By Henning Sass
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It would thus be foolish to assume that all stimuli including external stimuli are evil. Is man not just as much externally stimulated to do good as to do evil? Furthermore, the stimulus to do evil often lies not in objects, but rather in man. For example, somebody with a tendency to steal will sense the incitement to commit theft as soon as he sees a roll of money in someone else’s room. However, a beguiling prostitute, a lascivious painting or novel, in short, anything inherently seductive bears the character of evil and its effects are always stimulation to evil.
This is no easy occupation – as nobody readily renounces his own ego, his own selfish nature. However, these goods and powers cannot be obtained at any other price. ” § 329 So we postulate, just as Punsegur did, the existence of the devout will, but only as a higher power than assumed by the French magnetiser, namely as a healing strength which can act directly on disturbances of the soul. It is very difficult for everyone to regard this effect and its successful activity as a possibility, firstly because we cannot imagine the strength of the devout will given our low position in life.
This is neither fashionable bigotry, subservient pietism, pathological mysticism, fanciful zealousness nor blind superstition which is being expressed here, but the result of a settled, considered, clear insight into human nature as the ideal before our eyes of purity and integrity. If considered properly, the word ‘ideal’ may condemn our enterprise, as this implies something which cannot be realised or achieved. We deny this. The purity and integrity of the human character and everything associated with it and originating from it is not at all something unattainable, but is only attainable from the religious viewpoint.
Anthology of German Psychiatric Texts by Henning Sass