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Unformatted text preview: IV. 34 To some of the stimuli the world pours in on us we must react properly or die. Certain "mechanisms" with
which we are equipped must respond to these stimuli or the forces of the world destroy us. A lion on the
horizon must awaken flight, or concealment, or the modified fight reaction of using weapons; extreme cold or
heat must start up impulses and reflexes leading away from their disintegrating effects. Food must, when
smelled or seen, lead us to conduct whereby we supply ourselves or we die from hunger. Dangers and needs
awaken reactions, both through instinctive responses and through intelligence. The main activities of life are
to be classed as "averting" and "acquiring," for if life showers us with the things we would or need to have, it
also pelts us with the things we fear, hate or despise. It would be interesting to know which activities are the
most numerous; presumably the lucky or successful man is busy acquiring while the unlucky or unsuccessful
finds himself busiest averting. The averting activities are directed largely against the disagreeable, disgusting,
dangerous and the undesired; the acquiring activities are directed toward the pleasant, the necessary, the
desired. The problems of life are to know what is really good or bad for us and how to acquire the one and
avert the other. While there are certain things that "naturally" are deemed good or bad, there are more that
are so regarded through training and education. Morality and Taste are alike concerned with bringing about
attitudes that will determine the "right" response to the stimuli of the world.
 I place in quotations NATURALLY because it is difficult to know what is "natural" and what is cultural.
In the widest sense everything is natural; in the narrowest very few things are natural. Cooked food, clothing,
houses, marriages, education, etc., are not found in a state of nature, any more than clocks and plays by Ibsen
are. Our judgment as to what is good and bad is mainly instinctive leaning directed or smothered by
The stimuli that thus pour in upon t...
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- Spring '11