Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/477

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ency to glorify the mind and to give to it, or to some part of it, or to something like it, a leading role on the stage of events is seen in the voluntaristic movement. The voluntarists do not necessarily hold to any old-fashioned notions of the will as real. The tendency in voluntarism is a part of the general tendency to believe that processes are more real than things. Our volitions, therefore, being obviously processes, movements, springs, are better types of psychical reality than sensations or ideas. So on every side we find emphasis laid upon will, impulse, instinct, inner activity, mental initiative and attention. "Inner activity" is spoken of in the case of the lowest animal organisms and even of plants. In studying animal behavior, we learn that the earliest movements are not mere reflexes, but a series of "trial movements of the most diverse character and including at times practically all the movements of which the animal is capable."[1] Likewise the reflex mechanical theory fails to account for the "tropisms" of plants. Although few biologists would explain the "tropisms," or perhaps even the "trial" movements of the microorganisms as psychical, nevertheless it is admitted that they are forms of inner activity and not reflexes, and it is hard for psychologists not to associate them with such human phenomena as attention, impulse and initiative. The suggestive term "restlessness" has been used to characterize these simple forms of self-activity.[2] Something like an eternal restlessness seems to be present in every form of living matter from the microorganism with its incessant "trial" movements to the adult human being with his exhaustless aspirations. It manifests itself in the variations and mutations of plants and animals, in the "try, try again" movements of the creeping child, in the play of youth,[3] in the inner stirrings, passionate longings and ceaseless, activities of the adolescent, and in the inventions, explorations, ambition and progress of the mature man of culture. Despite every effort of naturalism to explain the power of voluntary and sustained attention, the apparent freedom of the will, and the art impulse, there remains in these phenomena an unexplained residue which apparently depends upon this inherent principle of self-activity.

The term "restlessness," however, suggestive as it may be, does not quite rightfully express the character of this profound principle of inner activity which eludes all scientific analysis. It is something more than restlessness and something less than aspiration. All attempts to account for progress, whether cosmic or human, without the assumption of some such deep psychic factor, have failed. There is apparently in man, as in nature, a spring of progress, an upward and

  1. Jennings, "Behavior of the Lower Organisms," p. 280.
  2. Royce, "Outlines of Psychology," Chaps. VII. and XIII.
  3. Idem, p. 319.