Yet this plasticity is exhibited in daily life first under the emotional form of sympathy, response to the suggestion of other peoples' feeling-states; and next under the conative form of imitation, active acceptance of the suggestion made by their appearance, habits, deeds. All political creeds, panics, fashion and good form witness to the overwhelming power of suggestion.
It would seem to be another example of this rather fundamental tendency of the stupor reaction, not merely to diminish conative reactions in general, but to reduce their appearance to that of isolated, partial and therefore rather meaningless expression. CATALEPSY. The last of the cardinal symptoms to be considered is catalepsy.
He rejects the usual sense of the term in which it is taken to express a certain degree of elaboration of the affective aspect of the mind, and adopts a much wider definition in which the conative, affective, and cognitive aspects are all represented.
He calls attention to the abuse of the term "instincts" and himself defines an instinct as an inherited or innate psychophysical disposition which has the three aspects of all mental processes: the cognitive, the affective and the conative or a knowing of some object or thing, a feeling in regard to it, and a striving towards or away from that object.
Considerations such as these lead to the belief that there must be some congenital basis to account for such persistent endeavour; the more so since it is difficult not to be impressed with the conative aspect of the male's behaviour.
Second, an affective part through which it gives rise to the emotion which is characteristic of it. Third, an efferent or conative part through which it gives rise to a characteristic type of conduct. McDougall gives a list of about twelve instincts, each with its accompanying emotion. These he regards as primary and the source of all thought and action.
With this "conative act," as the psychologists would call it, the true contemplative life begins. Contemplation, you see, has no very close connection with dreaminess and idle musing: it is more like the intense effort of vision, the passionate and self-forgetful act of communion, presupposed in all creative art.
There is here a special manifestation of the instinct of workmanship, backed by an even more manifest sense that the animistic congruity of things must decide for a victorious outcome for the side in whose behalf the propensity inherent in events has been propitiated and fortified by so much of conative and kinetic urging.
Now it is impossible to observe the instinctive routine of the parents, when the young need attention, without being impressed with the conative aspect of their behaviour. Why, we ask, are the movements of the female so brisk; why does she seek food and clean the nest so hurriedly; why, if her instinctive routine is interrupted, do her actions and her attitude betray such bewilderment?
We may experience the emotional excitement and the impulse to the appropriate movements of an instinct or the re-excitement of an instinctive reaction in its affective and conative aspects without the reproduction of the original idea which led to its excitation. Pleasure and pain but serve to guide these impulses or instincts in their choice of means towards these ends.