ABSTRACT

The word suggestion is used here to denote an influence that works in a comparatively mechanical or reflex way, without calling out that higher selective activity of the mind implied in choice or will. The question of suggestion and choice is only another view of the question of uniformity and complexity in social relations. Choice is a process of growth, of progressive mental organization through selection and assimilation of the materials which life presents, and this process is surely never more vigorous than in childhood and youth. Children imitate much because they are growing much, and imitation is a principal means of growth. This is true at any age; the more alive and progressive a man is the more actively he is admiring and profiting by his chosen models. A common instance of the insidious power of milieu is afforded by the transition from university education to getting a living.