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Unformatted text preview: their miracles. CHAPTER XI.
THE EVOLUTION OF CHARACTER WITH ESPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE GROWTH OF PURPOSE
There have been various philosophies dealing with the purposes of man. Man seeks this or that--the eternal
good, beauty, happiness, pleasure, survival--but always he is represented as a seeker. A very popular doctrine,
Hedonism, now somewhat in disfavor, represents him as seeking pleasurable, affective states. The difficulty
of understanding the essential nature of pleasure and pain, the fact that what is pleasure to one man is pain to
another, rather discredited this as a psychological explanation. I think we may phrase the situation fairly on an
empirical basis when we say that seeking arises in instinct but receives its impulse to continuity by some
agreeable affective state of satisfaction. Man steers towards pleasure and satisfaction of some type or other,
but the force is the unbalance of an instinct.
When we speak of man as a seeker, we are not separating him from the rest of living things. All life seeks, and
the more mobile a living thing is the more it seeks. A sessile mussel chained to a rock seeks little but the
fundamentals of nutrition and generation and these in a simple way. An animal that builds habitations for its
young, courts its mate, plays, teaches and fights, may do nothing more than seek nutrition and generation, but
it seeks these through many intermediary "end" points, through many impulses, and thus it has many types of
satisfaction. When a creature develops to the point that it establishes all kinds of rules governing conduct,
when it establishes sanctions that are eternal and has purposes that have a terminus in a hereafter which is out
of the span of life of the planner, it becomes quite difficult to say just what it is man seeks. In fact, every man
seeks many things, many satisfactions, and whatever it may be that Man in the abstract seeks, individual men
differ very decidedly not only as to what they seek but as to what should be sought.
Our viscera, our tissues, as they function, change by the using up of energy and the breaking down of
materials. That change brings about sens...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11