"At the risk of increasing the already extant confusion, I propose to investigate what teratological, morbid, or simply rare, cases can teach us concerning the formation and disorganisation of personality, though without the pretension of treating the subject in its entirety, deeming such an undertaking at present premature. Personality being the highest form of psychic individuality, the preliminary question arises: What is the individual? There are few problems that have been more debated in our time among naturalists, or that remain more obscure for the lower stages of animal life. This is not the place to go into the details of the problem. At the close of our work, after we have studied the constituent elements of personality, we shall consider this question as a whole. It will then be time to compare personality with the lower forms through which nature has essayed to produce it, and to show, that the psychic individual is the expression of an organism, being, as that is, low, simple, incoherent, or unified and complex. For the present, it will be sufficient to recall to readers at all familiar with the subject, that in descending the animal scale we always see the psychic individual formed of a more or less complete fusion of simpler individuals, as also "a colonial consciousness" created by the co-operation of local consciousnesses. The human personality-the only one of which we can speak with any fitness in a pathological study-is a concrete whole, a complexus. To know it, we must analyse it. But analysis here is disastrously artificial, since it disjoins groups of phenomena which are not juxtaposed, but co-ordinated, their relation being that of mutual dependence, not of simple simultaneousness. Still, the work is indispensable. Adopting a division both clear and, as I trust, self-justified, I shall study successively the organic, affective, and intellectual conditions of personality, chiefly emphasising their anomalies and disorders. Our final study of the subject will permit us to group anew these disjoined elements"--Introduction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).
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