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Unformatted text preview: mories of other experiences or of teaching come into the mind and some effort is made to meet the
situation in an "intelligent" manner.
Here, then, is a response in which three cardinal reactions have occurred and are blended,--the emotion, the
instinctive action, and the intelligent action; or to make abstractions, emotion, instinct and intelligence.
(Personally, I think half the trouble with our thought is that, we abstract from our experiences a common
group of associations and believe that the abstraction has some existence outside our thoughts.) Thus there
arise in us, as a result of things experienced, curious feelings and we speak of the feelings as emotions; we
make a race-old response to a situation,--an instinctive reaction; our memories, past experiences and present
purposes are stirred into activity, and we plan and scheme, and this is an intelligent reaction, but there is in
reality no metaphysical entity Emotion, Instinct, Intelligence. I believe that here the philosophers whose
mental activities are essentially in the direction of forming abstract ideas have misled us.
What I wish to point out is this: that to any situation all three reactions may take place and modify one
another. We are insulted--some one slaps our face--the fierce emotion of anger arises and through us surge
waves of feeling manifested on the motor side by tensed muscles, rapid heart, harsh breathing, perhaps a
general reddening of face and eyes. Instinctively our fists are clenched, a part of the reaction of fight, and it
needs but the slightest increase of anger to send us leaping on the aggressor, to fight him perhaps to the death.
But no,--the situation has aroused certain memories and certain inhibitions: the one who struck us has been
our friend and we can see that he is acting under a mistaken impression, or else we perceive that he is right,
that we have done him a wrong for which his blow is a sort of just reaction. We are checked by these cerebral
activities, we choose some other reaction than fight; perhaps we prevent him from further assault, or we turn
and walk aw...
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- Spring '11