Hiram M. (Hiram Miner) Stanley.

Studies in the Evolutionary Psychology of Feeling online

. (page 23 of 32)
Online LibraryHiram M. (Hiram Miner) StanleyStudies in the Evolutionary Psychology of Feeling → online text (page 23 of 32)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


critical. In this emotion there is a wonderful quickening of the
self-sense, a painfully intense self-consciousness being suddenly
generated as the peculiar relation of self to others is impressed upon
him. This self-sense is powerfully reinforced by the self-sense of the
bodily expression of self-consciousness. The whole bodily self seems
conspicuously magnified, and we become painfully aware of hands, feet,
and other members. This bodily self-sensitiveness, as often contributing
strongly to this emotion-total, is very marked in cases of blushing. A
girl, feeling embarrassed, blushes, and immediately becoming conscious
of the blushing as itself an embarrassing circumstance, blushes again
still more violently, and becoming conscious of this, becomes still more
confused, and so on, a constant cumulation of psychic effect from
reaction of expression. Sense of the expression of embarrassment is
itself embarrassing, hence every embarrassment may become in itself a
new source of embarrassment. However, that this peculiar
self-consciousness cannot be forced in itself or in its expression, we
see in the fact that the efforts of the maiden who exclaims in mock
modesty, “I _know_ I am blushing,” are entirely futile. This assumption
of embarrassment may become embarrassing, and so a genuine expression be
stimulated, which, however, is of quite another order from the one
desired.

How such an emotion as that of embarrassment, which is disadvantageous
from the first, could have originated under natural selection, can never
be solved by the evolutionist who views all variation as originally
springing from personal advantage. Here is a psychosis, always the
reverse of serviceable, an emotion anticipatory of disgraceful defeat,
and so is really premonitory, but yet one which ever unnerves, rather
than nerves to successful action. He who never feels embarrassed, under
any circumstances always has the best chance. Hence this psychosis must
be strictly a negative evolution, an unfavourable variation determined
by a persistent exciting by antagonists as serviceable to them. An
adversary will always put his opponent in an embarrassing situation, and
endeavour that he shall both be embarrassed and feel embarrassment. This
emotion has thus been stimulated and fostered during ages of psychic
evolution, and in advanced human evolution the stimulating it is one of
the subtlest methods of offence.

A feeling of embarrassment is incipient shame, or perhaps the way for
shame. But the feeling of embarrassment is generally anticipatory as to
the potential, while shame is as to the actual; it is a feeling of
present public degradation and loss. Both equally imply a capacity for
pride; one who cannot be proud cannot be ashamed. But shame, unlike the
feeling of embarrassment, acts as serviceable variation to the
individual, and is one of the weightiest negative guards to advantageous
actions. It cannot promote very high and noble action, but it keeps
above a certain low and base level. The member of society who has lost
all pride and all sense of shame has ceased to feel the most powerful
and useful of social incentives.[E]

- - -

Footnote E:

As to the origin of bodily shame, we may suppose that this arose with
reference to _excreta_ as something rejected from the body, and
therefore base and unworthy. With the refined even spitting and
perspiring are shameful. It may be that sexual shame can be traced to
the same root, but social convention and morality also have very large
influence here.

- - -

There is a certain curious psychosis which may be called shame for want
of a better term. I allude to the feeling which prompts one to shun
oneself. One may not only be ashamed to look others in the eye, but even
himself. He will not look at himself in a mirror because he feels a
great loss of self-respect. This is not the opposite of vanity, a shame
at viewing oneself because of unseemliness of feature, which is liable
to general observation, but it is rather the reverse, the polar opposite
of pure self-feeling, of self-respect and self-satisfaction. A feeling
of shame with regard to oneself alone is still, of course, comparative;
though it does not touch upon others, it implies a self-erected
standard. This emotion, like the others just mentioned, is obviously
very late.

However, perhaps the latest in the series, and the psychic culmination
of all is humility. Humility, like meekness, marks a new order of
evolution. In the highest human development pride is eliminated and
supplanted by humility. A true self-estimate of personal achievement
upon a very wide and impartial impersonal basis, either that of a
scientific view of man’s place in the universe, or as influenced by high
religious and moral ideals, leads to a feeling of humility. Egoism and
self-assertiveness give place to altruistic modesty and refined reserve.
The humble man always gives place rather than takes place. He does not
lift himself above his fellows, but takes the lowest seat, and is
servant of all. The humble man does not strive with others, not because
too proud to do so, as Landor, but because he feels called to the
highest and best work for its own sake. He says with Laotze, “Do, not
strive.” Unthinking of getting ahead or falling behind others, he aims
consistently and constantly at an ideal of perfect fruitage, so high an
ideal that he always feels his own unworthiness in his own sight and in
that of others, though aware of his desert by the ordinary standards of
his community, country, or generation. Worldly successes produce no
elation in the lowly of heart; they view themselves, not with
self-depreciation, but with the justness of the largest view, as Newton,
who, when complimented upon his attainments, replied that he had but
picked up a few pebbles by the ocean of truth. Spiritual and ethical
principles sway these, and not personal ambition. And it must be noted
that humility is not simply lack of pride under circumstances which
naturally allow of it, an insensitiveness to pride, a wholly negative
state, which is nothing in itself, but it is a positive feeling and
emotion in view of oneself in relation to others. Thus the humble man is
he of high pride capacity, and who consciously refrains from pride when
usual standards would allow it. “That is something to be proud of,” “He
has a right to be proud,” and similar expressions mark the lower
standards of which he never avails himself. The best and noblest
specimens of mankind renounce the “world,” “the lust of the eye and
pride of life,” and live by their self-erected ideals. And if we ask how
the spirit of humility and disinterestedness can arise and progress in a
natural evolution, we must answer that it holds its place and wins its
way by reason of its greater inherent value and fruitfulness. He who has
himself in view has lost sight of his work. By this psychic mode alone
is the largest, most perfect, most permanent work accomplished, and
ultimately, often posthumously, it is appreciated at its real worth.
Those originating and master minds in human history who have opened new
avenues of spiritual progress, have usually been of this modest,
unassuming, humble type. Thus in a wholly natural manner the higher law
of an ideal life prevails over the lower law of life which works only by
competition in the struggle for existence.




CHAPTER XVI
_INDUCTION AND EMOTION_


We have implied throughout that we have feeling about a thing only so
far as we attach on basis of past experience an experience value to the
thing, as we say, “the burnt child dreads the fire.” Induction, as this
interpretation is termed, is so important an element that we will devote
a little space to considering its _rationale_, development, and place in
intellectual emotion.

What is the _rationale_ of the inductive act? Why should iteration lead
to expectancy of reiteration? I observe that a body unsupported falls in
a hundred instances, but is it not arbitrary for me then to suppose that
it will fall the hundred and first instance? In fact would it not be
more rational to suppose that this particular combination should be
exhausted, that it was time for nature to stop? But this very reason
rests on the uniformity of nature—the very law we are questioning—as
experienced in the past and applied to the future; only it is a negative
law of omissions, literally law of reiteration of unreiterations. Thus
if reason takes the law of uniformity of nature to task it can only do
so by assuming it. J. S. Mill in his treatment of this matter (_Logic_,
bk. iii. chap. 3, sec. 2), falls into an error. It is, indeed, true, as
he says, that some occurrences repeated suggest cessation and not
recurrence, as when we have several consecutive cloudy days, we expect a
bright one, or having had several rainy seasons we expect a dry one; but
it is plainly wrong to regard this, as he does, as a contradiction of
the principle of uniformity of nature. On the contrary, this is a very
good example of it. Experience of intermittent character of bad weather
in the past leads to expectancy of its re-intermittency for the future,
and the oftener the experience the stronger the belief as to the nature
of the still unexperienced. A negative uniformity is as much a
uniformity as a positive.

It is plain that we can assign no reason for our belief in the
uniformity of nature. It is simply a fact, an arbitrary fact if you
will, that the more often experiences are conjoined, the more strongly
we expect the conjuncture. I may imagine a body unsupported remaining
stationary in the air as readily as to imagine it falling; however, I
_believe_ it will fall, and I duck my head for fear of getting hurt. Not
any speculative reason then, but a very practical reason, is at the
bottom of this inductive tendency, that is, the conservation and
progress of the organism is secured by induction as anticipatory
function. The origin of induction is not then in its abstract
rationality, but in its immediate utility as a life function. Experience
is self-adjustment through felt stimulus. Once begun it grows by
continual self-reference, and hence practically all experience is
inductive. Experience is thus a _continuum_, an integrating cumulating
whole; and inductive experience, like all experience, arises and
progresses by reason of its serviceability.

It has been implied that the inductive act arises very early in the
history of experience. Every psychosis is what it is by reason of all
the previous psychoses in the individual and the race. Psychism, while
it has its points of development in individuals, must yet be estimated
as a unit, as a single whole. But we have to ask whether this
modification of one psychosis by another is conscious or unconscious. If
some low organism have in its lifetime but two consciousnesses, must we
regard the second as influenced in quality by the first, and if so,
consciously influenced, that is, a conscious relating, an active
induction as opposed to mechanical integration? Is mind always
self-building, or does psychosis act and react on psychosis
automatically? We have maintained that all the growth of mind has been
in the past, as in the present, by struggle, by severest endeavour, and
hence if experience modify experience it is by conscious act. Experience
thus constantly connects with itself and builds upon itself, it is
self-integrating, that is, inductive, in all its evolution. Mind, as
primarily pleasure-pain and struggle, by endeavour reaches back to
itself, realizes itself, and rises upon itself.

Take a comparatively simple case. A child tastes an orange, and finds it
sweet, _i.e._, it relates the sweetness to the object, which relating is
a true thinking, an active conjoining or associating. Upon the
presentation of another orange to the child at a later date, he
identifies it as the sweet thing; he associates sweetness as to be
experienced from it on basis of past associating, that is, he makes an
induction. In this second orange-experience, as far as there is active
conjoining of mental products, a definite adding to present percept of
sweet taste as experienceable by conscious reference to former percept
(taste-experience), we must recognise a genuine thought-process. The
thinking consists in the joining of sensation of taste to an object, not
as a present, but as a future experience, on the basis of some past
experience. Here is a true mediation or reasoning of inductive type, and
also a true concept-process, that is, a taking together, a conscious
uniting, although the product is still particular. The nearest approach
to expressing this psychological process in language is to say, “This
round yellow is this sweet, because this round yellow was this sweet
before.” The correlating process rests upon the relating process
accomplished at first experience of orange-tasting, whereby the taste
was related to the thing tasted. This relating may be thrust upon the
mind, or the mind may consciously and actively assimilate. Thought in
the wide sense of the term may be made to include all mediate or
immediate conscious conjoining of experiences, whether the product be
general or particular.

Mediacy is certainly, however, accomplished before commonness is noted,
which in ordinary usage is concept-making. The grouping of the
particular taste with the particular sight and touch on basis of past
experience does not give a general result. The mediate term of past
experience of taste which the child brings up on sight of orange and
applies to the present case does not suggest commonness, but constancy
of experience, for at first it knows things only as identical, and not
as separate, or as like or unlike. The method of this early intelligence
is that of identifying, “The orange was sweet and is sweet”; and not
that of common characterizing, “Oranges are sweet, and this is an
orange.” The child does not discriminate or understand that the object
of its first experience is, by reason of this experience, no longer to
be experienced; it has not attained notion of disappearance. It does not
cognize the orange as one of a group or class, having as common
characters roundness, sweetness, and yellowness, and from presence of
round-yellow in any instance infer sweet; but it knows orange only as
this particular object of past, present, and future experience. Many of
the early thought-experiences of children are to be interpreted rather
upon this identity-method than upon the usual interpretation of true
concepts. Thus the child who calls every person of certain age, dress,
etc., “Papa,” is not thinking of a papa, or class of papas, but of the
papa. This is mistaken identity: the common and like is the same, and
the child requires considerable discrimination before it attains to
notion of papa in general. Same and not-same are discriminated before
like and unlike, and hence young children use common names as proper.
Now the mental product achieved by the child, which, as expressed in
words, we term the papa, may be styled a particular concept, a gathering
together of sight-sensations, and associating sound- and
touch-sensations with these so that any generally like group of
sight-sensations enables the child to call up on basis of past
experience the associated sound and touch, to expect the gentle word and
caress. The child in identifying the orange, “This round yellow thing is
the sweet thing,” is bringing together with a certain general force, not
of common characterization, indeed, but of temporal significance as
permanent grouping. Animals and young children think mostly on the
identifying plan; they join to and expect for a present experience what
has been conjoined with it in past experience, but the object is the
same, not a like one.

How then does the child come to knowledge of things as like, to form a
class of oranges after regarding all oranges as the orange? Pass oranges
before a young child one after the other so that one only is in sight,
and the child will probably know only one orange as the same continually
re-appearing. The image formed will, however, be more or less composite,
the mental product will be a concept-image, as being a re-inforcement
and exaggeration of common characters and a suppression of individual;
but for practical purposes it is still a particular concept, that is,
the child applies it to the one and not the many, and does not recognise
its representative nature. A general image as a group of common
qualities may be thus attained before consciousness of this generality
is reached.

If now two or three oranges are presented to the child at the same time,
it will learn to discriminate them as separate co-existences, having
characters in common, roundness, yellowness, etc.; the objects will be
recognised as individuals belonging to class round-yellow things. Here a
general image having a general import is achieved. The particular
characters, round, yellow, sweet, which always centred in and made up
the individual orange, are recognised to have general scope in applying
to many objects. Groups of characters had been achieved before by
particular thinking, but now by general thought groups of characters as
common are formed. From the practically coincident impressions it gains
the notion orange, so that it recognises new individuals as individuals,
and not as the individual or single object, as in the earlier and cruder
identity method of thinking. The mind now—instead of saying “Same
impressions, same object”—says “Same impressions, like objects.” Instead
of making an object as a group of qualities, it makes a class of objects
having the group of qualities in common. Concept-forming is thus often
but an extension from what I have termed the particular concept; the
group of qualities formed as characterizing the thing is through
experience with co-existences predicated of things. Notion or idea of
the orange precedes notion or idea of orange; but both are truly notions
or concepts, a taking together of impressions, one of particular, the
other of general import. The general significance of the particular
group is first forced upon the mind by experience, but soon the mind
generalizes as well as notices generalizations brought to it. Gradually
the mind obtains power to generalize, not only from co-existences, but
from successions, and later still to generalize by abstraction, to
compare and pick out common features amidst the unlike, to search for
unity in diversity.

The rise of generalizing power is through the struggle for existence; it
originates, like all other mental processes, in practical needs. Law is
thereby not simply acted upon or merely recognised, as in the
associative stage: it is definitely sought for and applied. Art arises,
and also science. The ability, given by generalizing power, of dealing
with things in the lump, becomes of signal service, and specially
distinguishes man. But the primary value of the concept in all its
stages is not as a summation of experience, but as a guide for the
future. Through reiterated grouping the concept-group is recognised as
permanent factor, so that one element of a group being given, other
elements are expected through a conscious assimilation with the past
experience. The concept answering to the word orange, for example, is
the mental product recognising a constant co-existence of certain
qualities of shape, colour, size, taste, etc., so that from occurrence
of one or more we infer other or others. Concepts are the inner
groupings, the mental synthesizings, which interpret the outer groupings
that we term laws of nature. In all this we see the inductive element in
its conscious form, experience developing itself by anticipating future
in terms of past.

We have now to consider briefly the psychological nature of judgment and
reasoning with special reference to the inductive feature. Logically
judgment is any connecting, _plus_ affirming of reality, as effected
through the copula. The copula is made, not only to denote relation, but
reality of relation, to express, not only the act of connecting, but
also its validity for the case in hand. Psychologically, judging may be
regarded as any thinking, as any relating without reference to the
things related, whether it be a joining of the concept “reality” to some
other concept as a concept-forming process, or any joining of other
elements. I have already discussed the nature of relating _per se_, but
on the topic of judgment a word is to be said about the
proposition-form. In all thinking there are the two things
joined—subject and predicate in language-expression—and the act of
joining, or copula in language-expression; thus all thought is capable
of the proposition-form. Indeed, the word-form cannot express a thinking
but only a thought as a consolidated and single product, and as a sign
of process. The word is a summary of process and relations, but it
cannot express process as concept-forming or judging. The word orange
signifies for the mind by symbolic and shorthand method, “Thing is sweet
_plus_ thing is yellow,” etc; but as far as process happens, and not
simultaneous composite representation, the process is capable of
proposition-form. All relatings or joinings, even of particulars to
particulars, are of the proposition-type, and I must dissent from the
common view that two percepts cannot stand in subject-predicate
relations. As I have before discussed, the relating of particular to
particular is thinking, and to say “This sweet belongs to this yellow”
is awkward indeed, but still psychologically proper. Every proposition,
on the other hand, is susceptible of analysis as expressive of
concept-forming relating. The proposition “Man is mortal” is expression
of a mental process of joining; the concept mortal is either attached to
or detached from the concept man, according as we consider the process
as synthetic or analytic. If it be a grouping or concept-forming in full
sense, it means that in forming the concept man, we add to the already
gathered qualities the quality “mortal” on basis of experience. The
child first notices deaths in cases of John, Peter, etc., whom it knows
to belong to the class “men,” forms the concept “mortal” and adds it by
generalisation to the whole class and enlarges concept “man” by one
quality. This proposition, as denoting inductive concept-forming,
expresses the act of incorporating on basis of experience the quality
mortal into the quality-group man. As analytic, as a detaching of what
has been grouped, the proposition still expresses joining, and until the
statement becomes purely formal and practically meaningless the
rejoining is always a strengthening of the concept, and formative in its
value.

All uniting or relating is, however, more than a bare connecting; it is
a definite mode of relating, it has a form; and the first and
fundamental form is that of time and space, by which all relating has
the inductive quality of relying upon the past for the interpretation of
the future. But thought as self-active mentality is specially stimulated
and controlled by the form of reality. All relatings are not, however,
influenced by sense of reality, and hence belief is not coincident with
judgment in the large sense. Affirmation or denial of actuality or
reality is a kind of joining, but is not joining _per se_. The infant
joins taste of sweetness with percept round-yellow for the first time
and for many following times with no reference to reality or unreality.
“This round-yellow is this sweet” expresses a mere connecting, a bare
relating, but as neither real nor unreal. There is no emphasis laid on
the copula by which it expresses more than a mere joining. But let the
perfect tranquility of the child’s experience be broken in upon by
discord of appearance and reality, let the child once have a bitter
experience with a round lemon, then its future conjoinings of
round-yellow and sweet will be more or less tinged by sense of
possibility of error, and emphasis will be laid on the copula, “That
_is_ sweet.” Through other such experiences with other of its
thought-groups, the child generalises to the universal significance of
reality and unreality for all its thinking; hence, all conjoinings with
their copula-expressions attain a new force and quality from this
induction. In the light of fallibility as making up a part of the
concept “experience,” all thought-experience modifies itself by this



Online LibraryHiram M. (Hiram Miner) StanleyStudies in the Evolutionary Psychology of Feeling → online text (page 23 of 32)