Emotion and Instinct

In the analysis of the act to find the place of emotion within it we have the work of Darwin to start with.  He has shown that the so-called emotions belong to a number of primitive acts.  Of these we have love lying back of the sexual act of reproduction, fear behind that of flight, and anger behind that of fighting, besides these we should have the love of off-spring in the mother behind the suckling of the child-form, and other acts of protection and feeding which may be necessary at any point in animal development.   Beyond these primitive emotions it is difficult to go without entering into the wearisome classifications which since the time of Spinoza have added practically nothing to our comprehension of the passions and their derivatives.

There is, however, another side to this investigation that promises more valuable and interesting results and that is the relation between the emotions and interest. We recognize the essentially emotional character of interest, but the affinity and the developmental relationship between them is not so plain.  One distinction between them is evident almost at the first view. This is their positions within the act. Interest underlies the going after and struggle for the end, while the emotion characterizes the immediate grasping and enjoyment of the object sought.  Both anger and fear seem to be exceptions to this classification.  In the case of anger, however, the emotion arises when conscious of the self or what belongs to it has ceased. The same thing is true of fear.  Fear, as distinguished from a paralyzing terror, is found when an activity undirected by consciousness has effected the removal from the dangerous object. In each of these cases, and this applies to all actions in so far as they are predominantly passionate, the consciousness is occupied with the emotion and the activity approaches reflex action, and in all of these cases the emotion answers to the immediate presence and appropriation of the objected sought -- an appropriation that takes place by means of instinctive processes that are not present in consciousness as means to an end but as parts of the end and resultant itself.  On the other hand, as far as the activity represents the means of intentionally reaching and getting the end, the emotional side of the act is found in interest. Emotion in so far as it is passionate belongs to the instinctive appropriation of the object. Interest belongs to the deliberate overcoming of these spatial, temporal and other obstacles that lie between the individual and the object sought.

If now we trace all activities back to their biological source we find this in the expenditure of energy for the food and reproductive processes, including the going after objects and their immediate appropriation.  Of these acts it is the opinion of biologists that the reproductive is (to use a mathematical phrase) a function

(2) of the food process. The withdrawal from danger is a special adaptation of the process of movement involved in getting food -- it is the negative side of the act.   The act of fighting is an adaptation of the act of appropriation. The processes of protection from the inclemency of the weather and enemies combines, as does that of home-building for the young, the two activities of movement after the object and the appropriation of it.  So out of comparatively simple processes in the primitive unicellular form, we have growing a gradual complication of acts. The expression of intelligence in these acts we find in movements toward the objects sought rather than in their ultimate appropriation.  The greater the distance and the more complicated the path between the form and its food the more intelligent we consider it.  Of course, this applies also to the negative side of protection as well.

If now we look at the process of of development of these activities we find that those of ultimate appropriation do not become in any degree so complicated as the others of attaining the objects desired. And furthermore the organization and development of the latter arise through the evolution of means of getting which have been abstracted from means of appropriation.  The use of the jaws and bills for handling and manipulating, and the final development of the hand from that which passed the food to the mouth to that which which performed indefinitely complicated processes in the mediation of the food, protective and reproductive acts indicate this.  For while the actual eating remains much the same in the highest and lowest forms, what goes before this is hardly open to comparison, so great is the difference between them. Much the same may be said of locomotion. We give to this under ordinary circumstances as little consciousness as, mutatis mutandis, the lower forms may expend on it, but upon what the does -- this derivative of the primeval appropriating process -- we cannot expend conscious directed energy enough. Take again the sense in this same connection. The distance senses are revealing the object that is to be immediately appropriated do not begin to represent such analysis, such study, such intelligence, in so far as they mediate those hand processes, as that which in a higher form of society lies between us and the object sought. We may express this in a somewhat different form in saying that so long as the actual contact values for consciousness are exhausted in locomotion and immediate appropriation there is comparatively little intelligence expressed in them, but when they themselves become means for attaining of more distant and difficult ends, they become that in which intelligence is chiefly expressed.  And finally as it is in control that not only appropriates but determines the existence of the objects that are sought that the highest intelligence appears, the contact with the object must be developed into a

(3) contact with the environment out of which the object springs that determines it.

We have, then, a constant succession of evolutions of contact processes that have been appropriations into those that become determinative of the appearance of the desired object, and there must follow in this case an evolution of what had been on the emotional side chiefly passionate into that which is characterized by interest.  The development of intelligence necessarily involves this evolution. The passions of one period are the reservoirs of the interest of those that follow it.  It also follows that the interest is much more definitely social in its organization than is the emotion. For the appropriation has a most direct individual evaluation, but the intelligent act must, in so far as it is objective, partake of the social organism of which the form is a member.


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