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Lot 338

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Description: IVAN PAVLOV
(1849-1936) Russian physiologist known for his momentous studies of reflex behavior, specifically the conditioned and unconditioned reflexes in dogs which greatly influenced the development of behavioral psychology in the early twentieth century. Superb content, very rare T.L.S. 1p. legal 4to., Leningrad, Dec. 2, 1935, to Prof. George Vaughan at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Ten years before the dropping of the first atomic bomb and just one year before his death, Pavlov writes prophetically in idiosyncratic English, in most part: "...I shall with pleasure explain my point of view to the raised question. I am ready to believe in an impending spiritual awakening, especially intensifying the religious feeling, and I consider this to be rather a positive phenomenon than a negative one. To me the situation presents itself as follows. We, human beings, in our present state are the summit of a mighty, extensive evolutional, if only, as it were, earthly process, i.e. bearer of a further ideal aspiration of the earthly nature. But, being as we are at present, we, naturally, are not the completion of evolution? This unfailing ideal aspiration, having reached a certain grade, has to stop because of a possibly complete realization and invigoration of the ideal on this stage. A halt, however, as is always the case is, on the one hand, consequently leading to a simplification and narrowing of high aspirations and, simultaneously, strongly puts forth all that which ought firstly to be excluded out of life, to be left behind, as for instance the present preparation of humanity to use to the greatest extent all sources of science and technics [sic] for a horrid mutual destruction. On the other hand, this same halt naturally periodically sharpens the advance towards the ideal. But this progress, in the historical period of development of our general notions, has been connected with religions, in general, with spiritualism; that is why at present it manifests itself in the contraposition of our body, with his [sic] seemingly low, rudely sensible and limited inclinations, to our spirit, with his [sic] high, dimly perceptible and unlimited aspirations...". Very good.

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March 30, 2011 11:00 AM EDT

Stamford, CT, US

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