Is there a man who is never caught in contradictory desires? To eat this or not? To do this or not? In fact, man lives between two strong emotions of attraction and repulsion. He finds it difficult to control himself in an offensive situation and his common argument is ‘am I made of clay or wax?’ or ‘I want to be left alone’.
Many different options keep revolving in his mind. A devotee of non-violence may sometimes be possessed by violent thoughts in the face of the futility of non-violent options in a situation. Similarly, a man committed to celibacy may have dreams of sensualities, howsoever fleeting such dispositions may be.
Such a wide variation of thoughts and feelings crowding the mind made Sigmund Freud to compare human mind with an iceberg, whose greater part remains invisible. It is often the unconscious mind that dominates man’s conduct. Hence, when two contradictory desires simultaneously assail a man, he stands confused and fails to make a decision. On the one hand he finds emotions of attachment or greed, while on the other, he has some rational ideas drawing his attention.
Hence, when one of the two urges within grows dominant, all restraints fall apart and man commits himself to it irrespective of its being right or wrong. People often say that it is the circumstances that determine man’s decision and the resultant action. But, if we consider the influence of the unconscious mind, we must accept that it is not always the circumstances that determine human behavior and character.
In a nutshell, human behavior is the sum-total of one’s conditioning background and his inner-consciousness. In other words, his sensations, combined with his attainment of the learning experience, decide his behavioral output.
A civilised and desirable human behavior depends on an ideal combination of sensations and learning. While sensation is our natural inbuilt reaction against any danger or congenial situation, learning is the consciously acquired habit of behavior in a given situation. The experience of sensation cannot be taught since it is inborn. For example when a child is slapped, he cries with pain. He has not learnt the sensation of pain. It is natural with him as are the sensations of hunger and thirst. On the other hand, learning, knowledge, philosophy is imparted and taught. For example, being courteous and polite is one’s acquired behavior since it is taught to a child as desired social behavior. Hence, while we may learn to respect others, no one teaches us how to feel.
In a nutshell, human behavior is the sum-total of one’s conditioning background and his inner-consciousness. In other words, his sensations, combined with his attainment of the learning experience, decide his behavioral output. Thus, any change of heart, or acquiring a new pattern of behavior, will depend on the balance of his learning and sensation.