Joseph Baldwin.

Elementary psychology and education; a text-book for high schools, normal schools, normal institutes, and reading circles, and a manual for teachers online

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amples.

Emotions of the Humorous. — In view of the ludi-
crous, the witty, the humorous, the ego effervesces
with pleasure. These emotions are called emotions of
the ludicrous, of the witty, of the humorous. Isaac
Barrow well says, " It may be demanded what the thing
we speak of is, or what this facetiousness doth impart.
To which question I might reply as Democritus did to
him who asked the definition of a man. ' 'Tis that
which we all see and know ; any one better apprehends



238 ELEMENTARY PSYCHOLOGY AND EDUCATION.

what it is by acquaintance than I can infer him by
description. It is, indeed, a thing so versatile and mul-
tiform, appearing in so many shapes, so many postures,
so many garbs, so variously apprehended by several
eyes and judgments, that it seemeth no less hard to
settle a clear and certain notion thereof than to make
a portrait of Proteus, or to define the figure of the
fleeting air. Its ways are unaccountable and inexplica-
ble, being answerable to the numberless rovings of
fancy and windings of language.' "

The emotions occasioned by the flat or the dry arc
the opposite of those occasioned by sparkling wit.
" Humor, however strange it may seem, is very com-
monly associated with sympathy. It was remarked by
Sir Walter Scott of Robert Burns, when he appeared
in Edinburgh, that in his conversation there was a
strange combination of pathos and humor. I am sure
that these two, humor and sympathy, often go together.
The man who never laughs, or who can not laugh
heartily, I suspect is deficient in tenderness of heart,
while he may be characterized by many virtues. Cer-
tain it is that in the writings of many of our great
authors pathos and humor are found in the closest con-
nection. " I believe that the fountains of smiles and
tears lie nearer each other than most people imagine." *
Education of the .ffisthetic Emotions. f — We are rap-
idly reaching the conclusion that aesthetic culture is as
important as intellectual culture. To this end, home is
made beautiful, and the modem primary school, as well
as the kindergarten, is full of beauty. Environments,

* McCosh.

+ See "Education of Beauty Emotions," " Applied Psychology."



ESTHETIC EMOTIONS. 239

objects, pictures, songs, plays, art-work, all tend to de-
velop the beauty emotions. As the learner advances, he
is thrilled with higher and still higher forms of beauty.
What a revolution !

SUGGESTIVE STUDY-HINTS.

Review. — What do you mean by the emotions "? What distinc-
tion do you make between egoistic, altruistic, and cosmic emotions I
Do ideas cause emotions, or merely occasion them ?

What do you mean by the altruistic emotions ? Is a capability
to feel beauty and a beauty feeling the same? Illustrate. Name
the classes of sesthetic emotions.

Analyze three cases of beauty emotions ; three of the sublime ;
three of the humorous.

State the office of the beauty emotions; of the emotions of
sublimity ; of the humorous emotions ; give examples in each case.

Tell the characteristics of beauty emotions ; of sublimity emo-
tions ; of humorous emotions ; give examples in each case.

Repeat the author's definition of aesthetic emotions ; your defini-
tion ; definitions of Haven, Bain, etc.

What is beauty ? Objective beauty ? Subjective beauty ? Give
an example of objective beauty ; of subjective beauty.

What do you mean by ugliness? Give examples. Explain
what you mean by beauty of character. Give examples. What is
an ugly character ? Give examples.

Tell what you know about sublimity. How do beauty and sub-
limity differ ? Give examples.

Tell what you know about humor. How do wit and humor
differ ? Illustrate.

Tell what you know about the culture of the aesthetic emotions.

Letter. — In your letter tell about the beauty emotions in poetry
and art.



240 ELEMENTARY PSYCHOLOGY AND EDUCATION.

Aiq"ALTSIS OF ChAPTEKS XXII AND XXIII.

I. The Cosmic Emotions are :

The truth emotions. The aesthetic emotions.

The ethical emotions.

II. Analysis of

1. Truth emotions. 2. Beauty emotions.

3. Sublimity emotions. 4. Humor emotions.

in. Office of

1. Truth emotions. 2. Beauty emotions.

3. Sublimity emotions. 4. Humor emotions.

IV. Characteristics of

1. The truth emotions. 2. The aesthetic emotions*

V. Definitions of

The truth emotions. The aesthetic emotions.

Beauty.
1. Objective. 2. Subjective.

VI. Emotions of Sublimity.

VII. Emotions of Humor.

Vin. Education of

1. Truth emotions. 2. Esthetic emotions.



CHAPTER XXIY.

CONSCIENCE, OR THE ETHICAL EMOTIONS.

By conscience is meant the poicer to feel ethical
emotions in view of right. The ethical emotions are
the feelings occasioned by perceiving and discerning
right. These feelings tend to universal right, and
hence are classed with the truth emotions and the
beauty emotions as cosmic emotions.



CONSCIENCE, OR THE ETHICAL EMOTIONS. 241

'' Conscience, or the Ethical Emotions.

The Emotions of Conscience.
Names. 1 The Emotions of Right.

The Emotions of Good.
^ The Duty Emotions.

As these emotions look to good, to right, to duty,
they are called duty emotions, emotions of the right,
emotions of the good, and emotions of conscience. By
common consent the capability to feel rightness is
termed conscience, and the feelings incident to ideas
of right and wrong are called emotions of conscience,
or ethical emotions.

Analysis of Ethical Emotions. — Take Paul : " I perse-
cuted Christians conscientiously, for I thought I ought."
Because he believed Jesus to be an impostor, he felt it
his duty to crush out Christianity. The feeling "I
ought " moved Paul to persecute. He believed it was
right, and felt that he ought. The impulses to do what
we believe to be right are impulses of conscience. Take
Joseph Peed. When tempted to betray his country by
the offer of $50,000 and high office. Reed replied, " I
am not worth purchasing ; but, such as I am, the King
of Great Britain is not rich enough to buy me." He be-
lieved that it was wrong to sell his country. The feel-
ing ''I ought not" moved Reed to refuse the bribe.
The impulses to refuse to do what we believe to be
wrong are impulses of conscience.

Office of Conscience. — Conscience is the mental power
to feel rightness. Self, as conscience, always moves to
the right. " Get right and keep right," are its impera-
tives. To feel rightness is the sole office of conscience.
But ethical emotions are prospective, immediate, or



242 ELEMENTARY PSYCHOLOGY AND EDUCATION.

retrospective ; lience the three imperatives of con-
science :

1. Find out the riglit. Self, as intellect, finds out right, but
self, as conscience, inspires the search. " Be sure you are right, then
go ahead." I wish to invest in a tempting lottery ; is it right ? I
am offered $10,000 to lobby a bill through Congress ; ought 1 to accept
the offer? Is it right to play cards, attend theatres, dance, flirt,
drink wine, or smoke? At every step these troublesome questions
meet us. The impulses of self as conscience to find out the right
are ethical emotions. Paul acted blindly but conscientiously. Be-
cause he refused to investigate, and went on blindly persecuting
Christians, he calls himself the chief of sinners. The world is full
of these sincere wretches. The sun shines, but men shut their eyes
and declare there is no sun : or, if there is, they can not see it. Find
out the right is the first imperative of conscience.

2. Choose and do the right. Do right is the deepest impulse of
the heart. You have investigated to the utmost. You believe tem-
perance is right and drinking intoxicants wrong. Appetite craves
alcohol. Conscience says, " Touch not, taste not, handle not — the
accursed thing." The impulse to choose temperance and live tem-
perately is an emotion of conscience. You repress your lawless
brute cravings and act in accord with your ethical emotions. You
choose and act conscientiously. Choose and do the right is the
second imperative of conscience.

3. Get right and keep right. Peter denied Christ. Remorse,
the supreme agony, overwhelmed him. Remorse, as a reformatory
energy, is conscience pleading, " Cease doing wrong and begin doing
right." The mute pleadings of conscience aroused Peter, and he be-
came the bravest of the brave. Continuing wrong is the unpardon-
able sin. The dmnkard signs the pledge ; his heart glows with deep-
est satisfaction. This is conscience moving him to keep right. The
emotion of duty done is the highest joy. It sustains us amid all
trials. It sustains the martyr at the stake. Paul exclaims, " I have
kept the faith, and will receive the crown." When we do right, we
feel the approval of the Author of right ; but, when we do wrong, we
feel his disapproval. The poet has beautifully expressed this idea:

" An approving conscience is the smile of God, remorse his frown."
Get right and keep right is the third imperative of conscience.



CONSCIENCE, OR THE ETHICAL EMOTIONS. 243

Characteristics of Conscience. — Since conscience is our
only power to feel riglitness, it is easy to distinguish
ethical emotions from other feelings. Other marked
characteristics in addition to those given may be pointed
out.

1. Ethical emotions are incident to ideas of right
and wrong. No otiier ideas occasion these feehngs, nor
do these emotions occur except in connection with ethi-
cal ideas. Brutes are incapable of gaining ethical ideas,
and hence feel no ethical emotions.

2. Ethical emotions are inijperative. Conscience is
the only imperative soul-energy. / ought^ do right,
etc., are the imperatives of conscience. Moral law is
supreme, as are the emotions of right. ]^ot may but
inust is the ethical feeling. " I can not tell a lie " ; I
can not afford to do what I believe to be wTong ; I can
not afford to disregard my ethical impulses.

3. Ethical emotions dominate. Pleasure, self-in-
terest, and even love must yield to the imperative of
conscience. *' Do right though the heavens fall." " I
would rather be right than be President." These are
good illustrations. Conscience is the supreme soul-
energy. Intellect and will, as well as all the lower feel-
ings, yield to conscience.

Definitions of Conscience. — What is conscience ? It
is not knowing, for self, as intellect, does all his know-
ing. It is not choosing, for self, as will, does all his
acting, choosing, and directing. It is not a compound
faculty, for a faculty is a mental element. Clearly,
conscience is the power to feel rightness.

1. Conscience is the jpower to feel ethical emotions
in view of ethical ideas. It is the mental energy to



244 ELEMENTARY PSYCHOLOGY AND EDUCATION.

feel in the presence of right and wrong. The capability
to feel rightness is an ultimate endowment of the human
soul. No analysis can resolve the emotion of right ; no
synthesis can derive these emotions from other feelings.
As the impulsion to right is a mental activity, distinct
in kind, we are compelled to class conscience as a mental
faculty. When the rubbish is removed, and the mists
are cleared away, how royally conscience stands out in
the mental economy !

2. Original definitions. You may write out your
definition of conscience. There must be no mystery.
Let there be sunlight clearness. The vast range of feel-
ings occasioned by a knowledge of right and wrong are
termed ethical emotions. The capability to feel ethical
emotions is called conscience. Our impulses to do
what we believe to be right are acts of self as con-
science.

3. Various Definitions. — 1. Dr. L G. John : Conscience is the
moral impulsion in man. 2. Hopkins : Conscience is the impulse
felt by a rational being to obey law. 3. Bascom : Conscience is the
power to perceive and feel obligation.

JRemarks. — Self, as conscience, feels rightness, in view of ethical
ideas. But all ideas are intellectual products. Self, as will, moved
by ethical emotions, chooses right. Confounding conscience with its
antecedents, ethical ideas, and its consequents, ethical actions, occa-
sions endless confusion. Ethical ideas, ethical emotions, and ethical
actions are as distinct as gold, silver, and copper. Because emotions
of right are central, conscience is often used to include its antece-
dents and consequents. But the psychologist must sharply distin-
guish between knowing right, feeling right, and doing right. In the
light of intelligence, we feel impulses to choose and do what we
believe to be right. The power to feel oughtness is conscience.

Ethical Knowledge. — How do we find out what is
right ? Precisely as we find out what is true in botany.



CONSCIENCE, OR THE ETHICAL EMOTIONS. 245

The moral universe is an objective reality. Into tliia
world we have direct insight.

1. Ethical percepts. Self, as noumenal perception, immediately
knows concrete right. You observe a noble woman treating kindly
a starving old man, and notice his deep gratitude. You know intui-
tively that the act of kindness and the act of gratitude are right.
W a perceive concrete right.

2. Ethical concepts. We think ethical percepts into ethical con-
cepts. We perceive many acts of kindness and of gratitude, and we
know directly that each is right. We discern resemblances and
think these acts into groups. This group of kind acts becomes kind-
ness, and this group of grateful acts becomes gratitude.

8. Ethical judgments. We think ethical concepts into ethical
judgments. We discern agreement between the notions right and
gratitude, and say gratitude is right. We discern incongruity be-
tween the notions right and ingratitude, and say ingratitude is
wrong.

4. Ethical laivs. We discover laws. I investigate light. I find
that in this case and this, its intensity varies iuA'^ersely as the square
of the distance. As nature is uniform, I find that I have discovered
a law of light. So in ethics I perceive that honesty is right in this
case and this. 1 find that honesty tends to the general good, and
that men everywhere believe that they ought to be honest. Moral
as well as physical forces are constant. I have discovered a moral
law. Ethical knowing is purely intellectual : it is self, as intellect,
investigating the moral world.

Conscience is not a Moral Guide. — Self, as intellect,
finds ont what is right. Self, as conscience, feels a
strong impulse to do what he believes to be right.
Steam impels the boat, but the pilot guides. Con-
science is the moral impulsion in man, but intellect
guides. To call conscience a moral judgment, or a moral
sense, or a moral guide, tends to hopeless confusion.

Conscience in Literature. — A crude psychology is
imbedded in literature. The distinctions between in-
tellect, emotions, and will, are not always clearly dis-



246 ELEMENTARY PSYCHOLOGY AND EDUCATION.

cerned. A blind feeling is often represented as intelli-
gent. The conception of a faculty as an ultimate and
inexplicable endowment of tlie soul, as a simple and
distinct capability, is modern. Even the etymology con^
v/ith, and sciens, knowing, embodies, as I think, a fun-
damental error. But the thoughtful student need not
be misled. Errors wrought into human thought can be
removed only by the slow processes of time and the
leaven of truth. However, the common sense of the
race has ever been right. Conscience to the masses is
simply a feeling of rightness. " It was an error of the
head (intellect) not of the heart (conscience)," gives the
true idea. " My judgment was at fault but my inten-
tions were good," is sound psychology. " Conscience
doth make cowards of us all," and " The righteous are
bold as a lion," give the correct meaning.

Inteations and Conscience. — Intentions are purposes.
What were your intentions ? Self, as consciousness,
perceives his intentions. We can not be mistaken as to
our intentions.

1. Good intentions are purposes to do what we be-
lieve to be right. When we act with good intentions
we act conscientiously. Paul believed he ought to per-
secute the Christians. He did it "in all good con-
science," for his intentions were good.

2. Bad intentions are pui-poses to do what we be-
lieve to be wrong. When we act with bad intentions
we act unconscientiously. Judas knew that it was wrong
to betray Christ. He acted unconscientiously, for his
intentions were bad. I know always with absolute cer-
tainty whether my intentions are good or bad. It is
the certainty as to good intentions that makes the right-



CONSCIENCE, OR THE ETHICAL EMOTIONS. 247

eous bold as a lion. One man with good intentions sliall
chase a thousand.

" He whose cause is just is treblj armed."
It is the certainty as to bad intentions that causes
the wicked to flee from shadows. ''Tlie wicked flee
when no man pursueth."

Conscience is Infallible. — Every one is liable to reach
false conclusions, and to consider the right wrong, or
the wrong right. But conscience, as invariably as the
needle points to the pole, moves us to choose and do
what we deem the right. The good man is a conscien-
tious man. A conscientious man habitually does what
he believes to be right. A bad man is one who habitu-
ally chooses and does what he believes to be wrong.
Conscience is not a guide ; intellect guides. Conscience
is the infallible impulse to do what we consider right.

Must we, then, always obey our consciences ? Cer-
tainly. Conscience moves us to search for right with
all our powers. Conscience never fails to move us to
do what we consider right. We must obey.

Intuitive Ethical Ideas. — The moral universe is as
real as the physical. Moral agents, moral phenomena,
moral laws, moral obligations, and moral responsibilities,
are objective realities. We are endowed wdth the
power of direct insight into the ethical world. Moral
phenomena are what is right or wrong in conduct.

Self stands face to face with ethical phenomena, and
immediately perceives necessary ethical ideas. Take
the actions of the Good Samaritan and the Levite as
an object lesson. Here, right and wrong are acted.
By direct insight, you gain the concrete ideas, right,
ought, merit, and their cpposites. Concrete right and



248 ELEMENTARY PSYCHOLOGY AND EDUCATION.

wrong are ethical pi i en omen a. I need not prove to jou
that the Levite did wrong, or that the Good Samaritan
did right; you know it intuitively. This right and
this wrong are ethical percepts. Concrete ought and
ought not are ethical intuitions. You know at once
that the Good Samaiitan ought to have acted as he did,
and that the Levite ought not to have acted as he
did. The ideas this ought and this ought not are ethi-
cal percepts. Concrete merit and demerit are ethical
intuitions. A big boy stnkes his kind mother. Even
the little child cries "Shame!" and intuitively blames
the unnatural son. You know at once that the Good
Samaritan merited praise while the Levite deserved
blame. The ideas this merit and this demerit are ethi-
cal percepts.

Intuitive Ethical Truths. — l^ecessary inferences from
necessary ideas may be called intuitive truths. The
axioms of ethics, like the axioms of mathematics, are
intuitive truths. AVe venture to submit the following
statements :

1. Moral law. The uniform ways in which moral forces act are
called moral laws. As physical phenomena occur uniformly, in the
same way, we infer that physical law reigns in the physical world.
As moral phenomena are uniform in all lands at all times, we infer
the reign of moral law in the moral world.

2. Author of law. From the existence of right and laws of
right, we infer a law-giver. After half a century of philosophic re-
search, Herbert Spencer gives his final summary: "Amid all mys-
teries, there remains the one absolute certainty — we are ever in the
presence of the infinite and eternal energy, from whom all things
proceed." Mr. Spencer voices the conclusion of all thinkers. In the
same way we reach moral certainty. Moral law necessitates a moral
law-giver.

3. Law and its author are beyond and superior to self. This



COXSCIENCE, OR THE ETHICAL EMOTIONS. 249

inference seems to be unavoidable. We are subjects of law. Law
reigns within and around us. Obedience to law works our good.

4. Self is responsible to law and its author. We are capable
and free. Law is the rule of right, and works for our good. We
are under obligations to obey law. As we are capable and free, we
are responsible for our acts. Morality is thus based on the rock.

Laws of Conscience. — The mental energy wliicli
prompts the choosing and doing of what we deem right
is called conscience. The uniform ways in which this
energy acts may be called the laAvs of conscience. We
submit a few examples :

1. Conscience works in. the light of intelligence. Ethical emo-
tions are agitations and impulses occasioned by ideas of right. In
the absence of ethical knowledge, ethical emotions are impossible. Ab
the brute has no ethical ideas, it feels no ethical impulses.

2. Conscience invariably moves to acts believed to be right. Intel-
lectually, it is human to err. Mistakes of judgment are unavoidable.
The Hindoo mother believes that she ought to sacrifice her child.
Paul believed he ought to persecute Christians. But the action of
gravity is not more constant than the impulse to do what we believe
to be right.

3. Acting conscientiously strengthens conscience. Education by
doing applies to the ethical emotions. As exercise strengthens
muscle, and remembering strengthens memory, so acting conscien-
tiously strengthens conscience. Moral theories and moral sermons
may help or hinder. Only habitually doing what we believe to be
right can make us strong to do right and resist wrong.

4. Suppressing ethical emotions weakens conscience. Doing
what we believe to be wrong is disregarding or suppressing our
emotions of right. As restraining the limbs weakens them, so dis-
regarding conscience tends to weaken ethical emotions.

Growth of Conscience. — Very early, children give
indications of ethical emotions. AYhen child-experience
involves right and wrong, concrete right is perceived
and the impulse toward right felt. But the egoistic
emotions and the physical feelings are now strong, and



250 ELEilEXTARY PSYCHOLOGY AND EDUCATION.

largely determine cliild action. Conscience moves to
the rio:bt, bnt moves feeblv. Tear bv vear the ethical

O ^ ft. c ft

emotions grow stronger. Do right, the imperative of
conscience, more and more influences action. Later,
tlie ethical emotions begin to dominate all other im-
pulses. Xow the child has become a conscientious
moral agent, doing the right because it is right.
Growth of conscience is indicated bv the wonderful
changes from feeble ethical impulses felt by the child
to the dominant ethical emotions felt bj the conscien-
tious man.

'• The conscience," says Dr. 3IcCosh, '* grows as all living things
do, but it grows from a germ. The faculties of the mind, like the
properties of a body, are all of the nature of tendencies. There are
intellectual tendencies in infants and savages, but they need to be
called forth and ripened by light and by heat directed toward them.
It is the same with the moral power ; it is in aU men native and ne-
cessary, but it is a germ requiring to be evolved. It grows as the
oak grows. As the tree needs earth in which to root itself and air
of which to breathe, so the conscienc-e needs a seat in our mental
sphere, with a stimulus to make it germinate and expand. "When
reared in a bare sod, it will be dwarfish. When exposed to cold and
blighting, it will be stunted and gnarled- In a good soil and a
healthy atmosphere, it will be upright and well-formed. In particu-
lar, it grows and sjjreads out with the intelligence which enables it
clearly to apprehend facts and to discover the consequences."

Education of Conscience.- — Moral theories do not
make moral men, nor does the possession of a conscience
make any man virtuous.

1. B'lfjJd doing develops cmiscience. — Habitually
doing what one believes to be right develops the moral
faculty. Intellectual culture does not necessarily pro-
mote conscientiousness. Indeed, great thinkers are

* See " Education of Conscience," " Applied Psychology."



COXSCIE^XE, OR THE ETHICAL EMOTIONS. 251

sometimes monsters of deprayity. Bacon was desig-
nated as the wisest and meanest of mankind. He knew
the wav, approved it, too, but still pursued the wrong.
Sermons and moral lectures are good, but preachers'
children and even preachers may be very immoral.
Acting conscientiously alone educates conscience.

2. Kon-use or misuse wealcens conscience. One
who constantly disregards the urgings of conscience


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Online LibraryJoseph BaldwinElementary psychology and education; a text-book for high schools, normal schools, normal institutes, and reading circles, and a manual for teachers → online text (page 17 of 20)