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what is known as inhibition must come into play; an impulse to action must be checked in order that an
opposing action can be effective. The movement of rejection uses muscles that oppose the movement of
acquirement; e. g., one uses the triceps and the other the biceps, muscles situated in opposite sides of the
upper arm and having antagonistic action. In order for triceps to act, biceps must be inhibited from action, and
in that inhibition is a fundamental function of the organism. In every function of the body there are opposing
groups of forces; for every dilator there is a contractor, for every accelerator of action there is inhibition.
Nature drives by two reins, and one is a checkrein.
This function of inhibition, then, delays, retards or prevents an action and is in one sense a higher function
than the response to stimulation. Its main seat is the cerebrum, the "highest" nervous tissue, whereas reflex
and instinctive actions usually are in the vegetative nervous system, the spinal cord, the bulbar regions and the
mid-brain, all of which are lower centers. Choice, which is intimately associated with inhibition, is par
excellence a cerebral function and in general is associated with intense consciousness. The act of choosing
brings to the circumstances the whole past history of the individual; it marshals his resources of judgment,
intelligence, will, purposes and desires. In choice lies the fate of the personality, for it is basically related to
habit formation. Further, in the dynamics of life a right, proper choice, an appropriate choice, opens wide the
door of opportunity, whereas an unfortunate choice may commit one to the mercies of wrecking forces.
Education should aim to teach proper choosing and then proper action.
The capacity for perceiving and responding to stimuli, for inhibiting or delaying action and for choosing, are
of cardinal importance in our study. But there is another phase of life and character without which everything
else lacks unit...
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- Spring '11