Rafed English

Mann writes in The Principles of Psychology

That which is usually called will power is in the view of the psychologists the relative power of motives. Decision-making in a given case is the resultant of motives in a dynamic equilibrium.

In other words, in every case the alternative chosen is one which satisfies our motives to a greater extent in respect of natural drives and previous experiences. For instance, when the Japanese soldier is defeated in battle and he finds resistance to be useless, he is confronted with two alternatives. One is to surrender and to save his life. But he has been trained since childhood to believe that by surrendering to the enemy he would be compromising his honour in his own eyes and those of others as well as before the spirits of his ancestors (whom he believes to observe him). The other alternative before him is to kill himself and to find everlasting honour and dignity in the life that he has been promised after death. That is why he prefers to kill himself. As we have had a training different from the Japanese, we cannot properly understand his way of thinking. But in fact anyone under the influence of the same factors as the Japanese soldier would hardly do anything else. 2


2. Mann, The Principles of Psychology, Pers. Trans. Usul-e rawanshendsi, p. 145.

Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"

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