The Psychology Of The Individual


It is said about Maiorescu that he did not really think Romanian scientific and philosophic creation possible, reckoning that "the nervous cell is not strong enough." We do not know whether this statement is true or merely fabrication. The fact remains that it is twice wrong. First because, if the nervous cell were not sufficiently strong, then it is a huge illusion to imagine it will become strong enough in two or three generations' time. Such biological adaptations in the cell take hundreds and thousands of generations. And second because, in fact, the strength that Maiorescu referred to is by no means biological, but social and cultural in nature. Indeed, if we look at his statement using today's knowledge of biology, psychology, sociology, etc, we have no reason whatsoever to believe that the nervous cell lacks the strength. What is not strong enough is the social, political, scientific and cultural environment. And the evidence comes from the very fact that whenever the cultural context in Romania changed at all, scientific creation duly appeared. How could Haret possibly have pursued scientific research – although he had proven himself through his celebrated doctoral thesis – when, returning to the country together with his colleague Emanuel and asking the Minister for funds to purchase the books and journals necessary for conducting scientific activity, he received the remonstrance that he did?* The atmosphere had to change for the Minister to come to understand that science can neither be completed nor assimilated in its entirety with a doctor's degree and that it is being constantly perfected and this perfecting cannot be achieved in the absence of journals and books. Hence the division of labor which Haret – as he himself confesses – and Professor Emanuel effected. One of them went on only with scientific work while the other engaged in politics as well, to alter the mentality of the Ministry in such a way that scientific creation would not only be comprehended, but also supported. And indeed, today we are priding ourselves on the Romanian achievements in mathematics!There has been a great deal of talk about the intelligence of peoples, claiming one's intelligence over another's. It is often stated that the French are more intelligent than the Germans, or the English, or the other way around, and anyway more intelligent than us or any other small people with not so mature a culture. The intelligence of European peoples surpasses, in turn, that of African of Asian peoples, which they have turned into colonies, etc. Considering these beliefs, so deeply rooted in our daily mentality, in the light of the above conclusions concerning race and culture, they are revealed as utterly erroneous. To affirm, for example, that the French are more intelligent than, say, us, Romanians, is the same as stating that somebody who lives in Bucharest, is soundly educated and has traveled the world is more clever than an un-traveled, illiterate peasant from Vlaşca. In other words, it means mistaking education and culture for intelligence. But they are completely different realities, and are relevant on different levels. Intelligence is an innate individual disposition, generally the same with all races – and by no means diverse from one people to another – whereas culture is a social reality, different from one people to another, just as its determining circumstances are different: social organization, population number, geographical and historical position, etc. Indeed we have no reason – scientific, that is – to believe that the Romanian people, given the exact same conditions that the French people enjoys, will not yield just as much as French genius and vice-versa.
* Reports go that the Minister, thereafter proverbial, answered them as follows: "What do you mean I should give you money for books and journals? What have you been doing in Paris? This is what the State granted you the scholarships for, so you should study now, back at home, and not in Paris, when you were supposed to?"

by Nicolae Mărgineanu