Page images

spontaneous action of the individual, springing from his most essential nature and character. The purpose to which any particular kind of instinctive action is subservient is not the purpose of a soul standing outside the individual and near akin to Providence—a purpose once for all thought out, and now become a matter of necessity to the individual, so that he can act in no other way, though it is engrafted into his nature from without, and not natural to it. The purpose of the instinct is in each individual case thought out and willed unconsciously by the individual, and afterwards the choice of means adapted to each particular case is arrived at unconsciously. A knowledge of the purpose is often absolutely unattainable1 by conscious knowledge through sensual perception. Then does the peculiarity of the unconscious display itself in the clairvoyance of which consciousness perceives partly only a faint and dull, and partly, as in the case of man, a more or less definite echo by way of sentiment, whereas the instinctive action itself—the carrying out of the

1 " Häufig ist die Kenntniss des Zwecks der bewussten Erkenntniss durch sinnliche Wahrnehmung gar nicht zuganglich; dann documentirt sich die Eigenthümlichkeit des Unbewussten im Hellsehen, von welchem das Bewusstsein theils nur eine verschwindend dumpfe, theils auch namentlich beim Menschen mehr oder minder deutliche Resonanz als Ahnung verspiirt."—Philosophy of the Unconscious, 3d ed., p. 100.

means necessary for the achievement of the unconscious purpose—falls always more clearly within consciousness, inasmuch as due performance of what is necessary would be otherwise impossible. Finally, the clairvoyance makes itself perceived in the concerted action of several individuals combining to carry out a common but unconscious purpose.

Up to this point we have encountered clairvoyance as a fact which we observe but cannot explain, and the reader may say that he prefers to take his stand here, and be content with regarding instinct simply as a matter of fact, the explanation of which is at present beyond our reach. Against this it must be urged, firstly, that clairvoyance is not confined to instinct, but is found also in man; secondly, that clairvoyance is by no means present in all instincts, and that therefore our experience shows us clairvoyance and instinct as two distinct things—clairvoyance being of great use in explaining instinct, but instinct serving nothing to explain clairvoyance; thirdly and lastly, that the clairvoyance of the individual will not continue to be so incomprehensible to us, but will be perfectly well explained in the further course of our investigation, while we must give up all hope of explaining instinct in any other way.

The conception we have thus arrived at enables us to regard instinct as the innermost kernel, so to speak, of every living being. That this is actually the case is shown by the instincts of self-preservation and of the continuation of the species which we observe throughout creation, and by the heroic selfabandonment with which the individual will sacrifice welfare, and even life, at the bidding of instinct. We see this when we think of the caterpillar, and how she repairs her cocoon until she yields to exhaustion; of the bird, and how she will lay herself to death; of the disquiet and grief displayed by all migratory animals if they are prevented from migrating. A captive cuckoo will always die at the approach of winter through despair at being unable to fly away; so will the vineyard snail if it is hindered of its winter sleep. The weakest mother will encounter an enemy far surpassing her in strength, and suffer death cheerfully for her offspring's sake. Every year we see fresh cases of people who have been unfortunate going mad or committing suicide. Women who have survived the Caesarian operation allow themselves so little to be deterred from further childbearing through fear of this frightful and generally fatal operation, that they will undergo it no less than three times. Can we suppose that what so closely resembles demoniacal possession can have come about through something engrafted on to the soul as a mechanism foreign to its inner nature,1 or through conscious deliberation which adheres always to a bare egoism, and is utterly incapable of such self-sacrifice for the sake of offspring as is displayed by the procreative and maternal instincts?

We have now, finally, to consider how it arises that the instincts of any animal species are so similar within the limits of that species —a circumstance which has not a little contributed to the engrafted-mechanism theory. But it is plain that like causes will be followed by like effects; and this should afford sufficient explanation. The bodily. mechanism, for example, of all the individuals of a species is alike; so again are their capabilities and the outcomes of their conscious intelligence— though this, indeed, is not the case with man, nor in some measure even with the highest animals; and it is through this want of unifor

1 "Und eine so damonische Gewalt sollte durch etwas ausgeübt werden konnen, was als ein dem inneren Wesen fremder Mechanismus dem Geiste aufgepfropft ist, oder gar durch eine bewusster Ueberlegung, welche doch stets nur im kahlen Egoismus stecken bleibt," &c.— Philosophy of the Unconscious, 3d ed., p. 101.


mity that there is such a thing as individuality. The external conditions of all the individuals of a species are also tolerably similar, and when they differ essentially, the instincts are likewise different—a fact in support of which no examples are necessary. From like conditions of mind and body (and this includes like predispositions of brain and ganglia) and like exterior circumstances, like desires will follow as a necessary logical consequence. Again, from like desires and like inward and outward circumstances, a like choice of means —that is to say, like instincts—must ensue. These last two steps would not be conceded without restriction if the question were one involving conscious deliberation, but as these logical consequences are supposed to follow from the unconscious, which takes the right step unfailingly without vacillation or delay so long as the premises are similar, the ensuing desires and the instincts to adopt the means for their gratification will be similar also.

Thus the view which we have taken concerning instinct explains the very last point which it may be thought worth while to bring forward in support of the opinions of our opponents.

« EelmineJätka »