"Germany and all of Europe is a more fertile field for neurotics and suicide than America which is still quite calm," said Kurt Goldstein, William James lecturer and clinical professor of Neurology at Columbia University in an interview yesterday.
Although hesitant about passing judgment on Germany Goldstein said that there was no doubt that the uncertainties of present day life in Europe contributed a great deal to the increase in psychopathic cases, and that the relation between Der Fuehrer and the masses was a psychological rather than a political phenomenon. Compared with the tenseness of life in Europe American life seems quite placid.
Must Resist Propaganda
Before coming to America five years ago, Goldstein was mainly concerned with German soldiers who had received brain injuries during the World War. Through his work in brain surgery and neurology he entered into the field of psychology.
Questioned on the problem of propaganda, Goldstein felt that modern advertising had by playing on the fears and hopes of the buying public increased the number of hypochondriacs, and that it was up to education to develop a resistance to propaganda.
On the other hand, he continued, there is great need for popular enlightenment on medical and psychological subjects. However psychoanalysis is too much known and little understood by the layman, and its terms are too much misused.
Impressed by Comfort of Colleges
Comparing American to German students, Goldstein was much impressed by the material comfort and beautiful campuses of American Universities and the uninhibited eagerness of the American student in class discussions. German students, he continued, have greater freedom in electing courses and do not have so many examinations.
In answer to a question on the nature of psychology Goldstein stated that it was coming into its own as a science but it would never be a science in the same sense that physics is; for behaviorism is a special part of psychology but not all of it.
The remaining of a series of lectures which Goldstein is giving on Friday afternoons in Emerson Hall on the subject "Human Nature in the Light of Psychopathology" will be concerned with the following topics:
"Impairment of abstraction in patients with lesions of the brain cortex; the significance of abstraction for normal life"; "Amnesic aphasia; the problem of the meaning of words"; "The patient's adaptation to his defects; the problem of coming to terms with the surrounding world"; "Organization of the personality"; "The individual and his relationship with others"; "The nature of man; skepticism and egoism evaluated."