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GENERAL THEORY OF PSYCHOLOGY
THE LAWS OF PSYCHE
Alberto E. Fresina
CHAPTER 12 -(pages 229 to 252 of the book of 410)
VIRTUAL AND IDEAL VALUES
1. The apparatuses
We will discuss here the highest qualitative levels in which the general law of psyche acts. The organizing elements of the level are: positive virtual value - negative virtual value. The virtual values are stable conditions looking for or avoiding to be, to possess or that "there is".
We will call apparatuses to the complex devices of premeditation dealing with the movement of virtual values, managing to get the statement of the positive ones and the avoidance or suppression of the negative ones.
There would be six apparatuses of necessary development:
faults in people, groups, animals or objects; that things are not as they should be, that they are the opposite to what they should be or desired
. . . . . . . . . . .
signs of disagreement, contempt, lack of esteem,
shows of displeasure towards faults or inadequate form of people, groups or things
virtues in people, groups, animals or objects, that things are as they should be or as desired
. . . . . . . . . . .
signs of esteem, acceptance, conformity, appreciation, recognition, shows of pleasure towards virtues or adequate form of being of people or groups, etc.
to have faults, to be of the
worst, to lack positive
virtues or qualities
to have virtues, to be one of the best, to lack significant faults, to be virtuous
group faults, dishonorable conditions for the group,
attributes of group humiliation,
to be “we” one of the worst
group virtues, moral conditions of honor for the group, group dignity (tribal, etc.), qualities or attributes of group pride, to be among the best in terms of group virtues
material conditions of unfavorable personal life, personal discomfort
favorable conditions of personal life, facilities, personal welfare
material conditions of unfavorable life for the group (tribe, family, community, etc.), group or social
material conditions of favorable life for the group, group or social welfare
The apparatuses arise out from the global order, disposition, sequence, combination, of the impulses and bipulsions operation; they are the outcome of the organization of the impulses activity and the bipulsions forming them. They just add the integrative function of abstraction, which gathers lots of facts under a couple of concepts, which are the absolute virtual values. At this stage, the general law makes use of abstraction foreseeing the future psychic average that implies to live under some or other virtual conditions.
1- Ethical apparatus
As far as apparatuses are concerned, we have to bear in mind that everything is centered on the virtual values or conditions. Premeditation is at this point interested in the qualities of things, the stability of conditions. The concrete facts are only conceived in terms of what is virtual; they are interpreted like means to attain virtual values or as samples of their possession.
The ethical apparatus, as well as the homonymous bipulsions, is fundamentally an answering mechanism. But contrary to those, it has to do with the positive or negative stable qualities of things; mainly with virtues and faults of people or groups. Firstly, some pleasure or sympathy takes place as a stable attitude towards a subject (or a group) with positive virtues or qualities, which is manifested then in the concrete signs of evaluation or esteem towards him. On the contrary, the person having considerable faults in his personal values, causes dislike and a relatively stable attitude of unconformity in the ethical apparatus, followed by signs of contempt or disrespect. This mechanism also acts on the same person. It is the responsible for the self-esteem and self-disrespect, like answers to the own virtues and faults. That happens in a reflex way and automatically with the single evaluation of the level of personal virtues and faults; it is the executor element of conformity or unconformity with oneself. Such mechanism of ethical self-reply also works in relation to the group one belongs to. After the evaluation of the level of virtues or faults of the group, it rouses the automatic reply of “self-esteem” or “self-disrespect” towards the group itself.
The “skeleton” of the ethical apparatus is the function in order to estimate or not estimate and to show each affective attitude. In the concept: esteem, we will include what we understand as evaluation, esteem, recognition, admiration, love, affection, conformity, sympathy. In all the cases it is about a positive affective attitude towards a subject, group, animal or object, as a stable form of approval. Disrespect is the general concept that will refer to just the opposite.
The different forms of what we understand as esteem or disrespect in general sense, tend to be adapted to the different types of virtues and faults. Thus for example, recognition, admiration, refer mostly to the virtues connected with the values of the activity: skillfulness, capacity, etc.; while the evaluation, affection, have to do more with virtues making the values of relationship: kindness, generosity, loyalty, humility, etc.
Although virtues and faults determine the orientation of esteem-disrespect, a basic esteem takes place towards some entities, which occurs on account of the single objective relationship that these ones have with the subject. This way, the esteem towards the fraternal condition (children, parents, brothers or sisters) is something already incorporated. Esteem to oneself and towards the group one belongs to is also unconditional. However, beyond that basic esteem, the quantum of esteem towards them is in the hands of the virtues and faults perceived in those entities. Even in some cases, the seriousness of what is conceived as a defect may originate such disrespect that the own basic esteem may be annulled.
The ethical apparatus is in charge of evaluating and “labeling” people; it is the one that makes virtues and faults of people, groups, animals or objects be noticed; the one leading to admire and appreciate virtues and to criticize and reject faults; the one making feel attraction or sympathy for some people or groups and rejection for others.
One of the functions of the apparatus is to favor the mechanism of the sexual selection during the evolution of the species. In man, the virtues of the person of the opposite sex constitute a decisive element of the most or least attraction. Its maximum expression lies in falling in love, which is a special and superlative form of esteem mainly mobilized before subjects of the opposite sex who are seen as possessors of the most valuable virtues. Although falling in love occurs between any couple of subjects, as the person's virtues are an important group of attributes for the attraction, a tendency appears and the most virtuous ones are taken more frequently as object-subject of the falling in love. In conclusion, that leads to a larger reproduction. Therefore, falling in love, besides encouraging the most reproduction in general, constitutes an accelerating mechanism of the sexual selection. Thanks to it, the tribe that has it, takes advantage more quickly of the genetic changes that sustain the useful virtues for the group survival.*
* Many times it is attributed to beauty and physical charm the strong attractiveness ending up in the state of falling in love. But in general the influence of the physical or “anatomical” concrete beauty as partial virtue, is minor than what it appears to be. It happens that in the signs or external manifestations (gestures, looks, forms of the movements, tone of the expressions, personal uses) many qualities of the people are reflected, being this what it would influence most in this regard.
Another function of the ethical apparatus is to complement and to facilitate the activity of the moral apparatuses. Nobody would be interested in having virtues except for the pleasure that the esteem or social evaluation produce and the self-esteem towards the own virtues. Neither the personal or group faults would be avoided if it were not for the displeasure of social disrespect and self-disrespect towards the faults.*
* The shows of esteem or disrespect are not always intentional. Sometimes one subject has a certain attitude or behavior that does not intend to show that signs to another individual, but the latter one perceives in the same way one or another affective attitude towards him. In such cases, the second phase of the apparatus would not work in that way, for not having proposed to reveal his feelings. However the person who is involved, responds psychically in the same way that if they were intentional signs. Moreover, that type of non-intentional manifestations is usually more significant for the involved party. One example is when one speaks well or bad of a subject that is absent and then he knows about those opinions referred to his personal qualities, feeling himself flattered or humiliated according to the positive or negative of those expressions. Another case shows up, for example, when some subjects have to be selected from a group. Here, the ones selected will perceive the esteem towards their qualities and those not selected will see theirs as disregarded. This, in spite of perhaps not having any intention in this respect on the part of who chooses.
...This phenomenon, by means of which it exists a natural easiness to perceive the esteem or disrespect towards oneself, with certain independence of the intentions of being expressed on the part of the person who undergoes such feelings or attitudes, has the function to assure objectivity of those affective parameters in the social means, so that each subject knows about the state of his personal qualities according to the global conformity or unconformity that are generated in the social environment. Otherwise, if that easiness to perceive directly the esteem or disrespect did not exist, independently from the intentional expressions and where the mechanism only depended on the intentional shows or intentional manifestations of such affections, it would exist the risk of a lack of correspondence between what one “says” and what one feels or thinks, which one would make the mechanism of the ethical apparatus innefective in its function of serving as guider element for the moral apparatuses.
A last function is to support the ideals of the other apparatuses. The ethical apparatus does not have defined own ideals, but when promoting the “must be” of things, it becomes into a push for all the ideals.
2- Apparatus of the personal moral
The subject is here basically interested in being appreciated, recognized and valued and in receiving signs of that esteem, conformity or love towards his person. All that is also wished in relation to the affective self-reply resulting from the evaluation about oneself. On the other hand, one tries to avoid unconformity, lack of appreciation, indifference, rejection, disrespect, as well as manifesting such unconformity, underestimation, indifference, scorn or disrespect towards the own person; the interest of avoiding everything regarding the evaluation over oneself is added. To achieve those purposes, we only have to give reasons that generate esteem and self-esteem and avoid disrespect and self-disrespect. This necessarily consists on the possession of virtues and the absence of considerable faults.
As well as the concrete approval or congratulation takes place when a good act is carried out, esteem or evaluation arises like an answer to the personal virtues. The same regarding the concrete disapproval towards the bad act in relation to disrespect or discredit towards the personal faults. It is a replica of the ethical-moral mechanisms of bipulsions, but applied to the field of the stable qualities.
If we consider, for example, the qualities: courage-cowardice, we will find that they are virtual values looked for and respectively avoided by the apparatus of the personal moral. What is looked for, at this level, is not to carry out a brave act but being brave. But courage, as stable or virtual personal quality only arises out from the quantitative relationships of concrete brave and coward acts. When the subject carries out more brave behaviors than coward ones and if we consider the “weight” of each one as constant, then he will be brave. And if he carries out coward acts more frequently, he will be coward. Therefore, the qualities: courage or cowardice arise out from the quantitative distribution of brave and coward acts.
The above statement may be objected considering that the quantitative distribution of the corresponding positive or negative acts would not be what determines the presence or absence of personal virtues or faults, but these qualities would have to do with the inner dispositions or conditions of the subject and not with the external evaluation of his acts. However, although the inner dispositions always constitute a present element in subjects and although they are susceptible of being modified or developed in different levels, they are not really the ones making an individual have certain qualities. If somebody, for example, is considered skillful but then all the others improve themselves and become superior than him, leaving him behind, we will see that he will not be skillful anymore and he will be probably qualified as clumsy. The same would also happen if we transferred that individual to another social environment where everybody is better than him. In such way, the subject stops having a positive quality and he acquires the negative one, in spite of that the inner dispositions or conditions that he had when he was skillful, remain unchanged. The same inner dispositions, which supported his skillfulness, are the ones currently sustaining his clumsiness.
The elements making the presence (and the levels of quality) of values, are naturally relative to the social environment. For that reason, the decisive mechanisms of the personal qualities are mainly outside the individual. The social average of the quality of values firstly determines that behaviors going far away from the points, correspond to the positive or negative value. Then, according to the quantitative distribution of the subject's concrete acts within that social reality (more or less frequency with which considered positive or negative acts are carried out there), the favorable or unfavorable average will rouse. In the example, the subject will be qualified (and self-qualified) as skillful or clumsy, whether the result of the global balance of the concrete acts is skillful or clumsy in that social mean.
If we consider like an example a subject “who keeps his word” or who fulfils his duties, we will see that the possession or absence of such virtue depends on the major or minor proportion of times where the subject fulfils his duties. According to the quantitative distribution of the concrete cases where the individual keeps his word or not and if that product is favorable or unfavorable in relation to the eventual social average, he will be or not a subject who keeps his word.
Following with the example of courage, we stated that the apparatus of the personal moral encourages people to be brave. But that virtual quality may only be achieved through brave acts and avoiding the coward ones. For that reason, the brave behavior that is the purpose of the courage bip., is simultaneously a mean for the apparatus. The insignificant interest of the courage bipulsion would be present, on one hand, in that concrete act. It would only be interested in the moral pleasure for the good fact (brave) in itself. But the interest and the motivational force of the apparatus of the personal moral are also present. As this encourages bravery, it is seen an unavoidable mean for its transcendent or virtual purpose in the courage act. This way, if the subject perceives that with that behavior he is able to reassert or to improve his courage, he will feel, after the fact, a moral pleasure composed of self-approval for the concrete act, plus the feeling of self-esteem because of his bravery or for having improved the level of courage.
The apparatus of the personal moral has a work parallel to the bipulsions one, to which it organizes, integrates and directs. As well as the apparatus pushes to be brave, the same happens with the virtual values arisen out from the activity of most bipulsions, that is to say, the point is to be skillful, efficient, responsible, trustworthy, fair, intelligent, kind. In other words, it is looked for all the positive virtual values arisen out from the activity of bipulsions derived from the global moral bip. Such positive qualities are partial virtual values of the apparatus of the personal moral. The total virtual values are the products arisen out from the integral synthesis of the group of virtual values. This synthesis is the global virtue as a positive total value or defectiveness (in global sense) as a negative total value. Those synthetic values refer to what we understand as “good person” or “bad person”, “worthy person” or “unworthy person”. Therefore, what the apparatus really wants is to be virtuous as synthesis. The synthetic virtue may be understood as the absence of faults or the highly favorable average possession of virtues and faults. That will make the others estimate the subject, through his respective ethical apparatuses.
Although there is a wide range of possible partial virtues, the point is fundamentally about the average or about the general result and its integral synthetic product. The person showing signs of esteem or evaluation towards another individual, makes no many distinctions on the composition of that heap of personal qualities, but he appreciates or not the person, according to the global average of virtues and faults. For that reason, the apparatus of the personal moral, although it really wants “to be brave” as we have seen in the example, only makes it as a partial step, since that is not enough. It will also try to be skillful, intelligent, responsible, etc., “thinking” about the average.
It is essential to bear in mind the analysis-synthesis categories in these relationships. The analysis is the decomposition of something in its partial elements; and the synthesis, the global group arisen out. The subject then seeks to own those partial virtues but as components of the analysis, aimed at the synthetic product of his person.
On the other hand, the interest does not only lie in having positive values and avoiding the negative ones, but interest also lies in the quantum of each one. This way for example, one may be skillful or very skillful, something unfair or very unfair; that is to say, all the values have their internal gradation. Each virtue or fault may exist at minimum, medium or maximum level. Based on those three levels in that each quality may be present, the result is the following commonly used scale of seven levels Example:
The qualification regarding the level of skillfulness-clumsiness that a subject will have in the concept of the others, will depend on the outcome resulting of the quantity of skillful and clumsy acts, together with the level or “weight” of each one. From the statistics of such behaviors, its location in the scale of seven levels will rouse. Such a scale is the qualitative separation spontaneously used in the practice, to make the “cuts” of what is continuity. It is what aims to say that an individual is skillful, very skillful or highly skillful or he is clumsy, very clumsy or highly clumsy.
The levels: terrible, very bad, bad, fair (or neuter), good, very good and excellent, constitute the constant for all the pair of values. These gradations of the quality of values tend to be regular in terms of the distribution of the number of cases. Most of them are located around neutrality, embracing what is good and bad. Then, quite a few fall in the very bad or very good and the less frequent ones correspond to the terrible or excellent. Also, some very strange cases would surpass the boundaries of what is terrible or excellent. However, it is not necessary to consider those exceptional cases outside the scale of seven levels, but they would be the worst of what is terrible or the best of what is excellent. In other terms, when having to do with continuity, each one of the seven levels has, at the same time, inner differences of quality. Thus, the quality of a value qualified as very good after doubting between the good and the very good will be different from the former doubt that was between the very good and the excellent. For that reason what is “outstanding”, for example, would be included in what is excellent; it is the maximum excellence, it is what is situated on the right edge of the outline.
Not all the bipulsions generate personal virtues and faults with their activity, but only the ones included under the mechanism by means of which one tends to assert what is good or approvable and to deny what is bad or non-approvable in general, that is to say, those ones embraced by the global morals bip. However, most bipulsions are reached by that mechanism, generating respective pairs of virtual values that are the absolute virtues and faults.
Virtues and faults do not have the same “specific weight”. Some qualities are more important than others in order to determine the person's integral or synthetic valuation. This would respond, among other reasons, to the fact that the values of the most complex bipulsions entail a group of other values. Thus for example, one is very interested in being capable, outstanding or being among the “good” in the activity carried out, and in avoiding being useless or incapable. When including a group of other values, the capacity or efficiency in the activity is perhaps the maximum virtue and what it naturally has a high social valuation. Then, heroism, rationality are specific values that, when comprising other component values, also acquire a major weight in their influence on the subject's global virtuousness.
Anyway, culture can exercise in this field its influence in relation to the stressing or minimizing the valuation towards certain personal qualities. However, it would never annul its valuation in a complete way. Although certain cultural trend tends to counteract the importance of some absolute value, spontaneous esteem-disrespect for the absolute virtues and faults would always work in a major or minor level.
It is necessary to emphasize that we are talking about the absolute values, without caring about the relative ones. We are talking about, for example, the over-valuation or minimization of the physical beauty in its net weight, but we are not interested now in what each culture establishes as the features that make the patterns of beauty. Beyond the great difference among the relative values of beauty, we are discussing in the example, about the major or minor absolute valuation concerning the same fact of the physical beauty.
The flexibility at level of stressing or minimizing valuations in relation to the absolute values, would be something favorable for the effectiveness of the roles that may exist in the tribe. According to the subject's role, one or another value will be more strengthened, neglecting a little the other ones. The individual is specially appreciated and recognized because of the strengthened values that sustain the role. However, he should not neglect the other values, since if he has faults that fall under the scope of “terrible” or “very bad”, they may invalidate his virtues and the person may become disrespected. That is to say, a unique fault, if it is serious, may “veto” the whole system of virtues, crumbling the “the shelf of the spirit”. For that reason, one will try to keep those “careless qualities” in the neutrality or in the good one, while the very good or the excellent will correspond to the virtues sustaining the role.
The faults that invalidate the rest of the possible virtues are fundamentally those referred to the values of the relationship: wickedness, arrogance, disloyalty, etc.; while the faults in the qualities of the activity (clumsiness, inefficiency, etc.) in general, do not invalidate the esteem that may result from the rest of virtues. This would be explained in the fact that irresponsibility, deceit, disloyalty or betrayal would be more harmful for the tribe than clumsiness, ingenuousness or inefficiency. An inefficient subject only affects the group in the proportion of what he should produce, but an irresponsible, dishonest or treacherous subject may cause serious collective damages.
The apparatus of the personal moral usually always tries to get possession or the improvement of virtues and the denial of faults. This is what is understood as “tendency to excellence” or “perfection”. Virtue or being virtuous is the absolute ideal of the apparatus; it is the synthesis comprising all the partial virtues. If we suppose a minimum balance of the performance of the absolute values (observing the natural differences of “specific weight”), virtue would be something like the integral and balanced development of the group of personal virtues composing it.
Let’s suppose that virtue, as synthesis, is the summit of one pyramid. When lowering a step in the analysis, we will see that there are “heaps” of partial virtual values grouped by a common concept. For example, honesty, uprightness or “good person”, are a heap of values containing: moral rightness, responsibility, abnegation, fairness in acting, fulfillment of engagements, frankness, loyalty. Then, smartness, courage or "to be smart", are a group of virtual values that would be made up by skillfulness, courage, intelligence, creativity. Being noble is kindness, altruism, fairness, humility and respectfulness. Companionship or being good partner, cover humility, sincerity, generosity, loyalty. Wisdom includes intelligence, knowledge, rationality; etc. These groups are like blocks comprising groups of values. Their composition would be relatively variable according to the culture. There may be a concept gathering a certain group of virtues in one culture, while in another place, a term gathering other partial virtues (or faults if it is the negative heap) is used and that it could be different in terms of the group values managed by that culture.
When lowering one more step in the pyramid, we disintegrate the blocks of values. Now we meet with the isolated pairs of virtual values arisen out from each independent bipulsion. These ones are more analytic, they are the decomposition of the heaps of virtual values.
But the analysis keeps on lowering the pyramid. Those isolated pairs of virtual values ramify themselves in a great quantity of relative or acquired virtual values, even more specific. For example, skillfulness is only the synthetic virtue that comprises a great range of different abilities. Such specific abilities are the acquired or relative values that entail skillfulness in general like an absolute value; they are the specific and concrete forms where skillfulness is present.
The ramification of the absolute values in a diversity of more specified relative values, takes place at the same time in the rest of the partial values that share with skillfulness the same height or level in the pyramid. That is to say, infinity of virtues and relative and specific faults exist, entailing the content of absolute virtues and faults. For example, concerning beauty or ugliness, there may be a countless quantity of specific features considered virtues or faults according to the criteria of one culture. But they always entail the essence of beauty or ugliness like absolute values. Then, regarding capacity or incapacity of performance, there is also a diversity of possible specific virtues or faults and inherent to each type of activity; example: a speaker may have the defect of not pronouncing some words in a correct way or a professor may have the virtue of encouraging pupils during the classes. This way, the capacity or incapacity of performance, like absolute virtual values, are ramified in a variety of more specific or particularized values.
Lastly, the most analytic one and that is in contact with the floor of the pyramid, appears in the thousand of concrete facts.
After reaching the floor, we start going up orderly. Following with skillfulness, we focus our attention for example, on the skillfulness to hunt. The most analytic side that we find are the skillful and clumsy acts during hunting. The average product of what happened with the subject in the diverse hunting days, will make him be clumsy, neuter or skillful for hunting. Let’s suppose that that synthetic product is: very good skillfulness for hunting. Then, this synthesis is grouped together with the synthetic products of the other specific skillfulness (or “clumsiness”), arising the new more embracing synthesis of skillfulness in general. This way, skillfulness for hunting is the synthesis in relation to the analysis of the concrete facts occurred during hunting days. But that synthetic specific skillfulness, when joining with the other specific abilities already averaged, is part of the analysis in relation to the new major synthesis of skillfulness in general.
Then, skillfulness in general, as synthesis of all partial skillfulness, joins with bravery or courage in general, intelligence, etc., to form the biggest synthesis: smartness, as a synthetic heap of values. In that way, skillfulness in general is the synthesis in relation to the specific skillfulness and at the same time is part of the analysis in relation to the major group of values.
Going from the analysis to the following bigger synthesis, statistics renew themselves and the place in the “chart” of seven levels is modified, according to the partial data of the other sectors.
Finally, that synthetic heap of values joins with the other similar blocks (honesty, companionship, etc.) already averaged, resulting in the final synthesis of the level of global virtue or defectiveness of the subject who will be considered in the “final trial”, a terrible, very bad, bad, regular, good, very good or excellent subject. Such product is the global synthesis of the group of virtues and faults.*
* Before the blocks or heaps of virtual values join to give as a result the synthetic virtue, they would be distributed grouping in two big blocks that would correspond to the result of each one of the two general fields of values that we had distinguished: of the activity and of the relationship. This way, being an “outstanding” or “brilliant” subject would be the expression of the synthesis of the values of the activity; and being a “good person” would refer to the synthesis of the group of values of the relationship. On the other hand, the global virtue, as maximum synthesis, would be what we understand as “excellent individual”, “worthy”, or, virtuous. In this way, if we imagine that pyramid of the outline, we will see that between the space of the heaps of virtual values and the synthetic virtue those two last “blocks of blocks” would be formed, that on being integrated among themselves, would end up in the global virtue-defectiveness.
We can say then, that the personal virtue and defectiveness are the total virtual values of the apparatus of the personal morals. The partial values are the virtual values arisen out from the activity of bipulsions. The positive total value constitutes the absolute ideal of each apparatus. Therefore, virtue is the absolute ideal of the apparatus of the personal moral. Here it is useful all we have discussed in impulses and bipulsions on what is essential, necessary, constant or the joint content for all and the phenomenon, what is accidental, variable or different. All of them share that absolute ideal but each culture or subculture will have a system of relative values whose synthesis will result in virtue or in being a worthy, estimated or virtuous subject.
The ideals of the apparatuses do not have a limit in terms of ambition. They always tend to the excellence. If that can not be achieved, it is looked for the maximum possible at least. For that reason, the apparatus of the personal moral pushes subjects to be excellent. This promises the security of a maxim social esteem and self-esteem.
Let’s see, to conclude, which is the function of the apparatus. Considering that all the virtues, to be such, have to undergo some positive or good concrete acts and since all the good acts lead to the common benefit and the survival of the tribe, the great motivational energy of the apparatus of the personal moral is fully overturned towards the useful behaviors for the group survival. Therefore, the tribe having among its members this important engine, which always pushes each one to carry out what is best, is very far from another tribe not having it.
3- Apparatus of the group moral
As it may be appreciated, we are in the highest heights of the motivational mountain of the psyche. The wind here is strong and visibility in the middle of the clouds becomes smaller. But we do not have any other chance and we must continue, because there are a few steps that separate us from the same summit of the spirit.
The apparatus of the group moral works under the continuous activity of the M.F.M.I. The group as a whole is the subject’s global I. This is what fills up the other part of each individual's self-conscience. The strong and continuous fraternal and moral identification with the tribe makes the apparatus of the personal moral be repeated, but applied to the tribe. It is looked for virtues or reasons of pride and group honor in the tribe and not faults or humiliation reasons for the group.
The qualities wanted for the tribe are similar to those searched by the individual for himself, although they obviously differ in certain aspects and shades, considering the different nature of both entities. The tribe is expected to be brave, sovereign, heroic, efficient in the productive labor, kind, fair. Everything is summarized in the total value of tribal dignity and honor. At the same time, it is tried to avoid every quality leading to disgraceful qualifications for the group.
Nowadays, the honorable conditions for the group as virtual value are those that a subject looks for when he wants, for example, his sports club to be the champion or the best.
Pleasure or displeasure at this stage are at the same time moral and spiritual. The conditions of group honor lead to an esteem or external appreciation towards the group itself and to the “self-esteem” or group pride, like forms of moral pleasure. At the same time, as the tribe (or group, etc.) is the object with which a strong fraternal identification takes place, it also exists the spiritual pleasure for something that is good for it.
In the apparatus of the group moral, as in all of them, the same relationships discussed on the analysis and synthesis of virtual values appear. Partial values are looked for but always in terms of the final synthesis of the absolute ideal. In this case, the conditions of maximum dignity and tribal honor are expected. “Excellence” is expressed in the ideal of tribal greatness, in the possession of qualities or virtues that are reason of maximum group pride, that is to say, in the group of positive values that a tribe has.
It is necessary to explain that that greatness is the absolute ideal but the relative ideals vary. What varies is that specific thing that means the greatness of the tribal values in each place.
In natural state “the tribe” is the big I, shared by the group of individuals. For it, the highest attributes and the maximum honors are wished. The natural expressions of pride by the individual are spread in that field, as he believes and states that he belongs to the best tribe. Although this approach lacks of a lot of objectivity on many occasions, it is something favorable for survival, because it always contributes to keep the highest appreciation towards the tribe and to work permanently for its benefit.
The apparatus of the group moral would also work in relation to the different sub-groups of the tribe (families, genes). This would be something useful for survival. When an interest is being developed by the good image of the own group, the emulation or inner contradiction in the moral field would be favored, what would mean an important stimulus for the best performance of the social organism.
But the main function of the apparatus would have to do with the tribe as a whole. In order to understand that function, it is necessary to look inside the relationships among the tribes. First of all, relationships among these one have always existed. It would be absurd to suppose that having full knowledge of the environment and of all the animals of the area, etc., the primitives did not have any contact with other tribes. On the other hand, the human beings existing at the time of concluding the transformation of the monkey into man, were exactly like us in the whole essential characters, reason why they should have a disposition towards the other tribes, similar to the current one among the diverse human groups.
Under those life conditions, where in general terms there was a normal development of values, relationships of respect and fairness among the neighboring tribes would dominantly exist. Hostilities or wars would always be exceptional under those conditions. Wars have more to do with the history of the social classes and with the confrontation of the new economic interests than to the primitives’ life. In natural state nobody is hostile with strangers when they do not show any intention of affecting the own interests. On the contrary, during almost the whole time, kind relationships among tribes should be started in a framework of justice and respectfulness, since that was useful for the survival of the species. Although the nucleus of affection is overturned towards the group of people who lives with us, it is also extensive to the surrounding groups (obviously with the exception of eventual cases of enmity). That phenomenon is spontaneously manifested among groups of people living in rural areas, closer to the natural conditions and it is also perceived in the natural fraternity developed by many tribes and towns at the present. Anyway, it also exists the natural phenomenon of rivalry which arises out spontaneously among human groups. But this is fundamentally included in the field of emulation or moral rivalry and it is precisely what we will discuss at once regarding the functions of the apparatus of the group moral.
Although current tribes offer some information that are sometimes useful for the explanation of the essential functions of the human psyche, in general it is very little what they can do. The thousand and thousand years of evolution undergone by the different cultures from the appearance of the primary social organism, make that the information offered through the research of the diverse current tribes, have practically the same level of usefulness-uselessness that can be obtained from the analysis of the customs or life styles in any modern society or of the known history (that is always recent regarding the primary social organism, which took place even before than the appearance itself and the diversification of human races). “Civilized” societies as well as “savage” ones, have the history of a long parallel cultural development and of a similar complexity regarding our focus of attention that in this case is the life of the primary social organism or human primitive tribes and its similar contemporary ones.
Since the material or archaeological remains can not provide enough information in order to deduce the way of performing the subtle psychological elements, we can only approach to the life of the primitive human tribes, taking into account the distinction of what was useful or not for the survival of the social organism and of the species in its entirety. As that primitive human tribe is the one that, thanks to its best general aptitudes for survival, imposed itself together with its descending tribes over the rest of its similar ones, generalizing its type, nothing can be more appropriate to the purposes of reproducing the essential elements of primitive life as much as possible, than using the “method” of the natural selection, that rescues what is useful and eliminates what is harmful for the survival of the individual, the tribe and the species.
If we want to explain the operation of the primitive tribes in their external relationships, we must choose the most representative habit in their life and not what is the exception. Any tribe must be prepared to face those exceptional cases (wars). But only in the same way that it must be in order to face possible natural disasters (alluviums, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes) and other tragic threats, as it would be, for example, the attack of a depredating animal. Contrary to those who start the war in our times, who are sure that their loved beings and themselves do not risk serious dangers, for the primitives, war is one of the possible tragedies threatening the security of the more defenseless loved beings of the tribe. Nobody may be interested in it for itself. Just when misunderstandings or uncontrollable circumstances take place the war is already declared, there is no other chance than facing it. There the material, moral and spiritual consequence of not doing it, turns out to be worse. But war as a phenomenon appears like an external imposition, not desired by more or less healthy or normal subjects. Each tribe is only willing to respond to the attack. The eventual confrontations would mainly respond to the fact that each of the sides believes that the other one has hurt it. What is useful for life is to have certain capacity to defend oneself and to overturn most energy to labor and not to harassment against the rest of the tribes.
Although those ones who do what we have just mentioned, would probably achieve good results and would assure their food for a certain time, that method could not prosper in the primitive life, since it would be finished by itself. The main reason is that the level of the productive capacity of the primitives, was only enough for the mere sustenance of the own producers, reason why the material to loot would be always very limited, in relation to the general deterioration that this implies as a life’s method. We have to add the facts of facing the generalized repudiation by the aggrieved tribes and encouraging the alliance of these ones against that tribe. For that reason, the tribes that overturn their energy to labor, respecting the others in the frame of what would be a kind of natural law, sustained by the moral and spiritual values as well as by their own reciprocal material convenience, will be always favored to the purposes of survival.
Different is the case when we do not refer to the primitive tribes; that is, when we advance several thousand years ahead regarding the primary social organism and where the average productivity of labor is already potentially superior to the requirements of the vital consumption of those who produce, there the history of “human civilization” begins, where that method finds available material (plus-product), appearing afterwards on that basis, the pro-slavery State based on force, like a new systematic way of continuous looting. But this has nothing to do with what we are analyzing at this moment, the times of the primary social organism, time which could be considered like the man's natural life, where the equality of conditions and the justice of relationships should work unavoidably.
We have to combat our prejudices and our mind full of false comics of “evil indians”, to understand the primitives’ life. An example of such obstacles is the wrong supposition that those were wild animal with human shape that moved by “instinct”. The surprise on this issue, arising out from what we have discussed so far, is that they should constitute something like the development pattern of what is understood as spiritual, valuable or axiological sphere of man.
From the point of the primary social organism, now let’s go some thousand years back. Let’s situate ourselves in the moment when tribes counted with almost human and almost similar members to us, concerning the essential psychological functions. In the frame of the objective fight for the group survival, the first “alliance” among tribes, takes place in the field of the exchange of favors. Under the premise of a normal development of moral and spiritual values, the possibility of a mutual advantage with the exchange of occasional assistance could not be wasted. If two tribes, under a frame of justice or fairness, exchange that occasional assistance, both will have an important common advantage in relation to the rest. Therefore, they will survive reproducing the habit in their daughter tribes. This will be geometrically spread along the time, until reaching a moment when the “thousand tribes” in existence, will take advantage of the possibility of the mutual benefit in the same way. (This mechanism would have constituted a premise for the future development of the formal exchange of goods).
However, once the existing thousand tribes share the mechanism, the advantage does not exist anymore. From that moment on, survival will only be in hands of the labor efficiency of each specific social organism. As that mechanism of exchange of favors has to be always fair, no tribe can request more than what it gives. For that reason, the new urgent situations of a tribe owing too much, will no longer be solved by the help of any other tribe. In that way, that mechanism turns into a constant factor. Although it is essential for each tribe, it can not be an advantage for any of them. Thus, when once again, food is not enough for all of them, only the most effective tribes for the productive labor will survive.
The second common advantage between two or more social organisms is the “emulative alliance” in the moral field. Let’s suppose that certain tribe starts being interested in having a good image in the concept of the others. When this tribe reproduces itself in a secondary way, giving rise to other similar ones, a group of tribes sharing that motivation will be formed. The interest shared by those tribes in relation to the good image is complemented by the ethical apparatus. The members of each tribe feel appreciation, esteem, admiration or rejection, disrespect towards the other tribes as a whole. As flattering words regarding the own group qualities produces moral and spiritual pleasure in each tribe and humiliating or disgraceful words produce moral-spiritual displeasure for the tribe, an interest in the group virtues and the good image of the tribe will be developed. That will lead everybody to work in order to keep a favorable image and to avoid any reason of dishonor or humiliation in the group.
As the appreciated virtues for a tribe tend to be the positive qualities for survival, the interest in the good image of the own tribe encourages favorable acts for survival. Among the virtues of a tribe we can specially mention its capacity and effectiveness in labor, its achievements on that issue, the welfare conditions being achieved thanks to its qualities and capacities, what is always admirable to the eyes of the other tribes and worthy of being recognized and imitated. In that situation of life, where such a thing is experienced or felt as the most important and where it is also the activity “carried out” by all, no doubts, the labor capacity of a tribe should be its maximum virtue. Nevertheless, that reaches the total of possible group virtues; that is to say, one tribe is recognized or not, according to the global image that provokes in the others. If for example it is selfish, unfair, etc., the others will be against it. This does not only lead to a general scorn but also to problems in the tribes as it is not convenient for them to be surrounded by enemies, since that, among other things, this means to be excluded from that common advantage of the exchange of favors.
Those few tribes that share the moral interest in being better and in avoiding the dishonor of being a tribe underestimated by its values, have an advantage that the rest lacks. They count with an important added motivation that does not only push directly to improve the global performance but it means a new cause or common ideal as well, that heartens the group identification and the spiritual unity. All of them have now a new reason pushing to work jointly in what is positive for the social organism. If we compare the few tribes that share the emulation or moral contradiction with the rest of their similar ones, we find an advantage in the first ones. Therefore, after many years of natural selection, the new surviving “thousand” tribes will be those sharing the emulative mechanism as a common advantage.
But once again, as it is something shared by all, is no longer an advantage for anybody. And as food is limited, again the survival of some tribes and the extinction of others will be in hands of the specific efficiency of each one, according to the achievement of the means of subsistence.
Although those two systems of natural alliances (fraternal and moral) are not an advantage for any tribe, as they are shared by all, it would be a disadvantage not having them. In this situation, there is no difference regarding the reason of being of any function, capacity or feature shared by all the members of one species. That is to say, what appears like an advantage at first, then it is generalized. But it continues being useful and essential, as lacking it implies a disadvantage.
4- Apparatus of the personal welfare
The concepts welfare-uneasiness, as absolute virtual values will always be used for what we understand as material conditions of life. Such values include, for our approach, all that the individual is interested in at level of the virtual conditions excepting what is moral and spiritual. This way, it is included for example, health, facilities to satisfy needs or likes, to have reasons of amusement or to have good times, not to have important problems, etc.
In the apparatus of the personal welfare, that process of analysis-synthesis of the diverse conditions of life also takes place until reaching the pair of integral values making the global conformity or unconformity with the conditions of personal life. Those total virtual values are the notions of the synthetic welfare or uneasiness as stable conditions. At this stage, the aspects of the subject's life are grouped, which converge from the smallest thing to go up gradually to a major synthesis, comprising different sectors of life, until concluding in the maximum synthetic product that will fall in any place of the seven-level- scale of welfare-uneasiness. The individual, reflecting on this issue, will see that his conditions of personal life are terrible, very bad, bad, regular, good, very good or excellent.
The absolute ideal of the apparatus is, then, the personal welfare as total positive value. Excellence would lie in what it is understood as joy or happiness in the restricted sense of the word, that is to say as synonym of maximum welfare under the material conditions of individual life.
In natural state, each individual's fundamental material interests are the same than those of each partner, so that the personal interest almost coincides in everything with the one of the group. Thus, as in the cases where the group tries to find food, the push arisen out from the hunger of each one is present, in the same way, when one wants to have “feeding facilities”, as stable virtual condition, the individual, material interest of that value and the spiritual interest for something that is good for the partners can not be separated. Almost everything contributing to the individual welfare is the same that leads to the group welfare (security in front of dangers, to live near a source of water, etc.). In the natural state of the tribe, there are very little properly private elements left as parts of the total value of the personal welfare. Nevertheless, it is positive that each one gets on well in his personal matters. This makes everybody get on better, be good willing to work, etc.
5- Apparatus of the group welfare
Considering the narrow fraternal identification with the group of tribe partners, an interest in their welfare is naturally developed. The values: social or group welfare-uneasiness are the total or synthetic virtual values of the apparatus. Here, the individual's interest is spiritual. What is material welfare or uneasiness for the partners of the tribe is a spiritual welfare or uneasiness for the identified individual.
Partial values are also grouped in this apparatus, being integrated in major synthesis, until reaching the global notion of the level of social welfare or uneasiness. Among partial values we can mention for example: security of the group in front of dangers, facilities to achieve the means of subsistence, good relationships among all, health in the members of the group, the existence of reasons of happiness for the tribe, etc. In fact, the partial virtual values of the apparatus are mostly relative and adapted to the diverse circumstances and life conditions of the group. However any partial value is grouped in areas, ending up in the absolute values of group welfare or uneasiness. In other words, beyond the variability of the partial virtual values, the absolute ideal of the apparatus is always the same: social or group welfare. That is shared by all the normal subjects fraternally identified with some human group.
The utility of the apparatus of the group welfare is something that may be observed “at first sight”. As the natural selection acted taking whole tribes, the only ones that were able to survive were those whose members developed a strong interest in the welfare of the group.
In the apparatus of the group welfare, the “excellence” is expressed in the concept of social happiness or maximum welfare of the tribe, the community and the town or of the eventual social group with which the fraternal identification is settled.
The identification with a human group not only occurs with groups gathered in the space (“regional” feelings), but it also occurs naturally among groups of individuals that, although they are not gathered physically, they share the same interests, conditions or situations. In the primary social organism, as there were no social classes, a kind of primitive communism took place, the unity was simultaneously present in the two fundamental aspects: 1- physical or territorial coexistence. 2- same interests. That made up a unified feeling from the identification with the tribe. Today instead, both things are “opened up”. On one hand we find the regional feelings, spontaneous in their development and on the other hand, those generated by the joint interest, which do not always coincide with those. According to that, the identifications of major importance in modern times are of two types: 1 - regional, national, etc. 2 - political parties and/or movements.
6- Apparatus of the general integration
Happiness-unhappiness, as absolute virtual values, set the peak of the psyche. The apparatus of the general integration is the synthesis of the other apparatuses, it is the group of them and it constitutes the maximum integration of the psychological activity.
When we discussed about the other apparatuses, we observed that the most particularized values were grouped in more and more big sectors, until ending up in the final syntheses of the absolute total values: personal virtuousness-defectiveness, honor and dignity – group dishonor and indignity, personal welfare-uneasiness, group welfare-uneasiness. Putting the ethical apparatus aside now, which is fundamentally an answering mechanism, and that it differs from the rest of the apparatuses in its performance, we find that those four pairs of total values embrace the large sectors of interests that an individual can develop in the virtual field. They include what is individual (material and moral) and what is social (material and moral); or in another way, they include what is material (individual and social) and what is moral (individual and social). But those four “mountains” of virtual values do not work independently one from the other, but they are one part of the last analysis, to end up in the major synthesis of the level of integral happiness-unhappiness.
The total virtual values of those apparatuses (personal virtue, social welfare, etc.) are the syntheses or total values in relation to the respective sector of partial virtual values, but at the same time they are the large pairs of partial values in relation to the maximum synthesis that gathers them under the integral concepts of happiness-unhappiness. In other words, the absolute ideals of those apparatuses that are the maximum purposes of each one are at the same time the large means or partial ideals of the great apparatus of the general integration. Therefore, happiness as absolute virtual value, consists on the joint possession of the positive virtual values of those apparatuses.
As well as the joy impulse does not have an own way leading to pleasure, but it rather acts using the objects of satisfaction of the other impulses, in a similar way, the apparatus of the general integration looks for happiness through the positive virtual values of the other apparatuses. It makes it by integrating, coordinating and organizing the activity of those. The integral ideal: happiness is not more than the positive result of the general outcome of the four fields of values; it is the everything OK arising out from the subject's experience, as a product of the reflection on his life, it is the general conformity in all the areas of interests that structure the aspirations of subjectivity.
Happiness as virtual value appears necessarily as a result of two elements: 1 - the general law. 2 - the capacity of abstraction. When one looks only for pleasure and the denial of displeasure in essence, any animal that develops the capacity of abstraction, in such way that it is allowed to conceive favorable virtual conditions for pleasure, will undergo an interest to live under such conditions, that is to say, it will be interested in happiness as virtual value. This tendency that necessarily appears in man, as he possesses those two conditions, is channeled by nature towards what is useful for the survival of the tribe. As happiness consists on joint possession of those four total virtual values or absolute ideals, the utility of the apparatus of the general integration is that of the others, which are gathered, integrated and synthesized.
Those four total values have an equivalent importance for the survival of the tribe. For such reason, nature structured the psyche based on the life conditions of the tribe, in such way that those fields of the life had a similar psychic importance in the determination of the subject's integral happiness.
The lack of favorable environmental conditions for the development of the values would affect firstly the most complex functions of the apparatuses. When the general conditions of life hinder the moral and spiritual development of the psyche, people’s ideals are pointed out towards the personal material welfare. Secondly, the ideals of personal virtuousness would come with their inner imbalances. And, in the end, the interest for social ideals. But beyond such imbalances, we will always see the four genders of ideals. This regularity means that those absolute total values are part of the essential structure of the apparatuses that are the authentic laws of the human psyche.
It may be thought that the basic interest for the personal welfare would always be larger, compared with the other virtual values. But this is only in this way if we just consider certain social reality, as it is for example the case in the current capitalistic society. Here, in general, that imbalance takes place. But that has to do with the influence of the own characteristics of the life’s system, where the law of selfishness and of the social forest prevails. Such conditions obviously, tend to distort the normal performance of values. But that is not the case in the natural life of the primary social organism and of the primitive tribes, where the human psyche was formed. Anyway, now there are many cases demonstrating the not less natural psychic importance of the other three fields of values. There are certain times where one gives up all personal welfare and even the own life in certain circumstances, in favor of other’s welfare or in defense of the personal or group’s honor. Such acts suppose a considerable (but normal and healthy) moral and spiritual development. This last situation, undoubtedly, used to happen under the life conditions of the tribe and it happens in those ones who are surrounded by life conditions favoring him.
The utility of the apparatus of the general integration is not only that of the others, from which it is shaped, but it is also observed in their integrative and coordinator performance. The happiness-unhappiness level is the result of the average or the general outcome of the state of the other apparatuses. If three of these ones are within the range of excellence and one in neutrality, the general average will be influenced by the sector that is more left behind, making the global average of the happiness level be lower. In such case, more attention will be paid to the sector that is working worse, trying to put it up at the level of the others. On the other hand, when one of the total values ends up at the same level of the very bad one, the “veto right” starts working. This way, although three apparatuses are within the scope of excellence, just one around the very bad one annuls the others and becomes into the one that determines the general state. In that case the global state of happiness-unhappiness becomes “very bad”. This is like that, because happiness consists on “everything right”, while unhappiness may appear like: “something very bad”. The very bad in one of the fields of life is enough to impede the state of general conformity. Here the arithmetic average of the four sectors does not work. It only works when there is not any important sector in the negative value.
This situation shows us the importance of the integrative and coordinator work of the apparatus of the general integration that makes the subject manage the different fields of his life in a parallel and organized way. If those mechanisms did not exist, special attention would not be paid to the sector of fallen values. This way, if there are three total values within the scope of excellence and one in the terrible one, but where the group was averaged arithmetically, it would bring about certain general conformity as a result of the average that would make the interest decay because it assisted the sector that was under terrible conditions. Therefore, it was necessary that the most submerged sector annuls those that are well and be the one imposing unconformity in the psychic state, what assures that the whole attention will be paid to that field of life.
Finally, as those positive virtual values are achieved through the concrete effort and work and since happiness consists on the achievement of such absolute ideals, the apparatus of the general integration, as synthesis of the others, guides that whole joint motivational energy to work constantly in what is useful for the survival of the tribe.
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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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