36 fails the seasons are repeated each year and there

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Unformatted text preview: y and is unintelligible. From the beginning of life to the end there is choice. Who and what chooses? From infancy one sees the war of purposes and desires and the gradual rise of one purpose or set of purposes into dominance,--in short, the growth of unity, the growth of personality. The common man calls this unity his soul, the philosopher speaks of the ego and implies some such thing as this organizing energy of character. But a naturalistic view of character must reject such a metaphysical entity, for one sees the organizing energy increase and diminish with the rest of character through health, age, environment, etc. Further, there is at work in all living things a similar something that organizes the action of the humblest bit of protoplasm. This organizing energy of character will be, for us, that something inherent in all life which tends to individualize each living thing. It is as if all life were originally of one piece and then, spreading itself throughout the world, it tended to differentiate and develop (according to the Spencerian formula) into genera, species, groups and individuals. This organizing energy works up the experiences of the individual so that new formulae for action develop, so that what is experienced becomes the basis of future reaction. It must be remembered that the world we live in has its great habits. Night follows day in a cycle that never CHAPTER IV. 36 fails, the seasons are repeated each year, and there is a periodicity in the lives of plants and animals that is manifested in growth, nutrition, mating and resting. Things happen again and again, though in slightly altered form, and our desires, satisfied now, soon repeat their urge. The great organic needs and sensations repeat themselves and with the periodic world of outer experience must be dealt with according to a more or less settled policy. It is the organizing energy that works out the policy, that learns, inhibits, chooses and acts,--and it is the essential character-developing principle. For like our bodily organs which are whipped into line by the nervous sys...
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