THE CRIME WAVE IN AMERICA—by Thomas M. Stewart, M.D
Its Prevalence, Cause and Cure
Judge Marcus A. Kavanaugh of Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, in an address to the St. Louis Bar Association, stated there were "at large, unpunished and unafraid, 135,000 crimson-handed women and men who unlawfully have taken life." (American Year Book—1925.)
Insane persons in public institutions in the United States, per census taken by National Committee for Mental Hygiene:
Jan. 1, 1900 ................187,791
Jan. 1, 1920 ................232,680
An increase of about 24% in 20 years.
World Almanac, 1926, gives the following figures:
Felonies, N. Y. State, 1900....2,599
Felonies, N. Y. State, 1924....5,560
An increase of 21%.
In New York City (Manhattan and Brooklyn Boroughs), the Police Appropriations were:
Increase of 33%.
Police Arrests, 1900 .........132,805
Police Arrests, 1924 .........346,270
Increase of 62%.
Judge Marcus Kavanaugh, of the Chicago Criminal Court, has made a survey of the murders of the past twenty years. During that period 170,000 murders were committed in the United States; 34,000 murderers have been executed, 18,000 are in prison, 118,000 went scott free. (Outlook, May 19, 1926.)
"Why the continuous procession of nearly 500,000 prisoners going in and out of jail every year? Why the army of a million or more active crooks? Why does crime cost America over ten billion dollars annually?" (Editorial, Annals of American Academy of Political Social Science.)
Wm. G. Dever, Mayor of Chicago, in an address on June 10, 1924, before a convocation of University of Chicago, said: "The federal, state, county and municipal governments are spending annually in Cook County not less than $40,000,000 for supervision and correction of crime. I wonder whether, if one fifth of this sum were set aside to provide preventive measures in the way of parks, playgrounds, and organized athletics, such constructive policy might not, aside from its social and human value, provide for an ever more efficient police service."
Cause of Crime
I would say it would help, but it would not cure. The cause of crime lies within the individual himself and external remedies alone cannot cure it.
Philip L. Lemon, Chairman of Committee on Parks and Public Recreation of Chicago, at National Council of Social Work, Denver, 1925, said:
"A hundred thousand youngsters go through our courts on delinquency charges each year; the total losses from robberies, thefts, confidence games and frauds of all kinds run up to about three billions a year. In a recent seven-year period, 59,377 murders were committed, which is 9,050 more than the number of American soldiers killed in the battles of the Great War."
"The larger percentage of modern criminals comprises boys and girls ranging from 15 to 25 years." (Chas. S. Thomas, Denver.)
What is happening in your minds, now, while I am speaking? Let us inquire. The upper part of your mind (the brain cortex) is considering the points that have been raised; that is, crime and insanity are on the increase; that it is estimated that $3,500,000,000 is the loss in 1924 through the operations of criminals, that the records for 1923 show that commitments for robberies increased 83% in 13 years; forgeries 68%; rape 33%; homicide 16%.
The upper part of your mind, having grasped all these facts, now broadcasts to your lower brain (the cerebellum) this message: "I now have the facts and something must be done. The situation is appalling. I am ready to act on any plan that is practical, and sensible, to safeguard the coming generations from destruction, for that is the logical end if an adequate remedy is not speedily found and put to use."
In other words, your intellect has considered the proposition. Your conscience, which is the recognition of your individual responsibility, approves the idea of getting behind an adequate remedy, and you are ready to act accordingly.
Internal Stock Company
Now every act of your daily life requires this marvelous cooperation of your intellect and your emotions ...of your conscience and your governing power—the WILL. All of this is a conscious act. You know you are awake, you know you are thinking, and what I am describing is the marvelous cooperation among your faculties, the Board of Directors, of your internal Stock Company.
Perfect cooperation in the Executive Committee, the upper mind or intellect, the lower mind or emotions, and the Will Power as chairman, with the deciding vote.
Now some people are carried away by their emotions, intellect is overpowered and the Will is not powerful enough, not convincing, and so one vote carries the day.
The illustration is not perfect. But you get the idea. There are defectives in the human family. That is the class from which criminals come.
Defect in the emotional nature, in the lower mind, spells crime. All conscious acts require Will, and the Will wavers if the right feelings are not always vibrating in that lower mind.
Here is the idea. "Money. Nobody looking." "Easy money," is the emotional answer. "Take," is the way the Will responds. Just exactly like hitting the wrong key on an adding machine.
Two men in Chicago, each famous in his profession, have dug out together, after years of experience, the cause of crime. These men are Judge Harry Olson and Dr. William J. Hickson. Judge Olson is Chief Justice of the Municipal Court of Chicago, a unique judicial institution with extraordinary powers. Judge Olson directs the work of thirty-six associate Judges. Dr. Hickson is director of the unique Psychopathic Laboratory attached to the criminal divisions of the Municipal court.
Judge Olson was for ten years in the office of the Prosecuting Attorney of Cook County and for seventeen years more has been Chief Justice of the Municipal Court. Long experience convinced him that practically all criminals are mentally abnormal. Ten years ago, he created the psychopathic laboratory and put Dr. Hickson in charge. Dr. Hickson, who had had years of practical experience with mental defectives in institutions, had also studied an entirely new field of abnormal psychology under Kraepelin and Bleuler in Europe. Under their inspiration, and out of his experience at Chicago, he has worked out tests of character that are analogous to the familiar tests of intelligence. These tests, checked by physical examination and by the records of criminals, bear out the new discovery of the cause of crime with remarkable uniformity.
Report of Experts
"Crime is caused by a physical defect of the brain. This defect renders its victim so far below normal in emotion that he has little or no conscience, or so far above normal in emotion as to make him hysterically irresponsible.
"There are all degrees of emotional response, just as there are all degrees of intelligence. But intelligence and emotion are functions of two different pieces of physical mechanism, so that the same man may have a perfectly good machine to think with and a thoroughly bad machine to feel with."
We cannot 'punish' people for irrational acts; we cannot hope to 'reform' people who are incurably irrational. What then, can we do?
"First, humanize our penology by abolishing our prisons. Those barbarous cages of stone and steel are relics of our old ideas of punishment. In their place, provide guarded farm colonies, where these pathetic victims (for that, in truth, is what they are) of their physical inheritance may live a civilized life, safe from the temptations of the world, and where they cannot further molest society. . . . .
". . . . . It should be understood at once that this system could not be adopted in the United States in less than thirty years, because at present there are less than a dozen psychologists here who are trained in the new science of making these tests of emotional insanity, and it will require a generation to train the thousands who would be needed."
Real Cure Lies Deeper
But these conclusions and plans of Judge Olson and Dr. Hickson cannot solve the problem of crime. Why should we wait for thirty years to put into operation a cure that is not a cure because it deals with surface conditions? Why continue to build machines that we know will break down under wear and tear of use or why continue methods that have not installed a power of Will to resist temptation in the individual?
We in the Western World, unless we have been students of the Vedas, that storehouse of recorded experiences of the Master Minds of India, are not aware of the fact that the East has a most valuable and practical contribution to make to us on the Art of Living.
How did the Master minds of India discover these laws of a harmonious development of Body, Mind, and Soul?
Simply though experiments on the life and thought of man in the laboratories of their own living experience. To find out the truth as to physical things ...we experiment on physical substances. To find out the truth as to what is the best way to increase bodily vigor, we try various exercises, and diets, and record the different and differing results and then choose the best for the purpose intended.
To know the human mind, the Savants of India studied their own minds and experimented on that line ...recording and comparing results over a period of hundreds, yea thousands of years.
To know the range of action of Consciousness they studied their own Conscious Realm.
Now, briefly, what did they find? These scientists of old found that the human ego outlasts all changes of experience and thought during the state of wakefulness, of dream, and of deep sleep, all through life.
Experiences changed, environment changed, sensation changed, thoughts and bodily states changed, but the sense of one's own Identity—his sense and knowledge of "I am I"—my own very self—did not change.
So through a constant and conscious watching of the various changing states of life ....grouped under thought, will, feeling, wakefulness, dreaming and dreamless sleep, one could perceive the changeless and eternal nature of the Ego.
Ordinarily one is conscious of his waking state. You are not particularly conscious of your bodies, at least not until I directed your attention again to the fact that you all had bodies, but you are conscious of your awareness state of what is going on.
We can also be conscious of a dreaming state, we can even dream in a dream. Watch your dreams and you will find that to be a fact.
So through Concentration and Meditation, as taught by one who knows from having had the right teaching to begin with and from conscious experiences along these lines of Eastern psychological research work, one can find out and be aware of every state of consciousness; of sleep, of dream, of dreamless deep sleep.
During sleep there is involuntary relaxation of energy from the motor and sensory nerves. One can, by Will Power and knowing the Law, produce this relaxation during the conscious waking state. It requires the knowledge of how to do it, and then practice.
In the Big Sleep of death, energy leaves the heart and nervous system.
But even this further relaxation can be produced consciously in the waking state. That is to say, the Law as discovered by the wise men of the East is this:
"Every involuntary function may be accomplished voluntarily and consciously by practice."
The Hindu philosophers pursued their experimental studies consciously and under the control of a highly developed Will Power so that one's consciousness of his own self-identity was found to be independent of the physical body and that therefore the physical body is but a bulb of matter for the display of Life Energy called the Ego and its state of Consciousness. And that when the current is turned off or one dies, it is simply a switching off of the current—the Energy goes back to Cosmic Energy.
The electric light glows in the bulb. You may turn off the current, but the current does not die. Neither does that which makes you you, me me.
Swami Yogananda's How-To-Live plan is educational in a big way. It means a coordinated development of Body, Mind and Soul. The Body is a coarse vibration of Life Energy. One must have bodily control in order to render the Mind more acutely responsive ...as the Mind is a finer vibration than the Body. And finally, to relate the Mind to the Soul of man—the immortal spark of Divinity in us all. This education must be started early in life and go through all grades of school up to the end of University work ...in order to save our young people, in a jazz-crazed age, from hitting the rocks of disease, misery and destruction.
In spite of some scientific statements that "children are born not from the body and brain cells you can educate, but from germ cells which by any process now known you cannot educate"' in spite of this train of thought, and because of my knowledge of the ancient Teachings, through which belief has changed to conscious conviction or realization, my faith in God and my hope for man lead me to the conclusion that in the eternal race of science with the Soul of Man, the soul will win.
Therefore, if you would be on the winning side, educate the Soul of Man, then the Mind; and the Temple not made with Hands will be seen in the heavenly countenance and beautiful bodies of the coming race of humanity.
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