x SUGGESTION AND THE FACTOR OF FAITH 387
reasoned idea springing from the background and bearing with it an irresistible force of emotional conviction. It is this last kind which concerns us here.
The feeling background is the spokesman and the mouthpiece of the organism and its instincts. It has long been a recognized fact that the instinctive and unreasoned reactions of the organism are often more certain, more swift, more appropriate, than actions which are the result of conscious choice. The same kind of appropriateness, the same kind of adaptability to a present situation, in short, the same kind of wisdom, belongs to the instinctive beliefs, if so we may call them, in which the feeling background voices the demands of the organism. Such a belief is hardly to be eradicated by argument. Its roots go deeper down into the organic and biological part of us than do those of most things whose flowers blossom in the daylight of consciousness.
Most of our practical beliefs are of this nature. While occupied with mathematics or logic we may live in a world of pure reason, but no sooner do we rise from our work than we find ourselves in a world far removed from the logic of the schools where attitudes of will take the place of pure awareness. Our nature is such that pure thought is seldom possible ; and the man who tries to be guided in all his beliefs and all his actions by reason alone, and always inhibits the affective, impulsive factors, is abnormal.
Beliefs based upon feeling or upon instinctive demands are, of course, of different degrees of strength according to the force and nature of the demand out of which they spring. They vary all the way from comparatively superficial matters in which we say ' the wish is father to the thought', to those inborn beliefs which are the corresponding terms to certain instinctive and innate impulses. Religious beliefs are very closely