Dr. Hermann Swoboda
About Dr. Hermann Swoboda, Psychologist
Everyone experiences days when everything he does seems to be right and, on the other hand, days when nothing he does seems to make any sense. This state of affairs is not new; man has long puzzled over the range of his own actions and feelings. Even Hippocrates, the traditional physician's physician, advised his students and associates some 2,400 years ago to observe the "good" and "bad" days among the healthy and the ill, and to take these fluctuations into consideration in the treatment of patients.
Although man understood that he acted, felt, and thought differently at different times, for centuries a fundamental question went unanswered, even unasked. At the end of the nineteenth century, Dr. Hermann Swoboda, professor of psychology at the University of Vienna, was prompted by his research findings to wonder whether there might not be some regularity or rhythm to these fundamental changes in man's disposition. Swoboda apparently was impressed by John S. Beard's report of 1897 on the span of gestation and the cycle of birth, and by the publication of a scientific paper on bisexuality in man by Wilhelm Fliess... ...Swoboda, in his first report, presented at the University ] of Vienna at the turn of the century, noted:
One does not need to have lived a long span of life before one comes to realize that life is subject to Consistent Changes. This realization is not a reflection on the changes in our fate or the changes which take place during various stages of life. Even if someone could live a life completely devoid of outside influences, a life during which Nothing whatever disturbs the mental or physical aspect, life would nevertheless not be the same day after day. The best of health does not prevent man from feeling unwell at times, or less cheerful than he is normally.
During his initial research between 1897 and 1902, Swoboda recorded the recurrence of pain and the swelling of tissues such as is experienced in insect bites. He discovered a periodicity in fevers, in the outbreak of an illness, and in heart attacks, a phenomenon Fliess had reported in a medical review, which led to the discovery of certain basic rhythms in man one a 23-day cycle and the other a 28-day cycle.
However, Swoboda, as a psychologist, was mainly interested in finding out whether man's feelings and actions were influenced by rhythmical fluctuations and whether these rhythms Could be precalculated. The results of his persistent research Can be summed up in his own words:
We will no longer ask why man acts one way or another, because we have learned to recognize that his action is influenced by periodic changes and that man's reaction to an impression can be foreseen, or predicted, to use a stronger term. Such a psychoanalysis could be called bionomy because, as in chemistry where the researcher Can anticipate the outcome of a formula, through bionomy the psychologist can anticipate, or predict, so to speak, the periodic changes in man.
Swoboda was an analytical thinker and a systematic recorder. His painstaking research in psychology and periodicity produced convincing evidence of rhythms in life. He showed a deep interest in the study of dreams and their origin, and noted that melodies and ideas would often repeat in one's mind after periodic intervals, generally based on a 23-day or a 28-day rhythm. In searching for the origin of these rhythms, Swoboda carefully noted the birth of infants among his patients and found that young mothers would often have anxious hours about the health of their babies during periodic days after birth. He reasoned that this phenomenon, which was often accompanied by the infant's refusal to take nourishment, was a sign of rhythmical development; on these days the tempo of digestion and absorption was apparently slower. He advised the mothers not to worry, since these periodic crises could be considered part of natural development and growth. Similar rhythmical turning points were reported in asthma attacks.
first book was Die Perioden des Menschlichen Lebens (The Periodicity in Man's Life). This book was followed by his Studien zur Grundlegung der Psychologie (Studies of the Basis of Psychology). In order to facilitate his research and also to encourage other scientists and medical doctors in the recording of the mathematical rhythms, Swoboda designed a slide rule with which it was fairly simple to find the "critical" days in the life of any person whose birth date was known. The instruction booklet was entitled Die Kritischen Tage des Menschen (The Critical Days of Man).
His most profound work was a 576-page volume entitled Das Siebenjahr (The Year of Seven), which contains the 23-day and 28-day mathematical analysis of the rhythmical repetition of births through generations. With documentation covering hundreds of family trees, he endeavored to verify that most major events in life, such as birth, the onset of an illness, heart attacks, and death, fall on periodic days and involve family relationships.