Hiram M. (Hiram Miner) Stanley.

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feeling for holiness, or that of a Philistine, ambitious of reaching
æsthetic feeling, who endeavours to appreciate the refined, elaborate
power in a poem by Rossetti, or the simple human grandeur in a painting
by Millet. In some forms we know what it is to try to feel, to have dim
and vague stirring of æsthetic emotion, and to reach new levels in
emotion generally, and we know the stages of differentiation and the
severe _nisus_ of the earlier realizations. On the _nisus_ side of our
psychic life there is abundant opportunity for every one to observe the
process of mental differentiation, and how slowly evolving a new emotion
is, for instance, before it reaches a definite form, but there is the
great range of purely natural, spontaneous life, deriving its whole
_impetus_ from ancestral minds, where, as in hate and anger, it is
impossible to study the slowly modifying forms precursory to the
distinct mode. How can we find or produce in ourselves a state which is
not yet hate, but merely hate in becoming, a half-differentiated,
half-evolved hate? If we could put ourselves on the _nisus_ side, and
look up to hate as something to be reached, instead of something we may
fall into, we might attain some idea of its process of formation. But
since hate, anger, and so forth, invariably come upon us and overcome
us, how can we appreciate their evolutionary stages? If we could trace
these old intermediate disused forms which merely lead up to others, we
should find them very strange, and should need an entirely new
nomenclature for them. But to reach back and realize long outgrown and
fossil psychoses, will, if ever possible, require more exertion and
ability than even the intense struggle of the actual psychical advances
which adds, by the efforts of exceptional individuals—“geniuses”—new
modes of cognition and feeling to the mind of a race. To regress beyond
a certain point is harder than to progress.

How then hate developed from non-hate, from anger, or from any other
emotion, is obviously a very difficult problem. It would seem to us in
our present stage of mentality that the first hate phenomenon was
definitely and inexplicably such. We cannot perceive or conceive how the
origin of hate is other than a sudden apparition of a new and elementary
emotion in response to an extraordinary call upon some extraordinary
organism in its life career. Yet we may easily believe that the direct
occasion of its rise and progress was as complement to anger. Anger is
certainly in general a very advantageous self-conservative factor, but
by reason of its violence it requires a vast amount of vital energy to
accomplish its end, and it thus also tends to disturb the cognitive
power in its clear and cool actions. A burst of passion, though it may
succeed in destroying the injurious, is both uneconomical and
unintelligent. It is also a very transient phase. Anger will be defeated
and supplanted in the evolution of life by some factor which has not
these incidental disadvantages. Hate is such a superior psychosis, and
is surer, steadier, and more economical than anger, and defeats it in
the long run.

Hate then may be taken to exemplify the principle of antithetic
evolution. We are careful not to raise the anger of some men and of some
animals, and thus anger, or the capacity for anger, serves them as
advantage and defence. We fear to make them mad. However, the
antagonists of many individuals, knowing the weakening effect of such a
strong emotion as anger, and knowing also how apt the angry one is to
“lose his head,” purposely stimulate anger to their own advantage, and
the disadvantage of the angered. Thus, cunning and wary animals,
impelled by hate, often tease and torment their stronger and larger
adversaries and competitors into a furious rage, which is so rash and
unintelligent that they are completely at the mercy of the weaker. Where
in such a way as this an advantageous variation is turned into
disadvantageous by an opposing form, as anger by hate, we have what may
be called an antithetic evolution. New psychic variations are then
continually stimulated by the earlier, and it is only for a short time
that any variation maintains itself as purely beneficial, but an
answering one soon takes advantage of its weak points and turns it from
self-conservative into self-destructive. Under the constant success of
opposing factors, there is gradual loss of value and soon disuse, with
the inception of some new form to combat more effectively the opponent.
This opposing form meanwhile attains dominancy, culminates, and is
gradually ousted by some variation which has been attained in order to
meet the new weapons on the other side. Thus, in the battle of life,
offence and defence, attack _versus_ retreat and counter-attack,
mutually stimulate to a series of new and higher antithetic psychic
variations.

The so-called problem of evil is, then, tolerably easy to a
thorough-going evolutionist. All developments, all perversions which are
self-destructive rather than self-conservative to the individual, have
received their original stimulus from other antagonistic individuals to
whose interest it is to promote these evils to the utmost. What is an
evil to me is first so much of a good to him whose interest lies in
defeating and destroying me, and he will take advantage of all my
weaknesses to his own profit. Competition and struggle involve the
existence of evils to individuals who are conquered and maltreated in
the battle of life. Disease and death itself is necessary to evolution
on a finite sphere. As long as the good and desirable is limited as
compared with the number of those who want, competition must exist, and
this competition must be by both cultivating advantageous variations in
ourselves, and also by cultivating the disadvantageous variations latent
in our enemies. Thus, evil sown in others that our own good may be
advanced is the general law of all life. To injure as much as possible
all those who oppose, and to get as many as possible well affected
towards us, and to be subservient to our ends, this is the meaning of
psychical evolution in all its earlier, and most of its later, course.
On any scheme of evolution by struggle, evil to particular individuals
is a necessary fact. We throw, then, the problem back to how and why
life arose and developed through this competition mode; and all science
at present can say is that it is the “nature of things,” an expression
which covers ignorance and is really metaphysical.

In all its later stages anger, and likewise hate as well, and all the
allied emotions, attach only to what is distinctly known as animate. The
futility and self-destructiveness of anger against the inanimate and
insentient comes to be fully recognised. But early anger is quite
undiscriminating. The hunter, who, pursued by an enraged bear, scatters
his clothes and accoutrements behind him for the bear to tear in pieces,
takes advantage of the unintelligent anger of the bear for his own ends.
Since animals do not wear clothes they have no conception of what they
are as independent insentient things distinct from the wearer. To the
bear the weapons and clothes dropped by the hunter appear not as
inanimate beings, but as living, vitally-connected parts of the creature
pursued. The error arose, not from senselessness, but from lack of range
of experience, and it is akin to the error of the ancient Mexicans who,
having never seen a horse by itself, regarded a man on horseback as a
single creature. A dog, the first time he sees his master unclothed, is
greatly puzzled, and but slowly learns that clothes are something the
master has and not what he is. When weapons, clothes, etc., are at
length distinguished as property, there is yet a natural and right
impulse to destroy them as injuring the owner; but the animal which
stops to do this commits an error of judgment, as it is usually of more
importance to despatch the hunter than to destroy his implements. It is
the tendency of anger to destroy all which is in any wise connected with
its object. This is true, not only of the animal world, but also of the
lower human development. A savage in a fit of fury will slay, not only
an offending fellow, but also his family and relations, and also destroy
all his property. The uselessness, not to say the injustice, of such an
indulgence of anger is only recognised at a comparatively late stage of
evolution. Anger in its later form concerns itself only with purposive
offence in its object, and vents itself solely on the individual
offending. A clear distinction is drawn between animate and inanimate.
Thus, my dog, playing with another, hurt itself by running into a tree,
and gave an angry growl; but noticing the real nature of the paingiver
as, not the other dog, but an inoffensive tree, his attitude immediately
changed, and he seemed to take the injury as a matter of course. A puppy
would in like case senselessly continue its demonstrations of anger to
no good and perhaps to its own injury.

As to the function of anger and hate, this has already been intimated in
the remarks we have just made on its origin and development. For
function it is which gives rise to organ and activity; in some unknown,
mysterious way the pressing life-struggle for useful mental activity
determines ultimately its appearance. We know that extremely hard
conditions, which would threaten the continued existence of animate life
as a whole, or of any large subdivision, would give rise to new
perceptions and emotions by which a saving remnant would escape; and on
this principle we must expect the most signal psychic advance of the
future at that seemingly remote period when mankind will be threatened
with extinction by the slow refrigeration of the earth. A long-continued
uniformity of easy conditions of life, as in the tropics, is distinctly
unfavourable to psychic progress; but let a glacial period invade that
zone, and the changed conditions would awaken such a struggle for
existence in all organisms, man included, that new organic and mental
types would be developed. The necessities of existence and the
self-interest of the individual in an unceasingly sharp competition
develop slowly in the few those mental modes which, from their
functional importance, become the heritage of a race and _genus_; and
these “sports” thereby secure to themselves a certain temporary
dominancy. This is the history of life in general, and of man in
particular. How demand determines supply, how necessity is the mother of
invention, is obvious enough in man, who, clearly conceiving the
function, sets about by his knowledge of means to accomplish the needed
improvement; but in the lower life, which is incapable of such
teleological foresight, we can only say that through pain of lack in the
altered conditions of existence there is stimulated a blind, intense
struggle, which, moving out in all lines, somewhere, at sometime, by
mere chance hitting on the right variation, sticks to it and
accomplishes its own salvation, and leaves descendants who tend in the
same direction. New psychic qualities, as well as new physical organs,
are in some way gradually determined through struggle which is
practically blind. That mental variation, that bodily variation, which
was incessantly demanded in the struggle of existence does somehow
ultimately appear, is, indeed, a fact which, for the present at least,
we can only state in this indefinite, unsatisfactory manner. Blind,
pain-impelled will, fiercely striking out in every direction, does at
length, achieve those new psychical and physical forms which are most
needed by life. The chance serviceable variation is fixed and continued
by reason of its serviceability; but when its utility wanes by reason of
new life factors appearing or new conditions of existence, it is lost by
disuse, or survives in rudimentary forms.

The function of hate is, like anger, to injure and eliminate the
injurious; but what anger accomplishes by a sudden volcanic outburst,
hate accomplishes in a slower, but surer and more subtle way. Hate is,
as previously pointed out, a manifest improvement over anger as a method
of offensive warfare. Other things being equal, the best hater is the
most successful individual. Dr. Johnson had reason on his side when he
said that he loved a good hater. A strong hater, who pertinaciously
assails and injures his enemies, strengthens his own position and makes
the largest place for himself in life. Hate, as a permanent,
economically aggressive motion, marks certainly a great advance, and is
of the highest import for life. If now hate has its own function as
direct stimulus to offensive action toward those who will be injurious,
toward those who are capable and likely to pain and harm us, how shall
we explain the hate—and we might say anger as well—which arises at mere
remembrance of injury, and which seems to have no immediate value for
life?

In the first place we may well doubt whether any purely retrospective
emotion exists, at least in early psychic life. The past, of course, has
no value in and by itself; it is irretrievable, and emotional force
spent upon it as such wasted—“no use crying for spilled milk.” It may
well be that for simple psychisms the past never exists as such; at
least, it is never a stopping point, but a mere _datum_ for interpreting
the inexperienceable. The sense of experience, especially in its
temporal aspect, is very difficult of analysis; yet we may say with some
confidence that at first it does not imply a sense of either the past or
future as such. The mind is immediately impressed by the injuriousness
of the injurious, which, though coming, of course, in terms of the
experienced, is not relegated thereby to a past time, nor is it at all
dwelt upon as such for emotion reaction. Primitive emotion is not
backward looking; for this is in itself entirely futile, and primitive
life depends for its existence and progress upon utility. The value of
emotion is in stimulating preparedness for defence and offence. The
representation of injury inflicted comes up to early mind as some injury
being inflicted, or imminently so, or is applied at once in
interpretation of the experienceable, with no thought or emotion for it
as merely past fact. Advanced psychic life may stop at the first step,
may indulge in retrospection for its own sake, and not for its immediate
value in understanding the experienceable, but primitive emotion is ever
an alertness and anticipatory readiness.

If, now, we turn to some classification of the anger group in itself and
in its general relation to emotion, we obtain something like the
following:—

┌ Reaction to ┌ Regressive—fear.
Emotion. │ injurious. └ Aggressive—anger.
│ Reaction to ┌ Receptive.
└ beneficial. └ Appropriative.

┌ Simple anger or wrath.
│ Intensive—Rage or fury.
│ Incipient—Displeasure.
│ Mild—Irritation.
│ Response to purposive injury—Hate.
Anger │ Altruistic—Indignation.
│ Sentiment—Indignation and Hate.
│ Retrospective—Resentment.
│ Revenge.
│ Sub-hate—Detestation.
│ Despite.
└ Scorn.

But few remarks need to be added to elucidate the outline. Exasperation
is plainly a late form of anger. It belongs to the period when anger has
been subjected to will restraint, and when something passes all bounds
of forbearance—is “perfectly maddening”—we are exasperated. Anger of a
high and peculiar intensity produced by special and repeated provocation
is known as exasperation. For intensive hate there seems no special
word, at least, in English, though we denote it by adjective as bitter,
malignant, virulent. Detest sometimes means strong hatred. Malice is not
an emotion; it is a state of mind which is implied in hate, namely,
deliberate intent to injure. We do not say we feel malicious; but if we
hate, we are malicious. Malice is merely an objective term for a will
element in hate, and denotes character of act.

The sight of injury done to others produces indignation. When law or
principle injured and violated excites indignation or hate, we have that
feeling for the abstract—rarely pure—which is termed sentiment. He who
is indignant at injustice and he who hates sin have risen to the highest
evolution of the anger group. For an account of resentment and revenge
see chapter on Retrospective Emotion. In the earlier stages both anger
and hate are rather undiscriminating as to rank or _status_ of opposing
object, but in later evolution there must be a sense of equality. When
we consider the offending ones as entirely below us, as unworthy of our
anger or hate, we detest or despise. Our relations with them may compel
us to notice them and to have some feeling toward them, but we would not
lower ourselves to fight them. To detest is to feel a strong revulsion,
but it also in measure has a direct objective movement. Still, although
detestation, despising, scorn, contempt, are by no means so actively
aggressive as the other members of the group, they have evidently a
direct affiliation with hate and anger. In all these there is direct
repulse of all relation with what is below us, a position holding off
and looking down upon the offending object as too small and mean for us
to seriously oppose.

We cannot at present elaborate more fully an analysis, a genetic
investigation, nor a classification, of what must appear to every
attentive student of mind as a most important and extraordinary group of
psychic phenomena. In all the lower psychic life with every perception
comes an emotion reaction, very generally either of a fear or anger
character. Everything perceived has a definite life meaning, nothing is
indifferent, and, in fact, primitive perception cannot exist except as
prompting and being prompted by emotion or feeling. For the low psychism
there is no such vast collection of practically indifferent objects, a
world of things, as maintains a constant and large place in advanced
psychism. Lower mental life is piecemeal, inconsequent and broken, and
wholly directed by feeling phases. Every object has its place only in
relation to self-interest, as favouring or injuring. This is impressed
upon those who have made any study of lower human types, and of wild
animals, where your very presence, no matter how accidental and really
meaningless, is construed as suggesting detriment, and suspicion is
aroused, a preparatory stage to some fear or anger exhibition, one of
those being often nascent, though sometimes not very active owing to the
lack of full certainty as to your injuriousness. For the savage, who is
incapable of disinterestedness, and wholly given up to self-seeking, the
missionary and scientist must have some hidden personal motive, some
intent to take advantage of them, and profit by them. From the first
they are regarded with fear, anger, or hate. The strange and peculiar is
hated merely for being unlike the self, and all non-conformity means
personal slight and insult. With primitive psychism all objects are
coloured by a strong emotion light, and this remains a tendency till the
latest stages of evolution.

Anger and hate have by no means spent their force, even for human
evolution in some of its more advanced forms. We all recognise the
necessity of “spirit” to success. The one who is incapable of anger and
of venting it powerfully is a weakling, and will be trodden under foot
in the battle of life. The high sense of personal honour and advantage,
which will brook no insult with impunity, or allow no injury to go
unpunished and unresented, is still the _sine qua non_ of worldly
success. Show anger, hate, and defiance to all those who invade your
rights; stand up and fight the battle of life against every oncomer, and
secure and hold the position against all competitors. In the natural
course of events—the struggle for self-conservation and
self-aggrandizement—the meek do not inherit the earth, but rather those
who are irascibly aggressive.

The most notable revolution in human history against the general course
of evolution which we have been considering has come from Christianity.
The world says, “If any one smite you on the cheek, hit him between the
eyes”; the Nazarene says, “Offer him the other cheek also”; the world
says, “If any one takes away your cloak, fall upon him and despoil him
of his all”; the Nazarene says, “Give him your coat also”; the world
says, “Hate your enemies”; the Nazarene says, “Love your enemies, bless
them which curse you, and do good to them that despitefully use you.”
The law of natural evolution by fear, anger, hate, strife, is replaced
by a new law of a spiritual evolution through forbearance, humility,
love, loyalty to truth, to beauty, to goodness, and to holiness in a
kingdom not of this “world.” Life consists, not in making friends and
fighting enemies, but in a fight with one’s self to realize unselfish
ideals, to exemplify the highest principles and laws, and to achieve the
largest and best work, without regard to self-conservation or
self-aggrandizement. In this radically new evolution the mind is for
itself, and is not, as in the lower evolution, merely a utilitarian
factor, subservient to the general demands of life. Life, on the
contrary, here becomes subservient to the development of mentality
purely for its own sake. Thus pure science, art for art’s sake, an
independent morality and religion, become possible. The greatest minds
of the race are those who have lived most completely this highest life;
but this new form scarcely touches the great bulk of humanity, and is
very partially developed even in the so-called highest classes.

But it is not our present purpose to survey the higher evolution, or to
point out its _rationale_. For the lower evolution, however, it is
tolerably evident that fear, anger and hate, give the dominant tone to
psychic life. These strong, direct emotions act as fundamental life
factors; without them the individual would be quickly overwhelmed in the
struggle for existence. The conditions of early life absolutely require
these simple, naïve emotions to stimulate advantageous reactions.
Emotional indifferentism is possible only as an artificial and
by-product, a sort of disease or abnormal symptom even in the very
latest phases of human evolution. The comparative psychology of the
future will show more and more clearly and fully the nature and function
of both the fear and anger groups as factors in biologic evolution.




CHAPTER XI
_SURPRISE AND DISAPPOINTMENT, EMOTION OF_
_NOVELTY_


To anticipate what is to occur is plainly one of the most useful
achievements of mind, for all providence implies apprehension and
emotion therewith. But to look before and after is certainly not the
prerogative of man alone, but anticipatory power is found throughout the
realm of mind, and constitutes the larger portion of all cognition. To
know a thing means, in general, to appreciate its potentiality; and all
science is really prescience. Knowledge is not the immediate sensation,
but the meaning of it for life; it is the ideal translation from one
sense to another in feeling tendency. Thus, to scent is by itself a
useless acquirement, but the connecting it with desired food is of the
utmost service. The psychism gradually attains the power to interpret by
various _media_ the nature, that is, the experienceability, of the
environment.

To foresee is then one of the commonest events in mind, and according to
the painfulness or pleasurability foreseen is felt anger or fear, hope
or desire, or allied emotions. But the foreseen does not always come to
pass, and hence there results a new order of intellectual and emotional
reaction. That what we had in mind would happen comes not, or is other
than foreseen; this has a disturbing effect on cognition and emotion.
Prescience defeated becomes not merely nescience, but there is the
positive definite shock of surprise, and the emotion of disappointment
or some correlated form. Surprise as the sense of contrast of real and
ideal, involving personal sense of limitation and error, is, as we have



Online LibraryHiram M. (Hiram Miner) StanleyStudies in the Evolutionary Psychology of Feeling → online text (page 13 of 32)