Hiram M. (Hiram Miner) Stanley.

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basal. The higher and later elements, those which are still nascent and
in the volitional stage, as conscience and reason, rarely or never occur
in dreams. In the slightest dreams there is personal quality; I am
consciously experiencing, I am walking, riding, looking, hearing, etc.
An awareness of self pervades all dream life, even in its lowest form.
We are constantly in a world of objects which we are conscious of in
their experience value as affecting us or to affect us. A person
relating a dream always narrates it as personal experience and so
felt—“I dreamed I was in a cave and I heard water running and I felt it
cold,” etc., etc. As far then as we can survey dream life, it is a
significant fact that self-consciousness pervades it.

As far then as we can discover in dream consciousness, or in ordinary
consciousness, self-consciousness is persistent and pervasive element.
In the whole range of consciousness, with the exception of the very
evanescent and absolutely primitive pure pleasure-pain series,
self-cognition appears. We say, indeed, that a man forgets himself in a
rage, but mean merely that the rage object as self-related quite
engrosses consciousness to the exclusion of other forms of
self-consciousness, as himself related to other selves. Blind with fury
to all other objects than the rage object, he does not notice things as
related to himself, and he will rush into a stone wall. In the utmost
concentration and intensification of emotion, self-consciousness does
not disappear, but is itself concentrated and intensified. Even in the
delirium of passion, so long as any cognition remains self-consciousness
remains. The intensification order in consciousness, that is, where
multiple consciousness loses elements through intensifying of some
others, bears evidence then to the fundamental nature of
self-consciousness. A person roused from sleep by cold, which becomes
more and more intense till he loses all consciousness through suffering,
is throughout the long series self-conscious with the exception of the
initial and the final pang of pain. From the moment when cold made him
attain consciousness till the moment when he thereby lost
consciousness—that is, practically the time he was conscious—he was
self-conscious; this is the verdict of common introspection. Any one who
looks back upon his experiences of this intensification nature, finds
himself to have been self-conscious throughout.

So far then as I have been able to examine them, the modes of coming to
consciousness in dream life and in awaking process, and also the order
of disappearing consciousness by intensification, confirm the general
result which at the opening of this chapter we deduced from a general
consideration of psychism under the conditions of existence, namely,
that self-consciousness is necessary and important factor in all
cognitive process, the self-relating act giving vital value to all
consciousness of external and internal object, whether in sensing or

We have already touched on the general function of self-consciousness,
the gain which accrues to the individual organism from knowing its own
experiences as such by giving self-directivity and special response. The
individual is thereby enabled to look after its own interests, to
consciously care for itself, and to make the most of itself. The core of
psychic life is _interest_, and the core of _interest_ is
self-consciousness. That the psychism has interest, that it feels for
itself, is essential to the progress of life. Indeed, the genesis and
growth of biological forms and organs lie in their attainment and
perfecting as servants to the self in the struggle of existence. We know
this to be the case for the sense-organs. The organism evidently came to
appreciate light by a definite _nisus_ with self-consciousness, just the
same in kind as that by which organ is advanced to-day when straining
the eyes to perceive a seventh Pleiad. In short, we do not see because
we have eyes, but we have eyes because we see. The seeing activity and
effort as a self-activity generates the eye and perfects it. So also it
is by locomotive effort that motor organs originate and develop. The
young child learning to walk, self-consciously and with effort moving
upon its legs, is an intimation of the way in which the limbs themselves
arose in active response to environment. The rabbits imported into
Australia have, it is reported, learned to climb trees, with a
consequent modification of foot structure. Now the real genesis of the
morphological change is obviously psychic, the climbing effort as a
valuable function to life under the conditions of existence, viz., the
scarcity of herbage.

But not only the motor and sensory organs are to be traced in origin and
growth to psychic basis in self-consciousness and struggle, but other
organs now quite disassociated from will may originally have been
developed by will. Thus the stomach may have originated in digestive
effort and the heart in circulatory effort. That self-attention to the
heart stimulates the action of the heart is well-known, and also that in
rare cases the heart’s action is directly controlled by will. This may
be survival. Function is built up also as indirect result of will, as
when motor effort in running develops heart action. Psychism may thus be
interpreted as the basis of all organic development. The body is the
offspring of will. Certainly as man surveys progressive adaptation in
himself and other evolving organisms, the psychic basis is apparent in
feeling and in effort self-conscious; and if in any wise it has
apparently become mechanical and spontaneous, as in heart-beat, as in
digestion, as in winking the eye, this is to be ascribed to impulse from
the past. Self-consciousness quickens reaction, for reaction time is
shortened when there is anticipation, and anticipation implies
self-consciousness as awareness of experienceability. Self-consciousness
also enormously strengthens reaction. Thus the more thoroughly one
realizes his own danger, the more powerful the effort to escape. This is
true under normal and simple conditions, the only form in which we are
considering self-consciousness. Self-consciousness may become abnormal
and debilitating in the hypochondriac, but this is a stage beyond our
present studies. Primarily in the struggle of life self-relating to
one’s own experience is always advantageous function. The most important
thing in life is the realization, by the aid of self-consciousness, of
the self-experience value of things; to appreciate and understand
environment, and so adapt oneself to it and adapt it to oneself, to
conserve and extend self, this is the substance of psychism, and its
whole history is thence pervaded by self-consciousness.

But we must now turn from these general considerations to specific
emotions as related to self-consciousness. In the natural course of
things, an organism can never sense or view the self with indifference.
In all early psychic stages a dispassionate view of self is uncalled for
and does not exist; and, in fact, even if the most educated and
thoughtful human adult had a self-sense which is active as evolutionary
cause, it may rightly be regarded as ever active. Life forms from the
lowest protista to the highest vertebrate are in their development due
to active response, and thus morphological development may be looked at
as a functional embodiment of psychism. Instead, then, of regarding
psychism merely as life factor, we may go farther, and define life as
psychism. This is what the doctrine of active response and development
thereby, with natural selection, leads to. The phenomena of life, so far
as we can interpret them, seem to favour the view that organism is
objectification of the will, and, except at the very first stage, will
as cognitive, and triply so in object-subject-consciousness cognition.
Such evidence as we have points rather to organic body as reflex of mind
than mind as reflex of body. That the initiatory, progressive, and
creative force in evolution is psychic, we judge from such instances as
we can observe of progressive adaptation in ourselves and in lower
animals. Where new circumstances affect a species, as the rabbit
transferred to Australia, the favouring modification of the foot to
climb trees is evidently only attained by severest struggle for
self-conservation. If a new mode of force were introduced to this
planet, which should powerfully affect life, it would reach it at first
only through pleasure-pain, and the growth to a special sense-organ for
this new force would very gradually be attained through the struggle for

The prime value of self-consciousness in evolution is in securing an
intelligent correlation with environment. All specific reaction and
adaptation arose probably through an emotion volitional self-relating of
object. It is a biologic psychic law that all emotion is bound up with
self-consciousness, and all self-consciousness with emotion, for thus
only is there efficiency as intelligent will stimulation. But while
sense of self is inherent in all emotion as such, may it not in some
cases have a peculiar place, so that we may justly term them
self-feelings or emotions of personality?

A child fears the dog and is proud of its new dress. Here are two
emotions which both imply self-consciousness, the object is in both
related to the self, but they differ in egoistic quality in that in the
fear there is sense of the thing as acting on the self, in the pride
there is sense of the self as acting on the thing. In the pride it is
the object as identified with the self that is the source of emotion.
The pride proceeds from within outward, while fear, _vice versâ_. In
fear it is the experience value of the dog, that it will hurt, that
gives the emotion quality; but in the pride the essence of the emotion
lies, not in the influence of the dress on the self, but that the self
is connected with the dress by way of ownership. “See my pretty dress”;
“Oh mama! the cross dog”; the emotions thus expressed appear to belong
to different orders; the fear being of the thing in its effect on the
self, the pride being of the self in the thing. Pride is a glorified
self-consciousness, self-consciousness is its substance and immediate
spirit, whereas in fear self-consciousness is but an instrument in
interpretation of experience value. We observe an interesting example of
emotion of personality in a young girl who fears a cow and is yet
ashamed of her fear. Here, while self-consciousness is certainly
involved in the fear, yet it is peculiarly involved in the emotion at
her emotion as such; the shame is at or of herself, the fear is for
herself. This peculiar personal feature of pride is signified by the
common usage of language; the child is proud of the thing, does not
pride the thing, but prides himself on the thing, whereas in fear he
fears the thing for himself. I say, indeed, the child is afraid of the
dog and proud of his dress, but the force of the preposition is quite

It may be said that pride is not peculiarly an emotion of personality
simply as being directed toward self; one can hate himself, fear
himself, be angry at himself, etc. But the drunkard fearing himself
means merely that he fears the results of his own tendencies, _delirium
tremens_, for instance, a perfectly objective fear. And it is evident
that one cannot, holding to the term, self, in the same meaning, fear at
once himself for himself. The self which is endangered is not the self
which endangers. In all such cases as so-called fearing self the action
is from without inward, which is the reverse of the mode in
personality—emotion where oneself is seen, not as affected by the thing,
but as himself in the thing.

The typical and earliest of the emotions of personality is undoubtedly
pride. Like all emotions pride includes cognition of object; pride is
always proud of something but in the peculiar way before emphasized, in
the light which our own personality casts upon it. Pride generally and
certainly originally implies sense of something done or possessed by
self and that in a manner superior to competitors. It is a self
assertion over rivals, an impressing spectators, a being proud of
something to some one. If the world contained but one solitary conscious
individual, he could never attain to pride, though he might be
self-satisfied. Sense of comparative self-magnification is essential to
pride. Pride as social in its nature suffers great diminishing when the
individual is long kept in solitude, and in some cases men may
ultimately lose all standard of comparison and so pride entirely
vanishes. If a man were from his earliest remembrance an inhabitant of a
desert isle pride would have no opportunity to develop. His achievements
might satisfy himself, but they could not make him proud, for he would
know nothing of others and their works. Again, this need of sociality is
seen in this, that we are not proud of our planet as such. We
distinguish it, indeed, as our own, but we have no sense of pride in its
finest features as such. I do not feel proud of Amazonian forest or
Himalayan mountain merely as earth characters. However, if in the future
we secure interplanetary communication, and planets rival each other as
cities and countries do now, there will be a stimulus to pride on an
astronomical scale. If we could say to the inhabitants of some neighbour
sphere that our planet made better time round the sun than theirs, this
would be the basis of an intense pride.

The extent of pride is thus equal to the extent of the self-sense, but
in its wide ranges pride is relatively weak. I am proud of my country,
but, other things being equal, more proud of my state and still more
proud of my city. I am proud of the achievements of the Anglo-American
race, and I always survey a locomotive with pride, but it is when
ownership and achievement comes closer to the _ego_, as in one’s
relatives and family, that pride notably intensifies, and it reaches its
_maximum_ in view of one’s own attainments. That which we do without any
assistance and which seems to us far beyond the ordinary gives the best
and highest incitement to pride.

Pride, in the later stages at least, is more and more discriminating,
and is connected finally only with those objects which are the actual
will products of the individual, and so identified with the veritable
self. Thus is erected by society a pride test, and men say, “He has a
right to be proud,” or, “He ought not to be proud.” Yet standards will
differ, and what one will be proud of another will be ashamed of, and
_vice versâ_. The general standard is largely regulated by the
comparative amount of will force and so of strength required in the
particular act; thus, while I am not proud of crushing an ant, I might
be at felling an ox.

The general expression of pride is holding up one’s head and expanding
oneself generally, though this self-enlargement is not, as in anger, to
inspire fear in beholders, but rather admiration. Proud sense of
superiority naturally asserts itself primarily in physical
impressiveness, and, as such, pride plays an especially large part in
sexual selection. The lower expression of pride is swagger and strut,
the higher in a dignity and stateliness of demeanour.

The function of pride, the use which originally determined its
development, and which is still apparent, is a pleasure-sanction to
competitive successful effort. The proud consciousness of triumph is one
of the greatest pleasures of existence, and if there were no such
emotion following the winning effort, life would lose much of its
incentive. Pride prevents parasitism. Without pride to stimulate and
reward, striving mind would have lost one of the most potent factors of
progress. Even in human education it becomes of value to appeal to a
just and proper pride. In the lower life it is all important. It gives
tone to life, gives power and confidence, assertiveness and
aggressiveness, and conduces in a large measure to permanent and
progressive self-aggrandisement. And not only for effect upon self but
upon others, pride is an important psychic factor. Thus pride in always
showing a bold, commanding front to rivals, makes a direct impression
upon antagonists. Pride always puts the best foot first, hides weakness
and exaggerates strength, so that the proud one always shows for all and
even more than he is, and thus gains much in the struggle of existence
where even mere appearance of power is apt to discourage opponents. The
one who is strong and proud of it is doubly strong. Pride is the reflex
of gain and victory, as shame is of loss and defeat. It is thus the root
of ambition, the desire of rank and place for superiority’s sake which
has been, and now is, especially in advanced human psychism, a most
powerful agent in the evolution of life and mind.

But while it is undoubtedly true that pride is in its origin solely an
advantageous psychosis, and indeed, could have been developed in no
other way, yet there is a disadvantageous side. Only up to a certain
point is it true that the prouder one is, the better off he is. When
pride, over-stimulated, betrays into over-confidence and heedlessness,
then, indeed, “pride goeth before a fall.” But at the first, however, we
must suppose that the organism was proud of only that of which it was to
its advantage to be proud; but by perversion and hypertrophy, indeed, in
pride as in the case of other emotions, caused largely by rivals, it
became a source of great disadvantage and positively destructive of high
self-advancement. Conceit, an over-weening abnormal pride which is
totally irrelevant to the real standing of the individual, cannot but be
highly injurious. However, harmful pride must be accounted rather late.
In early psychisms attainment over and beyond others, when perceived
naturally and normally, gave rise to pride as a wholly useful emotion
reaction, and those who had the capacity of being proud had a distinct
advantage over those who had no sense of their own consequence or no
pride about it. Even in human society we must remark that in general
those who are incapable of becoming proud on proper occasion, are less
and less liable to reach the occasion.

Pride, as emotion of sense of superiority, manifests itself in many
forms, of which we need not now expect to make a detailed or complete
investigation, since the object of our present studies is merely to
emphasize the main forms of the early emotions from the point of view of
natural selection. Simple pride, which is unconscious of itself, but
acts directly and without reflection, as we see in a child proud of a
new dress, is a phase which does not often appear in the experience of
the educated human adult, where pride becomes highly complicated with
emotional and intellectual movements of many kinds, and where it is
extended to a wide diversity of objects with the extension of
self-interest. Thus men are proud of rank, blood, money, muscular
strength, possessions, intellectual attainments, moral character, and,
in fact, whatever the idea of _mine_ can be applied to. However, the
different kinds of pride are not to be distinguished by the object
merely, as pride of rank, blood, etc., for difference in object does not
by itself constitute distinct quality in psychic act. Pride is the same,
whether it is of a horse, a bank account, or a wife. Still the object
frequently calls up subsidiary emotions which may complicate pride, and
the perceived nature of the object certainly influences our feeling
toward it.

When an object is to be competed for, but we consider it beneath us to
enter the lists, or we think our rivals unworthy of our attention, we
have the peculiar phase of feeling termed arrogance. Arrogance brooks no
rivalry and stands apart on a peak of self-contained superiority. Walter
Savage Landor, the proudest of men, displays this feeling in perfection
when he says in one of his cameos in verse:

“I strove with none,
For none were worth my strife.”

This is a perfect expression of complete arrogance. We may say that he
was too proud to be proud. No one was worthy of his mettle, and so he
held himself aloof with the feeling of immeasurable superiority.
Strictly speaking then, arrogance is a variety of very intense pride
where the sense of superiority is perfectly exclusive and absolute, and
disdains comparison. It is entirely inconsiderate of others’ rivalry and
above caring for the approval or disapproval or admiration of others.
Thus this phase, unlike pride in general, seeks concealment rather than
display; its excellence is so far beyond the common as to be
unappreciable by contemporaries, and appreciated by self alone.

Conceit is a term objectively applied, but hardly indicates a kind of
pride, a real subjective distinction. He who thinks more highly of
himself than he ought to think, esteems himself beyond his due, and so
is considered by the community over proud, is termed conceited. The
pride which is entirely just, as viewed from the objective standpoint,
is quite the same subjectively as the most preposterous conceit.
Similarly also dignity is no real feeling. “That man is dignified”; this
is an objective characterization of his manner of conduct, but this does
not imply that he feels dignified. Pride may give a dignified demeanour,
but a feeling dignified can only refer to the reactive effect upon
consciousness, of this mode of behaviour. “I feel proud,” may likewise
sometimes be used, not for designating the subjective feeling or being
proud, but as equal to, “I felt that I was proud,” that is, “I was proud
and I knew it,” “I had the sense of being proud.” So also in general we
may remark that while feeling may denote a simple state of being, yet
such phrases as “I felt proud,” “felt angry,” etc., are ambiguous, and
may mean either the bare feeling of pride, anger, etc., as experienced,
or the feeling of being proud, angry, etc., or both, that is,
consciousness of the particular consciousness may or may not complicate
self-consciousness. The word, feel, is often used in this merely
reflexive way to denote a sense of state as, “I was proud and I felt so
at the time.” Thus common phrase verifies the analysis that
self-consciousness and consciousness of consciousness are bound up with
emotion, the full analysis of the phrase showing that the feeling proud
was an object consciousness _plus_ a subject consciousness.

As previously intimated, we have to sharply distinguish between pride
and such emotions as self-satisfaction and self-complacency. These
latter emotions of personality deal solely with the self in its own
sight, while pride is always not over self to self, but over self to
others. The self-satisfied often are proud, but this is not necessarily
implied. The comparative element enters in self-satisfaction, as in all
true pride, but the comparison is primarily with oneself, not with
others. If we succeed in our own eyes, we may think little about others.
A pure self-satisfaction, like a purely altruistic pride, is a rare and
late phenomenon. Pride about others, pride to oneself, are both very apt
to be tinged with the original pride over others. One says of a friend,
“I feel proud of him”; but while this has a certain reality and psychic
value of altruistic mode, yet the innate and fundamental selfishness of
pride tends to make a place in what appears to be the most disinterested
form. Personal interest and aggrandisement is so inbred a motive from
the earliest stages of evolution that it is never superseded.

A feeling of embarrassment is an emotion of personality which is closely
connected with pride. Those who are most susceptible to pride are most
apt to feel embarrassed. The one who has no tendency toward pride, who
does not in the least care how he may appear before others or in
relation to others, and so does not value his place among his fellows,
cannot be embarrassed. He may be disturbed by the difficulties of some
task, but only in the same way in which he would be agitated by any
difficult work undertaken by and for himself alone. The emotion of
embarrassment, like pride, conceives the self in its social relations.
When one says that he felt greatly embarrassed in being called on
unexpectedly to speak at a dinner, we perceive that he means emotion,
not merely in view of the inherent difficulty of the task, but in view
of what he himself may or may not do under the inspection of the

Online LibraryHiram M. (Hiram Miner) StanleyStudies in the Evolutionary Psychology of Feeling → online text (page 22 of 32)