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that to make nitro-glycerine you must use such and such ingredients. In
viewing these means in their necessity there may arise a certain emotion
of compulsion to their use; but this compulsive quality is not, I ought
to do so and so, but I must, if I would attain the end. It is plainly an
unethical use of terms to say, If you wish to succeed or be happy you
ought to do so and so, or that is the right way to succeed or be happy.
Morality is not a recipe toward any end but itself. So the feeling as to
the “Conditions by fulfilment of which happiness is achieved”—emphasized
by Spencer in the principles of Ethics as the main element in moral
emotion—is not real ethical emotion. I may feel the constraint and
necessity to using certain means, difficult and unpleasant in
themselves, in order to reach a desired end, but a moment’s
introspection shows that this compulsive emotion is not thereby moral,
that this feeling is not a feeling of duty but of necessity to employ
the means. If I feel that I ought to become happy, then alone will I
feel I ought to use the means to happiness. So also a man may desire to
win in athletic competition, but the requisite means, a hard course of
training, may deter him from entering; that is, his love of ease
conflicts and overcomes his desire of athletic success as far as action
is concerned. If he undertakes the training and struggles through, he
feels the compulsion of the means in direct proportion to his love of
ease and pleasure. He refuses a cigar under this emotion at the
necessity of the means, but this is plainly not a case of ethical
emotion; he refuses, not because he ought, but because he must, and the
trainer who says to him, “You ought not to take that cigar,” does not
primarily appeal to moral principle, but to the constraint of the means
to desired end. This does not deny that a man may feel training as a
matter of duty, but it is still obvious that he who refuses a cigar as a
mere matter of training, is as psychic fact actuated by an emotion of
distinct quality from that which the man feels who refuses to smoke as a
matter of conscience; the feeling, “I must not,” is diverse from the
feeling implied in, “I ought not.” The athlete may be conscientiously an
athlete, but in general he refuses to smoke merely because that is the
right stand, _i.e._, suitable to gaining the particular desired end,
whereas the conscientious man refuses as determined by a feeling for
some end whose rightness is assumed, as the preservation of health, or
the being inoffensive to others. The athlete is moved by what is right
or useful to some end, while the psychically moral man is actuated by
the emotion for the end of rightness; and while constraint appears as
characteristic of both emotions, still in breadth, depth, and particular
tone, the ethical is plainly differentiated from the necessitarian
emotion. At bottom also it is plain that the feeling of compulsion to
means is a case of conflict of motives—as with the athlete is love of
pleasure of smoking _versus_ desire of athletic success—and conflict of
motives has been previously discussed.

Neither scientific nor common knowledge then can as method of means give
by itself the moral emotion. But it may be said that science does
provide ends for action and that the emotion about the end is an ethical
emotion. Thus the end of truth, of adherence to reality, is naturally
emphasized by science; yet here is not duty, but the essential guiding
emotion is the emotion for achievement and the achievement of the
desired accordance with nicety and completeness. The enthusiasm for
truth and truth in action is an emotion which may be sanctioned by moral
feeling, but it is not moral feeling. Adaptation to environment or
conformity to reality as a general end of action may have its impetus in
moral emotion, I may feel that I ought to accord with the nature of
things as scientifically revealed, but this motive is by no means
necessarily implied in the end. And conduct is rarely actuated by pure
sentiment for this end; rather the general form is, “Do this and thou
shalt live”; that is, the emotion is desire for personal ends to which
accordance with nature is the means.

Again, take a suggestion of end for conduct from some special science.
For instance, Biology marks as the general result of the struggle for
existence and of natural selection, the perfection—practical and
relative—of the kind. Thus the result, that is, end unconsciously
achieved, of the life of deer is power of locomotion and keenness of
scent, while with man the tendency of evolution is toward brain power.
Man obviously is able to consciously make an evolution tendency an end,
to conduct himself with reference to it, and thus man’s life may be a
conscious and strenuous carrying out of tendency. A constraint arises
from this end as from others, but it is not moral constraint, till the
end has been adjudged right; thus this end does not explain rightness.
The aspiration toward self-culture and self-fulfilment is not
psychically moral, nor yet the determination to achieve this perfection.
Perfection, be it remarked, is not an end, but the measure of attainment
of any end; a perfect man is one who is complete in certain respects.
Morality is not the carrying out any end, perfectly or imperfectly, be
it pleasing, satisfactory, true, good, etc., but it pursues and is
pursued by the right end, which is rightness as universal,
authoritative, compulsive, self-approved, impersonal law. The emotion of
oughtness in its purely ethical form is responsive to this alone. Purely
moral emotion as psychic fact, is not any feeling for any _summum bonum_
or any perfection of attainment of any kind, but is an emotion for the
right for its own sake. It is neglectful of all consequences, and cries,
“Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.” We all know the distinct
difference in quality of feeling when acting merely to do my duty and
when acting to achieve an end for the achievement’s sake or for the good
implied. Ethical emotion may arise about any extrinsic end, but does not
arise out of it.

We conclude then that as psychical fact there is a variety of compulsory
emotions, an ought of law as behest of others, an ought of means, an
ought of end, an ought of advantage, an ought of bare moral rightness,
and that this latter emotion, as every one knows by introspection, has
its own peculiar quality and force. He who feels constraint from
authority, from use of means, from end purposed, is plainly feeling
different from him who feels the constraining emotion at moral right.
And the law which says, “Do this and thou shalt live,” does not bring
moral pressure, for the moral law says, “Do this whether thou livest or
not”; that is, moral emotion and activity is not consciously to itself a
life factor. As a matter of psychic fact a world of moral activity
exists solely for and in itself, and the emotion in this sphere of
absolute morality, in which many conscientious people live habitually,
is ethical emotion in the narrow and strict sense of the term. The
immediate feeling of absolute rightness—so-called intuitive
morality—however and whenever it has arisen, seems to present itself as
mental factor radically diverse from all emotions of means, ends, and

Here we may criticise a so-called rule of moral conduct to which appeal
is often made, namely, the rule that we ought to do as we would be done
by. We know, indeed, that the principle of equivalence is strong in
society, and that if we wish to be well treated we should treat others
well. However, to do as we would be done by, in order that we may be
done by as we would, transforms moral precept into prudential maxim.
Here is a method of advantage: in order to attain the given end we ought
to do so and so, but the purely ethical emotion is not aroused. But
further, interpret the rule as simple universal moral law that we ought
to do as we would be done by. This involves putting ourselves in
another’s place and considering how we would like to be treated under
the circumstances, and so treating him. This is hedonistic altruism, and
its measure is crude and unreliable, for what might please me in a given
case might not please another. This automorphic interpretation is,
however, extremely common, especially in lower psychism. The child and
the savage judge inevitably and naturally that they are giving you the
greatest pleasure when they share their dainties with you. But slowly is
individuality of taste recognised, and still more slowly recognised as
proper and right. Still a hedonistic altruism, whether by mistaken mode
of putting yourself in his place, or by true measure of realizing what
he is in his own place and acting accordingly, on either method is of
very doubtful morality if judged by any high standard. Indeed,
hedonistic altruism, whatever its motive, has wrought both incalculable
injury and unrighteousness, whether as a weak sentimentalism as seen,
for instance, in promiscuous charity, or in more special forms, like
parental indulgence. Ethical emotion which seeks to be directed in its
action by an extraneous measure adulterates itself. We ought not to do
to others as we would like them to do by us, nor yet as they would like,
nor yet merely as we feel they ought to be treated, but the real golden
rule is, we ought to do by others as we feel that they in their own
nature and position ought to be done by. This is no more than to say
that we ought to do by others as we ought, a moral identical
proposition; and the reducing to this shows that moral emotion rests
only on itself. The end of pure ethical conduct is always and ever
merely to fulfil righteousness everywhere or to secure its fulfilment
everywhere, to help and forward all doing right. The so-called golden
rule may have its place, as undoubtedly it was meant, as propædeutic to
a kingdom of righteousness, but it has not pure ethical quality in


The primary function of mentality, as we have throughout assumed, is as
stimulant to activities advantageous to the individual under the
conditions of its existence; hence all these activities are in a broad
sense expressions of mental state, they are the outflow of psychoses and
are indicative of them. In particular, feeling is specially and directly
related to motor values, which thus become to the self-observant or to
others observant an index or expression of the feeling. Thus, I see a
deer fleeing from a wolf, and I infer that this is an expression of
fear. Hence we may rightly say that in a large sense all action is
expression, for all such action rises in feeling; in other words, from
one point of view expression equals action. Not only may exterior bodily
phenomena betray the feeling which is their inciting cause, but to a
vivisectionist, for example, interior phenomena, cerebral and other, may
be noted as indicating a feeling origin. Excluding, of course, so-called
reflex action, which is really reflex motion, action and expression are
but different points of view of the same thing: what we term an action
when we dwell upon the motor side, we term an expression when we dwell
on the mental _prius_ and stimulus which is revealed.

Now as the evolution of mind progresses actions no longer serviceable
may survive in connection with given feelings, remain indicative of
them; thus the strong beating of the heart in fear and the scowl in
anger. Such survival actions which occur in connection with all kinds of
feelings, and especially with those which are pre-human in their origin,
are with particular emphasis styled expressions. The scowl in anger is
considered as expression rather than the actual blow struck, which is
equally the result and indication of anger.[F]

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Footnote F:

Wundt says that when in emotion we look “sour” we think we are
actually tasting the sour, and so make the repulsing action, “sour”
look. (_Lectures on Psychology_, p. 283.) I think it more probable
that the “sour” look is the survival expression of such an emotion as
disappointment. It is likely that the genesis of disappointment was in
tasting the sour for the supposedly sweet, _e.g._, lemon for orange,
and the “sour” look has remained as expression of disappointment long
since its utility ceased. The genesis and early growth of most
emotions is in connection with certain sense experiences and their
related actions, and these actions tend to remain as “expressions”
long after their real quality as actions has disappeared. Hence it is
by survival, and not because he thinks himself tasting something sour,
that a man looks “soured” by disappointment when I fail to give him
money as promised. So also black is gloomy because we are diurnal, and
our ancestors were diurnal. If nocturnal, black would seem joyous,
white gloomy. (Cf. Wundt, _ibid._, p. 375.)

- - -

Expression is then primarily all action connected with all
consciousness, secondarily, it is useless action continued by force of
habit and transmitted to descendants. But still many expressions are
more than mere actions or their survivals. To be sure, Darwin and many
Darwinists maintain that the expressions do not arise or exist for their
own value as such, but they are entirely incidental. Expression is not
the function of the so-called expressions, but they are entirely
functional survivals. While, however, we must admit that many
expressions have arisen and been preserved in this manner, yet I think
it is altogether hasty to deny the function and value of expression _per
se_. Expression has existed as a function from very early phases of
life, and it underlies all bisexuality and sociality which have been
such important elements in evolution. Organic sound-producing
structures, whose sole utility from the very first is for attracting
attention, early appear, and further voice seems to have its origin in
the demand for love-call and call to young. Gregariousness is made
possible in almost all its forms by purposive expression. There comes
early, then, a will, not merely in performing some definite act at
prompting of a feeling, but also a use in simply expressing it to
others, communicating the fact of having pain or pleasure states to
others. The cry of pain in young animals is a cry for help, and as such
has been favoured in the struggle for existence. The usefulness of this
action is solely as expression, and as expression it has arisen and been
developed. Expression here is not an incidental view of a physiological
action, but exists for its own value to the individual. Such expressions
have their use in their significance, and as the true language of
feeling are to be interpreted by the principle of serviceability. An
expression which is and continues, by reason of its utility, as a
sign-language, visual, auditory, or otherwise, as gesture love-calls,
etc., may be termed pure expression as distinguished from incidental
expression, like blushing, pallor, etc., which exist, not for their
significance, though they are significant. Incidental expression
includes also the sphere of degraded action. Yet what seems mere
degraded action may be true expression, as beckoning, which is an
abridgement of the action of pulling one to oneself and of movement
towards oneself; but this motion of the hands exists, not for this end,
nor as survival, but merely as significant of a desire on the part of
the gesturer. In the higher ranges of life we well know the large place
played by pure expression as distinguished from incidental expression.
It is not necessary to suppose that pure expression consists merely in
“voluntary and consciously” employing “means of communication” (Darwin,
_Expression of the Emotions_, p. 256); thus, the scream of an infant is
equally pure expression, whether the infant employs it knowingly or not
as such, for screaming of the young has doubtless arisen and been
preserved in natural selection because of its utility as significant.
There is then, I think, a group of activities which are not merely
incidentally expressive, but originate and exist for expression as a
useful thing in the battle of life.

But we have not exhausted the principles of expression when we refer to
present or past serviceability as an action in general or to service as
expression. It is plain that in any activity prompted by any feeling
there comes at a certain high intensity a more or less pathologic
over-functioning of the organs concerned, with under-functioning of
others. Emotion as action stimulator in any high degree always enhances
some physiologic function to the depression of others. The blood, for
instance, is forcibly withdrawn from various parts to certain specially
active parts, and this withdrawal gives rise to an appearance which may
be termed a negative expression, as the pallor in fear. Certain other
phenomena connected with fear, as change of colour in the hair, cold
sweat, and trembling of the muscles, which are mentioned by Darwin as
unexplained, are probably due to this negative principle (_Expression of
the Emotions in Man and Animals_, New York, 1886, p. 350; but compare
pp. 81 and 308, where these disturbances are ascribed to direct action
of the nervous system. Darwin does not, however, distinctly state or
treat the principle we here mention as a distinct law). As the body is
an inter-related system of organs, stimulation to one organ means an
effect upon all, excitation of some, depression of others; thus to an
acute observer the whole body is symptomatic of every feeling, and,
indeed, of every consciousness. In the natural and normal course
emotion, to do its work most effectively, implies little or no marked
negative expression, but the nervous energy generated flows freely and
directly to the organs which are to do service, without greatly
impairing general function. Fear thus acts at first simply and
advantageously; but in its later history fear becomes greatly
complicated, and instead of freely issuing in serviceable action with
not excessive heightening or depressing of any function, its outlet
seems as it were choked, and the nervous energy spends itself within the
body in violent disturbances of vital organs. Fear becomes then decadent
and loses its place as evolutionary factor, becoming impediment rather
than aid to progress. Negative expression must then be considered as
especially notable in the later exhibitions of an emotion when
concentration becomes morbid and ineffective, losing its
advantageousness, and the emotion is being supplanted by other psychic
factors. Great injury and death itself may result from the abnormal
action of fear and other primarily useful psychoses.

Besides the particular organs to serviceable activity with the
subsidiary physiological functioning, and the indirect depression, we
must still note other principles which may control expression. Nervous
energy under the incitement of emotion is often in excess of the demand
for the required action, and it will then overflow into correlated
activities along the line of least resistance. Also when the suitable
action is checked for any reason, its motive force backs up and
overflows in new channels. Indefinite and purposeless movements of
various kinds thus result which may be expressive of the emotion of
which they are incidentally the result. Any one who has watched an Irish
setter tracing game must have remarked the wavings of the tail becoming
more rapid when the scent becomes stronger. When the dog is running very
fast, the tail-waggings are less noticeable than when moving slowly,
although the interest may seemingly be the same in both cases. It is
obvious that a fast run uses to a large extent the superfluous energy
which was discharging in tail movements, and when the useful running is
checked the tail motion recommences with greater force, serving as a
safety-valve. The frisking of young animals and children is also largely
due to diffusion of so-called superfluous nerve-force, and is expressive
of general sensations of pleasure. All feeling is motor in its natural
value and tendency, and unless the resulting energy is fully used in
some special serviceable action, it will discharge itself along the
easiest and most habitual lines laid down by inheritance. Thus the
peculiar ancestral experience of animals is always expressed by their
spontaneous diffusive activities. It will be remarked that the principle
of diffusion is the reverse of negative expression, being an overflow of
force as opposed to withdrawal. Excessive generation of energy is
certainly uneconomical, and we must consider that at first emotion
tended rather to less than the required amount, than more.

The phenomena of diffusive expression, in the strict sense, are thus
rather late in appearance. The very lowest forms of life have no infancy
or play period, and from the first are directly active in the struggle
for existence. Yet the play period was certainly evolved through natural
selection as a fully educative and preparatory stage, wherein the
actions most demanded in actual life are unconsciously practised and a
general basis of reserve force is accumulated. Play activity is a living
on inherited energy and in the inherited modes: the kitten pouncing, the
horse prancing, etc. Play is then rather a mode of activity than a mode
of expression; it is expressive only in the way that all action is
expressive. Expression proper is only in those modes of action which are
carried on, whether consciously or unconsciously, by virtue of their
significance value. If everything which is expressive is called an
expression, we must include all the bodily actions and phenomena which
can in any wise be connected with consciousness. I use the term
diffusion in the narrow sense of spontaneous overflow of energy in
excess of that absolutely required for the advantageous action. I do not
refer to the general diffusion of emotional effect throughout the whole
organism, which always occurs by the very nature of organism. Thus the
pain from a pin-prick certainly modifies to some extent every cell in
the body; there is a direct wave of influence from the psychic
experience, and this is propagated throughout the whole organism by
reason of its essential interdependency of parts; it echoes and
re-echoes throughout the whole. The physiological result is then in
simplest cases extremely complicated. However, this mere general fact of
diffusion is a biological truism, and does not explain any expression,
but simply asserts that every feeling, by virtue of its physical basis,
affects the organism as a whole. Emotion issues specially in motor
activities because its origin was as stimulant to necessary action, but
this action involved internal organs, especially the circulatory and
respiratory, and indirectly the whole body in every part. The
explanation of an expression must always be in tracing back to the
original serviceable actions with their demands on special subsidiary
organs, and their depression of certain related organs, and not in
reference to the general law of diffusion, which is but another term for
the essential continuity of the organism. A useful principle of
expression must not merely say that there is by the nature of organism a
general bodily result from every emotion, but it must explain the
particular expressions.

We make them so far four principles or forms of expression, which we
instance in saying that the blow of an angry man is general activity
expression, shaking the fist at one, purposive expression, scowling as
remnant of watching foe intently in the open air is survival expression,
and twitching and trembling of certain muscles is diffusive expression.
Every emotion commonly issues in all four forms, in direct activity with
associated survival tendencies and purposive expression, and a surplus
of energy runs over into certain natural and easy motions, or a
deficiency of energy in certain organs manifests itself, the negative
side of diffusive expression.[G]

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Footnote G:

Since emotion comes in waves, expression is reduplicated. This may
throw some light on such an expression as laughter. Landor says the
Ainu do not in the proper sense laugh, but they roar with delight. It
may be that laughter is reiterated roar as resulting from reiterated
psychic impulses and feelings. As in the growth of an emotion, waves
are multiplied, the expression becomes more reduplicate, and thus

Online LibraryHiram M. (Hiram Miner) StanleyStudies in the Evolutionary Psychology of Feeling → online text (page 28 of 32)