Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/418

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contrast with the slow growth of the pleasures typified under the foregoing head. A signal illustration of explosiveness is furnished by laughter, which has both its original causes, and also its factitious or borrowed stimulants. This is an instance where the severity of the agitation provokes self-control, and where advancing years contract rather than enlarge the sphere. As the expression of disparaging and scornful emotions, its cultivation has the facility of the generic passion of malevolence. We may refer, next, to the explosive emotion of grief, which is in itself seductive, and, if uncontrolled, adds to its primary urgency the force of a habit all too readily acquired. There is, moreover, in connection with the tender emotion, an explosive mode of genuine affection, of which the only defect is its being too strong to last: it prompts to a degree of momentary ardor that is compatible with a relapse into coldness and neglect. This, too, will spontaneously extend itself, and will exemplify the growth of emotional association with undesirable rapidity.

What has now been said is but a summary and representation of familiar emotional facts. Familiar also is the remark that explosiveness is the weakness of early life, and is surmounted to a great degree by the lapse of time and the strengthening of the energies. The encounter with others in every-day life begets restraint and control; and one's own prudential reflections stimulate a further repression of the original outbursts, by which also their growth into habits is retarded. In so far as they are repressed by influence from without, and counter-habits established, as a part of moral education, I have elsewhere stated what I consider the two main conditions of such a result—a powerful initiative, and an unbroken series of conquests. When these conditions are exemplified through all the emotions in detail, the specialties of the different genera—fear, anger, love, and the rest—are sufficiently obvious.

III. The chief interest always centres in those associations that, from their bearing on right and wrong conduct, receive the name "Moral." The class just described have this bearing in a very direct form; while the first class indirectly subserves moral ends. But when we approach the subject with an express view to moral culture, we must cross the field of emotional association in general by a new track.

The newly-appointed professors of the theory of education are perhaps not yet fully aware that, when they venture upon the troubled arena of moral education, they will not be able to evade the long-standing question. What is the moral faculty? A very short argument will prove the point. Moral improvement is obviously a strengthening of this so-called moral faculty, or conscience—increasing its might (in Butler's phrase) to the level of its right. But in order to strengthen an energy we must know what it is: if it is a simple, we must define it in its simplicity; if it is a compound, we must