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by the chief motive which led to it."


The term passion is used in this connection in a narrower sense
than that of ordinary language, where this definite distinction
between emotion and passion is not made. At the same time we
keep at a distance all moral valuation of the concepts emotion and
passion. There are good as well as bad passions or emotions ; but
both kinds have the same general psychological features, just as
nutritive and poisonous plants may belong to the same family.
Everything which is really to have power over us, must manifest
itself as emotion or passion. Mere "reason" has no power in
actual mental life, where the struggle is always between feelings.
The frequent talk of the conflict of reason with the passions is con-
sequently psychologically incorrect. No such conflict can take
place directly. A thought can suppress a feeling only by exciting
another feeling which is in a position to set aside the first. Among
psychologists in modern times, Spinoza and Hume have more
particularly insisted on this, while by Kant (in his systematic
works), and still more by his followers, it has been overlooked.
Greek psychology was even disposed to regard the matter from the
exactly opposite side. When passion and reason were said to
contend, it was really meant, according to Plato {Protagoras), that
thought contended with thought ; passion being only a false kind
of knowledge which was to be suppressed by the true.

6. The law of relativity explains the constant, definite form of
each individual feeling, and shows how one feeling prepares the
way and may be of importance for another. But as in the sphere
of intellect a shallow conception of the law of relativity leads to the
conclusion, that everything is equally true or equally false, so in
the sphere of feeling the conclusion has been drawn, that all
pleasure is an illusion, because it results only from contrast to pain.
It is on this assertion that Schopenhauer has grounded his pes-
simistic philosophy. At the root of all consciousness there lies,
according to his theory, a blind but unruly will or impulse, that
clings to life and incites conscious beings to the preservation and
farther propagation of their existence. All that lives and feels,
desires above all things to live. This " Wille zum Leben " is not
caused by life being good, by its affording pleasure and joy ; the
relation, on the contrary, is such that life is supposed to bring happi-
ness, because of the obscure power inciting us to cling to it.' The

1 Schopenhauer's predecessor, tlie Italian poet Leopardi, expresses tlie same tliought :
"All men will to live ; consequently they must find life beautiful and agreeable; they
will to find it beautiful, and are enraged with the disturber of their peace who would
admit it to be otherwise." (Opiiscidcs et Pcnsees, Trans, from the Italian by A. Dapples,

vil TIIF. P!^VriIOLOr,V OF FEF.LTXr, 285

so-called pleasure arises from the gratification of a need ; it is the
need accompanied by pain which is positive ; pleasure, on the other
hand, is negative, signifies only the cessation of the need. This is
why the best things in life,— health, youth, and freedom, — are not
valued while possessed ; only when they have vanished is their
value apparent.

Schopenhauer's theory stands in absolute contradiction with the
biological importance of feeling. If there really existed an in-
extinguishable desire of this kind, which cools only for a moment,
to blaze up again the more violently, it would soon consume itself.
Pain shows itself to be everywhere constantly connected with what
is injurious to life or threatens its existence. Pain and dissatisfac-
tion cannot, then, be what is fundamental and positive, something
which during the struggle for existence is checked and interrupted
by our experiences. If we propose to call the tendency to move-
ment, which is present even before the dawning of consciousness,
impulse or will, then impulse in this sense cannot in itself bring in
dissatisfaction or pain. This can arise only when the impulse
encounters a resistance greater than it can overcome. With the
normal exercise of the organic functions there goes a fundamental
mood of happiness, a feeling of ease and freedom, to which, how-
ever, the attention is seldom directed, and which we usually notice
only when it is succeeded by, or succeeds, a state of discomfort.
Health, youth and liberty are good things, just because they
facilitate the full development and employment of our powers.
Diseased vital feeling soon cramps all our powers ; mental illness
usually begins with disturbances and disease in the vital feeling.
The importance and positive value of the vital feeling do not
tlepend on its coming itself to the fore, but on what is brought in
and conditioned l)y it.

.Sctiopenhauer's theory applies best to the feelings which are
connected with the maintenance of the individual and of the race.
It might seem as though the theory would appl\' best of all to the
very earliest period of life ; at any rate an unprejudiced observer
has come to the conclusion that pain is the prevailing feeling
during the first six months of human life, and that during this
period the feelings of pleasure in great measure arise through the
removal of states of jiain, not through the generation of positive

Paris, i38o, p. 114). — The theory tliat all pleasure rests on the cessation of a need, was
partially defcndeil in ancient times liy Kpicurus, in later times by the Italian writers
more especially (Cardanus, Verri). iVon. whom Kant adopted \^(Anl):yi>/'o.'. j n), without
however, drawing the consequences which Schopenhauer afterwards drew.


states of pleasure.^ But Schopenhauer, on the contrary, distinctly
teaches that the feeling of the painfulncss of existence is truly
aroused only after consciousness is developed. If this were so, it
should be expected that the earliest periods would be occupied by
a feeling of pleasure, and not preponderatingly by one of pain.

Schopenhauer absolutely disputes the psychological process by
which the development of cognition also furthers feeling. He is,
indeed so inconsistent as to admit ideal and disinterested feelings
(delight in art and science, sympathy, especially compassion) ; but
he cannot explain the difference between these and the feelings
associated with purely physical impulses. In his opinion a man,
in spite of all his thoughts and ideas, is just as brutish as an
animal, has the same aspirations which the animal has ; only the
latter attains its end far more easily and with less grief and pain.-
In this respect Schopenhauer takes his stand as a determined
opponent of the evolution hypothesis, not wholly without justice as
against the optimistic exaggerations of the mighty progress we
have made. It cannot be denied that the brute instincts of
self-preservation (Schiller's Hunger and Love) still in great measure
govern life ; but this the evolution hypothesis may very well admit,
without giving up its main doctrine. It is one question, whether
an evolution actually takes place ; another, how much has been
already accomplished. It is incredible that the evolution, admitted
on all sides, of ideas and thoughts should have had no influence
on feeling. It is at any rate a considerable advance that the
said instincts are now required to justify their existence, because
of their connection witli more or less ideal and universal ends (of
family, of State, etc.).

To suppose that pleasure must always have pain as a back-
ground would be to misunderstand the law of relativity. It is most
impressive when it follows upon pain ; but it may also perfectly
well have as background a weaker feeling of pleasure, and this is
especially true wherever the instinct of self-preservation does not
operate immediately. The struggle for a higher and nobler human
existence aims consequently at suppressing the immediate instinct

1 Preyer, Die Seele des h'incfes\)^. 91, 93. (Eng. Trans, i. pp. 141 — 14-5.)
- " Ultimately and in reality it is a question only of the same things that the
animal desires, and with iaconiparably smaller expenditure of passion and distress."
J'arerga nnd Piiralipoinena, Kerlin, 1851, ii., p. 260. — " .•Vnimals have llie same set of
passions as man : joy, sorrow, fear, anger, love, hatred, longing, etc. ; the great difference
between man and animals is due only to the degree of perfection of intellect." Ueber den
lyUlcn in der Satnr (''On the \Vill in Nature"), i-nd ed., p. 28.— This is further
developed in Vie il-'ilt uls WilU und VorsteUii>i^(;' '\i\\^ World as Will and Idea"),
vol. ii.. ch. 10.


of self-preservation, and at affording as wide an access as possible
to those ends which are more than satisfaction of the bare desire
of life.

7. It is in itself a meaningless employment of terms to call a
pleasure or pain negative. All feeling as such is a real, conse-
quently a positive, state. Even " illusory " or " chimerical " joy is
real joy. The feeling that is mainly determined by contrast with
another feeling is not on that account less real and positive.
Hallucinations of pain are real substantial pains. The hypochon-
driac feels real discomfort, and is not to be talked out of it. What
is meant by such expressions as positive and negative, true and
untrue, can in this connection be only the reality or unreality of
the object of feeling. The feelings cannot be criticized except by
criticizing their causes and their objects.

Just as positive and negative feelings of pleasure have been
talked of, so too it has been thought that there is a neutral
point, denoting indifference, a point therefore at which neither
pleasure nor pain is felt. It is a great question whether there
really are such neutral states. A purely theoretical treatment
might, indeed, lead to the view that, in the line which leads from
the highest pleasure to the strongest pain, there must be a central
point, equally far front both extremes. But this theoretical centre
cannot be the expression of a real conscious state. For if we reach
it from the side of pain, it will be felt as pleasure ; if from the side
of pleasure, as pain— and until an accommodation has been effected,
as both. This is a simple consequence of the law of relativity.

Immediate experience is in this respect difficult to interpret, just
because the law of relativity causes us to regard certain states as
indifferent when we glance back at them in moments of strong
excitement. Nevertheless, those psychologists appear to be right
who maintain that keen and close observation will always reveal in
the apparently neutral states fine oscillations of pleasure or pain.
Even with the most abstract lines of thought there are associated
weak moods of satisfaction or the reverse. Bain quotes wonder as
an example of neutral states or stirrings of feeling (neutral excite-
ments). As has been seen, this is a phenomenon bordering on both
cognition and feeling, in which the two kinds of elements often seem
in equilibrium. It is, however, on account of the stir and movement
of mental powers, to be undoubtedly regarded as pleasure, like all
other free and fresh activity. And if, on the other hand, wonder is
presented as introducing fear, sorrow, scorn, or anger, it is a feeling


of pain. Wonder need not belong to the powerful feelings, which
leave the object in comparison with the emotion quite in the shade ;
but it is not on that account neutral.

It is perfectly easy to conceive an uninterrupted series of trans-
itions from pleasure to pain, without a neutral point in the series
being necessary. It is found by experiment that if, e.g. the hand is
laid on a body the warmth of which gradually increases, at a certain
point weak feelings of pain arise together with the pleasant sen-
sation of warmth ; these former gradually increase and ultimately
drown the pleasant feeling.^

The perpetual background of the life of feeling, the general
vital feeling, has under normal conditions the character of pleasure,
though we are not as a rule fully conscious of it, since, as already
observed, we devote our health, liberty, and youthful strength to
activities which excite stronger and more distinct feelings. It is
only during times of convalescence, or when for any other reason
the attention is especially directed to our state of health, that the
feeling of pleasure connected with health comes properly into

There lies at the bottom of this notion of neutral states not only
an overlooking of weaker degrees of pleasure and pain, but also
a confusion of the state of mind in general with the effect of
single ideas and experiences. Many impressions and ideas come
and go, without exciting a noticeable feeling or obtaining distinct
influence on the general state of feeling. But this general state
itself is at each moment determined by the predominance either
of the feeling of pleasure or of the feeling of pain.

8. As instances of feelings, whose character is determined by the
law of relativity, those of the sublime and the ridiculous shall now be
more closely treated. The examination of these feelings may serve
at once to shov/ the way in which a feeling is developed into higher
forms, through the conversion of pain into pleasure, of egoism into
sympathy, and the importance for this feeling of the development
of cognition.

'^\iQ feeling of the sublime in its simplest forms is related partly
to wonder, partly to fear. A thing is sublime, which affords
such a wealth of impressions that the ordinary mean of intuition
is far overpassed, without the object intuited ceasing to act upon
us with gathered force. We attempt to compass it with our in-
tuitive faculties, but cannot succeed or only with difliculty. Such

^ Horwlcz, Psychologishe Analysen, ii. 2, Magdeburg, 1878, p. 26.


an effect is produced by high and precipitous mountains, by the
desert, the expanse of ocean, the starry firmament. Even the idea
of inlinitc time gives the impression of the sublime, as when it is
said that every thousand years there comes a bird to whet his beak
on a huge mountain, and when the mountain shall by this means
be crumbled away, a second of eternity will have passed. Insuper-
able force makes an impression earlier than immeasurable time
and space. The feeling of the sublime is certainly first of all ex-
perienced in consequence of the idea of extraordinary and superior
human force. The savage has this feeling for a strong warrior,
whose force and dexterity throw his own into the shade, just as we
feel our existence a mere nothing in comparison with infinite space
and infinite time. The sublimity of temporal and spatial extension
(what Kant called mathematical sublimity) takes effect, indeed, not
onlyby setting our intuitive faculties into more than usual activity,but
also and principally by giving the impression of an immeasurable
power, which operates in the huge masses of spatial and temporal
particles. As observed in an earlier connection, interest for what is
human manifests itself before the feeling for nature {C. 9). The
sense of superior power, as feeling of the sublime, begins in the human
world ^ and spreads from it over nature, the forces of nature being ap-
prehended as more or less analogous to human force. I n the raging of
the wind and the sea, in the hurrying cloud and tlie great mountain
piles, are manifested the spirits of the dead and the tribal gods.

The feeling produced by superior power is not always dis-
interested wonder or admiration. In the struggle of all with all,
the strong warrior may turn his weapons against those of his own
race as well as against the enemy. He defends, indeed, his
countrymen, but requires in return their subjection. Of a similar
kind is, at the lowest stage, the attitude to the gods. Since evil
beings are prayed to and worshipped earlier than good, the feeling
given to the divine must bear principally the stamp of fear. Only
when the deity appears as essentially a protective and gracious
power, does fear pass into reverence (see C. 8). Sublimity is found
not only in the Jehovah of the Old Testament, who creates the world
by His word and gives stern law to His people from the Mount amid
thunder and lightning, but also in the teaching of Buddhism and of
Christianity of the infinity of the divine pity and love, at the
presence of which human sins and sorrows melt away as the mist
before the sun.

1 C/. OraiU Allen, Tht Origin of the Sublime {Mind, 1S78).



The pain which is associated with the feeling of the sublime in
its primitive forms, disappears on higher development, partly
because the intellectual elements of the feeling become richer and
nobler, partly because the object of feeling is embraced with
sympathy. As already exhibited, there is in reverence an element
of sympathy which distinguishes it from fear. It is therefore
scarcely true, as some psychologists hold, that an element of pain
is necessarily involved in the feeling of the sublime, whether it is
supposed, with Edmund Burke,^ that fear or terror always makes
itself more or less distinctly felt in face of the sublime, or more
idealistically, with Kant,- that there is a " moment " of pain in the
suppression of the lower, sensuous nature, that our supersensuous
nature may attain to a clearer effect. The "moment "of pain is
lost, when the feeling of the sublime takes a purer and higher
form. At the same time the egoistic " moment " contained in fear
also vanishes.

The contrast, which is a presupposition of the feeling of the
sublime, need, then, be of no painful character. We may even
recognize our wretchedness with joy, if our soul is at the same
time enlarged and satisfied by some great thing. We sacrifice
life, in order to gain life.

Here, as at so many other points of conscious life {cf. V. ^. 5 ;
B. 8 d; C. 7-8 ; — N\.B. 2 e), the successive precedes the simultaneous.
The feeling of our wretchedness and the feeling of the grandeur
and loftiness of the object, may often for a long while rhythmically
alternate, before they merge into the actual sense of the sublime.
It is especially at this rather restless stage in the development of
feeling, that a " moment " of pain may make itself felt. The
painful feeling of the insuperable is peculiar to this stage.

9. While the feeling of the sublime involves a certain mental
development, the feeling of the ridiculous is possible at the lower
stages of consciousness, so soon as definite ideas can make them-
selves felt. Indeed, even before this stage we find the physio-
logical expression of the feeling ; laughter makes its appearance,
even before anything ridiculous can be realized in consciousness.

{a) Laughter may arise from purely physical causes, and so
need not be an expression of emotion at all. Violent cold may
excite not only shivering, but even laughter. The ancients mention
a pathological laughter, caused by eating a herb grown in Sardinia

1 Philosophical Inquiry into i!ie Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful,
part ii., sect. 1-2.
^ Kritib uer Urtheilskraft ("Critique of the Power of Judgment "), § 26.


(hence "sardonic laughter"). Attacks of hysterical convulsicjns
are often accompanied by laughter.' Gladiators wounded in the
diaphragm died laughing. Ludovicus Vives {De Anima. lib. iii.)
relates of himself, that on first tasting food after a long fast, he
could not refrain from laughter. Under this head belongs the
laughter excited by tickling ; even a child of eight weeks laughs,
when the soles of its feet are tickled.

These phenomena must at once be set down as reflex movements.
The only doubt that can be entertained is in respect of that last
named, since, according to Preyer, the child laughs only when
in a contented mood. Such mood is in itself enough to induce
smiles and laughter. I'vcn in the first few days there may be
noticed in a contented and sleeping child a slight raising of the
corner of the mouth (as contrasted with its depression, which ex-
presses dissatisfaction and is often introductory to crying). Real
smiling is not, however, noticeable till the fourth week, in conjunction
with beaming eyes and a general indescribaljle air of satisfaction,
together with certain bleating sounds, repeated by jerks, which
also express obvious satisfaction. Laughter is merely the con-
tinuation of smiling and of these sounds, and like these is originally
only the expression of a satisfaction immediately based upon
general feeling.^

Besides young children, also idiots, who, as Eschricht has said,
are young children in the bodies of older children or of adults,
express satisfaction by smiles and laughter. Many idiots display
a perpetual smile and break frequently into shouts of laughter,
especially when food is given them, when they are caressed or
hear music. In the majority, this laughter cannot be caused by
definite ideas.-*

Ewald Hecker * has attempted togive a physiological explanation
of the laughter caused by tickling. Experiments seem to prove
that tickling has as a consequence a reflex stimulation of the
sympathetic nerves, which shows itself in a rhythmic contraction

1 Laycock, " On the Reflex Functions of the '" {British and Foreign Mednai
RcTinv, 1845, vol. 19, p. 306), mentions a case of reflexive laughter consequent on an
epilepsy, brought on by a swellii]}; in the brain. A lady in a hypnotizetl condition broke
into uncontrollable laughter, even during the singing of serious songs, when the bridge ot
iier nose was gently pressed. On cessation of the pressure the laughter at once came
to an end, and the countenance resumed its previous expressionless appearance. Preyer,
Die Entdeckiing Jts Hypnotism ("'I'lie Discovery of Hypnoti^nl "), p. 33.

■- Darwin, Expression of Emotions, p. 212, scq. Preyer, Die Seeledes Kindes, pp. 141,
184-1S6 (Kng Trans, i. pp. 144, 206-208).

2 C/. Kschricht, Om MuUgheden af at Helbrede Idioter (" On the Possibility of
Restoring Idiots"), Copenhagen, 1854, p. 76.

■* Die J'liysiologie und I'syclwlogie des l.acliens iind d,s h'omisi/ien (" The Physiology
and P ■ychology i^f Laughter and of the Comic "), Berlin, 1873.

U 2


of the blood-vessels corresponding to the rhythmic intermittent
contact. From this it follows that the rhythmic supply of blood
to the brain is likewise rhythmically inhibited, and laughter then
appears as a purposive reflex movement, the chest being com-
pressed by the expiration, so that the flow of blood from the
brain ceases. The movements of expiration are intermittent and
rhythmic, like tickling touches.

The explanation does not, however, embrace all phenomena of
laughter, and especially not those in which laughter makes its
appearance as an expression of immediate joy and immediate
satisfaction. While the jerky breathing, in laughter caused by
tickling, is nicely explained by Hecker's theory, it is on the other
hand not clear why an immediate feeling of satisfaction, which
contains no contrast or rhythm, should be expressed in this con-
vulsive way. — It is besides to be noted, that even in laughter caused
by tickling, a central or psychical influence may make itself felt.
We do not as a rule laugh if we are prepared for the tickling, and
for this reason we are not able to tickle ourselves. Thus there
must be something unexpected and sudden in the excitation, and
after the first contact has taken place a vague expectation of its
continuance (with the same strength) must be excited, an expecta-
tion which will be disappointed, since the contact ceases in the next
moment, to begin again immediately. It will be seen that in this
there is an analogy between laughter as excited by tickling and
laughter arising from the idea of something ridiculous.

Laughter has often been regarded as peculiar to man, and so
capable of serving as a means of definition of man {aniinal risibile).
And if laughter needed the idea of something ridiculous, this would
doubtless be correct. But even monkeys smile and laugh, not
only when they are tickled or have something especially good to
eat, but even on seeing some one they are fond of, or on making
friends with their keeper.-' Moreover, it has been already observed
by Ludovicus Vives {De A7ti?>ia, lib. iii.), that that which man ex-
presses by laughter may be expressed by animals in other ways

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