“Greatness of individuality is inversely proportional to the mass of the social aggregate.”
The Souce and Aim of all progress, 1919
Boris Sidis was an eminent American psychologist born in Ukraine. He studied hypnosis, suggestion and especially the subconscious in domains such as multiple personalities, sleep, laugh and the treatment of psychopathic illnesses. He is considered as a pioneer notably for founding the New York State Psychopathic Institute and the Journal of Abnormal Psychology which remains a reference even 100 years after its first issue was released.
Il Russia, at the of 17, he is imprisoned and put in solitary confinement for more than two years. All this because he taught two peasants how to read. A pretense resulting from the tense political climate and the persecutions against Jews in Russia. He was released under the conditionthat he would renounce any sort of education. Boris Sidis would later attribute his great capacity to think to this solitude imposed upon him. He will emigrate to the United States a few years later, working in factories and teaching private classes before joining Harvard University in 1892.
Autodidact, Sidis was nevertheless strongly influenced by his mentor, the famous psychologist William James, whom he considered with such admiration that he named his son William James Sidis.
He applied his own Psychological thesis in the the education of his son in order to devellop his intellectual potential to its fullest. From this education stemmed a child prodigy with exceptional mathematical and linguistic skills. William James Sidis would go on to become the youngest student at Harvard University at the age of 11.
Boris Sidis died ostracized for having derived from some psychological norms of his time dictated by Sigmund Freud.
Famous pioneer in many fields of psychology and psychiatry, Boris Sidis is known to have applied his knowledge of education by fathering the child prodigy William James Sidis, who at age 11 became the youngest person to enroll at Harvard University.
In his Philistine and Genius, he shares his views on the flaws of education and how to fully develop one’s potential beginning in early childhood. As Meyer Solomon wrote in his critique of the book:
“Throughout the volume Sidis writes with terrific force and power, and his intensity, his sincerity, and his whole-souled devotion to the cause to which he has given himself in this book shines through on every page.
Here, too, as elsewhere, he shows a clarity of thinking, a directness and unerring aim in expression, and a keen understanding of that which he has undertaken to discuss.
I heartily and earnestly recommend the work to the readers of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.”
This is a revised third edition with an additional preface on current events and an essay on Precocity in Children.
Famous pioneer in many fields of psychology and psychiatry, Boris Sidis is known to have applied his knowledge of psychology by fathering the child prodigy William James Sidis, who at age 11 became the youngest person to enroll at Harvard University.
Two decades after publishing his theory of the subconscious in Psychology of Suggestion, Boris Sidis revisits the subject to apply a broader perspective to his findings, ranging from the subconscious of the individual to the advancement of humankind.
André Brouillet, A Clinical Lesson at the Salpêtrière, 1887, oil on canvas