chapter  7
50 Pages

The Aversive Motivational System /

I N COUSINE BEITE, BALZAC WRITES, "The delights of gratified hatred are among the fiercest and most ardent that the heart can feel." Given the nature of man's cruelty to man, of warfare, terrorism and attempts at genocide, of rape, robbery, and mugging as ordinary daily events, of tribal wars and mayhem on the highways, it seemed self-evident to psychologists and common sense to both educated and uneducated men and women that there is, there must be, an aggressive drive or instinct. The law of the jungle is the law of man, since man is but an animal who talks and thereby cloaks his bestiality in rationalizations of needs, self-preservation, and patriotism. In other versions, all humanity struggles against original sin or a death instinct or is psychotic with a thin veneer of sanity and culture. Given these apocalyptic views of the adult, what of the child? For some, an age of innocence, the adorable cherub of Raphael. Shakespeare describes the "infant, mewling and puking in the nurse's arms, and then the whining school-boy, with his satchel, and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school." Crying and vomiting, whining and unwillingness are all indications of aversive reactions, but are they manifestations of an aggressive drive? When infants and young children are observed directly, what evidence of aggressiveness is to be found?