DRIVES OF THE ORGANISM
The nervous system, beginning as a mere transmission mechanism, becomes a regulating, controlling, and deliberating organ. -- MAX SCHOEN
What are the springs that contribute impetus to the personality? We say it is by reason of its weight or because of gravity that water runs down hill. Here we are dealing with abstractions. But when we utter that phrase we think we understand and it is generally agreed upon. There is no such easy way out in answer to the question at the head of this paragraph -- certainly no way that is so generally adopted as in respect to running water. It seems to the layman that his mind initiates and directs; or that his will is the compelling thing. And sometimes the layman invokes a supernatural force and designates it as the driver and director. But the scientific student shies from such solutions. He tries to hold within what he can observe in controlled laboratory conditions and is not willingly led beyond these conditions.
In this chapter we include a brief summary of attempted answers to the question as it relates to men and women generally, not to criminals specifically. Later we shall be confined more particularly to the criminal population.
There is the problem of instincts. Here is a term that is employed in a variety of ways in both popular and scientific language. It sometimes suggests a form of unlearned action as when we say that the act of the cat in stalking a mouse is instinct. Again it suggests the less concrete nature of the animal as when we say that this action of the cat is a sign of an original, native disposition in the animal. Once more the term is sometimes made to apply to a learned and thoroughly habituated action as when we say that in a certain emergency the engineer by instinct closed the throttle. Correspondingly the adjective "instinctive" and the adverb "instinctively" are frequently employed.