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Myerson, abraham   the foundations of personality
 

Myerson, abraham the foundations of personality

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    Myerson, abraham   the foundations of personality Myerson, abraham the foundations of personality Document Transcript

    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDUTTTHHHEEE FFFOOOUUUNNNDDDAAATTTIIIOOONNNSSS OOOFFF PPPEEERRRSSSOOONNNAAALLLIIITTTYYYBBByyy AAAbbbrrraaahhhaaammm MMMyyyeeerrrsssooonnn,,, MMM...DDD...NNNAAALLLAAANNNDDDAAA DDDIIIGGGIIITTTAAALLL LLLIIIBBBRRRAAARRRYYYRRREEEGGGIIIOOONNNAAALLL EEENNNGGGIIINNNEEEEEERRRIIINNNGGG CCCOOOLLLLLLEEEGGGEEECCCAAALLLIIICCCUUUTTT,,, KKKEEERRRAAALLLAAA SSSTTTAAATTTEEE,,, IIINNNDDDIIIAAA
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU2The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryCONTENTSINTRODUCTIONI. THE ORGANIC BASIS OF CHARACTERII. THE ENVIRONMENTAL BASIS OF CHARACTERIII. MEMORY AND HABITIV. STIMULATION, INHIBITION, ORGANIZINGENERGY, CHOICE AND CONSCIOUSNESSV. HYSTERIA, SUBCONSCIOUSNESS ANDFREUDIANISMVI. EMOTION, INSTINCT, INTELLIGENCE AND WILLVII. EXCITEMENT, MONOTONY AND INTERESTVIII. THE SENTIMENTS OF LOVE, FRIENDSHIP,HATE, PITY AND DUTY, COMPENSATION ANDESCAPEIX. ENERGY RELEASE AND THE EMOTIONSX. COURAGE, RESIGNATION, SUBLIMATION,PATIENCE, THE WISH AND ANHEDONIAXI. THE EVOLUTION OF CHARACTER WITH ESPECIALREFERENCE TO THE GROWTH OF PURPOSE ANDPERSONALITYXII. THE METHODS OF PURPOSE-WORKCHARACTERSXIII. THE QUALITIES OF THE LEADER AND THEFOLLOWERXIV. SEX CHARACTERS AND DOMESTICITYXV. PLAY, RECREATION, HUMOR AND PLEASURESEEKINGXVI. RELIGIOUS CHARACTERS. DISHARMONY INCHARACTERXVII. SOME CHARACTER TYPES
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU3The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryINTRODUCTIONMans interest in character is founded on anintensely practical need. In whatsoever relationshipwe deal with our fellows, we base our intercourselargely on our understanding of their characters. Thetrader asks concerning his customer, "Is he honest?"and the teacher asks about the pupil, "Is heearnest?" The friend bases his friendship on his goodopinion of his friend; the foe seeks to know theweak points in the hated ones make-up; and themaiden yearning for her lover whispers to, herself,"Is he true?" Upon our success in reading thecharacter of others, upon our understanding ofourselves hangs a good deal of our lifes success orfailure.Because the feelings are in part mirrored onthe face and body, the experience of mankind hasbecome crystallized in beliefs, opinions and systemsof character reading which are based onphysiognomy, shape of head, lines of hand, gait andeven the method of dress and the handwriting.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU4The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibrarySome of these all men believe in, at least in part.For example, every one judges character to acertain extent by facial expression, manner, carriageand dress. A few of the methods used have becomeorganized into specialties, such as the study of thehead or phrenology, and the study of the hand orpalmistry. All of these systems are really"materialistic" in that they postulate so close a unionof mind and body as to make them inseparable.But there are grave difficulties in the way ofcharacter-judging by these methods. Take, forexample, the study of the physiognomy as a meansto character understanding. All the physiognomists,as well as the average man, look upon the high,wide brow as related to great intelligence. And so itis--sometimes. But it is also found in connectionwith disease of the brain, as in hydrocephalus, andin old cases of rickets. You may step into hospitalsfor the feeble-minded or for the insane and find hereand there a high, noble brow. Conversely you mayattend a scientific convention and find that the finest
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU5The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarypaper of the meeting will be read not by someOlympian-browed member, but by a man with a low,receding forehead, who nevertheless possesses ahigh-grade intellect.So for centuries men have recognized in thelarge aquiline nose a sign of power and ability.Napoleons famous dictum that no man with thistype of proboscis is a fool has been accepted bymany, most of whom, like Napoleon probably, havelarge aquiline noses. The number of failures withthis facial peculiarity has never been studied, norhas any one remarked that many a highly successfulman has a snub nose. And in fact the only kind of anose that has a real character value is the onepresenting no obstruction to breathing. The assignedvalue given to a "pretty" nose has no relation tocharacter, except as its owner is vain because of it.One might go on indefinitely discussing thevarious features of the face and discovering thatonly a vague relationship to character existed. Thethick, moist lower lip is the sensual lip, say the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU6The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryphysiognomists, but there are saints with sensuallips and chaste thoughts. Squinty eyes may indicatea shifty character, but more often they indicateconjunctivitis or some defect of the opticalapparatus. A square jaw indicates determination andcourage, but a study of the faces of men who wonmedals in war for heroism does not reveal apreponderance of square jaws. In fact, man is amosaic of characters, and a fine nature in onedirection may be injured by a defect in another;even if one part of the face really did meansomething definite, no one could figure out itscharacter value because of the influence of otherfeatures--contradictory, inconsistent,supplementary. Just as the wisest man of his daytook bribes as Lord Chancellor, so the finest facemay be invalidated by some disharmony, and a fatalweakness may disintegrate a splendid character.Moreover, no one really studies facesdisinterestedly, impartially, without prejudice. Welike or dislike too readily, we are blinded by the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU7The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryrace, sex and age of the one studied, and, mostfatal of all, we judge by standards of beauty that aretotally misleading. The sweetest face may hide themost arrant egoist, for facial beauty has very little todo with the nature behind the face. In fact, facialmake-up is more influenced by diet, disease andracial tendency than by character.It would be idle to take up in any detail theclaims of phrenologist and palmist. The former had avery respectable start in the work of Broca andGall[1] in that the localization of function in thevarious parts of the brain made at least partlylogical the belief that the conformation of the headalso indicated functions of character. But there aretwo fatal flaws in the system of phrenological claims.First, even if there were an exact cerebrallocalization of powers, which there is not, it wouldby no means follow that the shape of the headoutlined the brain. In fact, it does not, for the long-headed are not long-brained, nor are the short-headed short-brained. Second, the size and disposal
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU8The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryof the sinuses, the state of nutrition in childhoodhave far more to do with the "bumps" of the headthan brain or character. The bump ofphiloprogenitiveness has in my experience moreoften been the result of rickets than a sign ofparental love.[1] It is to be remembered that phrenologyhad a good standing at one time, though it has sincelapsed into quackdom. This is the history of many a"short cut" into knowledge. Thus the wisest men ofpast centuries believed in astrology. Paracelsus, whogave to the world the use of Hg in therapeutics,relied in large part for his diagnosis and cures uponalchemy and astrology.Without meaning to pun, we may dismissthe claims of palmistry offhand. Normally the lines ofthe hand do not change from birth to death, butcharacter does change. The hand, its shape and itstexture are markedly influenced by illness,[1] toiland care. And gait, carriage, clothes and the dozenand one details by which we judge our fellows
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU9The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryindicate health, strength, training and culture, all ofwhich are components of character, or rather arecharacters of importance but give no clue to thedeeper-lying traits.[1] Notably is the shape of the handchanged by chronic heart and lung disease and byarthritis. But the influence of the endocrinalsecretions is very great.As a matter of fact, judgment of characterwill never be attained through the study of face,form or hand. As language is a means not only ofexpressing truth but of disguising it, so thesesurface phenomena are as often masks as guides.Any sober-minded student of life, intent on knowinghimself or his fellows, will seek no royal road to thisknowledge, but will endeavor to understand thefundamental forces of character, will strive to tracethe threads of conduct back to their origins inmotive, intelligence, instinct and emotion.We have emphasized the practical value ofsome sort of character analysis in dealing with
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU10The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryothers. But to know himself has a hugely practicalvalue to every man, since upon that knowledgedepends self-correction. For "man is the only animalthat deliberately undertakes while reshaping hisouter world to reshape himself also."[1] Moreover,man is the only seeker of perfection; he is a deep,intense critic of himself. To reach nobility ofcharacter is not a practical aim, but is held to be anend sufficient in itself. So man constantly probesinto himself--"Are my purposes good; is my willstrong--how can I strengthen my control, how makerighteous my instincts and emotions?" It is true thatthere is a worship--and always has been--ofefficiency and success as against character; thatman has tended to ask more often, "What has hedone?" or, "What has he got?" rather than, "What ishe?" and that therefore man in his self-analysis hasoften asked, "How shall I get?" or, "How shall I do?"In the largest sense these questions are alsoquestions of character, for even if we discard asinadequate the psychology which considers behavior
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU11The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryalone as important, conduct is the fruit of character,without which it is sterile.[1] Hocking.This book does not aim at any short cuts bywhich man may know himself or his neighbor. Itseeks to analyze the fundamentals of personality,avoiding metaphysics as the plague. It does notdefine character or seek to separate it from mindand personality. Written by a neurologist, aphysician in the active practice of his profession, itcannot fail to bear more of the imprint of medicine,of neurology, than of psychology and philosophy.Yet it has also laid under contribution these fields ofhuman effort. Mainly it will, I hope, bear the marksof everyday experience, of contact with the worldand with men and women and children as brother,husband, father, son, lover, hater, citizen, doer andobserver. For it is this plurality of contact thatvitalizes, and he who has not drawn his universals ofcharacter out of the particulars of everyday life is acloistered theorist, aloof from reality.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU12The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Library
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU13The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryChapter I. THE ORGANIC BASIS OF CHARACTERThe history of Mans thought is the realhistory of mankind. Back of all the events of historyare the curious systems of beliefs for which menhave lived and died. Struggling to understandhimself, Man has built up and discardedsuperstitions, theologies and sciences.Early in this strange and fascinating historyhe divided himself into two parts--a body and amind. Working together with body, mind somehowwas of different stuff and origin than body and hadonly a mysterious connection with it. Theologysupported this belief; metaphysics and philosophydebated it with an acumen that was practicallysterile of usefulness. Mind and body "interacted" insome mysterious way; mind and body were"parallel" and so set that thought-processes andbrain-processes ran side by side without reallyhaving anything to do with one another.[1] With thedevelopment of modern anatomy, physiology andpsychology, the time is ripe for men boldly to say
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU14The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythat applying the principle of causation in a practicalmanner leaves no doubt that mind and character areorganic, are functions of the organism and do notexist independently of it. I emphasize "practical" inrelation to causation because it would be idle for ushere to enter into the philosophy of cause andeffect. Such discussion is not taken seriously by thevery philosophers who most earnestly enter into it.[1] William James in Volume 1 of his"Psychology" gives an interesting resume of thetheories that consider the relationship of mind(thought and consciousness) to body. He quotes the"lucky" paragraph from Tyndall, "The passage fromthe physics of the brain to the corresponding facts ofconsciousness is unthinkable. Granted that a definitethought and a definite molecular action in the brainoccur simultaneously; we do not possess theintellectual organ, or apparently any trace of theorgan which would enable us to pass by a process ofreasoning from one to the other." This is the"parallel" theory which postulates a hideous waste of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU15The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryenergy in the universe and which throws out ofcount the same kind of reasoning by which Tyndallworked on light, heat, etc. We cannot understandthe beginning and the end of motion, we cannotunderstand causation. Probably when Tyndallsthoughts came slowly and he was fatigued he said--"Well, a good cup of coffee will make me thinkfaster." In conceding this practical connectionbetween mind and body, every "spiritualist"philosopher gives away his case whenever he restsor eats.The statement that mind is a function of theorganism is not necessarily "materialistic." The bodyis a living thing and as such is as "spiritualistic" aslife itself. Enzymes, internal secretions, nervousactivities are the products of cells whose powers areindeed drawn from the ocean of life.To prove this statement, which is a cardinalthesis of this book, I shall adduce facts of scientificand facts of common knowledge. One might startwith the statement that the death of the body brings
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU16The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryabout the abolition of mind and character, but this,of course, proves nothing, since it might well be thatthe body was a lever for the expression of mind andcharacter, and with its disappearance as afunctioning agent such expression was no longerpossible.It is convenient to divide our exposition intotwo parts, the first the dependence upon properbrain function and structure, and the second thedependence upon the proper health of other organs.For it is not true that mind and character arefunctions of the brain alone; they are functions ofthe entire organism. The brain is simply the largestand most active of the organs upon which themental life depends; but there are minute organs, aswe shall see, upon whose activity the brainabsolutely depends.Any injury to the brain may destroy orseriously impair the mentality of the individual. Thisis too well known to need detailed exposition. Yetsome cases of this type are fundamental in the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU17The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryexquisite way they prove (if anything can be proven)the dependence of mind upon bodily structure.In some cases of fracture of the skull, apiece of bone pressing upon the brain mayprofoundly alter memory, mood and character.Removal of the piece of bone restores the mind tonormality. This is also true of brain tumor of certaintypes, for example, frontal endotheliomata, whereearly removal of the growth demonstrates first thata "physical" agent changes mind and character, andsecond that a "physical" agent, such as the knife ofthe surgeon, may act to reestablish mentality.In cases of hydrocephalus (or water on thebrain), where there is an abnormal secretion ofcerebro-spinal fluid acting to increase the pressureon the brain, the simple expedient of withdrawingthe fluid by lumbar puncture brings about normalmental life. As the fluid again collects, the mentallife becomes cloudy, and the character alters(irritability, depressed mood, changed purpose,lowered will); another lumbar puncture and presto!-
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU18The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Library-the individual is for a time made over morecompletely than conversion changes a sinner,--andmore easily.Take the case of the disease known asGeneral Paresis, officially called Dementia Paralytica.This disease is caused by syphilis and is one of itslate results. The pathological changes arewidespread throughout the brain but may at theonset be confined mostly to the frontal lobes. Thevery first change may be--and usually is--a changein character! The man hitherto kind and gentlebecomes irritable, perhaps even brutal. One whosesex morals have been of the most conventional kind,a loyal husband, suddenly becomes a profligate,reckless and debauched, perhaps even perverted.The man of firm purposes and indefatigable industrymay lose his grip upon the ambitions and strivingsof his lifetime and become an inert slacker, to theamazement of his associates. Many a fine character,many a splendid mind, has reached a lofty heightand then crumbled before the assaults of this
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU19The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydisease upon the brain. Philosopher, poet, artist,statesman, captain of industry, handicraftsman,peasant, courtesan and housewife,--all are loweredto the same level of dementia and destroyedcharacter by the consequences of the thickenedmeninges, the altered blood vessels and the injurednerve cells.Now and then one is fortunate enough totreat with success an early case of General Paresis.And then the reversed miracle takes place,unfortunately too rarely! The disordered mind, thealtered character, leaps upward to its old place,--after being dosed by the marvelous drug Salvarsan,created by the German Jewish scientist, Paul Ehrlich.Of extraordinary interest are the rare casesof loss of personal identity seen after brain injury,say in war. A man is knocked unconscious by a blowand upon restoration of consciousness is separatedfrom that past in which his ego resides. He does notknow his history or his name, and that continuity ofthe "self" so deeply prized and held by all religions
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU20The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryto be part of his immortality is gone. Then after alittle while, a few days or weeks, the disarrangedneuronic pathways reestablish themselves as usual,--and the ego comes back to the man.One might cite the feeble-mindedness thatresults from meningitis, brain tumor, brain abscess,brain wounds, etc., as further evidence of thedependence of mind upon brain, of its status as afunction of brain. No philosopher seriously doubtsthat equilibrium and movement are functions of thebrain, and yet to prove this there is no evidence ofany other kind than that cited to prove therelationship of mind to brain.[1] And what applies tothe intelligence applies as forcibly to character, forpurpose, emotion, mood, instinct and will are alteredwith these diseases.[1] Except that equilibrium does not itselfjudge of its relationship to brain, whereas mind isthe sole judge of its relationship and dependence onbrain. Since everything in the world is a mentalevent, mentality cannot be dependent upon
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU21The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryanything, and everything depends upon mind for itsexistence, or at least its recognition. But we getnowhere by such "logic" gone mad. Apply the samekind of reasoning to brain-mind, body-mindrelationship which anatomists and physiologistsapply to other functions, and one can no longerseparate body and mind.Interesting as is the relationship betweenmind and character and the brain, it is at thepresent overshadowed by the fascinatingrelationship between these psychical activities andthe bodily organs. What I am about to cite frommedicine and biology is part of the finestachievements of these sciences and hints at a futurein which a true science of mind and character willappear.Certain of the glands of the body aredescribed as glands of internal secretions in that theproducts of their activity, their secretions, arepoured into the blood stream rather than on thesurface of the body or into the digestive tract. The
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU22The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymost prominent of these glands, all of which arevery small and extraordinarily active, are as follows:The Pituitary Body (Hypophysis)--a tinystructure which is situated at the base of the brainbut is not a part of that organ.The Pineal Body (Epiphysis)--a still smallerstructure, located within the brain substance,having, however, no relationship to the brain. Thisgland has only lately acquired a significance.Descartes thought it the seat of the soul because itis situated in the middle of the brain.The Thyroid gland, a somewhat larger body,situated in the front of the neck, just beneath thelarynx. We shall deal with this in some detail lateron.The Parathyroids, minute organs, four innumber, just behind the thyroid.The Thymus, a gland placed just within thethorax, which reaches its maximum size at birth andthen gradually recedes until at twenty it has almostdisappeared.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU23The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryThe Adrenal glands, one on each side of thebody, above and adjacent to the kidney. Theseglands, which are each made up of two opposingstructures, stand in intimate relation to thesympathetic nervous system and secrete asubstance called adrenalin.The Sex organs, the ovary in the female andthe testicle in the male, in addition to producing thefemale egg (ovum) and the male seed (sperm),respectively, produce substances of unknowncharacter that have hugely important roles in theestablishment of mind, temperament and sexcharacter.Without going into the details of thefunctions of the endocrine glands, one may say thatthey are "the managers of the human body." Everyindividual, from the time he is born until the time hedies, is under the influence of these many differentkinds of elements,--some of them having to do withthe development of the bones and teeth, some withthe development of the body and nervous system,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU24The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysome with the development of the mind, etc. (andcharacter), and later on with reproduction. Theseglands are not independent of one another butinteract in a marvelous manner so that under oroveraction of any one of them upsets a balance thatexists between them, and thus produces a disorderthat is quite generalized in its effects. The work onthis subject is a tribute to medicine and one pausesin respect and admiration before the names andlabors of Brown, Sequard, Addison, Graves andBasedow, Horsley, King, Schiff, Schafer, Takamine,Marie, Cushing, Kendal, Sajous and others of equalinsight and patient endeavor.But let us pass over to the specific instancesthat bear on our thesis, to wit, that mind andcharacter are functions of the organism and havetheir seat not only in the brain but in the entireorganism.How do the endocrines prove this? As well asthey prove that physical growth and the growth ofthe secondary sex characters are dependent on
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU25The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythese glands. Take diseases of the thyroid gland asthe first and shining example.The thyroid secretes a substance whichsubstantially is an "iodized globulin,"--and which canbe separated from the gland products. This secretionhas the main effect of "activating metabolism"(Vassale and Generali); in ordinary phrase it acts toincrease the discharge of energy of the cells of thebody. In all living things there is a twofold processconstantly going on: first the building up of energyby means of the foodstuffs, air and water taken in,and second a discharge of energy in the form ofheat, motion and--in my belief --emotion andthought itself, though this would be denied by manypsychologists. Yet how escape this conclusion fromthe following facts?There is a congenital disease called cretinismwhich essentially is due to a lack of thyroidsecretion. This disease is particularly prevalent inSouthern France, Spain, Upper Italy andSwitzerland. It is characterized mainly by marked
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU26The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydwarfism and imbecility, so that the adult untreatedcretin remains about as large as a three or four-year-old child and has the mental level about that ofa child of the same age. But, this comparison as tointelligence is a gross injustice to the child, for itleaves out the difference in character between thechild and the cretin. The latter has none of thecuriosity, the seeking for experience, the activeinterest, the pliant expanding will, the sweetcapacity for affection, friendship and love present inthe average child. The cretin is a travesty on thehuman being in body, mind and character.But feed him thyroid gland. Mind you, thedried substance of the glands, not of human beings,but of mere sheep. The cretin begins to growmentally and physically and loses to a large extentthe grotesqueness of his appearance. He growstaller; his tongue no longer lolls in his mouth; thehair becomes finer, the hands less coarse, and thepatient exhibits more normal human emotions,purposes, intelligence. True, he does not reach
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU27The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarynormality, but that is because other defects besidethe thyroid defect exist and are not altered by thethyroid feeding.There is a much more spectacular disease tobe cited, --a relatively infrequent but well-understood condition called myxoedema, whichoccurs mainly in women and is also due to adeficiency in the thyroid secretion. As a result thepatient, who may have been a bright, capable,energetic person, full of the eager purposes andemotions of life, gradually becomes dull, stupid,apathetic, without fear, anger, love, joy or sorrow,and without purpose or striving. In addition the bodychanges, the hair becomes coarse and scanty, theskin thick and swollen (hence the name of thedisease) and various changes take place in thesweat secretion, the heart action, etc.Then, having made the diagnosis, work thegreat miracle! Obtain the dried thyroid glands of thesheep, prepared by the great drug houses as a by-product of the butcher business, and feed this poor,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU28The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarytransformed creature with these glands! No fairywaving a magical wand ever worked a greaterenchantment, for with the first dose the patientimproves and in a relatively short time is restored tonormal in skin, hair, sweat, etc., and MIND andcharacter! To every physician who has seen thishappen under his own eyes and by his directionthere comes a conviction that mind and characterhave their seat in the organic activities of the body,--and nowhere else.An interesting confirmation of this is thatwhen the thyroid is overactive, a condition calledhyperthyroidism, the patient becomes very restlessand thin, shows excessive emotionality,sleeplessness, has a rapid heart action, tremor andmany other signs not necessary to detail here. Thethyroid in these cases is usually swollen. One of themethods used to treat the disease is to removesome of the gland surgically. In the early days anoperator would occasionally remove too, much glandand then the symptoms, of myxoedema would
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU29The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryoccur. This necessitated the artificial feeding ofthyroid the rest of the patients life! With the properdosage of the gland substance the patient remainsnormal; with too little she becomes dull and stupid;with too much she becomes unstable and emotional!There are plenty of other examples of theinfluence of the endocrines on mind, character andpersonality. I here briefly mention a few of these.In the disease called acromegaly, which isdue to a change in the pituitary gland, amongstother things are noted "melancholic tendencies, lossof memory and mental and physical torpor."A very profound effect on character andpersonality, exclusive of intelligence, is that of thesex glands. One need not accept the Freudianextravagances regarding the way in which the sexfeelings and impulses enter into our thoughts,emotions, purposes and acts. No unbiased observerof himself or his fellows but knows that thesatisfaction or non-satisfaction of the sex feeling, itsexcitation or its suppression are of great importance
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU30The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryin the destinies of character. Further, man asherdsman and man as tyrant have carried on hugeexperiments to show how necessary to normalcharacter the sex glands are.As herdsman he has castrated his male Bosand obtained the ox. And the ox is the symbol ofpatience, docility, steady labor, without lust orpassion,--and the very opposite of his non-castratedbrother, the bull. The bull is the symbol of irritabilityand unteachableness, who will not be easily yokedor led and who is the incarnation of lust and passion.One is the male transformed into neuter gender;and the other is rampant with the fierceness of hissex.Compare the eunuch and the normal man. Ifthe eunuch state be imposed in infancy, the shapeof the body, its hairiness, the quality of the voiceand the character are altered in characteristicmanner. The eunuch essentially is neither man norwoman, but a repelling Something intermediate.Enough has been said to show that mind and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU31The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycharacter are dependent upon the health of thebrain and the glands of the body; that somewhere inthe interaction of tissues, in the chemistry of life,arises thought, purpose, emotion, conduct and deed.But we need not go so far afield as pathology toshow this, for common experience demonstrates itas well.If character is control of emotions, firmnessof purpose, cheerfulness of outlook and vigor ofthought and memory, then the tired man, worn outby work or a long vigil, is changed in character.Such a person in the majority of cases is irritable,showing lack of control and emotion; he slackens inhis lifes purposes, loses cheerfulness and outlookand finds it difficult to concentrate his thoughts or torecall his memories. Though this change istemporary and disappears with rest, the essentialfact is not altered, namely, fatigue alters character.It is also true that not all persons show thisvulnerability to fatigue in equal measure. For thatmatter, neither do they show an equal liability to
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU32The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryinfectious diseases, equal reaction to alcohol orinjury. The feeling of vigor which rest gives changesthe expression of personality to a marked degree. Itis true that we are not apt to think of the tired manas changed in character; yet we must admit onreflection that he has undergone transformation.Even a loaded bowel may, as is well known,alter the reaction to life. Among men who are coarsein their language there is a salutation more pertinentthan elegant that inquires into the state of thebowels.[1] The famous story of Voltaire and theEnglishman, in which the sage agreed to suicidebecause life was not worth living when his digestionwas disordered and who broke his agreement whenhe purged himself, illustrates how closely mood isrelated to the intestinal tract. And mood is thebackground of the psychic life, upon which dependsthe direction of our thoughts, cheerful or otherwise,the vigor of our will and purpose. Mood itself arisesin part from the influences that stream into themuscles, joints, heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU33The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydigestive tract and all the organs and tissues by wayof the afferent nerves (sympathetic and cerebro-spinal). Mood is thus in part a reflection of thehealth and proper working of the organism; it is themost important aspect of the subconsciousness, andupon it rests the structure of character andpersonality.[1] What is called coarse is frequentlycrudely true. Thus, in the streets, in the workshops,and where men untrammeled by niceties engage inpersonalities the one who believes the other to be a"crank" informs him in crude language that he hasintestinal stasis (to put the diagnosis in medicallanguage) and advises him accordingly to "take apill."This does not mean that only the healthyare cheerful, or that the sick are discouraged. Toaffirm the dependence of mind upon body is not todeny that one may build up faith, hope, courage,through example and precept, or that one may notinherit a cheerfulness and courage (or the reverse).
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU34The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Library"There are men," says James, "who are born undera cloud." But exceptional individuals aside, the massof mankind generates its mood either in the tissuesof the body or in the circumstances of life.Children, because they have not built upstandards of thought, mood and act, demonstrate ina remarkable manner the dependence of theircharacter upon health.A child shows the onset of an illness by acomplete change in character. I remember onesociable, amiable lad of two, rich in the curiosity andexpanding friendliness of that time of life, whobecame sick with diphtheria. All his basic moodsbecame altered, and all his wholesome reactions tolife disappeared. He was cross and contrary, he hadno interest in people or in things, he acted verymuch as do those patients in an insane hospital whosuffer from Dementia Praecox. What is character if itis not interest and curiosity, friendliness and love,obedience and trust, cheerfulness and courage? Yeta sick child, especially if very young, loses all these
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU35The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand takes on the reverse characters. The little ladspoken of became "himself" again when the feverand the pain lifted. Yet for a long time afterward heshowed a greater liability to fear than before, and itwas not until six months or more had repaired themore subtle damage to his organism that he becamethe hardy little adventurer in life that he had beenbefore the illness.There is plenty of chemical proof of thisthesis as here set forth. Men have from timeimmemorial put things "in their bellies to steal theirbrains away." The chemical substance known asethyl alcohol has been an artificial basis of goodfellowship the world over, as well as furnishing avery fair share of the tragedy, the misery and thehumor of the world. This is because, when ingestedin any amount, its absorption produces changes inthe flow of thought, in the attitude toward life, in themood, the emotions, the purposes, the conduct,--ina word, in character. One sees the austere man,when drunk, become ribald; the repressed, close-
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU36The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfisted become open-mouthed and open-hearted; thekindly, perhaps brutal; the controlled, uncontrolled.In the change of character it effects is the regretover its passing and the greatest reason forprohibition.Alcohol causes several well-defined mentaldiseases as well as mere drunkenness. In DeliriumTremens there is an acute delirium, with confusion,excitement and auditory and visual hallucinations ofall kinds. The latter symptom is so prominent as togive the reason for the popular name of the"snakes." In alcoholic hallucinosis the patient hasdelusions of persecution and hears voices accusinghim of all kinds of wrong-doing. Very frequently, asall the medical writers note, these voices are"conscience exteriorized"; that is, the voices say ofhim just what he has been saying of himself in thestruggle against drink. Then there is AlcoholicParanoia, a disease in which the main change is adelusion of jealousy directed against the mate, whois accused of infidelity. It is interesting that in the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU37The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarylast two diseases the patient is "clear-headed";memory and orientation are good; the patientspeaks well and gives no gross signs of his trouble.As the effects of the alcohol wear away, the patientrecovers,--i.e., his character returns to its normal.It becomes necessary at this point to takeup a reverse side of our study, namely, what is oftencalled the influence of "mind over matter." Suchcures of disease as seem to follow prayer and faithare cited; such incidents as the great strength ofmen under emotion or the disturbances of the bodyby ideas are listed as examples. This is not the placeto discuss cures by faith. It suffices to say this: thatin the first place most of such cures relate tohysteria, a disease we shall discuss later but whichis characterized by symptoms that appear anddisappear like magic. I have seen "cured" (and have"cured") such patients, affected with paralysis,deafness, dumbness, blindness, etc., with reasoning,electricity, bitter tonics, fake electrodes, hypnotism,and in one case by a forcible slap upon a prominent
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU38The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand naked part of the body. Hysteria has been thebasis of many a saints reputation and likewise hasaided many a physician into affluence.Nor is the effect of coincidence taken intoaccount in estimating cures, whether by faith or bydrugs. Many a physician has owed his start to thefact that he was called in on some obscure case justwhen the patient was on the turn towards recovery.He then receives the credit that belonged to Nature.Medical men understand this,--that many diseasesare "self-limited" and pass through a cycleinfluenced but little by treatment. But faith curistsdo not so understand, and neither does the mass ofpeople, so that neither one nor the other separates"post hoc" from "propter hoc." If the truth were told,most of the miracle and faith cures that are not ofhysterical origin are due to coincidence. Faith curistsreport in detail their successes, but we have nostatistics whatever of their failures.If thought is a product of the brain activatedby the rest of the organism, it would be perfectly
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU39The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarynatural to expect that thought would influence theorganism. That thought is intimately associated withimpulses to action is well known. This action largelytakes place in the speech muscles but also itirradiates into the rest of the organism. Especially isthis true if the thought is associated with someemotion. Emotion, as we shall discuss it later, is atleast in large part a bodily reaction, a disturbance inheart, lungs, abdominal organs, blood vessels,sympathetic nervous system, endocrines, etc. Theeffect of thought and emotion upon the body,whether to heighten its activity or to lower itsactivity, is, from my point of view, merely the effectof one function of the organism upon others. We arenot surprised if digestion affects thinking and mood,and we need not be surprised if thought and mooddisturb or improve digestion. And we may substitutefor digestion any other organic function.As a working basis, substantiated by thekind of proof we use in our daily lives in laboratoriesand machine shops, we may state that mind,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU40The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycharacter and personality are organic in their originand are functions of the entire organism. What aman thinks, does and feels (or perhaps we shouldreverse this order) is the result of environmentalforces playing upon a marvelously intricate organismin which every part reacts on every other part, inwhich nervous energy influences digestion anddigestion influences nervous energy, in whichenzymes, hormones, and endocrines engage in anextraordinary game of checks and balance, which inthe normal course of events make for theindividuals welfare. What a man thinks, does, andfeels influences the fate of his organism from oneend of life to the other.We have not adduced in favor of the organicnature of mind, character and personality the factsof heredity. This is a most important set of facts, forif the egg and the sperm carry mentality andpersonality, they may be presumed to carry them insome organic form, as organic potentialities, just asthey carry size,[1] color, sex, etc. That abnormal
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU41The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymind is inherited is shown in family insanity in thesecond, third and fourth generation cases of mentaldisease. Certain types of feeble-mindedness surelyare transmitted from generation to generation, aswitness the case of the famous (or infamous) Jukesfamily. In this group vagabondage, crime,immorality and other character abnormalitiesappeared linked with the feeble-mindedness. Butthere is plenty of evidence to show that normalcharacter qualities are inherited as well as theabnormal.[2] Galton, the father of eugenics,collected facts from the history of successful familiesto prove this. It is true that he failed to take intoaccount the facts of SOCIAL heredity, in that a giftedman establishes a place for himself and a traditionfor his family that is of great help to his son.Nevertheless, musical ability runs in families andraces, as does athletic ability, high temper, passion,etc. In short, at least the potentialities, thecapacities for character, are transmitted togetherwith other qualities as part of the capital of heredity.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU42The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Library[1] I have collected and published from therecords and wards of the State Hospital at Taunton,Mass., many such cases. The whole subject is to bereviewed in a following book on the transmission ofmental disease, but no one seriously doubts thatthere is a transference of "insane" character fromgeneration to generation. In fact, I believe that alittle too much stress hag been laid on this aspect ofmental disease and not enough on the fact thatsickness may injure a family stock and cause thedescendants to be insane. Any one who has seen asingle case of congenital General Paresis, where achild has a mental disease due to the syphilis of aparent, and can doubt that character and mind areorganic, simply is blinded by theological ormetaphysical prejudice.[2] See his book "Genius."This means that in studying character andpersonality, we must start with an analysis of thephysical make-up of the individual. We are not yetat the point in science where we can easily get at
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU43The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythe activities of the endocrinal glands in normalmentality. We are able to recognize certainfundamental types, but more we cannot do; nor arewe able to measure nervous energy except inrelatively crude ways, but these crude ways havegreat value under certain conditions.When there has been a change inpersonality, the question of bodily disease is alwaysparamount. The first questions to be asked undersuch circumstances are, "Is this person sick?" "Isthe brain involved?" "Are endocrinal glandsinvolved?" "Is there disease of some organ of thebody, acting to lower the feeling of well-being,acting to slacken the purposes and the will or toobscure the intelligence?"There are other important questions of thistype to answer, some of which may be deferred forthe time. Meanwhile, the next equally fundamentalthesis is on the effect of the environment uponmind, character and personality.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU44The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryChapter II. THE ENVIRONMENTAL BASIS OFCHARACTERFrom the time any one of us is born into theworld he is subject to the influences of forces thatreach backwards to the earliest days of the race.The "dead hand" rules,--yes, and the dead thought,belief and custom continue to shape the lives andcharacter of the living. The invention anddevelopment of speech and writing have broughtinto every mans career the mental life andcharacter of all his own ancestors and the ancestorsof every other man.A child is not born merely to a father and amother. He is born to a group, fiercely and definitelyprejudiced in custom, belief and ideal, with ways ofdoing, feeling and thinking which it seeks to imposeon each of its new members. Family, tribe, race andnation all demand of each accession that he accepttheir ideals, habits and beliefs on peril of disapprovaland even of punishment. And man is so constitutedthat the approval and disapproval of his group mean
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU45The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymore to him even than his life.The social setting into which each one isborn is his social heredity. "The heredity with whichcivilization is most supremely concerned," says SirEdwin Ray Lankester, "is not that which is inborn inthe individual. It is the SOCIAL inheritance whichconstitutes the dominant factor in humanprogress."[1] It is this social inheritance whichshapes our characters, rough-hewn by nature. It isby the light of each persons social inheritance thatwe must also judge his character.[1] The Eugenists fiercely contest thisstatement, and rightly, for it is extreme. Society isthreatened at its roots by the present high birth rateof the low grade and the low birth rate of the highgrade. Environment, culture, can do much, but theycannot make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Neithercan heredity make a silk purse out of silk; withoutculture and the environmental influences, withoutsocial heredity, the silk remains crude and with nospecial value. The aims of a rational society, which
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU46The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywe are born a thousand years too soon to see wouldbe twofold: to control marriage and birth so that thenumber of the unfit would be kept as low aspossible, and then to bring fostering influences tobear on the fit."Education," says Oliver Wendell Holmes,"is only second to nature. Imagine all the infantsborn this year in Boston and Timbuctoo to changeplaces!" And education is merely social inheritanceorganized by parents and teachers for the sake ofmolding the scholar into usefulness and conformityto the group into which he is born. There may be ineach individual an innate capacity for this ability orthat, for expressing and controlling this or thatemotion, for developing this or that purpose. Whichability will be developed, which emotion or purposewill be expressed, is a matter of the age in which aman is born, the country in which he lives, thefamily which claims him as its own. In a warrior agethe fighting spirit chooses war as its vocation anddevelops a warlike character; in a peaceful time that
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU47The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysame fighting spirit may seek to bring about suchreforms as will do away with war.[1] When the worldsaid that a man might and really ought now andthen to beat his wife and rule her by force, the reallyconformable man did so, while his descendant, livingin a time and country where woman is the domestic"boss," submits, humorously and otherwise, to agood-natured henpecking. And in the times where awoman had no vocation but that of housewife, thewife of larger ability merely became a discontented,futile woman; whereas in an age which opens uppolitics to her, the same type of person expands intoa vigorous, dominating political leader. Though theforce of the water remain the same, the nature ofthe land determines whether the water shall collectas a river, carrying the produce of the land to thesea, or as a stagnant lake in which idlers fish. Time,social circumstances, education and a thousand andone factors determine whether one shall be a"Village Hampden," quarreling in a petty way with apetty autocrat over some petty thing, or a national
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU48The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryHampden, whose defiance of a tyrannical king stirs anation into revolt.[1] Indeed, a reformer is to-day called acrusader, though the knight of the twelfth centuryarmed cap-a-pie for a joust with the Saracen wouldhardly recognize as his spiritual descendant asedentary person preaching against rum. Yet to thestudent of character there is nothing anomalous inthe transformation.How conceptions of right and wrong, ofproper and improper conduct, ideals and thoughtsarise, it is not my function to treat in detail. Thatintelligence primarily uses the method of trial anderror to learn is as true of groups as of individuals;and established methods of doing things--customs--are often enough temporary conclusions, thoughthey last a thousand years. The feeling that suchgroup customs are right and that to depart fromthem is wrong, is perhaps based on a specificinstinct, the moral instinct; but much more likely, inmy opinion, is it obedience to leadership, fear of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU49The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysocial disapproval and punishment, conscience,imitation, suggestibility and sympathy, all of whichare parts of that social cement substance, the socialinstinct. No child ever learns "what is right andwrong" except through teaching, but no child wouldever conform, except through gross fear, unless hefound himself urged by deep-seated instincts to bein conformity, in harmony and in sympathy with hisgroup,--to be one with that group. Perhaps it is true,as Bergson suggests, as Galton[1] hints and asSamuel Butler boldly states, that there are no realindividuals in life but we are merely different aspectsof reality or, to phrase it materialistically, corpusclesin the blood stream of an organism too vast andcomplicated to be encompassed by our imagination.Just as a white blood cell obeys laws of which it canhave no conception, fulfills purposes whose meaningtranscends its own welfare, so we, with all our self-consciousness and all the paraphernalia ofindividuality, are perhaps parts of a life we cannotunderstand.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU50The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Library[1] For example, read what the hard-headedGalton says ("Hereditary Genius," p. 376):"There is decidedly a solidarity as well as aseparateness in all human and probably in all liveswhatsoever, and this consideration goes far, I think,to establish an opinion that the constitution of theliving universe is a pure theism and that its form ofactivity is what may he described as cooperative. Itpoints to the conclusion that all life is single in itsessence, but various, ever-varying and interactive inits manifestations, and that men and all other livinganimals are active workers and sharers in a vastlymore extended system of cosmic action than any ofourselves, much less of them, can possiblycomprehend. It also suggests that they maycontribute, more or less unconsciously, to themanifestation of a far higher life than our own,somewhat as . . . the individual cells of one of themore complex animals contribute to themanifestations of its higher order of personality."Perhaps such a unity is the basis of instinct, of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU51The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryknowledge without teaching, of desire and wish thathas not the individual welfare as its basis. No mancan reject such phenomena as telepathy or thoughttransference merely because he cannot understandthem on a basis of strict human individuality. Toreject because one cannot understand is thearrogance of the "clerico-academic" type of WilliamJames.No one can read the stories of travelers orthe writings of anthropologists without concludingthat codes of belief and action arise out of theefforts of groups to understand and to influencenature and that out of this practical effort ANDseeking of a harmonious reality arises morality."Man seeks the truth, a world that does notcontradict itself, that does not deceive, that does notchange; a real world,--a world in which there is nosuffering. Contradiction, deception and variabilityare the causes of suffering. He does not doubt thereis such a thing as, a world as it might be, and hewould fain find a road to it."[1] But alas, intelligence
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU52The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand knowledge both are imperfect, and one groupseeking a truth that will bring them good crops, finefamilies, victory over enemies, riches, power andfellowship, as well as a harmonious universe, finds itin idol worship and polygamy; another groupseeking the same truth finds it in Christianity andmonogamy. And the members of some groups areborn to ideals, customs and habits that make it rightfor a member to sing obscene songs and to beobscene at certain periods, to kill and destroy theenemy, to sacrifice the unbeliever, to worship a clayimage, to have as many wives as possible, and thatmake it WRONG to do otherwise. Indeed, he whowishes a child to believe absolutely in a code ofmorals would better postpone teaching him thecustoms and beliefs of other people until habit hasmade him adamant to new ideas.[1] Nietzsche.It is with pleasure that I turn the attentionof the reader to the work of Frazier in the growth ofhuman belief, custom and institutions that he has
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU53The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryincorporated into the stupendous series of bookscalled "The Golden Bough." The things that influenceus most in our lives are heritages, not muchchanged, from the beliefs of primitive societies.Believing that the forces of the world were animate,like himself, and that they might be moved,persuaded, cajoled and frightened into favorableaction, undeveloped man based most of his customson efforts to obtain some desired result from thegods. Out of these customs grew the majority of ourinstitutions; out of these queer beliefs andsuperstitions, out of witchcraft, sympathetic magic,the "Old Man" idea, the primitive reaction to sleep,epilepsy and death grew medicine, science, religion,festivals, the kingship, the idea of soul and most ofthe other governing and directing ideas of our lives.It is true that the noble beliefs and sciences alsogrew from these rude seeds, but with them andpermeating our social structure are crops ofatrophied ideas, hampering customs, crampingideals. Further, in every race in every country, in
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU54The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryevery family, there are somewhat differentassortments of these directing traditional forces;and it is these social inheritances which are moreresponsible for difference in people than a nativedifference in stock.Consider the difference that being born andbrought up in Turkey and being born, let us say, inNew York City, would make in two children ofexactly the same disposition, mental caliber andphysical structure. One would grow up a Turk andthe other a New Yorker, and the mere fact that theyhad the same original capacity for thought, feelingand action would not alter the result that incharacter the two men would stand almost atopposite poles. One need not judge between themand say that one was superior to the other, for whileI feel that the New Yorker might stand OURinspection better, I am certain that the Turk wouldbe more pleasing to Turkish ideas. The point is thatthey would be different and that the differenceswould result solely from the environmental forces of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU55The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarynatural conditions and social inheritance.Study the immigrant to the United Statesand his descendant, American born and bred.Compare Irishman and Irish-American, Russian Jewand his American-born descendant; compareEnglishman and the Anglo-Saxon New Englanddescendant. Here is a race, the Jew, which in theGhetto and under circumstances that built up atremendously powerful set of traditions and customsdeveloped a very distinctive type of human being.Poor in physique, with little physical pugnacity, butworshiping, learning and reaching out for wealth andpower in an unusually successful manner, thecrucible of an adverse and hostile environmentrendered him totally different in manners from hisGentile neighbors. With a high birth rate and anintensely close and pure family life, the Ghetto Jewlived and died shut off by the restrictions placedupon him and his own social heredity from the life ofthe country of his birth. Then came immigration tothe United States through one cause or another,--
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU56The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand note the results.With the old social heredity still at work,another set of customs, traditions and beliefs comesinto open competition with it in the bosom of theAmerican Jew. Nowhere is the struggle between theold and the new generations so intense as in thehome of the Orthodox Jew. His descendant is clean-shaven and no longer observes (or observes onlyperfunctorily or with many a gross inconsistency)the dietary and household laws. He is a free spenderand luxurious in his habits as compared with hiseconomical, ascetic forefathers. He marries late andthe birth rate drops with most astonishing rapidity,so that in one generation the children of parentswho had eight or ten children have families of one ortwo or three children. He becomes a follower ofsports, and with his love for scholarship still strong,as witness his production of scholars and scientists,the remarkable rise of the Jewish prize fighterstands out as a divergence from tradition that mocksat theories of inborn racial characters. And a third
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU57The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarygeneration differs in customs, manners, ideals,purposes and physique but little from the socialclass of Americans in which the individual membersmove. The names become Anglicized; gone are theAbrahams and Isaacs and Jacobs, the Rachels andLeahs and Rebeccas, and in their place are Vernon,Mortimer, Winthrop, Alice, Helen and Elizabeth. Andthis change in name symbolizes the revolution inessential characters.Has the racial stock changed in onegeneration or two? No. A new social heredity hasovercome--or at least in part supplanted--an oldersocial heredity and released and developedcharacters hitherto held in check. In every humanbeing--and this is a theme we shall enlarge uponlater--there are potential lines of development faroutnumbering those that can be manifested, andeach environment and tradition calls forth some andsuppresses others. Every man is a garden plantedwith all kinds of seeds; tradition and teaching arethe gardeners that allow only certain ones to come
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU58The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryto bloom. In each age, each country and each familythere is a different gardener at work, repressingcertain trends in the individual, favoring andbringing to an exaggerated growth other trends.That each family, or type of family, acts inthis way is recognized in the value given to thehome life. The home, because of its sequestration,allows for the growth of individual types better thanwould a community house where the same traditionsand ideals governed the life of each child. In thehome the parents seek to cultivate the specific typeof character they favor. The home is par excellencethe place where prejudice and social attitude arefostered. Though the mother and father seek to givebroadmindedness and wide culture to the child, theirefforts must largely be governed by their ownattitudes and reactions,--in short, by their owncharacter and the resultant examples and teaching.It is true that the native character of the child maymake him resistant to the teachings of the parentsor may even develop counter-prejudices, to react
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU59The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryviolently against the gardening. This is the casewhen the child is of an opposing temperament orwhen in the course of time he falls under theinfluence of ideals and traditions that are opposed tothose of his home. Unless the home combinesinterest and freedom, together with teaching,certain children become violent rebels, and, seekingfreedom and interest outside of the home, findthemselves in a conflict, both with their hometeaching and the home teachers, that shakes theunity and the happiness of parent and child. Like allcivil wars this war between new and old generationsreaches great bitterness.In studying the cases of several hundreddelinquent girls, as a consultant to the ParoleDepartment of Massachusetts, it was found that thefamily life of the girls could be classified in twoways. The majority of the girls that reached theReformatory came from bad homes,--homes inwhich drunkenness, prostitution, feeble-mindedness,and insanity were common traits of the parents. Or
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU60The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryelse the girls were orphans brought up by astepmother or some careless foster mother. In anycase, through either example, cruelty or neglect,they drifted into the streets.And the streets! Only the poor child (or thechild brought up over strictly) can know the lure ofthe streets. THERE is excitement, THERE is freedomfrom prohibitions and inhibitions. So the boy or girlfinds a world without discipline, is without therestraints imposed on the sex instincts and comesunder the influence of derelicts, sex-adventurers,thieves, vagabonds and the aimless of all sorts. Intothis university of the vices most of the girls I amspeaking of drifted, largely because the homeinfluence either was of the street type or had noadvantages to offer in competition with the street.But the child on the streets is no more asolitary individual than the savage is, or for thatmatter the civilized man. He quickly forms part of agroup, a roving group, called "The Gang." In thelarge cities gangs are usually composed of boys of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU61The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryone age or nearly so; in the small towns the gangswill consist of the boys of a neighborhood. In fact,regardless of whether they are street children orhome children, boys form gangs spontaneously. Thegang is the first voluntary organization of society,for the home, in so far as the child is concerned, isan involuntary organization. The gang has its leaderor leaders, usually the strongest or the best fighter.At any rate, the best fighter is the nominal leader,though a shrewder lad may assume the real power.The gang has rules, it plays according to regulations,its quarrels are settled according to a code, propertyhas a definite status and distribution.[1] Themembers of the gang are always quarreling witheach other, but here, as in the larger aggregationsof older human beings, "politics ends at the border,"and the gang is a unit against foreign aggression.Indeed, gangs of a neighborhood may leagueagainst a group of other gangs, as did the quarrelingcities of Greece against Persia.[1] In the gang of which I was a member
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU62The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythere was a ritual in the formation of partnership, anassociation within the association. Two boys, fond ofeach other and desiring to become partners, wouldlink little fingers, while a third boy acting as a sort ofpriest--an elder of the gang--would raise his handand strike the link, shouting, "Partners, partners,never break!" This ritual was a symbol of the unityof the pair, so that they fought for each other,shared all personal goods (such as candy, pocketmoney, etc.,) and were to be loyal and sympatheticthroughout life. Alas, dear partner of my boyhood,most gallant of fighters and most generous of souls,where are you, and where is our friendship, now?For the student of mankind the gang is oneof the most fascinating phenomena. Here the powerof tradition, without the aid of records, is seen.Throughout America, in a mysterious way, all theboys start spinning tops at a certain season andthen suddenly cease and begin, to play marbles.Without any standardization of a central type theyhave the same rules for their games, call them by
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU63The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythe same names and use in their songs the samerhymes and airs. Every generation of children hasthe same jokes and trick games: "Eight and eightare sixteen, stick your nose in kerosene"--"A deadcat, I one it, you two it, I three it, you four it, I fiveit, you six it, I seven it, you eight it!" The fact is, ofcourse, that there are no generations as distinctentities; there are always individuals of one age,and there is a mutual teaching and learning going onat all times, which is the basis of transmission oftradition. Children are usually more conservativeand greater sticklers for form and propriety thaneven men are; only now and then a freer mindarises whose courage and pertinacity change things.Therefore, in the understanding of characterthe influence of the environment becomes of asfundamental importance as the consideration of theorganic make-up of the individual. The environmentin the form of tradition, social ideal, social status,economic situation, race, religion, family, educationis thus on the one hand the directing, guiding,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU64The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryeliciting factor in character and on the other is therepressing, inhibiting, limiting factor.Putting the whole thing in another way: theorganism is the Microcosmos, or little world, inwhich the potentialities of character are elaboratedin the germ plasm we inherit from our ancestors, inthe healthy interaction of brain with the rest of thebody, especially the internal glands. The outsideworld is the Macrocosmos, or large world, andincludes the physical conditions of existence(climate, altitude, plentiness of food, access to thesea) as well as the social conditions of existence(state of culture of times and race and family). Thesocial conditions of existence are of especial interestin that they reach back ages before the individualwas born so that the lives, thoughts, ideals of thedead may dominate the character of the living.This macrocosmos both brings to light andstifles the character peculiarities of the microcosmosand the character of no man, as we see or know it,ever expresses in any complete manner his innate
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU65The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarypossibilities.The question arises: What is the basis of theinfluence of the social heredity, of the forces, in thecharacter of the person born in a social group?Certain aspects of this we must deal with later, inorder to keep to a unified presentation of thesubject. Other aspects are pertinently to bediscussed now.The link that binds man to man is called thesocial instinct, though perhaps it would be better tocall it the group of social instincts. The link is one offeeling, primarily, though it has associated with it, inan indissoluble way, purpose and action. Theexistence of the social instinct is undisputed; itsexplanation is varied and ranges from the mysticalto the evolutionary. For the mystical (which cropsout in Bergson, Butler and even in Galton), the unityof life is its basis, and there is a sort of recognitionof parts formerly united but now separateindividuals. This does not explain hate, racial andindividual. The evolutionary aspect has received its
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU66The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybest handling in recent years in Trotters "The Herd,"where the social instincts are traced in their relationto human history. One writer after another hasplaced as basic in social instinct, sympathy,imitation, suggestibility and the recognition of"likeness." These are merely names for a spreadingof emotion from one member of a group to another,for a something that makes members of the groupteachable and makes them wish to teach; that isback of the wish to conform and help and has twosets of guiding forces, reward and its derivativepraise; punishment and its derivative blame.Perhaps the term "derivative" is not correct, andperhaps praise and blame are primary and rewardand punishment secondary.So eminent a philosopher as the elder Milldeclared the distribution of praise and blame is thegreatest problem of society." This view of the placeof praise and blame in the organization of characterand in directing the efforts and activity of men ishardly exaggerated. From birth to death the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU67The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarypleasure of reward and praise and the pain ofpunishment and blame are immensely powerfulhuman motives. It is true that now and thenindividuals seek punishment and blame, but this isalways to win the favor of others or of the mostimportant observer of mens actions,--God, The childis trained through the effect of reward andpunishment, praise and blame; and these are usedto set up, on the one hand, habits of conduct, andon the other an inner mentor and guide calledConscience. It may be true that conscience is innatein its potentialities, but whether that is so or not, itis the teaching and training of the times or of somegroup that gives to conscience its peculiar trend inany individual case. And before a child has anyinward mentor it depends for its knowledge of rightand wrong upon the efforts of its parents, their useof praise-reward and blame-punishment; it reacts tothese measures in accordance with the strength andvigor of its social instincts and in accordance with itsfear of punishment and desire for reward. The
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU68The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfeelings of duty and the prickings of conscienceserve to consolidate a structure already formed.Here we must discuss a matter offundamental importance in character analysis. Menare not born equal in any respect. This inequalityextends to every power, possibility and peculiarityand has its widest range in the mental and characterlife. A tall man is perhaps a foot taller than a veryshort man; a giant is perhaps twice as tall as adwarf. A very fleet runner can "do" a hundred yardsin ten seconds, and there are few except thecrippled or aged who cannot run the distance intwenty seconds. Only in the fables has the hero thestrength of a dozen men. But where dexterity orknowledge enters things become different, and oneman can do what the most of men cannot evenprepare to do. Where abstract thought or talent orgenius is involved the greatest human variability isseen. There we have Pascals who aremathematicians at five and discoverers at sixteen;there we have Mozarts, composers at three; there
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU69The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywe have our inspired boy preachers alreadyconsecrated to their great ideal of work; and wehave also our Jesse Pomeroys, fiendish murderersbefore adolescence. I believe with Carlyle that it isthe heroes, the geniuses of the race, to whom weowe its achievements; and the hero and the geniusare the men and women of "greatest variability" inpowers. The first weapon, the starting of fire, thesong that became "a folk song" were created by theprehistoric geniuses and became the social heritageof the group or race. And "common man" did little todevelop religions or even superstitions; he merelyaccepted the belief of a leader.This digression is to emphasize that childrenand the men and women they grow to be are widelyvariable in their native social feeling, in theirresponse to praise, blame, reward and punishmept.One child eagerly responds to all, is moved bypraise, loves reward, fears punishment and hatesblame. Another child responds mainly to reward, isbut little moved by praise, fears punishment and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU70The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarylaughs at blame. Still another only fearspunishment, while there is a type of deeplyantisocial nature which goes his own way, seekinghis own egoistic purposes, uninfluenced by theopinion of others, accepting reward cynically andfighting against punishment. More than that, eachchild shows peculiarities in the types of praise,reward, blame and punishment that move him.Some children need corporal punishment[1] andothers who are made rebels by it are melted intoconformity by ostracism.[1] It is a wishy-washy ideal of teaching thatregards pain as equivalent to cruelty. On thecontrary, it may be real cruelty to spare pain,--cruelty to the future of the child. Pain is a greatteacher, whether inflicted by the knife one has beentold not to play with, or by the parent when theinjunction not to play with the knife has beendisregarded.The distribution of praise and blameconstitutes the distribution of public opinion.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU71The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryWherever public opinion is free to exercise its powerit is a weapon of extraordinary potency before whichalmost nothing can stand. One might define a freenation as one where public opinion has no limits,[1]where no one is prevented from the expression ofbelief about the action of others, and no one isexempted from the pressure of opinion. Converselyan autocracy is one where there is but little room forthe public use of praise and but little power toblame, especially in regard to the rulers. But in allsocieties, whether free or otherwise, people areconstantly praising, constantly blaming one another,whether over the teacups or the wine glasses, in thesewing circle or the smoking rooms, in the midst offamilies, in the press, in the great halls of the statesand nations. These are "the mallets" by whichsociety beats or attempts to beat individuals into theaccepted shape.[1] In fact, Oliver Wendell Holmes hasdefined as the great object of human society thefree growth and expression of human thought. How
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU72The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfar we are from that ideal!Men and women and children all strive to bepraised, if not by their own group, by some othergroup or by some generation. It is, therefore, a highachievement to introduce a new ideal of characterand personality to the group. Men--whose opinion asto desirability and praiseworthiness has been theprepotent opinion--love best of all beauty in woman.Therefore, the ideal of beauty as an achievement isa leading factor in the character formation of mostgirls and young women. The first question girls askabout one another is, "Is she pretty?" and in theircriticism of one another the personal appearance isthe first and most, important subject discussed. Apersonal beauty ideal has little value to thecharacter; in fact, it tends to exaggerate vanity andtriviality and selfishness; it leads away from thehigher aspects of reality. If you ask the majority ofwomen which would they rather be, very beautiful orvery intelligent, most will say without question (intheir frank moments) that they would rather be very
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU73The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybeautiful. Those who are attempting to introduce theideal of intelligence as a goal to women need ofcourse to balance it with other ideals, but ifsuccessful they will revolutionize the attitude ofwomen toward life and change the trend of theircharacter.Such ideals as beauty and wealth, however,do not acquire their imperativeness unless at thesame time they gratify some deep-seated group ofdesires or instincts. Wealth gives too many things tocatalogue here, but fundamentally it gives power,and so beauty which may lead to wealth is always asource of power, although this power carries with itdanger to the owner. Mankind has been praisingunselfishness for thousands of years, and all menhate to be called selfish, but selfishness still rules inthe lives of most of the people of the world. Chastityand continence receive the praise of the religious ofthe world, as well as of the ascetic-minded of alltypes, yet the majority of men, in theory acceptingthis ideal, reject it in practice. Selfishness leads to
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU74The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryself-gratification and pleasure; chastity imposes aburden on desire, and praise and blame are in thisinstance not powerful enough to control mankindsacts, though powerful enough to influence them.Wherever social pressure and education influencemen and women to conduct which is contrary to thegratification of fundamental desires, it causes anuneasiness, an unhappiness and discomfort uponwhich Graham Wallas[1] has laid great stress as thebalked desire. The history of man is made up of thestruggle of normal instincts, emotions and purposesagainst the mistaken inhibitions and prohibitions,against mistaken praise and blame, reward andpunishment. Moral and ethical ideals developinstitutions, and these often press too heavily uponthe life and activities of those who accept them asauthoritative.[1] See his book "The Great Society" for afine discussion of this important matter.We have spoken as if praise and blameinvariably had the same results. On the contrary,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU75The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythough in general they tend to bring aboutuniformity and conformity, people vary remarkablyfrom one another in their reaction and the sameperson is not uniform in his reactions. The reactionto praise is on the whole an increased happiness andvigor, but of course it may, when undeserved,demoralize the character and lead to a foolish vanityand to inefficiency. To those whose conscience ishighly developed, undeserved praise is painful inthat it leads to a feeling that one is deceiving others.Speaking broadly, this is a rare reaction. Mostpeople accept praise as their due, just as theyattribute success to their merits.[1] The reaction toblame may be anger, if the blame is felt to beundeserved, and there are people of irritable egowho respond in this way to all blame or even thehint of adverse criticism. The reaction may behumiliation and lowered self-valuation, greatlydeenergizing the character and lowering efficiency.There, again, though this reaction occurs in somedegree to all, others are so constituted that all
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU76The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycriticism or blame is extremely painful and needs tobe tempered with praise and encouragement. Whereblame is felt to be deserved, and where thecharacter is one of striving after betterment, wherethe ego is neither irritable nor tender, blame is anaid to growth and efficiency. Many a man flares upunder blame who "cools" down when he sees thejustice of the criticism, and changes accordingly.[1] A very striking example of this wasnoticeable during the Great War. American businessmen in general, producers, distributors, wholesalers,retailers and speculators all got "rich,"--some inextraordinary measure. Did many of them attributethis to the fact that there was a "sellers market"caused by the conditions over which the individualbusiness man had no control? On the contrary, theoverwhelming majority quite complacently attributedthe success (which later proved ephemeral) to theirown ability.Therefore, in estimating the character ofany individual, one must ask into the nature of his
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU77The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryenvironment, the traits and teachings of the groupfrom which he comes and among whom he haslived. To understand any one this inquiry must bedetailed and reach back into his early life. Yet nottoo much stress must be laid upon certain influencesin regard to certain qualities. For example, theaverage child is not influenced greatly by immoralityuntil near puberty, but dishonesty and bad mannersstrike at him from early childhood. The large group,the small group, family life, gang life influencecharacter, but not necessarily in a direct way. Theymay act to develop counter- prejudices, for there isno one so bitter against alcoholism as the manwhose father was a drunkard and who himselfrevolts against it. And there is no one so radical ashe whose youth was cramped by too muchconservatism.One might easily classify people according totheir reaction to reward, praise, punishment andblame. This would lead us too far afield. But at leastit is safe to say that in using these factors in
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU78The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydirecting conduct and character the individual mustbe studied in a detailed way. The average child, theaverage man and woman is found only in statistics.Everywhere, to deal successfully, one must deal withthe individual.There is a praise-reacting type to whompraise acts as a tonic of incomparable worth,especially when he who administers the praise isrespected. And there are employers, teachers andparents who ignore this fact entirely, who use praisetoo little or not at all and who rely on adversecriticism. The hunger for appreciation is a deep,intense need, and many of the problems of lifewould melt before the proper use of praise."Fine words butter no parsnips" means thatreward of other kinds is needed to give substance topraise. Praise only without reward losses its value. "Iget lots of Thank yous and You are a goodfellow," complained a porter to me once, "but Icannot bring up my family on them." In their hearts,no matter what they say, the majority of people
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU79The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryplace highly him who is just in compensation andreward and they want substantial goods. Many ayoung scientist of my acquaintance has found thatelection to learned societies and praise and respectpalled on him as compared to a living salary. Moneycan be exchanged for vacations, education, books,good times and the opportunity of helping others,but praise has no cash exchange value.Blame and punishment are intenselyindividual matters. Where they are used to correctand to better the character, where they are the toolsof the friends and teacher and not the weapons ofthe enemy, great care must be used. Characterbuilding is an aim, not a technique, and the end hasjustified the means. Society has just about come tothe conclusion that merely punishing the criminaldoes not reform him, and merely to punish the childhas but part of the effect desired. In charactertraining punishment and blame must bring PAIN, butthat pain must be felt to be deserved (at least in theolder child and adult) and not arouse lasting anger
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU80The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryor humiliation. It must teach the error of the waysand prepare the recipient for instruction as to theright away. Often enough the pain of punishmentand blame widens the breach between the teacherand pupil merely because the former has inflictedpain without recompense.One might put it thus: The pleasure ofpraise and reward must energize, the pain of blameand punishment. must teach, else teacher andsociety have misused these social tools."Very well," I hear some readers say, "isconscience to be dismissed so shortly? Have notmen dared to do right in the face of a world thatblamed and punished; have they not stood withoutpraise or reward or the fellowship of others for theactions their conscience dictated?"Yes, indeed. What, then, is conscience? Forthe common thought of the world it is an inwardmentor placed by God within the bosom of man toguide him, to goad him, even, into choosing rightand avoiding wrong. Where the conception of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU81The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryconscience is not quite so literal and direct it is heldto be an immanent something of innate origin.Whatever it may be, it surely does not guide us veryaccurately or well, for there are opposingconsciences on every side of every question, andopponents find themselves equally spurred byconscience to action and are equally convinced ofrighteousness. In the long run it would be difficult todecide which did more harm in the world, aconscientious persecutor or bigot, an Alvarez orJames the First, or a dissolute, consciencelesssensualist like Charles the Second. Certainlyconsciences differ as widely as digestions.Conscience, so it seems to me, arises inearly childhood with the appearance of fixedpurposes. It is entirely guided at first by teachingand by praise and blame, for the infant gives noevidence of conscience. But the infant (or youngchild) soon wants to please, wants the favor andsmiles of its parents. Why does it wish to please? Isthere a something irreducible in the desire? I do not
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU82The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryknow and cannot pretend to answer.This, however, may be definitely stated.Conscience arises or grows in the struggle betweenopposing desires and purposes in the course ofwhich one purpose becomes recognized as theproper guide to conduct. Let us take a simple casefrom the moral struggles of the child.A three-year-old, wandering into thekitchen, with mother in the back yard hanging outthe clothes, makes the startling discovery that thereis a pan of tarts, apple tarts, on the kitchen table,easily within reach, especially if Master Three-Year-Old pulls up a chair. Tarts! The child becomesexcited, his mouth waters, and those tarts becomethe symbol and substance of pleasure,--and withinhis reach. But in the back of his mind, urging him tostop and consider, is the memory of mothersinjunction, "You must always ask for tarts or candyor any goodies before you take them." And there isthe pain of punishment and scolding and the visionof father, looking stern and not playing with one.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU83The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryThese are distant, faint memories, weak forces,--butthey influence conduct so that the little one takes atart and eats it hurriedly before mother returns andthen runs into the dining room or bedroom. Thus,instead of merely obeying an impulse to take thetart, as an uninstructed child would, he has nowbecome a little thief and has had his first real moralstruggle.But it is a grim law that sensual pleasures donot last beyond the period of gratification. If thiswere not so there could be no morality in the world,and conscience would never reach any importance.Whether we gratify sex appetite or gastric hunger,the pleasure goes at once. True, there may be ashort afterglow of good feeling, but rarely is itstrongly affective, and very often it is replaced by apositive repulsion for the appetite. On the otherhand, to be out of conformity with your group is apermanent pain, and the fear of being found out isan anxiety often too great to be endured. And so ourchild, with the tart gone, wishes he had not taken it,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU84The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryperhaps not clearly or verbally; he is regretful, let ussay. Out of this regret, out of this fear of beingfound out, out of the pain of nonconformity, arisesthe conscience feeling which says, "Thou shalt not"or "Thou shalt," according to social teaching.It may be objected that "Conscience oftenarrays itself against society, against social teaching,against perhaps all men." It is not my place to tracethe growth in mind of the idea of the Absolute Good,or absolute right and wrong, with which a man mustalign himself. I believe it is the strength of the egofeeling which gives to some the vigor andunyieldingness of their conscience. "I am right,"says such a person, "and the rest of the world iswrong. God is with me, my conscience and futuretimes will agree," thus appealing to the distanttribunal as James pointed out. All the insanehospitals have their sufferers for consciences sake,paranoid personalities whose egos have expanded toinfallibility and whose consciences arecorrespondingly developed.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU85The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryConscience thus represents the power of thepermanent purposes and ideals of the individuals,and it wars on the less permanent desires andimpulses, because there is in memory theuneasiness and anxiety that resulted fromindulgence and the pain of the feeling of inferioritythat results when one is hiding a secret weakness orundergoing reproof or punishment. This group ofpermanent purposes, ideals and aspirationscorresponds closely to the censor of the Freudianconcept and here is an example where a new namesuccessfully disguises an age-old thought.In other words, conscience is social in itsorigin, developing differently in different peopleaccording to their teaching, intelligence, will, ego-feeling, instincts, etc. From the standpoint ofcharacter analysis there are many types of people inregard to conscience development.In respect to the reactions to praise andblame the following types are conspicuous:1. A "weak" group in whom these act as
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU86The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryapparently the sole motives.2. A group energized by love of praise.3. A group energized mainly by fear ofblame.4. A type that scorns anything but materialreward.5. Another, that "takes advantage" ofreward; likes praise but is merely made conceited byit, hates blame but is merely made angry by it, fearspunishment and finds its main goad to good conductin this fear.6. Then there are those in whom all thesemotives operate in greater or lesser degree,--the so-called normal person. In reality he has his specialinclinations and dreads.7. The majority of people are influencedmainly by the group with which they have cast theirpositions, the blame of others being relativelyunimportant or arousing anger. For there is thisgreat difference between our reactions to praise andblame: that while the praise of almost any one and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU87The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfor almost any quality is welcome, the blame of onlya few is taken "well," and for the rest there is anger,contempt or defiance. The influence of blame varieswith the respect, love and especially acknowledgedsuperiority of the blamer. The "boss" has a right toblame and so has father or mother while we arechildren, but we resent bitterly the blame of a fellowemployee; "he has no right to blame," and we rebelagainst the blame of our parents when we grow up.In fact, the war of the old and new generationsstarts with the criticism of the elder folk and theresentment of the younger folk.It will be seen that reaction to praise andblame, etc., will depend upon the irritability of egofeeling, the love of superiority and the dislike forinferiority. This basic situation we must deferdiscussing, but what is of importance is that theprimitive disciplinary weapons we have discussednever lose their cardinal value and remainthroughout life and in all societies the prime modesof thought and conduct.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU88The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryIn similar fashion the conscience typesmight be depicted. From the over-conscientious whorigidly hold themselves to an ideal, who watch everydeparture from perfection with agony and self-reproach, and who may either reach the highestlevel or "break down" and become inefficient to thealmost conscienceless group, doing only what seemsmore profitable, are many intermediate typesmerging one with the other.There are people whose conscience islocalized, as the self-sacrificing father who is apirate in business, or as the policeman who holdsrigidly to conscience in courage and loyalty to hisfellows, but who finds no internal reproach when hetakes a bribe or perjures himself about a criminal.What we call a code is really a localized conscience,and there are many men whose consciences do notpermit seduction of the virgin but who are quiteeasy in mind about an intrigue with a marriedwoman. So, too, you may be as wily as you pleasein business but find cheating at cards base and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU89The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryunthinkable. Conscience in the abstract may be adivine entity, but in the realities of everyday life it isa medley of motives, purposes and teachings,varying from the grotesque and mischief-working tothe sublime and splendid.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU90The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryChapter III. MEMORY AND HABITThere are two qualities of nervous tissues(possibly of all living tissue) that are basic in allnervous and mental processes. They are dependentupon the modificability of nerve cells and fibers bystimuli, e. g., a light flashing through the pupil andpassing along the optical tracts to the occipitalcortex produces changes which constitute the basisof visual memory. Experience modifies nervoustissue in definite manner, and SOMETHINGremembers. Who remembers? Who is conscious?Believe what you please about that, call it ego, soul,call it consciousness dipped out of a cosmicconsciousness; and I have no quarrel with you.Memory has its mechanics, in theassociation of ideas, which preoccupied the earlyEnglish psychologists and philosophers; it is thebasis of thought and also of action, and it is a primemystery. We know its pathology, we think thatmemories for speech have loci in the brain, the so-called motor memories in Brocas area.[1] We know
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU91The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythat a hemorrhage in these areas or in the fiberspassing from them, or a tumor pressing on themmay destroy or temporarily abolish these memories,so that a man may KNOW what he wishes to say,understand speech and be unable to say it, thoughhe may write it (motor aphasia). In sensory aphasiathe defect is a loss of the capacity to understandspoken speech, though the patient may be able tosay what he himself wishes. (It is fair to say that thedefinite location of these capacities in definite areashas been challenged by Marie, Moutier and others,but this denial does not deny the organic brainlocation of speech memories; it merely affirms thatthey are scattered rather than concentrated in onearea.)[1] Foot of the left or right third frontalconvolutions, auditory speech in the supramarginal,etc.In its widest phases memory alters with thestate of the brain. In childhood impressibility is high,but until the age or four or five the duration of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU92The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryimpression is low, and likewise the power ofvoluntary recall. In youth (eighteen-twenty) allthese capacities are perhaps at their highest. Astime goes on impressibility seems first of all to belost, so that it becomes harder and harder to learnnew things, to remember new faces, new names.The typical difficulty of middle age is toremember names, because these have no realrelationship or logical value and must be arbitrarilyremembered. The typical senile defect is thedropping out of the recent memories, though thepast may be preserved in its entirety. With anydisease of the brain, temporary or permanent,amnesia or memory loss may and usually is present(e. g., general paresis, tumor, cerebralarteriosclerosis, etc.). As the result of Carbonmonoxide poisoning, as after accidental orattempted suicidal gas inhalation, the memory,especially for the most recent events, is impairedand the patient cannot remember the events as theyoccur; he passes from moment to moment
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU93The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryunconnected to the recent past, though his remotepast is clear. Since memory is the basis of certainty,of the feeling of reality, these unfortunates areafflicted with an uncertainty, a sense of unreality,that is almost agonizing. As the effects of the poisonwear off, which even in favorable cases takesmonths, the impressibility returns but never reachesnormality again.Unquestionably there is an inherentcongenital difference in memory capacity. There arepeople who are prodigies of memory as there arethose who are prodigies of physical strength,--andwithout training. The IMPRESSIBILITY for memoriescan in no way be increased except through thestimulation of interest and a certain heightening ofattention through emotion. For the man or womanconcerned with memory the first point of importanceis to find some value in the fact or thing to belearned. Before a subject is broached to studentsthe teacher should make clear its practical andtheoretic value to the students. Too often that is the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU94The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarylast thing done and it is only when the course isfinished that its practical meaning is stressed oreven indicated. In fact, throughout, teaching thevalue of the subject should constantly beemphasized, if possible, by illustrations from life.There are only a few who love knowledge for its ownsake, but there are many who become eager forlearning when it is made practical.The number of associations given to a factdetermines to a large extent its permanence inmemory and the power of recalling it. In my ownteaching I always instruct my students in thetechnique of memorizing, as follows:1. Listen attentively, making only as manynotes as necessary to recall the leading facts. Theauditory memories are thus given the first place.2. Go home and read up the subject in yourtextbooks, again making notes. Thus is added thevisual associations.3. Write out in brief form the substance ofthe lecture, deriving your knowledge from both the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU95The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarylecture and the book. You thus add another set ofassociations to your memories of the subject.4. Teach the subject to or discuss it with afellow student. By this you vitalize the memories youhave, you link them firmly together, you lend tothem the ardor of usefulness and of victory. You areforced to realize where the gaps, the lacunae of yourknowledge come, and are made to fill them in.Thus the best way to remember a fact is tofind a use for it and to link it to your interests andyour purposes. Unrelated it has no value; related itbecomes in fact a part of you. After that themechanics of memory necessitate the making of asmany pathways to that fact as possible, and thismeans deliberately to associate the fact by sound,by speech and by action. The advertised schemes ofmemory training are simply association schemes,old as the hills, and having value indeed, but toomuch is claimed for them. A splendid memory isborn, not made; but any memory, except wheredisease has entered, can be improved by training.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU96The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryIt is because lectures on the whole do notsupply enough associations or arouse enoughinterest that the lecture is the poorest method ofteaching or learning. Mans mind sticks easily tothings, but with difficulty to words about things. Tomaintain attention for an hour or so, while sitting, isa task, and there develops a tendency either to ahypnoidal state in which the mind followsuncritically, or to a restless uneasiness withwandering mind and fatigue of body. Ademonstration, on the other hand, a laboratoryexperiment with short, personal instruction, a bodilycontact with the problem calls into play interest,enthusiasm, curiosity, motor images, the use of thehands, and is THE method of teaching.There are at present excellent psychologicalmethods of testing out the memory capacity. Everyone engaged in any responsible work, or troubledabout his memory, should be so tested. While thereare other qualities of mind of great importance,memory is basic, and no one can really understand
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU97The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhimself who is in doubt about his memory. In suchdiseases as neurasthenia one of the commonestcomplaints is the "loss of memory," which greatlytroubles the patient. As a matter of fact, what isimpaired is interest and attention, and when thepatient realizes this he is usually quite relieved. Theman who has a poor memory may become verysuccessful if he develops systems of recording,filing, indexing, but his possibilities of knowledge aregreatly reduced by his defect.[1][1] It is the growth of the subject matter ofknowledge that makes necessary the elaboratesystems of indexing, etc., now so important. It is asmuch as man can do to follow the places where themen work, let alone what they are doing. Thisgrowth of knowledge is getting to be an extra-human phenomenon. Of this Graham Wallas haswritten entertainingly.A second fundamental ability of livingtissue, and of particular importance in character, ishabit formation. Habit resides in the fact that once
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU98The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryliving tissue has been traversed by a stimulus andhas responded by an act, three things result:1. The pathway for that stimulus becomesmore permeable; becomes, as it were, grooved orlike a track laid across the living structure of thenervous system.2. The responding element is more easilystirred into activity, responds with more vigor andwith less effort.3. Consciousness, at first invoked, recedesmore and more, until the habit-action of whatevertype tends to become automatic. There is in this lastpeculiarity a tendency for the habit to establish itselfas independent of the personality, and if an injuriousor undesired habit, to set up the worst of theconflicts of life,--a conflict between ones intentionand an automaton in the shape of a powerfullyentrenched habit.Habits are economical of thought andenergy, generally speaking; that is their mainrecommendation. A dozen examples present
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU99The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythemselves at once as illustrative: piano playing,with its intense concentration on each note, withconsciousness attending to the action of eachmuscle, and then practice, habit formation, and theease and power of execution with the mind free towander off in the moods suggested by the music, orto busy itself with improvisations, flourishes and theartistic touches. Before true artistry can come,technique must be relegated to habit. So withtypewriting, driving an automobile, etc.More fundamental than these, which arelargely skill habits, are the organic habits. One ofthe triumphs of pediatrics depends upon therealization that the babys welfare hangs on regularhabits of feeding, that he is not to be fed except atstated intervals; as a result processes of digestionare set going in a regular, harmonious manner. Inother words, these processes may be said to "get toknow" what is expected of them and act accordingly.The mothers time is economized and the strain ofnursing is lessened. In adults, regular hours of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU100The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryeating make it possible for the juices of digestion tobe secreted as the food is ingested; in other words,an habitual adjustment takes place.If there were one single health habit that Iwould have inculcated above all others, it would bethe habit of regularly evacuating the bowels. Whileconstipation is not the worst ill in the world, itcauses much trouble, annoyance and a considerabledegree of ill health, and, in my opinion, aconsiderable degree of unhappiness. A physicianmay be pardoned for frank advice: all the mattersconcerning the bowels, such as coarse foods, plentyof water and exercise, are secondary compared tothe habit of going to the stool at the same time eachday, whether there be desire or not. A child shouldbe trained in this matter as definitely as he istrained to brush his teeth. In fact, I think that theformer habit is more important than the latter. Themood of man is remarkably related to the conditionof his gastro-intestinal tract and the involuntarymuscle of that tract is indirectly under the control of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU101The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythe will through habit formation.Sleep[1] the mysterious, the death in lifewhich we all seek each night, is likewise regulatedby habit. Arising from the need of relief fromconsciousness and bodily exertion, the mechanismof sleep is still not well understood. Is there a toxicinfluence at work? is the body poisoned by itself, asit were, as has been postulated; is there a toxin offatigue, or is there a "vaso-motor" reaction, a shiftof the blood supply causing a cerebral anaemia andthus creating the "sleepy" feeling? The capacity tosleep is a factor of great importance and we shalldeal with it later under a separate heading as part ofthe mechanism of success and failure. At present weshall simply point out that each person builds up aset of habits regarding sleep,--as to hour, kind ofplace, warmth, companionship, ventilation and eventhe side of the body he shall lie on, and that achange in these preliminary matters is oftenattended by insomnia. Moreover, a change from thehabitual in the general conduct of life--a new city or
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU102The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarytown, a strange bed, a disturbance in the moods andemotions--may upset the sleep capacity. Those inwhom excitement persists, or whose emotions arepersistent, become easily burdened with thedreaded insomnia. Sleep is dependent on anexclusion of excitement and exciting influences. If,however, exciting influences become habitual theylose their power over the organism and then theindividual can sleep on a battle field, in a boilerfactory, or almost anywhere. Conversely, many aNew Yorker is lulled to sleep by the roar of the greatcity who, finds that the quiet of the country keepshim awake.[1] As good a book as any on the subject ofsleep is Boris Sidiss little monograph.Sleeplessness often enough is a habit.Something happens to a man that deeply stirs him,as an insult, or a falling out with a friend, or the lossof money,--something which disturbs what we callhis poise or peace of mind. He becomes sleeplessbecause, when he goes to bed and the shock-
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU103The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryabsorbing objects of daily interest are removed, histhoughts revert back to his difficulty; he becomesagain humiliated or grieved or thrown into anemotional turmoil that prevents sleep. After the firstnight of insomnia a new factor enters,--the fear ofsleeplessness and the conviction that one will notsleep. After a time the insult has lost its sting, or thedifficulty has been adjusted, there is no moreemotional distress, but there is the establishedsleeplessness, based on habitual emotional reactionto sleep. I know one lady whose fear reached thestage where she could not even bear the thought ofnight and darkness. It is in these cases that apowerful drug used two or three nights in successionbreaks up the sleepless habit and reestablishes thepower to sleep.People differ in their capacity to form habitsand in their love of habits. The normal habits,thoroughness, neatness and method come easily tosome and are never really acquired by others.People of an impetuous, explosive or reckless
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU104The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycharacter, keenly alive to every shade of differencein things, find it hard to be methodical, to carry onroutine. The impatient person has similar difficulties.Whereas others take readily to the same methods ofdoing things day by day; and these are usually non-explosive, well inhibited, patient persons, to whomthe way a thing is done is as important as the goalitself.Here comes a very entertaining problem, thequestion of the value of habits. Good habits savetime and energy, tend to eliminate useless labor andmake for peace and quiet. But there is a large bodyof persons who come to value habits for themselvesand, indeed, this is true to a certain extent of all ofus. Once an accustomed way of doing things isestablished it becomes not only a path of leastresistance, but a sort of fixed point of view, and, ifone may mix metaphors a trifle, a sort of trunk forthe ego to twine itself around. There is uneasiness inthe thought of breaking up habits, an uneasinessthat grows the more as we become older and is
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU105The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydeepened into agony if the habit is tinged with ourstatus in life, if it has become a sort of measure ofour respectability. Thus a good housekeeper fallsinto the habits of doing things which were originallya mark of her ability, which she holds as sacred andvalues above her health and energy. There arepeople who fiercely resent a new way of doingthings; they have woven their most minor habitsinto their ego feeling and thus make a personalissue of innovations. These are the upholders of theestablished; they hate change as such; they areefficient but not progressive. In its pathological formthis type becomes the "health fiends" who nevervary in their diet or in their clothing, who arise at acertain time, take their "plunge" regardless, taketheir exercise and their breakfasts alike as a healthmeasure without real enjoyment, etc., who growweary if they stay up half an hour or so beyond theirordinary bedtime; they are the individuals who fallinto health cults, become vegetarians, raw foodexponents, etc.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU106The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryOpposed to the group that falls into habitsvery readily is the group that finds it difficult toacquire habitual ways of working and living. All of usseek change and variety, as well as stability. Somecannot easily form habits because they are quicklybored by the habitual. These restless folk are thefailures or the great successes, according to theirintelligence and good fortune. There is a low-gradeintelligence type, without purpose and energy, andthere is a high-grade intelligence type, seeking theideal, restless under imperfection and restraint,disdaining the commonplace and the habits that gowith it. Is their disdain of habit-forming and customsthe result of their unconventional ways, or do theirunconventional ways result because they cannoteasily form habits? It is very probable that the truewanderer and Bohemian finds it difficult, at least inyouth, to form habits, and that the pseudo-Bohemian is merely an imitation.Habit is so intimately a part of all traits andabilities that we would be anticipating several
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU107The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarychapters of this book did we go into all the habittypes. Social conditions, desire, fatigue, monotony,purpose, intelligence, inhibition, all enter into habitand habit formation. Youth experiments with habit;old age clings to it. Efficiency is the result of goodhabits but originality is the reward of some whodiscard habits. A nation forms habits which seem tobe part of its nature, until emigration to anotherland shows the falsity of this belief. So withindividuals: a man feels he must eat or drink somuch, gratify his sex appetite so often, sleep somany hours, exercise this or that amount, seek hisentertainment in this or that fashion,--untilsomething happens to make the habit impossibleand he finds that what he thought a deeply rootedmode of living was a superficial routine. Thoughgood habits may lead to success they may also barthe way to the pleasures of experience; that is theirdanger. A man who finds that he must do this orthat in such a way had better beware; he is gettingold, no matter what his age.[1] For we grow older as
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU108The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywe lose mobility,--in joints, muscles, skin and ourways of doing, feeling and thinking! It is a transitorystage of the final immobility of Death.[1] Says the talkative Autocrat of theBreakfast Table: "There is one mark of age thatstrikes me more than any of the physical ones; Imean the formation of Habits. An old man whoshrinks into himself falls into ways that become aspositive and as much beyond the reach of outsideinfluences as if they were governed by clock work."We have not considered the pathologicalhabits, such as alcoholism, excessive smoking andeating, perverse sex habits. The latter, the perversesex habits, will be studied when discussing the sexfeelings and purposes in their entirety. Alcoholism isnot yet a dead issue in this country though thosewho are sincere in wishing their fellows well hope itsoon will be. It stands, however, as a sort ofparadigm of bad habit- forming and presents aproblem in treatment that is typical of such habits.Not all persons have a liability to the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU109The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryalcoholic habit. For most people lack of real desire orpleasure prevented alcoholism. The majority ofthose who drank little or not at all were not in theleast tempted by the drug. "Will power" rarely hadanything to do with their abstinence and thecomplacency with which they held themselves up asan example to the drunken had all the flavor ofPhariseeism. To some the taste is not pleasing, toothers the immediate effects are so terrifying asautomatically to shut off excess. Many peoplebecome dizzy or nauseated almost at once and evenlose the power of locomotion or speech.In many countries and during manycenturies most of those who became alcoholic weresuch largely through the social setting given toalcohol. Because of the psychological effects of thisdrug in removing restraint, inhibition and formality,in its various forms it became the symbol of good-fellowship; and because it has an apparentstimulation and heat-producing effect there grew upthe notion that it aided hard labor and helped resist
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU110The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhardship. As the symbol of good-fellowship it grewinto a tradition of the most binding kind, so that nogood time, no coming together was completewithout it, and its power is celebrated in picturesquesongs and picturesque sayings the world over.Hospitality, tolerance, good humor, kindliness andthe pleasant breaking down of the barriers betweenman and man, and also between man and woman,all these lured generation after generation into thealcoholic habit.There are relatively normal types of theheavy drinker,--the socially minded and the hardmanual worker. But there is a large group of thosewho find in alcohol a relief from the burden of theirmoods, who find in its real effect, the release frominhibitions, a reason for drinking beyond the reachof reason. Do you feel that the endless monotony ofyour existence can no longer be borne,--drink deepand you color your life to suit yourself. Dodisappointment and despair gnaw at your love of lifeso that nothing seems worth while,--some bottled
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU111The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Library"essence of sunshine" will give new, fresh value toexistence. Are you a victim of strange, uncausedfluctuations of mood so that periodically youdescend to a bottomless pit of melancholy, --well,then, why suffer, when over the bar a man willfurnish you a release from agony? And so men ofcertain types of temperament, or with unhappyexperiences, form the alcoholic habit because itgives them surcease from pain; it deals out to them,temporarily, a new world with happier mood,lessened tension and greater success.Seeking relief[1] from distressing thoughtsor moods is perhaps one of the main causes of thenarcotic habit. The feeling of inferiority, one of themost painful of mental conditions, is responsible forthe use not only of alcohol but also of other drugs,such as cocaine, heroin, morphine, etc. One of themost typical cases of this I have known is of a youngman of twenty-five, a tall fellow with a veryunattractive face who had this feeling of inferiorityalmost to the point of agony, especially in the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU112The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarypresence of young women, but also in any situationwhere he would be noticed. He was fast becoming ahermit when he discovered that a few drinkscompletely removed this feeling. From that time onhe became a steady drinker, with now and then ashort period when he would try to stop drinking,only to resume when he found himself obsessedagain by the dreaded inferiority complex.[1] This is the main theme of De Quinceys"Confessions of an Opium Eater."Similarly a shameful position, such as thatof the prostitute or the chronic criminal, is "relieved"by alcohol and drugs, so that the majority of thesetypes of unfortunates are either drunkards or"dopes." Too often have reformers reversed therelationship, believing that alcohol causedprostitution and crime. Of course that relationshipexists, but more often, in my experience, the alcoholis used to keep up the "ego" feeling, without whichfew can bear life.Curiously enough, one of the sex
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU113The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryperversions, masturbation, has in a few cases asimilar genesis. I have known patients who, whenunder the influence of depression, or humiliated insome way or other, found a compensating pleasurein the act. Here we come to a cardinal truth in theunderstanding of ourselves and our fellows and onewe shall pursue in detail later,--that face to facewith mental pain, men seek relief or pleasure orboth by alcohol, drugs, sensual pleasures of allkinds, and that the secret explanation of all suchhabits is that they offer compensation for some painand are turned to at such times. What one manseeks in work, another man seeks in religion,another finds in self-flagellation, and still othersseek in alcohol, morphine, sexual excesses, etc.With the increasing excitement and tensionof our times there is a constant search for relief, andhere is the origin of much of the smoking. Most menfind in the deliberate puff, in the slow inhalation andin the prolonged exhalation with the formation of thewhite cloud of smoke, a shifting of consciousness
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU114The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfrom the major businesses of their mind, from aconstant tension to a minor business not requiringconcentration and thereby breaking up in apleasurable, rhythmic fashion the sense of effort.When one is alone the fatigue and even the pain ofones thinking is relieved by shifting the attention tothe smoking. Keeping ones attention at a high andconstant pitch is apt to produce a restless fatigueand this is often offset to the smoker by his habit.Excessive smoking may cause "nervousness" but asa matter of fact it is more often a means by whichthe excessively nervous try to relieve themselves. Ofcourse it is not good therapeutics under suchconditions, but I believe that in moderation smokingdoes no harm and is an innocent pleasure.Some of the pathological motor habits, suchas the tics, often have a curious background. Themost common tics are snuffing, blinking, shaking ofthe head, facial contortions of one kind or another.These arise usually under exciting conditions or inthe excitable, sometimes in the acutely self-
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU115The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryconscious. Frequently they represent a motor outletfor this excitement; they are the motor analogues ofcrying, shouting, laughing, etc. (Indeed, a commonhabit is the one so frequently heard,--a little laughwhen there is no feeling of merriment and nooccasion for it.) Motor activity discharges tensionand is pleasurable and these tics furnish amomentary pleasure; they relieve a feeling thatsome of the victims compare to an itch and the habitthus is based on a seeking of relief, even thoughthat relief is obtained in a way that distresses themore settled purposes of the individual.In the establishment of good habits, thosedesirable from the point of view of the importantissues of life, training is of course essential. But inthe training of children, certain things must be keptin mind: the usefulness, the practical value must bepresented to the childs mind in a way he canunderstand, or else various ways of energizing himto help in the formation of the habit must be used--praise and blame, reward and punishment. Further,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU116The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythese habits are not to be held holy; cleanliness andmethod are desirable acquisitions but not sodesirable as a feeling of freedom to play andexperiment with life and things. If the child isconstantly worried lest he get too dirty, or fears toplay in his room because he may disorder it, he isforming the good habits of cleanliness and methodbut also the worse one of worry.In the breaking of a bad habit, its root indesire and difficulty must be discovered. Oftenenough a man does not face the source of histrouble, preferring not to. I am not at all sure that itis best in all cases for a man to know his ownweakness; in fact, I feel convinced to the contrary insome cases. But in the majority of difficulties, self-revelation is salutary and makes an intelligentcoping with the situation possible. Here is the valueof the good friend, the respected pastor, the wisedoctor. The human being will always need aconfessor and a confidante, and he who is strugglingwith a habit is in utmost need of such help.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU117The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryShall the struggler with a bad habit break itwith its thralldom? Shall he say to his chains, "Fromthis time, nevermore!" To some men it is given towin the victory this way, to rise to the heights of astubborn resolution and to be free. But not to manyis this possible. To others there is a long history ofrepeated effort and repeated failures and then--oneday there comes a feeling of power, perhapsthrough a great love, a great cause, a sermonheard, a chance sentence, or a bitter experience,and then, like a religious conversion, the tracks ofthe old habit are obliterated, never to be used again.I have in mind two men, both heavydrinkers but differing in everything else. One was aphilosopher who saw the world in that dreadful,clear white light of which Jack London[1] spoke, thatlight which leaves no cozy, pleasant obscurities, inwhich Truth, the naked, is horrible to look at, whenlife seems too unreal, when purposes seem mostfutile. At such times he would get drunk and behappy for the time being, and afterwards find
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU118The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhimself bitterly repentant, though even that was apleasure compared to the hollow world in which hissober self dwelt. Then one day, when all his friendshad given him up as hopeless, as destined fordisaster, he read a book. "The Varieties of ReligiousExperience," by William James, came to him as aclear light comes to a man lost in the darkness; hesaw himself as a "sick soul," obsessed with the ideathat he saw life relentlessly and clearly. There cameto him the conviction that he had been arrogant, aconceited ass, bent on ruin, "a sickly soul," he said.Out of that realization grew resolutions that neededno vowing or pledging, for as simply as a man turnsfrom one road to another he turned from his habitinto healthy-minded work.[1] Jack Londons "John Barleycorn."The other was an essentially healthy-minded man but he loved joviality, freedom andgood fellowship. Without ever knowing how he cameto it, he found himself a confirmed drinker, holdingan inferior place, passed by men of lesser caliber.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU119The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryHe struggled fitfully but always slipped when thenext "good fellow" slapped him on the back andinvited him to have a drink. One day he stepped outof a barroom with a group of his cronies, and thoughhe walked straight there was a reckless, happyfeeling in him that pushed him on to his folly. Ayoung lady standing on a street corner waiting for acar caught his eye. Signaling to his companions, hewalked up to her, put his arms around her andkissed her. The girl stood as if petrified, then shepushed him off and looked him up and downdeliberately with cold scorn in her eyes. Then shetook off her glove and slapped him across the facewith it, as if disdaining to use her hand. With thatshe walked away.The man was a gentleman, and he stoodthere stricken. The laugh of his companions arousedhim. He saw them as if they were himself, with ahorror and disgust that made him suddenly runaway from them."From that moment I never again had the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU120The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryslightest desire for drink. The slap sobered me forgood."While these conversions occur now and thenthere are certain practical points in the breaking of ahabit that need attention in each case.In the first place it is best in the majority ofinstances to avoid the particular stimuli andassociations that set off the habit. The stimulus is akind of trigger; pull it and the habit can hardly bechecked. Whatever the situation is that acts as thetemptation, avoid it. Not for nothing do men pray,"Lead us not into temptation." The will needs nosuch exercise and rarely stands up well against suchstrain. This may mean a removal for the time beingfrom the source of temptation, a flying away to gainstrength.Further, a substitution of habit, of purpose,is necessary. Some line of activities must beselected to fill in the vacuum. A hobby is needed, adevotion to some larger purpose, whether it be inwork or social activity. "Nature abhors a vacuum";
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU121The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryboredom must be avoided, for that is a pain,awakening desire. The gymnasium, golf, sports of allkinds are substitute pleasures of great value.Third, harness a friend, a superior or arespected equal to the yoke with you. Pull doubleharness; let him lend his strength to yours. Throwaway pride; confess and receive new energy fromhis sympathy and wisdom. If you are lucky enoughto have such a friend, or some wise counselor, thankGod for him. For here is where the true friend findshis highest value.In the analysis of any character the questionof the kind of habits formed demands attention.Since almost all traits become matters of habit, suchan inquiry would sooner or later lead to a catalogueof qualities. What is here pertinent is this,--that onemight inquire into the kind of habits that are easilyformed by the individual and the kind that are not.Habits fall into groups such as these:1. Relating to care of the body: cleanliness,diet, exercise, bowel function, sleep. Here we learn
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU122The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryabout personal tidiness or the reverse, foppery,dandyism, gluttony, asceticism, etc.2. Relating to method, efficiency, neatnessin work: some people find it almost impossible tobecome methodical or neat; others becomeobsessed by these qualities to the exclusion ofmobility.3. Relating to the pursuit of pleasure: typeof pleasure sought, time given to it, hobbies.4. Relating to special habits: alcohol,tobacco, drugs, sex perversions.5. Relating to study and advancement: loveof books, attendance at lectures.Especially in the study of children is somesuch scheme essential, for then one gets a definiteidea of their defects and takes definite efforts tomake habitual the desired practice, or else one seesthe special trend, and, if it is good, fosters it. This,of course, is the long and short of characterdevelopment.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU123The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryChapter IV. STIMULATION, INHIBITION,ORGANIZING ENERGY, CHOICE ANDCONSCIOUSNESSThere are three fundamental factors in therelation of any organism to the environment and inthe relation of the various parts of an organism toeach other which we must now consider. To considera living thing of any kind as something separatefrom the stimuli the world streams in on it, or toconsider it as a real unit, is a mistake that falsifiesmost of the thinking of the world.On us, as living things, the universe pours instimuli of a few kinds. Or rather there are few kindsof stimuli we are specialized to receive and react to;there may be innumerable other kinds to which wecannot react because they do not reach us. Theworld for us is a collection of things that we see,hear, smell, taste and feel, but there may be vastreaches of things for which we have no avenues ofapproach,--completely unimaginable things becauseour images are built upon our senses.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU124The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryTo some of the stimuli the world pours in onus we must react properly or die. Certain"mechanisms" with which we are equipped mustrespond to these stimuli or the forces of the worlddestroy us. A lion on the horizon must awaken flight,or concealment, or the modified fight reaction ofusing weapons; extreme cold or heat must start upimpulses and reflexes leading away from theirdisintegrating effects. Food must, when smelled orseen, lead us to conduct whereby we supplyourselves or we die from hunger. Dangers andneeds awaken reactions, both through instinctiveresponses and through intelligence. The mainactivities of life are to be classed as "averting" and"acquiring," for if life showers us with the things wewould or need to have, it also pelts us with thethings we fear, hate or despise. It would beinteresting to know which activities are the mostnumerous; presumably the lucky or successful manis busy acquiring while the unlucky or unsuccessfulfinds himself busiest averting. The averting activities
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU125The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryare directed largely against the disagreeable,disgusting, dangerous and the undesired; theacquiring activities are directed toward the pleasant,the necessary, the desired. The problems of life areto know what is really good or bad for us and how toacquire the one and avert the other. While there arecertain things that "naturally"[1] are deemed goodor bad, there are more that are so regarded throughtraining and education. Morality and Taste are alikeconcerned with bringing about attitudes that willdetermine the "right" response to the stimuli of theworld.[1] I place in quotations NATURALLYbecause it is difficult to know what is "natural" andwhat is cultural. In the widest sense everything isnatural; in the narrowest very few things arenatural. Cooked food, clothing, houses, marriages,education, etc., are not found in a state of nature,any more than clocks and plays by Ibsen are. Ourjudgment as to what is good and bad is mainlyinstinctive leaning directed or smothered by
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU126The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryeducation.The stimuli that thus pour in upon theindividual, and to which he must react, must find anorganism ready to respond in some way or other. Asleeping man naturally does not adjust himself todanger, nor does a paralyzed man fly. The mostattractive female in the world causes no response inthe very young male child and perhaps stirs onlyreminiscences in the aged. Food, which causes thesaliva to flow in the mouth of the hungry, maydisgust the full. Throughout life there are factors inthe internal life of the organism instantly changingones reaction to things of physical, mental andmoral significance. He talks loudest of restraint andcontrol who has no desire; and in satiation even thesinner sees the beauty of asceticism. There must bea coincidence of stimulus, readiness and opportunityfor the full, successful response to take place.[1][1] A slang epigram puts it better: The time,the place, and the girl.The simplest response to any stimulus from
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU127The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythe outer world is the reflex act. Theoretically areflex act is dependent upon the interaction of asensory surface, a sensory nerve cell, a motor nervecell and a muscle, i. e., a receptive apparatus and amotor apparatus in such close union that the willand intelligence play no part. Thus if one puts hisfinger on a hot stove he withdraws it immediately,and such responses are present even in thedecapitated frog and human for a short time. So iflight streams in on the wide-open pupil of the eye, itcontracts, grows smaller, without any effort of thewill, and in fact entirely without the consciousness ofthe individual. Swallowing is a series of reflexes in arow, so that food in the back part of the mouth setsa reflex going that carries it beyond the epiglottis;another reflex carries it to the esophagus and thenone reflex after the other transports the food therest of the way. Except for the first effort ofswallowing, the rest is entirely involuntary and evenunconscious. Those readers who are interestedwould do well to read the work of Pavlow on the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU128The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryconditioned reflex, in which the great Russianphysiologist builds up all action on a basis of amodification of the primitive reflex which he calls the"conditioned reflex."[1][1] Pavlow is one of the scientists whoregard all mental life as built up out of reflexes. Theimmediate reflex is only one variety; thought,emotion, etc., are merely reflexes placed end toend. Pavlow divides action into two trends, one dueto an unconditioned reflex, of innate structure, andthe other a modified or conditioned reflex whicharises because some stimulus has becomeassociated with the reflex act. Thus saliva drippingfrom a dogs mouth at the smell of food is anunconditioned reflex; if a bell is heard at the sametime the food is smelled then in the course of timethe saliva flows at the sound of the bell alone,--aconditioned reflex. A very complex system has beenbuilt up of this kind of facts, which I have criticizedelsewhere.The simple reflex, immediate response to a
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU129The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarystimulus, has only a limited field in human life oradult life. Sherrington points out in his notable book,"The Integrative Action of the Nervous System," thatthere is a play of the entire organism on eachresponding element, and there is also a competitionthroughout each pathway to action. Let us examinethis a little closer.A man is hungry, let us say; i. e., there arisefrom his gastro-intestinal tract and from the tissuesstimuli which arouse motor mechanisms to actionand the man seeks food. The need of the bodyarouses desire in the form of an organic sensationand this arouses mechanisms whose function is tosatisfy that desire. Let us assume that he findssomething that looks good and he is about to seize itwhen an odor, called disagreeable, assails hisnostrils from the food, which stops him. Then therearises a competition for action between the desirefor food and the visual stimulus, associatedmemories, etc., on the one hand, and the odor, theawakened fear, memories, disgust, etc., on the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU130The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryother hand. This struggle for action, for use of themechanisms of action, is the struggling of choosing,one of the fundamental phenomena of life. In orderfor a choice to become manifest, what is known asinhibition must come into play; an impulse to actionmust be checked in order that an opposing actioncan be effective. The movement of rejection usesmuscles that oppose the movement of acquirement;e. g., one uses the triceps and the other the biceps,muscles situated in opposite sides of the upper armand having antagonistic action. In order for tricepsto act, biceps must be inhibited from action, and inthat inhibition is a fundamental function of theorganism. In every function of the body there areopposing groups of forces; for every dilator there isa contractor, for every accelerator of action there isinhibition. Nature drives by two reins, and one is acheckrein.This function of inhibition, then, delays,retards or prevents an action and is in one sense ahigher function than the response to stimulation. Its
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU131The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymain seat is the cerebrum, the "highest" nervoustissue, whereas reflex and instinctive actions usuallyare in the vegetative nervous system, the spinalcord, the bulbar regions and the mid-brain, all ofwhich are lower centers. Choice, which is intimatelyassociated with inhibition, is par excellence acerebral function and in general is associated withintense consciousness. The act of choosing brings tothe circumstances the whole past history of theindividual; it marshals his resources of judgment,intelligence, will, purposes and desires. In choice liesthe fate of the personality, for it is basically relatedto habit formation. Further, in the dynamics of life aright, proper choice, an appropriate choice, openswide the door of opportunity, whereas anunfortunate choice may commit one to the merciesof wrecking forces. Education should aim to teachproper choosing and then proper action.The capacity for perceiving and respondingto stimuli, for inhibiting or delaying action and forchoosing, are of cardinal importance in our study.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU132The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryBut there is another phase of life and characterwithout which everything else lacks unity and isunintelligible. From the beginning of life to the endthere is choice. Who and what chooses? Frominfancy one sees the war of purposes and desiresand the gradual rise of one purpose or set ofpurposes into dominance,--in short, the growth ofunity, the growth of personality. The common mancalls this unity his soul, the philosopher speaks ofthe ego and implies some such thing as thisorganizing energy of character.But a naturalistic view of character mustreject such a metaphysical entity, for one sees theorganizing energy increase and diminish with therest of character through health, age, environment,etc. Further, there is at work in all living things asimilar something that organizes the action of thehumblest bit of protoplasm. This organizing energyof character will be, for us, that something inherentin all life which tends to individualize each livingthing. It is as if all life were originally of one piece
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU133The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand then, spreading itself throughout the world, ittended to differentiate and develop (according to theSpencerian formula) into genera, species, groupsand individuals. This organizing energy works up theexperiences of the individual so that new formulaefor action develop, so that what is experiencedbecomes the basis of future reaction.It must be remembered that the world welive in has its great habits. Night follows day in acycle that never fails, the seasons are repeated eachyear, and there is a periodicity in the lives of plantsand animals that is manifested in growth, nutrition,mating and resting. Things happen again and again,though in slightly altered form, and our desires,satisfied now, soon repeat their urge. The greatorganic needs and sensations repeat themselves andwith the periodic world of outer experience must bedealt with according to a more or less settled policy.It is the organizing energy that works out the policy,that learns, inhibits, chooses and acts,--and it is theessential character-developing principle. For like our
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU134The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybodily organs which are whipped into line by thenervous system, our impulses, instincts, andreflexes[1] have their own policy of action andtherefore need, for the good of the entire organism,discipline and coordination. It may sound as if thebody were made up of warring entities and statesand that there gradually arose a centralized good,and though the analogy may lead to error, it offers aconvenient method of thinking.[1] Roux, the great French biologist, hasshown that each tissue and each cell competes withthe other tissues and the other cells. The organism,though it reaches a practical working unity asviewed by consciousness, is nevertheless no entity;it is a collection, an aggregate of living cells whichare organized on a cooperation basis just as menare, but maintain individuality and competitionnevertheless.Moreover, the organizing energy seemsoften to be at work when consciousness itself is atrest, as in sleep. Often enough a man debates and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU135The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydebates on lines of conduct and wakes up with hisproblem solved. Or he works hard to learn and goesto bed discouraged, because the matter is a jumble,and wakes up in the morning with an orderly anduseful arrangement of the facts. A writer seeks tofind the proper opening,--and gives up in a frenzy ofdespair. He is perhaps walking or driving whensuddenly he lifts his head as one does who islistening to a longed-for voice, and in himself hefinds the phrases that he longs for. Somethingwithin has set itself, so it seems, the task of bringingthe right associations into consciousness. What wecall quickness of mind, energy of mind, is largelythis function.It is this which adapts us to differentsituations, different groups, by calling into playorganized modes of talking or acting. We pass froma group of ladies in whose presence we have beenfriendly but decorous, perhaps unconventionallyformal, to a group of business intimates, men oflong acquaintance. Without even being conscious of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU136The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryit we lounge around, feet on the table, carelesslydropping cigarette ash to the floor, using languagechosen for force rather than elegance; we discusssports, women, business and a whole group ofdifferent emotions, habits and purposes come to thesurface, though we were not at all conscious ofhaving repressed them while in the presence of theladies. A faux pas is where the organizer has"slipped" on his job; lack of tact implies in part arigid organizing energy, neither plastic nor versatileenough.We are now ready to face certaindevelopments of these three main factors, viz., theresponse to stimuli; choice and inhibition, and theorganizing energy. Largely we might classify peopleaccording to the type of vigor of their reactions tostimuli, the quality and vigor of choice and ofinhibition, and the quality and vigor of theorganizing energy. We note that there are peoplewho have, as it were, exquisitely sensitive feelers forthe stimuli of one kind or another and who react
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU137The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryvigorously, perhaps excessively; that there areothers of a duller, less reactive nature, largelybecause they are stimuli-proof. Others are under-inhibited, follow desire or outer stimulus withoutheed, without a brake; others are over-inhibited, toocautious, too full of doubt, unable to choose thereaction that seems appropriate. The organizingenergy of some is low; they never seem to unifytheir experiences into a code of life and living; theyare like a string of beads loosely strung togetherwith disharmonious emotions, desires, purposes. Inothers this energy is high, they chew the cud ofevery experience and (to change the metaphor)they weld lifes happenings, their memories, theiremotions and purposes into a more unified ego, areal I, harmonious, self-enlightened; clearlyconscious of aim and end and striving bravelytowards it. Or there is over-unification andfanaticism, with narrow aim and little sympathy forother aims. Sketched in this very broad way we seemasses of people, rather than individuals, and we
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU138The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryare not finely adjusted to our subject.Psychologists rarely concern themselves toany extent with these matters; they deal mainlywith their outgrowths,--emotions, instinct,intelligence and will. We are at once beset withdifficulties which are resolved mainly by ignoringthem. In such a book as this we are not concernedwith the fundamental nature of these divisions of themental life, we must omit such questions as therelation of instinct to racial habit, or the evolution ofinstinct from habit, if that is really its origin. Again Imust repeat that we shall deal with these asorganic, as arising in the sensitized individual as aresult of environmental forces, as manifestations ofa life which is as yet--and perhaps always will be--mysterious to us. We shall best consider thesemanifestations of mental activity as an interplay ofthe reactions of stimulation, inhibition, choice,organizing energy, and not as separate and totallydifferent matters. We shall see that probablyemotion is one aspect of reaction to the world, while
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU139The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryinstinct is merely another aspect; that intelligence isa cerebral shift of instinct, and that will is no unitybut the energy of instincts and purposes.Before we go farther we must squarely facea problem of human thought. Man, since he startedreflecting about himself, has been puzzled about hisconsciousness. How can a person be aware ofhimself, and what identifies and links together eachphase of consciousness? There is an enormousrange of thought on this subject: from those whoidentified consciousness as the only reality andconsidered what the average person holds asrealities--things and people--as only phases ofconsciousness, to those who, like Huxley, regardconsciousness as an "epi-pbenomenon," a sort ofoverture to brain activity and having nothingwhatever to do with action, nothing to do withchoice and plan, so that, as Lloyd Morgan points out,"An unconscious Shakespeare writes plays acted byan unconscious troupe of actors to an unconsciousaudience." The first extreme view, that of Berkeley
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU140The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand the idealists, nullifies all other realities save thatof the individual thinker and reduces one to theabsurdities of Solipsism where a man writes booksto convince persons conjured up by himself andhaving no existence outside of himself; the otherview nullifies that which seems to each of us thevery essence of himself.I shall take a very simple view ofconsciousness,[1] simply because I shall deliberatelydodge the great difficulties. Consciousness is theresult of the activities of a group of more or lesspermanently excited areas of the brain--areashaving to do with positions of the head, eyes andshoulders; areas having to do with vision, hearingand smell; areas having to do with speech,--theseconstituting extremely mobile, extremely activeparts of the organism. From these consciousnessmay irradiate to the activities of almost every part ofthe organism, in different degrees. We are oftenextremely conscious of the activities of the hands, inless degree of the legs; we may become wrapped up
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU141The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryalmost completely in a sensation emanating fromthe sex organs, and under fear or excitement theheart may pound so that we feel and are consciousof it as ordinarily we can never be. The state ofconsciousness called interest may shift our feeling ofself to any part of our body (as in pain, when a partusually out of consciousness swings into it, or whenthe hand of a lover grips our own so that the greatreality of our life at the moment seems to be theconsciousness of the hand) or it may fasten us to anoutside object until our world narrows to that object,nothing else having any conscious value. This latterphenomenon is very striking in children; theybecome fascinated by something they hear or seeand project themselves, as it were, into that object;they become the "soapiness of soap, or the wetnessof water" (to use Chestertons phrase), and whenthey listen to a story they hold nothing in reserve.Consciousness may busy itself with its past phases,with the preceding thought, emotion, sensation --how, I do not know--or it may occupy itself mainly
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU142The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywith the world of things which are hereby declaredto have a reality in our theory. In the first instanceswe have introspection and subjectiveness, and in thesecond we have extroversion and objectivity.[1] For discussion of consciousness readBerkeley, Locke, Hume, Spencer, Lotze, Moyan,James, Wundt, Munsterberg and every otherphilosopher and psychologist. I have not attemptedto discuss the matter from the philosophers point ofview for the very obvious reason that I am nophilosopher.Since consciousness is most intense whenthe new or unfamiliar is seen, heard, felt orattempted, we may assume it has a chief function inacquainting the individual with the new andunfamiliar and in the establishment of habitualreactions, We are extraordinarily conscious of aqueer, unexplainable thing on the horizon, we bringinto the limelight (or IT brings into the limelight) allour possible reactions,--fear, flight, anger, fight,circumvention, curiosity and the movements of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU143The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryinvestigation; we are thrown into the maelstrom ofchoice. Choice and consciousness, doubt andconsciousness, are directly related; it is only whenconduct becomes established as habit, with choosingrelegated to the background, that consciousness, inso far as the act is concerned, becomes diminished.A moderate constant sensation tends todisappear from consciousness, as when we keep ourhand in warm water. It then takes a certain increaseof the stimulus to keep the sensation from lapsingout of consciousness. This lapsing out ofconsciousness of the steady stimulus, in itsramifications, is responsible for a good deal of theactivity of man, since sensation is a goal of effort.[1]Under emotion we become aware of two sets ofthings,--the reaction of our body in its sum total ofpleasure or the reverse, and second the object thatsets up this reaction. Consciousness fastens itself onthe body and on the world, and the bodily reactionbecomes a guide for future action. Extreme bodilyreactions are painful and may result in the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU144The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryabolishing of consciousness.[1] The physiologists speak of thisphenomenon under the heading of the Weber-Fechner law, after the two physiologists who gave itprominence. James pokes a good deal of fun at the"law," which is expressed mathematically. Perhapsthe mathematics should have been eliminated as too"scientific" for our present attainment, but it doesremain true that it is not the ACTUAL stimulusincrease that is important in sensation or perception,but the RELATIVE stimulus increase. This is behindall of "getting used to things"; it removes the painfrom humiliation and also the novelty from joy. It isthe reason behind all of the searching for noveltyand excitement.We assume that consciousness is organic,though we concede that it may be true that it isborrowed from a great pool of consciousness[1] outof which we all come. Consciousness IS organicbecause a blow on the head may abolish it as maydrugs and disease, or a shifting of the blood supply
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU145The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryas in emotion or fatigue in the form of sleep, etc.Where does it go to and how does it come back? Thesavage answered that question by building up theidea of a soul, a thing that might migrate, had anindependent existence, took journeys in the form ofdreams and lived and flourished after death. Most ofthese ideas still persist, perhaps as much throughthe fear of annihilation as anything else, but as towhether or not they are true this book does notconcern itself. We have no proof of these matters,but we can prove that we can play on consciousnessas we play on a piano, through the body and brain.A blow injures groups of nerve cells andconsciousness disappears; when they recover, itreturns. Where does any function go when structureis injured? We have practically the same kind ofproof for the position of consciousness as a functionof the brain and body that we have for gastric juiceas a secretion of gastric cells.[1] Even if it were true that consciousness isthe only reality, nobody really believes it in that
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU146The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarynobody acts as if it were true. Conversely,everybody acts as if trees, rocks, and people wererealities; as if fatigue, sickness, age, etc., affectedconsciousness. That is why, in this book, we arediscarding as irrelevant the "ultimate" truthconcerning consciousness. My humble belief is thatthe ultimate truth in this matter will never concernus because we shall never know it.However widely we spread the function ofconsciousness and its domain, we still leave a largefield of activities untouched. And so we come to theconception of the subconsciousness. There are twoprevailing sets of opinions concerning thesubconscious.The first is quite matter-of-fact. It statesthat the movements and activities of a large part ofthe body are outside of the realm of consciousness,such as the activities of the great viscera--heart,lungs, intestines, liver, blood vessels, sex glands--and are largely operated by the vegetative nervoussystem.[1] There are influences pouring into the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU147The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybrain from these organs, together with influencesfrom muscles, joints, tendons, and these influences,though not consciously itemized, are thesubconsciously received stimuli which give usfeelings of vigor, energy, courage, hopefulness, orthe reverse, according to the state of the organism.In health the ordinary result of these stimuli is good,though people may have health in that no definitedisease is present, and yet there is some deficiencyin the energy-arousing viscera which brings alowered coenesthesia, a lessened vigor and loweredmood. In youth the state of the organs brings astate of well feeling; in old age there is a constantfeeling of a low balance of energy and mood, andthe person is always on the verge of unpleasantfeeling. In the great change periods of life--atpuberty and the climacteric (or the menopause)--thesudden change in the activity of the sex organs mayproduce great alterations[2] in the coenaesthesiaand therefore in the energy and mood of theindividual.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU148The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Library[1] This is not the place to describe thevegetative nervous system. (It was formerly calledthe sympathetic nervous system, but this term isnow limited to one part of this system, and the termautonomic to another part, although some writersstill use the term sympathetic for the whole, andothers [the English] the term autonomic for thewhole.) This system is the nervous mechanism oforganic life, regulating heart, lungs, blood vessels,intestines, sex organs, acting together withendocrines, etc. A huge amount of work has beendone of late years on this system and we knowdefinitely that it stimulates, inhibits and regulatesthese organs, and also that it records their activities.We are commencing to believe that this system isfully as important, in mental life, as the brain. SeeLangley, Schaeffer, Higier, etc.[2] This is especially true of the menopausein women, and often enough of each menstrualperiod. That there is a climacteric in men is not soclear, but something corresponding to it occurs, at
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU149The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryleast in the case of some men.In addition, these activities, which are soall-important, determine the basic conduct byarousing the basic appetites and desires of theindividual. It is the change in the gastro-intestinaltract and in the tissues of the body that starts upthe hunger feeling and the impulses which promptmen to seek food; in other words, this type ofcoenaesthesia has set going all the physical andmental activities relating to food; it is the basicimpulse behind agriculture and stock raising, as wellas energizing work activities of all kinds. It is thetension in the seminal vessels of the male thatwakes up his passion, if it is not the sole source ofthat passion. Sex desire in the adult male has manyelements in it, not pertinent at present, but thecoenaesthetic influence of the physical structures isits starting point. In men as well as women there isa cycle of desire, with height due to physical tensionand abyss following the discharge or disappearanceof tension, that profoundly influences life and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU150The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryconduct. Here the sympathetic nervous system andthe internal secretion of the genital glands awakeninto sexual activity brain, spinal cord and muscles,so that the individual seeks a mate, plunges intomarriage and directs his conduct, conscious of tasteand desire, but largely unconscious of the physicalcondition that is impelling him on. In this sense thesubconscious activities dominate in life, because thefunctions of nutrition and reproduction are largelyunconscious in their origin, but there is noorganized, plotting subconsciousness at work.Once a thing is experienced, it is stored inmemory. What is the basis and position of amemory when we are not conscious of it, when ourconscious minds are busy with other matters? Whathappens when a desire is repressed, inhibited intoinaction; when consciousness revolts against part ofits own content? Is a "forgotten" memory ever reallylost, or a desire that is squelched and thrust out of"mind" really made inactive? Do our inhibitionsreally inhibit, or do we build up another self or set of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU151The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryselves that rise to the surface under strange forms,under the guise of disease manifestations?Sigmund Freud and his followers have madedefinite answers to the foregoing, answers that areincorporated in a doctrine called Freudianism. Freudis an Austrian Jew, a physician, and one that soonspecialized in nervous and mental diseases. Early inhis career he did some excellent work in the study ofthe paralysis of childhood (infantile hemiplegia), buthis attention and that of an older colleague, Breuer,were soon drawn (as has occurred to almost everyneurologist) to the manifestations of thatextraordinary disease, hysteria. Hysteria has playedso important a role in human history, and Freudsideas are permeating so deeply into modern thoughtthat I deem it advisable to devote a chapter tothem.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU152The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryChapter V. HYSTERIA, SUBCONSCIOUSNESSAND FREUDIANISMHysteria was known to the ancients and infact is as old as the written history of mankind.Considered essentially a disease of women, it wasgiven its present name which is derived from"hysteron," the Greek name for the womb. We knowto-day that men also are victims of this malady,though it arises under somewhat differentcircumstances than is the case with the other sex.Men and women, living in the same world and sideby side, are placed in greatly different positions inthat world, are governed by different traditions andare placed under the influences of differingambitions, expectations, hopes and fears. Hysteriaarises largely out of the emotional and volitionalreactions of life, and these reactions differ in thesexes.It was a group of French neurologists,headed by Charcot--and including very illustriousmen, such as Janet and Marie, who paid the first
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU153The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryscientific attention to the disease. Under theiranalyses hysteria was defined as a mental disease inwhich certain symptoms appeared prominently.1. Charcot especially paid attention to whatare known as the attacks. The hysteric patient(usually a woman, and so we shall speak of thepatient as "she") under emotional stress and strain,following a quarrel or a disagreement or perhapssome disagreeable, humiliating situation, showsalarming symptoms. Perhaps she falls (never in away to injure herself) to the floor and apparentlyloses consciousness, closes her eyes, rolls her headfrom side to side, moans, clenches her fists, lifts herbody from the floor so that it rests on head andheels (opisthotonic hysteria), shrieks now and thenand altogether presents a terrifying spectacle. Orelse she twitches all over, weeps, moans, laughsand shouts, and rushes around the room, beatingher head on the walls; or she may lie or stand in avery dramatic pose, perhaps indicating passion orfear or anger. The attacks are characterized by a
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU154The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfew main peculiarities, which are that the patientusually has had an emotional upset or is in somedisagreeable situation, that she does not hurt herselfby her falls, that consciousness is never completelyabolished and fluctuates so that now she seemsalmost "awake" and then she seems almost in acomplete stupor, and that the expression of emotionin the attack is often very prominent. Thesesymptoms are readily differentiated from what isseen in epilepsy.[1][1] The French writers of the school ofBabinski deny that the above symptom and even themajority of the following have a real existence inhysteria. The English, American and Germanneurologists and the rest of the French schooldescribe hysteria substantially as I am heredescribing it.2. The hysteric paralyses which are featuredin all the literatures of the world are curiousmanifestations and often very stubborn. Followingan accident (especially in industry and in war) and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU155The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryafter some emotional difficulty there is a paralysis ofsome part of the body. The arm or some particularpart of the arm cannot be moved by the will, isparalyzed; or else the difficulty involves one or bothlegs. Sometimes speech is gone, or the power ofmoving the head; occasionally the difficulty is withone side of the face, etc. Usually the paralysiscomes on suddenly, but often it comes on gradually.Modern neurology soon discovered that theseparalyses were quite unlike those seen when there is"real" injury to the brain, spinal cord or theperipheral nerves. They corresponded to thelaymans idea of a part. Thus a paralysis of the armends at the shoulder, a paralysis of the feet at theankle, and in ways not necessary to detail herediffer from what occurs when the organic structureof the nervous system is involved. For example, thereflexes in hysteria are unaltered, and stiffnesswhen it occurs is not the stiffness of organic disease.If a neurologist were to have a hysteric paralysis avery interesting problem in diagnosis would be
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU156The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarypresented.Further, the paralysis yields in spectacularfashion to various procedures or else disappearsspontaneously in remarkable fashion overnight.Paralyses of this type have disappeared underhypnosis, violent electric shocks, "magical"liniments, threats, prayers, the healers, the fakirs,the doctors personal influence; under circumstancesof danger (a fire, a row, etc.); by pilgrimages toLourdes, St. Anne de Beaupre, the Temple of Diana,the relic of a saint; by the influence of sudden joy,fear, anger; by the work of the psychoanalyst andby that of the osteopath! Every great religiousleader and every savage medicine man beating atom-tom has had to, prove his pretensions togreatness by healing the sick--so intensely practicalis man--and he has proved his divinity by curing thehysterics, so that they threw away their crutches, orjumped blithely out of bed, or used their arms,perhaps for the first time in years. Hysteria hascaused more talk of the influence of mind over body
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU157The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythan all other manifestations of mental peculiarityput together. Wherever there is anything to begained by hysteric paralyses, these appear in muchgreater frequency than under ordinarycircumstances. Thus the possibility of recoveringdamages seems to play a role in bringing about aparalysis that defies treatment until the litigation issettled; similarly the possibility of being removedfrom the fighting line played a large part in thecausation of war hysteric paralysis.3. A group of sensory phenomena isconspicuous in hysteria, sometimes combined withthe paralyses and attacks but often existing alone. Apart of the body will become curiously insensitive tostimulation. Thus one may thrust a pin into any partwithout evoking any pain and APPARENTLY withoutbeing felt; one may rub the cornea of the eye, thatexquisitely sensitive part, without arousing areaction; one may push a throat stick against theuvula as it hangs from the palate without arousingthe normal and very lively reflex of "gagging." These
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU158The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryinsensitive areas, known as stigmata, played a veryimportant role in the epidemic of witchcraft huntingof the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, whenthe witch was so diagnosed if she felt no pain whena needle was thrust into her. Mankind has oftenenough worshiped the insane and mentally aberrantand has as often been diabolically cruel to them.What has been stated of the paralyses istrue of the insensitive areas; they correspond to anidea of a part and not to an anatomical unit. Thus aloss of sensation will reach up to the wrist (glovetype) all around, front and back, or to the elbow orthe shoulder, etc. No organically caused anaestheticarea ever does this, and so the neurologist is able,usually, to separate the two conditions. And theanaesthesias yield as do the hysteric paralyses to avariety of agents, from prayer and persuasion to abitter tonic or a blow. I confess to a weird feeling inthe presence of a hysteric whose arm can be thrustthrough and through with a needle withoutapparently suffering any pain, and it seems to me
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU159The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythat this may be the explanation of the fortitude ofthose martyrs who have astonished and sometimesconverted their persecutors by their sublimeresistance to torture.There has been described as part of hysteriathe hysteric temperament. The characteristics of thistemperament are the emotional instability, thestrong desire for sympathy, the effort to obtainones desire through weakness, through the appealto the sympathy of others, an irritable egoism neversatisfied and without firm purpose. It is true that themajority of peace-time hysterics show this peculiartemperament, but it is also true that the war-timehysterics often enough were of "normal" character,without prior evidence of weakness.As I before mentioned, Freud becamegreatly interested in this group of patients andespecially in the female patients, since in ordinaryneurological practice the male hysteric is notcommon. Out of his experience and effort he built upa system of beliefs and treatment, the evolution of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU160The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywhich is interesting, but which is not here important.At the present time the Freudian doctrinehangs on the following beliefs:1. That from the beginning to the end of lifeeverything in the mental activities of man has acause and a meaning, and that these causes andmeanings may be traced back to infancy. No slip ofthe tongue is accidental; it has purpose and thispurpose can be traced by psychoanalysis. So withhysteric phenomena: the paralyses, the sensorychanges, all the queer and startling things representsomething of importance and of value to thesubconscious.2. There is in man a subconscious mentality,having wills, purposes, strivings, desires, passions.These trends are the raw, native, uninhibited desiresof man; they are our lusts, our crude unsocializeddesires, arising out of a metaphysical,undifferentiated yearning called libido. In theFreudian "psychology" the libido is mainly sex desireand takes the form of homosexual feelings, incest
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU161The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfeelings (desire for the father or for the mother--theoedipus complex), desire for the sister or brother.[1](The human being, according to Freud, goes throughthree stages in his sex life: first, a sex attachmentto himself marked by thumb sucking, masturbation,etc., second, an attachment to the same sex--homosexuality--and, finally, the attachment ordesire for the opposite sex.) In the practicalapplication of the Freudian psychology to thepatients the sex conflicts (of which we shall speakshortly) are all important; the subconsciousness islargely taken up with sex and with efforts to obtaingratification for these sex desires.[1] The Freudians would protest against this.Libido is the life energy,--but all the Freudiananalyses of actual cases published make libido sex,and usually "perverse." (I put the perverse inquotations because I fear to be called prudish byFreudians.)3. But, the theory continues, the consciouspersonality is the socialized personality, having aims
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU162The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand ends not consistent with desire for mother,homosexual cravings, lust for a married man orwoman. So there ensues a battle between desireand inhibition. The inhibiting agent is a somethingcalled the censor, who pushes back into thesubconsciousness the socially tabooed, the sociallyabhorrent desires; represses emotions and instinctsthat are socially out of order. But there is no realvictory for the consciousness, for the complex (thename given to a desire or wish with its attendantideas, emotions and motor manifestations) is stillactive, subconsciously changing the life of theperson, causing him to make slips in his speech,expressing itself in his dreams and his work, and ifsufficiently powerful, giving rise to nervous ormental disease of one type or another. Nothing isever forgotten, according to Freud, and the reasonour childhood is not voluntarily remembered isbecause it is full of forbidden desires and curiositiesand the developing censor thrusts it all into thesubconsciousness, where it continues to make
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU163The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarytrouble all the rest of the individuals life. In fact, acardinal part of Freudianism (which he and hisfollowers are lately modifying) is that it is the resultsof the "psychic traumata" (psychical injuries) ofinfancy and childhood that cause the hysteria of theadult; and these psychical traumata are largely(about ninety- nine per cent.) sexual.4. Freudianism has borrowed the time-honored dictum that every sensation has a naturalresult in action and has elaborated it into thestatement that every affective state, every desireand craving of whatever sort, needs a motordischarge, an avenue of outlet. If the desire oremotion is inhibited, its excitement is transferredwith it into the subconscious and that excitementmay attach itself to other excitements and breakinto consciousness as a mental disturbance of onetype or another. If you can get at the complex bypsychoanalysis, by dragging it to the light, bymaking it conscious, you discharge the excitementand health is restored. This originally was very
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU164The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryimportant in the Freudian work and was called bythe crude term of catharsis.5. How can one get at these subterraneancravings and strivings, at the fact that originally onedesired ones mother and was jealous of onesfather, or vice versa? Here Freud developed anelaborate technique based on the following:Though the censor sits on the lid of thesubconsciousness, that wily self has ways andmeans of expression. In dreams, in humor, in theslip of the tongue, in forgetfulness, in myths of therace, in the symptoms of the hysteric patient, in thecreations of writers and artists, thesubconsciousness seeks to symbolize in innocent (oracceptable) form its crude wishes. By taking adream, for example, and analyzing it by what isknown as the free association method, one discoversthe real meaning of the terms used, the meaningbehind the symbol; and behind the apparent dream-content one sees revealed the wishes anddisorganizing desires of the subconscious or the real
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU165The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryperson. For throughout Freuds work, though not sodefinitely expressed, there is the idea that thesubconscious is by far the most important part ofthe personality, and that the social purposes, themoral injunctions and feelings are not the realpurposes and real desires of the real personality.In analyzing dreams, the symbols becomequite standardized. The horses, dogs, beards, queersituations of the dream (falling, walking withoutclothes, picking up money, etc.), the demons,ghosts, flying, relate definitely to sex situations, sexorgans, sex desires. (The Freudians are apt to denythis theoretically, but practically every dream of thethousands they publish is a sex dream of crudecontent.) Naturally a "pure" girl is quite shockedwhen told that because she dreamed she was ridinga gray horse in a green meadow that she really hasbad (and still is troubled by) incestuous desires forher father, but that is the way to cure her of herneurasthenia or fatigue or obsession of one kind orother.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU166The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryI have not attempted a detailed account ofthe technique of free association, nor the Freudianaccount of humor, etc. There are plenty of books onthe market written by Freud himself and hisfollowers. Frankly I advise the average person not toread them. I am opposed to the Freudian account oflife and character, though recognizing that he hascaused the psychologist to examine life with morerealism, to strip away pretense, to be familiar withthe crude and to examine conduct with themicroscope.I do not believe there is an ORGANIZEDsubconsciousness, having a PERSONALITY. Most ofthe work which proves this has been done onhysterics. Hysterics are usually proficient liars, arevery suggestible and quite apt to give the examinerwhat he looks for, because they seek his friendlyinterest and eager study. Wherever I have checkedup the "subconscious" facts as revealed by thepatient as a result of his psychoanalysis or throughhypnosis, I have found but little truth. On the other
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU167The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhand, the Freudians practically never check up thestatements of their patients; if a woman tells allsorts of tales of her husbands attitude toward her,or of the attitude of her parents, it is taken forgranted that she tells the truth. My belief is that hadthe statements of Freuds patients been carefullyinvestigated he would probably never have evolvedhis theories.The Freudians have made no consecutivestudy of normal childhood, though they lay greatstress on this period of life and in fact trace thesymptoms of their patients back to "infantiletrauma." Most of Freuds ideas on sex developmentcan be traced to, the one four-and-a-half-years-oldchild he analyzed, who was as representative ofnormal childhood as the little chess champion ofnine years now astounding the world isrepresentative of the chess ability of the averagechild. Moreover, the basis of the technique is thefree association, an association released frominhibitions of all kinds. There isnt any such thing, as
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU168The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryProfessor Woodworth has pointed out. Allassociations are conditioned by the physicalcondition of the patient, by his mood, by the natureof the environment he finds himself in, by thepersonality of the examiner and his powers ofsuggesting, his purposes and (very important) bythe patients purposes, which he cannot bid"Disappear!" As for the results of treatment, everyneurologist meets patients again and again whohave been "psychoanalyzed" without results.Moreover, psychoneurotic patients get well withouttreatment, as do all other classes of the sick, andthe Christian Scientist, the osteopath and thechiropractic also have records of "cures."This is not the place to discuss in furtherdetail the Freudian ideas (the wish, the symbol, thejargon of transference, etc). The leading follower ofFreud, Jung, has already broken away from theparent church, and there is an amusing cry ofheresy raised. Soon the eminent Austrian will havethe pleasure of seeing a half-dozen schools that
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU169The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhave split off from his own,--followers of Bleuler,Jung, Adler and others.There IS a subconsciousness in that much ofthe nervous activity of the organism has but little orno relation to consciousness. There are mechanismslaid down by heredity and by the racial structurethat accomplish great functions without any but themost indirect effect on consciousness and withoutany control by the conscious personality. We arespurred on to sex life, to marriage, to the care ofour children by instinct; but the instinct is not apersonality any more than the automatic heartbeatis. We repress a forbidden desire; if we aresuccessful and really overcome the desire by settingup new desires or in some other way, the inhibiteddesire is not locked up in a subterranean limbo.There is nothing pathological about inhibition, forinhibition is as normal a part of character as desire,and the social instinct which bids us inhibit is asfundamental as the sex instinct. Most conflicts areon a conscious plane, but most people will not admit
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU170The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryto any one else their deeply abhorrent desires. To allof us, or nearly all, come desires and temptationsthat we would not acknowledge for the world. If awise examiner succeeds in getting us to admit them,it is very agreeable to find a scapegoat in the formof the subconsciousness. I have often said this tostudents: if all our thoughts and conscious desirescould be exposed, the most of us would almost dieof shame. True, we do not clearly understandourselves and our conflicts and explanation is oftennecessary, but that is not equivalent to thesubconsciousness; it merely means thatintrospection is not sagacious.Nor is it true, in my belief, that dreams areimportant psychical events, nor that thesubconsciousness evades a censor in elaboratingthem. To what end would that be done? What wouldbe the use of it? Suppose that Freud and his schoolhad never been; then dreams would always beuseless, for they would have no interpreter. Menhave dreamed in the countless ages before Freud
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU171The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywas born,--in vain. Think how the poor, misguidedsubconsciousness has labored for nothing,--and howgrateful it should be to Freud! Dreams are resultsand have the same kind of function that a stomach-ache has.Things, experiences are forgotten, andwhether they are remembered or not depends uponthe number of times they are experienced, theattention they are given, the use they are put to andthe quality of the brain experiencing them. Diseaseand old age may lower the recording power of thebrain so that experiences and sensations do notstick, and now and then the brain is hypermnesic sothat things are remembered with surprising ease.The conflicts of life are generally consciousconflicts, in my experience. Desires and lusts thatone does not know of do no harm; it is the conflictwhich we cannot settle, the choice we cannot make,the doubt we cannot resolve, that injures. It is notthose who find it easy to inhibit a desire or anyimpulse that are troubled, though they may and do
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU172The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarygrow narrow. It is those whose unlawful ordiscordant desires are not easily inhibited who findthemselves the theater of a constant struggle thatbreaks them down. The uneasiness of a desire thatarises from the activity of the sex organs is not amanifestation of a subconscious personality, unlesswe include in our personality our livers, spleen andinternal organs of all kinds. Such an uneasiness maynot be clearly understood by the individual merelybecause the uneasiness is diffuse and not localized.But there is no personality, Do will, wish or desire inthat uneasiness; it may and does cause to arise inthe conscious personality wills and wishes anddesires against which there is rebellion and becauseof which there is conflict.Upon the issue of the conflicts within thepersonality hangs the fate of the individual. Race-oldlines of conduct are inhibited by custom, tradition,teaching, conformity and the social instinct and itsallies. Here is a subject worthy of extendedconsideration.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU173The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryFreud has done the thought of our times agreat service in emphasizing conflict. From theearliest restriction laid by men on his own conduct,wrestling with desire and temptation has been thegreatest of mans struggles. Internal warfarebetween opposing purposes and desires mayproceed to a disruption of the personality, to failureand unhappiness, or else to a solidified personality,efficient, single-minded and successful. Freuds workhas directed our attention to the thousand and oneaberrant desires that we will hardly acknowledge toourselves, and he has forced the professional workerin abnormal and normal mental life to disregard hisown prejudices, to strip away the camouflage thatwe put over our motives and our struggles. Togetherwith Jung and Bleuler, he has helped our science ofcharacter a great deal through no other methodthan by arousing it to action against him. In order tofight him, our thought has been forced to arm itselfwith the weapons that he has used.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU174The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryChapter VI. EMOTION, INSTINCT,INTELLIGENCE AND WILLIn a preceding chapter we discussed man asan organism reacting against an outside world andspurred on by internal activities and needs. Wediscussed stimulation, reflexes, inhibition, choiceand the organizing activity, memory and habit,consciousness and subconsciousness, all of whichare primary activities of the organism. But these aremere theories of function, for the activities we areinterested in reside in more definite reactions, ofwhich the foregoing are parts.We see a dreaded object on the horizon orforesee a calamity,--and we fear. That state of theorganism (note I do not say that STATE OF MIND)resulting from the vision is an emotion. We fly atonce, we hide, and the action is in obedience to aninstinct. But ordinarily we do not fly or hidehaphazard; we think of ways and means, if only in arudimentary fashion; we shape plans, perhaps as wefly; we pick up a stick on the run, hoping to escape
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU175The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybut preparing for the reaction of fight if cornered."What shall I do--what shall I do? finds no consciousanswer if the emotion is overwhelming or theinstinctive flight a pell-mell affair; but ordinarilymemories of other experiences or of teaching comeinto the mind and some effort is made to meet thesituation in an "intelligent" manner.Here, then, is a response in which threecardinal reactions have occurred and are blended,--the emotion, the instinctive action, and theintelligent action; or to make abstractions, emotion,instinct and intelligence. (Personally, I think half thetrouble with our thought is that, we abstract fromour experiences a common group of associationsand believe that the abstraction has some existenceoutside our thoughts.) Thus there arise in us, as aresult of things experienced, curious feelings and wespeak of the feelings as emotions; we make a race-old response to a situation,--an instinctive reaction;our memories, past experiences and presentpurposes are stirred into activity, and we plan and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU176The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryscheme, and this is an intelligent reaction, but thereis in reality no metaphysical entity Emotion, Instinct,Intelligence. I believe that here the philosopherswhose mental activities are essentially in thedirection of forming abstract ideas have misled us.What I wish to point out is this: that to anysituation all three reactions may take place andmodify one another. We are insulted--some oneslaps our face--the fierce emotion of anger arisesand through us surge waves of feeling manifestedon the motor side by tensed muscles, rapid heart,harsh breathing, perhaps a general reddening offace and eyes. Instinctively our fists are clenched, apart of the reaction of fight, and it needs but theslightest increase of anger to send us leaping on theaggressor, to fight him perhaps to the death. Butno,--the situation has aroused certain memories andcertain inhibitions: the one who struck us has beenour friend and we can see that he is acting under amistaken impression, or else we perceive that he isright, that we have done him a wrong for which his
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU177The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryblow is a sort of just reaction. We are checked bythese cerebral activities, we choose some otherreaction than fight; perhaps we prevent him fromfurther assault, or we turn and walk away, or westart to explain, to mollify and console, or toremonstrate and reprove. In other words,"intelligence" steps in to inhibit, to bring to thesurface the possibilities, to choose, and thusoverrides the emotional instinctive reaction. It maynot succeed in the overriding; we may hesitate,inhibit, etc., for only a second or so, before hotanger overcomes us, and the instinctive response offight and retaliation takes place.These examples might be multiplied athousandfold. Every day of our lives situations comeup in which there is a blending or an antagonismbetween emotional, instinctive and intelligentresponses. In fact, very few acts of the organizedhuman being are anything else. For every emotionawakens memories of past emotions and theconsequences; every instinct is hampered by other
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU178The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryinstincts or by the inhibitions aroused by obstacles;and intelligence continually struggles againstemotion and blind instinct. Teaching, experience,knowledge, all modify emotional and instinctiveresponses so that sometimes they are hardlyrecognizable as such. On the other hand, thoughintelligence normally occupies the seat of power, it iseasily ousted and in reality only steers and directsthe vehicle of life, choosing not the goal but the roadby which the goal can safely be reached.In general terms we shall define emotions,instincts and intelligence as follows:1. For emotions we shall accept a modifiedJames-Lange theory, supplementing it by thedevelopments of science since their day. When athing is seen or heard (or smelled or tasted orthought), it arouses an emotion; that emotionconsists of at least three parts. First, the arousal ofmemories and experiences that give it a value to theindividual, make it a desired object or a dreaded,distasteful object. Second, at the same time, or
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU179The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryshortly preceding or succeeding this, a great varietyof changes takes place in the organism, changesthat we shall call the vaso-visceral-motor changes.This means merely that there is a series of reactionsset up in the sympathetic nervous system, in theblood vessels and bodily structures they control andin the glands of internal secretion,--changes whichinclude the blush or the pallor, the rapid heartbeat,the quickened or labored breathing, the changes inthe digestive tract which include the vomiting ofdisgust and the diarrhoea of fear; the changes thatpassion brings in the male and the female and manyother alterations to be discussed again. Third, thereis then the feeling of these coenaesthetic changes,--a feeling of pleasantness, unpleasantness mingledwith the basic feeling of excitement, and from thenon that situation is linked in memory with the feelingthat we usually call the emotion but which is only apart of it. Nevertheless, it becomes the part longedfor or thereafter avoided; it is the value of theemotion to us, as conscious personalities, although
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU180The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryit may be a false, disastrous, dangerous value.Excitement is the generalized mood change thatresults in consciousness in consequence of the vaso-visceral-motor changes of emotion; it is thereforebased on bodily changes as is the feeling, pleasantor unpleasant, that also occurs. William James saidthat we laugh and are therefore happy; we weepand are therefore sad; the bodily changes areprimary and the feeling secondary. We do not acceptthis dictum entirely, but we say that the organismreacts in a complicated way and that the feeling--sadness, disgust, anger, joy--springs from thememories and past experiences aroused by asituation as well as from the widespread bodilyexcitement also so aroused. For the neurologist boththe cerebral and the sympathetic- endocrinalcomponents of emotion are important.For the moment we turn to instinct andinstinctive reactions.2. Man has always wondered that things canbe known without teaching. So slow and painful is
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU181The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythe process of mastering a technique, whether ofhandicraftsmanship or of art, so imbued are we withthe need of education for the acquirement ofknowledge, that we are taken aback by therealization that all around us are creatures carryingon the most elaborate technique, going through themost complicated procedures and apparentlypossessed of the surest knowledge without thepossibility of teaching. The flight of birds, theobstetric and nursing procedures of all animals, andespecially the complicated and systematized laborsof bees, ants and other insects, have aroused thewonder, admiration and awe of scientists. A chickpecks its way out of its egg and shakes itself,--thenimmediately starts on the trail of food and usuallyneeds no instruction as to diet. The female insectlays its eggs, the male insect fertilizes them, theprogeny go through the states of evolution leadingto adult life without teaching and without thepossibility of previous experience. Since the parentnever sees the progeny, and the progeny assume
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU182The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryvarious shapes and have very varied capacities atthese times, there can be no possible teaching ofwhat is remarkably skillful and marvelously adaptedconduct.[1][1] The nature of instinct has been a subjectof discussion for centuries, but it is only within thelast fifty years or thereabouts that instinctive actionshave really been studied. I refer the reader to theworks of Darwin, Romanes, Lloyd Morgan, thePeckhams, Fabre, Hobhouse, and McDougall fordetails as to the controversies and the factsobtained.Herbert Spencer considered the instinct as aseries of inevitable reflexes. The carrion fly, whengravid, deposits her eggs in putrid meat in orderthat the larvae may have appropriate food, althoughshe never sees the larvae or cannot know throughexperience their needs. "The smell of putrid meatattracts the gravid carrion fly. That is, it sets upmotions of the wings which bring the fly to it, andthe fly having arrived, the smell, and the contact
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU183The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycombined stimulate the functions of oviposition."[1]But as all the critics have pointed out, the theory ofcompound reflex action leaves out of account thatthere are any number of stimuli pouring in on thecarrion fly at the same time that the meat attractsher. The real mystery lies in that internal conditionwhich makes the smell of the meat act so inevitably.[1] Hobhouse.In fact, it is this internal condition in theliving creature that is the most important single linkin instinct. In the non-mating season the sight of thefemale has no effect on the male. But periodicallyhis internal organs become tense with procreativecells; these change his coenaesthesia; that startsdesire, and desire sets going the mechanisms ofsearch, courtship, the sexual act and the care of thefemale while she is gravid. All instinctive acts haveback of them either a tension or a deficit of somekind or other, brought about by the awakening offunction of some glandular structure, so that theorganism becomes ready to respond to some
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU184The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryappropriate outside stimulus and inaccessible toothers. During the mating season, with certainanimals, the stimulus of food has no effect untilthere is effected the purposes of the sexual hunger.Changes in the body due to the activity of sexglands or gastric juices or any other organic producthave two effects. They increase the stimulation thatcomes from the thing sought and decrease thestimulation that comes from other things. Inphysiological language, the threshold for the first islowered and for the other it is raised.But this does not explain HOW the changesin glands MAKE the animal seek this or that, exceptby saying that the animal has hereditary structuresall primed to explode in the right way. We may fallback on Bergsons mystical idea that all life is aunity, and that instinct, which makes one livingthing know what to do with another--to kill it in ascientific way for the good of the posterity of thekiller--is merely the knowledge, unconscious, thatlife has of life. That pleasant explanation projects us
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU185The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryback to a darker problem than ever: how life knowslife and why one part of life so obviously seeks tocircumvent the purpose of another part of life.For us it is best to say that instinct arisesout of the racial and individual needs; that physicallythere occur changes in the glands and tissues; thatthese set up desires which arouse into action simpleor elaborate mechanisms which finally satisfy theneed of the organs and tissues.[1][1] Kempf in his book on the vegetativenervous system goes into great detail the way thevisceral needs force the animal or human to satisfythem. Life is a sort of war between the vegetativeand the central nervous system. There is justenough truth in this point of view to make it veryentertaining.Even in the low forms of life instincts arenot perfect at the start, or perfect in details, andalmost every member of a species will showindividuality in dealing with an obstacle to aninstinctive action. In other words, though there is
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU186The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryinstinct and this furnishes the basis for action in thelowest forms of life, there is also the capacity forlearning by experience,--and this is Intelligence."The basis of instinct is heredity and we can imputean action to pure instinct only if it is hereditary. Theother class of actions are those devised by theindividual animal for himself on the basis of his ownexperience and these are called generally intelligent.Of intelligence operating within the sphere of instinctthere is ample evidence. There are modifications ofinstinctive action directly traceable to experiencewhich cannot be explained by the interaction ofpurely hereditary tendencies and there are cases inwhich the whole structure of the instinct isprofoundly modified by the experience of theindividual." Hobhouse, whom I quote, goes on togive many examples of instinctive action modified byexperience and intelligence in the insect and loweranimal world.What I wish especially to point out is thatman has many instinctive bases for conduct, but
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU187The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryinstincts as such are not often seen in pure form inman. They are constantly modified by other instinctsand through them runs the influence of intelligence.The function of intelligence is to control instincts, tochoose ways and means for the fulfillment ofinstincts that are blocked, etc. Moreover, the effectsof teachings, ethics, social organization andtradition, operating through the social instincts, areto repress, inhibit and whip into conformity everymode of instinctive conduct. The main instincts arethose relating to nutrition and reproduction, the careof the young, to averting danger or destroying it, toplay and organized activity, to acquiring, perhaps toteaching and learning and to the social relationsgenerally. But manners creep in to regulate ourmethods of eating and the things we shall eat; andwe may not eat at all unless we agree to get thethings to eat a certain way. We may not cohabitexcept under tremendous restriction, and marriagewith its aims and purposes is sexual in origin butmodified largely and almost beyond recognition by
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU188The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysocial consideration, taste, esthetic matters, taboosand economic conditions. We may not treat ourenemy as instinct bids us do,--for only in war mayone kill and here one kills without any personalpurpose or anger, almost without instinct. We maybe compelled through social exigencies to treat ourenemy politely, eat with him, sleep with him andhelp him out of difficulties and thus completelythwart one instinctive set of reactions. Play becomesregulated by rules and customs, becomes motivatedby the desire for superiority, or the desire for gain,and may even leave the physical field entirely andbecome purely mental. And so on. It does no specialpractical good to discuss instincts as if they operatedin man as such. They become purposes. Thereforewe shall defer the consideration of instincts andpurposes in detail until later chapters of this book.Since instincts are too rigid to meet theneeds of the social and traditional life of man, theybecome intellectualized and socialized into purposesand ambitions, sometimes almost beyond
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU189The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryrecognition. Nevertheless, the driving force ofinstinct is behind every purpose, every ambition,even though the individual himself has not theslightest idea of the force that is at work. This doesnot mean that instinct acts as a sort of cellar-plotter, roving around in a subconsciousness, or atleast no such semi-diabolical personality need bepostulated, any more than it need be postulated forthe automatic mechanism that regulates heartbeator digestion. The organic tensions and depressionsthat constitute instinct are not conscious orsubconscious; they affect our conscious personalitiesso that we desire something, we fit that desire inwith the rest of our desires, we seek the means ofgratifying that desire first in accordance with meansthat Nature has given us and second in accordancewith social teaching and our intelligence. If thedesire brings us sharply in contact with obstaclesimposed either by circumstances or more preciousdesire, we inhibit that desire,--and thus the instinct.Because organic tensions and depressions are
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU190The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryperiodic and are dependent upon the activities ofglands and tissues not within our control, the desiresmay never be completely squelched and may ariseas often as some outer stimulus brings them intoactivity, to plague and disorder the life of theconscious personality.3. With this preliminary consideration ofinstinct, we pass on to certain of the phases ofintelligence. How to define intelligence is a difficultybest met by ignoring definition. But this much istrue: that the prime function of intelligence is tostore up the past and present experiences so thatthey can be used in the future, and that it adds tothe rigid mechanism of instinct a plastic force whichby inhibiting and exciting activity according to needsteers the organism through intricate channels.Instinct, guided by a plan, convenientlycalled Natures plan, is not itself a planner. Thedischarge of one mechanism discharges another andso on through a series until an end is reached,--anend apparently not foreseen by the organism but
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU191The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryacting for the good of the race to which theorganism belongs. Intelligence, often enough notconscious of the plans of Nature,[1] indeed,decidedly ignorant of these plans, works for somegood established by itself out of stimuli set up bythe instincts. It plans, looks backward and forward,reaches the height of reflecting on itself, gets torecognize the existence of instinct and sets itself thetask of controlling instinct. Often enough it fails,instinct breaks through, takes possession of themeans of achievement, accomplishes its purpose--but the failure of intelligence to control and themisguided control it attempts and assumes aremerely part of the general imperfections of theorganism. A perfect intelligence would be clearlyable to understand its instincts, to give each of themsatisfaction by a perfect compromise, would pick themethods for accomplishment without error, andstoring up the past experiences without loss, wouldmeet the future according to a plan.[1] We are at this stage in a very dark place
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU192The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryin human thought. We say that instincts seek thegood of the race, or have some racial purpose, asthe sexual instinct has procreation as its end. Butthe lover wooing his sweetheart has no procreationplan in his mind; he is urged on by a desire to winthis particular girl, a desire which is in part sexual,in part admiration of her beauty, grace, and charm;again it is the pride of possession and achievement;and further is the result of the social and romanticideals taught in books, theaters, etc. He may nothave the slightest desire for a child; as individual heplans one thing,--but we who watch him see in hisapproach the racial urge for procreation and evendisregard his purposes as unimportant. Who andwhat is the Race, where does it reside, how can ithave purposes? Call it Nature, and we are no betteroff. We must fall back on an ancient personalizationof forces, and our minds rest easier when we thinkof a Planner operating in all of us and perhapssmiling as He witnesses our strivings.As we study the nervous systems of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU193The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryanimals, we find that with the apparent growth ofintelligence there is a development of that part ofthe brain called the cerebrum. In so far as certainother parts of the brain are concerned--medulla,pons, mid-brain, basal ganglia cerebellum--we whoare human are not essentially superior to the dog,the cow, the elephant or the monkey. But when theneopallium, or the cerebrum, is considered, theenormous superiority of man (and the superiority ofthe higher over the lower animals) becomes striking.Anatomically the cerebrum is a complex elaborationof cells and fibers that have these main purposes:First, to record in perfect and detailed fashion theEXPERIENCES of the organism, so that here arememory centers for visual and auditory experiences,for skin, joint and bone experiences of all kinds,speech memories, action memories, andundoubtedly for the recording in some way notunderstood of the pleasure-pain feelings. Second, ithas a hold, a grip on the motor mechanism of thebody, on the muscles that produce action, so that
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU194The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythe intelligence can nicely adapt movement to thecircumstances, to purpose, and can inhibit themovements that arise reflexly. Thus in certaindiseases, where the part of the brain involved inmovement is injured, voluntary movementdisappears but reflex action is increased. Third, theneopallium, or cerebrum, is characterized by whatare known as association tracts, i.e., connections ofintricate kinds which link together areas of the brainhaving different functions and thus allow forcombinations of activity of all kinds. The brain thusacts to increase the memories of the past, and, aswe all know, man is probably the only animal towhom the past is a controlling force, sometimeseven an overpowering force. It acts to control theconduct of the individual, to delay or to inhibit it,and it acts to increase in an astonishing manner thenumber of reactions possible. One stimulus arousingcerebral excitement may set going mechanisms ofthe brain through associated tracts that will produceconduct of one kind or another for years to come.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU195The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryWe spoke in a previous chapter of choice asan integral function of the organism. While choice,when two competing stimuli awake competingmechanisms, may be non-cerebral in its nature,largely speaking it is a function of the cerebrum, ofthe intelligence. To choose is a constant work of theintelligence, just as to doubt is an unavailing effortto find a choice. Choice blocked is doubt, one of theunhappiest of mental states. I shall not pretend tosolve the mystery of WHO chooses,--WHAT chooses;perhaps there is a constant immortal ego; perhapsthere is built up a series of permanently excitedareas which give rise to ego feeling and predominatein choice; perhaps competing mechanisms, as theystruggle (in Sherringtons sense) for motorpathways, give origin to the feeling of choice. At anyrate, because we choose is the reason that theconcept of will has arisen in the minds of bothphilosopher and the man in the street, and much ofour feeling of worth, individuality and power--mentalfactors of huge importance in character--arises from
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU196The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythe power to choose. Choice is influenced by--or it isa net result of--the praise and blame of others,conscience, memory, knowledge of the past, plansfor the future. It is the fulcrum point of conduct!That animals have intelligence in the sensein which I have used the term is without doubt. Noone who reads the work of Morgan, the Peckhams,Fabre, Hobhouse and other recent investigators ofthe instincts can doubt it. Whether animals think inanything like the form our thought takes is anothermatter. We are so largely verbal in thought thatspeech and the capacity to speak seem intimatelyrelated to thought. For the mechanics of thought, forthe laws of the association of ideas, the reader isreferred to the psychologists. That minds differaccording to whether they habitually follow one typeof associations or another is an old story. The mostannoying individual in the world is the one whoseassociations are unguided by a controlling purpose,who rambles along misdirected by soundassociations or by accidental resemblances in
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU197The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarystructure of words, or by remote meanings,--whostarts off to tell you that she (the garrulous old lady)went to the store to get some eggs, that she has afriend in the country whose boy is in the army(arent the Germans dreadful, shes glad shes bornin this country), city life is very hard, it isnt sohealthy as the country, thank God her health isgood, etc., etc.," and she never arrives at thegrocery store to buy the eggs. The organizing of theassociations through a goal idea is part of thatorganizing energy of the mind and characterpreviously spoken of. The mind tends automaticallyto follow the stimuli that reach it, but the organizingenergy has as one of its functions the preventing ofthis, and controlled thinking follows associations thatare, as it were, laid down by the goal. In fatigue, inillness, in certain of the mental diseases, the failureof the organizing energy brings about failure "toconcentrate" and the tyranny of casual associationsannoys and angers. The stock complaint of theneurasthenic that everything distracts his attention
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU198The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryis a reversion back to the unorganized conditions ofchildhood, with this essential difference: that theneurasthenic rebels against his difficulty in thinking,whereas the child has no rebellion against thatwhich is his normal state. Minds differ primarily andhugely in their power of organizing experience, in sostudying and recording the past that it becomes aguide for the, future. Basic in this is the power ofresisting the irrelevant association, of checkingthose automatic mental activities that tend to bestirred up by each sound, each sight, smell, tasteand touch. The man whose task has no appeal forhim has to fight to keep his mind on it, and thereare other people, the so-called absent-minded, whoare so over- concentrated, so wedded to a goal inthought, that lesser matters are neitherremembered nor noticed. In its excessoverconcentration is a handicap, since it robs one ofthat alertness for new impressions, new sources ofthought so necessary for growth. The fine mind isthat which can pursue successfully a goal in thought
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU199The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybut which picks en route to that goal, out of theirrelevant associations, something that enriches itsconclusions.Not often enough is mechanical skill, hand-mindedness, considered as one of the prime phasesof intelligence. Intelligence, en route to the conquestof the world, made use of that marvelousinstrument, the human hand, which in its opposablethumb and little finger sharply separates man fromthe rest of creation. Studying causes and effects,experimenting to produce effect, the hand becamethe principal instrument in investigation, and theprime verifier of belief. "Seeing is believing" is notnearly so accurate as "Handling is believing," forthere is in touch, and especially in touch of thehands and in the arm movements, a Realitycomponent of the first magnitude. But not only intouching and investigating, but in pushing andpulling and striking, IN CAUSING CHANGE, does thehand become the symbol and source of power andefficiency. Undoubtedly this phase of the hands
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU200The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryactivities remained predominant for untoldcenturies, during which man made but slow progressin his career toward the leadership of the world.Then came the phase of tool-making and using andwith that a rush of events that built the cities,bridged the waters, opened up the Little and the Bigas sources of knowledge and energy for man andgave him the power which he has used,--but poorly.It is the skill of human hands upon which the mindof man depends; though we fly through the air andspeed under water, some one has made the toolsthat made the machine we use. Therefore, themechanical skill of man, the capacity to shaperesisting material to purpose, the power of thedetailed applications of the principles of movementand force are high, special functions of theintelligence. That people differ enormously in thisskill, that it is not necessarily associated with otherphases of intelligence are commonplaces. The dealerin abstract ideas of great value to the race may beunable to drive a nail straight, while the man who
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU201The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycan build the most intricate mechanism out of crudeiron, wood and metal may be unable to express anybut the commonplaces of existence. Intelligence,acting through skill, has evolved machinery and theindustrial evolution; acting to discover constantprinciples operating in experience, it has establishedscience. Seeking to explain and control the world ofunknown forces, it has evolved theory and practice.A very essential division of people is on the onehand those whose effort is to explain things, andwho are called theorists, and those who seek tocontrol things, the practical persons. There is aconstant duel between these two types ofpersonalities, and since the practical usually controlthe power of the world, the theorists and explainershave had rather a hard time of it, though they areslowly coming into their own.Another difference between minds is this:that intelligence deals with the relations betweenthings (this being a prime function of speech), andintelligence only becomes intellect when it is able to
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU202The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysee the world from the standpoint of abstract ideas,such as truth, beauty, love, honor, goodness, evil,justice, race, individual, etc. The wider one cangeneralize correctly, the higher the intellect. Thepractical man rarely seeks wide generalizationsbecause the truth of these and their value can onlybe demonstrated through the course of long periodsof time, during which no good to the individualhimself is seen. Besides which, the practical manknows that the wide generalization may be an error.Practical aims are usually immediate aims, whereasthe aims of intellect are essentially remote and mayproject beyond the life of the thinker himself.We speak of people as original or as thereverse, with the understanding that originality isthe basis of the worlds progress. To be original inthought is to add new relationships to those alreadyaccepted, or to substitute new ones for the old. Theoriginal person is not easily credulous; he applies totraditional teaching and procedure the acid test ofresults. Thus the astronomers who rejected the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU203The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarytheological idea that the earth was the center of theuniverse observed that eclipses could not beexplained on such a basis, and Harvey, as hedissected bullocks hearts and tied tourniquetsaround his arms, could not believe that Galensteaching on circulation fitted what he saw of theveins and valves of his arm. The original observerrefuses to slide over stubborn facts; authority hasless influence with him than has an apple droppingdownward. In another way the original thinker isconstantly taking apart his experiences andreadjusting the pieces into new combinations ofbeauty, usefulness and truth. This he does as artist,inventor and scientist. Most originality lies in therejection of old ideas and methods as not consonantwith results and experience; in the taking apart andthe isolation of the components of experience(analysis) and in their reassemblage into newcombinations (synthesis). The organizing activity ofthe original mind is high, and curiosity and interestare usually well maintained. Unless there is with
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU204The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythese traits the quality called good judgment (i.e.,good choice), the original is merely one of those"pests" who launch half-baked reforms and projectsupon a weary world.We have spoken of intelligence as controllingand directing instinct and desire, as inhibitingemotion, as exhibiting itself in handicraftsmanship,as the builder up of abstractions and the principlesof power and knowledge; we have omitted itsrelationship to speech. Without speech and itsderivatives, man would still be a naked savage andnot so well off in his struggle for existence as mostof the larger animals. It is possible that we can thinkwithout words, but surely very little thinking ispossible under such circumstances. One mightconduct a business without definite records, but itwould be a very small one. Speech is a means notonly of designating things but of the manifestrelations between things. It "short-cuts" thought sothat we may store up a thousand experiences in oneword. But its stupendous value and effects lie in
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU205The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythis, that in words not only do we store up ourselves(could we be self-conscious without words?) andthings, but we are able to interchange ourselves andour things with any one else in the world whounderstands our speech and writings. And we maytruly converse with the dead and be profoundlychanged by them. If the germ plasm is the organ ofbiological heredity, speech and its derivatives arethe organs of social heredity!The power of expressing thought in words,of compressing experiences into spoken and writtensymbols, of being eloquent or convincing either bytongue or pen, is thus a high function of intelligence.The able speaker and writer has always beenpowerful, and he has always found a high socialvalue in promulgating the ideas of those too busy orunfitted for this task, and he has been the chiefagent in the unification of groups.The danger that lies in words as the symbolsof thought lies in the fact pointed out by FrancisBacon[1] (and in our day by Wundt and Jung) that
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU206The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywords have been coined by the mass of people andhave come to mean very definitely the relationsbetween things as conceived by the ignorantmajority, so that when the philosopher or scientistseeks to use them, he finds himself hampered bythe false beliefs inherent in the word and by the lackof precision in the current use of words. Moreover,words are also a means of stirring up emotions,hate, love, passion, and become weapons in astruggle for power and therefore obscureintelligence.[1] This is Bacons "Idols of the MarketPlace."Words, themselves, arise in our socialrelations, for the solitary human would never speak,and the thought we think of as peculiarly our own isintensely social. Indeed, as Cooley pointed out, ourthought is usually in a dialogue form with an auditorwho listens and whose applause we desire andwhose arguments we meet. In children, who thinkaloud, this trend is obvious, for they say, "you, I,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU207The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryno, yes, I mustnt, you mustnt," and terms ofdialogue and social intercourse appear constantly.Thought and words offer us the basis of definiteinternal conflict: one part of us says to the other,"You must not do that," and the other answers,"What shall I do?" Desire may run along smoothlywithout distinct, internal verbal thought until it runsinto inhibition which becomes at once distinctlyverbal in its, "No! You musnt!" But desireobstructed also becomes verbal and we hear withinus, "I will!"We live secure in the belief that ourthoughts are our own and cannot be "read" byothers. Yet in our intercourse we seek to read thethoughts of others--the real thoughts--recognizingthat just as we do not express ourselves eitheraccurately or honestly, so may the other be limitedor disingenuous. Whenever there occurs a feeling ofinferiority, the face is averted so the thoughts maynot be read, and it is very common for peoplementally diseased to believe that their thoughts are
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU208The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybeing read and published. Indeed, the connectionbetween thoughts and the personality may besevered and the patient mistakes as an outsidevoice his own thoughts.A large part of ancient and modern beliefand superstition hinges on the feeling of power inthought and therefore in words. Thought CAUSESthings as any other power does. Think somethinghard, use the appropriate word, and presto,--whatyou desire is done. "Faith moves mountains," andthe kindred beliefs of the magic in words haveplunged the world into abysses of superstition.Thought is powerful, words are powerful, ifcombined with the appropriate action, and in theirindirect effects. All our triumphs are thought andword products; so, too, are our defeats.It is not profitable for us at this stage tostudy the types of intelligence in greater detail. Inthe larger aspects of intelligence we must regard itas intimately blended with emotions, mood,instincts, and in its control of them is a
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU209The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymeasurement of character. We may ask what is therange of memory, what is the capacity for choosing,how good is the planning ability, how active is theorganizing ability, what is the type of associationsthat predominate and how active is the stream ofthought? What is the skill of the individual? How welldoes he use words and to what end does he usethem? Intelligence deals with the variables of life,leaving to instinct the basic reactions, but it is inthese variables that intelligence meets situationsthat of themselves would end disastrously for theindividual.Not a line, so far, on Will. What of the will,basic force in character and center of a controversythat will never end? Has man a free will? does hischoice of action and thought come from a powerwithin himself? Is there a uniting will, operating inour actions, a something of an integral indivisiblekind, which is non-material yet which controlsmatter?Taking the free-will idea at its face value
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU210The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryleads us nowhere in our study of character. Ifcharacter in its totality is organic, so is will, and ittherefore resides in the tissues of our organism andis subject to its laws. In some mental diseases thecentral disturbance is in the will, as Kraepelinpostulates in the disease known as DementiaPraecox. The power of choice and the power ofacting according to choice disappear gradually,leaving the individual inert and apathetic. The willmay alter its directions in disease (or rather bealtered) so that BECAUSE of a tumor mass in thebrain, or a clot of blood, or the extirpation of histesticles, he chooses and acts on different principlesthan ever before in his life. Or you get a man drunk,introduce into his organism the soluble narcoticalcohol, and you change his will in the sense that hechooses to be foolish or immoral or brutal, and actsaccordingly. When from Philip drunk we appeal toPhilip sober, we acknowledge that the two Philipsare different and will different things. And the will ofthe child is not the will of the adult, nor is that the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU211The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywill of the old man. If will is organic it cannot befree, but is conditioned by health, glandular activity,tissue chemistry, age, social setting, education,intelligence.Moreover, behind each choice and each actare motives set up by the whole past of theindividual, set up by heredity and training, by thewill of our ancestors and our contemporaries.Logically and psychologically, we cannot agree thata free agent has any conditions; and if it has anyconditions, it cannot in any phase be free. To set upan argument for free will one has to appeal to theconsciousness or have a deep religious motive. Buteven the ecclesiastical psychologists and even sostrong a believer in free will as Munsterberg take thestand that we may have two points of view, one--asreligiously minded--that there is a free will, and theother--as scientists--that will is determined in itsoperations by causes that reach back in an endlesschain. The power to choose and the power to actmay be heightened by advice and admonitions. In
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU212The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythis sense we may properly tell a man to use hiswill, and we may seek to introduce into him motivesthat will fortify his resolution, remove or increase hisinhibitions, make clearer his choice. But that will isan entity, existing by itself and pulling at levers ofconduct without itself being organic, need not beentertained by any serious-minded student of hiskind.Is there a unit, will? A will power? I can seeno good evidence for this belief except thegeneralizing trend of human thought and the fallacythat raises abstractions into realities. Napoleon hada strong will in regard to his battles and a weak oneregarding women. Pitt was a determined statesmanbut could not resist the lure of drink. Socrates foundno difficulty in dying for his beliefs, but asked not tobe tempted by a beautiful youth. Francis Bacon tookall knowledge to be his province, and his will wasequal to the task, but he found the desire for richestoo great for him. In reality, man is a mosaic ofwills; and the will of each instinct, each desire, each
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU213The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarypurpose, is the intensity of that instinct, desire orpurpose. In each of us there is a clash of wills, asthe trends in our character oppose one another. Theunited self harmonizes its purposes and wills into asnearly one as possible; the disunited self is standingunsteadily astride two or more horses. We all knowthat it is easy for us to accomplish certain thingsand difficult to make up our minds to do others. Likeand dislike, facility or difficulty are part of eachpurpose and enter into each will as parts.Such a view does not commit one tofatalism, at least in conduct. Desiring to accomplishsomething or desiring to avoid doing something,both of which are usually considered as part ofwilling, we must seek to find motives and influencesthat will help us. We must realize that each choice,each act, changes the world for us and every oneelse and seek to harmonize our choice and acts withthe purposes we regard as our best. If we seek toinfluence others, then this view of the will is the onlyhopeful one, for if will is a free entity how can it
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU214The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarypossibly be influenced by another agent? The veryessence of freedom is to be noninfluenced. Seekingto galvanize the will of another, there is need tosearch for the influences that will increase theenergy of his better purposes, to "appeal to hisbetter self," meaning that the spurs to his goodconduct are applied with greater force, but that firstthe nature of the particular things that spur him onmust be discovered. Praise? Blame? Reward?Punishment? Education? Authority? Logic? Religion?Emotional appeal? Substitution of new motives andassociations?The will is therefore no unit, but a sum totalof things operating within the sphere of purpose.Purpose we have defined as arising from instinct anddesire and intellectualized and socialized byintelligence, education, training, tradition, etc. Will istherefore best studied under the head of purposeand is an outgrowth of instinct. Each instinct, in itsenergy, its fierceness, its permanence, has its will.He who cannot desire deeply, in whom some
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU215The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarypowerful instinct does not surge, cannot will deeply.If we look at character from the standpointof emotion, instinct, purpose and intelligence, wefind that emotion is an internal discharge of energy,which being FELT by the individual becomes an aimor aversion of his life; that instinctive action is thepassing over of a stimulus directly into hereditaryconduct along race-old motor pathways for purposesthat often enough the individual does not recognizeand may even rebel against; that instinct is withoutreflection, but that purpose, which is an outgrowthof instinct guided and controlled by intelligence, isreflective and self-conscious. Purpose seeks thegood of the individual as understood by him and isoften against the welfare of the race, whereasinstinct seeks the good of the race, often against thewelfare of the individual. Intelligence is the path ofthe stimulus or need cerebrally directed, lengthenedout, inhibited, elaborated and checked. Oftenenough faulty, it is the chief instrument by whichman has become the leading figure on the world
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU216The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarystage.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU217The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryChapter VII. EXCITEMENT, MONOTONY ANDINTERESTNo matter what happens in the outsideworld, be it something we see, hear or feel, in anysense-field there is an internal reverberation in ourbodies,--excitement. Excitement is theundifferentiated result of stimuli, whether thesecome from without or from within. For a change inthe glands of the body heaps up changes within us,which when felt, become excitement. Thus at themating period of animals, at the puberty of man,there is a quite evident excitement demonstrated inthe conduct of the animal and the adolescent. Hewho remembers his own adolescence, or whowatches the boy or girl of that age, sees theexcitement in the readiness to laugh, cry, fight orlove that is so striking.Undoubtedly the mother-stuff of all emotionis the feeling of excitement. Before any emotionreaches its characteristic expression there is thepreparatory tension of excitement. Joy, sorrow,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU218The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryanger, fear, wonder, surprise, etc., have in them asa basis the same consciousness of an internalactivity, of a world within us beginning to seethe.Heart, lungs, blood stream, the great viscera andthe internal glands, cerebrum and sympatheticnervous system, all participate in this activity, andthe outward visage of excitement is always thewide-open eye, the slightly parted lips, the flaringnostrils and the slightly tensed muscles of the wholebody. Shouts, cries, the waving of arms and legs,taking the specific direction of some emotion, makeof excitement a fierce discharger of energy, a fact ofgreat importance in the understanding of social andpathological phenomena. On the other hand,excitement may be so intensely internal that it shiftsthe blood supply too vigorously from the head andthe result is a swoon. This is more especially true ofthe excitement that accompanies sorrow and fearthan joy or anger, but even in these emotions itoccurs.There are some very important phases of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU219The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryexcitement that have not been given sufficientweight in most of the discussions.1. In the very young, excitement is diffuseand spreads throughout the organism. An infantstarts with a jump at a sudden sound and shivers ata bright light. A young child is unrestrained andgeneral in his expression of excitement, no matterwhat emotional direction that excitement takes.Bring about any tension of expectation in a child--have him wait for your head to appear around thecorner as you play peek-a-boo, or delay opening thebox of candy, or pretend you are one thing oranother--and the excitement of the child ismanifested in what is known as eagerness. Attentionin children is accompanied by excitement and iswearying as a natural result, since excitement,means a physical discharge of energy. A child laughsall over and weeps with his entire body; his angerinvolves every muscle of his body and his fear is anexplosion. The young organism cannot inhibitexcitement.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU220The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryAs life goes on, the capacity for localizing orlimiting excitement increases. We become betterorganized, and the disrupting force of a stimulusbecomes less. Attention becomes less painful, lesstense, i.e., there is less general muscular andemotional reaction. Expectation is less a physicalmatter--perhaps because we have been so oftendisappointed--and is more cerebral and theemotions are more reflective and introspective intheir expression and less a physical outburst.Indeed, the process often enough goes too far, andwe long for the excitement of anticipation andrealization. We do not start at a noise, and though agreat crowd will "stir our blood" (excitementpopularly phrased and accurately), we still limit thatexcitement so that though we cheer or shout thereis a core of us that is quiet.This is the case in health. In sickness,especially in that condition known as neurasthenia,where the main symptoms cluster around anabnormal liability to fatigue, and also in many other
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU221The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryconditions, there is an increase in the diffusion ofexcitement so that one starts all over at a noise,instead of merely turning to see what it is, so thatexpectation and attention become painful andfatiguing. Crowds, though usually pleasurable,become too exciting, and there is a sort of confusionresulting because attention and comprehension areinterfered with. The neurasthenic finds himself aprey to stimuli, his reaction is too great and hefatigues too readily. He finds sleep difficult becausethe little noises and discomforts make difficult therelaxation that is so important. The neurasthenicsvoluntary attention is lowered because of theexcitement he feels when his involuntary attention isaroused.In the condition called anhedonia, which weshall hear of from time to time, there is a blockingor dropping out of the sense of desire andsatisfaction even if through habit one eats, drinks,has sexual relationship, keeps up his work andcarries out his plans. This lack of desire for the joys
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU222The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryof life is attended by a restlessness, a seeking ofexcitement for a time, until there arises a curiousover-reaction to excitement. The anhedonic patientfinds that noises are very troublesome, that hebecomes unpleasantly excited over music, thatcompany is distressing because he becomesconfused and excited, and crowds, busy scenes andstreets are intolerable. Many a hermit, I fancy, whofound the sensual and ambitious pleasure of lifeintolerable, who sought to fly from crowds to thedeserts, was anhedonic but he called it renunciation.(Whether one really ever renounces when desire isstill strong is a nice question. I confess to somescepticism on this point.)2. Seeking excitement is one of the greatpleasure-trends of life. In moderation, tension,expectation and the diffuse bodily reactions areagreeable; there is a feeling of vigor, the attention isdrawn from the self and there is a feeling of beingalive that is pleasurable. The tension must not betoo long sustained, nor the bodily reaction too
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU223The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryintense; relaxation and lowered attention mustrelieve the excitement from time to time; but withthese kept in mind, it is true that Man is a seeker ofexcitement.This is a factor neglected in the study ofgreat social phenomena. The growth of cities is notonly a result of the economic forces of the time; it ismade permanent by the fact that the cities areexciting. The multiplicity and variety of the stimuli ofa city--social, sexual, its stir and bustle--make itdifficult for those once habituated ever to toleratethe quiet of the country. Excitement follows thegreat law of stimulation; the same internal effect,the same feeling, requires a greater and greaterstimulus, as well as new stimuli. So, the cities growlarger, increase their modes of excitement, and thedweller in the city, unless fortified by a steadypurpose, becomes a seeker of excitement.Not only is excitement pleasurable whenreached through the intrinsically agreeable but it canbe obtained from small doses of the intrinsically
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU224The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydisagreeable. This is the explanation of the pleasureobtained from the gruesome, from the risk of life orlimb, or from watching others risk life or limb. Asidefrom the sense of power obtained by traveling fast,it is the risk, THE SLIGHT FEAR, producingexcitement, that makes the speed maniac a menaceto the highways. And I think that part of thepleasure obtained from bitter foods is that thedisagreeable element is just sufficient to excite thegastro-intestinal tract. The fascination of the horriblelies in the excitement produced, an excitement thatturns to horror and disgust if the disagreeable ispresented too closely. Thus we can read withpleasurable excitement of things that in their realitywould shock us into profoundest pain. The morejaded one is, the more used to excitement, the morehe seeks what are, ordinarily, disagreeable methodsof excitement. Thus pain in slight degree is exciting,and in the sexual sphere pain is often sought as ameans of heightening the pleasure, especially bywomen and by the roue. I suspect also that the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU225The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhaircloth shirt and the sackcloth and ashes of theanhedonic hermit were painful methods of seekingexcitement.Sometimes pain is used in small amounts torelieve excitement. Thus the man who bites hisfinger nails to the quick gets a degree of satisfactionfrom the habit. Indeed, all manner of habitual andabsurd movements, from scratching to pacing upand down, are efforts to relieve the tension ofexcitement. One of my patients under anyexcitement likes to put his hands in very hot water,and the pain, by its localization, takes away fromthe diffuse and unpleasant excitement. The diffuseuncontrolled excitement of itching is often relievedby painful biting and scratching. Here is an effort tolocalize a feeling and thus avoid diffuse discomfort,a sort of homeopathic treatment.3. As a corollary to the need of excitementand its pleasure is the reaction to monotony.Monotony is one of the most dreaded factors in thelife of man. The internal resources of most of us are
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU226The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybut small; we can furnish excitement and interestfrom our own store for but a short time, and therethen ensues an intense yearning for something orsomebody that will take up our attention and give adirection to our thought and action. Under monotonythe thought turns inward, there is daydreaming andintrospection,[1] which are pleasurable only atcertain times for most of us and which grow lesspleasurable as we grow older. Watch the faces ofpeople thinking as they travel alone in cars,--andrarely does one see a happy face. The lines of theface droop and sighs are frequent. Monotony andmelancholy are not far apart; monotony and arestless seeking for excitement are almostsynonymous. Of course, what constitutes monotonywill differ in the viewpoint of each person, for someare so constituted and habituated (for habit is agreat factor) that it takes but few stimuli to arouse awell-sustained interest, and others need or thinkthey need many things, a constantly changing set ofcircumstances for pleasure.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU227The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Library[1] Stanley Hall, in his book "Adolescence,"lays great stress on monotony and its effects. Seealso Graham Wallas "The Great Society."Restlessness, eager searching for change,intense dissatisfaction are the natural fruit ofmonotony. Here is an important item in theproblems of our times. Side by side with growth ofthe cities and their excitement is the growingmonotony of most labor. The factory, with itsspecialized production, reduces the worker to a cogin the machinery. In some factories, in the name ofefficiency, the windows are whitewashed so that theoutside world is shut out and talking is prohibited;the worker passes his day performing his unvariedtask from morning to night. Under suchcircumstances there arises either a burning sense ofwrong, of injustice, of slavery and a thwarting of theindividual dignity, or else a yearning for the end ofthe day, for dancing, drinking, gambling, foranything that offers excitement. Or perhaps bothreactions are combined. Our industrial world is
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU228The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarypoorly organized economically, as witness the poordistribution of wealth and the periodic crises, but itis abominably organized from the standpoint of thehappiness of the worker. Of this, more in anotherplace.Monotony brings fatigue, because there is ashutting out of the excitement that acts as anantidote to fatigue-feeling. A man who workswithout fatigue six days a week is tired all daySunday and longs for Monday. The modernhousewife,[1] with her four walls and the unending,uninteresting tasks, is worn out, and her fatiguereaction is the greater the more her previous life hasbeen exciting and varied. Fatigue often enough ispresent not because of the work done but becausethe STIMULUS TO WORK HAS DISAPPEARED.Monotony is an enemy of character. Variety, in itsnormal aspect, is not only the spice of life; it is agreat need. Stabilization of purpose and work arenecessary, but a standardization that stamps out theexcitement of variety is a deadly blow to human
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU229The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhappiness.[1] See my book "The Nervous Housewife!"Under monotony certain types ofpersonalities develop an intense inner life, whichmay be pathological, or it may be exceedinglyfruitful of productive thought.Some build up a delusional thought andfeeling. For delusion merely means uncorrectedthought and belief, and we can only correct bycontact and collision. The whole outer world mayvanish or become hostile and true mental diseasedevelop. Perhaps it is more nearly correct to saythat minds predisposed to mental disease find inmonotony a circumstance favoring disease.On the other hand, a vigorous mind shut outfrom outer stimuli[1] finds in this circumstance thetime to develop leisurely, finds a freedom fromdistraction that leads to clear views of life and aproper expression. A periodic retirement from thebusy, too-busy world is necessary for the thinkerthat he may digest his material, that he may strip
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU230The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryaway unessential beliefs, that he may find what it ishe really needs, strives for and ought to have.[1] Perhaps this is why real genius does notflourish in our crowded, over-busy days, despite thegreat amount of talent.4. Here we come to another corollary of theneed for excitement, the need of relaxation. At anyrate, satisfaction and pleasure need periods ofhunger in order to be felt. In the story of Buddha heis represented as being shielded from all sorrow andpain, living a life filled with pleasure and excitement,yet he sought out pain. So excitement, if too longcontinued--or rather if a situation that producesexcitement of a pleasurable kind be too longendured--will result in boredom. "Things get to bethe same," whether it be the excitement of love, thecity, sports or what not. This is a basic law of allpleasures. In order that life may have zest, thatexcitement may be easily and pleasurably evokedand by normal means, we need relaxation, periodsfree from excitement, or we must pass on to a costly
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU231The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarychase for excitement that brings breakdown of thecharacter.5. If the seeking of excitement, as such, isone of the prime pleasures of life, organizedexcitement in the form of interest is the directingand guiding principle of activity. At the outset of lifeinterest is in the main involuntary and is aroused bythe sights, sounds and happenings of the outerworld. As time goes on, as the organism develops,as memories of past experiences become active, aspeculiarities of personality develop, and as instinctsreach activity, interest commences to take definitedirection, to become canalized, so to speak. In fact,the development of interest is from the diffuseinvoluntary form of early childhood to aspecialization, a condensation into definite voluntarychannels. This development goes on unevenly, andis a very variable feature in the lives of all of us.Great ability expresses itself in a sustained interest;a narrow character is one with overdeformed, toonarrow interest; failure is often the retention of the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU232The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarychildish character of diffuse, involuntary interest.And the capacity to sustain interest depends notonly on the special strength of the various abilitiesof the individual, but remarkably on his energy andhealth. Sustained "voluntary" interest is far morefatiguing than involuntary interest, and wherefatigue is already present it becomes difficult andperhaps impossible. Thus after much work, whetherphysical or mental, during and after illness--especially in influenza, in neurasthenic statesgenerally, or where there is an inner conflict--interest in its adult form is at a low ebb.There are two main directions which interestmay take, because there are two worlds in which welive. There is the inner world of our feelings, ourthoughts, our desires and our struggles,[1]--andthere is the outer world, with its people, its things,its hostilities, its friendships, its problems and facts,its attractions and repulsions. Man divides hisinterest between the two worlds, for in both of themare the values of existence. The chief source of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU233The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryvoluntary interest lies in desire and value, andthough these are frequently in coalescence, so thatthe thing we desire is the thing we value, moreoften they are not in coalescence and then we havethe divided self that James so eloquently describes.So there are types of men to whom the outer world,whether it is in its "other people," or its things, or itsfacts, or its attractions and repulsions, is the chiefsource of interest and these are the objective types,exteriorized folks, whose values lie in the goods theycan accumulate, or the people they can help, or theexternal power they exercise, or the knowledge theypossess of the phenomena of the world, or thethings they can do with their hands. These are onthe whole healthy-minded, finding in their pursuitsand interest a real value, rarely stopping from theirwork to ask, "Why do I work? To what end? Arethings real?" Contrasted with them are those whosegaze is turned inward, who move through lifecarrying on the activities of the average existencebut absorbed in their thoughts, their emotions, their
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU234The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydesires, their conflicts,--perhaps on their sensationsand coenaesthetic streams. Though there is nosharp line of division between the two types, and allof us are blends in varying degrees, these latter arethe subjective introspective folk, interiorized, livingin the microcosmos, and much more apt than theobjective minded to be "sick souls" obsessed with"whys and wherefores." They are endlessly puttingto themselves unanswerable questions, are apt to bethe mentally unbalanced, or, but now and then, theyfurnish the race with one whose answers to themeaning of life and the direction of efforts guide thesteps of millions.[1] Herbert Spencers description of thesetwo worlds is the best in literature. "Principles ofPsychology."There is a good and a bad side to the twotypes of interest. The objective minded conquer theworld in dealing with what they call reality. Theybridge the water and dig up the earth; they invent,they plow, they sell and buy, they produce and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU235The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydistribute wealth, and they deal with the educationthat teaches how to do all these things. They find inthe outer world an unalterable sense of reality, andthey tend rather naively to accept themselves, theirinterests and efforts as normal. In their highestforms they are the scientist, reducing to law thistangle of outer realities, or the artist, who though heis a hybrid with deep subjective and objectiveinterest, nevertheless remodels the outer world tohis concept of beauty. These objective-minded folk,the bulk of the brawn and in lesser degree of thebrain of the world, are apt to be "materialists," tovalue mainly quantity and to be self-complacent. Ofcourse, since no man is purely objective, there cometo them as to all moments of brooding over the eggsof their inner life, when they wonder whether theyhave reached out for the right things and whetherthe goods they seek or have are worth while. Suchintrospective interest comes on them when they arealone and the outer world does not reach in, orwhen they have witnessed death and misfortune, or
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU236The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywhen sickness and fatigue have reduced them to afeeling of weakness. For it is true that the objectiveminded are more often robust, hearty, with morenatural lust, passion and desire than yourintrospectionists, more virile and less sensitive tofine impressions.The introspectionists, culling, chewing thecud of their experiences and sensations, find in theirown reactions the realities. In fact, interested inconsciousness, they are sometimes bold enough todeny the realities of anything else. Where the othersbuild bridges, they build up the ideas of eternal goodand bad, of beauty, of the transitory and thepermanent, of now and eternity. They deal withabstract ideas, and they luxuriate in emotions. Theybuild up beliefs where thought is the only reality andis omnipotent. They are the founders of religious,cults, fads and fancies. They inculcate thepermanent ideals, because they are the only oneswho interest themselves in something beside theshow of the universe.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU237The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryBut too often they are the sick folk. Withoutthe hardihood and the energy to conquer the outerworld, they fall back on a world requiring lessenergy to study, less energy to conquer. Sometimesthey develop a sense of unreality which vitiates alltheir efforts to succeed; or they becomehypochondriacs, feeling every flutter of the heartand every vague ache and pain. The Hamletdoubting type is an introspectionist and oscillates inhis mind from yea to nay on every question. Such asthis type develop ideas of compensation and powerand become cranks and fake prophets. Or else, andthis we shall see again, they become imbued with asense of inferiority, feel futile as against the red-blooded and shrink from others through pain.Everywhere one sees these phases ofinterest in antagonism and cooperation. The"healthy-minded" acknowledge the leadership of apast introspectionist but despise the contemporaryone as futile and light-headed. The introverted (touse a Freudian term) call the others Philistines, and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU238The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymock them for their lack of spiritual insight, yet ineverything they do they depend for aid andsustenance upon them. Introspection gives no exactmeasurements of value, but it gives value andwithout it, there can be no wisdom. But always itneeds the correction of the outer world to keep ithealthy.While we have dealt here with the extremesof extrospection and introspection, it is safe to saythat in the vast majority of people there is a definiteand unassailable interest in both of these directions.Interest in others is not altruism and interest in theself is not self-interest or egoism. But, on the whole,they who are not interested in others never becomephilanthropists; they who are not interested inthings never become savants; and they who do notdig deep into themselves are not philosophers.There are, therefore, certain practical aspects to thestudy of interest which are essential parts of theknowledge of character.1. Is the interest of the one studied
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU239The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycontrolled by some purpose or purposes, or is itdiffuse, involuntary, not well directed?2. Is it narrow, so that it excludes thegreater part of the world, or is it easily evoked by amultiplicity of things? In the breadth of interest iscontained the breadth of character, but notnecessarily its intensity or efficiency. There arepeople of narrow but intense successful interest, andothers of broad, intense successful interest, but onemeets, too frequently, people quickly interested inanything, but not for long or in a practical fashion.There is a certain high type of failure that has thisdifficulty.3. Is its main trend outward, and if so, isthere some special feature or features of the worldthat excite interest?4. Is its main trend inward, and is heinterested in emotions, thoughts, sensations,--In hismind or his body, in ideas or in feelings? For it isobvious that the man interested in his ideas is quitea different person than he who is keenly aware of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU240The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhis emotions, and that the hypochondriac belongs ina class by himself.5. If there are special interests, how dothese harmonize with ability and with well-definedplan and purpose. It is not sufficient to be keenlyinterested, though that is necessary. One of thegreatest disharmonies of life is when a man isinterested when he is not proficient, though usuallyproficiency develops interest because it givessuperiority and achievement.Interest is heightened by the success ofothers, for we are naturally competitive creatures,or by admiration for those successful in any line ofactivity. The desire to emulate or excel or to getpower is a mighty factor in the maintenance ofinterest. "See how nicely Georgie does it," is aformula for both children and adults, and if omitted,interest would not be easily aroused or maintained.In other words, the competitive feeling and desire inits largest sense are necessary for the concentratedexcitement of interest. So any scheme of social
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU241The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryorganization that proposes to do away withcompetition and desire for superiority labors underthe psychological handicap of removing the basis ofmuch of the interest in work and study and mustfind some substitute for the lacking incentivesbefore it can seriously ask for the adherence ofthose with a realistic view of human nature. Onemight, it is true, establish traditions of work, bringabout a livelier social conscience as to service, butthese are not sufficient to arouse real interest in thevast majority of the race. Here and there one finds aman in whom interest is aroused by the unsolvedproblem, by the reward of fame and the pleasure ofachievement, but such persons are rare. Theaverage man (and woman), in my experience, losesinterest in anything that does not directly benefithim or in which his personal competitive feeling isnot aroused. Interest becomes vague and ill-definedthe farther the matter concerned is from the directpersonal good of the individual, and proportionatelyit becomes difficult to sustain it.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU242The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryThat is why in our day "dollars and cents"appeals to interest are made; away with abstracts,away with sentiment; the publicity man working fora good cause now uses the methods of the manselling shoes or automobiles: he attempts to showthat ones interest and cooperation are demandedand necessary because ones direct personal welfareis involved. Whether or not ethically justifiable, it isa recognition of the fact that interest is aroused andsustained, for the majority, by some direct personalinvolvement.Thus in education, a fact to be learned, or asubject to be studied, should be first sketched orplaced in some use value to the student. Knowledgefor knowledges sake is appealing only to the rarescholar, he who palpitates with interest over therelationship of things to one another, he who seeksto discover values. Now and then one finds such aperson, one thrown into sustained excitement bylearning, but the great majority of students, whetherin medicine, law or mathematics, are "practical,"
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU243The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymeaning that their interests are relatively narrowand the good they seek an immediate one to bereaped by themselves. Recognizing this fact in theabstract, the most of teaching is conducted on theplane of the real scholar, and the average student isleft to find values for himself. From first to last inteaching I would emphasize usevalue; true, I wouldseek to broaden the conception of usevalue, so thata student would see that usefulness is a socialvalue, but no matter how abstract and remote thesubject, its relationship to usefulness would bepreliminary and continuously emphasized in order tosustain interest.Interest, like any other form of excitement,needs new stimuli and periods of relaxation. Peopleunder the driving force of necessity continue at theirwork for longer periods of time and more constantlythan is psychologically possible for the maintainingof interest. So it disappears, and then fatigue sets inat once,--a fatigue that is increased by the effort towork and the regret and rebellion at the change. The
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU244The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymemory seems to suffer and a fear is aroused that"I am losing my memory"; the threat to successbrings anguish and often the health becomesdefinitely impaired. Overconcentrated, too longmaintenance of interest brings apathy,--an apathythat cannot be dispelled except by change and rest.Here there is wide individual variation from thosewho need frequent change and relaxation periods tothose who can maintain interest in a task almostindefinitely.A hobby, or a secondary object of interest, istherefore a real necessity to the man or womanbattling for a purpose, whose interest must besustained. It acts to relax, to shift the excitementand to allow something of the feeling of novelty asone reapproaches the task.As a matter of fact, excitement and interestare not easily separated from their derivatives andelaborations. Desire, purpose, ambition, imply aforce; interest implies a direction for that force.Interest may be as casual as curiosity aroused by
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU245The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythe novel and strange, or as deep-seated andspecialized as a talent. The born teacher is he whoknows how to arouse and maintain and directinterest; the born achiever is the man whoseinterest, quickly aroused, is easily maintained anddirects effort. To find the activity that is nativelyinteresting and yet suited to ones ability is the aimin vocational guidance.There are some curious pathological aspectsto interest --"conflict" aspects of the subject. A manfinds himself palpitatingly interested in what ishorrible to him, as a bird is fascinated by a snake.Sex abnormalities have a marvelous interest toeverybody, although many will not admit it. Storiesof crime and bloodshed are read by everybody withgreat avidity,--and people will go miles to the site ofgrim tragedy. Court rooms are packed whenever ahorrible murder is aired or a nauseating divorcescandal is tried. A chaste woman will read, on thesly and with inner rebellion, as many pornographictales as she can get hold of, and the "carefully"
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU246The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybrought up, i. e., those whose interest has beencarefully directed, suddenly become interested inthe forbidden; they seek to peek through windowswhen they should be looking straight ahead.As a matter of fact, interest is as muchinhibited as conduct. "You mustnt ask about that" isthe commonest answer a child gets. "Thats anaughty question to ask" runs it a close second. Canone inhibit interest, which is the excitement causedby the unknown? The answer is that we can,because a large part of education is to do this verything. "Can we inhibit any interest without injuringall interests?" is a question often put. My answerwould be that it is socially necessary that interest incertain directions be inhibited, whether it hurts theindividual or not. But the interest in a forbiddendirection can be shifted to a permitted direction, andthis should be done. In my opinion, sex interest canbe so handled and a blunt thwarting of this interestshould be avoided. Some explanation leading thechild to larger, less personal aspects of sex should
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU247The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybe given.The interest of the child is often thwartedthrough sheer laziness. "Dont bother me" is thereply of a parent shirking a sacred duty. Interest isthe beginning of knowledge, and where it isdiscouraged knowledge is discouraged. Any inquirycan be met on the childs plane of intelligence andcomprehension, and the parent must arrange for thegratification of this fundamental desire. How? By aquestion hour each day, perhaps a childrens hour, ahome university period where the vital interest ofthe child will be satisfied.To return to the morbid interests: do theyarise from secret morbid desires? The Freudiananswer to that would be yes. And so would manyanother answer. It is the answer in many cases,especially where the desire is not so much morbid asforbidden. The virgin, the continent who areintensely interested in sex are not morbid, eventhough they have been forbidden to think of anatural craving and appetite. But when the interest
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU248The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryis for the horrible it is often the case that theexcitement aroused by the subject is pleasurable,because it is a mild excitement and does not quitereach disgust. Confronted with the real perversity,the disgust aroused would quite effectually conquerinterest.And here is a fundamental law of interest: itmust lead to a profitable, pleasurable result or elseit tends to disappear. If this is too bold a statement,let me qualify it by stating that a profitable,pleasurable result must be foreseen or foreseeable.Either in some affective state, or in some tangiblegood, interest seeks fulfillment. Disappointment isthe foe of interest, and too prolonged a "vestibule ofsatisfaction" (to use Hockings phrase) destroys orimpairs interest.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU249The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryChapter VIII. THE SENTIMENTS OF LOVE,FRIENDSHIP, HATE, PITY AND DUTY.COMPENSATION AND ESCAPEI shall ignore the complexities that arisewhen we seek to organize our reactions into variousgroups by making a simple classification of feeling,for the purposes of this book. There is a primaryresult of any stimulation, whether from withinourselves or without, which we have calledexcitement. This excitement may have a pleasurableor an unpleasurable quality, and we cannotunderstand just what is back of pleasure and pain inthis sense. Such an explanation, that pleasure is asign of good for the organism and pain a sign ofbad, is an error in that often an experience thatproduces pleasure is a detriment and an injury. Ifpleasure were an infallible sign of good, no books oncharacter, morals or hygiene would need to bewritten.This primary excitement, when associatedwith outer events or things, becomes differentiated
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU250The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryinto many forms. Curiosity (or interest) is thefocusing of that excitement on particular objects orends, in order that the essential value or meaning ofthat object or individual become known. Curiosityand interest develop into the seeking of experienceand the general intellectual pursuits. We havealready discussed this phase of excitement.An object of interest may then evoke furtherfeeling. It may be ones baby, or ones father or akinsman or a female of the same species. A type offeeling FAVORABLE to the object is aroused, called"tender feeling," which is associated with deep-lyinginstincts and has endless modifications andvariations. Perhaps its great example is the tenderfeeling of the mother for the baby, a feeling sostrong that it leads to conduct of self- sacrifice;conduct that makes nothing of privation, suffering,even death, if these will help the object of thetender feeling, the child. Tender feeling of this type,which we call love, is a theme one cannot discussdryly, for it sweeps one into reveries; it suggests
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU251The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysoftly glowing eyes, not far from tears, tenderlycurved lips, just barely smiling, and the softhumming of the mother to the babe in her arms. Itis the soft feeling which is the unifying feeling, andwhen it reaches a group they become gentle in toneand manners and feel as one. The dream of thereformer has always been the extension of thistender feeling from the baby, from the child and thehelpless, to all men, thus abolishing strife,conquering hate, unifying man. This type of love isalso paternal, though it is doubtful whether as suchit ever reaches the intensity it does in the mother.By a sort of association it spreads to all children, toall little things, to all helpless things, except wherethere exists a counter feeling already wellestablished.Though typical in the mother, childrelationship, tender feeling or love, exists in manyother relationships. The human family, with its closeassociation, its inculcated unity of interests, in itshighest form is based on the tender feeling. The
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU252The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarynoble ideal of the brotherhood of man comes froman extension of the feeling found in brothers. Thebrotherly feeling is emphasized, though the sisterlyfeeling is fully as strong, merely because the malemember of genus homo has been the articulatemember, he has written and talked as if he, and nothis sister, were the important human personage. Sofraternal feeling is tender feeling, existing betweenmembers of the same family, or the love that weconceive ought to be present. Is such loveinstinctive, as is the maternal love? If it is, thatinstinct is very much weaker, and hostile feeling,indifference, rivalry, may easily replace it. We rarelyconceive of a mortal world where so intense a loveas that of the mother will be the common feeling; allwe dare hope for is a world in which there will be afine fraternal feeling.Fraternal feeling is born of associationtogether, any task undertaken en masse, any livingtogether under one roof. Even when men sit down toeat at the same table, it tends to appear. So college
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU253The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarylife, the barracks, secret orders, awaken it, but here,as always, while it links together the associated, itshuts out as non-fraternal those not associated.What we call friendly feeling is a lessvehement, more intellectualized form of tenderfeeling. It demands a certain equality and a certainsimilarity in tastes, though some friendships arenoted for the dissimilarity of the friends. Friendshiplives on reciprocal benefits, tangible or intangible,though sentimentalists may take exception to this.Primary in it is the good opinion of the friends andinterest in one another; we cannot be friends withthose who think we are foolish or mean or bad. WeALLOW a friend to say that we have acted wronglybecause we think he has our interest at heart,because he has shown that he has this interest atheart, though his saying so sometimes strains thefriendship for a while. Friendship ideally expects nomaterial benefits, but it lives on the spiritual benefitof sympathy and expressed interest and the flatteryof a taste in common. It is a unification of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU254The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryindividuals that has been glorified as the perfectrelationship, since it has no classifiable instinctbehind it and is in a sense democracy at its noblest.Friendship is easiest formed in youth, because menare least selfish, least specialized at that time. Astime goes on, alas, our own interests and purposesnarrow down in order that we may succeed; there isless time and energy for friendship.Sex love is only in part made up of tenderfeeling. Passion, admiration of beauty, desire ofpossession, the love of conquest, take away fromthe "other" feeling that is the basis of tenderness ortrue love. We desire so much for ourselves in sexlove that we have not so much capacity for tenderfeeling as we usually think we have. The protests ofeternal devotion and unending self-sacrifice aresincere enough but they have this proviso in thebackground: "You must give yourself to me." If thelovers can also be friends, if they have a realharmony of tastes, desires and ambitions, if theycan recede their ego feeling, know how to
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU255The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycompromise, then this added to sex feeling makesthe most genuinely satisfying of all human relations,or at least the most reciprocal. But the two humanbeings who fall in love are rarely enough alike, andtheir relationship is rarely one of equality; traditionalduties and rights are not equal; they will seekdifferent things, and their relationship is too closeand intimate to be an easy one to maintain. Sexlove and marriage are different matters, for thoughthey may be the same, too often they are not.Rarely does sex love maintain itself withoutmarriage and marriage colors over sex love withparental feelings, financial interests, home and itsemotions, etc. In sex gratification[1] there is thedanger of all sensuous pleasure: that a periodicappetite gratified often leaves behind it an ennui, adistaste,--sometimes reaching dislike--of the entireact and associations.[1] Stanley Hall says that after sexgratification there is "taedium vitae," weariness oflife. In unsanctioned sex gratification this is extreme
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU256The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand takes on either bitter self-reproach or else ahate of the partner. But this is due to the innerconflict rather than the sex act.Is all tender feeling, all love, sexual in itsessential nature? The Freudians say yes to this, orwhat amounts to yes. All mother love arises fromthe sex sphere, and it cannot be denied that in thepassionate desire to fondle, to kiss and even to bitethere is something very like the excitement of sex.But there is something very different in the wish forself-sacrifice, the pity for the helpless state, the loveof the littleness. Women, when they love men, oftenadd maternal feeling to it, but mainly they love theirstrength, size and vigor; and there tenderness andpassion differ. Certainly there seems little of thesexual in the love of a father for his baby,[1] thoughthe Freudians do not hesitate in their use of theterm homosexual. Apparently all children haveincestuous desire for their parents, if we are to trustFreud. Without entering into detailed reasoning, Idisavow any truly sexual element in tender feeling.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU257The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryIt is part of the reception we give to objects havinga favorable relation to ourselves. Indeed, we give itto our houses, our dogs, our cattle; our pipes arehallowed by friendly association, and so with ourbooks, our clothes and our homes. We extend it indeep, full measure to the very rocks and rills of ournative land or to some place where we spent happyor tender days. Tender feeling, love, is inclusive ofmuch of the sex emotion, and the characteristicmistake of the Freudians of identifying somewhatsimilar things has here been made.[1] Its a very difficult world to live in, if weare to trust the Freudians. If your boy child loves hismother, thats heterosexual; if he loves his father,thats homosexual; and the love of a girl child forher parents simply reverses the above formula. Ifyour wife says of the baby boy, "How I love him! Helooks just like my father," be careful; thats adaughter-father complex of a dangerous kind andmeans the most unhallowed things, and may causeher to have a nervous breakdown some day!
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU258The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryLove, then, is this tender feeling madepurposive and intelligent. It is a sentiment, inShands phrase, and seeks the good of its object. Itmay be narrow, it may be broad, it may be intenseor feeble, but in its organized sense it plans, fightsand cherishes. It has organized with it the primaryemotions,--fear if the object is in danger, or anger isevoked according to the circumstances; joy if theobject of love is enhanced or prospers; sorrow if it islost or injured under circumstances that make thelover helpless. Love is not only the tenderest feeling,but it is also the most heroic and desperate fighterin behalf of the loved one. Here we are face to facewith the contradictions that we always meet whenwe personify a quality or make an abstraction. Lovemay do the most hateful things; love may stunt, thecharacter of the lover and the beloved. In otherwords, love, tender feeling, must be conjoined withintelligence, good judgment, determination andfairness before it is useful. It would be a nicequestion to determine just how much harm
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU259The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymisguided love has done.What is pity? Though objects of love alwayselicit pity, when helpless or injured, objects of pityare not necessarily objects of love. In fact, we maypity through contempt. Objective pity is a type oftender feeling in which there is little or no self-feeling. We do not extend the ego to the piteousobject. We desire to help, even though the object ofpity is an enemy or disgusting. One of thecommonest struggles of life is that between self-interest and pity,--and the selfish resent anysituation that arouses their pity, because they disliketo give. Pity tends to disappear from the life of thesoldier and is, indeed, a trait he does not need; inthe lives of the strong and successful, pity is apt tobe a hindering quality. In a world in whichcompetition is keen, the cooperative gentle qualitieshinder success. The weak seek the pity of others;they need it; and the pity-seeker is a very distincttype. The strong and proud hate to be pitied, andwhen wounded they hide, shun their friends and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU260The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarykeep the semblance of strength with a brave face.Pity directed toward oneself as the object is self-pity,--a quality found in children and in a certainamiable, weak, egoistic type, whose eyes are alwaysfull of tears as they talk of themselves. Of course, attimes, we are all prone to this vice of character, butthere are some chronically afflicted.Certain so-called sentimentalists are thosewho die, tribute their pity in an erratic fashion.These are the vegetarians who are sad because it iswrong to kill for food; yet they wear withoutcompunction the leather of cattle who have neithercommitted suicide nor died of old age. And the anti-vivisectionists view without any stir of pity thechildren of the slums and the sick of all kinds. Pityraises man to the divine but, like all the gentlequalities, it needs guidance by reason and commonsense before it is of any value.Just as there are objects and individualsrecognized or believed to be as somehow favorableand who evoke tender feeling, so there are objects
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU261The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand individuals regarded as unfavorable, perhapsdangerous, who arouse aversion and hatred. Thefeeling thus produced is the other great sentiment oflife, which on the whole organizes character andconduct on a great plane. Hatred, a decidedlyprimitive reaction, still is powerful in the world andis back of dissension of all kinds, from lawsuits towar. When one hates he is attached to the hatedobject in a fashion just the reverse of theattachment of love; joy, anger, fear and sorrowarise under exactly the opposite circumstances, andthe aim and end of hate is to block, thwart anddestroy the hated one. The earlier history of manlays emphasis on the activities of hate,--war, featsof arms, individual feuds. Hate, unlike love, needsno moral code or teaching to bring it into activity; itsprings into being and constantly needs repression.Unlikeness alone often brings it to life; to be toodifferent from others is recognized as a legitimatereason for hatred. The most important cause isconflict of interest and wounding of self-feeling and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU262The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarypride. Revengeful feeling, fostered by tradition and"patriotism," caused many wars and in its lesserspheres of operation is back of murders, assaults,insults and the lesser categories of injuries of allkinds.The prime emotion of hatred is anger; in itsless intense aspect of aversion it is disgust. The aimand end of anger is destruction of the offendingobject; the aim and end of aversion is removal,ejection. Hate may be and often is a noblesentiment, though the trend of modern thought, asit minimizes personal responsibility, is to eliminatehate against persons and intellectualize hate so thatit is reserved for the battle against ideas. Whetheryou can really summon all your effort against anyone, against his plans, opinions and actions, unlessyou have built up the steady sentiment of hatred forhim, is a nice psychological question. Hate is mostintense in little people, in persons absolutelyconvinced that their interests, opinions and plansare sacred, sure of their superiority and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU263The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryrighteousness. Once let insight into yourself, yourweakness and your real motives creep into yourmind and your hate against opponents andobstructors must lessen. Those who realize most thefallibility of men and women, to whom Pilatesquestion "What is truth?" has added to it a moresceptical question, "What is right," find it hard tohate. Therefore, such persons, the broad-mindedand the most deeply wise, are not the best fightersfor a cause, since their efforts are lessened bysympathy for the opponent. Here is the marvel ofAbraham Lincoln; rich with insight, he could hateslavery and secession and yet not hate the southernpeople. In that division of himself lies his greatnessand his suffering.The disappearance of personal hate from theworld can only come when men realize the essentialunity of mankind. For part of the psychological originof hate lies in unlikeness. Great unlikeness in colorand facial line seems to act as a challenge to thefeeling of superiority. Wherever a "different" group
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU264The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarychallenges anothers superiority, or enters intoactive competition for the goods of life, there hateenters in its most virulent form. The disappearanceof the "unlike" feeling is very slow and is hinderedby the existence of small "particular" groups. Littlenationalities,[1] small sects, even exclusive clubsand circles are means of generating difference andthus hate.[1] The more nationalities, each with itsclaim to a great destiny, the more wars! There is theessential danger and folly of tribal patriotism.We shall not enter into the origin of hatethrough the danger to purpose, through rivalryamong those not separated by unlikeness. Hateseems to be a chronic anger, or at least thatemotion kept at a more or less constant level byperception of danger and the threat at personaldignity and worth. Obstructed love or passion andthe feeling of "wrong," i. e., injury done that was notmerited, that the personal conscience does notjustify, furnish the most virulent types of hatred.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU265The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Library"Love thine enemies" is still an impossible injunctionfor most men.We cannot hope to trace the feeling ofrevenge in its effects on human conduct. Though atpresent religion and law both prohibit revengefulacts, the desire "to get even" flames high in almostevery human breast under all kinds of injury orinsult. This form of hate may express itself crudelyin the vendetta of the Sicilian, the feud of theTennessee mountaineer, or the assault and batteryof an aggrieved husband; it is behind the present-day conflict in Ireland, and it threatened Europe forforty years after the Franco-Prussian War, --and noman knows how profoundly it will influence futureworld affairs because of the Great War. Often itdisguises itself as justice, the principle of the thing,in those who will not admit revenge as a motive;and the eclipsed and beaten take revenge inslander, innuendo and double-edged praise. Tosome revenge is a devil to be fought out of theirhearts; to others it is a god that guides every act.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU266The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryWe may define nobility of character as thewithdrawal from revenge as a motive and thesubstitution for it of justice.Some hatred expresses itself openly andfearlessly and as such gains some respect, evenfrom its own object. Other hatred plots andschemes, the intelligence lends itself to the planscompletely and the whole personality suffers inconsequence. Some hatred, weak and without self-confidence, or seeking the effect of surprise, ishypocritical, dissimulates, affects friendly feeling,rubs its hands over insults and awaits the opportunemoment. This type is associated in all minds with afeeling of disgust, for at bottom we rather admirethe "good" hater.We have spoken of these three specializedand directed outgrowths of excitement, interest,love and hatred as if they were primarily directed tothe outside world, though in a previous chapter wediscussed the introspective interest. What shall wecall the love and hatred a man has for himself? Is
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU267The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythe self-regarding sentiment any different than thesentiment of love for others? Is that hate anddisgust we feel for ourselves, or for some action orthought, different from the hate and disgust wehave for others?Judged by Shands dicta that anger and fearare aroused if the object of love is threatened, joy isaroused as it prospers, and sorrow if it is deeplyinjured or lost, self-love remarkably resemblesother-love. The pride we take in our ownachievements is unalloyed by jealousy, and there isalways a trace of jealousy in the pride we take in theachievements of others, but there is no difference inthe pride itself. There is no essential difference inthe "good" we seek for ourselves and in the good weseek for others, for what we seek will depend on ouridea of "good." Thus the ambitious mother seeks forher daughter a rich husband and the idealist seeksfor his son a career of devotion to the ideal. And thesensualist devoted to the good of his belly and hispocket loves his child and shows it by feeding and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU268The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryenriching him.There seems to be lacking, however, theglow of tender feeling in self-love. The projection ofthe self-interest to others has a passion, a melting init that self-love never seems to possess, though itmay be constant and ever-operating. Self-regard,self-admiration or conceit may be very high anddeeply felt, but though more common than realadmiration for others, it seldom reaches the aweand reverence that the projected emotion reaches.In mental disease, of the type known asManiac Depressive insanity, there is a curiousoscillation of self-love and self-admiration. Thisdisease is cyclic, in that two opposing groups ofsymptoms tend to appear and displace each other.In the manic, or excited state, there is greatlyheightened activity with correspondingly heightenedfeeling of power. Self-love and admiration reachabsurd levels: one is the most beautiful, the richestand wisest of persons, infallible, irresistible, aye,perhaps God or Christ. Sometimes the feeling of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU269The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarygrandeur, the euphoria, is less fantastic and thepatient imagines himself a great inventor, astatesman of power and wisdom, a writer of renown,etc. Suddenly, or perhaps gradually, the changecomes; self-feeling drops into an abyss. "I am themost miserable of persons, the vilest sinner, hatedand rightly by God and man, cause of suffering andmisery. I am no good, no use, a horrible odor issuesfrom me, I am loathsome to look at, etc., etc."Desperate suicidal attempts are made, and all thedesires that tend to preserve the individualdisappear, including appetite for food and drink, thepower to sleep. It is the most startling of transitions;one can hardly realize that the dejected, silentperson, sitting in a corner, hiding his face and hardlybreathing, is the same individual who lately torearound the wards, happy, dancing, singing andboasting of his greatness of power. Indeed, is he thesame individual? No wonder the ancients regardedsuch insanity as a possession by an evil spirit. We ofa later day who deal with this disease on the whole
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU270The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryare inclined to the belief that some internal factor ofa physical kind is responsible, some neuronic shift,or some strange, visceral endocrinal disorder.While self-hate in this pathological aspect isrelatively uncommon, in every person there are self-critical, self-condemning activities which sometimesfor short periods of time reach self-hatred anddisgust. McDougall makes a good deal of the self-abasing instinct which makes us lower ourselvesgladly and willingly. This seems to me to be anaspect of the emotion of admiration and wonder, forwe do not wish ordinarily to kneel at the feet of theinsignificant, debased; or it is an aspect of fear andthe effort to obtain conciliation and pity. But theestablishment of ideals for ourselves to which we arenot faithful brings with it a disgust and loathing forself that is extremely painful and leads to a desirefor penance of any kind In order that we may punishourselves and feel that we have made amends. Thecapacity for self-hate and self-disgust dependslargely upon the development of these ideals and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU271The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryprinciples of conscience, of expectation of the self.Frequently there is an overrigidity, a ceaseless self-examination that now and then produces miracles ofcharacter and achievement but more often bringsthe breakdown of health. This is the seeker ofperfection in himself, who will not compromise withhis instincts and his human flesh. There seekers ofperfection are among the noblest of the race,admired in the abstract but condemned by theirfriends as "too good," "impractical," as possessors ofthe "New England conscience." One of the effects ofa Puritanical bringing-up is a belief that pleasure isunworthy, especially in the sex field and even inmarriage. Now and then one meets a patient caughtbetween perfectly proper desire and an obsessionthat such pleasure is debasing; and a feeling of self-disgust and self-hatred results that is the moretragic since it is useless.There are those in whom self-love and self-esteem is at a lower pressure than with the averageman, just as there are those in whom it is at a much
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU272The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhigher pressure. Such people, when fatigued orwhen subject to the hostile or even non-friendlyopinion of others, become so-called self-conscious, i.e., are afflicted with fear and a feeling of inferiority.This may deepen into self-contempt and self-hatred.Part of what is called confidence in oneself is self-esteem, and under fatigue, illness, after punishmentof a physical or mental nature, it is apt to disappear.Very distressing is this in those who have beenaccustomed to courage and self-confidence, perhapswhose occupation makes these qualities necessary.Soldiers, after gassing or cerebral concussion, mencompletely without introspection, fearless and gaywith assurance, become apprehensive, self-analytical and without the least faith in themselves,so that they approach their work in fear. So withmen who work in high places or where there is risk,such as steeplejacks, bridge builders, iron workers,engineers; let an accident happen to them, or letthere occur an exhausting disease with its aftermathof neurasthenia, and the self-esteem and self-
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU273The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryconfidence disappear so that in many cases theyhave to give up their job.Because self-disgust and hatred are sopainful, compensatory "mechanisms" have been setup. There is in many people a tendency to projectoutward the blame for those acts or thoughts whichthey dislike. In the pathological field we get thosedelusions of influence that are so common. Thus apatient will attribute his obscene thoughts and wordsto a hypnotic effect of some person or group ofpersons and saves his own face by the delusion. Inlesser pathological measure, men have fiercelypreached against the snares and wiles of women,refusing to recognize that the turmoil of unwelcomedesire into which they were thrown was internal inthe greater part of its origin and that the womanoften knew little or not at all of the effect she helpedproduce. One of the outstanding features in thehistory of the race has been this transfer of blamefrom the desire of men to the agent which arousedthem. Of course, women have played on the desires
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU274The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryof men, but even where this was true the blame forVULNERABILITY has seldom been fully accepted.Whenever any one has been "weak" or "foolish" or"sinful," his mind at once seeks avenues of escapefrom the blame, from the painful feeling of inferiorityand self-reproach. The avenue of escape selectedmay be to blame others as tempting or not warningand not teaching, may become entirely delusional,or it may take the religious form of confession,expiation and repentance. There are some so hardyin their self-esteem that they never suffer, neverseek any escape from self-reproach, largely becausethey never feel it; and others, though they seekescape, are continually dragged by conscience toself-imposed torture. Most of us seek explanationsfor our unwelcome conduct on a plane mostfavorable to our self-esteem, and there arises anelaborate system of self-disguise, expiation,repentance and confession that is in a large part thereal inner life of most of us. To explain failureespecially are the avenues of escape utilized.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU275The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryWounded in his self-esteem, rare is the one whofrankly acknowledges inferiority. "Pull," "favoritism,""luck," explain the success of others as do thereverse circumstances explain our failures toourselves. Sickness explains it, and so the defeatedsearch in themselves for the explanation which willin part compensate them. Escape from inferiorityfollows many avenues, --by actual development ofsuperiority, by denying real superiority to others, orby explaining the inferiority on some acceptablebasis.Here (as elsewhere in character) there isevident an organic and a social basis for feeling. Wehave not emphasized sufficiently a peculiarity of allhuman feeling, all emotions, all sentiments. Theyhave their value to the individual in organizing hisconduct, his standard of value. They are ofenormous importance socially. A great law of feelingof whatever kind, of whatever elaboration, is this; ittends to spread from individual to individual andexcites whole groups to the same feeling; tender
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU276The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfeeling is contagious, and so is hate. We aresomehow so made that we reverberate at a friendlysmile in one way and to the snarl and stern look ofhate in another way. Ordinarily love awakens loveand hate awakens hate, though it may bring fear orcontempt. It is true that we may feel so superior orcherish some secret hate that will make anotherslove odious to us, and also we may admire andworship one who hates us. These are exceptionalcases and are examples of exceptional sentimentalstability. It is of course understood that by love isnot meant sex passion. Here the curious effect ofcoldness is sometimes to fan the flame of passion.Desire obstructed often gains in violence, and thedesire to conquer and to possess the proud, that weall feel, adds to the fire of lust.Self-esteem, self-confidence, hateful toothers if in excess or if obtrusive, is an essential ofthe leader. His feeling is extraordinarily contagious,and the morale of the group is in his keeping. Hemust not show fear, or self-distrust or self-lowering
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU277The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryin any way. He must be deliberate, but forceful,vigorous, masterful. If he has doubts, he must keepthem to himself or exhibit them only to one wholoves him, who is not a mere follower. It is a law oflife that the herd follows the unwounded, confident,egoistic leader and tears to pieces or deserts theone who is wearying.The basic sentiments of interest, love andhate, projected outward or inward, organizepersonality. Mens characters and their destinies restin the things they find interesting, the persons theylove and hate, their self-confidence and self-esteem,their self-contempt and hatred. And it is true thatoften we hate and love the same person orcircumstance; we are divided, secretly, in ourtenderest feelings, in our fiercest hate, more often,alas, in the former. For occasionally admiration andrespect will mitigate hate and render impotent ouraim, but more commonly we are jealous of or envyson, brother, sister, husband, wife, father, motherand friend. We love our work but hate its tyranny,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU278The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand even the ideal that we cherish, when weexamine it too closely, seems overconventionalized,not enough our own, and it stifles and martyrs toomany unpleasant desires. We rebel against our ownaffections, against the love that chains us perhaps toweakness and forces us, weary, to the wheel.How deeply the feeling of "right" enters intothe sentiments and their labors needs only a littlereflection to understand. Here we come to the effectof the sentiment of duty, for as such it may bediscussed. The establishment of conscience as ourinner guide to conduct, and even to thought andemotions, has been studied briefly. On a basis ofinnate capacity, conscience arises from the teachingand traditions of the group (or groups). Theindividual who has a susceptibility or a readiness tobelieve and a desire to be in conformity accepts orevolves for himself principles of conduct, based onobligation, expectation of reward and fear ofpunishment, these entering in various proportions,according to the type of person. In children, or the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU279The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryvery young child, expectation of reward and fear ofpunishment are more important than obligation, andthis remains true of many people throughout life.Gradually right, what we call duty, becomesestablished as a guiding principle; but it muststruggle with impulse and the desire for immediatepleasure throughout life. In fact, one of the dangersof the development of the feeling of duty lies in theview often held by those guided by principle andduty that pleasure is in itself somehow wrong andneeds justification. Whereas, in my opinion, pleasureis right and needs no justification and is wrong onlywhen it offends the fundamental moralities andpurposes of Society.The feeling of "right" depends to a certainextent on the kind of teaching in early childhood,but more on the nature of the individual. It is basedon his social feeling, his desire to be in harmonywith a group or a God that essentially stands aboveany group. For the idea of God introduces anelement having more authority than the group
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU280The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywhom He leads. Here also is a factor of importance:choice is difficult for the great majority. Placed in asituation where more than one response is possible,an unhappy state of bewilderment results unlessthere are formulae for action. The leader is thechooser for the group; religion is an establishedsystem of choices even in its "Thou shalt not"injunctions, and to be at one with God implies thatone is following an infallible leader, and doubt anduncertainty disappear. Trotter[1] points out clearlythe role the feeling of certitude plays in developingcodes. As life becomes more complex, as morechoices appear, the need of an established methodof choosing becomes greater. The careful, cautious,conscientious types develop a system of principlesfor choice of action; they discard the uncertainty ofpleasure as a guide for the certainty of a code laiddown and fixed. Duty is the north star of conduct![1] "The Herd and its Instincts in Peace andWar."In passing, an interesting development of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU281The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryour times is worth noticing. The tendency is todiscard established codes, to weaken dogma and tothrow more responsibility on the individualconscience. That is the meaning of the Protestantreformation, and it is the meaning of the growth ofUnitarianism within the Protestant church; it is alsothe meaning of the reform movement in Judaism.The Catholic church has felt it in the breaking awayof state after state from its authority, which virtuallymeans that the states have thrown their citizensback on their own consciences and the state laws. Infact, reliance on law is in part an effort to escape thenecessity of choosing. The pressure of externalauthority has its burden, but in giving up itscertainty man also gives up tranquillity. Much ofmodern neurasthenia is characterized by a feeling ofuncertainty, unreality, doubt: what is right, what isreal? True, as religion in the dogmatic senserelinquishes its power, ethics grow in value and menseek some other formula which will compensate forthe dogma. It is no accident that as the old religions
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU282The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarylose their complete control new ones appear, withall-embracing formula, like Christian Science, NewThought, etc. Though these start with elastic generalprinciples, sooner or later the directions for conductbecome minute and then fixed. The tragedy of agreat founder of religion like Buddha or Christ is thatthough he gives out a great pure principle, hisfollowers must have, demand and evolve a dogmaticreligion with fixed ceremonials. Man, on the whole,does not want to choose; he wants to have thefeeling that he ought to do this or that according toa code laid down by authority. This will make a realdemocracy always impossible.However the sentiment of duty arises, itbecomes the central feeling in all inner conflicts, andit wrestles with inclination and the pleasant choice.Duty is the great inhibitor, but also it says "Thoushalt!" Ideally, duty involves self-sacrifice, andpractically man dislikes self-sacrifice save wherelove is very strong. Duty chains a man to his taskwhere he is inclined for a holiday. Duty may demand
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU283The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarya mans life, and that sacrifice seems easier for mento make than the giving up of power and pelf. (Inthe late war it was no great trouble to pass lawsconscripting life; it was impossible to pass lawsconscripting wealth. It was easier for a man to allowhis son to go to war than to give up his wealth enmasse.)The power of the feeling of duty and rightover men is very variable. There are a few to whomthe feeling of "ought" is all powerful; they cannotstruggle against it, even though they wish to. All oftheir goings, comings and doings are governedthereby, and even though they find the rest of theworld dropping from them, they resist the herd. Forthe mass of men duty governs a few relationships--to family and country--and even here self-interest iscamouflaged by the term "duty" in the phrase "aman owes a duty to himself." This is the end of realduty. The average man or woman makes a duty ofnonessentials, of ceremonials, but is greatly movedby the cry of duty if it comes from authority or from
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU284The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythose he respects. He fiercely resents it if told he isnot doing his duty, but is quick to tell others theyare not doing theirs.There is also a group in whom the sense ofduty is almost completely lacking, or rather fails togovern action. Ordinarily these are spoken of aslacking moral fiber, but in reality the organizingenergy of character and the inhibition of the impulseto seek pleasure and present desire is feeble.Sometimes there is lack of affection toward others,little of the real glow of tender feeling, eithertowards children[1] or parents or any one. Thoughthese are often emotional, they are not, in the goodmeaning of the term, sentimental.[1] It is again to be emphasized that themost vital instincts may be lacking. Even thematernal feeling may be absent, not only in thehuman mother but in the animal mother. So weneed not be surprised if there are those with nosense of right or duty.Is the sentiment of duty waning? The
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU285The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryalarmists say it is and point to the increase ofdivorce, falling off in church attendance, and theunrest among the laboring classes as evidence thatthere is a decadence. Pleasure is sought, excitementis the goal, and sober, solid duty is "forgotten." Theypoint out a resemblance to the decadent days ofRome, in the rise of luxury and luxurious tastes, andindicate that duty and the love of luxury cannotcoexist. Woman has forgotten her duty to bearchildren and to maintain the home and man hasforgotten his duty to God.Superficially these critics are right. There isa demand for a more satisfying life, involving lessself sacrifice on the part of those who have in thepast made the bulk of the sacrifices. Woman,demanding equality, refuses to be regarded asmerely a child bearer and is become a seeker ofluxury. The working man, looking at the world hehas built, now able to read, write and vote, askswhy the duty is all on his side. In other words, ademand for justice, which is merely reciprocal,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU286The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryuniversal duty, has weakened something of thesense of duty. In fact, that is the first effect of thefeeling of injustice, of unjust inequality. Dealing withthe emancipated, the old conception of duty asloyalty under all conditions has not worked, and weneed new ideals of duty on the part of governmentsand governing groups before we can get the properideals of duty in the governed.Some of those ideals are commencing to beheard. International duty for governments is talkedof and some are bold to say that national feelingprevents a real feeling of duty to the world, to man.These claim that duty must have its origin in theextension of tender feeling, in fraternity, to all men.In a lesser way business is commencing tosubstitute for its former motto, "Handelschaft istkeine Bruderschaft" (business is no brotherhood),the ideal of service, as the duty of business.Everywhere we are commencing to hear of "socialduty," of obligation to the lesser and unfortunate, ofthe responsibility of the leaders to the led, of the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU287The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywell to the sick, of the law-abiding to the criminal.Strange notion, this last, but one at bottom soundand practical.In the end, the true sense of duty is in asense of individual responsibility. Our age feels thisas no other age has felt it. Other ages have placedresponsibility on the Church, on God and on theState. Difficult and onerous as is the burden, we arecommencing to place duty on the individual, and inthat respect we are not in the least a decadentgeneration.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU288The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryChapter IX. ENERGY RELEASE AND THEEMOTIONSOne of the problems in all work is to placethings in their right order, in the order of origin andimportance. This difficulty is almost insoluble whenone studies the character of man. As we see him inoperation, the synthesis is so complete that we canhardly discern the component parts. Inheritance,social pressure, excitement, interest, love, hate,self-interest, duty and obligation, --these are notunitary in the least and there is constantly a falsedissection to be made, an artefact, in order thatclearness in presentation may be obtained.We see men as discharging energy in workand play, in the activities that help or hurtthemselves and the race. They obtain that energyfrom the world without, from the sunshine, the air,the plants and the animals; it is built up in theirbodies, it is discharged either because some innertension builds up a desire or because some outerstimulus, environmental or social, directs it. Though
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU289The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywe have no way of measuring one mans energyagainst another, we say, perhaps erroneously, "He isvery energetic," or "He is not"; "He is tireless," or"He breaks down easily." As students of character,we must take this question of the energies of meninto account as integral in our study.Granting that the human being takes inenergy as food and drink and builds it up intodischargeable tissues, we are not further concernedwith the details of its physiology. How does thefeeling of energy arise, what increases the energydischarge and what blocks, inhibits or lowers it? Forfrom day to day, from hour to hour, we areconscious either of a desire to be active, a feeling ofcapacity or the reverse. We depend on that feelingof capacity to guide us, and though it is organic, ithas its mysterious disappearances and marvelousreenforcements.It arises, so we assume, from the visceral-neuronic activities, subconsciously, in the sense wehave used that word. It therefore fluctuates with
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU290The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhealth, with fatigue, with the years. We marvel atthe energy of childhood and youth, and the deepestsadness we have is the depletion of energy-feelingin old age. We love energy in ourselves and we yieldadmiration, willing or unwilling, to its display inothers. The Hero, the leader, is always energetic. Inour times, in America, we demand "pep," action andenergy-display as an essential in our play and in ourwork, and we worship quite too frankly where allmen have always worshiped.What besides the organic activity, besideshealth and well-being, excites the feeling of energyand what depresses it?1. This feeling is excited by the society ofothers, by the herd-feeling, and depressed by long-continued solitude or loneliness. The stimuli thatcome from other peoples faces, voices, contacts--their emotions, feelings and manifestations ofenergy--are those we are best adapted to react to,those most valuable in stirring us up. Scenery, thegrandeur of the outer world, finally depress the most
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU291The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryof us, and we can bear these things best incompany. Who has not, on a long railroad journey,watched with weariness and flickering interest valleyand hill and meadow swing by and then sat up withenergy and definite attention as a human beingpassed along on some rural road? Lacking thesestimuli there is monotony and monotony always haswith it as one of its painful features a subjectivesense of lowered energy, of fatigue. This is theproblem of the housewife and the solitary workereverywhere,--there is failure of the sense of energydue to a failure to receive new stimuli in their mostpotent form, our fellows.2. The disappearance or injury of desire andpurpose. Let there be a sudden blocking of apurpose or an aim, so that it seems impossible offulfillment, and energy-feeling drops; movement,thought, even feeling seem painful. The will flags,and the whole world becomes unreal. This is part ofthe anhedonia we spoke of.In reality, we have the disappearance of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU292The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhope as basic in this adynamia. Hope and courageare in part organic, in part are due to the belief thata desired goal can be reached. Whether that goal ishealth, when one is sick, or riches, or fame, or loveand possession, if it is a well-centralized goal towardwhich our main energies are bent, and then seemssuddenly impossible to reach, there is acorresponding paralysis of energy.Here is where a great difference is seenbetween individuals and between one time of lifeand another. There are some to whom hope is ashining beacon light never absent; whateverhappens, hope remains, like the beautiful fable ofPandoras box. There are others to whom anyobstruction, any discouraging feature, blots outhope, and who constantly need the energy ofothers; their persuasions and exhortations, for arenewal of energy. Here, as elsewhere in life, someare givers and others takers of energy. In thepresence of the hopeless it is hard to maintain onesown feeling of energy and that is why the average
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU293The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryman shuns them. He guards as priceless his ownenthusiasm.Curiously enough, when energy tends todisappear in the face of disaster to ones plans, atonic is often enough the reflection, "it might havebeen worse" or "there are others worse off."[1]Though one rebels against the encouraging effect ofthe last statement, it does console, it does renewhope. For hope and energy and desire arecompetitive, as is every other measure of value. Solong as one is not the worst off, then there issomething left, there is a hopeful element in thesituation. Similarly a certain rough treatment helps,as when Job is told practically, "After all, who is Manthat he should ask for the fulfillment of his hopes?"A sense of littleness with the rest of the race acts tobring resignation, and after that has beenestablished, hope can reappear. For resignation israrely a prolonged state of mind; it is a doorwaythrough which we reenter into the vista-chambers ofHope.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU294The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Library[1] A humorous use of this fact is in thepopular "Cheer up, the worst is yet to come!" Thisacts as a rough tonic.And one clearly sees the benefit of a belief,a faith in God. "Gott in sein Mizpah ist gerecht,"cries the orthodox Jew when his hope is shattered,--"Gods decree is just." This is Hope Eternal; "mypurposes are blocked, but were they Godspurposes? No. He would not then block them. I mustseek Gods purposes." Faith is really a transcendentHope, renewing the feeling of energy.3. The belief that one has the good opinionof others is a powerful stimulus to energy andfeeling. We have already considered the effect ofpraise and blame. Some are so constituted that theyneed the approval of others at all times; they are atthe mercy of any one who gives them a cold look ora harsh word. Others cling to the need of their ownself-approval; they are aristocrats, firm and securein their self-estimate. Let their self-esteem crumble,and these proud and haughty ones are humble,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU295The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryweak, inefficient. We fiercely resent criticismbecause in it is a threat to our source of energy, ourvery feeling of being alive.One has shrewdly to examine his fellow menfrom this angle: "Does he work up his own steam;are his boilers of energy heated by his ownenthusiasm and his own self-approval? Or does heborrow; can he work only if others add their fire tohis; does his light go out if his neighbors turn awayor are too busy to help him?" One type of man maybe as admirable as another in his gifts, but the typesneed different treatment.Self-valuation is to a large extent ouropinion of the valuation of others of ourselves.[1]We believe people like us, think we are fine andable, or beautiful, and we react with energy todifficulties. We may be wrong; they may call us aconceited ass and laugh at us behind our backs, butso long as we do not find it out, it doesnt matter.There is, however, no blow quite so severe as thesudden realization that we have mistaken the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU296The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryopinion of others, we have been "fooled." To befooled is to be lowered in ones own self-esteem,and we like sincerity and hate insincerity largelybecause our self-esteem stands on some solid basisin the one case and on none whatever in the other.Most of us would rather have people say bad thingsof us to our face than run the risk of the ridicule andthe foolish feeling that comes with insincerity. Thereare some who are always suspicions that people areinsincere in praise or friendly words; they hate beingfooled, they know of no criterion of sincerity andsuch people are in an adynamic state most of thetime. The difference between the trusting and thesuspicious is that one responds with energy andbelief to the manifestations of friendliness ineverybody, and the other has no such innerresponse to guide his energy and his actions. Trustin others is a releaser of energy; distrust paralyzesit.[1] To paraphrase Doctor Holmes thebiggest factor in Johns self-valuation is HIS idea of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU297The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryJanes idea of John.4. Doubt and inability to choose may becontrasted with certitude and clear choice in theireffect on energy release. Of course, one of the signsof lowered energy is doubt, as a sign of high energyis certainty. Nevertheless, a situation of criticalimportance, in which choice is difficult ordigagreeable, inhibits energy feeling[1] anddischarge perhaps as much as any other mentalfactor. Especially is this true when the inhibitionconcerns a moral situation--"Ought I to do this orthat"--and where the fear of being wrong or doingwrong operates so that the individual does nothingand develops an obsession of doubt. This "to be ornot to be" attitude is typical of many intelligentpeople, yes, even intellectual people. They we somany angles to a situation, they project so far intothe future in their thoughts, that a wearydiscouragement comes. To such as these, thecounsel of "action right or wrong but actionanyway!" is good, but the difficulty is to make them
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU298The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryovercome their doubts. Their cerebral oscillationmakes them weary but they cannot seem to stop it;their pendulum of choice never stops at action.[1] See William James "Varieties ofReligious Experiences," for beautiful examples. TheRussian writers are often narrators of this struggle.If one wishes to destroy the energy of anyone, the best way to do it is to sow the seeds ofdoubt. "Your ideal is a fine one, my friend, but--isntit a little sophomoric?" "A nice piece of work, but--who wants it?" On the other hand, to one obsessedby doubt it may happen that a whole-heartedendorsement, a resolution of the doubt, brings withit first relief and then a swing of energy into thechannels of action.5. Competition is a great factor in energyrelease. Every one has seen a horse ambling along,apparently without sufficient energy to go more thanfour miles an hour. Suddenly he cocks up his ears asthe sounds of the hoof beats of a rapidly travelinghorse are heard. He shakes his head and to the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU299The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryamazement or amusement of his driver sets off inrivalry at a two-minute clip. Intensely cooperativeand gregarious as man is, he is as intenselycompetitive, spurred on by his observations of theother fellow. Introduce a definite system of rivalryinto a school or an office, and you release energiesnever manifested before. There are some to whomthis is the main releaser of energy; struggle,competition and victory over another is theirstimulus. They can play no game unless there iscompetition, and the solitary pleasures andsatisfactions, like reading, exploring, a row on theriver or a walk in the woods, cannot arouse them.Others dislike rivalry or competition; they are toosympathetic to wish victory over another and alsothey dread to lose. They prefer team play andcooperation. The world will always seem different tothese two types. This may be said now that for mostof us, who are somewhat of a blend in this matter,rivalry is pleasant and stimulating when there is ashow of success, but we prefer cooperation when we
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU300The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryforesee failure.This brings up the interesting phase ofprecedent in energy release. Early success, unless itbrings too high a self-valuation, which is its greatdanger, is remarkably valuable in releasing energy,and failure establishes a precedent that may bringdoubt, fear and the attendant inhibition of energy.Of course, failure may bring with it caution and arecasting of plans and thus constitute the mostvaluable of experiences. But if it is too great, or ifthere is lacking a certain fortitude, it may act as aparalyzer of energy thenceforth. In the prize ringthis is often noted; the spirit of a man goes with adefeat and he never again has self-confidence;thereafter his energy is constantly inhibited.Emotions have long been studied in theireffects on energy. In fact, every animal that bristlesand snarls as it faces a foe is, unconsciously,attempting to paralyze with fear its opponent, torender it helpless through the inhibition of action. Sowith the lurking tiger; it waits in silence for the prey
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU301The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand seeks the fascination of surprise as a factor invictory. On the other hand, the emotion of fear maybe a releaser of energy for the prospective victim; itmay release the energies of flight and add to thepower of the animal. In this, there is a unique andneglected phase of emotion, i.e., if you shake yourfist at your enemy and he runs away or knocks youdown, then your manifestation of anger has beenunsuccessful for you but his reaction has beensuccessful for him. If he becomes so paralyzed withfear that you can work your will with him, then youranger is successful while his fear is not. Most of thepsychologists have neglected this phase of emotion.Thus it is hard to understand the use fainting fromterror has to the victim. The answer is it is useful tohim who has caused the victim to faint.6. For the individual, the emotion of fear hasas its function a preparation for a danger that isforeseen to be too powerful to be met with effectiveresistance. Fear says, "Its no use to fight, fly orhide." Therefore, normally there is a heightening of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU302The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryenergy feeling and action in these two directions.There are plenty of recorded incidents where fearhas enabled men to run distances utterly impossibleto them otherwise. In the fear states of mentaldisease, the resistance a frail woman will offer to herattendants is such that the utmost strength ofseveral people is required to restrain her. Underthese circumstances fear acts as an energizer,causing physical reactions not ordinarily within thewill of the person. "Fear lends wings," is the time-honored way of expressing this. The trapped animalmakes "frantic" efforts to escape.Fear is extraordinarily contagious, perhapsbecause as herd members the cry of fear sets us allracing for safety. This is the grimmest danger fromfires in public places or the presence of a coward ina military unit. Panic occurs with its blindunreasoning flight, and the result is disastrous. Iemphasize again that emotions are poorly adaptedto the welfare of the individual. Business panics arein large measure the result of the contagiousness of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU303The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfear; timidity spreads like wildfire, distrust andsuspicion are aroused and stagnation results withouta "real" basis. In President Wilsons phrase, thepanic is "purely psychological."Intellectualized, fear becomes one of thedriving forces of life, as Hobbes[1] pointed out. Fearof punishment undoubtedly deters from crime,though it is not in itself sufficient, and the kind ofpunishment becomes important. Fear of hunger hasbrought prudence, caution, agriculture into theworld. Life insurance has its root in fear for others,who are really part of ones self; the fear of therainy day is back of most of the thrift, though theacquisitive feeling and duty may also operatepowerfully. Fear of venereal disease impels many aman to continence who otherwise would follow hisdesire. And fear of the bad opinion of others is themost powerful deterrent force in the world. "Whatwill people say" is, at bottom, fear that they will saybad things, and though it keeps men from the "bad"conduct, it inhibits the finer nobler actions as well.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU304The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryThere is a great deal of unconventional untrammeledbelief in the world that never finds expressionbecause of fear.How deeply the fear of death modifies thelife of people it is impossible to state. To every onethere comes the awful reflection that he, thatwarmly pulsating being, in love with the world andwith living, "center of the universe," HE himselfmust die, must be cold and still and have no will, nopower, no feeling; be buried in the ground. Most ofthe essential melancholy of the world is due to thisrealization, and most of the feeling of pessimism andfutility thus has its origin. Mortal man--a worm ofthe earth--a brief flower doomed to perish--and allof it finds final expression in Grays marvelouswords:"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of powr,And all that beauty, all that wealth eer gave, Awaitalike the inevitable hour. The paths of glory leadbut to the grave."[1] Hobbes made fear the most important
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU305The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymotive in the conduct of man."Why strive, thou poor creature, for wealthand power; sink thyself in the, Godhead!" "Turn,turn from vain pursuits; fame, the bubble, is boundto break as thou art." This is one type of reactionagainst this fear,--for men react to the fear of deathvariously. If man is mortal, God is not, and there isa life everlasting. The life everlasting--whether areality or not--is conjured up and believed in by aneffort to compensate for the fear of death.I have a son who, when he was three,manifested great emotion if death were to enter in astory. "Will anything happen?" he would ask,meaning, "Will death enter?" And if so, he would begnot to have that story told. But when he was four,he heard some one say that there were people whotook old automobiles apart, fixed up the parts andthese were then placed in other automobiles."Thats what God does to us," he criedtriumphantly. "When we die, He takes us apart andputs us into babies, and we live again." Thereafter
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU306The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhe would discuss death as fearlessly as he spoke ofdinner, and all his fears vanished. Here was a typicalrationalization of fear, one that has helped to shapereligion, philosophies, ways of living. And thewidespread belief in immortality is a compensationand a rationalization of the fear of death.If some men rationalize in this fashion,others take directly opposite means. "Eat, drink andbe merry, for to-morrow we die." The popularity ofOmar Khayyam rests upon the aptness of hisstatement of this side of the case of Man vs. Death,and many a man who never heard of him hasrecklessly plunged into dissipation on the theory, "ashort life and a merry one." This is more truly apessimism than is the ascetic philosophy."Well, then, I must die," says another. "Oh,that I might achieve before death comes!" So men,appalled by the brief tenure of life and thehaphazard way death strikes, work hard, spurred onby the wish to leave a great work behind them. Thiswork becomes a Self, left behind, and here the fear
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU307The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryof death is compensated for by a little longer life inthe form of achievement.Many a father and mother, looking at theirchildren, feel this as part of their compensation forparenthood. "I shall die and leave some one behindme," means, "I shall die and yet I shall, in anotherform, live." Part of the incentive to parenthood, in atime which knows how to prevent parenthood andwhich shirks it as disagreeable, is the fear of death,of personal annihilation. For there is in death a blowto ones pride, an indignity in this annihilation,--Nothingness.There is a still larger reaction to the fear ofdeath. I have stated that the feeling of likeness ispart of the feeling of brotherhood and in death isone of the three great likenesses of man. We areborn of the labor of our mothers, our days are full ofstrife and trouble and we die. Mens minds havelingered on these facts. "Man that is born of awoman, is of few days, and full of trouble." Job didnot add to this that he dies, but elsewhere it
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU308The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryappears as the bond for mankind. Reacting to this,the reflective minds of the race have felt that herewas the unity of man, here the basis of abrotherhood. True, the Fatherhood of God was givenas a logical reason, but always in every appeal thereis the note, "Do we not all die? Why hate oneanother then?"So to the fear of death, as with every otherfear, man has reacted basely and nobly. Man is theonly animal that foresees death and he is the onlyone to elaborate ethics and religion. There is morethan an accidental connection between these twofacts.Fear in its foreseeing character is termedworry. As a phase of character, the liability to worryis of such importance that book after book has dealtwith the subject,--emphasizing the dangers, thefutility and cowardice of it. It is surely idle to tellpeople not to worry who live continually on the brinkof economic disaster, or who are facing real danger.But there are types who find in every possibility of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU309The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryinjury a formidable threat, who are thrown intoanguish when they contemplate any evil, remote orunlikely as it may be. The present and future are notfaced with courage or equanimity; they presentthemselves as a never-ending series of threats;threat to health, to fortune, to family, reputation,everything. Horace Fletcher called this type offorethought "fear thought." Men and women, braveenough when face to face with actualities, arecowards when confronting remote possibilities. Thehousewife especially is one of these worriers, andher mind has an affinity for the terrible. I havedescribed her elsewhere,[1] but she has herprototype among men.[1] "The Nervous Housewife."Fear of this type is an injury to the bodyand character both and is one of the causes andeffects of the widespread neurasthenia of our day.For fear injures sleep, and this brings on fatigue andfatigue breeds more fear, --a vicious circle indeed.Fear disturbs digestion and the energy of the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU310The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryorganism is thereby lowered. The greatest damageby worry is done in the hypochondriac, the worrierabout health. Here, in addition to the effects of fear,introspection and a minute attention to every painand ache demoralize the character, for the sufferercannot pay attention to anything else. He becomesselfish, ego-centric and without the wholesomeinterest in life as an adventure. I doubt if there isenough good in too minute a popular education ondisease and health preservation. Morbid attention tohealth often results, an evil worse than sickness.Sometimes, instead of the indiscriminatefear of worry, there are localized fears, calledphobias, which creep or spring into a mansthoughts and render him miserable. Thus there isfear of high places, of low places, of darkness, ofopen places, of closed places,--fear of dirt, fear ofpoison and of almost everything else. A bright youngman was locked, at the age of fourteen, in a closeddark shanty; when released he rushed home in thegreatest terror. Since then he has been afflicted with
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU311The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarya fear of leaving home. He dares venture only aboutfifty feet and then is impelled to run back. Ifanybody hinders his return he attacks them; if thedoor is locked he breaks through a window. He is ina veritable panic, and yet presents no other fears; isa reader and thinker, clever at his work (he is apainter), but his fear remains inaccessible anduncontrollable. Often one experience of this kindbuilds up an obsessive fear; the associations left bythe experience give the fear an open pathway toconsciousness, without any inhibiting power. As inthis case, the whole life of the individual becomeschanged.Throughout history the man without fear hasbeen idolized. The hero is courageous, that he mustbe; the coward is despised, whatever good may bein him. Consequently, there is in most men a fear ofshowing fear; and pride, self-respect, often urgemen on when they really fear. This pride is greaterin some races than others--in the Indian and theAnglo-Saxon--but the Oriental does not think it
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU312The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywrong to be afraid. In the Great War this fear ofshowing fear played a great role in producing shellshock, in that men shrank from actual cowardice buteasily developed neuroses which carried them fromthe fighting line.There is this to add to this little sketch offear: it turns easily to anger for both are responsesto a threat. I remember in my boyhood beingmortally afraid of a larger boy who one day chasedme, caught me and started to "beat me up." BeforeI knew it, the fear had gone and I was fighting himwith such fierceness and fury that in amazement heran away. So a rat, cornered, becomes fierce andblood-thirsty and there is always the danger, in theuse of fear as a weapon, that it become changedquite readily into the fighting spirit.7. Anger is a primitive reaction and is thebackbone of the fighting spirit. It tends to displacefear, though it may be combined with it, in one ofthe most unhappy --because helpless--mentalstates. Anger in its commonest form is a violent
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU313The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryenergizer and in the stiffened muscles, the set jaw,bared teeth, and the forward-thrust head and armsone sees the animal prepared to fight. Anger isaroused at any obstruction, any threat or injury,from physical violences to the so-called "slight." Infact, it is the intent of the opponent as understoodthat makes up the stimulus to anger in the humanbeing. We forgive a blow if it is accidental, but evena touch, if in malice or in contempt, arouses a fiercereaction.We call becoming angry too readily "losingthe temper," and there is a type known as theirascible in whom anger is the readiest emotion. Thebluff English squire, the man in authority, is thistype, and his anger lasts. In its lesser form angerbecomes irritability, a reaction common to theneurotic and the weak. When anger is not frank, butmanifests itself by a lowered brow and sidelong look,we speak of sullenness or surliness. The sullen orsurly person, chronically ill-tempered and hostile, isregarded as unsocial and dangerous, whereas the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU314The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymost lovable persons are quick to anger and quickto repent.As a mans anger, so is he. There are somewhose anger is always a reaction againstinterference with their comfort, their dignity, theirproperty and their will; it never by any chance isaroused by the wrongs of others. Usually, however,these folk camouflage their motive. "Its theprinciple of the thing I object to," is its commonestsocial disguise, which sometimes successfully hidesthe real motive from the egoist himself. Whereverwills and purposes meet in conflict, there anger, orits offshoot, contempt, is present, and the moreegoistic one is, the more egoistic the sources ofanger.The explosiveness of the anger will dependon the power of inhibition and the power of theintelligence, as well as on the strength of theopponent. There are enough whose temper isuncontrolled in the presence of the weak whomanage to be quite calm in the presence of the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU315The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarystrong. I believe there is much less differenceamongst races in this respect than we suspect, andthere is more in tradition and training. There was atime when it was perfectly proper for a gentleman tolose his temper, but now that it is held "bad form,"most gentlemen manage to control it.If it is common for men to become angry atego-injury, there are in this world, as its leaven ofreform, noble spirits who become angry at thewrongs of others. The world owes its progress tothose whose anger, sustained and intellectualized,becomes the power behind reform; to those likeAbraham Lincoln, who vowed to destroy slaverybecause he saw a slave sold down the river; to thePinels, outraged by the treatment of the insane; tothe sturdy "Indignant Citizen," who writes tonewspapers about what "is none of his business,"but who is too angry to keep still, and whose angermakes public opinion. Whether anger is useful or notdepends upon its cause and the methods it employs.Righteous anger, whether against ones own wrongs
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU316The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryor the wrongs of others, is the hall-mark of thebrave and noble spirit; mean, egoistic anger is agreat world danger, born of prejudice and egoism. Aviolent-tempered child may be such because he isoutraged by wrong; if so, teach him control but donot tell him in modern wishy-washy fashion that"one must never get angry." Control it,intellectualize it, do not permit it to destroyeffectiveness, as it is prone to do; but it cannot beeliminated without endangering personality.Fear and anger have this in common:whenever the controlling energy of the mind goes,as in illness, fatigue or early mental disease, theybecome more prominent and uncontrolled. Thiscannot be overemphasized. When a man (orwoman) finds himself continually gettingapprehensive and irritable, then it is the time to ask,"Whats the matter with me," and to get expertopinion on the subject.These two emotions are in more need ofrationalizing and intelligent control than the other
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU317The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryemotions, for they are more explosive. Certainly ofanger it is truly said that "He who is master ofhimself is greater than he who taketh a city." Theangry man is disliked, he arouses unpleasantfeelings, he is unpopular and a nuisance and adanger in the view of his fellows. The underlyingidea underneath courtesy and social regulations is toavoid anger and humiliation. Controversial subjectsare avoided, and one must not brag or displayconcern because these things cause anger anddisgust. Politeness and tact are essential to turnaway wrath, to avoid that ego injury that bringsanger.We contrast with the brusque type, carelessof whether he arouses anger, the tactful, whichconciliates by avoiding prejudice, and which hatesforce and anger as unpleasant. Against the quick toanger there is the slow type, whose anger may beenduring. We may contrast egoistic anger with thealtruistic and oppose the anger which is effectivewith the anger that disturbs reason and judgment;
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU318The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryintellectual anger against brute anger. Rarely domen show anger to their superiors; extremeprovocation and desperation are necessary. Menflare up easily against equals but more easily andwith mingled contempt against the inferior. Anger,though behind the fighting spirit, need not bluster orstorm; usually that is a "worked up" conditionintended in a naive way to frighten and intimidate,or through disgust, to win a point. Anger is notnecessarily courage, which replaces it the higher upone goes in culture.8. Disgust, also a primary emotion, is one ofthe basic reactions of life and civilization. Literally"disagreeable taste," its facial expression, withmouth open and lower lip drawn down,[1] is thatpreliminary to vomiting. We eject or retract whendisgusted; we are not afraid nor are we angry. Wesay "he--or she, or it--makes me sick," and this isthe stock phrase of disgust. Inelegant as it is, itexactly expresses the situation. Disgust easilymingles with fear and anger; it is often dispelled by
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU319The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycuriosity and interest, as in the morbid, as inmedical science, and it of ten displaces less intensecuriosity and interest.[1] See Darwins "The Expression ofEmotions in Man and Animals," --a great book by agreat man.After anything has been accepted asstandard in cleanliness, a deviation in a "lower"direction causes disgust. Those who are accustomedto clean tablecloths, clean linen are disgusted bydirty tablecloths, dirty linen. The excreta of the bodyhave been so effectively tabooed, in the interestperhaps of sanitation, that their sight or smell isdisgusting, and they are used as symbols of disgustin everyday language. Indeed, the so-called animalfunctions have to be decorated and ceremonializedto avoid disgust. We turn with ridicule andrepugnance from him who eats without "manners"and one of the functions of manners is to avoidarousing disgust.Disgust kills desire and passion, and from
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU320The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythat fact we may trace a large part of moralprogress. Satiety brings a slight disgust; thus after aheavy meal there may be contentment but the sightof food is not at all appealing and often enoughrather repelling. In the sex field, a deep repulsion isoften felt when lust alone has brought the man andwoman together or when the situation is illegal orunhallowed. With satisfaction of desire, the inhibitingforces come to their own, and the violence ofrepentance and disgust may be extreme. StanleyHall, Havelock Ellis and other writers lay stress onthis; and, indeed, one of the bases of asceticism isthis disgust. Further, when we have no desires orpassion, the sight of others hugging and kissing, oracting "intimate" in any way, is usually disgusting,an offense against "good taste" based on the "badtaste" it arouses in the observer. In memory we areoften disgusted at what we did in the heat of desire,but usually memory itself does not prevent us fromrepeating the act; desire itself must slacken. Thusthe old are often intensely disgusted at the conduct
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU321The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryof the young, and it is never wise for a young coupleto live with older people. For in the early days ofmarried life the intensity of the intimate feelingsneeds seclusion in order to avoid disgusting others.It is no accident that Dame Grundy is depicted as anelderly person with a "sour look"; her prudishnesshas an origin in disgust at that which she hasoutlived. Sometimes the old are wise--not oftenenough--and then their humor, love and sympathykeeps them from disgust.Love counteracts disgust. The young girlwho turns in loathing from uncleanliness finds iteasy and a pleasure to care for her soiled baby. Infact, tender feeling of any kind overcomes--or tendsto overcome--disgust; and pity, the tenderest of allfeelings and without passion, impels us to marchinto the very jaws of disgust. The angry may haveno pity,--but they are not less unkind in commissionthan the disgusted are unkind in omission. Thus atoo refined breeding leads people away fromeffective pity and that sturdiness of conduct which is
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU322The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryreal philanthropy. Indeed, too much of refinementincreases the number of disgusting things in theworld; he who must have this or that luxury is notso much pleased with it as disgusted without it.Raising standards in things material cannot increasethe happiness or contentment of the world, for itmerely makes men impatient and disgusted at lesserstandards. We cannot hope to increase happinessthrough the material improvements of civilization.Self-disgust and shame are not identical butare so kindred that shame may well be studied here.Shame is lowered self-valuation, brought on bysocial or self-disapproval. Usually it is acute and, likefear, it tends to make the individual hide or fly. It isbased on insight, and there are thus some who arenever ashamed, simply because they do notunderstand disapproval. Shame is essentially afeeling of inferiority, and when we say to a man,"Shame on you," we say, "You have done wrong,humble yourself, be little!" When we say, "I amashamed of you," we say, "I had pride in you; I
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU323The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryenlarged myself through you, and now you make melittle." When the community cries shame, it uses aforce that redresses wrong by the need of the oneaddressed to vindicate himself. When a man feelsshame he feels small, inferior in his own eyes and inthe eyes of others. He feels impelled, if he isgenerous, to make amends or to do penance, andthus he recovers his self-esteem. Unfortunately,shame arises more frequently and often moreviolently from a violation of custom and mannerthan from a violation of ethics or morals. Thus weare more ashamed of the so-called "bad break" thanof our failures to be kind. Sometimes our fellowfeeling is so strong that we avoid seeing any onewho is humiliated or embarrassed, becausesympathy spreads his feeling to us. Gentle peopleare those who dislike to shame any one else, andoften one of this type will endure being wrongedrather than reprimand or cause humiliation andshame. Let something be said to shame anymember of a company and a feeling of shame
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU324The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryspreads through the group, except in the case ofthose who are very hostile.Disgust, too, is extremely contagious,especially its manifestations. One of the most crudeof all manifestations, to spit upon some one, is asymbol taken from disgust, though it has come tomean contempt, which is a mixture of hatred anddisgust.To raise the tastes and not raise theacquisitions is a sure way to bring about chronicdisgust, which is really an angry dissatisfactionmixed with disgust. This type of reaction is verycommon as a factor in neurasthenia. In fact, mymotto is "search for the disgust" in all cases ofneurasthenia and "search for it in the intimate oftensecret desires and relationships. Seek for it in thehusband-wife relationship, especially from thestandpoint of the wife." Women, we say, are morerefined in their feelings than men, which is anotherway of saying they are more easily disgusted andtherefore more easily injured. For disgust is an
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU325The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryinjury, when chronic or too easily elicited, and isthen a sign and symbol of weakness.Thus disgust is a great reenforcer of socialtaboo and custom, as well as morality. Just as it failsto keep us from eating the wrong kind of foods, so itmay fail to keep us from the wrong conduct. Likeevery emotion it is only in part adapted to our lives,and in those people where it becomes a prominentemotion it is a great mischief worker, subordinatinglife to finickiness and hindering the growth ofgenerous feeling.9. We come to two opposite emotions, veryreadily considered together. One of the linkings ofopposites is in the connection of Joy and Sorrow.Whether these are primary emotions or outgrowthsof Pleasure and Pain I leave to others. For Shand thefact that Joy tends to prolong a situation in which itoccurs raises it into an active emotion.Joy is perhaps the most energizing of theemotions for it tends to express itself in shouts,smiles and laughter, dancing and leaping. Sorrow
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU326The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryordinarily is quite the reverse and expresses itself byimmobility, bowed head and hands that shut outfrom the view the sights of the world. There is,however, a quiet joy called relief, which is likesailing into a smooth, safe harbor after atempestuous voyage; and there is an agitated grief,with lamentation, the wringing of hands and self-punishment of a frantic kind. Joy and triumph areclosely associated, sorrow and defeat likewise. Thereare some whose rivalry-competitive feelings are sowidespread that they cannot rejoice even at thetriumph of a friend, and a little of that nature is ineven the noblest of us. There are others who findsorrow in defeat of an enemy, so widespread is theirsympathy. This is the generous victor. For the mostof us youth is the most joyous period because youthfinds in its pleasures a novelty and freshness thattend to disappear with experience. For the samereason the sorrow of youth, though evanescent, isunreasoning and intense.Joy and sorrow are reactions and they are
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU327The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarynoble or the reverse, according to the nature of theperson. Joy may be noble, sensuous, trivial ormean; many a "jolly" person is such because he hasno real sympathy. At the present time not one of uscould rejoice over anything could we SEE andsympathize deeply with the misery of Europe andChina, to say nothing of that in our own country.Nay, any wrong to others would blast all ourpleasure, could we really feel it. Fortunately only afew are so cursed with sympathy. When the capacityfor joyous feeling is joined with fortitude orendurance, then we have the really cheerful, whospread their feeling everywhere, whom all men love.Where cheerfulness is due to lack of sympathy andunderstanding, we speak of a cheerful idiot; and welldoes that type merit the name. There is a moderncult whose followers sing "La, la, la" at all times andplaces, who minimize all misfortune, crime,suffering, who find "good in everything,"--the"Pollyana" tribe. My objection to them is based onthis,--that mankind must see clearly in order to rid
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU328The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryitself of unnecessary suffering. Hiding ones head(and brains) in a desert of optimism merelyperpetuates evil, even though one sufferer here andthere is deluded into happiness.Sorrow may enrich the nature or it mayembitter and narrow it. Wisdom may spring from it;indeed, who can be wise who has not sorrowed?Says Goethe:"Wer nie sein Brot in Thranen ass Wernie die kummervollen Nachte Auf seinem Betteweinend sass Er weiss Euch nicht--himmelischenMachte."The afflicted in their sorrow may turn fromself-seeking to God and good deeds. But sorrow maycome in a trivial nature from trivial causes; the soulmay be plunged into despair because one has beendenied a gift or a pleasure. The demonstrativenessof grief or sorrow is not at all in proportion to theemotion felt; it is more often based on the effort toget sympathy and help. For sorrow is "Help, help" inone form or another, even though one refuses to be
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU329The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycomforted. All our emotions, because they aresocially powerful, become somewhat theatrical; insome completely theatrical. We are so constitutedthat emotional display is not indifferent to us; itpleases, repels, annoys, angers, frightens, disgustsor awes us according to the kind of emotiondisplayed, the displayer and the circumstances.The psychologists speak of sympathy as thissusceptibility to the emotions of others, but there isan antipathy to their emotions, as well. If we feelthat our emotions will be "well received," we do notfear to display them, and therein is one of the usesof the friend. If we feel that they will be poorlyreceived, that they will annoy or anger or disgust,we strive to repress them. The expression ofemotion, especially of fear and sorrow, has becomesynonymous with weakness, and a powerful self-feeling operates against their display, especially inadults, men and certain races. It is no accident thatthe greatest actors are from the Latin and Hebrewraces, for there is a certain theatricality in fear and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU330The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysorrow that those schooled to repression lose. Weresent what we call insincerity in emotionalexpression because we fear being "fooled," andthere are many whose experiences in being "fooled"chill sympathy with doubt. We resent insinceresympathy, on the other hand, because we regretshowing weakness before those to whom thatweakness is regarded as such and who perhapsrejoice at it as ridiculous. We like the emotionalexpression of children because we can alwayssympathize, through our tender feeling with them,and their very sincerity pleases as well.Is there a harm in the repression ofemotion?[1] Is emotion a heaped-up tension which,unless it is discharged, causes damage? Shall maninhibit his anger, fear, joy, sorrow, disgust, at leastin some measure, or shall he express them ingesture, speech and act? The answer is obvious: hemust control them, and in that term control wemean, not inhibition, not expression in its naivesense, but that combination of inhibition, expression
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU331The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand intelligent act we call adjustment. To expressfear in the face of danger or anger at an offensemight thwart the whole lifes purpose, might bringdisaster and ruin. The emotions are pooradjustments in their most violent form, their naturalform, and invite disaster by clouding the intelligenceand obscuring permanent purposes. Therefore, theymust be controlled. To establish this control is aprimary function of training and intelligence anddoes no harm unless carried to excess. True, thereis a relief in emotional expression, a wiping out ofsorrow by tears, an increase of the pleasure of joy infreely laughing, a discharge of anger in the blow orthe hot word, even the profane word. There is atime and a place for these things, and to get so"controlled" that one rarely laughs or shows sadnessor anger is to atrophy, to dry up. But the emotionalexpression makes it easy to become an habitualweeper or stormer, makes it easy to become theover-emotional type, whose reaction to life is futile,undignified and a bodily injury. For emotion is in
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU332The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarylarge part a display of energy, and theoveremotional rarely escape the depletedneurasthenic state. In fact, hysteria andneurasthenia are much more common in the racesfreely expressing emotion than in the stolid,repressed races. Jew, Italian, French and Irish figuremuch more largely than English, Scotch orNorwegian in the statistics of neurasthenia andhysteria.[1] Isador N. Coriats book, "The Repressionof Emotions" deals with the subject frompsychoanalytic. point of view.10. I have said but little on otheremotions,--on admiration, surprise and awe. Thisgroup of affective states is of great importance.Surprise may be either agreeable or disagreeableand is our reaction to the unexpected. Itsexpression, facially and of body, is quitecharacteristic, with staring eyes and mouth slightlyopen, raised eyebrows, hands hanging with fingerstensely spread apart, so that a thing held therein is
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU333The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryapt to drop. Surprise heightens the feeling ofinternal tension, and in all excitement it is anelement, in that the novel brings excitement andsurprise, whereas the accustomed gives littleexcitement or surprises. In all wit and humorsurprise is part of the technique and constitutes partof the pleasure. Surprise usually heightens thesucceeding feeling, whether of joy, sorrow, anger,fear, pleasure or pain, or in any form. Butsometimes the effect of surprise is so benumbingthat an incapacity to feel, to realize, is the mostmarked result and it is only afterward that theproper emotion or feeling becomes manifest.The reaction to the unexpected is animportant adjustment in character. There aresituations beyond the power of any of us quickly toadjust ourselves to and we expect the greatcatastrophe to surprise and overwhelm.Nevertheless, we judge people by the way theyreact to the unexpected; the man who rallies quicklyfrom the confusion of surprise is, we say, "cool-
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU334The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryheaded," keeps his wits about him; and the manwho does not so rally or adjust "loses his head,"--"loses his wits." Part of this cool-headedness is notonly the rallying from surprise but also the throwingoff of fear. A warning has for its purpose, "Dont besurprised!" and training must teach resourcesagainst the unexpected. "If you expect everythingyou are armed against half the trouble of the world."The cautious in character minimize the number ofsurprises they may get by preparing. The impulsive,who rarely prepare, are always in danger from theunforeseen. Aside from preparation and knowledge,there is in the condition of the organism a big factorin the reaction to the unexpected. Fatigue,neurasthenia, hysteria and certain depressedconditions render a man more liable to reactexcessively and badly to surprise. The tired soldierhas lessened resources in wit and courage whensurprised, for fatigue heightens the confusion andnumbness of surprise and decreases the scope ofintelligent conduct. Choice is made difficult, and the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU335The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryneurasthenic doubt is transformed to impotence bysurprise.Face to face with what is recognized assuperior to ourselves in a quality we hold to begood, we fall into that emotional state, a mingling ofsurprise and pleasure, called admiration. In itsoriginal usage, admiration meant wonder, and thereis in all admiration something of that feeling which isborn in the presence of the superior. The moreprofound the admiration, the greater is theproportion of wonder in the feeling.We find it difficult to admire where thecompetitive feeling is strongly aroused, though thereare some who can do so. It is the essence of goodsportsmanship, the ideal aimed at, to admire therival for his good qualities, though sticking fast toones confidence in oneself. The English andAmerican athletes, perhaps also the athletes ofother countries, make this part of their code ofconduct and so are impelled to act in a way notentirely sincere. Wherever jealousy or envy are
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU336The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarystrongly aroused, admiration is impossible, and so itcomes about that men find it easy to praise men inother noncompetitive fields or for qualities in whichthey are not competing. Thus an author maystrongly admire an athlete or a novelist may praisethe historian; a beautiful woman admires anotherfor her learning, though with some reservation inher praise, and a successful business man admiresthe self-sacrificing scientist, albeit there is a littlecomplacency in his approval.He is truly generous-hearted who canadmire his competitor. I do not mean lip-admiration,through the fear of being held jealous. Many a manjoins in the praise of one who has outstripped him,with envy gnawing at his heart, and waits for thefirst note of criticism to get out the hammer. "He isvery fine--but" is the formula, and either throughinnuendo, insinuation or direct attack, the"subordinate" statement becomes the most sincereand significant. But there are those who can admiretheir conqueror, not only through the masochism
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU337The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythat lurks in all of us, but because they have liftedtheir ideal of achievement and character higher thantheir own possibilities and seek in others theperfection they cannot hope to have in themselves.In other words, where competition is hopeless, inthe presence of the greatly superior, a feeling ofhumility which is really admiration to the point ofworship comes over us, and we can glory in thequality we love. To admire is to recede the ego-feeling, is to feel oneself in an ecstasy that becomesmystical, and in that sense the contradiction arisesthat we feel ourselves larger in a unification with theadmired one.Each age, each country, each group andeach family set up the objects and qualities foradmiration, in a word, the ideals. Out of these theindividual selects his specialties in admiration,according to his nature and training. All the worldadmires vigor, strength, courage and endurance,--and these in their physical aspects. The hero of alltimes has had these qualities: he is energetic,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU338The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycapable of feats beyond the power of others, isfearless and bears his ills with equanimity. Beauty,especially in the woman, but also in man, hasreceived an over-great share of homage, but here"tastes differ." We have no difficulty in agreementon what constitutes strength, and we have objectivetests for its measurement; but who can agree onbeauty? What one race prizes as its fairest isscorned by another race. We laugh at the ideal ofbeauty of the Hottentot, and the physical peculiaritythey praise most either disgusts or amuses us. Butwhat is there about a white skin more lovely than ablack one, and why thrill over blue eyes and neglectthe brown ones? What is the rationale for theadmiration of slimness as against stoutness? Indeed,there are races who would turn with scorn from ourslender debutante[1] and worship their more buxomheavy-busted and wide-hipped beauties. The only"rational" beauty in face and figure is that whichstands as the outer mask of health, vigor,intelligence and normal procreative function. The
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU339The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarystandards set up in each age and place usually arisefrom local pride, from the familiar type. TheMongolian who finds beauty in his slanting-eyed,wide-cheek boned, yellow mate has as valid asanction as the Anglo-Saxon who worships at theshrine of his wide-eyed, straight-nosed blonde.[1] The peasant type, greatly admired bythe agricultural folk of Central Europe, is stout andruddy. This is a better ideal of beauty than the lily-white, slender and dainty maid of the cultured, whovery often can neither work nor bear and nursechildren.When we leave the physical qualities andpass to the mental we again find a lack ofagreement as to the admirable. All agree thatintelligence is to be admired, but how shall thatintelligence be manifested? In practice, the majorpart of the world admires the intelligence that isfinancially and socially successful, and the rich andpowerful have the greatest share of the worldspraise. Power, strength, and superiority command
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU340The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryadmiration, even from the unwilling, and thephilosopher who stands aloof from the world and iswithout real strength finds himself admiring a crude,bustling fellow ordering men about. True, we admiresuch acknowledged great intelligences as Plato,Galileo, Newton, Pascal, Darwin, etc., but in realityonly a fragment of the men and women of anycountry know anything at all about these men, andthe admiration of most is an acceptance of theauthority of others as to what it is proper to admire.Genuine admiration is in proportion to theintelligence and idealism of the admirer. And thereare in this country a thousand intense admirers ofBabe Ruth and his mighty baseball club to one whopours out his soul before the image of Pasteur. Youmay know a man (or woman) not by his lip-homage,but by what he genuinely admires, by that whichevokes his real enthusiasm and praise. Judge bythat and then note that the most constantadmiration of the women of our country goes out toactresses, actors, professional beauties, with
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU341The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarypopular authors and lecturers a bad second, andthat of the men is evoked by prize fighters, ballplayers and the rich. No wonder the problems of theworld find no solution, for it is only by fits and startsthat men and women admire real intelligence andreal ability. The orator has more admirers than thethinker, and this is the curse of politics; theexecutive has more admirers than the researchworker, and this is the bane of industry; theentertainer is more admired than the educator, andthat is why Charlie Chaplin makes a million a yearand President Eliot received only a few thousand.The race and the nation has its generousenthusiasms and its bursts of admiration for thenoble, but its real admiration it gives to those whomit best understands. Fortunately the leaders of therace have more of generosity and fine admirationthan have the mass they lead. Left to itself, themass of the race limits its hero-worship to thelesser, unworthy race of heroes.The school histories, which should
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU342The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryemphasize the admirable as well as point out thereverse, have played a poor role in education. Thehero they depict is the warrior, and they fire thehearts of the child with admiration and desire foremulation. They say almost nothing of the greatinventors, scientists and philanthropists. Theteaching of history should, above all, set up heroesfor the child to study, admire and emulate. "Whenthe half-gods go the gods arrive." The stage ofhistory as taught is cluttered with the tin-plateshedders of blood to the exclusion of the greatermen.[1][1] Plutarchs Lives are an example of thepraise and place given to the soldier and orator; andmany a child, reading them, has burned to be anAlexander or a Caesar. Wells History, with all itsdefects, pushes the "conquerors" to their real placeas enemies of the race.When the object that confronts us is sosuperior, so vast, that we sink into insignificance,then admiration takes on a tinge of fear in the state
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU343The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryor feeling of awe. All men feel awe in the presenceof strength and mystery, so that the concept of Godis that most wrapped up with this emotion, and theceremonies with which kings and institutions havebeen surrounded strike awe by their magnificenceand mystery into the hearts of the governed. Wecontemplate natural objects, such as mountains,mighty rivers and the oceans, with awe because wefeel so little and puny in comparison, and we do not"enjoy" contemplating them because we hate to feellittle. Or else we grow familiar with them, and theawe disappears. The popular and the familiar arenever awe-full, and even death loses in dignity whenone has dissected a few bodies. So objects viewedby night or in gloom inspire awe, though seen byday they are stripped of mystery and interest. Tothe adolescent boy, woman is a creature to beregarded with awe,--beautiful, strangely powerfuland mysterious. To the grown-up man, enriched anddisillusioned by a few experiences, woman, thoughstill loved, is no longer worshiped.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU344The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryThough the reverent spirit is admirable andpoetic, it is not by itself socially valuable. It hasbeen played upon by every false prophet, everyenslaving institution. It prevents free inquiry; it saysto science, "Do not inquire here. They who believedo not investigate. This is too holy a place for you."We who believe in science deny that anything can beso holy that it can be cheapened by light, and webelieve that face to face with the essential mysteriesof life itself even the most assiduous and matter-of-fact must feel awe. Man, the little, has probed intothe secrets of the universe of which he is a part.What he has learned, what he can learn, make himbow his head with a reverence no worshiper ofdogmatic mysteries can ever feel.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU345The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryChapter X. COURAGE, RESIGNATION,SUBLIMATION, PATIENCE, THE WISH, ANDANHEDONIAIn the preceding chapter we spoke of thefeeling of energy and certain of the basic emotions--such as fear, anger, joy, sorrow, disgust, surpriseand admiration. It is important to know that rarelydoes a man react to any life situation in which thefeeling of energy is not an emotional constituent andgoverns in a general way that reaction. Moreover,fear, anger, joy and the other feelings describedmingle with this energy feeling and so are built greatsystems of the affective life.1. Courage is one of these systems. It is notmerely the absence of fear that constitutes courage,though we interchange "fearless" with "courageous."Frequently it is the conquest of fear by the manhimself that leads him to the highest courage. Thereis a type of courage based on the lack ofimagination, the inability to see ahead the disasterthat lurks around every corner. There is another
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU346The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarytype of courage based on the philosophy that to losecontrol of oneself is the greatest disaster. There arethe nobly proud, whose conception of "ought," of"noblesse oblige," makes them the real aristocrats ofthe race.The fierce, the predisposed to anger areusually courageous. Unrestrained anger tends tobreak down imagination and foresight; cautiondisappears and the smallest will attack the largest.In racial propaganda, one way to arouse courage isto arouse anger. The enemy is represented as allthat is despicable and mean and as threatening thewomen and children, religion, or the flag. It is notsufficient to arouse hate, for hate may fear. Whileindividuals of a fierce type may be cowards, and thegentle often enough are heroes, the history of therace shows that physical courage resides more withthe fierce races than with the gentle.Those who feel themselves superior instrength and energy are much more apt to becourageous than those who feel themselves inferior.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU347The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryIn fact, the latter have to force themselves tocourage, whereas the formers courage isspontaneous. Men do not fear to be alone in a houseas women do, largely because men feel themselvesequal to coping with intruders, who are sure to bemen, while women do not. One of the early signs ofchronic sickness is a feeling of fear, a loss ofcourage, based on a feeling of inferiority toemergencies. The Spartans made it part of thatdevelopment of courage for which their namestands, to develop the physique of both their menand women. Their example, in rational measure,should be followed by all education, for courage isessential to nobility of character. I emphasize thatsuch training should be extended to both male andfemale, for we cannot expect to have a timorousmother efficiently educate her boy to be brave, tosay nothing of the fact that her own happiness andefficiency rest on courage.Tradition is a mighty factor in the productionof courage. To feel that something is expected of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU348The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryone because ones ancestors lived up to a highstandard becomes a guiding feeling in life. Not to beinferior, not to disappoint expectation, to maintainthe tradition that a "So-and-So" never shows thewhite feather, makes, heroes of the soldiers offamous regiments, of firemen and policemen, ofpriests, of the scions of distinguished families, aye,even of races. To every man in the grip of a glorioustradition it seems as if those back of him are notreally dead, as if they stand with him, and speakwith his voice and act in his deeds. The doctor whoknows of the martyrs of his profession and knowsthat in the code of his calling there are no diseaseshe must hesitate to face, goes with equanimitywhere others who are braver in facing death of otherkinds do not dare to enter.Courage is competitive, courage iscooperative, as is every other phase of the mentallife of men. We gather courage as we watch a fellowworker face his danger with a brave spirit, for wewill not be outdone. Amour propre will not permit us
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU349The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryto cringe or give in, though we are weary to death ofa struggle. But also we thrill with a common feelingat the sight of the hero holding his own, we areenthused by it, we wish to be with him; and hisshining example moves us to a fellowship incourage. We find courage in the belief that othersare "with us," whether that courage faces physicalor moral danger. To be "with" a man is to more thandouble his resources of strength, intelligence andcourage; it is more than an addition, for it multipliesall his virtues and eliminates his defects. The sumtotal is the Hero. I wonder if there really ever hasbeen a truly lonely hero, if always there has notbeen some one who said, "I have faith in you; I amwith you!" If a man has lacked human backing, hehas said to himself, "The Highest of all is with me,though I seem to stand alone. God gives mecourage!"In a profoundly intellectual way, couragedepends on a feeling that one is useful, not futile.Men lose courage, in the sense of brave and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU350The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydetermined effort, when it seems as if progress hasceased and their place in the world has disappeared.This one sees frequently in middle-aged men, whofind themselves relegated to secondary places byyounger men, who feel that they are slipping andsoon will be dependents.Hope, the foreseeing of a possible success,is necessary for most courage, though now and thendespair acts with a courage that is largely pride. Theidea of a future world has given more courage toman in his difficulties than all other conceptionstogether, for the essence of the belief in immortalityis to transfer hope and success from the tangle ofthis world to the clear, untroubled heavenly otherworld.2. Here we must consider other, relatedqualities. The office of intelligence is to adjust manto a complex world, to furnish pathways to a goalwhich instinct perhaps chooses. Suppose a goalreached,--say marriage is entered upon with the onethat we think is to give us that satisfaction and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU351The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhappiness we long for. The marriage does not soresult, either because we have expected too much,or because the partner falls below a reasonableexpectation, or because contradictory elements inthe natures of the wedded pair cannot be reconciled.Unity is not reached; disunion results, almost, let ussay, from the very start. What happens?Many adjustments may take place. A crudeone is that the pair, after much quarreling, decide toseparate or become divorced, or on a still cruder,ignoble level, one or the other runs away, desertsthe family. A common adjustment, of an anti-socialkind, forms the basis of much of modern and ancientliterature; the partners seek compensationelsewhere, enter into illicit love affairs and maintaina dual existence which rarely is peaceful or happy.Indeed, the nature of the situation, with outragedconscience and fear of exposure, preventshappiness.But there are those who in such a situationdo what is known as "make the best of it." They
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU352The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryavoid quarrels, they keep up the pretense ofaffection, they seek to discover the good qualities inthe mate; they are, as we say, resigned to thesituation. To be resigned is to accept an evil withcalmness and equanimity, but without energy.Resignation and courage are closely related, thoughthe former is a rather pallid member of the family.The poor and the miserable everywhere practise thisvirtue; the church has raised it perforce to the mostneeded of qualities; it is a sort of policy ofnonresistance to the evils of the world and onesown lot.But resignation represents only one type oflegitimate adjustment, of sublimation. Bysublimation is meant the process of using theenergy of a repressed desire and purpose for some"higher" end. Thus in the case of domesticunhappiness the man may plunge himself deeplyinto work and even be unconscious of the source ofhis energy. This type of adjustment is thus a form ofcompensation and is seen everywhere. In the case
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU353The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryof many a woman who gives herself over to herchildren without stint you may find this sublimationagainst the disappearance of romance, even if noactual unhappiness exists. Where a woman ischildless, perforce and not per will, an intensecommunal activity often develops, leading to good ifthat activity is intelligent, leading to harm if it is not.For sublimation develops the crank and pest as wellas the reformer. In every half-baked reformmovement you find those who are striving tosublimate for a thwarted instinct or purpose.[1][1] The historian, Higginson, put it wellwhen he said substantially, "There is a fringe ofinsanity around all reform."Sublimation is the mark of the personalitythat will not admit defeat even to itself. The one whodoes admit defeat becomes resigned or seeks illicitcompensation,--other men, other women, drink.Freud and his followers believe that the neurasthenicor hysteric is striving to find compensation throughhis symptoms or that he seeks to fly from the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU354The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysituation that way. I believe that the symptoms ofthe neurasthenic and hysteric often find a use in thisway, but are not caused by an effort forcompensation. That is, a neurasthenic may learnthat his or her pains or aches give advantages insympathy, relief from hard tasks or disagreeablesituations; that they cover up or are an excuse forfailure and inferiority,--but the symptoms ariseoriginally from defects in character or because of thephysical and social situation. Nevertheless, it is wellto keep in mind, when dealing with the "nervous,"that often enough their weaknesses are related tosomething they may gain through them. This I havecalled elsewhere "Will to power through weakness,"and it is as old as Adam and Eve. The weak havetheir wills and their weapons as have the strong.The highest sublimation, in the face of aninsuperable obstacle to purpose or an inescapablelife situation, finds a socially useful substitute inphilanthropy, kindness, charity, achievement of allsorts; the lowest seeks it in a direct but illicit
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU355The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycompensation for the self and in a way that merelyincreases the social and personal confusion; and apathological sublimation in part, at least, manifestsitself iii sickness. These are the three leading forms,but it must be remembered that there are no puretypes in character; a man may sublimate noblywhen his domestic happiness is threatened butcheat when his business purposes are blocked; awoman may compensate finely for childlessness but"go all to pieces" because hair is growing on her faceand the beauty she cherishes must go.Contradictions of all sorts exist, and he is wise whodoes not expect too great consistency from himselfor others.3. "Man," says Hocking, "can prolong thevestibule of his desire through infinity." By thevestibule of desire this philosopher means thedeferring of satisfaction for any impulse or desire.We love, but we can wait for loves fulfillment; wedesire achievement, but we can work and watch theapproach of our goal. Something we desire is
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU356The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydirectly ahead, almost in our reach,-- fame, love,riches, vindication, anything you please from thesensuous to the sublime satisfaction; and then anobstacle, a delay, appears, and the vestibule islengthened out. A man may even plan for thesatisfaction he can never hope to have, and in hisgreatest ideal that vestibule reaches througheternity.That quality which enables a man to workand wait, to stand the deferring of hope and desire,is patience. The classic figure of patience sitting on amonument is wrong, for she must sit on the eagerdesires of man. Nor is patience only the virtue of thegood and farseeing, for we find patience in therogue and schemer. Altruists may be patient orimpatient, and so may be the selfish. Like most ofthe qualities, patience is to be judged by thecompany it keeps.Nevertheless, the impatient are very oftenthose of small purposes and are rarely those ofgreat achievement. For all great purposes have to
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU357The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybe spread over time, have to overcome obstacles,and these must be met with courage and patience.Impatience is fussiness, fretfulness and a primebreeder of neurasthenia. Patience is realistic, andthough it may seek perfection it puts up withimperfection as a part of human life. But here I amdrifting into an error against which I warned thereader,--of making an entity of a conception. Peopleare patient or impatient, but not necessarilythroughout. There are men and women who fussand fume over trifles who never falter or fret whentheir larger purposes are blocked or deferred. Somecannot stand detail who plan wisely and withpatience. Vice versa, there are meticulous folk, littlepeople, whose petty obstacles are met with patienceand cheerfulness, who revel in minute detail, butwho want returns soon and cannot wait a long time.We are not to ask of any man whether he is patientbut rather what does he stand or do patiently? Whatrenders him impatient?A form of impatience of enormous social
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU358The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryimportance is that which manifests itself in cure-alls.A man finds that his will overcomes some obstacles.Eager to apply this, he announces that will cures allills. Impatient of evil, men seek to annihilate it bydenying its existence or by loudly chanting that goodthoughts will destroy it. These are typical impatientsolutions in the sphere of religion; in the sphere ofeconomics men urge nationalization, free trade,socialism or laissez faire, or some law or other tochange social structure and human nature. Waritself is the most impatient and consequently mostsocially destructive method of the methods of thetreatment of evil.While patience is a virtue, it may also be avice. One may bear wrongs too patiently or defersatisfaction too long. One meets every day men andwomen who help injustice and iniquity by theirpatience. We are too patient, at least with thewrongs of others; perhaps we really do not feel thisintensely or for any length of time. In fact, thedifficulty with most of the preaching of life is its
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU359The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryessential insincerity, for it counsels patience for thatwhich it feels but little. We bear the troubles ofothers, on the whole, very well. Nevertheless, thereare Griseldas everywhere whom one would respectfar more if they rebelled against their tyrants andtaskmasters. Organized wrong and oppression owetheir existence mainly to the habitual patience of theoppressed. To be meek and mild and long-sufferingin a world containing plenty of egoists andcannibalistic types is to give them supremacy.[1]We admire patience only when it is part of a plan ofaction, not when it is the mark of a passive nature.[1] Here the ideals of East and West clash.The East, bearing a huge burden of misery andessentially pessimistic, exhorts patience. The West,eager and full of hope, is impatient.4. Because man foresees he wishes. Ratherthan the reasoning animal, we might speak of thehuman being as the wishing animal. Anautomatically working instinct would produce nowish. The image of something which has been
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU360The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryexperienced arouses an excitement akin to thesecretion of saliva at the thought of food. The wishwhich accompanies the excitement is adissatisfaction, a tingling, an incomplete pleasurableemotional state which presses to action. Sensuouspleasure, power, conformity to the ideal, whateverdirection the wish takes, are sought because of thewish. Right education is to train towards rightwishing.Because the wish is the prelude to action, itbecame all powerful in mythology and superstition.Certain things would help you get your wishes,others would obstruct them. Wishes becameanimate and had power,--power to destroy anenemy, power to help a friend, power to bring goodto yourself. But certain ceremonies had to beobserved, and certain people, magicians and priestshad to be utilized in order to give the wish its power.Wisdom and magic were mainly the ways ofobtaining wishes. Childhood still holds to this, andprayer is a faith that your wish, if placed before the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU361The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryAll-Mighty, will be fulfilled.Since wishing brings a pleasurableexcitement, it has its dangers, in the daydreamwhere wishes are fulfilled without effort. Power,glory, beauty and admiration are obtained; the uglyDuckling becomes the Swan, Cinderella becomes thePrincess, Jack kills the Giant and is honored by allmen; the girl becomes the beauty and heroine ofromance; the boy becomes the Hero, taking overpower, wealth and beauty as his due. The world ofromance is largely the wish-world, as is the most ofthe stage. The happy ending is our wish-fulfillment,and only the sophisticated and highly cultured objectto it. Moulding the world to the hearts desire hasbeen the principal business of stage, novel andsong.In the normal relations of life, the wish isthe beginning of will, as something definitely relatedto a future goal. He who wishes finds his way toplanning and to patient endeavor, IF training,circumstances and essential character meet. To wish
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU362The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymuch is the first step in acquiring much,--but onlythe first step. For many it is almost the only step,and in the popular phrase these have a "wishbone inthe place of a backbone." They are thedaydreamers, the inveterate readers of novels, whocarry into adult life what is relatively normal in thechild. The introspective are this latter type; rarelyindeed do the objective personalities spend muchtime in wishing. Undoubtedly it is from theintrospective that the wish as a symbol and workerof power gained its influence and meaning. Thistransformation of the wish to a power is found in allprimitive thought, in the power of the blessing andthe curse, in the delusions of certain of the insanewho build up the belief in their greatness out of thewish to be great; and in our days New Thought andkindred beliefs are modernized forms of this ancientfallacy.It is a comforting thought to those who seekan optimistic point of view that most men wish to doright. Very few, indeed, deliberately wish to do
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU363The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywrong. But the difficulty lies in this, that this wish todo right camouflages all their wishes, no matterwhat their essential character. Thus the contestantson either side of any controversy color as right theiropposing wishes, and cruelties even if they burnpeople at the stake for heresy, kill and ruin, degradeand cheat, lie and steal. Thus has arisen the dictum,"The end justifies the means." The good desiredhallows the methods used, and all kinds of evil haveresulted. Practical wisdom believes that up to acertain point you must seek your purpose with allthe methods at hand. But the temptation to gofarther always operates; a man starts to dosomething a little underhanded in behalf of his noblewish and finds himself committed to conductunqualifiedly evil.5. There are certain other emotional statesassociated with energy and the energy feeling ofgreat interest. What we call eagerness, enthusiasm,passion, refers to the intensity of an instinct, wish,desire or purpose. In childhood this energy is quite
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU364The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarystriking; it is one of the great charms of childhoodand is a trait all adults envy. For it is thedisappearance of passion, eagerness andenthusiasm that is the tragedy of old age and whichreally constitutes getting old. Youth anticipates witheagerness and relishes with keen satisfaction. Theenthusiasm of typical youth is easily aroused andsweeps it on to action, a feature calledimpulsiveness. Sympathy, pity, hope, sex feeling--all the self-feelings and all the other feelings--are atonce more lively and more demonstrative in youth,and thus it is that in youth the reform spirit is at itsheight and recedes as time goes on. What we call"experience" chills enthusiasm and passion, butthough hope deferred and a realization of thecomplexity of human affairs has a moderating,inhibiting result, there is as much or moreimportance to be attached to bodily changes. If youcould attach to the old mans experience andknowledge the body of youth, with its fresherarteries, more resilient muscles and joints, its
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU365The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryexuberant glands and fresh bodily juices,--desire,passion, enthusiasm would return. In the chemistryof life, passion and enthusiasm arise; sickness,fatigue, experience and time are their antagonists.This is not to deny that these energymanifestations can be aroused from the outside.That is the purpose of teaching and preaching; thepurpose of writer and orator. There is a socialspread of enthusiasm that is the most markedfeature of crowds and assemblies, and thiseagerness makes a unit of thousands of diversepersonalities. Further, the problem of awakeningenthusiasm and desire is the therapeutic problem ofthe physician and especially in the conditiondescribed as anhedonia.In anhedonia, as first described by Ribot,mentioned by James, and which has recently beenworked up by myself as a group of symptoms inmental and nervous disease, as well as in life ingeneral, there is a characteristic lack of enthusiasmin anticipation and realization, a lack of appetite and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU366The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydesire, a lack of satisfaction. Nothing appeals, andthe values drop out of existence. The victims ofanhedonia at first pass from one "pleasure" toanother, hoping each will please and satisfy, but itdoes not. Food, drink, work, play, sex, music, art,--all have lost their savor. Restless, introspective, witha feeling of unreality gripping at his heart, thepatient finds himself confronting a world that haslost meaning because it has lost enthusiasm indesire and satisfaction.How does this unhappy state arise? In thefirst place, from the very start of life people differ inthe quality of eagerness. There is a wide variabilityin these qualities. Of two infants one will call lustilyfor whatever he wants, show great glee inanticipating, great eagerness in seeking, and a highdegree of satisfaction when his desire is gratified.And another will be lackadaisical in his appetite,whimsical, "hard to please" and much more difficultto keep pleased. Fatigue will strip the second child ofthe capacity to eat and sleep, to say nothing of his
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU367The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydesires for social pleasures, whereas it will onlydampen the zeal and eagerness of the first child.There is a hearty simple type of person who isnaively eager and enthusiastic, full of desire, passionand enthusiasm, who finds joy and satisfaction insimple things, whose purposes do not grow stale ormonotonous; there is a finicky type, easilydispleased and dissatisfied, laying weight on trifles,easily made anhedonic, victims of any reduction intheir own energy (which is on the whole low) or ofany disagreeable event. True, these sensitive folkare creators of beauty and the esthetic, but alsothey are the victims of the malady we are herediscussing.Aside from this temperament, training playsits part. I think it a crime against childhood to makeits joys complex or sophisticated. Too much adultcompany and adult amusements are destructive ofdesire and satisfaction to the child. A boy or girlwhose wishes are at once gratified gets none of thepleasure of effort and misses one of the essential
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU368The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarylessons of life.--that pleasure and satisfaction mustcome from the chase and not from the quarry, fromthe struggle and effort as well as from the goal.Montaigne, that wise skeptic, lays much homelyemphasis on this, as indeed all wise men do. But toogreat a struggle, too desperate an effort, exhausts,and as a runner lies panting and motionless at thetape, so we all have seen men reach a desired placeafter untold privation and sacrifice and who thenfound that there seemed to be no energy, no zeal ordesire, no satisfaction left for them. The too eagerand enthusiastic are exposed, like all theoveremotional, to great recessions, great ebbs, inthe volume of their feeling and feel for a time thedirest pain in all experience, the death in life ofanhedonia.After an illness, particularly influenza, whenrecovery has seemingly taken place, there developsa lack of energy feeling and the whole syndrome ofanhedonia which lasts until the subtle damage doneby the disease passes off. Half or more of the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU369The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Library"nervousness" in the world is based on actualphysical trouble, and the rest relates totemperament.When a great purpose or desire has beenbuilt up, has drained all the enthusiasm of theindividual and then suddenly becomes blocked, as ina love affair, or when a business is threatened orcrashes or when beauty starts to leave,--then onesees the syndrome of anhedonia in essential purity.A great fear, or an obsessive moral struggle (aswhen one fights hopelessly against temptation), hasthe same effect. The enthusiasm of purpose and theeagerness of appetite go at once, in certain delicatepeople, when pride is seriously injured or when aonce established superiority is crumbled. Thehumiliated man is anhedonic, even if he is aphilosopher.The most striking cases are seen in menwho have been swung from humdrum existence tothe exciting, disagreeable life of war and then backto their former life. The former task cannot be taken
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU370The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryup or is carried on with great effort; the zest ofthings has disappeared, and what was so longed forwhile in the service seems flat and stale, especially ifit is now realized that there are far more interestingfields of effort. In a lesser degree, the romancesthat girls feed on unfit them for sober realities, andthe expectation of marriage built up by romanticnovel and theater do far more harm than good. Thetriangle play or story is less mischievous than theone which paints married life as an amorous glow.One could write a volume on eagerness,enthusiasm and passion, satisfaction anddissatisfaction. Life, to be worth the living, musthave its enthusiasms, must swing constantly fromdesire to satisfaction, or else seems void andpainful. Great purposes are the surest to maintainenthusiasm, little purposes become flat. He whohitches his wagon to a star must risk indeed, butthere is a thrill to his life outweighing the joy ofminor success.To reenthuse the apathetic is an individual
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU371The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryproblem. When the lowered pressure of the energyfeeling is physical in origin, then rest and exercise,massage hydrotherapy, medicines (especially thebitter tonics), change of scene are valuable. Andeven where the cause is not in illness, theseprocedures have great value for in stimulating theorganism the function of enthusiasm is recharged.But one does not neglect the value of new hopes,new interests, friendship, physical pleasure andabove all a new philosophy, a philosophy based onreadjustment and the nobility of struggle. Not allpeople can thus be reached, for in some, perhapsmany cases, the loss of these desires is thebeginning of mental disease, but patient effort andintelligent sympathetic understanding still work theirmiracles.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU372The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryChapter XI. THE EVOLUTION OF CHARACTERWITH ESPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE GROWTHOF PURPOSE AND PERSONALITYThere have been various philosophiesdealing with the purposes of man. Man seeks this orthat--the eternal good, beauty, happiness, pleasure,survival--but always he is represented as a seeker.A very popular doctrine, Hedonism, now somewhatin disfavor, represents him as seeking pleasurable,affective states. The difficulty of understanding theessential nature of pleasure and pain, the fact thatwhat is pleasure to one man is pain to another,rather discredited this as a psychologicalexplanation. I think we may phrase the situationfairly on an empirical basis when we say thatseeking arises in instinct but receives its impulse tocontinuity by some agreeable affective state ofsatisfaction. Man steers towards pleasure andsatisfaction of some type or other, but the force isthe unbalance of an instinct.When we speak of man as a seeker, we are
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU373The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarynot separating him from the rest of living things. Alllife seeks, and the more mobile a living thing is themore it seeks. A sessile mussel chained to a rockseeks little but the fundamentals of nutrition andgeneration and these in a simple way. An animalthat builds habitations for its young, courts its mate,plays, teaches and fights, may do nothing more thanseek nutrition and generation, but it seeks thesethrough many intermediary "end" points, throughmany impulses, and thus it has many types ofsatisfaction. When a creature develops to the pointthat it establishes all kinds of rules governingconduct, when it establishes sanctions that areeternal and has purposes that have a terminus in ahereafter which is out of the span of life of theplanner, it becomes quite difficult to say just what itis man seeks. In fact, every man seeks many things,many satisfactions, and whatever it may be thatMan in the abstract seeks, individual men differ verydecidedly not only as to what they seek but as towhat should be sought.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU374The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryOur viscera, our tissues, as they function,change by the using up of energy and the breakingdown of materials. That change brings aboutsensory disturbances in our body which are notunpleasant in moderation, which we call hunger,thirst and fatigue. To relieve these three primitivestates we seek food, drink and rest; we DESIREfood, drink and rest. Desire then is primitive,organic, arising mainly in the vegetative nervoussystem, and it awakens mechanisms that bring usfood, drink and rest. A feeling which we callsatisfaction results when the changes in the visceraand tissues are readjusted or on the way toreadjustment. Here is the simplest paradigm fordesire seeking satisfaction, but it is on a plane rarelyfound in man, because his life is too complicated forsuch formulae to work.Food must be bought or produced, and thisinvolves cooperation, competition, self-denial, thrift,science, finance, invention. It involves ethics,because though you are hungry you must not steal
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU375The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfood or give improper value for it. Moreover, thoughyou are hungry, you have developed tastes,manners, etc., and you cannot, must not eat this orthat (through religion); you mast eat with certainimplements), and would rather die than violate theestablished standards in such matters.[1] Thus tothe simple act of eating, to the satisfaction of aprimitive desire set up by a primitive need, there areany number of obstacles set up by the complexitiesof our social existence. The sanction of theseobstacles, their power to influence us, rests in otherdesires and purposes arising out of other "needs" ofour nature. What are those needs? They areinherent in what has been called the social instincts,in that side of our nature which makes us yearn forapproval and swings us into conformity with agroup. The group organizes the activities of itsindividuals just as an individual organizes hisactivities. The evolutionists explain this group feelingas part of the equipment necessary for survival.Perhaps this is an adequate account of the situation,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU376The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybut the strength of the social instincts almost leadone to a more mystical explanation, a sort ofacceptance of the group as the unit and theindividual as an incomplete fragment.[1] The Sepoy Rebellion had its roots in afood taboo, and Mussulman, Hebrew and RomanCatholic place a religious value on diet. Most of thecomplexities of existence are of our own creation.What is true of hunger is true of thirst andfatigue. Desires in these directions have toaccommodate themselves, in greater or lesserdegrees, to the complexities in which our socialnature and customs have involved us. It is true thatdesires upon which the actual survival of theindividual depend will finally break through tabooand restriction if completely balked. That is, veryfew people will actually starve to death, die of thirstor keep awake indefinitely, despite any conventionor taboo. Nevertheless there are people who willresist these fundamental desires, as in the case ofMacSwiney, the Irish republican, and as in the case
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU377The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryof martyrs recorded in the history of all peoples. Itmay be that in some of these we are dealing with apowerful inhibition of appetite of the kind seen inanhedonia.The elaboration of the sex impulses anddesires into the purposes of marriage, therepression into lifelong continence and chastity,forms one of the most marvelous of chapters in thepsychological history of man. The desire for sexrelationship of the crude kind is very variable both inforce, time of appearance and reaction to disciplineand unquestionably arises from the changes in thesex organs. Both to enhance and repress it are aimsof the culture and custom of each group, and thelower groups have given actual sexual intercourse amystical supernatural value that has at times and invarious places raised it into the basis of cults andreligions. Repressed, hampered, canalized,forbidden, the sex impulses have profoundlymodified clothes, art, religion, morals andphilosophy. The sex customs of any nation
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU378The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydemonstrate the extreme plasticity of human desiresand the various twists, turns and customs thattradition declares holy. There have been wholegroups of people that have deemed any sexualpleasure unholy, and the great religions still deem itnecessary for their leaders to be continent. And theabsurdities of modesty, a modified sex impulse,have made it immoral for a woman to show her legabove the calf while in her street clothes,[1] thoughshe may wear a bathing suit without reproach.[1] This is, of course, not quite so true in1921 as in 1910.Whatever a desire is basically, it tendsquickly to organize itself in character. It gathers toitself emotions, sentiments, intelligence; it plans andit wills, it battles against other desires. I say IT, as ifthe desire were an entity, a personality, but what Imean is that the somatic and cerebral activities of adesire become so organized as to operate as a unit.A permanent excitability of these nervous centers asa unit is engendered, and these are easily aroused
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU379The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryeither by a stimulus from the body or from without.Thus the sex impulse arises directly from tensionswithin the sex organs but is built up and elaboratedby approval of and admiration for beauty, strengthand intelligence, by the desire for possession andmastery, by competitive feeling, until it may becomedrawn out into the elaborate purpose of marriage orthe family.What is the ego that desires and plans? I donot know, but if it is in any part a metaphysicalentity of permanent nature in so far it does notbecome the subject matter of this book. For as ametaphysical entity it is uncontrollable, and theobject of science is to discover and utilize thecontrollable elements of the world. I may point outthat even those philosophers and theologians towhom the ego is an entity of supernatural origindeny their own standpoint every time they seek toconvince, persuade or force the ego of some one toa new belief or new line of action; deny it every timethey say, "I am tired and I shall rest; then I shall
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU380The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythink better and can plan better." Such aphilosopher says in essence, "I have an entity withinme totally and incommensurably different from mybody," and then he goes on to prove that this entityoperates better when the body is rested and fedthan otherwise!For us the ego is a built-up structure andhas its evolution from the diffuse state of earlyinfancy to the intense, well-defined state ofmaturity; it is elaborated by a process that is in partdue to the environment, in part to the inherentstructure of man. We may postulate a continuousexcitement of nerve centers as its basis, and thisexcitement cognizes other excitement in somemysterious manner, but no more mysterious thanlife, instinct or intelligence are. These excitementsstruggle for the possession of an outlet in action,and this is what we call competing desires, struggleagainst temptation, etc.Sometimes one desire is identified with theego as part of itself, sometimes the desire is
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU381The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycontrasted with the ego and we say, "I struggledwith the desire but it overcame me." Commonlanguage plainly shows the plurality of thepersonality, even though the man on the streetthinks of himself as a united "I," even an invisible"I."One of the fundamental desires, nay thefundamental desire, is the expansion of the self, i.e., increased self-esteem. When the infant sprawlsin his basket after his arrival in this world, it isdoubtful if he has a "me" which he separates fromthe "non-me." Yet that same infant, a few yearslater, and through the rest of his life, believes thatin his personality resides something immortal, andhas as his prime pleasure the feeling of worth andgrowth of that personality, and as his worst hurt thefeeling of decay and inferiority of that personality.Let us watch that infant as it sprawls in itslittle bed, the darling of a pair of worshiping parents.In that relationship the child is no solitary individual;society is there already, watching him, nourishing
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU382The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand teaching him. Already he is in the, hands of hisgroup who, though seeking his happiness, arenevertheless determined that he shall obtain it theirway. And from then to the end of his life that groupwill in large measure offer him the criteria of values,and his self-esteem will, in the majority of cases,rest upon his idea of their esteem of him. In thebrooding mother, in the tender father lie dormant allthe judgments of the time on the conduct andguiding motives of the little one.The baby throws his arms about, kicks hislegs, rolls his eyes. In these movements arisingfrom internal activities which, we can only state,relate to vascular distribution, neuronic relations,visceral and endocrinic activities, is the germ of theimpulse to activity which it is the function of societyand the individual himself to shape into organizeduseful work. Thus is manifested a native, inherent,potentiality, which we may call the energy of thebaby, the energy of man, a something which theenvironment shapes, but which is created in the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU383The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarylaboratory of the individual. The father and motherare delighted with the fine vigorous movements ofthe child, and there is in that delight the approvalthat society always gives or tends to give tomanifestations of power. We tend involuntarily toadmire strength, even though misdirected. Thestrong man always has followers though he be avillain, and in fact the history of man is to a largeextent based on the fact that the strong man evokesenthusiasm and obedience.This impulse to activity is an unrest, and itssatisfaction lies in movement; in other words thereis a pleasure or a relief in mere activity. The need ofdischarging energy, the desire to do so, the pleasureand satisfaction in so doing constitute a cornerstoneof the foundation of life and character. This desirefor activity, as we shall call it henceforth, is behindwork and play; it fluctuates with health and disease,with youth and old age; it becomes harnessed topurpose, it is called into being by motives orinhibited by conflict and indecision and its
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU384The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryorganization is the task of society. Men differ inregard to the desire for activity, with a range fromthe inert whose energy is low to the dynamic typesthat are ever busy and ever seeking more to do.The childs first movements are aimless, butsoon the impressions it receives by striking handsand feet against soft and hard things bring about adim knowledge of the boundaries of itself, and thekinesthetic impulses from joints and muscles helpthis knowledge. The outside world commences toseparate itself from the "me," though both arevague and shadowy. Soon it learns that one part ofthe outside world is able to satisfy its hunger, tosupply a need, and it commences to recognize theexistence of benevolent outside agencies; and it alsolearns little by little that its instinctive cries bringthese agencies to it. I do not mean that the babyhas any internal language corresponding to the ideaof outside agency, benevolence, etc., but it gets toknow that its cries are potent, that a breast bringsrelief and satisfaction. At first it cries, the breast
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU385The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycomes, there is relief and satisfaction, and it makesno connection or no connection is made betweenthese events of outer and inner origin. But theconnection is finally made,--desire becomesdefinitely articulate in the cry of the baby, whichthus becomes a plea and a summons. Anticipation ofgood to come appears and with it the germ of hopeand forward looking, and there is realization ordisappointment, joy or anger or sorrow. Thus desireis linked up with satisfaction in a definite way, ideasand feelings of demand and supply begin to appearand perhaps power itself, in the vague notion, "I canget milk," commences to be felt. Social life startswhen the child associates the mother with the milk,with the desire and the satisfaction. In therelationship established between mother and baby isthe first great social contact; love, friendship,discipline, teaching and belief have their originwhen, at the mothers breast, the child separates itsmother from the rest of the things of the world. Andnot only in the relief of hunger is the mother active,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU386The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybut she gets to be associated with the relief fromwet and irritating clothes, the pleasant bath, and thepleasure of the change of position that babies cryfor. Her bosom and her arms become sources ofpleasure, and the race has immortalized them assymbolic of motherhood, in song, in story and inmyth.Not only does he associate the mother withthe milk but her very presence brings him comfort,even when he is not hungry. It is within the first fewmonths of life that the child shows that he is agregarious[1] animal,--gregarious in the sense thathe is unhappy away from others. To be alone is thusfelt to be essentially an evil, to be with others is initself a good. This gregarious feeling is the sine quanon of social life: when we punish any one we drawaway from him; when we reward we get closer tohim. All his life the child is to find pleasure in beingwith people and unhappiness when away from them,unless he be one of those in whom the gregariousinstinct is lacking. For instincts may be absent, just
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU387The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryas eye pigment is; there are mental albinos, lackingthe color of ordinary human feeling. Or else someexperience may make others hateful to him, or hemay have so intellectualized his life that this instincthas atrophied. This gregarious feeling will heightenhis emotions, he will gather strength from thefeeling that "others are with him," he will joinsocieties, clubs, organizations in response to thesame feeling that makes sheep graze on a hillside ina group, that makes the monkeys in a cage squattogether, rubbing sides and elbows. The home inwhich our child finds himself, though a socialinstitution, is not gregarious; it gives him only alimited contact, and as soon as he is able and self-reliant he seeks out a little herd, and on the streets,in the schoolroom and playground, he reallybecomes a happy little herd animal.[1] One of my children would stop crying ifsome one merely entered his room when he wasthree weeks old. He was, and is, an intenselygregarious boy.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU388The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryLet us turn back to the desire for activity.As the power to direct the eyes develops, as handsbecome a little more sure, because certain pathwaysin brain and cord "myelinize,"[1] become functional,the outside world attracts in a definite manner andmovements become organized by desires, bypurpose. Its a red-letter day in the calendar of ahuman being when he first successfully "reaches"something; then and there is the birth of power andof successful effort. All our ideas of cause and effectoriginate when we cause changes in the world, whenwe move a thing from thither to yon. Nophilosopher, though he becomes so intellectualizedthat he cannot understand how one thing or eventcauses another, ever escapes from the feeling thatHE causes effects. Purpose, resistance, success,failure, cause, effect, these become inextricablywound up with our thoughts and beliefs from theearly days when, looking at a dangling string, wereached for it once, twice, a dozen times andbrought it in triumph to our mouth. And our idea
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU389The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythat there were forbidden things came when thewatchful mother took it out of our mouth, saying,"No, no, baby mustnt!"[1] At birth, though most of the greatnervous pathways are laid down, they are non-functional largely because the fibers that composethem are unclothed, non-myelinated. The variouskinds of tracts have different times for becoming"myelinated" as was the discovery of the greatanalogist, Flechsig.At any rate, the organization of activity fordefinite purposes starts. The little investigator isapparently obsessed with the idea that everything itcan reach, including its fingers and toes, are good toeat, for everything reached is at once brought to themouth, the primitive curiosity thus being gustatory.In this research the baby finds that some few thingsare pleasant, many indifferent and quite a fewdisgusting and even painful, which may remain as aresult not far different from that obtained byinvestigation in later years. The desire for pleasant
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU390The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythings commences to guide its activities. Every newthing is at once an object for investigation, perhapsbecause its possibilities for pleasure are unknown.That curiosity may have some such origin is at leasta plausible statement. At any rate, desire of adefinite type steps in to organize the mere desire foractivity; and impulse is controlled by purpose.The child learns to creep, and the delight inprogression lies in the fact that far more things areaccessible for investigation, for rearrangement, fortasting. It is no accident that we speak of our"tastes" that we say, "I want to taste of experience."That is exactly what the child creeping on the floorseeks,--to taste of experience and to anticipate, torealize, to learn. Out of the desire for activity growsa desire for experience born of the pleasure ofexcitement that we spoke of previously. This desirefor experience becomes built up into strange formsunder teaching and through the results ofexperience. It is very strong in some who becomeexplorers, roues, vagabonds, scientists as a result,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU391The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand it is very weak in others who stay at home andseek only the safe and limited experience. You seetwo children in one room,--and one sits in themiddle of the floor, perhaps playing with a toy orlooking around, and the other has investigated thestove and found it hotter than he supposed, hasbeen under the table and bumped his head, hasfound an unusually sweet white lump which in laterlife he will call sugar. The good child is often withoutsufficient curiosity to be bad, whereas the bad childmay be an overzealous seeker of experience.So our child reaching out for things developsideas of cause, effect and power, commences tohave an idea of himself as a cause and likes thefeeling of power. As he learns to walk, the worldwidens, his sense of power grows, and his feeling ofpersonality increases. Meanwhile another side of hisnature has been developing and one fully asimportant.The persons in his world have become quiteindividual; mother is now not alone, for father is
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU392The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryrecognized with pleasure as one who likewise isdesirable. He carries one on his shoulder so that apleasurable excitement results; he plays with one,holds out strings and toys and other instruments forthe obtaining of experience. Usually both of thesegreat personages are friendly, their faces wear asmile or a tender look, and our little one is soorganized that smiles and tender looks awakencomfortable feelings and he smiles in return. Thesmile is perhaps the first great message one humanbeing sends to another; it says, "See, I am friendly,I wish you well." Later on in the history of the child,he will learn much about smiles of other kinds, butat this stage they are all pleasant. Though hisparents are usually friendly and give, now and thenthey deprive, and they look different; they say, "No,no!" This "no, no" is social inhibition, it is backed upby the power of deprivation, punishment,disapproval; it has its power in a something in ournature that gives society its power over us. Fromnow there steps in a factor in the development of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU393The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycharacter of which we have already spoken, a groupof desires that have their source in the emotionalresponse of the child to the parent, in the emotionalresponse of an individual to his group. Out of thesocial pressure arises the desire to please, to winapproval, to get justification, and these struggle inthe mind of the child with other desires.We said the child seeks experience,--but notonly on his own initiative. The father stands againstthe wall, perhaps with one foot crossing the other.Soon he feels a pressure and looks down; there isthe little one standing in his imitation of the sameposition. Imitation, in my belief, is secondary to adesire for experience. The child does not imitateeverything; he is equipped to notice only simplethings, and these he imitates. Why? The desire toexperience what others are experiencing is a basicdesire; it expresses both a feeling of fellowship anda competitive feeling. We do not feel a strongtendency to imitate those we dislike or despise, ordo not respect, we tend to imitate those we love and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU394The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryrespect, those for whom we have a fellow feeling.Part of the fellow feeling is an impulse to imitate andto receive in a positive way the suggestion offeredby their conduct and manners.Analogous to imitation, and part of the socialinstinct, is a credulity, a willingness to accept as ifpersonally experienced things stated. Part of theseeking of experience is the asking of questions,because the mind seeks a cause for every effect, asomething to work from. Indeed, one of the mainmental activities lies in the explaining of things; anunrest is felt in the presence of the "not understood"which is not stilled until the unknown is referredback to a thing understood or accepted withoutquestion. The child finds himself in a world with laid-down beliefs and with explanations of one kind oranother for everything. His group differs from othergroups in its explanations and beliefs; his familyeven may be peculiar in these matters. He asks, heis answered and enjoined to believe. Withoutcredulity there could be no organization of society,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU395The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryno rituals, no ceremonials, no religions andcustoms,--but without the questioning spirit therecould be no progress. Most of the men and womenof this world have much credulity and only a feeblequestioning tendency, but there are a few who fromthe start subject the answers given them to a rigidscrutiny and who test belief by results. Let any oneread the beliefs of savages, let him study the beliefsof the civilized in the spirit in which he would testthe statement of the performance of an automobile,and he can but marvel at mans credulity. Belief andthe acceptance of authority are the conservativeforces of society, and they have their origin in thenursery when the child asks, "Why does the moonget smaller?" and the mother answers, "Because,dear, God cuts a piece off every day to make thestars with." The authorities, recognizing that theirpower lay in unquestioning belief, have alwayssanctified it and made the pious, non-skeptical typethe ideal and punished the non-believer with deathor ostracism. Fortunately for the race, the skeptic, if
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU396The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysilenced, modifies the strength of the belief heattacks and in the course of time even they whohave defended begin to shift from it and it becomesrefuted. Beliefs, as Lecky[1] so well pointed out, arenot so of ten destroyed as become obsolete.[1] Lecky: "History of European Morals." Ashe points out, the belief in witchcraft never wasdisproved, it simply died because science made itimpossible to believe that witches could disorganizenatural laws.It may seem as if imitation were a separateprinciple in mental growth, and there have beenmany to state this. As is well known Tarde made it aleading factor in human development. It seems tome that it is linked up with desire for experience,desire for fellowship, and also with a stronglycompetitive feeling, which is early manifest inchildren and which may be called "a want of whatthe other fellow has." Children at the age of a yearand up may be perfectly pleased with what theyhave until they see another child playing with
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU397The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysomething,--something perhaps identical with theirown. They then betray a decided, uncontrollabledesire for the other childs toy; they are no longercontent with their own, and by one means oranother they seek to get it,--by forcible means, bywheedling or coaxing, or by tormenting theirparents. The disappearance of contentment throughthe competitive feeling, the competitive nature ofdesire, the role that envy plays in the happiness andeffort of man, is a thesis emphasized by everymoralist and philosopher since the beginning ofthings. In the strivings of every man, though headmit it or not, one of the secret springs of hisenergy is this law of desire, that a large part of itspower and persistence is in the competitive feeling,is in envy and the wish to taste what others areexperiencing.A basic law of desire lies in an observation ofLotze, elaborated by William James. We may talk ofselfishness and altruism as if they were entirelyseparate qualities of human nature. But what seems
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU398The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryto be true is that one is an extension of the other,that is, we are always concerned with the egofeeling, but in the one case the ego feeling is narrowand in the other case it includes others as part ofthe ego. Lotzes observations on clothes shows thatwe expend ego feeling in all directions, that we tendto be as tall as our top hats and as penetrating asour walking sticks, that the man who has a club inhis hand has a tactile sense to the very end of theclub. James in his marvelous chapter on the variousselves points out that a mans interests andaffections are his selves, and that they enclose oneanother like the petals of a rose. We may speak ofunipetalar selves, who include only their own bodiesin self-feeling; of bipetalar selves who include in ittheir families, and from there on we go to selveswho include their work, their community, theirnation, until we reach those very rare souls whosepetals cover all living things. So men extend theirself-feeling, if ambitious, to their work, to theirachievements,--if paternal to their children; if
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU399The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydomestic, to wife and home; if patriotic to thenation, etc. Development lies in the extension of theself-feeling and in the increase of its intensity. Butthe obstacle lies in the competitive feelings, in thatdualism of mans nature that makes him yearn notonly for fellowship, but also for superiority. Thesedesires are in eternal opposition, but are notnecessarily antagonistic, any more than are thethumb and the little finger as they meet in sometask, any more than are excitation and inhibition.Every function in our lives has its check and balance,and fellowship, yearning and superiority urge oneanother.From the cradle to the grave, we desirefellowship as an addition to our gregarious feeling.We ask for approval, for we expand under sympathyand contract under cold criticism. Nothing is sopleasant as "appreciation," which means taking us atour own valuation or adding to it,, and there is nocomplaint so common as, "They dont understandme," which merely means, "They blame me without
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU400The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryunderstanding that I really seek the good, that I amreally good, though perhaps I seem not to be." Thechild who hurts its thumb runs to its mother forsympathy, and the pain is compensated for, at leastin part, by that sympathy. Throughout life we desiresympathy for our hurts, except where that sympathybrings with it a feeling of inferiority. To be helped byothers in one way or another is the practical resultof this aspect of fellowship.(There is a convincing physical element inthe feelings and desires of man, evidenced inlanguage and phrase. Superiority equals aboveness,inferiority equals beneathness; sympathy equals thesame feeling. To criticize is to "belittle" and to causethe feeling of littleness; to praise is "to make a manexpand," to enlarge him. Blame hurts onesfeelings,--"He wounded me," etc.)At the same time we are strangely affectedby the condition of others. Where no competitive-jealousy complex is at work, we laugh with otherpeople in their happiness, we are moved to tears by
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU401The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysuffering; we admire vigor, beauty and the finequalities of others; we accept their purposes andbeliefs; we are glad to agree with the stranger orthe friend and hate to disagree. We establish withinourselves codes and standards largely because wewish to accept and believe and act in the same wayas do those we want as fellows. Having set up thatcode as conscience or ideals, it helps us to governour lives, it gives a stability in that we tend at onceto resist jealousy, envy, the "wrong" emotions andactions. "Helping others" becomes a great motive inlife, responding to misery with tears, consolationand kindness, reacting to the good deeds of otherswith praise. To be generous and charitable becomesmethod for the extension of fellowship.Asking for help in its varied form of praise,appreciation and kindness, giving help asappreciation and kindness, are the weak and strongaspects of the fellowship feelings. It is a cynical viewof life, perhaps, but it is probably true that the weakphase is more common and more constant than the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU402The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysecond. Almost everybody loves praise andappreciation, for these enlarge the ego feeling, andsome, perhaps most, like to be helped, though here,as was above stated, there is a feeling of inferiorityaroused which may be painful. Relatively there arefew who are ready to praise, especially those withwhom they are in close contact and with whom theyare in a sort of rivalry. The same is true of genuineappreciation, of real warm fellow feeling; the leader,the hero, the great man receives that but not thefellow next door. As for giving, charity, kindness,these are common enough in a sporadic fashion, butrarely are they sustained and constant, and oftenthey have to depend on the desire "not to beoutdone," not to seem inferior,--have, as it were, tobe shamed into activity. For there is competitioneven in fellowship.There are people, especially among thehysterics, who are deeply wounded when sympathyis not given, when appreciation and praise iswithheld or if there is the suggestion of criticism.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU403The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryThey are people of a "tender ego," not self-sustaining, demanding the help of others andreacting to the injury sustained, when it is notgiven, by prolonged emotion. These sensitive folk,who form a most difficult group, do not all reactalike, of course. Some respond with anger and ideasof persecution, some with a prolonged humiliationand feeling of inferiority; still others developsymptoms that are meant to appeal to theconscience of the one who has wounded them. Onthe other hand, there are those whose feeling of selfsustains them in the face of most criticism, whodepend largely upon the established mentor withinthemselves and who seek to conform to the rulingsof that inward mentor. Such people, if not martyredtoo soon, and if possessed of a fruitful ideal, lay newcriteria for praise and blame.Contrasting with the desires and purposes offellowship we find the desires and purposes ofsuperiority and power. Primarily these are based onwhat McDougall calls the instinct of self-display,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU404The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywhich becomes intellectualized and socialized veryearly in the career of the child. In fact, we mightjudge a man largely by the way he displays himself,whether by some essentially personal bodilycharacter, some essentially mental attribute or someessentially moral quantity; whether he seekssuperiority as a means of getting power or as ameans of doing good; whether he seeks it within orwithout the code. One might go on indefinitely,including such matters as whether he seekssuperiority with tact or the reverse and whether heunderstands the essential shallowness and futility ofhis pursuit or not. To be superior is back of most ofstriving, and it is the most camouflaged of all humanmotives and pleasures. For this is true: that thepreaching of humility, of righteous conduct, ofservice, of self-sacrifice, by religion and ethics haveconvinced man that these are the qualities oneought to have. So men seek, whenever they can, todress their other motives and feelings in the garb ofaltruism.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU405The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryCamouflage of motive as a means of socialapproval has thus become a very important part ofcharacter; we seek constantly to penetrate thecamouflage of our rivals and enemies and bitterlyresist any effort to strip away our own, often enoughhiding it successfully from ourselves. There are fewwho face boldly their own egoism, and their sincerityis often admired. Indeed, the frank child is admiredbecause his egoism is refreshing, i. e., he offers noproblem to the observer. Out of the uneasiness thatwe feel in the presence of dissimulation andinsincerity has arisen the value we place onsincerity, frankness and honesty. To be accused ofinsincerity or dishonesty of motive and act is fiercelyresented.The desire for power and superiority will ofcourse take different directions in each person,according to his make-up, teaching and the othercircumstances of his life. Property as a means ofpleasure, and as a symbol of achievement and ofpersonal worth, is valued highly from the earliest
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU406The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydays of the childs life. Very early does the childshow that it prizes goods, shows an acquisitive trendthat becomes finally glorified into a goal, anambition. Money and goods become the symbol andactuality of power, triumph, superiority, pleasure,safety, benevolence and a dozen and one otherthings. Men who seek money and goods maytherefore be seeking very different things; one ismerely acquisitive, has the miser trend; anotherloves the game for the games sake, picks uphouses, bonds, money, ships, as a fighter picks uptrophies, and they stand to him as symbols of hissuperiority. Some see in property the fulcrum bywhich they can apply the power that will shift thelives of other men and make of themselves a sort ofGod or Fate in the destinies of others. For others,and for all in part, there is in money the safetyagainst emergencies and further a something thatpurchases pleasure, whether that pleasure be ofbody, or taste or spirit. Wine and women, picturesand beautiful things, leisure for research and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU407The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycontemplation,--money buys any and all of these,and as the symbol of all kinds of value, as thesymbol of all kinds of power, it is sought assiduouslyby all kinds of men.There are many who start on their careerswith the feeling and belief that money is a minorvalue, that to be useful and of service is greaterthan to be rich. But this idealistic ambition in only afew cases stands up against the strain of life. Unlessmoney comes, a man cannot marry, or if hemarries, then his wife must do without ease andleisure and pretty things, and he must live in asecond-rate way. Sooner or later the idealist feelshimself uneasily inferior, and though he maycompensate by achievement or by developing astrong trend towards seclusiveness, more often heregrets bitterly his idealism and in his heart enviesthe rich. For they, ignorant and arrogant, maypurchase his services, his brains and self-sacrificeand buy these ingredients of himself with the air ofone purchasing a machine. So the idealist finds
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU408The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhimself condemned to a meager life, unless hisidealism brings him wealth, and he drifts in spiritaway from the character of his youth. It is the strainof life, the fear of old age and sickness, the silentpressure of the deprivations of a mans belovedones, the feeling of helplessness in disaster and thesilent envious feeling of inferiority that makesinroads in the ranks of the idealists so that at twentythere are ten idealists to the one found at forty.I remember well one of my colleagues,working patiently in a laboratory, out of sight of theworld and out of the stream of financial reward,enthused by science and service, who threw up hiswork and went into the practice of medicine. "Why?"I asked him. "Because when one of my brotherstook sick and was in dire need, I who loved himcould not help. I had no money, and all mymonographs put together could not help him buy ameal. There is a cousin of ours, who has grown richrunning a cheap moving-picture house, where thetaste of the community is debauched every day. He
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU409The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarylent my brother two thousand dollars out of hissuperfluities; it involved no sacrifice to him, for hepurchased a third car at the same time--and yet HEis our savior. Love alone is a torture. I am going toget money."The world is built up on the sacrifices of theidealists, and eternally it crucifies them. Wealth andpower are to him who has a marketable commodity,and one cannot complain when true genius becomesrich. But the genius to make money may be andoften is--an exploiting type of ability, a selfishlypractical industry, which neither invents nor is ofgreat service. The men who now do the basic workin invention and scientific work in laboratories arepoorly paid and only now and then honored. Everyyear in the United States hundreds of them leavetheir work in research and seek "paying jobs," to theimpoverishment of the world, but to their ownfinancial benefit. Countries where the scramble forwealth is not so keen, where the best brains do notfind themselves pressed into business, produce far
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU410The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymore science, art and literature than we do, with allour wealth. We will continue to be a second-ratenation in these regards, still looking for our greatAmerican novel and play, still seeking real singersand artists, until our idealism can withstand thepressure of our practical civilization.For here is a great division in people. Thereare those who become enthused by the noble aimsof life, by the superiority and service that come inthe work of teacher, priest, physician, scientist,philosopher and philanthropist, and those that seeksuperiority and power in wealth, station andinfluence. Those who, will fellowship and those whowill power is a short way of putting it, the idealistsand the practical is another. Fellowship is built up onsympathy, pity, friendliness and the desire to helpothers; it is essentially democratic, and in it runs thecooperative activities of man. For it is not true that"competition is the life of trade"; cooperation is itslife. Men dig ore in mines, others transport theirproduce, others smelt it and work it into shape,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU411The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryaccording to the designs and plans of still othermen; then it is transported by new groups andmarketed by an endless chain of men whose laborsdovetail to the end that mankind has a tool, ahabitation or an ornament. The past and presentcooperate in this labor, as do the remote ends of theearth. Competition is the SPUR of trade; its mightysinews, its strong heart and stout lungs arecooperative.Power is aristocratic, and elaborates andcalls into play competitive spirit. In all men thedesire for power and the desire for fellowship blendand interplay in their ambitions and activities; insome fellowship predominates, in others power. If aman specializes in fellowship aims, without learningthe secret of power, he is usually futile and sterile ofresults; if a man seeks power only and disregardsfellowship, is hated and is a tyrant, cruel andwithout pity. To be an idealist and practical is ofcourse difficult and usually involves a compromise ofthe ideal. Some degree of compromise is necessary,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU412The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryand the rigid idealist would have a better sanctionfor his refusal to compromise if he or any one couldbe sure of the perfection of his ideal.The practical seek their own welfare or thewelfare of others through direct means, throughexerting the power and the influence that is moneyand station. Rarely do they build for a distant future,and their goal is in some easily and popularlyunderstood good. What they say and what they doapplies to getting rich or healthy, to being good in aconventional way; success is their goal and thatsuccess lies in the tangibles of life. They easilybecome sordid and mean, since it is not possiblealways to separate good and evil when one isgoverned by expediency and limited idea of welfare.This is also true,--that while the practical usuallytend to lose idealism entirely, and find themselvesthe tools of habits and customs they cannot breakfrom, now and then a practical man reaches a highplace of power and becomes the idealist.Though all men seek power and fellowship,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU413The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywe have a right to ask what are a mans leadingpursuits. And we must be prepared to tear off amask before we understand the most of our fellows,for society and all of life is permeated with disguise.Now and then one seeks to appear worse than he is,hates fuss and praise, but this rare bird (to useslang and Latin in one phrase) is the exception thatproves the rule that men on the whole try to appearbetter than they are. Rarely does a man say, "I amafter profit and nothing else," although occasionallyhe does; rarely does the scientist say, "I seek fameand reward," even though his main stimulus may bethis desire and not the ideal of adding to theknowledge of the world. Behind the philanthropistmay lurk the pleasure in changing the lives ofothers, behind the reformer the picture of himself inhistory. The best of men may and do cherish powermotives, and we must say that to seek power isethically good, provided it does not injure fellowship.One must not, however, be misled by words; duty,service, fellowship come as often to the lips of the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU414The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryselfish as the unselfish.We spoke of power as a form of superiority.Since all superiority is comparative, there arevarious indirect ways of seeking superiority andavoiding inferiority. One of these is by adversecriticism of our fellows. The widespread love ofgossip, the quick and ever-present tendency todisparage others, especially the fortunate and thesuccessful, are manifestations of this type ofsuperiority seeking. Half the humor of the world isthe pleasure, produced by a technique, of feelingsuperior to the boor, the pedant, the fool, the newrich, the pompous, the over-dignified, etc. Half,more than half, of the conversation that goes on inboudoir, dining room, over the drinks and in thesmoking room, is criticism, playful and otherwise, ofothers. There are people in whom the adverselycritical spirit is so highly developed that they find ithard to praise any one or to hear any one praised--their criticism leaps to the surface in one way oranother, in the sneer, in the "butt," in the joke, in
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU415The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythe gibe, in the openly expressed attack. This way ofbeing superior may be direct and open, more often itis disguised. Many a woman (and man) whodenounces the sinner receives from hercontemplation of that sinner the most of her feelingof virtue and goodness. The more bitterly the self-acknowledged "saint" denounces the sinner, themore, by implication, he praises himself.People seek the strangest roads to thefeeling of superiority. From that classical imbecilewho burnt down the Temple of Diana to the crop ofyoung girls who invent tales of white slavery inorder to stand in the public eye as conspicuousvictims, notoriety has been mistaken for fame bythose desperate for public attention. To be superiorsome way, even if only in crime and foolishness,brings about an immense amount of laughable anddeplorable conduct to which only a Juvenal could dojustice. The world yields to superiority suchimmense tribute that to obtain recognition assuperior becomes a dominant motive. How that
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU416The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysuperiority is to be reached presents greatdifficulties, and the problem is solved according tothe character of the individual.At the same time that we seek superioritywe seek to be liked, to be esteemed, to berespected. These are not the same things, but aresufficiently alike in principle to be classed together.With some the desire to be liked becomes a motivethat ruins firmness of purpose and success, as in thewell-known "good fellow,"--accommodating, obligingand friendly, who sacrifices achievement to thisminor form of fellowship. On a larger plane there isthe writer or artist who sacrifices his best capacitiesin order to please the popular fancy, seekspopularity rather than greatness, for it is seldomthat the two coincide. Back of many a mans"respectability" is the fear of being disliked ordiscredited by his group. TO BE RESPECTABLE, TOLIVE SO THAT NEITHER THE NEIGHBORS NORONES OWN RATHER UNCRITICAL CONSCIENCE CANCRITICIZE, IS PERHAPS THE MOST COMMON AIM IN
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU417The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryLIFE. There are some who are all things to all men,merely out of the desire to be agreeable, who find iteasy to agree with any opinion, because they havenot the courage to be disliked. Even the greatestmen yield to the desire to be admired and liked,though the test of greatness is unpopularity.For there never can be a real and lastingdemoc-racy in belief, opinion and ideal. The massmust always lag behind the leaders, since it takes ageneration or two for the ideas of the old leaders topermeate any society. Now and then a great leaderfinds a great following in his own lifetime, but hisleadership rarely involves a new principle. There willalways be a few ground breakers, behind them afew straggling followers, and far, far behind, thegreat mass of mankind.This digression aside, to be popular,agreeable and entertaining are both aims andweapons. Most of us would infinitely rather be likedthan disliked, and with some it is a passion and aweakness. But to be popular, to be a good fellow, is
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU418The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryan extraordinarily useful trait when combined withfirm purposes and good intelligence. The art of life isto please, though its business is achievement andsuccess, and here the art may further the business.Manners, courtesy and certain of the abilities, suchas musical talent, story telling and humor arecultivated largely, though not wholly, out of thedesire to please.Manners and courtesy are reallystandardized methods of behavior, which are toadjust us in a pleasing way to our superiors, equalsand inferiors, and to the various conventionalsituations of life. Naturally these will vary greatly indifferent ages and different countries. A democracyacknowledging in theory no superiors will insist thatevery man be called "sir" and every woman"madam," whereas an aristocracy laughs at that. Inreality there is no democracy anywhere, and so weaddress differently the woman of the mansion andthe woman of the hovel, The mistress of the housecalls her maid by her first name but would wonder
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU419The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarywhat the world is coming to if the maid became asfamiliar. In a limited sense, manners and courtesyare conventional ways of doing things, as the way ofliving, the tipping of the hat, the form of greetings,the way of eating, but these conventions have greatvalue to the majority of people as evidencingbreeding and training or the lack (superiority orinferiority), and also as removing doubt and choice,so that things run smoothly and withoutcontradiction. In a more noble sense, manners andcourtesy prescribe conduct in order to proscribeoffense to the self-valuation of others. Conventionsays, "Address people as if they were your equals atleast; dont contradict brusquely because thatimplies their inferiority or stupidity; avoid toocontroversial topics since bitterness and humiliationmay thus arise; do not notice defects or disabilitiesfor the same reason; do not brag or be tooconspicuous, since to boast of superiority is to implythe inferiority of others, and they will dislike you,"etc. We tend to dislike and hate those who make us
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU420The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfeel inferior, except under those specialcircumstances where sex-love, awe and admirationenter to make a certain inferiority desirable orbefitting. So a large part of manners and courtesyconcern themselves with the formulae of conductwhich avoid this result to others, and we are alsoenjoined to conduct ourselves so that others will notregard us as inferior. We speak of a man as a "lowperson" if he eats with his knife, and very few thingsso humiliate us as the knowledge that we havebehaved in an unmannerly way. One of the greatpurposes, then, is to be conventional, to behave,dress and "look" according to an accepted standard,one that is laid down for age, sex and social station.There are people to whom convention is truly almostholy, and true to our principle of variability, thereare others who hate convention.Because many writers have shot shafts ofsatire and ridicule at convention and custom, andbecause of the enormous reading public, theartificial nature of convention has been emphasized
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU421The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryto that large part of the community that desires tobe different merely for the sake of being different,and there is built up a conventionalunconventionality. It has become the mark of theartist, the great in spirit, to be unconventional (atleast in novels), and so there are a hundred"unconventional" poseurs to one genuinely free inspirit. Anything that becomes a dogma or a cult isnot unconventional, for it is the standard or thecustom of a group. Most Bohemians, so-called, areposeurs and conventionalized to their marrow. Andmost of the really unconventional are "freaks," "oddsticks" whose grotesque individualities cannotconform. But in the mass of the unconventional onefinds here and there, like nuggets of gold in sand,the true reformers of the world.The "poseurs" in custom have theiranalogies in the pompous, over-dignified and over-important; the affected, in a word. Affectation is feltto be a disharmony between the pose and the innervalues or an attempt to win superiority or
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU422The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Library"difference" of a superior kind by acting. In eithercase it excites ridicule, hatred or disgust, and shaftsat it form part of the stock in trade of the satirist,humorist and indeed every portrayer of life. Whatmen demand of each other is sincerity, and evenwhere the insincerity is merely a habitual pose itarouses hostile feeling which expresses itself all theway from criticism to the overt act.Since to feel superior is so highly prized insocial relationships of all kinds, part of the techniqueof those seeking some advantage or other--economic, social, personal--from those who must beinfluenced is to give them the feeling of superiority.Flattery, cajolement, humble supplication and thefiner maneuvers of tact, all have this in mind. Thesehowever are palatable to the intelligent only whenfelt to be sincere and when emanating from someone more or less esteemed, though there are plentywho "fall" for the grossest flattery from almost anyone, whose ego feeling is easily inflated with acorresponding shrinking in judgment and common
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU423The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysense. In the relations of men and women, flatteryin one shape or another plays an enormous role --from the effect on women of the statement orimplication in a subtle or gross way that they arecharming, and the effect on men of acknowledgedsuperiority in strength courage or intelligence. Ofcourse, in both cases the effect is partly in thephysical attractiveness of the flatterer and tends tobecome ridiculous when he or she is without charm.The simpering language that is irresistible whenuttered by a starry-eyed maid of eighteen losessomewhat in beauty and effect when emanatingfrom the lips of bespectacled forty. The power to useand the power to resist flattery in any of its formshave played almost as great a role in the history ofthe race as strength, beauty or intelligence.It would be futile to elaborate in detail thevarious ways of seeking superiority or resistinginferiority. Two directions of this impulse need someattention, as they lead to personality traits of greatimportance. "Having ones way" becomes a
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU424The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydominant desire with many people, and much of theclashing that occurs in families, organizations andthe council chambers of nations arises from achildish, egoistic seeking of superiority. People enterinto the most heated and sterile arguments, oftencoming to blows, if the course of conduct they desireto have followed is modified or blocked. Even whensecretly convinced that they are wrong, husbandsand wives will continue to insist on victory, for toooften the domestic relationship is a struggle forleadership and dominance rather than a partnershipand a conference. Two heads are better than onewhen the intelligence within the heads is of goodgrade and when the desire for superiority does nottake trivial directions. And the effect of yielding tothe whims of children is to develop an irritable,domineering egoism bent on having its own way,resisting reasonable compromise or correction. Thegreatest benefit of discipline and above all of contactwith equals to a child is in the effect on this phase ofegoism, i. e., that cooperation means compromise;
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU425The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryto be reasonable implies listening with respect toothers plans and to accept better ways of doingthings, even if they have originated with others; inother ways the subordinating of trivial egoism. Thelarge families of other days offered the conflict ofwills and its consequent lesson within the home; to-day the solitary child, or the one whose brother orsister is three, four or five years younger or oldermust go into the streets to obtain this discipline orelse go without. The indulged have this form ofinferior egoism more than do those who have beenroughly handled, and so it is more common inwomen of the better-to-do classes and in men whohave always exercised authority. It is of coursefound in what is known as the stubborn person, --hewhose will is law to himself and who seeks to makeit law to others. Ordinarily the stubborn person ismerely a nuisance, but also, if he couples thatstubbornness with intelligence and some especialability, he may reach great heights, though he isseldom popular.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU426The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryA sub-form of having ones own way is theadherence to ones own "opinion." The clash ofopinions is in its noblest aspect the basis ofknowledge; the correction of opinion that resultswhen man meets man is the growth of tolerance andurbanity. Wide reading, travel and experience teachus that our opinions can never be absolutely right,and we grow to look upon them in a detached sortof way. In fact, the prime result of the growth ofintelligence and of experience is to make one, as itwere, objective toward oneself, to view ones ownthoughts, beliefs and emotions with some humorand skepticism. But the uncultured, the narrow, theinexperienced, the young and the strongly egotisticnever detach themselves from their opinions, andtheir opinions are themselves. Attack an opinion,contradict or amend it,--and a sort of fighting spiritis aroused. Argument differs from discussion in thatit seeks all means to win--ridicule, sophistry, andpersonal attack --and it is by far the more common.There was a time when opinion was entirely
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU427The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryenslaved, when only the ruler might venture on anew belief or its expression; then there came a timewhen the right to freedom of opinion and itsexpression was conceded, and now, with hugeforces confronting one another, freedom ofopinion[1] is again threatened. But that is an issuelarger than our subject.[1] The most profound contribution to thesubject of discussion and freedom of opinion inrecent years has been written by Walter Lippman inthe Atlantic Monthly, September, 1920.You may judge a man by his type ofargument and his reaction to the opinions of others.One should hold to his own beliefs and opinions, butonly if they withstand the assaults of reason. Tobuild ego feeling into opinions is to make ignorancesacred. For most of us there are certain opinionsthat we will not tolerate, and there are others towhich we are indifferent. There are those who feel itincumbent on themselves to contradict any opinion,even if they agree fundamentally with it. The mere
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU428The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfact that some one else gave it utterance arouses asort of jealousy. Then there are others who will notpermit any opinion of their own to be discussed, towhom it is a personal affront to do this. What we callurbanity is tolerance of other opinions; what we callreasonableness is the willingness to change opinionsif convinced. What we call vacillation is to have nofixed opinion, to be influenced at once by theopinions of others. The pleasure sought in argumentis a victory for our opinions and thus for ourselves.Here Montaignes wisdom aptly expressesitself: "We deride ourselves a hundred times whenwe mock our neighbor." He is stubborn andunreasonable who does not agree with us. "Bereasonable," cry the unreasonable as they argue."How stubborn and pigheaded you are," say thoseinaccessible to reason. The difficulty in reaching atrue estimate of the world, ourselves and ourneighbors lies in the egoism which permeates ourbeliefs and opinions.A second direction of the impulse to
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU429The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarysuperiority is personal beauty. Not only does theyoung girl (or any other, male or female) dress andadorn herself to attract those whose good opinionshe seeks, but also she seeks superiority over hercompetitors. Her own self-valuation increases withthe admiration of some and the discomfiture ofothers. To be beautiful, attractive or pretty becomesthus a goal to many aims of the personality; it offersa route to success in obtaining power, riches, etc.; ityields the longed-for admiration, and it gives thesatisfaction of superiority. It rarely has in it anyideal of service or of help, though beauty in theabstract is an ideal of high value. To desire to bebeautiful physically as a leading aim usually leads toselfishness and petty vanity. As a subsidiary aim itbalances character, but unfortunately, as we havebefore seen, it is inculcated as a primary aim earlyin the life of a girl. True, men seek to be beautiful ina masculine way, but the goal of masculine beauty isstrength, which is directly serviceable. This is not tosay that there are no men who are vain of their
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU430The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarygood looks, for there are many. But onlyoccasionally does one find a man who organizes hislife efforts to be beautiful, who establishes criteria ofsuccess or failure on complexion, hair, features offace and lines of figure. So long, therefore, aswoman can obtain power through beauty and sexappeal, so long may we expect a trivial trend in hercharacter.We have lost track of our hypothetical childin the history of his character development, lostsight of him as he struggles in a morass of desiresand purposes of power, fellowship and superiority.His situations become still more complex as wewatch him seek to unify his life around permanentpurposes, against a pestering, surging, recurring,temporary desire. He desires, let us say, to conformto the restriction in sex, but as he approachesadolescence, within and without stimuli of breathlessardor assail him. He must inhibit them if heproposes to be chaste, and his continent road isbeset with never-resting temptations. He calls
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU431The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhimself a fool at times for resisting, and his mindpictures the delights he misses--if not from directexperience, from information he gathers in booksand from those who know--and if he yields, thenself-reproach embitters him. But correctly to portraythe situation is to drop our hypothetical adolescent,for here is where individual reaction and individualsituations are too varied to be met with in one case.Some do not inhibit their sex desires at all; othersresist now and then, others yield occasionally; stillothers remain faithful to the ideal. Some drop theconventional ideal and replace with unconventionalsubstitutes, some resist at great cost to themselves,and others find no difficulty in resisting what is notemptation at all to them. Passion, resistance,opportunity, training and sublimation differ asremarkably as nuns differ from prostitutes.A similar situation is found in the workpurposes. To work steadily, with industry andunflagging effort, at something perhaps notinherently attractive is not merely a measure of
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU432The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryenergy,--it is a measure of inhibition and will. Forthere are so many more immediate pleasures to behad, even if offering only variety and relaxation.There is the country, there is the lake for fishing;there is the dance hall where a pretty girl smiles asyour arm encircles her waist; there is the ball fieldwhere on a fine day you may go and forget duty andstrained effort in the swirl of an enthusiasm thatemanates from the thousands around you as theyapplaud the splendid athletes; there is the goodfellowship and pleasure that beckon as you bend toa task. To shut these out, to inhibit the temporary"good" for the permanent good, is the measure ofcharacter.These sex and work situations we must takeup in detail in separate chapters. What is importantis that as life goes on, necessity, the socialorganization and gradual concentration of energycanalize the purposes, reduce the power of theirrelevant and temporary desires. Habit and custombring a person into definite relationship with society;
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU433The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythe man becomes husband, father, worker in somedefinite field of industry; ambition becomesnarrowed down to the possibilities or is entirelydiscarded as hopeless. The character becomes acollection of habits, with some controlling purposeand some characteristic relaxations. This at least istrue of the majority of men. Here and there arethose who have not been able to form a unificationeven along such simple lines; they are withoutsteady habits, derelicts morally, financially andsocially, or if with means independent of personaleffort they are wastrels and idlers. And again thereare the doers and thinkers of the world, thefortunate, whose lives are associated with successfulpurposes, whose ambitions grow and grow until theyreach the power of which they dreamed. There arethe reformers living in a fever heat of purpose,disdaining rest and relaxation, dangerously nearfanaticism and not far from mental unbalance, butachieving through that unbalance things thebalanced never have the will to attempt. He who
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU434The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryworks merely to get rich or powerful or to providefood for his family cannot understand the zealotswho see the world as a place where SOMETHINGMUST happen,--where slavery MUST be abolished,women MUST have votes, children MUST go toschool until sixteen, prostitution MUST disappear,alcohol MUST be prohibited, etc. Such people missthe pretty, pleasant relaxing joys of life, but theygain in intensity of life what they lose in diffuseness.This war of the permanent unified purposesversus the temporary scattering desires--the powerof inhibition --is involved in the health and vigor ofthe person. Disease, fatigue and often enough oldage show themselves in lowered purpose, in thefailure of the will (in the sense of the energy ofpurpose), in a scattering of activity. Indeed, in thesenile states one too often sees the disappearanceof moral control where one least expected it. Andone of the greatest tragedies of our times occurredwhen an elderly statesman, on the brink of arterialdisease of the brain, lost the strength and firmness
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU435The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryof purpose that hitherto had characterized him. Oneof the worst features of the government of nations isthe predominance of old men in the governingbodies. For not only are they apt to have over-intellectualized life, not only have they becomespecialists in purpose and therefore narrow, but theatrophy of the passions and desires of youth andmiddle life has rendered them unfit to legislate forthe bulk of the race, who are the young and middle-aged. It is no true democracy where old age governsthe rest of the periods of life.Unification of purpose often goes too far.Men lose sight of the duties they owe to wife andfamily in their pursuit of wealth or fame; they forgetthat relaxation and pleasure-seeking are normal andlegitimate aims. They deify a purpose; they attach itto themselves so that it becomes more essentiallythemselves than their religion or their family. Theyspeak of their work as if every letter werecapitalized and lose sympathy and interest in therest of the wide striving world. Men grow hard, even
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU436The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryif philanthropists, in too excessive a devotion to apurpose, and soon it is their master, and they are itsslaves. Happy is he who can follow his purposeefficiently and earnestly, but who can find interest inmany things, pleasure in the wide range of joys theworld offers and a youthful curiosity and zest in thenew.Every human being, no matter how civilizedand unified, how modern and social in his conduct,has within him a core of uncivilized, disintegrating,ancient and egoistic desires and purposes. "I feeltwo natures struggling within me" is the epitome ofevery mans life. This is what has been called conflictby the psychoanalysts, and my own disagreementwith them is that I believe it to be distinctlyconscious in the main. A man knows that the prettyyoung girls he meets tempt him from his allegianceto his wife and his desires to be good; a womanknows that the prosaic husband no longer pleases,and why he does not please,--only if you ask eitherof them bluntly and directly they will deny their
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU437The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydifficulties. The organic activities of the body, basicin desire of all kinds, are crude and give rise tocrude forbidden wishes, but the struggle that goeson is repressed, rebelled against and gives rise totrains of secondary symptoms,--fatigue, headache,indigestion, weariness of life and many othercomplaints. It is perfectly proper to complain ofheadache, but it is a humiliation to say that youhave chosen wrongly in marriage, or that you areessentially polygamous, or that an eight-hour day ofwork at clerking or bookkeeping disgusts and boresyou. People complain of that which is proper andallows them to maintain self-respect, but they hidethat which may lower them in the eyes of others.Gain their confidence, show that you see deeperthan their words and you get revelations that needno psychoanalytic technique to elicit and which aredistinctly conscious.This brings me to the point that the constantinhibition, blocking and balking of desires andwishes, though in part socially necessary and
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU438The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryethically justifiable, is decidedly wearisome, at timesto all, and to many at all times. It seems so easyand pleasant to relax in purposes, in morals, inthought, to be a vagrant spirit seeking nothing butthe pleasures right at hand; to be like a traditionalbee flitting from the rose to rose of desire. (Only thebee is a decidedly purposive creature, out forbusiness not pleasure.) "Why all this striving andself-control?" cries the unorganized in all of us."Why build up when Death tears down?" cries thepessimist in our hearts. Great epochs in history aremarked by different answers to these questions, andin our own civilization there has grown up a beliefthat bodily pleasure in itself is wrong, that life isvanity unless yoked to service and effort. ThePuritan idea that we best serve God in this way hasbeen modified by a more skeptical idea that weserve man by swinging our efforts away from bodilypleasure and toward work, organized to some goodend; but essentially the idea of inhibition, control, asthe highest virtue, remains. Such an ideal gains
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU439The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryforce for a time, then grows too wearisome, tooextreme, and a generation grows up that throws itoff and seeks pleasure frankly; paints, powders,dances, sings, develops the art of "living," indulgesthe sense; becomes loose in morals, andhyperesthetic and over-refined in tastes. Then theennui, boredom and disgust that always followsensual pleasures become diffuse; happiness cannotcome through the seeking of pleasure andexcitement and anhedonia of the exhausted typearises. Preachers, prophets, seers and poetsvigorously proclaim the futility of pleasure, and thehappiness of service; inhibition comes into its ownagain and a Puritan cycle recommences. Stoic,epicurean; Roman republic, Roman empire; PuritanEngland, Restoration; Victorian days, early twentiethcentury; for to-day we are surging into an era ofrevolt against form, custom, tradition; in a wordagainst inhibition.As with periods, so with people; self-indulgence, i. e., indulgence of the passing desires,
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU440The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfollows the idealism of adolescence. Youth sows itswild oats. Then the steadying purposes appearpartly because the pleasure of indulgence passes.Marriage, responsibility, straining effort mark thepassing of ten or a dozen years; then in middle life,and often before, things get flat and without savor,monotony creeps in and a curiosity as to thepossibilities of pleasure formerly experienced isawakened. (I believe that most of the sexualunfaithfulness in men and women over thirty springsnot from passion but from curiosity.)There occurs a dangerous age in the latethirties and early forties, one in which self-indulgence makes itself clamorous. The monotony oflabor, the fatigue of inhibition make themselves felt,and at this time men (and women) need to addrelaxation and pleasure of a legitimate kind. Golf,the fishing trip, games of all kinds; legitimateexcitement which need not be inhibited is necessary.This need of excitement without inhibition is behindmost of the gambling and card playing; it explains
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU441The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythe extraordinary attraction of the detective storyand the thrilling movies; it gives great social valueto the prize fight and the ball game where you maysee the staid and the sober giving vent to anexcitement that, may fatigue them for a time butwhich clears the way for their next days inhibitions.Unfortunately too many mistake excitementfor happiness. The forms of relief from inhibition--card playing, sports, the theater, the thrilling storyand the movie--grow to be habits and lose theirexciting value. They can give no permanent relieffrom the pain of repression; only a philosophy of lifecan do that. A philosophy of life! One might write afew volumes on that (and there are so many greatphilosophers already on the market), and yet such aphilosophy would only state that strenuous purposemust alternate with quiet relaxation; excitement isto be sought only at periods and never for anylength of time; relief from inhibitions can only befound in legitimate ways or self-reproach enters.Play, sports, short frequent vacations rather than
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU442The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarylong ones, freedom from ceremony as a rule--butnow and then a full indulgence in ceremonials--anda realization that there is no freedom in self-indulgence.I remember one Puritanically bred youngwoman who fled from her restrictions and inhibitionsand joined a "free love" colony in New York. Aftertwo years she left, them and came back to NewEngland. Her statement of the situation she foundherself; it summarizes all attempts at "freedom." "Itwasnt freedom. You found yourself bound to yourdesires, a slave to every wish. It grew awfullytiresome and besides, it brought so manycomplications. Sometimes you loved where youwerent loved--and vice versa. Jealousy was there,oh, so much of it--and pleasure disappeared after awhile. It wasnt conscience--I still believe that rightand wrong are arbitrary matters --but I foundmyself envying people who had some guide, somebelief, some restrictions in themselves! For itseemed to me they were more free than I."
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU443The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryThe fact is, for most men and womeninhibition is no artificial phenomenon, despite itsburdensomeness. It is not only inevitable, it isdesirable. A feeling of power appears when oneresists; there is mental gain, character growth as aresult. Life must be purposive else it is vain andfutile, and the feeling of no achievement and failureis far more disastrous than a thousand inhibitions.Though man battles and compromises withhimself, he also battles and compromises with hisfellows and circumstances. That is to say, he mustcontinually adjust himself to the unforeseen, theobstacle, the favoring circumstance; the possibleand impossible; the certain and uncertain.Adjustment to reality is what the neurologists call it,but they do not define reality, which indeed cannotbe defined. It is not the same thing for any twopersons. For some reality is success, for others it isvirtue. The scientist smiles at the reality of the love-sick girl, and she would think his reality a baddream. The artist says, "Beauty is the reality"; the
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU444The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarymiser says, "Cash"; the sentimentalist answers,"None of this but Love"; and the philosopher, alooffrom all these, defines reality as "Truth." And theskeptic asks, "What is Truth?" We gain nothing bysaying a man must adjust himself to reality; we saysomething definite when we say he must adjust hiswishes to his abilities, to the opposing wills, wisher,and abilities of others; to the needs of his family andhis country; to disease, old age and death; to theflux of the river of life. In the quickness ofadjustment we have a great character factor; in thefarsightedness of adjustment (foreseeing, planning)we have another. Does a man take his difficultieswith courage and good cheer does he make the"best of it" or is he plunged into doubt andindecision by obstacles or complications? Is he calm,cool, collected, well poised, in that he watches andworks without too much emotion and maintains self-feeling against adversity? We say a man is self-reliant when he finds in himself resources againstobstacles and does not call on his neighbors for
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU445The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryhelp. We would do well to extend the term to theone whose fund of courage, hope, energy andresource springs largely from within himself; whoresists the forces that reduce courage, hope andenergy. A higher sort of man not only supplieshimself with the energetic factors of character, buthe inspires, as we say, others; he is a sort of bankof these qualities, with high reserves which he givesto others. Contrast him with those whose cryconstantly is "Help, help." Charming they may be asornaments, but they deplete the treasury of life fortheir associates and are only of value as they callout the altruism of others.There is no formula for adjustment.Intelligence, insight into ones powers andcapacities, caution, boldness, compromise, firmness,aggressiveness, tact,--these and a dozen other traitsand qualities come into play. It is a favorite teachingof optimistic sentimentalists, "Will conquerseverything--it is omnipotent." Gods will is,--but noone elses. What happens when two will and pray for
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU446The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarydiametrically opposing results? "Then God is on theside of the heaviest battalions," said Napoleon.Victory comes to the best prepared, the mostintelligent, the least hampered and the luckiest.Outside of metaphysics and theology there is noabstract will; it is a part of purpose, intelligence andinstinct and shares in their imperfections andlimitations. To will the impossible is to taste failure,although it may be difficult to know what isimpossible. Fight hard, be brave, keep your powderdry and have good friends is the best counsel foradjustment. But learn resignation and cultivate asense of humor.No inspiration in that? Well, I must leaveinspiration to others who have an infallible formula.The best I can offer in adjustment is the old prayer,"Lord, make me love the chase and not the quarry!Lord, make me live up to my ideals!"Out of the welter of conflicts into which theindividual is plunged through his own nature and thenature of the life around him, out of the experience
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU447The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryof the race and the teaching of its leaders comeideals. Good, Beauty, Justice,--these are gooddeeds, beautiful things, true and non-contradictoryexpressions, just acts raised to the divine andabsolute, and therefore worshiped. And theiropposite, arising from evil deeds, ugly anddisgusting things, misleading experiences andsuffering, become unified into various forms of Evil.Life becomes divided into two parts, Good and Evil,and personified (by the great majority) into God andthe Devil. Man seeks the Good, hates Evil, esteemshimself when he conforms to the ideal, loatheshimself when he violates it. He cannot judgehimself; he wishes to know the judgment of othersand accepts or rejects that judgment.We say man seeks pleasure, satisfaction, theGood. True. But it is important to know thatessentially he seeks a higher self-valuation, seeks toestablish his own dignity and worth and has hishighest satisfaction when that valuation is reachedthrough conformity with absolute standards.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU448The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Library
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU449The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryChapter XII. THE METHODS OF PURPOSE--WORK CHARACTERSHaving asked concerning any person, "Whatare his purposes?" whether of power or fellowship,whether permanent or transitory, whetheradjustable or not, we next ask, "How does he seektheir fulfillment?""He who wills the end wills the means" is anold saying, but men who will the same end may willdifferent means. There have been those who usedassassination to bring about reform, and there areplenty who use philanthropy to hasten their egoisticaims. The nihilist who throws a bomb to bring aboutan altruistic state is own cousin to the ward heelerwho gives coal to his poor constituents so that hisgrafting rule may continue.1. There are those who use the direct routeof force to reach their goal of desire and purpose.They attempt to make no nice adjustments of theirwishes to the wishes of others; the obstacle,whether human or otherwise must get out of their
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU450The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryway or be forcibly removed or destroyed. "A straightline is the shortest distance between two points,"and there is only one absolute law,--"the good oldrule, the simple plan that they may take who havethe power and they may keep who can." Theindividuals who react this way to obstacles arecholeric, passionate, egoistic and in the last analysissomewhat brutal. This is especially true if they seekforce at first, for with nearly all of us extremeprovocation or desperation brings direct-actionmeasures.Conspicuously those accustomed to arbitrarypower use this method. They have grownaccustomed to believing that their will or wish is acause, able to remove obstacles of all kinds. Whenat all opposed the angry reaction is extreme, andthey tend to violence at once. The old-fashionedhome was modeled in tyranny, and the forcereaction of the father and husband to his childrenand wife was sanctioned by law and custom. Theattitude of the employer to employee, universally in
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU451The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythe past and still prominent, was that of the master,able in ancient times to use physical punishmentand in our day to cut off a mans livelihood if heshowed any rebellion. In a larger social way War iscrude brute force, and those who delude themselvesthat the God of victory is a righteous God have readhistory with a befoozled mind. Force, though theworld rests on it, is a terrible weapon and engendersbrutality in him who uses it and rebellion, hate andhumiliation in him upon whom it is used. It is aninsult to the dignity and worth of the human being.It must be used for disciplining purposes only,--onchildren, on the criminal, and then more to restrainthan to punish. It cannot disappear from the world,but it should be minimized. Only the sentimentalizedbelieve it can disappear entirely, only the brutalrejoice in its use. Force is a crude way of assertingand obtaining superiority; the gentle hate to use it,for it arouses their sympathy for their opponent.Whoever preaches force as the first weapon in anystruggle is either deluded as to its value or an
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU452The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryenemy of mankind.As a non-inhibited response, force andbrutality appear in the mentally sick. Generalparesis, cerebral arterio-selerosis, alcoholicpsychoses present classical examples of theimpatient brutal reaction, often in men hithertopatient and gentle.2. Strategy or cunning appears as a secondgreat method of obtaining the fulfillment of onespurposes. We all use strategy in the face of superioror equal power, just as we tend to use forceconfronted by inferiority. There is of course alegitimate use of cunning, but there is also an anti-social trend to it, quite evident in those who bynature or training are schemers. The strategist inlove, war or business simulates what he does notfeel, is not frank or sincere in his statements andbelieves firmly that the end justifies the means. Heuses the indirect force of the lie, the slander,insinuation --he has no aversion to flattery andbribery--he uses spies and false witnesses. He is a
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU453The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryspecialist in the unexpected and seeks to lullsuspicion and disarms watchfulness, waiting for themoment to strike. Sometimes he weaves so tangleda web that he falls into it himself, and one of thestock situations in humor, the novel and the stage iswhere the cunning schemer falls into the pit he hasdug for others. In his highest aspect he is thediplomat; in his lowest he is the sneak. People whoare weak or cowardly tend to the use of thesemethods, but also there is a group of the strong whohate direct force and rather like the subtlerweapons.The strategist tends to be quite cynical, andhis effect on his fellow men is to increase cynicismand pessimism. They who have suffered through theschemer grow to suspect their fellows under anyguise. They become suspicious and hard,determined never to trust any one again. Indeed,practical wisdom to a large extent is the wisdom ofstrategy and is full of mottoes and proverbsinculcating non-generous ideals. When people have
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU454The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarybeen "fooled" or misled, the most valuable of thesocial cementing qualities, faith in ones fellows, isweakened. Despite the disintegrating effect ofunscrupulous shrewdness, it is common enough tohear men say of a successful votary of the art,"Well, I give him credit. He is a very clever fellow,and he has brought home the bacon." Success is sohighly prized and admired that the means ofobtaining it becomes secondary in the eyes of themajority.3. The role of speech in the relationships ofhuman beings is of course too great to be over-estimated. Speech becomes the prime weapon inswaying and molding the opinions and acts ofothers. It is the medium of the threat of force andthe stratagem of cunning, but also it enters humanlife as the medium of persuasion and conviction. Thespeech ability, the capacity to use words in attainingpurpose, shows as striking variations as any othercapacity.Though a function of intelligence, the power
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU455The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryto speak (and write) convincingly and easily, is notat all related to other phases of intelligence. Thoughit can be cultivated, good verbalism is an innateability, and a most valuable one. The power to speakclearly so as to express what is on ones own mind isuncommon, as any one can testify who has watchedpeople struggling to express themselves. "Youknow" is a very frequent phrase in the conversationof the average man, and he means that, "My wordsare inadequate, but you know what I mean." Thedelight in the good writer or speaker is that herelieves other peoples dissatisfaction in their owninadequate expression by saying what they yearn tosay for themselves, thus giving them a vicariousachievement.But the power of clear expression is not atall the power of persuasion, although it may be apart of it. One may clearly express himself andantagonize others. The persuader seeks to discoverthe obstacles to agreement with him in the minds ofothers and to remove or nullify them. He may seek
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU456The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryto do this by a clear exposition of his wishes anddesires, by showing how these will benefit the others(or at least not harm them), by meeting logically orotherwise the objections and demonstrating theirfutility. This he will attempt, if he is wise andpractical, only in a limited group or among thosewho are keen-minded and open to reason. Even withthem he will have to kindle and maintain theirinterest, and he must arouse a favorable emotionalstate.This latter is the principal goal in persuasion.Every good speaker or writer who seeks to reach themass of people needs the effect of the greatfeelings--of patriotism, sympathy and humor--needsflattery, gross or subtle, makes people laugh orsmile or feel kindly disposed to him before heattempts to get their cooperation. He must placehimself on their level, be regarded as one of them;fellowship and the cooperative tendencies must beawakened before logic will have value.The persuader cuts his cloth to suit his case.
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU457The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital LibraryHe is a psychologist of the intuitive type. He maythunder and scold if he finds in his audience,whether numbering one or a million, a tendency toyield to authority, and he then poses as thatauthority, handing out his dicta in an awe-inspiringfashion. He will awaken the latent trend to ridiculeand scoffing by pointing out inconsistency in others,or he may awaken admiration for his fairness andjustice by lauding his opponent, taking care not tooverdo it.Persuasion is often a part of scheming,rarely is it used by the forceful, except in theauthoritative way or to arouse anger against theopponent. It is the weapon of those who believe indemocracy, for all exposition has persuasion as itsmotive. A statement must not only be true toothers,--to the mass. Therefore persuasion asapplied to the great mass of people is rarely closelyknit or a fine exposition of truth and historicalevolution; that one must leave for the highbrowbook or treatise. It is passionate and pleading; it
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU458The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarythunders and storms; it has wit and humor; it dealswith symbols and analogies, it plays on the words oftruth, justice, ideals, patriotism. It may be honestand truthful, but it cannot be really accurate or ofhigh intellectual value.And the persuasion that seeks private endsfrom private audiences "sizes" up its audience as apreliminary. The capacity to understand others andto sway them, to impress them according to theirmake-up, is a trait of great importance for successor failure. It needs cultivation, but often it dependson a native sociability, a friendliness and genuineinterest, on a "good nature" that is what it literallypurports to be,--good nature. Though many of thepersuasive kind are insincere and selfish, I believethat on the whole the taciturn and gruff are lessinterested in their fellows than the talkative andcordial.The persuasive person has a touch of thefighting spirit in the trait called aggressiveness. Heis rarely shy or retiring. To do well, he must be
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU459The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryprepared for rebuffs, and he is possessed of aspecies of courage and resistance against refusaland humiliation. In the highest form the persuader isa teacher and propagandist, changing the policy ofpeoples; in the commonest form he is a salesman,seeking to sell a commodity; in the lowest he is thefaker, trying to hoodwink the credulous.4. The strong, the crafty, the talkers eachseek fulfillment of purpose from an equal or higherlevel than their fellows. But power and fulfillmentmay be reached at from a lower level, from thebeggars position, from the place of weakness. Thereare some whose existence depends upon theresponse given to their supplications, who throwthemselves directly on the charity and tender-heartedness of society. Inefficient, incapable ofseparate existence, this parasitic class is known toevery social service group, to every rich or powerfulman who helps at least in part to maintain them. Ido not mean those who are physically orintellectually unable to cope with the world; these
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU460The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryare merely unfortunate. I mean those whose energyand confidence is so low, or whose lack of pride issuch that they are willing to ask for help continuallyrather than make their own way.There is, however, a very interesting type ofperson who uses weakness as a weapon to gain apurpose, not support. The tears of many womenhave long been recognized as potent in that warfarethat goes on between the sexes; the melting ofopposition to the whim or wish when thismanifestation of weakness is used is an old story.The emotional display renders the manuncomfortable, it disturbs him, he fears to increaseit lest the opponent become sick, his consciencereproaches him, and he yields rather than "make afuss." Tears can be replaced by symptoms of ahysteric nature. I do not mean that these symptomsare caused by the effort to win, but they becomeuseful and are made habitual. Nor is this found onlyin woman; after an accident there are men in plentywhose symptoms play a role in securing
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU461The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycompensation for themselves, not necessarily asmalingerers. It is in human nature to desire thesympathy of others, and in some cases thissympathy is sought because through sympathysome other good will be forthcoming,--a new dress,a lump sum of money, or merely securing ones ownway. Very noticeably do children tend to injurethemselves if crossed; anger tends to turn on itself,and the effect on the other party is soon realized,and often utilized. A child may strike its headagainst the floor without any other motive than thatarising from hopeless anger, but if this brings theparents to their knees,[1] the association is madeand the experience becomes part of the workingtechnique of the child.[1] This turning of anger upon itself is afactor in self-destruction. It is seen, so thenaturalists say, in the snake and the asp, and it iscommon in human relations.5. There is in man an urge to activityindependent of reward save in the satisfaction that
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU462The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Librarycomes from that activity. This current is organizedinto work, and the goal becomes achievement. Themost powerful factor in discharging the energies ofman is the desire for achievement. Wealth,superiority, power, philanthropy, renown, safety andpleasure enormously reinforce this purpose, butbehind the GOOD work of the world is the passion tocreate, to make something, to mold the resistingforces of nature into usefulness and beauty.Handicraftsman, artist, farmer, miner, housewife,writer,--all labor contradicts the legend that work isa curse. To gain by work, to obtain desires throughlabor, is a method of attainment that is a naturalideal of man.This makes opportune a discussion of thework-traits. Since ours is an industrial society, inwhich the work of a member is his means ofobtaining not only respect, but a living, these traitsare largely those by which he is judged and bywhich he judges himself.Since work for some is their life and for
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU463The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryothers their means of obtaining a living, it is obviousthat the work-traits may be all the traits of theindividual, or only a few of them. Certain traits areespecially important, and to these we must limitourselves.The energy of the individual. Some are soconstituted that they can constantly discharge theirenergy at a high rate. These are the dynamics, thehyperkinetic, the Rooseveltian--strenuous--the busypeople, always able to do more. The modernAmerican life holds this type as an ideal, though it isquite questionable whether these rather over-busypeople do not lose in reflective and creative ability.The rushing stream turns the wheels of the mills,but it is too strenuous for stately ships. This typehowever achieves things, is seen often in the fineexecutive and usually needs no urging.There is another fine type not so welladapted to our civilization, which is easilyexhausted, but can accomplish very much in a shorttime; in other words discharges energy
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU464The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryintermittently at a high rate. Charles Darwin was ofthis kind--intermittently hyperkinetic --obliged torest after an hours labor, but by understanding this,WILLING to rest. Unfortunately, unless one is agenius or rich, industry does not make allowancesfor this type. Industry is organized on steadiness ofenergy discharge,--eight hours every day, six days aweek.The commonest type is the "average" personwho is capable of moderately intense but constantactivity. This is the steady man and woman; it isupon this steadiness that the whole factory--shopsystem--is based. That this steadiness deadens,injures vivacity and makes for restlessness, isanother matter.A distinctly pathological type is found insome feebleminded and some high mentalities. Thisunfortunate discharges energy at a low rate is slowin action and often intermittent as well ashypokinetic. The loafer and the tramp are of thistype. Around the water front of the seaports one can
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU465The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryfind the finest specimens who do odd jobs for asmuch as will pay for lodging and food and drink.Perhaps the order of the desired rewards should bereversed. Every village furnishes individuals of thisgroup, either unable or unwilling to workconsecutively or with energy. Often purposelessday-dreamers or else bereft of normal humanmentality, these are the chronically unemployed ofour social- industrial system.It must be remembered that to worksteadily every day and in the same place is not aninnate circumstance of mans life. For the untoldcenturies before he developed into an agriculturistand a handicraftsman, he sought his food and hisprotection in the simplest way and with little steadylabor. Whether as hunter or fisher or nomadherdsman, he lived in the open air, slept in caves orin rudely constructed shelters and knew nothing ofthose purposes that keep men working frommorning till night. Its a long way from primitiveman and his occupations, with their variety and their
    • 1DODQGDLJLWDO/LEUDU466The Foundations of Personality by Abraham MyersonE-Text Conversion by Nalanda Digital Libraryrelaxat