Intelligence often enough not conscious of the plans

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Unformatted text preview: organic tensions and depressions that constitute instinct are not conscious or subconscious; they affect our conscious personalities so that we desire something, we fit that desire in with the rest of our desires, we seek the means of gratifying that desire first in accordance with means that Nature has given us and second in accordance with social teaching and our intelligence. If the desire brings us sharply in contact with obstacles imposed either by circumstances or more precious desire, we inhibit that desire,--and thus the instinct. Because organic tensions and depressions are periodic and are dependent upon the activities of glands and tissues not within our control, the desires may never be completely squelched and may arise as often as some outer stimulus brings them into activity, to plague and disorder the life of the conscious personality. 3. With this preliminary consideration of instinct, we pass on to certain of the phases of intelligence. How to define intelligence is a difficulty best met by ignoring definition. But this much is true: that the prime function of intelligence is to store up the past and present experiences so that they can be used in the future, and that it adds to the rigid mechanism of instinct a plastic force which by inhibiting and exciting activity according to need steers the organism through intricate channels. Instinct, guided by a plan, conveniently called Nature's plan, is not itself a planner. The discharge of one mechanism discharges another and so on through a series until an end is reached,--an end apparently not foreseen by the organism but acting for the good of the race to which the organism belongs. Intelligence, often enough not conscious of the plans of Nature,[1] indeed, decidedly ignorant of these plans, works for some good established by itself out of stimuli set up by the instincts. It plans, looks backward and forward, reaches the height of reflecting on itself, gets to recognize the existence of instinct and sets itself the task of controlling instinct. Often enough it fails, instinct breaks through, takes possessio...
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