Social and Ethical Interpretations in Mental Development


Table of Contents | Next | Previous 

THE preceding examination of the instinctive and emotional equipment of the social man has revealed the presence in him of something not adequately expressed in terms of inherited reflexes. The growth of the child has also shown us his progress out of his inherited reactions into a higher sphere of invention and self-education, to which we have given the name 'reflective.' All this evidence of a higher part in man which draws out, utilizes, and controls the powers of his organic nature, and also regulates the assembling of men together for reasonable acts of a co-operative kind, invites us to a more direct consideration. It will be well first to try to arrive at an understanding of the nature and sphere of operation of this intelligence of his, and then to seek out more especially its meaning in the social life.

§1. Nature of Intelligence

159. Upon the first of these tasks we may not linger long, since it falls to theoretical psychology and since recent works have given us genetic principles which serve to bring the intelligence within the purview of natural history. Something of its character has also been seen

(248) in the chapter on 'Invention.' The intelligence serves certain ends, in the economy of personal development, which may be stated in such general terms that the disagreements of opposed theories may not be aroused. I shall set forth these general functions of intelligence in the points which immediately follow.

(I) It is by intelligence that complex knowledges are built up. The simple perception of a thing does, to a degree, involve intelligence; and this the animals have. So, also, have the animals association of ideas and a tendency to see their perceptions in related systems or general classes; the statement I am making, therefore, is not intended to mark off a human endowment in any excursive sense. But if we ask how far the animals go, as a matter of fact, in the development which gives intelligence its opportunity, we have to say not far—that is, not far as compared with man. And the limitation seems to be, on the intellectual side,[2] just in this faculty of seeing things in groups, as complex situations, with relations of general extent and meaning, which require for their entertainment the use of symbols such as those seen, in their most developed form, in speech. This, then, the ability to think in general terms, by using symbols which abbreviate and summarize detailed systems of associations, is the first characteristic of intelligence, as found in human social operation.

(2) The other thing to be said of intelligence is correlative to this. It is the guide to action in complex situations. All knowledge tends to lead to action. Even the reflexes of instinct are started by sensational processes which discharge through the muscles. The perception of

(249) an object leads the animal to act. And we find that the more complex the knowledges or perceptions are, the more complex also, the more varied, the actions become. And the variety shows itself in a certain show of acting on alternatives, or 'choosing,' as we say of the higher forms of intelligence.

Further, in view of this possible variety and choice, we may ask after the motive or reason—the particular piece of knowledge —which tends to bring out an act of a given kind, calling it the 'end' of the action. It is characteristic of intelligence that the actions which it brings about are directed toward ends ; that they are appropriate to realize, in whole or part, directly or indirectly, the events or situations which the knowledges depict. If directly, then we say the movement reproduces or reinstates the object which the actor is thinking about. This is plainest in a reaction of simple imitation, where the child actually makes his own hands or tongue reproduce the figure or sound which he sees or hears another make. If indirect, then the action is only a means to the end; only a first term in a series of actions which finally terminate in the reproduction or securing of the situation depicted in thought. Advancing intelligence quickly learns to turn all its knowledges into the channels fit to accomplish the ends now pictured, or then ; and shows the ability to use means for its ends.

It is evident, of course, to the psychologist that this is a very sketchy account of intelligence. So it is. But I am not aiming to justify any theoretical account of intelligence. The books do that, and I may refer to them for the justification of the points made and their genetic demonstration. I am only stating the facts of the intelligence,

(250) in their simplest terms, in order to use them in what follows. No one will deny that intelligence gives us general and abstract knowledges ; nor that it is by our intelligence that we use means to accomplish ends. If one doubt this, let him look to the idiot or to the young child for illustrations of the inability to do one or other of these things, and then let him watch the same unfortunate weakminded, or the same child, and see him learn to do both these things together; and he will have all the evidence he should require. So if we should throw the two points together, in a sentence, getting a single definition of intelligence which should answer our present needs, we should say: intelligence is the ability to understand complex situations and to know how to act suitably in reference to them.

160. With this very brief and schematic account of the intelligence before us, we may turn back on our path and notice that the growth of the child in learning to know of himself and of the world, as depicted in the earlier chapter, is simply growth in intelligence. We saw that his inventions were always just the attainment of ever broader and more complex knowledges, and we also saw that his tests and checks, in all the process, were just the appeals to action by which he learned to use what he had learned. Complexity of understanding and suitableness of action are the two points of interest and value in all his development. But the further definition of each of these aspects of intelligence now arouses further question. The child's actual system of knowledges, apart from the more or less fixed relationships of external nature, is that system into which his social heredity leads him. We have seen how it is that he goes on constantly in the paths which the usages of society, the traditions of his

(251) elders, the forms of accessible literature, etc., open up before him. It is impossible for him to make his system of truths for himself, and even the advances which his thought does make for itself are constantly brought to social tests, before he accepts them as valid and permanent acquisitions. There is, therefore, a large social ingredient in the truths which each individual learns; and he himself constantly testifies to its power over him by making appeals to society for confirmation. So it is only what we should expect, that his action should reflect the social aspect of his thought, as well as the purely personal aspect; that he should live normally as a social man in a social environment.

This supposition leads us to ask more closely for a definition of the other aspect of his intelligence-that which relates to the ends of action. And the attempt to answer this question gets additional interest from the fact that it is an historical question, and that the discrimination and testing of many social theories now in the field is possible only when we get some consistent answer to it. We may state this question in two main inquiries: first, what is the end which intelligent action has in view? and second, what kinds of action are reasonable with reference to this end ?

161. In coming to a discussion of these topics, we are not called upon to seek out a philosophy of ends, nor to bring harmony into current disputes on the topic. The main antithesis now current turns upon the supposition that one or the other of two views is true, to the exclusion of the other. One class of men say that the end of action is revealed by the action ; that the end is nothing but the statement of the final term of the action itself ; that intelli-

(252) -gence has its natural history, as an agent in the evolution of mankind, and so the end of intelligence, like the end of the evolution process itself, is to be discovered only by seeing what the outcome really is. The question, to this theory, is a question of fact, depending, however, upon the truth of the genetic view of the mind. This is the theory of autonomy: the man as a whole is law-giving to himself, just because he can get no law which is not the outcome of the very process of development which he himself represents.

The other class of theories hold that the end of action is set for the man by some instrumentality outside of him. They hold to heteronomy. The end is some real and absolute end, which it is his business to aim at, whether it arise naturally in his mind or no.

The body of the doctrine already set forth in this essay, resting as it does on the general position that every psychological outcome must have its natural history and its preliminary stages, and that every function or activity must have its raison d'ętre in a content which normally arouses it—all this forces us at once to espouse the autonomy view. The end of action must be a function of the content which arouses the action. The dog acts with reference to perceptions; they are the best he can do. The man acts with reference to concepts, with distant aims before him in space and time; he can do it because he is able to feel the value of the distant and the general. The nature of the knowledge, then, is that which determines the sort of action ; and the action must terminate upon this knowledge, not on some other knowledge — be it better, or be it worse knowledge.

When we come to apply this, by examining the know-

(253) -ledges which are actually found among us anywhere, -in the animal, in the man, in society, -we are able to distinguish three sorts of ends which come up as functional aims for action in the sense which I have set forth. They represent three stages in the progress of mind. We may say that the ends of action, are, first, impersonal or objective, then they become personal or subjective, and, finally, and with the latter, they are social or ejective. These terms may be described in more detail.

§2. Impersonal Intelligence

162. The distinction between the consciousness which has no reflection on self, no thought of a self as a separate being and as the source of the very thought which thinks it, and the consciousness which does have this reference to a personal self or thinker, has been fully set forth, and the development of the thought of such a self traced. The action of a consciousness, then, of the impersonal kind—the consciousness which has no such personal thought—cannot, of course, have as its end or aim such a self. If the self cannot be thought, ipso facto it cannot be put forth as the end of action. The action is a function of the thought which is there, and if the thought of a self is not there, then it cannot produce action. On the contrary, the thought in a consciousness at this stage is always the thought of an object, this thing or that there in the world; the action terminates with this, and, as far as the consciousness dictates the action, that is all there is of it. We, of course, who speculate on philosophical questions, ask, further, what the place is of this action in the system of organic reactions which go to illustrate the evolution theory, and reach a

(254) view, perhaps, that the action which is selected and repeated is that one which gives pleasure; and so come to say that the end of that action is pleasure. But that is a matter of our philosophy, not of the animal's end. He does not stop to ask for pleasure nor to distinguish his actions on any such basis until he gets a certain association established between the action and the pleasure which it gives. And then he does not reflect upon the pleasure, and determine that he will pursue it. He finds his impulsive reaction toward pleasure a function of the memory of pleasure, just as the reaction on objects is a function of the perception of the objects.

163. But now we can see that it is the business of natural selection to determine the kind of action which shall find its most radical fulfilment in the world through this impersonal thought. As we have seen, this has required, as a matter of fact, that the family should arise; and that, in turn, required that actions of a so-called co-operative kind should be there. Thus arose animal instincts of a quasi-social sort; but even the complex family instincts and co-operation of the animals do not involve personal, self-conscious thought. They occur in appropriate reference to the objective content of consciousness, and are always a function of this content. The instincts, however inadequately they may seem to be represented in the actual sensory experiences which call them out, nevertheless seem to have arisen by the growing adaptation of the organism to the stimulations of the environment. The conclusion, therefore, is that these also are impersonal activities. They have no personal end; neither the ego nor the alter, as such, appeals to the animal. The actual meaning to him of his actions is simply that they happen;

(255) and their meaning in the doctrine of evolution is determined by the complex setting of conditions of which the actions in question form a part.

164. So when we come to ask the second question (cf. p. 251) concerning action issuing from such a consciousness, the question as to what is the 'reasonable' action, we find a certain embarrassment. The concept of reasonableness does not apply at all, seeing that the animal is not able to reason. If he does not have actions set before him on which he has to pass judgment with reference to their fitness to secure an end, then there is nothing for him to do but to act out each mental content which he gets, just as it comes up. All stimulations stand on the same basis. If he fail to act on each situation as his perception of that situation dictates, then he is but sick or maimed. That is all that we can say; there is no question of relative reasonableness in his actions. So, as a practical result, we have to say that the co-operative actions by which he supports the family life, possibly at the expense of his own life, —as when the mother starves herself that her young may be fed, —are just as reasonable as the actions by which he satisfies his own appetite. In each case his mental content is issuing in activity, and the different activities equally express his nature.

This evident neutrality of his, —say of the companionable dog that runs beside my horse, — as regards any possible standard of reasonableness in his action, may be emphasized here, although no one would contradict it, possibly; for when we come to the corresponding question about the higher stages of consciousness, we are apt to want just this sort of analogy to help us. It does not make the remotest difference to the dog what we adult

(256) men may say about his folly in losing his life to save mine or yours, or about his acuteness in getting his dinner by stealing my leg of lamb. The two actions are equally reasonable from the dog's point of view, because each is an adequate measure of his mental state at the time. The drowning man is his end in one case, because there is the master drowning, and action follows on this situation; in the other case, the meat is seen and smelt, and action follows on that.

165. The corresponding case is plain in man. We have found in him also many actions to which the predicate 'reasonable' and its opposite do not apply. All the actions of his which he shares with the animals, as far as they represent in him tendencies which his reasonable thinking, his intelligence, does not pass upon, are of this character. This epoch in human development is seen in the child up to its third year or thereabouts, when he begins to grow reflective. We do not blame the child for acting on his impulses. We do not say he is unreasonable in not using means to ends, nor reasonable in accomplishing ends by those endowments shared with the animals, by which he sometimes reaches ends without means. He is simply a creature of suggestion, of action in terms of content, first-intention action, as the philosophers say. And, moreover, it is true of him, as it is of the animals, that the end which his actions do subserve, — the objective ends to which we by our philosophy find his whole life process to minister,—this is an affair of the examination of the data which the evolution process involves at that particular stage. If the activities of cooperative instinct are prominent along with the personal, aggressive, individualistic activities, then the end of the

(257) evolution process must be conceived of as including both these classes of data. And the reasonable aspect of development, the end which it sets out to reach, must be broad enough to hold both these factors together in a single conception. But to justify any such view from the animal's or child's consciousness would be possible only in the later stage of development, in which intelligence becomes personal.

§3. Personal Intelligence

166. For the mode and method of the mind's passage from the impersonal to the personal and social forms of thought, I must again refer to what has been said in detail of the child's mental development. It has been traced all the way from 'personality suggestion,' which is the merest distinction of persons from other objects, on the ground of characteristic ways of behaviour, up to the full antithesis of ego and alter. And in it we have also pointed out the movement by which he thinks, in terms of one self, of the two, or the other. It now becomes our task to inquire how his intelligence makes these thoughts available in its general building up of knowledge, on the one hand; and then what of reasonable character the actions which result may consequently get. In short, the two inquiries are those suggested above: 1.c., (i) what is the end set up in this personal form of consciousness ? and (a) how and to what extent are the actions then performed reasonable with reference to the securing of these ends?

Taking up the first of these questions at this higher level, we find that the trend of contemporary philosophy

(258) and ethics may be stated in a broad form, which steers reasonably clear of the discussions of the schools. The problem familiar to psychologists in the term 'desire.' is not now before us ;[3] but the use made of the notion of desire in many of the books on sociology and political economy justifies us the more in giving the topic the need of attention which our present development needs. What is it that man desires ?

167. The doctrines of the end of desire now current fall together in a series which is in itself significant. We have the end of desire stated alternatively, i.e., as 'an object,' 'the possession of an object,' 'the enjoyment of an object,' 'enjoyment in general,' 'enjoyment of self,' 'the self who enjoys,' 'self-realization,' 'the attainment of a better self.' The theories, in other words, travel all the way from the object to the self. And it is the simplest thing in the world to say why they do so. It is because each of these formulations seeks to elevate the statement of some one aspect of desire into a general formula. As a matter of fact, every mature man of us has all of these desires. And not only so; there are epochs of development which are characterized by one or other of these ends, as then the great and prevailing sort of desire.

The reason for this variety is that the desire is a function of the thought which lies back of it. The desire is the tendency to action which the thought arouses. So the examination of the thought is the necessary preliminary to the determination of the kind of desire and its end. Given the thought which terminates on objects, that

(259) which is quite impersonal, unreflective, and the end of its desire is the object. This in its purity is what is called above the impersonal stage. But given the thought which brings up pleasure strongly, with enough reflection to single out the pleasure and set it forward in something of an abstract way, and the desire then terminates on the pleasure. And yet again; given the thought of self as the constant being whose interests are represented in the pleasure, whose life demands pleasure, and whose perfection is the goal of all the highest pleasures, then the desire terminates on the self, and perhaps on an ideal self. All very good. So we must again distinguish between the end of the particular action or desire itself and the philosophy which we reason out on the basis of those particular sorts of desire. The former is the progressive developing thing which the thought itself is; and the latter is the interpretation of one or other, or all, of the stages.

This general position once taken, we have to do henceforward, not with an attempt to get a philosophical theory of the end of human action which will satisfy all the conditions, nor with the attempt to read into each of the stages of development the results of such a theory. Our task is rather to find such general distinctions in the content of thought at the different epochs of human development as give differences of end at the corresponding epochs.[4] Whatever significance these epochs of development may have for a general theory of mind, they have

(260) direct significance for the attempt to arrive at a genetic account of the social life of man.

The problem has been thus defined in the preceding pages. The three epochs of the genetic development of thought—the impersonal, the personal, and the social epochs —have been mentioned. The present digression is made in order to justify the use of them from the point of view of the demarcation of our present problem, as over against the philosophies of desire current in social and ethical discussion. To be sure, we might carry our claim further, and say that philosophy, in its search for general principles of construction, —such as the theory of end requires, —should proceed out from the empirical examination of the actual course of development, and interpret action in terms of thought epochs. This would be true; and philosophers need to be told so, I think.

168. So we come to ask after the meaning of the personal and social epochs of thought for the theory of end.

At the outset, certain points already made come to mind. First, we have found, in the preceding chapter on the 'Emotions,' that there is no break of an absolute kind between the epochs which, on the side of the instinctive life, we called respectively 'organic' and ` spontaneous'; and, on the other hand, there is likewise none between the 'spontaneous' and the 'reflective' epochs. This was made plain from two points of view: the emotional expressions of the organic epoch are utilized in the higher epochs by a natural transition from the lower to the higher type of function. Further, the child shows no great breaks in his development from instinct, through suggestion and direct imitation, to reflection; at least, on

(261) the side of the emotional movements of his modesty, sympathy, play-activities, etc. His progress is continuous. Each of his spontaneous activities grows right up out of his instinctive performances; and then each of his reflective emotional attitudes is only a further adaptation and confirmation of the spontaneous ones. And a third line of evidence was suggested from the side of anthropology. The progress of race culture shows similar transitions from the savage to the gregarious and nomadic, and then to the reflective forms of co-operation. Yet we found it more difficult to conceive the transition from the spontaneous to the reflective than we did from the instinctive to the spontaneous sort of activity. The reflective seems to represent a new trend of development, inasmuch as it involves, as we now see, the two great characteristics of intelligent adaptation, — the appreciation of general and abstract situations, with the drawing of inferences looking toward distant ends, and the adoption of means appropriate to the accomplishment of these ends. The burden of the case, therefore, — the cause of the transition, — rests upon the intelligence, and its meaning becomes the further problem.

Turning to the other main development of the preceding pages, the child's development on the side of invention and personal interpretation, we have more light, I think. We found that the child's imitations are a means to personal growth only in so far as he made the result, in each case, the basis of an interpretation for action. He reaches synthetic combinations of data constantly, and it is these which enable him to act more appropriately. He is like the genius, in that he reaches ever-changing and novel arrangements of the elements of presentation and

(262) memory. By the laws of assimilation, motor habit and accommodation, he is quite unable to be stationary. He must see and react to new situations every day.

His growth takes place under two general aspects. First, his tendency to generalize is a matter of growth in the facility with which he learns to act upon things in common or general ways instead of treating each individual fact and event in a special and peculiar way. His growth in ability to reach complex thought is a matter of growing unity of habit in his active life. But, on the other hand, with this comes also the ability to single out the particular and treat it in relation to the group in which it belongs; this is due to the fact that in his learning to act, in his successive accommodations of himself actively to the facts and events of the world in succession, he has secured a sense of their isolation and a mode of treatment of them in isolation. In this relation of the single fact to the general class, —a relation which arises through the joint action of habit and accommodation,[5]—we have the germinating tendency of intelligence to reach an interpretation of each particular in the general situation which comes before the mind by the system of steps which we call inference and reasoning.

This is a very summary characterization of the genesis of thought; and intentionally so, since the genesis of thought is not our problem. We might just assume that thought has a genesis, or, if you please, a beginning, and then go on to ask its sphere in the evolution of social life;

(263) but I have preferred to state in outline what I believe to be the real genesis of thought, seeing that it has the peculiarity of making the motor accommodations and habits of the thinker the leading-string to his intelligence. This holds together the two positions taken that the end is a function of the thought-content, and that it is by acting to realize ends that thought develops. The child, for example, has the purpose to imitate my movements. He cannot have that purpose until he has thought of the movement; but he cannot arrive at a more adequate thought of the movement unless he act continually on the thought he already has. The former thought gives him his present possible act; and his present act gives him the new thought. So action and thought grow together as correlative aspects of intelligence. Now we may go on to consider the social interpretation of this state of things in the life of the child.

169. Disregarding the interpretations which the child makes of the impersonal elements of his thought, and so of the progressive knowledges which he builds up of the external world, we may turn at once to the social element in his personal growth. With this distinction, however, I do not wish to deny that there are social elements also in his knowledge of the external world; there are. But the method of the child's interpretations, in all his knowledge, is the same, and is a function of his personal growth; so by taking the knowledges which have specific reference to his social surroundings, and inquiring after the social factors involved in them, we bring out most clearly the sphere of social suggestion where it is most important both in itself and for our present line of thought. The question then is: what social elements enter into the

(264) child's interpretations of situations of social value, and what uses does he make of these interpretations themselves? Or, in other words, what is the content of the thought which stimulates the child to social actions, and what are the actions which are 'reasonably' performed with this end in view. These are the two questions already stated: the end, and the means to the end.

As to the content to the child's thought of social situations, that is twofold. The concrete ego and alter thoughts fall together on one side, over against the thought of an ideal personality on the other side. So there comes to consciousness, when we follow the child up into the beginnings of his ethical life, a threefold sense of self, each a sort of net for the assimilation and interpretation of new experiences or suggestions of personal relationship. He has a thought of himself, the ego with a group of very well-defined emotions of self-interest; this grows more and more solid, circumscribed, and compulsory upon all the candidates for position in his thought. Then he has a thought of the alter, who presents himself from time to time; and with this the group of altruistic emotions seen in modesty, self-shrinking, sympathy, etc.— another mental net always ready to entrap and assimilate the suggestions of personal presence, action, etc., which come and go in the environment. Third, the general or ideal thought of self, around which the higher sentiments spring up. Before going on to speak of the third sense of self, with the sentiments which accompany it, we should define the other two and estimate their importance and relation to each other, recalling what has been said of them in an earlier connection.[6]

170. It now becomes clear to us, both from the con-

(265) -sideration of the emotional transitions which we have already studied, and from the actual observations of the child, that before reflection arises—that is, before the sense of a general self is clearly defined—this antithesis in relation to the alter is not fully distinct. The thought of you versus me is not there. It is, 'my toy versus your toy,' 'my act versus your act,' 'my voice versus your voice,' etc. The first person is usually in the possessive case. The materials of the antithesis are being gathered, in this way, from the single situations into which instinctive and spontaneous activities urge the child.

But then as reflection arises there comes the movement, described above, by which the self becomes solidified by degrees; and the externals of personal identity also come in to hold the ego and the alter apart. Then, as the self becomes a separate thought, it tends, like every thought, to assume an attitude, and a series of personal actions manifest themselves. The child begins to act for himself first, and for the other afterwards. This again — this action — now also reacts to strengthen and harden the thought of self, and to emphasize its relative distinctness from the alter, by the reactive influence of action on thought spoken of above. This is the germinating development of reflective selfishness. It means a self actually thought of as in opposition to the alter, together with a series of actions which are calculated to harden and perpetuate this opposition. The end is the self considered explicitly as 'my self, and not your self, nor anybody else's self.'[7] And with this the general self is identified or contrasted in each case of action.


Let us see clearly, then, how real selfishness arises. It comes by the very movement which establishes reflectively the antithesis between the thought of me and the thought of you. Certain movement attitudes must arise on each side, attitudes which represent my gain with or without your loss, my pleasure with or without your pain, and the reverse. Now it is just these movement experiences, these active attitudes, which constitute, as we have seen, the synthesis of reflection as such. Through their appropriateness to the ego side of the antithesis in the one case, they fix that side and furnish what we call 'desire' for the maintenance of that side of the self-antithesis. I reflect on myself and act selfishly when I entertain the thought of the opposed actions, and then adopt the conduct which represents the ego side. The ego then becomes my end simply because it prevails in the synthesis of reflection. The presence of so-called reflection is the presence of the clear antithesis of the two self-altitudes held together in a wider synthesis to which all the tendencies to movement, action, conduct, give rise; and the consciousness of the higher synthesis itself, representing a more or less established habit, is the general or ideal self [8]

171. With it reflective altruism arises also. It must arise just because the ego and the alter are antithesic thoughts, two poles in a wider thought process. The thought of the alter, as it becomes solidified over against the ego, prompts to a line of action different from that

(267) which is liberated by the ego. This line of action comes to represent a policy in the active life which inhibits or interferes with the habits of selfish action; and again, by its emotional expressions it reacts to solidify further the thought of the alter. Sympathy comes to be an adopted channel of action to the reflective person whose experience is thus growing in organization and richness. And when he comes to a decision, after this contrast between the two self thoughts and their respective promptings to action has been sharply drawn, —as in the child of about three to four years of age,—then he becomes more or less calculating as to the consequences to be expected from the action itself, and from its social reception by others.

172. Then there intervenes another stage of development which both sustains the characteristic distinction now before us, and also goes further. The child does not long rest merely upon the first effects of his action on himself and others. A new movement of his intelligence leads him to make use of 'second causes.' The fact that action has now become a means to an end—the end of reinstating and securing the ego-self or the alter-self — this does not remain undeveloped. It requires no great increase in the complexity of his thought to conceive the possibility of using other elements of experience to minister to the same ends. Moreover, he is not left to himself to make this step; in this, as in everything else in the social heritage into which he grows up, he is initiated by his fellows. He sees mother and nurse handle things for the preparation of his food, bed, clothing, etc., —all actions which have three terms instead of two, as we may go on to explain.

There is the thought of the thing to be done, the

(268) thought of the thing by which it is to be done, and, finally, the thought of the action by which the latter of these thoughts is carried out. We find the child catching this idea at a remarkably early age. In fact, I think he learns it first by the ordinary processes of organic movement by which his thought of an object has to be followed by the thought of a movement, in order that the movement made may bring the object into reach, etc. By repetitions of this he is enabled to put a series of movement-thoughts in succession between the thought of the object and the actual end-movements by which the object is finally secured; it is likely, therefore, that there is a form of unreflective action on means to ends. But in this, too, the development is from a simpler to a more ideational or reflective epoch. Given the thought of self, —either the ego thought or the alter thought, —and the child then turns the machinery of earlier adaptations of means to ends to the pursuit of that. So he becomes not only a reflective egoist and altruist, but a plotter as well: an agent of more or less distant personal ends.

Among instances of this in child life, I may note the fact that the child soon comes to see the social use which he may make of this turn of things. His egoism prompts him, in a sense, to victimize the alter; and in this we find another of the highly interesting cases of children's lies.

173. It happens in this way: The child's thought of the alter is read back into the actual alter; and thus, with a great many contributing details, the child keeps himself and the other apart. He attributes to the alter—say his father —the set of actions with view to ends similar to his own; and his proof of this is the fact that whenever he acts in a certain way, his father responds by acting in a

(269) way which fits into his own action and expectation. So common understandings are reached between the two. Not only does the child find that he can depend upon others for the suggestion of thoughts which fit into the surrounding conditions, but he learns that the alter depends also upon the suggestions which he makes. The suggestion-influences he sees to be reciprocal. So he has a way before him of bringing the father's actions into the series of events which contribute to his own ulterior thought.

For example, one of the earliest instances I have observed is this : the child's crying leads the mother to bring food; the cry is the suggestion upon which the mother can be counted to act. So very early we find the child using the cry to obtain food or other favours from his mother, even when he is in no need. Pleasurable memories hover before him, possibly simply that of his mother's presence. With them comes up the thought of certain actions of his mother which bring the pleasure; then he remembers that his cry will be the appropriate suggestion to start his mother. So he makes use of the means and attains the end. The cry is a means to an end once removed; and the interesting thing, from our present point of view, is that the first link in the chain which the child uses is a social link. It really involves using his intelligence to direct and employ, for his own private ends, the social influence which a we call personal suggestion.

Here we have possibly the first use of the social bond by the individual's intelligence; and in it there lies, by implication, all the conscious power and function of thought in the manipulation of society. It means that in thinking self the child-agent thinks a social situation, and that he then uses the other elements of the situation to realize the ends

(270) of the self ; this is the social function of thought everywhere when considered as the instrument of the thinker's use of society in contrast with society's use of the thinker and his thoughts. We shall have to return to this later on in this chapter;[9] at present let us trace a little further the child's use of this social resource.

174. It is not morally a lie, of course, when the child cries for what he does not need, and by crying gets it. It is not moral, because, like almost all the proceedings which come to be reflective, it is at first merely a matter of association and active adaptation to an associated train of thoughts. It does not matter to the child that it is another person that his cry appeals to. It is simply an accident that the whole train implicates his thought of the alter together with other and impersonal terms. Other trains of thoughts also exist which implicate only his own ego thought and certain external objects, and he acts in exactly the same way upon them; as, for example, when the thought of a satisfaction arouses his sense of the reaching movements of grasping, and he goes through this series of means to that end. The two cases are just the same to him; and he can work them equally well, provided that he find the mother's movements follow upon his action, just as his own movements would have, if his own had been all that were required in the case. It is then at first a spontaneous use of the social bond by the child. It does not involve any degree of what we call reflective cunning or craft.[10]


Yet it does not retain this simplicity very long. The child soon gets away from the associated trains which originate in real wants, and involve only real wants and their satisfactions. And the step which he first takes in the path of reflective deception is usually, I think, one of a negative kind; he uses the social bond to deflect pains and penalties from himself. This, again, is a slight thing in his mental growth, proceeding somewhat as follows: —

The trains which lead to disastrous consequences, both when he alone is involved and also when the alter personality is one of the mean-terms to the result, get very strong marking and great adhesiveness in his consciousness. Anything which comes in as a further term, in the same series, to deflect the result or to lead to other and less disastrous consequences, is again a mere matter of learning by association, and of learning of exactly the same kind as that by which the train was originally started. He then takes one of two methods to supplement these disastrous trains. One method is to interpolate a term which will prevent altogether the action which he wishes to avoid; the other is the employment of further means to supplement the train and so render it neutral. The first case is seen plainly in the repressions of his own activity, or of his normal expressions of himself, which are tell-tale indications to father or mother. Thus he may directly escape punishment, a dose of bitter medicine, or the like. The other is seen in his actually misleading other people by word or action, when the real facts are unknown to them. Instances are common

(272) enough.[11] It involves some invention and social knowledge. The following example may serve to illustrate it. The two children, H. (five years) and E. (three years), were playing in my empty study. I heard E. cry out with pain, and came to the door just in time to see H. clapping her hands with joy and laughing mockingly at E. (whom it appeared afterwards she had slightly hurt in wresting away a toy). As soon as my footstep was heard, H.'s face and manner changed with marvellous quickness, from joy to keen sorrow and sympathy. She dropped the toy, and before I reached the scene her attitude was one of profound sympathy, commiseration, and distress. Then, not satisfied with this, she turned quickly and pretended to be occupied in another part of the room.

In this case, not to dwell upon a lesson which is so plain, H. not only suppressed her joy, but feigned grief, and then adopted other means to avert the penalty she expected from me.

It is evident that this line of operations brings out various direct conflicts of egoistic and altruistic impulses. So clear is this, that the proper pedagogical method of correction in such cases would seem to be that of strengthening the latter impulses over against the selfish ones. But that aside, the conflict is itself fruitful to us in endeavouring to trace the child's development. Inasmuch as the alter thought is involved in the bonds which the child thus learns to manipulate, he must have emotional impulses of a generous kind, to some degree, in all his use of the social bond for his own purposes. And these impulses in turn grow strong enough to lead him on occa-

(273) -sion—and in some children this occasion is very frequent, as against the selfish use already spoken of —to use the same means to accomplish purposes of truth and generosity. The imitative child will find out new ways of being docile and good, and will often surprise his parents with his early tendency to self-reproach and confession directly in the teeth of his fear of penalty and expectation of suffering.[12] All this must be accredited to the growth of the alter thought and its emotional value, as expressed in action.

175. Then on both sides —as concerning his selfish actions and also as concerning his generous actions — he grows more his own master, and makes bolder excursions into the realm of social manipulation. The use of the social bond which I have described as negative, tends to enable the child to escape unwelcome events and realities ; he makes the same use of the social bond also to secure positive results.

He suggests terms in the series, in order to arouse states of mind in his social fellows which will be fruitful in good things to himself; and he does this, again, in both of two ways: (1) in the suppression of the real facts of his knowledge—the way of negative misrepresentation—and (2) by putting forward suggestions of a positive kind which he thinks will mislead. All this follows so evidently from the method of his growth into the use of social relationships that I need not dwell upon it in detail before the next event to be signalized, which shows it in its fullest illustration, i.e., the beginning of the use of language for consciously social purposes.


176. In language, as we have seen, the child finds ready for him a system of nets-for-thought, actually in use about him. He sees, among the first uses of speech, the way others convey their meanings to one another; how an emotion, an action, any social expression, passes from one person to another with the passage of a word. So it is not at all surprising that the beginnings which he makes in the employment of social suggestion for certain more or less remote ends, should be realized in his speech. He has more than an imitative impulse to make progress in his speaking. He has that certainly; but besides he has, in all likelihood, also an hereditary tendency in the same direction. And as soon as his sense of the possible use of social means to personal ends gets at all advanced by his employment of facial expression, active attitudes of body, etc., he finds that most extraordinary instrument of the same utility in his hands —or rather in his mouth —the forms of language.

Here it is, I think, that all the progress which the child has been making in his personal growth, as a being with the thought of ego and alter, with tendencies to the series of actions which these personal thoughts stimulate, with all the groping after self-possession in the relations of his social life, — here it is that all these things fall together in a great insight achieved, again, through action. When he speaks and others understand, then he has meanings; then he is using symbols; then his plots to catch social influences and hold them together in forms of personal utility- of both the selfish and generous types, become adequate to the purposes of real reflection. I think, when the child tells a lie of reflective import to lead another astray, —that is, with a

(275) social motive, not merely by mistake, through misunderstanding, or from concrete association, —then at any rate, however it may have been adumbrated in his earlier struggles, he takes his place as a social factor on the plane on which all intelligently social activities are displayed.

This develops through speech with its verbal symbolism; the general province of speech pointed out above,[13] where it was considered as an aid to invention. Here we find that the invention which it aids is also social. The child becomes thinker of social thought; and all his later attainments, from the planning of a snowball-fight to the occupancy of the chair of the Speaker of the House, is a matter of detail.[13] He now illustrates the function of private intelligence in social development; namely, as thinking the definite, communicable, and imitable thoughts which furnish the matter of social organization.[14]

177. The method of development, on the intellectual side, has led us to see just what relation the two classes of ends which we call selfish and altruistic have to each other. And it is interesting to recall the relation between the impulses to self-assertion and generosity in the earlier period, in view of the further statement of these opposed tendencies now. We found that the emotional states exhibiting themselves in aggressive actions of an instinctive kind were the intrinsic outcome of the

(276) child's nature as a creature of hereditary adaptation ; and the same is true on the side of the sympathetic impulses and emotions. These latter represent the sort of ancestral experience which involved co-operation and communal life, as in the family circle. Both, we found, were equally primitive; and both, inasmuch as they did not involve reasoning or self-determination of any kind, equally reasonable for the child to do; for in the case of each the concept of the reasonable did not get application at all.

We now find a similar state of things at this higher or social stage of the use of intelligence. The child's actions have become reasonable in so far as they are outcome of a process of personal self-conscious adaptation to social ends; and so now the question as to what acts are reasonable for him to perform, is a legitimate question. But the answer that we see, as the outcome of the child's growth, still requires us to say that neither of the two kinds of action is reasonable to the exclusion of the other. For the thought which the child thinks leads to the type of action suitable to the realization of the end which this thought represents ; and this is true both of the thought of the ego-self, with the train of selfish performances which it stimulates, and equally of the alter-self with its train of altruistic performances. In the one case, selfishness becomes reasonable to the child; and in the other case, generosity becomes reasonable. It would be unreasonable—in any adequate psychological sense of that term—for the child to be selfish when his thought of the self-ego is not the dominating factor in the emotional and impulsive state which leads him to act; and it would be equally unreasonable for him not to

(277) be selfish when it does. His action conforms to the pattern of the present thought.

But even at this stage, before we pass on into the development of the ethical and so-called 'ideal' states of mind as such, we should note the great complexity of the processes involved. Every dominating thought is a complex thing, a compromise, an adjustment. For the thought of the ego is, as we clearly saw, in the main the same in content as the thought of the alter; the differences are more external and extrinsic than the similarities. Given emergencies in life when the human as such is assailed, when our esprit de corps is called out, —as we see it called out in the child's consciousness sometimes,—and we learn that 'blood is thicker than water.' The self-notion rises, in all its generic sublimity, and the differences of personal quality, habitation, physical conformation, etc., disappear. So the state of mind, in each act for self or for another, is really a thing of emphasis rather than of essential variety in the thought process. The selfish act can be turned away by a generous suggestion. The soft answer brings out the balance of the altruistic factor, and causes the motive to wrath to turn its back. Mere physical conditions are often enough to throw the balance on one side or on the other, in this delicate adjustment of claims. Or a personal presence may, simply by its intensity of reality, drive out a wicked intention, which the mere memory of the same intended victim did not suffice to keep down. How many crimes are planned among the images of imagination, which never get executed in the realm of fact, and alas, how many virtuous actions also !

The real antithesis between reason and unreason, there-

(278) -fore, here as earlier, does not cut through consciousness at the line between the selfish and the generous, although in life the practical considerations are often so momentous that we assume that it does. Either of them may be reasonable on occasion, as we saw above. The real line lies between deliberation, reflection, and the lack of it. The question is in each case one of action: was there sufficient balance of tendency, sufficient self-continence, sufficient motor unity, to reflect a 'reasonable' show of intelligence ? Or was the action on the other hand so dominated by suggestion, so led by the haste of the crowd, by the quick reaction of an emotional storm, by the sharp onset of a paralyzing desire, that no clear and steadily embraced end was present at all? That is the true distinction between what is reasonable and what is not.

178. Then we find, also, when we recall the social function of the intelligence, —the uses which the intelligence makes of the social suggestions and informations which come in its way, —that these suggestions may be turned to the profit of either of the two kinds of reasonable action. Just as it is sometimes reasonable or intelligent for the child to act for himself, in a selfish way, and then on another occasion it is equally reasonable for him to act for another, in a generous way; so either the one or the other of these kinds of intelligent action may make use of social factors as means to its end. The child may excite his father with the conscious end that he may join with him in a romp which is pleasurable for himself, the child; or he may do so to the end that the father may observe and clothe a poor boy whose hands are blue with cold. The latter, again, is as reasonable an action on the

(279) part of the child as the former is. And, further, when these factors come into conflict—when, for example, the child wishes to hand over his own gloves that the beggar's hands may be warm, while his own grow cold, — that is reasonable as well; it shows the dominance of the alter thought and the active function which its dominance secures; to do the opposite, would be also reasonable on occasion, since it would involve the dominance of the ego thought. If the father thinks it is unreasonable for the boy to give the beggar his gloves, it is because the father is not thinking the son's thought; the only way he can make it seem unreasonable to the boy is to secure in the boy the dominance of a different self-thought, either by showing him the grounds for that thought, as they lie in his own mind, or by the force of direct suggestion upon the child, as by command, example, injunction, etc.

179. If these things are reasonable, then the function of the reason is to accomplish these things. And we are now able to formulate a general conclusion as to the place of the intelligence in social development. The complexes of knowledge which the individual builds up are what, in the earlier chapters, we called 'inventions' : the putting together of the elements of presentation so as to reach new interpretations on the basis of them. But the difference between the inventions which involve only or mainly the forces and facts of nature, and those which involve social forces, are somewhat sharply marked. There is no invention without some social reference; we have seen that social reference is made by the inventor himself in every case. But when he is dealing with the objective world, his materials, the actual cast of the knowledge-elements in his thought, are socially neutral in themselves.

(280) But not so with the line of inventions which we have been tracing in this chapter. The child uses the self-notion at every step. He thinks with subjective materials; and his knowledges are, in each case, interpretations of the way he expects persons to think and act. So he is now dealing with social material—suggestions, actions, words, etc.—as such. The function of the intelligence in his social life is accordingly this : it uses social materials and interprets them. Each individual in society has in himself a more or less adequate picture of the social play going on around him. He acts with reference to this play. He conforms his own actions to his expectation that others will understand him; and he directs his actions with the thought that he understands others.

Intelligence, therefore, in its social activity, has for its function invention with social material. This gives it a twofold importance, both aspects of which we have now considered. (i) It is a means of the individual's own growth and an instrument for his use (Sects. 173 and 179). And (2) it creates the thoughts which have currency in society and become embodied in its institutions (Sect. 176). In this latter function, it has to do with co-operation as such. It is social co-operation become aware of itself. It represents, therefore, when its effects in the body social are considered as a whole, an engine of extraordinary and critical power. We have only to consider the mutuality of the exercise of intelligence in a community to see what intricacy its use may be expected to bring about in the history of social progress. I may be allowed to dwell upon this thought at a little more length.

180. The conception of mutuality or reciprocity has

(281) far-reaching implications. It has pressed in upon us at every stage of our inquiry. The family instincts are reciprocal ; and their effectiveness depends directly on this element. Each instinct is shaped to fit into the same instinct in other individuals. This is what co-operation means. It is the essential meaning of family and gregarious community life. Again, in the reactions of an emotional kind which we have considered — modesty, sympathy, play, etc. — the result is what it is because of their generality in the species and their mutual exercise by all the individuals. The very existence, indeed, of the phenomena is conditioned upon it. So always of all social equipment.

The intelligence, to be socially available, must also be a thing of mutual exercise. But it is not so evidently so; and it is well to return upon our description of the social element in the work of the genius, to point out one of the phases of the mutuality. We found that the law of social heredity brought the genius under the requirement that he have the kind of sanity of judgment which represents, in the main, the social judgment which is 'going' in his time and place. His intellectual endowment, unless it is to go to waste from a social point of view, must not show too great a variation from the stand and or level which the social judgment erects. This introduces a social element, an element of mutuality, or reciprocity, into the very endowment which we call reason or intelligence. The lines of development of judgment itself, on its aesthetic and teleological side, are lines of common action; and in his very preferences the actor is moving in paths of least social no less than least personal resistance. In short, every individual in society is in a

(282) measure—and the measure frequently measures his competence and influence—the organ of the social movement which conserves tradition, sets public opinion, and reacts upon his sense of values and upon his preferences, inciting him to work, think, fight for institution, country, and social ideal.

It is on account of this more recondite and intimate element of mutuality that the individual welcomes the more open and practical reciprocity of suggestion which he actually finds in the environment, all through the course of his personal growth. We have seen the extent of this latter. He finds the lessons of the actions of others actually available and convertible into his thought of self; he finds it possible to understand what the actions of others mean; he is able to anticipate their conduct by happy guesses, drawn from analogies of his own feeling; and he finally comes to depend so confidently upon the constancy and regularity of the similarities between his own inner life and the life of others that he is able to bend their actions to his own personal ends. This has now been sufficiently described.

§ 4. Social Intelligence

181. We should remember that there is always a tradition element, and, besides, a personal element, in every situation of social import into which the individual comes. The tradition element represents the use which others have made, or are making, of their intelligence as its gains are handed down; the personal element represents the use which the individual is making of his. And in the mass of suggestive copies, rules, conventions, styles, etc., which

(283) sum up, in any particular case, the tradition element, there is also the second or personal element not his own, corresponding to the particular personal source through which the tradition is administered to the individual. There are differences of temperament, character, personal mood, methods of thought, among the associates of each individual, and to these he is keenly alive ; they tend to check his action and to secure differential attitudes when his action is finally led forth. This leads, in the child, to a further development of certain ideal selves in his thought, whose origin, in the conflicting phases of suggestion, we have already seen when discussing the origin of the ethical sense. This progress of his is of essential moment, both in his personal development and in the social complex in which he plays a part.

The sense to which he now attains may be likened crudely to a composite photograph. The variety of personalities about him, each impressing him with some one or more peculiarities, exaggerations, deficiencies, inconsistencies, or law-observing regularities, gradually leave upon him a certain common impression which, while getting application to all personalities as such, yet has to have supplementing in the case of any particular individual. I have traced above, in treating of the ethical sense, certain of the emotional tendencies which this general personality arouses; and the topic recurs later on when we come to consider the sentiments which the social agent brings to his life-tasks. It is enough for us now to see that this general notion of personality does arise in the child's mind, and to inquire into the method of his intelligent use of it.

182. He 'ejects' it into all the fellows of his social

(284) group. It becomes then a general alter, a sort of speaking social companion on whose characteristics as a thinking, feeling, approving, criticising agent he stumbles whenever he meets his fellow-man. And, further, he cannot sever this bond nor escape its hold; for his thought of his own ego is always an illustration of its reality, just as much as is any other person. The latter he may avoid; but his own presence he cannot avoid; nor can he rid himself of the thought of himself. So the thought of himself stands also for the thought of the general 'other' of society; and he must share the field with him, hear his opinions, feel reciprocal emotions with him, etc., whenever he thinks. This shadowy being, the general self, is his other in the realest possible way. We call the evidence which we have of its presence 'public opinion,' Zeitgeist, etc., and we find ourselves actually responding to its existence by having a great and powerful set of emotions directed toward it.

The practical value of this thought of general personality, in our every-day life, shows itself whenever the attitude of the ego thought is at variance with this general thought. The discrepancy is felt most acutely. It is during the formation of this contrast that the child begins to show those states of mind which arise in consequence of his subsequent reflection on his own actions. All the states covered by the terms 'repentance,' ` self-reproach,' 'personal regret,' ` personal disappointment," remorse,' etc., arise then, and must arise then. They could not arise sooner, because the child did not have sooner the antithesis in the thought he thinks which might issue in the double stream of personal tendency which consciousness shows at these times. It is a new stage of thought before it can be a new stage of emotion.


183. It is also a new stage in the management of the social forces. It is the child's deepening hold upon these that gives intelligence its place and power. So the other aspects of this growth in reflective thought may be passed by now, in order that we may look more closely at this.

The child applies his intelligence directly in making use of this thought of a general self ; he uses it as means to his own ends, and also as end when it suits him. This appears from certain situations which I may mention, knowing that the observer of children may readily verify them.

The child's intercourse with other children shows direct attempts, on his part, to assume the part of lawgiver, and hold his playfellows up to the requirements of the code which he finds it possible to prescribe. This code is the application to each situation, as it arises, of the general sense of the requirements of the ideal or social self, as far as there are in his actual experience analogies upon which he can go. He repeats the current moral maxims of the family life whenever he thinks they get application. For example, I am accustomed to keep in check the tendency of my children to hasty action and intellectual guessing by telling them in critical junctures or situations —such as the opening of a package after a trip to the city—to 'wait and see.' This became a formula to the younger of the children in her fourth year. She not only learned, in a measure, the uselessness of haste, but she took my place, in the games and on many more serious occasions, and urged upon the other children, nurse, etc., to 'wait and see.' It was her sense of the proper attitude of a wise and judicious personality, in anxious and exciting situations, to await the outcome with calmness; and the way she brought the injunction in for the benefit of the

(286) other children was amusing in the extreme. This example shows the general tendency of which I speak. No sooner does an aspect of personal behaviour, shown in word, injunction, suggestion, or action, get some generalization, so as to apply to a variety of instances, than the child seizes upon it and makes it a weapon of social use.[16] Under the show of benevolence the child often hides little intrigues. H., when five years of age, hid her own pictures and then took her sister's in order to 'arrange' them for her.

The employment of such formulas for the securing of personal advantage over others is very common. Children playing together will often themselves suggest the device of 'taking turns,' in order to satisfy the sense of justice and equal rights which is rising within them. But

I have known one of mine to go further. H. has often (fifth to sixth year) secured the ownership of an article of play by the device of suggesting that she have the first turn, and then afterwards suggesting that the game be changed, or that the sides be reversed. Moreover, a child of five or six years will often take advantage of a younger companion's limited insight into personality, or of the other's susceptibility to suggestions of desire, by placing a loud verbal value on an article which he does not want, in order to arouse the sense of value in the younger child, and thus, by leading off the scent, secure the possession of some coveted thing from which the attention of the playmate is diverted. In such cases — and there are innumerable of them in any nursery where there are several children

(287) regularly together —we have not only the growth in one of the children, the eldest say, of a sense of the general attributes of character, the essentials of character as such, but also a remarkably acute estimate of the state of the other children's minds in this respect. A will know what B thinks of character and of A's character; and A will act toward B with insight into the limitations of 13's sense of A's character. The moral adjustment of my two children to each other as they are both growing up into the sense of the general self, one some way in advance of the other, is a source of great instruction. As the elder grows to understand character better, she practises her new knowledge constantly on her sister. But this very practice, by which the elder often seeks to circumvent the younger, is an influence of pedagogical value to the little one. Her lessons in the meaning of personality, in the use of intelligence, in the ways that people may be used for personal ends, are set by all the childish schemes of her sister, instead of by the examples of her elders, for which she would otherwise have to wait. Here is one of the great benefits to the child of many companions and constant companionship.

184. Another phase of the same class of situations is brought out when we inquire into the two forms-egoistic and altruistic—which the child's use of his intelligence in this way takes on. From the instances which I have cited immediately above, and from those cases given earlier, in which the methods of the child's lies were illustrated, it would seem that the egoistic use of the intelligence is more striking than the altruistic. And in spite of what was said above to the effect that the two personal attitudes are on a basis of equality, and that as far as

(288) reasonable action is concerned, both are equally reasonable or unreasonable, we find appearances taking on a somewhat different form at this further stage in the child's progress. It is evident that even in the earlier stage, in which both of the attitudes are unreflective, one of them might, as a matter of fact, be the prevailing or usual one, especially if there were no adequate expression of the other in the situations of the personal environment. I think the egoistic impulses do tend more constantly to fill consciousness, even at the unreflective period, since the child is so new to thought, and the trend of the organic period from which he has so freshly emerged is toward the preservation and satisfaction of his private tendencies. This drift has to be in some degree overcome before his thought of the alter can come so strongly to consciousness as to lead to regular self-denial. The organism secures this, in a measure, as we have seen, by the provision of organic sympathy and modesty; and yet, except when these are actually discharging, the bent of action seems to be toward those forms of action which, in their reflex effects, tend to keep the thought of the private self more prominently before the contemplation of the budding individual. So we should expect to find the progress of the child toward generosity and justice and mutual fairness, in the use of that engine of means to ends, the intelligence, somewhat handicapped by the less developed forms of action which he inherits from his own personal past.

This is borne out, in several ways, 1 think, in the actual behaviour of children at this difficult period, when the tendencies toward real personality are just beginning to show themselves.


(1) The child's inventions in the management of other personalities and of social forces are prompted more largely by his sense of personal advantage or disadvantage. It is true of all invention, that it is the most urgent situations which bring out the most effective thought; and this is the case with the child. Sympathy may be abolished by the simple expedient of withdrawing the gaze, or refusing to attend. We adults know this. But personal pain cannot be escaped so easily. The child finds his personal collisions with others vital and pungent with pain and pleasure. It is his own interest which is so often in the balance. It is not so moving when it is the interest of another for whom his sympathies are excited. So the former case has an urgency which brings out his violent and resisting, or evasive, or scheming, or dissembling actions, on occasion, as well as his truthfully direct and franker ones. We do not often find the child scheming to secure an advantage for the sister and brother as he schemes for himself. When he does, it is normal, to be sure; but it rather surprises us. Different children differ in this respect, and cases sometimes seem to show that a child may be more active on the side of generosity than of self-aggression ; yet generally it is the contrary; and the fact simply shows that while both attitudes are equally possible, and from the child's point of view equally reasonable, yet the selfish attitude is liable to prevail.[17]

(2) There is reason for this, also, in the method of his progress toward ethical and social standing. He must be personally efficient in order to be socially efficient. Man must live and accumulate for himself and his family

(290) before he can be a public servant. And in the child's life this means that he is to become a man, at all events, whatever else he may become. He must grow up to be an individual; that is incumbent on him at all hazards; what more he may attain in the way of being a good or wise or social individual is based on this first presupposition.

(3) This is reflected, moreover, in the movement by which his inner development proceeds. It will be remembered that we found the child going through three stages of personal thought, called 'projective' (his sense of others before he distinguishes between them and himself), then 'subjective' (his sense of himself as distinguished from others), then `ejective' (the sense of others as like himself). These three thoughts, we had occasion to say, are not strictly chronological; the dialectic movement between the first and the second, and between the second and the third, being a constant process all through life. But the logical order is that named; and it is also a chronological order when looked at from the point of view of the accretions which the child constantly makes to the thought of self. The new elements which he acquires from the environment must be first projective before he can duplicate them in his thought of himself; that is, before he can realize them subjectively. And then they cannot be ejective until after he has made them his own in the subjective way. So there is a real chronological movement which takes these three phases.

The point of importance in this connection is that, in this quasi-chronological movement, the thought of the subjective self stands midway between the other two thoughts, It is the nucleus of which he is permanently

(291) possessed. It is the measure by which he tests persons. The unknown elements of personal suggestion which claim his attention must have already the signs which he finds in his own thought; and, on the other hand, the known elements of personality which he attributes to those about him must have gone through the testing processes of his own more or less experimental action. So there is a constant return upon his own ego thought from both the poles of this two-membered relationship. This being the case, we should not be surprised that his sense of his own existence, rights, appetites, pleasures, pains, property, etc., should be keener than his sense of the similar passions and possessions of other persons.

(4) There is yet another reason for this fact. In this threefold thought of personal elements, the actual alter comes last, considered as a finished person, with an independent existence, and independent rights under the social bond. Each new accretion to the whole complex personal sense has its first application, in action, to the real ego. It is only by this active appropriation of the suggestions from the environment, that the growth seen in the dialectic process can go on at all. So the method of getting the attitudes which come to stand for the relations of personal agents brings them into more or less habitual exercise first in connection with the more private life of the ego. The generalization of the sense of personality really involves something of a new process of accommodation, which must be made first of all by the thinker to whom they are personal.

For example, our attitudes for self-defence are simpler and more direct than those for the defence of another or of several persons. Just as it is easier to hold an

(292) umbrella over one than over two, —no matter how large the umbrella may be, — so it is easier to strike an attitude of self-defence than to interpose in an effective way to shield some one else. Apart from any literal meaning attaching to such examples drawn from our adult lives, we may still use them as analogies in our present discussion. The self-preservative actions are more reflex, as was seen above on the purely physical side. The child's attitudes are set first by his life-adaptations of instinct, thought, and emotion; and the extending of these to include the welfare of others involves some modification and extension of them. The simple fact that the thought of self, when it has become ejective, is more complex and involved, makes it clear that it must be a little later and less spontaneous in its modes of expression and action.

There is, therefore, a period of relative selfishness in the child extending from the third into the fifth or sixth years.[18] It is an incident in his growth. It is different both from the unreflective and spontaneous aggressive period, before the child becomes aware of himself as a personal agent, and also from the real reflective selfishness which comes to be one of his moving principles when he grows to enough maturity to think out schemes for his own advantage at the expense of the interests of others. It is, rather, a period of naive cunning and sub-

(293) -terfuge. It is not real craft, nor deliberate plotting; and wherein the child seems to be a victim of 'original sin,' this is about all his sin. He has certain unorganized impulses of an organic kind, which, simply from their lack of organization and their tendency to be reflex, get the credit of being bad; and with them he has, on the mental side, the quasi-reflective selfish tendencies just described, which, if not actually immoral, are going on very fast to be so.

185. Coming to consider further the actual attainment of reflection by the child, we find the transition tendencies already remarked upon taking form in a complex and most elusive result. It is elusive because its description cannot be a matter of general statement in brief formulas; it is a series of phases each of which represents a host of more elementary forces. The preceding investigation of these earlier tendencies gives us, however, as far as it is true, the main lines of influence to which the child is still to respond in the environment, and with them also the main lines of tendency which his responses take on. It is by his natural growth, whereby he becomes reflective and ethical, that he escapes the relatively egotistic use of his intelligence described in this chapter. His further progress we shall discuss under the head of 'Sentiment.'


  1. This chapter is intended merely to give some empirical observations on the subject of the social nature and uses of the intelligence.
  2. It is another aspect of the animal's inability to judge with reference to self, spoken of in Sect. 86.
  3. See below, Chap. IX., § 3, where desire is considered with reference to the 'sanction' under which it attains its ends.
  4. Cf. the distinction made below, Chap. IX , § 3, on ' Santions,' between the ` world of fact' and the 'world of desire.' Our object in the later chapter is to show that, at whatever stage of consciousness, the 'thing of desire,' or the full motive, rather than the mere object or 'thing of fact,' is what sanctions the resulting action.
  5. See the detailed treatment of these principles of the genesis of the function of thought in my Ment. Devel., Chaps. X.-XI.; cf. also James on the 'Genesis of the Elementary Mental Categories,' Psych., II., pp. 629 ff. See also Chap. III., § 3 above, on ' Selective Thinking.'
  6. Sect. 169 a, added here, is to be found in Appendix H, IV.
  7. This shows itself socially in what is called ' opposition' above (Sect. 149).
  8. It is `general' when considered retrospectively, as finding concrete illustrations in actual personalities, or as being experiential in its origin; so it is ' general' when looked at 'subjectively' or `ejectiyely.' It is , ideal' when looked at prospectively, as yet unfinished, not fully experienced, liable to further growth in experience, and so in its actual embodiment 'projective.' See the note in Appendix H, IV.
  9. The other question, i.e., that of the function of the intellectual output of individuals in affording to society its matter for adoption and absorption, is treated in Chap. Xl., ' The Social Forces.'
  10. This would seem to be the case with a dog belonging to an uncle of my wife; the dog lay on a forbidden chair in the drawing-room, and hearing his master coming down-stairs, quickly jumped beneath a table near by, and lay quiet, as if asleep.
  11. Sully gives instances of the various excuses which children invent to avoid complying with a command (loc. cit., p. 270 f.).
  12. As when a child comes and asks to be punished for a fault which he is sure has not been witnessed by any one.
  13. Chap. IV., §1.
  14. The following illustrations of this all occurred in five minutes' conversation when H. was just four years old. " Baby mustn't have the pictures, she wants to tear them—that's what she wants, mama."—" Oh, mama! baby has the red book that papa said I couldn't have—shall I take it away? I'm going to table with you, mama ; but baby Leafs and she'll want to go too—so we won't talk about it now, mama." These instances also illustrate the intelligent use of the social bond for private ends pointed out in Sect. 173.
  15. This is carried further in Chap. XII., on 'Social Matter and Process.'
  16. For example, when the child legislates for his little brother, hoping to profit by it; refuses to take fruit, etc., first, knowing the others will leave the larger ones; makes the plea that he did this or that 'in fun'; takes advantage of his mother's pity, charity, etc., by exciting them artificially or unduly.
  17. See the instance of an inventive social lie given above, Sect. 71.
  18. It is not at all difficult to imagine the place the sort of semi-reflective cunning and craft corresponding to this must have played in the conditions of early social life. The treachery of ambush and broken truce, existing side by Side with internal tribal organization and inter-tribal unions for defence, based on 'duties and rights'—as for example in the experience of the early settlers with the North American Indians—shows both sides of this mental condition. It involves both the factors required in the process of 'social selection' of groups: sociality and competition (see Chap. V., § 4).

Valid HTML 4.01 Strict Valid CSS2