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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/614

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

pride prevents an understanding, and the rupture comes." Just as the malevolent feelings may arise de novo, so it is with the benevolent ones. Nordau shows how the nondescript state of being "in love" often arises. Some incident between John and Mary leads one of them—we will say John—to think mistakenly that Mary has been attracted to him. Pleased with the fact, he reciprocates. Mary, altogether unconscious of the reciprocal nature of John's attention, finds pleasure in it, and in her turn reciprocates. Mutual reciprocity then follows.

In irritable persons we find the morbid sense of injury coupled with resentment. Quickly interpreting anything disagreeable to them as an affront by another, their first impulse is to resent it, which they do more or less violently, according to circumstances, their second thought often recognizing the irrational nature of the outbreak. This suggests the feral instinct. Examples are common in the lower animals, while in pain attacking those about them as if they were the cause of it. No doubt this resentment is a survival from evolutionary ancestry. It has probably served a necessary purpose in the conservation of animal life by causing the animal to attack what may, in the jealousy of self-preservation and its feeble discrimination, even be suspected of being inimical to its welfare. Blind and unjust, perhaps, but Nature hesitates at no apparent injustice to accomplish this. When we go higher, to the tribal relation of man, we find the same blind resentment. The Australian aborigines have no conception of death, except as vaguely associated with homicidal causes, and when a member of a tribe dies a most natural death a member of a hostile tribe is killed to avenge the supposed murder. The Africans, too, read homicidal forces into natural deaths. In civilized social relations it appears again in the very popular and usually irrational demand for a scapegoat when matters go wrong. The idea of religious sacrifice, too, is a practice by which the anthropomorphic God is credited with being aggrieved by human conduct and of wishing to be appeased therefor. Though the exercise of this indiscriminate resentment was probably greater and more necessary in the pre-social stage of human evolution, there is still ground for its activity to-day in the struggle for existence which has but changed its arena. Under a veneer of amity, laudable enough, there are till the suspicion and resentment of the tribal relation, as we may often see unveiled in a posse of boys, and that this resentment is yet of the blind kind, we still have proof if we have seen an enlightened man deliberately kick a harmless chair because he stumbled on it in the dark.

Phylogenetically, then, we see this morbid "sense of injury"