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quick gets a degree of satisfaction from the habit. Indeed, all manner of habitual and absurd movements, from
scratching to pacing up and down, are efforts to relieve the tension of excitement. One of my patients under
any excitement likes to put his hands in very hot water, and the pain, by its localization, takes away from the
diffuse and unpleasant excitement. The diffuse uncontrolled excitement of itching is often relieved by painful
biting and scratching. Here is an effort to localize a feeling and thus avoid diffuse discomfort, a sort of
3. As a corollary to the need of excitement and its pleasure is the reaction to monotony. Monotony is one of
the most dreaded factors in the life of man. The internal resources of most of us are but small; we can furnish
excitement and interest from our own store for but a short time, and there then ensues an intense yearning for
something or somebody that will take up our attention and give a direction to our thought and action. Under
monotony the thought turns inward, there is daydreaming and introspection, which are pleasurable only at
certain times for most of us and which grow less pleasurable as we grow older. Watch the faces of people
thinking as they travel alone in cars,--and rarely does one see a happy face. The lines of the face droop and
sighs are frequent. Monotony and melancholy are not far apart; monotony and a restless seeking for
excitement are almost synonymous. Of course, what constitutes monotony will differ in the viewpoint of each
person, for some are so constituted and habituated (for habit is a great factor) that it takes but few stimuli to
arouse a well-sustained interest, and others need or think they need many things, a constantly changing set of
circumstances for pleasure.
 Stanley Hall, in his book "Adolescence," lays great stress on monotony and its effects. See also Graham CHAPTER VII. 56 Wallas' "The Great Society."
Restlessness, eager searching for change, intense dis...
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- Spring '11