ORIGINS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL BASIS OF LAW Maine found the origins of law in Themistes, "judgments," from which, he thought, Themis "law," was derived by abstrac tion. Except that, as we now think, it was the other way round, Themistes were derived from Themis, everything has tended to confirm what can only be described as an intuition of genius. Themis was one with Ge, Mother Earth, a goddess of no merely local or Hellenic significance. Sir Arthur Evans has shown that the Great Mother, whose worship is so richly illustrated in the Minoan cultures, was indeed a universal figure throughout the Neolithic world. Possibly we may go even further. These figures seem strangely to recall the celebrated goddess of Willendorf and the other Aurignacian figures hardly less famous. This of course is but conjecture and it is safer to return to the soil of Greece. It is not without significance that Pythagoras could identify with a cosmic figure, Themis in the world above, Dike (justice) in the world below, Nomos (law) in the world of men. This may be no more than one of the thousand religious fancies of the Greeks. Folklore teaches otherwise. By no means confined to the dream world of ancient Greece is the figure of the Mother in pursuit, never to relent till her fury has exacted her "eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." Equally does every mythology know the Mother who releases to new life. On every hand we find cere monies of rebirth and the Ordeal itself seems to have been just such a rite. Can we doubt then that in this elemental figure we see the primal face of justice and that in man's two-fold attitude towards her is to be found the roots of his need for law? True the nature of the need has had to disguise itself, it has been rational ised away. Aristotle did not deign to cast a glance behind but hastened to identify reason with the law. Reason is so to order one's life that no offence be ever occasioned (honeste vivere, al terum non laedere) ; but if this cannot always be, then readily to tender or accept amends. But it is hardly in this common
sense, wide-eyed world that the law flourishes. Only in the twi light of the inner mind can the grievance be nursed to fruition or the black need of revenge swell to a passion for "justice." Two thousand years of reason have failed to light up fully these dark recesses of the mind. Somewhere deep down within us there still lurks a vestige of man's primal need and the phantom figure of the Great Mother must pass to punish or assuage. If it is but rarely that we realise this, it is due to a want of understand ing rather than of opportunity. Most days at any rate in the dock of an Assize town will be found some dumb sentient creature wondering why the law whose lash he has so often felt has failed to smooth out the muddle of his life. Nor are traces wholly want ing in the demeanour of those who seek redress in the civil courts. "When I think of the law" writes one of the most dis tinguished of living judges, "as we know her in the court house and the market, she seems to me a woman sitting by the way side, beneath whose overshadowing hood every man shall see the countenance of his deserts or needs. The timid and overborne gain heart from her protecting smile. Fair combatants manfully standing to their rights, see her keeping the lists with the stern and discriminating eye of even justice. The wretch who has de fied her most sacred commands and has thought to creep through ways where she was not, finds that his path ends with her and beholds beneath her hood the inexorable face of death." (O. W. Holmes, Collected Legal Papers p. 27.) For a criticism of the psychology here relied on see J. Rickman, International Journal of Psycho-Analysis vol. vi (1925) p. 92 and British Journal of Medical Psychology vol. vii (1927) p. 115.