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النشر الإلكتروني

CHAPTER VI.

THE EMOTIONS.

MAN
AN is patient and agent; he suffers certain passions, and

does certain actions. Passion is actual suffering, and depresses; action is the cure for suffering, and elevates. A calm deliberation involves an equilibrium between suffering and doing; but in so far as an idea is attended with some feeling, whether of pleasure or of pain, or of a inore special character, it is to that extent emotional; and if the feeling preponderate, the idea is obscured, and the state of mind is then called an emotion or a passion. The definite form of the idea in the material substratum is obscured or partially lost in the agitation or commotion of the nerve elements. Strictly speaking, all conscious psychical states are, at first, feelings; but, after having been experienced several times, they are adequately and definitely organized, and become almost automatic or indifferent under ordinary circumstances. So long as the ideas or mental states are not adequately organized in correspondence with the individual's external relations, more or less feeling will attend their excitation: they will, in fact, be more or less emotional. When the equilibrium between the subjective and objective is duly established, there is no passion, and there is but little emotion. (1)

It has been sufliciently evident, up to the present point, that the condition of the nervous centres is of the greatest consequence in respect of the formation of the so-called mental faculties, and of the manifestation of their functions; it will now be seen that this condition is of still more manifest importance in regarl to the phenomena of the emotions. Every one's experience teaches him that an idea which is at one time indifferent, being accompanied by no feeling of pleasure or

discomfort, may, at another time, be attended by some feeling of discomfort, or become positively painful. And it requires no very attentive observation of men to discover that different persons are very differently affected by one and the same object, and often pass very different judgments upon it in consequence. So Touch is this the case that we are in the constant habit of distinguishing men by the difference of their emotional disposition, or of the temper of their minds, and of speaking accordingly of one man as timid; of another as courageous; of one as irritable, quick-tempered ; of another as even-tempered, placid. One of the earliest symptoms of an oncoming insanity, and one that is almost universally present as the expression of a commencing deterioration, howsoever caused, of the nervous centres, is an emotional disturbance, upon which follows more or less perversion of judgment. It is feeling, or the affective life, that reveals the deep essential nature of the man; for it expresses the tone of his nerve element, which again is the result of its actual constitution or composition, inherited and acquired.

The first occurring observation is, that an idea which is favourable to the impulses or strivings of the individual, to self-expansion, is accompanied by a feeling of more or less pleasure; and that an idea which betokens individual restriction, which is opposed to the expansion of self, is atten«led with a feeling of more or less discounfort or pain. As the organic germ does, under circumstances favourable to its inherent developmental impulse, incorporate maiter from without, exhibiting its gratification by its growth, and, under unfavourable conditions, does not assimilate, but manifests its suffering or passion by its decay; su likewise the ganglionic nervr--cell of the hemispheres a:tests by a pleasant emotion the furtherance of its developinent, and declares by a painful feeling of discomfort the restriction or injury which it suffers from an unfavourable stimulus. Even in the earliest sensation, therefore, the existence of pain or pleasure is a sort of obscure judgment on its advantage or disadvantag to the personality or self—a judgment in which, as Herbart has observed, the subject cannot vit be separated from the predivate that expresses praise or blame.

• * Ein l'rtbeil, in dem nur das Vorgestellte sich noch nicht for dem Prilicate, das Beifall oder Todel ilsdruckt, sundem la-st."-ITERBART.

Among so many dangers, then, “to have a care of one's self is," in the words of Hobbes, “ so far from being a matter scornfully to be looked at, that one has neither the power nor wish to have done otherwise. For every man is desirous of what is good for him, and shuns what is evil, but chiefly the chiefest of natural evils, which is death; and this he doth by a certain impulsion of nature, no less than that whereby a stone moves downwards." (%) Children and savages best exhibit in a naked simplicity the different passions that result from the affection of self by what, when painful, is deemed an ill; when pleasurable, a good.

It is necessary to bear in mind that a stimulus, which in moderation gives rise to a pleasant idea, or rather emotion, will, when too prolonged or too powerful, produce discomfort or pain, and consequent efforts to escape from it. There is then a desire to shun the stimulus, like as one altogether noxious is shunned ; the desire becoming the motive or spring of action. The impulse in such case is described as desire, because there is consciousness of it; but it is without doubt the equivalent in a higher kind of tissue of that effort which the lowest animal organism exhibits, without consciousness, in getting away from an injurious stimulus. In both instances there is, in truth, the display of the so-called self-conservative impulse which is immanent in all living inatter-an impulse or instinct, which, whatever deeper facts of intimate composition may be connoted by it, is the essential condition of the continued existence of organic element. Such reaction of organic element is as natural and necessary as the reaction of any chemical compound, because as much the consequence of the properties of matter thus organically combined. When the stimulus to a hemispherical nerve-cell is not in sufficient force to satisfy the demands of the latter,—when, in fact, it is inadequate,-then there is the manifestation of an affinity or attraction by the nervous centre, an outward impulse, appetency, or striving, which, a cain, as it occurs in consciousness, is revealed to us as desire, rinving, or appetite. There is no difference, indeed, as Spinozit observes, between appetite and desire, except in so far as the latter implies consciousness ; desire is self-conscious appetit«. (3) Because we have an appetite or desire for something, therefore we judge it to be good : it certainly is not because a thing is judged to be good that we

have an appetite or desire for it. Here, again, there is an exact correspondence with that attraction, impulse, or striving of organic element towards a favourable stimulus manifested throughout nature, and the necessary correlate of which is a repulsion of what is unfavourable. Because the affinity is exhibited in vital structure, we are prone, when observing it, to transfer our own states of consciousness to the organic element, and, therefore, to represent it on all occasions as striving, by means of a self-conservative impulse or instinct, for the stimulus favourable to its growth. But the attraction is no less a physical necessity than the attraction of an acid for an alkali, of the needle to the pole, or of positive for negative electricity; if there were no stimulus, there would be no reaction on the part of the organic element; if the stimulus were in injurious excess, or otherwise unfavourable, there must be disturbance of the statical equilibrium, and a reaction of repulsion; and when the stimulus is favourable but deficient, the reaction is evinced in an attraction or affinity for an additional amount, like as a nonneutralized acid will take up more alkali, or as unsatisfied appetite craves more nutriment. Now, it is most important that we do not allow the presence of consciousness to mislead us as to what is the fundamental condition of things in the ganglionic cells of the brain. Here, as elsewhere, healthy organic element manifests its fundamental properties, pursuing the good, eschewing the ill; and consciousness is something superadded, but which nowise abolishes them. The striving after a pleasing impression, or the effort to avoid a painful one, is at bottom a physical consequence of the nature of the ganglionic cell in its relation to a certain stimulus ; and the reaction or desire becomes the motive of a general action on the part of the individual for the purpose of satisfying a want, or of slunning an ill. The

re of himself no inan in good halth has the power of neglectIng. To cease to strive is to begin to die, physically, morally, Tel

. intellectually! It is obvious tion, not only how desires become the motives Taction, but how they are gradually evolved into their complete firm out of the unconscious organic appetites. In the desire of tie adult there is necessarily some sort of conception of what is Haired, though it is at times a not very definite one; but in

But to prove

the child, as in the idiot, we frequently witness a vague restlessness evincing an undefined want of, or desire for, something of which itself is unconscious, but which, when obtained, presently produces quiet and satisfaction: the organic life speaks out with an as yet inarticulate utterance. Most striking is that example of the evolution of organic life into consciousness which is observed at the time of puberty, when new organs come into action; then vague and ill-understood desires give rise to obscure impulses that have no defined aim, and produce a restlessness which, when misapplied, is often mischievous : the amorous appetite thus first declares its existence. how little it is indebted to the consciousness which is a natural subsequent development, it is only necessary to reflect that even

the desire sometimes attains to a knowledge of its aim, and to a sort of satisfaction, in dreams before it does so in real life. This simple reflection might of itself suffice to teach psychologists how far more fundamental than any conscious mental state is the unconscious mental or cerebral life. Given an illconstituted or imperfectly developed brain at the time when the sexual appetite makes its appearance, and what is the result ? None other than that which happens with the lower animal, where love is naked lust, and the sight of the female excites a desire that immediately issues in uncontrollable efforts for its gratification. Given, on the other hand, a well constituted and naturally developed brain, the sexual desire undergoes a complex development in consciousness : from its basis are evolved all those delicate, exalted, and beautiful feelings of love that constitute the store of the poet, and play so great a part in human happiness and in human sorrow. What, however, is true of these particular desires is true of all our desires : it may be fitly said, with Bacon, “that the mind in its own nature would Le temperate and staid, if the affections, as winds, did not put it in tumult and perturbation ;” or, with Nova is, that “life is a feverish activity excited by passion."

When the circumstances are exactly adapted to the capacity of the organic element, then are they most favourable to the development of the latter; and a steails growth of it fails uot to testity to the complete harmony of the relations. Or, adopting the language proper in such case to the highest relations of man,

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