Man’s consciousness shares with animals the first two stages of its
development: sensations and perceptions; but it is the third state,
conceptions, that makes him man. Sensations are integrated into perceptions
automatically, by the brain of a man or of an animal. But to integrate
perceptions into conceptions by a process of abstraction, is a feat that man
alone has the power to perform—and he has to perform it by choice. The
process of abstraction, and of concept-formation is a process of reason, of
thought; it is not automatic nor instinctive nor involuntary nor infallible.
Man has to initiate it, to sustain it and to bear responsibility for its
results. The pre-conceptual level of consciousness is nonvolitional; volition
begins with the first syllogism. Man has the choice to think or to evade—to
maintain a state of full awareness or to drift from moment to moment, in a
semi-conscious daze, at the mercy of whatever associational whims the unfocused
mechanism of his consciousness produces.