faced his door) excelled all expectations. The door was bolted with iron bars; it could only be opened in part, because strong ropes were fastened to the wall and to the door. When food and drink and other items were brought up, the door was only opened as far as necessary to take it inside, because nobody was allowed to step into his chamber. Only during serious illness were a priest, physician and servant admitted. Loopholes were trenched above and into the door which could neither be seen from outside nor from within. He was equipped with a number of rifles and pistols and all things necessary for shooting. According to his imagination he was in fear of a violent attack, and therefore he had taken every precaution to welcome his enemies on their way up the stairs. Furthermore, because he was afraid that his enemies might break into his chamber through the ordinary iron stove, he bound it with chains and thick ropes. He artfully constructed a stove with tiles. He heated this inside his chamber and used it to boil his tea-water or chocolate and to bake biscuits, etc. And as he had to have everything inside his chamber we have to mention his chamber pot. He had invented and manufactured it himself. It had a cunning valve-mechanism which closed immediately after usage so that foul smelling evaporations would not pollute the room. He had manufactured his bed, table, chairs, bird-cages, and even his clothes with special inventiveness and skill. In short, everything was clean and convenient, and he led an expensive way of life with money earned during the war and from pensions (one cannot say that he had earned this money in an unjust manner. It may have been acquired justly because he was rewarded well for his unusual work). Orange and lemon merchants and other such people knew his place quite well. He was as generous to other people whom he knew as he was to himself. As he was inclined towards the Evangelical-reformed religion, he once sent an old ca1endar, with a dollar between each page, as a New Year's present to the reformed priest in Arolsen (who is now Professor Reller in Bremen). Also his servant and other persons who received advantages from his would not have liked to lose him. Irrespective of these conveniences and extravagances, he must have longed for company during his great solitude, his severe imprisonment which he took up without being forced by any external power. My firm conclusion is based on two incidents: He had a nephew, a young man of some 18 years. He promised to bequeath his whole property to him, if he would move in with him. The young man agreed. Now this man had to live like him and was forbidden to leave the chamber  (People say that this young man had sometimes asked to leave but his plea was always rejected with pitiable blows, something that does not suggest as kind heart). The consequence was that this young man died from emaciation after a couple of years. It was known in the house that the young man was sick, because the physician was called and admitted to the chamber. His death, however, was unknown, until Klug handed out a letter one morning, asking the Councillor to have the body removed from the house and ordering the Councillor's wife, Mrs Hartmann, to take care of the funeral. During the night Klug had wrapped the dead body in sheets and laid it under the staircase. The corpse was then carried to Mrs Hartmann's house on the other side of the road and taken for burial from there. There was another event which makes me believe that he loved company. He dearly wanted to marry a French mademoiselle who lived next door (He often spoke to this mademoiselle, opened the door and let himself be seen). Only the fact that she was expected to be locked in his chamber with him prevented this marriage, because otherwise no woman would easily reject a rich 'man of the world' who is still good-looking. I must touch upon another strange idea of this man and I must therefore mention his diary of dreams. He thought that dreams were a kind of divine inspiration and wrote them down meticulously early in the morning. Of course, this would not be a business for a man burdened by work; but Klug had nothing to do but to live. People say that he dreamed he should let his brother's young son starve for three days and that is what he did; the young man did not receive anything to eat during that time. This young man, imprisoned in the chamber, was beaten until he swore that he believed his uncle was divinely inspired. The books of dreams have been burnt. If they were still in existence one could probably use some parts to understand the way of thinking of this man. Allegedly he dreamed about his death and about its predestined time.  He died without anybody being aware of it. When the door was opened by a carpenter in the afternoon, he was found lying neatly in his bed, just as if he had lain down to die. He was presumably afflicted by a stroke. Here I must make two comments which may contribute to the clarification of this phenomenon: (1) I t is known that there is something deeply melancholic in the Klug family. (2) Moreover, our subject had to work relentlessly with his head during the last war, when he a Secretary to the English Commissioner and took care of important correspondence. 
Written soon after Klug's death

Berlin, 5 October 1782
I have recently promised to submit an extract from the Criminal Acta I am presently dealing with, and to re port what might provide an opportunity for psychological considerations. Knowing that what might seem important and remarkable to me or somebody else, could appear insignificant to a third person, and that some minor aspect of a fact (in comparison to another one) might allow great and important considerations, I have delivered the deeds of the Accused as naked as I have found them in the Acta. The musketeer Friedrich Wilhelm Meyer, 28 years old and the son of a merchant, was born in Dresden, had a good Christian education and learnt the art of flower gardening. In 1737, after finishing his apprenticeship, he went to Prague in pursuit of his happiness. As with many other foreigners, it was there his fate to be pressed into service and transported to Hungary. In the battle of Molwitz he found an opportunity to evade the Austrians and to serve in the Prussian army under the command of Prince Dietrich of Anhalt-Dessau. Soon afterwards he evaded them, too, in order to return to his parents in Dresden. Before he got there he met a Prussian recruiting officer in a coffee-house in Duderstadt, who persuaded him to rejoin the Prussian army by means of his cunning talk and the promise of a commission within three years. Thereafter he was sent to what was then the highly commendable V. Kleist regiment without further mention of the promised commission. This is what the inquisitor Meyer proposes to be the main reason for his further immoral conduct. At the times when he was supposed to participate in the drill, he was often drunk and would hide for days at a time. He also sold a comrade's belongings and again tried to hide. With this in mind he went off on 22 January 1743. While bargaining with a fishwife at the New Market about these stolen items, he was seen by an officer, who challenged him and threatened to arrest him. He fled and ran 10 the top floor of tobacconist Tonlier's shop. Having sat there for the night, he tried to climb down but found the door locked. Afterwards he repeated very often that he was tired of living and that he was afraid of punishment as a deserter after letting himself be seen. So he decided to die of hunger, as he had heard that no man could survive starving for nine days. Fourteen days later the tobacconist climbed to the top floor and found this man lying enfeebled under the 1Obacco leaves. Measures were taken immediately 10 support him with soups, but his stomach was so weakened that it was difficult to supply nourishment. When asked how it had been possible to stay alive for such a long time without taking any food, he responded that he had been very hungry during the first eight days. Twice he had drunk his own water to satisfy his thirst. Once he had collected and eaten some snow. Afterwards he had been too insensible to feel any of these needs. During the inquiry he confessed everything he had done and observed reliably, regardless of whether it was to alleviate his punishment or not. Because of his feeble condition, which was compounded by starvation, he was brought to the military hospital. He had already spent a month here when his comrades told him that it would be unlikely he would lose his life because of the crimes he had committed, but that they believed that he would spend the rest of his days in prison. The fear of being condemned to forced labour, his weariness of life mentioned earlier, and allegedly rough treatment by his warden put his soul into a violent turmoil. He so decided to aggravate his sentence to the death penalty by committing a murder. At that very moment it came to his mind that he could simultaneously take revenge on his warden, who had scolded him. As a result he was particularly excited during the inquiry. The following day he took a bayonet from the rifles which were kept in the house and intended to wait for the warden to arrive. But as he stayed away much longer than usual, he became impatient. Then he decided to commit his deed on a innocent sleeping comrade, musketeer Spannagel. So he sat down opposite Spannagel's bed and stabbed him once on the right side and twice on the left side of his chest. Then - as he repeatedly confessed - he would certainly have committed the murder if people from the house, who were alarmed by Spannagel's crying, had not kept him from doing so. During the inquiry held later, he immediately confessed everything and showed great remorse at having made an innocent person the victim of his weariness of life. When asked how he felt when he wanted to commit this deed, he answered: 'While committing the deed he became anxious and fearful. He was willing to die, one should only leave him time enough for repentance.' 

Mental history of
Christian Philipp Schönfeld
a Spanish weaver from Berlin
The medical doctor and municipal physician Pihl, who uses his opportunities to make important observations in such a meticulous and excellent way for the benefit of mankind, has generously provided some of his expert reports on the mental condition of various persons in order to make useful excerpts for my Magazine. I have used his own words on the whole but I have arranged things according to my own scheme. Constant crooked sitting, sharp thinking and extensive calculation of difficult and artful patterns causes hypochondriasis and resulting illness in almost all Spanish weavers. If they have a lively temperament, this may lead to a tendency to plan projects. Often their minds suffer and, with time they develop mental impairment or dementia (Blödsinn) or real madness, particularly when they get into distress and misfortune. It was probably a tendency to idleness and an aversion to work that first gave Schönfeld the idea of digging for treasure. Constant thought imprinted this idea so firmly into his vivid imagination that it finally prevailed all the time. He created for himself a dream which he by and by 100k for real. This confused his mind. He now fell prey to sickness, extreme poverty and sorrow. These corrupted his mind completely, and his sense of reality became so obtunded that he became firmly convinced of the reality of the following ideas. He believed without doubt that in 1764 he had found a treasure, worth 200 million which consisted of large diamonds, a great crucifix of silver and gold with eyes of carbuncle stones - which even His Majesty the King had come to see - and of lots of money. This immense treasure had been discovered and dug out with the help of his brother from the cellar of Kerchow, the draper. The holy angels, the ghosts and two citizens of Friedrichstadt, who had died in the meantime, had revealed that the treasure was lying there. With the help of one of these ghosts and with a dowsing stick he had discovered the real location. Evil spirits had put so many obstacles in his way that he could not get hold of the treasure during the first night. So he revealed the facts to the draper Kerchow and to the coppersmith named Jury in order to enlist their help in digging out the treasure during the following night, but these two went on alone without saying a word and then denied completely that they had found treasure. However, he knew for certain, even if he had not seen himself, what was in the vessels. He had found out by calculation and by means of his divining rod. Different persons had got part of the money, the preacher Wolterdorf amongst others; he had the task of exorcising the ghost, which did not want to vanish after the treasure had been lifted, from the cellar. A great deal of it went to Potsdam, as the whole town knew. He had spoken confidentially about his affairs with various noble persons, whom he continued to mix up, taking one for another, and they had approved of his demands. These were his ideas and now they are his convictions. Imagine a man of restless and lively temperament, thinking he was the owner of many millions, and having to live in hunger and sorrow! When the doctor and municipal physician Pihl examined his state of mind on 18 June 1781, he initially appeared to be quite relaxed, but as soon as one touched upon the point of treasure hunting and the 200 millions, he became excited. One could indeed conclude from his words that his fantasy deceived him at every moment. But he could by no means be convinced that the discovery of the treasure could be an illusion. Dr Pihl asked to see the sister, Cath. Elisab. Schönfeld, in order to obtain a clearer impression about the brother's situation. She, however, confirmed all her brother's foolish ideas word by word, and she was completely mad, just like him.
A proof of the experience that madness is contagious.

The mental history of
Christian Gragert
a gensd' armes in Berlin
This Christian Gragert, otherwise of a good and quiet nature, must have always been a little simple-minded and credulous. Because of a particular stiffness of his body and his lack of skill, he did not cope well with the drills and had to undergo many a punishment, which affected him badly. Moreover, he suffered from his miserable situation, from accidents in his family, and from general aversion to the life of a soldier. This is how he developed a peculiar and strange anxiety, particularly an anxiety during the night, which did not let him go to sleep. According to what he says, he could only evict it by reading spiritual books and by singing religious songs. This made him feel easier. By studying the Bible industriously he came upon the prophet Daniel, who became his favourite reading. From time to time he was overcome by the idea of miracles, which eventually dominated his imagination to such an extent that he thought he himself would be in a position 10 perform miracles. He was firmly convinced that by means of his powers he could grow cherries on a grafted apple-tree. He was discharged and came 10 the local workhouse where his conduct was very quiet, orderly and industrious. Nothing betrayed the confusion of his mind. Therefore it was decided to send him back to his native place. Dr Pihl examined his state of mind on the 2S March 1781. This was approximately two years after he had first felt this anxiety. He gave very decent and adequate answers. Only with regard 10 the miracles did he hold his old opinion, but did not defend it stubbornly. He promised that he would admit his error once he returned home and did not find what he expected. Ca) He has already admitted a similar error once before when he had mistaken an old woman for a witch and found out later that he had done her an injustice. Eventually he had no greater wish than to return to his wife and children where he wanted to make a quiet and peaceful living without causing any trouble 10 any man. Dr Pihl gave his expert opinion that this man could be released and sent back home without any danger. 

The history of the child murderer
 J. F. D. Seybell
This Seybell was educated from his fourth to his twenty-second year in the great orphanage in Potsdam where he learned the craft of a tailor. According 10 the opinion of the people who knew hirn, he was a quiet, industrious and pious man, but always a little simple-minded, shy, and more prone to sadness than to joy. Already in his early youth he had frequently shown periods of melancholy and peculiar behaviour. Therefore the other boys had given him the nickname 'mad' Seybell. He has always been extraordinarily full-blooded, prone to violent outbursts, and to a congestion of blood in the head which was usually accompanied by a severe restlessness, anxiety and fear which came and went with the fullbloodedness and congestion. In later years this turned into a true melancholy. He had not learnt his profession well enough to make a living from it. He was not an able servant either. He was aware of his own simple-mindedness and weakness and was in constant fear that his masters would become fed up with him and chase him away. Then he would be all alone and without any bread. This was the reason why he left his service at Councillor …ssfeld in Potsdam, why he wanted 10 shoot himself in Captain Winterfeld's service, and why he jumped out of the third floor window of councillor Wissmann. From December 1772 until 1781 he came into a truly miserable situation and could hardly meet his most basic needs by his sewing. Moreover, he had a few minor debts which he wanted to pay, but he found no way to achieve this. Tormented by inner unrest and anxiety, which he had long suppressed by ardent prayers to God and by singing but which he could not get rid of; tortured by the crue1 fear that he had to live an unhappy and miserable life and that he would be accused and exposed to public abuse because of his - minor - debts; carried away by the idea that his sufferings could not be ended by anything but death; he came to the unfortunate conclusion that he should put an end to his painful life and his sufferings through the death of an innocent child. According to his confession and to the parents’ opinion he loved this child extraordinarily. They confirm that he has always been quiet and pious, and that he had taught the child many prayers and beautiful sayings from the bible. It was this great love which repeatedly kept him from laying his hand on the child until in an unfortunate moment he was finally and suddenly overcome by madness and murdered her in a fit of raving fury. He had locked the door to be undisturbed and then he carried the child 10 his chamber. This could have been mistaken as an attempt to hide his deed. But immediately thereafter he gave himself up of his own free will. This Seybell usually had a red face and a shy and somewhat staring gaze. He was thirty-eight years old when he committed the deed. His life was spared after Dr Pihl's evidence for the deed having been committed in madness. His deceased brother has also been simple-minded and melancholic.
Parallel to the history of Mr Klug.
Dr Pihl visited D . . .s, a former local merchant, in order to investigate his mental state and he found him in a peculiar outfit. He was dressed in a sleeping gown and wore several iron rings around his body. On his head he wore a huge construction of linen cloth and caps, affixed with ribbons, fine iron bands and attached papers, etc. His bed was also prepared with iron rings and plates, etc. When Dr Pihl asked him for the reason he wore this outfit and 100k the strange precautions, he answered that he had to do so because evil spirits would not let him have a single moment of peace. They scared him night and day, had torn out his lung and liver, snatched large parts of his skin, etc. Mr Klug persisted in his idea that he written a book against the King of Prussia which had attracted the king's wrath. Mr D . . .s believed he was a direct messenger of the Holy Trinity, who had now taken over the government of the earth and that the power of all kings and princes was despised and abolished. In particular he had received an order to look after order and justice, and that the houses were to be kept in a good state although all would be in a wretched condition. At the beginning of his madness, Mr D . . .s had therefore gone into many houses and, to further his task, gave orders to the owners 10 have the houses rebuilt immediately. Mr Klug barred his chamber, Mr D . . .s even his body. The former was afraid of men, the latter of the devil.

of a preliminary concept of
psychopathology (Seelenkrankheitskunde)
In a journal of Empirical Psychology there should be as few inserted comments as possible, particularly at the beginning. Later it can grow through important facts and reflections, which may mutually support each other. All anxious attempts at a firm system are to be avoided completely, and initially everything can only in tentative outline, in which any line can be rubbed out, and in which the whole can gain an altogether different form. I have undertaken to draw the following sketch for such an outline; whenever facts appear which are inconsistent with a particular line, I will remove them from the earlier sketch with the utmost equanimity. I will guard the impartiality of my thoughts with relentless attention. If I am successful in this resolve I hope that it will eventually lead me to the truth. The following points may at least stimulate a variety of observations, through which something quite different may appear from what was originally expected in one's investigations; he who is 100king for a bad piece of silver may discover a precious stone instead.

 (1) Lack of relative harmony of all mental capabilities is mental illness (Seelenkrankheit; because of the striking general similarities of Empirical Psychology to Pharmacy, I have benefited a lot from Dr Markus Herz's Medical Encyclopedia during my considerations of psychopathology). This depends not so much on the strengths or weaknesses of an individual mental capability in itself but primarily on how far it is either too strong or too weak with respect to the other mental capabilities. Therefore a very strong imagination can occur in a completely healthy mental state in somebody whose memory, judgement, etc., are in balance; in another person in whom this is not the ca se it can be illness. It has to be concluded that every person, according to his own measure of mental capabilities, has his own condition of mental health, and that this is subject to change with age. Therefore a certain degree of judgement which would be adequate in the later years could mean eccentricity and mental illness in earlier years.

 (2) Such disturbances between the necessary proportions of the mental capabilities often resolve themselves; only if they continue for long periods or permanently are they genuine mental illness. A lack of activity, exaggerated activity, useless activity, etc., are symptoms of such psychic illnesses or disturbed proportions. These symptoms can often appear dangerous without being so; they can actually be dangerous without appearing to be. At different times they have to be suppressed immediate1y, merely limited, or even promoted. How important for pedagogy it would be to assert and confirm this sentence!

 (3) The active powers have to stand in a certain proportion to the powers of imagination; if they are too strong in relation to the latter and they are predominant, there is psychic illness. In this condition the complaint is meliora video proboque, deteriora sequor. If they are too weak compared with the others this is also illness. The most beautiful resolutions, the most excellent plans are not carried out. If the active powers vanish completely or partly, this is mental paralysis (Seelenlähmung), a condition of many an unfortunate person, whose eccentricity renders the most excellent talents ineffectual.

 (4) Of the ideas which flow into the mind every day and every moment a certain amount has to be obscured if the intellect is to remain in a healthy condition. If too few are obscured, there will be an abundance of ideas causing turmoil and confusion, hampering the clarity and distinctness of thought. If too many are obscured there is sterility, emptiness and poverty of mind. It seems as if the ideas which we receive while dreaming have to be obscured in a regular way. To me at least, the recollection of dreams seems highly unpleasant, because it arouses some disorder in my other ideas du ring the whole day.

 (5) The lack of proper connections between ideas appears to be the cause of many mental disorders. In a healthy condition of the mind there must always be a certain number of 'fixed ideas', which may temporarily be replaced by the stream of new ideas, yet which always return to their initial position; there must be absolutely fixed ideas which are unshakeable. Without proper connections, however, the former ideas do not return to their initial position, and the latter ones are not resistant. This leads to frivolity, indecision and the resulting vices. Ideas whose connections are too tight and unshakeable lead to similar disadvantages, however, and to inflexibility and rigidity. The mind rejects a lot of incoming ideas and cannot acquire beneficial nourishment from them.

 (6) Mental illnesses may perhaps, in a manner similar to those of the body, be transmitted from parents to children, or be heritable in whole families. Some of the facts reported above seem to prove this. They can preferentially prevail in a people or in a country. They can be contagious. They can be curable or incurable.

 (7) Since mental disorders may arise from various causes, a universal remedy cannot exist, but the moral doctor (der moralische Arzt) has to study these diseases with regard to their appearances, causes and consequences, if he sets out to cure them. Wherever possible, he must attempt to restore the damaged relation between the mental capabilities. He has to obscure harmful ideas and he has to know how to properly promote others. He must reinstate the proper connections between the whole system of ideas and, if necessary, he must be able to penetrate into the most intimate links if connections are too tight.

 (8) Can there be moral doctors and have they ever existed? Socrates appears to have understood and exerted this noble art to a high degree. Perhaps others, whose names are only registered in the book of omniscience, may have exercised it quietly in their small circles. In our times Kleinjog is said to have cured moral illnesses of persons who have stayed with him for some time, through his daily acquaintance and through his example, and to have restored their damaged peace of mind.

I would like to receive many contributions from parents, educators, teachers and other persons who are interested in the welfare of mankind, contributions which provide detailed and special reports of the means by which someone has succeeded in bringing an individual who has gone astray step by step back to the path of virtue, or distracting him gradually from his deep-rooted vice. How extraordinarily important and beneficial the publication oif such measures would be, which have already been administered in practice!

(translated by Hans Förstl and Robert Howard. A complete version was published in “History of Psychiatry”, 1991)