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of the Holy Ghost; but all its evolution is through supreme effort. In
the spiritual evolution he who loveth his life shall lose it, he whose
struggle is in the primitive stage, namely, for material existence,
loses thereby the real life, the life of the spirit.

It is possible, indeed, that we may over-estimate this salient fact of
struggle, and certainly, in the present state of psychology, modesty is
most commendable. We would be far from assuming that the horizon of our
mind is the limit of the universe. However, assuming mind as a
biological function continually evolving in the service of
self-conservation and self-furtherance, our endeavour has been to point
out the general trend of the evolution of feeling, and to analyze some
of its more important features. The little exploration we have made
suggests the greatness of the unexplored field of mind, the vast number
of psychoses unknown, and perhaps unknowable. The difficulties of the
subjective method make it seem almost impossible to trace a complete
history of mind. For mind to return over and realize its whole growth in
all its ramifications seems quite as hard as to develop new forms, or a
whole region of artificial psychosis. In the filling up of missing
links, psychology presents vastly greater difficulties than biology
because of its subjectivity of method and the evanescent nature of the
facts. Further, the more I analyze consciousness, the more I am
convinced of the great and often unexpected complexity of apparently
simple forms, and I am satisfied then the simplicity and completeness of
the system-making psychologists, physiological or idealistic, is
factitious and delusive. An inductive science of mind is yet in its
infancy. My conclusion that mind was at first, and is always as
progressive, feeling-impelled will, and that sensing arose as secondary,
as useful cognitive effort, is simply the best reading I can make from
present data when assuming the current doctrine of evolution.

A very important point, which needs to be worked out more fully than we
have been able to do, is as to the nature of revival as involving
emotion. Sense of re-experience and of the experienceable is one of the
most important acquisitions of mind. The self-consolidation and
organization of experience certainly does not come in the first place by
any mechanical association, but we must assume that all mental progress
is the result of the most intense, though often blind and fortuitous
striving. But just how the return of an experience is cognized as
_return_ and as _experience_, and so becoming basis for emotion, this is
a most difficult inquiry on which we have made but a few remarks in the
chapter on the nature of emotion. Just when and how sense of experience
is generated, and what is a full analysis of its nature, must be
postponed to some future study, but I am convinced that a very fruitful
field for investigation lies in this direction. Experience certainly
does at a very early stage become compound, become self-appreciative in
some form, as sense of the potentiality of things, but the elucidation
of progress in this line is confronted by many difficulties. The history
of ideation or representation as a power for self-conservation has yet
to be traced with definiteness and completeness.

Another point, which needs a far fuller discussion than we can now give,
is as to the nature of organic interaction in consciousness, as to the
real quality of psychic cause and effect. We have all along assumed
feeling as stimulant of will, both the will to know and the will to act,
but just how does feeling develop will as struggling effort? What is the
exact mode of connection? We conceive readily of physical impact as
determining effects in the material world, and we conceive a
transference and transmutation of energy, but in the psychic realm we
have no entities as permanent existences susceptible of entering into
relation with other entities. How then does a pain incite a will
activity? A peculiar form of consciousness we term will activity does
directly follow upon feeling pain, and, within limits, the greater the
pain, the greater the willing, but we have no theory to express the mode
of connection of these consciousnesses. All that we can say is that one
does follow upon the other as somehow caused by it. Yet it is certain
that the limitation of conscious capacity must in every individual
determine a definite range of interaction, and, beyond some particular
point, the more I feel, the less I will, and _vice versâ_. But the
phenomenon of interference is likewise as obscure as that of excitation.
The development of distinct organic forms of consciousness is slowly
carried forward, and they exercise a definite dynamic relation to each
other, though the mode is as yet wholly obscure. Thus the largest
subdivisions of consciousness, knowing, feeling, and willing, become
determined as distinct organically related modes, like the nervous,
nutritive-circulatory and motor systems forming one organic whole body.
These psychic modes attain gradually an intricate and definite
development, whose constant interdependent connection with an individual
body we term a “mind.” And we must remark that this vital relation of
one consciousness and one form of consciousness to another is in no wise
effected through apperception, through a third distinct consciousness, a
cognitive one, which unites them in idea. A feeling excited a will act
long before there was consciousness of either, or of their relation. In
general we must say that consciousness does not consciously forge for
itself its own relations, but that in by far the larger part of psychic
development new modes of consciousness and their inter-relations come in
a totally unforeseen way, by a blind striving in the struggle for
existence. It may be doubted, indeed, if even the most advanced human
mind can really invent a new consciousness or a new relation in
consciousness, but by intense effort it attains them. One of the
obscurest points in biology is as to the nature and cause of
morphological variation, and the subject of mental variation is for
psychological science far more obscure. We presuppose that mental
variations somehow arise in response to sudden and great emergencies,
and in connection with the severest effort. Mental progress is, in all
the earlier life at least, only achieved under pressure of intense pain
actually experienced or ideally so,—emotion—and in some way an
appropriate and saving psychosis as response of organism to environment
originates. This new form may be indistinct, and proceed as a gradual
differentiation from previous types, still the method of action of the
motive force seems mysterious. We can see, indeed, the advantage which
accrues, for example, to the animal which is first able to detect danger
or nutriment by scent, but just the method of the rise and progress of
scenting as a conscious process seems difficult to trace. We cannot say
that power of smell arose because organs of smell were developed; this
puts the cart before the horse. It is the struggle to sense that is the
prime motive force in developing the sense organs and not _vice versâ_.
We do not smell because we have noses, but we have noses because we
smell. That the sense of smell is a differentiated general sensation is
likely enough, but we are unable to follow the steps. We know that the
higher development of our present senses is attained only through great
exertion, which determines a physical basis and organic progress—as in
microscopy, telescopy, and so-called mind-reading—and if humanity is to
develop in the future an electric sense or a telepathic sense, it must
be reached by the intense struggle of a very few. We must believe that
every mode of mind is at bottom but some modification of pre-existing
forms, and it may be that as all modes of the material are interpretable
in motion, so the manifold mental may be equally resolvable into some
one type. Yet so far as we can now see, feeling, will, and cognition
seem radically and primitively distinct. The missing links in mental
evolution are most difficult to determine, for, as we have often
remarked, while we can with comparative ease both determine fossil
organic forms _a priori_ and discover as realities, the intermediate
mental forms can only be known through a subjective realization.

It does not help us to ascribe the advantageous variation to chance, a
word, indeed, which does not belong to the dictionary of science, for it
is but a cover to ignorance. Chance means that the determinate line of
causes is hidden from the observer, who only knows that one of several
results will take place. Chance is thus wholly relative; the gambling of
savages is often calculable to the European, and so every affair of
chance, as dice throwing, might be calculable to a superior intelligence
who could compute or watch every turn of the dice. Chance, then, does
not reside in the outward thing, is not a property of phenomena, but is
wholly a subjective limitation of the investigating mind, hence to
ascribe variation, physical or psychical, to chance is simply to
objectivise our own imperfect cognition. The pre-supposition of all
science is that every event or change has its definite determining
antecedents, and that these are cognizable; hence the doctrine of chance
has no place in any complete and real science of phenomena. That
organism is, indeed, fortunate, which first achieves some notable and
valuable psychic mode, but this good fortune does not in any wise come
by chance, or by the passive enjoyment of concurrent favourable
circumstances, but it is a well-earned superiority attained only by the
severest and most patient responsive struggle, and there in every case a
determinate series of steps in mental process which may ultimately be

Mental forms also arise through perversion, competitors perverting
originally advantageous variations, as has been already pointed out for
paralysing-fear, sense-destroying anger, etc. Atavistic tendency gives
pseudo-variations. Certain mental forms may be negative in origin, that
is, merely reactionary from previous states. Given a high degree of any
joyous emotion, say hope, and suddenly remove its conditions, and the
swing is back beyond the zero point of emotion to actual negative
emotion, as despair. Still the whole gamut from positive to negative, as
from highest hope to deepest despair, is but a single generic emotion
form of polar correlate elements, which have equally developed through

The subject of psychic intensity in general, and feeling intensity in
particular, is likewise obscure and difficult. Physical intensity is
comparatively easy to investigate in its nature and laws. For instance,
in the case of light we clearly conceive its nature in terms of
molecular motion, we measure it exactly by photometers, and we know it
to proceed by the law of inverse squares. We have no similar certainty
and clearness with regard to mental intensity. We speak of suffering
very slight or very intense pains, but there is no scientific theory or
valuation of psychic intensity. Mere physical intensity does not explain
psychic, and we know that variations in rapidity of ether waves, for
example, give, not quantitative, but qualitative psychic variations. 640
billion vibrations are felt subjectively as the comparatively feeble
colour blue, while 450 billion gives the striking and intense colour,
red. It is only within a certain range and with certain forms of forces
that Weber’s law of geometric and arithmetic increase applies.

Strictly speaking, we cannot apply quantitative conceptions to
consciousness, inasmuch as mind has no spatiality which is the basis of
idea of quantity and size. Hence the use of quantitative terms, like
great, large, small, little, etc., is an indirect reference to
intensity. I was in very great pain equals I was in very intense pain.
No consciousness is literally either larger or smaller than another,
because consciousnesses cannot, by reason of their non-spatial nature,
enter into quantitative relations. So-called massive pains are really
manifold. (See on this and kindred points my remarks in _Nature_, vol.
40, p. 642.)

A popular test of mental intensity, and one which has a relative value,
is by the power needed to displace a given psychosis. Thus, if a man in
a brown study walks into a pond of cold water without noticing it, we
rightly conclude that he is thinking very intensely. This, of course
establishes a scale relative to the individual, beginning with a
psychosis which resists all displacing agencies, and ending with those
of such very slight intensity that they give way to any and all
diversions. A consciousness which supplants another must _per se_ be
more intense than the other. All that which rouses and diverts patients
suffering from monomania and fixed ideas is practically equal in
intensity. While we may thus pronounce one state as being equal in
intensity to another or as being more or less intense than it, we yet
have no ground for any numerical estimate. When a person says, “I feel
twice as bad as I did yesterday, or I feel a hundred times as happy now
as I was a year ago,” it is plainly a general and indefinite expression.
Emotions have not yet been brought within the range of mathematical

The intensity of feelings, as also of sensations, sustains undoubtedly
certain mathematical relations to intensity of objective stimulus, but
owing to their complex nature, emotions, at least, must always be very
difficult of interpretation by any such law as Weber’s, though simple
pain may be brought more easily under some law. A pain, _other things
being equal_, increases in some ratio to increment of physical stimulus.
But we must believe that the reason for the diversity between proportion
of actual increments of stimulus and actual increments of sensation and
feeling is largely physiological. It certainly is not a true
psycho-physical law, a law of relation of mind and matter, as is often
claimed; for we cannot obtain an absolutely objective standard to test
subjectivity. Hence any such law is merely a law of relation of
different kinds of sensations, of different methods of interpreting the
objective. Intensity of stimulus itself is always determinable only
through some sensation, which is itself subject to Weber’s law. There is
no objective standard for sense stimuli; the measure of increasing
stimulus to increasing sensation must be by some sense which has its own
law with reference to physical increment as interpreted by another sense
equally under law, and so on. Take pressure, for instance; we note by
sense of _sight_ the arm of a balance reacting regularly and constantly
to definite small additions to load, while upon our own arm we do not
notice the same additions in any such series of feeling of pressure
increments. The arm and balance as disparate weighers must, of course,
be in certain ratios related, and for a certain range we must have a
geometrical series, but other ratios at other points.

That the degree of sensitivity is proportioned to the intensity of
sensation already present, that the knock at the door must be the louder
the more noise is going on within, is a defect in organic measurement,
but it is not entirely absent in mechanical; scales which weigh by the
ton do not respond easily or at all to minute weights. But, abstractly
speaking, mechanic methods are in general far superior to organic; a
fine balance weighs better than any arm, and a good camera pictures
better than the best eye; that is, their ratio of discriminating
sensibility is far greater than natural organs, and it may be as
geometric series to arithmetic series. Practically, however, organic
weighing and seeing are well adjusted to the demands of life. An
appreciation of gravity, so far as it is of use to the organism, is
secured, and if a finer sensibility were demanded it would be attained.
That is, I am inclined to believe that the Weber-Fechner law of definite
mathematical proportions is purely empirical, and does not mark a real
limit or a fundamental psycho-physical law. If a man’s life and living
depended on it, he could become a good weighing machine, and in time a
race of organic weighers might be raised up which should vie in accuracy
and range with the best scales now constructed. The quotient of
sensitiveness is really indefinitely variable. It is probable, indeed,
that deep sea organisms have a discriminative sensibility for both
gravity and light far more delicate than the acutest human sense.

The whole subject of measurement of mental intensities must evidently be
approached with the greatest care, and the diversities of researches in
results and in their interpretation, is evidence that we have not
completely isolated the facts we are in search of. Conscious
experimentation must be allowed as tending to disturb sense. When
attention is strained to marking sense increments it may very easily be
deluded, and wrongly suppose as to feeling or not feeling. Consciousness
is by no means infallible as to its own acts, and especially when
artificial. Feelings may, and often do, originate subjectively by
suggestion, and hence may have no direct reference to the external cause
which is under experimental manipulation.

And not only have we thus to guard against a strong tendency to
introspective and apperceptive error as to what we actually experience,
or how we experience, but we have also to constantly bear in mind that
every experience, every sensing, as of pressure, light, etc., is not an
isolated phenomenon, but as resting upon and involving the past, it can
never be a simple direct measure of the objective present, as a given
weight or light. Every conscious experience, like all other vital
organic phenomena, has thus an individuality and differs from every
other as every leaf differs from every other, and so the laws of
experience are capable only of general expression. Since all
consciousness is self-integrating and brings up the past into itself, it
is always more than any occasional reflection of a present phenomenon;
in the finest analysis every consciousness must have an equation of its

However, there is a quotient of relation of physical stimulus,
mechanically measured, with increase and decrease of both sense and of
pleasure-pain. The pack-carrier feels in a certain proportion to his
present load pressure of weight-increments, and pressure pains also
augment, though probably not in strict corresponding ratio. It is a
popular saying that the last straw breaks the camel’s back, and it is
certain that pains rapidly culminate. It is probable that increments
which may not be sensed may yet be felt as pain. In fact, it is but very
gradually that sense of pressure is evolved as practically free of pain;
as a mere cognitive process it is always secondary to pleasure-pain
states which are felt directly from weights or but slightly objectified.
Pleasure-pain which proceeds from weights gradually is driven to sensing
them—the evolution of the pressure sense—and to noting variations, sense
increments, and if, like marine organisms, we ranged through pressure
zones, the significance of discriminative sensibility might be very

However, it is obvious that in its rise and in its whole evolution,
pleasure-pain is bound up with the pressure sense, but not with the arm
of the balance as a record. Hence it is possible that Weber’s law, so
far as applicable, is in some measure a result of feeling interference.
The simplicity of direct reaction is being destroyed by the hedonalgic
law disturbing the direct ratio; we may thus feel an increasing pain
from increasing weights, and have decreasing pressure sense. Beyond a
certain point the law of increments, with reference to external standard
for sensing and for pleasure and pain are in inverse ratio. On a very
hot day we notice more and more strongly each additional degree of heat
by the temperature sense, but beyond a certain degree, peculiar to the
individual at the time, sense of heat will rapidly diminish as heat
increases, and with increase of pain.

As to the number of feelings, of qualitatively distinct states, we must
on a general doctrine of evolution pronounce this to be innumerable and
indefinite. The present forms of feeling in human consciousness of
course represent but a small fraction of the total number which have
arisen in the course of psychic evolution. Every distinct form implies a
long evolution of intermediate types which are now for the most part
beyond our realization and so beyond cognition. The process of naming
affords some slight clue to the importance and multiformity of feeling,
though this denotes only a few of the most obvious points which have
impressed themselves on the popular mind. Certainly the most striking
fact to ordinary introspection, human and sub-human, is feeling, and the
manifold variety of simple pleasure-pains and of emotions has always,
and will always, attract most strongly the general attention. It would
be a most interesting and profitable study to follow the course of
language in its denotation of feeling. Varied expression for varied
feelings is gradually achieved in vocal forms, which expressions become
a language sense to denote the feeling expressed. Thus the hoarse bellow
of rage will both express and denote rage. The vocal expression form as
imitated is the earliest language form, and only very gradually does
language assume the mechanical and arbitrary forms of its highest
development. It is by imitating being mad vocally and otherwise, and
pointing to the angered one, that the savage conveys the idea of anger.
Gradually all but the vocal expression is dropped, and this
conventionalized, becomes the origin of the word to denote the emotion
in question. Feeling and emotion names are doubtless in their origin
debased vocal expression forms, though in the later evolution of
language this is generally not detectable, and various other more
indirect associations control language. Only states of consciousness
which have attained a considerable force and prominence receive notice
in the vocabulary of common speech. For many variances of feeling there
is no word denotation, but it may be given by intonation. The number of
names of feeling is thus in any language, or in all languages, but a
very rough index to the actual number of kinds of feeling, and we may
expect that a thorough scientific analysis will develop as extended
scientific nomenclature of feeling, as chemistry has of kinds of matter.
At the present crude stage of psychology we must affirm that the number
of cognizable, but unnamed feelings, far exceeds the number of the
named, and that the number of the undiscriminated or the undiscovered
feelings far exceeds the number of both forms.

On the whole, it has been the object of our present studies to point out
with some definiteness the extent and mode of the early differentiation
of feeling. Owing to the peculiar difficulties which beset this form of
study and to which we have often adverted, our conclusions may seem
rather meagre and uncertain, but it is sufficient if they emphasize a
region of introspective study, which, though of the utmost practical
importance, is yet the most neglected of all in psychic science; and we
hope to have set forth the most probable general order of mental
evolution with some distinctness as based on the struggle of existence.
Mind, beginning in pure pain, and culminating on the feeling side in the
higher emotions, contains an intermediate, continuous, indefinite number
of forms, determined by the demands of life and preserved by natural
selection, many of which are so entirely outgrown that they may be for
ever beyond human conception, and many occurring only occasionally in
human consciousness as survivals, and a large, yet comparatively small
number constituting the present evolution phase of feeling in human
consciousness. We have dwelt specially on the lower developments, the
rise of objectification and its nature, the rise and value of emotion,
with some characterization of the simpler and earlier emotions. Emotion
is superior to and supplants sensation, though based thereon. The poison
I fear, I abstain from without tasting; but with lower psychisms there
must be a direct sensing of the thing before its experience quality is

Must we not suppose that feeling and emotion is destined to be an
evanescent form in the evolution of mind? Is not the emotional type

Online LibraryHiram M. (Hiram Miner) StanleyStudies in the Evolutionary Psychology of Feeling → online text (page 31 of 32)