Hiram M. (Hiram Miner) Stanley.

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self-relation. Reality becomes so constant and universal for all
thought-life that mature thought can never escape it. Hegel tried to
rise superior to the notion of existence, but psychologically, at least,
he failed. The conception or induction of reality becomes a necessary
form of thought by being united with all unitings. Judgment in the
narrow sense may be defined as all those relatings in which the reality
of the relation is affirmed or denied.

Lastly a word on the nature of reasoning. Reasoning is mediatorial; the
joining is accomplished through one or more mediates. Most if not all
thinking is by mediating; joining proceeds only upon ground or basis,
whether recognised or not as such. “Kings are mortal” is the
language-expression of a conjoining effected either through the
particular mediate term, John, or terms, John, Peter, etc., or through
the general mediate term men. In both cases the conjoining is effected
through subjoining of the mediate term to both the elements to be
conjoined. In the first case the process is: “John is mortal, John is
king, therefore kings are mortal.” This relating of king and mortal is
strengthened by subjoining for other particular mediates, Peter, James,
etc. In the second case the process is: “Men are mortal, kings are men,
therefore kings are mortal.” In both cases the appeal is to constancy of
coherence of a quality to a quality-group, in the first, mortality
coherent with king John, hence coherent with kings; in the second, kings
have mortality because mortality is coherent with the group man = kings
+ others. In both cases the generalising tendency, that is, the
inductive quality, is the main point and not the method of mediation. In
both processes the concept king is filled out by the additional quality
mortality, and there is real gain in generalising and concept-forming,
whether the mind accomplishes it by the more special or more general
reference. Induction in the large sense is thus inclusive of both
induction and deduction in the restricted sense as determined by the
mode of mediation. Inductive thinking, as we have treated it, is the
joining which generalises, whatever be the means used to this end.
Induction as generalising tendency is imbedded in experience, and is the
largest factor in all its development. All cognition as interpretation
is induction.

That induction, as giving the experience value of things on basis of
previous experience, is fundamental to all emotions about the things,
has been implied throughout our discussion. But the inductive act may
itself be emotively considered and intellectual emotion may arise. How
and why induction came to be a pleasurable act and carried on for its
own sake is, perhaps, not explainable by biologic evolution. It is
certain that the inductive act, like other functions, arises as painful
effort and as a mere means of serving life. Identifying and recognising
is accomplished only under pressure of the struggle for existence.
Animals in general, and, indeed, most human beings exercise their
intelligence, make inductions, only as compelled by the demands of life.
The Australian savages who guided Lumholtz in his search for new
marsupials knew about the animals solely in a practical way, and were
totally unable to comprehend Lumholtz’s motive. So geologists examining
stones are entirely misapprehended by savages and the semi-civilized,
though these people are sufficiently acquainted with stones so far as
they are a source of mineral wealth, are useful for building, etc. And
from the point of view of natural selection pure science, the pursuit of
knowledge solely for its own sake, without the least reference to its
appreciation, is unexplainable.

Nevertheless, it is a fact that at a certain point in psychism the
intellectual life develops for its own sake; the inductive act is
pleasurable, and the desire arises to continue it as such, that is, here
is true intellectual emotion, an emotion arising about an intellectual
act represented as such. This feeling about induction may rise to an
absorbing passion, as with Charles Darwin. He liked nothing better than
making inductions, until he finally came to like little else. If the
reason is asked for induction becoming pleasurable, and an end in itself
psychology at present has no answer.

It is plain that when intellectual activity is desired, not as a means,
but as an end in itself, it excludes much intellectual emotion which is
commonly associated therewith. Surprise and wonder, for instance, are
intellectual emotions at contemplating a conjuncture very contrary to
expectation, entirely opposite to some pre-formed induction, but they do
not imply devotion to intellectual activity as such. The visitor to a
biological laboratory who, on first seeing blood corpuscles, cries
“Wonderful! Who would have thought it! One’s blood all full of such
things! Let me look again!” is hardly actuated by the scientific motive.
All phenomena are equally wonderful or wonderless—which amounts to the
same thing—to the scientist; for him everything is simply natural, he
forms no expectations not founded on facts. The “wonders of science” are
wonders only to the outsider: the scientist takes them as matter of
fact. It is no more wonderful to him that the blood should be full of
corpuscles than that it should fall in drops. The tyro does not wonder
at a drop of blood; he wonders to see the drop filled with myriads of
animated corpuscles; the scientist wonders at neither. He who, on being
told of blood corpuscles, exclaims, “I want to know,” plainly desires
knowledge, but is not impelled by a pure thirst for knowledge. The
scientific items appearing in the newspapers generally appeal merely to
seekers for marvels and lovers of intellectual sensation. Surprise and
wonder are then extraneous impulses to knowledge, the impulse to
knowledge for its own sake being quite distinct. As based on
intellectual shock they imply a considerable intellectual integration,
and hence are by no means primitive in mental life, yet far from being
as late as emotion for knowledge _per se_. Wonder gives birth to the
Arabian Nights and to Jules Verne’s romances, but it always hinders true
science.

Again, the pleasure and desire of achieving and achievement often plays
a large part in intellectual pursuits, as in a wide variety of activity.
Reaching an end merely for the sake of accomplishment, an emotion about
any end, as, for instance, a wide generalisation to be attained, merely
as end, intellectual action has in common with all other teleological
action, but the teleologic emotion is not distinctly intellectual. The
desire to achieve for achievement’s sake, to reach the satisfaction of
accomplishment, is extremely multiplex in its application. The man who
does a thing just to see if he can do it, who does feats of any kind is
obviously impelled by a different emotion from the one who performs the
same activity for the pleasure of the activity itself. He who plays a
game to succeed, and he who plays for the pleasurable activity involved,
are in very different frames of mind. And emotion for achievement is
generally complicated by desire to be thereby superior to one’s fellows.
The intense competitive struggle is plain in all departments even among
scientists. The emotion of competition, the earnest desire to surpass
others in interpreting nature and life is a tremendous force among all
scientific workers, and not even Darwin himself, exceptional though he
was, could keep out every vestige of _amour propre_.

We note also that love of any intellectual activity for its own sake, as
induction, must be distinguished from the love of truth. Here induction
is exercised, not for itself, but as a means to an end, truth; inducing
is not merely a pleasing exercise, but a means to accomplishment of a
definite result. Darwin, of course, a trained and habitual inductionist,
worked both from the pleasurability of the activity and from his
devotion to truth, to which this induction was the true method. Though
both these motives, love of an activity and love of some definite end
thereby attained, as truth, reputation, etc., are closely connected,
they are perfectly distinct modes of emotion, as the least reflection
convinces. Truth is some very wide permanent and significant conjuncture
of experience discovered and set forth, such as the origin of species in
progressive modification, or the intensity of light in inverse
proportion to the square of the distance, and this is the kind of
induction or conjoining demanded by the love of truth.




CHAPTER XVII
_THE ÆSTHETIC PSYCHOSIS_


The problem of the origin and nature of æsthetic feeling is a definite
psychological problem to be solved only by introspection careful and
prolonged. We must take simple cases and closely scrutinize them to
discover the distinctive quality, we must seek the cognitive, feeling,
will elements, we must note its kinship to other psychoses, we must
endeavour to analyse and determine whether it be simple or complex.
Analysis, indeed, as chemical analysis, _e.g._, is a reducing the
manifold to a comparatively few elements, from which by composition an
indefinite number of substances are formed. But in psychological study
we must proceed without any bias from physical investigation. We cannot
reduce mind to the mechanical development of a few simples as we survey
the development of matter chemically. If mind be essentially
self-activity, will effort, then conjunction of psychoses is due to a
conjoining activity, and is not mere aggregation. So in case of fear we
found a great complexity of conditions, yet fear in itself seems an
unanalyzable emotion wave. In taking up æsthetic psychosis we attempt an
unbiassed introspective study.

The æsthetic psychosis has been by many evolutionists connected with
sexual appetite and emotion. The evidence for this is that among animals
the brilliant-hued, and, as we term them, beautiful mates are chosen in
pairing time. Also graceful movements and melodious tones are then
employed. In mankind the æsthetic feeling, as every one may recall in
his own case, arose, and became prominent when near or in the teens. The
rude boy and the hoyden girl then dress and adorn themselves, and a
glamour of beauty is thrown about one who was once an entirely
indifferent object. All the surroundings, artificial and natural, of the
beloved object are looked upon and thought about in a new way of
feeling, an air of attractiveness and beauty envelops all. The period of
life of strongest sexuality, from twenty to forty, is also the period of
strongest æsthetic emotion. Further, sexuality is notedly strong among
those who professionally cultivate the æsthetic psychosis, as artists,
musicians, and poets: indeed, many of the very greatest of these have
been so carried away by the tender passion as to transgress the
conventions and laws on sexual matters. In cases of precocious sexuality
a feeling for the beautiful makes itself apparent; while with those who
slowly mature, the æsthetic feeling is similarly delayed. But does not
the infant who holds out a rose to you and cries “pretty,” have a
feeling for beauty? And it is surely unaffected by sexuality. What may
be in the mind of a child speaking thus is hard to make out, but the
activity is probably largely mimetic merely, and the term “pretty” is
probably used substantively rather than qualitatively; it is the name of
thing rather than quality. We certainly cannot assert of a child that
because it uses certain words it attaches to those words the proper
meanings. This is evident from the fact that a child taught to say
“pretty” will bring you any and every object and use the word, or if it
learns to take merely a class of objects, as rose, it does this at
dictation. The child is, however, obviously attracted by some objects
rather than others, but it would be hasty to say that it perceives their
beauty, when it is quite sufficient to regard them as conspicuous only,
and striking. But we have to touch on sensing later; and we only add to
the evidence of connection of feeling for beauty with sexual feeling,
that with the old and with eunuchs the æsthetic sense is but slight or
tends to vanish. Thus positively and negatively there seems to be
evidence that feeling for beauty originates in connection with sexual
passion, either that the object of the passion is always regarded as
beautiful, or that a feeling for beauty excites the passion. A girl
adorns herself to attract lovers, knowing that to admire beauty is the
first step to love. This close connection is recognised in common
consciousness in that “lovely” is synonymous with beautiful, thus a
“lovely” landscape or picture is a beautiful one.

That there is a close association of sexual with æsthetic psychosis is
then obvious in the case of the human being, but yet it would be quite
hasty to conclude that a sweet note or a pure colour may not be
æsthetically appreciated by children before they have the first stirring
toward sexuality, but still it is very easy—as I have before noted in
the case of the child who cries “pretty!”—to mistake the quality of
their interest.

But when we come to interpret the psychoses of the lower animals in
connection with sexuality we may still more easily slip into a doubtful
automorphism. Thus to say with Darwin, “When we behold a male bird
elaborately displaying ... before the female, ... it is impossible to
doubt that she admires the beauty of her male partner” (_Descent of
Man_, p. 92), or more strongly still with Grant Allen, “Every crow must
think its own mate _beautiful_” (_Mind_, v. 448), we too easily take for
granted that these birds would feel like ourselves in corresponding
circumstances. We can find a more simple explanation. That crows often
maltreat those who are off colour, _e.g._, white, plainly does not
require us to suppose that they regard white as ugly, black as
beautiful, any more than we should judge that students in some Society
who wear a black badge would be æsthetically moved when they look with
disfavour upon students who may wear a white badge. Animals are
clannish, and as a rule, suffer none but those who have the customary
marks to associate with them, and especially to propagate. Hence when
the peacock displays himself to his mate he simply shows to her that he
has most conspicuously the proper marks, and she sees that he is the
proper mate. These are signs of a tempting mate, just as here is
tempting food, a very red ripe berry, but the coloration no more in the
one case than the other awakens feeling for beauty. The hen bird
probably appreciates a red feather as a red berry merely as being signs
of the completely satisfying. Sexual selection, like nutriment
selection, is a discrimination according to certain characters as
prompted by appetite. The expanded and vari-coloured tail of a peacock
is then a mere sexual characteristic which does not imply feeling for
beauty in its appreciation as significant of sex. A small foot, long
hair, and other sexual characters in woman, which are attractive to men,
in like manner arouse emotion which is far from æsthetic. We may take a
perfectly unsexual æsthetic pleasure in long raven tresses just as we do
in an ebony table, but this is obviously rather late achievement.

In fact are not æsthetic and sexual feelings mutually exclusive? So far
as nude art is “suggestive,” so far is the feeling of its beauty lost,
hence sculpture is not tinted. And so in the presence of the nude model
the artist can have merely æsthetic emotion, whereas his visitor is apt
to have emotions of another sort. We do, indeed, say that the lover
dwells upon his mistress’ “beauties,” but beauties here mean
attractions, and to the devoted lover all parts are attractive, even
moles and freckles which to the æsthetic eye are ugly.

From the evidence in hand we judge then that it is certainly not
necessary to call in the feeling of the beautiful as the motive in the
origin and development of sexual characters in animals and plants. Just
as there is a cry of fear or a tone of anger there is a vocal expression
of sexual feeling and emotion which has its use and is recognised as
such, but whose æsthetic quality is no more a matter of immediate
apprehension than in other utilities. At least the safest interpretation
that we can now make for all the lower grades of sexuality is that sex
characters are not primarily determined by the feeling for beauty, but
are simply immediate signs of sex to awaken the sexual response and
secure the best mate. How is it that sexuality is so prominent in
expression among some species and so little among others?—compare
peacocks and blue jays—is a question on which we have no light. We are
also in ignorance how the particular sexual character was evolved and
not some other, for example, why is not the peacock’s tail red? Grant
Allen’s suggestion that food selection has influenced sex selection may
be true, but it would require a very wide and thorough investigation. Do
brilliant-hued birds prefer brilliant-hued foods? How is the coloration
of the scarlet tanager related to the coloration of its food? However,
if the colouring of foods and mates were the same, it would in some
cases lead to disadvantageous confusion, and on general principles we
should expect such distinct elements as nutrition and sex to develop on
very different lines. The cue for colour may be learned first with
reference to food, but it may be carried on as sexually significant on
very distinct lines. Still to distinguish a food or a mate by colour is
equally non-æsthetic in itself. At least we think it improbable that
æsthetic psychosis arises as incentive to or reflex of sexuality in any
of the lower psychic stages.

A theory of the origin of æsthetic psychosis which has been pressed by
some, as by Herbert Spencer, is that it arises as reflex from
spontaneous outflow of energy, or more particularly in connection with
play impulse. A horse turned loose in pasture may gambol, running,
sniffing, looking around, all which denoting a free outflow of energy
through lines of least resistance, the customary channels of activity.
But we cannot seriously think that in this sensing and muscular activity
there is implied any real æsthetic psychosis, and indeed it seems quite
emotionless. The emotion of fear or similar feelings aroused the
original activities, but this present galloping, etc., is automatic, and
such immediate pleasure as may result from this free activity is
scarcely of the æsthetic order. The whole is of a distinctly lower order
than the original activity and much below æsthetic quality. If we recall
our own state of mind in youthful “letting off steam” and in plays, we
do not find æsthetic pleasure. There is, however, a pleasure of relief
and also positively a pleasure from such spontaneous outflow; but the
outburst of pent-up energy automatically spent along lines of race
action is a mere echo, dies out at once, and as degenerate form is not a
starting point for origin of any new psychosis. Play as simulation of
feeling and action is also removed from æsthetic activity, as in a dog
playing at fear and running, or at anger and chasing. He gets a more or
less modified fear or anger, but there does not seem to be any tendency
to æsthetic psychosis. Mere imitation is more or less exact and skilful,
but emotion therein and thereat is plainly not the glow of æsthetic
emotion, but is reflex of sense of power and intelligence as qualities.
Mimicry as mere outlet of energy as with monkeys is plainly not
aesthetic; here is merely an automatic outflow of force into suggested
activity. When a savage as mimetic achievement carves the figure of man
as handle to a knife, he accomplishes art, but not fine art. He has no
more æsthetic feeling than a boy or man whittling out a ship, it being
merely an exact and skilful counterfeit of a real thing. Imitation for
the sake of imitation or to deceive is a teleologic pleasure distinct
from æsthetic. Successful imitation is often said, indeed, to be
“beautifully done,” but this means no more than well done. Even a
well-baked cake is popularly spoken of as beautifully done.

We observe that superfluous energy rushes out along customary or
habitual lines of activity, and so with perfect ease and economy.
Activity which is easy and free is in itself pleasant, and this
pleasantness in sensing and derived psychosis is æsthetic feeling. Where
sensing is mere escape valve of force, though facility is absolute,
there is, as just pointed out, no æsthetic quality, the whole tending to
the merely mechanical. Owing to the fact that in nature curved lines
predominate and so ocular adjustment is to them, my eye follows a curved
line easier than a straight one, hence when spontaneous energy outflows
in sensing activity of least resistance it will be toward curves. But
spontaneous activity of this kind is, as we have explained, not
æsthetic. The law of economy in a vent is, greatest force, least effect,
the contrary of the usual formula for economy which is, least force,
greatest effect. Where energy is expensive the latter rule is to be
applied. Thus in directed and effortful sensing activity economy means
the ratio of efficiency, the ratio of the amount of painful effort to
desired result. But this is merely a saving of pain and not a real
pleasure psychosis. When I, in using a microscope see clearly with less
and less effort the objects of my study, I may take pleasure in the
economical and facile accomplishment, but this pleasure is one of
satisfaction in power and skill, and so not at all æsthetic. Again, a
dyer has great skill and easy appreciation with respect to colour, but
the æsthetic side of colour is not thereby specially felt by him. Mere
habitual and easy colour sensitiveness is not then thereby æsthetic. We
must, indeed, sense a colour before we can feel its beauty, but the
feeling of beauty is not directly involved in any stage of the sensing
evolution from the earliest and most painful effort with bare
appreciation to the spontaneous and effortless sensing at the moment of
great surplus of sensing energy.

Another way of accounting for æsthetic psychosis is by association.
Pleasant sights, for instance, are those with which we associate
pleasure, and “pleasant” means to many, beautiful. But a traveller,
thirsty in a desert land, declares that he saw no more pleasant sight
than a mud hole, but this pleasure, as he himself would aver, was far
from æsthetic. Whatever we have associated pleasure with, we regard with
pleasure, but only as we have associated æsthetic pleasure with it do we
regard it with æsthetic pleasure. Thus mere association or revival no
more gives us the derivation of æsthetic than any other emotion. Any
pleasure or pain may be associated with any sensation or perception, and
thereby re-occur with these, but the mere revival obviously does not
alter the nature of the psychosis or give any new psychosis. It is not
what is recalled, but how we _feel about_ it that constitutes æsthetic
emotion. So also when the beautiful is defined by H. R. Marshall as “the
permanently pleasurable in revival,” we get no insight into the origin,
nature, and development of the æsthetic psychosis; this purely objective
description gives no psychological analysis. But we may question the
accuracy of the description. A thing of beauty is not a joy for ever
when we mean thereby the object which excites the æsthetic psychosis,
for much that has seemed beautiful to one people and age does not remain
so for all peoples and times, and even with the individual, taste
varies. We must also note that the permanently pleasurable in revival
may not be æsthetic, as the lover’s remembrance of a trysting place. On
the whole, I do not find that æsthetic pleasure is in any case to be
ascribed to association, though it comes under the general laws of
association like any other feeling. A lily excites various modes of
æsthetic impression by its form, colour, odour, poetical character,
etc., all which may re-awaken together upon any presentation or
suggestion of the lily. However, for the aboriginal lotus-eater the lily
was also a pleasant sight—but not æsthetic—from the associated pleasures
of its pleasant taste and as satisfying hunger.

We have implied throughout—and common introspection approves this—that



Online LibraryHiram M. (Hiram Miner) StanleyStudies in the Evolutionary Psychology of Feeling → online text (page 24 of 32)