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a member of a group. The customs and expectations of this group not only bear upon him from without but find a reflection in his own motor-mechanism. He hears the voice of the community in his heart, an echo of the general condemnation and approval. This acquired response, the reverberation of the group-judgment, may easily supplant his personal inclinations. Primitive man is sensitive to the judgments and emotional reactions of his fellows; the tribal point of view is unquestioned and authoritative over him. So important is this pressure in his mental life, though not understood or recognized for what it is, that conscience is defined by many moralists as the pressure of the judgment of the tribe in the mental life of its members, or in similar terms. Paulsen calls it "the existence of custom in the consciousness of the individual." This is to neglect unjustly the other sources of the sense of duty; but certainly the pulls and pushes arising from these two sources, which we may call the inner aspect of individual moral experience and of loyalty to the community-morals, reinforcing one another as they generally do, produce a very powerful form of conscience.
(3) A number of primitive emotions join forces with them. Sympathy is generally on their side, and the instinctive glow of patriotism or pride in the tribe's success. The shrinking from disapproval, the craving for esteem, the very early emotions of shame and vanity, help to pull away from the self-indulgent or selfish impulse. The spontaneous admiration of others for their virtues and anger at them for their sins is applied involuntarily by a man to himself; contempt for his own weakness and joy in his superiority according to the generally accepted code are powerful deterrents. The consciousness of the resentment that others will feel if he does evil, the instinctive application to himself of a trace of the resentment he would feel toward another who should
act thus toward him or toward these fellow tribesmen of his such complex states of mind complicate his mental processes and help check his primary instincts.
(4) To these ingredients we must early add the more or less conscious fear of the penalties of the tribal law, of the vengeance of chiefs or powerful members of the tribe, of the tribal gods and their jealous priests. These fears may be but dimly felt and not clearly discriminated; but however subconscious they may be in a given case of moral conflict, they play a large part. The peace of mind that accompanies a sense of conformity to the will of rulers or of gods, contrasted with the anxiety that follows infraction, gives a greatly increased weight to that growing pressure of counterinstincts which comes so largely to override a man's animal nature.
Most of the sources of conscience thus date far back beyond the dawn of history. But they can be pretty safely inferred from the earliest records, from a study of existing savage races, and from the study of childhood. The definite conception of "conscience" is very late, scarcely appearing until very modern times. And the fact that conscience itself, even in its rudimentary forms, was much later in growth than the underlying animal instincts which it developed to control and guide, is shown by its late development in the child-not, normally, until the beginning of the third year. The early life of the individual parallels the evolution of the race; and the later-developed faculties in the child are those which arose in the later stages of human progress. But the existence of our well-defined moral sense, with its significant rôle in modern life, needs no supernatural explanation. It has grown up and come to be what it is as naturally as have our language, our customs, and our physical organs.
What is conscience now?
It is a valuable exercise in introspection to observe a case of "conscience" in one's own life and note of what mental stuff it is made. When a number write down their findings without mutual suggestion, the results are usually widely divergent. Any of the original ingredients hitherto mentioned may be discovered, or other personal factors. There may be present to consciousness only a vague uneasiness or restlessness, or there may be a sophisticated recurrence of the concepts of "conscience," "duty," etc. The one universal fact is that there is a conflict between some primitive impulse or passion and some maturer mental checks. Any sort of mental stuff that serves the purpose of controlling desire will do; we must define conscience in terms not of content but of function. There is no such unity in the material as the single name seems to imply; and whether or not that name shall be given to a given psychological state is a matter of usage in which there is considerable variation.
In general, we reserve the name "conscience" for the vaguer and more elusive restraints and leadings, the sense of reluctant necessity whose purpose we do not clearly see although we feel its pressure, the accumulated residuum of long inner experience and many influences from without. Our minds retain many creases whose origin we have forgotten; we veer away from many a pleasant inclination without knowing why. These unanalyzed and residual inhibitions that grip us and will not let us go, form a contrasting background to our more explicit motives and often count for more in our conduct. The very lack of comprehension serves in less rational minds to enhance their prestige with an atmosphere of awe and mystery. These strange checks and promptings that well up in a man's heart are
taken to be a supernatural guidance which he must not dare to disobey.
The voice of God in our hearts we may, indeed, well conceive them to be. The attempt to analyze into its psychological elements and trace the natural genesis of conscience, as of morality in general, must not be taken as an attempt to discredit it or to read God out of the world. For God works usually, if not universally, through natural laws; and the historical viewpoint, that sees everything in our developed life as the outcome of ages of natural evolution, is not only rich in fruitful insight, but entirely consistent with a deep religious feeling. For hortatory or inspirational purposes we do not need to make this analysis; it has, indeed, its practical dangers. It tends to rob the glory from anything to analyze it into its parts and study the natural causes that produced it. The loveliest painting is but a mess of pigments to the microscope, the loveliest face but a mess of cells and hairs and blood-vessels. There is something gruesome and inhuman about embryology and all other studies of origins. While we are analyzing an object, or tracing its genesis, we are not responding to it as a whole or feeling its beauty and power. The mystery, the spell, vanishes; we cease to thrill when we dissect.
But knowledge proceeds by analysis, and gains by a study of origins and causes. And the temporary emotional loss should be more than balanced by the value of the insight won. We need not linger too long at our dissecting. The discovery that conscience is an explicable and natural development does not preclude a realization of the awfulness of obligation, the sacredness of duty, any more than a geologist must cease to thrill at the grandeur and beauty of the Grand Cañon because he has studied the composition of the rocks and understands the causes that have slowly, through the ages, wrought this miracle. So we need feel no
reluctance in admitting that the sense of duty is not something imposed upon human nature from without; it is of its very substance, it has developed step by step with our other faculties, slowly crystallizing through millenniums of human and pre-human experience.
In the abstract, then, we may say that conscience is a name for any secondary impulses or inhibitions which check and redirect man's primary impulses, for a greater good; any later developed aversions or inclinations, judgments of value or feelings of constraint, which guide a man in the teeth of his animal nature toward a better way of life- provided that these superimposed impulses are not explicit enough to be classified under some other head. For example, we may be pulled up sharply from a course of self-indulgence by a conscious realization of the harm we are doing to others thereby; this bridling state of mind, whether chiefly emotional or more intellectual, we may call sympathy, or an altruistic instinct, or love. But when we feel the pressure from these same mental states incipiently aroused, when our motor-mechanism half-automatically steers us away from the selfish act, without our consciously formulating a specific name for the new impulse or recognizing any articulate motive, we are apt to give this mental push the more general name of conscience. So if we consciously reckon up, balance advantages, and decide on the less inviting act in recognition of its really greater worth to us, we say we act from prudence or insight, we are reasonable about it; while if the grumblings of the prudential motives remain subterranean, subconscious, they play the rôle of conscience. Conscience is, on such occasions, but inarticulate common sense. Usually, however, prudential and altruistic motives would both be discovered if the dumb driving of conscience were to be made articulate. The reverberation of parental teachings, of sermons heard and books read, of the opinions