Hiram M. (Hiram Miner) Stanley.

Studies in the Evolutionary Psychology of Feeling online

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The theory makes mind a wheel within wheel of bewildering intricacy. Yet
mind in this point of view has a certain analogy with the physiological
status of the higher organisms, for example, the human body is colonial,
is constituted of a multitude of cells, a simple type of organisms, by
whose consentaneous activity the whole body is animate.

One objection to this theory is that it confounds functioning with
differentiating. Not every act of consciousness is by its very nature a
differentiating, a movement toward specialization. Consciousness is on
the whole more often regressive than progressive, and very often
practically neither, as for example, in all instinctive, habitual, and
spontaneous activities.

But again, while differentiating act certainly pre-supposes the
undifferentiated, does it require coincidence? For instance, vision as
ordinary form, receiving impressions, certainly contains no _totum
objectivum_ activity, but also as differentiating act, as intense visual
effort reaching to higher development, it generally, at least, seems
free from any lower stage, and is engrossed in itself. Since we make the
prime cause of all mental development and differentiation in will, we do
not need any undifferentiated general ground remaining in consciousness
as basic element, nor does analysis of consciousness show this constant
element. Successive phases of presentation development are attained
through effort, but one does not gradually grow and branch out of the
other by a purely inward _impetus_ of its own. I believe, indeed, that
the inner life of mind consists in its original forms, and that they
remain in late mind not merely as useless survivals but having a
distinct functional value; but I do not see how any or all of the
general stages of mentality constitute _continua_ for consciousness of
higher types. Instead of being constant basal elements they occur and
are blotted out with such rapidity that reflection can very rarely
identify them (_vide_ p. 63). They are lost and swallowed up in complex
consciousness so quickly as to leave no trace upon memory, and they do
not subsist or continue throughout the complex forms. They are then the
very opposite of _continua_, being, in fact, the most evanescent of
mental phenomena. Consciousness in all higher forms, as the human mind,
must and does mount the main steps of its very early growth with
marvellous rapidity and leaves them entirely behind. The more primitive
the stage the more quickly it vanishes, till often it seems to appear in
tendency form only, or be thrown into a subconsciousness. Primitive
types exercise a most important but fleeting influence in advanced
consciousness which rises through them most rapidly and easily, but in
the less advanced the contrary is the case. The Australian savages, as
observed by Lumholtz, came to their senses and reached a full awakening
in the morning very slowly as compared with civilized men. With dull
children likewise we observe how slowly they awaken. All regressive
forms reach but slowly to their full consciousness and dwell long in
intermediate stages. But in all cases when higher forms enter the lower
disappears, when varied perception enters in awakening, then the
preceding dim general objectivity is wholly obliterated.

It will be remarked that admitting, as we do, the constant existence in
mental life of feeling as pleasure and pain, we thereby make this a real
_continuum_. But we may say that consciousness is never without a
pleasure-pain constituent and yet not assert a _continuum_.
Consciousness continually possesses some pleasure-pain element, but this
is not a feeling as continuous state, as an underlying differentiating
basis pleasures and pains as diverse independent states are essential
incentives in all consciousness, but they do not constitute a single

Of course, every consciousness, as long as it continues, is in this very
general sense a _continuum_, but no form of consciousness, primitive or
advanced, can, with one exception, be called a _continuum_, as a single
mode running through and unifying a long stretch of varied
consciousnesses. This exception is the complex element of ego-tone.
Early mind is no more than a kaleidoscopic jumble, with no one
organizing and unifying element. Even when consciousness from happening
in purely disconnected flashes attains first a certain limited
continuity, this is not by means of some conscious element persisting
through a series, but merely signifies that as fast as one consciousness
dies out, another takes its place, _i.e._, the continuity is purely
formal and temporal. It is through self-consciousness alone that any
real _continuum_ is achieved in and for consciousness, and this ego-tone
is far from being primitive.

The sensation and objectifying as discussed in this chapter in
connection with feeling, both pain and pleasure, constitutes complex
states of consciousness which may be termed a feeling when the pain or
pleasure is dominant, or a cognition when the sensing and objectifying
is dominant. Thus by a feeling I understand a state of consciousness
which is either entirely or dominantly pain or pleasure, the former
being pure feeling, the latter mixed feeling. This latter class
constitutes the feelings properly so-called, as varied pains and
pleasures, the variation element being the cognition in some form.
Feeling as being in different kinds is made such by the differentiation
of cognition. Thus hunger is neither a pure sensation—that is by pure
sensation meaning not absolutely pure, for pleasure or pain is
invariable incentive concomitant, but sensation pure from any distinct
mode of apprehension, as merely general and undifferentiated—nor yet is
hunger pure pain, but it is the combination of a certain definite
sensing, beyond the pure stage, with pain. Hunger is a feeling when the
pain aspect is dominant, is cognition when sensation aspect is dominant.
The confusion in the use of the terms sensation and feeling comes from
the difficulty in determining dominancy in given cases. Certainly the
exact line where feeling of hunger passes into sensation of hunger can
be settled only by the most careful discrimination, but at any great
remove from this line the character of the state is very manifest. By no
effort can we separate the sensing from the pain so as to have nothing
but sensation, though the attributing to bodily affection does in the
incipient stages of hunger become dominant, but as hunger increases,
pain becomes dominant, and ultimately the end as the beginning is pure
pain. We say, “I _feel_ hungry,” for all stages when any sensing is
present, and this indiscriminate popular use of the word “feel,” has
tended to obscure the real nature of the whole mentality. The same line
of remark applies to feeling thirsty, feeling hot, etc.


“I feel cold,” and “I feel afraid of cold,” are expressions which denote
two tolerably distinct feelings. The main characteristic which
distinguishes the second feeling as an emotion is obviously
representation. In the first case, I have pain with presentation of the
cold, in the second, pain with the mere representation of the cold. If I
feel cold, I have direct and immediate experience; if I fear the cold, I
have an experience in view of experience, pain at pain. When one says,
“I have a violent pain in my head,” and a friend answers, “I am deeply
pained to hear it,” we recognise at once the fundamental distinction
between sensation and emotion. We have in this chapter to discuss some
points as to the rise and nature of emotion in its relation to

The theory which we have been elaborating is that pure pleasure and pain
are the original and causative elements in the whole realm of mind. Pure
feeling is the most direct and necessary, and so the first response in
conscious form, to all stimuli, and it is the incitement to all
cognitive activity in its inception and growth. The harm and good to
organism, are at once, and most quickly realized in terms of pure
feeling, and the painful necessities in the struggle for existence, lead
to a continuous development from this point. Dominant pleasure and pain,
with the different presentation forms, constitute different feelings, as
of warmth, hunger, cold, etc., to which some fuller objectification may
be added. Adjustment is thereby made manifold, but only with present
stimulus. There is no appreciation of the experienceable. All that is
attained is immediate present apprehension which in no wise suggests or
interprets, but which is strictly self-contained.

We must, indeed, acknowledge that no consciousness, save, of course, the
very first, can exist in perfect isolation totally unaffected by any
other. The second conscious activity was not a perfect facsimile of the
first, and its variation is due at least in the main to the precedent
mentality. What is, is determined by what has been, and this universal
law is in mind the inductive nature of all experience. The solidarity of
all mentality and of all materiality is a scientific postulate, a
principle which we must assume, or deny all scientific investigation.
The movement of a molecule in the sun, millions of years since,
influences the condition of my body to-day, and the flush of pain in
some protozoan millions of years since, has had an infinitesimal share
in determining my present state of mind. Yet this fact that every
psychosis is what it is by reason of the whole line of previous
psychoses, does not lead us to suppose that experience cognizes itself
from the beginning, and consciously builds itself up. There is for a
long time no consciousness of process of mental integration. The whole
universe of mind is the necessary _prius_ of each individual
manifestation, yet the particular phenomenon in consciousness does not
include a sense of, or reaching out to, these conditioning agencies. No
sense of dependence is generated. But we ask, How can one conscious
state unconsciously effect or determine another? How can consciousness
be affected without consciousness of affection? Yet, difficult as it may
appear to set clearly before us the nature of this relation of a
consciousness to all the preconsciousness, it is still obvious that the
intricate _nexus_ of cause and effect in mind does not need to be known
of mind or realized in the individual consciousness, and is not, and
cannot be. Every consciousness is the derivative resultant of
innumerable pre-consciousnesses, and it goes to the determining and
qualifying of innumerable post-consciousnesses, yet it is neither
consciousness of the future or the past, though it involves both.

The early phase of mind where consciousnesses are wholly un-unified from
within by any central or continuous consciousness, and whose solidarity
is wholly in an unconscious integration is so foreign to us who have
minds where experience of experience is continually in process, that it
is with the utmost difficulty we can in any wise conceive it. It is
evident that a very low organism may have consciousnesses, but no mind,
that is, no self-unifying whole of consciousnesses. It does not possess
a mind, but during its whole life it attains psychoses which are merely
_disjecta_ reached to help an immediate necessity of existence, and then
fading completely away. Each psychosis is achieved more easily than the
former by reason of the former, though there is no consciousness of
connection with it. The increment and qualifying of a given experience
by past experience is not reached by it. Some differentiation is
attained under pressure of struggle for existence, and experience is
constituted, but is wholly unknowing of itself and in no wise

We have now, however, to consider the problem, how experience came to
itself, and how and why representation and emotion should arise in the
struggle of existence.

At the first, as we have seen, organisms responded in conscious form
only in pleasure and pain, and this only when the actual damage or
benefit to the individual was very considerable. When the hurt was
critical, then only was pain accomplished as a function to secure
self-preservative action, but gradually through survival of the fittest
the greater susceptibility was attained, so that minor lesions are felt
in pain terms, and some general sensing and objectifying lead to some
differentiation in adjustment. The external parts of the body become
specially sensitive, and ciliate extensions are formed. Injury to these
results in pain and consequent reactions, and in this wise by injury to
a small part great harm to the organism as a whole is prevented. The low
forms of life are thus enabled to avoid the hurtful before they meet it
in full annihilatory force. These practically anticipatory
reactions—though there is no real anticipation in consciousness, no real
experience of experience—I term the method of incipiency. Pain reactions
are thus reached with less and less actual harm until the very slightest
injury to a minute tentacle will suffice to awaken pain.

This tentacular experience, however, is obviously very limited, and has
incidental disadvantages. Further, that pain should be attained when
there is little actual harm, is good, but to attain pain, and
self-conservative action before any injury is done, but only about to be
done is better. Reaction to potential harm is a most important
advantageous step. In the earlier form of mentality, the animal must
actually be in the process of being devoured by an enemy before a pain
reaction is achieved, but in the later representative form of reaction
there is complete anticipation, and the animal can come off with an
absolutely whole skin. Ideal pains, as fear, anger, and other emotions,
are gradually substituted for pains which are real in the sense that
they arise in a positive hurt to the life of the organism. The saving
which is effected through emotion is most important, and this economy is
reason for the rise of emotion in the struggle of existence. Those
animals who are able, not merely to react on slight injuries to
themselves, but also through fear, etc., to avoid all actual injury,
have a very manifest advantage.

If now the _rationale_ of the rise of emotion is apparent, let us next
proceed to some analysis of emotional process in general. The mental
mechanism by which anticipatory function is secured is certainly
complex, and a complete analysis presents many difficulties.

In the incipiency stage, which we have just discussed, the organism was
enabled to avoid the full force of the injurious by meeting it half-way
with extensions from its own body, but we cannot suppose that this was
purposely accomplished, or that the lesser pain conveyed in any form
sense of the greater pain. There was no fear, no anger, not any
experience at experience in consciousness. There is simply pain on less
and less injury, but no anticipation of pain.

In early consciousness there is, of course, frequent return of a given
object which becomes the occasion of a large number of objectifyings
which are identical in nature yet do not contain sense of identity.
There is repeated reaction to the same objective stimulus, yet with no
sense of sameness, there is frequent cognition of the same thing yet no
recognition. With primitive consciousness, no matter how often a thing
is experienced, it is equally new; revival of the past is not
stimulated, nor sense of identity attained. Mere return of a state is
not sense of return, and no amount of re-occurrence or combinations
thereof will make sense of re-occurrence. Re-occurrence of a psychosis
is nothing more subjectively than occurrence unless there arise sense of
re-occurrence or revival. The pure feeling states in primitive
consciousness are perfectly identical in nature, and they arise on
occasions which are the same, yet there is of course no sense of
identity. A young child may see a thing a hundred times without
recognising it; there are a hundred re-occurrences of state yet no sense
of re-occurrence. The hundredth perception does not differ materially
from the first, does not include any true representative element. The
immediate image does not stand for the past, the mind does not revive
previous presentation on the strength of it.

Mind is regarded by many as consisting fundamentally of vivid sense
presentations and their faint reproductions, of sense impressions and
their representations. That which has been repeatedly experienced has a
tendency to re-occur without the particular objective stimulus, but
merely indirectly by some connected stimulus, through an association of
states. But this revival, however attained, does not constitute real
representation, it does not really differ from the presentation simply
because it re-occurs without the original particular objective stimulus.
Representation in true sense of term is representation with sense of
re-presentation. A representation is a repetition of a presentation with
no consciousness of repetition or any added nature. Repetition is a fact
in consciousness before it is a fact for consciousness. All
presentations and re-presentations have mere immediate validity and
value, they point to nothing, and mean nothing, there is no going beyond
what is immediately given, no prescience of a possible experience.

Revival often occurs in mind without sense of revival, and so is not
true representation. In disordered states of the nerves we frequently
see objects which have no real existence, the states are revival states
as objectively interpreted, yet there being no sense of revival they
stand in consciousness for real presentations. When I see a person
sitting in a chair but afterwards find that no one was there, I
characterize the state very naturally as a mere imagination, a
representation; yet in fact it was in subjective quality a presentation.
We are not to psychologically classify, as is too often done, psychical
states according to presence or absence of object, but as to sense of
presence or absence of object. It is only as consciousness takes note
with reference to object that there is differentiation in consciousness
to make presentation and representation.

We must consider it probable that the earliest revivals by consciousness
were solely of the unconscious sort, or, objectively speaking, were
hallucinatory. A sense order is formed, which attends to a series of
objective realities; let now, on some occasion, one of these objects
drop out, yet there will be attaining of some sense of it as though it
were present, and the proper reaction will be carried out. The mind gets
its early revivals without sense of revival. They have presentative
force, and are sensings of objective reality though there is no
objective reality there at the time to sense.

These early simple revivals, which are all hallucinatory, perform an
important function. They are practically anticipatory, in that the
reaction is secured before the actual presence of the reality. Thus they
save an actual bodily experience, though the mental is quite real, yet
fainter than actual object would give. Thus with an enemy an animal will
revive, upon slight indirect sensation, previous experiences, and it
will have in ideal form, _i.e._, without the objective reality, a very
real experience with what is to it real enemy, thus escaping before full
advent of enemy. When a shadow alarms a low organism—and even very low
organisms seem to react to shadows—there is no actual harm done to its
members as would happen with a concrete body, and hence there is no
direct pain. The shadow is yet taken for real body, and revival pains
and revival sensations are attained with this, and there is consequent
activity. Shadow does not appear as sign of enemy, but in itself a
dangerous reality, so that anticipatory reaction is gained without
actual representation. In most cases in low organisms what we take for
fear or other emotion is probably no more than revival of the type of
which this shadow experience is an example. What is actually unreal,
being only revival, is taken for the real, and is acted on accordingly,
and in most cases this action is of service as anticipatory. When the
organism discovers the shadow to be but shadow, a something, not the
object, yet connected with it, when it becomes a sign of further
experience, this is representation as the basis of emotions such as fear
and anger.

The pain intensity in the simple revivals, re-presentations, is
doubtless less than in experience with objective realities, so there is
a saving on this score in pseudo-direct experience. While reactions are
secured upon this method without injury being actually inflicted, still
there is loss of economy in this, that the activity is excessive under
the circumstances. Priority of action to real injury is secured, but at
an excessive expense of energy, almost equal to that in actual
experience with the real thing.

This acting to a false reality, while it has a value for experience, is,
as said, uneconomical, and it must sometimes not have the anticipatory
force. The cheat and illusion is ultimately at some critical moment
cognized by consciousness, revival comes to be estimated at its real
worth, and sense of reality and unreality is formed. The revived
presentation does not stand in and by itself alone, but it acquires a
significance, and it loses the force of complete reality value. That
which is brought into consciousness again is not only revival, but is
felt to be such.

To constitute representation, then, there must be not merely revival,
but sense of revival with some sense of unreality of revival form. But
this would avail nothing save it brought in sense of its value for
experience. The revival must not only be appreciated as such, but the
relation to the experienceable must be cognized. The calling up of the
past must be applied to experience. The sight of a fire not only calls
up revivals, but there is the sense of the experienceable therewith, and
an emotion which incites me to walk to the fire and receive warmth. Mere
return and sense of return must be supplemented by sense of value for
future experience. Representation is experience doubling on itself. All
representation is more than representation of thing, revival; it is
representation of experience as such, hence an experience of experience.
We must always emphasize as the essence of representation not the
revival, but the sense of the experienceable or experienced thereby

The process to representation we see exemplified in measure in awaking
from a dream. The dream itself, speaking from the objective point of
view of observing psychologist who detects no real things in interaction
with the body, is representative in nature; but, for the experiencing
consciousness, there is no sense of revival, and all is presentative
activity. Things are known as such, and not as dreamt or represented.
Awaking is a gradual pouring in of sense of revival and of sense of
objective unreality of the experience; we become conscious that the
activity is no direct consciousness, but a recalling or reproduction.
The dream image, which was so real to me while in the dream, I now hold
as representative only, as having no immediate answering form and
substance. When, as with the superstitious, the dream is felt to have
significance, to have a meaning for life in pleasure-pain terms, then
emotion becomes possible, and fear, hope and kindred feelings are

We observe that representation is then a new order of consciousness.
Representation cannot be attained by any combination of experiences,
revival or direct, but it is a unique and reflex act. It is not a
development of presentation, as an echo and re-echo of it; and the mere
fact of absence of external cause or object does not constitute a
cognition as representation. The objectifying is not self-contained, but
it conveys a meaning for experience. Representation is an experience
which includes some cognizance of or sense of experience, and it is thus
the germ of self-consciousness and consciousness of consciousness.
Experience comes to be more than a series of detached and isolated
activities with no cognitive power beyond a direct and immediate
apprehension, but by rising to some appreciation of itself it becomes
forewarned and forearmed, able to consciously appreciate and attend to
its own welfare.

We have also to emphasize this, that while representation involves a

Online LibraryHiram M. (Hiram Miner) StanleyStudies in the Evolutionary Psychology of Feeling → online text (page 7 of 32)