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153. Self-Regulation Of The Complexes

We have seen in a great number of instances that the psychomental complex does not remain the same among the Tungus groups and Manchus. All the complexes that have been described have been found to be in a state of changes. The latter have been explained as due to the multiple conditions of milieu, especially the interethnical milieu, also as due to the internal causes residing within the ethnical units and principally connected with the fluctuations of the population. Such changes of a psychomental complex are, so to say, normal, while a rigidity, a petrifying of a complex becomes a great hindrance for a smooth functioning of the reactions produced by the ethnical unit, in consequence of which the complex itself is usually replaced by a new one, if the unit does not lose its adaptive ability.

A readaptation, an adjustment of the psychomental complex, expressed in a series of changes, practically observed in the manifestation of the difference of opinions, the uncertainty about some particular problems or aspects etc., is not a sign of lack of equilibrium in the complex and ethnical unit, but is a sign of a condition which may be termed «moving equilibriums. To distinguish where there is a condition of moving equilibrium and where there is a real condition of disequilibrium, is very important for forming a correct idea as to the state of the ethnical unit and that of the psychomental complex. An analysis of the mechanism of the psychomental complex particularly and the cultural complex in general shows the character of the moving equilibrium, as distinct from that of disequilibrium.

Indeed, there are two movement — a movement towards a further complication of the complexes and of the elements of which they consist, and another movement towards a simplification of the complexes and the elements, both movements being an expression of adaptation. Such an adaptation may be beneficial for the preservation of the bearers — the ethnical unit — or it may be pernicious, or may have no influence at all

The most important source of changes in the psychomental complex, as in any other cultural complex, is the process of its transmission to the coming generation, i.e. the preservation of the complex. It is especially important in the sense of readaptation, for in the process of transmission it may lose some element, it may give a new interpretation to some other elements, owing to a change of some third elements of the same complex. Even a minor disfunction of the transmitting apparatus — the family system, the differentiated organization of school education, the social groupings, etc. - may be responsible for a partial loss of the complex, and even for its complete loss. In ethnical units (and groups) which possess written records this eventuality is greatly reduced, but it is not so when the unit possesses only oral and imitative tradition [733]. A transformation of elements may also be due to the refusal of the coming generation to accept (or the teaching generation may abstain from transmitting) some elements, because of their impracticability in their old form or function, so that these elements are modified, formally or functionally. In so far as the transmission of a complex may act as a factor of change, it belongs to the mechanism of readaptation of the complex in its function of self-regulator of the complex.

We have seen some instances of loss, because of the disintegration of the educational system, as it happened among the Manchu with the abolition of Manchu teachers. A refusal to accept the old system could be observed among the Reindeer Tungus of Transbaikalia, when the young generation began unregulated hunting, as a new form of adaptation to the supply of food by the Russians and to the extension of the market for hunting spoil. The same is particularly common when the Tungus adopt Christianity. The old generation among the Tungus of Manchuria did not hand over their art of shooting the bow, for the latter was replaced by fire-arms; the old generation explained its non-insistance upon learning this art because of its uselessness under the present conditions. Among the Reindeer Tungus of Manchuria, together with the disintegration of the clan, the whole complex of clan spirits was omitted, for the clan organs had perished.

However, the most interesting mechanism of adaptation of the complex is the retardation of the process of changes. This mechanism is very rich in forms, on some of which I shall now dwell.

The most common forms are: (1) a lack of understanding of a new element or complex; and (2) a negative reaction of the ethnical unit. In fact, when new hypotheses or even facts are proposed and if their understanding requires a great effort, they may be left aside, practically unnoticed. This is especially likely to happen when these hypotheses and facts are in a conflict with the existing ideas. In this respect, the greatest number of facts is supplied by the history of discoveries, particularly scientific discoveries, for which we have records. However, even Tungus complexes give some facts of this class, especially observed in individuals of an unusual mental ability. Naturally these facts are not recorded. Indeed it is at present impossible to say how far the work of Aristotle was understood by his contemporaries. However, his ideas, for instance in the field of embryology, could be understood by the Europeans only in recent years. Of course, in this instance there was no continuity of the ethnical unit in which Aristotle was born and lived, and the unit has shown a marked cultural decline, while the European complex was for a long time behind the achievements of the Greek science. A well known case is that of Mendel's discovery of inheritance which for a long time remained «unknown», chiefly because of its relative «prematureness» in the complex which existed during his lifetime. Then, Darwinism was a revolutionizing teaching which could hardly be digested by Mendel's contemporaries. The Malthusian theory of population, debated during more than a century, could not receive due recognition and needed perfection until very recent time. The Belgian mathematican Verhulst's mathematical theory of population, first published in the forties of the last century, was not noticed at all, and only recently was brought to life by R. Pearl. There is a very interesting example of a great Russian scientist of the middle of the eighteenth century, Lomonosov, very little known abroad, who, as it was recently discovered from his manuscripts preserved in the archives of the Academy of sciences (at St. Petersburg), came to the formulation of some physico-chemical principles which could be understood only in the light of most recent discoveries [734]. Such creators of new ideas are found in almost all branches of human mental activity, and it must be admitted that a great number of similar facts remain still undiscovered, for the distance between the present achievements of cultural adaptation and great discoveries of the past is still not bridged. Here we have in view only those discoveries which have been recorded (published), while there remain a great number of discoveries which have never been published. There are two reasons for this, namely, financial difficulties met with by the authors, when they proposed to publish their works which were not understood and therefore rejected; and some of them realized the prematureness of their ideas and did not publish anything which could not be understood by the contemporaries — they are human beings and not all of them believe into the practicability of working for «mankind of the future». Such an attitude may be seen in works of some of the greatest scientists who do not pronounce their last words. The fact of not being understood by the contemporaries is so frequent a phenomenon that the above given illustrations suffice for making a generalization, namely, that only those ideas and facts are adopted which are on a level with the living generation, and when the difference is too great, these ideas and facts remain unnoticed. Still among the ethnical units which have writing, such discoveries may sometimes be recorded, but a great number of them remain unpublished, while among the ethnical groups which have no writing all these discoveries perish together with their authors. This is a great factor in the mechanism of retardation of the process of change of the psychomental complex in general. As shown before, the psychomental complex is in correlation with the existing social and technical adaptation, and the tempo of change of these complexes has its very strict limits (vide Introduction).

The form of the regulation of change of the psychomental complex through the negative reaction of the ethnical unit may assume two principal forms, namely, conscious and unconscious rejection. In the first form the situation is relatively simple: the ethnical unit does not accept the new idea because it does not want it for different reasons, e.g. the new element may be in conflict with the existing complex. In a very common and simple case, when the complexes are sharply outlined - e.g. ideas harmful for a religion, or a conflict of two religions, or any two elements which exclude one another — the rejection comes almost automatically. However, when the complexes are not so defined, the rejection may even take the veiled form of a justification of the impossibility of an acceptation, by means of considerations lying far from the real reasons. For instance the rejection may take place because of the source of the element or complex — a person who is not trusted, an ethnical unit which is not «friend-ly», the form in which it is presented, etc. The elimination of these causes would create a more favourable condition for the acceptance of the new element, but most probably some other reason for the rejection at any price would be found.

One of the particular conditions of the mechanism of rejection is the existence of written records of the elements of the psychomental complex. In fact, if the record is handy and if it is recognized as «correct» a simple reference to it may suffice for an automatic rejection of new elements which are not in conformity with the written records. So that the ethnical units which possess writing, which is also a powerful means of propagating new elements also create a special condition for neutralizing the destructive influence of this new means by increasing the authority or some written records up to the recognition of their sacred character. The influence of a great genius may last a very long time owing to the belief in his superiority and thus the introduction of new elements may be retarded. On the other hand, an increase of written records tends toward the annihilation of their restraining character because of the physical impossibility of reading a great mass of records and their vulgarization by the new generations in whose hands the old complex is naturally adapted to the new requirements of the existing complex [735].

We have seen the effect on the Tungus soil of written records made among the Manchus which has resulted in a further adaptation of shamanism and its visible functional decline. The unconscious rejection as a mechanism of retardation of variation of the psychomental complex is much more complicated. For illustration I shall now give only some of these forms. Among the units with a great differentiation of groups one of the most common cases is the differentiation of a special social group, the function of which is to carry out definite sections of work. Naturally there may originate professional groups which would not be inclined to admit outsiders who do not share their opinions. A particular case is that of schools which monopolize institutions periodicals etc. and sects which take hold of religions and institutions. As a working mechanism of particularization the following may be mentioned: e.g. the conviction of being right the utilitarian calculus of having a secure income, a mere ambition to control other human beings and the necessity of maintaining the unity of groups differing in opinion as to the preservation of efficiency of the centripetal movement within the whole of the ethnical units. Any new idea, element or complex may be rejected by depriving the authors of the possibility of propagation of their ideas, elements or complexes. Still greater is the power of the mechanism of unconscious rejection when other social groups are involved, e.g. industrial and commercial groups, when they invest their capital in concerns connected with scientific discoveries, or elements such as, e.g. new medicine, literary works, theatrical places etc. Under this condition, everything which may dimish their income is rejected without further consideration.

In these ways an ethnical unit quite unconsciously retards the process of change of the psychomental complex produced by the introduction of new elements. In an extreme expression of particularization such groups may assume a form of legally fixed castes with all consequences resulting therefrom, i.e. the formation of potentially differentiated ethnical units as an effect of strong centrifugal movement within the greater unit and the natural disrupture of intimate connexion between the bulk of the population and the particularized group.

Among the Northern Tungus we meet with this phenomenon only as a tendency while among the Manchus there were already differentiated professional groups of monks and later mafas (vide mafarism) not to speak of scholars who however did not are reach a state of perfect isolation. Tendency towards isolation may be observed among the shamans who oppose themselves to the «common» people and in rare cases try to keep shamanship in some definite families. However, as shown, this tendency is strongly opposed by all systems of shamanism connected with other clan functions.

As to the general reaction on the new elements it is very often referred to the fundamental psychomental condition generalized as «conservatism», «liberalism» and «radicalism». These are very complex phenomena manifested under certain political conditions of some countries in the form of political parties. However, the condition is actually much more profound than it is manifested in political parties especially since the time when polities became a professional occupation. In fact, first of all certain psychological conditions may be distinguished, perhaps connected with the physiological complexes of individuals and even with the constitutions whose bearers give different reactions on innovations - i.e. new elements. There may be a negative reaction in general, expressed in a bold opposition to any new element; an indifferent reaction and a continuous desire of change and introduction of new elements. These fundamental types of reactions may be reinforced in their manifestations by the conditions of the psychic complex in the system of their working equilibrium. When the individuals are not psychically stable, the reactions of the above indicated types may turn into acts which go beyond the limits of normal phenomena while in the case of reduced reactions — an indifferent attitude — the reactions will also not be normal. It is well known which physiological-constitutional (and psychological) types are more inclined for psychic instability or reduction of reactions whence there may be a disproportional increase of unstable and dull elements in the above indicated types. So that the frequency of instability in these types to some degree depends on their physical complexes [736].

The second condition is that of the degree of knowledge regarding practical possibilities of changing the complex, which in rare cases may be calculated on the basis of a profound knowledge of the realities and when one has sufficient imaginative power for pondering all effects of a new element on the whole complex; but in most cases they may be only guessed, with the help of the thinking mechanism known as «intuition». The degree of positive knowledge, foresight, and power of intuition are very variable in individuals.

The third condition is that of the tempo of variations taking place in the ethnical unit at the present moment and at a certain moment of cyclic growth (vide Introduction), if there is any. This is an important condition which helps to extend the visual power and psychologically in a different degree prepares for the possibility of changes, already experienced.

The fourth condition is that of the existing psychomental complex and the general cultural adaptation as point of departure for variations and reactions on them.

The fifth condition is that of the interethnical pressure which, as shown, may reinforce and accelerate, as well as produce all reactions going on within the unit.

The sixth condition is that of variations of primary milieu, particularly produced by an energy received from the sun and perhaps from other sources lying beyond the earth.

When all the above indicated conditions are considered an exact idea of the behaviour of individuals in reference to the changes may be formed. It is evident that the issue of a serial variation of the psychomental complex may be accelerated and retarded by this mechanism, for an outcome of changes depends on the average psychomental ability of the whole unit, in which a change of percentage of individuals who react differently affects the average of the ability of individuals in the units. In the life of ethnical units the elasticity of the mechanism of change of the percentage is an important condition for a smooth functioning of the ever changing psychomental complex. If the mechanism is not elastic, the unit may come to a differentiation into parties (particularly political ones), with a further differentiation of ethnical units — an occurrence which is usually prevented, because a complete collapse of the larger unit [737] might take place.

The work of this delicate mechanism of readaptation of percentage of groups of similar reactions among the Tungus and Manchus could not be observed for two reasons, namely, most of these groups, as shown before, were investigated under the condition of final or temporary disintegration, due chiefly to the interethnical pressure; secondly, the earlier records of the psychomental state of these groups were too scanty for risking an analysis of the process of shifting. However, the direct observation of a great number of individuals in different groups and situations shows that, due to the variable conditions, all types in their many varieties may be discovered and that a large group of individuals remains at the shifting point.

One of the practical consequences of this analysis is that a general characteristic of the Tungus as «conservative» or «pro-gressive» loses altogether its scientific meaning. Within a short period a Tungus group may change its behaviour concerning changes of the psychomental complex, even without being affected by a mass psychosis.

The above discussed conditions, which I have included under the heading of self-regulating mechanism of the psychomental complex, are responsible for maintaining the change of this complex at a certain tempo corresponding to that of the change of other components of the cultural adaptation. This mechanism is naturally not cognized by the Tungus, nor by other ethnical units, and its «normal» fluctuations must not be mistaken for a real disequilibrium of the psychomental complex.

733. However, even the written records may perish, as it happened, for instance, with the Manchus, so that the process of the loss of a complex may only be accelerated because of the existence of writing.

734. In so far as I know his works will soon be published.

735. Instances of this kind are numerous: the Malthusian theory in the hands of vulgarizers in its new adaptation has turned into an enumeration of practical means of contraception; the Darwinian theory in the hands of vulgarizers has turned into a «struggle for existence»; the Marxian theory of class struggle has turned into a justification of robbery; the theory of relativity, into «all is relative». In such forms the theories are merely adapted to the existing complexes, which may incorporate new elements without any consultation of the works of the original creators. A bottomless source of facts may be found in the work of commentators.

736. This aspect of the problem assumes a great importance when there is a substitution of anthropological types, constitutional types or merely an influx of immigrants. A partial destruction of selected groups in a war may have the same effect.

737. The above given scheme of conditions of differentiation of groups with different reactions must not be directly transferred to the political parties. First of all, in a great number of instances they are not indigenous inventions (adaptation), but a simple imitation of other ethnical units, and so they do not reflect at all the actual grouping of similarly reacting individuals. Secondly, all political parties, in so far as they are represented by leaders, do not actually reflect groups of the population. In fact, the requirement of a leader is that he must be a good speaker, very often a journalist; he must possess the special ability of a «leader», in which the place of sincerity is taken by a special art of simulation. Thus this complex is connected with a certain degree of insolence, cynism and amorality. Thirdly, under concrete conditions of the European complexes, a large number of politicians have become professionals who are living on this profession, as do lawyers, journalists who adapt their opinions to the source from which they derive their means of existence. These rather unfavourable conditions of selection are confined to a very limited group of active politicians. Should additional requirements be introduced, for instance handsomeness, the selection would become still less favourable for the best elements, from the point of view of normality and mental ability. It may thus be supposed that the ethnical groups which by a long process of adaptation adopted the present costly system of governing themselves, are not well represented by their political leaders, who do not represent the best which may be selected from the ethnical units and nations. Indeed, such a sudden change of opinions which may be seen in political elections does not correspond to the actual change in the percentage of psychological groupings, for the mass of the population adapts itself to the overgrown apparatus and very often takes temporary advantage to pass through the political machinery certain concrete pending measures. What is actually going on in these groups is little known, for the usual policy is only to prevent the outburst of general dissatisfaction, instead of to govern — selected political professionals are not prepared to govern. Owing to this, unexpected situations are always created, whence «misunderstandings» and costly changes of government with an enormous loss of ethnical energy. For all these reasons the above given scheme may be referred only to the populations which form ethnical units. However, with all necessary precautions the analysis of a complex ethnographical phenomenon, as the political parties, is possible and the above given scheme ought to be considered as an actual condition of populations with which existing political systems may come into conflict. Rejection of the parliamentary system in several countries is not due only to the post-war conditions in which cultural decline is a fact, but it goes much deeper. This analysis is indeed very difficult, for the ethnography of the so-called civilized groups is not yet carefully investigated, and too many interests are involved in this problem.

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