Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/405

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from plants, pleasure and pain gradually arose out of movements, thus leading to the development of volition.

Lucretius says:[1] "It is delightful to stand on the sea-shore in a high wind and watch the dangers of those who are on the deep; it is equally pleasant to behold from an elevated station a battle raging in the plains below, because it is naturally agreeable to witness those misfortunes from which yourself are free; but far more pleasant still is it to occupy wisdom's heights, and from thence to look down on others groping and wandering in search of the true light."[2] Although the want of sympathetic feeling shown in this poetic flight is shocking to the altruism of the nineteenth century, the idea is nevertheless in entire harmony with Hamilton's definition of pleasure, since consciousness of power naturally belongs to a position of superiority; and the feeling here disclosed undoubtedly constitutes an important element in human satisfactions. It is not always necessary that superiority should be demonstrated in order to the securing of its legitimate effects; a powerful mastiff scorns to use his strength against an inferior antagonist; the mere consciousness of ability to exterminate the puppy with a single shake satisfies the demands of his nature.

Pleasure, originating in physical activity and reaching a far higher phase in the doing of intellectual work, culminates in the supreme consciousness of power which attends the moral actions. As pointed out by Mr. Stanton Coit.[3] "The conscious fulfillment of duty is attended by a feeling of happiness which sometimes takes the form of deep inward peace, and sometimes of gladness and exultation, like that of a victor." Thus the ancient heathen poet and the modern moralist, although separated by the vast ocean of sympathy which lies between the opposite poles of egoism and altruism, meet nevertheless on the common soil of a common human nature.

Activity, then, carries with it its own reward; it is in itself an end; and education, once almost exclusively directed to the immediate cultivation of the mind, is gradually extending to all the activities of the complex human being—the physical and moral as well as the intellectual. The general methods by which the full measure of development of which human nature is susceptible may be secured are. I believe, indicated in the psycho-physiological facts and principles of which I have here attempted a brief outline.

  1. Quoted by B. Cattell in "Are Animals mentally happy?" "Nineteenth Century," August, 1886.
  2. It was one of the teachings of a certain system of theology, now happily nearly obsolete, that the spectacle of the tortures of the damned would constitute one of the elements of heavenly bliss.
  3. See "Mind," No. xliii, "The Final Aim of Moral Action."