Hiram M. (Hiram Miner) Stanley.

Studies in the Evolutionary Psychology of Feeling online

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unsuccessful, natural selection favours the development of the other.

While the comparative estimate of opposing force with one’s own is
general ingredient in anger, anger being fear-limited, it is not, as
Mercier would indicate (_Mind_, ix., p. 346), a constant element in
anger. We often see cases of anger, and have perhaps, ourselves,
experienced anger which is totally unrelated to a sense of power. Some
animals seem at times utterly fearless and utterly unaware of the
tremendous crushing force they angrily oppose. It is, moreover,
altogether probable that anger and fear originated and received a
certain measure of development before any capacity of measuring
comparative force of antagonist arose in mind. However, the
discrimination between overwhelming and slight force is certainly
tolerably early, and is obviously a very necessary factor in
self-conservative action. Yet it is very unlikely that this was an
element in primitive fear or anger, which must have been no more than a
simple emotional reaction to perceived injury without any reference to
whether pain-giver is more or less strong than pain-receiver. The
earliest fears and angers of infants seem to be quite devoid of any
guidance from sense of powerlessness or power, but merely direct,
unthinking reactions.

A marked and constant element in anger is hostility. This is the
aggressive fighting attitude of will which is exercised toward and
against the perceived pain-giving object. Anger can never subsist
without this volition element, and it always appears as direct simple
reaction to anger-provoking object. Anger always exhibits itself as
hostility, openly and freely in lower life, and in higher life, which is
often disingenuous, the hostility as real psychic act remains, though
somewhat concealed in physical manifestation as long as angry mood
exists. The will tendency is always toward the violent removing and
destroying of the offending object. However, naïve primitive anger does
not include in its hostility giving pain for pain received, making the
object suffer in turn, which is, indeed, far removed from the capacity
of primitive mind to conceive. Anger in its earliest form does, of
course, inflict pain where its object is pain-susceptible; but this, it
may confidently be said, cannot lie in the intent of the pain-inflicter.
The simple original ebullitions of anger do not include intent in any
form. Volition is powerfully and directly incited by the emotion without
the intervention of any idea. The only representation in the simplest
anger is the representation of pain experience impending which occasions
the excitement, which then directly and violently starts will-activity;
but the representations of destructiveness and pain-infliction as ends
become guiding ideas only in the slow evolution of anger toward more
intelligent forms.

Pain is certainly a prominent element in anger. This pain is the
emotional pain, the pain at pain, whose nature and origin we have
commented on in the chapter on fear. The mere representation of pain to
be starts a violent pain quite distinct from the fear-pain, yet like it,
pre-eminently central and subjective. Precedent, however, to both fear
and anger-pain, is the simple pain which immediately arises on
representation of pain, the prospect of pain being immediately and
peculiarly painful in itself. This commonly continues throughout, and
gives a dominant pain tone. But there immediately succeeds a rush of
either fear or anger emotion, each intensely painful in opposite ways.
The pain which results from the anger, which is by the anger occasioned
in me, is again distinct from the pain in and of the anger. Anger is
itself a state of pain. In its earliest forms, as rarely and with
difficulty attained, there is still another pain connected with anger,
the pain of exertion and stress. But all the pain factors, as more or
less continuous, make anger, as emotion in general, a complex pain
state. Thus, when angered by a man shaking his fist in my face, we trace
first a purely subjective pain at prospect of pain, then a rush of
aggressive emotion which embodies in it a pain of its own, then a pain
which reacts from the peculiar tension of the anger state. Of course, in
our stage of evolution, anger has become such an inwrought factor that
it arises spontaneously, it overtakes and overcomes us, not we reaching
it; and so the stress or labour pain is absent. It is never or very
rarely an effort for us to get angry, but it must have been for our very
remote psychical ancestors.

While it may be said with truth that some people are never so happy as
when mad, yet we must remember this does not alter the fact that anger
is radically a pain state. There may be a pleasure from anger
excitement, and from successful anger; there may be a pleasure in the
mere exercise of aggressive power; but the happiness meant is mostly the
excitement pleasure _plus_ the delight which always comes from freely
following out one’s nature. Especially when the outflow of natural force
in an irascible man has been pent up and restrained for some time, a fit
of anger is altogether a delightful experience, the pleasure of relief
in a habitual function. Thus an occasional fight is necessary to the
pugnacious amongst both animals and men; it is an inbred function and
tendency which must work itself out, or render the being as miserable as
a rodent kept from gnawing. But all this does not interfere with the
analysis of anger as fundamentally painful. Happiness is a very late
evolution, and, as the reaction from freely working out one’s strongest
tendency, it is unfelt by early minds, which only gradually attain
inwrought tendencies and so the capacity for being happy or unhappy. To
witness a fight is likewise to a large class of minds a supreme
felicity. This is largely the pleasure which comes at second hand from
representation of participancy. And so, to have a fight described, or to
read about it even, is a source of considerable representative pleasure
to many, a spurious and reflected anger, and an ideal fighting in the
fray. However, all this leads far away from primitive emotion, which is
now our main concern.

We may grant then that sense of the object giving pain, sense of
comparative power, hostility, and pains of various kinds, are usual
elements in anger; yet it is evident that anger is explained by no one
or all of them. It is not a mere aggregation and mixture of states, it
is essentially a compound which has in some unexplained way a peculiar
quality which is not in any of its constituent elements. When I am
angry, there occurs a phenomenon which, while based on and inclusive of
these factors, is yet peculiar in itself. The flush of anger, the wave
of emotion, the tempest of passion, bases itself on and includes
cognition, hostility, and pain; but it is more—it is a deep psychic
disturbance of a peculiar and undefinable kind which we recognise when
we have it, but which we cannot analyse. We express the nature of anger
metaphorically, indeed, when we speak of an angry man being “hot,”
“boiling with rage,” etc., as opposed to being chilled and frozen stiff
by fear. The being angry is obviously a kind of being pained at pain
quite opposite to that of fear. It is also true that I may see
threatening injury, I may be pained, I may combat, but not be angry.
There are other and higher motives which may bring about the violent
will offensive activity so often required in the struggle of life; but
we may take it that anger is the most primitive, and throughout the
whole range of psychism the most common offensive motive, and so of the
utmost importance as a life factor.

Which shall we regard as the more primitive, anger or fear? Were animals
at first universally timid, and subsequently acquired anger as an
advantageous variation, or was anger the first, and fear the
complementary and later evolution, or may we suppose that they developed
in strict correlation? The earliest manifestations of emotion with some
animals, and with some human infants, seem to be anger. Everything
perceived to be painful irritates and makes them mad, and they are quite
fearless in the presence of overwhelming danger. These but slowly learn
to fear; by hard experience they learn the hurtfulness and inutility of
combatting in many cases, and occasions which would once make them mad
now cause them to fear. On the other hand, we observe many of the very
young who seem to be universally fearful, and but slowly acquire “spunk”
and spirit. Mental embryology thus, at least with our present very
imperfect knowledge, is quite indecisive on the question. If fear and
anger were wholly determined by relation of predacious and prey, then we
might suppose correlated simultaneous origin; but we know that obstacles
and injuries, not from competitors, but from elements, forces, and
objects of nature, were the first environment and the first field for
struggle. Organism began as a weak thing planted amongst manifold
opposing forces, where fear was quite the most salutary emotion and
anger useless. If, as we must deem probable, mental function in general
and emotion in particular reaches back toward primitive organism, it is
likely, on merely general grounds, that fear is the more ancient and
original emotion, though anger was closely subsequent. The general
conditions of life at the first would demand the development of fear
more imperatively than anger. Certainly, however, both emotions are
sufficiently primitive, as is shown by their being so ingrained and
dominant forces in the whole range of lower psychic life.

All higher animals, moreover, are peculiarly sensitive to and observant
of signs of anger and fear. Rarey, a most excellent judge, made it an
axiom of his method that horses are extremely acute in detecting either
fear or anger in those who deal with them, and this is also noticeably
true of animals in general. These are also the emotional attitudes which
are earliest interpreted by children. Now what is soonest, easiest and
surest interpreted by psychisms above the lowest may be taken to be
fundamentally primitive and such are fear and anger. To discover with
readiness and certainty the emotional states of organisms about them,
because these states are the motives of very important activities, is
clearly an advantage early gained in the struggle of existence. It means
preparedness, and there is a nascent anger to break forth against the
fearful, or fear or counter-anger prepared against the fear discerned or
suspected. The inter-related activity of these two emotions is the
chiefest and most interesting spectacle we see in all lower psychic
phases.

But we must notice now a form which seems on the whole to belong to the
anger group, and that is hate. Hate often precedes and succeeds anger,
and the object of anger is peculiarly apt to be the object of hate. The
man whom we hate very easily angers us, and he who provokes us is one
whom we are apt to hate. Yet a person may be very provoking, even
exasperating, and not be hateful, and _vice versâ_ for hate. It is
obvious then that while the object of anger and hate is apt to be the
same, yet it is viewed from very different standpoints, and the emotion
reactions are somehow very different. “I hate him,” and “I am angry at
him,”—these expressions denote very distinct emotions. While anger and
hate are both aggressive emotion reactions against the pain-giver, yet
in their nature they are essentially diverse. In general we hate him who
deliberately and constantly provokes us, who establishes himself as a
deliberate enemy. It is harmful, opposed intent that particularly
stimulates hate. But anger is most generally a sudden flash of feeling
leading to violent repulsive effort against pain-giver, but without any
insight into intent. The immediacy of reaction is accomplished through
anger; but hate, having more of insight and foresight, is more slowly
generated, and is not so directly and promptly active. I may be angry at
one who casually pinches me in sport, but I will hate him who
continually pinches me in spite. I may be angry at the child who in its
childish play often interrupts my studies, but I do not hate it; this I
reserve for the malicious boys who continually put tick-tacks on my
windows. And so also inanimate things often arouse anger; but we hate
only the animate, and then mainly when we discern deliberate, purposed
offence. To be sure we often hear some such expression as, “I hate the
very sight of that house”; but here the term hate denotes loathing, and
is only a little less flagrant misuse than when I say “I hate ham, but
love beefsteak.”

Hate, then, marks in a very noticeable way the growth of psychic
responsiveness. A prevision of psychic attitude of others, especially
the emotional and volitional, is of the utmost service as helping to and
preparing for an appropriate response. Thus we may believe that quite
early in mental evolution there came an appreciation and interpretation
of the psychic modes of others as affecting the interests of the
individual. We may judge that this is probable by the very apparent
difference of reaction of even certain of the lower animals in the
presence of threatening dangers from common material things, and from
animate beings capable of being not merely crushed or pushed away, but
intimidated and frightened away. Young children learn quickly to
distinguish between mere physical events and psychic expressions, and to
feel and to act toward the psychic in the peculiar manner which will
best serve them. Thus it becomes of very definite value to excite fear
in enemies, but even a low animal learns speedily that it cannot terrify
a large stone which prevents access to food. Now fear and anger
obviously do not specially belong to the rather advanced class of
emotions which are always psychically responsive, for, in earliest
phases at least, both fear and anger may be taken to have no reference
to the psychic quality of the object, but only to the physical quality
as painful and injurious. However, later fear and anger become cognizant
of the psychic attitude and responsive thereto; but it may be said that
hate from the first is a psychic responsive, it is an answer to the
psychic attitude of others as interpreted by the individual as turned
towards itself. Hate is always against evil intent; anger and fear may
be. Hate and anger are both intensified by hate and anger in the
object—though this may often occasion fear—but fear, on the contrary, is
greatly weakened, and sometimes turned into hate or anger, by perceiving
its object as fearing it. I naturally hate those and am angered with
those whom I perceive as having the same passions against me; but he
whom I see fearing me does not thereby inspire my fear for him, but
tends in quite the contrary direction. Yet mutual fear in equally
matched opponents is consistent with mutual anger and hate. Fear, with
those who are capable of inflicting about equal losses on each other,
acts as a check upon anger and hate, and gives caution and wariness to
passion itself.

The object of hate then differs from that of anger and fear, as being
invariably a psychic quality in another as injurious to one’s own
interests. Injuriousness _per se_ does not excite hate as it may anger
and fear. Animals, indeed, often seem to hate that which has no psychic
attitude toward them, and may be wholly incapable of it; but this is
error of judgment, just as we ourselves often find ourselves wrong in
hating where we supposed there was evil feeling toward us, but where we
now see there is none. Hate disappears the moment we discover our
mistake of interpretation.

While hate often views its object very largely from the retrospective
side, as opposed to fear and anger, which are generally prospective, yet
hate originally must have applied to the present or latent potency of
the object for harm, for only in this wise does it reach
self-conservative value. In early psychic life there is no time or place
for purely retrospective emotion like revenge and resentment. Hate is
not essentially a paying back for the past offence, but a will-inciting
emotion of immediate, or imminently prospective value. In fact, though
we say, “he has done me injury and I hate him for it,” yet we do not
hate the dead injurer or the one so crippled as to be entirely powerless
against us. Certainly there is no value for our interests in injuring
the one who is past injuring us, and from the self-conservative point of
view to exercise ourselves in hate or anger in such a case is to waste
energy. Feeling for what has been done against us, purely as such, is
plainly sheer waste of force. The past is irretrievable, and emotion
about it is valuable for life only so far as the past implies the
future. Thus it is that hate, arising because of self-conservative
value, and developing under natural selection, never becomes wholly
retrospective.

Hate then is at first much the same in its elements as anger. It is
always objective. Hate is always of something, though extreme passion
dulls perception, yet at its normal tension hate, like other emotions,
is incentive to beneficial cognition. We are closely observant of those
we hate. Beside sense of object, there is the will-stirring, the
hostility, which is prominent in anger, though here more controlled and
not so impetuous and naïve. Hate thus often allies itself with fear, but
anger is very rarely coincident with it, though there may be rapid
alternations. There is also a hate pain which is a parallel complex to
the anger pain already analysed. We might term hate a distilled anger,
and yet this signifies little, for the innermost emotion seems very
distinct. Like fear and anger, hate seems a _genus_ by itself, and in
its essential feature as emotion-reaction, quite beyond scientific
analysis, which can point out its conditions, but not account for their
total value or for the peculiar quality of hate disturbance by which
hate is hate. Hate can be appreciated only by realization, but no matter
how long we reflect upon and try to catch its exact nature in some
definite formula, the essence of hate always eludes, and presents itself
as only a bare simple psychosis wholly indefinable and inexplicable in
its essential nature.

But if we turn now to the origin and development of hate, shall we
arrive at anything more satisfactory? Is hate a modified anger, or is it
from the first a wholly distinct emotion and not slowly differentiated
from any preceding psychosis? Hate evidently belongs with anger as
aggressive emotional reaction, but it is very hard to see how it could
originate by any slow growth, and it seems easier and simpler to regard
it as being a unique response to some very pressing demand in the
struggle of existence.

The whole subject of mental differentiation needs clarifying. Are we to
consider mind merely as a sum of many distinct modes each of which has,
in the course of evolution, appeared suddenly in answer to the demands
of life at a critical period, and is faint, indeed, yet from the first
having a distinct and peculiar quality by which it suitably stimulates
will, and that the sole growth of these diverse forms has been in
intensity and by various associations with other states? or are we to
consider that mind was originally a very general vague state, which, by
a continuous and traceable differentiation, has slowly developed into
many different modes? Certainly the latter seems the more rational. To
conceive that there are no essential and radical subdivisions in mind,
that not even knowing, feeling, and willing, are fundamentally
primitive, but each, and each form of each, but modifications of
precedent modes, this is a theory which is enticing in its simplicity
and in its analogy to physical evolution from a single underlying
material element. But when we come to particular investigations, as this
of the origin and development of hate, we cannot well discover any modes
intermediate between it and say, anger, which are the links in a
continuous evolution, but for aught we can see or conceive, hate is as
much hate the first time it appears as at any subsequent time. The links
in the evolution of mind from phase to phase are all missing, and how
are we to supply them? Of necessity as subjective facts they must first
be realized, before they can be known, but how can this be done by a
consciousness which has long outgrown them? We cannot discover these
fossil and extinct forms objectively, as the paleontologist discovers
extinct species, but in some way we must re-enact and re-experience them
in our own consciousness before we can know anything about them. If
every mind embryologically passes through the several stages of its
general evolution in the race, still the strange intermediate forms
which might then have existed are beyond the recall of the reflective
stage, when we first demand to know the history of mind. And when we
appeal to comparative psychology we are equally in the dark, for we must
judge animals by ourselves, we can interpret their consciousness only by
our own, and they may have very rude and peculiar forms which are
unknown and unknowable by us. Thus the limitations and difficulties of
subjective research are especially brought up to us in evolutionary
study which thus seems wholly confined to _a priori_ speculation. While
we can conceive it likely that hate was suddenly brought into full being
by the demands of life, yet it is hardly a rational view of emotion to
regard it as a _per saltum_ series of distinct psychical species called
successively into being by the exigencies of existence, which indeed, is
a view almost as ultra-scientific as that which regards all mental modes
as direct endowments from Deity.

But though on general scientific analogy we are led to believe in fossil
mental forms, in missing psychic links now extinct as regards our own
consciousness, but which were the germs of our present distinct
emotions, perceptions, etc., how are we to discover and investigate
them? Can we work our own consciousness back through the multitudinous
stages of its past evolution, through myriads of human and pre-human
forms to the confused, primal, undifferentiated psychoses?

Certainly the forms which lead up to such an emotion as hate and from
which it is gradually evolved must be realized, must be actually felt in
some measure before they can be understood and analyzed. Here then seems
a great barrier to introspective evolutionary psychology, perhaps
insuperable, for how can mind retrace itself, involute itself, in the
interests of science? Mind is fundamentally action, motive-feeling,
which, in connection with cognitive forms gradually achieved, becomes
from mere pure pleasure-pain a very complex manifold. We feel many of
these forms in our own experience, and we can say of some that they are
the higher, of others that they are the lower and more primitive. Thus
fear, anger, and hate are generally regarded as low action-motives as
compared with love of truth or justice. But while we distinguish in our
own consciousness and by analogy in the consciousness of others a
considerable variety of psychic forms, they are, so far as we are able
to see—and we have given some special attention to this in discussing
fear and other emotions—invariably distinct, and each has its own
peculiar quality, and we do not find, and we should not expect to find,
the intermediate forms any more than the anatomist would expect to find
in man a radial starfish structure. The hazy, indefinite phases which
mark evolving consciousness into new forms have been long done away with
for such emotions as hate, and it would seem an impossible task to ever
bring them back. When we let consciousness lapse of its own regressive
tendency—and undirected consciousness tends always to revert to _wild_
states—we fall down through a series, but it is by steps, and no gradual
descent, that is, defined mental forms succeed each other, with no
transitional phases which are both as differentiating into either. We
have mixed states, indeed, but these have no evolutionary value in this
line, being merely coincident distinct psychoses, and not an
intermediate differentiating mode. The psychoses which we call lower and
which we naturally _fall into_, were really a higher level once for some
remote ancestors, and it was only by occasional great efforts that fear,
anger, hate, etc., were reached, by just such efforts as now are
required by many a worldling who would be religious and would attain a



Online LibraryHiram M. (Hiram Miner) StanleyStudies in the Evolutionary Psychology of Feeling → online text (page 12 of 32)