14 November 1956

14 November 1956

Billy & his social studies teacher (Barelli) had a disagreement on this subject. Barelli stated animals had not intelligence – they operated purely on instinct. Bill disagreed – claimed animals had intelligence.

Result: Bill looked up my psych books and wrote a paper indicating and presenting evidence that Barelli was wrong. He quoted the basis of the theory of instinct in 3 parts, as presented in my elementary psych book.

The subject caught Kurt’s and my attention. In the discussion this resulted as to learning:

  • Conditioned reflexed – response to stimulus.
  • Trial and Error Approach – resulting from 1)
  • Reasoning

Kurt and I agreed that basically the animal differed from the human animal on the 3) level. Prior to 3), animal learning and intelligence was similar to human learning and intelligence. The development of the power of reasoning in the human left the animal way behind.

Too bad humans don’t pay more attention to the development to reasoning as such, instead of keeping knowledge and learning more on the stimulus-response level of the animal. Also where reasoning is taught, it is only encouraged in certain fields – not to be applied generally to all phases of life: i.e., apply reasoning to business – but do not be foolish and expect to apply reasoning too freely for humanity – too much is at stake!

“In Sutton Varre’s [?] play performed some years ago a sorely troubled soul cries out for advice in making his decision, but he is told the no one can help them, the choice must be his own. After he has chosen, however, all the assistance he has been imploring instantly comes to him. We find life startlingly like that. As long as we grope vaguely about, seeking the opinions and advice of others, we are lost in a maze of indecision. But, once we have decided and taken our stand immediately there comes flooding in upon us a perfect deluge of all that we have been so earnestly desiring.”