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consciousness with its experiences of pleasure and displeasure. The inadequacy of this classification has been increasingly, if but tacitly, felt. Thus, the affective consciousness deals with far more than affective tone-mere pleasure and displeasure. (Indeed, as I shall presently indicate, I hesitate to regard these as primitive.) It covers every kind of feeling, not merely emotional, but also intellectual-feelings of familiarity, certainty, doubt, relationship, and so forth. It covers feelings relating to the acts of the self, as well as to the condition of the self.
Thus, in relation to the self and the self's activity, feelings appear to me divisible into two classes-the 'ipsi-affective' attached to the self, and the 'actu-affective' attached to the self's acts. E.g. in the state of strain and enhanced vitality produced by a favourable environment, the ipsi-affect is a feeling of 'exhilaration' (evolving into 'gladness'), the actu-affect is one of 'interest.' In the state of strain produced, on the other hand, by an unfavourable environment, the ipsi-affect is a feeling of 'uneasiness' (evolving into 'distress'), the actu-affect is one of ‘repugnance.' Again, in the state of rest produced by a favourable environment, the ipsi-affect is a feeling of 'ease' (evolving into 'bliss'), the actuaffect is one of 'contentment'; while, in the state of rest and reduced vitality produced by an unfavourable environment, the ipsi-affect is a feeling of 'depression' (evolving into 'sadness'), the actu-affect is one of 'apathy.'
Moreover, when we are engaged in apprehending or recollecting any situation, it is obvious that we must inevitably employ the conative, as well as the cognitive, mode of consciousness as above distinguished. Indeed, knowing becomes a form of doing. Hence attempts have been made to classify the modes of consciousness not on these older lines but on the basis of a distinction between doing and what is done, i.e. between process and product, or between act and content, e.g. between the act of perceiving and what is perceived, the act of remembering and what is remembered, the act of deliberating or deciding and what is decided on or deliberated about. According to this scheme, consciousness is classifiable along the lines of self-activity and the outcome of selfactivity. But even this appears unsatisfactory, because, in the first place, it leaves the affective consciousness out of consideration and, in the second place, it implies that whatever product of consciousness appears to be 'presented' to the self is really a product of self-activity.
In regard to the latter, is it reasonable to suppose that when we suddenly hail a friend or are struck with an idea, the corresponding
percept or thought is consequent on an act of the self? Is it not more in accordance with common sense to suppose that such a percept or thought is a 'presentation' to the self, rather than that it is produced by the self? Are there not occurring numerous processes that yield conscious products-acts which are independent of the self? Are not the process of sensing and the spontaneous revival of past experiences examples of these, and are not their mental products-sensations, say of heat or noise, and memories, say of a forgotten duty-received by instead of being created by the self? To this it may be replied, that such acts and contents are at first mental but not conscious, and that the only consciousness which is possible for us is the self's consciousness-the consciousness arising from the activity of that highest unitary system which we call the 'ego.' Heat is not a sensation until the self attends to it. Before it so attends, something is presented-some mental content produced by the mental act of sensing, which involves not self-activity, but the activity of some lower mental function-mental but not conscious.
The attempt may be made to evade this difficulty by employing the principle of what I shall later describe as 'self-projection,' or by supposing that originally, e.g. on the first occasion that the sensation was ever experienced, the self was consciously engaged in the act of producing it, but that in later life the act had become so habitual that, self-activity becoming no longer involved, the act had been relegated to lower nervous levels.
TWO MAIN CONDITIONS OF CONSCIOUSNESS.
To this it may be rejoined that there is no decisive evidence that, as with practice an acquired act becomes a habit, the nervous paths are essentially different (save in so far as concomitant redundant acts are abandoned) from those which were employed during the acquisition of that habit. It may well be that the presence or absence of the consciousness of self-activity is dependent on the degree of resistance which the nervous processes encounter, and that practice wears down this resistance, canalising or facilitating one and the same path as the unpractised conscious act gradually becomes a habitual one. But if consciousness is dependent on the degree of such highest resistance, we have to remember, on the other hand, that when that resistance is excessive owing to the harmful effect of the experience on the organism -consciousness is again abolished. True, the resistance or inhibition against entry into consciousness may appear to be here of another kinddue to incompatibility instead of to novelty. But elsewhere in mental
life we have at least two other seeming examples of an intermediate range, on either side of which the appearance of one and the same function is favoured.
THE PRINCIPLE OF SIMILARITY BETWEEN EXTREMES.
Thus, in order to withstand suggestion, the field of consciousness must not be too diffuse, nor must it, on the other hand, be too restricted. The condition of hypnotic suggestion, as is well known, is induced by fixation of attention within narrow limits-gazing at a point of light, thinking concentratedly of going to sleep, etc. But the suggestibility of a person is also increased in the opposite condition of reverie brought about by asking the subject to relax his attention and to think of nothing. Somehow each of these antagonistic states leads apparently to the same result-the abolition of self-control, and the acceptance of ideas which under normal conditions would be rejected.
The second example which I have in mind relates to the development of emotional experience. There is good reason to suppose that one of the principal factors determining our experience of an emotion is the degree of resistance which prevents its expression in bodily activity. If that resistance be not too great-if, say, a dangerous situation is fairly readily soluble by the reaction of flight-the emotion of fear may not be felt. But when great resistance or conflict is offered to such expression, the emotion is at once developed. A similar standpoint has been taken by some, e.g. Prideaux, who have carried out observations on the psycho-galvanic reaction. Within certain limits this reaction is more intense when the emotion with which it is associated is less felt. To take the extreme case of the idiot, he gives more free expression to an emotional situation and develops the psycho-galvanic response to it more strongly than a person of normal intelligence, but there is good reason to suppose that he feels the emotion less intensely. A certain resistance to expression-what Drever calls a condition of 'feeling tension'-seems essential before emotion can occur1. But Drever believes that emotional feeling is favoured not only "when there is some check, or at least pause, in the attainment of the end or satisfaction of the impulse," but also "when the end," so far from being checked, "is attained so quickly or abundantly that action cannot keep pace with feeling."
We may well wonder how excess or defect of a given condition may
1 Instinct in Man. 2nd edition, 1921, p. 272.
My argument is hardly affected by any obscurity in the last few words of this quotation.
lead to the same result, but an explanation in evolutionary terms appears worthy of consideration. Along these lines we may conjecture that it is pre-eminently from the moderate condition that new effects are developed, the more primitive effects persisting in extreme conditions that fall far short, or are far in excess, of the moderate. On this supposition, extreme suggestibility is a primitive mental characteristic, which has gradually become reduced in the course of evolution under conditions of moderately restricted attention. By the same reasoning, readiness to experience emotion is a characteristic of the primitive mind. In higher organisms it persists when its end is extravagantly attained or when there is considerable check in the attainment of its end; on the other hand, it becomes reduced or abolished when that end is attained without undue speed and fulness, on the one hand, and without undue check, on the other.
So also in regard to consciousness and resistance. The primitive condition of the living organism is such that its mental activity is largely unconscious. Conscious activity has been differentiated from it. From this it must not be inferred that the beginning of conscious life is to be sought in reflex action; the reflex act is rather the decadent relic of a primordial mental activity which preceded the development of conscious activity. Mental activity is prior to habitual and reflex (quasi-mechanical) action; the mechanical is rather an abstraction from the truly mental.
ACT AND DIRECTION.
The distinction we have drawn between act and content, between process and product, is characteristic of all vital activity. We can separate the act or the process of secreting from the secretion or the product of that process. Whether the level of the nervous system be high or low, whether or not there be attendant consciousness of the mental act or content, we can speak of neural process on the one hand, and of neural product on the other, and we may suppose that every such act involves mechanical work and hence the expenditure of force, and that with every act energy is expended, involving a degradation manifest in the form of electricity, heat, etc. But vital activity is characterised by anabolic as well as by katabolic processes-by creative as well as by destructive changes. Furthermore, these creative changes are characterised by some degree of purposiveness; they do not occur merely by blind chance. Biologists are coming generally to recognise the insufficiency of purely accidental variations as an explanation of the origin of species. Hence, in addition to the explosive force of mere acts,
we have to consider the more continuous setting or direction in which those acts take place. It is the complexity and prominence of this directive setting that pre-eminently distinguishes the nervous from all other tissues of the living organism, and that above all distinguishes the conscious from the unconscious mental life of that organism. And as direction depends on pre-existing dirigibility, it demands plasticity, in contrast to fixity, of reaction.
FUNCTIONS OF CONSCIOUSNESS.
It is fairly obvious that if only one response to a given stimulus were possible, consciousness would be of little value and would hardly have arisen. Its utility arises when alternative reactions are possible, when some sort of choice has to be made between them, for the benefit of the organism as a whole, or when, as in an important emotional situation, it is essential that no other conflicting reaction be made to another simultaneous experience. Consciousness is thus a selector of alternative responses.
It is also a selector of alternative stimuli. If, owing to uniformity of external conditions or to the immobility of the organism, the organism were unable to alter its relation to the environment, consciousness again would hardly have arisen. One of its most important functions is to seek and maintain an environment that is favourable and to avoid one that is unfavourable, whether that environment be a physical one, say in the form of external nourishment or temperature, or a mental one, say in the form of appropriate or noxious thoughts.
But in order to act effectively as the selector of alternative reactions and of the environment, relatively small variations in the environment must evoke different reactions. If two slightly different stimuli gave identically the same response, no purpose would be served by our being conscious of any difference between them.
These, then, are the main functions and conditions of consciousness; and in realising them we realise still more clearly how all consciousness must form part of 'self-consciousness,' by which I mean not necessarily the knowledge or the awareness of the self, but the involvement of that highest integration of activities which is known as the self within the indivisible, organised, individual organism. Consciousness thus functions as the coordinator of all the past and present experiences of the organism so as to give direction to the selection of its future activities and environment, in compliance with the organism's sanctions and ends.