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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/361

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357
TEE LAWS OF SOCIAL ATTRACTION

is sexual affinity a peculiar bond that adds to the attractiveness of other stocks and races or is it an index of defects imposed on individuals of the same stock by shortcomings of their environment? Is an affinity a person of the other sex just like ourselves in heredity, but with other defects, or is this affinity a person of other stock or race enclosed and harmonized by the influence of the same environment? The answer to these questions is to be found not in biological studies of germ cells, but in psychology and physiology. An affinity is a strong dominating form of attachment which suppresses the ordinary thought processes and puts in their place many unique emotions and illusions. We immediately recognize the abnormality of the actions of two such people and know that only the breaking of the spell will restore them to normal life. It is thus a feeling akin to hysteria and has the same general causes. Like listeria, it is not a character, but an abnormality. It is a state of deficient emotional control—a paralysis of the higher centers that should dominate thought and activity. Irritability, passion, uncontrollable sex feelings and hysteria all represent the lack of something that is normally present, not the presence of characters absent from normal people. They are manifestations of retardations through which people fail to reach a full development. Defects represent the loss of characters due to this retardation. The higher centers fail to act with sufficient promptness and the retarded person falls under the control of strong persistent feelings that upset normal thought and control. In the parts where defects appear instead of positive characters, emotion and hysteria control instead of reason.

These persons with abnormal tendencies are aroused and dominated by the fully developed people of their own type; they have an aversion to people of other types. If a person is naturally musical, but through some defect or disease his powers are practically dormant, he will be lifted into a new realm by persons of great musical power. The capacity to enjoy music is in this defective person; it is made dormant by adverse conditions, but it can be aroused by contact with musical talent; and is forced by the new stimulus and excitement through a rapid development. There seems to be a miraculous change and with it a tremendous emotional outburst. The strong thus exert a tonic influence over the weak and retarded of their own type. The hero is not a super-man; he is the normal man; his followers are just like him in character and heredity. The defects of environment and personal development have kept them from attaining his level and give to him a dominance over their lives through the stimulus towards a better self-expression than his example and life give. The instantaneous conversion of religion does not come to the normally developed man, but he can stimulate a conversion in defective, retarded people of his own type. Strong emotions, irresistible impulses, instantaneous changes,