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GENERAL THEORY OF PSYCHOLOGY
THE LAWS OF PSYCHE
Alberto E. Fresina
CHAPTER 10 -(pages 199 to 220 of the book of 410)
Index of the chapter:
THE OPERATION OF BIPULSIONS
1. The bipulsions and the fundamental contradiction of the psyche
2. The cumulative essence of the impulses operation, in bipulsions
3. Functional flexibility of the personal performance bipulsion
4. Human relationships and the performance of the bipulsions system
5. The ethical bipulsion and human relationships
6. Relative or acquired values
7. The source of relative values
THE OPERATION OF BIPULSIONS
If we put in motion the system of bipulsions, we find that the functional combination and interaction experienced by them, have the highest complexity dynamism. What it is amazing in that operation, is that the general law never changes its simple basic mechanics (assertion of pleasure and denial of displeasure). But the disposition or distribution of pleasure and displeasure are so accurate that the intentional behavior of the group of individuals of the tribe, in spite of being essentially moved just by that law, turns out to be a so integrated and coherent joint opertaion that ends up in the superior order of a “giant animal” with the most perfect abilities to survive and to reproduce itself.
1. The bipulsions and the fundamental contradiction of the psyche
The fight between the general law and the opponent forces is strongly present at this level, allowing the movement of bipulsions. The bipulsion, considered as the double tendency of premeditation to avoid or to suppress the negative value and to assert the positive one, does not have all the means to achieve those purposes. Opponent forces have an important presence here. The evidence of their power is manifested as the negative value happens in similar proportions than the positive one, in spite of the efforts of the bipulsion. In order to achieve the positive value and to avoid the negative one, the bipulsion has to fight against the opponent forces very often. At every moment, there is a risk to fall under the negative value, besides being difficult to achieve the positive one.
At this stage, the opponent forces are everything pertaining to the objective reality that, because of its global influence, the displeasure of the negative value takes place and the pleasure of the positive value is banned. Although the complexity of the diverse situations is something that frequently tends to it, the own social mechanism determining the kind of behaviors that correspond to each one of the absolute values influences to ensure the balance and movement of the antagonistic values. Such a mechanism consists in that the social average of the quality of behaviors is what determines whether outstanding acts are positive or negative in the ends.
We have already discussed this when we analyzed the essence of the intelligent or stupid act. A behavior is intelligent or stupid according to the parameter of the social average. The same happens with the other values. If, for example, we consider two groups of people where, according to our approach, the members of one group are brave and the members of the other group are coward, we will see that in the internal coexistence of each group, there will be a balanced distribution of brave and coward acts. The coward people will have their own average taking into account their level of courage, the same as the brave ones. All the behaviors evaluated in terms of courage-cowardice moved away from the respective average, will be coward or brave. The distance in relation to the average is automatically decisive of what is positive or negative of values. For that reason, the courage bip. will usually work in each group, together with the respective ethical answer. Although the most coward behavior of the brave group would be perhaps a courageous act in the other group and vice versa, the courageous behavior of a subject belonging to the coward group would probably be a cowardice in relation to the social average of the courageous group.
The result is that in the own social group, the dynamics of an internal contradiction regarding the movement of values takes place. This provokes that most behaviors are situated around neutrality, while a necessary and regular proportion of behaviors, which are kept away from the average, correspond to the positive or negative value. Even, although everybody does what is good and the group improves in absolute terms, the essential mechanism will change in nothing, since a new social average will be conceived, repeating the situation. No matter the level achieved by the group average as a whole, one half of behaviors will always be better than the other half. That is enough so that the worst are bad in relation to the average, because the average is what determines the positive and negative sides.
The opponent forces, like reality factors that influence in favor of the appearance of the negative value and make the appearance of the positive one difficult, exist inside the group. It is about the fact that the average is always renewed, ensuring the endless existence of the worse and better than it. Therefore, the presence of negative values is ensured as well as the difficulty to get the positive ones. When it is easy for everybody to do what is good, the mechanism will advance, establishing the new average and demanding more effort (or ability, etc.) to achieve a positive act. Then, when everybody makes the effort and is able to carry out the positive act easily, the average advances again, dividing into two the existing behaviors: the best and the worst ones, turning them into the good and bad ones.
This is the fundamental mechanism of the performance of the opponent forces that together with the necessary tendency of the general law, ensure the continuity of a balanced fight that always aims the vigorous movement of the behavior. The task of bipulsions is effective and the force of their motivation is considerable when they are demanded by the opponent forces that constantly threaten the appearance of the negative value and limit or harass the achievement of the positive one. It must be hard to do things well and “easy” to do them badly. If on the contrary, it was easy to do them well, achieving pleasure very often for it and rarely experiencing displeasure for something negative, the motivation and behavior would disappear, being the tribe eliminated from nature.
Apart from those demands of the mechanism of the social average, the opponent forces also use other elements that guarantee the presence of the negative values and hinder the appearance of the positive ones. One of them consists on the natural use of orientation taken by some impulses, making that the eventual satisfaction of these ones is excluded regarding the purposes of certain bipulsions. Thus for example, the aggression imp. may be moved in a direction where its satisfaction is at the same time an act of wickedness, that is to say it means the appearance of the negative value of the goodness bip. Another case where a similar situation takes place occurs when the approval imp. encourages the subject to spread openly an own merit, but that would imply the appearance of the negative value of the humility bip.: pedantry, arrogance. This way, a fight takes place between that specific interest of the approval imp. trying to call the attention towards the presumed personal merit, against the humility bip. that has an excluding purpose regarding it. Another example occurs when the communication imp. pushes to tell a strange and mysterious event that has never happened before, but that it is useful “to amaze” the receivers. At this point, the fight is against the expression of the truth bip. that has to face that interest, to avoid the appearance of its negative value: to lie, not to tell the truth. It is also frequent that the rest and corporal comfort impulses oppose to the abnegation or personal performance bip., that is to say, those impulses want unilaterally “to give up everything” and to achieve their satisfaction, putting an end to the effort; but those bipulsions have to fight against that interest to attain their respective positive values and to avoid the negative ones: laziness or lack of will, bad performance, that would imply to give place to the rest and comfort. On the other hand, the courage bip. has to fight naturally against the conservation imp. The satisfaction of the latter one, by avoiding a danger through the escape, means, in certain cases, an act of cowardice.
These natural confrontations may also appear among bipulsions (or among different aspirations of one same bipulsion, example: between two duties appearing as excluding) but they are more present between impulses and bipulsions. Such fights are within the functional or normal fights inside premeditation. The function fulfilled by those natural oppositions among the reasons of premeditation is to encourage bipulsions in order to continue with their tendency of affirming the positive value that is the useful aspect for the survival of the tribe.
As we have stated, the bipulsions are very important in terms of motivation and effectiveness of their movement only when they are demanded by the opponent forces, which tend to cause the negative value and hinder the achievement of the positive one. If it did not exist any factor threatening the appearance of the negative value and hindering the achievement of the positive one, the bipulsion would be paralyzed. This would be harmful as the movement of bipulsions is useful for life, guided from the negative value to the positive one, it becomes essential the presence of certain factors that “harass” the bipulsion, threatening it with the negative value.
This is the function held by those “deviations” of the orientation of some impulses. They are useful so that the bipulsion responds to what is positive. It is about internal interlacing of the purposes of premeditation contributing to the appearance of the negative values and with it, to the sustained movement of the bipulsions system.
Since the opponent forces are, at this stage, everything influencing in favor of the negative value and against the positive one, that disposition of natural exclusion among the goals of premeditation is part of the opponent forces in relation to the contradiction or fight undergone by some bipulsions. But in all the cases, nature “prepared” these fights so that bipulsion “wins”, or at least so that the external behavior guided towards it, is continually imposed. The productive performance takes place during the bipulsion’s fight and in its victory against the opponent forces; it is the moment which defines its usefulness for survival. However, that productive phase could not take place if the factors tending to cause the negative value were not present. The conservation and relief impulses, for example, that have the function to deny (to avoid and to eliminate respectively) the pain of the negative values in bipulsions, would not be mobilized pushing the behavior from what is negative towards what is positive if that did not exist as stimulating condition.
Not only the concrete act of the satisfaction of those impulses implies the appearance of the corresponding negative value, but many times just the aggressive “idea”, for example, already means the appearance of the negative value as well: wickedness, cruelty; or just fear, although there is not a concrete escape, may be an enough condition for the appearance of the negative value: cowardice.
On the other hand, the statement that nature “prepared” these fights so that the bipulsion wins, does not mean that the positive value has to be the only one that must appear and that there is never place for the negative one, since that would imply an imbalance in the fight that would restrain the movement of bipulsions. That “triumph” of the positive value refers to the concrete behavior or final practice. But at subjective level or inside the individual, the opponent forces influence more and balance the situation, making appear the “idea” of the negative value or the desire of the behavior corresponding to it. Such “idea” or desire, as well as in some cases the single memory of a negative act carried out in the past, usually mean the presence of the negative value that generates the respective moral displeasure. That happens although the material or concrete behavior that this negative idea suggests, does not take place. In other words, the balance of the fight and the going from one to another of the opponent values, occur fundamentally at internal level or in the middle of the subject's psychic life; but in the final external behavior (in normal state) the re-asserting act of the positive value is almost ever imposed. Just in that sense, the victory is naturally for the bipulsion; in relation to the final product of the material behavior and not regarding the total absence of the moral displeasure of the negative value, which would lead to a paralyzing imbalance of the fight movement.
From this analysis, the explanation of a strange psychological phenomenon comes off: the potential capacity of homosexuality (and/or lesbianism) in human being. The “oddity” of this phenomenon lies in the fact that it seems to contradict one of the above laws, stating that nature only allows the possibility of pleasure in what is useful for the individual and group survival. As the homosexual orientation is something clearly negative for the purposes of reproduction and survival of the social organism, the natural selection should have banned the possibility of that inclination of the sexual impulse, allowing only the survival for those whose orientation was impossible. However it was not like this, but those who survived were the ones that had that potential homosexuality. This means that, in one way or another, that capacity of homosexuality was useful for survival. Such statement is based upon the fact that everything that is universally present within species exists as they meant an advantage for the organisms holding it. Therefore, as that potential capacity of homosexual orientation is universally present in the human species, this means that during the evolution of the species, those ones holding that, had an advantage over the rest. This way, thanks to this advantage, the natural selection allowed them the survival, excluding those who did not hold it. Let’s see then, which is that unusual advantage.
The sexual re-assertion bip., as we remember, is the one encouraging the performance of male behaviors or attitudes in man and female in woman. But since the bipulsion is not able to work if it is not demanded by some opponent factor tending to produce the negative value, hindering the statement of the positive one, that potential homosexuality has then the function to harass or to threaten the bipulsion, so that this one responds with certain emphasis towards the normal sexual or heterosexual behavior. If the subject had no factor making him doubt temporarily about his own sexual identity, it would not exist the interest in re-asserting his sex either, through the re-asserting acts or attitudes of the corresponding positive value.
We may deduct from this that during the evolution of the species, the subjects having a larger normal sexual activity were those who were more motivated for it together with the moral interest of reasserting the own sex; while in the hypothetical tribes where subjects did not have that homosexual threat making them doubt eventually about their own sexual identity, there was a minor frequency of normal sexual activity, since it did not exist the addition of moral interest for reasserting acts of the respective sexual inclination. Therefore, the latter had a smaller reproduction in relation to those ones and were gradually extinguished. Although this factor means a tiny and very sporadic more frequency of the normal sexual activity, that would be enough for thousand of years, so that the descendants of the subjects having such a mechanism will be imposed.
This element would have its maximum influence as a factor of the opponent forces during the development of the subject's sexual orientation. But once the sexual inclination towards the corresponding positive value is defined, this factor as part of the opponent forces would start being less important. From there onwards, the fundamental element used by these ones would become the mechanism of the social average. Thus, for example, one male or neuter behavior in “absolute” terms will be considered perhaps female in a male, for the fact of being considered less male than other habitual behaviors in its social environment. That is, the basic question would deal with being “more man” or “less man”, “very feminine” or “not very feminine”, etc.; although this is more referred to the general roles that culture settles for each sex.
The normal development of the sexual orientation would depend mainly on three natural conditions that favor it: 1l- full operation of the absolute values in the social environment, surrounding the subject (especially those ones related to the sexual identity). 2 - identifications favoring the respective normal inclination. This is, the proper adoption of models to imitate, as guiders of personal ideals. 3 - regular and normal sexual activity from the own biological maturation of sexuality. These elements would be natural “materials” of the normal development of sexual orientation. Concrete homosexuality, as a phenomenon, would respond basically to the partial or total absence of such conditions. But when the same are present, there would be no reasons for this phenomenon to take place. In such case, the development of values and of personal ideals are guided in contrary direction to it, what determines the will to reassert the own sex, together with the aesthetic, ethical and moral rejection towards the contrary possibility. On the other hand, when having frequently undergone the most intense enjoyment in the normal or heterosexual sexual relationship, not only the sexual imp. is guided there as regular purpose-goal, but the joy imp. also hardens or fastens the desire in the heterosexual object. Therefore, although the potential capacity to feel pleasure for the homosexual behavior is always present, the dominant orientation of the subject's values and ideals as well as of the sexual and joy impulses, make that possibility be worthless or with no attraction.
This situation would be equivalent, for example, in the case of sadism. That is to say, all human beings are potentially able to feel pleasure for behaviors of the most horrendous sadism. But according to the orientation of the development of the subject’s values and motivations, there will not be desire or interest on that issue.
The analogy of homosexuality with sadism refers to the psychological mechanisms that may obstruct or favor its development and it is not an appraisable equalization of one phenomenon and another. Anyway, although they are not “same”, it is in both cases about negative values and there is nothing to do against that. Undoubtedly one may object that disapproval towards sadism is justified because cruelty materially hurts the other ones and instead homosexuals do not hurt anybody. But if we focus on the social effect of behaviors, we may say that the superb or arrogant individual, for example does not materially hurt anybody; he only shows signs of his self-over-valuation. However, it causes natural and spontaneous social displeasure and disapproval, as it is an absolute negative value like the female behavior in man or male in woman.
What it has to be understood is the cause, the origin and the natural function of the non-approved answers towards those attitudes. Although the influence of certain culture can stress or minimize the appraisable importance of some bipulsions, it would not go as far as “to bury” the spontaneous and natural reactions of pleasure or displeasure for the respective absolute values.
On the other hand, the moral interest in reasserting the own sex, besides favoring the possibility to be more frequently in situations of heterosexual sexual activity, useful for reproduction purposes, means an important motivational reinforcement for the effectiveness in roles that each culture sets for subjects according to the sex. This is like this, because it takes place the phenomenon of a natural psychological disposition for which the good performance of the role corresponding to the subject's sex tends to be conceived as a reassertion of the respective sex. Although the cultural relativity can make that male roles be female in one place, in another place that adaptation of values takes place at level of the psychic structure, through which the moral interest is naturally “taken advantage” in reasserting the own sex, as a motivational reinforcement for the efficiency in certain roles and functions. This is undoubtedly something favorable for the best global performance of the social organism and for its survival.
Going back to the general approach on the essence of these phenomena, we can state that this interlacing inside premeditation, where the eventual aspirations of some impulses are opposed to the purposes of bipulsions, contributes, together with the mechanism of social average, to encourage the appearance of negative values, as a necessary condition for the movement of bipulsions.
We have to take into account that those functional or natural fights neither frighten the subject nor mean a hindrance for the satisfaction of their impulses. They are only useful to contribute to the constant movement of the bipulsions system, guided towards the affirmation of positive values. The denial, at external behavior level, of all negative values and the affirmation of the positive ones, are not excluded with the regular satisfaction of all the impulses. This satisfaction is just hindered in certain circumstances, but then it completely takes place under other conditions. Nature fostered those internal fights among the reasons of premeditation, but “it made sure” that the widespread victory of bipulsions is not excluded regarding neither the regular satisfaction of all the impulses nor the mental health of individuals. As both conditions are essential for the effective performance of the social organism, surviving tribes were those in which the whole system of necessary tendencies of motivation, in spite of that inner “climbing”, had the maximum functional harmony in subjects.
There is another factor that also contributes to hearten the presence of the negative values and to hinder the achievement of the positive ones. It lies in the own activity of the moral fight bip. that, when putting at stake the diverse values, winning-losing or better-worst, makes the loser or “the worst” get automatically the corresponding negative value. The objective conditions in which that bipulsion moves, where the other bipulsions are bound by its mechanics: winning-losing or better-worse, determine that losing or being the worst, mean clumsiness, stupidity, cowardice, according to the nature of challenge; while winning or making it better implies ability, intelligence, courage, etc. Although losing in a game of genius, for example, does not mean that the subject necessarily acted stupidly, it exists in our psychic structure, as above stated, an adaptation to results, where losing automatically provokes the feeling of clumsiness, stupidity, uselessness and winning is experienced like the appearance of positive values at stake. This objective condition in which the moral fight bip. of each member of the group works, is the one ensuring the balanced distribution of the opponent values. The only possibility to lose or to be worse is a factor that is part of the opponent forces in relation to the purposes of bipulsions.
The values of bipulsions may be divided into two large areas (although not strictly defined): 1- those ones overturning fundamentally to the activity: skillfulness-clumsiness, intelligence-stupidity, to know- to ignore, good performance - bad performance, etc. 2- those ones having more to do with human relationship: goodness-wickedness, justice-injustice, humility-arrogance, loyalty-disloyalty, etc. The opponent forces make use of the natural mechanics of the moral fight bip. mainly in relation to the values of the activity; while that factor of the opposition between the eventual aspiration of an impulse regarding the purposes of bipulsions is overturned more strongly towards the values of the relationship. On the other hand, the mechanism of the social average, as the central factor that assures the movement of the opponent values, embraces both types of values. In other words, the fundamental element used by the opponent forces and that acts equally in both groups of values, is the mechanism of the social average of the quality of values that makes behaviors stand out in the ends or get away from the average, correspond to the corresponding negative or positive value. Then, this essential mechanism has the reinforcement of those two factors, where each one stresses its presence in a respective area of values. All this ensures the sustained development of the fight between bipulsions and the opponent forces.
It is necessary to say that all we have discussed so far, on the fight and passage from the values of an opponent to another one, is referred to the movement of bipulsions with moral motivations that are the most numerous. Regarding non moral bipulsions (aesthetics, ethics, spiritual, intellectual), here the opponent forces seem to be more regularly subject to the conditions and general circumstances of the environmental reality that tend naturally and with certain frequency to encourage the appearance of negative values and to restrain or hinder the achievement of the positive ones.
Anyway, in these bipulsions the factor of the social average as a determinant of values also intervenes. In the case of the spiritual bip. for example, a father can feel spiritual displeasure because his son does not get on well and gets a salary of just 300 pesos. While that same father, in another more precarious socio-economic condition, can feel joy because his son got an increase in his salary and he will collect 200 pesos.
Regarding the aesthetic and ethical bipulsions, the presence of the negative values is ensured, for example, for the fact that other people's negative behaviors cause the corresponding displeasure. And as the single condition that the social average determines that such other people's bad or negative behaviors always appear (and therefore unpleasant and refusable), the presence of the aesthetic-ethical displeasure is thereby guaranteed as well as the external answer guided to improve such behaviors.
Concerning the intellectual bip., the presence of the negative value is guaranteed, besides other circumstances, for the own dynamics of the advance of knowledge. The solution and the clarification of certain problem or question which result in the corresponding cognitive power (positive value of the bipulsion), are followed by doubts, new questions, confusion and the feeling of ignorance generated by the new contents and problems arisen due to that advance.
The most complex bipulsions entail the essence of the most basic ones. These ones, at the same time, contain the essence of impulses. Consequently, the most complex bipulsions accumulate the presence of impulses. And as these ones have the essence of directed reflexes, the most complex bipulsions are also one kind of the performance of those reflexes.
Let’s see in which way bipulsions keep on being the activity of impulses. Firstly, the avoidance of all negative values means a quarantine of absolute goals of the conservation imp. On the other hand, the relief imp tries to get out of pain when the negative values are already present (or when they could not be avoided by the conservation imp.). Then, most positive values are absolute goals of the fraternal and approval impulses; followed in terms of importance by the curiosity and the communication impulses, to which the joy imp. is added trying to affirm the pleasure of the positive values, being added to those impulses.
Based on this, we find that those functional fights between impulses and bipulsions, are basically fights among impulses themselves. As bipulsions, in their essence, are not more than organized impulses, in fact, everything happens among impulses themselves. It has to do with the oppositions between an impulse and another or rather between two goals of the same impulse. This way for example, when the conservation imp. answers with fear before danger and that same fear and the getting out of danger imply a coward act, a fight inside the conservation imp. shows up. On one hand it is the fear to the material or concrete danger and, on the other hand the fear to carry out a coward act. The interest of the approval imp. in asserting the courageous act is added to it, which is achieved when refusing to escape. Then, the fight is planned between one goal of the conservation imp.: to avoid the material danger against another goal of the same impulse: to avoid cowardice, together with the approval imp. which is added to the latter one: to affirm the courageous act. This fight is always solved in terms of the concept of decision making (which option offers more pleasure and/or less displeasure). If we analyze that fight between the approval imp. that wanted to call the attention towards the own worth, against the humility bip., we will find that the fight is produced between two goals of the same approval imp. On one hand, it exists the interest in approving the worth that wants to be noticed, and on the other hand, the excluding interest of the same impulse for approval (and self-approval) towards the act of humility. The conservation imp. adds itself to this last interest trying to avoid the arrogant attitude or immodesty.
No matter how complex bipulsions are, they keep on being organized impulses. If we analyze, for example, the positive values of bipulsions derived from the global moral (skillfulness, intelligence, sincerity, loyalty, heroism, abnegation, good performance, etc.), we will see that all of them have the psychic and motivational support of the approval imp. Among those values, the good performance in the activity, as it is a value containing many other positive values, is usually the most valuable goal of that impulse and it always constitutes a great offer of moral satisfaction. The heroism bip. is also composed of an important number of bipulsions that have to do with the approval and for that reason, the honor to carry out a heroic act is also of special interest for the impulse.
Let’s remember that the fraternal imp. and others also seek those positive values in their integrity. For that reason, the nature of the motivation pursuing the same goal is multiple.
When saying that a fact, value or behavior, is looked for in its integrity by two or more reasons, it means that each reason pursues unilaterally the whole act and not a part or a “piece” of it. For example, when asserting that the fulfillment of duty is a moral good and something favorable for O.M.F.I., that means that the act of fulfilling duty is a moral good in all its “circumference”, the whole act is a moral good. But at the same time, that act is something good for the O.M.F.I., also in all its “circumference”. The relationship is the same as if somebody were at the same time a father and a son. The subject is a father in all his environment, all that human being is a father. But at the same time, the same subject and everything enclosed under the “circumference” of his body, is a son. This is the sense that should be understood when it is said, for example, that duty has a double moral and spiritual essence. Fulfillment of duty is in all its volume a moral good; and at the same time, the whole act is something positive or favorable for the O.M.F.I. In its capacity of moral good, duty is sought by the properly moral bip. and in its condition of spiritual good or of favorable fact for the O.M.F.I., is pursued by the spiritual bip. But as the combination of those bipulsions is regular, where both try to get unilaterally the same fact in their integrity, a natural sum and merger of both motivations is produced, giving rise to a new bipulsion: social responsibility.
Based on these relationships, we can observe that the good performance in the joint work or the heroic act, as positive values, although supported by the approval imp., is pursued at the same time in its integrity by the fraternal imp. Both are satisfied through the same fact.
At the primary social organism, the main social activity is the productive work aimed at achieving the means of subsistence. Nowadays, the diverse professions or activities undertaken by individuals make the personal performance join, merging with the bipulsion that each activity stresses. Thus, the values of the artistic and the personal performance bipulsions are superimposed in artists; the good performance has to do with the aesthetic quality of the work. In sportsmen, the good or bad performance is in charge of the moral fight bip.; victory-defeat speak volumes about the objective quality of the sports performance. In scientists and philosophers, the good performance consists on the positive value of the rational bip. The humorist has a good performance when he is funny and makes people laugh. The same happens regarding the judge; not because he makes the public laugh, but because his good acting coincides with fairness and justice of his performance. The educator has as a positive value in his personal performance bip. the positive value of the teaching bip. The journalist has a good performance as long as he provides timely and true information of what has social importance. In the student, his good performance coincides with the positive value of the knowledge bip.
That flexibility of the personal performance bip. would be an adaptation of the psyche to the diverse activities that supplement or replace work as well as the diverse roles which may exist in the tribe. For survival, the development of the generalized interest for the good performance, will always be positive as a value in any activity undertaken.
The capacity of the personal performance bip., of being fully moved in no labor activities, would also have the function of assuring the healthy psychic performance during the best times of the tribe, when work is hardly necessary. That is to say, as it is an integrative bipulsion of a group of other component tendencies, it would be positive for the psychological health that during the days in which there is no work to do, this bipulsion keeps always moved, ensuring the normal performance of those motivational elements contained in its structure and which are essential psychological functions.
During the labor activity of the tribe, it simultaneously takes place all what is today divided. The job itself is an art, a game, a sport, a science, a school. Nevertheless, the flexibility of the personal performance bip. is a premise so that in the social development the diverse specializations may take place with the full performance of this bipulsion; that is to say, together with each motivational element strengthened in the specific profession, the full weight of the personal performance bip. is added, plus all its battery of values. This allows that in the environment of each type of activity, the subjects involved share a high valuation for the good performance of it. It is as an independent world regarding the rest of fields of the social activity. That “world” is made up of the group of those who participate and share the valuations in relation to that activity. For that reason, individuals or groups of the same environment are specially recognized and admired, at the same time one wants to have a good individual or group performance in that field.
The whole system of bipulsions and its absolute values are, like we have already said, of necessary development. It is only necessary any social and cultural environment, with the minimum requirements defining it, so that it will be well developed and will work. However, in order to achieve that good development, some socio-cultural “vitamins” become essential.
An important factor would be, firstly, the normal relationship mother-son during the first childhood. As it is a stage of supreme fragility for the psychological development in general, any alteration of the most primary affective relationship with the mother may provoke consequences able to exercise a disturbing influence at any level of the psychic development, including the field of values or morality, spirituality.
Another condition is the full and vigorous performance of the absolute values in the social environment that surrounds the subject's development. This, undoubtedly, used to happen in the primitive social environment. Today, instead, there is usually a great lack on this regard, being poor in many cases the development of the natural moral and spiritual functions of the human psyche.
Another factor and perhaps the most important one, is the presence of an atmosphere full of affection, where the subject is loved, estimated or valued in his person and at the same time he values and estimates people who are near him. Let’s see the reason of this condition. In the first place, the fundamental elements that generate the values are approval-disapproval. The subject is interested in doing what is good when that leads to the pleasure of approval and he avoids what is bad when it leads to the displeasure of disapproval. But one condition in order to have a social approval-disapproval psychically significant is that one that must appreciate or have esteem for those who approve or disapprove. Only when that esteem takes place, approval produces a natural pleasure and disapproval the corresponding displeasure. Otherwise, such social answers do not practically have any psychic meaning for the people who receive them. But when those appraisable-affective conditions are present, is when the repeated reactions of moral pleasure-displeasure produced during the subject's development are consolidated, becoming then autonomous in their capacity to rouse under the form of self-approval and self-disapproval. The autonomy of the ethical-moral self-regulation would mark an index of normal development of values. Such development would be present when the ethical self-answer has a similar psychic importance than the external answer.
When that environment of esteem and valuation exists, disapproval towards the esteemed subjects is not only morally painful, but also when feeling appreciation towards them, it is important not to displease them, considering that the fraternal identification takes place, whereas they are loved beings, all damage to them causes spiritual displeasure. Therefore, doing something negative will produce a double displeasure: moral-spiritual; while doing something good which is celebrated and approved, will produce a double pleasure: moral (approval) and spiritual (beneficial fact for the O.M.F.I.). This would mark the beginning of the sense of duty and of the altruism of motivation.
The climate of affection and the reciprocal valuation and fraternal identification (love, affection, esteem) as well as the sustained interest of each one for the common well-being, would be essential for the normal bipulsions operation, as they constitute the main “fuels” for the performance of absolute values. The strictly moral bip. as well as the spiritual one, through which a great part of the bipulsions system is formed, mean that climate of affection, love, esteem, valuation and interest for the common welfare. All that, without doubts, used to be present in the primary social organism. The own natural conditions of the tribe’s life favored the strong fraternal identification in its members.
In order to have an idea of those relationships among the members of the tribe, we do not have to imagine a certain group of “unknown” primitives, but we have to feel oneself as one of them. For that, we have to gather in our mind the most numerous possible group of relatives, friends and other people that we choose according to our affective closeness or friendliness and to move to a natural atmosphere where we settle to live as an authentic tribe. That is the affective climate that we have to imagine. We have to suppose that under such conditions, the values of bipulsions would start “rotating” in the atmosphere with just the “push of the wind”.
Although we can not doubt on the importance of the fraternal climate for the normal development and for the bipulsions operation, we should see what the relationships among men depend on. In such sense, commands such as “love each other” work very little. Although nobody doubts about the good intention of that proposal, we know that the form of the psychic performance tends to answer in a better way to the material and concrete conditions of life than to the principles of that type. All attempt to improve human relationships, if it wants to be successful, involves the transformation of those objective life conditions. If the most basic interests in people are excluding, in such way that each party is an obstacle for the other one and where any benefit for some people means a damage for others, affections corresponding to the situation will arise, that is to say there will be a basic enmity. An example on this issue is what happens in the society divided into classes with opposed economic interests. Here it is not enough to suggest the subjects they should love each other. Before that, it is necessary to transform the relationships of opposition and objective exclusion of interests, in a way of straightening them, so that the whole society has parallel economic interests.*
* As nowadays the tribe does not exist for most human beings, one may think that the family is its current substitution and that the situation of absence of classes, parallelism of material interests and relationships of equality among its members have to be limited only to it. But the “tribe” in its psychic meaning is something more than that. The tribe is more equivalent to the community or society notion. It is for that reason that in current societies the person who has sufficiently developed, for example, the social responsibility, not only feels the duty to fulfill what is positive for his family, but he also feels strongly the duty to serve the community, the society, certain group of membership or the whole humanity.
. .Although in the life of the primitive tribe, the notions or feelings of family and society tend to be together, a relative division into sub-groups of coexistence or of more intimate affective closeness that would correspond to the most specific experience in family would take place. At least that is what it has been found in the different studies of contemporary tribes as well as of the known history. In all cases, the gens (sic) constitute the sub-groups of the tribe and the different families are usually determined by the relationship through the maternal line. But the existence of such sub-groups does not alter the fact that the tribe works as a single social organism, where all its members have equality of conditions and a joint commitment. See Morgan L. H. La sociedad primitiva. Colofón. México.- Engels F. El origen de la familia, la propiedad privada y el Estado. Editorial Cartago, Argentina y Editorial Letras. México. 1985 (Morgan L. H. “The primitive society”. Colofón. Mexico.- Engels F. “The origin of the family, the private property and the State.)
The absence of opposed economic interests would be the first condition to think about fraternal relationships among men. The second one would lie in the fact of the appropriate organization of social activities. When interesting activities are shared, joint interests arise and the mutual esteem among participants is encouraged. The activity is an important factor in the determination of the quality of human relationships. If there are no joint activities, there will be neither joint interests nor conversation topics or enough reasons to esteem the others.
The natural conditions of the tribe are constantly encouraging people to carry out joint activities which generate joint interests and these ones favor the fraternity of relationships. The joint or shared interest not only refers to the group purposes that are pursued (which are of great importance for the good performance of values), but the expression: joint interest, also refers, for example, to share the liking for certain things or to share one same situation or condition. The two forms of joint interest make the affective relationships be deepened. Both situations are present in the life of a tribe.
As activities generate joint interests of both types, the quality of human relationships greatly depends on them. The decisive power of the social activity, in relation to the esteem and affective closeness of people, includes even people who do not know each other, for the single fact of sharing the same activity. We have already discussed how the diverse environments themselves of the social activity, raise an own world of esteems. Therefore, once welfare and the material safety for all the members of the society have been achieved, as well as social equality and the parallelism of economic interests, the following step to improve human relationships would consist on the appropriate organization of social activities. Those activities, where labor is fundamentally included, must be of the maximum pleasure and enthusiasm for participants. Such condition contributes to fraternity of relationships, which at the same time favors the normal performance of the system of bipulsions or absolute values.
Afterwards, we will discuss about the social activity and its important role as natural “gearings” for the healthy and normal development of the diverse psychological functions (chapter 11 and 16).
Displeasure or pleasure caused by other people's behavior moved the second phase of the ethical bip., consisting in the answer of the aggression imp. that rejects or the fraternal one that approves; the communication imp. is added to them, with its nec. to tell the other the unconformity or conformity for what he did.
The spontaneous answers of criticism or recognition towards other people's acts form the mechanism guiding the modification, adaptation and improvement of the social behaviors of individuals. If the ethical answer stops working, one of the main elements which regulate the behaviors of the group coexistence will stop operating. That will lead, for example, to the fact that nobody will be able to know that his attitudes bother the others. When these ones do not disapprove the subject, they will keep on keeping displeasures because of him, since he will naturally continue with the same behavior. In such cases, a blockade of the normal activity of the ethical bip. takes place. The subject does not agree with the other’s behavior, but he does not dare to show it. The fear to offend him opposes to the spontaneous external answer of the communication and aggression impulses that naturally shape the disapproval or rejection expression towards the other people's behavior. As the situation is repeated many times, the relationship little by little is broken up. Instead, if one had shown non-conformity from the beginning, that would have modified his behavior “a long time ago”.
The inability of disapproving other people's behaviors in the right moment is harmful for both. One because it stores displeasures and negative feelings. The other one because it lacks the normal indicative parameter to regulate and to improve their behaviors. But when the ethical bip. works normally, uneasiness is never stored; all that comes in, goes out with the same rhythm. On the contrary, if what comes in does not go out, the new thing that comes in is stored, causing surpassing. There are no doubts that it is positive to avoid making another subject feel bad, but the case of disapproval is perhaps the only exception. At this stage what is good for him and for everybody is to show the own unconformity. Although that provokes certain moral displeasure in him, the good relationship is not impaired as one fears, but rather it is reinforced. If this was not like that, an exclusion situation between the ethical answer and good relationships would have arisen in the tribe, which it could not happen as both things are indispensable. For that reason, the psyche is adapted so that the spontaneous disapproval for certain own action was “well endured”. When the person “does not like” the reproach, is when it contains cumulative elements of the past. What it really offends is to find out that there was previous unconformity not expressed timely. It is naturally preferable that affections are expressed on due time.
Apart from this mechanism, through which it is spontaneously preferable the direct manifestation of unconformity towards the own behavior, in exchange of hiding it, it exists another element through which the answer of anger, etc., does not harm but it rather favors human relationships. It consists on the mutual regret or bilateral feeling of blame commonly produced after the fact. Once the subject got angry with the other one, a psychic state arises by means of which one feels “to have acted badly” with him. At the same time, the other subject feels that he should not have made what originated that anger. This situation is followed by the mutual implicit or explicit apology, reason why everything comes to normal, but, and this is the important fact, the relationship has been purified and the future correction and the improvement of behavior, guaranteed.
All we have already discussed on bipulsions corresponds to the field of essential functions, to what is necessary and common in any culture. The relative value are, instead, the variables forms in which the absolute values are manifested.
In bipulsions, the dialectical relationships of essence and phenomenon, content and shape, etc., appear in the same way we had observed in impulses. On that issue we said that ingesting food, for example, was the object of satisfaction of the nutritious impulse, as the essential, necessary, constant or common content. Then, the mean-goals and purpose-goals were obvious, casual, variable or the different form. The absolute values or of necessary development are equal to the object of satisfaction; they refer to what is essential, constant and common in all. And the relative or acquired values are equal to the goals of the impulses; they are the obvious, variable or the diverse forms that may have what is absolute. The relative values have to do with the great coloring of concrete facts conceived as what is good or bad, stupid-intelligent, fair-unfair, etc., and which may vary from one culture to another or among subjects of the same culture.
The bipulsions and their absolute values constitute the empty mechanism where culture “places” the relative values, completing the task. Such relative or acquired values, although they may vary, never stop being the particular forms the absolute ones may have. The absolute value, as it is the general essence, exists in the concrete specific facts that are the diverse relative values. The absolute or necessary values and the double tendency to affirm one and to deny the other one, only constitute the basic mechanics of bipulsions. But the way in which they work and the concrete facts each value refers to, are in the hands of culture, its customs, traditions and the different approaches that may work in each society.
The statement that the absolute value is manifested in the relative values, also means that the absolute value, as content, is fully occupying the integrity of the concrete fact or relative value. As the common content: eating or ingesting food is present in the full act of eating an apple or in the whole behavior of ingesting a piece of roasted meat, the absolute value: fulfillment of duty, for example, covers the whole “volume” of the behavior in which certain mission is carried out or in everything related to the fact of giving some money, etc. The essential content can not exist without a concrete form. Those concrete forms are the relative values, they are the notions expressing what the absolute value “consists on”, being this what is variable.
As we had stated, bipulsions and its absolute values structure themselves from the most general to the most specific, but always in an environment of certain level of generality in relation to concrete facts; while relative values are close to that derivation or ramification of the absolute values, but being in charge of the concrete facts and where a practical and dynamic approach should work on what things “exactly” are well or bad or are ridiculous - not ridiculous, respectful-disrespectful, etc. The variability of approaches takes place at this stage, being able to differ among groups or individuals.
The old moral theories that tried to define the good and the bad, tended to disappear when the certainty of their relativity was reached, that everything was in the “air”; what was good for some people, could be, with the same right, bad for others. In the case of intelligence, for example, the situation was repeated. Thus, a “race” of definitions of intelligence was developed which continues nowadays in psychology and it has never been considered in its most essential aspect, that is to say, like what it really is: a positive value, opposed to stupidity, the same like the good regarding the bad. For that reason, in view of the most sophisticated definition of what intelligence implies, anyone peeping it, is able to say no, that in fact this is stupidity, that intelligence is not to do anything of the definition and it will have the same level of reason-unreasonableness that the author of the difficult definition.
Of course that there would be, in all the values, what could be considered as a general, universal tendency, to agree with certain elementary approaches about what each value means or which would be the behaviors implying one or the other. But no matter how important the consent is, it will always be something arbitrary in the end, because that is the nature of the relative or acquired values.
This relativity is also applicable to truth as value (although we will not see that completely). Science, for example, moves under a general frame that is the materialistic and determinist conception of the world, like its more important characteristics. And within that frame, there are certain rules accepted by consent leading to determine that something is true or false. It is clear that somebody, opposed to that general conception of science, can reject all that science says, considering it false. For that reason, the question scientific truth-falsehood is valid for those sharing that general conception and that also participate in the implicit regulation which works inside that basic supposition. But when somebody that previously accepted those rules, is ”cornered” by arguments that demonstrate his mistake and appeals to that relativity of truth, saying that each one has “his truth”, etc., it is now about another thing. It is simply a not very honorable attitude of the person who, having accepted the rules of the game, decides “to kick the board” before his imminent defeat.
But on the other hand, in the case of the truth-falsehood, a particular situation arises and it is the one which determines what is truth and what is false, the approach is not completely arbitrary or subjective, but it is also based on what is objective real-unreal. Although at the level of psychological experience of values, two people may have opinions or beliefs completely opposed about the facts of reality and each one may feel that his is the true, here a new element rouses: reality is only one; and therefore one of the opinions may coincide with it and the other, not. In such case, what is adjusted to reality, although we do not know which is, besides being a relative, subjective true, like the other one, it will also be absolute or objective (although incomplete, as it will not be able to embrace that whole reality). And that objective truth can be usually proven appealing to practice, to the proof of facts, to what the own reality demonstrates. The other values only depend on subjective elements and in the end of the pleasure-displeasure that sustain what is considered positive or negative. If this is opposed among people, there will never be an approach or objective parameter determining who is right. It will always depend on those subjective psychological elements. What is good for one, for example, may be bad for another; and “outside”, in the objective reality, there is not anything good or bad in itself and either something similar, as it does happen with what is objective real-unreal, foundations of what is true-false.
Good and bad, what is beautiful and ugly, together with many other values, among what is included, in a great extent, what is considered intelligent or stupid, depend on the pleasure-displeasure that sustain them. These ones may be present on the opposite way among individuals and discussion will be continued, because there is not any other parameter or reference. Instead in the case of the truth-falsehood, the basis of their determination, apart from being the corresponding pleasure-displeasure, is also the reality itself, the one that although you agree with it or not, is just of one single way*. For that reason, truth-falsehood, taking into account the basis of their determination, have one “foot” outside subjectivity and it is supported in the objective reality. This does not mean that something is pretended outside pleasure-displeasure, but these psychic reactions “bind” themselves to truth-falsehood respectively, values that at the same time, depend on what is real-unreal as objective elements, independent from subjective interests and affections.
* If it is supposed that it could not be in a single way, but for example: multiple, then it would be in a single way: multiple.
The mechanism by means of which certain facts are conceived as good or bad in general, consists basically on the social approval-disapproval towards the concrete acts. The approval-disapproval regarding certain acts towards a child, will make such facts or concrete acts be fixed as the good and the bad respectively. If in another place the parents of other children approve and disapprove the opposite behaviors, the relative values fixed as the good- bad ones in those children will be contrary in relation to that.
Although behaviors are approved or disapproved as they are considered good or bad, taking into account the origin they are good or bad because they are approved or disapproved. That is to say, the decisive part of the relative values is the direction of the approval-disapproval. According to the orientation that such social answers have in one culture, the facts will be good or bad. This even includes the relative values of the aesthetic, cognitive pleasure and others.
The interests of those who rule, settle almost all the relative values, as they decide the direction where the approval and disapproval answers will be guided. What is approvable is what favors the dominant interests and what is harmful for them is non-approvable. In the tribe, the common benefit governs; this sets up the dominant interest. Therefore, behaviors are approved or disapproved as they correspond or not to the common interests. In the child's example, the parents are the ones who command the situation. His behaviors will be good or bad according to the correspondence with the interests and the approach of the parents. They approve or disapprove according to the pleasure or displeasure caused by the child's behavior. In the society divided into classes, the interests of the ruling class determine what is good or bad of the behaviors of individuals and groups. Any behavior, initiative, idea, opinion, harmful for the interests of the ruling class will be wrong, deserving condemnation and rejection; at the same time, all that is favorable to those interests, will be worthy of the recognition and support.
The mechanism by means of which the ruling class establishes the general tendency of the relative values in the whole society, does not consist, obviously, in the direct approval-disapproval towards each individual, but there are intermediate ways through which that phenomenon occurs. From the nucleus of the ruling class, the answers of approval or disapproval of certain contents rouse, as they favor or harm its interests. This is spread like a chain reaction in all the environments of society, through the huge ideological apparatus governed by this class (means of information, education, politics, cultural activity, etc.), thus determining the general guidance of the relative values (ideas, affections, rules, models, principles, patterns), which finally respond to the convenience of those interests.
The phenomenon for which the ruling interests settle the general tendency of the type of relative values was something useful in the primary social organism. As the common or group material interest ruled there, it was essential that the relative values were those benefiting the material interests of the tribe. Only that situation could ensure the group survival. But since the society divided into classes appeared, based on the dominance and exploitation of one class over the other, the material interests of the ruling class were finally imposed because of its great power, spreading its values in all the spheres of society. This makes even many of the submitted ones follow those values as a guide of their ideas and behaviors, in spite of being contrary to their own objective interests.
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© Author: Alberto E. Fresina
Title: "The Laws of Psyche"
Title of the original Spanish Version:
"Las Leyes del Psiquismo"
Printed in Mendoza, Argentina
Mendoza, 14th July, 1999
Copyright registered at the National Copyright Bureau in 1988, and at the Argentine Book Camera in 1999, year of its publication.
Translated by Ana El kassir with the collaboration of Marcela Berenguer
Characteristic of the original copy in Spanish: Number of pages: 426; measures: 5.9 x 8.27 x 1 inch; weight: 1.2lb.
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