papalagi (papalagi) wrote,

William James The Principles of Psychology 1890

Unhealthiness of will may thus come about in many ways. The action may follow the stimulus or idea too rapidly, leaving no time for the arousal of restraining associates we then have a precipitate will Or, although the associates may come, the ratio which the impulsive and inhibitive forces normally bear to each other may be distorted, and we then have a will which is perverse. The perversity, in turn, may be due to either of many causes too much intensity, or too little, here ; too much or too little inertia there ; or elsewhere too much or too little inhibitory power. If we compare the outward symptoms of perversity together, they fall into two groups, in one of which normal actions are impossible, and in the other abnormal ones are irrepressible. Briefly, we may call them respectively the obstructed and the explosive will.
The object of every thought, then, is neither more nor less than all that the thought thinks, exactly as the thought thinks it, however complicated the matter, and however symbolic the manner of the thinking may be. It is needless to say that memory can seldom accurately reproduce such an object, when once it has passed from before the mind. It either makes too little or too much of it. Its best plan is to repeat the verbal sentence, if there was one, in which the object was expressed. But for inarticulate thoughts there is not even this resource, and introspection must confess that the task exceeds her powers. The mass of our thinking vanishes for ever, beyond hope of recovery, and psychology only gathers up a few of the crumbs that fall from the feast.
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