Introduction - Index - Cover - Bibliography - To buy the book - Download book in PDF - Spanish version - Contact
Chapters: previous - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - next
GENERAL THEORY OF PSYCHOLOGY
THE LAWS OF PSYCHE
Alberto E. Fresina
CHAPTER 6 -(pages 83 to 110 of the book of 410)
THE SYSTEM OF IMPULSES
Micro-impulses are next to the "limit" that separates the intentional acts from the simple global reflexes as hiccup, vomit, etc. These last reflex mechanisms are on the other side of the "limit", as they are not reached by the push and control of the general law or intention. The slight pleasure of micro-impulses satisfaction as well as the displeasure of not carrying out the impulsive suggestion, imply small "terminals" of the general law.
All ways leading to pleasure and to denial of displeasure have a specific function for individual and group’s survival. That is the only reason why natural selection allowed the existence of those absolute ways, so that the activity of the general law is always guided towards what it is in favor of life. Let’s see which would be the functions some micro-impulses carry out.
Sneezing is useful as it is the expulsion of noxious agents of the interior of the breathing tracts.
Stretching and yawning would have the function of maintaining the skeletal musculature. They equally consist on a stretching combination and muscular contraction that favor the maintenance of muscular capacities such as flexibility, elasticity, and muscular strengths. At the same time, these capacities avoid tears, muscular contractions, cramps.
Crying is useful to encourage the fraternal impulse in others, being able to help the ones who are in difficulties.
The function of gases elimination is something that can be deduced just by imagining what it would happen in the event of accumulating more and more gases inside the digestive system, without being able to go off.
Coughing would have two important functions. One is the function shared by many animals and it consists on expelling choked food. Coughing is a much more developed function in man and it is very different from the way of coughing shared by other animals. Only human beings are capable of inflating lungs and expelling the content abruptly. That cough, exclusively human, would have as main function, the expulsion of toxic substances that smoke has. The same as hundred of thousand years ago, our simian predecessors already cohabited with fire*, some mechanisms had to be daily developed to counteract the toxic effect of aspiring smoke. Indeed, human lung has a great capacity of gathering noxious particles in the mucus of its breathing tracts. The physiologic mechanisms of those tracts are regularly expelling the hard mucus upward, being usually swallowed when reaching at level of the pharynx. Coughing is an important accelerator of the process. At the same time, agitation produced by the normal physical activity, favors those mechanisms and contributes to stimulate the micro-impulse of coughing.
* Lambert David. El hombre prehistórico. Editorial EDAF. Madrid 1988 (Lambert David. "The prehistoric man")
As one can imagine, it can not be pure coincidence that man constitutes the only species with coughing capabilities, and at the same time, the one that had smoke as a regular element of its immediate environment. If somebody affirms that aspiration of smoke is unnatural, he is just right if he refers to other animals. If we consider the living conditions of the primitives, we will find that the eventual hostility of environment forces them to have the protection of a closed place, making them feel safe from any danger or harness of weather conditions. On the other hand, fire is the solution for low temperatures, and it constitutes the only light source when the night has fallen. Therefore, beyond having or not any relatively effective way of ventilation, they frequently spend whole nights in the middle of big smothers.
Something arising out from the above laws, considering that they only cause pleasure, in natural terms and being useful for life, is that the pleasure of aspiring certain type of smoke is not a nature mistake in its strict control of the different ways to feel pleasure, but it is in essence, a pleasure of general guiding, the same as the light pleasure of contemplating fire and the melody of its movement.
That would be the premise of the smoking pleasure. But the smoke of tobacco, in relation to the intensity of the pleasure that causes, is like an "improvement" of the quality of the smoke to be aspired. This was so much developed, that what it was considered a light pleasure of general guiding turned into a kind of acquired impulse. Considering the dependence that smoking generates, not only it causes pleasure but it also causes the displeasure of the nec. when tobacco is lacking. Smoking is an invention that was not "foreseen" by nature when it concluded with man’s forming. Otherwise, it would have avoided that entrance way to such intense as well as unnecessary pleasure for survival. This is valid for the case of alcohol and drugs.*
* It is specially about the direct action of alcohol from blood (where the same as in the case of certain drugs would cause a stimulating influence on the nervous activity that generates pleasure) and not from the pleasure of the act of drinking. The latter one, similarly to what it happens when one drinks a glass of milk or a fruits juice, would only be the product of the combined activation from the ways to pleasure of the nutritious and drinking impulses.
The new ways producing intense pleasure, which are considered unnatural as they do not belong to primitives’ life and they are unnecessary for survival, are not out of the functional impulses’ orbit. Joy is the main impulse sustaining the guided behavior towards those pleasant objects, when fixing its desire there. Then, the recovery impulse is the responsible for making dependence work; that is, lack of such objects, and of chemical substances, which have become regular in the organism, cause the sensation of "lack of habitual things" as a specific nec. of the recovery impulse. The relief impulse is added to this, trying to put an end to the suffering of that lack. However, the frequency in the specific shade of the nec. for those objects, as well as the peculiarity of satisfaction pleasure, make new components of the motivation arise, which appear as "acquired impulses" of increasing type.
This situation is only present in the cases of physiologic dependence. When this dependence is not developed, the intense nec. of the recovery impulse does not appear, and the lack of those objects does not mean any suffering. In such cases, the behavior guided towards tobacco, alcohol, etc., is only moved by the joy impulse, what it is manifested in the eventual desire of "giving oneself the opportunity to feel pleasure"; that is, in this case, it is not a necessity in itself, as it is in the cases of dependence, but of something occasional and within the functional routine of the joy impulse.
Among non-natural ways leading to an intense pleasure, apart from the habit of smoking, alcohol and drugs, we should mention the experimental direct stimulation of certain areas of the brain. But now, it is better not to speculate on the derivations that the direct intervention may have in the brain. This is a very favorable field for imprudence, where "easy" and "fast" methods will be probably proposed to improve the life’s style, through diverse manipulations of what the neuronal centers of pleasure and displeasure are considered, and that they will not be able to foresee the negative effects of different order that may have the alteration of what nature carefully made during million of years.
We had identified more than twenty impulses in man, classified in three groups: increasing, non-increasing and mixed. The increasing aspect means two things: 1 – the only passage of the "physiologic time" is the mobilizing stimulus of the impulse. 2 - once totally satisfied, its nec. can not be mobilized immediately again, certain time of regular physiologic events must go by. The gradual physiologic changes are the only mobilizing stimulus that increasing impulses have (in fact they are also influenced by external stimulus, but always on the basis of those inner physiologic conditions). The non-increasing impulses are contrary in both features: 1 – they are not influenced by the passage of time without satisfaction, but they are only activated when a concrete, sporadic and distinguishable fact appears like a mobilizing stimulus causing the appearance of the nec. 2 - although the total satisfaction has just been achieved, the new appearance of the mobilizing stimulus generates the nec again, as if nothing had happened. For example, the decrease of temperature (mobilizing stimulus) causes the nec.: cold. In front of this situation, the D.T. looks for and achieves the heating pleasure, making the cold sensation disappear. But the new decrease of temperature generates displeasure or nec. again: cold, as if nothing had happened before. As it can be noticed, this does not happen with increasing impulses. Lastly, we will refer to the group of mixed impulses. In this group, there is a portion of increasing and another one of non-increasing impulses. On one hand, only the passage of time without satisfaction causes the appearance of the nec. and its progressive increase (increasing part), and on the other hand, after achieving the total satisfaction, the nec. of impulse may be completely activated when a mobilizing stimulus of non-increasing type appears (fact or concrete and occasional situation). For example, the extended lack of something new, puts in motion the curiosity impulse, and it is felt the nec. to find something new, unknown, different. However, although the subject has satisfied his impulse, if a new, uncertain, "incomplete" or mysterious situation appears, the most intense curiosity will be generated.
Beyond the nature of the mobilizing stimulus, when the nec. of any impulse has been mobilized, the D.T is equally activated and guided towards the object of satisfaction. The achievement of this object is what produces the particular pleasure and simultaneously the extinction of the displeasure that nec. causes. Let’s consider as example the conservation impulse, to be able to appraise the strict sequence of the mechanism. First, the mobilizing stimulus: perception of a danger produces the neuronal stimulation generating the particular nec.: fear. That neuronal activity, as well as the generated effect, puts in motion the complex of directed reflexes underlying the D.T. Lastly, the achievement of security provokes the stimulation of the pleasure neurons, together with certain reflective connections that aim the achieved pleasure to have the adequate feature of calm. That fact at the same time, causes the inhibition of the nervous activity responsible for fear.
The sequence: nec. - D.T. - satisfaction is not a lineal chronological succession. The putting in motion of the D.T. does not mean that the particular nec. or displeasure ceases immediately, giving place to the D.T., but the nec. or displeasure remains together with the activity of the D.T. as time goes by. Only the total satisfaction ceases the activity of the D.T. as well as the nec. state. The permanent presence of the nec state is together with the sustained activity of the D.T. If nec. falls, D.T falls. This responds to the nec. state. Nec. does not have to be stopped either, so that the D.T is not stopped and its power is not diminished.
The parallelism in time of the nec. state and the activity of the D.T. makes us affirm that nec. is what moves or pushes behavior. Although this notion would be correct in a context that does not require more specifications, for us nec. is just the continuous displeasure state, to which D.T often responds as it is the only active element. On the other hand, the order: nec. - T.D. - satisfaction would be always valid as a sequence, since the first thing that appears is the nec. although that nec. remains in time, together with the D.T.
Based on the order in which that list of impulses was presented (page 39), we will begin a brief analysis of each one, in relation to its functions and other features.
1- Feeding imp. - 2- sexual - 3- drinking - 4 - defecation - 5- urination
None of the five has to be explained regarding their usefulness in life. It would be only necessary to analyze the reason of their increasing nature; this means that it would be harmful to consider that those impulses are open to the possibility of a new immediate mobilization, once achieved the whole satisfaction. In the case of defecation and urination, nec. is only moved when the physiologic requirement suggests it. Sexual, feeding and drinking impulses also depend on the continuous physiologic changes. Although the perception of the object of satisfaction provokes the accentuation of the nec., taking place when total satisfaction has not been achieved; when this has happened, it would be harmful that the single perception of food, water or sexual object, moves the impulse again from "zero”. Those three types of objects of satisfaction may be able to be seen by the subject, repeatedly. If only the perception of such objects always woke up the nec., the organism would not stop satisfying them, that is, it would not stop eating, drinking or copulating. This would cause many damages; one of them is that one would waste time, energy and interest, that are useful for other vital questions.
From the five increasing impulses, the sexual one would be closer to the mixed ones; it is the one that can be mostly mobilized before a new special stimulus after the total satisfaction. But the power of that mobilization will always be decadent. This way, a moment will arrive in that he will no longer respond before new external stimulus. That characteristic of the sexual imp. of being able to be reactivated in the presence of certain external stimulus, was selected by nature, since it made the reproduction frequency increase. But the limit is the quantity of time and global energy that other motivations demand. In other terms, the more sexual interest a person has the more he will be able to reproduce himself if we compare him with the rest, but after a certain point regarding the level of basic sexual interest, it already starts being harmful for the other indispensable life matters, which the organism must take care of. For that reason, nature only allowed the survival to those who had an average level of sexual interest, that is, genetically speaking, those having less or more basic sexual interest than that level, have died. This is, in general, valid for all the impulses.
6- Corporal comfort Imp.
From now on, we will develop the series of the non-increasing impulses. The comfort corporal impulse includes, within its nec., displeasure caused by several types of corporal nuisances, example: uncomfortable position, pains due to muscular pressure, discomfort because of the clothes, excessive corporal dirtiness, etc. All the above and other similar psychic reactions, are included in the corporal discomfort. In such cases, the annulment of uncomfortable facts causes the pleasure of the comfort. That pleasure is not continuous, but only the pleasant reaction that is produced when putting an end to the discomfort situation or corporal nuisance. But once the comfortable position or condition is achieved and light pleasure is felt, the psychic neutrality is recovered, that is, neither pleasure nor displeasure in relation to the impulse.
It is evident that the impulse is useful since it aims self-protection before agents or harmful situations acting on the body. It is also evident the usefulness of being non-increasing, and that it only responds to the occasional appearance of the mobilizing stimulus.
7- Scratching imp
It is a derivation of the former impulse. But it can be considered independent, since itching as a nec. is a peculiar experience, like the scratching pleasure. Another reason of its autonomy is its function. The function of the impulse comes off by imagining its absence. Organisms lacking it, among other things, are consumed by all kind of insects or parasites. In front of that situation, any answer coming the organism was necessary. It was also necessary a non-increasing impulse, so that it is mobilized when the stimulus producing itching appears and not for the time that has passed "without being scratched".
It is necessary to emphasize that the adapting or useful function for impulses’ life, is something objective, and almost ever unknown for the subjective authority or for the organism’s intentions. For example, sexual impulse, in essence, only tends to pleasure and to deny the particular displeasure and not to reproduction, which is a derived objective consequence. No animal looks for reproduction intentionally, except the human being that was able to make the relation, while reasoning, of the sexual activity consequence with reproduction. It is just that the organisms that felt pleasure during sexual activity were able to reproduce themselves thanks to it. In the same way, nobody scratches himself "to counteract certain harmful agents acting on the skin", but for the pleasure of scratching and to put an end to the displeasure of itching. Only the organisms that had the impulse were able to counteract, without supposing it, the noxious agents acting on the skin while those lacking that impulse were extinguished as they left the way free to those noxious agents.
8- Heating imp - 9- refreshing
These impulses do not require too much comment; its vital utility is obvious. In both, the mobilizing stimulus consists on respective changes of temperature that generate the cold or heat displeasure. The corresponding D.T responds to these necs. looking for the particular pleasure and putting an end to the corresponding displeasure. It is also evident the utility of their non-increasing nature.
10- Recreational imp.
The nec. is boredom, and the satisfaction, the access to the amusing activity or situation. What we must consider here as object of satisfaction, is only the concrete fact of beginning the activity and the pleasure that takes place at the moment of being included in the situation. That fact is the one that at the same time, makes boredom displeasure disappear. Once the activity has begun, and this is maintained by itself; that is to say, the abandonment or suspension of the amusing situation causes displeasure. Therefore, one prefers to keep on with it, until the fatigue, tedium or hunger displeasure may reach a level in that the concept of decision making leads to abandon it. But while it does not happen the continuity of the activity is ensured.
The vital function of the recreational imp. is to assure the maintenance of global capacities and abilities. If we suppose that the tribe is spending excellent days as it has exceptional facilities to achieve the means of subsistence, it would imply that it is not necessary to work or to be in charge of activities that require great dedication. If the organism maintained a prolonged passivity, it would lose its level of general yield gradually. For that reason, boredom is in charge of completing the activity’s life, and this fact always allows to be prepared to respond efficiently before adversity that may appear at any moment. In children, it is also useful to encourage the development in all the aspects. The permanent practice of activities is what ensures the integral yield capacity in front of the nature demands.
When we discussed about the system of autonomous maintenance (chapter 5), we saw that the homeostatic physiologic system was in charge of ensuring the good state of all the organs. The recreational imp. fulfills with that function of keeping the good state, but at global level. The practice of activities with recreational purposes has the utility of keeping in movement the psycho-physic machinery of the organism.
The recreational imp. is non-increasing, because activity is the normal state of human life. If one spends several days with much activity, boredom will not appear. Just when there is no activity to carry out, impulse is mobilized and boredom shows up.
11- Variation imp.
Its nec. is tedium, tiresome, boredom, monotony sensation, satiety, "psychic fatigue". The object of satisfaction is change, renewal, variation of the situation, including to abandon or to put an end to something tedious. The circumstances in which the impulse acts are very diverse, it does not appear during any situation that is repeated insistently, but in those life aspects in which it is useful that the organism changes on the particular one.*
* One of the fields where variation was useful for the survival of the tribe, was the one of sexual life. The lack of restrictions in sexual relationships was an indispensable condition so that the mechanism of the sexual selection worked; through this mechanism the positive genetic changes were taking advantage, favoring its generalization to future members of the social organism (see chapter 1). Anyway, a certain monogamist tendency also exists. That is to say, the natural situation in human species would be a basic polygamy (and polyandry), combined with a temporary and relative monogamist tendency, not sustained by any imposition, but essentially by the natural phenomenon of being in love.
On the other hand, the variation imp. also intervenes when it must be interrupted what it is harmful to continue. Satiety is the displeasure that appears in this last case, and it is a special way that the displeasure or nec. of the impulse has in order to put an end to the behavior when the satisfaction of another impulse has been total, and where its continuation would be unhealthy.
The variation imp. has its role in the activity. It is the responsible for changing from one activity to another, and boredom has no “time” to show up. Also, this imp. works in team with the curiosity one, being in charge of rejecting the useless repetition of information. The useful aspect for life is to become filled with information and to remember it inclusive once or twice, but not to waste time in absorbing several times the same thing. Annoyance is the displeasure produced in such cases. The D.T. looks for the variation pleasure and to put an end to the monotonous and tedious situation.
The maximum satisfaction of the variation imp. occurs when meeting with the "new coloring of the different things".
In fact, the variation one is a "hybrid", deriving from curiosity, recreational and resting impulses. Annoyance, boredom, sensation of monotony as nec. of the impulse, can be considered in many cases as a compound one made up of the combination of boredom, tiredness and curiosity. Sometimes, the presence of one component or another is highlighted. The accentuation of the resting imp. appears in the cases in which one tries to abandon the monotonous situation that causes the "psychic tiresome". Here, annoyance appears in the subject’s sensation of being "tired" of something, reason why he will try either to change or to abandon the situation. Then, the stressing of the recreational imp. would be present when the situation becomes "boring". In such case, annoyance requires the nec. of something more amusing. Lastly, the highlighted presence of the curiosity imp. would be expressed in situations where tedium or annoyance adopt the nec. form of something new, or "of trying" something different.
12- Aggression imp.
The mobilizing stimulus is basically the deep displeasure. In general, the aggressive nec., fury, anger, etc. are mobilized as an answer to an agent that produces intense displeasure. Frustration, as deep displeasure, is one of the most important mobilizing stimulus. Another case is disgust caused by the simple displeasure threat carried out by an object, situation or subject. Offense or attack also produces a deep displeasure that mobilizes the impulse. It is common that the accumulation of displeasures “prepares the way” so that, the smallest stimulus (unpleasant fact) becomes the unchaining one. In such cases, the aggressive nec. (anger, fury,) tends to go disproportionately towards that last stimulus of the series, although this one has only impacted in a small proportion as the mobilizing agent of the impulse. Regarding the object of satisfaction; firstly, it consists in inflicting a bad thing to an object or subject, especially when it is considered like the reason of the own pain. That "bad thing" may be the destruction of the object, or the cause of subject’s displeasure. Pleasure is also included if something wrong happens to the object or subject, although it is not the result of the own behavior.
The impulse has several important functions. One is carried out by emphasizing the fight for the achievement of the goal. Aggression may be present in the most peaceful work when, for example, the behavior which tends to solve a problem is reinforced by the fury towards the obstacle. The destruction of the obstacle or its disarticulation, is added like a pleasure to the other impulses, which look for the achievement of the goal. In such cases, the motivating force of the aggression imp. is added to the rest of the reasons, giving more energy to the behavior.
Another function is the destruction of agents causing displeasure in general, or threatening to cause it (dangerous or annoying objects or animals). As displeasure always advances something harmful for life, it is useful that such agents become destroyed or disarticulated.
A third function is the concrete defense that supposes the aggressive answer from the fight. Although this occurs at personal level, the basic aspect would be in relation to the social organism. The tribe should have the impulse among its members, although it is not mobilized if there is no reason. The lack of aggression capacity would be harmful for the tribe. In the case of an abuse, offense or external attack, it should be able to respond with forcefulness. That capacity of the social organism could remain indefinitely inactive during many generations, without altering the normal psychological life of its members at all. But it would become necessary at any time, and for that reason it should be always present as virtual or latent capacity in the psychic structure of subjects.
Lastly, we find the ethical-moral function of aggression. When a member of the tribe has a bad or harmful behavior in the group causing displeasure in his partners, they will react disapproving angrily his behavior. Such a moral punishment causes displeasure in the person who receives it, reason why he will avoid the repetition of that negative behavior.
The aggression imp., as it has been noticed, is within the non-increasing group. The time lapsed without satisfaction, does not affect its healthy immobility. It would be harmful for the internal coexistence of the tribe and its survival, that their members have a "physiologic" necessity of attacking, only because they have not attacked “for a long time”.
13- Fraternal imp.
Nec. has diverse approaches according to the context, but satisfaction is always the good or favorable aspect for the group or for the other person. Pleasure is produced when perceiving a positive fact for an entity to which one is identified.
Although it is always useful to look for good things in order to help the group, it was not necessary that the impulse had the feature of the increasing ones, of being activated with the single course of the time. As the fraternal identification with loved beings is permanent, one seeks, at any situation, the good for them as if it were for oneself.
The fraternal imp. is the opposite of the aggression one. The last one seeks bad things for the object, and the fraternal one tries that good things happen to it.
The impulse has several functions. Firstly, the maternal behavior is moved by this impulse. The baby's cry causes displeasure of the mother’s beneficent nec. ; the D.T. pushes to recover the boy's welfare; when this is achieved, and the boy feels well, the pleasure of impulse is present in the mother. Then cry is repeated and the cycle is reproduced. The zigzag nec.- satisfaction of the fraternal imp. is an uninterrupted feature in maternal behavior.
Another function is the mutual help. Here, pity, compassion or mercy appear as nec. before other people's difficulty. The D.T. encourages to help another person. When the recovery of that person’s welfare is perceived, the pleasure of fraternal imp. appears in the person who has helped.
Another is the ethical-moral function. We have stated that one of the functions of aggression was moral condemnation or disapproval, as a way to “hurt” the author of the negative behavior. The fraternal imp. completes the other part; it is the one that approves or gratifies the author because of a good or beneficial behavior for the group, it is the one that rewards and congratulates behavior. If we consider together the aggression and fraternal impulses in those who are observers of other people's behavior, we will see that these latter ones will morally approve and gratify the author of the good behavior, and they will disapprove causing a moral evil the author of the bad act (besides the eventual material prize or punishment, like extreme forms of approval or disapproval towards the acts). Then, as the author of those behaviors, he feels displeasure for disapproval and pleasure for approval, so that he will try to avoid doing things bad, trying to do them well. In this ethical-moral function of the fraternal imp., it usually appears a rather compulsive nec. to gratify. The D.T. makes the subject come spontaneously closer to the author of the good behavior, and the satisfaction takes place when hugging and congratulating him.
The pleasure of the fraternal imp. can be classified as a spiritual pleasure. The only benefit here is the other’s welfare. It is a "disinterested interest". Although pleasure occurs at the own individual's brain, it is only the product that something good happens to another person. That is the reason why it is about the purest pleasure in relation to the absence of personal connotations.
Identification is a basic condition so that the impulse works. Fraternal identification is like a device of the nervous system that makes psychic reactions synchronize regarding pleasure and displeasure. If loved beings or the object of the fraternal identification feels bad, the identified subject feels displeasure; and when that person feels well, he responds with pleasure. On the other hand, an inverse synchronization takes place in the performance of the aggression imp. If the enemy feels well, the subject's psyche responds with displeasure; and vice versa, when the enemy gets on bad, the subject’s psyche responds with pleasure. Those synchronization mechanisms (correlative and inverse) of psychic states will be called: M.F.I. (mechanism of fraternal identification) and M.F.A. (mechanism of fraternal anti-identification). The M.F.I. is the disposition produced in the psyche by means of which the object or content of that mechanism is conceived as if it were oneself. Thus the welfare of O.M.F.I. (object of the mechanism of fraternal identification) will produce a fraternal or spiritual pleasure, and the uneasiness of O.M.F.I. will cause spiritual displeasure. Then, the M.F.A. is the disposition of the psyche making that the welfare of the mechanism’s object (O.M.F.A.) causes displeasure in the subject, and the uneasiness of O.M.F.A. provokes a pleasure that takes place through the aggression impulse.
The activity of fraternal imp. always takes place upon the basis of M.F.I., either working in the psyche or existing virtually in relation to the object; while the activity of the aggression imp. supposes the M.F.A. basis in relation to the object of aggression. The objects of both mechanisms can be stable or occasional. For example, an enemy may have become the stable object of M.F.A., but occasionally one can feel pity for him and help him in a temporary situation. Here the enemy is O.M.F.I for a moment.; but then it continues being O.M.F.A. The son can also be a stable O.M.F.I., but when he does something wrong he becomes an occasional O.M.F.A., in the moment the father gets angry with him. However the son keeps on being a stable O.M.F.I. “at heart”.
In the life of primitive tribe, there are not necessarily stable objects of M.F.A., that is to say, there are no objects to be hated permanently. M.F.A. is naturally occasional. On the other hand, the tribe and each one of its members usually appears like O.M.F.I. There is always an interest to make favorable facts happen in the tribe, and in every moment the tribe intends to avoid having and living harmful facts. Another important function of the fraternal imp. arises out from here: working constantly for the welfare of the tribe. Each favorable fact for the tribe will be a pleasure or satisfaction of the fraternal imp. That will lead to make all the efforts in order to achieve the tribe’s welfare.
In man, the fraternal imp. has an important development. The satisfaction’s object of impulse is not only limited to the direct perception of another individual’s welfare, but it also becomes extensive to “abstract” entities. Nowadays, the objects of M.F.I can be found in entities like a sport club, family, social group, political party, homeland or the whole humanity. The subject is encouraged to work on everything that causes favorable facts for those entities, in which fraternal identification was set up.
We must keep in mind that the dimensions of the objects of M.F.I. do not alter the essential mechanics of the impulse: nec. - D.T. - satisfaction. It is just that this sequence is filled in with the content of those huge entities. But the individual subject, in his personal experience, feels the beneficent nec. or spiritual displeasure when O.M.F.I. feels bad. Also, the individual himself feels in his psyche the fraternal or spiritual pleasure when a good fact occurs to that one. Under natural conditions, everything is overturned to the tribe, to the social organism. The tribe is the most important O.M.F.I. A great part of each subject's motivation is bound to seeking good things for the tribe. This is the "thickest" function in the fraternal impulse; it is directly in favor of the group’s survival. The tribe whose members count with a powerful concentric tendency to the group’s self-benefit, is "light years" regarding another one that does not have that feature. To have an idea of the force of that tendency to benefit the tribe, we must gather the different possible objects of a subject’s M.F.I. at the present time. The power magnitude of the primitive’s interest in positive facts for his tribe would be the sum of those partial motivations. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most powerful forces in the motivational structure.
14- Mediator imp.
Nec. is feeling the lack of an object or fact whose achievement is useful for any other impulse interested in it. Satisfaction is the joy pleasure for having achieved what it was looked for. The mediator imp. is present in the following example. Let’s suppose that a subject is alone and hungry in his house. He decides to go and buy a piece of bread that costs one peso. He counts his money and he has only 90 cents. He only lacks a coin. In that moment, the nec. to find a coin appears in his experience. He starts looking around in every corner of his house, he only has in his mind the image of the coin and the displeasure of its lack; that is, the nec. as displeasure or feeling of lack has the "color" of the coin. After some time of search, he sees something that makes him feel happy: the coin. Immediately, the nec. of that object is extinguished.
What we see here, is that the nutritious imp. was the one interested in the coin. But the subject, during his search, hardly felt any hunger in his experience, but the nec. of coin. The mediator imp. is always at the service of the others. It is prepared to respond with nec. to everything that serves for the purposes of other impulses and to feel pleasure for its achievement; it is the executor of its partners’ interests. The mediator role means that its activity is a "bridge" between the nec. and the satisfaction of the impulse to which it serves. Thus, the nec. of the coin, the D.T. and the pleasure of the satisfaction or happiness for having found it, are halfway between the appearance of hunger and the act of eating.
The mediator imp. is a general support for the other impulses. Its nec. is a "common fund" of unspecified nec. to be used by all the others. The mechanism by means of which the impulse is mobilized would be the following one: the nutritious imp., in the example, starts being activated with the appearance of its nec.: hunger. Immediately, the D.T. of this nutritious imp. is put in motion and points at food. But when noticing that without coin there is no food, the achievement of the first one turns out to be a mean. The image of the mean-object (coin) is the mobilizing stimulus of the mediator imp. In other words, when the D.T. of any impulse points out a mean-object, the nec. of that object no matter its nature arises in a reflex and automatic way. This is the nec. of the mediator impulse. This imp. is adapted to respond with nec. in the presence of the mean-object that the others set.
The nec. of the mediator impulse is an undifferentiated nec. in itself, it is a feeling of lack having neither shade nor shape; its only constant elements are displeasure and the feeling of lack. The image of the mean-object that is useful for the interested impulse (or for the interested impulses) is what provides the definitive shade to the nec. Then, the achievement of the mean-object causes the "happiness of the achievement" as pleasure or satisfaction of the mediator imp.
Nature allowed the deep reaction of pleasure in the happiness of achievement, but at the same time "it assured itself" that this kind of pleasure does not occur, it may only take place to advance a useful fact: satisfaction of the impulse interested in the mean-object. The mediator imp. is just a general reinforcement for the rest of impulses, which are the true "owners" of the entranceways to pleasure. Such ways or entrance nucleus to pleasure are the ones that orientate it. For that reason, nature did not have to give more "indications" to the mediator imp. It was enough to limit the ways of direct entrance to pleasure, so that this impulse makes use of all its mobilized force within the funnel of what it is useful for life.
15- Recovery imp.
Its nec. is the feeling of lack of habitual things. Pleasure or satisfaction are the psychic reaction caused by the act of recovering what it has been lost or what it was "lacking". That object or condition that first it is lost and then recovered, is in many cases something psychically neuter, that it is usually present but unnoticed producing neither pleasure nor displeasure, but when lacking it, it causes the displeasure of its lack.
There are many fields over which the recovery imp. acts. For example, breathing is a psychically neuter function; breathing produces neither pleasure nor displeasure. However, when this function is interrupted and oxygen is missing, one feels the immediate nec. to breath. Upon recovering the normal incorporation of oxygen, the pleasure of the satisfaction of the impulse takes place. But from that moment onwards, the psychic neutrality of breathing continues.
Besides being in charge of some exclusive functions, this impulse frequently adds its power to the power of others. For example, the continued lack of incorporation of water would not only mobilize the drinking imp., but the physiologic homeostasis would see the proportion of liquids diminished and, together with thirst, the nec. of the recovery imp. would appear, adding its forces to the drinking one and being satisfied with it. The same situation is, for example, seen in relation to the recreational imp. The habitual thing is the activity. For that reason, together with boredom, the nec. to come back to the activity state may appear.
The recovery imp. is used to crashing naturally with the variation one, which encourages to give up something that it has become tedious, but then one feels the nec. to return. Such natural conflicts are almost ever solved by the interests of other impulses that unbalance in favor of the permanency or change.
As it can be noticed, impulse acts in two general fields. One is more physiologic, and refers to the re-incorporation of substances or the reestablishment of natural or habitual conditions of the organism. In this function, the recovery imp. is the most direct "psychological agent" of the physiologic homeostasis. The other field is the one that deals with purely psychological contents, where recovery means meeting again with objects, situations, people, images, memories, habits, etc.
There are some cases that one wants to recuperate something that has never had, but as it is a natural or habitual condition of the species’ life, the pleasure that causes its acquisition would also correspond to the recovery impulse; example: being for the first time in a natural environment, outdoors and surrounded by green plants; being in a social and affective atmosphere where one has never been in contact before; being very healthy in general terms for the first time, as never before. Although this acquisition of something that one has never had would not mean a strict recovery, we could consider it like a special kind of an impulse satisfaction. That is, the returning to a natural, normal or habitual situation for the species’ life, although it has never been experienced by the person, it produces in general a pleasant psychic state that the subject himself lives as a recovery act.
The phenomenon of that impulse’s special orientation, by which the object, situation or condition to be recovered would transcend the own individual’s living experience, would be in charge of contributing so that the organisms are not away from the general context of living conditions that are normal or natural for its species, as these ones constitute what it is better adapted to the global structure and function of the organism. But one limitation that this mechanism would have is the fact that it is not always possible to know which is the missing natural condition, when the person could never live it and therefore know it. For that reason, the main component that the organisms would use to be objectively guided towards the possession of the natural or normal conditions for its species’ life, would be the imminent capacity to feel pleasure, in a pseudo-recovery act of what it is natural and inherent to that organism’s life. Such a pleasant psychic reaction for that acquisition, as well as displeasure or concrete nec. of recovery that will take place in case of its eventual future absence, are able to assure that this organism is kept under those natural life conditions, corresponding to its species.
16 - Conservation imp. - 17 - relief imp.- 18 - continuation imp. - 19- joy imp.
Such impulses have as necs.: the conservation one: fear; the relief one: pain or suffering; the continuation one: "displeasure at the end"; and the joy one: desire. The four ones are those whose necs. would be questionable as such. Nevertheless, they are adjusted to the same laws of the impulses level. As well as thirst is the nec. of drinking, fear is the nec. of easiness or security. Then, pain is automatically and in itself the nec. of relief; the person who feels pain or suffering only wants relief, it is all he needs. Displeasure or sadness of the end is the nec. to continue with the situation that produces pleasure. Lastly, desire or anxiety is an unpleasant feeling because of the lack of its object of satisfaction.
The conservation imp. is the one that responds with fear when any threat of something unpleasant takes place. Although there are some facts or situations that generate an automatic or reflective fear, the general field where an impulse is performed is the pain threat or any kind of displeasure. Displeasure risk makes the person feel worried (light fear), or fear, terror, according to the magnitude of the risk or danger. The intensity of fear, and therefore the level of the motivating power of the conservation imp. in its avoiding behavior depend on three factors: 1 - intensity of threatening displeasure. 2 - duration of it. 3 – different probabilities that may take place. The more intensity, duration and probability of feeling displeasure, the more powerful will be the intensity of fear and the motivational force of the conservation imp. that will try to avoid it. Also, the intensity of the easiness pleasure, as an impulse satisfaction, will be more or less proportional to that. The name given to the impulse does not only respond to the fact of being the one that tends directly to preserve life when avoiding dangers. In fact all impulses tend direct or indirectly to preserve life. The fundamental sense of the concept: conservation is, for our approach, the fact that impulse tends to preserve the psychic state of displeasure absence. As it is in charge of avoiding the appearance of any “bad” or unpleasant thing, it tries to maintain or to preserve the psychic situation, trying to avoid displeasure. It works as the denying resistance of displeasure.
The relief imp. is the one that is mobilized when displeasure is already present, trying to remove it or to finish with it. When the conservation imp. could not avoid the appearance of pain, the relief imp. is in charge of doing its best to extinguish it in order to achieve its satisfaction. This impulse tries to put an end to any displeasure state. For that reason, its activity may be superimposed to that of any other impulse, when looking for relief of the end of the unpleasant state of each nec. This way for example, the conservation imp. may be joined, when seeking the relief of the fear displeasure, making the easiness pleasure, as satisfaction of that impulse, be simultaneously the relief produced by the end of the fear displeasure. In that way, the pleasure occurring when trying to avoid any dangerous situation, can have at the same time, feelings of easiness and relief, like the two components of a unique pleasant experience.
The continuation imp., similarly to what it happens in the case of the variation one, is in good part the product of the regular combination of other impulses. Sadness due to the end, anguish and the semi-compulsive nec. that the pleasant situation continues, or that it does not finish, form a unique personal experience, mainly composed of the necs. of other impulses. Firstly, anguish of that unpleasant personal experience shows the presence of the conservation imp. that responds with fear towards the psychically worse situation that means the end of the pleasant situation. Then, sadness or feeling of loss are sustained by the recovery imp, with its characteristic nec., trying to reassert the situation that is being lost. The mediator imp. is also regularly present in the nec. of continuing with the situation, as well as in happiness when the continuation of it is announced. Lastly, the joy imp. responds with the desire of pleasant facts implied in that situation, that do not want to be lost. As this combination is constant and regular, a new impulse is given structure and movement, with its psychic features, and its function: to favor the continuity of the situation in which the satisfaction of the other impulses takes place, assuring it to be total (until satiety), as well as to maintain or to avoid the suppression of pleasant situations in general, which, under natural conditions, always mean positive facts for survival.
The joy imp. is in charge of asserting all pleasant facts. Desire, as nec. of the impulse, is the feeling of lack appearing together with the image of an object or situation whose achievement will be something pleasant. As well as the conservation imp. reacts with fear in the presence of the threat of something "bad" or unpleasant, the joy imp. is the one that participates with desire in the case that something "good" or pleasant happens. When we talk about desire, it must not be understood as a cold concept, used sometimes as a synonym of "I need" certain thing, or "I want" such another one. These latter expressions usually refer to the nec. of the mediator imp., that is to say to the interest for that thing which constitutes a mean for another objective. Desire will be just considered as the nec. of the joy imp., and it is directed in general, towards the satisfaction nucleus of the other impulses. The same as in the case of the nec. of the mediator imp., desire is unspecified in itself, and it acquires the definitive shade with the image of the object to be enjoyed in which it is fixed. Pleasure occurred when enjoying that object or desired fact, constitutes the object of satisfaction of the joy impulse, which makes the unpleasant state of desire disappear. On the other hand, the intensity of desire, and consequently the level of the moving power of the joy imp., also depend on three factors: 1 - intensity of the pleasure that promises the object or situation. 2 - duration. 3 - different probabilities where that pleasure may take place. The more intensity, duration and probability exist that pleasure appears, the more powerful will be the intensity of desire and the motivational force of the joy imp.
If we join this last concept with what we have discussed in relation to the conservation imp., we can find the fundamental elements that carry out the performance of the law of decision. As we remember, this law says that "in every decision one chooses the behavior promising more pleasure and/or less displeasure". As we have stated, that quantum of pleasure or displeasure is the synthetic product of the analysis of those three quantitative factors. We have also observed that the mechanism by means of which the final decision is obtained rests in a fight among options, where the one offering the best psychic proposal, is the one that triumphs. Then, as joy and conservation impulses are responsible for the evaluation of the level of pleasure-displeasure offered by the different facts or situations, and desires and fears arising with an intensity proportional to it. Therefore, these impulses are those that when combining themselves, adding and making the average of the group of desires and fears, provide the main materials of the law of decision. The fights among the different possibilities to choose are, basically, fights between the group of fears and desires in relation to each option. Those impulses are also the fundamental elements that make the law of effect work, that is, they are the main impulses sustaining the tendency to repeat what it led to pleasure (of joy) and to avoid the repetition of what it ended up in displeasure (of conservation).
A common feature of the four impulses we are analyzing (of conservation, of relief, of continuation and of joy) is that, as in the case of those of recovery and mediator, are regularly superimposed with the purposes of the others. Thus, for example, in the case of the joy imp., if one has the possibility to eat delicious food, this impulse will respond with desire towards it, mixing hunger with the desire of eating. Even hunger may be absent and the ingestion behavior is in charge of the joy imp. We can say the same thing regarding the relief imp., for example, when it is added to the nutritious one, causing the relief of hunger displeasure. Even here appetite may not exist, and the ingestion behavior may be moved by the relief impulse, when, for example, counteracting or mitigating the bad mood by means of the pleasure of food.
The joy and continuation impulses act mainly by taking advantage of the entranceways to pleasure of the other ones. The function of these impulses is to reinforce the interest in the objects of satisfaction of the impulses, which are the "owners" of the ways to pleasure (besides of being in charge of the orientation pleasures). Instead, those of conservation and of relief not only add their interest to the one of the rest of impulses but they are also responsible for "free ways" leading to displeasure. That is to say, apart from displeasure of the rest of necs., there are some situations or facts that cause deep displeasure. Such displeasures only constitute the nec. of the relief imp. and what the one of conservation fears, example: somatic pain, frustration, affective rejection, shame, etc. These displeasures are states to be avoided by the conservation imp. trying to make the relief imp. appear.
The four impulses we are dealing with, refer to the quantitative aspect of pleasure and displeasure, being extremely unspecified in relation to the qualitative aspect of the objects over which they may act. This is due to the fact that they are the most direct representatives of the general law. In order to explain this, we will remember the two partial tendencies of the general law. One is the partial tendency asserting pleasure, and the other one the partial tendency denying displeasure. The conservation and relief impulses represent directly the partial tendency denying displeasure. The conservation one tries to avoid displeasure and the relief one tends to finish with it when it is already present. The joy and continuation impulses represent in their purest form, the partial tendency asserting pleasure. The joy one tries to achieve pleasure, and the continuation one intends to maintain it or to avoid its extinction. As it can be noticed, the four impulses have a symmetrical and complementary disposition. Each one seizes an area of the general law fight against the opponent forces.
This situation, by means of which the general law finds four "fronts" in its fight against the opponent forces, is the adaptation of the psychic performance to the dialectical of reality, to the logic of its movement. This will be understood with the following explanation. firstly, the objective concepts of affirmation and negation can be understood in two senses: static or dynamic. From the static point of view, affirmation-negation mean respectively to be, to exist, to have - not to be, not to exist, not to have. But in dynamic or functional, dialectical sense by reproducing the real movement, we find two objective ways of affirmation and two of negation. The two affirmation ways are: 1 - generation or appearance of something that did not exist. 2 - conservation or maintenance of what it is already present. And the two active negation ways are: 1 - extinction or elimination of the existing thing. 2 - avoidance or hindrance of what it has not still arisen. Let’s consider separately pleasure on one hand and displeasure on the other hand. If we analyze isolated pleasure as an effect, as a phenomenon, we will see that when this pleasure is absent, the joy imp. constitutes the active force that tends to produce it, and the opponent forces act as objective resistance tending to avoid it. Then, when pleasure has already been achieved, the continuation imp. intervenes there, intending to maintain or to avoid its extinction, in the presence of the "hounding" of opponent forces that try to eliminate or to extinguish it. On the other hand, another continuous similar fight is present around the displeasure effect. When displeasure is absent, the conservation imp. acts as a resistance denying that one, it tries to avoid or to prevent it from taking place in front of the opponent forces performance that objectively tend to generate it. Once the opponent forces won, and displeasure is present, the relief imp. appears trying to finish or to extinguish it, in the presence of the opponent forces resistance that tend to maintain it.
Such relationships show us the adaptation of the four impulses to the central functions of intention or general law in their fight against the opponent objective forces. It is a perfect distribution adjusted with remarkable precision to the essential dynamics of the phenomenon.
Anyway, it is necessary to emphasize that although the conservation imp. is specialized in the avoidance of displeasure and the joy one in the attainment of pleasure, we will be able to find the two partial tendencies (pleasure asserter and displeasure denier) in both. The conservation one tries to finish with the fear displeasure and to achieve the easiness pleasure, and the joy one tries to put an end to the desire displeasure and to achieve the pleasure of its satisfaction. The same happens regarding the relief and continuation impulses. For that reason, beyond those specializations, all impulses simultaneously tend to affirm pleasure and to deny displeasure.
On the other hand, joy and pain (or suffering) are qualities arise out from the quantitative intensity of pleasure or displeasure. If the intensity of such psychic reactions varies from zero to ten, they would start being enjoyment or pain respectively, from a certain point, example: starting approximately from point 6 or 7. Therefore, joy or pain arise out when pleasure or displeasure reach that intensity, and when they do not reach that point, they are only like-dislike. Something similar happens regarding the magnitude grades of seismic movements. If the scale is of 10 grades, seism is also earthquake when it overcomes 6 or 7 points, while it is only tremor (like-dislike) when it does not reach that magnitude. Those four special impulses are in fact the ones that are in charge of the "big" things; they are visibly moved in the case of "psychic earthquakes". The relief one is significantly moved when displeasure reaches the suffering level. The conservation one responds with a perceptible fear when risk is of one displeasure with pain intensity or suffering. The joy one adds its determined support when "it is worthwhile"; it is considerably mobilized when the object promises a pleasure-enjoyment. Lastly, the continuation one experiences with certain emphasis the re-asserting nec. and the displeasure for ending, when the situation that is being extinguished produces joy. These impulses are also mobilized when pleasure or displeasure are just like or dislike. But its moving power is insignificant here. Such impulses are activated with certain presence regarding the level of motivation when it is an "important" matter.
From the four impulses, the conservation, relief and continuation ones correspond to the non-increasing group. They are only mobilized (at least notoriously) when the corresponding stimulus appears: risk, stimulus producing displeasure and interruption of the situation that one is enjoying, respectively. Instead, the joy one is at the beginning of the mixed ones list. The increasing part means that just the passing of time without having anything to enjoy, mobilizes the undifferentiated desire of some deep pleasure. On the other hand, the non-increasing feature implies that although one has just undergone some situations of intense pleasure, the appearance of a new opportunity to enjoy will mobilize the desire intensely.
The utility of the increasing part is based on the fact that everything producing pleasure is always useful for survival in the primitive life. For that reason it is positive that just the passing of the time mobilizes the impulse, so that it always encourages subjects to achieve what it is good for life. The non-increasing part has the function of maintaining the subject constantly willing to enjoy any fact, since it will be always something useful in natural state.
The dissatisfaction of this impulse would be mainly "responsible" for perversions in general and for addictions and excesses that damage the physiologic health. As natural ways leading to joy are blocked, one looks for any way leading to it. This way, one smokes exaggeratedly, eats up without hunger until greed, practices diverse sexual perversions, drinks until turning into an alcoholic, etc.
20- Rest imp.
Its function does not require many comments and it consists, as we know, in allowing the reestablishment of energies. Let’s analyze its mixed nature. As activity is normal during the day, the time lapsed without resting, causes continuous physiologic changes making the state of general fatigue or "exhaustion" appear (increasing part). Sleeping may be included in the rest imp., in this increasing part. We talk about the psychic state of "feeling sleepy", and of the pleasure of achieving it, at the time of falling asleep. The further situation of remaining asleep for several hours is kept on by itself. If the subject wakes up and it is not the proper physiologically moment to do it, he will feel the sleep displeasure again. Just when the hours slept by the subject are enough to achieve the physiologic requirements, the new act of waking up will not be followed by the sleep nec., and there will not be any obstacles to get up. The non-increasing part of the rest imp. lies in the fact that if he has rested in a complete way, but a great muscular effort is carried out, the specific fatigue will take place again.
21- Curiosity imp.
The increasing part means that the prolonged absence of any new content, makes the undifferentiated nec. of the impulse mobilize. This increasing characteristic is useful since the information gathered by the unique nec. of finding out something new, will provide with more information. The non-increasing condition implies the mobilization of the curiosity feeling in the presence of a fact which is not understood in its nature or which does not “fit” the old outlines, or rather in front of the presence of a mysterious, surprising, incredible phenomenon. This will awake the most intense curiosity, independent of the previous satisfaction.
The function of the impulse, considered as a whole, is to get information, what it is always useful for the individual and group survival.
22- Communication imp.
It is useful as it diffuses information. It is also useful for the group since what one knows, may be known by everybody. This impulse is complemented with the curiosity one. The interest in the act of providing information is bilateral. On one hand the broadcasting, through his communication imp., is motivated to express what he has to say; while the receiver, based on his curiosity imp., shows interest in listening to him. In such sense, the mechanism by means of which the act of providing information takes place, would be compared, for example, to the sale and purchase act, which can not occur if the seller and the buyer do not have a common interest.
The communication imp. usually "cooperates" with the fraternal one, when the objective is teaching something, or transmitting some knowledge that will be useful for the partner.
The increasing part of the impulse lies in the fact that if the subject is not communicated with potential receivers, he will also experience a succession of facts that affect him, he will accumulate them inside and the nec. to communicate them will be increasing as time passes by. The non-increasing feature lies in the fact that although the subject has said "everything to everybody", if something significant appears in his psychic domain, he will feel the weight of his responsibility and the nec. to transmit it will appear again.
On many occasions, the impulse is useful for the survival of the group. For example, if a member of the tribe moved away from the group and is attacked by a dangerous animal, from which he is able to escape, when he meets with his partners he will feel the nec. to tell them what has happened to him. The behavior of communicating the fact just pursues that the partners "know" what has happened to him. But the subject may not know that thanks to that knowledge, the group will be careful and it will be prepared to avoid danger.
The communication and curiosity impulses are alternated in the same individual during the routine conversation, and are the ones that sustain the continuous communication among people (apart from the rest of the reasons that use the information and its transmission as a mean). The communication flowing is so habitual that pleasure or displeasure of such impulses are practically unnoticed and of minimum intensity. But when the person who is speaking, is interrupted by certain cause, the receiver will feel the nec. to keep on listening, and his curiosity about what it follows, will increase. At the same time, the person who was speaking will feel the nec. to keep on with what he was saying.
The communication imp. can be manifested in several ways. One is the communication of intimate contents that have certain psychic significance for the subject. At this point, the concrete satisfaction lies in the fact of perceiving that the receiver has listened to the information and that he demonstrates having understood and assimilated it. This makes him feel well and it is what extinguishes the nec. to communicate that content. Another way is commenting something curious, or telling it to another person, or showing him something. For example, if somebody sees something strange or amazing, he will feel the nec. to transmit it. This way, he will call another one so that "he comes to see" what he has seen. Lastly, it exists the spontaneous nec. to express an opinion or a feeling.
In general, the satisfaction of the impulse is more complete when there is certain affective relationship with the receivers.
23- Approval imp.
As in the case of other impulses, its utility must be perceived by the tribe and by its objective requirements for survival. Survival of the social organism is mainly permitted by its global productivity at work. This is what the means of subsistence usually provide to the tribe. The fact that the group approves one of its members, does not occur for any reason, it mainly takes place when the subject has a good or effective behavior in the common work. If we compare two tribes that are the same in the rest of conditions, but in one of them its members are motivated to have a good production together with the force of this impulse, the tribe as a whole, will be more effective than the other one and it will be able to survive.
Although the impulse may seem to have an individualistic orientation, in fact it is a reinforcement for cooperation. As the approval is achieved when carrying out a useful task for the group, or when the potential approvers like the product, such impulse is consequently, a synonym of a tendency to benefit the group. When an individual performs a selfish or harmful task for the group, the group responds with a spontaneous moral rejection or condemnation. Such a social disapproval makes the author feel an unconditional displeasure. In general terms, the approval imp. can not achieve satisfaction without implying the performance of a favorable behavior for the group. That condition for approval is included in the own "mechanics" of the impulse. For that reason, the approval one merges with the fraternal imp. and both of them push in order to get benefits for the tribe.
We have already discussed (chapter 5) that human happiness implies the security of the regular satisfaction of all the impulses, plus enthusiasm towards work and other social activities, it was about something synthetic and without major qualifications. But both conditions are strongly related one to each other. There are several impulses that are naturally satisfied in the frame of the social activity. One of these is the approval one; that is to say, approval takes place with certain significance as an answer to a highlighted behavior in the social activity. For that reason, when working is a monotonous and not socially valued activity, the impulse is frustrated and correlatively the interest for the activity diminishes. Such situation was not present in primitive life. There, the objective nature of social work offered all the opportunities so that each member might carry out an outstanding, valued act, deserving the spontaneous recognition.*
* Not only monotony and the little social appraisal of many jobs hinder the normal satisfaction of the impulse. In systems or regimes based on the exploitation of one social class over the other, a fact is added regarding that the own condition of having to work generates a product for the benefit of a minority group, more than common welfare, it also constitutes an important factor obstructing the natural feeling of pride and moral satisfaction as one has an outstanding labor yield.
One of the functions of the approval imp. is to encourage the social learning. Due to the great dependence that man had towards the cultural learning, it was necessary a fast system where prizes and punishments were included, and that it was able to guide the fast and sure learning of the new members of the tribe. If one boy at the stage of development receives the pleasure of congratulation for the good thing he does, and the displeasure of social disapproval for the bad one, the law of effect will make him repeat what it took him to the approval pleasure and avoid the repetition of what ended up in the disapproval displeasure. Besides, through the anticipation of the mental representation, he will deduce which behaviors are good or approvable and which ones are non-approvable. This mechanism makes it easier the acquisition of the whole cultural wealth of the tribe (working techniques, behavior rules, etc.).
The approval imp. has an "accessory nucleus" of satisfaction; this is the pleasure of self-approval. On the other hand, and complementarily, we find the displeasure of the self-disapproval, in front of the own bad act (blame, shame). The self-approval pleasure (pride, honor) arises automatic and instantaneously as a psychic reaction in the presence of an own act conceived as good; while self-disapproval is a reflective and automatic displeasure associated with the own bad behavior (by means of which the conservation imp. tries to avoid everything conceived as bad, to avoid in this way the painful feeling of consequent blame).
Let’s see how the capacity to experience the ethical-moral self-answer on the own behavior, would be originated. From the permanent repetition of social approval and disapproval that a boy receives according to his good or bad behavior, it would take place the association or conditioning of good behavior with the approval pleasure, and of bad behavior with disapproval displeasure. This would lead then, to consider that the single good behavior, although there is nobody approving it, causes the same a reaction of pleasure (self-approval); and the bad behavior, although nobody “sees” it, will also produce the self-disapproval displeasure. Those pleasure-displeasure reactions would be, in origin, anticipatory of the concrete social approval-disapproval. When a boy performs a good act, happiness immediately turns up before the unconditioned or direct pleasure of the social approval that will come later; and bad behavior instantly produces displeasure and anticipatory fear of the following social condemnation. These pleasure-displeasure reactions, that firstly would be anticipatory reactions, would become relatively autonomous, taking place then in a reflex way in front of the own good or bad behavior.
Not all neuter fact associated to unconditioned pleasure or displeasure, becomes autonomous in its capacity to produce such psychic reactions. For example, if a special sound usually advances the food, when hearing it, an anticipatory pleasure will be produced. But if then the sound is changed and another one is chosen to advance food, the first one will stop producing pleasure as it lost the connection that used to have with food. The quick extinction of the pleasure reaction in front of the stimulus that now does not advance anything, is something that nature controlled, so the capacity to feel pleasure for any fact does not become autonomous; that is, it only allows the possibility of pleasure when neuter stimulus take place, when they are surrounding some nucleus of satisfaction. Such capacity gets lost when the neuter stimulus is separated from the nucleus. That separation must not always be only in space and temporal regarding the nucleus. In man, it must also reach the causal relationship between the neuter stimulus and pleasure (or displeasure if this is what it is anticipated by the neuter stimulus), although money, for example, is separated in space and temporarily from the nucleus or concrete pleasure, it has a relationship of direct implication on it. For that reason, only when money breaks that link, one is not more interested in it and it turns into an annoying paper.
Regarding self-approval and self-disapproval, it would be as if that sound, money, or any other neuter stimulus became autonomous in their capacity to produce pleasure or displeasure, in spite of having broken the link with unconditioned pleasure or displeasure that they used to advance things. Although pleasure of social approval or displeasure of the concrete social disapproval is not present, anyway, the own good or bad behavior (similar sound) keeps on causing pleasure or displeasure. Nature allowed a relative autonomy of the self-approval pleasure and of the self-disapproval displeasure, for the special utility that it has. Thanks to this, the subject himself will try to make the good once he has learnt, and he will avoid bad behavior. The good and the bad, in origin, are respectively the favorable and unfavorable things for the tribe.
Although self-approval and self-disapproval may acquire a considerable autonomy, dependence regarding approval-disapproval of valued people continues. Such social answers, or the "idea" about them, contribute at the same time, to maintain and "to recharge" the capacity to feel self-approval and self-disapproval. As well as sexual imp. is not mainly satisfied by masturbation, the approval one is not either completely satisfied by self-approval. Both facts constitute the secondary or partial satisfaction of the respective impulse. This should be like that, because natural selection would eliminate not only the tribes whose members had "sexual self-sufficiency", but also those tribes whose individuals were indifferent regarding the social answer towards the own behavior.
There are two general ways of approval. One is the concrete congratulation for a good act, and the other one, the acceptance signs, valuation, appreciation, as a global way of approval towards the person in his entirety. The same happens regarding disapproval: concrete disapproval for an act, and global disapproval towards the person through disrespect or disdain. All this, is repeated in relation to self-approval and self-disapproval: self-approval for an act, or global self-esteem; and self-disapproval for an act, or self-disdain.
In fact, "approval" is usually understood as the spontaneous answer towards an act, being perhaps an improper concept, to make reference to constant esteem or valuation towards the subject. But taking into account the absence of another term that includes both contents, we will extend the concept approval to all positive psychic or affective answer towards a subject (or group). Such a global notion is what the approval imp manages. That impulse aims to achieve pleasure produced by the positive affective answer towards oneself, in any way.
Social approval as well as social disapproval is effective in their capacity to produce pleasure or displeasure in the person who receives it, when subjects have a close relationship; especially when the person who approves or disapproves is valued by the person who receives such answers. The "approver" or "disapprover" may be another individual, but it always affects more when it is the group as a whole, which it is naturally the most valued.
The increasing part of the approval imp. means that just the passage of time without social approval or without perceiving esteem signs towards the own person or lacking reasons of pride, etc., moves the nec. of the impulse. Thus, the D.T. will push the person to make something good, or to carry out positive tasks for the group. The non-increasing condition implies that, although everybody has shown esteem signs or has congratulated the subject affectionately for an important personal task, the nec. to give a good performance or to come out with flying colors in front of a new situation, which appears as a moral challenge, will rise again.
* If you want to get a copy, click on this address: www.fresina.ndh.com.ar/psychology/tobuy.html
* To discharge the complete book in PDF, click on here: www.fresina.ndh.com.ar/psychology/downloads.html
* To make any comment on the content, send a message to the address: firstname.lastname@example.org
© 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.
Chapters: previous - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - next
Introduction - Index - Cover - Bibliography - To buy the book - Download book in PDF - Spanish version - Contact
The complete text of the book "The Laws of Psyche" is freely transcribed in this space. The refund for this delivery is the reader's voluntary collaboration.