Human Nature and Its Remaking. Human nature and its remaking. (1918 edition) 2019-01-12

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Human nature and its remaking (Book, 1929) [www.socialinterview.com]

Human Nature and Its Remaking

If human nature is equipped with instincts such as we have described, and with the preferences that go with them, and if these interests are mightily affected by the neighbor's behavior, a generalizing animal would hardly fail to perceive the value of an habitual dispo- sition on the neighbor's part to consider the feelings of others ; and a language-using animal would hardly fail to invent a term to express to his neighbor his sense of the importance of that disposition. A self might be described as a permanent principle of selection. This is much easier than attempting to discover what the opponent actually meant. He must be no member of society, either in its capacity as impressing ideals or in its capacity as receiving and using them. . Using the word art in the widest sense, as including all conscious efforts to remake the world, we may say that all animal behavior includes some degree of out- wardly directed art. Kepler's famous words at the end of his preface to the Weltharmonik are the words of the free man in this sense: Here I cast the die, and write a book to be read whether by contemporaries or by posterity, I care not.

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Human Nature and Its Remaking by William Ernest Hocking

Human Nature and Its Remaking

For example, we have given no account of individual personality. We do not regard the will to power as an adequate name for the central instinct. The law is analo- gous to that of the increase of power in an optical in- strument ; the field is restricted as the reach increases. In brief, what marks these two experiences as belonging to the same mind is the incipient classing or generalizing, whereby the two interests appear as two interests, i. Here follows a rough sketch of such an analysis; it appears that the belief in a quasi-maternal relation of the world to human individu- als, a belief partly coincident with the metaphysics of Christianity, has been at the basis of our civilization; and this belief, in turn, might plausibly be explained as merely subjective or pragmatic; objective support for the belief in question, men have supposed themselves to find in the his- torical process itself, particularly in those experimental sacrifices which, though they were deeds of individual men, have seemed to carry an over-individual and authoritative significance.

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Human nature and its remaking (Book, 1929) [www.socialinterview.com]

Human Nature and Its Remaking

But we owe to it also an over-development of the invidious comparative eye, a trend of attention fascinated by the powers, perquisites, and opinions of the immediate neighbors. If we oblige each member of a group to get what he wants, not directly, but by way of a common fund, it is evident that he will be concerned to add as much as possible to this common fund, and so seem to have common cause with all the rest. We find our initial common ground with this realism by accepting, for the purposes of the argument, the picture of original human nature as a group of instincts. In play, growing humanity carries on a career with plastic materials, such as it can control with its small powers, until it is ready to throw away its playthings and try a fall with realities. To say that mankind is by nature bad is, in its origins, only a more sophisticated way of say- ing that virtue is difficult. Conscience is not an instinct.

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Human nature and its remaking. (1918 edition)

Human Nature and Its Remaking

And the rightful position of one man toward others cannot be described without this conception : for this position does not consist merely in being amiably disposed toward them, but rather in standing in loco Dei toward them, and acting as a Providence to them. If the will to power could be understood, in Nietzsche 's terms, as a need to give ut- terance to the energy that is in us, we should be on the way to a natural understanding of human nature. This conspiracy of all the phases of evolution in prolonging the vestibule of satisfaction, can hardly be looked upon as an end in itself, from the biological standpoint, though it implies the complication and de- velopment of the animal body. Certainly we cannot take the biological function of an instinct as a sufficient account of what that in- stinct means to a human being as if hunger held the conscious purpose of building the body, or love were an aim to continue the species. But such a situation is palpably an abstrac- tion from the time-filling reality indicated by ' ' consciousness ' ' to which Bergson himself wishes to call attention. And even if the social order were perfectly just in its arrangements, freedom would still require the ful- filment of this religious function. Hence ' convention' is a word which still conveys a sense of enforced deviation from the natural.

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Human Nature And Its Remaking

Human Nature and Its Remaking

Society is to each of its members a store- house of technique : and as little as the learner could spare the mechanical technique of the socially trans- mitted arts and sciences, could he dispense with the accumulated capital of wisdom in the ways of behavior, the folkways of his own tribe and time. For the more adventurous spirits, the finer but not less terrifying punishments of ridicule and exclusion are held in reserve. Or, what we call sin may be an incident in the normal process of groping our way into our place. But is not the difficulty this, that the praiseworthy and delightful qualities of Sir John would be hard to unite with certain other reputable qualities, such as responsibility and temperance ; and, generally speaking, that among the ideals which we all accept seriatim there is conflict? The over- burdened school mistress we were speaking of has, no doubt, an abstract ideal. Our third postu- late is that institutions shall make institutional provision for change, as their unfitness is felt and diagnosed; but since it is the wish of every radical and experimentalist that something be established, he has an inalienable interest in conservation. Why should a species already perfectly adapted to its world seek to improve its adaptation? Pragmatic writers, in the interest of showing that all thought has an active meaning, have sometimes gone to great lengths in exhibiting the logical qualities of instinct and tropism. With such goods all prop- erty runs to a common fund; and in all exchange both parties gain without losing.


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Human Nature And Its Remaking

Human Nature and Its Remaking

But evolutionary psychology, and in fact all genetic psy- chology, is necessarily a mixture of empiricism with a degree of speculation. Other creatures nature could largely finish : the human creature must finish himself. This dialectic presupposes continuous social experience, and would not take place apart from s The discussion of the social contract theory from Hume to the present is one of the least creditable chapters in modern scholarship. This accidental intrusion of the disinterested eye is likely to come not as a disagreeable reminder of a false convention; but as lending new vigor through the chagrin to certain languishing maxims of self-control which personal experience in the dialectic of pugnacity had already suggested. It is quite compatible with its primitive aimlessness that the talking impulse should be a part of some more general tendency, be it reason, sociability, or 'the political faculty. No satisfaction is such except by grace of the fact that beneath all differ- ences it presents to an identical self an identical mean- ing with every other satisfaction.

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Human Nature and Its Remaking by William Ernest Hocking

Human Nature and Its Remaking

If so, the natural inference is simply that these ideals, taken one by one, are somewhat false and abstract. Sin is failure to make our several impulses contribute their part to our total will. It belongs to the nature of an ideal to be difficult, and at the same time inexorable. The native hold which man has on his good, his instinct par excel- lence, is likely to evade capture in any neat vessel of concepts. The general element running through all the scores of situations which excite fear is the presence of an environment for which none of our instinctive powers fit us. The modelling pro- cess, working by suggestion and imitation as well as by overt control, has done its work before the critical powers are fully awake. Yet the ambiguity of these words is not accidental; no doubt the two phases of energy belong together, the one as substance and the other as shadow.

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Human Nature and Its Remaking by William Ernest Hocking ยท OverDrive (Rakuten OverDrive): eBooks, audiobooks and videos for libraries

Human Nature and Its Remaking

For what we now know is that the issue of discipline versus hu- man nature is a false issue. And we have a double concern in this subject, since the human conscience is at once, in some sort of germ, deposited in man's original nature, and at the same time one of the chief instruments in his remaking. It is due in part to the fallacy of custom; by which I mean that the usualness of a given type of wrong-doing diminishes the psychological sense of its wrongfulness, and with our increasing knowledge of evil, all types of wrong- doing appear usual. The experimental variation at the point of reproduction which we ascribe to 'life' because it forms no discernible part of the conscious intent of the parent organisms tends to disappear. The next step, whether in social philosophy, or in educa- tion, or in ethics, requires an understanding between whatever valid elements moral realism may contain and the valid elements of the challenged tradition.

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Human Nature and Its Remaking : William Ernest Hocking : 9781286786161

Human Nature and Its Remaking

And while totem gods and other gods give extraordinarily different commands, the tendency of conscience to respect these commands is always there. The question whether one who joins the colors is actuated by pugnacity, or by love of country, or by ambition, or by mob conscious- ness, or by need of shining in the eyes of some woman, is a futile question: but it is futile, less because the truth is so hard to ascertain than because of a false assumption in the question. If we convey to our neighbor that he is idle, or selfish, or unfair, and if he perceives our meaning, nothing but wilful failure to use his own powers so our attitude declares can account for any further continuance in these ways. If there is any virtue in giving a name to the ultimate stuff of human nature, it would be more like thought than like physical energy ; and, if I may venture a final leap of speculation, more, I believe, like conversation than like solitary thought. On this basis we can do justice to both realism and rela- tivism. It is just these ideals that are now violently chal- lenged, and the challenge is salutary. It is they that have been the chief stum- bling block in the theory of instinct; for while that theory becomes comparatively trivial when they are omitted, it has always been muddled when they have been included.


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