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Title: Psychology - Briefer Course
Author: James, William
Language: English
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                           _BRIEFER COURSE_


                             WILLIAM JAMES

            _Professor of Psychology in Harvard University_

                           MACMILLAN AND CO.

                           COPYRIGHT, 1892,
                           HENRY HOLT & CO.

                           ROBERT DRUMMOND,
                      _Electrotyper and Printer_,
                               New York.


In preparing the following abridgment of my larger work, the Principles
of Psychology, my chief aim has been to make it more directly available
for class-room use. For this purpose I have omitted several whole
chapters and rewritten others. I have left out all the polemical and
historical matter, all the metaphysical discussions and purely
speculative passages, most of the quotations, all the book-references,
and (I trust) all the impertinences, of the larger work, leaving to the
teacher the choice of orally restoring as much of this material as may
seem to him good, along with his own remarks on the topics successively
studied. Knowing how ignorant the average student is of physiology, I
have added brief chapters on the various senses. In this shorter work
the general point of view, which I have adopted as that of 'natural
science,' has, I imagine, gained in clearness by its extrication from so
much critical matter and its more simple and dogmatic statement. About
two fifths of the volume is either new or rewritten, the rest is
'scissors and paste.' I regret to have been unable to supply chapters on
pleasure and pain, æsthetics, and the moral sense. Possibly the defect
may be made up in a later edition, if such a thing should ever be

I cannot forbear taking advantage of this preface to make a statement
about the composition of the 'Principles of Psychology.' My critics in
the main have been so indulgent that I must cordially thank them; but
they have been unanimous in one reproach, namely, that my order of
chapters is planless and unnatural; and in one charitable excuse for
this, namely, that the work, being largely a collection of
review-articles, could not be expected to show as much system as a
treatise cast in a single mould. Both the reproach and the excuse
misapprehend the facts of the case. The order of composition is
doubtless unshapely, or it would not be found so by so many. But
planless it is not, for I deliberately followed what seemed to me a good
pedagogic order, in proceeding from the more concrete mental aspects
with which we are best acquainted to the so-called elements which we
naturally come to know later by way of abstraction. The opposite order,
of 'building-up' the mind out of its 'units of composition,' has the
merit of expository elegance, and gives a neatly subdivided table of
contents; but it often purchases these advantages at the cost of reality
and truth. I admit that my 'synthetic' order was stumblingly carried
out; but this again was in consequence of what I thought were pedagogic
necessities. On the whole, in spite of my critics, I venture still to
think that the 'unsystematic' form charged upon the book is more
apparent than profound, and that we really gain a more living
understanding of the mind by keeping our attention as long as possible
upon our entire conscious states as they are concretely given to us,
than by the _post-mortem_ study of their comminuted 'elements.' This
last is the study of artificial abstractions, not of natural things.[1]

But whether the critics are right, or I am, on this first point, the
critics are wrong about the relation of the magazine-articles to the
book. With a single exception all the chapters were written for the
book; and then by an after-thought some of them were sent to magazines,
because the completion of the whole work seemed so distant. My lack of
capacity has doubtless been great, but the charge of not having taken
the utmost pains, according to my lights, in the composition of the
volumes, cannot justly be laid at my door.




INTRODUCTORY                                                           1

Psychology defined; psychology as a natural science, its data, 1. The
human mind and its environment, 3. The postulate that all consciousness
has cerebral activity for its condition, 5.


SENSATION IN GENERAL                                                   9

Incoming nerve-currents, 9. Terminal organs, 10. 'Specific energies,'
11. Sensations cognize qualities, 13. Knowledge of acquaintance and
knowledge-about, 14. Objects of sensation appear in space, 15. The
intensity of sensations, 16. Weber's law, 17. Fechner's law, 21.
Sensations are not psychic compounds, 23. The 'law of relativity,' 24.
Effects of contrast, 26.


SIGHT                                                                 28

The eye, 28. Accommodation, 32. Convergence, binocular vision, 33.
Double images, 36. Distance, 39. Size, color, 40. After-images, 43.
Intensity of luminous objects, 45.


HEARING                                                               47

The ear, 47. The qualities of sound, 43. Pitch, 44. 'Timbre,' 45.
Analysis of compound air-waves, 56. No fusion of elementary sensations
of sound, 57. Harmony and discord, 58. Discrimination by the ear, 59.



End-organs in the skin, 60. Touch, sense of pressure, 60. Localization,
61. Sensibility to temperature, 63. The muscular sense, 65. Pain, 67.


SENSATIONS OF MOTION                                                  70

The feeling of motion over surfaces, 70. Feelings in joints, 74. The
sense of translation, the sensibility of the semicircular canals, 75.


THE STRUCTURE OF THE BRAIN                                            78

Embryological sketch, 78. Practical dissection of the sheep's brain, 81.


THE FUNCTIONS OF THE BRAIN                                            91

General idea of nervous function, 91. The frog's nerve-centres, 92. The
pigeon's nerve-centres, 96. What the hemispheres do, 97. The
automaton-theory, 101. The localization of functions, 104. Brain and
mind have analogous 'elements,' sensory and motor, 105. The motor zone,
106. Aphasia, 108. The visual region, 110. Mental blindness, 112. The
auditory region, mental deafness, 113. Other centres, 116.



The nervous discharge, 120. Reaction-time, 121. Simple reactions, 122.
Complicated reactions, 124. The summation of stimuli, 128. Cerebral
blood-supply, 130. Brain-thermometry, 131. Phosphorus and thought, 132.


HABIT                                                                134

Its importance, and its physical basis, 134. Due to pathways formed in
the centres, 136. Its practical uses, 138. Concatenated acts, 140.
Necessity for guiding sensations in secondarily automatic performances,
141. Pedagogical maxims concerning the formation of habits, 142.


THE STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS                                          151

Analytic order of our study, 151. Every state of mind forms part of a
personal consciousness, 152. The same state of mind is never had twice,
154. Permanently recurring ideas are a fiction, 156. Every personal
consciousness is continuous, 157. Substantive and transitive states,
160. Every object appears with a 'fringe' of relations, 163. The 'topic'
of the thought, 167. Thought may be rational in any sort of imagery,
168. Consciousness is always especially interested in some one part of
its object, 170.


THE SELF                                                             176

The Me and the I, 176. The material Me, 177. The social Me, 179. The
spiritual Me, 181. Self-appreciation, 182. Self-seeking, bodily, social,
and spiritual, 184. Rivalry of the Mes, 186. Their hierarchy, 190.
Teleology of self-interest, 193. The I, or 'pure ego,' 195. Thoughts are
not compounded of 'fused' sensations, 196. The 'soul' as a combining
medium, 200. The sense of personal identity, 201. Explained by identity
of function in successive passing thoughts, 203. Mutations of the self,
205. Insane delusions, 207. Alternating personalities, 210. Mediumships
or possessions, 212. Who is the Thinker, 215.


ATTENTION                                                            217

The narrowness of the field of consciousness, 217. Dispersed attention,
218. To how much can we attend at once? 219. The varieties of attention,
220. Voluntary attention, its momentary character, 224. To keep our
attention, an object must change, 226. Genius and attention, 227.
Attention's physiological conditions, 228. The sense-organ must be
adapted, 229. The idea of the object must be aroused, 232. Pedagogic
remarks, 236. Attention and free-will, 237.


CONCEPTION                                                           239

Different states of mind can mean the same, 239. Conceptions of
abstract, of universal, and of problematic objects, 240. The thought of
'the same' is not the same thought over again, 243.


DISCRIMINATION                                                       244

Discrimination and association; definition of discrimination, 244.
Conditions which favor it, 245. The sensation of difference, 246.
Differences inferred, 248. The analysis of compound objects, 248. To be
easily singled out, a quality should already be separately known, 250.
Dissociation by varying concomitants, 251. Practice improves
discrimination, 252.


ASSOCIATION                                                          253

The order of our ideas, 253. It is determined by cerebral laws, 255. The
ultimate cause of association is habit, 256. The elementary law in
association, 257. Indeterminateness of its results, 258. Total recall,
259. Partial recall, and the law of interest, 261. Frequency, recency,
vividness, and emotional congruity tend to determine the object
recalled, 264. Focalized recall, or 'association by similarity,' 267.
Voluntary trains of thought, 271. The solution of problems, 273.
Similarity no elementary law; summary and conclusion, 277.


THE SENSE OF TIME                                                    280

The sensible present has duration, 280. We have no sense for absolutely
empty time, 281. We measure duration by the events which succeed in it,
283. The feeling of past time is a present feeling, 285. Due to a
constant cerebral condition, 286.


MEMORY                                                               287

What it is, 287. It involves both retention and recall, 289. Both
elements explained by paths formed by habit in the brain, 290. Two
conditions of a good memory, persistence and numerousness of paths,
292. Cramming, 295. One's native retentiveness is unchangeable, 296.
Improvement of the memory, 298. Recognition, 299. Forgetting, 300.
Pathological conditions, 301.


IMAGINATION                                                          302

What it is, 302. Imaginations differ from man to man; Galton's
statistics of visual imagery, 303. Images of sounds, 306. Images of
movement, 307. Images of touch, 308. Loss of images in aphasia, 309. The
neural process in imagination, 310.


PERCEPTION                                                           312

Perception and sensation compared, 312. The perceptive state of mind is
not a compound, 313. Perception is of definite things, 316. Illusions,
317. First type: inference of the more usual object, 318. Second type:
inference of the object of which our mind is full, 321. 'Apperception,'
326. Genius and old-fogyism, 327. The physiological process in
perception, 329. Hallucinations, 330.


THE PERCEPTION OF SPACE                                              335

The attribute of extensity belongs to all objects of sensation, 335. The
construction of real space, 337. The processes which it involves: 1)
Subdivision, 338; 2) Coalescence of different sensible data into one
'thing,' 339; 3) Location in an environment, 340; 4) Place in a series
of positions, 341; 5) Measurement, 342. Objects which are signs, and
objects which are realities, 345. The 'third dimension,' Berkeley's
theory of distance, 346. The part played by the intellect in
space-perception, 349.


REASONING                                                            351

What it is, 351. It involves the use of abstract characters, 353. What
is meant by an 'essential' character, 354. The 'essence' varies with the
subjective interest, 358. The two great points in reasoning, 'sagacity'
and 'wisdom,' 360. Sagacity, 362. The help given by association by
similarity, 364. The reasoning powers of brutes, 367.


CONSCIOUSNESS AND MOVEMENT                                           370

All consciousness is motor, 370. Three classes of movement to which it
leads, 372.


EMOTION                                                              373

Emotions compared with instincts, 373. The varieties of emotion are
innumerable, 374. The cause of their varieties, 375. The feeling, in the
coarser emotions, results from the bodily expression, 375. This view
must not be called materialistic, 380. This view explains the great
variability of emotion, 381. A corollary verified, 382. An objection
replied to, 383. The subtler emotions, 384. Description of fear, 385.
Genesis of the emotional reactions, 386.


INSTINCT                                                             391

Its definition, 391. Every instinct is an impulse, 392. Instincts are
not always blind or invariable, 395. Two principles of non-uniformity,
398. Enumeration of instincts in man, 406. Description of fear, 407.


WILL                                                                 415

Voluntary acts, 415. They are secondary performances, 415. No third kind
of idea is called for, 418. The motor-cue, 420. Ideo-motor action, 432.
Action after deliberation, 428. Five chief types of decision, 429. The
feeling of effort, 434. Healthiness of will, 435. Unhealthiness of will,
436. The explosive will: (1) from defective inhibition, 437; (2) from
exaggerated impulsion, 439. The obstructed will, 441. Effort feels like
an original force, 442. Pleasure and pain as springs of action, 444.
What holds attention determines action, 448. Will is a relation between
the mind and its 'ideas,' 449. Volitional effort is effort of
attention, 450. The question of free-will, 455. Ethical importance of
the phenomenon of effort, 458.


PSYCHOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY                                            461

What the word metaphysics means, 461. Relation of consciousness to the
brain, 462. The relation of states of mind to their 'objects,' 464. The
changing character of consciousness, 466. States of consciousness
themselves are not verifiable facts, 467.




=The definition of Psychology= may be best given in the words of Professor
Ladd, as the _description and explanation of states of consciousness as
such_. By states of consciousness are meant such things as sensations,
desires, emotions, cognitions, reasonings, decisions, volitions, and the
like. Their 'explanation' must of course include the study of their
causes, conditions, and immediate consequences, so far as these can be

=Psychology is to be treated as a natural science= in this book. This
requires a word of commentary. Most thinkers have a faith that at bottom
there is but one Science of all things, and that until all is known, no
one thing can be completely known. Such a science, if realized, would be
Philosophy. Meanwhile it is far from being realized; and instead of it,
we have a lot of beginnings of knowledge made in different places, and
kept separate from each other merely for practical convenience' sake,
until with later growth they may run into one body of Truth. These
provisional beginnings of learning we call 'the Sciences' in the plural.
In order not to be unwieldy, every such science has to stick to its own
arbitrarily-selected problems, and to ignore all others. Every science
thus accepts certain data unquestioningly, leaving it to the other parts
of Philosophy to scrutinize their significance and truth. All the
natural sciences, for example, in spite of the fact that farther
reflection leads to Idealism, assume that a world of matter exists
altogether independently of the perceiving mind. Mechanical Science
assumes this matter to have 'mass' and to exert 'force,' defining these
terms merely phenomenally, and not troubling itself about certain
unintelligibilities which they present on nearer reflection. Motion
similarly is assumed by mechanical science to exist independently of the
mind, in spite of the difficulties involved in the assumption. So
Physics assumes atoms, action at a distance, etc., uncritically;
Chemistry uncritically adopts all the data of Physics; and Physiology
adopts those of Chemistry. Psychology as a natural science deals with
things in the same partial and provisional way. In addition to the
'material world' with all its determinations, which the other sciences
of nature assume, she assumes additional data peculiarly her own, and
leaves it to more developed parts of Philosophy to test their ulterior
significance and truth. These data are--

1. _Thoughts and feelings_, or whatever other names transitory _states
of consciousness_ may be known by.

2. _Knowledge_, by these states of consciousness, of other things. These
things may be material objects and events, or other states of mind. The
material objects may be either near or distant in time and space, and
the states of mind may be those of other people, or of the thinker
himself at some other time.

How one thing _can_ know another is the problem of what is called the
Theory of Knowledge. How such a thing as a 'state of mind' can be at all
is the problem of what has been called Rational, as distinguished from
Empirical, Psychology. The _full_ truth about states of mind cannot be
known until both Theory of Knowledge and Rational Psychology have said
their say. Meanwhile an immense amount of provisional truth about them
can be got together, which will work in with the larger truth and be
interpreted by it when the proper time arrives. Such a provisional body
of propositions about states of mind, and about the cognitions which
they enjoy, is what I mean by Psychology considered as a natural
science. On any ulterior theory of matter, mind, and knowledge, the
facts and laws of Psychology thus understood will have their value. If
critics find that this natural-science point of view cuts things too
arbitrarily short, they must not blame the book which confines itself to
that point of view; rather must they go on themselves to complete it by
their deeper thought. Incomplete statements are often practically
necessary. To go beyond the usual 'scientific' assumptions in the
present case, would require, not a volume, but a shelfful of volumes,
and by the present author such a shelfful could not be written at all.

Let it also be added that =the human mind is all that can be touched upon=
in this book. Although the mental life of lower creatures has been
examined into of late years with some success, we have no space for its
consideration here, and can only allude to its manifestations
incidentally when they throw light upon our own.

=Mental facts cannot be properly studied apart from the physical
environment of which they take cognizance.= The great fault of the older
rational psychology was to set up the soul as an absolute spiritual
being with certain faculties of its own by which the several activities
of remembering, imagining, reasoning, willing, etc., were explained,
almost without reference to the peculiarities of the world with which
these activities deal. But the richer insight of modern days perceives
that our inner faculties are _adapted_ in advance to the features of the
world in which we dwell, adapted, I mean, so as to secure our safety and
prosperity in its midst. Not only are our capacities for forming new
habits, for remembering sequences, and for abstracting general
properties from things and associating their usual consequences with
them, exactly the faculties needed for steering us in this world of
mixed variety and uniformity, but our emotions and instincts are
adapted to very special features of that world. In the main, if a
phenomenon is important for our welfare, it interests and excites us the
first time we come into its presence. Dangerous things fill us with
involuntary fear; poisonous things with distaste; indispensable things
with appetite. Mind and world in short have been evolved together, and
in consequence are something of a mutual fit. The special interactions
between the outer order and the order of consciousness, by which this
harmony, such as it is, may in the course of time have come about, have
been made the subject of many evolutionary speculations, which, though
they cannot so far be said to be conclusive, have at least refreshed and
enriched the whole subject, and brought all sorts of new questions to
the light.

The chief result of all this more modern view is the gradually growing
conviction that =mental life is primarily teleological=; that is to say,
that our various ways of feeling and thinking have grown to be what they
are because of their utility in shaping our _reactions_ on the outer
world. On the whole, few recent formulas have done more service in
psychology than the Spencerian one that the essence of mental life and
bodily life are one, namely, 'the adjustment of inner to outer
relations.' The adjustment is to immediately present objects in lower
animals and in infants. It is to objects more and more remote in time
and space, and inferred by means of more and more complex and exact
processes of reasoning, when the grade of mental development grows more

Primarily then, and fundamentally, the mental life is for the sake of
action of a preservative sort. Secondarily and incidentally it does many
other things, and may even, when ill 'adapted,' lead to its possessor's
destruction. Psychology, taken in the widest way, ought to study every
sort of mental activity, the useless and harmful sorts as well as that
which is 'adapted.' But the study of the harmful in mental life has been
made the subject of a special branch called 'Psychiatry'--the science of
insanity--and the study of the useless is made over to 'Æsthetics.'
Æsthetics and Psychiatry will receive no special notice in this book.

=All mental states= (no matter what their character as regards utility may
be) =are followed by bodily activity of some sort.= They lead to
inconspicuous changes in breathing, circulation, general muscular
tension, and glandular or other visceral activity, even if they do not
lead to conspicuous movements of the muscles of voluntary life. Not only
certain particular states of mind, then (such as those called volitions,
for example), but states of mind as such, _all_ states of mind, even
mere thoughts and feelings, are _motor_ in their consequences. This will
be made manifest in detail as our study advances. Meanwhile let it be
set down as one of the fundamental facts of the science with which we
are engaged.

It was said above that the 'conditions' of states of consciousness must
be studied. =The immediate condition of a state of consciousness is an
activity of some sort in the cerebral hemispheres.= This proposition is
supported by so many pathological facts, and laid by physiologists at
the base of so many of their reasonings, that to the medically educated
mind it seems almost axiomatic. It would be hard, however, to give any
short and peremptory proof of the unconditional dependence of mental
action upon neural change. That a general and usual amount of dependence
exists cannot possibly be ignored. One has only to consider how quickly
consciousness may be (so far as we know) abolished by a blow on the
head, by rapid loss of blood, by an epileptic discharge, by a full dose
of alcohol, opium, ether, or nitrous oxide--or how easily it may be
altered in quality by a smaller dose of any of these agents or of
others, or by a fever,--to see how at the mercy of bodily happenings our
spirit is. A little stoppage of the gall-duct, a swallow of cathartic
medicine, a cup of strong coffee at the proper moment, will entirely
overturn for the time a man's views of life. Our moods and resolutions
are more determined by the condition of our circulation than by our
logical grounds. Whether a man shall be a hero or a coward is a matter
of his temporary 'nerves.' In many kinds of insanity, though by no means
in all, distinct alterations of the brain-tissue have been found.
Destruction of certain definite portions of the cerebral hemispheres
involves losses of memory and of acquired motor faculty of quite
determinate sorts, to which we shall revert again under the title of
_aphasias_. Taking all such facts together, the simple and radical
conception dawns upon the mind that mental action may be uniformly and
absolutely a function of brain-action, varying as the latter varies, and
being to the brain-action as effect to cause.

=This conception is the 'working hypothesis' which underlies all the
'physiological psychology' of recent years=, and it will be the working
hypothesis of this book. Taken thus absolutely, it may possibly be too
sweeping a statement of what in reality is only a partial truth. But the
only way to make sure of its unsatisfactoriness is to apply it seriously
to every possible case that can turn up. To work an hypothesis 'for all
it is worth' is the real, and often the only, way to prove its
insufficiency. I shall therefore assume without scruple at the outset
that the uniform correlation of brain-states with mind-states is a law
of nature. The interpretation of the law in detail will best show where
its facilities and where its difficulties lie. To some readers such an
assumption will seem like the most unjustifiable _a priori_ materialism.
In one sense it doubtless is materialism: it puts the Higher at the
mercy of the Lower. But although we affirm that the _coming to pass_ of
thought is a consequence of mechanical laws,--for, according to another
'working hypothesis,' that namely of physiology, the laws of
brain-action are at bottom mechanical laws,--we do not in the least
explain the _nature_ of thought by affirming this dependence, and in
that latter sense our proposition is not materialism. The authors who
most unconditionally affirm the dependence of our thoughts on our brain
to be a fact are often the loudest to insist that the fact is
inexplicable, and that the intimate essence of consciousness can never
be rationally accounted for by any material cause. It will doubtless
take several generations of psychologists to test the hypothesis of
dependence with anything like minuteness. The books which postulate it
will be to some extent on conjectural ground. But the student will
remember that the Sciences constantly have to take these risks, and
habitually advance by zig--zagging from one absolute formula to another
which corrects it by going too far the other way. At present Psychology
is on the materialistic tack, and ought in the interests of ultimate
success to be allowed full headway even by those who are certain she
will never fetch the port without putting down the helm once more. The
only thing that is perfectly certain is that when taken up into the
total body of Philosophy, the formulas of Psychology will appear with a
very different meaning from that which they suggest so long as they are
studied from the point of view of an abstract and truncated 'natural
science,' however practically necessary and indispensable their study
from such a provisional point of view may be.

=The Divisions of Psychology.=--So far as possible, then, we are to study
states of consciousness in correlation with their probable neural
conditions. Now the nervous system is well understood to-day to be
nothing but a machine for receiving impressions and discharging
reactions preservative to the individual and his kind--so much of
physiology the reader will surely know. Anatomically, therefore, the
nervous system falls into three main divisions, comprising--

    1) The fibres which carry currents in;
    2) The organs of central redirection of them; and
    3) The fibres which carry them out.

Functionally, we have sensation, central reflection, and motion, to
correspond to these anatomical divisions. In Psychology we may divide
our work according to a similar scheme, and treat successively of three
fundamental conscious processes and their conditions. The first will be
Sensation; the second will be Cerebration or Intellection; the third
will be the Tendency to Action. Much vagueness results from this
division, but it has practical conveniences for such a book as this, and
they may be allowed to prevail over whatever objections may be urged.



=Incoming nerve-currents are the only agents which normally affect the
brain.= The human nerve-centres are surrounded by many dense wrappings of
which the effect is to protect them from the direct action of the forces
of the outer world. The hair, the thick skin of the scalp, the skull,
and two membranes at least, one of them a tough one, surround the brain;
and this organ moreover, like the spinal cord, is bathed by a serous
fluid in which it floats suspended. Under these circumstances the only
things that can _happen_ to the brain are:

1) The dullest and feeblest mechanical jars;

2) Changes in the quantity and quality of the blood-supply; and

3) Currents running in through the so-called afferent or centripetal

The mechanical jars are usually ineffective; the effects of the
blood-changes are usually transient; the nerve-currents, on the
contrary, produce consequences of the most vital sort, both at the
moment of their arrival, and later, through the invisible paths of
escape which they plough in the substance of the organ and which, as we
believe, remain as more or less permanent features of its structure,
modifying its action throughout all future time.

=Each afferent nerve comes from a determinate part of the periphery and
is played upon and excited to its inward activity by a particular force
of the outer world.= Usually it is insensible to other forces: thus the
optic nerves are not impressible by air-waves, nor those of the skin by
light-waves. The lingual nerve is not excited by aromatic effluvia, the
auditory nerve is unaffected by heat. Each selects from the vibrations
of the outer world some one rate to which it responds exclusively. The
result is that our sensations form a discontinuous series, broken by
enormous gaps. There is no reason to suppose that the order of
vibrations in the outer world is anything like as interrupted as the
order of our sensations. Between the quickest audible air-waves (40,000
vibrations a second at the outside) and the slowest sensible heat-waves
(which number probably billions), Nature must somewhere have realized
innumerable intermediary rates which we have no nerves for perceiving.
The process in the nerve-fibres themselves is very likely the same, or
much the same, in all the different nerves. It is the so-called
'current'; but the current is _started_ by one order of outer vibrations
in the retina, and in the ear, for example, by another. This is due to
the different _terminal organs_ with which the several afferent nerves
are armed. Just as we arm ourselves with a spoon to pick up soup, and
with a fork to pick up meat, so our nerve-fibres arm themselves with one
sort of end-apparatus to pick up air-waves, with another to pick up
ether-waves. The terminal apparatus always consists of modified
epithelial cells with which the fibre is continuous. The fibre itself is
not directly excitable by the outer agent which impresses the terminal
organ. The optic fibres are unmoved by the direct rays of the sun; a
cutaneous nerve-trunk may be touched with ice without feeling cold.[2]
The fibres are mere transmitters; the terminal organs are so many
imperfect telephones into which the material world speaks, and each of
which takes up but a portion of what it says; the brain-cells at the
fibres' central end are as many others at which the mind listens to the
far-off call.

=The 'Specific Energies' of the Various Parts of the Brain.=--To a certain
extent anatomists have traced definitely the paths which the sensory
nerve-fibres follow after their entrance into the centres, as far as
their termination in the gray matter of the cerebral convolutions.[3] It
will be shown on a later page that the consciousness which accompanies
the excitement of this gray matter varies from one portion of it to
another. It is consciousness of things seen, when the occipital lobes,
and of things heard, when the upper part of the temporal lobes, share in
the excitement. Each region of the cerebral cortex responds to the
stimulation which its afferent fibres bring to it, in a manner with
which a peculiar quality of feeling seems invariably correlated. This is
what has been called the law of 'specific energies' in the nervous
system. Of course we are without even a conjectural explanation of the
_ground_ of such a law. Psychologists (as Lewes, Wundt, Rosenthal,
Goldscheider, etc.) have debated a good deal as to whether the specific
quality of the feeling depends solely on the _place_ stimulated in the
cortex, or on the _sort of current_ which the nerve pours in. Doubtless
the sort of outer force habitually impinging on the end-organ gradually
modifies the end-organ, the sort of commotion received from the
end-organ modifies the fibre, and the sort of current a so-modified
fibre pours into the cortical centre modifies the centre. The
modification of the centre in turn (though no man can guess how or why)
seems to modify the resultant consciousness. But these adaptive
modifications must be excessively slow; and as matters actually stand in
any adult individual, it is safe to say that, more than anything else,
the _place_ excited in his cortex decides what kind of thing he shall
feel. Whether we press the retina, or prick, cut, pinch, or galvanize
the living optic nerve, the Subject always feels flashes of light, since
the ultimate result of our operations is to stimulate the cortex of his
occipital region. Our habitual ways of feeling outer things thus depend
on which convolutions happen to be connected with the particular
end-organs which those things impress. We _see_ the sunshine and the
fire, simply because the only peripheral end-organ susceptible of taking
up the ether-waves which these objects radiate excites those particular
fibres which run to the centres of sight. If we could interchange the
inward connections, we should feel the world in altogether new ways. If,
for instance, we could splice the outer extremity of our optic nerves to
our ears, and that of our auditory nerves to our eyes, we should hear
the lightning and see the thunder, see the symphony and hear the
conductor's movements. Such hypotheses as these form a good training for
neophytes in the idealistic philosophy!

=Sensation distinguished from Perception.=--It is impossible rigorously to
_define_ a sensation; and in the actual life of consciousness
sensations, popularly so called, and perceptions merge into each other
by insensible degrees. All we can say is that _what we mean by
sensations are_ FIRST _things in the way of consciousness_. They are the
_immediate_ results upon consciousness of nerve-currents as they enter
the brain, and before they have awakened any suggestions or associations
with past experience. But it is obvious that _such immediate sensations
can only be realized in the earliest days of life_. They are all but
impossible to adults with memories and stores of associations acquired.
Prior to all impressions on sense-organs, the brain is plunged in deep
sleep and consciousness is practically non-existent. Even the first
weeks after birth are passed in almost unbroken sleep by human infants.
It takes a strong message from the sense-organs to break this slumber.
In a new-born brain this gives rise to an absolutely pure sensation. But
the experience leaves its 'unimaginable touch' on the matter of the
convolutions, and the next impression which a sense-organ transmits
produces a cerebral reaction in which the awakened vestige of the last
impression plays its part. Another sort of feeling and a higher grade of
cognition are the consequence. 'Ideas' _about_ the object mingle with
the awareness of its mere sensible presence, we name it, class it,
compare it, utter propositions concerning it, and the complication of
the possible consciousness which an incoming current may arouse, goes on
increasing to the end of life. In general, this higher consciousness
about things is called Perception, the mere inarticulate feeling of
their presence is Sensation, so far as we have it at all. To some degree
we seem able to lapse into this inarticulate feeling at moments when our
attention is entirely dispersed.

=Sensations are cognitive.= A sensation is thus an abstraction seldom
realized by itself; and the object which a sensation knows is an
abstract object which cannot exist alone. _'Sensible qualities' are the
objects of sensation._ The sensations of the eye are aware of the
_colors_ of things, those of the ear are acquainted with their _sounds_;
those of the skin feel their tangible _heaviness_, _sharpness_, _warmth_
or _coldness_, etc., etc. From all the organs of the body currents may
come which reveal to us the quality of _pain_, and to a certain extent
that of _pleasure_.

Such qualities as _stickiness_, _roughness_, etc., are supposed to be
felt through the coöperation of muscular sensations with those of the
skin. The geometrical qualities of things, on the other hand, their
_shapes_, _bignesses_, _distances_, etc. (so far as we discriminate and
identify them), are by most psychologists supposed to be impossible
without the evocation of memories from the past; and the cognition of
these attributes is thus considered to exceed the power of sensation
pure and simple.

='Knowledge of Acquaintance' and 'Knowledge about.'=--Sensation, thus
considered, differs from perception only in the extreme simplicity of
its object or content. Its object, being a simple quality, is sensibly
_homogeneous_; and its function is that of mere _acquaintance_ with this
homogeneous seeming fact. Perception's function, on the other hand, is
that of knowing something _about_ the fact. But we must know _what_ fact
we mean, all the while, and the various _whats_ are what sensations
give. Our earliest thoughts are almost exclusively sensational. They
give us a set of _whats_, or _thats_, or _its_; of subjects of discourse
in other words, with their relations not yet brought out. The first time
we see _light_, in Condillac's phrase we _are_ it rather than see it.
But all our later optical knowledge is about what this experience gives.
And though we were struck blind from that first moment, our scholarship
in the subject would lack no essential feature so long as our memory
remained. In training-institutions for the blind they teach the pupils
as much _about_ light as in ordinary schools. Reflection, refraction,
the spectrum, the ether-theory, etc., are all studied. But the best
taught born-blind pupil of such an establishment yet lacks a knowledge
which the least instructed seeing baby has. They can never show him
_what_ light is in its 'first intention'; and the loss of that sensible
knowledge no book-learning can replace. All this is so obvious that we
usually find sensation 'postulated' as an element of experience, even by
those philosophers who are least inclined to make much of its
importance, or to pay respect to the knowledge which it brings.

=Sensations distinguished from Images.=--Both sensation and perception,
for all their difference, are yet alike in that their objects appear
_vivid_, _lively_, and _present_. Objects merely _thought of_,
_recollected_, or _imagined_, on the contrary, are relatively faint and
devoid of this pungency, or tang, this quality of _real presence_ which
the objects of sensation possess. Now the cortical brain-processes to
which sensations are attached are due to incoming currents from the
periphery of the body--an external object must excite the eye, ear,
etc., before the sensation comes. Those cortical processes, on the other
hand, to which mere ideas or images are attached are due in all
probability to currents from other convolutions. It would seem, then,
that the currents from the periphery normally awaken a kind of
brain-activity which the currents from other convolutions are inadequate
to arouse. To this sort of activity--a profounder degree of
disintegration, perhaps--the quality of vividness, presence, or reality
in the object of the resultant consciousness seems correlated.

=The Exteriority of Objects of Sensation.=--Every thing or quality felt is
felt in outer space. It is impossible to conceive a brightness or a
color otherwise than as extended and outside of the body. Sounds also
appear in space. Contacts are against the body's surface; and pains
always occupy some organ. An opinion which has had much currency in
psychology is that sensible qualities are first apprehended as _in the
mind itself_, and then 'projected' from it, or 'extradited,' by a
secondary intellectual or super-sensational mental act. There is no
ground whatever for this opinion. The only facts which even seem to make
for it can be much better explained in another way, as we shall see
later on. The very first sensation which an infant gets _is_ for him the
outer universe. And the universe which he comes to know in later life is
nothing but an amplification of that first simple germ which, by
accretion on the one hand and intussusception on the other, has grown so
big and complex and articulate that its first estate is unrememberable.
In his dumb awakening to the consciousness of _something there_, a mere
_this_ as yet (or something for which even the term _this_ would perhaps
be too discriminative, and the intellectual acknowledgment of which
would be better expressed by the bare interjection 'lo!'), the infant
encounters an object in which (though it be given in a pure sensation)
all the 'categories of the understanding' are contained. _It has
externality, objectivity, unity, substantiality, causality, in the full
sense in which any later object or system of objects has these things._
Here the young knower meets and greets his world; and the miracle of
knowledge bursts forth, as Voltaire says, as much in the infant's lowest
sensation as in the highest achievement of a Newton's brain.

The physiological condition of this first sensible experience is
probably many nerve-currents coming in from various peripheral organs at
once; but this multitude of organic conditions does not prevent the
consciousness from being one consciousness. We shall see as we go on
that it can be one consciousness, even though it be due to the
coöperation of numerous organs and be a consciousness of many things
together. The Object which the numerous inpouring currents of the baby
bring to his consciousness is one big blooming buzzing Confusion. That
Confusion is the baby's universe; and the universe of all of us is still
to a great extent such a Confusion, potentially resolvable, and
demanding to be resolved, but not yet actually resolved, into parts. It
appears from first to last as a space-occupying thing. So far as it is
unanalyzed and unresolved we may be said to know it sensationally; but
as fast as parts are distinguished in it and we become aware of their
relations, our knowledge becomes perceptual or even conceptual, and as
such need not concern us in the present chapter.

=The Intensity of Sensations.=--A light may be so weak as not sensibly to
dispel the darkness, a sound so low as not to be heard, a contact so
faint that we fail to notice it. In other words, a certain finite amount
of the outward stimulus is required to produce any sensation of its
presence at all. This is called by Fechner the law of the
_threshold_--something must be stepped over before the object can gain
entrance to the mind. An impression just above the threshold is called
the _minimum visibile_, _audibile_, etc. From this point onwards, as
the impressing force increases, the sensation increases also, though at
a slower rate, until at last an _acme_ of the sensation is reached which
no increase in the stimulus can make sensibly more great. Usually,
before the acme, _pain_ begins to mix with the specific character of the
sensation. This is definitely observable in the cases of great pressure,
intense heat, cold, light, and sound; and in those of smell and taste
less definitely so only from the fact that we can less easily increase
the force of the stimuli here. On the other hand, all sensations,
however unpleasant when more intense, are rather agreeable than
otherwise in their very lowest degrees. A faintly bitter taste, or
putrid smell, may at least be _interesting_.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.]

=Weber's Law.=--I said that the intensity of the sensation increases by
slower steps than those by which its exciting cause increases. If there
were no threshold, and if every equal increment in the outer stimulus
produced an equal increment in the sensation's intensity, a simple
straight line would represent graphically the 'curve' of the relation
between the two things. Let the horizontal line stand for the scale of
intensities of the objective stimulus, so that at 0 it has no intensity,
at 1 intensity 1, and so forth. Let the verticals dropped from the
slanting line stand for the sensations aroused. At 0 there will be no
sensation; at 1 there will be a sensation represented by the length of
the vertical _S_¹--1, at 2 the sensation will be represented by
_S_²--2, and so on. The line of _S_'s will rise evenly because by the
hypothesis the verticals (or sensations) increase at the same rate as
the horizontals (or stimuli) to which they severally correspond. But in
Nature, as aforesaid, they increase at a slower rate. If each step
forward in the horizontal direction be equal to the last, then each step
upward in the vertical direction will have to be somewhat shorter than
the last; the line of sensations will be convex on top instead of

[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

Fig. 2 represents this actual state of things, 0 being the zero-point of
the stimulus, and conscious sensation, represented by the curved line,
not beginning until the 'threshold' is reached, at which the stimulus
has the value 3. From here onwards the sensation increases, but it
increases less at each step, until at last, the 'acme' being reached,
the sensation-line grows flat. The exact law of retardation is called
_Weber's law_, from the fact that he first observed it in the case of
weights. I will quote Wundt's account of the law and of the facts on
which it is based.

     "Every one knows that in the stilly night we hear things unnoticed
     in the noise of day. The gentle ticking of the clock, the air
     circulating through the chimney, the cracking of the chairs in the
     room, and a thousand other slight noises, impress themselves upon
     our ear. It is equally well known that in the confused hubbub of
     the streets, or the clamor of a railway, we may lose not only what
     our neighbor says to us, but even not hear the sound of our own
     voice. The stars which are brightest at night are invisible by
     day; and although we see the moon then, she is far paler than at
     night. Every one who has had to deal with weights knows that if to
     a pound in the hand a second pound be added, the difference is
     immediately felt; whilst if it be added to a hundredweight, we are
     not aware of the difference at all....

     "The sound of the clock, the light of the stars, the pressure of
     the pound, these are all _stimuli_ to our senses, and stimuli whose
     outward amount remains the same. What then do these experiences
     teach? Evidently nothing but this, that one and the same stimulus,
     according to the circumstances under which it operates, will be
     felt either more or less intensely, or not felt at all. Of what
     sort now is the alteration in the circumstances upon which this
     alteration in the feeling may depend? On considering the matter
     closely we see that it is everywhere of one and the same kind. The
     tick of the clock is a feeble stimulus for our auditory nerve,
     which we hear plainly when it is alone, but not when it is added to
     the strong stimulus of the carriage-wheels and other noises of the
     day. The light of the stars is a stimulus to the eye. But if the
     stimulation which this light exerts be added to the strong stimulus
     of daylight, we feel nothing of it, although we feel it distinctly
     when it unites itself with the feebler stimulation of the twilight.
     The poundweight is a stimulus to our skin, which we feel when it
     joins itself to a preceding stimulus of equal strength, but which
     vanishes when it is combined with a stimulus a thousand times
     greater in amount.

     "We may therefore lay it down as a general rule that a stimulus, in
     order to be felt, may be so much the smaller if the already
     preëxisting stimulation of the organ is small, but must be so much
     the larger, the greater the preëxisting stimulation is.... The
     simplest relation would obviously be that the sensation should
     increase in identically the same ratio as the stimulus.... But if
     this simplest of all relations prevailed, ... the light of the
     stars, e.g., ought to make as great an addition to the daylight as
     it does to the darkness of the nocturnal sky, and this we know to
     be not the case.... So it is clear that the strength of the
     sensations does not increase in proportion to the amount of the
     stimuli, but more slowly. And now comes the question, in what
     proportion does the increase of the sensation grow less as the
     increase of the stimulus grows greater? To answer this question,
     every-day experiences do not suffice. We need exact measurements,
     both of the amounts of the various stimuli, and of the intensity of
     the sensations themselves.

     "How to execute these measurements, however, is something which
     daily experience suggests. To measure the strength of sensations
     is, as we saw, impossible; we can only measure the difference of
     sensations. Experience showed us what very unequal differences of
     sensation might come from equal differences of outward stimulus.
     But all these experiences expressed themselves in one kind of fact,
     that the same difference of stimulus could in one case be felt, and
     in another case not felt at all--a pound felt if added to another
     pound, but not if added to a hundredweight.... We can quickest
     reach a result with our observations if we start with an arbitrary
     strength of stimulus, notice what sensation it gives us, and then
     _see how much we can increase the stimulus without making the
     sensation seem to change_. If we carry out such observations with
     stimuli of varying absolute amounts, we shall be forced to choose
     in an equally varying way the amounts of addition to the stimulus
     which are capable of giving us a just barely perceptible feeling of
     _more_. A light to be just perceptible in the twilight need not be
     near as bright as the starlight; it must be far brighter to be just
     perceived during the day. If now we institute such observations for
     all possible strengths of the various stimuli, and note for each
     strength the amount of addition of the latter required to produce a
     barely perceptible alteration of sensation, we shall have a series
     of figures in which is immediately expressed the law according to
     which the sensation alters when the stimulation is increased...."

Observations according to this method are particularly easy to make in
the spheres of light, sound, and pressure. Beginning with the latter

     "We find a surprisingly simple result. _The barely sensible
     addition to the original weight must stand exactly in the same
     proportion to it_, be the _same fraction_ of it, no matter what the
     absolute value may be of the weights on which the experiment is
     made.... As the average of a number of experiments, this fraction
     is found to be about ⅓; that is, no matter what pressure there may
     already be made upon the skin, an increase or a diminution of the
     pressure will be _felt_, as soon as the added or subtracted weight
     amounts to one third of the weight originally there."

Wundt then describes how differences may be observed in the muscular
feelings, in the feelings of heat, in those of light, and in those of
sound; and he concludes thus:

     "So we have found that all the senses whose stimuli we are enabled
     to measure accurately, obey a uniform law. However various may be
     their several delicacies of discrimination, _this_ holds true of
     all, that _the increase of the stimulus necessary to produce an
     increase of the sensation bears a constant ratio to the total
     stimulus_. The figures which express this ratio in the several
     senses may be shown thus in tabular form:

    Sensation of light          1/100
    Muscular sensation          1/17
    Feeling of pressure, }
       "    "  warmth,   }      1/3
       "    "  sound,    }

     "These figures are far from giving as accurate a measure as might
     be desired. But at least they are fit to convey a general notion of
     the relative discriminative susceptibility of the different
     senses.... The important law which gives in so simple a form the
     relation of the sensation to the stimulus that calls it forth was
     first discovered by the physiologist Ernst Heinrich Weber to obtain
     in special cases."[4]

=Fechner's Law.=--Another way of expressing Weber's law is to say that to
get equal positive additions to the sensation, one must make equal
_relative_ additions to the stimulus. Professor Fechner of Leipzig
founded upon Weber's law a theory of the numerical measurement of
sensations, over which much metaphysical discussion has raged. Each just
perceptible addition to the sensation, as we gradually let the stimulus
increase, was supposed by him to be a _unit_ of sensation, and all these
units were treated by him as equal, in spite of the fact that _equally
perceptible_ increments need by no means appear _equally big_ when they
once are perceived. The many pounds which form the just perceptible
addition to a hundredweight feel bigger when added than the few ounces
which form the just perceptible addition to a pound. Fechner ignored
this fact. He considered that if _n_ distinct perceptible steps of
increase might be passed through in gradually increasing a stimulus from
the threshold-value till the intensity _s_ was felt, then the sensation
of _s_ was composed of _n_ units, which were of the same value all along
the line.[5] Sensations once represented by numbers, psychology may
become, according to Fechner, an 'exact' science, susceptible of
mathematical treatment. His general formula for getting at the number of
units in any sensation is _S_ = _C_ log _R_, where _S_ stands for the
sensation, _R_ for the stimulus numerically estimated, and _C_ for a
constant that must be separately determined by experiment in each
particular order of sensibility. The sensation is proportional to the
logarithm of the stimulus; and the absolute values, in units, of any
series of sensations might be got from the ordinates of the curve in
Fig. 2, if it were a correctly drawn logarithmic curve, with the
thresholds rightly plotted out from experiments.

Fechner's psycho-physic formula, as he called it, has been attacked on
every hand; and as absolutely nothing practical has come of it, it need
receive no farther notice here. The main outcome of his book has been to
stir up experimental investigation into the validity of Weber's law
(which concerns itself merely with the just perceptible increase, and
says nothing about the measurement of the sensation as a whole) and to
promote discussion of statistical methods. Weber's law, as will appear
when we take the senses, _seriatim_, is only approximately verified. The
discussion of statistical methods is necessitated by the extraordinary
fluctuations of our sensibility from one moment to the next. It is
found, namely, when the difference of two sensations approaches the
limit of discernibility, that at one moment we discern it and at the
next we do not. Our incessant accidental inner alterations make it
impossible to tell just what the least discernible increment of the
sensation is without taking the average of a large number of
appreciations. These _accidental errors_ are as likely to increase as to
diminish our sensibility, and are eliminated in such an average, for
those above and those below the line then neutralize each other in the
sum, and the normal sensibility, if there be one (that is, the
sensibility due to constant causes as distinguished from these
accidental ones), stands revealed. The methods of getting the average
all have their difficulties and their snares, and controversy over them
has become very subtle indeed. As an instance of how laborious some of
the statistical methods are, and how patient German investigators can
be, I may say that Fechner himself, in testing Weber's law for weights
by the so-called 'method of true and false cases,' tabulated and
computed no less than 24,576 separate judgments.

=Sensations are not compounds.= The fundamental objection to Fechner's
whole attempt seems to be this, that although the outer _causes_ of our
sensations may have many parts, every distinguishable degree, as well as
every distinguishable quality, of the _sensation itself_ appears to be a
unique fact of consciousness. Each sensation is a complete integer. "A
strong one," as Dr. Münsterberg says, "is not the multiple of a weak
one, or a compound of many weak ones, but rather something entirely new,
and as it were incomparable, so that to seek a measurable difference
between strong and weak sonorous, luminous, or thermic sensations would
seem at first sight as senseless as to try to compute mathematically the
difference between salt and sour, or between headache and toothache. It
is clear that if in the stronger sensation of light the weaker sensation
is not _contained_, it is unpsychological to say that the former differs
from the latter by a certain _increment_."[6] Surely our feeling of
scarlet is not a feeling of pink with a lot more pink added; it is
something quite other than pink. Similarly with our sensation of an
electric arc-light: it does not contain that of many smoky tallow
candles in itself. Every sensation presents itself as an indivisible
unit; and it is quite impossible to read any clear meaning into the
notion that they are masses of units combined.

There is no inconsistency between this statement and the fact that,
starting with a weak sensation and increasing it, we feel 'more,'
'more,' 'more,' as the increase goes on. It is not more of the same
_stuff_ added, so to speak; but it is more and more _difference_, more
and more _distance_, from the starting-point, which we feel. In the
chapter on Discrimination we shall see that Difference can be perceived
between simple things. We shall see, too, that _differences themselves
differ_--there are _various directions of difference_; and along any one
of them a series of things may be arranged so as to increase steadily in
that direction. In any such series the end differs more from the
beginning than the middle does. Differences of 'intensity' form one such
direction of possible increase--so our judgments of more intensity can
be expressed without the hypothesis that more units have been added to a
growing sum.

=The so-called 'Law of Relativity.'=--Weber's law seems only one case of
the still wider law that the more we have to attend to the less capable
we are of noticing any one detail. The law is obvious where the things
differ in kind. How easily do we forget a bodily discomfort when
conversation waxes hot; how little do we notice the noises in the room
so long as our work absorbs us! _Ad plura intentus minus est ad singula
sensus_, as the old proverb says. One might now add that the homogeneity
of what we have to attend to does not alter the result; but that a mind
with two strong sensations of the same sort already before it is
incapacitated by their amount from noticing the detail of a difference
between them which it would immediately be struck by, were the
sensations themselves weaker and consequently endowed with less
distracting power.

This particular idea may be taken for what it is worth.[7] Meanwhile it
is an undoubted general fact that the psychical effect of incoming
currents does depend on what other currents may be simultaneously
pouring in. Not only the _perceptibility_ of the object which the
current brings before the mind, but the _quality_ of it, is changed by
the other currents. "Simultaneous[8] sensations modify each other" is a
brief expression for this law. "We feel all things in relation to each
other" is Wundt's vaguer formula for this general 'law of relativity,'
which in one shape or other has had vogue since Hobbes's time in
psychology. Much mystery has been made of it, but although we are of
course ignorant of the more intimate processes involved, there seems no
ground to doubt that they are physiological, and come from the
interference of one current with another. A current interfered with
might naturally give rise to a modified sensation.

Examples of the modification in question are easy to find.[9] Notes make
each other sweeter in a chord, and so do colors when harmoniously
combined. A certain amount of skin dipped in hot water gives the
perception of a certain heat. More skin immersed makes the heat much
more intense, although of course the water's heat is the same. Similarly
there is a _chromatic minimum_ of size in objects. The image they cast
on the retina must needs excite a sufficient number of fibres, or it
will give no sensation of color at all. Weber observed that a thaler
laid on the skin of the forehead feels heavier when cold than when warm.
Urbantschitsch has found that all our sense-organs influence each
other's sensations. The hue of patches of color so distant as not to be
recognized was immediately, in his patients, perceived when a
tuning-fork was sounded close to the ear. Letters too far off to be read
could be read when the tuning-fork was heard, etc., etc. The most
familiar examples of this sort of thing seem to be the increase of
_pain_ by noise or light, and the increase of _nausea_ by all
concomitant sensations.

=Effects of Contrast.=--The best-known examples of the way in which one
nerve-current modifies another are the phenomena of what is known as
'simultaneous color-contrast.' Take a number of sheets of brightly and
differently colored papers, lay on each of them a bit of one and the
same kind of gray paper, then cover each sheet with some transparent
white paper, which softens the look of both the gray paper and the
colored ground. The gray patch will appear in each case tinged by the
color _complementary_ to the ground; and so different will the several
pieces appear that no observer, before raising the transparent paper,
will believe them all cut out of the same gray. Helmholtz has
interpreted these results as being due to a false application of an
inveterate habit--that, namely, of making allowance for the color of the
medium through which things are seen. The same _thing_, in the blue
light of a clear sky, in the reddish-yellow light of a candle, in the
dark brown light of a polished mahogany table which may reflect its
image, is always judged of its own proper color, which the mind _adds_
out of its own knowledge to the appearance, thereby correcting the
falsifying medium. In the cases of the papers, according to Helmholtz,
the mind believes the color of the ground, subdued by the transparent
paper, to be faintly spread _over_ the gray patch. But a patch to _look_
gray through such a colored film would have really to _be_ of the
complementary color to the film. Therefore it _is_ of the complementary
color, we think, and proceed to _see_ it of that color.

This theory has been shown to be untenable by Hering. The discussion of
the facts is too minute for recapitulation here, but suffice it to say
that it proves the phenomenon to be physiological--a case of the way in
which, when sensory nerve-currents run in together, the effect of each
on consciousness is different from that which it would be if they ran
in separately.

'_Successive contrast_' differs from the simultaneous variety, and is
supposed to be due to fatigue. The facts will be noticed under the head
of 'after-images,' in the section on Vision. It must be borne in mind,
however, that after-images from previous sensations may coexist with
present sensations, and the two may modify each other just as coexisting
sensational processes do.

Other senses than sight show phenomena of contrast, but they are much
less obvious, so I will not notice them here. We can now pass to a very
brief survey of the various senses in detail.



=The Eye's Structure= is described in all the books on anatomy. I will
only mention the few points which concern the psychologist.[10] It is a
flattish sphere formed by a tough

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]

white membrane (the sclerotic), which encloses a nervous surface and
certain refracting media (lens and 'humors') which cast a picture of the
outer world thereon. It is in fact a little camera obscura, the
essential part of which is the sensitive plate.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]


     FIG. 5.--Scheme of retinal fibres, after Küss. _Nop._ optic nerve;
     _S_, sclerotic; _Ch_, choroid; _R_, retina; _P_, papilla (blind
     spot); _F_, fovea.

=The retina= is what corresponds to this plate. The optic nerve pierces
the sclerotic shell and spreads its fibres radially in every direction
over its inside, forming a thin translucent film (see Fig. 3, _Ret._).
The fibres pass into a complicated apparatus of cells, granules, and
branches (Fig. 4), and finally end in the so-called rods and cones (Fig.
4,--9), which are the specific organs for taking up the influence of the
waves of light. Strange to say, these end-organs are not pointed forward
towards the light as it streams through the pupil, but backwards towards
the sclerotic membrane itself, so that the light-waves traverse the
translucent nerve-fibres, and the cellular and granular layers of the
retina, before they touch the rods and cones themselves. (See Fig. 5.)

=The Blind Spot.=--The optic nerve-fibres must thus be unimpressible by
light directly. The place where the nerve enters is in fact entirely
blind, because nothing but fibres exist there, the other layers of the
retina only beginning round about the entrance. Nothing is easier than
to prove the existence of this blind spot. Close the right eye and look
steadily with the left at the cross in Fig. 6, holding the book
vertically in front of the face, and moving it to and fro. It will be
found that at about a foot off the black disk disappears; but when the
page is nearer or farther, it is seen. During the experiment the gaze
must be kept fixed on the cross. It is easy to show by measurement that
this blind spot lies where the optic nerve enters.

[Illustration: FIG. 6.]

=The Fovea.=--Outside of the blind spot the sensibility of the retina
varies. It is greatest at the _fovea_, a little pit lying outwardly from
the entrance of the optic nerve, and round which the radiating
nerve-fibres bend without passing over it. The other layers also
disappear at the fovea, leaving the cones alone to represent the retina
there. The sensibility of the retina grows progressively less towards
its periphery, by means of which neither colors, shapes, nor number of
impressions can be well discriminated.

In the normal use of our two eyes, the eyeballs are rotated so as to
cause the two images of any object which catches the attention to fall
on the two foveæ, as the spots of acutest vision. This happens
involuntarily, as any one may observe. In fact, it is almost impossible
_not_ to 'turn the eyes,' the moment any peripherally lying object does
catch our attention, the turning of the eyes being only another name
for such rotation of the eyeballs as will bring the foveæ under the
object's image.

[Illustration: FIG. 7.]

=Accommodation.=--The _focussing_ or _sharpening_ of the image is
performed by a special apparatus. In every camera, the farther the
object is from the eye the farther forward, and the nearer the object is
to the eye the farther backward, is its image thrown. In photographers'
cameras the back is made to slide, and can be drawn away from the lens
when the object that casts the picture is near, and pushed forward when
it is far. The picture is thus kept always sharp. But no such change of
length is possible in the eyeball; and the same result is reached in
another way. The lens, namely, grows more convex when a near object is
looked at, and flatter when the object recedes. This change is due to
the antagonism of the circular 'ligament' in which the lens is
suspended, and the 'ciliary muscle.' The ligament, when the ciliary
muscle is at rest, assumes such a spread-out shape as to keep the lens
rather flat. But the lens is highly elastic; and it springs into the
more convex form which is natural to it whenever the ciliary muscle, by
contracting, causes the ligament to relax its pressure. The contraction
of the muscle, by thus rendering the lens more refractive, adapts the
eye for near objects ('accommodates' it for them, as we say); and its
relaxation, by rendering the lens less refractive, adapts the eye for
distant vision. Accommodation for the near is thus the more _active_
change, since it involves contraction of the ciliary muscle. When we
look far off, we simply let our eyes go passive. We feel this difference
in the effort when we compare the two sensations of change.

=Convergence accompanies accommodation.= The two eyes act as one organ;
that is, when an object catches the attention, both eyeballs turn so
that its images may fall on the foveæ. When the object is near, this
naturally requires them to turn inwards, or converge; and as
accommodation then also occurs, the two movements of convergence and
accommodation form a naturally associated couple, of which it is
difficult to execute either singly. Contraction of the pupil also
accompanies the accommodative act. When we come to stereoscopic vision,
it will appear that by much practice one can learn to converge with
relaxed accommodation, and to accommodate with parallel axes of vision.
These are accomplishments which the student of psychological optics will
find most useful.

=Single Vision by the two Retinæ.=--We hear single with two ears, and
smell single with two nostrils, and we also see single with two eyes.
The difference is that we also _can_ see double under certain
conditions, whereas under no conditions can we hear or smell double. The
main conditions of single vision can be simply expressed.

In the first place, impressions on the two foveæ always appear in the
same place. By no artifice can they be made to appear alongside of each
other. The result is that one object, casting its images on the foveæ of
the two converging eyeballs will necessarily always appear as what it
is, namely, one object. Furthermore, if the eyeballs, instead of
converging, are kept parallel, and two similar objects, one in front of
each, cast their respective images on the foveæ, the two will also
appear as one, or (in common parlance) 'their images will fuse.' To
verify this, let the reader stare fixedly before him as if through the
paper at infinite distance, with the black spots in Fig. 8 in front of
his respective eyes. He will then see the two black spots swim
together, as it were, and combine into one, which appears situated
between their original two positions and as if opposite the root of his
nose. This combined spot is the result of the spots opposite both eyes
being seen in the same place. But in addition to the combined spot, each
eye sees also the spot opposite the _other_ eye. To the right eye this
appears to the left of the combined spot, to the left eye it appears to
the right of it; so that what is seen is _three_ spots, of which the
middle one is seen by both eyes, and is flanked by two others, each seen
by one. That such are the facts can be tested by interposing some small
opaque object so as to cut off the vision of either of the spots in the
figure from the _other_ eye. A vertical partition in the median plane,
going from the paper to the nose, will effectually confine each eye's
vision to the spot in front of it, and then the single combined spot
will be all that appears.[11]

[Illustration: FIG. 8.]

If, instead of two identical spots, we use two different figures, or two
differently colored spots, as objects for the two foveæ to look at, they
still are seen in the _same place_; but since they cannot appear as a
single object, they appear there _alternately_ displacing each other
from the view. This is the phenomenon called _retinal rivalry_.

As regards the parts of the retinæ round about the foveæ, a similar
correspondence obtains. Any impression on the upper half of either
retina makes us see an object as below, on the lower half as above, the
horizon; and on the right half of either retina, an impression makes us
see an object to the left, on the left half one to the right, of the
median line. Thus each quadrant of one retina corresponds as a whole to
the geometrically _similar_ quadrant of the other; and within two
similar quadrants, _al_ and _ar_ for example, there should, if the
correspondence were carried out in detail, be geometrically similar
points which, if impressed at the same time by light emitted from the
same object, should cause that object to appear in the same direction to
either eye. Experiment verifies this surmise. If we look at the starry
vault with parallel eyes, the stars all seem single; and the laws of
perspective show that under the circumstances the parallel light-rays
coming from each star must impinge on points within either retina which
_are_ geometrically similar to each other. Similarly, a pair of
spectacles held an inch or so from the eyes seem like one large median
glass. Or we may make an experiment like that with the spots. If we take
two exactly similar pictures, no larger than those on an ordinary
stereoscopic slide, and if we look at one with each eye (a median
partition confining the view) we shall see but one flat picture, all of
whose parts appear single. 'Identical retinal points' being impressed,
both eyes see their object in the same direction, and the two objects
consequently coalesce into one.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.]

Here again retinal rivalry occurs if the pictures differ. And it must be
noted that when the experiment is performed for the first time the
combined picture is always far from sharp. This is due to the difficulty
mentioned on p. 33, of accommodating for anything as near as the surface
of the paper, whilst at the same time the convergence is relaxed so that
each eye sees the picture in front of itself.

[Illustration: FIG. 10.]

=Double Images.=--Now it is an immediate consequence of the law of
identical location of images falling on geometrically similar points
that _images which fall upon geometrically_ DISPARATE _points of the two
retinæ should be seen in_ DISPARATE _directions, and that their objects
should consequently appear in_ TWO _places, or_ LOOK DOUBLE. Take the
parallel rays from a star falling upon two eyes which converge upon a
near object, _O_, instead of being parallel as in the previously
instanced case. The two foveæ will receive the images of _O_, which
therefore will look single. If then _SL_ and _SR_ in Fig. 10 be the
parallel rays, each of them will fall upon the nasal half of the retina
which it strikes. But the two nasal halves are disparate, geometrically
_symmetrical_, not geometrically _similar_. The star's image on the left
eye will therefore appear as if lying to the left of _O_; its image on
the right eye will appear to the right of this point. The star will, in
short, be seen double--'homonymously' double.

Conversely, if the star be looked at directly with parallel axes, any
near object like _O_ will be seen double, because its images will affect
the outer or cheek halves of the two retinæ, instead of one outer and
one nasal half. The position of the images will here be reversed from
that of the previous case. The right eye's image will now appear to the
left, the left eye's to the right; the double images will be

The same reasoning and the same result ought to apply where the object's
place with respect to the direction of the two optic axes is such as to
make its images fall not on non-similar retinal halves, but on
non-similar parts of similar halves. Here, of course, the positions seen
will be less widely disparate than in the other case, and the double
images will appear to lie less widely apart.

Careful experiments made by many observers according to the so-called
haploscopic method confirm this law, and show that _corresponding
points, of single visual direction_, exist upon the two retinæ. For the
detail of these one must consult the special treatises.

=Vision of Solidity.=--This description of binocular vision follows what
is called the theory of identical points. On the whole it formulates the
facts correctly. The only odd thing is that we should be so little
troubled by the innumerable double images which objects nearer and
farther than the point looked at must be constantly producing. The
answer to this is that _we have trained ourselves to habits of
inattention_ in regard to double images. So far as things interest us we
turn our foveæ upon them, and they are necessarily seen single; so that
if an object impresses disparate points, that may be taken as proof that
it is so unimportant for us that we needn't notice whether it appears
in one place or in two. By long practice one may acquire great
expertness in detecting double images, though, as some one says, it is
an art which is not to be learned completely either in one year or in

[Illustration: FIG. 11.]

Where the disparity of the images is but slight it is almost impossible
to see them as if double. They give rather the perception of a solid
object being there. To fix our ideas, take Fig. 11. Suppose we look at
the dots in the middle of the lines _a_ and _b_ just as we looked at the
spots in Fig. 8. We shall get the same result--i.e., they will coalesce
in the median line. But the entire lines will not coalesce, for, owing
to their inclination, their tops fall on the temporal, and their bottoms
on the nasal, retinal halves. What we see will be two lines crossed in
the middle, thus (Fig. 12):

[Illustration: FIG. 12.]

The moment we attend to the tops of these lines, however, our foveæ tend
to abandon the dots and to move upwards, and in doing so, to converge
somewhat, following the lines, which then appear coalescing at the top
as in Fig. 13.

[Illustration: FIG. 13.]

[Illustration: FIG. 14.]

If we think of the bottom, the eyes descend and diverge, and what we see
is Fig. 14.

Running our eyes up and down the lines makes them converge and diverge
just as they would were they running up and down some single line whose
top was nearer to us than its bottom. Now, if the inclination of the
lines be moderate, we may not see them double at all, but single
throughout their length, when we look at the dots. Under these
conditions their top does look nearer than their bottom--in other words,
we see them stereoscopically; and we see them so even when our eyes are
rigorously motionless. In other words, the slight disparity in the
bottom-ends which _would_ draw the foveæ divergently apart makes us see
those ends farther, the slight disparity in the top ends which _would_
draw them convergently together makes us see these ends nearer, than the
point at which we look. The disparities, in short, affect our perception
as the actual movements would.[12]

=The Perception of Distance.=--When we look about us at things, our eyes
are incessantly moving, converging, diverging, accommodating, relaxing,
and sweeping over the field. The field appears extended in three
dimensions, with some of its parts more distant and some more near.

     "With one eye our perception of distance is very imperfect, as
     illustrated by the common trick of holding a ring suspended by a
     string in front of a person's face, and telling him to shut one eye
     and pass a rod from one side through the ring. If a penholder be
     held erect before one eye, while the other is closed, and an
     attempt be made to touch it with a finger moved across towards it,
     an error will nearly always be made. In such cases we get the only
     clue from the amount of effort needed to 'accommodate' the eye to
     see the object distinctly. When we use both eyes our perception of
     distance is much better; when we look at an object with two eyes
     the visual axes are converged on it, and the nearer the object the
     greater the convergence. We have a pretty accurate knowledge of the
     degree of muscular effort required to converge the eyes on all
     tolerably near points. When objects are farther off, their
     apparent size, and the modifications their retinal images
     experience by aërial perspective, come in to help. The relative
     distance of objects is easiest determined by moving the eyes; all
     stationary objects then appear displaced in the opposite direction
     (as for example when we look out of the window of a railway car)
     and those nearest most rapidly; from the different apparent rates
     of movement we can tell which are farther and which nearer."[13]

Subjectively considered, distance is an altogether peculiar content of
consciousness. Convergence, accommodation, binocular disparity, size,
degree of brightness, parallax, etc., all give us special feelings which
are _signs_ of the distance feeling, but not it. They simply suggest it
to us. The best way to get it strongly is to go upon some hill-top and
invert one's head. The horizon then looks very distant, and draws near
as the head erects itself again.

=The Perception of Size.=--"The dimensions of the retinal image determine
primarily the sensations on which conclusions as to size are based; and
the larger the visual angle the larger the retinal image: since the
visual angle depends on the distance of an object, the correct
perception of size depends largely upon a correct perception of
distance; having formed a judgment, conscious or unconscious, as to
that, we conclude as to size from the extent of the retinal region
affected. Most people have been surprised now and then to find that what
appeared a large bird in the clouds was only a small insect close to the
eye; the large apparent size being due to the previous incorrect
judgment as to the distance of the object. The presence of an object of
tolerably well-known height, as a man, also assists in forming
conceptions (by comparison) as to size; artists for this purpose
frequently introduce human figures to assist in giving an idea of the
size of other objects represented."[14]

=Sensations of Color.=--The system of colors is a very complex thing. If
one take any color, say green, one can pass away from it in more than
one direction, through a series of greens more and more yellowish, let
us say, towards yellow, or through another series more and more bluish
towards blue. The result would be that if we seek to plot out on paper
the various distinguishable tints, the arrangement cannot be that of a
line, but has to cover a surface. With the tints arranged on a surface
we can pass from any one of them to any other by various lines of
gradually changing intermediaries. Such an arrangement is represented in
Fig. 15. It is a merely classificatory diagram based on degrees of
difference simply felt, and has no physical significance. Black is a
color, but does not figure on the plane of the diagram. We cannot place
it anywhere alongside of the other colors because we need both to
represent the straight gradation from untinted white to black, and that
from each pure color towards black as well as towards white. The best
way is to put black into the third dimension, beneath the paper, _e.g._,
as is shown perspectively in Fig. 16, then all the transitions can be
schematically shown. One can pass straight from black to white, or one
can pass round by way of olive, green, and pale green; or one can change
from dark blue to yellow through green, or by way of sky-blue, white and
straw color; etc., etc. In any case the changes are continuous; and the
color system thus forms what Wundt calls a tri-dimensional continuum.

[Illustration: FIG. 15.]

=Color-mixture.=--Physiologically considered, the colors have this
peculiarity, that many pairs of them, when they impress the retina
together, produce the sensation of white. The colors which do this are
called _complementaries_. Such are spectral red and green-blue, spectral
yellow and indigo-blue. Green and purple, again, are complementaries.
All the spectral colors added together also make white light, such as
we daily experience in the sunshine. Furthermore, both homogeneous
ether-waves and heterogeneous ones may make us feel the same color, when
they fall on our retina. Thus yellow, which is a simple spectral color,
is also felt when green light is added to red; blue is felt when violet
and green lights are mixed. Purple, which is not a spectral color at
all, results when the waves either of red and of violet or those of blue
and of orange are superposed.[15]

[Illustration: FIG. 16 (after Ziehen).]

From all this it follows that there is no particular congruence between
our system of color-sensations and the physical stimuli which excite
them. Each color-feeling is a 'specific energy' (p. 11) which many
different physical causes may arouse. Helmholtz, Hering, and others have
sought to simplify the tangle of the facts, by physiological hypotheses
which, differing much in detail, agree in principle, since they all
postulate a limited number of elementary retinal processes to which,
when excited singly, certain 'fundamental' colors severally correspond.
When excited in combination, as they may be by the most various physical
stimuli, other colors, called 'secondary,' are felt. The secondary
color-sensations are often spoken of as if they were compounded of the
primary sensations. This is a great mistake. The _sensations as such_
are not compounded--yellow, for example, a secondary on Helmholtz's
theory, is as unique a quality of feeling as the primaries red and
green, which are said to 'compose' it. What are compounded are merely
the elementary retinal processes. These, according to their combination,
produce diverse results on the brain, and thence the secondary colors
result immediately in consciousness. The 'color-theories' are thus
physiological, not psychological, hypotheses, and for more information
concerning them the reader must consult the physiological books.

=The Duration of Luminous Sensations.=--"This is greater than that of the
stimulus, a fact taken advantage of in making fireworks: an ascending
rocket produces the sensation of a trail of light extending far behind
the position of the bright part of the rocket itself at the moment,
because the sensation aroused by it in a lower part of its course still
persists. So, shooting stars appear to have luminous tails behind them.
By rotating rapidly before the eye a disk with alternate white and black
sectors we get for each point of the retina alternate stimulation (due
to the passage of white sector) and rest (when a black sector is
passing). If the rotation be rapid enough the sensation aroused is that
of a uniform gray, such as would be produced if the white and black were
mixed and spread evenly over the disk. In each revolution the eye gets
as much light as if that were the case, and is unable to distinguish
that this light is made up of separate portions reaching it at
intervals: the stimulation due to each lasts until the next begins, and
so all are fused together. If one turns out suddenly the gas in a room
containing no other light, the image of the flame persists a short time
after the flame itself is extinguished."[16] If we open our eyes
instantaneously upon a scene, and then shroud them in complete darkness,
it will be as if we saw the scene in ghostly light through the dark
screen. We can read off details in it which were unnoticed whilst the
eyes were open. This is the primary positive after-image, so-called.
According to Helmholtz, one third of a second is the most favorable
length of exposure to the light for producing it.

=Negative after-images= are due to more complex conditions, in which
fatigue of the retina is usually supposed to play the chief part.

     "The nervous visual apparatus is easily fatigued. Usually we do not
     observe this because its restoration is also rapid, and in ordinary
     life our eyes, when open, are never at rest; we move them to and
     fro, so that parts of the retina receive light alternately from
     brighter and darker objects, and are alternately excited and
     rested. How constant and habitual the movement of the eyes is can
     be readily observed by trying to 'fix' for a short time a small
     spot without deviating the glance; to do so for even a few seconds
     is impossible without practice. If any small object is steadily
     'fixed' for twenty or thirty seconds, it will be found that the
     whole field of vision becomes grayish and obscure, because the
     parts of the retina receiving most light get fatigued, and arouse
     no more sensation than those less fatigued and stimulated by light
     from less illuminated objects. Or look steadily at a black object,
     say a blot on a white page, for twenty seconds, and then turn the
     eye on a white wall; the latter will seem dark gray, with a white
     patch on it; an effect due to the greater excitability of the
     retinal parts previously rested by the black, when compared with
     the sensation aroused elsewhere by light from the white wall acting
     on the previously stimulated parts of the visual surface. All
     persons will recall many instances of such phenomena, which are
     especially noticeable soon after rising in the morning. Similar
     things may be noticed with colors; after looking at a red patch the
     eye turned on a white wall sees a blue-green patch; the elements
     causing red sensations having been fatigued, the white mixed light
     from the wall now excites on that region of the retina only the
     other primary color sensations. The blending of colors so as to
     secure their greatest effect depends on this fact; red and green go
     well together because each rests the parts of the visual apparatus
     most excited by the other, and so each appears bright and vivid as
     the eye wanders to and fro; while red and orange together, each
     exciting and exhausting mainly the same visual elements, render
     dull, or in popular phrase 'kill,' one another.

     "If we fix steadily for thirty seconds a point between two white
     squares about 4 mm. (⅙ inch) apart on a large black sheet, and then
     close and cover our eyes, we get a negative after-image in which
     are seen two dark squares on a brighter surface; this surface is
     brighter close around the negative after-image of each square, and
     brightest of all between them. This luminous boundary is called the
     _corona_, and is explained usually as an effect of simultaneous
     contrast; the dark after-image of the square it is said makes us
     mentally err in judgment, and think the clear surface close to it
     brighter than elsewhere; and it is brightest between the two dark
     squares, just as a middle-sized man between two tall ones looks
     shorter than if alongside one only. If, however, the after-image be
     watched, it will often be noticed not only that the light band
     between the squares is intensely white, much more so than the
     normal idio-retinal light [see below], but, as the image fades
     away, often the two dark after-images of the squares disappear
     entirely with all of the corona, except that part between them
     which is still seen as a bright band on a uniform grayish field.
     Here there is no _contrast_ to produce the error of judgment; and
     from this and other experiments Hering concludes that light acting
     on one part of the retina produces inverse changes in all the rest,
     and that this plays an important part in producing the phenomena of
     contrasts. Similar phenomena may be observed with colored objects;
     in their negative after-images each tint is represented by its
     complementary, as black is by white in colorless vision."[17]

This is one of the facts referred to on p. 27 which have made Hering
reject the psychological explanation of simultaneous contrast.

=The Intensity of Luminous Objects.=--Black is an optical sensation. We
have no black except in the field of view; we do not, for instance, see
black out of our stomach or out of the palm of our hand. _Pure_ black
is, however, only an 'abstract idea,' for the retina itself (even in
complete objective darkness) seems to be always the seat of internal
changes which give some luminous sensation. This is what is meant by the
'idio-retinal light,' spoken of a few lines back. It plays its part in
the determination of all after-images with closed eyes. Any objective
luminous stimulus, to be perceived, must be strong enough to give a
sensible increment of sensation over and above the idio-retinal light.
As the objective stimulus increases the perception is of an intenser
luminosity; but the perception changes, as we saw on p. 18, more slowly
than the stimulus. The latest numerical determinations, by König and
Brodhun, were applied to six different colors and ran from an intensity
arbitrarily called 1 to one which was 100,000 times as great. From
intensity 2000 to 20,000 Weber's law held good; below and above this
range discriminative sensibility declined. The relative increment
discriminated here was the same for all colors of light, and lay
(according to the tables) between 1 and 2 per cent of the stimulus.
Previous observers have got different results.

A certain amount of luminous intensity must exist in an object for its
color to be discriminated at all. "In the dark all cats are gray." But
the colors rapidly become distincter as the light increases, first the
blues and last the reds and yellows, up to a certain point of intensity,
when they grow indistinct again through the fact that each takes a turn
towards white. At the highest bearable intensity of the light all colors
are lost in the blinding white dazzle. This again is usually spoken of
as a 'mixing' of the sensation white with the original color-sensation.
It is no mixing of two sensations, but the replacement of one sensation
by another, in consequence of a changed neural process.




     FIG. 17.--Semidiagrammatic section through the right ear (Czermak).
     _M_, concha; _G_, external auditory meatus; _T_, tympanic membrane;
     _P_, tympanic cavity; _o_, oval foramen; _r_, round foramen; _R_,
     pharyngeal opening of Eustachian tube; _V_, vestibule; _B_, a
     semicircular canal; _S_, the cochlea; _Vt_, scala vestibuli; _Pt_,
     scala tympani; _A_, auditory nerve.

=The Ear.=--"The auditory organ in man consists of three portions, known
respectively as the _external ear_, the _middle ear_ or _tympanum_, and
the _internal ear_ or _labyrinth_; the latter contains the end-organs of
the auditory nerve. The external ear consists of the expansion seen on
the exterior of the head, called the _concha_, _M_, Fig. 17, and a
passage leading in from it, the _external auditory meatus_, _G_. This
passage is closed at its inner end by the _tympanic_ or _drum membrane_,
_T_. It is lined by skin, through which numerous small glands, secreting
the _wax_ of the ear, open.


     FIG. 18.--_Mcp_, _Mc_, _Ml_, and _Mm_ stand for different parts of
     the malleus; _Jc_, _Jb_, _Jl_, _Jpl_, for different parts of the
     incus. _S_ is the stapes.

"_The Tympanum_ (_P_, Fig. 17) is an irregular cavity in the temporal
bone, closed externally by the drum membrane. From its inner side the
_Eustachian tube_ (_R_) proceeds and opens into the pharynx. The inner
wall of the tympanum is bony except for two small apertures, the _oval_
and _round foramens_, _o_ and _r_, which lead into the labyrinth. During
life the round aperture is closed by the lining mucous membrane, and the
oval by the stirrup-bones. The _tympanic membrane_ _T_, stretched across
the outer side of the tympanum, forms a shallow funnel with its
concavity outwards. It is pressed by the external air on its exterior,
and by air entering the tympanic cavity through the Eustachian tube on
its inner side. If the tympanum were closed these pressures would not be
always equal when barometric pressure varied, and the membrane would be
bulged in or out according as the external or internal pressure on it
were the greater. On the other hand, were the Eustachian tube always
open the sounds of our own voices would be loud and disconcerting, so it
is usually closed; but every time we swallow it is opened, and thus the
air-pressure in the cavity is kept equal to that in the external
auditory meatus. On making a balloon ascent or going rapidly down a deep
mine, the sudden and great change of aërial pressure outside frequently
causes painful tension of the drum-membrane, which may be greatly
alleviated by frequent swallowing.

_The Auditory Ossicles._--Three small bones lie in the tympanum forming
a chain from the drum-membrane to the oval foramen. The external bone is
the _malleus_ or _hammer_; the middle one, the _incus_ or _anvil_; and
the internal one, the _stapes_ or _stirrup_. They are represented in
Fig. 18.[19]

=Accommodation= is provided for in the ear as well as in the eye. One
muscle an inch long, the _tensor tympani_, arises in the petrous portion
of the temporal bone (running in a canal parallel to the Eustachian
tube) and is inserted into the malleus below its head. When it
contracts, it makes the membrane of the tympanum more tense. Another
smaller muscle, the _stapedius_, goes to the head of the stirrup-bone.
These muscles are by many persons felt distinctly contracting when
certain notes are heard, and some can make them contract at will. In
spite of this, uncertainty still reigns as to their exact use in
hearing, though it is highly probable that they give to the membranes
which they influence the degree of tension best suited to take up
whatever rates of vibration may fall upon them at the time. In
listening, the head and ears in lower animals, and the head alone in
man, are turned so as best to receive the sound. This also is a part of
the reaction called 'adaptation' of the organ (see the chapter on

=The Internal Ear.=--"The labyrinth consists primarily of chambers and
tubes hollowed out in the temporal bone and inclosed by it on all sides,
except for the oval and round foramens on its exterior, and certain
apertures for blood-vessels and the auditory nerve; during life all
these are closed water-tight in one way or another. Lying in the _bony
labyrinth_ thus constituted are membranous parts, of the same general
form but smaller, so that between the two a space is left; this is
filled with a watery fluid, called the _perilymph_; and the _membranous
internal ear_ is filled by a similar liquid, the _endolymph_.


     FIG. 19.--Casts of the bony labyrinth. _A_, left labyrinth seen
     from the outer side; _B_, right labyrinth from the inner side; _C_,
     left labyrinth from above; _Co_, cochlea; _V_, vestibule; _Fc_,
     round foramen; _Fv_, oval foramen; _h_, horizontal semicircular
     canal; _ha_, its ampulla; _vaa_, ampulla of anterior vertical
     semicircular canal; _vpa_, ampulla of posterior vertical
     semicircular canal; _vc_, conjoined portion of the two vertical

=The Bony Labyrinth.=--"The bony labyrinth is described in three portions,
the _vestibule_, the _semicircular canals_, and the _cochlea_; casts of
its interior are represented from different aspects in Fig. 19. The
vestibule is the central part and has on its exterior the oval foramen
(_Fv_) into which the base of the stirrup-bone fits. Behind the
vestibule are three bony semicircular canals, communicating with the
back of the vestibule at each end, and dilated near one end to form an
_ampulla_. The bony cochlea is a tube coiled on itself somewhat like a
snail's shell, and lying in front of the vestibule.

=The Membranous Labyrinth.=--"The membranous vestibule, lying in the bony,
consists of two sacs communicating by a narrow aperture. The posterior
is called the _utriculus_, and into it the membranous semicircular
canals open. The anterior, called the _sacculus_, communicates by a tube
with the membranous cochlea. The membranous semicircular canals much
resemble the bony, and each has

[Illustration: FIG. 20.--A section through the cochlea in the line of
its axis.]


     FIG. 21.--Section of one coil of the cochlea, magnified. _SV_,
     _scala vestibuli_; _R_, membrane of Reissner; _CC_, membranous
     cochlea (_scala media_); _lls_, _limbus laminæ spiralis_; _t_,
     tectorial membrane; _ST_, _scala tympani_; _lso_, spiral lamina;
     _Co_, rods of Corti; _b_, basilar membrane.

an ampulla; in the ampulla one side of the membranous tube is closely
adherent to its bony protector; at this point nerves enter the former.
The relations of the membranous to the bony cochlea are more
complicated. A section through this part of the auditory apparatus (Fig.
20) shows that its osseous portion consists of a tube wound two and a
half times round a central bony axis, the _modiolus_. From the axis a
shelf, the _lamina spiralis_, projects and partially subdivides the
tube, extending farthest across in its lower coils. Attached to the
outer edge of this bony plate is the membranous cochlea (_scala media_),
a tube triangular in cross-section and attached by its base to the outer
side of the bony cochlear spiral. The spiral lamina and the membranous
cochlea thus subdivide the cavity of the bony tube (Fig. 21) into an
upper portion, the _scala vestibuli_, _SV_, and a lower, the _scala
tympani_, _ST_. Between these lie the lamina spiralis (_lso_) and the
membranous cochlea (_CC_), the latter being bounded above by the
membrane of Reissner (_R_) and below by the basilar membrane (_b_)."[20]

The membranous cochlea does not extend to the tip of the bony cochlea;
above its apex the scala vestibuli and scala tympani communicate. Both
are filled with perilymph, so that when the stapes is pushed into the
oval foramen, _o_, in Fig. 17, by the impact of an air-wave on the
tympanic membrane, a wave of perilymph runs up the scala vestibuli to
the top, where it turns into the scala tympani, down whose whorls it
runs and pushes out the round foramen _r_, ruffling probably the
membrane of Reissner and the basilar membrane on its way up and down.


     FIG. 22.--The rods of Corti. _A_, a pair of rods separated from the
     rest; _B_, a bit of the basilar membrane with several rods on it,
     showing how they cover in the _tunnel of Corti_; _i_, inner, and
     _e_, outer rods; _b_, basilar membrane; _r_, reticular membrane.

=The Terminal Organs.=--"The membranous cochlea contains certain solid
structures seated on the basilar membrane and forming the _organ of
Corti_. This contains the end-organs of the cochlear nerves. Lining the
sulcus spiralis, a groove in the edge of the bony lamina spiralis, are
cuboidal cells; on the inner margin of the basilar membrane they become
columnar, and then are succeeded by a row which bear on their upper ends
a set of short stiff hairs, and constitute the _inner hair-cells_, which
are fixed below by a narrow apex to the basilar membrane; nerve-fibres
enter them. To the inner hair-cells succeed the _rods of Corti_ (_Co_,
Fig. 21), which are represented highly magnified in Fig. 22. These rods
are stiff and arranged side by side in two rows, leaned against one
another by their upper ends so as to cover in a tunnel; they are known
respectively as the _inner_ and _outer rods_, the former being nearer
the _lamina spiralis_. The inner rods are more numerous than the outer,
the numbers being about 6000 and 4500 respectively. Attached to the
external sides of the heads of the outer rods is the _reticular
membrane_ (_r_, Fig. 22), which is stiff and perforated by holes.
External to the outer rods come four rows of _outer hair-cells_,
connected like the inner row with nerve-fibres; their bristles project
into the holes of the reticular membrane. Beyond the outer hair-cells is
ordinary columnar epithelium, which passes gradually into cuboidal cells
lining most of the membranous cochlea. From the upper lip of the sulcus
spiralis projects the _tectorial membrane_ (_t_, Fig. 21) which extends
over the rods of Corti and the hair-cells."[21]


     FIG. 23.--Sensory epithelium from ampulla or semicircular canal,
     and saccule. At _n_ a nerve-fibre pierces the wall, and after
     branching enters the two hair-cells, _c_. At _h_ a 'columnar cell'
     with a long hair is shown, the nerve-fibre being broken away from
     its base. The slender cells at _f_ seem unconnected with nerves.

The hair-cells would thus seem to be the terminal organs for 'picking
up' the vibrations which the air-waves communicate through all the
intervening apparatus, solid and liquid, to the basilar membrane.
Analogous hair-cells receive the terminal nerve-filaments in the walls
of the saccule, utricle, and ampullæ (see Fig. 23).

=The Various Qualities of Sound.=--Physically, sounds consist of
vibrations, and these are, generally speaking, _aërial waves_. When the
waves are non-periodic the result is a _noise_; when periodic it is
what is nowadays called a _tone_, or _note_. The _loudness_ of a sound
depends on the _force_ of the waves. When they recur periodically a
peculiar quality called _pitch_ is the effect of their _frequency_. In
addition to loudness and pitch tones have each their _voice_ or
_timbre_, which may differ widely in different instruments giving
equally loud tones of the same pitch. This voice depends on the _form_
of the aërial wave.

=Pitch.=--A single puff of air, set in motion by no matter what cause,
will give a sensation of sound, but it takes at least four or five
puffs, or more, to convey a sensation of pitch. The pitch of the note
_c_, for instance, is due to 132 vibrations a second, that of its octave
_c´_ is produced by twice as many, or 264 vibrations; but in neither
case is it necessary for the vibrations to go on during a full second
for the pitch to be discerned. "Sound vibrations may be too rapid or too
slow in succession to produce sonorous sensations, just as the
ultra-violet and ultra-red rays of the solar spectrum fail to excite the
retina. The highest-pitched audible note answers to about 38,016
vibrations in a second, but it differs in individuals; many persons
cannot hear the cry of a bat nor the chirp of a cricket, which lie near
this upper audible limit. On the other hand, sounds of vibrational rate
about 40 per second are not well heard, and a little below this they
produce rather a 'hum' than a true tone-sensation, and are only used
along with notes of higher octaves to which they give a character of
greater depth."[22]

The entire system of pitches forms _a continuum of one dimension_; that
is to say, you can pass from one pitch to another only by one set of
intermediaries, instead of by more than one, as in the case of colors.
(See p. 41.) The whole series of pitches is embraced in and between the
terms of what is called the musical scale. The adoption of certain
arbitrary points in this scale as 'notes' has an explanation partly
historic and partly æsthetic, but too complex for exposition here.

=The 'timbre'= of a note is due to its _wave-form_. Waves are either
simple ('pendular') or compound. Thus if a tuning-fork (which gives
waves nearly simple) vibrate 132 times a second, we shall hear the note
_c_. If simultaneously a fork of 264 vibrations be struck, giving the
next higher octave, _c´_, the aërial movement at any time will be the
algebraic sum of the movements due to both forks; whenever both drive
the air one way they reinforce one another; when on the contrary the
recoil of one fork coincides with the forward stroke of another, they
detract from each other's effect. The result is a movement which is
still periodic, repeating itself at equal intervals of time, but no
longer _pendular_, since it is not alike on the ascending and descending
limbs of the curves. We thus get at the fact that non-pendular
vibrations may be produced by the fusion of pendular, or, in technical
phrase, by their _composition_.

Suppose several musical instruments, as those of an orchestra, to be
sounded together. Each produces its own effect on the air-particles,
whose movements, being an algebraical sum, must at any given instant be
very complex; yet the ear can pick out at will and follow the tones of
any one instrument. Now in most musical instruments it is susceptible of
physical proof that with every single note that is sounded many upper
octaves and other 'harmonics' sound simultaneously in fainter form. On
the relative strength of this or that one or more of these Helmholtz has
shown that the instrument's peculiar voice depends. The several
vowel-sounds in the human voice also depend on the predominance of
diverse upper harmonics accompanying the note on which the vowel is
sung. When the two tuning-forks of the last paragraph are sounded
together the new form of vibration has the same _period_ as the
lower-pitched fork; yet the ear can clearly distinguish the resultant
sound from that of the lower fork alone, as a note of the same pitch but
of different timbre; and within the compound sound the two components
can by a trained ear be severally heard. Now how can one resultant
wave-form make us hear so many sounds at once?

=The analysis of compound wave-forms= is supposed (after Helmholtz) to be
effected through the different rates of sympathetic resonance of the
different parts of the membranous cochlea. The basilar membrane is some
twelve times broader at the apex of the cochlea than at the base where
it begins, and is largely composed of radiating fibres which may be
likened to stretched strings. Now the physical principle of sympathetic
resonance says that when stretched strings are near a source of
vibration those whose own rate agrees with that of the source also
vibrate, the others remaining at rest. On this principle, waves of
perilymph running down the scala tympani at a certain rate of frequency
ought to set certain particular fibres of the basilar membrane
vibrating, and ought to leave others unaffected. If then each vibrating
fibre stimulated the hair-cell above it, and no others, and each such
hair-cell, sending a current to the auditory brain-centre, awakened
therein a specific process to which the sensation of one particular
pitch was correlated, the physiological condition of our several
pitch-sensations would be explained. Suppose now a chord to be struck in
which perhaps twenty different physical rates of vibration are found: at
least twenty different hair-cells or end-organs will receive the jar;
and if the power of mental discrimination be at its maximum, twenty
different 'objects' of hearing, in the shape of as many distinct pitches
of sound, may appear before the mind.

The rods of Corti are supposed to be _dampers_ of the fibres of the
basilar membrane, just as the malleus, incus, and stapes are dampers of
the tympanic membrane, as well as transmitters of its oscillations to
the inner ear. There must be, in fact, an instantaneous _damping_ of the
physiological vibrations, for there are no such positive after-images,
and no such blendings of rapidly successive tones, as the retina shows
us in the case of light. Helmholtz's theory of the analysis of sounds
is plausible and ingenious. One objection to it is that the keyboard of
the cochlea does not seem extensive enough for the number of distinct
resonances required. We can discriminate many more degrees of pitch than
the 20,000 hair-cells, more or less, will allow for.

=The so-called Fusion of Sensations in Hearing.=--A very common way of
explaining the fact that waves which singly give no feeling of pitch
give one when recurrent, is to say that their several sensations _fuse
into a compound sensation_. A preferable explanation is that which
follows the analogy of muscular contraction. If electric shocks are sent
into a frog's sciatic nerve at slow intervals, the muscle which the
nerve supplies will give a series of distinct twitches, one for each
shock. But if they follow each other at the rate of as many as thirty a
second, no distinct twitches are observed, but a steady state of
contraction instead. This steady contraction is known as _tetanus_. The
experiment proves that there is a physiological cumulation or
overlapping of processes in the muscular tissue. It takes a twentieth of
a second or more for the latter to relax after the twitch due to the
first shock. But the second shock comes in before the relaxation can
occur, then the third again, and so on; so that continuous tetanus takes
the place of discrete twitching. Similarly in the auditory nerve. One
shock of air starts in it a current to the auditory brain-centre, and
affects the latter, so that a dry stroke of sound is heard. If other
shocks follow slowly, the brain-centre recovers its equilibrium after
each, to be again upset in the same way by the next, and the result is
that for each shock of air a distinct sensation of sound occurs. But if
the shock comes in too quick succession, the later ones reach the brain
before the effects of the earlier ones on that organ have died away.
There is thus an overlapping of processes in the auditory centre, a
physiological condition analogous to the muscle's tetanus, to which new
condition a new quality of feeling, that of pitch, directly corresponds.
This latter feeling is a new kind of sensation altogether, not a mere
'appearance' due to many sensations of dry stroke being compounded into
one. No sensations of dry stroke can exist under these circumstances,
for their physiological conditions have been replaced by others. What
'compounding' there is has already taken place in the brain-cells before
the threshold of sensation was reached. Just so red light and green
light beating on the retina in rapid enough alternation, arouse the
central process to which the sensation _yellow_ directly corresponds.
The sensations of red and of green get no chance, under such conditions,
to be born. Just so if the muscle could feel, it would have a certain
sort of feeling when it gave a single twitch, but it would undoubtedly
have a distinct sort of feeling altogether, when it contracted
tetanically; and this feeling of the tetanic contraction would by no
means be identical with a multitude of the feelings of twitching.

=Harmony and Discord.=--When several tones sound together we may get
peculiar feelings of pleasure or displeasure designated as consonance
and dissonance respectively. A note sounds most consonant with its
octave. When with the octave the 'third' and the 'fifth' of the note are
sounded, for instance _c--e--g--c´_, we get the 'full chord' or maximum
of consonance. The ratios of vibration here are as 4:5:6:8, so that one
might think simple ratios were the ground of harmony. But the interval
_c--d_ is discordant, with the comparatively simple ratio 8:9. Helmholtz
explains discord by the overtones making 'beats' together. This gives a
subtle grating which is unpleasant. Where the overtones make no 'beats',
or beats too rapid for their effect to be perceptible, there is
consonance, according to Helmholtz, which is thus a negative rather than
a positive thing. Wundt explains consonance by the presence of strong
identical overtones in the notes which harmonize. No one of these
explanations of musical harmony can be called quite satisfactory; and
the subject is too intricate to be treated farther in this place.

=Discriminative Sensibility of the Ear.=--Weber's law holds fairly well
for the intensity of sounds. If ivory or metal balls are dropped on an
ebony or iron plate, they make a sound which is the louder as they are
heavier or dropped from a greater height. Experimenting in this way
(after others) Merkel found that the just perceptible increment of
loudness required an increase of 3/10 of the original stimulus
everywhere between the intensities marked 20 and 5000 of his arbitrary
scale. Below this the fractional increment of stimulus must be larger;
above it, no measurements were made.

Discrimination of differences of _pitch_ varies in different parts of
the scale. In the neighborhood of 1000 vibrations per second, one fifth
of a vibration more or less can make the sound sharp or flat for a good
ear. It takes a much greater _relative_ alteration to sound sharp or
flat elsewhere on the scale. The chromatic scale itself has been used as
an illustration of Weber's law. The notes seem to differ equally from
each other, yet their vibration-numbers form a series of which each is a
certain multiple of the last. This, however, has nothing to do with
intensities or just perceptible differences; so the peculiar parallelism
between the sensation series and the outer-stimulus series forms here a
case all by itself, rather than an instance under Weber's more general



=Nerve-endings in the Skin.=--"Many of the afferent skin-nerves end in
connection with hair-bulbs; the fine hairs over most of the cutaneous
surface, projecting from the skin, transmit any movement impressed on
them, with increased force, to the nerve-fibres at their fixed ends.
Fine branches of axis-cylinders have also been described as penetrating
between epidermic cells and ending there without terminal organs. In or
immediately beneath the skin several peculiar forms of nerve end-organs
have also been described; they are known as (1) _Touch-cells_; (2)
_Pacinian corpuscles_; (3) _Tactile corpuscles_; (4) _End-bulbs_."[23]


     FIG. 24.--End-bulbs from the conjunctiva of the human eye,

These bodies all consist essentially of granules formed of connective
tissue, in which or round about which one or more sensory nerve-fibres
terminate. They probably magnify impressions just as a grain of sand
does in a shoe, or a crumb does in a finger of a glove.

=Touch, or the Pressure Sense.=--"Through the skin we get several kinds of
sensation; touch proper, heat and cold, and pain; and we can with more
or less accuracy localize them on the surface of the body. The interior
of the mouth possesses also three sensibilities. Through touch proper we
recognize pressure or traction exerted on the skin, and the force of the
pressure; the softness or hardness, roughness or smoothness, of the body
producing it; and the form of this when not too large to be felt all
over. When to learn the form of an object we move the hand over it,
muscular sensations are combined with proper tactile, and such a
combination of the two sensations is frequent; moreover, we rarely touch
anything without at the same time getting temperature sensations;
therefore pure tactile feelings are rare. From an evolution point of
view, touch is probably the first distinctly differentiated sensation,
and this primary position it still largely holds in our mental

Objects are most important to us when in direct contact. The chief
function of our eyes and ears is to enable us to prepare ourselves for
contact with approaching bodies, or to ward such contact off. They have
accordingly been characterized as organs of anticipatory touch.

"The delicacy of the tactile sense varies on different parts of the
skin; it is greatest on the forehead, temples, and back of the forearm,
where a weight of 2 milligr. pressing on an area of 9 sq. millim. can be

"In order that the sense of touch may be excited neighboring skin-areas
must be differently pressed. When the hand is immersed in a liquid, as
mercury, which fits into all its inequalities and presses with
practically the same weight on all neighboring immersed areas, the sense
of pressure is only felt at a line along the surface, where the immersed
and non-immersed parts of the skin meet.

=The Localizing Power of the Skin.=--"When the eyes are closed and a point
of the skin is touched we can with some accuracy indicate the region
stimulated; although tactile feelings are in general characters alike,
they differ in something besides intensity by which we can distinguish
them; some sub-sensation quality not rising definitely into prominence
in consciousness must be present, comparable to the upper partials
determining the timbre of a tone. The accuracy of the localizing power
varies widely in different skin regions and is measured by observing
the least distance which must separate two objects (as the blunted
points of a pair of compasses) in order that they may be felt as two.
The following table illustrates some of the differences observed:

  Tongue-tip                             1.1 mm. (.04 inch)
  Palm side of last phalanx of finger    2.2 mm. (.08 inch)
  Red part of lips                       4.4 mm. (.16 inch)
  Tip of nose                            6.6 mm. (.24 inch)
  Back of second phalanx of finger      11.0 mm. (.44 inch)
  Heel                                  22.0 mm. (.88 inch)
  Back of hand                          30.8 mm. (1.23 inches)
  Forearm                               39.6 mm. (1.58 inches)
  Sternum                               44.0 mm. (1.76 inches)
  Back of neck                          52.8 mm. (2.11 inches)
  Middle of back                        66.0 mm. (2.64 inches)

The localizing power is a little more acute across the long axis of a
limb than in it; and is better when the pressure is only strong enough
to just cause a distinct tactile sensation than when it is more
powerful; it is also very readily and rapidly improvable by practice."
It seems to be naturally delicate in proportion as the skin which
possesses it covers a more movable part of the body.

[Illustration: FIG. 25.]

"It might be thought that this localizing power depended directly on
nerve-distribution; that each touch-nerve had connection with a special
brain-centre at one end (the excitation of which caused a sensation with
a characteristic local sign), and at the other end was distributed over
a certain skin-area, and that the larger this area the farther apart
might two points be and still give rise to only one sensation. If this
were so, however, the peripheral tactile areas (each being determined by
the anatomical distribution of a nerve-fibre) must have definite
unchangeable limits, which experiment shows that they do not possess.
Suppose the small areas in Fig. 25 to each represent a peripheral area
of nerve-distribution. If any two points in _c_ were touched we should
according to the theory get but a single sensation; but if, while the
compass-points remained the same distance apart, or were even
approximated, one were placed in _c_ and the other on a contiguous area,
two fibres would be stimulated and we ought to get two sensations; but
such is not the case; on the same skin-region the points must be always
the same distance apart, no matter how they be shifted, in order to give
rise to two just distinguishable sensations.

"It is probable that the nerve-areas are much smaller than the tactile;
and that several unstimulated must intervene between the excited, in
order to produce sensations which shall be distinct. If we suppose
twelve unexcited nerve-areas must intervene, then, in Fig. 25, _a_ and
_b_ will be just on the limits of a single tactile area; and no matter
how the points are moved, so long as eleven, or fewer, unexcited areas
come between, we would get a single tactile sensation; in this way we
can explain the fact that tactile areas have no fixed boundaries in the
skin, although the nerve-distribution in any part must be constant. We
also see why the back of a knife laid on the surface causes a continuous
linear sensation, although it touches many distinct nerve-areas. If we
could discriminate the excitations of each of these from that of its
immediate neighbors we should get the sensation of a series of points
touching us, one for each nerve-region excited; but in the absence of
intervening unexcited nerve-areas the sensations are fused together.

=The Temperature-sense. Its Terminal Organs.=--"By this we mean our
faculty of perceiving cold and warmth; and, with the help of these
sensations, of perceiving temperature differences in external objects.
Its organ is the whole skin, the mucous membrane of mouth and fauces,
pharynx and gullet, and the entry of the nares. Direct heating or
cooling of a sensory nerve may stimulate it and cause pain, but not a
true temperature-sensation; hence we assume the presence of temperature
end-organs. [These have not yet been ascertained anatomically.
Physiologically, however, the demonstration of special spots in the skin
for feeling heat and cold is one of the most interesting discoveries of
recent years. If one draw a pencil-point over the palm or cheek one will
notice certain spots of sudden coolness. These are the cold-spots; the
heat-spots are less easy to single out. Goldscheider, Blix, and
Donaldson have made minute exploration of determinate tracts of skin and
found the heat-and cold-spots thick-set and permanently distinct.
Between them no temperature-sensation is excited by contact with a
pointed cold or hot object. Mechanical and faradic irritation also
excites in these points their specific feelings respectively.]


     FIG. 26.--The figure marked C P shows the cold-spots, that marked H
     P the heat-spots, and the middle one the hairs on a certain patch
     of skin on one of Goldscheider's fingers.

=The feeling of temperature is relative to the state of the skin.= "In a
comfortable room we feel at no part of the body either heat or cold,
although different parts of its surface are at different temperatures;
the fingers and nose being cooler than the trunk which is covered by
clothes, and this, in turn, cooler than the interior of the mouth. The
temperature which a given region of the temperature-organ has (as
measured by a thermometer) when it feels neither heat nor cold, is its
_temperature-sensation zero_, and is not associated with any one
objective temperature; for not only, as we have just seen, does it vary
in different parts of the organ, but also on the same part from time to
time. Whenever a skin-region has a temperature above its sensation-zero
we feel warmth; and _vice versa_: the sensation is more marked the
greater the difference, and the more suddenly it is produced; touching a
metallic body, which conducts heat rapidly to or from the skin, causes
a more marked hot or cold sensation than touching a worse conductor, as
a piece of wood, of the same temperature.

"The change of temperature in the organ may be brought about by changes
in the circulatory apparatus (more blood flowing through the skin warms
it and less leads to its cooling), or by temperature-changes in gases,
liquids, or solids in contact with it. Sometimes we fail to distinguish
clearly whether the cause is external or internal; a person coming in
from a windy walk often feels a room uncomfortably warm which is not
really so; the exercise has accelerated his circulation and tended to
warm his skin, but the moving outer air has rapidly conducted off the
extra heat; on entering the house the stationary air there does this
less quickly, the skin gets hot, and the cause is supposed to be
oppressive heat of the room. Hence, frequently, opening windows and
sitting in a draught, with its concomitant risks; whereas keeping quiet
for five or ten minutes, until the circulation has returned to its
normal rate, would attain the same end without danger.

"The acuteness of the temperature-sense is greatest at temperatures
within a few degrees of 30° C. (86° F.); at these differences of less
than 0.1° C. can be discriminated. As a means of measuring absolute
temperatures, however, the skin is very unreliable, on account
of the changeability of its sensation-zero. We can localize
temperature-sensations much as tactile, but not so accurately."[25]

=Muscular Sensation.=--The sensation in the muscle itself cannot well be
distinguished from that in the tendon or in its insertion. In muscular
fatigue the insertions are the places most painfully felt. In muscular
rheumatism, however, the whole muscle grows painful; and violent
contraction such as that caused by the faradic current, or known as
cramp, produces a severe and peculiar pain felt in the whole mass of
muscle affected. Sachs also thought that he had demonstrated, both
experimentally and anatomically, the existence of special sensory
nerve-fibres, distinct from the motor fibres, in the frog's muscle. The
latter end in the 'terminal plates,' the former in a network.

Great importance has been attached to the muscular sense as a factor in
our perceptions, not only of weight and pressure, but of the
space-relations between things generally. Our eyes and our hands, in
their explorations of space, move over it and through it. It is usually
supposed that without this sense of an intervening motion performed we
should not perceive two seen points or two touched points to be
separated by an extended interval. I am far from denying the immense
participation of experiences of motion in the construction of our
space-perceptions. But it is still an open question _how_ our muscles
help us in these experiences, whether by their own sensations, or by
awakening sensations of motion on our skin, retina, and articular
surfaces. The latter seems to me the more probable view, and the reader
may be of the same opinion after reading Chapter VI.

=Sensibility to Weight.=--When we wish to estimate accurately the weight
of an object we always, when possible, lift it, and so combine muscular
and articular with tactile sensations. By this means we can form much
better judgments.

Weber found that whereas ⅓ must be added to a weight resting on the hand
for the increase to be felt, the same hand actively 'hefting' the weight
could feel an addition of as little as 1/17. Merkel's recent and very
careful experiments, in which the finger pressed down the beam of a
balance counterweighted by from 25 to 8020 grams, showed that between
200 and 2000 grams a constant fractional increase of about 1/13 was felt
when there was no movement of the finger, and of about 1/19 when there
was movement. Above and below these limits the discriminative power grew

[Illustration: FIG. 27 (after Wundt).]

=Pain.=--The physiology of pain is still an enigma. One might suppose
separate afferent fibres with their own end-organs to carry painful
impressions to a specific pain-centre. Or one might suppose such a
specific centre to be reached by currents of overflow from the other
sensory centres when the violence of their inner excitement should have
reached a certain pitch. Or again one might suppose a certain extreme
degree of inner excitement to produce the feeling of pain in all the
centres. It is certain that sensations of every order, which in moderate
degrees are rather pleasant than otherwise, become painful when their
intensity grows strong. The rate at which the agreeableness and
disagreeableness vary with the intensity of a sensation is roughly
represented by the dotted curve in Fig. 27. The horizontal line
represents the threshold both of sensational and of agreeable
sensibility. Below the line is the disagreeble. The continuous curve is
that of Weber's law which we learned to know in Fig. 2, p. 18. With the
minimal sensation the agreeableness is _nil_, as the dotted curve shows.
It rises at first more slowly than the sensational intensity, then
faster; and reaches its maximum before the sensation is near its acme.
After its maximum of agreeableness the dotted line rapidly sinks, and
soon tumbles below the horizontal into the realm of the disagreeable or
painful in which it declines. That all sensations are painful when too
strong is a piece of familiar knowledge. Light, sound, odors, the taste
of sweet even, cold, heat, and all the skin-sensations, must be moderate
to be enjoyed.

The quality of the sensation complicates the question, however, for in
some sensations, as bitter, sour, salt, and certain smells, the turning
point of the dotted curve must be drawn very near indeed to the
beginning of the scale. In the skin the painful quality soon becomes so
intense as entirely to overpower the specific quality of the sort of
stimulus. Heat, cold, and pressure are indistinguishable when
extreme--we only feel the pain. The hypothesis of separate end-organs in
the skin receives some corroboration from recent experiments, for both
Blix and Goldscheider have found, along with their special heat-and cold
spots, also special 'pain-spots' on the skin. Mixed in with these are
spots which are quite feelingless. However it may stand with the
terminal pain-spots, separate paths of _conduction_ to the brain, for
painful and for merely tactile stimulations of the skin, are made
probable by certain facts. In the condition termed _analgesia_, a touch
is felt, but the most violent pinch, burn, or electric spark destructive
of the tissue will awaken no sensation. This may occur in disease of the
cord, by suggestion in hypnotism, or in certain stages of ether and
chloroform intoxication. "In rabbits a similar state of things was
produced by Schiff, by dividing the gray matter of the cord, leaving the
posterior white columns intact. If, on the contrary, the latter were
divided and the gray substance left, there was increased sensitiveness
to pain, and possibly touch proper was lost. Such experiments make it
pretty certain that when afferent impulses reach the spinal cord at any
level and there enter its gray matter with the posterior root-fibres,
they travel on in different tracts to conscious centres; the tactile
ones coming soon out of the gray network and coursing on in a readily
conducting white fibre, while the painful ones travel on farther in the
gray substance. It is still uncertain if both impulses reach the cord in
the same fibres. The gray network conducts nerve-impulses, but not
easily; they tend soon to be blocked in it. A feeble (tactile) impulse
reaching it by an afferent fibre might only spread a short way and then
pass out into a single good conducting fibre in a white column, and
proceed to the brain; while a stronger (painful) impulse would radiate
farther in the gray matter, and perhaps break out of it by many fibres
leading to the brain through the white columns, and so give rise to an
incoördinate and ill-localized sensation. That pains are badly
localized, and worse the more intense they are, is a well-known fact,
which would thus receive an explanation."[26]

Pain also gives rise to ill-coördinated movements of defence. The
stronger the pain the more violent the start. Doubtless in low animals
pain is almost the only stimulus; and we have preserved the peculiarity
in so far that to-day it is the stimulus of our most energetic, though
not of our most discriminating, reactions.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Taste, smell, as well as hunger, thirst, nausea, and other so-called
'common' sensations= need not be touched on in this book, as almost
nothing of psychological interest is known concerning them.



I treat of these in a separate chapter in order to give them the
emphasis which their importance deserves. They are of two orders:

1) Sensations of objects moving over our sensory surfaces; and

2) Sensations of our whole person's translation through space.

=1) The Sensation of Motion over Surfaces.=--This has generally been
assumed by physiologists to be impossible until the positions of
_terminus a quo_ and _terminus ad quem_ are severally cognized, and the
successive occupancies of these positions by the moving body are
perceived to be separated by a distinct interval of time. As a matter of
fact, however, we cognize only the very slowest motions in this way.
Seeing the hand of a clock at XII and afterwards at VI, I judge that it
has moved through the interval. Seeing the sun now in the east and again
in the west, I infer it to have passed over my head. But we can only
_infer_ that which we already generically know in some more direct
fashion, and it is experimentally certain that we have the feeling of
motion given us as a direct and simple _sensation_. Czermak long ago
pointed out the difference between _seeing the motion_ of the
second-hand of a watch, when we look directly at it, and noticing the
fact that it has _altered its position_, whilst our gaze is fixed upon
some other point of the dial-plate. In the first case we have a specific
quality of sensation which is absent in the second. If the reader will
find a portion of his skin--the arm, for example--where a pair of
compass-points an inch apart are felt as one impression, and if he will
then trace lines a tenth of an inch long on that spot with a
pencil-point, he will be distinctly aware of the point's motion and
vaguely aware of the direction of the motion. The perception of the
motion here is certainly not derived from a preëxisting knowledge that
its starting and ending points are separate positions in space, because
positions in space ten times wider apart fail to be discriminated as
such when excited by the compass-points. It is the same with the retina.
One's fingers when cast upon its peripheral portions cannot be
counted--that is to say, the five retinal tracts which they occupy are
not distinctly apprehended by the mind as five separate positions in
space--and yet the slightest _movement_ of the fingers is most vividly
perceived as movement and nothing else. It is thus certain that our
sense of movement, being so much more delicate than our sense of
position, cannot possibly be derived from it.

_Vierordt, at almost the same time, called attention to certain
persistent illusions, amongst which are these_: If another person gently
trace a line across our wrist or finger, the latter being stationary, it
will feel to us as if the member were moving in the opposite direction
to the tracing point. If, on the contrary, we move our limb across a
fixed point, it will seem as if the point were moving as well. If the
reader will touch his forehead with his forefinger kept motionless, and
then rotate the head so that the skin of the forehead passes beneath the
finger's tip, he will have an irresistible sensation of the latter being
itself in motion in the opposite direction to the head. So in abducting
the fingers from each other; some may move and the rest be still, but
the still ones will feel as if they were actively separating from the
rest. These illusions, according to Vierordt, are survivals of a
primitive form of perception, when motion was felt as such, but ascribed
to the whole 'content' of consciousness, and not yet distinguished as
belonging exclusively to one of its parts. When our perception is fully
developed we go beyond the mere relative motion of thing and ground, and
can ascribe absolute motion to one of these components of our total
object, and absolute rest to another. When, in vision for example, the
whole field of view seems to move together, we think it is ourselves or
our eyes which are moving; and any object in the foreground which may
seem to move relatively to the background is judged by us to be really
still. But primitively this discrimination is not perfectly made. The
sensation of the motion spreads over all that we see and infects it. Any
relative motion of object and retina both makes the object seem to move,
and makes us feel ourselves in motion. Even now when our whole field of
view really does move we get giddy, and feel as if we too were moving;
and we still see an apparent motion of the entire field of view whenever
we suddenly jerk our head and eyes or shake them quickly to and fro.
Pushing our eyeballs gives the same illusion. We _know_ in all these
cases what really happens, but the conditions are unusual, so our
primitive sensation persists unchecked. So it does when clouds float by
the moon. We _know_ the moon is still; but we _see_ it move faster than
the clouds. Even when we slowly move our eyes the primitive sensation
persists under the victorious conception. If we notice closely the
experience, we find that any object towards which we look appears moving
to meet our eye.

But the most valuable contribution to the subject is the paper of G. H.
Schneider,[27] who takes up the matter zoölogically, and shows by
examples from every branch of the animal kingdom that movement is the
quality by which animals most easily attract each other's attention. The
instinct of 'shamming death' is no shamming of death at all, but rather
a paralysis through fear, which saves the insect, crustacean, or other
creature from being _noticed at all_ by his enemy. It is paralleled in
the human race by the breath-holding stillness of the boy playing 'I
spy,' to whom the seeker is near; and its obverse side is shown in our
involuntary waving of arms, jumping up and down, and so forth, when we
wish to attract someone's attention at a distance. Creatures 'stalking'
their prey and creatures hiding from their pursuers alike show how
immobility diminishes conspicuity. In the woods, if we are quiet, the
squirrels and birds will actually touch us. Flies will light on stuffed
birds and stationary frogs. On the other hand, the tremendous shock of
feeling the thing we are sitting on begin to move, the exaggerated start
it gives us to have an insect unexpectedly pass over our skin, or a cat
noiselessly come and snuffle about our hand, the excessive reflex
effects of tickling, etc., show how exciting the sensation of motion is
_per se_. A kitten cannot help pursuing a moving ball. Impressions too
faint to be cognized at all are immediately felt if they move. A fly
sitting is unnoticed,--we feel it the moment it crawls. A shadow may be
too faint to be perceived. If we hold a finger between our closed eyelid
and the sunshine we do not notice its presence. The moment we move it to
and fro, however, we discern it. Such visual perception as this
reproduces the conditions of sight among the radiates.

In ourselves, the main function of the peripheral parts of the retina is
that of sentinels, which, when beams of light move over them, cry 'Who
goes there?' and call the fovea to the spot. Most parts of the skin do
but perform the same office for the finger-tips. Of course _movement of
surface under object is (for purposes of stimulation) equivalent to
movement of object over surface_. In exploring the shapes and sizes of
things by either eye or skin the movements of these organs are incessant
and unrestrainable. Every such movement draws the points and lines of
the object across the surface, imprints them a hundred times more
sharply, and drives them home to the attention. The immense part thus
played by movements in our perceptive activity is held by many
psychologists to prove that the muscles are themselves the
space-perceiving organ. Not surface-sensibility, but 'the muscular
sense,' is for these writers the original and only revealer of objective
extension. But they have all failed to notice with what peculiar
intensity muscular movements call surface-sensibilities into play, and
how largely the mere discernment of impressions depends on the mobility
of the surfaces upon which they fall.

Our _articular surfaces are tactile organs_ which become intensely
painful when inflamed. Besides pressure, _the only stimulus they receive
is their motion upon each other_. To the sensation of this motion more
than anything else seems due the perception of the position which our
limbs may have assumed. Patients cutaneously and muscularly anæsthetic
in one leg can often prove that their articular sensibility remains, by
showing (by movements of their well leg) the positions in which the
surgeon may place their insensible one. Goldscheider in Berlin caused
fingers, arms, and legs to be passively rotated upon their various
joints in a mechanical apparatus which registered both the velocity of
movement impressed and the amount of angular rotation. The minimal felt
amounts of rotation were much less than a single angular degree in all
the joints except those of the fingers. Such displacements as these,
Goldscheider says, can hardly be detected by the eye. Anæsthesia of the
skin produced by induction-currents had no disturbing effect on the
perception, nor did the various degrees of pressure of the moving force
upon the skin affect it. It became, in fact, all the more distinct in
proportion as the concomitant pressure-feelings were eliminated by
artificial anæsthesia. When the joints themselves, however, were made
artificially anæsthetic, the perception of the movement grew obtuse and
the angular rotations had to be much increased before they were
perceptible. All these facts prove, according to Herr Goldscheider, that
_the joint-surfaces and these alone are the seat of the impressions by
which the movements of our members are immediately perceived_.

=2) Sensations of Movement through Space.=--These may be divided, into
feelings of rotation and feelings of translation. As was stated at the
end of the chapter on the ear, the labyrinth (semicircular canals,
utricle and saccule) seems to have nothing to do with hearing. It is
conclusively established to-day that the semicircular canals are the
organs of a sixth special sense, that namely of rotation. When
subjectively excited, this sensation is known as _dizziness_ or
_vertigo_, and rapidly engenders the farther feeling of nausea.
Irritative disease of the inner ear causes intense vertigo (Ménière's
disease). Traumatic irritation of the canals in birds and mammals makes
the animals tumble and throw themselves about in a way best explained by
supposing them to suffer from false sensations of falling, etc., which
they compensate by reflex muscular acts that throw them the other way.
Galvanic irritation of the membranous canals in pigeons cause just the
same compensatory movements of head and eye which actual rotations
impressed on the creatures produce. Deaf and dumb persons (amongst whom
many must have had their auditory nerves or labyrinths destroyed by the
same disease which took away their hearing) are in a very large
percentage of cases found quite insusceptible of being made dizzy by
rotation. Purkinje and Mach have shown that, whatever the organ of the
sense of rotation may be, it must have its seat in the head. The body is
excluded by Mach's elaborate experiments.

The semicircular canals, being, as it were, six little spirit-levels in
three rectangular planes, seem admirably adapted to be organs of a sense
of rotation. We need only suppose that when the head turns in the plane
of any one of them, the relative inertia of the endolymph momentarily
increases its pressure on the nerve-termini in the appropriate ampulla,
which pressure starts a current towards the central organ for feeling
vertigo. This organ seems to be the cerebellum, and the teleology of
the whole business would appear to be the maintenance of the upright
position. If a man stand with shut eyes and attend to his body, he will
find that he is hardly for a moment in equilibrium. Incipient fallings
towards every side in succession are incessantly repaired by muscular
contractions which restore the balance; and although impressions on the
tendons, ligaments, foot-soles, joints, etc., doubtless are among the
causes of the compensatory contractions, yet the strongest and most
special reflex arc would seem to be that which has the sensation of
incipient vertigo for its afferent member. This is experimentally proved
to be much more easily excited than the other sensations referred to.
When the cerebellum is disorganized the reflex response fails to occur
properly and loss of equilibrium is the result. Irritation of the
cerebellum produces vertigo, loss of balance, and nausea; and galvanic
currents through the head produce various forms of vertigo correlated
with their direction. It seems probable that direct excitement of the
cerebellar centre is responsible for these feelings. In addition to
these corporeal reflexes the sense of rotation causes compensatory
rollings of the eyeballs in the opposite direction, to which some of the
subjective phenomena of _optical vertigo_ are due. Steady rotation gives
no sensation; it is only starting or stopping, or, more generally
speaking, acceleration (positive or negative), which impresses the
end-organs in the ampullæ. The sensation always has a little duration,
however; and the feeling of reversed movement after whirling violently
may last for nearly a minute, slowly fading out.

The cause of the _sense of translation_ (movement forwards or backwards)
is more open to dispute. The seat of this sensation has been assigned to
the semicircular canals when compounding their currents to the brain;
and also to the utricle. The latest experimenter, M. Delage, considers
that it cannot possibly be in the head, and assigns it rather to the
entire body, so far as its parts (blood-vessels, viscera, etc.) are
movable against each other and suffer friction or pressure from their
relative inertia when a movement of translation begins. M. Delage's
exclusion of the labyrinth from this form of sensibility cannot,
however, yet be considered definitively established, so the matter may
rest with this mention.




FIG. 28.      FIG. 29.      FIG. 30.

(All after Huguenin.)]

=Embryological Sketch.=--The brain is a sort of _pons asinorum_ in anatomy
until one gets a certain general conception of it as a clue. Then it
becomes a comparatively simple affair. The clue is given by comparative
anatomy and especially by embryology. At a certain moment in the
development of all the higher vertebrates the cerebro-spinal axis is
formed by a hollow tube containing fluid and terminated in front by an
enlargement separated by transverse constrictions into three 'cerebral
vesicles,' so called (see Fig. 28). The walls of these vesicles thicken
in most places, change in others into a thin vascular tissue, and in
others again send out processes which produce an appearance of farther
subdivision. The middle vesicle or mid-brain (_Mb_ in the figures) is
the least affected by change. Its upper walls thicken into the optic
lobes, or _corpora quadrigemina_ as they are named in man; its lower
walls become the so-called peduncles or _crura_ of the brain; and its
cavity dwindles into the aqueduct of Silvius. A section through the
adult human mid-brain is shown in Fig. 31.


     FIG. 31.--The 'nates' are the anterior corpora quadrigemina, the
     spot above _aq_ is a section of the sylvian aqueduct, and the
     tegmentum and two 'feet' together make the Crura. These are marked
     _C.C._, and a cross (+) marks the aqueduct, in Fig. 32.

[Illustration: FIG. 32 (after Huxley).]

The anterior and posterior vesicles undergo much more considerable
change. The walls of the posterior vesicle thicken enormously in their
foremost portion and form the _cerebellum_ on top (_Cb_ in all the
figures) and the _pons Varolii_ below (_P.V._ in Fig. 33). In its
hindmost portions the posterior vesicle thickens below into the medulla
oblongata (_Mo_ in all the figures), whilst on top its walls thin out
and melt, so that one can pass a probe into the cavity without breaking
through any truly nervous tissue. The cavity which one thus enters from
without is named the fourth ventricle (4 in Figs. 32 and 33). One can
run the probe forward through it, passing first under the cerebellum
and then under a thin sheet of nervous tissue (the _valve of Vieussens_)
just anterior thereto, as far as the _aqueduct of Silvius_. Passing
through this, the probe emerges forward into what was once the cavity of
the anterior vesicle. But the covering has melted away at this place,
and the cavity now forms a deep compressed pit or groove between the two
walls of the vesicle, and is called the _third ventricle_ (3 in Figs. 32
and 33). The 'aqueduct of Sylvius' is in consequence of this connection
often called the _iter a tertio ad quartum ventriculum_. The walls of
the vesicle form the _optic thalami_ (_Th_ in all the figures).

[Illustration: FIG. 33 (after Huxley).]

From the anterior vesicle just in front of the thalami there buds out on
either side an enlargement, into which the cavity of the vesicle
continues, and which becomes the _hemisphere_ of that side. In man its
walls thicken enormously and form folds, the so-called _convolutions_,
on their surface. At the same time they grow backwards rather than
forwards of their starting-point just in front of the thalamus, arching
over the latter; and growing fastest along their top circumference, they
end by bending downwards and forwards again when they have passed the
rear end of the thalamus. When fully developed in man, they overlay and
cover in all the other parts of the brain. Their cavities form the
_lateral ventricles_, easier to understand by a dissection than by a
description. A probe can be passed into either of them from the third
ventricle at its anterior end; and like the third ventricle, their wall
is melted down along a certain line, forming a long cleft through which
they can be entered without rupturing the nervous tissue. This cleft, on
account of the growth of the hemisphere outwards, backwards, and then
downwards from its starting point, has got rolled in and tucked away
beneath the apparent surface.[29]

At first the two hemispheres are connected only with their respective
thalami. But during the fourth and fifth months of embryonic life they
become connected with each other above the thalami through the growth
between them of a massive system of transverse fibres which crosses the
median line like a great bridge and is called the _corpus callosum_.
These fibres radiate in the walls of both hemispheres and form a direct
connection between the convolutions of the right and of the left side.
Beneath the corpus callosum another system of fibres called the _fornix_
is formed, between which and the corpus callosum there is a peculiar
connection. Just in front of the thalami, where the hemispheres begin
their growth, a ganglionic mass called the _corpus striatum_ (_C.S._,
Figs. 32 and 33) is formed in their wall. It is complex in structure,
consisting of two main parts, called _nucleus lenticularis_ and _nucleus
candatus_ respectively. The figures, with their respective explanations,
will give a better idea of the farther details of structure than any
verbal description; so, after some practical directions for dissecting
the organ, I will pass to a brief account of the physiological relations
of its different parts to each other.

     =Dissection of Sheep's Brain.=--The way really to understand the
     brain is to dissect it. The brains of mammals differ only in their
     proportions, and from the sheep's one can learn all that is
     essential in man's. The student is therefore strongly urged to
     dissect a sheep's brain. Full directions of the order of procedure
     are given in the human dissecting books, e.g. Holden's Practical
     Anatomy (Churchill), Morrell's Student's Manual of Comparative
     Anatomy and Guide to Dissection (Longmans), and Foster and
     Langley's Practical Physiology (Macmillan). For the use of classes
     who cannot procure these books I subjoin a few practical notes. The
     instruments needed are a small saw, a chisel with a shoulder, and a
     hammer with a hook on its handle, all three of which form part of
     the regular medical autopsy-kit and can be had of
     surgical-instrument-makers. In addition a scalpel, a pair of
     scissors, a pair of dissecting-forceps, and a silver probe are
     required. The solitary student can find home-made substitutes for
     all these things but the forceps, which he ought to buy.

     The first thing is to get off the skull-cap. Make two saw-cuts,
     through the prominent portion of each condyle (or articular surface
     bounding the hole at the back of the skull, where the spinal cord
     enters) and passing forwards to the temples of the animal. Then
     make two cuts, one on each side, which cross these and meet in an
     angle on the frontal bone. By actual trial, one will find the best
     direction for the saw-cuts. It is hard to saw entirely through the
     skull-bone without in some places also sawing into the brain. Here
     is where the chisel comes in--one can break by a smart blow on it
     with the hammer any parts of the skull not quite sawn through. When
     the skull-cap is ready to come off one will feel it 'wobble.'
     Insert then the hook under its forward end and pull firmly. The
     bony skull-cap alone will come away, leaving the periosteum of the
     inner surface adhering to that of the base of the skull, enveloping
     the brain, and forming the so-called _dura mater_ or outer one of
     its 'meninges.' This dura mater should be slit open round the
     margins, when the brain will be exposed wrapped in its nearest
     membrane, the _pia mater_, full of blood-vessels whose branches
     penetrate the tissues.

     The brain in its pia mater should now be carefully 'shelled out.'
     Usually it is best to begin at the forward end, turning it up there
     and gradually working backwards. The _olfactory lobes_ are liable
     to be torn; they must be carefully scooped from the pits in the
     base of the skull to which they adhere by the branches which they
     send through the bone into the nose-cavity. It is well to have a
     little blunt curved instrument expressly for this purpose. Next the
     _optic nerves_ tie the brain down, and must be cut through--close
     to the chiasma is easiest. After that comes the _pituitary body_,
     which has to be left behind. It is attached by a neck, the
     so-called _infundibulum_, into the upper part of which the cavity
     of the third ventricle is prolonged downwards for a short distance.
     It has no known function and is probably a 'rudimentary organ.'
     Other nerves, into the detail of which I shall not go, must be cut
     successively. Their places in the human brain are shown in Fig. 34.
     When they are divided, and the portion of dura mater (tentorium)
     which projects between the hemispheres and the cerebellum is cut
     through at its edges, the brain comes readily out.


     FIG. 31.--The human brain from below, with its nerves numbered,
     after Henle I, olfactory; II, optic; III, oculo-motorius; IV,
     trochlearis; V, trifacial; VI, abducens oculi; VII, facial; VIII,
     auditory; IX, glosso-pharyngeal; X, pneumogastric; XI, spinal
     accessory; XII, hypoglossal; _nc_I, first cervical, etc.

     It is best examined fresh. If numbers of brains have to be prepared
     and kept, I have found it a good plan to put them first in a
     solution of chloride of zinc, just dense enough at first to float
     them, and to leave them for a fortnight or less. This softens the
     pia mater, which can then be removed in large shreds, after which
     it is enough to place them in quite weak alcohol to preserve them
     indefinitely, tough, elastic, and in their natural shape, though
     bleached to a uniform white color. Before immersion in the chloride
     all the more superficial adhesions of the parts must be broken
     through, to bring the fluid into contact with a maximum of
     surface. If the brain is used fresh, the pia mater had better be
     removed carefully in most places with the forceps, scalpel, and
     scissors. Over the grooves between the cerebellum and hemispheres,
     and between the cerebellum and medulla oblongata, thin cobwebby
     moist transparent vestiges of the _arachnoid_ membrane will be

     The subdivisions may now be examined in due order. For the
     convolutions, blood-vessels, and nerves the more special books must
     be consulted.

     First, looked at from above, with the deep _longitudinal fissure_
     between them, the hemispheres are seen partly overlapping the
     intricately wrinkled _cerebellum_, which juts out behind, and
     covers in turn almost all the medulla oblongata. Drawing the
     hemispheres apart, the brilliant white _corpus callosum_ is
     revealed, some half an inch below their surface. There is no median
     partition in the cerebellum, but a median elevation instead.

     Looking at the brain from below, one still sees the longitudinal
     fissure in the median line in front, and on either side of it the
     _olfactory lobes_, much larger than in man; the _optic tracts_ and
     _commissure_ or _'chiasma'_; the _infundibulum_ cut through just
     behind them; and behind that the single _corpus albicans_ or
     _mamillare_, whose function is unknown and which is double in man.
     Next the _crura_ appear, converging upon the pons as if carrying
     fibres back from either side. The _pons_ itself succeeds, much less
     prominent than in man; and finally behind it comes the medulla
     oblongata, broad and flat and relatively large. The pons looks like
     a sort of collar uniting the two halves of the cerebellum, and
     surrounding the medulla, whose fibres by the time they have emerged
     anteriorly from beneath the collar have divided into the two crura.
     The inner relations are, however, somewhat less simple than what
     this description may suggest.

     Now turn forward the cerebellum; pull out the vascular _choroid
     plexuses_ of the pia, which fill the fourth ventricle; and bring
     the upper surface of the _medulla oblongata_ into view. The _fourth
     ventricle_ is a triangular depression terminating in a posterior
     point called the _calamus scriptorius_. (Here a very fine probe may
     pass into the central canal of the spinal cord.) The lateral
     boundary of the ventricle on either side is formed by the
     _restiform body_ or _column_, which runs into the cerebellum,
     forming its _inferior_ or _posterior peduncle_ on that side.
     Including the calamus scriptorius by their divergence, the
     posterior columns of the spinal cord continue into the medulla as
     the _fasciculi graciles_. These are at first separated from the
     broad restiform bodies by a slight groove. But this disappears
     anteriorly, and the 'slender' and 'ropelike' strands soon become
     outwardly indistinguishable.

     Turn next to the ventral surface of the medulla, and note the
     _anterior pyramids_, two roundish cords, one on either side of the
     slight _median groove_. The pyramids are crossed and closed over
     anteriorly by the _pons Varolii_, a broad transverse band which
     surrounds them like a collar, and runs up into the cerebellum on
     either side, forming its _middle peduncles_. The pons has a slight
     median depression and its posterior edge is formed by the
     _trapezium_ on either side. The trapezium consists of fibres which,
     instead of surrounding the pyramid, seem to start from alongside of
     it. It is not visible in man. The _olivary bodies_ are small
     eminences on the medulla lying just laterally of the pyramids and
     below the trapezium.


     FIG. 35.--Fourth ventricle, etc. (Henle). _III_, third ventricle;
     _IV_, fourth ventricle; _P_, anterior, middle, and posterior
     peduncles of cerebellum cut through; _Cr_, restiform body; _Fg_,
     funiculus gracilis; _Cq_, corpora quadrigemina.

     Now cut through the peduncles of the cerebellum, close to their
     entrance into that organ. They give one surface of section on each
     side, though they receive contributions from three directions. The
     posterior and middle portions we have seen: the _anterior
     peduncles_ pass forward to the _corpora quadrigemina_. The thin
     white layer of nerve-tissue between them and continuous with them
     is called the _valve of Vieussens_. It covers part of the canal
     from the fourth ventricle to the third. The cerebellum being
     removed, examine it, and cut sections to show the peculiar
     distribution of white and gray matter, forming an appearance called
     the _arbor vitæ_ in the books.

     Now bend up the posterior edge of the hemispheres, exposing the
     corpora quadrigemina (of which the anterior pair are dubbed the
     _nates_ and the posterior the _testes_), and noticing the _pineal
     gland_, a small median organ situated just in front of them and
     probably, like the pituitary body, a vestige of something useful in
     premammalian times. The rounded posterior edge of the corpus
     callosum is visible now passing from one hemisphere to the other.
     Turn it still farther up, letting the medulla, etc., hang down as
     much as possible and trace the under surface from this edge
     forward. It is broad behind but narrows forward, becoming
     continuous with the _fornix_. The anterior stem, so to speak, of
     this organ plunges down just in front of the _optic thalami_, which
     now appear with the fornix arching over them, and the median _third
     ventricle_ between them. The margins of the fornix, as they pass
     backwards, diverge laterally farther than the margins of the corpus
     callosum, and under the name of _corpora fimbriata_ are carried
     into the lateral ventricles, as will be seen again.

     It takes a good topographical mind to understand these ventricles
     clearly, even when they are followed with eye and hand. A verbal
     description is absolutely useless. The essential thing to remember
     is that they are offshoots from the original cavity (now the third
     ventricle) of the anterior vesicle, and that a great split has
     occurred in the walls of the hemispheres so that they (the lateral
     ventricles) now communicate with the exterior along a cleft which
     appears sickle shaped, as it were, and folded in.

     The student will probably examine the relations of the parts in
     various ways. But he will do well to begin in any case by cutting
     horizontal slices off the hemispheres almost down to the level of
     the corpus callosum, and examining the distribution of gray and
     white matter on the surfaces of section, any one of which is the
     so-called _centrum ovale_. Then let him cut down in a fore-and-aft
     direction along the edge of the corpus callosum, till he comes
     'through' and draw the hemispherical margin of the cut outwards--he
     will see a space which is the ventricle, and which farther cutting
     along the side and removing of its hemisphere-roof will lay more
     bare. The most conspicuous object on its floor is the _nucleus
     caudatus_ of the _corpus striatum_.


     FIG. 36.--Horizontal section of human brain just above the
     thalami.--_Ccl_, corpus callosum in section; _Cs_, corpus striatum;
     _Sl_, septum lucidum; _Cf_, columns of the fornix; _Tho_, optic
     thalami; _Cn_, pineal gland. (After Henle.)

     Cut the corpus callosum transversely through near its posterior
     edge and bend the anterior portion of it forwards and sideways. The
     rear edge (_splenium_) left _in situ_ bends round and downwards and
     becomes continuous with the _fornix_. The anterior part is also
     continuous with the fornix, but more along the median line, where a
     thinnish membrane, the _septum lucidum_, triangular in shape,
     reaching from the one body to the other, practically forms a sort
     of partition between the contiguous portion of the lateral
     ventricles on the two sides. Break through the _septum_ if need be
     and expose the upper surface of the fornix, broad behind and narrow
     in front where its _anterior pillars_ plunge down in front of the
     third ventricle (from a thickening in whose anterior walls they
     were originally formed), and finally penetrate the corpus albicans.
     Cut these pillars through and fold them back, exposing the thalamic
     portion of the brain, and noting the under surface of the fornix.
     Its diverging _posterior pillars_ run backwards, downwards, and
     then forwards again, forming with their sharp edges the _corpora
     fimbriata_, which bound the cleft by which the ventricle lies open.
     The semi-cylindrical welts behind the _corpora fimbriata_ and
     parallel thereto in the wall of the ventricle are the _hippocampi_.
     Imagine the fornix and corpus callosum shortened in the
     fore-and-aft direction to a transverse cord; imagine the
     hemispheres not having grown backwards and downwards round the
     thalamus; and the corpus fimbriatum on either side would then be
     the upper or anterior margin of a split in the wall of the
     hemispheric ventricle of which the lower and posterior margin would
     be the posterior border of the corpus striatum where it grows out
     of the thalamus.

     The little notches just behind the anterior pillar of the fornix
     and between them and the thalami are the so-called _foramina of
     Monro_ through which the plexus of vessels, etc., passes from the
     median to the lateral ventricles.

     See the thick _middle commissure_ joining the two thalami, just as
     the corpus callosum and fornix join the hemispheres. These are all
     embryological aftergrowths. Seek also the _anterior commissure_
     crossing just in front of the anterior pillars of the fornix, as
     well as the _posterior commissure_ with its lateral prolongations
     along the thalami, just below the pineal gland.

     On a median section, note the thinnish _anterior wall_ of the third
     ventricle and its prolongation downwards into the _infundibulum_.

     Turn up or cut off the rear end of one hemisphere so as to see
     clearly the optic tracts turning upwards towards the rear corner of
     the thalamus. The _corpora geniculata_ to which they also go,
     distinct in man, are less so in the sheep. The lower ones are
     visible between the optic-tract band and the 'testes,' however.

            *       *       *       *       *

     The brain's principal parts are thus passed in review. A
     longitudinal section of the whole organ through the median line
     will be found most instructive (Fig. 37). The student should also
     (on a _fresh_ brain, or one hardened in bichromate of potash or
     ammonia to save the contrast of color between white and gray
     matter) make transverse sections through the _nates_ and _crura_,
     and through the


     FIG. 37.--Median section of human brain below the hemispheres.
     _Th_, thalamus; _Cg_, corpora quadrigemina; _V^{III}_, third
     ventricle; _Com_, middle commissure; _F_, columns of fornix; _Inf_,
     infundibulum; _Op.n_, optic nerve; _Pit_, pituitary body; _Av_,
     arbor vitæ. (After Obersteiner).

     hemispheres just in front of the corpus albicans. The latter
     section shows on each side the _nucleus lenticularis_ of the corpus
     striatum, and also the _inner capsule_ (see Fig. 38, _Nl_, and


     FIG. 38.--Transverse section through right hemisphere (after
     Gegenbaur). _Cc_, corpus callosum; _Pf_, pillars of fornix; _Ic_,
     internal capsule; _V_, third ventricle; _Nl_, nucleus lenticularis.

When all is said and done, the fact remains that, for the beginner, the
understanding of the brain's structure is not an easy thing. It must be
gone over and forgotten and learned again many times before it is
definitively assimilated by the mind. But patience and repetition, here
as elsewhere, will bear their perfect fruit.



=General Idea of Nervous Function.=--If I begin chopping the foot of a
tree, its branches are unmoved by my act, and its leaves murmur as
peacefully as ever in the wind. If, on the contrary, I do violence to
the foot of a fellow-man, the rest of his body instantly responds to the
aggression by movements of alarm or defence. The reason of this
difference is that the man has a nervous system, whilst the tree has
none; and the function of the nervous system is to bring each part into
harmonious coöperation with every other. The afferent nerves, when
excited by some physical irritant, be this as gross in its mode of
operation as a chopping axe or as subtle as the waves of light, conveys
the excitement to the nervous centres. The commotion set up in the
centres does not stop there, but discharges through the efferent nerves,
exciting movements which vary with the animal and with the irritant
applied. These acts of response have usually the common character of
being of service. They ward off the noxious stimulus and support the
beneficial one; whilst if, in itself indifferent, the stimulus be a sign
of some distant circumstance of practical importance, the animal's acts
are addressed to this circumstance so as to avoid its perils or secure
its benefits, as the case may be. To take a common example, if I hear
the conductor calling 'All aboard!' as I enter the station, my heart
first stops, then palpitates, and my legs respond to the air-waves
falling on my tympanum by quickening their movements. If I stumble as I
run, the sensation of falling provokes a movement of the hands towards
the direction of the fall, the effect of which is to shield the body
from too sudden a shock. If a cinder enter my eye, its lids close
forcibly and a copious flow of tears tends to wash it out.

These three responses to a sensational stimulus differ, however, in many
respects. The closure of the eye and the lachrymation are quite
involuntary, and so is the disturbance of the heart. Such involuntary
responses we know as 'reflex' acts. The motion of the arms to break the
shock of falling may also be called reflex, since it occurs too quickly
to be deliberately intended. It is, at any rate, less automatic than the
previous acts, for a man might by conscious effort learn to perform it
more skilfully, or even to suppress it altogether. Actions of this kind,
into which instinct and volition enter upon equal terms, have been
called 'semi-reflex.' The act of running towards the train, on the other
hand, has no instinctive element about it. It is purely the result of
education, and is preceded by a consciousness of the purpose to be
attained and a distinct mandate of the will. It is a 'voluntary act.'
Thus the animal's reflex and voluntary performances shade into each
other gradually, being connected by acts which may often occur
automatically, but may also be modified by conscious intelligence.

=The Frog's Nerve-centres.=--Let us now look a little more closely at what
goes on.

The best way to enter the subject will be to take a lower creature, like
a frog, and study by the vivisectional method the functions of his
different nerve-centres. The frog's nerve-centres are figured in the
diagram over the page, which needs no further explanation. I shall first
proceed to state what happens when various amounts of the anterior parts
are removed, in different frogs, in the way in which an ordinary student
removes them--that is, with no extreme precautions as to the purity of
the operation.

If, then, we reduce the frog's nervous system to the spinal cord alone,
by making a section behind the base of the skull, between the spinal
cord and the medulla oblongata, thereby cutting off the brain from all
connection with the rest of the body, the frog will still continue to
live, but with a very peculiarly modified activity. It ceases to breathe
or swallow; it lies flat on its belly, and does not, like a normal frog,
sit up on its forepaws, though its hind-legs are kept, as usual, folded
against its body and immediately resume this position if drawn out. If
thrown on its back it lies there quietly, without turning over like a
normal frog. Locomotion and voice seem entirely abolished. If we suspend
it by the nose, and irritate different portions of its skin by acid, it
performs a set of remarkable 'defensive' movements calculated to wipe
away the irritant. Thus, if the breast be touched, both fore-paws will
rub it vigorously; if we touch the outer side of the elbow, the
hind-foot of the same side will rise directly to the spot and wipe it.
The back of the foot will rub the knee if that be attacked, whilst if
the foot be cut away, the stump will make ineffectual movements, and
then, in many frogs, a pause will come, as if for deliberation,
succeeded by a rapid passage of the opposite unmutilated foot to the
acidulated spot.


     FIG. 39.--_C_, _H_, cerebral hemispheres; _O Th_, optic thalami; _O
     L_, optic lobes; _Cb_, cerebellum; _M O_, medulla oblongata; _S C_,
     spinal cord.

The most striking character of all these movements, after their
teleological appropriateness, is their precision. They vary, in
sensitive frogs and with a proper amount of irritation, so little as
almost to resemble in their machine-like regularity the performances of
a jumping-jack, whose legs must twitch whenever you pull the string. The
spinal cord of the frog thus contains arrangements of cells and fibres
fitted to convert skin-irritations into movements of defence. We may
call it the _centre for defensive movements_ in this animal. We may
indeed go farther than this, and by cutting the spinal cord in various
places find that its separate segments are independent mechanisms, for
appropriate activities of the head and of the arms and legs
respectively. The segment governing the arms is especially active, in
male frogs, in the breeding season; and these members alone, with the
breast and back appertaining to them, and everything else cut away, will
actively grasp a finger placed between them and remain hanging to it for
a considerable time.

Similarly of the medulla oblongata, optic lobes, and other centres
between the spinal cord and the hemispheres of the frog. Each of them is
proved by experiment to contain a mechanism for the accurate execution,
in response to definite stimuli, of certain special acts. Thus with the
medulla the animal swallows; with the medulla and cerebellum together he
jumps, swims, and turns over from his back; with his optic lobes he
croaks when pinched; etc. _A frog which has lost his cerebral
hemispheres alone is by an unpractised observer indistinguishable from a
normal animal._

Not only is he capable, on proper instigation, of all the acts already
mentioned, but he guides himself by sight, so that if an obstacle be set
up between him and the light, and he be forced to move forward, he
either jumps over it or swerves to one side. He manifests the sexual
instinct at the proper seasons, and discriminates between male and
female individuals of his own species. He is, in short, so similar in
every respect to a normal frog that it would take a person very familiar
with these animals to suspect anything wrong or wanting about him; but
even then such a person would soon remark the almost entire absence of
spontaneous motion--that is, motion unprovoked by any present incitation
of sense. The continued movements of swimming, performed by the creature
in the water, seem to be the fatal result of the contact of that fluid
with its skin. They cease when a stick, for example, touches his hands.
This is a sensible irritant towards which the feet are automatically
drawn by reflex action, and on which the animal remains sitting. He
manifests no hunger, and will suffer a fly to crawl over his nose
unsnapped at. Fear, too, seems to have deserted him. In a word, he is an
extremely complex machine whose actions, so far as they go, tend to
self-preservation; but still a _machine_, in this sense--that it seems
to contain no incalculable element. By applying the right sensory
stimulus to him we are almost as certain of getting a fixed response as
an organist is of hearing a certain tone when he pulls out a certain

_But now if to the lower centres we add the cerebral hemispheres_, or
if, in other words, we make an intact animal the subject of our
observations, all this is changed. In addition to the previous responses
to present incitements of sense, our frog now goes through long and
complex acts of locomotion _spontaneously_, or as if moved by what in
ourselves we should call an idea. His reactions to outward stimuli vary
their form, too. Instead of making simple defensive movements with his
hind-legs, like a headless frog, if touched; or of giving one or two
leaps and then sitting still like a hemisphereless one, he makes
persistent and varied efforts of escape, as if, not the mere contact of
the physiologist's hand, but the notion of danger suggested by it were
now his spur. Led by the feeling of hunger, too, he goes in search of
insects, fish, or smaller frogs, and varies his procedure with each
species of victim. The physiologist cannot by manipulating him elicit
croaking, crawling up a board, swimming or stopping, at will. His
conduct has become incalculable--we can no longer foretell it exactly.
Effort to escape is his dominant reaction, but he _may_ do anything
else, even swell up and become perfectly passive in our hands.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are the phenomena commonly observed, and such the impressions which
one naturally receives. Certain general conclusions follow irresistibly.
First of all the following:

_The acts of all the centres involve the use of the same muscles._ When
a brainless frog's hind-leg wipes the acid, he calls into play all the
leg-muscles which a frog with his full medulla oblongata and cerebellum
uses when he turns from his back to his belly. Their contractions are,
however, _combined_ differently in the two cases, so that the results
vary widely. We must consequently conclude that specific arrangements of
cells and fibres exist in the cord for wiping, in the medulla for
turning over, etc. Similarly they exist in the thalami for jumping over
seen obstacles and for balancing the moved body; in the optic lobes for
creeping backwards, or what not. But in the hemispheres, since the
presence of these organs _brings no new elementary form of movement_
with it, but only _determines differently the occasions_ on which the
movements shall occur, making the usual stimuli less fatal and
machine-like, we need suppose no such machinery _directly_ coördinative
of muscular contractions to exist. We may rather assume, when the
mandate for a wiping-movement is sent forth by the hemispheres, that a
current goes straight to the wiping-arrangement in the spinal cord,
exciting this arrangement as a whole. Similarly, if an intact frog
wishes to jump, all he need do is to excite from the hemispheres the
jumping-centre in the thalami or wherever it may be, and the latter will
provide for the details of the execution. It is like a general ordering
a colonel to make a certain movement, but not telling him how it shall
be done.

_The same muscle, then, is repeatedly represented at different heights_;
and at each it enters into a different combination with other muscles to
coöperate in some special form of concerted movement. At each height the
movement is discharged by some particular form of sensorial stimulus,
whilst the stimuli which discharge the hemispheres would seem not so
much to be elementary sorts of sensation, as groups of sensations
forming determinate _objects_ or _things_.

=The Pigeon's Lower Centres.=--The results are just the same if, instead
of a frog, we take a pigeon, cut out his hemispheres carefully and wait
till he recovers from the operation. There is not a movement natural to
him which this brainless bird cannot execute; he seems, too, after some
days to execute movements from some inner irritation, for he moves
spontaneously. But his emotions and instincts exist no longer. In
Schrader's striking words:

"The hemisphereless animal moves in a world of bodies which ... are all
of equal value for him.... He is, to use Goltz's apt expression,
_impersonal_.... Every object is for him only a space-occupying mass, he
turns out of his path for an ordinary pigeon no otherwise than for a
stone. He may try to climb over both. All authors agree that they never
found any difference, whether it was an inanimate body, a cat, a dog, or
a bird of prey which came in their pigeon's way. The creature knows
neither friends nor enemies, in the thickest company it lives like a
hermit. The languishing cooing of the male awakens no more impression
than the rattling of the peas, or the call-whistle which in the days
before the injury used to make the birds hasten to be fed. Quite as
little as the earlier observers have I seen hemisphereless she-birds
answer the courting of the male. A hemisphereless male will coo all day
long and show distinct signs of sexual excitement, but his activity is
without any object, it is entirely indifferent to him whether the
she-bird be there or not. If one is placed near him, he leaves her
unnoticed.... As the male pays no attention to the female, so she pays
none to her young. The brood may follow the mother ceaselessly calling
for food, but they might as well ask it from a stone.... The
hemisphereless pigeon is in the highest degree tame, and fears man as
little as cat or bird of prey."

=General Notion of Hemispheres.=--All these facts lead us, when we try to
formulate them broadly, to some such conception as this: _The lower
centres act from present sensational stimuli alone; the hemispheres act
from considerations_, the sensations which they may receive serving only
as suggesters of these. But what are considerations but expectations, in
the fancy, of sensations which will be felt one way or another according
as action takes this course or that? If I step aside on seeing a
rattlesnake, from considering how dangerous an animal he is, the mental
materials which constitute my prudential reflection are images more or
less vivid of the movement of his head, of a sudden pain in my leg, of a
state of terror, a swelling of the limb, a chill, delirium, death, etc.,
etc., and the ruin of my hopes. But all these images are constructed out
of my past experiences. They are _reproductions_ of what I have felt or
witnessed. They are, in short, _remote_ sensations; and the main
difference between the hemisphereless animal and the whole one may be
concisely expressed by saying that _the one obeys absent, the other only
present, objects_.

_The hemispheres would then seem to be the chief seat of memory._
Vestiges of past experience must in some way be stored up in them, and
must, when aroused by present stimuli, first appear as representations
of distant goods and evils; and then must discharge into the appropriate
motor channels for warding off the evil and securing the benefits of the
good. If we liken the nervous currents to electric currents, we can
compare the nervous system, _C_, below the hemispheres to a direct
circuit from sense-organ to muscle along the line _S ...C ...M_ of Fig.
40. The hemisphere, _H_, adds the long circuit or loop-line through
which the current may pass when for any reason the direct line is not

[Illustration: FIG. 40.]

Thus, a tired wayfarer on a hot day throws himself on the damp earth
beneath a maple-tree. The sensations of delicious rest and coolness
pouring themselves through the direct line would naturally discharge
into the muscles of complete extension: he would abandon himself to the
dangerous repose. But the loop-line being open, part of the current is
drafted along it, and awakens rheumatic or catarrhal reminiscences,
which prevail over the instigations of sense, and make the man arise and
pursue his way to where he may enjoy his rest more safely. Presently we
shall examine the manner in which the hemispheric loop-line may be
supposed to serve as a reservoir for such reminiscences as these.
Meanwhile I will ask the reader to notice some corollaries of its being
such a reservoir.

First, no animal without it can deliberate, pause, postpone, nicely
weigh one motive against another, or compare. Prudence, in a word, is
for such a creature an impossible virtue. Accordingly we see that nature
removes those functions in the exercise of which prudence is a virtue
from the lower centres and hands them over to the cerebrum. Wherever a
creature has to deal with complex features of the environment, prudence
is a virtue. The higher animals have so to deal; and the more complex
the features, the higher we call the animals. The fewer of his acts,
then, can _such_ an animal perform without the help of the organs in
question. In the frog many acts devolve wholly on the lower centres; in
the bird fewer; in the rodent fewer still; in the dog very few indeed;
and in apes and men hardly any at all.

The advantages of this are obvious. Take the prehension of food as an
example and suppose it to be a reflex performance of the lower centres.
The animal will be condemned fatally and irresistibly to snap at it
whenever presented, no matter what the circumstances may be; he can no
more disobey this prompting than water can refuse to boil when a fire is
kindled under the pot. His life will again and again pay the forfeit of
his gluttony. Exposure to retaliation, to other enemies, to traps, to
poisons, to the dangers of repletion, must be regular parts of his
existence. His lack of all thought by which to weigh the danger against
the attractiveness of the bait, and of all volition to remain hungry a
little while longer, is the direct measure of his lowness in the mental
scale. And those fishes which, like our cunners and sculpins, are no
sooner thrown back from the hook into the water than they automatically
seize the hook again, would soon expiate the degradation of their
intelligence by the extinction of their type, did not their
extraordinary fecundity atone for their imprudence. Appetite and the
acts it prompts have consequently become in all higher vertebrates
functions of the cerebrum. They disappear when the physiologist's knife
has left the subordinate centres alone in place. The brainless pigeon
will starve though left on a corn-heap.

Take again the sexual function. In birds this devolves exclusively upon
the hemispheres. When these are shorn away the pigeon pays no attention
to the billings and cooings of its mate. It is the same, according to
Goltz, with male dogs who have suffered large losses of cerebral tissue.
Those who have read Darwin's Descent of Man will recollect what an
importance this author ascribes to the agency of sexual selection in the
amelioration of the breeds of birds. The females are naturally coy, and
their coyness must be overcome by the exhibition of the gorgeous
plumage, and various accomplishments in the way of strutting and
fighting, of the males. In frogs and toads, on the other hand, where (as
we saw on page 94) the sexual instinct devolves upon the lower centres,
we find a machine-like obedience to the present incitements of sense,
and an almost total exclusion of the power of choice. The consequence is
that every spring an immense waste of batrachian life, involving numbers
of adult animals and innumerable eggs, takes place from no other cause
than the blind character of the sexual impulse in these creatures.

No one need be told how dependent all human social elevation is upon the
prevalence of chastity. Hardly any factor measures more than this the
difference between civilization and barbarism. Physiologically
interpreted, chastity means nothing more than the fact that present
solicitations of sense are overpowered by suggestions of æsthetic and
moral fitness which the circumstances awaken in the cerebrum; and that
upon the inhibitory or permissive influence of these alone action
directly depends.

Within the psychic life due to the cerebrum itself the same general
distinction obtains, between considerations of the more immediate and
considerations of the more remote. In all ages the man whose
determinations are swayed by reference to the most distant ends has been
held to possess the highest intelligence. The tramp who lives from hour
to hour; the bohemian whose engagements are from day to day; the
bachelor who builds but for a single life; the father who acts for
another generation; the patriot who thinks of a whole community and many
generations; and, finally, the philosopher and saint whose cares are for
humanity and for eternity,--these range themselves in an unbroken
hierarchy, wherein each successive grade results from an increased
manifestation of the special form of action by which the cerebral
centres are distinguished from all below them.

=The Automaton-Theory.=--In the 'loop-line' along which the memories and
ideas of the distant are supposed to lie, the action, so far as it is a
physical process, must be interpreted after the type of the action in
the lower centres. If regarded here as a reflex process, it must be
reflex there as well. The current in both places runs out into the
muscles only after it has first run in; but whilst the path by which it
runs out is determined in the lower centres by reflections few and fixed
amongst the cell-arrangements, in the hemispheres the reflections are
many and instable. This, it will be seen, is only a difference of degree
and not of kind, and does not change the reflex type. The conception of
_all_ action as conforming to this type is the fundamental conception of
modern nerve-physiology. This conception, now, has led to two quite
opposite theories about the relation to consciousness of the nervous
functions. Some authors, finding that the higher voluntary functions
seem to require the guidance of feeling, conclude that over the lowest
reflexes some such feeling also presides, though it may be a feeling
connected with the spinal cord, of which the higher conscious self
connected with the hemispheres remains unconscious. Others, finding
that reflex and semi-automatic acts may, notwithstanding their
appropriateness, take place with an unconsciousness apparently complete,
fly to the opposite extreme and maintain that the appropriateness even
of the higher voluntary actions connected with the hemispheres owes
nothing to the fact that consciousness attends them. They are, according
to these writers, results of physiological mechanism pure and simple.

To comprehend completely this latter doctrine one should apply it to
examples. The movements of our tongues and pens, the flashings of our
eyes in conversation, are of course events of a physiological order, and
as such their causal antecedents may be exclusively mechanical. If we
knew thoroughly the nervous system of Shakespeare, and as thoroughly all
his environing conditions, we should be able, according to the theory of
automatism, to show why at a given period of his life his hand came to
trace on certain sheets of paper those crabbed little black marks which
we for shortness' sake call the manuscript of Hamlet. We should
understand the rationale of every erasure and alteration therein, and we
should understand all this without in the slightest degree acknowledging
the existence of the thoughts in Shakespeare's mind. The words and
sentences would be taken, not as signs of anything beyond themselves,
but as little outward facts, pure and simple. In like manner, the
automaton-theory affirms, we might exhaustively write the biography of
those two hundred pounds, more or less, of warmish albuminoid matter
called Martin Luther, without ever implying that it felt.

But, on the other hand, nothing in all this could prevent us from giving
an equally complete account of either Luther's or Shakespeare's
spiritual history, an account in which every gleam of thought and
emotion should find its place. The mind-history would run alongside of
the body-history of each man, and each point in the one would correspond
to, but not react upon, a point in the other. So the melody floats from
the harp-string, but neither checks nor quickens its vibrations; so the
shadow runs alongside the pedestrian, but in no way influences his

As a mere _conception_, and so long as we confine our view to the
nervous centres themselves, few things are more seductive than this
radically mechanical theory of their action. And yet our consciousness
_is there_, and has in all probability been evolved, like all other
functions, for a use--it is to the highest degree improbable _a priori_
that it should have no use. Its use _seems_ to be that of _selection_;
but to select, it must be efficacious. States of consciousness which
feel right are held fast to; those which feel wrong are checked. If the
'holding' and the 'checking' of the conscious states severally mean also
the efficacious reinforcing or inhibiting of the correlated neural
processes, then it would seem as if the presence of the states of mind
might help to steer the nervous system and keep it in the path which to
the consciousness seemed best. Now on the average what seems best to
consciousness is really best for the creature. It is a well-known fact
that pleasures are generally associated with beneficial, pains with
detrimental, experiences. All the fundamental vital processes illustrate
this law. Starvation; suffocation; privation of food, drink, and sleep;
work when exhausted; burns, wounds, inflammation; the effects of poison,
are as disagreeable as filling the hungry stomach, enjoying rest and
sleep after fatigue, exercise after rest, and a sound skin and unbroken
bones at all times, are pleasant. Mr. Spencer and others have suggested
that these coincidences are due, not to any preëstablished harmony, but
to the mere action of natural selection, which would certainly kill off
in the long-run any breed of creatures to whom the fundamentally noxious
experience seemed enjoyable. An animal that should take pleasure in a
feeling of suffocation would, if that pleasure were efficacious enough
to make him keep his head under water, enjoy a longevity of four or five
minutes. But if conscious pleasure does not reinforce, and conscious
pain does not inhibit, anything, one does not see (without some such _a
priori_ rational harmony as would be scouted by the 'scientific'
champions of the automaton-theory) why the most noxious acts, such as
burning, might not with perfect impunity give thrills of delight, and
the most necessary ones, such as breathing, cause agony. The only
considerable attempt that has been made to explain the _distribution_ of
our feelings is that of Mr. Grant Allen in his suggestive little work,
_Physiological Æsthetics_; and his reasoning is based exclusively on
that causal efficacy of pleasures and pains which the partisans of pure
automatism so strenuously deny.

Probability and circumstantial evidence thus run dead against the theory
that our actions are _purely_ mechanical in their causation. From the
point of view of descriptive Psychology (even though we be bound to
assume, as on p. 6, that all our feelings have brain-processes for their
condition of existence, and can be remotely traced in every instance to
currents coming from the outer world) we have no clear reason to doubt
that the feelings may react so as to further or to dampen the processes
to which they are due. I shall therefore not hesitate in the course of
this book to use the language of common-sense. I shall talk as if
consciousness kept actively pressing the nerve-centres in the direction
of its own ends, and was no mere impotent and paralytic spectator of
life's game.

=The Localization of Functions in the Hemispheres.=--The hemispheres, we
lately said, must be the organ of memory, and in some way retain
vestiges of former currents, by means of which mental considerations
drawn from the past may be aroused before action takes place. The
vivisections of physiologists and the observations of physicians have of
late years given a concrete confirmation to this notion which the first
rough appearances suggest. The various convolutions have had special
functions assigned to them in relation to this and that sense-organ, as
well as to this or that portion of the muscular system. This book is no
place for going over the evidence in detail, so I will simply indicate
the conclusions which are most probable at the date of writing.

=Mental and Cerebral Elements.=--In the first place, there is a very neat
parallelism between the analysis of brain-functions by the physiologists
and that of mental functions by the 'analytic' psychologists.

The phrenological brain-doctrine divided the brain into 'organs,' each
of which stood for the man in a certain partial attitude. The organ of
'Philoprogenitiveness,' with its concomitant consciousness, is an entire
man so far as he loves children, that of 'Reverence' is an entire man
worshipping, etc. The spiritualistic psychology, in turn, divided the
Mind into 'faculties,' which were also entire mental men in certain
limited attitudes. But 'faculties' are not mental _elements_ any more
than 'organs' are brain-elements. Analysis breaks both into more
elementary constituents.

Brain and mind alike consist of simple elements, sensory and motor. "All
nervous centres," says Dr. Hughlings Jackson, "from the lowest to the
very highest (the substrata of consciousness), are made up of nothing
else than nervous arrangements, representing impressions and
movements.... I do not see of what other materials the brain _can_ be
made." Meynert represents the matter similarly when he calls the cortex
of the hemispheres the surface of projection for every muscle and every
sensitive point of the body. The muscles and the sensitive points are
_represented_ each by a cortical point, and the Brain is little more
than the sum of all these cortical points, to which, on the mental side,
as many sensations and _ideas_ correspond. The sensations and ideas of
sensation and of motion are, in turn, the elements out of which the Mind
is built according to the analytic school of psychology. The relations
between objects are explained by 'associations' between the ideas; and
the emotional and instinctive tendencies, by associations between ideas
and movements. The same diagram can symbolize both the inner and the
outer world; dots or circles standing indifferently for cells or ideas,
and lines joining them, for fibres or associations. The associationist
doctrine of 'ideas' may be doubted to be a literal expression of the
truth, but it probably will always retain a didactic usefulness. At all
events, it is interesting to see how well physiological analysis plays
into its hands. To proceed to details.

[Illustration: FIG. 41.--Left hemisphere of monkey's brain. Outer

=The Motor Region.=--The one thing which is _perfectly_ well established
is this, that the 'central' convolutions, on either side of the fissure
of Rolando, and (at least in the monkey) the calloso-marginal
convolution (which is continuous with them on the mesial surface where
one hemisphere is applied against the other), form the region by which
all the motor incitations which leave the cortex pass out, on their way
to those executive centres in the region of the pons, medulla, and
spinal cord from which the muscular contractions are discharged in the
last resort. The existence of this so-called 'motor zone' is established
by anatomical as well as vivisectional and pathological evidence.

The accompanying figures (Figs. 41 and 42), from Schaefer and Horsley,
show the topographical arrangement of the monkey's motor zone more
clearly than any description.

[Illustration: FIG. 42.--Left hemisphere of monkey's brain. Mesial

Fig. 43, after Starr, shows how the fibres run downwards. All sensory
currents entering the hemispheres run out from the Rolandic region,
which may thus be regarded as a sort of funnel of escape, which narrows
still more as it plunges beneath the surface, traversing the inner
capsule, pons, and parts below. The dark ellipses on the left half of
the diagram stand for hemorrhages or tumors, and the reader can easily
trace, by following the course of the fibres, what the effect of them in
interrupting motor currents may be.


     FIG. 43.--Schematic transverse section of the human brain, through
     the rolandic region. _S_, fissure of Sylvius; _N.C._, _nucleus
     candatus_, and _N.L._, _nucleus lenticularis_, of the corpus
     striatum; _O.T._, thalamus; _C_, crus; _M_, medulla oblongata;
     _VII_, the facial nerves passing out from their nucleus in the
     region of the _pons_. The fibres passing between _O.T._ and _N.L._
     constitute the so-called internal capsule.

One of the most instructive proofs of motor localization in the cortex
is that furnished by the disease now called aphemia, or _motor aphasia_.
Motor aphasia is neither loss of voice nor paralysis of the tongue or
lips. The patient's voice is as strong as ever, and all the innervations
of his hypoglossal and facial nerves, except those necessary for
speaking, may go on perfectly well. He can laugh and cry, and even sing;
but he either is unable to utter any words at all; or a few meaningless
stock phrases form his only speech; or else he speaks incoherently and

[Illustration: FIG. 44.--Schematic profile of left hemisphere, with the
parts shaded whose destruction causes motor ('Broca') and sensory
('Wernicke') aphasia.]

mispronouncing, misplacing, and misusing his words in various degrees.
Sometimes his speech is a mere broth of unintelligible syllables. In
cases of pure motor aphasia the patient recognizes his mistakes and
suffers acutely from them. Now whenever a patient dies in such a
condition as this, and an examination of his brain is permitted, it is
found that the lowest frontal gyrus (see Fig. 44) is the seat of injury.
Broca first noticed this fact in 1861, and since then the gyrus has gone
by the name of Broca's convolution. The injury in right-handed people is
found on the left hemisphere, and in left-handed people on the right
hemisphere. Most people, in fact, are left-brained, that is, all their
delicate and specialized movements are handed over to the charge of the
left hemisphere. The ordinary right-handedness for such movements is
only a consequence of that fact, a consequence which shows outwardly on
account of that extensive crossing of the fibres from the left
hemisphere to the right half of the body only, which is shown in Fig.
41, below the letter M. But the left-brainedness might exist and _not_
show outwardly. This would happen wherever organs on _both_ sides of the
body could be governed by the left hemisphere; and just such a case
seems offered by the vocal organs, in that highly delicate and special
motor service which we call speech. Either hemisphere _can_ innervate
them bilaterally, just as either seems able to innervate bilaterally the
muscles of the trunk, ribs, and diaphragm. Of the special movements of
speech, however, it would appear (from these very facts of aphasia) that
the left hemisphere in most persons habitually takes exclusive charge.
With that hemisphere thrown out of gear, speech is undone; even though
the opposite hemisphere still be there for the performance of less
specialized acts, such as the various movements required in eating.

=The visual centre= is in the _occipital lobes_. This also is proved by
all the three kinds of possible evidence. It seems that the fibres from
the _left_ halves of _both_ retinæ go to the _left_ hemisphere, those
from the right half to the right hemisphere. The consequence is that
when the right occipital lobe, for example, is injured, 'hemianopsia'
results in both eyes, that is, both retinæ grow blind as to their right
halves, and the patient loses the leftward half of his field of view.
The diagram on p. 111 will make this matter clear (see Fig. 45).

Quite recently, both Schaefer and Munk, in studying the movements of the
eyeball produced by galvanizing the visual cortex in monkeys and dogs,
have found reason to plot out an analogous correspondence between the
upper and lower portions of the retinæ and certain parts of the visual
cortex. If both occipital lobes were destroyed, we should have double
hemiopia, or, in other words, total blindness. In human hemiopic
blindness there is insensibility to light on one half of the field of
view, but


     FIG. 45.--Scheme of the mechanism of vision, after Seguin. The
     _cuneus_ convolution (_Cu_) of the right occipital lobe is supposed
     to be injured, and all the parts which lead to it are darkly shaded
     to show that they fail to exert their function. _F.O._ are the
     intra-hemispheric optical fibres. _P.O.C._ is the region of the
     lower optic centres (corpora geniculata and quadrigemina). _T.O.D._
     is the right optic tract; _C_, the chiasma; _F.L.D._ are the fibres
     going to the lateral or temporal half _T_ of the right retina, and
     _F.C.S._ are those going to the central or nasal half of the left
     retina. _O.D._ is the right, and _O.S._ the left, eyeball. The
     rightward half of each is therefore blind; in other words, the
     right nasal field, _R.N.F._, and the left temporal field, _L.T.F._,
     have become invisible to the subject with the lesion at _Cu_.

mental images of visible things remain. In _double_ hemiopia there is
every reason to believe that not only the sensation of light must go,
but that all memories and images of a visual order must be annihilated
also. The man loses his visual 'ideas.' Only 'cortical' blindness can
produce this effect on the ideas. Destruction of the retinæ or of the
visual tracts anywhere between the cortex and the eyes impairs the
retinal sensibility to light, but not the power of visual imagination.

[Illustration: FIG. 46.--Fibres associating the cortical centres
together. (Schematic, after Starr.)]

=Mental Blindness.=--A most interesting effect of cortical disorder is
_mental blindness_. This consists not so much in insensibility to
optical impressions, as in _inability to understand them_.
Psychologically it is interpretable as _loss of associations_ between
optical sensations and what they signify; and any interruption of the
paths between the optic centres and the centres for other ideas ought to
bring it about. Thus, printed letters of the alphabet, or words, signify
both certain sounds and certain articulatory movements. But the
connection between the articulating or auditory centres and those for
sight being ruptured, we ought _a priori_ to expect that the sight of
words would fail to awaken the idea of their sound, or of the movement
for pronouncing them. We ought, in short, to have _alexia_, or inability
to read: and this is just what we do have as a complication of _aphasic_
disease in many cases of extensive injury about the fronto-temporal

Where an object fails to be recognized by sight, it often happens that
the patient will recognize and name it as soon as he touches it with his
hand. This shows in an interesting way how numerous are the incoming
paths which all end by running out of the brain through the channel of
speech. The hand-path is open, though the eye-path be closed. When
mental blindness is most complete, neither sight, touch, nor sound
avails to steer the patient, and a sort of dementia which has been
called _asymbolia_ or _apraxia_ is the result. The commonest articles
are not understood. The patient will put his breeches on one shoulder
and his hat upon the other, will bite into the soap and lay his shoes on
the table, or take his food into his hand and throw it down again, not
knowing what to do with it, etc. Such disorder can only come from
extensive brain-injury.

=The centre for hearing= is situated in man in the upper convolution of
the temporal lobe (see the part marked 'Wernicke' in Fig. 44). The
phenomena of aphasia show this. We studied motor aphasia a few pages
back; we must now consider _sensory aphasia_. Our knowledge of aphasia
has had three stages: we may talk of the period of Broca, the period of
Wernicke, and the period of Charcot. What Broca's discovery was we have
seen. Wernicke was the first to discriminate those cases in which the
patient can _not even understand_ speech from those in which he can
understand, only not talk; and to ascribe the former condition to lesion
of the temporal lobe. The condition in question is _word-deafness_, and
the disease is _auditory aphasia_. The latest statistical survey of the
subject is that by Dr. Allen Starr. In the seven cases of _pure_
word-deafness which he has collected (cases in which the patient could
read, talk, and write, but not understand what was said to him), the
lesion was limited to the first and second temporal convolutions in
their posterior two thirds. The lesion (in right-handed, i.e.
left-brained, persons) is always on the left side, like the lesion in
motor aphasia. Crude hearing would not be abolished, even were the left
centre for it utterly destroyed; the right centre would still provide
for that. But the _linguistic use_ of hearing appears bound up with the
integrity of the left centre more or less exclusively. Here it must be
that words heard enter into association with the things which they
represent, on the one hand, and with the movements necessary for
pronouncing them, on the other. In most of us (as Wernicke said) speech
must go on from auditory cues; that is, our visual, tactile, and other
ideas probably do not innervate our motor centres directly, but only
after first arousing the mental sound of the words. This is the
immediate stimulus to articulation; and where the possibility of this is
abolished by the destruction of its usual channel in the left temporal
lobe, the articulation must suffer. In the few cases in which the
channel is abolished with no bad effect on speech we must suppose an
idiosyncrasy. The patient must innervate his speech-organs either from
the corresponding portion of the other hemisphere or directly from the
centres of vision, touch, etc., without leaning on the auditory region.
It is the minuter analysis of such individual differences as these which
constitutes Charcot's contribution towards clearing up the subject.

Every namable thing has numerous properties, qualities, or aspects. In
our minds the properties together with the name form an associated
group. If different parts of the brain are severally concerned with the
several properties, and a farther part with the hearing, and still
another with the uttering, of the name, there must inevitably be brought
about (through the law of association which we shall later study) such a
connection amongst all these brain-parts that the activity of any one of
them will be likely to awaken the activity of all the rest. When we are
talking whilst we think, the _ultimate_ process is utterance. If the
brain-part for _that_ be injured, speech is impossible or disorderly,
even though all the other brain-parts be intact: and this is just the
condition of things which, on p. 109, we found to be brought about by
lesion of the convolution of Broca. But back of that last act various
orders of succession are possible in the associations of a talking man's
ideas. The more usual order is, as aforesaid, from the tactile, visual,
or other properties of the things thought-about to the sound of their
names, and then to the latter's utterance. But if in a certain
individual's mind the _look_ of an object or the _look_ of its name be
what habitually precedes articulation, then the loss of the _hearing_
centre will _pro tanto_ not affect that individual's speech or reading.
He will be mentally deaf, i.e. his _understanding_ of the human voice
will suffer, but he will not be aphasic. In this way it is possible to
explain the seven cases of word-deafness without motor aphasia which
figure in Dr. Starr's table.

If this order of association be ingrained and habitual in that
individual, injury to his _visual_ centres will make him not only
word-blind, but aphasic as well. His speech will become confused in
consequence of an occipital lesion. Naunyn, consequently, plotting out
on a diagram of the hemisphere the 71 irreproachably reported cases of
aphasia which he was able to collect, finds that the lesions concentrate
themselves in three places: first, on Broca's centre; second, on
Wernicke's; third, on the supra-marginal and angular convolutions under
which those fibres pass which connect the visual centres with the rest
of the brain (see Fig. 47, p. 116). With this result Dr. Starr's
analysis of purely sensory cases agrees.

In the chapter on Imagination we shall return to these differences in
the sensory spheres of different individuals. Meanwhile few things show
more beautifully than the history of our knowledge of aphasia how the
sagacity and patience of many banded workers are in time certain to
analyze the darkest confusion into an orderly display. There is no
'organ' of Speech in the brain any more than there is a 'faculty' of
Speech in the mind. The entire mind and the entire brain are more or
less at work in a man who uses language. The subjoined diagram, from
Ross, shows the four parts most vitally concerned, and, in the light of
our text, needs no farther explanation (see Fig. 48, p. 117).

[Illustration: FIG. 47.]

=Centres for Smell, Taste, and Touch.=--The other sensory centres are less
definitely made out. Of smell and taste I will say nothing; and of
muscular and cutaneous feeling only this, that it seems most probably
seated in the motor zone, and possibly in the convolutions immediately
backwards and midwards thereof. The incoming tactile currents must enter
the cells of this region by one set of fibres, and the discharges leave
them by another, but of these

[Illustration: FIG. 48.--_A_ is the auditory centre, _V_ the visual, _W_
the writing, and _E_ that for speech.]

=Conclusion.=--We thus see the postulate of Meynert and Jackson, with
which we started on p. 105, to be on the whole most satisfactorily
corroborated by objective research. _The highest centres do probably
contain nothing but arrangements for representing impressions and
movements, and other arrangements for coupling the activity of these
arrangements together._ Currents pouring in from the sense-organs first
excite some arrangements, which in turn excite others, until at last a
discharge downwards of some sort occurs. When this is once clearly
grasped there remains little ground for asking whether the motor zone is
exclusively motor, or sensitive as well. The whole cortex, inasmuch as
currents run through it, is both. All the currents probably have
feelings going with them, and sooner or later bring movements about. In
one aspect, then, every centre is afferent, in another efferent, even
the motor cells of the spinal cord having these two aspects inseparably
conjoined. Marique, and Exner and Paneth have shown that by cutting
_round_ a 'motor' centre and so separating it from the influence of the
rest of the cortex, the same disorders are produced as by cutting it
out, so that it is really just what I called it, only the funnel through
which the stream of innervation, starting from elsewhere, escapes;
_consciousness accompanying the stream, and being mainly of things seen
if the stream is strongest occipitally, of things heard if it is
strongest temporally, of things felt, etc., if the stream occupies most
intensely the 'motor zone.'_ It seems to me that some broad and vague
formulation like this is as much as we can safely venture on in the
present state of science--so much at least is not likely to be
overturned. But it is obvious how little this tells us of the detail of
what goes on in the brain when a certain thought is before the mind. The
general forms of relation perceived between things, as their identities,
likenesses, or contrasts; the forms of the consciousness itself, as
effortless or perplexed, attentive or inattentive, pleasant or
disagreeable; the phenomena of interest and selection, etc., etc., are
all lumped together as effects correlated with the currents that connect
one centre with another. Nothing can be more vague than such a formula.
Moreover certain portions of the brain, as the lower frontal lobes,
escape formulational together. Their destruction gives rise to no local
trouble of either motion or sensibility in dogs, and in monkeys neither
stimulation nor excision of these lobes produces any symptoms whatever.
One monkey of Horsley and Schaefer's was as tame, and did certain tricks
as well, after as before the operation.

It is in short obvious that our knowledge of our mental states
infinitely exceeds our knowledge of their concomitant cerebral
conditions. Without introspective analysis of the mental elements of
speech, the doctrine of Aphasia, for instance, which is the most
brilliant jewel in Physiology, would have been utterly impossible. Our
assumption, therefore (p. 5), that mind-states are absolutely dependent
on brain-conditions, must still be understood as a mere postulate. We
may have a general faith that it must be true, but any exact insight as
to _how_ it is true lags wofully behind.

Before taking up the study of conscious states properly so called, I
will in a separate chapter speak of two or three aspects of
brain-function which have a general importance and which coöperate in
the production of all our mental states.



=The Nervous Discharge.=--The word discharge is constantly used, and must
be used in this book, to designate the escape of a current downwards
into muscles or other internal organs. The reader must not understand
the word figuratively. From the point of view of dynamics the passage of
a current out of a motor cell is probably altogether analogous to the
explosion of a gun. The matter of the cell is in a state of internal
tension, which the incoming current resolves, tumbling the molecules
into a more stable equilibrium and liberating an amount of energy which
starts the current of the outgoing fibre. This current is stronger than
that of the incoming fibre. When it reaches the muscle it produces an
analogous disintegration of pent-up molecules and the result is a
stronger effect still. Matteuci found that the work done by a muscle's
contraction was 27,000 times greater than that done by the galvanic
current which stimulated its motor nerve. When a frog's leg-muscle is
made to contract, first directly, by stimulation of its motor nerve, and
second reflexly, by stimulation of a sensory nerve, it is found that the
reflex way requires a stronger current and is more tardy, but that the
contraction is stronger when it does occur. These facts prove that the
cells in the spinal cord through which the reflex takes place offer a
resistance which has first to be overcome, but that a relatively violent
outward current outwards then escapes from them. What is this but an
explosive discharge on a minute scale?

=Reaction-time.=--The measurement of the time required for the discharge
is one of the lines of experimental investigation most diligently
followed of late years. Helmholtz led the way by discovering the
rapidity of the outgoing current in the sciatic nerve of the frog. The
methods he used were soon applied to sensory reactions, and the results
caused much popular admiration when described as measurements of the
'velocity of thought.' The phrase 'quick as thought' had from time
immemorial signified all that was wonderful and elusive of determination
in the line of speed; and the way in which Science laid her doomful hand
upon this mystery reminded people of the day when Franklin first
'_eripuit cœlo fulmen_,' foreshadowing the reign of a newer and
colder race of gods. I may say, however, immediately, that the phrase
'velocity of _thought_' is misleading, for it is by no means clear in
any of the cases what particular act of thought occurs during the time
which is measured. What the times in question really represent is the
total duration of certain _reactions upon stimuli_. Certain of the
conditions of the reaction are prepared beforehand; they consist in the
assumption of those motor and sensory tensions which we name the
expectant state. Just what happens during the actual time occupied by
the reaction (in other words, just what is added to the preëxistent
tensions to produce the actual discharge) is not made out at present,
either from the neural or from the mental point of view.

The method is essentially the same in all these investigations. A signal
of some sort is communicated to the subject, and at the same instant
records itself on a time-registering apparatus. The subject then makes a
muscular movement of some sort, which is the 'reaction,' and which also
records itself automatically. The time found to have elapsed between the
two records is the total time of that reaction. The time-registering
instruments are of various types. One type is that of the revolving drum
covered with smoked paper, on which one electric pen traces a line which
the signal breaks and the 'reaction' draws again; whilst another
electric pen (connected with a rod of metal vibrating at a known rate)
traces alongside of the former line a 'time-line' of which each
undulation or link stands for a certain fraction of a second, and
against which the break in the reaction-line can be measured. Compare
Fig. 49, where the line is broken by the signal at the first arrow, and
continued again by the reaction at the second. The machine most often
used is Hipp's chronoscopic clock. The hands are placed at zero, the
signal starts them (by an electric connection), and the reaction stops
them. The duration of their movement, down to 1000ths of a second, is
then read off from the dial-plates.

[Illustration: FIG. 49.]

=Simple Reactions.=--It is found that the reaction-time differs in the
same person according to the direction of his expectant attention. If he
thinks as little as possible of the movement which he is to make, and
concentrates his mind upon the signal to be received, it is longer; if,
on the contrary, he bends his mind exclusively upon the muscular
response, it is shorter. Lange, who first noticed this fact when working
in Wundt's laboratory, found his own 'muscular' reaction-time to average
0´´.123, whilst his 'sensorial' reaction-time averaged as much as
0´´.230. It is obvious that experiments, to have any _comparative_
value, must always be made according to the 'muscular' method, which
reduces the figure to its minimum and makes it more constant. In general
it lies between one and two tenths of a second. It seems to me that
under these circumstances the reaction is essentially a reflex act. The
preliminary _making-ready_ of the muscles for the movement means the
excitement of the paths of discharge to a point just short of actual
discharge before the signal comes in. In other words, it means the
temporary formation of a real 'reflex-arc' in the centres, through which
the incoming current instantly can pour out again. But when, on the
other hand, the expectant attention is exclusively addressed to the
signal, the excitement of the motor tracts can only begin after this
latter has come in, and under this condition the reaction takes more
time. In the hair-trigger condition in which we stand when making
reactions by the 'muscular' method, we sometimes respond to a wrong
signal, especially if it be of the same _kind_ with the one we expect.
The signal is but the spark which touches off a train already laid.
There is no thought in the matter; the hand jerks by an involuntary

These experiments are thus in no sense measurements of the swiftness of
_thought_. Only when we complicate them is there a chance for anything
like an intellectual operation to occur. They may be complicated in
various ways. The reaction may be withheld until the signal has
consciously awakened a distinct idea (Wundt's discrimination-time,
association-time), and may then be performed. Or there may be a variety
of possible signals, each with a different reaction assigned to it, and
the reacter may be uncertain which one he is about to receive. The
reaction would then hardly seem to occur without a preliminary
recognition and choice. Even here, however, the discrimination and
choice are widely different from the intellectual operations of which we
are ordinarily conscious under those names. Meanwhile the simple
reaction-time remains as the starting point of all these superinduced
complications, and its own variations must be briefly passed in review.

The reaction-time varies with the _individual_ and his _age_. Old and
uncultivated people have it long (nearly a second, in an old pauper
observed by Exner). Children have it long (half a second, according to

_Practice_ shortens it to a quantity which is for each individual a
minimum beyond which no farther reduction can be made. The aforesaid old
pauper's time was, after much practice, reduced to 0.1866 sec.

_Fatigue_ lengthens it, and _concentration of attention_ shortens it.
The _nature of the signal_ makes it vary. I here bring together the
averages which have been obtained by some observers:

         Hirsch.   Hankel.  Exner.    Wundt.
Sound     0.149    0.1505   0.1360    0.167
Light     0.200    0.2246   0.1506    0.222
Touch     0.182    0.1546   0.1337    0.213

It will be observed that _sound_ is more promptly reacted on than either
_sight_ or _touch_. _Taste_ and _smell_ are slower than either. The
_intensity of the signal_ makes a difference. The intenser the stimulus
the shorter the time. Herzen compared the reaction from a _corn_ on the
toe with that from the skin of the hand of the same subject. The two
places were stimulated simultaneously, and the subject tried to react
simultaneously with both hand and foot, but the foot always went
quickest. When the sound skin of the foot was touched instead of the
corn, it was the hand which always reacted first. _Intoxicants_ on the
whole lengthen the time, but much depends on the dose.

=Complicated Reactions.=--These occur when some kind of intellectual
operation accompanies the reaction. The rational place in which to
report of them would be under the head of the various intellectual
operations concerned. But certain persons prefer to see all these
measurements bunched together regardless of context; so, to meet their
views, I give the complicated reactions here.

When we have to think before reacting it is obvious that there is no
definite reaction-time of which we can talk--it all depends on how long
we think. The only times we can measure are the _minimum_ times of
certain determinate and very simple intellectual operations. The _time
required for discrimination_ has thus been made a subject of
experimental measurement. Wundt calls it _Unterscheidungszeit_. His
subjects (whose simple reaction-time had previously been determined)
were required to make a movement, always the same, the instant they
discerned _which_ of two or more signals they received. The _excess_ of
time occupied by these reactions _over the simple reaction-time_, in
which only one signal was used and known in advance, measured, according
to Wundt, the time required for the act of discrimination. It was found
longer when four different signals were irregularly used than when only
two were used. When two were used (the signals being the sudden
appearance of a black or of a white object), the average times of three
observers were respectively (in seconds)

    0.050   0.047   0.079

When four signals were used, a red and a green light being added to the
others, it became, for the same observers,

    0.157   0.073   0.132

Prof. Cattell found he could get no results by this method, and reverted
to one used by observers previous to Wundt and which Wundt had rejected.
This is the _einfache Wahlmethode_, as Wundt calls it. The reacter
awaits the signal and reacts if it is of one sort, but omits to act if
it is of another sort. The reaction thus occurs after discrimination;
the motor impulse cannot be sent to the hand until the subject knows
what the signal is. Reacting in this way, Prof. Cattell found the
increment of time required for distinguishing a white signal from no
signal to be, in two observers,

    0.030   and   0.050;

that for distinguishing one color from another was similarly

    0.100   and   0.110;

that for distinguishing a certain color from ten other colors,

    0.105   and   0.117;

that for distinguishing the letter A in ordinary print from the letter

    0.142   and   0.137;

that for distinguishing a given letter from all the rest of the alphabet
(not reacting until that letter appeared),

    0.119   and   0.116;

that for distinguishing a word from any of twenty-five other words, from

    0.118   to   0.158 sec.

--the difference depending on the length of the words and the
familiarity of the language to which they belonged.

Prof. Cattell calls attention to the fact that the time for
distinguishing a word is often but little more than that for
distinguishing a letter: "We do not, therefore," he says, "distinguish
separately the letters of which a word is composed, but the word as a
whole. The application of this in teaching children to read is evident."

He also finds a great difference in the time with which various letters
are distinguished, E being particularly bad.

_The time required for association_ of one idea with another has been
measured. Gallon, using a very simple apparatus, found that the sight of
an unforeseen word would awaken an associated 'idea' in about ⅚ of a
second. Wundt next made determinations in which the 'cue' was given by
single-syllabled words called out by an assistant. The person
experimented on had to press a key as soon as the sound of the word
awakened an associated idea. Both word and reaction were
chronographically registered, and the total time-interval between the
two amounted, in four observers, to 1.009, 0.896, 1.037, and 1.154
seconds respectively. From this the simple reaction-time and the time of
merely identifying the word's sound (the 'apperception-time,' as Wundt
calls it) must be subtracted, to get the exact time required for the
associated idea to arise. These times were separately determined and
subtracted. The difference, called by Wundt _association-time_,
amounted, in the same four persons, to 706, 723, 752, and 874
thousandths of a second respectively. The length of the last figure is
due to the fact that the person reacting was an American, whose
associations with German words would naturally be slower than those of
natives. The shortest association-time noted was when the word 'Sturm'
suggested to Wundt the word 'Wind' in 0.341 second. Prof. Cattell made
some interesting observations upon the association-time between the look
of letters and their names. "I pasted letters," he says, "on a revolving
drum, and determined at what rate they could be read aloud as they
passed by a slit in a screen." He found it to vary according as one, or
more than one, letter was visible at a time through the slit, and gives
half a second as about the time which it takes to see and name a single
letter seen alone. The rapidity of a man's _reading_ is of course a
measure of that of his associations, since each seen word must call up
its name, at least, ere it is read. "I find," says Prof. Cattell, "that
it takes about twice as long to read (aloud, as fast as possible) words
which have no connection, as words which make sentences, and letters
which have no connection, as letters which make words. When the words
make sentences and the letters words, not only do the processes of
seeing and naming overlap, but by one mental effort the subject can
recognize a whole group of words or letters, and by one will-act choose
the motions to be made in naming, so that the rate at which the words
and letters are read is really only limited by the maximum rapidity at
which the speech-organs can be moved.... For example, when reading as
fast as possible the writer's rate was, English 138, French 167, German
250, Italian 327, Latin 434, and Greek 484; the figures giving the
thousandths of a second taken to read each word. Experiments made on
others strikingly confirm these results. The subject does not know that
he is reading the foreign language more slowly than his own; this
explains why foreigners seem to talk so fast....

"The time required to see and name colors and pictures of objects was
determined in the same way. The time was found to be about the same
(over ½ sec.) for colors as for pictures, and about twice as long as for
words and letters. Other experiments I have made show that we can
recognize a single color or picture in a slightly shorter time than a
word or letter, but take longer to name it. This is because, in the case
of words and letters, the association between the idea and the name has
taken place so often that the process has become automatic, whereas in
the case of colors and pictures we must by a voluntary effort choose the

Dr. Romanes has found "astonishing differences in the _maximum_ rate of
reading which is possible to different individuals, all of whom have
been accustomed to extensive reading. That is to say, the difference may
amount to 4 to 1; or, otherwise stated, in a given time one individual
may be able to read four times as much as another. Moreover, it appeared
that there was no relationship between slowness of reading and power of
assimilation; on the contrary, when all the efforts are directed to
assimilating as much as possible in a given time, the rapid readers (as
shown by their written notes) usually give a better account of the
portions of the paragraph which have been compassed by the slow readers
than the latter are able to give; and the most rapid reader I have found
is also the best at assimilating. I should further say," Dr. R.
continues, "that there is no relationship between rapidity of perception
as thus tested and intellectual activity as tested by the general
results of intellectual work; for I have tried the experiment with
several highly distinguished men in science and literature, most of whom
I found to be slow readers."

_The degree of concentration of the attention_ has much to do with
determining the reaction-time. Anything which baffles or distracts us
beforehand, or startles us in the signal, makes the time proportionally

=The Summation of Stimuli.=--Throughout the nerve-centres it is a law that
_a stimulus which would be inadequate by itself to excite a nerve-centre
to effective discharge may, by acting with one or more other stimuli
(equally ineffectual by themselves alone) bring the discharge about_.
The natural way to consider this is as a summation of tensions which at
last overcome a resistance. The first of them produce a 'latent
excitement' or a 'heightened irritability'--the phrase is immaterial so
far as practical consequences go;--the last is the straw which breaks
the camel's back.

This is proved by many physiological experiments which cannot here be
detailed; but outside of the laboratory we constantly apply the law of
summation in our practical appeals. If a car-horse balks, the final way
of starting him is by applying a number of customary incitements at
once. If the driver uses reins and voice, if one bystander pulls at his
head, another lashes his hind-quarters, the conductor rings the bell,
and the dismounted passengers shove the car, all at the same moment, his
obstinacy generally yields, and he goes on his way rejoicing. If we are
striving to remember a lost name or fact, we think of as many 'cues' as
possible, so that by their joint action they may recall what no one of
them can recall alone. The sight of a dead prey will often not stimulate
a beast to pursuit, but if the sight of movement be added to that of
form, pursuit occurs. "Brücke noted that his brainless hen which made no
attempt to peck at the grain under her very eyes, began pecking if the
grain were thrown on the ground with force, so as to produce a rattling
sound." "Dr. Allen Thomson hatched out some chickens on a carpet, where
he kept them for several days. They showed no inclination to scrape, ...
but when Dr. Thomson sprinkled a little gravel on the carpet, ... the
chickens immediately began their scraping movements." A strange person,
and darkness, are both of them stimuli to fear and mistrust in dogs (and
for the matter of that, in men). Neither circumstance alone may awaken
outward manifestations, but together, i.e. when the strange man is met
in the dark, the dog will be excited to violent defiance. Street hawkers
well know the efficacy of summation, for they arrange themselves in a
line on the sidewalk, and the passer often buys from the last one of
them, through the effect of the reiterated solicitation, what he refused
to buy from the first in the row.

[Illustration: FIG. 50.--Sphygmographic pulse-tracing. _A_, during
intellectual repose; _B_, during intellectual activity. (Mosso.)]

=Cerebral Blood-supply.=--All parts of the cortex, when electrically
excited, produce alterations both of respiration and circulation. The
blood-pressure somewhat rises, as a rule, all over the body, no matter
where the cortical irritation is applied, though the motor zone is the
most sensitive region for the purpose. Slowing and quickening of the
heart are also observed. Mosso, using his 'plethysmograph' as an
indicator, discovered that the blood-supply to the arms diminished
during intellectual activity, and found furthermore that the arterial
tension (as shown by the sphygmograph) was increased in these members
(see Fig. 50). So slight an emotion as that produced by the entrance of
Professor Ludwig into the laboratory was instantly followed by a
shrinkage of the arms. The brain itself is an excessively vascular
organ, a sponge full of blood, in fact; and another of Mosso's
inventions showed that when less blood went to the legs, more went to
the head. The subject to be observed lay on a delicately balanced table
which could tip downward either at the head or at the foot if the weight
of either end were increased. The moment emotional or intellectual
activity began in the subject, down went the head-end, in consequence of
the redistribution of blood in his system. But the best proof of the
immediate afflux of blood to the brain during mental activity is due to
Mosso's observations on three persons whose brain had been laid bare by
lesion of the skull. By means of apparatus described in his book, this
physiologist was enabled to let the brain-pulse record itself directly
by a tracing. The intra-cranial blood-pressure rose immediately whenever
the subject was spoken to, or when he began to think actively, as in
solving a problem in mental arithmetic. Mosso gives in his work a large
number of reproductions of tracings which show the instantaneity of the
change of blood-supply, whenever the mental activity was quickened by
any cause whatever, intellectual or emotional. He relates of his female
subject that one day whilst tracing her brain-pulse he observed a sudden
rise with no apparent outer or inner cause. She however confessed to him
afterwards that at that moment she had caught sight of a _skull_ on top
of a piece of furniture in the room, and that this had given her a
slight emotion.

=Cerebral Thermometry.=--_Brain-activity seems accompanied by a local
disengagement of heat._ The earliest careful work in this direction was
by Dr. J. S. Lombard in 1867. He noted the changes in delicate
thermometers and electric piles placed against the scalp in human
beings, and found that any intellectual effort, such as computing,
composing, reciting poetry silently or aloud, and especially that
emotional excitement such as an angry fit, caused a general rise of
temperature, which rarely exceeded a degree Fahrenheit. In 1870 the
indefatigable Schiff took up the subject, experimenting on live dogs and
chickens by plunging thermo-electric needles into the substance of their
brain. After habituation was established, he tested the animals with
various sensations, tactile, optic, olfactory, and auditory. He found
very regularly an abrupt alteration of the intra-cerebral temperature.
When, for instance, he presented an empty roll of paper to the nose of
his dog as it lay motionless, there was a small deflection, but when a
piece of meat was in the paper the deflection was much greater. Schiff
concluded from these and other experiments that sensorial activity heats
the brain-tissue, but he did not try to localize the increment of heat
beyond finding that it was in both hemispheres, whatever might be the
sensation applied. Dr. Amidon in 1880 made a farther step forward, in
localizing the heat produced by voluntary muscular contractions.
Applying a number of delicate surface-thermometers simultaneously
against the scalp, he found that when different muscles of the body were
made to contract vigorously for ten minutes or more, different regions
of the scalp rose in temperature, that the regions were well focalized,
and that the rise of temperature was often considerably over a
Fahrenheit degree. To a large extent these regions correspond to the
centres for the same movements assigned by Ferrier and others on other
grounds; only they cover more of the skull.

=Phosphorus and Thought.=--Considering the large amount of popular
nonsense which passes current on this subject I may be pardoned for a
brief mention of it here. _'Ohne Phosphor, kein Gedanke_,' was a noted
war-cry of the 'materialists' during the excitement on that subject
which filled Germany in the '60s. The brain, like every other organ of
the body, contains phosphorus, and a score of other chemicals besides.
Why the phosphorus should be picked out as its essence, no one knows. It
would be equally true to say, 'Ohne Wasser, kein Gedanke,' or 'Ohne
Kochsalz, kein Gedanke'; for thought would stop as quickly if the brain
should dry up or lose its NaCl as if it lost its phosphorus. In America
the phosphorus-delusion has twined itself round a saying quoted (rightly
or wrongly) from Professor L. Agassiz, to the effect that fishermen are
more intelligent than farmers because they eat so much fish, which
contains so much phosphorus. All the alleged facts may be doubted.

The only straight way to ascertain the importance of phosphorus to
thought would be to find whether more is excreted by the brain during
mental activity than during rest. Unfortunately we cannot do this
directly, but can only gauge the amount of PO_{5} in the urine, and this
procedure has been adopted by a variety of observers, some of whom
found the phosphates in the urine diminished, whilst others found them
increased, by intellectual work. On the whole, it is impossible to trace
any constant relation. In maniacal excitement less phosphorus than usual
seems to be excreted. More is excreted during sleep. The fact that
phosphorus-preparations may do good in nervous exhaustion proves nothing
as to the part played by phosphorus in mental activity. Like iron,
arsenic, and other remedies it is a stimulant or tonic, of whose
intimate workings in the system we know absolutely nothing, and which
moreover does good in an extremely small number of the cases in which it
is prescribed.

The phosphorus-philosophers have often compared thought to a secretion.
"The brain secretes thought, as the kidneys secrete urine, or as the
liver secretes bile," are phrases which one sometimes hears. The lame
analogy need hardly be pointed out. The materials which the brain _pours
into the blood_ (cholesterin, creatin, xanthin, or whatever they may be)
are the analogues of the urine and the bile, being in fact real material
excreta. As far as these matters go, the brain is a ductless gland. But
we know of nothing connected with liver-and kidney-activity which can be
in the remotest degree compared with the stream of thought that
accompanies the brain's material secretions.



=Its Importance for Psychology.=--There remains a condition of general
neural activity so important as to deserve a chapter by itself--I refer
to the aptitude of the nerve-centres, especially of the hemispheres, for
acquiring habits. _An acquired habit, from the physiological point of
view, is nothing but a new pathway of discharge formed in the brain, by
which certain incoming currents ever after tend to escape._ That is the
thesis of this chapter; and we shall see in the later and more
psychological chapters that such functions as the association of ideas,
perception, memory, reasoning, the education of the will, etc., etc.,
can best be understood as results of the formation _de novo_ of just
such pathways of discharge.

=Habit has a physical basis.= The moment one tries to define what habit
is, one is led to the fundamental properties of matter. The laws of
Nature are nothing but the immutable habits which the different
elementary sorts of matter follow in their actions and reactions upon
each other. In the organic world, however, the habits are more variable
than this. Even instincts vary from one individual to another of a kind;
and are modified in the same individual, as we shall later see, to suit
the exigencies of the case. On the principles of the atomistic
philosophy the habits of an elementary particle of matter cannot change,
because the particle is itself an unchangeable thing; but those of a
compound mass of matter can change, because they are in the last
instance due to the structure of the compound, and either outward forces
or inward tensions can, from one hour to another, turn that structure
into something different from what it was. That is, they can do so if
the body be plastic enough to maintain its integrity, and be not
disrupted when its structure yields. The change of structure here spoken
of need not involve the outward shape; it may be invisible and
molecular, as when a bar of iron becomes magnetic or crystalline through
the action of certain outward causes, or india-rubber becomes friable,
or plaster 'sets.' All these changes are rather slow; the material in
question opposes a certain resistance to the modifying cause, which it
takes time to overcome, but the gradual yielding whereof often saves the
material from being disintegrated altogether. When the structure has
yielded, the same inertia becomes a condition of its comparative
permanence in the new form, and of the new habits the body then
manifests. _Plasticity_, then, in the wide sense of the word, means the
possession of a structure weak enough to yield to an influence, but
strong enough not to yield all at once. Each relatively stable phase of
equilibrium in such a structure is marked by what we may call a new set
of habits. Organic matter, especially nervous tissue, seems endowed with
a very extraordinary degree of plasticity of this sort; so that we may
without hesitation lay down as our first proposition the following: that
_the phenomena of habit in living beings are due to the plasticity of
the organic materials of which their bodies are composed_.

The philosophy of habit is thus, in the first instance, a chapter in
physics rather than in physiology or psychology. That it is at bottom a
physical principle, is admitted by all good recent writers on the
subject. They call attention to analogues of acquired habits exhibited
by dead matter. Thus, M. Léon Dumont writes:

"Every one knows how a garment, after having been worn a certain time,
clings to the shape of the body better than when it was new; there has
been a change in the tissue, and this change is a new habit of cohesion.
A lock works better after being used some time; at the outset more
force was required to overcome certain roughness in the mechanism. The
overcoming of their resistance is a phenomenon of habituation. It costs
less trouble to fold a paper when it has been folded already; ... and
just so in the nervous system the impressions of outer objects fashion
for themselves more and more appropriate paths, and these vital
phenomena recur under similar excitements from without, when they have
been interrupted a certain time."

Not in the nervous system alone. A scar anywhere is a _locus minoris
resistentiæ_, more liable to be abraded, inflamed, to suffer pain and
cold, than are the neighboring parts. A sprained ankle, a dislocated
arm, are in danger of being sprained or dislocated again; joints that
have once been attacked by rheumatism or gout, mucous membranes that
have been the seat of catarrh, are with each fresh recurrence more prone
to a relapse, until often the morbid state chronically substitutes
itself for the sound one. And in the nervous system itself it is well
known how many so-called functional diseases seem to keep themselves
going simply because they happen to have once begun; and how the
forcible cutting short by medicine of a few attacks is often sufficient
to enable the physiological forces to get possession of the field again,
and to bring the organs back to functions of health. Epilepsies,
neuralgias, convulsive affections of various sorts, insomnias, are so
many cases in point. And, to take what are more obviously habits, the
success with which a 'weaning' treatment can often be applied to the
victims of unhealthy indulgence of passion, or of mere complaining or
irascible disposition, shows us how much the morbid manifestations
themselves were due to the mere inertia of the nervous organs, when once
launched on a false career.

=Habits are due to pathways through the nerve-centres.= If habits are due
to the plasticity of materials to outward agents, we can immediately see
to what outward influences, if to any, the brain-matter is plastic. Not
to mechanical pressures, not to thermal changes, not to any of the
forces to which all the other organs of our body are exposed; for, as
we saw on pp. 9-10, Nature has so blanketed and wrapped the brain about
that the only impressions that can be made upon it are through the
blood, on the one hand, and the sensory nerve-roots, on the other; and
it is to the infinitely attenuated currents that pour in through these
latter channels that the hemispherical cortex shows itself to be so
peculiarly susceptible. The currents, once in, must find a way out. In
getting out they leave their traces in the paths which they take. The
only thing they _can_ do, in short, is to deepen old paths or to make
new ones; and the whole plasticity of the brain sums itself up in two
words when we call it an organ in which currents pouring in from the
sense-organs make with extreme facility paths which do not easily
disappear. For, of course, a simple habit, like every other nervous
event--the habit of snuffling, for example, or of putting one's hands
into one's pockets, or of biting one's nails--is, mechanically, nothing
but a reflex discharge; and its anatomical substratum must be a path in
the system. The most complex habits, as we shall presently see more
fully, are, from the same point of view, nothing but _concatenated_
discharges in the nerve-centres, due to the presence there of systems of
reflex paths, so organized as to wake each other up successively--the
impression produced by one muscular contraction serving as a stimulus to
provoke the next, until a final impression inhibits the process and
closes the chain.

It must be noticed that the growth of structural modification in living
matter may be more rapid than in any lifeless mass, because the
incessant nutritive renovation of which the living matter is the seat
tends often to corroborate and fix the impressed modification, rather
than to counteract it by renewing the original constitution of the
tissue that has been impressed. Thus, we notice after exercising our
muscles or our brain in a new way, that we can do so no longer at that
time; but after a day or two of rest, when we resume the discipline, our
increase in skill not seldom surprises us. I have often noticed this in
learning a tune; and it has led a German author to say that we learn to
swim during the winter, and to skate during the summer.

=Practical Effects of Habit.=--First, habit simplifies our movements,
makes them accurate, and diminishes fatigue.

Man is born with a tendency to do more things than he has ready-made
arrangements for in his nerve-centres. Most of the performances of other
animals are automatic. But in him the number of them is so enormous that
most of them must be the fruit of painful study. If practice did not
make perfect, nor habit economize the expense of nervous and muscular
energy, he would be in a sorry plight. As Dr. Maudsley says:[30]

"If an act became no easier after being done several times, if the
careful direction of consciousness were necessary to its accomplishment
on each occasion, it is evident that the whole activity of a lifetime
might be confined to one or two deeds--that no progress could take place
in development. A man might be occupied all day in dressing and
undressing himself; the attitude of his body would absorb all his
attention and energy; the washing of his hands or the fastening of a
button would be as difficult to him on each occasion as to the child on
its first trial; and he would, furthermore, be completely exhausted by
his exertions. Think of the pains necessary to teach a child to stand,
of the many efforts which it must make, and of the ease with which it at
last stands, unconscious of any effort. For while secondarily-automatic
acts are accomplished with comparatively little weariness--in this
regard approaching the organic movements, or the original reflex
movements--the conscious effort of the will soon produces exhaustion. A
spinal cord without ... memory would simply be an idiotic spinal
cord.... It is impossible for an individual to realize how much he owes
to its automatic agency until disease has impaired its functions."

Secondly, _habit diminishes the conscious attention with which our acts
are performed_.

One may state this abstractly thus: If an act require for its execution
a chain, _A, B, C, D, E, F, G_, etc., of successive nervous events, then
in the first performances of the action the conscious will must choose
each of these events from a number of wrong alternatives that tend to
present themselves; but habit soon brings it about that each event calls
up its own appropriate successor without any alternative offering
itself, and without any reference to the conscious will, until at last
the whole chain, _A, B, C, D, E, F, G_, rattles itself off as soon as
_A_ occurs, just as if _A_ and the rest of the chain were fused into a
continuous stream. Whilst we are learning to walk, to ride, to swim,
skate, fence, write, play, or sing, we interrupt ourselves at every step
by unnecessary movements and false notes. When we are proficients, on
the contrary, the results follow not only with the very minimum of
muscular action requisite to bring them forth, but they follow from a
single instantaneous 'cue.' The marksman sees the bird, and, before he
knows it, he has aimed and shot. A gleam in his adversary's eye, a
momentary pressure from his rapier, and the fencer finds that he has
instantly made the right parry and return. A glance at the musical
hieroglyphics, and the pianist's fingers have rippled through a shower
of notes. And not only is it the right thing at the right time that we
thus involuntarily do, but the wrong thing also, if it be an habitual
thing. Who is there that has never wound up his watch on taking off his
waistcoat in the daytime, or taken his latch-key out on arriving at the
door-step of a friend? Persons in going to their bedroom to dress for
dinner have been known to take off one garment after another and finally
to get into bed, merely because that was the habitual issue of the first
few movements when performed at a later hour. We all have a definite
routine manner of performing certain daily offices connected with the
toilet, with the opening and shutting of familiar cupboards, and the
like. But our higher thought-centres know hardly anything about the
matter. Few men can tell off-hand which sock, shoe, or trousers-leg they
put on first. They must first mentally rehearse the act; and even that
is often insufficient--the act must be _performed_. So of the questions,
Which valve of the shutters opens first? Which way does my door swing?
etc. I cannot _tell_ the answer; yet my _hand_ never makes a mistake. No
one can _describe_ the order in which he brushes his hair or teeth; yet
it is likely that the order is a pretty fixed one in all of us.

These results may be expressed as follows:

In action grown habitual, what instigates each new muscular contraction
to take place in its appointed order is not a thought or a perception,
but the _sensation occasioned by the muscular contraction just
finished_. A strictly voluntary act has to be guided by idea,
perception, and volition, throughout its whole course. In habitual
action, mere sensation is a sufficient guide, and the upper regions of
brain and mind are set comparatively free. A diagram will make the
matter clear:

[Illustration: FIG. 51.]

Let _A, B, C, D, E, F, G_ represent an habitual chain of muscular
contractions, and let _a, b, c, d, e, f_ stand for the several
sensations which these contractions excite in us when they are
successively performed. Such sensations will usually be in the parts
moved, but they may also be effects of the movement upon the eye or the
ear. Through them, and through them alone, we are made aware whether or
not the contraction has occurred. When the series, _A, B, C, D, E, F,
G_, is being learned, each of these sensations becomes the object of a
separate act of attention by the mind. We test each movement
intellectually, to see if it have been rightly performed, before
advancing to the next. We hesitate, compare, choose, revoke, reject,
etc.; and the order by which the next movement is discharged is an
express order from the ideational centres after this deliberation has
been gone through.

In habitual action, on the contrary, the only impulse which the
intellectual centres need send down is that which carries the command to
_start_. This is represented in the diagram by _V_; it may be a thought
of the first movement or of the last result, or a mere perception of
some of the habitual conditions of the chain, the presence, e.g., of the
keyboard near the hand. In the present example, no sooner has this
conscious thought or volition instigated movement _A_, than _A_, through
the sensation _a_ of its own occurrence, awakens _B_ reflexly; _B_ then
excites _C_ through _b_, and so on till the chain is ended, when the
intellect generally takes cognizance of the final result. The
intellectual perception at the end is indicated in the diagram by the
sensible effect of the movement _G_ being represented at _G´_, in the
ideational centres above the merely sensational line. The sensational
impressions, _a, b, c, d, e, f_, are all supposed to have their seat
below the ideational level.

=Habits depend on sensations not attended to.= We have called _a, b, c, d,
e, f_, by the name of 'sensations.' If sensations, they are sensations
to which we are usually inattentive; but that they are more than
unconscious nerve-currents seems certain, for they catch our attention
if they go wrong. Schneider's account of these sensations deserves to be
quoted. In the act of walking, he says, even when our attention is
entirely absorbed elsewhere, it is doubtful whether we could preserve
equilibrium if no sensation of our body's attitude were there, and
doubtful whether we should advance our leg if we had no sensation of its
movement as executed, and not even a minimal feeling of impulse to set
it down. Knitting appears altogether mechanical, and the knitter keeps
up her knitting even while she reads or is engaged in lively talk. But
if we ask her how this is possible, she will hardly reply that the
knitting goes on of itself. She will rather say that she has a feeling
of it, that she feels in her hands that she knits and how she must knit,
and that therefore the movements of knitting are called forth and
regulated by the sensations associated therewithal, even when the
attention is called away...." Again: "When a pupil begins to play on the
violin, to keep him from raising his right elbow in playing a book is
placed under his right armpit, which he is ordered to hold fast by
keeping the upper arm tight against his body. The muscular feelings, and
feelings of contact connected with the book, provoke an impulse to press
it tight. But often it happens that the beginner, whose attention gets
absorbed in the production of the notes, lets drop the book. Later,
however, this never happens; the faintest sensations of contact suffice
to awaken the impulse to keep it in its place, and the attention may be
wholly absorbed by the notes and the fingering with the left hand. _The
simultaneous combination of movements is thus in the first instance
conditioned by the facility with which in us, alongside of intellectual
processes, processes of inattentive feeling may still go on._"

=Ethical and Pedagogical Importance of the Principle of Habit.=--"Habit a
second nature! Habit is ten times nature," the Duke of Wellington is
said to have exclaimed; and the degree to which this is true no one
probably can appreciate as well as one who is a veteran soldier himself.
The daily drill and the years of discipline end by fashioning a man
completely over again, as to most of the possibilities of his conduct.

"There is a story," says Prof. Huxley, "which is credible enough, though
it may not be true, of a practical joker who, seeing a discharged
veteran carrying home his dinner, suddenly called out, 'Attention!'
whereupon the man instantly brought his hands down, and lost his mutton
and potatoes in the gutter. The drill had been thorough, and its effects
had become embodied in the man's nervous structure."

Riderless cavalry-horses, at many a battle, have been seen to come
together and go through their customary evolutions at the sound of the
bugle-call. Most domestic beasts seem machines almost pure and simple,
undoubtingly, unhesitatingly doing from minute to minute the duties they
have been taught, and giving no sign that the possibility of an
alternative ever suggests itself to their mind. Men grown old in prison
have asked to be readmitted after being once set free. In a railroad
accident a menagerie-tiger, whose cage had broken open, is said to have
emerged, but presently crept back again, as if too much bewildered by
his new responsibilities, so that he was without difficulty secured.

Habit is thus the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious
conservative agent. It alone is what keeps us all within the bounds of
ordinance, and saves the children of fortune from the envious uprisings
of the poor. It alone prevents the hardest and most repulsive walks of
life from being deserted by those brought up to tread therein. It keeps
the fisherman and the deck-hand at sea through the winter; it holds the
miner in his darkness, and nails the countryman to his log-cabin and his
lonely farm through all the months of snow; it protects us from invasion
by the natives of the desert and the frozen zone. It dooms us all to
fight out the battle of life upon the lines of our nurture or our early
choice, and to make the best of a pursuit that disagrees, because there
is no other for which we are fitted, and it is too late to begin again.
It keeps different social strata from mixing. Already at the age of
twenty-five you see the professional mannerism settling down on the
young commercial traveller, on the young doctor, on the young minister,
on the young counsellor-at-law. You see the little lines of cleavage
running through the character, the tricks of thought, the prejudices,
the ways of the 'shop,' in a word, from which the man can by-and-by no
more escape than his coat-sleeve can suddenly fall into a new set of
folds. On the whole, it is best he should not escape. It is well for the
world that in most of us, by the age of thirty, the character has set
like plaster, and will never soften again.

If the period between twenty and thirty is the critical one in the
formation of intellectual and professional habits, the period below
twenty is more important still for the fixing of _personal_ habits,
properly so called, such as vocalization and pronunciation, gesture,
motion, and address. Hardly ever is a language learned after twenty
spoken without a foreign accent; hardly ever can a youth transferred to
the society of his betters unlearn the nasality and other vices of
speech bred in him by the associations of his growing years. Hardly
ever, indeed, no matter how much money there be in his pocket, can he
even learn to _dress_ like a gentleman-born. The merchants offer their
wares as eagerly to him as to the veriest 'swell,' but he simply
_cannot_ buy the right things. An invisible law, as strong as
gravitation, keeps him within his orbit, arrayed this year as he was the
last; and how his better-clad acquaintances contrive to get the things
they wear will be for him a mystery till his dying day.

The great thing, then, in all education, is to _make our nervous system
our ally instead of our enemy_. It is to fund and capitalize our
acquisitions, and live at ease upon the interest of the fund. _For this
we must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many
useful actions as we can_, and guard against the growing into ways that
are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we should guard against the
plague. The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to
the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind
will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable
human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for
whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of
rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of
work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation. Full half the
time of such a man goes to the deciding, or regretting, of matters which
ought to be so ingrained in him as practically not to exist for his
consciousness at all. If there be such daily duties not yet ingrained in
any one of my readers, let him begin this very hour to set the matter

In Professor Bain's chapter on 'The Moral Habits' there are some
admirable practical remarks laid down. Two great maxims emerge from his
treatment. The first is that in the acquisition of a new habit, or the
leaving off of an old one, we must take care to _launch ourselves with
as strong and decided an initiative as possible_. Accumulate all the
possible circumstances which shall re-enforce the right motives; put
yourself assiduously in conditions that encourage the new way; make
engagements incompatible with the old; take a public pledge, if the case
allows; in short, envelop your resolution with every aid you know. This
will give your new beginning such a momentum that the temptation to
break down will not occur as soon as it otherwise might; and every day
during which a breakdown is postponed adds to the chances of its not
occurring at all.

The second maxim is: _Never suffer an exception to occur till the new
habit is securely rooted in your life_. Each lapse is like the letting
fall of a ball of string which one is carefully winding up; a single
slip undoes more than a great many turns will wind again. _Continuity_
of training is the great means of making the nervous system act
infallibly right. As Professor Bain says:

"The peculiarity of the moral habits, contradistinguishing them from
the intellectual acquisitions, is the presence of two hostile powers,
one to be gradually raised into the ascendant over the other. It is
necessary, above all things, in such a situation, never to lose a
battle. Every gain on the wrong side undoes the effect of many conquests
on the right. The essential precaution, therefore, is so to regulate the
two opposing powers that the one may have a series of uninterrupted
successes, until repetition has fortified it to such a degree as to
enable it to cope with the opposition, under any circumstances. This is
the theoretically best career of mental progress."

The need of securing success at the _outset_ is imperative. Failure at
first is apt to damp the energy of all future attempts, whereas past
experiences of success nerve one to future vigor. Goethe says to a man
who consulted him about an enterprise but mistrusted his own powers:
"Ach! you need only blow on your hands!" And the remark illustrates the
effect on Goethe's spirits of his own habitually successful career.

The question of "tapering-off," in abandoning such habits as drink and
opium-indulgence comes in here, and is a question about which experts
differ within certain limits, and in regard to what may be best for an
individual case. In the main, however, all expert opinion would agree
that abrupt acquisition of the new habit is the best way, _if there be a
real possibility of carrying it out_. We must be careful not to give the
will so stiff a task as to insure its defeat at the very outset; but,
_provided one can stand it_, a sharp period of suffering, and then a
free time, is the best thing to aim at, whether in giving up a habit
like that of opium, or in simply changing one's hours of rising or of
work. It is surprising how soon a desire will die of inanition if it be
_never_ fed.

"One must first learn, unmoved, looking neither to the right nor left,
to walk firmly on the strait and narrow path, before one can begin 'to
make one's self over again.' He who every day makes a fresh resolve is
like one who, arriving at the edge of the ditch he is to leap, forever
stops and returns for a fresh run. Without _unbroken_ advance there is
no such thing as _accumulation_ of the ethical forces possible, and to
make this possible, and to exercise us and habituate us in it, is the
sovereign blessing of regular work."[31]

A third maxim may be added to the preceding pair: _Seize the very first
possible opportunity to act on every resolution you make, and on every
emotional prompting you may experience in the direction of the habits
you aspire to gain_. It is not in the moment of their forming, but in
the moment of their producing _motor effects_, that resolves and
aspirations communicate the new 'set' to the brain. As the author last
quoted remarks:

"The actual presence of the practical opportunity alone furnishes the
fulcrum upon which the lever can rest, by means of which the moral will
may multiply its strength, and raise itself aloft. He who has no solid
ground to press against will never get beyond the stage of empty

No matter how full a reservoir of _maxims_ one may possess, and no
matter how good one's _sentiments_ may be, if one have not taken
advantage of every concrete opportunity to _act_, one's character may
remain entirely unaffected for the better. With mere good intentions,
hell is proverbially paved. And this is an obvious consequence of the
principles we have laid down. A 'character,' as J. S. Mill says, 'is a
completely fashioned will'; and a will, in the sense in which he means
it, is an aggregate of tendencies to act in a firm and prompt and
definite way upon all the principal emergencies of life. A tendency to
act only becomes effectively ingrained in us in proportion to the
uninterrupted frequency with which the actions actually occur, and the
brain 'grows' to their use. When a resolve or a fine glow of feeling is
allowed to evaporate without bearing practical fruit it is worse than a
chance lost; it works so as positively to hinder future resolutions and
emotions from taking the normal path of discharge. There is no more
contemptible type of human character than that of the nerveless
sentimentalist and dreamer, who spends his life in a weltering sea of
sensibility and emotion, but who never does a manly concrete deed.
Rousseau, inflaming all the mothers of France, by his eloquence, to
follow Nature and nurse their babies themselves, while he sends his own
children to the foundling hospital, is the classical example of what I
mean. But every one of us in his measure, whenever, after glowing for an
abstractly formulated Good, he practically ignores some actual case,
among the squalid 'other particulars' of which that same Good lurks
disguised, treads straight on Rousseau's path. All Goods are disguised
by the vulgarity of their concomitants, in this work-a-day world; but
woe to him who can only recognize them when he thinks them in their pure
and abstract form! The habit of excessive novel-reading and
theatre-going will produce true monsters in this line. The weeping of
the Russian lady over the fictitious personages in the play, while her
coachman is freezing to death on his seat outside, is the sort of thing
that everywhere happens on a less glaring scale. Even the habit of
excessive indulgence in music, for those who are neither performers
themselves nor musically gifted enough to take it in a purely
intellectual way, has probably a relaxing effect upon the character. One
becomes filled with emotions which habitually pass without prompting to
any deed, and so the inertly sentimental condition is kept up. The
remedy would be, never to suffer one's self to have an emotion at a
concert, without expressing it afterward in _some_ active way. Let the
expression be the least thing in the world--speaking genially to one's
grandmother, or giving up one's seat in a horse-car, if nothing more
heroic offers--but let it not fail to take place.

These latter cases make us aware that it is not simply _particular
lines_ of discharge, but also _general forms_ of discharge, that seem to
be grooved out by habit in the brain. Just as, if we let our emotions
evaporate, they get into a way of evaporating; so there is reason to
suppose that if we often flinch from making an effort, before we know it
the effort-making capacity will be gone; and that, if we suffer the
wandering of our attention, presently it will wander all the time.
Attention and effort are, as we shall see later, but two names for the
same psychic fact. To what brain-processes they correspond we do not
know. The strongest reason for believing that they do depend on
brain-processes at all, and are not pure acts of the spirit, is just
this fact, that they seem in some degree subject to the law of habit,
which is a material law. As a final practical maxim, relative to these
habits of the will, we may, then, offer something like this: _Keep the
faculty of effort alive in you by a little gratuitous exercise every
day_. That is, be systematically ascetic or heroic in little unnecessary
points, do every day or two something for no other reason than that you
would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws nigh,
it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test. Asceticism
of this sort is like the insurance which a man pays on his house and
goods. The tax does him no good at the time, and possibly may never
bring him a return. But if the fire _does_ come, his having paid it will
be his salvation from ruin. So with the man who has daily inured himself
to habits of concentrated attention, energetic volition, and self-denial
in unnecessary things. He will stand like a tower when everything rocks
around him, and when his softer fellow-mortals are winnowed like chaff
in the blast.

The physiological study of mental conditions is thus the most powerful
ally of hortatory ethics. The hell to be endured hereafter, of which
theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this
world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could
the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of
habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic
state. We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be
undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never so
little scar. The drunken Rip Van Winkle, in Jefferson's play, excuses
himself for every fresh dereliction by saying, 'I won't count this
time!' Well! he may not count it, and a kind Heaven may not count it;
but it is being counted none the less. Down among his nerve-cells and
fibres the molecules are counting it, registering and storing it up to
be used against him when the next temptation comes. Nothing we ever do
is, in strict scientific literalness, wiped out. Of course this has its
good side as well as its bad one. As we become permanent drunkards by so
many separate drinks, so we become saints in the moral, and authorities
and experts in the practical and scientific spheres, by so many separate
acts and hours of work. Let no youth have any anxiety about the upshot
of his education, whatever the line of it may be. If he keep faithfully
busy each hour of the working day, he may safely leave the final result
to itself. He can with perfect certainty count on waking up some fine
morning, to find himself one of the competent ones of his generation, in
whatever pursuit he may have singled out. Silently, between all the
details of his business, the _power of judging_ in all that class of
matter will have built itself up within him as a possession that will
never pass away. Young people should know this truth in advance. The
ignorance of it has probably engendered more discouragement and
faint-heartedness in youths embarking on arduous careers than all other
causes put together.



=The order of our study must be analytic.= We are now prepared to begin
the introspective study of the adult consciousness itself. Most books
adopt the so-called synthetic method. Starting with 'simple ideas of
sensation,' and regarding these as so many atoms, they proceed to build
up the higher states of mind out of their 'association,' 'integration,'
or 'fusion,' as houses are built by the agglutination of bricks. This
has the didactic advantages which the synthetic method usually has. But
it commits one beforehand to the very questionable theory that our
higher states of consciousness are compounds of units; and instead of
starting with what the reader directly knows, namely his total concrete
states of mind, it starts with a set of supposed 'simple ideas' with
which he has no immediate acquaintance at all, and concerning whose
alleged interactions he is much at the mercy of any plausible phrase. On
every ground, then, the method of advancing from the simple to the
compound exposes us to illusion. All pedants and abstractionists will
naturally hate to abandon it. But a student who loves the fulness of
human nature will prefer to follow the 'analytic' method, and to begin
with the most concrete facts, those with which he has a daily
acquaintance in his own inner life. The analytic method will discover in
due time the elementary parts, if such exist, without danger of
precipitate assumption. The reader will bear in mind that our own
chapters on sensation have dealt mainly with the physiological
conditions thereof. They were put first as a mere matter of convenience,
because incoming currents come first. _Psychologically_ they might
better have come last. Pure sensations were described on page 12 as
processes which in adult life are well-nigh unknown, and nothing was
said which could for a moment lead the reader to suppose that they were
the _elements of composition_ of the higher states of mind.

=The Fundamental Fact.=--The first and foremost concrete fact which every
one will affirm to belong to his inner experience is the fact that
_consciousness of some sort goes on. 'States of mind' succeed each other
in him._ If we could say in English 'it thinks,' as we say 'it rains' or
'it blows,' we should be stating the fact most simply and with the
minimum of assumption. As we cannot, we must simply say that _thought
goes on_.

=Four Characters in Consciousness.=--How does it go on? We notice
immediately four important characters in the process, of which it shall
be the duty of the present chapter to treat in a general way:

1) Every 'state' tends to be part of a personal consciousness.

2) Within each personal consciousness states are always changing.

3) Each personal consciousness is sensibly continuous.

4) It is interested in some parts of its object to the exclusion of
others, and welcomes or rejects--_chooses_ from among them, in a
word--all the while.

In considering these four points successively, we shall have to plunge
_in medias res_ as regards our nomenclature and use psychological terms
which can only be adequately defined in later chapters of the book. But
every one knows what the terms mean in a rough way; and it is only in a
rough way that we are now to take them. This chapter is like a painter's
first charcoal sketch upon his canvas, in which no niceties appear.

When I say _every 'state' or 'thought' is part of a personal
consciousness_, 'personal consciousness' is one of the terms in
question. Its meaning we know so long as no one asks us to define it,
but to give an accurate account of it is the most difficult of
philosophic tasks. This task we must confront in the next chapter; here
a preliminary word will suffice.

In this room--this lecture-room, say--there are a multitude of thoughts,
yours and mine, some of which cohere mutually, and some not. They are as
little each-for-itself and reciprocally independent as they are
all-belonging-together. They are neither: no one of them is separate,
but each belongs with certain others and with none beside. My thought
belongs with _my_ other thoughts, and your thought with _your_ other
thoughts. Whether anywhere in the room there be a _mere_ thought, which
is nobody's thought, we have no means of ascertaining, for we have no
experience of its like. The only states of consciousness that we
naturally deal with are found in personal consciousnesses, minds,
selves, concrete particular I's and you's.

Each of these minds keeps its own thoughts to itself. There is no giving
or bartering between them. No thought even comes into direct _sight_ of
a thought in another personal consciousness than its own. Absolute
insulation, irreducible pluralism, is the law. It seems as if the
elementary psychic fact were not _thought_ or _this thought_ or _that
thought_, but _my thought_, every thought being _owned_. Neither
contemporaneity, nor proximity in space, nor similarity of quality and
content are able to fuse thoughts together which are sundered by this
barrier of belonging to different personal minds. The breaches between
such thoughts are the most absolute breaches in nature. Every one will
recognize this to be true, so long as the existence of _something_
corresponding to the term 'personal mind' is all that is insisted on,
without any particular view of its nature being implied. On these terms
the personal self rather than the thought might be treated as the
immediate datum in psychology. The universal conscious fact is not
'feelings and thoughts exist,' but 'I think' and 'I feel.' No
psychology, at any rate, can question the _existence_ of personal
selves. Thoughts connected as we feel them to be connected are _what we
mean_ by personal selves. The worst a psychology can do is so to
interpret the nature of these selves as to rob them of their _worth_.

=Consciousness is in constant change.= I do not mean by this to say that
no one state of mind has any duration--even if true, that would be hard
to establish. What I wish to lay stress on is this, that _no state once
gone can recur and be identical with what it was before_. Now we are
seeing, now hearing; now reasoning, now willing; now recollecting, now
expecting; now loving, now hating; and in a hundred other ways we know
our minds to be alternately engaged. But all these are complex states,
it may be said, produced by combination of simpler ones;--do not the
simpler ones follow a different law? Are not the _sensations_ which we
get from the same object, for example, always the same? Does not the
same piano-key, struck with the same force, make us hear in the same
way? Does not the same grass give us the same feeling of green, the same
sky the same feeling of blue, and do we not get the same olfactory
sensation no matter how many times we put our nose to the same flask of
cologne? It seems a piece of metaphysical sophistry to suggest that we
do not; and yet a close attention to the matter shows that _there is no
proof that an incoming current ever gives us just the same bodily
sensation twice_.

_What is got twice is the same_ OBJECT. We hear the same _note_ over and
over again; we see the same _quality_ of green, or smell the same
objective perfume, or experience the same _species_ of pain. The
realities, concrete and abstract, physical and ideal, whose permanent
existence we believe in, seem to be constantly coming up again before
our thought, and lead us, in our carelessness, to suppose that our
'ideas' of them are the same ideas. When we come, some time later, to
the chapter on Perception, we shall see how inveterate is our habit of
simply using our sensible impressions as stepping-stones to pass over to
the recognition of the realities whose presence they reveal. The grass
out of the window now looks to me of the same green in the sun as in the
shade, and yet a painter would have to paint one part of it dark brown,
another part bright yellow, to give its real sensational effect. We take
no heed, as a rule, of the different way in which the same things look
and sound and smell at different distances and under different
circumstances. The sameness of the _things_ is what we are concerned to
ascertain; and any sensations that assure us of that will probably be
considered in a rough way to be the same with each other. This is what
makes off-hand testimony about the subjective identity of different
sensations well-nigh worthless as a proof of the fact. The entire
history of what is called Sensation is a commentary on our inability to
tell whether two sensible qualities received apart are exactly alike.
What appeals to our attention far more than the absolute quality of an
impression is its _ratio_ to whatever other impressions we may have at
the same time. When everything is dark a somewhat less dark sensation
makes us see an object white. Helmholtz calculates that the white marble
painted in a picture representing an architectural view by moonlight is,
when seen by daylight, from ten to twenty thousand times brighter than
the real moonlit marble would be.

Such a difference as this could never have been _sensibly_ learned; it
had to be inferred from a series of indirect considerations. These make
us believe that our sensibility is altering all the time, so that the
same object cannot easily give us the same sensation over again. We feel
things differently accordingly as we are sleepy or awake, hungry or
full, fresh or tired; differently at night and in the morning,
differently in summer and in winter; and above all, differently in
childhood, manhood, and old age. And yet we never doubt that our
feelings reveal the same world, with the same sensible qualities and the
same sensible things occupying it. The difference of the sensibility is
shown best by the difference of our emotion about the things from one
age to another, or when we are in different organic moods. What was
bright and exciting becomes weary, flat, and unprofitable. The bird's
song is tedious, the breeze is mournful, the sky is sad.

To these indirect presumptions that our sensations, following the
mutations of our capacity for feeling, are always undergoing an
essential change, must be added another presumption, based on what must
happen in the brain. Every sensation corresponds to some cerebral
action. For an identical sensation to recur it would have to occur the
second time _in an unmodified brain_. But as this, strictly speaking, is
a physiological impossibility, so is an unmodified feeling an
impossibility; for to every brain-modification, however small, we
suppose that there must correspond a change of equal amount in the
consciousness which the brain subserves.

But if the assumption of 'simple sensations' recurring in immutable
shape is so easily shown to be baseless, how much more baseless is the
assumption of immutability in the larger masses of our thought!

For there it is obvious and palpable that our state of mind is never
precisely the same. Every thought we have of a given fact is, strictly
speaking, unique, and only bears a resemblance of kind with our other
thoughts of the same fact. When the identical fact recurs, we _must_
think of it in a fresh manner, see it under a somewhat different angle,
apprehend it in different relations from those in which it last
appeared. And the thought by which we cognize it is the thought of
it-in-those-relations, a thought suffused with the consciousness of all
that dim context. Often we are ourselves struck at the strange
differences in our successive views of the same thing. We wonder how we
ever could have opined as we did last month about a certain matter. We
have outgrown the possibility of that state of mind, we know not how.
From one year to another we see things in new lights. What was unreal
has grown real, and what was exciting is insipid. The friends we used to
care the world for are shrunken to shadows; the women once so divine,
the stars, the woods, and the waters, how now so dull and common!--the
young girls that brought an aura of infinity, at present hardly
distinguishable existences; the pictures so empty; and as for the books,
what _was_ there to find so mysteriously significant in Goethe, or in
John Mill so full of weight? Instead of all this, more zestful than ever
is the work; and fuller and deeper the import of common duties and of
common goods.

I am sure that this concrete and total manner of regarding the mind's
changes is the only true manner, difficult as it may be to carry it out
in detail. If anything seems obscure about it, it will grow clearer as
we advance. Meanwhile, if it be true, it is certainly also true that no
two 'ideas' are ever exactly the same, which is the proposition we
started to prove. The proposition is more important theoretically than
it at first sight seems. For it makes it already impossible for us to
follow obediently in the footprints of either the Lockian or the
Herbartian school, schools which have had almost unlimited influence in
Germany and among ourselves. No doubt it is often _convenient_ to
formulate the mental facts in an atomistic sort of way, and to treat the
higher states of consciousness as if they were all built out of
unchanging simple ideas which 'pass and turn again.' It is convenient
often to treat curves as if they were composed of small straight lines,
and electricity and nerve-force as if they were fluids. But in the one
case as in the other we must never forget that we are talking
symbolically, and that there is nothing in nature to answer to our
words. _A permanently existing 'Idea' which makes its appearance before
the footlights of consciousness at periodical intervals is as
mythological an entity as the Jack of Spades._

=Within each personal consciousness, thought is sensibly continuous.= I
can only define 'continuous' as that which is without breach, crack, or
division. The only breaches that can well be conceived to occur within
the limits of a single mind would either be _interruptions_,
_time_-gaps during which the consciousness went out; or they would be
breaks in the content of the thought, so abrupt that what followed had
no connection whatever with what went before. The proposition that
consciousness feels continuous, means two things:

_a._ That even where there is a time-gap the consciousness after it
feels as if it belonged together with the consciousness before it, as
another part of the same self;

_b._ That the changes from one moment to another in the quality of the
consciousness are never absolutely abrupt.

The case of the time-gaps, as the simplest, shall be taken first.

_a._ When Paul and Peter wake up in the same bed, and recognize that
they have been asleep, each one of them mentally reaches back and makes
connection with but _one_ of the two streams of thought which were
broken by the sleeping hours. As the current of an electrode buried in
the ground unerringly finds its way to its own similarly buried mate,
across no matter how much intervening earth; so Peter's present
instantly finds out Peter's past, and never by mistake knits itself on
to that of Paul. Paul's thought in turn is as little liable to go
astray. The past thought of Peter is appropriated by the present Peter
alone. He may have a _knowledge_, and a correct one too, of what Paul's
last drowsy states of mind were as he sank into sleep, but it is an
entirely different sort of knowledge from that which he has of his own
last states. He _remembers_ his own states, whilst he only _conceives_
Paul's. Remembrance is like direct feeling; its object is suffused with
a warmth and intimacy to which no object of mere conception ever
attains. This quality of warmth and intimacy and immediacy is what
Peter's _present_ thought also possesses for itself. So sure as this
present is me, is mine, it says, so sure is anything else that comes
with the same warmth and intimacy and immediacy, me and mine. What the
qualities called warmth and intimacy may in themselves be will have to
be matter for future consideration. But whatever past states appear with
those qualities must be admitted to receive the greeting of the present
mental state, to be owned by it, and accepted as belonging together with
it in a common self. This community of self is what the time-gap cannot
break in twain, and is why a present thought, although not ignorant of
the time-gap, can still regard itself as continuous with certain chosen
portions of the past.

Consciousness, then, does not appear to itself chopped up in bits. Such
words as 'chain' or 'train' do not describe it fitly as it presents
itself in the first instance. It is nothing jointed; it flows. A 'river'
or a 'stream' are the metaphors by which it is most naturally described.
_In talking of it hereafter, let us call it the stream of thought, of
consciousness, or of subjective life._

_b._ But now there appears, even within the limits of the same self, and
between thoughts all of which alike have this same sense of belonging
together, a kind of jointing and separateness among the parts, of which
this statement seems to take no account. I refer to the breaks that are
produced by sudden _contrasts in the quality_ of the successive segments
of the stream of thought. If the words 'chain' and 'train' had no
natural fitness in them, how came such words to be used at all? Does not
a loud explosion rend the consciousness upon which it abruptly breaks,
in twain? No; for even into our awareness of the thunder the
awareness of the previous silence creeps and continues; for what
we hear when the thunder crashes is not thunder _pure_, but
thunder-breaking-upon-silence-and-contrasting-with-it. Our feeling of
the same objective thunder, coming in this way, is quite different from
what it would be were the thunder a continuation of previous thunder.
The thunder itself we believe to abolish and exclude the silence; but
the _feeling_ of the thunder is also a feeling of the silence as just
gone; and it would be difficult to find in the actual concrete
consciousness of man a feeling so limited to the present as not to have
an inkling of anything that went before.

='Substantive' and 'Transitive' States of Mind.=--When we take a general
view of the wonderful stream of our consciousness, what strikes us first
is the different pace of its parts. Like a bird's life, it seems to be
an alternation of flights and perchings. The rhythm of language
expresses this, where every thought is expressed in a sentence, and
every sentence closed by a period. The resting-places are usually
occupied by sensorial imaginations of some sort, whose peculiarity is
that they can be held before the mind for an indefinite time, and
contemplated without changing; the places of flight are filled with
thoughts of relations, static or dynamic, that for the most part obtain
between the matters contemplated in the periods of comparative rest.

_Let us call the resting-places the 'substantive parts,' and the places
of flight the 'transitive parts,' of the stream of thought._ It then
appears that our thinking tends at all times towards some other
substantive part than the one from which it has just been dislodged. And
we may say that the main use of the transitive parts is to lead us from
one substantive conclusion to another.

Now it is very difficult, introspectively, to see the transitive parts
for what they really are. If they are but flights to a conclusion,
stopping them to look at them before the conclusion is reached is really
annihilating them. Whilst if we wait till the conclusion _be_ reached,
it so exceeds them in vigor and stability that it quite eclipses and
swallows them up in its glare. Let anyone try to cut a thought across in
the middle and get a look at its section, and he will see how difficult
the introspective observation of the transitive tracts is. The rush of
the thought is so headlong that it almost always brings us up at the
conclusion before we can arrest it. Or if our purpose is nimble enough
and we do arrest it, it ceases forthwith to be itself. As a snowflake
crystal caught in the warm hand is no longer a crystal but a drop, so,
instead of catching the feeling of relation moving to its term, we find
we have caught some substantive thing, usually the last word we were
pronouncing, statically taken, and with its function, tendency, and
particular meaning in the sentence quite evaporated. The attempt at
introspective analysis in these cases is in fact like seizing a spinning
top to catch its motion, or trying to turn up the gas quickly enough to
see how the darkness looks. And the challenge to _produce_ these
transitive states of consciousness, which is sure to be thrown by
doubting psychologists at anyone who contends for their existence, is as
unfair as Zeno's treatment of the advocates of motion, when, asking them
to point out in what place an arrow is when it moves, he argues the
falsity of their thesis from their inability to make to so preposterous
a question an immediate reply.

The results of this introspective difficulty are baleful. If to hold
fast and observe the transitive parts of thought's stream be so hard,
then the great blunder to which all schools are liable must be the
failure to register them, and the undue emphasizing of the more
substantive parts of the stream. Now the blunder has historically worked
in two ways. One set of thinkers have been led by it to
_Sensationalism_. Unable to lay their hands on any substantive feelings
corresponding to the innumerable relations and forms of connection
between the sensible things of the world, finding no _named_ mental
states mirroring such relations, they have for the most part denied that
any such states exist; and many of them, like Hume, have gone on to deny
the reality of most relations _out_ of the mind as well as in it. Simple
substantive 'ideas,' sensations and their copies, juxtaposed like
dominoes in a game, but really separate, everything else verbal
illusion,--such is the upshot of this view. The _Intellectualists_, on
the other hand, unable to give up the reality of relations _extra
mentem_, but equally unable to point to any distinct substantive
feelings in which they were known, have made the same admission that
such feelings do not exist. But they have drawn an opposite conclusion.
The relations must be known, they say, in something that is no feeling,
no mental 'state,' continuous and consubstantial with the subjective
tissue out of which sensations and other substantive conditions of
consciousness are made. They must be known by something that lies on an
entirely different plane, by an _actus purus_ of Thought, Intellect, or
Reason, all written with capitals and considered to mean something
unutterably superior to any passing perishing fact of sensibility

But from our point of view both Intellectualists and Sensationalists are
wrong. If there be such things as feelings at all, _then so surely as
relations between objects exist_ in rerum naturâ, _so surely, and more
surely, do feelings exist to which these relations are known_. There is
not a conjunction or a preposition, and hardly an adverbial phrase,
syntactic form, or inflection of voice, in human speech, that does not
express some shading or other of relation which we at some moment
actually feel to exist between the larger objects of our thought. If we
speak objectively, it is the real relations that appear revealed; if we
speak subjectively, it is the stream of consciousness that matches each
of them by an inward coloring of its own. In either case the relations
are numberless, and no existing language is capable of doing justice to
all their shades.

We ought to say a feeling of _and_, a feeling of _if_, a feeling of
_but_, and a feeling of _by_, quite as readily as we say a feeling of
_blue_ or a feeling of _cold_. Yet we do not: so inveterate has our
habit become of recognizing the existence of the substantive parts
alone, that language almost refuses to lend itself to any other use.
Consider once again the analogy of the brain. We believe the brain to be
an organ whose internal equilibrium is always in a state of change--the
change affecting every part. The pulses of change are doubtless more
violent in one place than in another, their rhythm more rapid at this
time than at that. As in a kaleidoscope revolving at a uniform rate,
although the figures are always rearranging themselves, there are
instants during which the transformation seems minute and interstitial
and almost absent, followed by others when it shoots with magical
rapidity, relatively stable forms thus alternating with forms we should
not distinguish if seen again; so in the brain the perpetual
rearrangement must result in some forms of tension lingering relatively
long, whilst others simply come and pass. But if consciousness
corresponds to the fact of rearrangement itself, why, if the
rearrangement stop not, should the consciousness ever cease? And if a
lingering rearrangement brings with it one kind of consciousness, why
should not a swift rearrangement bring another kind of consciousness as
peculiar as the rearrangement itself?

=The object before the mind always has a 'Fringe.'= There are other
unnamed modifications of consciousness just as important as the
transitive states, and just as cognitive as they. Examples will show
what I mean.

Suppose three successive persons say to us: 'Wait!' 'Hark!' 'Look!' Our
consciousness is thrown into three quite different attitudes of
expectancy, although no definite object is before it in any one of the
three cases. Probably no one will deny here the existence of a real
conscious affection, a sense of the direction from which an impression
is about to come, although no positive impression is yet there.
Meanwhile we have no names for the psychoses in question but the names
hark, look, and wait.

Suppose we try to recall a forgotten name. The state of our
consciousness is peculiar. There is a gap therein; but no mere gap. It
is a gap that is intensely active. A sort of wraith of the name is in
it, beckoning us in a given direction, making us at moments tingle with
the sense of our closeness, and then letting us sink back without the
longed-for term. If wrong names are proposed to us, this singularly
definite gap acts immediately so as to negate them. They do not fit
into its mould. And the gap of one word does not feel like the gap of
another, all empty of content as both might seem necessarily to be when
described as gaps. When I vainly try to recall the name of Spalding, my
consciousness is far removed from what it is when I vainly try to recall
the name of Bowles. There are innumerable consciousnesses of _want_, no
one of which taken in itself has a name, but all different from each
other. Such a feeling of want is _toto cœlo_ other than a want of
feeling: it is an intense feeling. The rhythm of a lost word may be
there without a sound to clothe it; or the evanescent sense of something
which is the initial vowel or consonant may mock us fitfully, without
growing more distinct. Every one must know the tantalizing effect of the
blank rhythm of some forgotten verse, restlessly dancing in one's mind,
striving to be filled out with words.

What is that first instantaneous glimpse of some one's meaning which we
have, when in vulgar phrase we say we 'twig' it? Surely an altogether
specific affection of our mind. And has the reader never asked himself
what kind of a mental fact is his _intention of saying a thing_ before
he has said it? It is an entirely definite intention, distinct from all
other intentions, an absolutely distinct state of consciousness,
therefore; and yet how much of it consists of definite sensorial images,
either of words or of things? Hardly anything! Linger, and the words and
things come into the mind; the anticipatory intention, the divination is
there no more. But as the words that replace it arrive, it welcomes them
successively and calls them right if they agree with it, it rejects them
and calls them wrong if they do not. The intention _to-say-so-and-so_ is
the only name it can receive. One may admit that a good third of our
psychic life consists in these rapid premonitory perspective views of
schemes of thought not yet articulate. How comes it about that a man
reading something aloud for the first time is able immediately to
emphasize all his words aright, unless from the very first he have a
sense of at least the form of the sentence yet to come, which sense is
fused with his consciousness of the present word, and modifies its
emphasis in his mind so as to make him give it the proper accent as he
utters it? Emphasis of this kind almost altogether depends on
grammatical construction. If we read 'no more,' we expect presently a
'than'; if we read 'however,' it is a 'yet,' a 'still,' or a
'nevertheless,' that we expect. And this foreboding of the coming verbal
and grammatical scheme is so practically accurate that a reader
incapable of understanding four ideas of the book he is reading aloud
can nevertheless read it with the most delicately modulated expression
of intelligence.

It is, the reader will see, the reinstatement of the vague and
inarticulate to its proper place in our mental life which I am so
anxious to press on the attention. Mr. Galton and Prof. Huxley have, as
we shall see in the chapter on Imagination, made one step in advance in
exploding the ridiculous theory of Hume and Berkeley that we can have no
images but of perfectly definite things. Another is made if we overthrow
the equally ridiculous notion that, whilst simple objective qualities
are revealed to our knowledge in 'states of consciousness,' relations
are not. But these reforms are not half sweeping and radical enough.
What must be admitted is that the definite images of traditional
psychology form but the very smallest part of our minds as they actually
live. The traditional psychology talks like one who should say a river
consists of nothing but pailsful, spoonsful, quartpotsful, barrelsful,
and other moulded forms of water. Even were the pails and the pots all
actually standing in the stream, still between them the free water would
continue to flow. It is just this free water of consciousness that
psychologists resolutely overlook. Every definite image in the mind is
steeped and dyed in the free water that flows round it. With it goes the
sense of its relations, near and remote, the dying echo of whence it
came to us, the dawning sense of whither it is to lead. The
significance, the value, of the image is all in this halo or penumbra
that surrounds and escorts it,--or rather that is fused into one with it
and has become bone of its bone and flesh of its flesh; leaving it, it
is true, an image of the same _thing_ it was before, but making it an
image of that thing newly taken and freshly understood.

_Let us call the consciousness of this halo of relations around the
image by the name of 'psychic overtone' or 'fringe.'_

=Cerebral Conditions of the 'Fringe.'=--Nothing is easier than to
symbolize these facts in terms of brain-action. Just as the echo of the
_whence_, the sense of the starting point of our thought, is probably
due to the dying excitement of processes but a moment since vividly
aroused; so the sense of the whither, the foretaste of the terminus,
must be due to the waxing excitement of tracts or processes whose
psychical correlative will a moment hence be the vividly present feature
of our thought. Represented by a curve, the neurosis underlying
consciousness must at any moment be like this:

[Illustration: FIG. 52.]

Let the horizontal in Fig. 52 be the line of time, and let the three
curves beginning at _a_, _b_, and _c_ respectively stand for the neural
processes correlated with the thoughts of those three letters. Each
process occupies a certain time during which its intensity waxes,
culminates, and wanes. The process for _a_ has not yet died out, the
process for _c_ has already begun, when that for _b_ is culminating. At
the time-instant represented by the vertical line all three processes
are _present_, in the intensities shown by the curve. Those before _c_'s
apex _were_ more intense a moment ago; those after it _will be_ more
intense a moment hence. If I recite _a_, _b_, _c_, then, at the moment
of uttering _b_, neither _a_ nor _c_ is out of my consciousness
altogether, but both, after their respective fashions, 'mix their dim
lights' with the stronger _b_, because their processes are both awake in
some degree.

It is just like 'overtones' in music: they are not separately heard by
the ear; they blend with the fundamental note, and suffuse it, and alter
it; and even so do the waxing and waning brain-processes at every moment
blend with and suffuse and alter the psychic effect of the processes
which are at their culminating point.

=The 'Topic' of the Thought.=--If we then consider the _cognitive
function_ of different states of mind, we may feel assured that the
difference between those that are mere 'acquaintance' and those that are
'knowledges-_about_' is reducible almost entirely to the absence or
presence of psychic fringes or overtones. Knowledge _about_ a thing is
knowledge of its relations. Acquaintance with it is limitation to the
bare impression which it makes. Of most of its relations we are only
aware in the penumbral nascent way of a 'fringe' of unarticulated
affinities about it. And, before passing to the next topic in order, I
must say a little of this sense of affinity, as itself one of the most
interesting features of the subjective stream.

=Thought may be equally rational in any sort of terms.= _In all our
voluntary thinking there is some_ TOPIC or SUBJECT about which all the
members of the thought revolve. Relation to this topic or interest is
constantly felt in the fringe, and particularly the relation of harmony
and discord, of furtherance or hindrance of the topic. Any thought the
quality of whose fringe lets us feel ourselves 'all right,' may be
considered a thought that furthers the topic. Provided we only feel its
object to have a place in the scheme of relations in which the topic
also lies, that is sufficient to make of it a relevant and appropriate
portion of our train of ideas.

Now we may think about our topic mainly in words, or we may think about
it mainly in visual or other images, but this need make no difference as
regards the furtherance of our knowledge of the topic. If we only feel
in the terms, whatever they be, a fringe of affinity with each other and
with the topic, and if we are conscious of approaching a conclusion, we
feel that our thought is rational and right. The words in every language
have contracted by long association fringes of mutual repugnance or
affinity with each other and with the conclusion, which run exactly
parallel with like fringes in the visual, tactile, and other ideas. The
most important element of these fringes is, I repeat, the mere feeling
of harmony or discord, of a right or wrong direction in the thought.

If we know English and French and begin a sentence in French, all the
later words that come are French; we hardly ever drop into English. And
this affinity of the French words for each other is not something merely
operating mechanically as a brain-law, it is something we feel at the
time. Our understanding of a French sentence heard never falls to so low
an ebb that we are not aware that the words linguistically belong
together. Our attention can hardly so wander that if an English word be
suddenly introduced we shall not start at the change. Such a vague sense
as this of the words belonging together is the very minimum of fringe
that can accompany them, if 'thought' at all. Usually the vague
perception that all the words we hear belong to the same language and to
the same special vocabulary in that language, and that the grammatical
sequence is familiar, is practically equivalent to an admission that
what we hear is sense. But if an unusual foreign word be introduced, if
the grammar trip, or if a term from an incongruous vocabulary suddenly
appear, such as 'rat-trap' or 'plumber's bill' in a philosophical
discourse, the sentence detonates as it were, we receive a shock from
the incongruity, and the drowsy assent is gone. The feeling of
rationality in these cases seems rather a negative than a positive
thing, being the mere absence of shock, or sense of discord, between the
terms of thought.

Conversely, if words do belong to the same vocabulary, and if the
grammatical structure is correct, sentences with absolutely no meaning
may be uttered in good faith and pass unchallenged. Discourses at
prayer-meetings, re-shuffling the same collection of cant phrases, and
the whole genus of penny-a-line-isms and newspaper-reporter's flourishes
give illustrations of this. "The birds filled the tree-tops with their
morning song, making the air moist, cool, and pleasant," is a sentence I
remember reading once in a report of some athletic exercises in Jerome
Park. It was probably written unconsciously by the hurried reporter, and
read uncritically by many readers.

[Illustration: FIG. 53.]

We see, then, that it makes little or no difference in what sort of
mind-stuff, in what quality of imagery, our thinking goes on. The only
images _intrinsically_ important are the halting-places, the substantive
conclusions, provisional or final, of the thought. Throughout all the
rest of the stream, the feelings of relation are everything, and the
terms related almost naught. These feelings of relation, these psychic
overtones, halos, suffusions, or fringes about the terms, may be the
same in very different systems of imagery. A diagram may help to
accentuate this indifference of the mental means where the end is the
same. Let _A_ be some experience from which a number of thinkers start.
Let _Z_ be the practical conclusion rationally inferrible from it. One
gets to this conclusion by one line, another by another; one follows a
course of English, another of German, verbal imagery. With one, visual
images predominate; with another, tactile. Some trains are tinged with
emotions, others not; some are very abridged, synthetic and rapid;
others, hesitating and broken into many steps. But when the penultimate
terms of all the trains, however differing _inter se_, finally shoot
into the same conclusion, we say, and rightly say, that all the thinkers
have had substantially the same thought. It would probably astound each
of them beyond measure to be let into his neighbor's mind and to find
how different the scenery there was from that in his own.

The last peculiarity to which attention is to be drawn in this first
rough description of thought's stream is that--

=Consciousness is always interested more in one part of its object than
in another, and welcomes and rejects, or chooses, all the while it

The phenomena of selective attention and of deliberative will are of
course patent examples of this choosing activity. But few of us are
aware how incessantly it is at work in operations not ordinarily called
by these names. Accentuation and Emphasis are present in every
perception we have. We find it quite impossible to disperse our
attention impartially over a number of impressions. A monotonous
succession of sonorous strokes is broken up into rhythms, now of one
sort, now of another, by the different accent which we place on
different strokes. The simplest of these rhythms is the double one,
tick-tóck, tick-tóck, tick-tóck. Dots dispersed on a surface are
perceived in rows and groups. Lines separate into diverse figures. The
ubiquity of the distinctions, _this_ and _that_, _here_ and _there_,
_now_ and _then_, in our minds is the result of our laying the same
selective emphasis on parts of place and time.

But we do far more than emphasize things, and unite some, and keep
others apart. We actually _ignore_ most of the things before us. Let me
briefly show how this goes on.

To begin at the bottom, what are our very senses themselves, as we saw
on pp. 10-12, but organs of selection? Out of the infinite chaos of
movements, of which physics teaches us that the outer world consists,
each sense-organ picks out those which fall within certain limits of
velocity. To these it responds, but ignores the rest as completely as if
they did not exist. Out of what is in itself an undistinguishable,
swarming _continuum_, devoid of distinction or emphasis, our senses make
for us, by attending to this motion and ignoring that, a world full of
contrasts, of sharp accents, of abrupt changes, of picturesque light and

If the sensations we receive from a given organ have their causes thus
picked out for us by the conformation of the organ's termination,
Attention, on the other hand, out of all the sensations yielded, picks
out certain ones as worthy of its notice and suppresses all the rest. We
notice only those sensations which are signs to us of _things_ which
happen practically or æsthetically to interest us, to which we therefore
give substantive names, and which we exalt to this exclusive status of
independence and dignity. But in itself, apart from my interest, a
particular dust-wreath on a windy day is just as much of an individual
_thing_, and just as much or as little deserves an individual name, as
my own body does.

And then, among the sensations we get from each separate thing, what
happens? The mind selects again. It chooses certain of the sensations to
represent the thing most _truly_, and considers the rest as its
appearances, modified by the conditions of the moment. Thus my table-top
is named _square_, after but one of an infinite number of retinal
sensations which it yields, the rest of them being sensations of two
acute and two obtuse angles; but I call the latter _perspective_ views,
and the four right angles the _true_ form of the table, and erect the
attribute squareness into the table's essence, for æsthetic reasons of
my own. In like manner, the real form of the circle is deemed to be the
sensation it gives when the line of vision is perpendicular to its
centre--all its other sensations are _signs_ of this sensation. The real
sound of the cannon is the sensation it makes when the ear is close by.
The real color of the brick is the sensation it gives when the eye looks
squarely at it from a near point, out of the sunshine and yet not in the
gloom; under other circumstances it gives us other color-sensations
which are but signs of this--we then see it looks pinker or bluer than
it really is. The reader knows no object which he does not represent to
himself by preference as in some typical attitude, of some normal size,
at some characteristic distance, of some standard tint, etc., etc. But
all these essential characteristics, which together form for us the
genuine objectivity of the thing and are contrasted with what we call
the subjective sensations it may yield us at a given moment, are mere
sensations like the latter. The mind chooses to suit itself, and decides
what particular sensation shall be held more real and valid than all the

Next, in a world of objects thus individualized by our mind's selective
industry, what is called our 'experience' is almost entirely determined
by our habits of attention. A thing may be present to a man a hundred
times, but if he persistently fails to notice it, it cannot be said to
enter into his experience. We are all seeing flies, moths, and beetles
by the thousand, but to whom, save an entomologist, do they say anything
distinct? On the other hand, a thing met only once in a lifetime may
leave an indelible experience in the memory. Let four men make a tour in
Europe. One will bring home only picturesque impressions--costumes and
colors, parks and views and works of architecture, pictures and statues.
To another all this will be non-existent; and distances and prices,
populations and drainage-arrangements, door-and window-fastenings, and
other useful statistics will take their place. A third will give a rich
account of the theatres, restaurants, and public halls, and naught
beside; whilst the fourth will perhaps have been so wrapped in his own
subjective broodings as to be able to tell little more than a few names
of places through which he passed. Each has selected, out of the same
mass of presented objects, those which suited his private interest and
has made his experience thereby.

If now, leaving the empirical combination of objects, we ask how the
mind proceeds _rationally_ to connect them, we find selection again to
be omnipotent. In a future chapter we shall see that all Reasoning
depends on the ability of the mind to break up the totality of the
phenomenon reasoned about, into parts, and to pick out from among these
the particular one which, in the given emergency, may lead to the proper
conclusion. The man of genius is he who will always stick in his bill at
the right point, and bring it out with the right element--'reason' if
the emergency be theoretical, 'means' if it be practical--transfixed
upon it.

If now we pass to the æsthetic department, our law is still more
obvious. The artist notoriously selects his items, rejecting all tones,
colors, shapes, which do not harmonize with each other and with the main
purpose of his work. That unity, harmony, 'convergence of characters,'
as M. Taine calls it, which gives to works of art their superiority over
works of nature, is wholly due to _elimination_. Any natural subject
will do, if the artist has wit enough to pounce upon some one feature of
it as characteristic, and suppress all merely accidental items which do
not harmonize with this.

Ascending still higher, we reach the plane of Ethics, where choice
reigns notoriously supreme. An act has no ethical quality whatever
unless it be chosen out of several all equally possible. To sustain the
arguments for the good course and keep them ever before us, to stifle
our longing for more flowery ways, to keep the foot unflinchingly on the
arduous path, these are characteristic ethical energies. But more than
these; for these but deal with the means of compassing interests already
felt by the man to be supreme. The ethical energy _par excellence_ has
to go farther and choose which _interest_ out of several, equally
coercive, shall become supreme. The issue here is of the utmost
pregnancy, for it decides a man's entire career. When he debates, Shall
I commit this crime? choose that profession? accept that office, or
marry this fortune?--his choice really lies between one of several
equally possible future Characters. What he shall _become_ is fixed by
the conduct of this moment. Schopenhauer, who enforces his determinism
by the argument that with a given fixed character only one reaction is
possible under given circumstances, forgets that, in these critical
ethical moments, what consciously _seems_ to be in question is the
complexion of the character itself. The problem with the man is less
what act he shall now resolve to do than what being he shall now choose
to become.

Taking human experience in a general way, the choosings of different men
are to a great extent the same. The race as a whole largely agrees as to
what it shall notice and name; and among the noticed parts we select in
much the same way for accentuation and preference, or subordination and
dislike. There is, however, one entirely extraordinary case in which no
two men ever are known to choose alike. One great splitting of the whole
universe into two halves is made by each of us; and for each of us
almost all of the interest attaches to one of the halves; but we all
draw the line of division between them in a different place. When I say
that we all call the two halves by the same names, and that those names
are '_me_' and '_not-me_' respectively, it will at once be seen what I
mean. The altogether unique kind of interest which each human mind feels
in those parts of creation which it can call _me_ or _mine_ may be a
moral riddle, but it is a fundamental psychological fact. No mind can
take the same interest in his neighbor's _me_ as in his own. The
neighbor's me falls together with all the rest of things in one foreign
mass against which his own _me_ stands out in startling relief. Even
the trodden worm, as Lotze somewhere says, contrasts his own suffering
self with the whole remaining universe, though he have no clear
conception either of himself or of what the universe may be. He is for
me a mere part of the world; for him it is I who am the mere part. Each
of us dichotomizes the Kosmos in a different place.

Descending now to finer work than this first general sketch, let us in
the next chapter try to trace the psychology of this fact of
self-consciousness to which we have thus once more been led.



=The Me and the I.=--Whatever I may be thinking of, I am always at the
same time more or less aware of _myself_, of my _personal existence_. At
the same time it is _I_ who am aware; so that the total self of me,
being as it were duplex, partly known and partly knower, partly object
and partly subject, must have two aspects discriminated in it, of which
for shortness we may call one the _Me_ and the other the _I_. I call
these 'discriminated aspects,' and not separate things, because the
identity of _I_ with _me_, even in the very act of their discrimination,
is perhaps the most ineradicable dictum of common-sense, and must not be
undermined by our terminology here at the outset, whatever we may come
to think of its validity at our inquiry's end.

I shall therefore treat successively of A) the self as known, or the
_me_, the 'empirical ego' as it is sometimes called; and of B) the self
as knower, or the I, the 'pure ego' of certain authors.


=The Empirical Self or Me.=--Between what a man calls _me_ and what he
simply calls _mine_ the line is difficult to draw. We feel and act about
certain things that are ours very much as we feel and act about
ourselves. Our fame, our children, the work of our hands, may be as dear
to us as our bodies are, and arouse the same feelings and the same acts
of reprisal if attacked. And our bodies themselves, are they simply
ours, or are they _us_? Certainly men have been ready to disown their
very bodies and to regard them as mere vestures, or even as prisons of
clay from which they should some day be glad to escape.

We see then that we are dealing with a fluctuating material; the same
object being sometimes treated as a part of me, at other times as simply
mine, and then again as if I had nothing to do with it at all. _In its
widest possible sense_, however, _a man's Me is the sum total of all
that he_ CAN _call his_, not only his body and his psychic powers, but
his clothes and his house, his wife and children, his ancestors and
friends, his reputation and works, his lands and horses, and yacht and
bank-account. All these things give him the same emotions. If they wax
and prosper, he feels triumphant; if they dwindle and die away, he feels
cast down,--not necessarily in the same degree for each thing, but in
much the same way for all. Understanding the Me in this widest sense, we
may begin by dividing the history of it into three parts, relating
respectively to--

_a._ Its constituents;

_b._ The feelings and emotions they arouse,--_self-appreciation_;

_c._ The act to which they prompt,--_self-seeking and

       *       *       *       *       *

_a._ _The constituents of the Me_ may be divided into two classes, those
which make up respectively--

    The material me;
    The social me; and
    The spiritual me.

=The Material Me.=--The _body_ is the innermost part of the material me in
each of us; and certain parts of the body seem more intimately ours than
the rest. The clothes come next. The old saying that the human person is
composed of three parts--soul, body and clothes--is more than a joke. We
so appropriate our clothes and identify ourselves with them that there
are few of us who, if asked to choose between having a beautiful body
clad in raiment perpetually shabby and unclean, and having an ugly and
blemished form always spotlessly attired, would not hesitate a moment
before making a decisive reply. Next, our immediate family is a part of
ourselves. Our father and mother, our wife and babes, are bone of our
bone and flesh of our flesh. When they die, a part of our very selves is
gone. If they do anything wrong, it is our shame. If they are insulted,
our anger flashes forth as readily as if we stood in their place. Our
home comes next. Its scenes are part of our life; its aspects awaken the
tenderest feelings of affection; and we do not easily forgive the
stranger who, in visiting it, finds fault with its arrangements or
treats it with contempt. All these different things are the objects of
instinctive preferences coupled with the most important practical
interests of life. We all have a blind impulse to watch over our body,
to deck it with clothing of an ornamental sort, to cherish parents,
wife, and babes, and to find for ourselves a house of our own which we
may live in and 'improve.'

An equally instinctive impulse drives us to collect property; and the
collections thus made become, with different degrees of intimacy, parts
of our empirical selves. The parts of our wealth most intimately ours
are those which are saturated with our labor. There are few men who
would not feel personally annihilated if a life-long construction of
their hands or brains--say an entomological collection or an extensive
work in manuscript--were suddenly swept away. The miser feels similarly
towards his gold; and although it is true that a part of our depression
at the loss of possessions is due to our feeling that we must now go
without certain goods that we expected the possessions to bring in their
train, yet in every case there remains, over and above this, a sense of
the shrinkage of our personality, a partial conversion of ourselves to
nothingness, which is a psychological phenomenon by itself. We are all
at once assimilated to the tramps and poor devils whom we so despise,
and at the same time removed farther than ever away from the happy sons
of earth who lord it over land and sea and men in the full-blown
lustihood that wealth and power can give, and before whom, stiffen
ourselves as we will by appealing to anti-snobbish first principles, we
cannot escape an emotion, open or sneaking, of respect and dread.

=The Social Me.=--A man's social me is the recognition which he gets from
his mates. We are not only gregarious animals, liking to be in sight of
our fellows, but we have an innate propensity to get ourselves noticed,
and noticed favorably, by our kind. No more fiendish punishment could be
devised, were such a thing physically possible, than that one should be
turned loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed by all the
members thereof. If no one turned round when we entered, answered when
we spoke, or minded what we did, but if every person we met 'cut us
dead,' and acted as if we were non-existing things, a kind of rage and
impotent despair would ere long well up in us, from which the cruellest
bodily tortures would be a relief; for these would make us feel that,
however bad might be our plight, we had not sunk to such a depth as to
be unworthy of attention at all.

Properly speaking, _a man has as many social selves as there are
individuals who recognize him_ and carry an image of him in their mind.
To wound any one of these his images is to wound him. But as the
individuals who carry the images fall naturally into classes, we may
practically say that he has as many different social selves as there are
distinct _groups_ of persons about whose opinion he cares. He generally
shows a different side of himself to each of these different groups.
Many a youth who is demure enough before his parents and teachers,
swears and swaggers like a pirate among his 'tough' young friends. We do
not show ourselves to our children as to our club-companions, to our
customers as to the laborers we employ, to our own masters and
employers as to our intimate friends. From this there results what
practically is a division of the man into several selves; and this may
be a discordant splitting, as where one is afraid to let one set of his
acquaintances know him as he is elsewhere; or it may be a perfectly
harmonious division of labor, as where one tender to his children is
stern to the soldiers or prisoners under his command.

The most peculiar social self which one is apt to have is in the mind of
the person one is in love with. The good or bad fortunes of this self
cause the most intense elation and dejection--unreasonable enough as
measured by every other standard than that of the organic feeling of the
individual. To his own consciousness he _is_ not, so long as this
particular social self fails to get recognition, and when it is
recognized his contentment passes all bounds.

A man's _fame_, good or bad, and his _honor_ or dishonor, are names for
one of his social selves. The particular social self of a man called his
honor is usually the result of one of those splittings of which we have
spoken. It is his image in the eyes of his own 'set,' which exalts or
condemns him as he conforms or not to certain requirements that may not
be made of one in another walk of life. Thus a layman may abandon a city
infected with cholera; but a priest or a doctor would think such an act
incompatible with his honor. A soldier's honor requires him to fight or
to die under circumstances where another man can apologize or run away
with no stain upon his social self. A judge, a statesman, are in like
manner debarred by the honor of their cloth from entering into pecuniary
relations perfectly honorable to persons in private life. Nothing is
commoner than to hear people discriminate between their different selves
of this sort: "As a man I pity you, but as an official I must show you
no mercy"; "As a politician I regard him as an ally, but as a moralist I
loathe him"; etc., etc. What may be called 'club-opinion' is one of the
very strongest forces in life. The thief must not steal from other
thieves; the gambler must pay his gambling-debts, though he pay no other
debts in the world. The code of honor of fashionable society has
throughout history been full of permissions as well as of vetoes, the
only reason for following either of which is that so we best serve one
of our social selves. You must not lie in general, but you may lie as
much as you please if asked about your relations with a lady; you must
accept a challenge from an equal, but if challenged by an inferior you
may laugh him to scorn: these are examples of what is meant.

=The Spiritual Me.=--By the 'spiritual me,' so far as it belongs to the
empirical self, I mean no one of my passing states of consciousness. I
mean rather the entire collection of my states of consciousness, my
psychic faculties and dispositions taken concretely. This collection can
at any moment become an object to my thought at that moment and awaken
emotions like those awakened by any of the other portions of the Me.
When we _think of ourselves as thinkers_, all the other ingredients of
our Me seem relatively external possessions. Even within the spiritual
_Me_ some ingredients seem more external than others. Our capacities for
sensation, for example, are less intimate possessions, so to speak, than
our emotions and desires; our intellectual processes are less intimate
than our volitional decisions. The more _active-feeling_ states of
consciousness are thus the more central portions of the spiritual Me.
The very core and nucleus of our self, as we know it, the very sanctuary
of our life, is the sense of activity which certain inner states
possess. This sense of activity is often held to be a direct revelation
of the living substance of our Soul. Whether this be so or not is an
ulterior question. I wish now only to lay down the peculiar
_internality_ of whatever states possess this quality of seeming to be
active. It is as if they _went out to meet_ all the other elements of
our experience. In thus feeling about them probably all men agree.

_b._ _The feelings and emotions of self_ come after the constituents.

=Self-appreciation.=--This is of two sorts, _self-complacency_ and
_self-dissatisfaction_. 'Self-love' more properly belongs under the
division _C_, of _acts_, since what men mean by that name is rather a
set of motor tendencies than a kind of feeling properly so called.

Language has synonyms enough for both kinds of self-appreciation. Thus
pride, conceit, vanity, self-esteem, arrogance, vainglory, on the one
hand; and on the other modesty, humility, confusion, diffidence, shame,
mortification, contrition, the sense of obloquy, and personal despair.
These two opposite classes of affection seem to be direct and elementary
endowments of our nature. Associationists would have it that they are,
on the other hand, secondary phenomena arising from a rapid computation
of the sensible pleasures or pains to which our prosperous or debased
personal predicament is likely to lead, the sum of the represented
pleasures forming the self-satisfaction, and the sum of the represented
pains forming the opposite feeling of shame. No doubt, when we are
self-satisfied, we do fondly rehearse all possible rewards for our
desert, and when in a fit of self-despair we forebode evil. But the mere
expectation of reward _is_ not the self-satisfaction, and the mere
apprehension of the evil _is_ not the self-despair; for there is a
certain average tone of self-feeling which each one of us carries about
with him, and which is independent of the objective reasons we may have
for satisfaction or discontent. That is, a very meanly-conditioned man
may abound in unfaltering conceit, and one whose success in life is
secure, and who is esteemed by all, may remain diffident of his powers
to the end.

One may say, however, that the normal _provocative_ of self-feeling is
one's actual success or failure, and the good or bad actual position one
holds in the world. "He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum, and
said, 'What a good boy am I!'" A man with a broadly extended empirical
Ego, with powers that have uniformly brought him success, with place and
wealth and friends and fame, is not likely to be visited by the morbid
diffidences and doubts about himself which he had when he was a boy. "Is
not this great Babylon, which I have planted?" Whereas he who has made
one blunder after another, and still lies in middle life among the
failures at the foot of the hill, is liable to grow all sicklied o'er
with self-distrust, and to shrink from trials with which his powers can
really cope.

The emotions themselves of self-satisfaction and abasement are of a
unique sort, each as worthy to be classed as a primitive emotional
species as are, for example, rage or pain. Each has its own peculiar
physiognomical expression. In self-satisfaction the extensor muscles are
innervated, the eye is strong and glorious, the gait rolling and
elastic, the nostril dilated, and a peculiar smile plays upon the lips.
This whole complex of symptoms is seen in an exquisite way in lunatic
asylums, which always contain some patients who are literally mad with
conceit, and whose fatuous expression and absurdly strutting or
swaggering gait is in tragic contrast with their lack of any valuable
personal quality. It is in these same castles of despair that we find
the strongest examples of the opposite physiognomy, in good people who
think they have committed 'the unpardonable sin' and are lost forever,
who crouch and cringe and slink from notice, and are unable to speak
aloud or look us in the eye. Like fear and like anger, in similar morbid
conditions, these opposite feelings of Self may be aroused with no
adequate exciting cause. And in fact we ourselves know how the barometer
of our self-esteem and confidence rises and falls from one day to
another through causes that seem to be visceral and organic rather than
rational, and which certainly answer to no corresponding variations in
the esteem in which we are held by our friends.

_c._ _Self-seeking and self-preservation_ come next.

These words cover a large number of our fundamental instinctive
impulses. We have those of _bodily self-seeking_, those of _social
self-seeking_, and those of _spiritual self-seeking_.

=Bodily Self-seeking.=--All the ordinary useful reflex actions and
movements of alimentation and defence are acts of bodily
self-preservation. Fear and anger prompt to acts that are useful in the
same way. Whilst if by self-seeking we mean the providing for the future
as distinguished from maintaining the present, we must class both anger
and fear, together with the hunting, the acquisitive, the
home-constructing and the tool-constructing instincts, as impulses to
self-seeking of the bodily kind. Really, however, these latter
instincts, with amativeness, parental fondness, curiosity and emulation,
seek not only the development of the bodily Me, but that of the material
Me in the widest possible sense of the word.

Our =social self-seeking=, in turn, is carried on directly through our
amativeness and friendliness, our desire to please and attract notice
and admiration, our emulation and jealousy, our love of glory,
influence, and power, and indirectly through whichever of the material
self-seeking impulses prove serviceable as means to social ends. That
the direct social self-seeking impulses are probably pure instincts is
easily seen. The noteworthy thing about the desire to be 'recognized' by
others is that its strength has so little to do with the worth of the
recognition computed in sensational or rational terms. We are crazy to
get a visiting-list which shall be large, to be able to say when any one
is mentioned, "Oh! I know him well," and to be bowed to in the street by
half the people we meet. Of course distinguished friends and admiring
recognition are the most desirable--Thackeray somewhere asks his readers
to confess whether it would not give each of _them_ an exquisite
pleasure to be met walking down Pall Mall with a duke on either arm. But
in default of dukes and envious salutions almost anything will do for
some of us; and there is a whole race of beings to-day whose passion is
to keep their names in the newspapers, no matter under what heading,
'arrivals and departures,' 'personal paragraphs,' 'interviews,'--gossip,
even scandal, will suit them if nothing better is to be had. Guiteau,
Garfield's assassin, is an example of the extremity to which this sort
of craving for the notoriety of print may go in a pathological case. The
newspapers bounded his mental horizon; and in the poor wretch's prayer
on the scaffold, one of the most heart-felt expressions was: "The
newspaper press of this land has a big bill to settle with thee, O

Not only the people but the places and things I know enlarge my Self in
a sort of metaphoric social way. '_Ça me connaît_,' as the French
workman says of the implement he can use well. So that it comes about
that persons for whose _opinion_ we care nothing are nevertheless
persons whose notice we woo; and that many a man truly great, many a
woman truly fastidious in most respects, will take a deal of trouble to
dazzle some insignificant cad whose whole personality they heartily

Under the head of =spiritual self-seeking= ought to be included every
impulse towards psychic progress, whether intellectual, moral, or
spiritual in the narrow sense of the term. It must be admitted, however,
that much that commonly passes for spiritual self-seeking in this narrow
sense is only material and social self-seeking beyond the grave. In the
Mohammedan desire for paradise and the Christian aspiration not to be
damned in hell, the materiality of the goods sought is undisguised. In
the more positive and refined view of heaven, many of its goods, the
fellowship of the saints and of our dead ones, and the presence of God,
are but social goods of the most exalted kind. It is only the search of
the redeemed inward nature, the spotlessness from sin, whether here or
hereafter, that can count as spiritual self-seeking pure and undefiled.

But this broad external review of the facts of the life of the Me will
be incomplete without some account of the

=Rivalry and Conflict of the Different Mes.=--With most objects of desire,
physical nature restricts our choice to but one of many represented
goods, and even so it is here. I am often confronted by the necessity of
standing by one of my empirical selves and relinquishing the rest. Not
that I would not, if I could, be both handsome and fat and well dressed,
and a great athlete, and make a million a year, be a wit, a
_bon-vivant_, and a lady-killer, as well as a philosopher; a
philanthropist, statesman, warrior, and African explorer, as well as a
'tone-poet' and saint. But the thing is simply impossible. The
millionaire's work would run counter to the saint's; the _bon-vivant_
and the philanthropist would trip each other up; the philosopher and the
lady-killer could not well keep house in the same tenement of clay. Such
different characters may conceivably at the outset of life be alike
_possible_ to a man. But to make any one of them actual, the rest must
more or less be suppressed. So the seeker of his truest, strongest,
deepest self must review the list carefully, and pick out the one on
which to stake his salvation. All other selves thereupon become unreal,
but the fortunes of this self are real. Its failures are real failures,
its triumphs real triumphs, carrying shame and gladness with them. This
is as strong an example as there is of that selective industry of the
mind on which I insisted some pages back (p. 173 ff.). Our thought,
incessantly deciding, among many things of a kind, which ones for it
shall be realities, here chooses one of many possible selves or
characters, and forthwith reckons it no shame to fail in any of those
not adopted expressly as its own.

So we have the paradox of a man shamed to death because he is only the
second pugilist or the second oarsman in the world. That he is able to
beat the whole population of the globe minus one is nothing; he has
'pitted' himself to beat that one; and as long as he doesn't do that
nothing else counts. He is to his own regard as if he were not, indeed
he _is_ not. Yonder puny fellow, however, whom every one can beat,
suffers no chagrin about it, for he has long ago abandoned the attempt
to 'carry that line,' as the merchants say, of self at all. With no
attempt there can be no failure; with no failure, no humiliation. So our
self-feeling in this world depends entirely on what we _back_ ourselves
to be and do. It is determined by the ratio of our actualities to our
supposed potentialities; a fraction of which our pretensions are the
denominator and the numerator our success: thus,

     Self-esteem = Success/Pretensions.

Such a fraction may be increased as well by diminishing the denominator
as by increasing the numerator. To give up pretensions is as blessed a
relief as to get them gratified; and where disappointment is incessant
and the struggle unending, this is what men will always do. The history
of evangelical theology, with its conviction of sin, its self-despair,
and its abandonment of salvation by works, is the deepest of possible
examples, but we meet others in every walk of life. There is the
strangest lightness about the heart when one's nothingness in a
particular line is once accepted in good faith. _All_ is not bitterness
in the lot of the lover sent away by the final inexorable 'No.' Many
Bostonians, _crede experto_ (and inhabitants of other cities, too, I
fear), would be happier women and men to-day, if they could once for all
abandon the notion of keeping up a Musical Self, and without shame let
people hear them call a symphony a nuisance. How pleasant is the day
when we give up striving to be young,--or slender! Thank God! we say,
_those_ illusions are gone. Everything added to the Self is a burden as
well as a pride. A certain man who lost every penny during our civil war
went and actually rolled in the dust, saying he had not felt so free and
happy since he was born.

Once more, then, our self-feeling is in our power. As Carlyle says:
"Make thy claim of wages a zero, then hast thou the world under thy
feet. Well did the wisest of our time write, it is only with
_renunciation_ that life, properly speaking, can be said to begin."

Neither threats nor pleadings can move a man unless they touch some one
of his potential or actual selves. Only thus can we, as a rule, get a
'purchase' on another's will. The first care of diplomatists and
monarchs and all who wish to rule or influence is, accordingly, to find
out their victim's strongest principle of self-regard, so as to make
that the fulcrum of all appeals. But if a man has given up those things
which are subject to foreign fate, and ceased to regard them as parts of
himself at all, we are well-nigh powerless over him. The Stoic receipt
for contentment was to dispossess yourself in advance of all that was
out of your own power,--then fortune's shocks might rain down unfelt.
Epictetus exhorts us, by thus narrowing and at the same time solidifying
our Self to make it invulnerable: "I must die; well, but must I die
groaning too? I will speak what appears to be right, and if the despot
says, 'Then I will put you to death,' I will reply, 'When did I ever
tell you that I was immortal? You will do your part, and I mine; it is
yours to kill, and mine to die intrepid; yours to banish, mine to depart
untroubled.' How do we act in a voyage? We choose the pilot, the
sailors, the hour. Afterwards comes a storm. What have I to care for? My
part is performed. This matter belongs to the pilot. But the ship is
sinking; what then have I to do? That which alone I can do--submit to
being drowned without fear, without clamor or accusing of God, but as
one who knows that what is born must likewise die."

This Stoic fashion, though efficacious and heroic enough in its place
and time, is, it must be confessed, only possible as an habitual mood of
the soul to narrow and unsympathetic characters. It proceeds altogether
by exclusion. If I am a Stoic, the goods I cannot appropriate cease to
be _my_ goods, and the temptation lies very near to deny that they are
goods at all. We find this mode of protecting the Self by exclusion and
denial very common among people who are in other respects not Stoics.
All narrow people _intrench_ their Me, they _retract_ it,--from the
region of what they cannot securely possess. People who don't resemble
them, or who treat them with indifference, people over whom they gain no
influence, are people on whose existence, however meritorious it may
intrinsically be, they look with chill negation, if not with positive
hate. Who will not be mine I will exclude from existence altogether;
that is, as far as I can make it so, such people shall be as if they
were not. Thus may a certain absoluteness and definiteness in the
outline of my Me console me for the smallness of its content.

Sympathetic people, on the contrary, proceed by the entirely opposite
way of expansion and inclusion. The outline of their self often gets
uncertain enough, but for this the spread of its content more than
atones. _Nil humani a me alienum._ Let them despise this little person
of mine, and treat me like a dog, _I_ shall not negate _them_ so long as
I have a soul in my body. They are realities as much as I am. What
positive good is in them shall be mine too, etc., etc. The magnanimity
of these expansive natures is often touching indeed. Such persons can
feel a sort of delicate rapture in thinking that, however sick,
ill-favored, mean-conditioned, and generally forsaken they may be, they
yet are integral parts of the whole of this brave world, have a fellow's
share in the strength of the dray-horses, the happiness of the young
people, the wisdom of the wise ones, and are not altogether without part
or lot in the good fortunes of the Vanderbilts and the Hohenzollerns
themselves. Thus either by negating or by embracing, the Ego may seek to
establish itself in reality. He who, with Marcus Aurelius, can truly
say, "O Universe, I wish all that thou wishest," has a self from which
every trace of negativeness and obstructiveness has been removed--no
wind can blow except to fill its sails.

=The Hierarchy of the Mes.=--A tolerably unanimous opinion ranges the
different selves of which a man may be 'seized and possessed,' and the
consequent different orders of his self-regard, in an _hierarchical
scale, with the bodily me at the bottom, the spiritual me at top, and
the extra-corporeal material selves and the various social selves
between_. Our merely natural self-seeking would lead us to aggrandize
all these selves; we give up deliberately only those among them which we
find we cannot keep. Our unselfishness is thus apt to be a 'virtue of
necessity'; and it is not without all show of reason that cynics quote
the fable of the fox and the grapes in describing our progress therein.
But this is the moral education of the race; and if we agree in the
result that on the whole the selves we can keep are the intrinsically
best, we need not complain of being led to the knowledge of their
superior worth in such a tortuous way.

Of course this is not the only way in which we learn to subordinate our
lower selves to our higher. A direct ethical judgment unquestionably
also plays its part, and last, not least, we apply to our own persons
judgments originally called forth by the acts of others. It is one of
the strangest laws of our nature that many things which we are well
satisfied with in ourselves disgust us when seen in others. With another
man's bodily 'hoggishness' hardly anyone has any sympathy; almost as
little with his cupidity, his social vanity and eagerness, his jealousy,
his despotism, and his pride. Left absolutely to myself I should
probably allow all these spontaneous tendencies to luxuriate in me
unchecked, and it would be long before I formed a distinct notion of the
order of their subordination. But having constantly to pass judgment on
my associates, I come ere long to see, as Herr Horwicz says, my own
lusts in the mirror of the lusts of others, and to _think_ about them in
a very different way from that in which I simply _feel_. Of course, the
moral generalities which from childhood have been instilled into me
accelerate enormously the advent of this reflective judgment on myself.

So it comes to pass that, as aforesaid, men have arranged the various
selves which they may seek in an hierarchical scale according to their
worth. A certain amount of bodily selfishness is required as a basis for
all the other selves. But too much sensuality is despised, or at best
condoned on account of the other qualities of the individual. The wider
material selves are regarded as higher than the immediate body. He is
esteemed a poor creature who is unable to forego a little meat and drink
and warmth and sleep for the sake of getting on in the world. The social
self as a whole, again, ranks higher than the material self as a whole.
We must care more for our honor, our friends, our human ties, than for a
sound skin or wealth. And the spiritual self is so supremely precious
that, rather than lose it, a man ought to be willing to give up friends
and good fame, and property, and life itself.

_In each kind of Me, material, social, and spiritual, men distinguish
between the immediate and actual, and the remote and potential_, between
the narrower and the wider view, to the detriment of the former and the
advantage of the latter. One must forego a present bodily enjoyment for
the sake of one's general health; one must abandon the dollar in the
hand for the sake of the hundred dollars to come; one must make an enemy
of his present interlocutor if thereby one makes friends of a more
valued circle; one must go without learning and grace and wit, the
better to compass one's soul's salvation.

Of all these wider, more potential selves, _the potential social Me_ is
the most interesting, by reason of certain apparent paradoxes to which
it leads in conduct, and by reason of its connection with our moral and
religious life. When for motives of honor and conscience I brave the
condemnation of my own family, club, and 'set'; when, as a Protestant, I
turn Catholic; as a Catholic, freethinker; as a 'regular practitioner,'
homœopath, or what not, I am always inwardly strengthened in my
course and steeled against the loss of my actual social self by the
thought of other and better _possible_ social judges than those whose
verdict goes against me now. The ideal social self which I thus seek in
appealing to their decision may be very remote: it may be represented as
barely possible. I may not hope for its realization during my lifetime;
I may even expect the future generations, which would approve me if they
knew me, to know nothing about me when I am dead and gone. Yet still the
emotion that beckons me on is indubitably the pursuit of an ideal social
self, of a self that is at least _worthy_ of approving recognition by
the highest _possible_ judging companion, if such companion there be.
This self is the true, the intimate, the ultimate, the permanent me
which I seek. This judge is God, the Absolute Mind, the 'Great
Companion.' We hear, in these days of scientific enlightenment, a great
deal of discussion about the efficacy of prayer; and many reasons are
given us why we should not pray, whilst others are given us why we
should. But in all this very little is said of the reason why we _do_
pray, which is simply that we cannot help praying. It seems probable
that, in spite of all that 'science' may do to the contrary, men will
continue to pray to the end of time, unless their mental nature changes
in a manner which nothing we know should lead us to expect. The impulse
to pray is a necessary consequence of the fact that whilst the innermost
of the empirical selves of a man is a Self of the _social_ sort, it yet
can find its only adequate _Socius_ in an ideal world.

All progress in the social Self is the substitution of higher tribunals
for lower; this ideal tribunal is the highest; and most men, either
continually or occasionally, carry a reference to it in their breast.
The humblest outcast on this earth can feel himself to be real and valid
by means of this higher recognition. And, on the other hand, for most of
us, a world with no such inner refuge when the outer social self failed
and dropped from us would be the abyss of horror. I say 'for most of
us,' because it is probable that individuals differ a good deal in the
degree in which they are haunted by this sense of an ideal spectator. It
is a much more essential part of the consciousness of some men than of
others. Those who have the most of it are possibly the most _religious_
men. But I am sure that even those who say they are altogether without
it deceive themselves, and really have it in some degree. Only a
non-gregarious animal could be completely without it. Probably no one
can make sacrifices for 'right,' without to some degree personifying the
principle of right for which the sacrifice is made, and expecting thanks
from it. _Complete_ social unselfishness, in other words, can hardly
exist; _complete_ social suicide hardly occur to a man's mind. Even such
texts as Job's, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him," or Marcus
Aurelius's, "If gods hate me and my children, there is a reason for it,"
can least of all be cited to prove the contrary. For beyond all doubt
Job revelled in the thought of Jehovah's recognition of the worship
after the slaying should have been done; and the Roman emperor felt sure
the Absolute Reason would not be all indifferent to his acquiescence in
the gods' dislike. The old test of piety, "Are you willing to be damned
for the glory of God?" was probably never answered in the affirmative
except by those who felt sure in their heart of hearts that God would
'credit' them with their willingness, and set more store by them thus
than if in His unfathomable scheme He had not damned them at all.

=Teleological Uses of Self-interest.=--On zoölogical principles it is easy
to see why we have been endowed with impulses of self-seeking and with
emotions of self-satisfaction and the reverse. Unless our consciousness
were something more than cognitive, unless it experienced a partiality
for certain of the objects, which, in succession, occupy its ken, it
could not long maintain itself in existence; for, by an inscrutable
necessity, each human mind's appearance on this earth is conditioned
upon the integrity of the body with which it belongs, upon the
treatment which that body gets from others, and upon the spiritual
dispositions which use it as their tool, and lead it either towards
longevity or to destruction. _Its own body, then, first of all, its
friends next, and finally its spiritual dispositions_, MUST _be the
supremely interesting objects for each human mind_. Each mind, to begin
with, must have a certain minimum of selfishness in the shape of
instincts of bodily self-seeking in order to exist. This minimum must be
there as a basis for all farther conscious acts, whether of
self-negation or of a selfishness more subtle still. All minds must have
come, by the way of the survival of the fittest, if by no directer path,
to take an intense interest in the bodies to which they are yoked,
altogether apart from any interest in the pure Ego which they also

And similarly with the images of their person in the minds of others. I
should not be extant now had I not become sensitive to looks of approval
or disapproval on the faces among which my life is cast. Looks of
contempt cast on other persons need affect me in no such peculiar way.
My spiritual powers, again, must interest me more than those of other
people, and for the same reason. I should not be here at all unless I
had cultivated them and kept them from decay. And the same law which
made me once care for them makes me care for them still.

All these three things form the _natural Me_. But all these things are
_objects_, properly so called, to the thought which at any time may be
doing the thinking; and if the zoölogical and evolutionary point of view
is the true one, there is no reason why one object _might_ not arouse
passion and interest as primitively and instinctively as any other. The
phenomenon of passion is in origin and essence the same, whatever be the
target upon which it is discharged; and what the target actually happens
to be is solely a question of fact. I might conceivably be as much
fascinated, and as primitively so, by the care of my neighbor's body as
by the care of my own. I _am_ thus fascinated by the care of my child's
body. The only check to such exuberant non-egoistic interests is natural
selection, which would weed out such as were very harmful to the
individual or to his tribe. Many such interests, however, remain
unweeded out--the interest in the opposite sex, for example, which seems
in mankind stronger than is called for by its utilitarian need; and
alongside of them remain interests, like that in alcoholic intoxication,
or in musical sounds, which, for aught we can see, are without any
utility whatever. The sympathetic instincts and the egoistic ones are
thus coördinate. They arise, so far as we can tell, on the same
psychologic level. The only difference between them is that the
instincts called egoistic form much the larger mass.

=Summary.=--The following table may serve for a summary of what has been
said thus far. The empirical life of Self is divided, as below, into

           |   MATERIAL.       |      SOCIAL.          |     SPIRITUAL.
           |Bodily Appetites   |Desire to Please,      |Intellectual, Moral
           |  and Instincts.   |  be Noticed, Admired, |  and Religious
SELF-      |Love of Adornment, |  etc.                 |  Aspirations,
SEEKING.   |  Foppery,         |Sociability, Emulation,|  Conscientiousness.
           |  Acquisitiveness, |  Envy,                |
           |  Constructiveness.|  Love, Pursuit        |
           |Love of Home, etc. |  of Honor, Ambition,  |
           |                   |  etc.                 |
           |Personal Vanity,   |Social and Family      |Sense of Moral or
SELF-      |  Modesty, etc.    |  Pride, Vainglory,    |  Mental Superiority,
ESTIMATION.|Pride of Wealth,   |  Snobbery,            |  Purity, etc.
           |  Fear of Poverty. |  Humility,            |Sense of Inferiority
           |                   |  Shame, etc.          |  or of Guilt.


The I, or 'pure ego,' is a very much more difficult subject of inquiry
than the Me. It is that which at any given moment _is_ conscious,
whereas the Me is only one of the things which it is conscious _of_. In
other words, it is the _Thinker_; and the question immediately comes
up, _what_ is the thinker? Is it the passing state of consciousness
itself, or is it something deeper and less mutable? The passing state we
have seen to be the very embodiment of change (see p. 155 ff.). Yet each
of us spontaneously considers that by 'I,' he means something always the
same. This has led most philosophers to postulate behind the passing
state of consciousness a permanent Substance or Agent whose modification
or act it is. This Agent is the thinker; the 'state' is only its
instrument or means. 'Soul,' 'transcendental Ego,' 'Spirit,' are so many
names for this more permanent sort of Thinker. Not discriminating them
just yet, let us proceed to define our idea of the passing state of
consciousness more clearly.

=The Unity of the Passing Thought.=--Already, in speaking of 'sensations,'
from the point of view of Fechner's idea of measuring them, we saw that
there was no ground for calling them compounds. But what is true of
sensations cognizing simple qualities is also true of thoughts with
complex objects composed of many parts. This proposition unfortunately
runs counter to a wide-spread prejudice, and will have to be defended at
some length. Common-sense, and psychologists of almost every school,
have agreed that whenever an object of thought contains many elements,
the thought itself must be made up of just as many ideas, one idea for
each element, all fused together in appearance, but really separate.

"There can be no difficulty in admitting that association _does_ form
the ideas of an indefinite number of individuals into one complex idea,"
says James Mill, "because it is an acknowledged fact. Have we not the
idea of an army? And is not that precisely the ideas of an indefinite
number of men formed into one idea?"

Similar quotations might be multiplied, and the reader's own first
impressions probably would rally to their support. Suppose, for example,
he thinks that "the pack of cards is on the table." If he begins to
reflect, he is as likely as not to say: "Well, isn't that a thought of
the pack of cards? Isn't it of the cards as included in the pack? Isn't
it of the table? And of the legs of the table as well? Hasn't my
thought, then, all these parts--one part for the pack and another for
the table? And within the pack-part a part for each card, as within the
table-part a part for each leg? And isn't each of these parts an idea?
And can thought, then, be anything but an assemblage or pack of ideas,
each answering to some element of what it knows?"

Plausible as such considerations may seem, it is astonishing how little
force they have. In assuming a pack of ideas, each cognizant of some one
element of the fact one has assumed, nothing has been assumed which
knows the whole fact _at once_. The idea which, on the hypothesis of the
pack of ideas, knows, _e.g._, the ace of spades must be ignorant of the
leg of the table, since to account for that knowledge another special
idea is by the same hypothesis invoked; and so on with the rest of the
ideas, all equally ignorant of each other's objects. And yet in the
actual living human mind what knows the cards also knows the table, its
legs, etc., for all these things are known in relation to each other and
at once. Our notion of the abstract numbers eight, four, two is as truly
one feeling of the mind as our notion of simple unity. Our idea of a
couple is not a couple of ideas. "But," the reader may say, "is not the
taste of lemonade composed of that of lemon _plus_ that of sugar?" No! I
reply, this is taking the combining of objects for that of feelings. The
physical lemonade contains both the lemon and the sugar, but its taste
does not contain their tastes; for if there are any two things which are
certainly _not_ present in the taste of lemonade, those are the pure
lemon-sour on the one hand and the pure sugar-sweet on the other. These
tastes are absent utterly. A taste somewhat _like_ both of them is
there, but that is a distinct state of mind altogether.

=Distinct mental states cannot 'fuse.'= But not only is the notion that
our ideas are combinations of smaller ideas improbable, it is logically
unintelligible; it leaves out the essential features of all the
'combinations' which we actually know.

_All the 'combinations' which we actually know are_ EFFECTS, _wrought by
the units said to be 'combined,'_ UPON SOME ENTITY OTHER THAN
THEMSELVES. Without this feature of a medium or vehicle, the notion of
combination has no sense.

In other words, no possible number of entities (call them as you like,
whether forces, material particles, or mental elements) can sum
_themselves_ together. Each remains, in the sum, what it always was; and
the sum itself exists only _for a bystander_ who happens to overlook the
units and to apprehend the sum as such; or else it exists in the shape
of some other effect on an entity external to the sum itself. When H_{2}
and O are said to combine into 'water,' and thenceforward to exhibit new
properties, the 'water' is just the old atoms in the new position,
H-O-H; the 'new properties' are just their combined _effects_, when in
this position, upon external media, such as our sense-organs and the
various reagents on which water may exert its properties and be known.
Just so, the strength of many men may combine when they pull upon one
rope, of many muscular fibres when they pull upon one tendon.

In the parallelogram of forces, the 'forces' do not combine _themselves_
into the diagonal resultant; a _body_ is needed on which they may
impinge, to exhibit their resultant effect. No more do musical sounds
combine _per se_ into concords or discords. Concord and discord are
names for their combined effects on that external medium, the _ear_.

Where the elemental units are supposed to be feelings, the case is in no
wise altered. Take a hundred of them, shuffle them and pack them as
close together as you can (whatever that may mean); still each remains
the same feeling it always was, shut in its own skin, windowless,
ignorant of what the other feelings are and mean. There would be a
hundred-and-first feeling there, if, when a group or series of such
feelings were set up, a consciousness _belonging to the group as such_
should emerge, and this one hundred and first feeling would be a totally
new fact. The one hundred original feelings might, by a curious physical
law, be a signal for its _creation_, when they came together--we often
have to learn things separately before we know them as a sum--but they
would have no substantial identity with the new feeling, nor it with
them; and one could never deduce the one from the others, or (in any
intelligible sense) say that they _evolved_ it out of themselves.

Take a sentence of a dozen words, and take twelve men and tell to each
one word. Then stand the men in a row or jam them in a bunch, and let
each think of his word as intently as he will: nowhere will there be a
consciousness of the whole sentence. We talk, it is true, of the 'spirit
of the age,' and the 'sentiment of the people,' and in various ways we
hypostatize 'public opinion.' But we know this to be symbolic speech,
and never dream that the spirit, opinion, or sentiment constitutes a
consciousness other than, and additional to, that of the several
individuals whom the words 'age,' 'people,' or 'public' denote. The
private minds do not agglomerate into a higher compound mind. This has
always been the invincible contention of the spiritualists against the
associationists in Psychology. The associationists say the mind is
constituted by a multiplicity of distinct 'ideas' _associated_ into a
unity. There is, they say, an idea of _a_, and also an idea of _b_.
_Therefore_, they say, there is an idea of _a_ + _b_, or of _a_ and _b_
together. Which is like saying that the mathematical square of _a_ plus
that of _b_ is equal to the square of _a_ + _b_, a palpable untruth.
Idea of _a_ + idea of _b_ is _not_ identical with idea of (_a_ + _b_).
It is one, they are two; in it, what knows _a_ also knows _b_; in them,
what knows _a_ is expressly posited as not knowing _b_; etc. In short,
the two separate ideas can never by any logic be made to figure as one
idea. If one idea (of _a_ + _b_, for example) come as a matter of fact
after the two separate ideas (of _a_ and of _b_), then we must hold it
to be as direct a product of the later conditions as the two separate
ideas were of the earlier conditions.

_The simplest thing, therefore, if we are to assume the existence of a
stream of consciousness at all, would be to suppose that things that are
known together are known in single pulses of that stream._ The things
may be many, and may occasion many currents in the brain. But the
psychic phenomenon correlative to these many currents is one integral
'state,' transitive or substantive (see p. 161), to which the many
things appear.

=The Soul as a Combining Medium.=--The spiritualists in philosophy have
been prompt to see that things which are known together are known by one
_something_, but that something, they say, is no mere passing thought,
but a simple and permanent spiritual being on which many ideas combine
their effects. It makes no difference in this connection whether this
being be called Soul, Ego, or Spirit, in either case its chief function
is that of a combining medium. This is a different vehicle of knowledge
from that in which we just said that the mystery of knowing things
together might be most simply lodged. Which is the real knower, this
permanent being, or our passing state? If we had other grounds, not yet
considered, for admitting the Soul into our psychology, then getting
there on those grounds, she might turn out to be the knower too. But if
there be no _other_ grounds for admitting the Soul, we had better cling
to our passing 'states' as the exclusive agents of knowledge; for we
have to assume their existence anyhow in psychology, and the knowing of
many things together is just as well accounted for when we call it one
of their functions as when we call it a reaction of the Soul.
_Explained_ it is not by either conception, and has to figure in
psychology as a datum that is ultimate.

But there are other alleged grounds for admitting the Soul into
psychology, and the chief of them is

=The Sense of Personal Identity.=--In the last chapter it was stated (see
p. 154) that the thoughts which we actually know to exist do not fly
about loose, but seem each to belong to some one thinker and not to
another. Each thought, out of a multitude of other thoughts of which it
may think, is able to distinguish those which belong to it from those
which do not. The former have a warmth and intimacy about them of which
the latter are completely devoid, and the result is a Me of yesterday,
judged to be in some peculiarly subtle sense the _same_ with the I who
now make the judgment. As a mere subjective phenomenon the judgment
presents no special mystery. It belongs to the great class of judgments
of sameness; and there is nothing more remarkable in making a judgment
of sameness in the first person than in the second or the third. The
intellectual operations seem essentially alike, whether I say 'I am the
same as I was,' or whether I say 'the pen is the same as it was,
yesterday.' It is as easy to think this as to think the opposite and say
'neither of us is the same.' The only question which we have to consider
is whether it be a right judgment. _Is the sameness predicated really

=Sameness in the Self as Known.=--If in the sentence "I am the same that I
was yesterday," we take the 'I' broadly, it is evident that in many ways
I am _not_ the same. As a concrete Me, I am somewhat different from what
I was: then hungry, now full; then walking, now at rest; then poorer,
now richer; then younger, now older; etc. And yet in other ways I _am_
the same, and we may call these the essential ways. My name and
profession and relations to the world are identical, my face, my
faculties and store of memories, are practically indistinguishable, now
and then. Moreover the Me of now and the Me of then are _continuous_:
the alterations were gradual and never affected the whole of me at once.
So far, then, my personal identity is just like the sameness predicated
of any other aggregate thing. It is a conclusion grounded either on the
resemblance in essential respects, or on the continuity of the phenomena
compared. And it must not be taken to mean more than these grounds
warrant, or treated as a sort of metaphysical or absolute Unity in which
all differences are overwhelmed. The past and present selves compared
are the same just so far as they _are_ the same, and no farther. They
are the same in _kind_. But this generic sameness coexists with generic
differences just as real; and if from the one point of view I am one
self, from another I am quite as truly many. Similarly of the attribute
of continuity: it gives to the self the unity of mere connectedness, or
unbrokenness, a perfectly definite phenomenal thing--but it gives not a
jot or tittle more.

=Sameness in the Self as Knower.=--But all this is said only of the Me, or
Self as known. In the judgment 'I am the same,' etc., the 'I' was taken
broadly as the concrete person. Suppose, however, that we take it
narrowly, as the _Thinker_, as '_that to which_' all the concrete
determinations of the Me belong and are known: does there not then
appear an absolute identity at different times? That something which at
every moment goes out and knowingly appropriates the _Me_ of the past,
and discards the non-me as foreign, is it not a permanent abiding
principle of spiritual activity identical with itself wherever found?

That it is such a principle is the reigning doctrine both of philosophy
and common-sense, and yet reflection finds it difficult to justify the
idea. _If there were no passing states of consciousness_, then indeed we
might suppose an abiding principle, absolutely one with itself, to be
the ceaseless thinker in each one of us. But if the states of
consciousness be accorded as realities, no such 'substantial' identity
in the thinker need be supposed. Yesterday's and to-day's states of
consciousnesses have no _substantial_ identity, for when one is here the
other is irrevocably dead and gone. But they have a _functional_
identity, for both know the same objects, and so far as the by-gone me
is one of those objects, they react upon it in an identical way,
greeting it and calling it _mine_, and opposing it to all the other
things they know. This functional identity seems really the only sort of
identity in the thinker which the facts require us to suppose.
Successive thinkers, numerically distinct, but all aware of the same
past in the same way, form an adequate vehicle for all the experience of
personal unity and sameness which we actually have. And just such a
train of successive thinkers is the stream of mental states (each with
its complex object cognized and emotional and selective reaction
thereupon) which psychology treated as a natural science has to assume
(see p. 2).

The logical conclusion seems then to be that _the states of
consciousness are all that psychology needs to do her work with.
Metaphysics or theology may prove the Soul to exist; but for psychology
the hypothesis of such a substantial principle of unity is superfluous._

=How the I appropriates the Me.=--But _why_ should each successive mental
state appropriate the same past Me? I spoke a while ago of my own past
experiences appearing to me with a 'warmth and intimacy' which the
experiences thought of by me as having occurred to other people lack.
This leads us to the answer sought. My present Me is felt with warmth
and intimacy. The heavy warm mass of my body is there, and the nucleus
of the 'spiritual me,' the sense of intimate activity (p. 184), is
there. We cannot realize our present self without simultaneously feeling
one or other of these two things. Any other object of thought which
brings these two things with it into consciousness will be thought with
a warmth and an intimacy like those which cling to the present me.

Any _distant_ object which fulfils this condition will be thought with
such warmth and intimacy. But which distant objects _do_ fulfil the
condition, when represented?

Obviously those, and only those, which fulfilled it when they were
alive. _Them_ we shall still represent with the animal warmth upon
them; to them may possibly still cling the flavor of the inner activity
taken in the act. And by a natural consequence, we shall assimilate them
to each other and to the warm and intimate self we now feel within us as
we think, and separate them as a collection from whatever objects have
not this mark, much as out of a herd of cattle let loose for the winter
on some wide Western prairie the owner picks out and sorts together,
when the round-up comes in the spring, all the beasts on which he finds
his own particular brand. Well, just such objects are the past
experiences which I now call mine. Other men's experiences, no matter
how much I may know about them, never bear this vivid, this peculiar
brand. This is why Peter, awakening in the same bed with Paul, and
recalling what both had in mind before they went to sleep, reidentifies
and appropriates the 'warm' ideas as his, and is never tempted to
confuse them with those cold and pale-appearing ones which he ascribes
to Paul. As well might he confound Paul's body, which he only sees, with
his own body, which he sees but also feels. Each of us when he awakens
says, Here's the same old Me again, just as he says, Here's the same old
bed, the same old room, the same old world.

And similarly in our waking hours, though each pulse of consciousness
dies away and is replaced by another, yet that other, among the things
it knows, knows its own predecessor, and finding it 'warm,' in the way
we have described, greets it, saying: "Thou art _mine_, and part of the
same self with me." Each later thought, knowing and including thus the
thoughts that went before, is the final receptacle--and appropriating
them is the final owner--of all that they contain and own. As Kant says,
it is as if elastic balls were to have not only motion but knowledge of
it, and a first ball were to transmit both its motion and its
consciousness to a second, which took both up into _its_ consciousness
and passed them to a third, until the last ball held all that the other
balls had held, and realized it as its own. It is this trick which the
nascent thought has of immediately taking up the expiring thought and
'adopting' it, which leads to the appropriation of most of the remoter
constituents of the self. Who owns the last self owns the self before
the last, for what possesses the possessor possesses the possessed. It
is impossible to discover any _verifiable_ features in personal identity
which this sketch does not contain, impossible to imagine how any
transcendent principle of Unity (were such a principle there) could
shape matters to any other result, or be known by any other fruit, than
just this production of a stream of consciousness each successive part
of which should know, and knowing, hug to itself and adopt, all those
that went before,--thus standing as the _representative_ of an entire
past stream with which it is in no wise to be identified.

=Mutations and Multiplications of the Self.=--The Me, like every other
aggregate, changes as it grows. The passing states of consciousness,
which should preserve in their succession an identical knowledge of its
past, wander from their duty, letting large portions drop from out of
their ken, and representing other portions wrong. The identity which we
recognize as we survey the long procession can only be the relative
identity of a slow shifting in which there is always some common
ingredient retained. The commonest element of all, the most uniform, is
the possession of some common memories. However different the man may be
from the youth, both look back on the same childhood and call it their

Thus the identity found by the _I_ in its _Me_ is only a loosely
construed thing, an identity 'on the whole,' just like that which any
outside observer might find in the same assemblage of facts. We often
say of a man 'he is so changed one would not know him'; and so does a
man, less often, speak of himself. These changes in the _Me_, recognized
by the I, or by outside observers, may be grave or slight. They deserve
some notice here.

The mutations of the Self may be divided into two main classes:

_a._ Alterations of memory; and

_b._ Alterations in the present bodily and spiritual selves.

_a._ Of the alterations of memory little need be said--they are so
familiar. Losses of memory are a normal incident in life, especially in
advancing years, and the person's _me_, as 'realized,' shrinks _pari
passu_ with the facts that disappear. The memory of dreams and of
experiences in the hypnotic trance rarely survives.

False memories, also, are by no means rare occurrences, and whenever
they occur they distort our consciousness of our Me. Most people,
probably, are in doubt about certain matters ascribed to their past.
They may have seen them, may have said them, done them, or they may only
have dreamed or imagined they did so. The content of a dream will
oftentimes insert itself into the stream of real life in a most
perplexing way. The most frequent source of false memory is the accounts
we give to others of our experiences. Such accounts we almost always
make both more simple and more interesting than the truth. We quote what
we should have said or done, rather than what we really said or did; and
in the first telling we may be fully aware of the distinction. But ere
long the fiction expels the reality from memory and reigns in its stead
alone. This is one great source of the fallibility of testimony meant to
be quite honest. Especially where the marvellous is concerned, the story
takes a tilt that way, and the memory follows the story.

_b._ When we pass beyond alterations of memory to abnormal _alterations
in the present self_ we have graver disturbances. These alterations are
of three main types, but our knowledge of the elements and causes of
these changes of personality is so slight that the division into types
must not be regarded as having any profound significance. The types

    α. Insane delusions;
    β. Alternating selves;
    γ. Mediumships or possessions.

α. In insanity we often have delusions projected into the past, which are
melancholic or sanguine according to the character of the disease. But
the worst alterations of the self come from present perversions of
sensibility and impulse which leave the past undisturbed, but induce the
patient to think that the present _Me_ is an altogether new personage.
Something of this sort happens normally in the rapid expansion of the
whole character, intellectual as well as volitional, which takes place
after the time of puberty. The pathological cases are curious enough to
merit longer notice.

The basis of our personality, as M. Ribot says, is that feeling of our
vitality which, because it is so perpetually present, remains in the
background of our consciousness.

"It is the basis because, always present, always acting, without peace
or rest, it knows neither sleep nor fainting, and lasts as long as life
itself, of which it is one form. It serves as a support to that
self-conscious _me_ which memory constitutes, it is the medium of
association among its other parts.... Suppose now that it were possible
at once to change our body and put another into its place: skeleton,
vessels, viscera, muscles, skin, everything made new, except the nervous
system with its stored-up memory of the past. There can be no doubt that
in such a case the afflux of unaccustomed vital sensations would produce
the gravest disorders. Between the old sense of existence engraved on
the nervous system, and the new one acting with all the intensity of its
reality and novelty, there would be irreconcilable contradiction."

What the particular perversions of the bodily sensibility may be which
give rise to these contradictions is, for the most part, impossible for
a sound-minded person to conceive. One patient has another self that
repeats all his thoughts for him. Others, amongst whom are some of the
first characters in history, have internal dæmons who speak with them
and are replied to. Another feels that someone 'makes' his thoughts for
him. Another has two bodies, lying in different beds. Some patients feel
as if they had lost parts of their bodies, teeth, brain, stomach, etc.
In some it is made of wood, glass, butter, etc. In some it does not
exist any longer, or is dead, or is a foreign object quite separate from
the speaker's self. Occasionally, parts of the body lose their
connection for consciousness with the rest, and are treated as belonging
to another person and moved by a hostile will. Thus the right hand may
fight with the left as with an enemy. Or the cries of the patient
himself are assigned to another person with whom the patient expresses
sympathy. The literature of insanity is filled with narratives of such
illusions as these. M. Taine quotes from a patient of Dr. Krishaber an
account of sufferings, from which it will be seen how completely aloof
from what is normal a man's experience may suddenly become:

"After the first or second day it was for some weeks impossible to
observe or analyze myself. The suffering--angina pectoris--was too
overwhelming. It was not till the first days of January that I could
give an account to myself of what I experienced.... Here is the first
thing of which I retain a clear remembrance. I was alone, and already a
prey to permanent visual trouble, when I was suddenly seized with a
visual trouble infinitely more pronounced. Objects grew small and
receded to infinite distances--men and things together. I was myself
immeasurably far away. I looked about me with terror and astonishment;
_the world was escaping from me_.... I remarked at the same time that my
voice was extremely far away from me, that it sounded no longer as if
mine. I struck the ground with my foot, and perceived its resistance;
but this resistance seemed illusory--not that the soil was soft, but
that the weight of my body was reduced to almost nothing.... I had the
feeling of being without weight...." In addition to being so distant,
"objects appeared to me _flat_. When I spoke with anyone, I saw him like
an image cut out of paper with no relief.... This sensation lasted
intermittently for two years.... Constantly it seemed as if my legs did
not belong to me. It was almost as bad with my arms. As for my head, it
seemed no longer to exist.... I appeared to myself to act automatically,
by an impulsion foreign to myself.... There was inside of me a new
being, and another part of myself, the old being, which took no interest
in the newcomer. I distinctly remember saying to myself that the
sufferings of this new being were to me indifferent. I was never really
dupe of these illusions, but my mind grew often tired of incessantly
correcting the new impressions, and I let myself go and live the unhappy
life of this new entity. I had an ardent desire to see my old world
again, to get back to my old self. This desire kept me from killing
myself.... I was another, and I hated, I despised this other; he was
perfectly odious to me; it was certainly another who had taken my form
and assumed my functions."[32]

In cases like this, it is as certain that the _I_ is unaltered as that
the _Me_ is changed. That is to say, the present Thought of the patient
is cognitive of both the old Me and the new, so long as its memory holds
good. Only, within that objective sphere which formerly lent itself so
simply to the judgment of recognition and of egoistic appropriation,
strange perplexities have arisen. The present and the past, both seen
therein, will not unite. Where is my old Me? What is this new one? Are
they the same? Or have I two? Such questions, answered by whatever
theory the patient is able to conjure up as plausible, form the
beginning of his insane life.

       *       *       *       *       *

β. The phenomenon of _alternating personality_ in its simplest phases
seems based on lapses of memory. Any man becomes, as we say,
_inconsistent_ with himself if he forgets his engagements, pledges,
knowledges, and habits; and it is merely a question of degree at what
point we shall say that his personality is changed. But in the
pathological cases known as those of double or alternate personality the
loss of memory is abrupt, and is usually preceded by a period of
unconsciousness or syncope lasting a variable length of time. In the
hypnotic trance we can easily produce an alteration of the personality,
either by telling the subject to forget all that has happened to him
since such or such a date, in which case he becomes (it may be) a child
again, or by telling him he is another altogether imaginary personage,
in which case all facts about himself seem for the time being to lapse
from out his mind, and he throws himself into the new character with a
vivacity proportionate to the amount of histrionic imagination which he
possesses. But in the pathological cases the transformation is
spontaneous. The most famous case, perhaps, on record is that of Félida
X., reported by Dr. Azam of Bordeaux. At the age of fourteen this woman
began to pass into a 'secondary' state characterized by a change in her
general disposition and character, as if certain 'inhibitions,'
previously existing, were suddenly removed. During the secondary state
she remembered the first state, but on emerging from it into the first
state she remembered nothing of the second. At the age of forty-four the
duration of the secondary state (which was on the whole superior in
quality to the original state) had gained upon the latter so much as to
occupy most of her time. During it she remembers the events belonging to
the original state, but her complete oblivion of the secondary state
when the original state recurs is often very distressing to her, as, for
example, when the transition takes place in a carriage on her way to a
funeral, and she has no idea which one of her friends may be dead. She
actually became pregnant during one of her early secondary states, and
during her first state had no knowledge of how it had come to pass. Her
distress at these blanks of memory is sometimes intense and once drove
her to attempt suicide.

M. Pierre Janet describes a still more remarkable case as follows:
"Léonie B., whose life sounds more like an improbable romance than a
genuine history, has had attacks of natural somnambulism since the age
of three years. She has been hypnotized constantly by all sorts of
persons from the age of sixteen upwards, and she is now forty-five.
Whilst her normal life developed in one way in the midst of her poor
country surroundings, her second life was passed in drawing-rooms and
doctors' offices, and naturally took an entirely different direction.
To-day, when in her normal state, this poor peasant woman is a serious
and rather sad person, calm and slow, very mild with every one, and
extremely timid: to look at her one would never suspect the personage
which she contains. But hardly is she put to sleep hypnotically when a
metamorphosis occurs. Her face is no longer the same. She keeps her eyes
closed, it is true, but the acuteness of her other senses supplies their
place. She is gay, noisy, restless, sometimes insupportably so. She
remains good-natured, but has acquired a singular tendency to irony and
sharp jesting. Nothing is more curious than to hear her after a sitting
when she has received a visit from strangers who wished to see her
asleep. She gives a word-portrait of them, apes their manners, claims to
know their little ridiculous aspects and passions, and for each invents
a romance. To this character must be added the possession of an enormous
number of recollections, whose existence she does not even suspect when
awake, for her amnesia is then complete.... She refuses the name of
Léonie and takes that of Léontine (Léonie 2) to which her first
magnetizers had accustomed her. 'That good woman is not myself,' she
says, 'she is too stupid!' To herself, Léontine, or Léonie 2, she
attributes all the sensations and all the actions, in a word all the
conscious experiences, which she has undergone _in somnambulism_, and
knits them together to make the history of her already long life. To
Léonie 1 [as M. Janet calls the waking woman], on the other hand, she
exclusively ascribes the events lived through in waking hours. I was at
first struck by an important exception to the rule, and was disposed to
think that there might be something arbitrary in this partition of her
recollections. In the normal state Léonie has a husband and children;
but Léonie 2, the somnambulist, whilst acknowledging the children as her
own, attributes the husband to 'the other.' This choice was perhaps
explicable, but it followed no rule. It was not till later that I
learned that her magnetizers in early days, as audacious as certain
hypnotizers of recent date, had somnambulized her for her first
_accouchements_, and that she had lapsed into that state spontaneously
in the later ones. Léonie 2 was thus quite right in ascribing to herself
the children--it was she who had had them, and the rule that her first
trance-state forms a different personality was not broken. But it is the
same with her second or deepest state of trance. When after the renewed
passes, syncope, etc., she reaches the condition which I have called
Léonie 3, she is another person still. Serious and grave, instead of
being a restless child, she speaks slowly and moves but little. Again
she separates herself from the waking Léonie 1. 'A good but rather
stupid woman,' she says, 'and not me.' And she also separates herself
from Léonie 2: 'How can you see anything of me in that crazy creature?'
she says. 'Fortunately I am nothing for her.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

λ. In '_mediumships_' or '_possessions_' the invasion and the passing
away of the secondary state are both relatively abrupt, and the duration
of the state is usually short--i.e., from a few minutes to a few hours.
Whenever the secondary state is well developed, no memory for aught that
happened during it remains after the primary consciousness comes back.
The subject during the secondary consciousness speaks, writes, or acts
as if animated by a foreign person, and often names this foreign person
and gives his history. In old times the foreign 'control' was usually a
demon, and is so now in communities which favor that belief. With us he
gives himself out at the worst for an Indian or other grotesquely
speaking but harmless personage. Usually he purports to be the spirit of
a dead person known or unknown to those present, and the subject is then
what we call a 'medium.' Mediumistic possession in all its grades seems
to form a perfectly natural special type of alternate personality, and
the susceptibility to it in some form is by no means an uncommon gift,
in persons who have no other obvious nervous anomaly. The phenomena are
very intricate, and are only just beginning to be studied in a proper
scientific way. The lowest phase of mediumship is automatic writing, and
the lowest grade of that is where the Subject knows what words are
coming, but feels impelled to write them as if from without. Then comes
writing unconsciously, even whilst engaged in reading or talk.
Inspirational speaking, playing on musical instruments, etc., also
belong to the relatively lower phases of possession, in which the normal
self is not excluded from conscious participation in the performance,
though their initiative seems to come from elsewhere. In the highest
phase the trance is complete, the voice, language, and everything are
changed, and there is no after-memory whatever until the next trance
comes. One curious thing about trance-utterances is their generic
similarity in different individuals. The 'control' here in America is
either a grotesque, slangy, and flippant personage ('Indian' controls,
calling the ladies 'squaws,' the men 'braves,' the house a 'wigwam,'
etc., etc., are excessively common; or, if he ventures on higher
intellectual flights, he abounds in a curiously vague optimistic
philosophy-and-water, in which phrases about spirit, harmony, beauty,
law, progression, development, etc., keep recurring. It seems exactly
as if one author composed more than half of the trance-messages, no
matter by whom they are uttered. Whether all sub-conscious selves are
peculiarly susceptible to a certain stratum of the _Zeitgeist_, and get
their inspiration from it, I know not; but this is obviously the case
with the secondary selves which become 'developed' in spiritualist
circles. There the beginnings of the medium trance are indistinguishable
from effects of hypnotic suggestion. The subject assumes the rôle of a
medium simply because opinion expects it of him under the conditions
which are present; and carries it out with a feebleness or a vivacity
proportionate to his histrionic gifts. But the odd thing is that persons
unexposed to spiritualist traditions will so often act in the same way
when they become entranced, speak in the name of the departed, go
through the motions of their several death-agonies, send messages about
their happy home in the summer-land, and describe the ailments of those

I have no theory to publish of these cases, the actual beginning of
several of which I have personally seen. I am, however, persuaded by
abundant acquaintance with the trances of one medium that the 'control'
may be altogether different from any _possible_ waking self of the
person. In the case I have in mind, it professes to be a certain
departed French doctor; and is, I am convinced, acquainted with facts
about the circumstances, and the living and dead relatives and
acquaintances, of numberless sitters whom the medium never met before,
and of whom she has never heard the names. I record my bare opinion here
unsupported by the evidence, not, of course, in order to convert anyone
to my view, but because I am persuaded that a serious study of these
trance-phenomena is one of the greatest needs of psychology, and think
that my personal confession may possibly draw a reader or two into a
field which the _soidisant_ 'scientist' usually refuses to explore.[33]

=Review, and Psychological Conclusion.=--To sum up this long chapter:--The
consciousness of Self involves a stream of thought, each part of which
as 'I' can remember those which went before, know the things they knew,
and care paramountly for certain ones among them as '_Me_,' and
_appropriate to these_ the rest. This Me is an empirical aggregate of
things objectively known. The _I_ which knows them cannot itself be an
aggregate; neither for psychological purposes need it be an unchanging
metaphysical entity like the Soul, or a principle like the
transcendental Ego, viewed as 'out of time.' It is a _thought_, at each
moment different from that of the last moment, but _appropriative_ of
the latter, together with all that the latter called its own. All the
experiential facts find their place in this description, unencumbered
with any hypothesis save that of the existence of passing thoughts or
states of mind.

If passing thoughts be the directly verifiable existents which no school
has hitherto doubted them to be, then they are the only 'Knower' of
which Psychology, treated as a natural science, need take any account.
The only pathway that I can discover for bringing in a more
transcendental Thinker would be to deny that we have any such _direct_
knowledge of the existence of our 'states of consciousness' as
common-sense supposes us to possess. The existence of the 'states' in
question would then be a mere hypothesis, or one way of asserting that
there _must be_ a knower correlative to all this known; but the problem
_who that knower is_ would have become a metaphysical problem. With the
question once stated in these terms, the notion either of a Spirit of
the world which thinks through us, or that of a set of individual
substantial souls, must be considered as _primâ facie_ on a par with our
own 'psychological' solution, and discussed impartially. I myself
believe that room for much future inquiry lies in this direction. The
'states of mind' which every psychologist believes in are by no means
clearly apprehensible, if distinguished from their objects. But to doubt
them lies beyond the scope of our natural-science (see p. 1) point of
view. And in this book the provisional solution which we have reached
must be the final word: the thoughts themselves are the thinkers.



=The Narrowness of Consciousness.=--One of the most extraordinary facts of
our life is that, although we are besieged at every moment by
impressions from our whole sensory surface, we notice so very small a
part of them. The sum total of our impressions never enters into our
_experience_, consciously so called, which runs through this sum total
like a tiny rill through a broad flowery mead. Yet the physical
impressions which do not count are _there_ as much as those which do,
and affect our sense-organs just as energetically. Why they fail to
pierce the mind is a mystery, which is only named and not explained when
we invoke _die Enge des Bewusstseins_, 'the narrowness of
consciousness,' as its ground.

=Its Physiological Ground.=--Our consciousness certainly is narrow, when
contrasted with the breadth of our sensory surface and the mass of
incoming currents which are at all times pouring in. Evidently no
current can be recorded in conscious experience unless it succeed in
penetrating to the hemispheres and filling their pathways by the
processes get up. When an incoming current thus occupies the hemispheres
with its consequences, other currents are for the time kept out. They
may show their faces at the door, but are turned back until the actual
possessors of the place are tired. Physiologically, then, the narrowness
of consciousness seems to depend on the fact that the activity of the
hemispheres tends at all times to be a consolidated and unified affair,
determinable now by this current and now by that, but determinable only
as a whole. The ideas correlative to the reigning system of processes
are those which are said to 'interest' us at the time; and thus that
selective character of our attention on which so much stress was laid on
pp. 173 ff. appears to find a physiological ground. At all times,
however, there is a liability to disintegration of the reigning system.
The consolidation is seldom quite complete, the excluded currents are
not wholly abortive, their presence affects the 'fringe' and margin of
our thought.

=Dispersed Attention.=--Sometimes, indeed, the normal consolidation seems
hardly to exist. At such moments it is possible that cerebral activity
sinks to a minimum. Most of us probably fall several times a day into a
fit somewhat like this: The eyes are fixed on vacancy, the sounds of the
world melt into confused unity, the attention is dispersed so that the
whole body is felt, as it were, at once, and the foreground of
consciousness is filled, if by anything, by a sort of solemn sense of
surrender to the empty passing of time. In the dim background of our
mind we know meanwhile what we ought to be doing: getting up, dressing
ourselves, answering the person who has spoken to us, trying to make the
next step in our reasoning. But somehow we cannot _start_; the _pensée
de derrière la tête_ fails to pierce the shell of lethargy that wraps
our state about. Every moment we expect the spell to break, for we know
no reason why it should continue. But it does continue, pulse after
pulse, and we float with it, until--also without reason that we can
discover--an energy is given, something--we know not what--enables us to
gather ourselves together, we wink our eyes, we shake our heads, the
background-ideas become effective, and the wheels of life go round

This is the extreme of what is called dispersed attention. Between this
extreme and the extreme of concentrated attention, in which absorption
in the interest of the moment is so complete that grave bodily injuries
may be unfelt, there are intermediate degrees, and these have been
studied experimentally. The problem is known as that of =The Span of
Consciousness.=--How many objects can we attend to at once when they are
not embraced in one conceptual system? Prof. Cattell experimented with
combinations of letters exposed to the eye for so short a fraction of a
second that attention to them in succession seemed to be ruled out. When
the letters formed familiar words, three times as many of them could be
named as when their combination was meaningless. If the words formed a
sentence, twice as many could be caught as when they had no connection.
"The sentence was then apprehended as a whole. If not apprehended thus,
almost nothing is apprehended of the several words; but if the sentence
as a whole is apprehended, then the words appear very distinct."

A word is a conceptual system in which the letters do not enter
consciousness separately, as they do when apprehended alone. A sentence
flashed at once upon the eye is such a system relatively to its words. A
conceptual system may _mean_ many sensible objects, may be translated
later into them, but as an actual existent mental state, it does not
_consist of_ the consciousnesses of these objects. When I think of the
word _man_ as a whole, for instance, what is in my mind is something
different from what is there when I think of the letters _m_, _a_, and
_n_, as so many disconnected data.

When data are so disconnected that we have no conception which embraces
them together it is much harder to apprehend several of them at once,
and the mind tends to let go of one whilst it attends to another. Still,
within limits this can be avoided. M. Paulhan has experimented on the
matter by declaiming one poem aloud whilst he repeated a different one
mentally, or by writing one sentence whilst speaking another, or by
performing calculations on paper whilst reciting poetry. He found that
"the most favorable condition for the doubling of the mind was its
simultaneous application to two heterogeneous operations. Two operations
of the same sort, two multiplications, two recitations, or the reciting
of one poem and writing of another, render the process more uncertain
and difficult."

M. Paulhan compared the time occupied by the same two operations done
simultaneously or in succession, and found that there was often a
considerable gain of time from doing them simultaneously. For instance:

"I multiply 421 312 212 by 2; the operation takes 6 seconds; the
recitation of four verses also takes 6 seconds. But the two operations
done at once only take 6 seconds, so that there is no loss of time from
combining them."

If, then, by the original question, how many objects can we attend to at
once, be meant how many entirely disconnected systems or processes can
go on simultaneously, the answer is, _not easily more than one, unless
the processes are very habitual; but then two, or even three_, without
very much oscillation of the attention. Where, however, the processes
are less automatic, as in the story of Julius Cæsar dictating four
letters whilst he writes a fifth, there must be a rapid oscillation of
the mind from one to the next, and no consequent gain of time.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the things to be attended to are minute sensations, and when the
effort is to be exact in noting them, it is found that attention to one
interferes a good deal with the perception of the other. A good deal of
fine work has been done in this field by Professor Wundt. He tried to
note the exact position on a dial of a rapidly revolving hand, at the
moment when a bell struck. Here were two disparate sensations, one of
vision, the other of sound, to be noted together. But it was found that
in a long and patient research, the eye-impression could seldom or never
be noted at the exact moment when the bell actually struck. An earlier
or a later point were all that could be seen.

=The Varieties of Attention.=--Attention may be divided into kinds in
various ways. It is either to

_a_) Objects of sense (sensorial attention); or to

_b_) Ideal or represented objects (intellectual attention). It is either

_c_) Immediate; or

_d_) Derived: immediate, when the topic or stimulus is interesting in
itself, without relation to anything else; derived, when it owes its
interest to association with some other immediately interesting thing.
What I call derived attention has been named 'apperceptive' attention.
Furthermore, Attention may be either

_e_) Passive, reflex, involuntary, effortless; or

_f_) Active and voluntary.

_Voluntary attention is always derived_; we never make an _effort_ to
attend to an object except for the sake of some _remote_ interest which
the effort will serve. But both sensorial and intellectual attention may
be either passive or voluntary.

In _involuntary attention_ of the _immediate sensorial_ sort the
stimulus is either a sense-impression, very intense, voluminous, or
sudden; or it is an _instinctive_ stimulus, a perception which, by
reason of its nature rather than its mere force, appeals to some one of
our congenital impulses and has a directly exciting quality. In the
chapter on Instinct we shall see how these stimuli differ from one
animal to another, and what most of them are in man: strange things,
moving things, wild animals, bright things, pretty things, metallic
things, words, blows, blood, etc., etc., etc.

Sensitiveness to immediately exciting sensorial stimuli characterizes
the attention of childhood and youth. In mature age we have generally
selected those stimuli which are connected with one or more so-called
permanent interests, and our attention has grown irresponsive to the
rest. But childhood is characterized by great active energy, and has few
organized interests by which to meet new impressions and decide whether
they are worthy of notice or not, and the consequence is that extreme
mobility of the attention with which we are all familiar in children,
and which makes of their first lessons such chaotic affairs. Any strong
sensation whatever produces accommodation of the organs which perceive
it, and absolute oblivion, for the time being, of the task in hand. This
reflex and passive character of the attention which, as a French writer
says, makes the child seem to belong less to himself than to every
object which happens to catch his notice, is the first thing which the
teacher must overcome. It never is overcome in some people, whose work,
to the end of life, gets done in the interstices of their

The passive sensorial attention is _derived_ when the impression,
without being either strong or of an instinctively exciting nature, is
connected by previous experience and education with things that are so.
These things may be called the _motives_ of the attention. The
impression draws an interest from them, or perhaps it even fuses into a
single complex object with them; the result is that it is brought into
the focus of the mind. A faint tap _per se_ is not an interesting sound;
it may well escape being discriminated from the general rumor of the
world. But when it is a signal, as that of a lover on the window-pane,
hardly will it go unperceived. Herbart writes:

"How a bit of bad grammar wounds the ear of the purist! How a false note
hurts the musician! or an offence against good manners the man of the
world! How rapid is progress in a science when its first principles have
been so well impressed upon us that we reproduce them mentally with
perfect distinctness and ease! How slow and uncertain, on the other
hand, is our learning of the principles themselves, when familiarity
with the still more elementary percepts connected with the subject has
not given us an adequate predisposition!--Apperceptive attention may be
plainly observed in very small children when, hearing the speech of
their elders, as yet unintelligible to them, they suddenly catch a
single known word here and there, and repeat it to themselves; yes! even
in the dog who looks round at us when we speak of him and pronounce his
name. Not far removed is the talent which mind-wandering school-boys
display during the hours of instruction, of noticing every moment in
which the teacher tells a story. I remember classes in which,
instruction being uninteresting, and discipline relaxed, a buzzing
murmur was always to be heard, which invariably stopped for as long a
time as an anecdote lasted. How could the boys, since they seemed to
hear nothing, notice when the anecdote began? Doubtless most of them
always heard something of the teacher's talk; but most of it had no
connection with their previous knowledge and occupations, and therefore
the separate words no sooner entered their consciousness than they fell
out of it again; but, on the other hand, no sooner did the words awaken
old thoughts, forming strongly-connected series with which the new
impression easily combined, than out of new and old together a total
interest resulted which drove the vagrant ideas below the threshold of
consciousness, and brought for a while settled attention into their

_Involuntary intellectual attention_ is immediate when we follow in
thought a train of images exciting or interesting _per se_; derived,
when the images are interesting only as means to a remote end, or merely
because they are associated with something which makes them dear. The
brain-currents may then form so solidly unified a system, and the
absorption in their object be so deep, as to banish not only ordinary
sensations, but even the severest pain. Pascal, Wesley, Robert Hall, are
said to have had this capacity. Dr. Carpenter says of himself that "he
has frequently begun a lecture whilst suffering neuralgic pain so severe
as to make him apprehend that he would find it impossible to proceed;
yet no sooner has he by a determined effort fairly launched himself into
the stream of thought, than he has found himself continuously borne
along without the least distraction, until the end has come, and the
attention has been released; when the pain has recurred with a force
that has overmastered all resistance, making him wonder how he could
have ever ceased to feel it."[34]

=Voluntary Attention.=--Dr. Carpenter speaks of launching himself by a
determined _effort_. This _effort_ characterizes what we called _active
or voluntary attention_. It is a feeling which everyone knows, but which
most people would call quite indescribable. We get it in the sensorial
sphere whenever we seek to catch an impression of extreme _faintness_,
be it of sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch; we get it whenever we
seek to _discriminate_ a sensation merged in a mass of others that are
similar; we get it whenever we _resist the attractions_ of more potent
stimuli and keep our mind occupied with some object that is naturally
unimpressive. We get it in the intellectual sphere under exactly similar
conditions: as when we strive to sharpen and make distinct an idea which
we but vaguely seem to have; or painfully discriminate a shade of
meaning from its similars; or resolutely hold fast to a thought so
discordant with our impulses that, if left unaided, it would quickly
yield place to images of an exciting and impassioned kind. All forms of
attentive effort would be exercised at once by one whom we might suppose
at a dinner-party resolutely to listen to a neighbor giving him insipid
and unwelcome advice in a low voice, whilst all around the guests were
loudly laughing and talking about exciting and interesting things.

_There is no such thing as voluntary attention sustained for more than a
few seconds at a time._ What is called sustained voluntary attention is
a repetition of successive efforts which bring back the topic to the
mind. The topic once brought back, if a congenial one, _develops_; and
if its development is interesting it engages the attention passively for
a time. Dr. Carpenter, a moment back, described the stream of thought,
once entered, as 'bearing him along.' This passive interest may be
short or long. As soon as it flags, the attention is diverted by some
irrelevant thing, and then a voluntary effort may bring it back to the
topic again; and so on, under favorable conditions, for hours together.
During all this time, however, note that it is not an identical _object_
in the psychological sense, but a succession of mutually related objects
forming an identical _topic_ only, upon which the attention is fixed.
_No one can possibly attend continuously to an object that does not

Now there are always some objects that for the time being _will not
develop_. They simply _go out_; and to keep the mind upon anything
related to them requires such incessently renewed effort that the most
resolute Will ere long gives out and lets its thoughts follow the more
stimulating solicitations after it has withstood them for what length of
time it can. There are topics known to every man from which he shies
like a frightened horse, and which to get a glimpse of is to shun. Such
are his ebbing assets to the spendthrift in full career. But why single
out the spendthrift, when to every man actuated by passion the thought
of interests which negate the passion can hardly for more than a
fleeting instant stay before the mind? It is like 'memento mori' in the
heydey of the pride of life. Nature rises at such suggestions, and
excludes them from the view:--How long, O healthy reader, can you now
continue thinking of your tomb?--In milder instances the difficulty is
as great, especially when the brain is fagged. One snatches at any and
every passing pretext, no matter how trivial or external, to escape from
the odiousness of the matter in hand. I know a person, for example, who
will poke the fire, set chairs straight, pick dust-specks from the
floor, arrange his table, snatch up the newspaper, take down any book
which catches his eye, trim his nails, waste the morning _anyhow_, in
short, and all without premeditation,--simply because the only thing he
_ought_ to attend to is the preparation of a noonday lesson in formal
logic which he detests. Anything but _that_!

[Illustration: FIG. 54.]

Once more, the object must change. When it is one of sight, it will
actually become invisible; when of hearing, inaudible,--if we attend to
it too unmovingly. Helmholtz, who has put his sensorial attention to the
severest tests, by using his eyes on objects which in common life are
expressly overlooked, makes some interesting remarks on this point in
his section on retinal rivalry. The phenomenon called by that name is
this, that if we look with each eye upon a different picture (as in the
annexed stereoscopic slide), sometimes one picture, sometimes the other,
or parts of both, will come to consciousness, but hardly ever both
combined. Helmholtz now says:

"I find that I am able to attend voluntarily, now to one and now to the
other system of lines; and that then this system remains visible alone
for a certain time, whilst the other completely vanishes. This happens,
for example, whenever I try to count the lines first of one and then of
the other system.... But it is extremely hard to chain the attention
down to one of the systems for long, unless we associate with our
looking some distinct purpose which keeps the activity of the attention
perpetually renewed. Such a one is counting the lines, comparing their
intervals, or the like. An equilibrium of the attention, persistent for
any length of time, is under no circumstances attainable. The natural
tendency of attention when left to itself is to wander to ever new
things; and so soon as the interest of its object is over, so soon as
nothing new is to be noticed there, it passes, in spite of our will, to
something else. _If we wish to keep it upon one and the same object, we
must seek constantly to find out something new about the latter_,
especially if other powerful impressions are attracting us away."

These words of Helmholtz are of fundamental importance. And if true of
sensorial attention, how much more true are they of the intellectual
variety! The _conditio sine quâ non_ of sustained attention to a given
topic of thought is that we should roll it over and over incessantly and
consider different aspects and relations of it in turn. Only in
pathological states will a fixed and ever monotonously recurring idea
possess the mind.

=Genius and Attention.=--And now we can see why it is that what is called
sustained attention is the easier, the richer in acquisitions and the
fresher and more original the mind. In such minds, subjects bud and
sprout and grow. At every moment, they please by a new consequence and
rivet the attention afresh. But an intellect unfurnished with materials,
stagnant, unoriginal, will hardly be likely to consider any subject
long. A glance exhausts its possibilities of interest. Geniuses are
commonly believed to excel other men in their power of sustained
attention. In most of them, it is to be feared, the so-called 'power' is
of the passive sort. Their ideas coruscate, every subject branches
infinitely before their fertile minds, and so for hours they may be
rapt. _But it is their genius making them attentive, not their attention
making geniuses of them._ And, when we come down to the root of the
matter, we see that they differ from ordinary men less in the character
of their attention than in the nature of the objects upon which it is
successively bestowed. In the genius, these form a concatenated series,
suggesting each other mutually by some rational law. Therefore we call
the attention 'sustained' and the topic of meditation for hours 'the
same.' In the common man the series is for the most part incoherent, the
objects have no rational bond, and we call the attention wandering and

It is probable that genius tends actually to prevent a man from
acquiring habits of voluntary attention, and that moderate intellectual
endowments are the soil in which we may best expect, here as elsewhere,
the virtues of the will, strictly so called, to thrive. But, whether the
attention come by grace of genius or by dint of will, the longer one
does attend to a topic the more mastery of it one has. And the faculty
of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention over and over again
is the very root of judgment, character, and will. No one is _compos
sui_ if he have it not. An education which should improve this faculty
would be _the_ education _par excellence_. But it is easier to define
this ideal than to give practical directions for bringing it about. The
only general pedagogic maxim bearing on attention is that the more
interests the child has in advance in the subject, the better he will
attend. Induct him therefore in such a way as to knit each new thing on
to some acquisition already there; and if possible awaken curiosity, so
that the new thing shall seem to come as an answer, or part of an
answer, to a question preëxisting in his mind.

=The Physiological Conditions of Attention.=--These seem to be the

1) _The appropriate cortical centre must be excited ideationally as well
as sensorially, before attention to an object can take place._

2) _The sense-organ must then adapt itself to clearest reception of the
object, by the adjustment of its muscular apparatus._

3) _In all probability a certain afflux of blood to the cortical centre
must ensue._

Of this third condition I will say no more, since we have no proof of it
in detail, and I state it on the faith of general analogies. Conditions
1) and 2), however, are verifiable; and the best order will be to take
the latter first.

=The Adaptation of the Sense-organ.=--This occurs not only in sensorial
but also in intellectual attention to an object.

That it is present when we attend to _sensible_ things is obvious. When
we look or listen we accommodate our eyes and ears involuntarily, and we
turn our head and body as well; when we taste or smell we adjust the
tongue, lips, and respiration to the object; in feeling a surface we
move the palpatory organ in a suitable way; in all these acts, besides
making involuntary muscular contractions of a positive sort, we inhibit
others which might interfere with the result--we close the eyes in
tasting, suspend the respiration in listening, etc. The result is a more
or less massive organic feeling that attention is going on. This organic
feeling we usually treat as part of the sense of our _own activity_,
although it comes in to us from our organs after they are accommodated.
Any object, then, if _immediately_ exciting, causes a reflex
accommodation of the sense-organ, which has two results--first, the
feeling of activity in question; and second, the object's increase in

But in _intellectual_ attention similar feelings of activity occur.
Fechner was the first, I believe, to analyze these feelings, and
discriminate them from the stronger ones just named. He writes:

"When we transfer the attention from objects of one sense to those of
another, we have an indescribable feeling (though at the same time one
perfectly determinate, and reproducible at pleasure), of altered
_direction_ or differently localized tension (_Spannung_). We feel a
strain forward in the eyes, one directed sidewise in the ears,
increasing with the degree of our attention, and changing according as
we look at an object carefully, or listen to something attentively; and
we speak accordingly of _straining the attention_. The difference is
most plainly felt when the attention oscillates rapidly between eye and
ear; and the feeling localizes itself with most decided difference in
regard to the various sense-organs, according as we wish to discriminate
a thing delicately by touch, taste, or smell.

"But now I have, when I try to vividly recall a picture of memory or
fancy, a feeling perfectly analogous to that which I experience when I
seek to apprehend a thing keenly by eye or ear; and this analogous
feeling is very differently localized. While in sharpest possible
attention to real objects (as well as to after-images) the strain is
plainly forwards, and (when the attention changes from one sense to
another) only alters its direction between the several external
sense-organs, leaving the rest of the head free from strain, the case is
different in memory or fancy, for here the feeling withdraws entirely
from the external sense-organs, and seems rather to take refuge in that
part of the head which the brain fills. If I wish, for example, to
_recall_ a place or person, it will arise before me with vividness, not
according as I strain my attention forwards, but rather in proportion as
I, so to speak, retract it backwards."

In myself the 'backward retraction' which is felt during attention to
ideas of memory, etc., seems to be principally constituted by the
feeling of an actual rolling outwards and upwards of the eyeballs, such
as occurs in sleep, and is the exact opposite of their behavior when we
look at a physical thing.

This accommodation of the sense-organ is not, however, the _essential_
process, even in sensorial attention. It is a secondary result which may
be prevented from occurring, as certain observations show. Usually, it
is true that no object lying in the marginal portions of the field of
vision can catch our attention without at the same time 'catching our
eye'--that is, fatally provoking such movements of rotation and
accommodation as will focus its image on the fovea, or point of
greatest sensibility. Practice, however, enables us, _with effort_, to
attend to a marginal object whilst keeping the eyes immovable. The
object under these circumstances never becomes perfectly distinct--the
place of its image on the retina makes distinctness impossible--but (as
anyone can satisfy himself by trying) we become more vividly conscious
of it than we were before the effort was made. Teachers thus notice the
acts of children in the school-room at whom they appear not to be
looking. Women in general train their peripheral visual attention more
than men. Helmholtz states the fact so strikingly that I will quote his
observation in full. He was trying to combine in a single solid percept
pairs of stereoscopic pictures illuminated instantaneously by the
electric spark. The pictures were in a dark box which the spark from
time to time lighted up; and, to keep the eyes from wandering
betweenwhiles, a pin-hole was pricked through the middle of each
picture, through which the light of the room came, so that each eye had
presented to it during the dark intervals a single bright point. With
parallel optical axes these points combined into a single image; and the
slightest movement of the eyeballs was betrayed by this image at once
becoming double. Helmholtz now found that simple linear figures could,
when the eyes were thus kept immovable, be perceived as solids at a
single flash of the spark. But when the figures were complicated
photographs, many successive flashes were required to grasp their

"Now it is interesting," he says, "to find that, although we keep
steadily fixating the pin-holes and never allow their combined image to
break into two, we can nevertheless, before the spark comes, keep our
attention voluntarily turned to any particular portion we please of the
dark field, so as then, when the spark comes, to receive an impression
only from such parts of the picture as lie in this region. In this
respect, then, our attention is quite independent of the position and
accommodation of the eyes, and of any known alteration in these organs,
and free to direct itself by a conscious and voluntary effort upon any
selected portion of a dark and undifferenced field of view. This is one
of the most important observations for a future theory of

=The Ideational Excitement of the Centre.=--But if the peripheral part of
the picture in this experiment be not physically accommodated for, what
is meant by its sharing our attention? What happens when we 'distribute'
or 'disperse' the latter upon a thing for which we remain unwilling to
'adjust'? This leads us to that second feature in the process, the
'_ideational excitement_' of which we spoke. _The effort to attend to
the marginal region of the picture consists in nothing more nor less
than the effort to form as clear an_ IDEA _as is possible of what is
there portrayed._ The idea is to come to the help of the sensation and
make it more distinct. It may come with effort, and such a mode of
coming is the remaining part of what we know as our attention's 'strain'
under the circumstances. Let us show how universally present in our acts
of attention is this anticipatory thinking of the thing to which we
attend. Mr. Lewes's name of _preperception_ seems the best possible
designation for this imagining of an experience before it occurs.

It must as a matter of course be present when the attention is of the
intellectual variety, for the thing attended to then _is_ nothing but an
idea, an inward reproduction or conception. If then we prove ideal
construction of the object to be present in _sensorial_ attention, it
will be present everywhere. When, however, sensorial attention is at its
height, it is impossible to tell how much of the percept comes from
without and how much from within; but if we find that the _preparation_
we make for it always partly consists of the creation of an imaginary
duplicate of the object in the mind, that will be enough to establish
the point in dispute.

In reaction-time experiments, keeping our mind intent upon the motion
about to be made shortens the time. This shortening we ascribed in Chap.
VIII to the fact that the signal when it comes finds the motor-centre
already charged almost to the explosion-point in advance. Expectant
attention to a reaction thus goes with sub-excitement of the centre

Where the impression to be caught is very weak, the way not to miss it
is to sharpen our attention for it by preliminary contact with it in a
stronger form. Helmholtz says: "If we wish to begin to observe
overtones, it is advisable, just before the sound which is to be
analyzed, to sound very softly the note of which we are in search.... If
you place the resonator which corresponds to a certain overtone, for
example _g´_ of the sound _c_, against your ear, and then make the note
_c_ sound, you will hear _g´_ much strengthened by the resonator....
This strengthening by the resonator can be used to make the naked ear
attentive to the sound which it is to catch. For when the resonator is
gradually removed, the _g´_ grows weaker; but the attention, once
directed to it, holds it now more easily fast, and the observer hears
the tone _g´_ now in the natural unaltered sound of the note with his
unaided ear."

Wundt, commenting on experiences of this sort, says that "The same thing
is to be noticed in weak or fugitive visual impressions. Illuminate a
drawing by electric sparks separated by considerable intervals, and
after the first, and often after the second and third spark, hardly
anything will be recognized. But the confused image is held fast in
memory; each successive illumination completes it; and so at last we
attain to a clearer perception. The primary motive to this inward
activity proceeds usually from the outer impression itself. We hear a
sound in which, from certain associations, we suspect a certain
overtone; the next thing is to recall the overtone in memory; and
finally we catch it in the sound we hear. Or perhaps we see some mineral
substance we have met before; the impression awakens the memory-image,
which again more or less completely melts with the impression itself....
Different qualities of impression require disparate adaptations. And we
remark that our feeling of the _strain_ of our inward attentiveness
increases with every increase in the strength of the impressions on
whose perception we are intent."

The natural way of conceiving all this is under the symbolic form of a
brain-cell played upon from two directions. Whilst the object excites it
from without, other brain-cells arouse it from within. _The plenary
energy of the brain-cell demands the co-operation of both factors_: not
when merely present, but when both present and inwardly imagined, is the
object fully attended to and perceived.

A few additional experiences will now be perfectly clear. Helmholtz, for
instance, adds this observation concerning the stereoscopic pictures lit
by the electric spark. "In pictures," he says, "so simple that it is
relatively difficult for me to see them double, I can succeed in seeing
them double, even when the illumination is only instantaneous, the
moment I strive to _imagine in a lively way how they ought then to
look_. The influence of attention is here pure; for all eye-movements
are shut out."

Again, writing of retinal rivalry, Helmholtz says:

"It is not a trial of strength between two sensations, but depends on
our fixing or failing to fix the attention. Indeed, there is scarcely
any phenomenon so well fitted for the study of the causes which are
capable of determining the attention. It is not enough to form the
conscious intention of seeing first with one eye and then with the
other; _we must form as clear a notion as possible of what we expect to
see. Then it will actually appear._"

In Figs. 55 and 56, where the result is ambiguous, we can make the
change from one apparent form to the other by imagining strongly in
advance the form we wish to see. Similarly in those puzzles where
certain lines in a picture form by their combination an object that has
no connection with what the picture obviously represents; or indeed in
every case where an object is inconspicuous and hard to discern from the
background; we may not be able to see it for a long time; but, having
once seen it, we can attend to it again whenever we like, on account of
the mental duplicate of it which our imagination now bears. In the
meaningless French words '_pas de lieu Rhône que nous_,' who can
recognize immediately the English 'paddle your own canoe'? But who that
has once noticed the identity can fail to have it arrest his attention
again? When watching for the distant clock to strike, our mind is so
filled with its image that at every moment we think we hear the
longed-for or dreaded sound. So of an awaited footstep. Every stir in
the wood is for the hunter his game; for the fugitive his pursuers.
Every bonnet in the street is momentarily taken by the lover to enshroud
the head of his idol. The image in the mind _is_ the attention; the
preperception is half of the perception of the looked-for thing.

[Illustration: FIG. 55.]

[Illustration: FIG. 56.]

It is for this reason that men have no eyes but for those aspects of
things which they have already been taught to discern. Any one of us can
notice a phenomenon after it has once been pointed out, which not one in
ten thousand could ever have discovered for himself. Even in poetry and
the arts, some one has to come and tell us what aspects to single out,
and what effects to admire, before our æsthetic nature can 'dilate' to
its full extent and never 'with the wrong emotion.' In
kindergarten-instruction one of the exercises is to make the children
see how many features they can point out in such an object as a flower
or a stuffed bird. They readily name the features they know already,
such as leaves, tail, bill, feet. But they may look for hours without
distinguishing nostrils, claws, scales, etc., until their attention is
called to these details; thereafter, however, they see them every time.
In short, _the only things which we commonly see are those which we
preperceive_, and the only things which we preperceive are those which
have been labelled for us, and the labels stamped into our mind. If we
lost our stock of labels we should be intellectually lost in the midst
of the world.

=Educational Corollaries.=--First, to _strengthen attention in children_
who care nothing for the subject they are studying and let their wits go
wool-gathering. The interest here must be 'derived' from something that
the teacher associates with the task, a reward or a punishment if
nothing less internal comes to mind. If a topic awakens no spontaneous
attention it must borrow an interest from elsewhere. But the best
interest is internal, and we must always try, in teaching a class, to
knit our novelties by rational links on to things of which they already
have preperceptions. The old and familiar is readily attended to by the
mind and helps to hold in turn the new, forming, in Herbartian
phraseology, an '_Apperceptionsmasse_' for it. Of course the teacher's
talent is best shown by knowing what 'Apperceptionsmasse' to use.
Psychology can only lay down the general rule.

Second, take that mind-wandering which at a later age may trouble us
_whilst reading or listening to a discourse_. If attention be the
reproduction of the sensation from within, the habit of reading not
merely with the eye, and of listening not merely with the ear, but of
articulating to one's self the words seen or heard, ought to deepen
one's attention to the latter. Experience shows that this is the case.
I can keep my wandering mind a great deal more closely upon a
conversation or a lecture if I actively re-echo to myself the words than
if I simply hear them; and I find a number of my students who report
benefit from voluntarily adopting a similar course.

=Attention and Free Will.=--I have spoken as if our attention were wholly
determined by neural conditions. I believe that the array of _things_ we
can attend to is so determined. No object can _catch_ our attention
except by the neural machinery. But the _amount_ of the attention which
an object receives after it has caught our mental eye is another
question. It often takes effort to keep the mind upon it. We feel that
we can make more or less of the effort as we choose. If this feeling be
not deceptive, if our effort be a spiritual force, and an indeterminate
one, then of course it contributes coequally with the cerebral
conditions to the result. Though it _introduce_ no new idea, it will
deepen and prolong the stay in consciousness of innumerable ideas which
else would fade more quickly away. The delay thus gained might not be
more than a second in duration--but that second may be _critical_; for
in the constant rising and falling of considerations in the mind, where
two associated systems of them are nearly in equilibrium it is often a
matter of but a second more or less of attention at the outset, whether
one system shall gain force to occupy the field and develop itself, and
exclude the other, or be excluded itself by the other. When developed,
it may make us act; and that act may seal our doom. When we come to the
chapter on the Will, we shall see that the whole drama of the voluntary
life hinges on the amount of attention, slightly more or slightly less,
which rival motor ideas may receive. But the whole feeling of reality,
the whole sting and excitement of our voluntary life, depends on our
sense that in it things are _really being decided_ from one moment to
another, and that it is not the dull rattling off of a chain that was
forged innumerable ages ago. This appearance, which makes life and
history tingle with such a tragic zest, _may_ not be an illusion. Effort
may be an original force and not a mere effect, and it may be
indeterminate in amount. The last word of sober insight here is
ignorance, for the forces engaged are too delicate ever to be measured
in detail. Psychology, however, as a would-be 'Science,' must, like
every other Science, _postulate_ complete determinism in its facts, and
abstract consequently from the effects of free will, even if such a
force exist. I shall do so in this book like other psychologists; well
knowing, however, that such a procedure, although a methodical device
justified by the subjective need of arranging the facts in a simple and
'scientific' form, does not settle the ultimate truth of the free-will
question one way or the other.



=Different states of mind can mean the same.= The function by which we
mark off, discriminate, draw a line round, and identify a numerically
distinct subject of discourse is called _conception_. It is plain that
whenever one and the same mental state thinks of many things, it must be
the vehicle of many conceptions. If it has such a multiple conceptual
function, it may be called a state of compound conception.

We may conceive realities supposed to be extra-mental, as steam-engine;
fictions, as mermaid; or mere _entia rationis_, like difference or
nonentity. But whatever we do conceive, our conception is of that and
nothing else--nothing else, that is, _instead_ of that, though it may be
of much else _in addition_ to that. Each act of conception results from
our attention's having singled out some one part of the mass of
matter-for-thought which the world presents, and from our holding fast
to it, without confusion. Confusion occurs when we do not know whether a
certain object proposed to us is _the same_ with one of our meanings or
not; so that the conceptual function requires, to be complete, that the
thought should not only say 'I mean this,' but also say 'I don't mean

Each conception thus eternally remains what it is, and never can become
another. The mind may change its states, and its meanings, at different
times; may drop one conception and take up another: but the dropped
conception itself can in no intelligible sense be said to _change into_
its successor. The paper, a moment ago white, I may now see to be
scorched black. But my _conception_ 'white' does not change into my
_conception_ 'black.' On the contrary, it stays alongside of the
objective blackness, as a different meaning in my mind, and by so doing
lets me judge the blackness as the paper's change. Unless it stayed, I
should simply say 'blackness' and know no more. Thus, amid the flux of
opinions and of physical things, the world of conceptions, or things
intended to be thought about, stands stiff and immutable, like Plato's
Realm of Ideas.

Some conceptions are of things, some of events, some of qualities. Any
fact, be it thing, event, or quality, may be conceived sufficiently for
purposes of identification, if only it be singled out and marked so as
to separate it from other things. Simply calling it 'this' or 'that'
will suffice. To speak in technical language, a subject may be conceived
by its _denotation_, with no _connotation_, or a very minimum of
connotation, attached. The essential point is that it should be
re-identified by us as that which the talk is about; and no full
representation of it is necessary for this, even when it is a fully
representable thing.

In this sense, creatures extremely low in the intellectual scale may
have conception. All that is required is that they should recognize the
same experience again. A polyp would be a conceptual thinker if a
feeling of 'Hollo! thingumbob again!' ever flitted through its mind.
This sense of sameness is the very keel and backbone of our
consciousness. The same matters can be thought of in different states of
mind, and some of these states can know that they mean the same matters
which the other states meant. In other words, _the mind can always
intend, and know when it intends, to think the Same_.

=Conceptions of Abstract, of Universal, and of Problematic Objects.=--The
sense of our meaning is an entirely peculiar element of the thought. It
is one of those evanescent and 'transitive' facts of mind which
introspection cannot turn round upon, and isolate and hold up for
examination, as an entomologist passes round an insect on a pin. In the
(somewhat clumsy) terminology I have used, it has to do with the
'fringe' of the object, and is a 'feeling of tendency,' whose neural
counterpart is undoubtedly a lot of dawning and dying processes too
faint and complex to be traced. (See p. 169.) The geometer, with his one
definite figure before him, knows perfectly that his thoughts apply to
countless other figures as well, and that although he _sees_ lines of a
certain special bigness, direction, color, etc., he _means_ not one of
these details. When I use the word _man_ in two different sentences, I
may have both times exactly the same sound upon my lips and the same
picture in my mental eye, but I may mean, and at the very moment of
uttering the word and imagining the picture know that I mean, two
entirely different things. Thus when I say: "What a wonderful man Jones
is!" I am perfectly aware that I mean by man to exclude Napoleon
Bonaparte or Smith. But when I say: "What a wonderful thing Man is!" I
am equally well aware that I mean no such exclusion. This added
consciousness is an absolutely positive sort of feeling, transforming
what would otherwise be mere noise or vision into something
_understood_; and determining the sequel of my thinking, the later words
and images, in a perfectly definite way.

No matter how definite and concrete the habitual imagery of a given mind
may be, the things represented appear always surrounded by their fringe
of relations, and this is as integral a part of the mind's object as the
things themselves are. We come, by steps with which everyone is
sufficiently familiar, to think of whole classes of things as well as of
single specimens; and to think of the special qualities or attributes of
things as well as of the complete things--in other words, we come to
have _universals_ and _abstracts_, as the logicians call them, for our
objects. We also come to think of objects which are only _problematic_,
or not yet definitely representable, as well as of objects imagined in
all their details. An object which is problematic is defined by its
relations only. We think of a thing _about_ which certain facts must
obtain. But we do not yet know how the thing will look when
realized--that is, although conceiving it we cannot _imagine_ it. We
have in the relations, however, enough to individualize our topic and
distinguish it from all the other meanings of our mind. Thus, for
example, we may conceive of a perpetual-motion machine. Such a machine
is a _quæsitum_ of a perfectly definite kind,--we can always tell
whether the actual machines offered us do or do not agree with what we
mean by it. The natural possibility or impossibility of the thing never
touches the question of its conceivability in this problematic way.
'Round-square,' again, or 'black-white-thing,' are absolutely definite
conceptions; it is a mere accident, as far as conception goes, that they
happen to stand for things which nature never shows us, and of which we
consequently can make no picture.

The nominalists and conceptualists carry on a great quarrel over the
question whether "the mind can frame abstract or universal ideas."
Ideas, it should be said, of abstract or universal objects. But truly in
comparison with the wonderful fact that our thoughts, however different
otherwise, can still be of _the same_, the question whether that same be
a single thing, a whole class of things, an abstract quality or
something unimaginable, is an insignificant matter of detail. Our
meanings are of singulars, particulars, indefinites, problematics, and
universals, mixed together in every way. A singular individual is as
much _conceived_ when he is isolated and identified away from the rest
of the world in my mind, as is the most rarefied and universally
applicable quality he may possess--_being_, for example, when treated in
the same way. From every point of view, the overwhelming and portentous
character ascribed to universal conceptions is surprising. Why, from
Socrates downwards, philosophers should have vied with each other in
scorn of the knowledge of the particular, and in adoration of that of
the general, is hard to understand, seeing that the more adorable
knowledge ought to be that of the more adorable things, and that the
_things_ of worth are all concretes and singulars. The only value of
universal characters is that they help us, by reasoning, to know new
truths about individual things. The restriction of one's meaning,
moreover, to an individual thing, probably requires even more
complicated brain-processes than its extension to all the instances of a
kind; and the mere mystery, as such, of the knowledge, is equally great,
whether generals or singulars be the things known. In sum, therefore,
the traditional Universal-worship can only be called a bit of perverse
sentimentalism, a philosophic 'idol of the cave.'

=Nothing can be conceived as the same without being conceived in a novel
state of mind.= It seems hardly necessary to add this, after what was
said on p. 156. Thus, my arm-chair is one of the things of which I have
a conception; I knew it yesterday and recognized it when I looked at it.
But if I think of it to-day as the same arm-chair which I looked at
yesterday, it is obvious that the very conception of it _as_ the same is
an additional complication to the thought, whose inward constitution
must alter in consequence. In short, it is logically impossible that the
same thing should be _known as the same_ by two successive copies of the
same thought. As a matter of fact, the thoughts by which we know that we
mean the same thing are apt to be very different indeed from each other.
We think the thing now substantively, now transitively; now in a direct
image, now in one symbol, and now in another symbol; but nevertheless we
somehow always _do_ know which of all possible subjects we have in mind.
Introspective psychology must here throw up the sponge; the fluctuations
of subjective life are too exquisite to be described by its coarse
terms. It must confine itself to bearing witness to the fact that all
sorts of different subjective states do form the vehicle by which the
same is known; and it must contradict the opposite view.



=Discrimination versus Association.=--On p. 15 I spoke of the baby's first
object being the germ out of which his whole later universe develops by
the addition of new parts from without and the discrimination of others
within. Experience, in other words, is trained _both_ by association and
dissociation, and psychology must be writ _both_ in synthetic and in
analytic terms. Our original sensible totals are, on the one hand,
subdivided by discriminative attention, and, on the other, united with
other totals,--either through the agency of our own movements, carrying
our senses from one part of space to another, or because new objects
come successively and replace those by which we were at first impressed.
The 'simple impression' of Hume, the 'simple idea' of Locke are
abstractions, never realized in experience. Life, from the very first,
presents us with concreted objects, vaguely continuous with the rest of
the world which envelops them in space and time, and potentially
divisible into inward elements and parts. These objects we break asunder
and reunite. We must do both for our knowledge of them to grow; and it
is hard to say, on the whole, which we do most. But since the
elements with which the traditional associationism performs its
constructions--'simple sensations,' namely--are all products of
discrimination carried to a high pitch, it seems as if we ought to
discuss the subject of analytic attention and discrimination first.

=Discrimination defined.=--The noticing of any _part_ whatever of our
object is an act of discrimination. Already on p. 218 I have described
the manner in which we often spontaneously lapse into the
undiscriminating state, even with regard to objects which we have
already learned to distinguish. Such anæsthetics as chloroform, nitrous
oxide, etc., sometimes bring about transient lapses even more total, in
which numerical discrimination especially seems gone; for one sees light
and hears sound, but whether one or many lights and sounds is quite
impossible to tell. Where the parts of an object have already been
discerned, and each made the object of a special discriminative act, we
can with difficulty feel the object again in its pristine unity; and so
prominent may our consciousness of its composition be, that we may
hardly believe that it ever could have appeared undivided. But this is
an erroneous view, the undeniable fact being that _any number of
impressions, from any number of sensory sources, falling simultaneously
single undivided object to that mind_. The law is that all things fuse
that _can_ fuse, and that nothing separates except what must. What makes
impressions separate is what we have to study in this chapter.

=Conditions which favor Discrimination.=--I will treat successively of

(1) So far as they are directly _felt_;

(2) So far as they are _inferred_;

(3) So far as they are _singled out in compounds_.

=Differences directly felt.=--The first condition is that _the things to
be discriminated must_ BE _different_, either in time, place, or
quality. In other words, and physiologically speaking, they must awaken
neural processes which are _distinct_. But this, as we have just seen,
though an indispensable condition, is not a sufficient condition. To
begin with, the several neural processes must be distinct _enough_. No
one can help singling out a black stripe on a white ground, or feeling
the contrast between a bass note and a high one sounded immediately
after it. Discrimination is here _involuntary_. But where the objective
difference is less, discrimination may require considerable effort of
attention to be performed at all.

Secondly, _the sensations excited by the differing objects must not fall
simultaneously, but must fall in immediate_ SUCCESSION upon the same
organ. It is easier to compare successive than simultaneous sounds,
easier to compare two weights or two temperatures by testing one after
the other with the same hand, than by using both hands and comparing
both at once. Similarly it is easier to discriminate shades of light or
color by moving the eye from one to the other, so that they successively
stimulate the same retinal tract. In testing the local discrimination of
the skin, by applying compass-points, it is found that they are felt to
touch different spots much more readily when set down one after the
other than when both are applied at once. In the latter case they may be
two or three inches apart on the back, thighs, etc., and still feel as
if they were set down in one spot. Finally, in the case of smell and
taste it is well-nigh impossible to compare simultaneous impressions at
all. The reason why successive impression so much favors the result
seems to be that there is a real _sensation of difference_, aroused by
the shock of transition from one perception to another which is unlike
the first. This sensation of difference has its own peculiar quality, no
matter what the terms may be, between which it obtains. It is, in short,
one of those transitive feelings, or feelings of relation, of which I
treated in a former place (p. 161); and, when once aroused, its object
lingers in the memory along with the substantive terms which precede and
follow, and enables our _judgments of comparison_ to be made.

Where the difference between the successive sensations is but slight,
the transition between them must be made as immediate as possible, and
both must be compared _in memory_, in order to get the best results. One
cannot judge accurately of the difference between two similar wines
whilst the second is still in one's mouth. So of sounds, warmths,
etc.--we must get the dying phases of both sensations of the pair we
are comparing. Where, however, the difference is strong, this condition
is immaterial, and we can then compare a sensation actually felt with
another carried in memory only. The longer the interval of time between
the sensations, the more uncertain is their discrimination.

The difference, thus immediately felt between two terms, is independent
of our ability to say anything _about_ either of the terms by itself. I
can feel two distinct spots to be touched on my skin, yet not know which
is above and which below. I can observe two neighboring musical tones to
differ, and still not know which of the two is the higher in pitch.
Similarly I may discriminate two neighboring tints, whilst remaining
uncertain which is the bluer or the yellower, or _how_ either differs
from its mate.

I said that in the immediate succession of _m_ upon _n_ the shock of
their difference is _felt_. It is felt _repeatedly_ when we go back and
forth from _m_ to _n_; and we make a point of getting it thus repeatedly
(by alternating our attention at least) whenever the shock is so slight
as to be with difficulty perceived. But in addition to being felt at the
brief instant of transition, the difference also feels as if
incorporated and taken up into the second term, which feels
'different-from-the-first' even while it lasts. It is obvious that the
'second term' of the mind in this case is not bald _n_, but a very
complex object; and that the sequence is not simply first '_m_,' then
'_difference_,' then '_n_'; but first '_m_,' then '_difference_,' then
'_n-different-from-m_.' The first and third states of mind are
substantive, the second transitive. As our brains and minds are actually
made, it is impossible to get certain _m_'s and _n_'s in immediate
sequence and to keep them _pure_. If kept pure, it would mean that they
remained uncompared. With us, inevitably, by a mechanism which we as yet
fail to understand, the shock of difference is felt between them, and
the second object is not _n_ pure, but _n-as-different-from-m_. The pure
idea of _n_ is _never in the mind at all_ when _m_ has gone before.

=Differences inferred.=--With such direct perceptions of difference as
this, we must not confound those entirely unlike cases in which we
_infer_ that two things must differ because we know enough _about_ each
of them taken by itself to warrant our classing them under distinct
heads. It often happens, when the interval is long between two
experiences, that our judgments are guided, not so much by a positive
image or copy of the earlier one, as by our recollection of certain
facts about it. Thus I know that the sunshine to-day is less bright than
on a certain day last week, because I then said it was quite dazzling, a
remark I should not now care to make. Or I know myself to feel livelier
now than I did last summer, because I can now psychologize, and then I
could not. We are constantly comparing feelings with whose quality our
imagination has no sort of _acquaintance_ at the time--pleasures, or
pains, for example. It is notoriously hard to conjure up in imagination
a lively image of either of these classes of feeling. The
associationists may prate of an idea of pleasure being a pleasant idea,
of an idea of pain being a painful one, but the unsophisticated sense of
mankind is against them, agreeing with Homer that the memory of griefs
when past may be a joy, and with Dante that there is no greater sorrow
than, in misery, to recollect one's happier time.

=The 'Singling out' of Elements in a Compound.=--It is safe to lay it down
as a fundamental principle that _any total impression made on the mind
must be unanalyzable so long as its elements have never been experienced
apart or in other combinations elsewhere_. The components of an
absolutely changeless group of not-elsewhere-occurring attributes could
never be discriminated. If all cold things were wet, and all wet things
cold; if all hard things pricked our skin, and no other things did so:
is it likely that we should discriminate between coldness and wetness,
and hardness and pungency, respectively? If all liquids were transparent
and no non-liquid were transparent, it would be long before we had
separate names for liquidity and transparency. If heat were a function
of position above the earth's surface, so that the higher a thing was
the hotter it became, one word would serve for hot and high. We have, in
fact, a number of sensations whose concomitants are invariably the same,
and we find it, accordingly, impossible to analyze them out from the
totals in which they are found. The contraction of the diaphragm and the
expansion of the lungs, the shortening of certain muscles and the
rotation of certain joints, are examples. We learn that the _causes_ of
such groups of feelings are multiple, and therefore we frame theories
about the composition of the feelings themselves, by 'fusion,'
'integration,' 'synthesis,' or what not. But by direct introspection no
analysis of the feelings is ever made. A conspicuous case will come to
view when we treat of the emotions. Every emotion has its 'expression,'
of quick breathing, palpitating heart, flushed face, or the like. The
expression gives rise to bodily feelings; and the emotion is thus
necessarily and invariably accompanied by these bodily feelings. The
consequence is that it is impossible to apprehend it as a spiritual
state by itself, or to analyze it away from the lower feelings in
question. It is in fact impossible to prove that it exists as a distinct
psychic fact. The present writer strongly doubts that it does so exist.

In general, then, if an object affects us simultaneously in a number of
ways, _abcd_, we get a peculiar integral impression, which thereafter
characterizes to our mind the individuality of that object, and becomes
the sign of its presence; and which is only resolved into _a_, _b_, _c_,
and _d_, respectively, by the aid of farther experiences. These we now
may turn to consider.

_If any single quality or constituent, a, of such an object have
previously been known by us isolatedly_, or have in any other manner
already become an object of separate acquaintance on our part, so that
we have an image of it, distinct or vague, in our mind, disconnected
with _bcd, then that constituent a may be analyzed out from the total
impression_. Analysis of a thing means separate attention to each of its
parts. In Chapter XIII we saw that one condition of attending to a thing
was the formation from within of a separate image of that thing, which
should, as it were, go out to meet the impression received. Attention
being the condition of analysis, and separate imagination being the
condition of attention, it follows also that separate imagination is the
condition of analysis. _Only such elements as we are acquainted with,
and can imagine separately, can be discriminated within a total
sense-impression._ The image seems to welcome its own mate from out of
the compound, and to separate it from the other constituents; and thus
the compound becomes broken for our consciousness into parts.

All the facts cited in Chapter XIII to prove that attention involves
inward reproduction prove that discrimination involves it as well. In
looking for any object in a room, for a book in a library, for example,
we detect it the more readily if, in addition to merely knowing its
name, etc., we carry in our mind a distinct image of its appearance. The
assafœdita in 'Worcestershire sauce' is not obvious to anyone who has
not tasted assafœtida _per se_. In a 'cold' color an artist would
never be able to analyze out the pervasive presence of _blue_, unless he
had previously made acquaintance with the color blue by itself. All the
colors we actually experience are mixtures. Even the purest primaries
always come to us with some white. Absolutely pure red or green or
violet is never experienced, and so can never be discerned in the
so-called primaries with which we have to deal: the latter consequently
pass for pure.--The reader will remember how an overtone can only be
attended to in the midst of its consorts in the voice of a musical
instrument, by sounding it previously alone. The imagination, being then
full of it, hears the like of it in the compound tone.

=Non-isolable elements may be discriminated, provided= =their concomitants
change.= Very few elements of reality are experienced by us in absolute
isolation. The most that usually happens to a constituent _a_ of a
compound phenomenon _abcd_ is that its _strength_ relatively to _bcd_
varies from a maximum to a minimum; or that it appears linked with
_other_ qualities, in other compounds, as _aefg_ or _ahik_. Either of
these vicissitudes in the mode of our experiencing _a_ may, under
favorable circumstances, lead us to feel the difference between it and
its concomitants, and to single it out--not absolutely, it is true, but
approximately--and so to analyze the compound of which it is a part. The
act of singling out is then called _abstraction_, and the element
disengaged is an _abstract_.

Fluctuation in a quality's intensity is a less efficient aid to our
abstracting of it than variety in the combinations in which it appears.
_What is associated now with one thing and now with another tends to
become dissociated from either, and to grow into an object of abstract
contemplation by the mind._ One might call this the _law of dissociation
by varying concomitants_. The practical result of this law is that a
mind which has once dissociated and abstracted a character by its means
can analyze it out of a total whenever it meets with it again.

Dr. Martineau gives a good example of the law: "When a red ivory ball,
seen for the first time, has been withdrawn, it will leave a mental
representation of itself, in which all that it simultaneously gave us
will indistinguishably coexist. Let a white ball succeed to it; now, and
not before, will an attribute detach itself, and the _color_, by force
of contrast, be shaken out into the foreground. Let the white ball be
replaced by an egg, and this new difference will bring the _form_ into
notice from its previous slumber, and thus that which began by being
simply an object cut out from the surrounding scene becomes for us first
a _red_ object, then a _red round_ object, and so on."

_Why_ the repetition of the character in combination with different
wholes will cause it thus to break up its adhesion with any one of them,
and roll out, as it were, alone upon the table of consciousness, is a
little of a mystery, but one which need not be considered here.

=Practice improves Discrimination.=--Any personal or practical interest in
the results to be obtained by distinguishing, makes one's wits amazingly
sharp to detect differences. And long training and practice in
distinguishing has the same effect as personal interest. Both of these
agencies give to small amounts of objective difference the same
effectiveness upon the mind that, under other circumstances, only large
ones would have.

That 'practice makes perfect' is notorious in the field of motor
accomplishments. But motor accomplishments depend in part on sensory
discrimination. Billiard-playing, rifle-shooting, tight-rope-dancing
demand the most delicate appreciation of minute disparities of
sensation, as well as the power to make accurately graduated muscular
response thereto. In the purely sensorial field we have the well-known
virtuosity displayed by the professional buyers and testers of various
kinds of goods. One man will distinguish by taste between the upper and
the lower half of a bottle of old Madeira. Another will recognize, by
feeling the flour in a barrel, whether the wheat was grown in Iowa or
Tennessee. The blind deaf-mute, Laura Bridgman, so improved her touch as
to recognize, after a year's interval, the hand of a person who once had
shaken hers; and her sister in misfortune, Julia Brace, is said to have
been employed in the Hartford Asylum to sort the linen of its
multitudinous inmates, after it came from the wash, by her wonderfully
educated sense of smell.

The fact is so familiar that few, if any, psychologists have even
recognized it as needing explanation. They have seemed to think that
practice must, in the nature of things, improve the delicacy of
discernment, and have let the matter rest. At most they have said,
"Attention accounts for it; we attend more to habitual things, and what
we attend to we perceive more minutely." This answer, though true, is
too general; but we can say nothing more about the matter here.



=The Order of our Ideas.=--After discrimination, association! It is
obvious that all advance in knowledge must consist of both operations;
for in the course of our education, objects at first appearing as wholes
are analyzed into parts, and objects appearing separately are brought
together and appear as new compound wholes to the mind. Analysis and
synthesis are thus the incessantly alternating mental activities, a
stroke of the one preparing the way for a stroke of the other, much as,
in walking, a man's two legs are alternately brought into use, both
being indispensable for any orderly advance.

The manner in which trains of imagery and consideration follow each
other through our thinking, the restless flight of one idea before the
next, the transitions our minds make between things wide as the poles
asunder, transitions which at first sight startle us by their
abruptness, but which, when scrutinized closely, often reveal
intermediating links of perfect naturalness and propriety--all this
magical, imponderable streaming has from time immemorial excited the
admiration of all whose attention happened to be caught by its
omnipresent mystery. And it has furthermore challenged the race of
philosophers to banish something of the mystery by formulating the
process in simpler terms. The problem which the philosophers have set
themselves is that of ascertaining, between the thoughts which thus
appear to sprout one out of the other, _principles of connection_
whereby their peculiar succession or coexistence may be explained.

But immediately an ambiguity arises: which sort of connection is meant?
connection _thought-of_, or connection _between thoughts_? These are two
entirely different things, and only in the case of one of them is there
any hope of finding 'principles.' The jungle of connections _thought of_
can never be formulated simply. Every conceivable connection may be
thought of--of coexistence, succession, resemblance, contrast,
contradiction, cause and effect, means and end, genus and species, part
and whole, substance and property, early and late, large and small,
landlord and tenant, master and servant,--Heaven knows what, for the
list is literally inexhaustible. The only simplification which could
possibly be aimed at would be the reduction of the relations to a small
number of _types_, like those which some authors call the 'categories'
of the understanding. According as we followed one category or another
we should sweep, from any object with our thought, in this way or in
that, to others. Were _this_ the sort of connection sought between one
moment of our thinking and another, our chapter might end here. For the
only summary description of these categories is that they are all
thinkable relations, and that the mind proceeds from one object to
another by some intelligible path.

=Is it determined by any laws?= But as a matter of fact, What determines
the particular path? Why do we at a given time and place proceed to
think of _b_ if we have just thought of _a_, and at another time and
place why do we think, not of _b_, but of _c_? Why do we spend years
straining after a certain scientific or practical problem, but all in
vain--our thought unable to evoke the solution we desire? And why, some
day, walking in the street with our attention miles away from that
quest, does the answer saunter into our minds as carelessly as if it had
never been called for--suggested, possibly, by the flowers on the bonnet
of the lady in front of us, or possibly by nothing that we can discover?

The truth must be admitted that thought works under strange conditions.
Pure 'reason' is only one out of a thousand possibilities in the
thinking of each of us. Who can count all the silly fancies, the
grotesque suppositions, the utterly irrelevant reflections he makes in
the course of a day? Who can swear that his prejudices and irrational
opinions constitute a less bulky part of his mental furniture than his
clarified beliefs? And yet, the _mode of genesis_ of the worthy and the
worthless in our thinking seems the same.

=The laws are cerebral laws.= _There seem to be mechanical conditions on
which thought depends, and which_, to say the least, _determine the
order in which, the objects for her comparisons and selections are
presented_. It is a suggestive fact that Locke, and many more recent
Continental psychologists, have found themselves obliged to invoke a
mechanical process to account for the _aberrations_ of thought, the
obstructive prepossessions, the frustrations of reason. This they found
in the law of habit, or what we now call association by contiguity. But
it never occurred to these writers that a process which could go the
length of actually producing some ideas and sequences in the mind might
safely be trusted to produce others too; and that those habitual
associations which further thought may also come from the same
mechanical source as those which hinder it. Hartley accordingly
suggested habit as a sufficient explanation of the sequence of our
thoughts, and in so doing planted himself squarely upon the properly
_causal_ aspect of the problem, and sought to treat both rational and
irrational associations from a single point of view. How does a man
come, after having the thought of A, to have the thought of B the next
moment? or how does he come to think A and B always together? These were
the phenomena which Hartley undertook to explain by cerebral physiology.
I believe that he was, in essential respects, on the right track, and I
propose simply to revise his conclusions by the aid of distinctions
which he did not make.

=Objects are associated, not ideas.= We shall avoid confusion if we
consistently speak as if _association_, so far as the word stands for an
_effect, were between_ THINGS THOUGHT OF--_as if it were_ THINGS, _not
ideas, which are associated in the mind_. We shall talk of the
association of _objects_, not of the association of _ideas_. And so far
as association stands for a _cause_, it is between _processes in the
brain_--it is these which, by being associated in certain ways,
determine what successive objects shall be thought.

=The Elementary Principle.=--I shall now try to show that there is no
other _elementary_ causal law of association than the law of neural
habit. All the _materials_ of our thought are due to the way in which
one elementary process of the cerebral hemispheres tends to excite
whatever other elementary process it may have excited at any former
time. The number of elementary processes at work, however, and the
nature of those which at any time are fully effective in rousing the
others, determine the character of the total brain-action, and, as a
consequence of this, they determine the object thought of at the time.
According as this resultant object is one thing or another, we call it a
product of association by contiguity or of association by similarity, or
contrast, or whatever other sorts we may have recognized as ultimate.
Its _production_, however, is, in each one of these cases, to be
explained by a merely quantitative variation in the elementary
brain-processes momentarily at work under the law of habit.

My thesis, stated thus briefly, will soon become more clear; and at the
same time certain disturbing factors, which coöperate with the law of
neural habit, will come to view.

Let us then assume as the basis of all our subsequent reasoning this
law: _When two elementary brain-processes have been active together or
in immediate succession, one of them, on re-occurring, tends to
propagate its excitement into the other._

But, as a matter of fact, every elementary process has unavoidably found
itself at different times excited in conjunction with _many_ other
processes. Which of these others it shall awaken now becomes a problem.
Shall _b_ or _c_ be aroused next by the present _a_? To answer this, we
must make a further postulate, based on the fact of _tension_ in
nerve-tissue, and on the fact of summation of excitements, each
incomplete or latent in itself, into an open resultant (see p. 128). The
process _b_, rather than _c_, will awake, if in addition to the
vibrating tract _a_ some other tract _d_ is in a state of
sub-excitement, and formerly was excited with _b_ alone and not with
_a_. In short, we may say:

_The amount of activity at any given point in the brain-cortex is the
sum of the tendencies of all other points to discharge into it, such
tendencies being proportionate (1) to the number of times the excitement
of each other point may have accompanied that of the point in question;
(2) to the intensity of such excitements; and (3) to the absence of any
rival point functionally disconnected with the first point, into which
the discharges might be diverted._

Expressing the fundamental law in this most complicated way leads to the
greatest ultimate simplification. Let us, for the present, only treat of
spontaneous trains of thought and ideation, such as occur in revery or
musing. The case of voluntary thinking toward a certain end shall come
up later.

=Spontaneous Trains of Thought.=--Take, to fix our ideas, the two verses
from 'Locksley Hall':

    "I, the heir of all _the ages_ in the foremost files of time,"


    "For I doubt not through _the ages_ one increasing purpose runs."

Why is it that when we recite from memory one of these lines, and get as
far as _the ages_, that portion of the _other_ line which follows and,
so to speak, sprouts out of _the ages_ does not also sprout out of our
memory and confuse the sense of our words? Simply because the word that
follows _the ages_ has its brain-process awakened not simply by the
brain-process of _the ages_ alone, but by it _plus_ the brain-processes
of all the words preceding _the ages_. The word _ages_ at its moment of
strongest activity would, _per se_, indifferently discharge into either
'in' or 'one.' So would the previous words (whose tension is momentarily
much less strong than that of _ages_) each of them indifferently
discharge into either of a large number of other words with which they
have been at different times combined. But when the processes of '_I,
the heir of all the ages_,' simultaneously vibrate in the brain, the
last one of them in a maximal, the others in a fading, phase of
excitement, then the strongest line of discharge will be that which they
_all alike_ tend to take. '_In_' and not '_one_' or any other word will
be the next to awaken, for its brain-process has previously vibrated in
unison not only with that of _ages_, but with that of all those other
words whose activity is dying away. It is a good case of the
effectiveness over thought of what we called on p. 168 a 'fringe.'

But if some one of these preceding words--'heir,' for example--had an
intensely strong association with some brain-tracts entirely disjoined
in experience from the poem of 'Locksley Hall'--if the reciter, for
instance, were tremulously awaiting the opening of a will which might
make him a millionaire--it is probable that the path of discharge
through the words of the poem would be suddenly interrupted at the word
'heir.' His _emotional interest in that word_ would be such that its
_own special associations would prevail_ over the combined ones of the
other words. He would, as we say, be abruptly reminded of his personal
situation, and the poem would lapse altogether from his thoughts.

The writer of these pages has every year to learn the names of a large
number of students who sit in alphabetical order in a lecture-room. He
finally learns to call them by name, as they sit in their accustomed
places. On meeting one in the street, however, early in the year, the
face hardly ever recalls the name, but it may recall the place of its
owner in the lecture-room, his neighbors' faces, and consequently his
general alphabetical position: and then, usually as the common associate
of all these combined data, the student's name surges up in his mind.

A father wishes to show to some guests the progress of his rather dull
child in kindergarten-instruction. Holding the knife upright on the
table, he says, "What do you call that, my boy?" "I calls it a _knife_,
I does," is the sturdy reply, from which the child cannot be induced to
swerve by any alteration in the form of question, until the father,
recollecting that in the kindergarten a pencil was used and not a knife,
draws a long one from his pocket, holds it in the same way, and then
gets the wished-for answer, "I calls it _vertical_." All the
concomitants of the kindergarten experience had to recombine their
effect before the word 'vertical' could be reawakened.

=Total Recall.=--The ideal working of the law of compound association, as
Prof. Bain calls it, were it unmodified by any extraneous influence,
would be such as to keep the mind in a perpetual treadmill of concrete
reminiscences from which no detail could be omitted. Suppose, for
example, we begin by thinking of a certain dinner-party. The only thing
which all the components of the dinner-party could combine to recall
would be the first concrete occurrence which ensued upon it. All the
details of this occurrence could in turn only combine to awaken the next
following occurrence, and so on. If _a_, _b_, _c_, _d_, _e_, for
instance, be the elementary nerve-tracts excited by the last act of the
dinner-party, call this act _A_, and _l_, _m_, _n_, _o_, _p_ be those of
walking home through the frosty night, which we may call _B_, then the
thought of _A_ must awaken that of _B_, because _a_, _b_, _c_, _d_, _e_
will each and all discharge into _l_ through the paths by which their
original discharge took place. Similarly they will discharge into _m_,
_n_, _o_, and _p_; and these latter tracts will also each reinforce the
other's action because, in the experience _B_, they have already
vibrated in unison. The lines in Fig. 57 symbolize the summation of
discharges into each of the components of _B_, and the consequent
strength of the combination of influences by which _B_ in its totality
is awakened.

[Illustration: FIG. 57.]

Hamilton first used the word 'redintegration' to designate all
association. Such processes as we have just described might in an
emphatic sense be termed redintegrations, for they would necessarily
lead, if unobstructed, to the reinstatement in thought of the _entire_
content of large trains of past experience. From this complete
redintegration there could be no escape save through the irruption of
some new and strong present impression of the senses, or through the
excessive tendency of some one of the elementary brain-tracts to
discharge independently into an aberrant quarter of the brain. Such was
the tendency of the word 'heir' in the verse from 'Locksley Hall,' which
was our first example. How such tendencies are constituted we shall have
soon to inquire with some care. Unless they are present, the panorama of
the past, once opened, must unroll itself with fatal literality to the
end, unless some outward sound, sight, or touch divert the current of

Let us call this process _impartial redintegration_, or, still better,
_total recall_. Whether it ever occurs in an absolutely complete form is
doubtful. We all immediately recognize, however, that in some minds
there is a much greater tendency than in others for the flow of thought
to take this form. Those insufferably garrulous old women, those dry and
fanciless beings who spare you no detail, however petty, of the facts
they are recounting, and upon the thread of whose narrative all the
irrelevant items cluster as pertinaciously as the essential ones, the
slaves of literal fact, the stumblers over the smallest abrupt step in
thought, are figures known to all of us. Comic literature has made her
profit out of them. Juliet's nurse is a classical example. George
Eliot's village characters and some of Dickens's minor personages supply
excellent instances.

Perhaps as successful a rendering as any of this mental type is the
character of Miss Bates in Miss Austen's 'Emma.' Hear how she

"'But where could _you_ hear it?' cried Miss Bates. 'Where could you
possibly hear it, Mr. Knightley? For it is not five minutes since I
received Mrs. Cole's note--no, it cannot be more than five--or at least
ten--for I had got my bonnet and spencer on, just ready to come out--I
was only gone down to speak to Patty again about the pork--Jane was
standing in the passage--were not you, Jane?--for my mother was so
afraid that we had not any salting-pan large enough. So I said I would
go down and see, and Jane said: "Shall I go down instead? for I think
you have a little cold, and Patty has been washing the kitchen." "Oh, my
dear," said I--well, and just then came the note. A Miss Hawkins--that's
all I know--a Miss Hawkins, of Bath. But, Mr. Knightley, how could you
possibly have heard it? for the very moment Mr. Cole told Mrs. Cole of
it, she sat down and wrote to me. A Miss Hawkins--'"

=Partial Recall.=--This case helps us to understand why it is that the
ordinary spontaneous flow of our ideas does not follow the law of total
recall. _In no revival of a past experience are all the items of our
thought equally operative in determining what the next thought shall be.
Always some ingredient is prepotent over the rest._ Its special
suggestions or associations in this case will often be different from
those which it has in common with the whole group of items; and its
tendency to awaken these outlying associates will deflect the path of
our revery. Just as in the original sensible experience our attention
focalized itself upon a few of the impressions of the scene before us,
so here in the reproduction of those impressions an equal partiality is
shown, and some items are emphasized above the rest. What these items
shall be is, in most cases of spontaneous revery, hard to determine
beforehand. In subjective terms we say that _the prepotent items are
those which appeal most to our_ INTEREST.

Expressed in brain-terms, the law of interest will be: _some one
brain-process is always prepotent above its concomitants in arousing
action elsewhere_.

"Two processes," says Mr. Hodgson, "are constantly going on in
redintegration. The one a process of corrosion, melting, decay; the
other a process of renewing, arising, becoming.... No object of
representation remains long before consciousness in the same state, but
fades, decays, and becomes indistinct. Those parts of the object,
however, which possess an interest resist this tendency to gradual decay
of the whole object.... This inequality in the object--some parts, the
uninteresting, submitting to decay; others, the interesting parts,
resisting it--when it has continued for a certain time, ends in becoming
a new object."

Only where the interest is diffused equally over all the parts is this
law departed from. It will be least obeyed by those minds which have the
smallest variety and intensity of interests--those who, by the general
flatness and poverty of their æsthetic nature, are kept for ever
rotating among the literal sequences of their local and personal

Most of us, however, are better organized than this, and our musings
pursue an erratic course, swerving continually into some new direction
traced by the shifting play of interest as it ever falls on some partial
item in each complex representation that is evoked. Thus it so often
comes about that we find ourselves thinking at two nearly adjacent
moments of things separated by the whole diameter of space and time. Not
till we carefully recall each step of our cogitation do we see how
naturally we came by Hodgson's law to pass from one to the other. Thus,
for instance, after looking at my clock just now (1879), I found myself
thinking of a recent resolution in the Senate about our legal-tender
notes. The clock called up the image of the man who had repaired its
gong. He suggested the jeweller's shop where I had last seen him; that
shop, some shirt-studs which I had bought there; they, the value of gold
and its recent decline; the latter, the equal value of greenbacks, and
this, naturally, the question of how long they were to last, and of the
Bayard proposition. Each of these images offered various points of
interest. Those which formed the turning-points of my thought are easily
assigned. The gong was momentarily the most interesting part of the
clock, because, from having begun with a beautiful tone, it had become
discordant and aroused disappointment. But for this the clock might have
suggested the friend who gave it to me, or any one of a thousand
circumstances connected with clocks. The jeweller's shop suggested the
studs, because they alone of all its contents were tinged with the
egoistic interest of possession. This interest in the studs, their
value, made me single out the material as its chief source, etc., to the
end. Every reader who will arrest himself at any moment and say, "How
came I to be thinking of just this?" will be sure to trace a train of
representations linked together by lines of contiguity and points of
interest inextricably combined. This is the ordinary process of the
association of ideas as it spontaneously goes on in average minds. _We
may call it ordinary, or mixed, association_, or, if we like better,
_partial recall_.

=Which Associates come up, in Partial Recall?=--Can we determine, now,
when a certain portion of the going thought has, by dint of its
interest, become so prepotent as to make its own exclusive associates
the dominant features of the coming thought--can we, I say, determine
_which_ of its own associates shall be evoked? For they are many. As
Hodgson says:

"The interesting parts of the decaying object are free to combine again
with any objects or parts of objects with which at any time they have
been combined before. All the former combinations of these parts may
come back into consciousness; one must, but which will?"

Mr. Hodgson replies:

"There can be but one answer: that which has been most _habitually_
combined with them before. This new object begins at once to form itself
in consciousness, and to group its parts round the part still remaining
from the former object; part after part comes out and arranges itself in
its old position; but scarcely has the process begun, when the original
law of interest begins to operate on this new formation, seizes on the
interesting parts and impresses them on the attention to the exclusion
of the rest, and the whole process is repeated again with endless
variety. I venture to propose this as a complete and true account of the
whole process of redintegration."

In restricting the discharge from the interesting item into that channel
which is simply most _habitual_ in the sense of most frequent, Hodgson's
account is assuredly imperfect. An image by no means always revives its
most frequent associate, although frequency is certainly one of the most
potent determinants of revival. If I abruptly utter the word _swallow_,
the reader, if by habit an ornithologist, will think of a bird; if a
physiologist or a medical specialist in throat-diseases, he will think
of deglutition. If I say _date_, he will, if a fruit-merchant or an
Arabian traveller, think of the produce of the palm; if an habitual
student of history, figures with A.D. or B.C. before them will rise in
his mind. If I say _bed_, _bath_, _morning_, his own daily toilet will
be invincibly suggested by the combined names of three of its habitual
associates. But frequent lines of transition are often set at naught.
The sight of a certain book has most frequently awakened in me thoughts
of the opinions therein propounded. The idea of suicide has never been
connected with the volume. But a moment since, as my eye fell upon it,
suicide was the thought that flashed into my mind. Why? Because but
yesterday I received a letter informing me that the author's recent
death was an act of self-destruction. Thoughts tend, then, to awaken
their most recent as well as their most habitual associates. This is a
matter of notorious experience, too notorious, in fact, to need
illustration. If we have seen our friend this morning, the mention of
his name now recalls the circumstances of that interview, rather than
any more remote details concerning him. If Shakespeare's plays are
mentioned, and we were last night reading 'Richard II.,' vestiges of
that play rather than of 'Hamlet' or 'Othello' float through our mind.
Excitement of peculiar tracts, or peculiar modes of general excitement
in the brain, leave a sort of tenderness or exalted sensibility behind
them which takes days to die away. As long as it lasts, those tracts or
those modes are liable to have their activities awakened by causes which
at other times might leave them in repose. Hence, _recency_ in
experience is a prime factor in determining revival in thought.[36]

_Vividness_ in an original experience may also have the same effect as
habit or recency in bringing about likelihood of revival. If we have
once witnessed an execution, any subsequent conversation or reading
about capital punishment will almost certainly suggest images of that
particular scene. Thus it is that events lived through only once, and in
youth, may come in after-years, by reason of their exciting quality or
emotional intensity, to serve as types or instances used by our mind to
illustrate any and every occurring topic whose interest is most remotely
pertinent to theirs. If a man in his boyhood once talked with Napoleon,
any mention of great men or historical events, battles or thrones, or
the whirligig of fortune, or islands in the ocean, will be apt to draw
to his lips the incidents of that one memorable interview. If the word
_tooth_ now suddenly appears on the page before the reader's eye, there
are fifty chances out of a hundred that, if he gives it time to awaken
any image, it will be an image of some operation of dentistry in which
he has been the sufferer. Daily he has touched his teeth and masticated
with them; this very morning he brushed, used, and picked them; but the
rarer and remoter associations arise more promptly because they were so
much more intense.

A fourth factor in tracing the course of reproduction is _congruity in
emotional tone_ between the reproduced idea and our mood. The same
objects do not recall the same associates when we are cheerful as when
we are melancholy. Nothing, in fact, is more striking than our inability
to keep up trains of joyous imagery when we are depressed in spirits.
Storm, darkness, war, images of disease, poverty, perishing, and dread
afflict unremittingly the imaginations of melancholiacs. And those of
sanguine temperament, when their spirits are high, find it impossible to
give any permanence to evil forebodings or to gloomy thoughts. In an
instant the train of association dances off to flowers and sunshine, and
images of spring and hope. The records of Arctic or African travel
perused in one mood awaken no thoughts but those of horror at the
malignity of Nature; read at another time they suggest only
enthusiastic reflections on the indomitable power and pluck of man. Few
novels so overflow with joyous animal spirits as 'The Three Guardsmen'
of Dumas. Yet it may awaken in the mind of a reader depressed with
sea-sickness (as the writer can personally testify) a most woful
consciousness of the cruelty and carnage of which heroes like Athos,
Porthos, and Aramis make themselves guilty.

_Habit, recency, vividness, and emotional congruity_ are, then, all
reasons why one representation rather than another should be awakened by
the interesting portion of a departing thought. We may say with truth
that _in the majority of cases the coming representation will have been
either habitual, recent, or vivid, and will be congruous_. If all these
qualities unite in any one absent associate, we may predict almost
infallibly that that associate of the going object will form an
important ingredient in the object which comes next. In spite of the
fact, however, that the succession of representations is thus redeemed
from perfect indeterminism and limited to a few classes whose
characteristic quality is fixed by the nature of our past experience, it
must still be confessed that an immense number of terms in the linked
chain of our representations fall outside of all assignable rule. To
take the instance of the clock given on page 263. Why did the jeweller's
shop suggest the shirt-studs rather than a chain which I had bought
there more recently, which had cost more, and whose sentimental
associations were much more interesting? Any reader's experience will
easily furnish similar instances. So we must admit that to a certain
extent, even in those forms of ordinary mixed association which lie
nearest to impartial redintegration, _which_ associate of the
interesting item shall emerge must be called largely a matter of
accident--accident, that is, for our intelligence. No doubt it is
determined by cerebral causes, but they are too subtile and shifting for
our analysis.

=Focalized Recall, or Association by Similarity.=--In partial or mixed
association we have all along supposed the interesting portion of the
disappearing thought to be of considerable extent, and to be
sufficiently complex to constitute by itself a concrete object. Sir
William Hamilton relates, for instance, that after thinking of Ben
Lomond he found himself thinking of the Prussian system of education,
and discovered that the links of association were a German gentleman
whom he had met on Ben Lomond, Germany, etc. The interesting part of Ben
Lomond as he had experienced it, the part operative in determining the
train of his ideas, was the complex image of a particular man. But now
let us suppose that the interested attention refines itself still
further and accentuates a portion of the passing object, so small as to
be no longer the image of a concrete thing, but only of an abstract
quality or property. Let us moreover suppose that the part thus
accentuated persists in consciousness (or, in cerebral terms, has its
brain-process continue) after the other portions of the object have
faded. _This small surviving portion will then surround itself with its
own associates_ after the fashion we have already seen, and the relation
between the new thought's object and the object of the faded thought
will be a _relation of similarity_. The pair of thoughts will form an
instance of what is called '_association by similarity_.'

The similars which are here associated, or of which the first is
followed by the second in the mind, are seen to be _compounds_.
Experience proves that this is always the case. _There is no tendency on
the part of_ SIMPLE _'ideas,' attributes, or qualities to remind us of
their like_. The thought of one shade of blue does not summon up that of
another shade of blue, etc., unless indeed we have in mind some general
purpose of nomenclature or comparison which requires a review of several
blue tints.

Now two compound things are similar when some one quality or group of
qualities is shared alike by both, although as regards their other
qualities they may have nothing in common. The moon is similar to a
gas-jet, it is also similar to a foot-ball; but a gas-jet and a
foot-ball are not similar to each other. When we affirm the similarity
of two compound things, we should always say _in what respect it
obtains_. Moon and gas-jet are similar in respect of luminosity, and
nothing else; moon and foot-ball in respect of rotundity, and nothing
else. Foot-ball and gas-jet are in no respect similar--that is, they
possess no common point, no identical attribute. _Similarity, in
compounds, is partial identity._ When the _same_ attribute appears in
two phenomena, though it be their only common property, the two
phenomena are similar in so far forth. To return now to our associated
representations. If the thought of the moon is succeeded by the thought
of a foot-ball, and that by the thought of one of Mr. X's railroads, it
is because the attribute rotundity in the moon broke away from
all the rest and surrounded itself with an entirely new set of
companions--elasticity, leathery integument, swift mobility in obedience
to human caprice, etc.; and because the last-named attribute in the
foot-ball in turn broke away from its companions, and, itself
persisting, surrounded itself with such new attributes as make up the
notions of a 'railroad king,' of a rising and falling stock-market, and
the like.

[Illustration: FIG. 58.]

The gradual passage from total to focalized, through what we have called
ordinary partial, recall may be symbolized by diagrams. Fig. 58 is
total, Fig. 59 is partial, and Fig. 60 focalized, recall. _A_ in each is
the passing, _B_ the coming, thought. In 'total recall,' all parts of
_A_ are equally operative in calling up _B_. In 'partial recall,' most
parts of _A_ are inert. The part _M_ alone breaks out and awakens _B_.
In similar association or 'focalized recall,' the part _M_ is much
smaller than in the previous case, and after awakening its new set of
associates, instead of fading out itself, it continues persistently
active along with them, forming an identical part in the two ideas, and
making these, _pro tanto_, resemble each other.[37]

[Illustration: FIG. 59.]

[Illustration: FIG. 60.]

Why a single portion of the passing thought should break out from its
concert with the rest and act, as we say, on its own hook, why the other
parts should become inert, are mysteries which we can ascertain but not
explain. Possibly a minuter insight into the laws of neural action will
some day clear the matter up; possibly neural laws will not suffice, and
we shall need to invoke a dynamic reaction of the consciousness itself.
But into this we cannot enter now.

=Voluntary Trains of Thought.=--Hitherto we have assumed the process of
suggestion of one object by another to be spontaneous. The train of
imagery wanders at its own sweet will, now trudging in sober grooves of
habit, now with a hop, skip, and jump, darting across the whole field of
time and space. This is revery, or musing; but great segments of the
flux of our ideas consist of something very different from this. They
are guided by a distinct purpose or conscious interest; and the course
of our ideas is then called _voluntary_.

Physiologically considered, we must suppose that a purpose means the
persistent activity of certain rather definite brain-processes
throughout the whole course of thought. Our most usual cogitations are
not pure reveries, absolute driftings, but revolve about some central
interest or topic to which most of the images are relevant, and towards
which we return promptly after occasional digressions. This interest is
subserved by the persistently active brain-tracts we have supposed. In
the mixed associations which we have hitherto studied, the parts of each
object which form the pivots on which our thoughts successively turn
have their interest largely determined by their connection with some
_general interest_ which for the time has seized upon the mind. If we
call _Z_ the brain-tract of general interest, then, if the object _abc_
turns up, and _b_ has more associations with _Z_ than have either _a_ or
_c_, _b_ will become the object's interesting, pivotal portion, and will
call up its own associates exclusively. For the energy of _b_'s
brain-tract will be augmented by _Z_'s activity,--an activity which,
from lack of previous connection between _Z_ and _a_ and _Z_ and _c_,
does not influence _a_ or _c_. If, for instance, I think of Paris whilst
I am _hungry_, I shall not improbably find that its _restaurants_ have
become the pivot of my thought, etc., etc.

=Problems.=--But in the theoretic as well as in the practical life there
are interests of a more acute sort, taking the form of definite images
of some achievement which we desire to effect. The train of ideas
arising under the influence of such an interest constitutes usually the
thought of the _means_ by which the end shall be attained. If the end by
its simple presence does not instantaneously suggest the means, the
search for the latter becomes a _problem_; and the discovery of the
means forms a new sort of end, of an entirely peculiar nature--an end,
namely, which we intensely desire before we have attained it, but of the
nature of which, even whilst most strongly craving it, we have no
distinct imagination whatever (compare pp. 241-2).

The same thing occurs whenever we seek to recall something forgotten, or
to state the reason for a judgment which we have made intuitively. The
desire strains and presses in a direction which it feels to be right,
but towards a point which it is unable to see. In short, the _absence of
an item_ is a determinant of our representations quite as positive as
its presence can ever be. The gap becomes no mere void, but what is
called an _aching_ void. If we try to explain in terms of brain-action
how a thought which only potentially exists can yet be effective, we
seem driven to believe that the brain-tract thereof must actually be
excited, but only in a minimal and sub-conscious way. Try, for instance,
to symbolize what goes on in a man who is racking his brains to remember
a thought which occurred to him last week. The associates of the thought
are there, many of them at least, but they refuse to awaken the thought
itself. We cannot suppose that they do not irradiate _at all_ into its
brain-tract, because his mind quivers on the very edge of its recovery.
Its actual rhythm sounds in his ears; the words seem on the imminent
point of following, but fail (see p. 165). Now the only difference
between the effort to recall things forgotten and the search after the
means to a given end is that the latter have not, whilst the former
have, already formed a part of our experience. If we first study _the
mode of recalling a thing forgotten_, we can take up with better
understanding the voluntary quest of the unknown.

=Their Solution.=--The forgotten thing is felt by us as a gap in the midst
of certain other things. We possess a dim idea of where we were and what
we were about when it last occurred to us. We recollect the general
subject to which it pertains. But all these details refuse to shoot
together into a solid whole, for the lack of the missing thing, so we
keep running over them in our mind, dissatisfied, craving something
more. From each detail there radiate lines of association forming so
many tentative guesses. Many of these are immediately seen to be
irrelevant, are therefore void of interest, and lapse immediately from
consciousness. Others are associated with the other details present, and
with the missing thought as well. When _these_ surge up, we have a
peculiar feeling that we are 'warm,' as the children say when they play
hide and seek; and such associates as these we clutch at and keep before
the attention. Thus we recollect successively that when we last were
considering the matter in question we were at the dinner-table; then
that our friend J. D. was there; then that the subject talked about was
so and so; finally, that the thought came _à propos_ of a certain
anecdote, and then that it had something to do with a French quotation.
Now all these added associates _arise independently of the will_, by the
spontaneous processes we know so well. _All that the will does is to
emphasize and linger over those which seem pertinent, and ignore the
rest._ Through this hovering of the attention in the neighborhood of the
desired object, the accumulation of associates becomes so great that the
combined tensions of their neural processes break through the bar, and
the nervous wave pours into the tract which has so long been awaiting
its advent. And as the expectant, sub-conscious itching, so to speak,
bursts into the fulness of vivid feeling, the mind finds an
inexpressible relief.

[Illustration: FIG. 61.]

The whole process can be rudely symbolized in a diagram. Call the
forgotten thing _Z_, the first facts with which we felt it was related
_a_, _b_, and _c_, and the details finally operative in calling it up
_l_, _m_, and _n_. Each circle will then stand for the brain-process
principally concerned in the thought of the fact lettered within it. The
activity in _Z_ will at first be a mere tension; but as the activities
in _a_, _b_, and _c_ little by little irradiate into _l_, _m_, and _n_,
and as _all_ these processes are somehow connected with _Z_, their
combined irradiations upon _Z_, represented by the centripetal arrows,
succeed in rousing _Z_ also to full activity.

_Turn now to the case of finding the unknown means to a distinctly
conceived end._ The end here stands in the place of _a_, _b_, _c_, in
the diagram. It is the starting-point of the irradiations of suggestion;
and here, as in that case, what the voluntary attention does is only to
dismiss some of the suggestions as irrelevant, and hold fast to others
which are felt to be more pertinent--let these be symbolized by _l_,
_m_, _n_. These latter at last accumulate sufficiently to discharge all
together into _Z_, the excitement of which process is, in the mental
sphere, equivalent to the solution of our problem. The only difference
between this and the previous case is that in this one there need be no
original sub-excitement in _Z_, coöperating from the very first. In the
solving of a problem, all that we are aware of in advance seems to be
its _relations_. It must be a cause, or it must be an effect, or it must
contain an attribute, or it must be a means, or what not. We know, in
short, a lot _about_ it, whilst as yet we have no _acquaintance_ with
it. Our perception that one of the objects which turn up is, at last,
our _quæsitum_, is due to our recognition that its relations are
identical with those we had in mind, and this may be a rather slow act
of judgment. Every one knows that an object may be for some time present
to his mind before its relations to other matters are perceived. Just so
the relations may be there before the object is.

From the guessing of newspaper enigmas to the plotting of the policy of
an empire there is no other process than this. We must trust to the laws
of cerebral nature to present us spontaneously with the appropriate
idea, but we must know it for the right one when it comes.

It is foreign to my purpose here to enter into any detailed analysis of
the different classes of mental pursuit. In a scientific research we get
perhaps as rich an example as can be found. The inquirer starts with a
fact of which he seeks the reason, or with an hypothesis of which he
seeks the proof. In either case he keeps turning the matter incessantly
in his mind until, by the arousal of associate upon associate, some
habitual, some similar, one arises which he recognizes to suit his need.
This, however, may take years. No rules can be given by which the
investigator may proceed straight to his result; but both here and in
the case of reminiscence the accumulation of helps in the way of
associations may advance more rapidly by the use of certain routine
methods. In striving to recall a thought, for example, we may of set
purpose run through the successive classes of circumstance with which it
may possibly have been connected, trusting that when the right member of
the class has turned up it will help the thought's revival. Thus we may
run through all the _places_ in which we may have had it. We may run
through the _persons_ whom we remember to have conversed with, or we may
call up successively all the _books_ we have lately been reading. If we
are trying to remember a person we may run through a list of streets or
of professions. Some item out of the lists thus methodically gone over
will very likely be associated with the fact we are in need of, and may
suggest it or help to do so. And yet the item might never have arisen
without such systematic procedure. In scientific research this
accumulation of associates has been methodized by Mill under the title
of 'The Four Methods of Experimental Inquiry.' By the 'method of
agreement,' by that of 'difference,' by those of 'residues' and
'concomitant variations' (which cannot here be more nearly defined), we
make certain lists of cases; and by ruminating these lists in our minds
the cause we seek will be more likely to emerge. But the final stroke of
discovery is only prepared, not effected, by them. The brain-tracts
must, of their own accord, shoot the right way at last, or we shall
still grope in darkness. That in some brains the tracts _do_ shoot the
right way much oftener than in others, and that we cannot tell
why,--these are ultimate facts to which we must never close our eyes.
Even in forming our lists of instances according to Mill's methods, we
are at the mercy of the spontaneous workings of Similarity in our brain.
How are a number of facts, resembling the one whose cause we seek, to be
brought together in a list unless one will rapidly suggest another
through association by similarity?

=Similarity no Elementary Law.=--Such is the analysis I propose, first of
the three main types of spontaneous, and then of voluntary, trains of
thought. It will be observed that the _object called up may bear any
logical relation whatever to the one which suggested it_. The law
requires only that one condition should be fulfilled. The fading object
must be due to a brain-process some of whose elements awaken through
habit some of the elements of the brain-process of the object which
comes to view. This awakening is the causal agency in the kind of
association called Similarity, as in any other sort. The similarity
_itself_ between the objects has no causal agency in carrying us from
one to the other. It is but a result--the effect of the usual causal
agent when this happens to work in a certain way. Ordinary writers talk
as if the similarity of the objects were itself an agent, coördinate
with habit, and independent of it, and like it able to push objects
before the mind. This is quite unintelligible. The similarity of two
things does not exist till both things are there--it is meaningless to
talk of it as an _agent of production_ of anything, whether in the
physical or the psychical realms. It is a relation which the mind
perceives after the fact, just as it may perceive the relations of
superiority, of distance, of causality, of container and content, of
substance and accident, or of contrast, between an object and some
second object which the associative machinery calls up.

=Conclusion.=--To sum up, then, we see that _the difference between the
three kinds of association reduces itself to a simple difference in the
amount of that portion of the nerve-tract supporting the going thought
which is operative in calling up the thought which comes_. But the
_modus operandi_ of this active part is the same, be it large or be it
small. The items constituting the coming object waken in every instance
because their nerve-tracts once were excited continuously with those of
the going object or its operative part. This ultimate physiological law
of habit among the neural elements is what _runs_ the train. The
direction of its course and the form of its transitions are due to the
unknown conditions by which in some brains action tends to focalize
itself in small spots, while in others it fills patiently its broad bed.
What these differing conditions are, it seems impossible to guess.
Whatever they are, they are what separate the man of genius from the
prosaic creature of habit and routine thinking. In the chapter on
Reasoning we shall need to recur again to this point. I trust that the
student will now feel that the way to a deeper understanding of the
order of our ideas lies in the direction of cerebral physiology. The
_elementary_ process of revival can be nothing but the law of habit.
Truly the day is distant when physiologists shall actually trace from
cell-group to cell-group the irradiations which we have hypothetically
invoked. Probably it will never arrive. The schematism we have used is,
moreover, taken immediately from the analysis of objects into their
elementary parts, and only extended by analogy to the brain. And yet it
is only as incorporated in the brain that such a schematism can
represent anything _causal_. This is, to my mind, the conclusive reason
for saying that the order of _presentation of the mind's materials_ is
due to cerebral physiology alone.

The law of accidental prepotency of certain processes over others falls
also within the sphere of cerebral probabilities. Granting such
instability as the brain-tissue requires, certain points must always
discharge more quickly and strongly than others; and this prepotency
would shift its place from moment to moment by accidental causes, giving
us a perfect mechanical diagram of the capricious play of similar
association in the most gifted mind. A study of dreams confirms this
view. The usual abundance of paths of irradiation seems, in the dormant
brain, reduced. A few only are pervious, and the most fantastic
sequences occur because the currents run--'like sparks in burnt-up
paper'--wherever the nutrition of the moment creates an opening, but
nowhere else.

The _effects of interested attention and volition_ remain. These
activities seem to hold fast to certain elements and, by emphasizing
them and dwelling on them, to make their associates the only ones which
are evoked. _This_ is the point at which an anti-mechanical psychology
must, if anywhere, make its stand in dealing with association.
Everything else is pretty certainly due to cerebral laws. My own opinion
on the question of active attention and spiritual spontaneity is
expressed elsewhere (see p. 237). But even though there be a mental
spontaneity, it can certainly not create ideas or summon them _ex
abrupto_. Its power is limited to _selecting_ amongst those which the
associative machinery introduces. If it can emphasize, reinforce, or
protract for half a second either one of these, it can do all that the
most eager advocate of free will need demand; for it then decides the
direction of the _next_ associations by making them hinge upon the
emphasized term; and determining in this wise the course of the man's
thinking, it also determines his acts.



=The sensible present has duration.= Let any one try, I will not say to
arrest, but to notice or attend to, the _present_ moment of time. One of
the most baffling experiences occurs. Where is it, this present? It has
melted in our grasp, fled ere we could touch it, gone in the instant of
becoming. As a poet, quoted by Mr. Hodgson, says,

    "Le moment où je parle est déjà loin de moi,"

and it is only as entering into the living and moving organization of a
much wider tract of time that the strict present is apprehended at all.
It is, in fact, an altogether ideal abstraction, not only never realized
in sense, but probably never even conceived of by those unaccustomed to
philosophic meditation. Reflection leads us to the conclusion that it
_must_ exist, but that it _does_ exist can never be a fact of our
immediate experience. The only fact of our immediate experience is what
has been well called 'the specious' present, a sort of saddle-back of
time with a certain length of its own, on which we sit perched, and from
which we look in two directions into time. The unit of composition of
our perception of time is a _duration_, with a bow and a stern, as it
were--a rearward-and a forward-looking end. It is only as parts of this
_duration-block_ that the relation of _succession_ of one end to the
other is perceived. We do not first feel one end and then feel the other
after it, and from the perception of the succession infer an interval of
time between, but we seem to feel the interval of time as a whole, with
its two ends embedded in it. The experience is from the outset a
synthetic datum, not a simple one; and to sensible perception its
elements are inseparable, although attention looking back may easily
decompose the experience, and distinguish its beginning from its end.

The moment we pass beyond a very few seconds our consciousness of
duration ceases to be an immediate perception and becomes a construction
more or less symbolic. To realize even an hour, we must count 'now! now!
now! now!' indefinitely. Each 'now' is the feeling of a separate _bit_
of time, and the exact sum of the bits never makes a clear impression on
our mind. The _longest bit of duration_ which we can apprehend at once
so as to discriminate it from longer and shorter bits of time would seem
(from experiments made for another purpose in Wundt's laboratory) to be
about 12 seconds. _The shortest interval_ which we can feel as time at
all would seem to be 1/500 of a second. That is, Exner recognized two
electric sparks to be successive when the second followed the first at
that interval.

=We have no sense for empty time.= Let one sit with closed eyes and,
abstracting entirely from the outer world, attend exclusively to the
passage of time, like one who wakes, as the poet says, "to hear time
flowing in the middle of the night, and all things moving to a day of
doom." There seems under such circumstances as these no variety in the
material content of our thought, and what we notice appears, if
anything, to be the pure series of durations budding, as it were, and
growing beneath our indrawn gaze. Is this really so or not? The question
is important; for, if the experience be what it roughly seems, we have a
sort of special sense for pure time--a sense to which empty duration is
an adequate stimulus; while if it be an illusion, it must be that our
perception of time's flight, in the experiences quoted, is due to the
_filling_ of the time, and to our _memory_ of a content which it had a
moment previous, and which we feel to agree or disagree with its content

It takes but a small exertion of introspection to show that the latter
alternative is the true one, and that _we can no more perceive a
duration than we can perceive an extension, devoid of all sensible
content_. Just as with closed eyes we see a dark visual field in which a
curdling play of obscurest luminosity is always going on; so, be we
never so abstracted from distinct outward impressions, we are always
inwardly immersed in what Wundt has somewhere called the twilight of our
general consciousness. Our heart-beats, our breathing, the pulses of our
attention, fragments of words or sentences that pass through our
imagination, are what people this dim habitat. Now, all these processes
are rhythmical, and are apprehended by us, as they occur, in their
totality; the breathing and pulses of attention, as coherent
successions, each with its rise and fall; the heart-beats similarly,
only relatively far more brief; the words not separately, but in
connected groups. In short, empty our minds as we may, some form of
_changing process_ remains for us to feel, and cannot be expelled. And
along with the sense of the process and its rhythm goes the sense of the
length of time it lasts. Awareness of _change_ is thus the condition on
which our perception of time's flow depends; but there exists no reason
to suppose that empty time's own changes are sufficient for the
awareness of change to be aroused. The change must be of some concrete

=Appreciation of Longer Durations.=--In the experience of watching empty
time flow--'empty' to be taken hereafter in the relative sense just set
forth--we tell it off in pulses. We say 'now! now! now!' or we count
'more! more! more!' as we feel it bud. This composition out of units of
duration is called the law of time's _discrete flow_. The discreteness
is, however, merely due to the fact that our successive acts of
_recognition_ or _apperception_ of _what_ it is are discrete. The
sensation is as continuous as any sensation can be. All continuous
sensations are _named_ in beats. We notice that a certain finite 'more'
of them is passing or already past. To adopt Hodgson's image, the
sensation is the measuring-tape, the perception the dividing-engine
which stamps its length. As we listen to a steady sound, we _take it in_
in discrete pulses of recognition, calling it successively 'the same!
the same! the same!' The case stands no otherwise with time.

After a small number of beats our impression of the amount we have told
off becomes quite vague. Our only way of knowing it accurately is by
counting, or noticing the clock, or through some other symbolic
conception. When the times exceed hours or days, the conception is
absolutely symbolic. We think of the amount we mean either solely as a
_name_, or by running over a few salient _dates_ therein, with no
pretence of imagining the full durations that lie between them. No one
has anything like a _perception_ of the greater length of the time
between now and the first century than of that between now and the
tenth. To an historian, it is true, the longer interval will suggest a
host of additional dates and events, and so appear a more
_multitudinous_ thing. And for the same reason most people will think
they directly perceive the length of the past fortnight to exceed that
of the past week. But there is properly no comparative time-_intuition_
in these cases at all. It is but dates and events representing time,
their abundance symbolizing its length. I am sure that this is so, even
where the times compared are no more than an hour or so in length. It is
the same with spaces of many miles, which we always compare with each
other by the numbers that measure them.

From this we pass naturally to speak of certain familiar variations in
our estimation of lengths of time. _In general, a time filled with
varied and interesting experiences seems short in passing, but long as
we look back. On the other hand, a tract of time empty of experiences
seems long in passing, but in retrospect short._ A week of travel and
sight-seeing may subtend an angle more like three weeks in the memory;
and a month of sickness yields hardly more memories than a day. The
length in retrospect depends obviously on the multitudinousness of the
memories which the time affords. Many objects, events, changes, many
subdivisions, immediately widen the view as we look back. Emptiness,
monotony, familiarity, make it shrivel up.

_The same space of time seems shorter as we grow older_--that is, the
days, the months, and the years do so; whether the hours do so is
doubtful, and the minutes and seconds to all appearance remain about the
same. An old man probably does not _feel_ his past life to be any longer
than he did when he was a boy, though it may be a dozen times as long.
In most men all the events of manhood's years are of such familiar
_sorts_ that the individual impressions do not last. At the same time
more and more of the earlier events get forgotten, the result being that
no greater multitude of distinct objects remains in the memory.

So much for the apparent shortening of tracts of time in _retrospect_.
They shorten _in passing_ whenever we are so fully occupied with their
content as not to note the actual time itself. A day full of excitement,
with no pause, is said to pass 'ere we know it.' On the contrary, a day
full of waiting, of unsatisfied desire for change, will seem a small
eternity. _Tædium_, _ennui_, _Langweile_, _boredom_, are words for
which, probably, every language known to man has its equivalent. It
comes about whenever, from the relative emptiness of content of a tract
of time, we grow attentive to the passage of the time itself. Expecting,
and being ready for, a new impression to succeed; when it fails to come,
we get an empty time instead of it; and such experiences, ceaselessly
renewed, make us most formidably aware of the extent of the mere time
itself. Close your eyes and simply wait to hear somebody tell you that a
minute has elapsed, and the full length of your leisure with it seems
incredible. You engulf yourself into its bowels as into those of that
interminable first week of an ocean voyage, and find yourself wondering
that history can have overcome many such periods in its course. All
because you attend so closely to the mere feeling of the time _per se_,
and because your attention to that is susceptible of such fine-grained
successive subdivision. The _odiousness_ of the whole experience comes
from its insipidity; for _stimulation_ is the indispensable requisite
for pleasure in an experience, and the feeling of bare time is the least
stimulating experience we can have. The sensation of tedium is a
_protest_, says Volkmann, against the entire present.

=The feeling of past time is a present feeling.= In reflecting on the
_modus operandi_ of our consciousness of time, we are at first tempted
to suppose it the easiest thing in the world to understand. Our inner
states succeed each other. They know themselves as they are; then of
course, we say, they must know their own succession. But this philosophy
is too crude; for between the mind's own changes _being_ successive, and
_knowing their own succession_, lies as broad a chasm as between the
object and subject of any case of cognition in the world. _A succession
of feelings, in and of itself, is not a feeling of succession. And
since, to our successive feelings, a feeling of their succession is
added, that must be treated as an additional fact requiring its own
special elucidation_, which this talk about the feelings knowing their
time-relations as a matter of course leaves all untouched.

If we represent the actual time-stream of our thinking by an horizontal
line, the thought _of_ the stream or of any segment of its length, past,
present, or to come, might be figured in a perpendicular raised upon the
horizontal at a certain point. The length of this perpendicular stands
for a certain object or content, which in this case is the time thought
of at the actual moment of the stream upon which the perpendicular is

There is thus a sort of _perspective projection_ of past objects upon
present consciousness, similar to that of wide landscapes upon a

And since we saw a while ago that our maximum distinct _perception_ of
duration hardly covers more than a dozen seconds (while our maximum
vague perception is probably not more than that of a minute or so), we
must suppose that _this amount of duration is pictured fairly steadily
in each passing instant of consciousness_ by virtue of some fairly
constant feature in the brain-process to which the consciousness is
tied. _This feature of the brain-process, whatever it be, must be the
cause of our perceiving the fact of time at all._ The duration thus
steadily perceived is hardly more than the 'specious present,' as it was
called a few pages back. Its _content_ is in a constant flux, events
dawning into its forward end as fast as they fade out of its rearward
one, and each of them changing its time-coefficient from 'not yet,' or
'not quite yet,' to 'just gone,' or 'gone,' as it passes by. Meanwhile,
the specious present, the intuited duration, stands permanent, like the
rainbow on the waterfall, with its own quality unchanged by the events
that stream through it. Each of these, as it slips out, retains the
power of being reproduced; and when reproduced, is reproduced with the
duration and neighbors which it originally had. Please observe, however,
that the reproduction of an event, _after_ it has once completely
dropped out of the rearward end of the specious present, is an entirely
different psychic fact from its direct perception in the specious
present as a thing immediately past. A creature might be entirely devoid
of _reproductive_ memory, and yet have the time-sense; but the latter
would be limited, in his case, to the few seconds immediately passing
by. In the next chapter, assuming the sense of time as given, we will
turn to the analysis of what happens in reproductive memory, the recall
of _dated_ things.



=Analysis of the Phenomenon of Memory.=--Memory proper, or secondary
memory as it might be styled, is the knowledge of a former state of mind
after it has already once dropped from consciousness; or rather _it is
the knowledge of an event, or fact_, of which meantime we have not been
thinking, _with the additional consciousness that we have thought or
experienced it before_.

The first element which such a knowledge involves would seem to be the
revival in the mind of an image or copy of the original event. And it is
an assumption made by many writers that such revival of an image is all
that is needed to constitute the memory of the original occurrence. But
such a revival is obviously not a _memory_, whatever else it may be; it
is simply a duplicate, a second event, having absolutely no connection
with the first event except that it happens to resemble it. The clock
strikes to-day; it struck yesterday; and may strike a million times ere
it wears out. The rain pours through the gutter this week; it did so
last week; and will do so _in sæcula sæculorum_. But does the present
clock-stroke become aware of the past ones, or the present stream
recollect the past stream, because they repeat and resemble them?
Assuredly not. And let it not be said that this is because clock-strokes
and gutters are physical and not psychical objects; for psychical
objects (sensations, for example) simply recurring in successive
editions will remember each other _on that account_ no more than
clock-strokes do. No memory is involved in the mere fact of recurrence.
The successive editions of a feeling are so many independent events,
each snug in its own skin. Yesterday's feeling is dead and buried; and
the presence of to-day's is no reason why it should resuscitate along
with to-day's. A farther condition is required before the present image
can be held to stand for a _past original_.

That condition is that the fact imaged be _expressly referred to the
past_, thought as _in the past_. But how can we think a thing as in the
past, except by thinking of the past together with the thing, and of the
relation of the two? And how can we think of the past? In the chapter on
Time-perception we have seen that our intuitive or immediate
consciousness of pastness hardly carries us more than a few seconds
backward of the present instant of time. Remoter dates are conceived,
not perceived; known symbolically by names, such as 'last week,' '1850';
or thought of by events which happened in them, as the year in which we
attended such a school, or met with such a loss. So that if we wish to
think of a particular past epoch, we must think of a name or other
symbol, or else of certain concrete events, associated therewithal. Both
must be thought of, to think the past epoch adequately. And to 'refer'
any special fact to the past epoch is to think that fact _with_ the
names and events which characterize its date, to think it, in short,
with a lot of contiguous associates.

But even this would not be memory. Memory requires more than mere dating
of a fact in the past. It must be dated in _my_ past. In other words, I
must think that I directly experienced its occurrence. It must have that
'warmth and intimacy' which were so often spoken of in the chapter on
the Self, as characterizing all experiences 'appropriated' by the
thinker as his own.

A general feeling of the past direction in time, then, a particular date
conceived as lying along that direction, and defined by its name or
phenomenal contents, an event imagined as located therein, and owned as
part of my experience,--such are the elements of every object of

=Retention and Recall.=--Such being the phenomenon of memory, or the
analysis of its object, can we see how it comes to pass? can we lay bare
its causes?

Its complete exercise presupposes two things:

1) The _retention_ of the remembered fact; and

2) Its _reminiscence_, _recollection_, _reproduction_, or _recall_.

Now _the cause both of retention and of recollection is the law of habit
in the nervous system, working as it does in the 'association of

=Association explains Recall.=--Associationists have long explained
_recollection_ by association. James Mill gives an account of it which I
am unable to improve upon, unless it might be by translating his word
'idea' into 'thing thought of,' or 'object.'

"There is," he says, "a state of mind familiar to all men, in which we
are said to remember. In this state it is certain we have not in the
mind the idea which we are trying to have in it. How is it, then, that
we proceed, in the course of our endeavor, to procure its introduction
into the mind? If we have not the idea itself, we have certain ideas
connected with it. We run over those ideas, one after another, in hopes
that some one of them will suggest the idea we are in quest of; and if
any one of them does, it is always one so connected with it as to call
it up in the way of association. I meet an old acquaintance, whose name
I do not remember, and wish to recollect. I run over a number of names,
in hopes that some of them may be associated with the idea of the
individual. I think of all the circumstances in which I have seen him
engaged; the time when I knew him, the persons along with whom I knew
him, the things he did, or the things he suffered; and if I chance upon
any idea with which the name is associated, then immediately I have the
recollection; if not, my pursuit of it is vain. There is another set of
cases, very familiar, but affording very important evidence on the
subject. It frequently happens that there are matters which we desire
not to forget. What is the contrivance to which we have recourse for
preserving the memory--that is, for making sure that it will be called
into existence when it is our wish that it should? All men invariably
employ the same expedient. They endeavor to form an association between
the idea of the thing to be remembered and some sensation, or some idea,
which they know beforehand will occur at or near the time when they wish
the remembrance to be in their minds. If this association is formed and
the association or idea with which it has been formed occurs, the
sensation, or idea, calls up the remembrance, and the object of him who
formed the association is attained. To use a vulgar instance: a man
receives a commission from his friend, and, that he may not forget it,
ties a knot in his handkerchief. How is this fact to be explained? First
of all, the idea of the commission is associated with the making of the
knot. Next, the handkerchief is a thing which it is known beforehand
will be frequently seen, and of course at no great distance of time from
the occasion on which the memory is desired. The handkerchief being
seen, the knot is seen, and this sensation recalls the idea of the
commission, between which and itself the association had been purposely

In short, we make search in our memory for a forgotten idea, just as we
rummage our house for a lost object. In both cases we visit what seems
to us the probable _neighborhood_ of that which we miss. We turn over
the things under which, or within which, or alongside of which, it may
possibly be; and if it lies near them, it soon comes to view. But these
matters, in the case of a mental object sought, are nothing but its
_associates_. The machinery of recall is thus the same as the machinery
of association, and the machinery of association, as we know, is nothing
but the elementary law of habit in the nerve-centres.

=It also explains retention.= And this same law of habit is the machinery
of retention also. Retention means _liability_ to recall, and it means
nothing more than such liability. The only proof of there being
retention is that recall actually takes place. The retention of an
experience is, in short, but another name for the _possibility_ of
thinking it again, or the _tendency_ to think it again, with its past
surroundings. Whatever accidental cue may turn this tendency into an
actuality, the permanent _ground_ of the tendency itself lies in the
organized neural paths by which the cue calls up the memorable
experience, the past associates, the sense that the self was there, the
belief that it all really happened, etc., as previously described. When
the recollection is of the 'ready' sort, the resuscitation takes place
the instant the cue arises; when it is slow, resuscitation comes after
delay. But be the recall prompt or slow, the condition which makes it
possible at all (or, in other words, the 'retention' of the experience)
is neither more nor less than the brain-paths which _associate_ the
experience with the occasion and cue of the recall. _When slumbering,
these paths are the condition of retention; when active, they are the
condition of recall._

[Illustration: FIG. 62.]

=Brain-scheme.=--A simple scheme will now make the whole cause of memory
plain. Let _n_ be a past event, _o_ its 'setting' (concomitants, date,
self present, warmth and intimacy, etc., etc., as already set forth),
and _m_ some present thought or fact which may appropriately become the
occasion of its recall. Let the nerve-centres, active in the thought of
_m_, _n_, and _o_, be represented by _M_, _N_, and _O_, respectively;
then the _existence_ of the _paths_ symbolized by the lines between _M_
and _N_ and _N_ and _O_ will be the fact indicated by the phrase
'retention of the event _n_ in the memory,' and the _excitement_ of the
brain along these paths will be the condition of the event _n_'s actual
recall. The _retention_ of _n_, it will be observed, is no mysterious
storing up of an 'idea' in an unconscious state. It is not a fact of the
mental order at all. It is a purely physical phenomenon, a
morphological feature, the presence of these 'paths,' namely, in the
finest recesses of the brain's tissue. The recall or recollection, on
the other hand, is a _psycho-physical_ phenomenon, with both a bodily
and a mental side. The bodily side is the excitement of the paths in
question; the mental side is the conscious representation of the past
occurrence, and the belief that we experienced it before.

The only hypothesis, in short, to which the facts of inward experience
give countenance is that _the brain-tracts excited by the event proper,
and those excited in its recall, are in part_ DIFFERENT _from each
other_. If we could revive the past event without any associates we
should exclude the possibility of memory, and simply dream that we were
undergoing the experience as if for the first time. Wherever, in fact,
the recalled event does appear without a definite setting, it is hard to
distinguish it from a mere creation of fancy. But in proportion as its
image lingers and recalls associates which gradually become more
definite, it grows more and more distinctly into a remembered thing. For
example, I enter a friend's room and see on the wall a painting. At
first I have the strange, wondering consciousness, 'Surely I have seen
that before,' but when or how does not become clear. There only clings
to the picture a sort of penumbra of familiarity,--when suddenly I
exclaim: "I have it! It is a copy of part of one of the Fra Angelicos in
the Florentine Academy--I recollect it there." Only when the image of
the Academy arises does the picture become remembered, as well as seen.

=The Conditions of Goodness in Memory.=--The remembered fact being _n_,
then, the path N--O is what arouses for _n_ its setting when it _is_
recalled, and makes it other than a mere imagination. The path M--N, on
the other hand, gives the cue or occasion of its being recalled at all.
_Memory being thus altogether conditioned on brain-paths, its excellence
in a given individual will depend partly on the_ NUMBER _and partly on
the_ PERSISTENCE _of these paths_.

The persistence or permanence of the paths is a physiological property
of the brain-tissue of the individual, whilst their number is altogether
due to the facts of his mental experience. Let the quality of permanence
in the paths be called the native tenacity, or physiological
retentiveness. This tenacity differs enormously from infancy to old age,
and from one person to another. Some minds are like wax under a seal--no
impression, however disconnected with others, is wiped out. Others, like
a jelly, vibrate to every touch, but under usual conditions retain no
permanent mark. These latter minds, before they can recollect a fact,
must weave it into their permanent stores of knowledge. They have no
_desultory_ memory. Those persons, on the contrary who retain names,
dates and addresses, anecdotes, gossip, poetry, quotations, and all
sorts of miscellaneous facts, without an effort, have desultory memory
in a high degree, and certainly owe it to the unusual tenacity of their
brain-substance for any path once formed therein. No one probably was
ever effective on a voluminous scale without a high degree of this
physiological retentiveness. In the practical as in the theoretic life,
the man whose acquisitions _stick_ is the man who is always achieving
and advancing, whilst his neighbors, spending most of their time in
relearning what they once knew but have forgotten, simply hold their
own. A Charlemagne, a Luther, a Leibnitz, a Walter Scott, any example,
in short, of your quarto or folio editions of mankind, must needs have
amazing retentiveness of the purely physiological sort. Men without this
retentiveness may excel in the _quality_ of their work at this point or
at that, but will never do such mighty sums of it, or be influential
contemporaneously on such a scale.

But there comes a time of life for all of us when we can do no more than
hold our own in the way of acquisitions, when the old paths fade as fast
as the new ones form in our brain, and when we forget in a week quite as
much as we can learn in the same space of time. This equilibrium may
last many, many years. In extreme old age it is upset in the reverse
direction, and forgetting prevails over acquisition, or rather there is
no acquisition. Brain-paths are so transient that in the course of a few
minutes of conversation the same question is asked and its answer
forgotten half a dozen times. Then the superior tenacity of the paths
formed in childhood becomes manifest: the dotard will retrace the facts
of his earlier years after he has lost all those of later date.

So much for the permanence of the paths. Now for their number.

It is obvious that the more there are of such paths as M--N in the
brain, and the more of such possible cues or occasions for the recall of
_n_ in the mind, the prompter and surer, on the whole, the memory of _n_
will be, the more frequently one will be reminded of it, the more
avenues of approach to it one will possess. In mental terms, _the more
other facts a fact is associated with in the mind, the better possession
of it our memory retains_. Each of its associates becomes a hook to
which it hangs, a means to fish it up by when sunk beneath the surface.
Together, they form a network of attachments by which it is woven into
the entire tissue of our thought. The 'secret of a good memory' is thus
the secret of forming diverse and multiple associations with every fact
we care to retain. But this forming of associations with a fact, what is
it but _thinking about_ the fact as much as possible? Briefly, then, of
two men with the same outward experiences and the same amount of mere
native tenacity, _the one who_ THINKS _over his experiences most, and
weaves them into systematic relations with each other, will be the one
with the best memory_. We see examples of this on every hand. Most men
have a good memory for facts connected with their own pursuits. The
college athlete who remains a dunce at his books will astonish you by
his knowledge of men's 'records' in various feats and games, and will be
a walking dictionary of sporting statistics. The reason is that he is
constantly going over these things in his mind, and comparing and
making series of them. They form for him not so many odd facts, but a
concept-system--so they stick. So the merchant remembers prices, the
politician other politicians' speeches and votes, with a copiousness
which amazes outsiders, but which the amount of thinking they bestow on
these subjects easily explains. The great memory for facts which a
Darwin and a Spencer reveal in their books is not incompatible with the
possession on their part of a brain with only a middling degree of
physiological retentiveness. Let a man early in life set himself the
task of verifying such a theory as that of evolution, and facts will
soon cluster and cling to him like grapes to their stem. Their relations
to the theory will hold them fast; and the more of these the mind is
able to discern, the greater the erudition will become. Meanwhile the
theorist may have little, if any, desultory memory. Unutilizable facts
may be unnoted by him and forgotten as soon as heard. An ignorance
almost as encyclopædic as his erudition may coexist with the latter, and
hide, as it were, in the interstices of its web. Those who have had much
to do with scholars and _savants_ will readily think of examples of the
class of mind I mean.

In a system, every fact is connected with every other by some
thought-relation. The consequence is that every fact is retained by the
combined suggestive power of all the other facts in the system, and
forgetfulness is well-nigh impossible.

=The reason why cramming is such a bad mode of study= is now made clear. I
mean by cramming that way of preparing for examinations by committing
'points' to memory during a few hours or days of intense application
immediately preceding the final ordeal, little or no work having been
performed during the previous course of the term. Things learned thus in
a few hours, on one occasion, for one purpose, cannot possibly have
formed many associations with other things in the mind. Their
brain-processes are led into by few paths, and are relatively little
liable to be awakened again. Speedy oblivion is the almost inevitable
fate of all that is committed to memory in this simple way. Whereas, on
the contrary, the same materials taken in gradually, day after day,
recurring in different contexts, considered in various relations,
associated with other external incidents, and repeatedly reflected on,
grow into such a system, form such connections with the rest of the
mind's fabric, lie open to so many paths of approach, that they remain
permanent possessions. This is the _intellectual_ reason why habits of
continuous application should be enforced in educational establishments.
Of course there is no moral turpitude in cramming. Did it lead to the
desired end of secure learning, it were infinitely the best method of
study. But it does not; and students themselves should understand the
reason why.

=One's native retentiveness is unchangeable.= It will now appear clear
that _all improvement of the memory lies in the line of_ ELABORATING THE
ASSOCIATES of each of the several things to be remembered. _No amount of
culture would seem capable of modifying a man's_ GENERAL
_retentiveness_. This is a physiological quality, given once for all
with his organization, and which he can never hope to change. It differs
no doubt in disease and health; and it is a fact of observation that it
is better in fresh and vigorous hours than when we are fagged or ill. We
may say, then, that a man's native tenacity will fluctuate somewhat with
his hygiene, and that whatever is good for his tone of health will also
be good for his memory. We may even say that whatever amount of
intellectual exercise is bracing to the general tone and nutrition of
the brain will also be profitable to the general retentiveness. But more
than this we cannot say; and this, it is obvious, is far less than most
people believe.

It is, in fact, commonly thought that certain exercises, systematically
repeated, will strengthen, not only a man's remembrance of the
particular facts used in the exercises, but his faculty for remembering
facts at large. And a plausible case is always made out by saying that
practice in learning words by heart makes it easier to learn new words
in the same way. If this be true, then what I have just said is false,
and the whole doctrine of memory as due to 'paths' must be revised. But
I am disposed to think the alleged fact untrue. I have carefully
questioned several mature actors on the point, and all have denied that
the practice of learning parts has made any such difference as is
alleged. What it has done for them is to improve their power of
_studying_ a part systematically. Their mind is now full of precedents
in the way of intonation, emphasis, gesticulation; the new words awaken
distinct suggestions and decisions; are caught up, in fact, into a
preëxisting network, like the merchant's prices, or the athlete's store
of 'records,' and are recollected easier, although the mere native
tenacity is not a whit improved, and is usually, in fact, impaired by
age. It is a case of better remembering by better _thinking_. Similarly
when schoolboys improve by practice in ease of learning by heart, the
improvement will, I am sure, be always found to reside in the _mode of
study of the particular piece_ (due to the greater interest, the greater
suggestiveness, the generic similarity with other pieces, the more
sustained attention, etc., etc.), and not at all to any enhancement of
the brute retentive power.

The error I speak of pervades an otherwise useful and judicious book,
'How to Strengthen the Memory,' by Dr. M. C. Holbrook of New York. The
author fails to distinguish between the general physiological
retentiveness and the retention of particular things, and talks as if
both must be benefited by the same means.

"I am now treating," he says, "a case of loss of memory in a person
advanced in years, who did not know that his memory had failed most
remarkably till I told him of it. He is making vigorous efforts to bring
it back again, and with partial success. The method pursued is to spend
two hours daily, one in the morning and one in the evening, in
exercising this faculty. The patient is instructed to give the closest
attention to all that he learns, so that it shall be impressed on his
mind clearly. He is asked to recall every evening all the facts and
experiences of the day, and again the next morning. Every name heard is
written down and impressed on his mind clearly, and an effort made to
recall it at intervals. Ten names from among public men are ordered to
be committed to memory every week. A verse of poetry is to be learned,
also a verse from the Bible, daily. He is asked to remember the number
of the page in any book where any interesting fact is recorded. These
and other methods are slowly resuscitating a failing memory."

I find it very hard to believe that the memory of the poor old gentleman
is a bit the better for all this torture except in respect of the
particular facts thus wrought into it, and other matters that may have
been connected therewithal.

=Improving the Memory.=--All improvement of memory consists, then, in the
improvement of one's _habitual methods of recording facts_. Methods have
been divided into the mechanical, the ingenious, and the judicious.

The _mechanical methods_ consist in the intensification, prolongation,
and _repetition_ of the impression to be remembered. The modern method
of teaching children to read by blackboard work, in which each word is
impressed by the fourfold channel of eye, ear, voice, and hand, is an
example of an improved mechanical method of memorizing.

_Judicious methods_ of remembering things are nothing but logical ways
of conceiving them and working them into rational systems, classifying
them, analyzing them into parts, etc., etc. All the sciences are such

Of _ingenious methods_ many have been invented, under the name of
technical memories. By means of these systems it is often possible to
retain entirely disconnected facts, lists of names, numbers, and so
forth, so multitudinous as to be entirely unrememberable in a natural
way. The method consists usually in a framework learned mechanically,
of which the mind is supposed to remain in secure and permanent
possession. Then, whatever is to be remembered is deliberately
associated by some fanciful analogy or connection with some part of this
framework, and this connection thenceforward helps its recall. The best
known and most used of these devices is the figure-alphabet. To remember
numbers, e.g., a figure-alphabet is first formed, in which each
numerical digit is represented by one or more letters. The number is
then translated into such letters as will best make a word, if possible
a word suggestive of the object to which the number belongs. The word
will then be remembered when the numbers alone might be forgotten.[38]
The recent system of Loisette is a method, much less mechanical, of
weaving the thing into associations which may aid its recall.

=Recognition.=--If, however, a phenomenon be met with too often, and with
too great a variety of contexts, although its image is retained and
reproduced with correspondingly great facility, it fails to come up with
any one particular setting, and the projection of it backwards to a
particular past date consequently does not come about. We _recognize_
but do not _remember_ it--its associates form too confused a cloud. A
similar result comes about when a definite setting is only nascently
aroused. We then feel that we have seen the object already, but when or
where we cannot say, though we may seem to ourselves to be on the brink
of saying it. That nascent cerebral excitations can thus affect
consciousness is obvious from what happens when we seek to remember a
name. It tingles, it trembles on the verge, but does not come. Just such
a tingling and trembling of unrecovered associates is the penumbra of
recognition that may surround any experience and make it seem familiar,
though we know not why.

There is a curious experience which everyone seems to have had--the
feeling that the present moment in its completeness has been experienced
before--we were saying just this thing, in just this place, to just
these people, etc. This 'sense of preëxistence' has been treated as a
great mystery and occasioned much speculation. Dr. Wigan considered it
due to a dissociation of the action of the two hemispheres, one of them
becoming conscious a little later than the other, but both of the same
fact. I must confess that the quality of mystery seems to me here a
little strained. I have over and over again in my own case succeeded in
resolving the phenomenon into a case of memory, so indistinct that
whilst some past circumstances are presented again, the others are not.
The dissimilar portions of the past do not arise completely enough at
first for the date to be identified. All we get is the present scene
with a general suggestion of pastness about it. That faithful observer,
Prof. Lazarus, interprets the phenomenon in the same way; and it is
noteworthy that just as soon as the past context grows complete and
distinct the emotion of weirdness fades from the experience.

=Forgetting.=--In the practical use of our intellect, forgetting is as
important a function as remembering. 'Total recall' (see p. 261) we saw
to be comparatively rare in association. If we remembered everything, we
should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing. It
would take as long for us to recall a space of time as it took the
original time to elapse, and we should never get ahead with our
thinking. All recollected times undergo, accordingly, what M. Ribot
calls foreshortening; and this foreshortening is due to the omission of
an enormous number of the facts which filled them. "We thus reach the
paradoxical result," says M. Ribot, "that one condition of remembering
is that we should forget. Without totally forgetting a prodigious
number of states of consciousness, and momentarily forgetting a large
number, we could not remember at all. Oblivion, except in certain cases,
is thus no malady of memory, but a condition of its health and its

=Pathological Conditions.=--Hypnotic subjects as a rule forget all that
has happened in their trance. But in a succeeding trance they will often
remember the events of a past one. This is like what happens in those
cases of 'double personality' in which no recollection of one of the
lives is to be found in the other. The sensibility in these cases often
differs from one of the alternate personalities to another, the patient
being often anæsthetic in certain respects in one of the secondary
states. Now the memory may come and go with the sensibility. M. Pierre
Janet proved in various ways that what his patients forgot when
anæsthetic they remembered when the sensibility returned. For instance,
he restored their tactile sense temporarily by means of electric
currents, passes, etc., and then made them handle various objects, such
as keys and pencils, or make particular movements, like the sign of the
cross. The moment the anæsthesia returned they found it impossible to
recollect the objects or the acts. 'They had had nothing in their hands,
they had done nothing,' etc. The next day, however, sensibility being
again restored by similar processes, they remembered perfectly the
circumstance, and told what they had handled or done.

All these pathological facts are showing us that the sphere of possible
recollection may be wider than we think, and that in certain matters
apparent oblivion is no proof against possible recall under other
conditions. They give no countenance, however, to the extravagant
opinion that absolutely no part of our experience can be forgotten.



=What it is.=--_Sensations, once experienced, modify the nervous organism,
so that copies of them arise again in the mind after the original
outward stimulus is gone._ No mental copy, however, can arise in the
mind, of any kind of sensation which has never been directly excited
from without.

The blind may dream of sights, the deaf of sounds, for years after they
have lost their vision or hearing; but the man _born_ deaf can never be
made to imagine what sound is like, nor can the man _born_ blind ever
have a mental vision. In Locke's words, already quoted, "the mind can
frame unto itself no one new simple idea." The originals of them all
must have been given from without. Fantasy, or Imagination, are the
names given to the faculty of reproducing copies of originals once felt.
The imagination is called 'reproductive' when the copies are literal;
'productive' when elements from different originals are recombined so as
to make new wholes.

When represented with surroundings concrete enough to constitute a
_date_, these pictures, when they revive, form _recollections_. We have
just studied the machinery of recollection. When the mental pictures are
of data freely combined, and reproducing no past combination exactly, we
have acts of imagination properly so called.

=Men differ in visual imagination.= Our ideas or images of past sensible
experiences may be either distinct and adequate or dim, blurred, and
incomplete. It is likely that the different degrees in which different
men are able to make them sharp and complete has had something to do
with keeping up such philosophic disputes as that of Berkeley with Locke
over abstract ideas. Locke had spoken of our possessing 'the general
idea of a triangle' which "must be neither oblique nor rectangle,
neither equilateral, equicrural, nor scalenon, but all and none of these
at once." Berkeley says: "If any man has the faculty of framing in his
mind such an idea of a triangle as is here described, it is in vain to
pretend to dispute him out of it, nor would I go about it. All I desire
is that the reader would fully and certainly inform himself whether _he_
has such an idea or no."

Until very recent years it was supposed by philosophers that there was a
typical human mind which all individual minds were like, and that
propositions of universal validity could be laid down about such
faculties as 'the Imagination.' Lately, however, a mass of revelations
have poured in which make us see how false a view this is. There are
imaginations, not 'the Imagination,' and they must be studied in detail.

Mr. Galton in 1880 began a statistical inquiry which may be said to have
made an era in descriptive psychology. He addressed a circular to large
numbers of persons asking them to describe the image in their mind's eye
of their breakfast-table on a given morning. The variations were found
to be enormous; and, strange to say, it appeared that eminent scientific
men on the average had less visualizing power than younger and more
insignificant persons.

The reader will find details in Mr. Galton's 'Inquiries into Human
Faculty,' pp. 83-114. I have myself for many years collected from each
and all of my psychology-students descriptions of their own visual
imagination; and found (together with some curious idiosyncrasies)
corroboration of all the variations which Mr. Galton reports. As
examples, I subjoin extracts from two cases near the ends of the scale.
The writers are first cousins, grandsons of a distinguished man of
science. The one who is a good visualizer says:

"This morning's breakfast-table is both dim and bright; it is dim if I
try to think of it when my eyes are open upon any object; it is
perfectly clear and bright if I think of it with my eyes closed.--All
the objects are clear at once, yet when I confine my attention to any
one object it becomes far more distinct.--I have more power to recall
color than any other one thing: if, for example, I were to recall a
plate decorated with flowers I could reproduce in a drawing the exact
tone, etc. The color of anything that was on the table is perfectly
vivid.--There is very little limitation to the extent of my images: I
can see all four sides of a room, I can see all four sides of two,
three, four, even more rooms with such distinctness that if you should
ask me what was in any particular place in any one, or ask me to count
the chairs, etc., I could do it without the least hesitation.--The more
I learn by heart the more clearly do I see images of my pages. Even
before I can recite the lines I see them so that I could give them very
slowly word for word, but my mind is so occupied in looking at my
printed image that I have no idea of what I am saying, of the sense of
it, etc. When I first found myself doing this I used to think it was
merely because I knew the lines imperfectly; but I have quite convinced
myself that I really do see an image. The strongest proof that such is
really the fact is, I think, the following:

"I can look down the mentally seen page and see the words that
_commence_ all the lines, and from any one of these words I can continue
the line. I find this much easier to do if the words begin in a straight
line than if there are breaks. Example:

    _Étant fait_....
    _A des_....
    _Que fit_....
    _Un fleur_....

    (La Fontaine 8. iv.)"

The poor visualizer says:

"My ability to form mental images seems, from what I have studied of
other people's images, to be defective and somewhat peculiar. The
process by which I seem to remember any particular event is not by a
series of distinct images, but a sort of panorama, the faintest
impressions of which are perceptible through a thick fog.--I cannot shut
my eyes and get a distinct image of anyone, although I used to be able
to a few years ago, and the faculty seems to have gradually slipped
away.--In my most vivid dreams, where the events appear like the most
real facts, I am often troubled with a dimness of sight which causes the
images to appear indistinct.--To come to the question of the
breakfast-table, there is nothing definite about it. Everything is
vague. I cannot say _what_ I see. I could not possibly count the chairs,
but I happen to know that there are ten. I see nothing in detail.--The
chief thing is a general impression that I cannot tell exactly what I do
see. The coloring is about the same, as far as I can recall it, only
very much washed out. Perhaps the only color I can see at all distinctly
is that of the table-cloth, and I could probably see the color of the
wall-paper if I could remember what color it was."

A person whose visual imagination is strong finds it hard to understand
how those who are without the faculty can think at all. _Some people
undoubtedly have no visual images at all worthy of the name_, and
instead of _seeing_ their breakfast-table, they tell you that they
_remember_ it or _know_ what was on it. The 'mind-stuff' of which this
'knowing' is made seems to be verbal images exclusively. But if the
words 'coffee,' 'bacon,' 'muffins,' and 'eggs' lead a man to speak to
his cook, to pay his bills, and to take measures for the morrow's meal
exactly as visual and gustatory memories would, why are they not, for
all practical intents and purposes, as good a kind of material in which
to think? In fact, we may suspect them to be for most purposes better
than terms with a richer imaginative coloring. The scheme of
relationship and the conclusion being the essential things in thinking,
that kind of mind-stuff which is handiest will be the best for the
purpose. Now words, uttered or unexpressed, are the handiest mental
elements we have. Not only are they very _rapidly_ revivable, but they
are revivable as actual sensations more easily than any other items of
our experience. Did they not possess some such advantage as this, it
would hardly be the case that the older men are and the more effective
as thinkers, the more, as a rule, they have lost their visualizing
power, as Mr. Galton found to be the case with members of the Royal

=Images of Sounds.=--These also differ in individuals. Those who think by
preference in auditory images are called audiles by Mr. Galton. _This
type_, says M. Binet, "_appears to be rarer than the visual_. Persons of
this type imagine what they think of in the language of sound. In order
to remember a lesson they impress upon their mind, not the look of the
page, but the sound of the words. They reason, as well as remember, by
ear. In performing a mental addition they repeat verbally the names of
the figures, and add, as it were, the sounds, without any thought of the
graphic signs. Imagination also takes the auditory form. 'When I write a
scene,' said Legouvé to Scribe, 'I _hear_; but you _see_. In each phrase
which I write, the voice of the personage who speaks strikes my ear.
_Vous, qui êtes le théâtre même_, your actors walk, gesticulate before
your eyes; I am a _listener_, you a _spectator_.'--'Nothing more true,'
said Scribe; 'do you know where I am when I write a piece? In the middle
of the parterre.' It is clear that the _pure audile_, seeking to develop
only a single one of his faculties, may, like the pure visualizer,
perform astounding feats of memory--Mozart, for example, noting from
memory the _Miserere_ of the Sistine Chapel after two hearings; the deaf
Beethoven, composing and inwardly repeating his enormous symphonies. On
the other hand, the man of auditory type, like the visual, is exposed
to serious dangers; for if he lose his auditory images, he is without
resource and breaks down completely."

=Images of Muscular Sensations.=--Professor Stricker of Vienna, who seems
to be a 'motile' or to have this form of imagination developed in
unusual strength, has given a careful analysis of his own case. His
recollections both of his own movements and of those of other things are
accompanied invariably by distinct muscular feelings in those parts of
his body which would naturally be used in effecting or in following the
movement. In thinking of a soldier marching, for example, it is as if he
were helping the image to march by marching himself in his rear. And if
he suppresses this sympathetic feeling in his own legs and concentrates
all his attention on the imagined soldier, the latter becomes, as it
were, paralyzed. In general his imagined movements, of whatsoever
objects, seem paralyzed, the moment no feelings of movement either in
his own eyes or in his own limbs accompany them. The movements of
articulate speech play a predominant part in his mental life. "When,
after my experimental work," he says, "I proceed to its description, as
a rule I reproduce in the first instance only words which I had already
associated with the perception of the various details of the observation
whilst the latter was going on. For speech plays in all my observing so
important a part that I ordinarily clothe phenomena in words as fast as
I observe them."

Most persons, on being asked _in what sort of terms they imagine words_,
will say, 'In terms of hearing.' It is not until their attention is
expressly drawn to the point that they find it difficult to say whether
auditory images or motor images connected with the organs of
articulation predominate. A good way of bringing the difficulty to
consciousness is that proposed by Stricker: Partly open your mouth and
then imagine any word with labials or dentals in it, such as 'bubble,'
'toddle.' Is your image under these conditions distinct? To most people
the image is at first 'thick,' as the sound of the word would be if
they tried to pronounce it with the lips parted. Many can never imagine
the words clearly with the mouth open; others succeed after a few
preliminary trials. The experiment proves how dependent our verbal
imagination is on actual feelings in lips, tongue, throat, larynx, etc.
Prof. Bain says that "a _suppressed articulation is in fact the material
of our recollection_, the intellectual manifestation, the _idea_ of
speech." In persons whose auditory imagination is weak, the articulatory
image does indeed seem to constitute the whole material for verbal
thought. Professor Stricker says that in his own case no auditory image
enters into the words of which he thinks.

=Images of Touch.=--These are very strong in some people. The most vivid
touch-images come when we ourselves barely escape local injury, or when
we see another injured. The place may then actually tingle with the
imaginary sensation--perhaps not altogether imaginary, since
goose-flesh, paling or reddening, and other evidences of actual muscular
contraction in the spot, may result.

"An educated man," says Herr G. H. Meyer, "told me once that on entering
his house one day he received a shock from crushing the finger of one of
his little children in the door. At the moment of his fright he felt a
violent pain in the corresponding finger of his own body, and this pain
abode with him three days."

The imagination of a blind deaf-mute like Laura Bridgman must be
confined entirely to tactile and motor material. _All blind persons must
belong to the 'tactile' and 'motile' types_ of the French authors. When
the young man whose cataracts were removed by Dr. Franz was shown
different geometric figures, he said he "had not been able to form from
them the idea of a square and a disk until he perceived a sensation of
what he saw in the points of his fingers, as if he really touched the

=Pathological Differences.=--The study of Aphasia (see p. 114) has of late
years shown how unexpectedly individuals differ in the use of their
imagination. In some the habitual 'thought-stuff,' if one may so call
it, is visual; in others it is auditory, articulatory, or motor; in
most, perhaps, it is evenly mixed. These are the "indifferents" of
Charcot. The same local cerebral injury must needs work different
practical results in persons who differ in this way. In one what is
thrown out of gear is a much-used brain-tract; in the other an
unimportant region is affected. A particularly instructive case was
published by Charcot in 1883. The patient was a merchant, an exceedingly
accomplished man, but a visualizer of the most exclusive type. Owing to
some intra-cerebral accident he suddenly lost all his visual images, and
with them much of his intellectual power, without any other perversion
of faculty. He soon discovered that he could carry on his affairs by
using his memory in an altogether new way, and described clearly the
difference between his two conditions. "Every time he returns to A.,
from which place business often calls him, he seems to himself as if
entering a strange city. He views the monuments, houses, and streets
with the same surprise as if he saw them for the first time. When asked
to describe the principal public place of the town, he answered, 'I know
that it is there, but it is impossible to imagine it, and I can tell you
nothing about it.'"

He can no more remember his wife and children's face than he can
remember A. Even after being with them some time they seem unusual to
him. He forgets his own face, and once spoke to his image in a mirror,
taking it for a stranger. He complains of his loss of feeling for
colors. "My wife has black hair, this I know; but I can no more recall
its color than I can her person and features." This visual amnesia
extends to objects dating from his childhood's years--paternal mansion,
etc., forgotten. No other disturbances but this loss of visual images.
Now when he seeks something in his correspondence, he must rummage among
the letters like other men, until he meets the passage. He can recall
only the first few verses of the Iliad, and must _grope_ to recite
Homer, Virgil, and Horace. Figures which he adds he must now whisper to
himself. He realizes clearly that he must help his memory out with
auditory images, which he does with effort. _The words and expressions
which he recalls seem now to echo in his ear, an altogether novel
sensation for him._ If he wishes to learn by heart anything, a series of
phrases for example, he must _read them several times aloud_, so as to
impress his ear. When later he repeats the thing in question, the
sensation of inward hearing which precedes articulation rises up in his
mind. This feeling was formerly unknown to him.

Such a man would have suffered relatively little inconvenience if his
images for hearing had been those suddenly destroyed.

=The Neural Process in Imagination.=--Most medical writers assume that the
cerebral activity on which imagination depends occupies a different
_seat_ from that subserving sensation. It is, however, a simpler
interpretation of the facts to suppose that _the same nerve-tracts are
concerned in the two processes_. Our mental images are aroused always by
way of association; some previous idea or sensation must have
'suggested' them. Association is surely due to currents from one
cortical centre to another. Now all we need suppose is that these
intra-cortical currents are unable to produce in the cells the strong
explosions which currents from the sense-organs occasion, to account for
the subjective difference between images and sensations, without
supposing any difference in their local seat. To the strong degree of
explosion corresponds the character of 'vividness' or sensible presence,
in the object of thought; to the weak degree, that of 'faintness' or
outward unreality.

If we admit that sensation and imagination are due to the activity of
the same parts of the cortex, we can see a very good teleological reason
why they should correspond to discrete kinds of process in these
centres, and why the process which gives the sense that the object is
really there ought normally to be arousable only by currents entering
from the periphery and not by currents from the neighboring cortical
parts. We can see, in short, why _the sensational process_ OUGHT TO _be
discontinuous with all normal ideational processes, however intense_.
For, as Dr. Münsterberg justly observes, "Were there not this peculiar
arrangement we should not distinguish reality and fantasy, our conduct
would not be accommodated to the facts about us, but would be
inappropriate and senseless, and we could not keep ourselves alive."

Sometimes, by exception, the deeper sort of explosion may take place
from intra-cortical excitement alone. In the sense of hearing, sensation
and imagination _are_ hard to discriminate where the sensation is so
weak as to be just perceptible. At night, hearing a very faint striking
of the hour by a far-off clock, our imagination reproduces both rhythm
and sound, and it is often difficult to tell which was the last real
stroke. So of a baby crying in a distant part of the house, we are
uncertain whether we still hear it, or only imagine the sound. Certain
violin-players take advantage of this in diminuendo terminations. After
the pianissimo has been reached they continue to bow as if still
playing, but are careful not to touch the strings. The listener hears in
imagination a degree of sound fainter than the pianissimo.
_Hallucinations_, whether of sight or hearing, are another case in
point, to be touched on in the next chapter. I may mention as a fact
still unexplained that several observers (Herr G. H. Meyer, M. Ch. Féré,
Professor Scott of Ann Arbor, and Mr. T. C. Smith, one of my students)
have noticed negative after-images of objects which they had been
imagining with the mind's eye. It is as if the retina itself were
locally fatigued by the act.



=Perception and Sensation compared.=--A pure sensation we saw above, p.
12, to be an abstraction never realized in adult life. Anything which
affects our sense-organs does also more than that: it arouses processes
in the hemispheres which are partly due to the organization of that
organ by past experiences, and the results of which in consciousness are
described as ideas which the sensation suggests. The first of these
ideas is that of the _thing_ to which the sensible quality belongs. _The
consciousness of particular material things present to sense_ is
nowadays called _perception_. The consciousness of such things may be
more or less complete; it may be of the mere name of the thing and its
other essential attributes, or it may be of the thing's various remoter
relations. It is impossible to draw any sharp line of distinction
between the barer and the richer consciousness, because the moment we
get beyond the first crude sensation all our consciousness is of what is
_suggested_, and the various suggestions shade gradually into each
other, being one and all products of the same psychological machinery of
association. In the directer consciousness fewer, in the remoter more,
associative processes are brought into play.

_Sensational and reproductive brain-processes combined, then, are what
give us the content of our perceptions._ Every concrete particular
material thing is a conflux of sensible qualities, with which we have
become acquainted at various times. Some of these qualities, since they
are more constant, interesting, or practically important, we regard as
essential constituents of the thing. In a general way, such are the
tangible shape, size, mass, etc. Other properties, being more
fluctuating, we regard as more or less accidental or inessential. We
call the former qualities the reality, the latter its appearances. Thus,
I hear a sound, and say 'a horse-car'; but the sound is not the
horse-car, it is one of the horse-car's least important manifestations.
The real horse-car is a feelable, or at most a feelable and visible,
thing which in my imagination the sound calls up. So when I get, as now,
a brown eye-picture with lines not parallel, and with angles unlike, and
call it my big solid rectangular walnut library-table, that picture is
not the table. It is not even like the table as the table is for vision,
when rightly seen. It is a distorted perspective view of three of the
sides of what I mentally _perceive_ (more or less) in its totality and
undistorted shape. The back of the table, its square corners, its size,
its heaviness, are features of which I am conscious when I look, almost
as I am conscious of its name. The suggestion of the name is of course
due to mere custom. But no less is that of the back, the size, weight,
squareness, etc.

Nature, as Reid says, is frugal in her operations, and will not be at
the expense of a particular instinct to give us that knowledge which
experience and habit will soon produce. Reproduced attributes tied
together with presently felt attributes in the unity of a _thing_ with a
name, these are the materials out of which my actually perceived table
is made. Infants must go through a long education of the eye and ear
before they can perceive the realities which adults perceive. _Every
perception is an acquired perception._

=The Perceptive State of Mind is not a Compound.=--There is no reason,
however, for supposing that this involves a 'fusion' of separate
sensations and ideas. The thing perceived is the object of a unique
state of thought; due no doubt in part to sensational, and in part to
ideational currents, but in no wise 'containing' psychically the
identical 'sensations' and images which these currents would severally
have aroused if the others were not simultaneously there. We can often
directly notice a sensible difference in the consciousness, between the
latter case and the former. The sensible quality changes under our very
eye. Take the already-quoted catch, _Pas de lieu Rhône que nous_: one
may read this over and over again without recognizing the sounds to be
identical with those of the words _paddle your own canoe_. As the
English associations arise, the sound itself appears to change. Verbal
sounds are usually perceived with their meaning at the moment of being
heard. Sometimes, however, the associative irradiations are inhibited
for a few moments (the mind being preoccupied with other thoughts),
whilst the words linger on the ear as mere echoes of acoustic sensation.
Then, usually, their interpretation suddenly occurs. But at that moment
one may often surprise a change in the very _feel_ of the word. Our own
language would sound very different to us if we heard it without
understanding, as we hear a foreign tongue. Rises and falls of voice,
odd sibilants and other consonants, would fall on our ear in a way of
which we can now form no notion. Frenchmen say that English sounds to
them like the _gazouillement des oiseaux_--an impression which it
certainly makes on no native ear. Many of us English would describe the
sound of Russian in similar terms. All of us are conscious of the strong
inflections of voice and explosives and gutturals of German speech in a
way in which no German can be conscious of them.

This is probably the reason why, if we look at an isolated printed word
and repeat it long enough, it ends by assuming an entirely unnatural
aspect. Let the reader try this with any word on this page. He will soon
begin to wonder if it can possibly be the word he has been using all his
life with that meaning. It stares at him from the paper like a glass
eye, with no speculation in it. Its body is indeed there, but its soul
is fled. It is reduced, by this new way of attending to it, to its
sensational nudity. We never before attended to it in this way, but
habitually got it clad with its meaning the moment we caught sight of
it, and rapidly passed from it to the other words of the phrase. We
apprehended it, in short, with a cloud of associates, and thus
perceiving it, we felt it quite otherwise than as we feel it now
divested and alone.

Another well-known change is when we look at a landscape with our head
upside-down. Perception is to a certain extent baffled by this
manœuvre; gradations of distance and other space-determinations are
made uncertain; the reproductive or associative processes, in short,
decline; and, simultaneously with their diminution, the colors grow
richer and more varied, and the contrasts of light and shade more
marked. The same thing occurs when we turn a painting bottom-upward. We
lose much of its meaning, but, to compensate for the loss, we feel more
freshly the value of the mere tints and shadings, and become aware of
any lack of purely sensible harmony or balance which they may show. Just
so, if we lie on the floor and look up at the mouth of a person talking
behind us. His lower lip here takes the habitual place of the upper one
upon our retina, and seems animated by the most extraordinary and
unnatural mobility, a mobility which now strikes us because (the
associative processes being disturbed by the unaccustomed point of view)
we get it as a naked sensation and not as part of a familiar object

Once more, then, we find ourselves driven to admit that when qualities
of an object impress our sense and we thereupon perceive the object, the
pure sensation as such of those qualities does not still exist inside of
the perception and form a constituent thereof. The pure sensation is one
thing and the perception another, and neither can take place at the same
time with the other, because their cerebral conditions are not the same.
They may _resemble_ each other, but in no respect are they identical
states of mind.

=Perception is of Definite and Probable Things.=--The chief cerebral
conditions of perception are old paths of association radiating from the
sense-impression. If a certain impression be strongly associated with
the attributes of a certain thing, that thing is almost sure to be
perceived when we get the impression. Examples of such things would be
familiar people, places, etc., which we recognize and name at a glance.
But _where the impression is associated with more than one reality_, so
that either of two discrepant sets of residual properties may arise, the
perception is doubtful and vacillating, and _the most that can then be
said of it is that it will be of a_ PROBABLE _thing_, of the thing which
would most usually have given us that sensation.

In these ambiguous cases it is interesting to note that perception is
rarely abortive; _some_ perception takes place. The two discrepant sets
of associates do not neutralize each other or mix and make a blur. What
we more commonly get is first one object in its completeness, and then
the other in its completeness. In other words, _all brain-processes are
such as give rise to what we may call_ FIGURED _consciousness_. If paths
are shot-through at all, they are shot-through in consistent systems,
and occasion thoughts of definite objects, not mere hodge-podges of
elements. Even where the brain's functions are half thrown out of gear,
as in aphasia or dropping asleep, this law of figured consciousness
holds good. A person who suddenly gets sleepy whilst reading aloud will
read wrong; but instead of emitting a mere broth of syllables, he will
make such mistakes as to read 'supper-time' instead of 'sovereign,'
'overthrow' instead of 'opposite,' or indeed utter entirely imaginary
phrases, composed of several definite words, instead of phrases of the
book. So in aphasia: where the disease is mild the patient's mistakes
consist in using entire wrong words instead of right ones. It is only in
grave lesions that he becomes quite inarticulate. These facts show how
subtle is the associative link; how delicate yet how strong that
connection among brain-paths which makes any number of them, once
excited together, thereafter tend to vibrate as a systematic whole. A
small group of elements, '_this_,' common to two systems, _A_ and _B_,
may touch off _A_ or _B_ according as accident decides the next step
(see Fig. 63). If it happen that a single point leading from '_this_' to
_B_ is momentarily a little more pervious than any leading from '_this_'
to _A_, then that little advantage will upset the equilibrium in favor
of the entire system _B_. The currents will sweep first through that
point and thence into all the paths of _B_, each increment of advance
making _A_ more and more impossible. The thoughts correlated with _A_
and _B_, in such a case, will have objects different, though similar.
The similarity will, however, consist in some very limited feature if
the 'this' be small. _Thus the faintest sensations will give rise to the
perception of definite things if only they resemble those which the
things are wont to arouse._

[Illustration: FIG. 63.]

=Illusions.=--Let us now, for brevity's sake, treat _A_ and _B_ in Fig. 63
as if they stood for objects instead of brain-processes. And let us
furthermore suppose that _A_ and _B_ are, both of them, objects which
might probably excite the sensation which I have called '_this_,' but
that on the present occasion _A_ and not _B_ is the one which actually
does so. If, then, on this occasion '_this_' suggests _A_ and not _B_,
the result is a _correct perception_. But if, on the contrary, 'this'
suggests _B_ and not _A_, the result is a _false perception_, or, as it
is technically called, an _illusion_. But the _process_ is the same,
whether the perception be true or false.

Note that in every illusion what is false is what is inferred, not what
is immediately given. The 'this,' if it were felt by itself alone, would
be all right; it only becomes misleading by what it suggests. If it is a
sensation of sight, it may suggest a tactile object, for example, which
later tactile experiences prove to be not there. _The so-called 'fallacy
of the senses,' of which the ancient sceptics made so much account, is
not fallacy of the senses proper, but rather of the intellect, which
interprets wrongly what the senses give._[39]

So much premised, let us look a little closer at these illusions. They
are due to two main causes. _The wrong object is perceived either

1) _Although not on this occasion the real cause, it is yet the
habitual, inveterate, or most probable cause of 'this,'_; or because

2) _The mind is temporarily full of the thought of that object, and
therefore 'this' is peculiarly prone to suggest it at this moment._

I will give briefly a number of examples under each head. The first head
is the more important, because it includes a number of constant
illusions to which all men are subject, and which can only be dispelled
by much experience.

[Illustration: FIG. 64.]

=Illusions of the First Type.=--One of the oldest instances dates from
Aristotle. Cross two fingers and roll a pea, penholder, or other small
object between them. It will seem double. Professor Croom Robertson has
given the clearest analysis of this illusion. He observes that if the
object be brought into contact first with the forefinger and next with
the second finger, the two contacts seem to come in at different points
of space. The forefinger-touch seems higher, though the finger is really
lower; the second-finger-touch seems lower, though the finger is really
higher. "We perceive the contacts as double because we refer them to two
distinct parts of space." The touched sides of the two fingers are
normally not together in space, and customarily never do touch one
thing; the one thing which now touches them, therefore, seems in two
places, i.e. seems two things.

There is a whole batch of illusions which come from optical sensations
interpreted by us in accordance with our usual rule, although they are
now produced by an unusual object. The _stereoscope_ is an example. The
eyes see a picture apiece, and the two pictures are a little disparate,
the one seen by the right eye being a view of the object taken from a
point slightly to the right of that from which the left eye's picture is
taken. Pictures thrown on the two eyes by solid objects present this
sort of disparity, so that we react on the sensation in our usual way,
and perceive a solid. If the pictures be exchanged we perceive a hollow
mould of the object, for a hollow mould would cast just such disparate
pictures as these. Wheatstone's instrument, the _pseudoscope_, allows us
to look at solid objects and see with each eye the other eye's picture.
We then perceive the solid object hollow, _if it be an object which
might probably be hollow_, but not otherwise. Thus the perceptive
process is true to its law, which is _always to react on the sensation
in a determinate and figured fashion if possible, and in as probable a
fashion as the case admits_. A human face, e.g., never appears hollow to
the pseudoscope, for to couple faces and hollowness violates all our
habits. For the same reason it is very easy to make an intaglio cast of
a face, or the painted inside of a pasteboard mask, look convex, instead
of concave as they are.

=Curious illusions of movement= in objects occur whenever the eyeballs
move without our intending it. We have learned in an earlier chapter
(p. 72) that the original visual feeling of movement is produced by any
image passing over the retina. Originally, however, this sensation is
definitely referred neither to the object nor to the eyes. Such definite
reference grows up later, and obeys certain simple laws. For one thing,
we believe _objects_ to move whenever we get the retinal
movement-feeling, but think our _eyes_ are still. This gives rise to an
illusion when, after whirling on our heel, we stand still; for then
objects appear to continue whirling in the same direction in which, a
moment previous, our body actually whirled. The reason is that our
_eyes_ are animated, under these conditions, by an involuntary
_nystagmus_ or oscillation in their orbits, which may easily be observed
in anyone with vertigo after whirling. As these movements are
unconscious, the retinal movement-feelings which they occasion are
naturally referred to the objects seen. The whole phenomenon fades out
after a few seconds. And it ceases if we voluntarily fix our eyes upon a
given point.

There is an illusion of movement of the opposite sort, with which every
one is familiar at _railway stations_. Habitually, when we ourselves
move forward, our entire field of view glides backward over our retina.
When our movement is due to that of the windowed carriage, car, or boat
in which we sit, all stationary objects visible through the window give
us a sensation of gliding in the opposite direction. Hence, whenever we
get this sensation, of a window with _all_ objects visible through it
moving in one direction, we react upon it in our customary way, and
perceive a stationary field of view, over which the window, and we
ourselves inside of it, are passing by a motion of our own. Consequently
when another train comes alongside of ours in a station, and fills the
entire window, and, after standing still awhile, begins to glide away,
we judge that it is _our_ train which is moving, and that the other
train is still. If, however, we catch a glimpse of any part of the
station through the windows, or between the cars, of the other train,
the illusion of our own movement instantly disappears, and we perceive
the other train to be the one in motion. This, again, is but making the
usual and probable inference from our sensation.

_Another illusion due to movement_ is explained by Helmholtz. Most
wayside objects, houses, trees, etc., look small when seen from the
windows of a swift train. This is because we perceive them in the first
instance unduly near. And we perceive them unduly near because of their
extraordinarily rapid parallactic flight backwards. When we ourselves
move forward all objects glide backwards, as aforesaid; but the nearer
they are, the more rapid is this apparent translocation. Relative
rapidity of passage backwards is thus so familiarly associated with
nearness that when we feel it we perceive nearness. But with a given
size of retinal image the nearer an object is, the smaller do we judge
its actual size to be. Hence in the train, the faster we go, the nearer
do the trees and houses seem; and the nearer they seem, the smaller
(with that size of retinal image) must they look.

The feelings of our eyes' convergence, of their accommodation, the size
of the retinal image, etc., may give rise to illusions about the size
and distance of objects, which also belong to this first type.

=Illusions of the Second Type.=--In this type we perceive a wrong object
because our mind is full of the thought of it at the time, and any
sensation which is in the least degree connected with it touches off, as
it were, a train already laid, and gives us a sense that the object is
really before us. Here is a familiar example:

"If a sportsman, while shooting woodcock in cover, sees a bird about the
size and color of a woodcock get up and fly through the foliage, not
having time to see more than that it is a bird of such a size and color,
he immediately supplies by inference the other qualities of a woodcock,
and is afterwards disgusted to find that he has shot a thrush. I have
done so myself, and could hardly believe that the thrush was the bird I
fired at, so complete was my mental supplement to my visual

As with game, so with enemies, ghosts, and the like. Anyone waiting in a
dark place and expecting or fearing strongly a certain object will
interpret any abrupt sensation to mean that object's presence. The boy
playing 'I spy,' the criminal skulking from his pursuers, the
superstitious person hurrying through the woods or past the churchyard
at midnight, the man lost in the woods, the girl who tremulously has
made an evening appointment with her swain, all are subject to illusions
of sight and sound which make their hearts beat till they are dispelled.
Twenty times a day the lover, perambulating the streets with his
preoccupied fancy, will think he perceives his idol's bonnet before him.

_The Proof-reader's Illusion._--I remember one night in Boston, whilst
waiting for a 'Mount Auburn' car to bring me to Cambridge, reading most
distinctly that name upon the signboard of a car on which (as I
afterwards learned) 'North Avenue' was painted. The illusion was so
vivid that I could hardly believe my eyes had deceived me. All reading
is more or less performed in this way.

"Practised novel-or newspaper-readers could not possibly get on so fast
if they had to see accurately every single letter of every word in order
to perceive the words. More than half of the words come out of their
mind, and hardly half from the printed page. Were this not so, did we
perceive each letter by itself, typographic errors in well-known words
would never be overlooked. Children, whose ideas are not yet ready
enough to perceive words at a glance, read them wrong if they are
printed wrong, that is, right according to the way of printing. In a
foreign language, although it may be printed with the same letters, we
read by so much the more slowly as we do not understand, or are unable
promptly to perceive, the words. But we notice misprints all the more
readily. For this reason Latin and Greek, and still better Hebrew, works
are more correctly printed, because the proofs are better corrected,
than in German works. Of two friends of mine, one knew much Hebrew, the
other little; the latter, however, gave instruction in Hebrew in a
gymnasium; and when he called the other to help correct his pupils'
exercises, it turned out that he could find out all sorts of little
errors better than his friend, because the latter's perception of the
words as totals was too swift."[41]

_Testimony to personal identity is proverbially fallacious_ for similar
reasons. A man has witnessed a rapid crime or accident, and carries away
his mental image. Later he is confronted by a prisoner whom he forthwith
perceives in the light of that image, and recognizes or 'identifies' as
the criminal, although he may never have been near the spot. Similarly
at the so-called 'materializing séances' which fraudulent mediums give:
in a dark room a man sees a gauze-robed figure who in a whisper tells
him she is the spirit of his sister, mother, wife, or child, and falls
upon his neck. The darkness, the previous forms, and the expectancy have
so filled his mind with premonitory images that it is no wonder he
perceives what is suggested. These fraudulent 'séances' would furnish
most precious documents to the psychology of perception, if they could
only be satisfactorily inquired into. In the hypnotic trance any
suggested object is sensibly perceived. In certain subjects this happens
more or less completely after waking from the trance. It would seem that
under favorable conditions a somewhat similar susceptibility to
suggestion may exist in certain persons who are not otherwise entranced
at all.

This suggestibility obtains in all the senses, although high authorities
have doubted this power of imagination to falsify present impressions of
sense. Everyone must be able to give instances from the smell-sense.
When we have paid the faithless plumber for pretending to mend our
drains, the intellect inhibits the nose from perceiving the same
unaltered odor, until perhaps several days go by. As regards the
ventilation or heating of rooms, we are apt to feel for some time as we
think we ought to feel. If we believe the ventilator is shut, we feel
the room close. On discovering it open, the oppression disappears.

It is the same with touch. Everyone must have felt the sensible quality
change under his hand, as sudden contact with something moist or hairy,
in the dark, awoke a shock of disgust or fear which faded into calm
recognition of some familiar object. Even so small a thing as a crumb of
potato on the table-cloth, which we pick up, thinking it a crumb of
bread, feels horrible for a few moments to our fancy, and different from
what it is.

In the sense of hearing, similar mistakes abound. Everyone must recall
some experience in which sounds have altered their character as soon as
the intellect referred them to a different source. The other day a
friend was sitting in my room, when the clock, which has a rich low
chime, began to strike. "Hollo!" said he, "hear that hand-organ in the
garden," and was surprised at finding the real source of the sound. I
have had myself a striking illusion of the sort. Sitting reading, late
one night, I suddenly heard a most formidable noise proceeding from the
upper part of the house, which it seemed to fill. It ceased, and in a
moment renewed itself. I went into the hall to listen, but it came no
more. Resuming my seat in the room, however, there it was again, low,
mighty, alarming, like a rising flood or the _avant-courier_ of an awful
gale. It came from all space. Quite startled, I again went into the
hall, but it had already ceased once more. On returning a second time to
the room, I discovered that it was nothing but the breathing of a little
Scotch terrier which lay asleep on the floor. The noteworthy thing is
that as soon as I recognized what it was, I was compelled to think it a
different sound, and could not then hear it as I had heard it a moment

The sense of sight is pregnant with illusions of both the types
considered. No sense gives such fluctuating impressions of the same
object as sight does. With no sense are we so apt to treat the
sensations immediately given as mere signs; with none is the invocation
from memory of a _thing_, and the consequent perception of the latter,
so immediate. The 'thing' which we perceive always resembles, as we
shall hereafter see, the object of some absent sensation, usually
another optical figure which in our mind has come to be a standard bit
of reality; and it is this incessant reduction of our immediately given
optical objects to more standard and 'real' forms which has led some
authors into the mistake of thinking that our optical sensations are
originally and natively of no particular form at all.

Of accidental and occasional illusions of sight many amusing examples
might be given. Two will suffice. One is a reminiscence of my own. I was
lying in my berth in a steamer listening to the sailors 'at their
devotions with the holystones' outside; when, on turning my eyes to the
window, I perceived with perfect distinctness that the chief-engineer of
the vessel had entered my state-room, and was standing looking through
the window at the men at work upon the guards. Surprised at his
intrusion, and also at his intentness and immobility, I remained
watching him and wondering how long he would stand thus. At last I
spoke; but getting no reply, sat up in my berth, and then saw that what
I had taken for the engineer was my own cap and coat hanging on a peg
beside the window. The illusion was complete; the engineer was a
peculiar-looking man; and I saw him unmistakably; but after the
illusion had vanished I found it hard voluntarily to make the cap and
coat look like him at all.

'=Apperception.='--In Germany since Herbart's time psychology has always
had a great deal to say about a process called _Apperception_. The
incoming ideas or sensations are said to be 'apperceived' by 'masses' of
ideas already in the mind. It is plain that the process we have been
describing as perception is, at this rate, an apperceptive process. So
are all recognition, classing, and naming; and passing beyond these
simplest suggestions, all farther thoughts about our percepts are
apperceptive processes as well. I have myself not used the word
apperception, because it has carried very different meanings in the
history of philosophy, and 'psychic reaction,' 'interpretation,'
'conception,' 'assimilation,' 'elaboration,' or simply 'thought,' are
perfect synonyms for its Herbartian meaning, widely taken. It is,
moreover, hardly worth while to pretend to analyze the so-called
apperceptive performances beyond the first or perceptive stage, because
their variations and degrees are literally innumerable. 'Apperception'
is a name for the sum total of the effects of what we have studied as
association; and it is obvious that the things which a given experience
will suggest to a man depend on what Mr. Lewes calls his entire
psychostatical conditions, his nature and stock of ideas, or, in other
words, his character, habits, memory, education, previous experience,
and momentary mood. We gain no insight into what really occurs either in
the mind or in the brain by calling all these things the 'apperceiving
mass,' though of course this may upon occasion be convenient. On the
whole I am inclined to think Mr. Lewes's term of 'assimilation' the most
fruitful one yet used.

The 'apperceiving mass' is treated by the Germans as the active factor,
the apperceived sensation as the passive one; the sensation being
usually modified by the ideas in the mind. Out of the interaction of the
two, cognition is produced. But as Steinthal remarks, the apperceiving
mass is itself often modified by the sensation. To quote him: "Although
the _a priori_ moment commonly shows itself to be the more powerful,
apperception-processes can perfectly well occur in which the new
observation transforms or enriches the apperceiving group of ideas. A
child who hitherto has seen none but four-cornered tables apperceives a
round one as a table; but by this the apperceiving mass ('table') is
enriched. To his previous knowledge of tables comes this new feature
that they need not be four-cornered, but may be round. In the history of
science it has happened often enough that some discovery, at the same
time that it was apperceived, i.e. brought into connection with the
system of our knowledge, transformed the whole system. In principle,
however, we must maintain that, although either factor is both active
and passive, the _a priori_ factor is almost always the more active of
the two."[42]

=Genius and Old-fogyism.=--This account of Steinthal's brings out very
clearly the _difference between our psychological conceptions and what
are called concepts in logic_. In logic a concept is unalterable; but
what are popularly called our 'conceptions of things' alter by being
used. The aim of 'Science' is to attain conceptions so adequate and
exact that we shall never need to change them. There is an everlasting
struggle in every mind between the tendency to keep unchanged, and the
tendency to renovate, its ideas. Our education is a ceaseless compromise
between the conservative and the progressive factors. Every new
experience must be disposed of under _some_ old head. The great point is
to find the head which has to be least altered to take it in. Certain
Polynesian natives, seeing horses for the first time, called them pigs,
that being the nearest head. My child of two played for a week with the
first orange that was given him, calling it a 'ball.' He called the
first whole eggs he saw 'potatoes,' having been accustomed to see his
'eggs' broken into a glass, and his potatoes without the skin. A folding
pocket-corkscrew he unhesitatingly called 'bad-scissors.' Hardly any one
of us can make new heads easily when fresh experiences come. Most of us
grow more and more enslaved to the stock conceptions with which we have
once become familiar, and less and less capable of assimilating
impressions in any but the old ways. Old-fogyism, in short, is the
inevitable terminus to which life sweeps us on. Objects which violate
our established habits of 'apperception' are simply not taken account of
at all; or, if on some occasion we are forced by dint of argument to
admit their existence, twenty-four hours later the admission is as if it
were not, and every trace of the unassimilable truth has vanished from
our thought. Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of
perceiving in an unhabitual way.

On the other hand, nothing is more congenial, from babyhood to the end
of life, than to be able to assimilate the new to the old, to meet each
threatening violator or burster of our well-known series of concepts, as
it comes in, see through its unwontedness, and ticket it off as an old
friend in disguise. This victorious assimilation of the new is in fact
the type of all intellectual pleasure. The lust for it is scientific
curiosity. The relation of the new to the old, before the assimilation
is performed, is wonder. We feel neither curiosity nor wonder concerning
things so far beyond us that we have no concepts to refer them to or
standards by which to measure them.[43] The Fuegians, in Darwin's
voyage, wondered at the small boats, but took the big ship as a 'matter
of course.' Only what we partly know already inspires us with a desire
to know more. The more elaborate textile fabrics, the vaster works in
metal, to most of us are like the air, the water, and the ground,
absolute existences which awaken no ideas. It is a matter of course that
an engraving or a copper-plate inscription should possess that degree of
beauty. But if we are shown a _pen_-drawing of equal perfection, our
personal sympathy with the difficulty of the task makes us immediately
wonder at the skill. The old lady admiring the Academician's picture
says to him: "And is it really all done _by hand_?"

=The Physiological Process in Perception.=--Enough has now been said to
prove the general law of perception, which is this: that _whilst part of
what we perceive comes through our senses from the object before us,
another part_ (and it may be the larger part) _always comes out of our
own mind_.

At bottom this is but a case of the general fact that our nerve-centres
are organs for reacting on sense-impressions, and that our hemispheres,
in particular, are given us that records of our past private experience
may coöperate in the reaction. Of course such a general statement is
vague. If we try to put an exact meaning into it, what we find most
natural to believe is that the _brain reacts_ by paths which the
previous experiences have worn, _and which make us perceive the probable
thing_, i.e., the thing by which on the previous occasions the reaction
was most frequently aroused. The reaction of the hemispheres consists in
the lighting up of a certain system of paths by the current entering
from the outer world. What corresponds to this mentally is a certain
special pulse of thought, the thought, namely, of that most probable
object. Farther than this in the analysis we can hardly go.

=Hallucinations.=--Between normal perception and illusion we have seen
that there is no break, the _process_ being identically the same in
both. The last illusions we considered might fairly be called
hallucinations. We must now consider the false perceptions more commonly
called by that name. In ordinary parlance hallucination is held to
differ from illusion in that, whilst there is an object really there in
illusion, _in hallucination there is no objective stimulus at all_. We
shall presently see that this supposed absence of objective stimulus in
hallucination is a mistake, and that hallucinations are often only
_extremes_ of the perceptive process, in which the secondary cerebral
reaction is out of all normal proportion to the peripheral stimulus
which occasions the activity. Hallucinations usually appear abruptly and
have the character of being forced upon the subject. But they possess
various degrees of apparent _objectivity_. One mistake _in limine_ must
be guarded against. They are often talked of as _images_ projected
outwards by mistake. But where an hallucination is complete, it is much
more than a mental image. _An hallucination, subjectively considered, is
a sensation, as good and true a sensation as if there were a real object
there._ The object happens not to be there, that is all.

The milder degrees of hallucination have been designated as
_pseudo-hallucinations_. Pseudo-hallucinations and hallucinations have
been sharply distinguished from each other only within a few years. From
ordinary images of memory and fancy, pseudo-hallucinations differ in
being much more vivid, minute, detailed, steady, abrupt, and
spontaneous, in the sense that all feeling of our own activity in
producing them is lacking. Dr. Kandinsky had a patient who, after taking
opium or haschisch, had abundant pseudo-hallucinations and
hallucinations. As he also had strong visualizing power and was an
educated physician, the three sorts of phenomena could be easily
compared. Although projected outwards (usually not farther than the
limit of distinctest vision, a foot or so), the pseudo-hallucinations
_lacked the character of objective reality_ which the hallucinations
possessed, but, unlike the pictures of imagination, it was almost
impossible to produce them at will. Most of the 'voices' which
people hear (whether they give rise to delusions or not) are
pseudo-hallucinations. They are described as '_inner_' voices, although
their character is entirely unlike the inner speech of the subject with
himself. I know several persons who hear such inner voices making
unforeseen remarks whenever they grow quiet and listen for them. They
are a very common incident of delusional insanity, and may at last grow
into vivid or completely exteriorized hallucinations. The latter are
comparatively frequent occurrences in sporadic form; and certain
individuals are liable to have them often. From the results of the
'Census of Hallucinations,' which was begun by Edmund Gurney, it would
appear that, roughly speaking, one person at least in every ten is
likely to have had a vivid hallucination at some time in his life. The
following case from a healthy person will give an idea of what these
hallucinations are:

"When a girl of eighteen, I was one evening engaged in a very painful
discussion with an elderly person. My distress was so great that I took
up a thick ivory knitting-needle that was lying on the mantelpiece of
the parlor and broke it into small pieces as I talked. In the midst of
the discussion I was very wishful to know the opinion of a brother with
whom I had an unusually close relationship. I turned round and saw him
sitting at the farther side of a centre-table, with his arms folded (an
unusual position with him), but, to my dismay, I perceived from the
sarcastic expression of his mouth that he was not in sympathy with me,
was not 'taking my side,' as I should then have expressed it. The
surprise cooled me, and the discussion was dropped.

"Some minutes after, having occasion to speak to my brother, I turned
towards him, but he was gone. I inquired when he left the room, and was
told that he had not been in it, which I did not believe, thinking that
he had come in for a minute and had gone out without being noticed.
About an hour and a half afterwards he appeared, and convinced me, with
some trouble, that he had never been near the house that evening. He is
still alive and well."

The hallucinations of fever-delirium are a mixture of
pseudo-hallucination, true hallucination, and illusion. Those of opium,
haschish, and belladonna resemble them in this respect. The commonest
hallucination of all is that of hearing one's own name called aloud.
Nearly one half of the sporadic cases which I have collected are of this

=Hallucination and Illusion.=--Hallucinations are easily produced by
verbal suggestion in hypnotic subjects. Thus, point to a dot on a sheet
of paper, and call it 'General Grant's photograph,' and your subject
will see a photograph of the General there instead of the dot. The dot
gives objectivity to the appearance, and the suggested notion of the
General gives it form. Then magnify the dot by a lens; double it by a
prism or by nudging the eyeball; reflect it in a mirror; turn it
upside-down; or wipe it out; and the subject will tell you that the
'photograph' has been enlarged, doubled, reflected, turned about, or
made to disappear. In M. Binet's language, the dot is the outward _point
de repère_ which is needed to give objectivity to your suggestion, and
without which the latter will only produce an inner image in the
subject's mind. M. Binet has shown that such a peripheral _point de
repère_ is used in an enormous number, not only of hypnotic
hallucinations, but of hallucinations of the insane. These latter are
often _unilateral_; that is, the patient hears the voices always on one
side of him, or sees the figure only when a certain one of his eyes is
open. In many of these cases it has been distinctly proved that a morbid
irritation in the internal ear, or an opacity in the humors of the eye,
was the starting point of the current which the patient's diseased
acoustic or optical centres clothed with their peculiar products in the
way of ideas. _Hallucinations produced in this way are 'illusions'; and
M. Binet's theory, that all hallucinations must start in the periphery,
may be called an attempt to reduce hallucination and illusion to one
physiological type_, the type, namely, to which normal perception
belongs. In every case, according to M. Binet, whether of perception, of
hallucination, or of illusion, we get the sensational vividness by means
of a current from the peripheral nerves. It may be a mere trace of a
current. But that trace is enough to kindle the maximal process of
disintegration in the cells (cf. p. 310), and to give to the object
perceived the character of _externality_. What the _nature_ of the
object shall be will depend wholly on the particular system of paths in
which the process is kindled. Part of the thing in all cases comes from
the sense-organ, the rest is furnished by the mind. But we cannot by
introspection distinguish between these parts; and our only formula for
the result is that the brain has _reacted on_ the impression in the
resulting way.

M. Binet's theory accounts indeed for a multitude of cases, but
certainly not for all. The prism does not always double the false
appearance, nor does the latter always disappear when the eyes are
closed. For Binet, an abnormally or exclusively active part of the
cortex gives the _nature_ of what shall appear, whilst a peripheral
sense-organ alone can give the _intensity_ sufficient to make it appear
projected into real space. But since this intensity is after all but a
matter of degree, one does not see why, under rare conditions, the
degree in question _might_ not be attained by inner causes exclusively.
In that case we should have certain hallucinations centrally initiated,
as well as the peripherally initiated hallucinations which are the only
sort that M. Binet's theory allows. _It seems probable on the whole,
therefore, that centrally initiated hallucinations can exist._ How often
they do exist is another question. The existence of hallucinations which
affect more than one sense is an argument for central initiation. For,
grant that the thing seen may have its starting point in the outer
world, the voice which it is heard to utter must be due to an influence
from the visual region, i.e. must be of central origin.

Sporadic cases of hallucination, visiting people only once in a lifetime
(which seem to be a quite frequent type), are on any theory hard to
understand in detail. They are often extraordinarily complete; and the
fact that many of them are reported as _veridical_, that is, as
coinciding with real events, such as accidents, deaths, etc., of the
persons seen, is an additional complication of the phenomenon. The first
really scientific study of hallucination in all its possible bearings,
on the basis of a large mass of empirical material, was begun by Mr.
Edmund Gurney and is continued by other members of the Society for
Psychical Research; and the 'Census' is now being applied to several
countries under the auspices of the International Congress of
Experimental Psychology. It is to be hoped that out of these combined
labors something solid will eventually grow. The facts shade off into
the phenomena of motor automatism, trance, etc.; and nothing but a wide
comparative study can give really instructive results.[44]



As adult thinkers we have a definite and apparently instantaneous
knowledge of the sizes, shapes, and distances of the things amongst
which we live and move; and we have moreover a practically definite
notion of the whole great infinite continuum of real space in which the
world swings and in which all these things are located. Nevertheless it
seems obvious that the baby's world is vague and confused in all these
respects. How does our definite knowledge of space grow up? This is one
of the quarrelsome problems in psychology. This chapter must be so brief
that there will be no room for the polemic and historic aspects of the
subject, and I will state simply and dogmatically the conclusions which
seem most plausible to me.

=The quality of voluminousness= exists in all sensations, just as
intensity does. We call the reverberations of a thunder-storm more
voluminous than the squeaking of a slate-pencil; the entrance into a
warm bath gives our skin a more massive feeling than the prick of a pin;
a little neuralgic pain, fine as a cobweb, in the face, seems less
extensive than the heavy soreness of a boil or the vast discomfort of a
colic or a lumbago; and a solitary star looks smaller than the noonday
sky. Muscular sensations and semicircular-canal sensations have volume.
Smells and tastes are not without it; and sensations from our inward
organs have it in a marked degree.

Repletion and emptiness, suffocation, palpitation, headache, are
examples of this, and certainly not less spatial is the consciousness we
have of our general bodily condition in nausea, fever, heavy
drowsiness, and fatigue. Our entire cubic content seems then sensibly
manifest to us as such, and feels much larger than any local pulsation,
pressure, or discomfort. Skin and retina are, however, the organs in
which the space-element plays the most active part. Not only does the
maximal vastness yielded by the retina surpass that yielded by any other
organ, but the intricacy with which our attention can subdivide this
vastness and perceive it to be composed of lesser portions
simultaneously coexisting alongside of each other is without a parallel
elsewhere. The ear gives a greater vastness than the skin, but is
considerably less able to subdivide it. The _vastness, moreover, is as
great in one direction as in another_. Its dimensions are so vague that
in it there is no question as yet of surface as opposed to depth;
'volume' being the best short name for the sensation in question.

_Sensations of different orders are roughly comparable with each other
as to their volumes._ Persons born blind are said to be surprised at the
largeness with which objects appear to them when their sight is
restored. Franz says of his patient cured of cataract: "He saw
everything much larger than he had supposed from the idea obtained by
his sense of touch. Moving, and especially living, objects appeared very
large." Loud sounds have a certain enormousness of feeling. 'Glowing'
bodies as Hering says, give us a perception "which seems _roomy_
(_raumhaft_) in comparison with that of strictly surface-color. A
glowing iron looks luminous through and through, and so does a flame."
The interior of one's mouth-cavity feels larger when explored by the
tongue than when looked at. The crater of a newly-extracted tooth, and
the movements of a loose tooth in its socket, feel quite monstrous. A
midge buzzing against the drum of the ear will often seem as big as a
butterfly. The pressure of the air in the tympanic cavity upon the
membrane gives an astonishingly large sensation.

_The voluminousness of the feeling seems to bear very little relation to
the size of the organ that yields it._ The ear and eye are
comparatively minute organs, yet they give us feelings of great volume.
The same lack of exact proportion between size of feeling and size of
organ affected obtains within the limits of particular sensory organs.
An object appears smaller on the lateral portions of the retina than it
does on the fovea, as may be easily verified by holding the two
forefingers parallel and a couple of inches apart, and transferring the
gaze of one eye from one to the other. Then the finger not directly
looked at will appear to shrink. On the skin, if two points kept
equidistant (blunted compass-or scissors-points, for example) be drawn
along so as really to describe a pair of parallel lines, the lines will
appear farther apart in some spots than in others. If, for example, we
draw them across the face, the person experimented upon will feel as if
they began to diverge near the mouth and to include it in a well-marked

[Illustration: FIG. 65 (after Weber).

The dotted lines give the real course of the points, the continuous
lines the course as felt.]

every sensation, though more developed in some than in others_, IS THE
ORIGINAL SENSATION OF SPACE, out of which all the exact knowledge about
space that we afterwards come to have is woven by processes of
discrimination, association, and selection.

=The Construction of Real Space.=--To the babe who first opens his senses
upon the world, though the experience is one of vastness or extensity,
it is of an extensity within which no definite divisions, directions,
sizes, or distances are yet marked out. Potentially, the room in which
the child is born is subdivisible into a multitude of parts, fixed or
movable, which at any given moment of time have definite relations to
each other and to his person. Potentially, too, this room taken as a
whole can be prolonged in various directions by the addition to it of
those farther-lying spaces which constitute the outer world. But
actually the further spaces are unfelt, and the subdivisions are
undiscriminated, by the babe; the chief part of whose education during
his first year of life consists in his becoming acquainted with them and
recognizing and identifying them in detail. This process may be called
that of the _construction of real space_, as a newly apprehended object,
out of the original chaotic experiences of vastness. It consists of
several subordinate processes:

First, the total object of vision or of feeling at any time _must have
smaller objects definitely discriminated within it_;

Secondly, _objects seen or tasted must be identified with objects felt,
heard_, etc., and _vice versa_, so that _the same 'thing'_ may come to
be recognized, although apprehended in such widely differing ways;

Third, the total extent felt at any time must be conceived as
_definitely located in the midst of the surrounding extents of which the
world consists_;

Fourth, these objects _must appear arranged in definite order_ in the
so-called three dimensions; and

Fifth, their relative sizes must be perceived--in other words, _they
must be measured_.

Let us take these processes in regular order.

1) =Subdivision or Discrimination.=--Concerning this there is not much to
be added to what was set forth in Chapter XIV. Moving parts, sharp
parts, brightly colored parts of the total field of perception 'catch
the attention' and are then discerned as special objects surrounded by
the remainder of the field of view or touch. That when such objects are
discerned apart they should appear as thus surrounded, must be set down
as an ultimate fact of our sensibility of which no farther account can
be given. Later, as one partial object of this sort after another has
become familiar and identifiable, the attention can be caught by more
than one at once. We then see or feel a number of distinct objects
alongside of each other in the general extended field. The
'alongsideness' is in the first instance vague--it may not carry with it
the sense of definite directions or distances--and it too must be
regarded as an ultimate fact of our sensibility.

2) =Coalescence of Different Sensations into the Same 'Thing.'=--When two
senses are impressed simultaneously we tend to identify their objects as
_one thing_. When a conductor is brought near the skin, the snap heard,
the spark seen, and the sting felt, are all located together and
believed to be different aspects of one entity, the 'electric
discharge.' The space of the seen object fuses with the space of the
heard object and with that of the felt object by an ultimate law of our
consciousness, which is that we simplify, unify, and identify as much as
we possibly can. _Whatever sensible data can be attended to together we
locate together. Their several extents seem one extent. The place at
which each clears is held to be the same with the place at which the
others appear._ This is the first and great 'act' by which our world
gets spatially arranged.

In this _coalescence in a 'thing,'_ one of the coalescing sensations is
held to _be_ the thing, the other sensations are taken for its more or
less accidental _properties_, or modes of appearance. The sensation
chosen to be essentially the thing is the most constant and practically
important of the lot; most often it is hardness or weight. But the
hardness or weight is never without tactile bulk; and as we can always
see something in our hand when we feel something there, we equate the
bulk felt with the bulk seen, and thenceforward this common bulk is also
apt to figure as of the essence of the 'thing.' Frequently a shape so
figures, sometimes a temperature, a taste, etc.; but for the most part
temperature, smell, sound, color, or whatever other phenomena may
vividly impress us simultaneously with the bulk felt or seen, figure
among the accidents. Smell and sound impress us, it is true, when we
neither see nor touch the thing; but they are strongest when we see or
touch, so we locate the _source_ of these properties within the touched
or seen space, whilst the properties themselves we regard as overflowing
in a weakened form into the spaces filled by other things. _In all this,
it will be observed, the sense-data whose spaces coalesce into one are
yielded by different sense-organs._ Such data have no tendency to
displace each other from consciousness, but can be attended to together
all at once. Often indeed they vary concomitantly and reach a maximum
together. We may be sure, therefore, that the general rule of our mind
is to locate IN _each other_ all sensations which are associated in
simultaneous experience and do not interfere with each other's

3) =The Sense of the Surrounding World.=--_Different impressions on the
same sense-organ_ do interfere with each other's perception and cannot
well be attended to at once. Hence _we do not locate them in each
other's spaces, but arrange them in a serial order of exteriority, each
alongside of the rest, in a space larger than that which any one
sensation brings_. We can usually recover anything lost from our sight
by moving our eyes back in its direction; and it is through these
constant changes that every field of seen things comes at last to be
thought of as always having a fringe of _other things possible to be
seen_ spreading in all directions round about it. Meanwhile the
movements concomitantly with which the various fields alternate are also
felt and remembered; and gradually (through association) this and that
movement come in our thought to suggest this or that extent of fresh
objects introduced. Gradually, too, since the objects vary indefinitely
in kind, we abstract from their several natures and think separately of
their mere extents, of which extents the various movements remain as the
only constant introducers and associates. More and more, therefore, do
we think of movement and seen extent as mutually involving each other,
until at last we may get to regard them as synonymous; and, empty space
then meaning for us mere _room for movement_, we may, if we are
psychologists, readily but erroneously assign to the 'muscular sense'
the chief rôle in perceiving extensiveness at all.

4) =The Serial Order of Locations.=--The muscular sense _has_ much to do
with defining the _order of position_ of things seen, felt, or heard. We
look at a point; another point upon the retina's margin catches our
attention, and in an instant we turn the fovea upon it, letting its
image successively fall upon all the points of the intervening retinal
line. The line thus traced so rapidly by the second point is itself a
visual object, with the first and second point at its respective ends.
It _separates_ the points, which become _located by its length_ with
reference to each other. If a third point catch the attention, more
peripheral still than the second point, then a still greater movement of
the eyeball and a continuation of the line will result, the second point
now appearing _between_ the first and third. Every moment of our life,
peripherally-lying objects are drawing lines like this between
themselves and other objects which they displace from our attention as
we bring them to the centre of our field of view. Each peripheral
retinal point comes in this way to _suggest_ a line at the end of which
it lies, a line which a possible movement will trace; and even the
motionless field of vision ends at last by signifying a system of
positions brought out by possible movements between its centre and all
peripheral parts.

It is the same with our skin and joints. By moving our hand over objects
we trace lines of direction, and new impressions arise at their ends.
The 'lines' are sometimes on the articular surfaces, sometimes on the
skin as well; in either case they give a definite order of arrangement
to the successive objects between which they intervene. Similarly with
sounds and smells. With our heads in a certain position, a certain sound
or a certain smell is most distinct. Turning our head makes this
experience fainter and brings another sound, or another smell, to its
maximum. The two sounds or smells are thus separated by the movement
located at its ends, the movement itself being realized as a sweep
through space whose value is given partly by the semicircular-canal
feeling, partly by the articular cartilages of the neck, and partly by
the impressions produced upon the eye.

By such general principles of action as these everything looked at,
felt, smelt, or heard comes to be located in a more or less definite
position relatively to other collateral things either actually presented
or only imagined as possibly there. I say 'collateral' things, for I
prefer not to complicate the account just yet with any special
consideration of the 'third dimension,' distance, or depth, as it has
been called.

3) =The Measurement of Things in Terms of Each Other.=--Here the first
thing that seems evident is that we have no _immediate_ power of
comparing together with any accuracy the extents revealed by different
sensations. Our mouth-cavity feels indeed to the tongue larger than it
feels to the finger or eye, our lips feel larger than a surface equal to
them on our thigh. So much comparison is immediate; but it is vague; and
for anything exact we must resort to other help.

_The great agent in comparing the extent felt by one sensory surface
with that felt by another is superposition--superposition of one surface
upon another, and superposition of one outer thing upon many surfaces._

Two surfaces of skin superposed on each other are felt simultaneously,
and by the law laid down on p. 339 are judged to occupy an identical
place. Similarly of our hand, when seen and felt at the same time by its
resident sensibility.

In these identifications and reductions of the many to the one it must
be noticed that _when the resident sensations of largeness of two
opposed surfaces conflict, one of the sensations is chosen as the true
standard and the other treated as illusory. Thus an empty tooth-socket
is believed to be_ really smaller than the finger-tip which it will not
admit, although it may _feel_ larger; and in general it may be said that
the hand, as the almost exclusive organ of palpation, gives its own
magnitude to the other parts, instead of having its size determined by

But even though exploration of one surface by another were impossible,
_we could always measure our various surfaces against each other by
applying the same extended object first to one and then to another_. We
might of course at first suppose that the object itself waxed and waned
as it glided from one place to another (cf. above, Fig. 65); but the
principle of simplifying as much as possible our world would soon drive
us out of that assumption into the easier one that objects as a rule
keep their sizes, and that most of our sensations are affected by errors
for which a constant allowance must be made.

In the retina there is no reason to suppose that the bignesses of two
impressions (lines or blotches) falling on different regions are at
first felt to stand in any exact mutual ratio. But if the impressions
come from the _same object_, then we might judge their sizes to be just
the same. This, however, only when the relation of the object to the eye
is believed to be on the whole unchanged. When the object, by moving,
changes its relations to the eye, the sensation excited by its image
even on the same retinal region becomes so fluctuating that we end by
ascribing no absolute import whatever to the retinal space-feeling which
at any moment we may receive. So complete does this overlooking of
retinal magnitude become that it is next to impossible to compare the
visual magnitudes of objects at different distances without making the
experiment of superposition. We cannot say beforehand how much of a
distant house or tree our finger will cover. The various answers to the
familiar question, How large is the moon?--answers which vary from a
cartwheel to a wafer--illustrate this most strikingly. The hardest part
of the training of a young draughtsman is his learning to feel directly
the retinal (i.e. primitively sensible) magnitudes which the different
objects in the field of view subtend. To do this he must recover what
Ruskin calls the 'innocence of the eye'--that is, a sort of childish
perception of stains of color merely as such, without consciousness of
what they mean.

With the rest of us this innocence is lost. _Out of all the visual
magnitudes of each known object we have selected one as the 'real' one
to think of, and degraded all the others to serve as its signs._ This
real magnitude is determined by æsthetic and practical interests. It is
that which we get when the object is at the distance most propitious for
exact visual discrimination of its details. This is the distance at
which we hold anything we are examining. Farther than this we see it too
small, nearer too large. And the larger and the smaller feeling vanish
in the act of suggesting this one, their more important _meaning_. As I
look along the dining-table I overlook the fact that the farther plates
and glasses _feel_ so much smaller than my own, for I _know_ that they
are all equal in size; and the feeling of them, which is a present
sensation, is eclipsed in the glare of the knowledge, which is a merely
imagined one.

_It is the same with shape as with size._ Almost all the visible shapes
of things are what we call perspective 'distortions.' Square table-tops
constantly present two acute and two obtuse angles; circles drawn on our
wall-papers, our carpets, or on sheets of paper, usually show like
ellipses; parallels approach as they recede; human bodies are
foreshortened; and the transitions from one to another of these altering
forms are infinite and continual. Out of the flux, however, one phase
always stands prominent. It is the form the object has when we see it
easiest and best: and that is when our eyes and the object both are in
what may be called _the normal position_. In this position our head is
upright and our optic axes either parallel or symmetrically convergent;
the plane of the object is perpendicular to the visual plane; and if the
object is one containing many lines, it is turned so as to make them, as
far as possible, either parallel or perpendicular to the visual plane.
In this situation it is that we compare all shapes with each other; here
every exact measurement and every decision is made.

=Most sensations are signs to us of other sensations whose space-value is
held to be more real.= _The thing as it would appear to the eye if it
were in the normal position is what we think of_ whenever we get one of
the other optical views. Only as represented in the normal position do
we believe we see the object as it _is_; elsewhere, only as it seems.
Experience and custom soon teach us, however, that the seeming
appearance passes into the real one by continuous gradations. They teach
us, moreover, that seeming and being may be strangely interchanged. Now
a real circle may slide into a seeming ellipse; now an ellipse may, by
sliding in the same direction, become a seeming circle; now a
rectangular cross grows slant-legged; now a slant-legged one grows

Almost any form in oblique vision may be thus a derivative of almost any
other in 'primary' vision; and we must learn, when we get one of the
former appearances, to translate it into the appropriate one of the
latter class; we must learn of what optical 'reality' it is one of the
optical signs. Having learned this, we do but obey that law of economy
or simplification which dominates our whole psychic life, when we think
exclusively of the 'reality' and ignore as much as our consciousness
will let us the 'sign' by which we came to apprehend it. The signs of
each probable real thing being multiple and the thing itself one and
fixed, we gain the same mental relief by abandoning the former for the
latter that we do when we abandon mental images, with all their
fluctuating characters, for the definite and unchangeable _names_ which
they suggest. The selection of the several 'normal' appearances from out
of the jungle of our optical experiences, to serve as the real sights of
which we shall think, has thus some analogy to the habit of thinking in
words, in that by both we substitute terms few and fixed for terms
manifold and vague.

If an optical sensation can thus be a mere sign to recall another
sensation of the same sense, judged more real, _a fortiori_ can
sensations of one sense be signs of realities which are objects of
another. Smells and tastes make us believe the _visible_ cologne-bottle,
strawberry, or cheese to be there. Sights suggest objects of touch,
touches suggest objects of sight, etc. In all this substitution and
suggestive recall the only law that holds good is that in general the
most _interesting_ of the sensations which the 'thing' can give us is
held to represent its real nature most truly. It is a case of the
selective activity mentioned on p. 170 ff.

=The Third Dimension or Distance.=--This service of sensations as mere
signs, to be ignored when they have evoked the other sensations which
are their significates, was noticed first by Berkeley in his new theory
of vision. He dwelt particularly on the fact that the signs were not
_natural_ signs, but properties of the object merely _associated by
experience_ with the more real aspects of it which they recall. The
tangible 'feel' of a thing, and the 'look' of it to the eye, have
absolutely no point in common, said Berkeley; and if I think of the look
of it when I get the feel, or think of the feel when I get the look,
that is merely due to the fact that I have on so many previous occasions
had the two sensations at once. When we open our eyes, for example, we
think we see how far off the object is. But this feeling of distance,
according to Berkeley, cannot possibly be a retinal sensation, for a
point in outer space can only impress our retina by the single dot which
it projects 'in the fund of the eye,' and this dot is the same for _all_
distances. Distance from the eye, Berkeley considered not to be an
optical object at all, but an object of _touch_, of which we have
optical signs of various sorts, such as the image's apparent magnitude,
its 'faintness' or 'confusion,' and the 'strain' of accommodation and
convergence. By distance being an object of 'touch,' Berkeley meant that
our notion of it consists in ideas of the amount of muscular movement of
arm or legs which would be required to place our hand upon the object.
Most authors have agreed with Berkeley that creatures unable to move
either their eyes or limbs would have no notion whatever of distance or
the third dimension.

This opinion seems to me unjustifiable. I cannot get over the fact that
all our sensations are of _volume_, and that the primitive field of view
(however imperfectly distance may be discriminated or measured in it)
cannot be of something _flat_, as these authors unanimously maintain.
Nor can I get over the fact that distance, when I see it, is a genuinely
_optical feeling_, even though I be at a loss to assign any one
physiological process in the organ of vision to the varying degrees of
which the variations of the feeling uniformly correspond. It is awakened
by all the optical signs which Berkeley mentioned, and by more besides,
such as Wheatstone's binocular disparity, and by the parallax which
follows on slightly moving the head. When awakened, however, it seems
optical, and not heterogeneous with the other two dimensions of the
visual field.

The mutual equivalencies of the distance-dimension with the up-and-down
and right-to-left dimensions of the field of view can easily be settled
without resorting to experiences of touch. A being reduced to a single
eyeball would perceive the same tridimensional world which we do, if he
had our intellectual powers. For the _same moving things_, by
alternately covering different parts of his retina, would determine the
mutual equivalencies of the first two dimensions of the field of view;
and by exciting the physiological cause of his perception of depth in
various degrees, they would establish a scale of equivalency between the
first two and the third.

First of all, one of the sensations given by the object would be chosen
to represent its 'real' size and shape, in accordance with the
principles so lately laid down. One sensation would measure the 'thing'
present, and the 'thing' would measure the other sensations--the
peripheral parts of the retina would be equated with the central by
receiving the image of the same object. This needs no elucidation in
case the object does not change its distance or its front. But suppose,
to take a more complicated case, that the object is a stick, seen first
in its whole length, and then rotated round one of its ends; let this
fixed end be the one near the eye. In this movement the stick's image
will grow progressively shorter; its farther end will appear less and
less separated laterally from its fixed near end; soon it will be
screened by the latter, and then reappear on the opposite side, the
image there finally resuming its original length. Suppose this movement
to become a familiar experience; the mind will presumably react upon it
after its usual fashion (which is that of unifying all data which it is
in any way possible to unify), and consider it the movement of a
constant object rather than the transformation of a fluctuating one.
Now, the _sensation of depth_ which it receives during the experience is
awakened more by the far than by the near end of the object. But how
much depth? What shall measure its amount? Why, at the moment the far
end is about to be eclipsed, the difference of its distance from the
near end's distance must be judged equal to the stick's whole length;
but that length has already been seen and measured by a certain visual
sensation of breadth. _So we find that given amounts of the visual
depth-feeling become signs of given amounts of the visual
breadth-feeling, depth becoming equated with breadth. The measurement of
distance is, as Berkeley truly said, a result of suggestion and
experience. But visual experience alone is adequate to produce it, and
this he erroneously denied._

=The Part played by the Intellect in Space-perception.=--But although
Berkeley was wrong in his assertion that out of optical experience alone
no perception of distance can be evolved, he gave a great impetus to
psychology by showing how originally incoherent and incommensurable in
respect of their extensiveness our different sensations are, and how our
actually so rapid space-perceptions are almost altogether acquired by
education. Touch-space is one world; sight-space is another world. The
two worlds have no essential or intrinsic congruence, and only through
the 'association of ideas' do we know what a seen object signifies in
terms of touch. Persons with congenital cataracts relieved by surgical
aid, whose world until the operation has been a world of tangibles
exclusively, are ludicrously unable at first to name any of the objects
which newly fall upon their eye. "It might very well be _a horse_," said
the latest patient of this sort of whom we have an account, when a
10-litre bottle was held up a foot from his face.[45] Neither do such
patients have any accurate notion in motor terms of the relative
distances of things from their eyes. All such confusions very quickly
disappear with practice, and the novel optical sensations translate
themselves into the familiar language of touch. The facts do not prove
in the least that the optical sensations are not _spatial_, but only
that it needs a subtler sense for analogy than most people have, to
discern the _same_ spatial aspects and relations in them which
previously-known tactile and motor experiences have yielded.

=Conclusion.=--To sum up, the whole history of space-perception is
explicable if we admit on the one hand sensations with certain amounts
of extensity native to them, and on the other the ordinary powers of
discrimination, selection, and association in the mind's dealings with
them. The fluctuating import of many of our optical sensations, the
same sensation being so ambiguous as regards size, shape, locality, and
the like, has led many to believe that such attributes as these could
not possibly be the result of sensation at all, but must come from some
higher power of intuition, synthesis, or whatever it might be called.
But the fact that a present sensation can at any time become the sign of
a represented one judged to be more real, sufficiently accounts for all
the phenomena without the need of supposing that the quality of
extensity is created out of non-extensive experiences by a
super-sensational faculty of the mind.



=What Reasoning is.=--We talk of man being the rational animal; and the
traditional intellectualist philosophy has always made a great point of
treating the brutes as wholly irrational creatures. Nevertheless, it is
by no means easy to decide just what is meant by reason, or how the
peculiar thinking process called reasoning differs from other
thought-sequences which may lead to similar results.

Much of our thinking consists of trains of images suggested one by
another, of a sort of spontaneous revery of which it seems likely enough
that the higher brutes should be capable. This sort of thinking leads
nevertheless to rational conclusions, both practical and theoretical.
The links between the terms are either 'contiguity' or 'similarity,' and
with a mixture of both these things we can hardly be very incoherent. As
a rule, in this sort of irresponsible thinking, the terms which fall to
be coupled together are empirical concretes, not abstractions. A sunset
may call up the vessel's deck from which I saw one last summer, the
companions of my voyage, my arrival into port, etc.; or it may make me
think of solar myths, of Hercules' and Hector's funeral pyres, of Homer
and whether he could write, of the Greek alphabet, etc. If habitual
contiguities predominate, we have a prosaic mind; if rare contiguities,
or similarities, have free play, we call the person fanciful, poetic, or
witty. But the thought as a rule is of matters taken in their entirety.
Having been thinking of one, we find later that we are thinking of
another, to which we have been lifted along, we hardly know how. If an
abstract quality figures in the procession, it arrests our attention
but for a moment, and fades into something else; and is never very
abstract. Thus, in thinking of the sun-myths, we may have a gleam of
admiration at the gracefulness of the primitive human mind, or a moment
of disgust at the narrowness of modern interpreters. But, in the main,
we think less of qualities than of concrete things, real or possible,
just as we may experience them.

Our thought here may be rational, but it is not _reasoned_, is not
reasoning in the strict sense of the term. In reasoning, although our
results may be thought of as concrete things, they are _not suggested
immediately by other concrete things_, as in the trains of simply
associative thought. They are linked to the concretes which precede them
by intermediate steps, and these steps are formed by _abstract general
characters_ articulately denoted and expressly analyzed out. A thing
inferred by reasoning need neither have been an habitual associate of
the datum from which we infer it, nor need it be similar to it. It may
be a thing entirely unknown to our previous experience, something which
no simple association of concretes could ever have evoked. The great
difference, in fact, between that simpler kind of rational thinking
which consists in the concrete objects of past experience merely
suggesting each other, and reasoning distinctively so called, is this:
that whilst the empirical thinking is only reproductive, reasoning is
productive. An empirical, or 'rule-of-thumb,' thinker can deduce nothing
from data with whose behavior and associates in the concrete he is
unfamiliar. But put a reasoner amongst a set of concrete objects which
he has neither seen nor heard of before, and with a little time, if he
is a good reasoner, he will make such inferences from them as will quite
atone for his ignorance. Reasoning helps us out of unprecedented
situations--situations for which all our common associative wisdom, all
the 'education' which we share in common with the beasts, leaves us
without resource.

=Exact Definition of it.=--_Let us make this ability to deal with novel
data the technical differentia of reasoning._ This will sufficiently
mark it out from common associative thinking, and will immediately
enable us to say just what peculiarity it contains.

_It contains analysis and abstraction._ Whereas the merely empirical
thinker stares at a fact in its entirety, and remains helpless, or gets
'stuck,' if it suggests no concomitant or similar, the reasoner breaks
it up and notices some one of its separate attributes. This attribute he
takes to be the essential part of the whole fact before him. This
attribute has properties or consequences which the fact until then was
not known to have, but which, now that it is noticed to contain the
attribute, it must have.

    Call the fact or concrete datum S;
    the essential attribute M;
    the attribute's property P.

Then the reasoned inference of P from S cannot be made without M's
intermediation. The 'essence' M is thus that third or middle term in the
reasoning which a moment ago was pronounced essential. _For his original
concrete S the reasoner substitutes its abstract property M._ What is
true of M, what is coupled with M, thereupon holds true of S, is coupled
with S. As M is properly one of the _parts_ of the entire S, _reasoning
may then be very well defined as the substitution of parts and their
implications or consequences for wholes_. And the art of the reasoner
will consist of two stages:

First, _sagacity_, or the ability to discover what part, M, lies
embedded in the whole S which is before him;

Second, _learning_, or the ability to recall promptly M's consequences,
concomitants, or implications.

If we glance at the ordinary syllogism--

       M is P;
       S is M;
    ⁂ S is P

--we see that the second or minor premise, the 'subsumption' as it is
sometimes called, is the one requiring the sagacity; the first or major
the one requiring the fertility, or fulness of learning. Usually the
learning is more apt to be ready than the sagacity, the ability to seize
fresh aspects in concrete things being rarer than the ability to learn
old rules; so that, in most actual cases of reasoning, the minor
premise, or the way of conceiving the subject, is the one that makes the
novel step in thought. This is, to be sure, not always the case; for the
fact that M carries P with it may also be unfamiliar and now formulated
for the first time.

The perception that S is M is a _mode of conceiving S_. The statement
that M is P is an _abstract or general proposition_. A word about both
is necessary.

=What is meant by a Mode of Conceiving.=--When we conceive of S merely as
M (of vermilion merely as a mercury-compound, for example), we neglect
all the other attributes which it may have, and attend exclusively to
this one. We mutilate the fulness of S's reality. Every reality has an
infinity of aspects or properties. Even so simple a fact as a line which
you trace in the air may be considered in respect to its form, its
length, its direction, and its location. When we reach more complex
facts, the number of ways in which we may regard them is literally
endless. Vermilion is not only a mercury-compound, it is vividly red,
heavy, and expensive, it comes from China, and so on, _ad infinitum_.
All objects are well-springs of properties, which are only little by
little developed to our knowledge, and it is truly said that to know one
thing thoroughly would be to know the whole universe. Mediately or
immediately, that one thing is related to everything else; and to know
_all_ about it, all its relations need be known. But each relation forms
one of its attributes, one angle by which some one may conceive it, and
while so conceiving it may ignore the rest of it. A man is such a
complex fact. But out of the complexity all that an army commissary
picks out as important for his purposes is his property of eating so
many pounds a day; the general, of marching so many miles; the
chair-maker, of having such a shape; the orator, of responding to such
and such feelings; the theatre-manager, of being willing to pay just
such a price, and no more, for an evening's amusement. Each of these
persons singles out the particular side of the entire man which has a
bearing on _his_ concerns, and not till this side is distinctly and
separately conceived can the proper practical conclusions _for that
reasoner_ be drawn; and when they are drawn the man's other attributes
may be ignored.

All ways of conceiving a concrete fact, if they are true ways at all,
are equally true ways. _There is no property_ ABSOLUTELY _essential to
any one thing_. The same property which figures as the essence of a
thing on one occasion becomes a very inessential feature upon another.
Now that I am writing, it is essential that I conceive my paper as a
surface for inscription. If I failed to do that, I should have to stop
my work. But if I wished to light a fire, and no other materials were
by, the essential way of conceiving the paper would be as combustible
material; and I need then have no thought of any of its other
destinations. It is really _all_ that it is: a combustible, a writing
surface, a thin thing, a hydrocarbonaceous thing, a thing eight inches
one way and ten another, a thing just one furlong east of a certain
stone in my neighbor's field, an American thing, etc., etc., _ad
infinitum_. Whichever one of these aspects of its being I temporarily
class it under makes me unjust to the other aspects. But as I always am
classing it under one aspect or another, I am always unjust, always
partial, always exclusive. My excuse is necessity--the necessity which
my finite and practical nature lays upon me. My thinking is first and
last and always for the sake of my doing, and I can only do one thing at
a time. A God who is supposed to drive the whole universe abreast may
also be supposed, without detriment to his activity, to see all parts
of it at once and without emphasis. But were our human attention so to
disperse itself, we should simply stare vacantly at things at large and
forfeit our opportunity of doing any particular act. Mr. Warner, in his
Adirondack story, shot a bear by aiming, not at his eye or heart, but
'at him generally.' But we cannot aim 'generally' at the universe; or if
we do, we miss our game. Our scope is narrow, and we must attack things
piecemeal, ignoring the solid fulness in which the elements of Nature
exist, and stringing one after another of them together in a serial way,
to suit our little interests as they change from hour to hour. In this,
the partiality of one moment is partly atoned for by the different sort
of partiality of the next. To me now, writing these words, emphasis and
selection seem to be the essence of the human mind. In other chapters
other qualities have seemed, and will again seem, more important parts
of psychology.

Men are so ingrainedly partial that, for common-sense and scholasticism
(which is only common-sense grown articulate), the notion that there is
no one quality genuinely, absolutely, and exclusively essential to
anything is almost unthinkable. "A thing's essence makes it _what_ it
is. Without an exclusive essence it would be nothing in particular,
would be quite nameless, we could not say it was this rather than that.
What you write on, for example,--why talk of its being combustible,
rectangular, and the like, when you know that these are mere accidents,
and that what it really is, and was made to be, is just _paper_ and
nothing else?" The reader is pretty sure to make some such comment as
this. But he is himself merely insisting on an aspect of the thing which
suits his own petty purpose, that of _naming_ the thing; or else on an
aspect which suits the manufacturer's purpose, that of _producing an
article for which there is a vulgar demand_. Meanwhile the reality
overflows these purposes at every pore. Our usual purpose with it, our
commonest title for it, and the properties which this title suggests,
have in reality nothing sacramental. They characterize _us_ more than
they characterize the thing. But we are so stuck in our prejudices, so
petrified intellectually, that to our vulgarest names, with their
suggestions, we ascribe an eternal and exclusive worth. The thing must
be, essentially, what the vulgarest name connotes; what less usual names
connote, it can be only in an 'accidental' and relatively unreal

Locke undermined the fallacy. But none of his successors, so far as I
know, have radically escaped it, or seen that _the only meaning of
essence is teleological, and that classification and conception are
purely teleological weapons of the mind_. The essence of a thing is that
one of its properties which is so _important for my interests_ that in
comparison with it I may neglect the rest. Amongst those other things
which have this important property I class it, after this property I
name it, as a thing endowed with this property I conceive it; and whilst
so classing, naming, and conceiving it, all other truth about it becomes
to me as naught. The properties which are important vary from man to man
and from hour to hour. Hence divers appellations and conceptions for the
same thing. But many objects of daily use--as paper, ink, butter,
overcoat--have properties of such constant unwavering importance, and
have such stereotyped names, that we end by believing that to conceive
them in those ways is to conceive them in the only true way. Those are
no truer ways of conceiving them than any others; they are only more
frequently serviceable ways to us.

=Reasoning is always for a subjective interest.= To revert now to our
symbolic representation of the reasoning process:

        M is P
        S is M
        S is P

M is discerned and picked out for the time being to be the essence of
the concrete fact, phenomenon, or reality, S. But M in this world of
ours is inevitably conjoined with P; so that P is the next thing that we
may expect to find conjoined with the fact S. We may conclude or infer
P, through the intermediation of the M which our sagacity began by
discerning, when S came before it, to be the essence of the case.

Now note that if P have any value or importance for us, M was a very
good character for our sagacity to pounce upon and abstract. If, on the
contrary, P were of no importance, some other character than M would
have been a better essence for us to conceive of S by. Psychologically,
as a rule, P overshadows the process from the start. We are _seeking_ P,
or something like P. But the bare totality of S does not yield it to our
gaze; and casting about for some point in S to take hold of which will
lead us to P, we hit, if we are sagacious, upon M, because M happens to
be just the character which is knit up with P. Had we wished Q instead
of P, and were N a property of S conjoined with Q, we ought to have
ignored M, noticed N, and conceived of S as a sort of N exclusively.

Reasoning is always to attain some particular conclusion, or to gratify
some special curiosity. It not only breaks up the datum placed before it
and conceives it abstractly; it must conceive it _rightly_ too; and
conceiving it rightly means conceiving it by that one particular
abstract character which leads to the one sort of conclusion which it is
the reasoner's temporary interest to attain.

The _results_ of reasoning may be hit upon by accident. The stereoscope
was actually a result of reasoning; it is conceivable, however that a
man playing with pictures and mirrors might accidentally have hit upon
it. Cats have been known to open doors by pulling latches, etc. But no
cat, if the latch got out of order, could open the door again, unless
some new accident of random fumbling taught her to associate some new
total movement with the total phenomenon of the closed door. A reasoning
man, however, would open the door by first analyzing the hindrance. He
would ascertain what particular feature of the door was wrong. The
lever, e.g., does not raise the latch sufficiently from its slot--case
of insufficient elevation: raise door bodily on hinges! Or door sticks
at bottom by friction against sill: raise it bodily up! How it is
obvious that a child or an idiot might without this reasoning learn the
_rule_ for opening that particular door. I remember a clock which the
maid-servant had discovered would not go unless it were supported so as
to tilt slightly forwards. She had stumbled on this method after many
weeks of groping. The reason of the stoppage was the friction of the
pendulum-bob against the back of the clock-case, a reason which an
educated man would have analyzed out in five minutes. I have a student's
lamp of which the flame vibrates most unpleasantly unless the chimney be
raised about a sixteenth of an inch. I learned the remedy after much
torment by accident, and now always keep the chimney up with a small
wedge. But my procedure is a mere association of two totals, diseased
object and remedy. One learned in pneumatics could have abstracted the
_cause_ of the disease, and thence inferred the remedy immediately. By
many measurements of triangles one might find their area always equal to
their height multiplied by half their base, and one might formulate an
empirical law to that effect. But a reasoner saves himself all this
trouble by seeing that it is the essence (_pro hac vice_) of a triangle
to be the half of a parallelogram whose area is the height into the
entire base. To see this he must invent additional lines; and the
geometer must often draw such to get at the essential property he may
require in a figure. The essence consists in some _relation of the
figure to the new lines_, a relation not obvious at all until they are
put in. The geometer's genius lies in the imagining of the new lines,
and his sagacity in the perceiving of the relation.

=Thus, there are two great points in reasoning.= _First, an extracted
character is taken as equivalent to the entire datum from which it
comes; and_,

_Second, the character thus taken suggests a certain consequence more
obviously than it was suggested by the total datum as it originally
came._ Take these points again, successively.

1) Suppose I say, when offered a piece of cloth, "I won't buy that; it
looks as if it would fade," meaning merely that something about it
suggests the idea of fading to my mind,--my judgment, though possibly
correct, is not reasoned, but purely empirical; but if I can say that
into the color there enters a certain dye which I know to be chemically
unstable, and that _therefore_ the color will fade, my judgment is
reasoned. The notion of the dye, which is one of the parts of the cloth,
is the connecting link between the latter and the notion of fading. So,
again, an uneducated man will expect from past experience to see a piece
of ice melt if placed near the fire, and the tip of his finger look
coarse if he view it through a convex glass. In neither of these cases
could the result be anticipated without full previous acquaintance with
the entire phenomenon. It is not a result of reasoning.

But a man who should conceive heat as a mode of motion, and liquefaction
as identical with increased motion of molecules; who should know that
curved surfaces bend light-rays in special ways, and that the apparent
size of anything is connected with the amount of the 'bend' of its
light-rays as they enter the eye,--such a man would make the right
inferences for all these objects, even though he had never in his life
had any concrete experience of them: and he would do this because the
ideas which we have above supposed him to possess would mediate in his
mind between the phenomena he starts with and the conclusions he draws.
But these ideas are all mere extracted portions or circumstances. The
motions which form heat, the bending of the light-waves, are, it is
true, excessively recondite ingredients; the hidden pendulum I spoke of
above is less so; and the sticking of a door on its sill in the earlier
example would hardly be so at all. But each and all agree in this, that
they bear a _more evident relation_ to the conclusion than did the facts
in their immediate totality.

       *       *       *       *       *

2) And now to prove the second point: Why are the couplings,
consequences, and implications of extracts more evident and obvious than
those of entire phenomena? For two reasons.

First, the extracted characters are more general than the concretes, and
the connections they may have are, therefore, more familiar to us,
having been more often met in our experience. Think of heat as motion,
and whatever is true of motion will be true of heat; but we have had a
hundred experiences of motion for every one of heat. Think of the rays
passing through this lens as bending towards the perpendicular, and you
substitute for the comparatively unfamiliar lens the very familiar
notion of a particular change in direction of a line, of which notion
every day brings us countless examples.

The other reason why the relations of the extracted characters are so
evident is that their properties are so _few_, compared with the
properties of the whole, from which we derived them. In every concrete
fact the characters and their consequences are so inexhaustibly numerous
that we may lose our way among them before noticing the particular
consequence it behooves us to draw. But, if we are lucky enough to
single out the proper character, we take in, as it were, by a single
glance all its possible consequences. Thus the character of scraping
the sill has very few suggestions, prominent among which is the
suggestion that the scraping will cease if we raise the door; whilst the
entire refractory door suggests an enormous number of notions to the
mind. Such examples may seem trivial, but they contain the essence of
the most refined and transcendental theorizing. The reason why physics
grows more deductive the more the fundamental properties it assumes are
of a mathematical sort, such as molecular mass or wave-length, is that
the immediate consequences of these notions are so few that we can
survey them all at once, and promptly pick out those which concern us.

=Sagacity.=--To reason, then, we must be able to extract characters,--not
_any_ characters, but the right characters for our conclusion. If we
extract the wrong character, it will not lead to that conclusion. Here,
then, is the difficulty: _How are characters extracted, and why does it
require the advent of a genius in many cases before the fitting
character is brought to light?_ Why cannot anybody reason as well as
anybody else? Why does it need a Newton to notice the law of the
squares, a Darwin to notice the survival of the fittest? To answer these
questions we must begin a new research, and see how our insight into
facts naturally grows.

All our knowledge at first is vague. When we say that a thing is vague,
we mean that it has no subdivisions _ab intra_, nor precise limitations
_ab extra_; but still all the forms of thought may apply to it. It may
have unity, reality, externality, extent, and what not--_thinghood_, in
a word, but thinghood only as a whole. In this vague way, probably, does
the room appear to the babe who first begins to be conscious of it as
something other than his moving nurse. It has no subdivisions in his
mind, unless, perhaps, the window is able to attract his separate
notice. In this vague way, certainly, does every entirely new experience
appear to the adult. A library, a museum, a machine-shop, are mere
confused wholes to the uninstructed, but the machinist, the antiquary,
and the bookworm perhaps hardly notice the whole at all, so eager are
they to pounce upon the details. Familiarity has in them bred
discrimination. Such vague terms as 'grass,' 'mould,' and 'meat' do not
exist for the botanist or the anatomist. They know too much about
grasses, moulds, and muscles. A certain person said to Charles Kingsley,
who was showing him the dissection of a caterpillar, with its exquisite
viscera, "Why, I thought it was nothing but skin and squash!" A layman
present at a shipwreck, a battle, or a fire is helpless. Discrimination
has been so little awakened in him by experience that his consciousness
leaves no single point of the complex situation accented and standing
out for him to begin to act upon. But the sailor, the fireman, and the
general know directly at what corner to take up the business. They 'see
into the situation'--that is, they analyze it--with their first glance.
It is full of delicately differenced ingredients which their education
has little by little brought to their consciousness, but of which the
novice gains no clear idea.

How this power of analysis was brought about we saw in our chapters on
Discrimination and Attention. We dissociate the elements of originally
vague totals by attending to them or noticing them alternately, of
course. But what determines which element we shall attend to first?
There are two immediate and obvious answers: first, our practical or
instinctive interests; and second, our æsthetic interests. The dog
singles out of any situation its smells, and the horse its sounds,
because they may reveal facts of practical moment, and are instinctively
exciting to these several creatures. The infant notices the candle-flame
or the window, and ignores the rest of the room, because those objects
give him a vivid pleasure. So, the country boy dissociates the
blackberry, the chestnut, and the wintergreen, from the vague mass of
other shrubs and trees, for their practical uses, and the savage is
delighted with the beads, the bits of looking-glass, brought by an
exploring vessel, and gives no heed to the features of the vessel
itself, which is too much beyond his sphere. These æsthetic and
practical interests, then, are the weightiest factors in making
particular ingredients stand out in high relief. What they lay their
accent on, that we notice; but what they are in themselves we cannot
say. We must content ourselves here with simply accepting them as
irreducible ultimate factors in determining the way our knowledge grows.

Now, a creature which has few instinctive impulses, or interests
practical or æsthetic, will dissociate few characters, and will, at
best, have limited reasoning powers; whilst one whose interests are very
varied will reason much better. Man, by his immensely varied instincts,
practical wants, and æsthetic feelings, to which every sense
contributes, would, by dint of these alone, be sure to dissociate vastly
more characters than any other animal; and accordingly we find that the
lowest savages reason incomparably better than the highest brutes. The
diverse interests lead, too, to a diversification of experiences, whose
accumulation becomes a condition for the play of that _law of
dissociation by varying concomitants_ of which I treated on p. 251.

=The Help given by Association by Similarity.=--It is probable, also, that
man's _superior association by similarity_ has much to do with those
discriminations of character on which his higher flights of reasoning
are based. As this latter is an important matter, and as little or
nothing was said of it in the chapter on Discrimination, it behooves me
to dwell a little upon it here.

What does the reader do when he wishes to see in what the precise
likeness or difference of two objects lies? He transfers his attention
as rapidly as possible, backwards and forwards, from one to the other.
The rapid alteration in consciousness shakes out, as it were, the points
of difference or agreement, which would have slumbered forever unnoticed
if the consciousness of the objects compared had occurred at widely
distant periods of time. What does the scientific man do who searches
for the reason or law embedded in a phenomenon? He deliberately
accumulates all the instances he can find which have any analogy to that
phenomenon; and, by simultaneously filling his mind with them all, he
frequently succeeds in detaching from the collection the peculiarity
which he was unable to formulate in one alone; even though that one had
been preceded in his former experience by all of those with which he now
at once confronts it. These examples show that the mere general fact of
having occurred at some time in one's experience, with varying
concomitants, is not by itself a sufficient reason for a character to be
dissociated now. We need something more; we need that the varying
concomitants should in all their variety be brought into consciousness
_at once_. Not till then will the character in question escape from its
adhesion to each and all of them and stand alone. This will immediately
be recognized by those who have read Mill's Logic as the ground of
Utility in his famous 'four methods of experimental inquiry,' the
methods of agreement, of difference, of residues, and of concomitant
variations. Each of these gives a list of analogous instances out of the
midst of which a sought-for character may roll and strike the mind.

Now it is obvious that any mind in which association by similarity is
highly developed is a mind which will spontaneously form lists of
instances like this. Take a present fact _A_, with a character _m_ in
it. The mind may fail at first to notice this character _m_ at all. But
if _A_ calls up _C_, _D_, _E_, and _F_,--these being phenomena which
resemble _A_ in possessing _m_, but which may not have entered for
months into the experience of the animal who now experiences _A_, why,
plainly, such association performs the part of the reader's deliberately
rapid comparison referred to above, and of the systematic consideration
of like cases by the scientific investigator, and may lead to the
noticing of _m_ in an abstract way. Certainly this is obvious; and no
conclusion is left to us but to assert that, after the few most
powerful practical and æsthetic interests, our chief help towards
noticing those special characters of phenomena which, when once
possessed and named, are used as reasons, class names, essences, or
middle terms, _is this association by similarity_. Without it, indeed,
the deliberate procedure of the scientific man would be impossible: he
could never collect his analogous instances. But it operates of itself
in highly-gifted minds without any deliberation, spontaneously
collecting analogous instances, uniting in a moment what in nature the
whole breadth of space and time keeps separate, and so permitting a
perception of identical points in the midst of different circumstances,
which minds governed wholly by the law of contiguity could never begin
to attain.

[Illustration: FIG. 66.]

Figure 66 shows this. If _m_, in the present representation _A_, calls
up _B_, _C_, _D_, and _E_, which are similar to _A_ in possessing it,
and calls them up in rapid succession, then _m_, being associated almost
simultaneously with such varying concomitants, will 'roll out' and
attract our separate notice.

If so much is clear to the reader, he will be willing to admit that the
mind _in which this mode of association most prevails_ will, from its
better opportunity of extricating characters, be the one most prone to
reasoned thinking; whilst, on the other hand, a mind in which we do not
detect reasoned thinking will probably be one in which association by
contiguity holds almost exclusive sway.

Geniuses are, by common consent, considered to differ from ordinary
minds by an unusual development of association by similarity. One of
Professor Bain's best strokes of work is the exhibition of this truth.
It applies to geniuses in the line of reasoning as well as in other

=The Reasoning Powers of Brutes.=--As the genius is to the vulgarian, so
the vulgar human mind is to the intelligence of a brute. Compared with
men, it is probable that brutes neither attend to abstract characters,
nor have associations by similarity. Their thoughts probably pass from
one concrete object to its habitual concrete successor far more
uniformly than is the case with us. In other words, their associations
of ideas are almost exclusively by contiguity. So far, however, as any
brute might think by abstract characters instead of by the association
of concretes, he would have to be admitted to be a reasoner in the true
human sense. How far this may take place is quite uncertain. Certain it
is that the more intelligent brutes _obey_ abstract characters, whether
they mentally single them out as such or not. They act upon things
according to their _class_. This involves some sort of emphasizing, if
not abstracting, of the class-essence by the animal's mind. A concrete
individual with none of his characters emphasized is one thing; a
sharply conceived attribute marked off from everything else by a name is
another. But between no analysis of a concrete, and complete analysis;
no abstraction of an embedded character, and complete abstraction, every
possible intermediary grade must lie. And some of these grades ought to
have names, for they are certainly represented in the mind. Dr. Romanes
has proposed the name _recept_, and Prof. Lloyd Morgan the name
_construct_, for the idea of a vaguely abstracted and generalized
object-class. A definite abstraction is called an _isolate_ by the
latter author. Neither _construct_ nor _recept_ seems to me a felicitous
word; but poor as both are, they form a distinct addition to psychology,
so I give them here. Would such a word as _influent_ sound better than
_recept_ in the following passage from Romanes?

"Water-fowl adopt a somewhat different mode of alighting upon land, or
even upon ice, from that which they adopt when alighting upon water; and
those kinds which dive from a height (such as terns and gannets) never
do so upon land or upon ice. These facts prove that the animals have one
recept answering to a solid surface, and another answering to a fluid.
Similarly a man will not dive from a height over hard ground or over
ice, nor will he jump into water in the same way as he jumps upon dry
land. In other words, like the water-fowl he has two distinct recepts,
one of which answers to solid ground, and the other to an unresisting
fluid. But unlike the water-fowl he is able to bestow upon each of these
recepts a name, and thus to raise them both to the level of concepts. So
far as the practical purposes of locomotion are concerned, it is of
course immaterial whether or not he thus raises his recepts into
concepts; but ... for many other purposes it is of the highest
importance that he is able to do this."[47]

A certain well-bred retriever of whom I know never bit his birds. But
one day having to bring two birds at once, which, though unable to fly,
were 'alive and kicking,' he deliberately gave one a bite which killed
it, took the other one still alive to his master, and then returned for
the first. It is impossible not to believe that some such abstract
thoughts as 'alive--get away--must kill,' ... etc., passed in rapid
succession through this dog's mind, whatever the sensible imagery may
have been with which they were blended. Such practical obedience to the
special aspects of things which may be important involves the essence of
reasoning. But the characters whose presence impress brutes are very
few, being only those which are directly connected with their most
instinctive interests. They never extract characters for the mere fun of
the thing, as men do. One is tempted to explain this as the result in
them of an almost entire absence of such association by similarity as
characterizes the human mind. A thing may remind a brute of its full
similars, but not of things to which it is but slightly similar; and all
that dissociation by varying concomitants, which in man is based so
largely on association by similarity, hardly seems to take place at all
in the infra-human mind. One total object suggests another total object,
and the lower mammals find themselves acting with propriety, they know
not why. The great, the fundamental, defect of their minds seems to be
the inability of their groups of ideas to break across in unaccustomed
places. They are enslaved to routine, to cut-and-dried thinking; and if
the most prosaic of human beings could be transported into his dog's
soul, he would be appalled at the utter absence of fancy which there
reigns. Thoughts would not be found to call up their similars, but only
their habitual successors. Sunsets would not suggest heroes' deaths, but
supper-time. This is why man is the only metaphysical animal. To wonder
why the universe should be as it is presupposes the notion of its being
different, and a brute, who never reduces the actual to fluidity by
breaking up its literal sequences in his imagination, can never form
such a notion. He takes the world simply for granted, and never wonders
at it at all.



=All consciousness is motor.= The reader will not have forgotten, in the
jungle of purely inward processes and products through which the last
chapters have borne him, that the final result of them all must be some
form of bodily activity due to the escape of the central excitement
through outgoing nerves. The whole neural organism, it will be
remembered, is, physiologically considered, but a machine for converting
stimuli into reactions; and the intellectual part of our life is knit up
with but the middle or 'central' part of the machine's operations. We
now go on to consider the final or emergent operations, the bodily
activities, and the forms of consciousness consequent thereupon.

Every impression which impinges on the incoming nerves produces some
discharge down the outgoing ones, whether we be aware of it or not.
Using sweeping terms and ignoring exceptions, _we might say that every
possible feeling produces a movement, and that the movement is a
movement of the entire organism, and of each and all its parts_. What
happens patently when an explosion or a flash of lightning startles us,
or when we are tickled, happens latently with every sensation which we
receive. The only reason why we do not feel the startle or tickle in the
case of insignificant sensations is partly its very small amount, partly
our obtuseness. Professor Bain many years ago gave the name of the Law
of Diffusion to this phenomenon of general discharge, and expressed it
thus: "According as an impression is accompanied with Feeling, the
aroused currents diffuse themselves over the brain, leading to a
general agitation of the moving organs, as well as affecting the

There are probably no exceptions to the diffusion of every impression
through the _nerve-centres_. The _effect_ of a new wave through the
centres may, however, often be to interfere with processes already going
on there; and the outward consequence of such interference may be the
checking of bodily activities in process of occurrence. When this
happens it probably is like the siphoning of certain channels by
currents flowing through others; as when, in walking, we suddenly stand
still because a sound, sight, smell, or thought catches our attention.
But there are cases of arrest of peripheral activity which depend, not
on inhibition of centres, but on stimulation of centres which discharge
outgoing currents of an inhibitory sort. Whenever we are startled, for
example, our heart momentarily stops or slows its beating, and then
palpitates with accelerated speed. The brief arrest is due to an
outgoing current down the pneumogastric nerve. This nerve, when
stimulated, stops or slows the heart-beats, and this particular effect
of startling fails to occur if the nerve be cut.

In general, however, the stimulating effects of a sense-impression
proponderate over the inhibiting effects, so that we may roughly say, as
we began by saying, that the wave of discharge produces an activity in
all parts of the body. The task of tracing out _all_ the effects of any
one incoming sensation has not yet been performed by physiologists.
Recent years have, however, begun to enlarge our information; and we
have now experimental proof that the heart-beats, the arterial pressure,
the respiration, the sweat-glands, the pupil, the bladder, bowels, and
uterus, as well as the voluntary muscles, may have their tone and degree
of contraction altered even by the most insignificant sensorial stimuli.
In short, a _process set up anywhere in the centres reverberates
everywhere, and in some way or other affects the organism throughout,
making its activities either greater or less_. It is as if the
nerve-central mass were like a good conductor charged with electricity,
of which the tension cannot be changed at all without changing it
everywhere at once.

Herr Schneider has tried to show, by an ingenious zoölogical review,
that all the _special_ movements which highly evolved animals make are
differentiated from the two originally simple movements of contraction
and expansion in which the entire body of simple organisms takes part.
The tendency to contract is the source of all the self-protective
impulses and reactions which are later developed, including that of
flight. The tendency to expand splits up, on the contrary, into the
impulses and instincts of an aggressive kind, feeding, fighting, sexual
intercourse, etc. I cite this as a sort of evolutionary reason to add to
the mechanical _a priori_ reason why there _ought_ to be the diffusive
wave which _a posteriori_ instances show to exist.

I shall now proceed to a detailed study of the more important classes of
movement consequent upon cerebromental change. They may be enumerated

    1) Expressions of Emotion;
    2) Instinctive or Impulsive Performances; and
    3) Voluntary Deeds;

and each shall have a chapter to itself.



=Emotions compared with Instincts.=--An emotion is a tendency to feel, and
an instinct is a tendency to act, characteristically, when in presence
of a certain object in the environment. But the emotions also have their
bodily 'expression,' which may involve strong muscular activity (as in
fear or anger, for example); and it becomes a little hard in many cases
to separate the description of the 'emotional' condition from that of
the 'instinctive' reaction which one and the same object may provoke.
Shall _fear_ be described in the chapter on Instincts or in that on
Emotions? Where shall one describe _curiosity_, _emulation_, and the
like? The answer is quite arbitrary from the scientific point of view,
and practical convenience may decide. As inner mental conditions,
emotions are quite indescribable. Description, moreover, would be
superfluous, for the reader knows already how they feel. Their relations
to the objects which prompt them and to the reactions which they provoke
are all that one can put down in a book.

Every object that excites an instinct excites an emotion as well. The
only distinction one may draw is that the reaction called emotional
terminates in the subject's own body, whilst the reaction called
instinctive is apt to go farther and enter into practical relations with
the exciting object. In both instinct and emotion the mere memory or
imagination of the object may suffice to liberate the excitement. One
may even get angrier in thinking over one's insult than one was in
receiving it; and melt more over a mother who is dead than one ever did
when she was living. In the rest of the chapter I shall use the word
_object_ of emotion indifferently to mean one which is physically
present or one which is merely thought of.

=The varieties of emotion are innumerable.= _Anger_, _fear_, _love_,
_hate_, _joy_, _grief_, _shame_, _pride_, and their varieties, may be
called the _coarser_ emotions, being coupled as they are with relatively
strong bodily reverberations. The _subtler_ emotions are the moral,
intellectual, and æsthetic feelings, and their bodily reaction is
usually much less strong. The mere description of the objects,
circumstances, and varieties of the different species of emotion may go
to any length. Their internal shadings merge endlessly into each other,
and have been partly commemorated in language, as, for example, by such
synonyms as hatred, antipathy, animosity, resentment, dislike, aversion,
malice, spite, revenge, abhorrence, etc., etc. Dictionaries of synonyms
have discriminated them, as well as text-books of psychology--in fact,
many German psychological text-books _are_ nothing but dictionaries of
synonyms when it comes to the chapter on Emotion. But there are limits
to the profitable elaboration of the obvious, and the result of all this
flux is that the merely descriptive literature of the subject, from
Descartes downwards, is one of the most tedious parts of psychology. And
not only is it tedious, but you feel that its subdivisions are to a
great extent either fictitious or unimportant, and that its pretences to
accuracy are a sham. But unfortunately there is little psychological
writing about the emotions which is not merely descriptive. As emotions
are described in novels, they interest us, for we are made to share
them. We have grown acquainted with the concrete objects and emergencies
which call them forth, and any knowing touch of introspection which may
grace the page meets with a quick and feeling response. Confessedly
literary works of aphoristic philosophy also flash lights into our
emotional life, and give us a fitful delight. But as far as the
'scientific psychology' of the emotions goes, I may have been surfeited
by too much reading of classic works on the subject, but I should as
lief read verbal descriptions of the shapes of the rocks on a New
Hampshire farm as toil through them again. They give one nowhere a
central point of view, or a deductive or generative principle. They
distinguish and refine and specify _in infinitum_ without ever getting
on to another logical level. Whereas the beauty of all truly scientific
work is to get to ever deeper levels. Is there no way out from this
level of individual description in the case of the emotions? I believe
there is a way out, if one will only take it.

=The Cause of their Varieties.=--The trouble with the emotions in
psychology is that they are regarded too much as absolutely individual
things. So long as they are set down as so many eternal and sacred
psychic entities, like the old immutable species in natural history, so
long all that _can_ be done with them is reverently to catalogue their
separate characters, points, and effects. But if we regard them as
products of more general causes (as 'species' are now regarded as
products of heredity and variation), the mere distinguishing and
cataloguing becomes of subsidiary importance. Having the goose which
lays the golden eggs, the description of each egg already laid is a
minor matter. I will devote the next few pages to setting forth one very
general cause of our emotional feeling, limiting myself in the first
instance to what may be called the _coarser_ emotions.

=The feeling, in the coarser emotions, results from the bodily
expression.= Our natural way of thinking about these coarser emotions is
that the mental perception of some fact excites the mental affection
called the emotion, and that this latter state of mind gives rise to the
bodily expression. My theory, on the contrary, is that _the bodily
changes follow directly the perception of the exciting fact, and that
our feeling of the same changes as they occur_ IS _the emotion_.
Common-sense says, we lose our fortune, are sorry and weep; we meet a
bear, are frightened and run; we are insulted by a rival, are angry and
strike. The hypothesis here to be defended says that this order of
sequence is incorrect, that the one mental state is not immediately
induced by the other, that the bodily manifestations must first be
interposed between, and that the more rational statement is that we feel
sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we
tremble, and not that we cry, strike, or tremble because we are sorry,
angry, or fearful, as the case may be. Without the bodily states
following on the perception, the latter would be purely cognitive in
form, pale, colorless, destitute of emotional warmth. We might then see
the bear and judge it best to run, receive the insult and deem it right
to strike, but we should not actually _feel_ afraid or angry.

Stated in this crude way, the hypothesis is pretty sure to meet with
immediate disbelief. And yet neither many nor far-fetched considerations
are required to mitigate its paradoxical character, and possibly to
produce conviction of its truth.

To begin with, _particular perceptions certainly do produce wide-spread
bodily effects by a sort of immediate physical influence, antecedent to
the arousal of an emotion or emotional idea_. In listening to poetry,
drama, or heroic narrative we are often surprised at the cutaneous
shiver which like a sudden wave flows over us, and at the heart-swelling
and the lachrymal effusion that unexpectedly catch us at intervals. In
hearing music the same is even more strikingly true. If we abruptly see
a dark moving form in the woods, our heart stops beating, and we catch
our breath instantly and before any articulate idea of danger can arise.
If our friend goes near to the edge of a precipice, we get the
well-known feeling of 'all-overishness,' and we shrink back, although we
positively _know_ him to be safe, and have no distinct imagination of
his fall. The writer well remembers his astonishment, when a boy of
seven or eight, at fainting when he saw a horse bled. The blood was in a
bucket, with a stick in it, and, if memory does not deceive him, he
stirred it round and saw it drip from the stick with no feeling save
that of childish curiosity. Suddenly the world grew black before his
eyes, his ears began to buzz, and he knew no more. He had never heard of
the sight of blood producing faintness or sickness, and he had so little
repugnance to it, and so little apprehension of any other sort of danger
from it, that even at that tender age, as he well remembers, he could
not help wondering how the mere physical presence of a pailful of
crimson fluid could occasion in him such formidable bodily effects.

The best proof that the immediate cause of emotion is a physical effect
on the nerves is furnished by _those pathological cases in which the
emotion is objectless_. One of the chief merits, in fact, of the view
which I propose seems to be that we can so easily formulate by its means
pathological cases and normal cases under a common scheme. In every
asylum we find examples of absolutely unmotived fear, anger, melancholy,
or conceit; and others of an equally unmotived apathy which persists in
spite of the best of outward reasons why it should give way. In the
former cases we must suppose the nervous machinery to be so 'labile' in
some one emotional direction that almost every stimulus (however
inappropriate) causes it to upset in that way, and to engender the
particular complex of feelings of which the psychic body of the emotion
consists. Thus, to take one special instance, if inability to draw deep
breath, fluttering of the heart, and that peculiar epigastric change
felt as 'precordial anxiety,' with an irresistible tendency to take a
somewhat crouching attitude and to sit still, and with perhaps other
visceral processes not now known, all spontaneously occur together in a
certain person, his feeling of their combination _is_ the emotion of
dread, and he is the victim of what is known as morbid fear. A friend
who has had occasional attacks of this most distressing of all maladies
tells me that in his case the whole drama seems to centre about the
region of the heart and respiratory apparatus, that his main effort
during the attacks is to get control of his inspirations and to slow
his heart, and that the moment he attains to breathing deeply and to
holding himself erect, the dread, _ipso facto_, seems to depart.

The emotion here is nothing but the feeling of a bodily state, and it
has a purely bodily cause.

The next thing to be noticed is this, that _every one of the bodily
changes, whatsoever it be, is_ FELT, _acutely or obscurely, the moment
it occurs_. If the reader has never paid attention to this matter, he
will be both interested and astonished to learn how many different local
bodily feelings he can detect in himself as characteristic of his
various emotional moods. It would be perhaps too much to expect him to
arrest the tide of any strong gust of passion for the sake of any such
curious analysis as this; but he can observe more tranquil states, and
that may be assumed here to be true of the greater which is shown to be
true of the less. Our whole cubic capacity is sensibly alive; and each
morsel of it contributes its pulsations of feeling, dim or sharp,
pleasant, painful, or dubious, to that sense of personality that every
one of us unfailingly carries with him. It is surprising what little
items give accent to these complexes of sensibility. When worried by any
slight trouble, one may find that the focus of one's bodily
consciousness is the contraction, often quite inconsiderable, of the
eyes and brows. When momentarily embarrassed, it is something in the
pharynx that compels either a swallow, a clearing of the throat, or a
slight cough; and so on for as many more instances as might be named.
The various permutations of which these organic changes are susceptible
make it abstractly possible that no shade of emotion should be without a
bodily reverberation as unique, when taken in its totality, as is the
mental mood itself. The immense number of parts modified is what makes
it so difficult for us to reproduce in cold blood the total and integral
expression of any one emotion. We may catch the trick with the voluntary
muscles, but fail with the skin, glands, heart, and other viscera. Just
as an artificially imitated sneeze lacks something of the reality, so
the attempt to imitate grief or enthusiasm in the absence of its normal
instigating cause is apt to be rather 'hollow.'

I now proceed to urge the vital point of my whole theory, which is this:
_If we fancy some strong emotion, and then try to abstract from our
consciousness of it all the feelings of its bodily symptoms, we find we
have nothing left behind_, no 'mind-stuff' out of which the emotion can
be constituted, and that a cold and neutral state of intellectual
perception is all that remains. It is true that, although most people,
when asked, say that their introspection verifies this statement, some
persist in saying theirs does not. Many cannot be made to understand the
question. When you beg them to imagine away every feeling of laughter
and of tendency to laugh from their consciousness of the ludicrousness
of an object, and then to tell you what the feeling of its ludicrousness
would be like, whether it be anything more than the perception that the
object belongs to the class 'funny,' they persist in replying that the
thing proposed is a physical impossibility, and that they always _must_
laugh if they see a funny object. Of course the task proposed is not the
practical one of seeing a ludicrous object and annihilating one's
tendency to laugh. It is the purely speculative one of subtracting
certain elements of feeling from an emotional state supposed to exist in
its fulness, and saying what the residual elements are. I cannot help
thinking that all who rightly apprehend this problem will agree with the
proposition above laid down. What kind of an emotion of fear would be
left if the feeling neither of quickened heart-beats nor of shallow
breathing, neither of trembling lips nor of weakened limbs, neither of
goose-flesh nor of visceral stirrings, were present, it is quite
impossible for me to think. Can one fancy the state of rage and picture
no ebullition in the chest, no flushing of the face, no dilatation of
the nostrils, no clenching of the teeth, no impulse to vigorous action,
but in their stead limp muscles, calm breathing, and a placid face? The
present writer, for one, certainly cannot. The rage is as completely
evaporated as the sensation of its so-called manifestations, and the
only thing that can possibly be supposed to take its place is some
cold-blooded and dispassionate judicial sentence, confined entirely to
the intellectual realm, to the effect that a certain person or persons
merit chastisement for their sins. In like manner of grief: what would
it be without its tears, its sobs, its suffocation of the heart, its
pang in the breast-bone? A feelingless cognition that certain
circumstances are deplorable, and nothing more. Every passion in turn
tells the same story. A disembodied human emotion is a sheer nonentity.
I do not say that it is a contradiction in the nature of things, or that
pure spirits are necessarily condemned to cold intellectual lives; but I
say that for _us_ emotion dissociated from all bodily feeling is
inconceivable. The more closely I scrutinize my states, the more
persuaded I become that whatever 'coarse' affections and passions I have
are in very truth constituted by, and made up of, those bodily changes
which we ordinarily call their expression or consequence; and the more
it seems to me that, if I were to become corporeally anæsthetic, I
should be excluded from the life of the affections, harsh and tender
alike, and drag out an existence of merely cognitive or intellectual
form. Such an existence, although it seems to have been the ideal of
ancient sages, is too apathetic to be keenly sought after by those born
after the revival of the worship of sensibility, a few generations ago.

=Let not this view be called materialistic.= It is neither more nor less
materialistic than any other view which says that our emotions are
conditioned by nervous processes. No reader of this hook is likely to
rebel against such a saying so long as it is expressed in general terms;
and if any one still finds materialism in the thesis now defended, that
must be because of the special processes invoked. They are
_sensational_ processes, processes due to inward currents set up by
physical happenings. Such processes have, it is true, always been
regarded by the platonizers in psychology as having something peculiarly
base about them. But our emotions must always be _inwardly_ what they
are, whatever be the physiological ground of their apparition. If they
are deep, pure, worthy, spiritual facts on any conceivable theory of
their physiological source, they remain no less deep, pure, spiritual,
and worthy of regard on this present sensational theory. They carry
their own inner measure of worth with them; and it is just as logical to
use the present theory of the emotions for proving that sensational
processes need not be vile and material, as to use their vileness and
materiality as a proof that such a theory cannot be true.

=This view explains the great variability of emotion.= If such a theory is
true, then each emotion is the resultant of a sum of elements, and each
element is caused by a physiological process of a sort already well
known. The elements are all organic changes, and each of them is the
reflex effect of the exciting object. Definite questions now immediately
arise--questions very different from those which were the only possible
ones without this view. Those were questions of classification: "Which
are the proper genera of emotion, and which the species under each?"--or
of description: "By what expression is each emotion characterized?" The
questions now are _causal_: "Just what changes does this object and what
changes does that object excite?" and "How come they to excite these
particular changes and not others?" We step from a superficial to a deep
order of inquiry. Classification and description are the lowest stage of
science. They sink into the background the moment questions of causation
are formulated, and remain important only so far as they facilitate our
answering these. Now the moment an emotion is causally accounted for, as
the arousal by an object of a lot of reflex acts which are forthwith
felt, _we immediately see why there is no limit to the number of
possible different emotions which may exist, and why the emotions of
different individuals may vary indefinitely_, both as to their
constitution and as to the objects which call them forth. For there is
nothing sacramental or eternally fixed in reflex action. Any sort of
reflex effect is possible, and reflexes actually vary indefinitely, as
we know.

In short, _any classification of the emotions is seen to be as true and
as 'natural' as any other_, if it only serves some purpose; and such a
question as "What is the 'real' or 'typical' expression of anger, or
fear?" is seen to have no objective meaning at all. Instead of it we now
have the question as to how any given 'expression' of anger or fear may
have come to exist; and that is a real question of physiological
mechanics on the one hand, and of history on the other, which (like all
real questions) is in essence answerable, although the answer may be
hard to find. On a later page I shall mention the attempts to answer it
which have been made.

=A Corollary verified.=--If our theory be true, a necessary corollary of
it ought to be this: that any voluntary and cold-blooded arousal of the
so-called manifestations of a special emotion should give us the emotion
itself. Now within the limits in which it can be verified, experience
corroborates rather than disproves this inference. Everyone knows how
panic is increased by flight, and how the giving way to the symptoms of
grief or anger increases those passions themselves. Each fit of sobbing
makes the sorrow more acute, and calls forth another fit stronger still,
until at last repose only ensues with lassitude and with the apparent
exhaustion of the machinery. In rage, it is notorious how we 'work
ourselves up' to a climax by repeated outbreaks of expression. Refuse to
express a passion, and it dies. Count ten before venting your anger, and
its occasion seems ridiculous. Whistling to keep up courage is no mere
figure of speech. On the other hand, sit all day in a moping posture,
sigh, and reply to everything with a dismal voice, and your melancholy
lingers. There is no more valuable precept in moral education than this,
as all who have experience know: if we wish to conquer undesirable
emotional tendencies in ourselves, we must assiduously, and in the first
instance cold-bloodedly, go through the _outward movements_ of those
contrary dispositions which we prefer to cultivate. The reward of
persistency will infallibly come, in the fading out of the sullenness or
depression, and the advent of real cheerfulness and kindliness in their
stead. Smooth the brow, brighten the eye, contract the dorsal rather
than the ventral aspect of the frame, and speak in a major key, pass the
genial compliment, and your heart must be frigid indeed if it do not
gradually thaw!

Against this it is to be said that many actors who perfectly mimic the
outward appearances of emotion in face, gait, and voice declare that
they feel no emotion at all. Others, however, according to Mr. Wm.
Archer, who has made a very instructive statistical inquiry among them,
say that the emotion of the part masters them whenever they play it
well. The explanation for the discrepancy amongst actors is probably
simple. The _visceral and organic_ part of the expression can be
suppressed in some men, but not in others, and on this it must be that
the chief part of the felt emotion depends. Those actors who feel the
emotion are probably unable, those who are inwardly cold are probably
able, to affect the dissociation in a complete way.

=An Objection replied to.=--It may be objected to the general theory which
I maintain that stopping the expression of an emotion often makes it
worse. The funniness becomes quite excruciating when we are forbidden by
the situation to laugh, and anger pent in by fear turns into tenfold
hate. Expressing either emotion freely, however, gives relief.

This objection is more specious than real. _During_ the expression the
emotion is always felt. _After_ it, the centres having normally
discharged themselves, we feel it no more. But where the facial part of
the discharge is suppressed the thoracic and visceral may be all the
more violent and persistent, as in suppressed laughter; or the original
emotion may be changed, by the combination of the provoking object with
the restraining pressure, into _another emotion altogether_, in which
different and possibly profounder organic disturbance occurs. If I would
kill my enemy but dare not, my emotion is surely altogether other than
that which would possess me if I let my anger explode.--On the whole,
therefore this objection has no weight.

=The Subtler Emotions.=--In the æsthetic emotions the bodily reverberation
and the feeling may both be faint. A connoisseur is apt to judge a work
of art dryly and intellectually, and with no bodily thrill. On the other
hand, works of art may arouse intense emotion; and whenever they do so,
the experience is completely covered by the terms of our theory. Our
theory requires that _incoming currents_ be the basis of emotion. But,
whether secondary organic reverberations be or be not aroused by it, the
perception of a work of art (music, decoration, etc.) is always in the
first instance at any rate an affair of incoming currents. The work
itself is an object of sensation; and, the perception of an object of
sensation being a 'coarse' or vivid experience, what pleasure goes with
it will partake of the 'coarse' or vivid form.

That there may be subtle pleasure too, I do not deny. In other words,
there may be purely cerebral emotion, independent of all currents from
outside. Such feelings as moral satisfaction, thankfulness, curiosity,
relief at getting a problem solved, may be of this sort. But the
thinness and paleness of these feelings, when unmixed with bodily
effects, is in very striking contrast to the coarser emotions. In all
sentimental and impressionable people the bodily effects mix in: the
voice breaks and the eyes moisten when the moral truth is felt, etc.
Wherever there is anything like _rapture_, however intellectual its
ground, we find these secondary processes ensue. Unless we actually
laugh at the neatness of the demonstration or witticism; unless we
thrill at the case of justice, or tingle at the act of magnanimity, our
state of mind can hardly be called emotional at all. It is in fact a
mere intellectual perception of how certain things are to be
called--neat, right, witty, generous, and the like. Such a judicial
state of mind as this is to be classed among cognitive rather than among
emotional acts.

=Description of Fear.=--For the reasons given on p. 374, I will append no
inventory or classification of emotions or description of their
symptoms. The reader has practically almost all the facts in his own
hand. As an example, however, of the best sort of descriptive work on
the symptoms, I will quote Darwin's account of them in fear.

"Fear is often preceded by astonishment, and is so far akin to it that
both lead to the senses of sight and hearing being instantly aroused. In
both cases the eyes and mouth are widely opened and the eyebrows raised.
The frightened man at first stands like a statue, motionless and
breathless, or crouches down as if instinctively to escape observation.
The heart beats quickly and violently, so that it palpitates or knocks
against the ribs; but it is very doubtful if it then works more
efficiently than usual, so as to send a greater supply of blood to all
parts of the body; for the skin instantly becomes pale as during
incipient faintness. This paleness of the surface, however, is probably
in large part, or is exclusively, due to the vaso-motor centre being
affected in such a manner as to cause the contraction of the small
arteries of the skin. That the skin is much affected under the sense of
great fear, we see in the marvellous manner in which perspiration
immediately exudes from it. This exudation is all the more remarkable,
as the surface is then cold, and hence the term, a cold sweat; whereas
the sudorific glands are properly excited into action when the surface
is heated. The hairs also on the skin stand erect, and the superficial
muscles shiver. In connection with the disturbed action of the heart
the breathing is hurried. The salivary glands act imperfectly; the mouth
becomes dry and is often opened and shut. I have also noticed that under
slight fear there is strong tendency to yawn. One of the best marked
symptoms is the trembling of all the muscles of the body; and this is
often first seen in the lips. From this cause, and from the dryness of
the mouth, the voice becomes husky or indistinct or may altogether fail.
'_Obstupui steteruntque comæ, et vox faucibus hæsit._'... As fear
increases into an agony of terror, we behold, as under all violent
emotions, diversified results. The heart beats wildly or must fail to
act and faintness ensue; there is a death-like pallor; the breathing is
labored; the wings of the nostrils are widely dilated; there is a
gasping and convulsive motion of the lips, a tremor on the hollow cheek,
a gulping and catching of the throat; the uncovered and protruding
eyeballs are fixed on the object of terror; or they may roll restlessly
from side to side, _huc illuc volens oculos totumque pererrat_. The
pupils are said to be enormously dilated. All the muscles of the body
may become rigid or may be thrown into convulsive movements. The hands
are alternately clenched and opened, often with a twitching movement.
The arms may be protruded as if to avert some dreadful danger, or may be
thrown wildly over the head. The Rev. Mr. Hagenauer has seen this latter
action in a terrified Australian. In other cases there is a sudden and
uncontrollable tendency to headlong flight; and so strong is this that
the boldest soldiers may be seized with a sudden panic."[48]

=Genesis of the Emotional Reactions.=--How come the various objects which
excite emotion to produce such special and different bodily effects?
This question was not asked till quite recently, but already some
interesting suggestions towards answering it have been made.

Some movements of expression can be accounted for as _weakened
repetitions of movements which formerly_ (when they were stronger) _were
of utility to the subject_. Others are similarly weakened repetitions of
movements which under other conditions were _physiologically necessary
concomitants of the useful movements_. Of the latter reactions the
respiratory disturbances in anger and fear might be taken as
examples--organic reminiscences, as it were, reverberations in
imagination of the blowings of the man making a series of combative
efforts, of the pantings of one in precipitate flight. Such at least is
a suggestion made by Mr. Spencer which has found approval. And he also
was the first, so far as I know, to suggest that other movements in
anger and fear could be explained by the nascent excitation of formerly
useful acts.

"To have in a slight degree," he says, "such psychical states as
accompany the reception of wounds, and are experienced during flight, is
to be in a state of what we call fear. And to have in a slight degree
such psychical states as the processes of catching, killing, and eating
imply, is to have the desires to catch, kill, and eat. That the
propensities to the acts are nothing else than nascent excitations of
the psychical state involved in the acts, is proved by the natural
language of the propensities. Fear, when strong, expresses itself in
cries, in efforts to escape, in palpitations, in tremblings; and these
are just the manifestations that go along with an actual suffering of
the evil feared. The destructive passion is shown in a general tension
of the muscular system, in gnashing of teeth and protrusion of the
claws, in dilated eyes and nostrils in growls; and these are weaker
forms of the actions that accompany the killing of prey. To such
objective evidences every one can add subjective evidences. Everyone can
testify that the psychical state called fear consists of mental
representations of certain painful results; and that the one called
anger consists of mental representations of the actions and impressions
which would occur while inflicting some kind of pain."

The principle of _revival, in weakened form, of reactions useful in more
violent dealings with the object inspiring the emotion_, has found many
applications. So slight a symptom as the snarl or sneer, the one-sided
uncovering of the upper teeth, is accounted for by Darwin as a survival
from the time when our ancestors had large canines, and unfleshed them
(as dogs now do) for attack. Similarly the raising of the eyebrows in
outward attention, the opening of the mouth in astonishment, come,
according to the same author, from the utility of these movements in
extreme cases. The raising of the eyebrows goes with the opening of the
eye for better vision; the opening of the mouth with the intensest
listening, and with the rapid catching of the breath which precedes
muscular effort. The distention of the nostrils in anger is interpreted
by Spencer as an echo of the way in which our ancestors had to breathe
when, during combat, their "mouth was filled up by a part of an
antagonist's body that had been seized" (!). The trembling of fear is
supposed by Mantegazza to be for the sake of warming the blood (!). The
reddening of the face and neck is called by Wundt a compensatory
arrangement for relieving the brain of the blood-pressure which the
simultaneous excitement of the heart brings with it. The effusion of
tears is explained both by this author and by Darwin to be a
blood-withdrawing agency of a similar sort. The contraction of the
muscles around the eyes, of which the primitive use is to protect those
organs from being too much gorged with blood during the screaming fits
of infancy, survives in adult life in the shape of the frown, which
instantly comes over the brow when anything difficult or displeasing
presents itself either to thought or action.

"As the habit of contracting the brows has been followed by infants
during innumerable generations, at the commencement of every crying or
screaming fit," says Darwin, "it has become firmly associated with the
incipient sense of something distressing or disagreeable. Hence, under
similar circumstances, it would be apt to be continued during maturity,
although never then developed, into a crying fit. Screaming or weeping
begins to be voluntarily restrained at an early period of life, whereas
frowning is hardly ever restrained at any age."

       *       *       *       *       *

Another principle, to which Darwin perhaps hardly does sufficient
justice, may be called the principle of _reacting similarly to
analogous-feeling stimuli_. There is a whole vocabulary of descriptive
adjectives common to impressions belonging to different sensible
spheres--experiences of all classes are _sweet_, impressions of all
classes _rich_ or _solid_, sensations of all classes _sharp_. Wundt and
Piderit accordingly explain many of our most expressive reactions upon
moral causes as symbolic gustatory movements. As soon as any experience
arises which has an affinity with the feeling of sweet, or bitter, or
sour, the same movements are executed which would result from the taste
in point. "All the states of mind which language designates by the
metaphors bitter, harsh, sweet, combine themselves, therefore, with the
corresponding mimetic movements of the mouth." Certainly the emotions of
disgust and satisfaction do express themselves in this mimetic way.
Disgust is an incipent regurgitation or retching, limiting its
expression often to the grimace of the lips and nose; satisfaction goes
with a sucking smile, or tasting motion of the lips. The ordinary
gesture of negation--among us, moving the head about its axis from side
to side--is a reaction originally used by babies to keep disagreeables
from getting into their mouth, and may be observed in perfection in any
nursery. It is now evoked where the stimulus is only an unwelcome idea.
Similarly the nod forward in affirmation is after the analogy of taking
food into the mouth. The connection of the expression of moral or social
disdain or dislike, especially in women, with movements having a
perfectly definite original olfactory function, is too obvious for
comment. Winking is the effect of any threatening surprise, not only of
what puts the eyes in danger; and a momentary aversion of the eyes is
very apt to be one's first symptom of response to an unexpectedly
unwelcome proposition.--These may suffice as examples of movements
expressive from analogy.

But if certain of our emotional reactions can be explained by the two
principles invoked--and the reader will himself have felt how
conjectural and fallible in some of the instances the explanation
is--there remain many reactions which cannot so be explained at all, and
these we must write down for the present as purely idiopathic effects of
the stimulus. Amongst them are the effects on the viscera and internal
glands, the dryness of the mouth and diarrhœa and nausea of fear, the
liver-disturbances which sometimes produce jaundice after excessive
rage, the urinary secretion of sanguine excitement, and the
bladder-contraction of apprehension, the gaping of expectancy, the 'lump
in the throat' of grief, the tickling there and the swallowing of
embarrassment, the 'precordial anxiety' of dread, the changes in the
pupil, the various sweatings of the skin, cold or hot, local or general,
and its flushings, together with other symptoms which probably exist but
are too hidden to have been noticed or named. Trembling, which is found
in many excitements besides that of terror, is, _pace_ Mr. Spencer and
Sig. Mantegazza, quite pathological. So are terror's other strong
symptoms: they are harmful to the creature who presents them. In an
organism as complex as the nervous system there must be many
_incidental_ reactions which would never themselves have been evolved
independently, for any utility they might possess. Sea-sickness,
ticklishness, shyness, the love of music, of the various intoxicants,
nay, the entire æsthetic life of man, must be traced to this accidental
origin. It would be foolish to suppose that none of the reactions called
emotional could have arisen in this _quasi_-accidental way.



=Its Definition.=--_Instinct is usually defined as the faculty of acting
in such a way as to produce certain ends, without foresight of the ends,
and without previous education in the performance._ Instincts are the
functional correlatives of structure. With the presence of a certain
organ goes, one may say, almost always a native aptitude for its use.

The actions we call instinctive all conform to the general reflex type;
they are called forth by determinate sensory stimuli in contact with the
animal's body, or at a distance in his environment. The cat runs after
the mouse, runs or shows fight before the dog, avoids falling from walls
and trees, shuns fire and water, etc., not because he has any notion
either of life or of death, or of self, or of preservation. He has
probably attained to no one of these conceptions in such a way as to
react definitely upon it. He acts in each case separately, and simply
because he cannot help it; being so framed that when that particular
running thing called a mouse appears in his field of vision he _must_
pursue; that when that particular barking and obstreperous thing called
a dog appears there he _must_ retire, if at a distance, and scratch if
close by; that he _must_ withdraw his feet from water and his face from
flame, etc. His nervous system is to a great extent a preorganized
bundle of such reactions--they are as fatal as sneezing, and as exactly
correlated to their special excitants as it is to its own. Although the
naturalist may, for his own convenience, class these reactions under
general heads, he must not forget that in the animal it is a particular
sensation or perception or image which calls them forth.

At first this view astounds us by the enormous number of special
adjustments it supposes animals to possess ready-made in anticipation of
the outer things among which they are to dwell. _Can_ mutual dependence
be so intricate and go so far? Is each thing born fitted to particular
other things, and to them exclusively, as locks are fitted to their
keys? Undoubtedly this must be believed to be so. Each nook and cranny
of creation, down to our very skin and entrails, has its living
inhabitants, with organs suited to the place, to devour and digest the
food it harbors and to meet the dangers it conceals; and the minuteness
of adaptation thus shown in the way of _structure_ knows no bounds. Even
so are there no bounds to the minuteness of adaptation in the way of
_conduct_ which the several inhabitants display.

The older writings on instinct are ineffectual wastes of words, because
their authors never came down to this definite and simple point of view,
but smothered everything in vague wonder at the clairvoyant and
prophetic power of the animals--so superior to anything in man--and at
the beneficence of God in endowing them with such a gift. But God's
beneficence endows them, first of all, with a nervous system; and,
turning our attention to this, makes instinct immediately appear neither
more nor less wonderful than all the other facts of life.

=Every instinct is an impulse.= Whether we shall call such impulses as
blushing, sneezing, coughing, smiling, or dodging, or keeping time to
music, instincts or not, is a mere matter of terminology. The process is
the same throughout. In his delightfully fresh and interesting work,
'Der Thierische Wille,' Herr G. H. Schneider subdivides impulses
(_Triebe_) into sensation-impulses, perception-impulses, and
idea-impulses. To crouch from cold is a sensation-impulse; to turn and
follow, if we see people running one way, is a perception-impulse; to
cast about for cover, if it begins to blow and rain, is an
imagination-impulse. A single complex instinctive action may involve
successively the awakening of impulses of all three classes. Thus a
hungry lion starts to _seek_ prey by the awakening in him of imagination
coupled with desire; he begins to _stalk_ it when, on eye, ear, or
nostril, he gets an impression of its presence at a certain distance; he
_springs_ upon it, either when the booty takes alarm and flees, or when
the distance is sufficiently reduced; he proceeds to _tear_ and _devour_
it the moment he gets a sensation of its contact with his claws and
fangs. Seeking, stalking, springing, and devouring are just so many
different kinds of muscular contraction, and neither kind is called
forth by the stimulus appropriate to the other.

_Now, why do the various animals do what seem to us such strange
things_, in the presence of such outlandish stimuli? Why does the hen,
for example, submit herself to the tedium of incubating such a fearfully
uninteresting set of objects as a nestful of eggs, unless she have some
sort of a prophetic inkling of the result? The only answer is _ad
hominem_. We can only interpret the instincts of brutes by what we know
of instincts in ourselves. Why do men always lie down, when they can, on
soft beds rather than on hard floors? Why do they sit round the stove on
a cold day? Why, in a room, do they place themselves, ninety-nine times
out of a hundred, with their faces towards its middle rather than to the
wall? Why do they prefer saddle of mutton and champagne to hard-tack and
ditch-water? Why does the maiden interest the youth so that everything
about her seems more important and significant than anything else in the
world? Nothing more can be said than that these are human ways, and that
every creature _likes_ its own ways, and takes to the following them as
a matter of course. Science may come and consider these ways, and find
that most of them are useful. But it is not for the sake of their
utility that they are followed, but because at the moment of following
them we feel that that is the only appropriate and natural thing to do.
Not one man in a billion, when taking his dinner, ever thinks of
utility. He eats because the food tastes good and makes him want more.
If you ask him _why_ he should want to eat more of what tastes like
that, instead of revering you as a philosopher he will probably laugh at
you for a fool. The connection between the savory sensation and the act
it awakens is for him absolute and _selbstverständlich_, an '_a priori_
synthesis' of the most perfect sort, needing no proof but its own
evidence. It takes, in short, what Berkeley calls a mind debauched by
learning to carry the process of making the natural seem strange, so far
as to ask for the _why_ of any instinctive human act. To the
metaphysician alone can such questions occur as: Why do we smile, when
pleased, and not scowl? Why are we unable to talk to a crowd as we talk
to a single friend? Why does a particular maiden turn our wits so
upside-down? The common man can only say, "_Of course_ we smile, _of
course_ our heart palpitates at the sight of the crowd, _of course_ we
love the maiden, that beautiful soul clad in that perfect form, so
palpably and flagrantly made from all eternity to be loved!"

And so, probably, does each animal feel about the particular things it
tends to do in presence of particular objects. They, too, are _a priori_
syntheses. To the lion it is the lioness which is made to be loved; to
the bear, the she-bear. To the broody hen the notion would probably seem
monstrous that there should be a creature in the world to whom a nestful
of eggs was not the utterly fascinating and precious and
never-to-be-too-much-sat-upon object which it is to her.

Thus we may be sure that, however mysterious some animals' instincts may
appear to us, our instincts will appear no less mysterious to them. And
we may conclude that, to the animal which obeys it, every impulse and
every step of every instinct shines with its own sufficient light, and
seems at the moment the only eternally right and proper thing to do. It
is done for its own sake exclusively. What voluptuous thrill may not
shake a fly, when she at last discovers the one particular leaf, or
carrion, or bit of dung, that out of all the world can stimulate her
ovipositor to its discharge? Does not the discharge then seem to her the
only fitting thing? And need she care or know anything about the future
maggot and its food?

=Instincts are not always blind or invariable.= Nothing is commoner than
the remark that man differs from lower creatures by the almost total
absence of instincts, and the assumption of their work in him by
'reason.' A fruitless discussion might be waged on this point by two
theorizers who were careful not to define their terms. We must of course
avoid a quarrel about words, and the facts of the case are really
tolerably plain. Man has a far greater variety of _impulses_ than any
lower animal; and any one of these impulses, taken in itself, is as
'blind' as the lowest instinct can be; but, owing to man's memory, power
of reflection, and power of inference, they come each one to be felt by
him, after he has once yielded to them and experienced their results, in
connection with a _foresight_ of those results. In this condition an
impulse acted out may be said to be acted out, in part at least, _for
the sake_ of its results. It is obvious that _every instinctive act, in
an animal with memory, must cease to be 'blind' after being once
repeated_, and must be accompanied with foresight of its 'end' just so
far as that end may have fallen under the animal's cognizance. An insect
that lays her eggs in a place where she never sees them hatched must
always do so 'blindly'; but a hen who has already hatched a brood can
hardly be assumed to sit with perfect 'blindness' on her second nest.
Some expectation of consequences must in every case like this be
aroused; and this expectation, according as it is that of something
desired or of something disliked, must necessarily either re-enforce or
inhibit the mere impulse. The hen's idea of the chickens would probably
encourage her to sit; a rat's memory, on the other hand, of a former
escape from a trap would neutralize his impulse to take bait from
anything that reminded him of that trap. If a boy sees a fat
hopping-toad, he probably has incontinently an impulse (especially if
with other boys) to smash the creature with a stone, which impulse we
may suppose him blindly to obey. But something in the expression of the
dying toad's clasped hands suggests the meanness of the act, or reminds
him of sayings he has heard about the sufferings of animals being like
his own; so that, when next he is tempted by a toad, an idea arises
which, far from spurring him again to the torment, prompts kindly
actions, and may even make him the toad's champion against less
reflecting boys.

It is plain, then, that, _no matter how well endowed an animal may
originally be in the way of instincts, his resultant actions will be
much modified if the instincts combine with experience_, if in addition
to impulses he have memories, associations, inferences, and
expectations, on any considerable scale. An object O, on which he has an
instinctive impulse to react in the manner A, would _directly_ provoke
him to that reaction. But O has meantime become for him a _sign_ of the
nearness of P, on which he has an equally strong impulse to react in the
manner B, quite unlike A. So that when he meets O, the immediate impulse
A and the remote impulse B struggle in his breast for the mastery. The
fatality and uniformity said to be characteristic of instinctive actions
will be so little manifest that one might be tempted to deny to him
altogether the possession of any instinct about the object O. Yet how
false this judgment would be! The instinct about O is there; only by the
complication of the associative machinery it has come into conflict with
another instinct about P.

Here we immediately reap the good fruits of our simple physiological
conception of what an instinct is. If it be a mere excito-motor impulse,
due to the preëxistence of a certain 'reflex arc' in the nerve-centres
of the creature, of course it must follow the law of all such reflex
arcs. One liability of such arcs is to have their activity 'inhibited'
by other processes going on at the same time. It makes no difference
whether the arc be organized at birth, or ripen spontaneously later, or
be due to acquired habit; it must take its chances with all the other
arcs, and sometimes succeed, and sometimes fail, in drafting off the
currents through itself. The mystical view of an instinct would make it
invariable. The physiological view would require it to show occasional
irregularities in any animal in whom the number of separate instincts,
and the possible entrance of the same stimulus into several of them,
were great. And such irregularities are what every superior animal's
instincts do show in abundance.

Wherever the mind is elevated enough to discriminate; wherever several
distinct sensory elements must combine to discharge the reflex arc;
wherever, instead of plumping into action instantly at the first rough
intimation of what _sort_ of a thing is there, the agent waits to see
which _one_ of its kind it is and what the _circumstances_ are of its
appearance; wherever different individuals and different circumstances
can impel him in different ways; wherever these are the conditions--we
have a masking of the elementary constitution of the instinctive life.
The whole story of our dealings with the lower wild animals is the
history of our taking advantage of the way in which they judge of
everything by its mere label, as it were, so as to ensnare or kill them.
Nature, in them, has left matters in this rough way, and made them act
_always_ in the manner which would be _oftenest_ right. There are more
worms unattached to hooks than impaled upon them; therefore, on the
whole, says Nature to her fishy children, bite at _every_ worm and take
your chances. But as her children get higher, and their lives more
precious, she reduces the risks. Since what seems to be the same object
may be now a genuine food and now a bait; since in gregarious species
each individual may prove to be either the friend or the rival,
according to the circumstances, of another; since any entirely unknown
object may be fraught with weal or woe. _Nature implants contrary
impulses to act on many classes of things_, and leaves it to slight
alterations in the conditions of the individual case to decide which
impulse shall carry the day. Thus, greediness and suspicion, curiosity
and timidity, coyness and desire, bashfulness and vanity, sociability
and pugnacity, seem to shoot over into each other as quickly, and to
remain in as unstable an equilibrium, in the higher birds and mammals as
in man. All are impulses, congenital, blind at first, and productive of
motor reactions of a rigorously determinate sort. _Each one of them then
is an instinct_, as instincts are commonly defined. _But they contradict
each other_--'experience' in each particular opportunity of application
usually deciding the issue. _The animal that exhibits them loses the
'instinctive' demeanor_ and appears to lead a life of hesitation and
choice, an intellectual life; _not, however, because he has no
instincts--rather because he has so many that they block each other's

Thus we may confidently say that however uncertain man's reactions upon
his environment may sometimes seem in comparison with those of lower
mammals, the uncertainty is probably not due to their possession of any
principles of action which he lacks. _On the contrary, man possesses all
the impulses that they have, and a great many more besides._ In other
words, there is no material antagonism between instinct and reason.
Reason, _per se_, can inhibit no impulses; the only thing that can
neutralize an impulse is an impulse the other way. Reason may, however,
make an _inference which will excite the imagination so as to let loose_
the impulse the other way; and thus, though the animal richest in reason
is also the animal richest in instinctive impulses too, he never seems
the fatal automaton which a _merely_ instinctive animal must be.

=Two Principles of Non-uniformity.=--Instincts may be masked in the mature
animal's life by two other causes. These are:

_a._ The _inhibition of instincts by habits_; and

_b._ The _transitoriness of instincts_.

_a._ The law of =inhibition of instincts by habits= is this: _When objects
of a certain class elicit from an animal a certain sort of reaction, it
often happens that the animal becomes partial to the first specimen of
the class on which it has reacted, and will not afterward react on any
other specimen._

The selection of a particular hole to live in, of a particular mate, of
a particular feeding-ground, a particular variety of diet, a particular
anything, in short, out of a possible multitude, is a very wide-spread
tendency among animals, even those low down in the scale. The limpet
will return to the same sticking-place in its rock, and the lobster to
its favorite nook on the sea-bottom. The rabbit will deposit its dung in
the same corner; the bird makes its nest on the same bough. But each of
these preferences carries with it an insensibility to _other_
opportunities and occasions--an insensibility which can only be
described physiologically as an inhibition of new impulses by the habit
of old ones already formed. The possession of homes and wives of our own
makes us strangely insensible to the charms of those of other people.
Few of us are adventurous in the matter of food; in fact, most of us
think there is something disgusting in a bill of fare to which we are
unused. Strangers, we are apt to think, cannot be worth knowing,
especially if they come from distant cities, etc. The original impulse
which got us homes, wives, dietaries, and friends at all, seems to
exhaust itself in its first achievements and to leave no surplus energy
for reacting on new cases. And so it comes about that, witnessing this
torpor, an observer of mankind might say that no _instinctive_
propensity toward certain objects existed at all. It existed, but it
existed _miscellaneously_, or as an instinct pure and simple, only
before habit was formed. A habit, once grafted on an instinctive
tendency, restricts the range of the tendency itself, and keeps us from
reacting on any but the habitual object, although other objects might
just as well have been chosen had they been the first-comers.

Another sort of arrest of instinct by habit is where the same class of
objects awakens contrary instinctive impulses. Here the impulse first
followed toward a given individual of the class is apt to keep him from
ever awakening the opposite impulse in us. In fact, the whole class may
be protected by this individual specimen from the application to it of
the other impulse. Animals, for example, awaken in a child the opposite
impulses of fearing and fondling. But if a child, in his first attempts
to pat a dog, gets snapped at or bitten, so that the impulse of fear is
strongly aroused, it may be that for years to come no dog will excite in
him the impulse to fondle again. On the other hand, the greatest natural
enemies, if carefully introduced to each other when young and guided at
the outset by superior authority, settle down into those 'happy
families' of friends which we see in our menageries. Young animals,
immediately after birth, have no instinct of fear, but show their
dependence by allowing themselves to be freely handled. Later, however,
they grow 'wild' and, if left to themselves, will not let man approach
them. I am told by farmers in the Adirondack wilderness that it is a
very serious matter if a cow wanders off and calves in the woods and is
not found for a week or more. The calf, by that time, is as wild and
almost as fleet as a deer, and hard to capture without violence. But
calves rarely show any wildness to the men who have been in contact with
them during the first days of their life, when the instinct to attach
themselves is uppermost, nor do they dread strangers as they would if
brought up wild.

Chickens give a curious illustration of the same law. Mr. Spalding's
wonderful article on instinct shall supply us with the facts. These
little creatures show opposite instincts of attachment and fear, either
of which may be aroused by the same object, man. If a chick is born in
the absence of the hen, it "will follow any moving object. And when
guided by sight alone, they seem to have no more disposition to follow a
hen than to follow a duck or a human being. Unreflecting lookers-on,
when they saw chickens a day old running after me," says Mr. Spalding,
"and older ones following me for miles, and answering to my whistle,
imagined that I must have some occult power over the creatures: whereas
I had simply allowed them to follow me from the first. There is the
instinct to follow; and the ear, prior to experience, attaches them to
the right object."[49]

But if a man presents himself for the first time when the instinct of
_fear_ is strong, the phenomena are altogether reversed. Mr. Spalding
kept three chickens hooded until they were nearly four days old, and
thus describes their behavior:

"Each of them, on being unhooded, evinced the greatest terror to me,
dashing off in the opposite direction whenever I sought to approach it.
The table on which they were unhooded stood before a window, and each in
its turn beat against the window like a wild bird. One of them darted
behind some books, and, squeezing itself into a corner, remained
cowering for a length of time. We might guess at the meaning of this
strange and exceptional wildness; but the odd fact is enough for my
present purpose. Whatever might have been the meaning of this marked
change in their mental constitution--had they been unhooded on the
previous day they would have run to me instead of from me--it could not
have been the effect of experience; it must have resulted wholly from
changes in their own organizations."[50]

Their case was precisely analogous to that of the Adirondack calves. The
two opposite instincts relative to the same object ripen in succession.
If the first one engenders a habit, that habit will inhibit the
application of the second instinct to that object. All animals are tame
during the earliest phase of their infancy. Habits formed then limit the
effects of whatever instincts of wildness may later be evolved.

_b._ This leads us to the =law of transitoriness=, which is this: _Many
instincts ripen at a certain age and then fade away_. A consequence of
this law is that if, during the time of such an instinct's vivacity,
objects adequate to arouse it are met with, a _habit_ of acting on them
is formed, which remains when the original instinct has passed away; but
that if no such objects are met with, then no habit will be formed; and,
later on in life, when the animal meets the objects, he will altogether
fail to react, as at the earlier epoch he would instinctively have done.

No doubt such a law is restricted. Some instincts are far less transient
than others--those connected with feeding and 'self-preservation' may
hardly be transient at all,--and some, after fading out for a time,
recur as strong as ever; e.g., the instincts of pairing and rearing
young. The law, however, though not absolute, is certainly very
widespread, and a few examples will illustrate just what it means.

In the chickens and calves above mentioned it is obvious that the
instinct to follow and become attached fades out after a few days, and
that the instinct of flight then take its place, the conduct of the
creature toward man being decided by the formation or non-formation of a
certain habit during those days. The transiency of the chicken's
instinct to follow is also proved by its conduct toward the hen. Mr.
Spalding kept some chickens shut up till they were comparatively old,
and, speaking of these, he says:

"A chicken that has not heard the call of the mother until eight or ten
days old then hears it as if it heard it not. I regret to find that on
this point my notes are not so full as I could wish, or as they might
have been. There is, however, an account of one chicken that could not
be returned to the mother when ten days old. The hen followed it, and
tried to entice it in every way; still, it continually left her and ran
to the house or to any person of whom it caught sight. This it persisted
in doing, though beaten back with a small branch dozens of times, and,
indeed, cruelly maltreated. It was also placed under the mother at
night, but it again left her in the morning."

The instinct of sucking is ripe in all mammals at birth, and leads to
that habit of taking the breast which, in the human infant, may be
prolonged by daily exercise long beyond its usual term of a year or a
year and a half. But the instinct itself is transient, in the sense that
if, for any reason, the child be fed by spoon during the first few days
of its life and not put to the breast, it may be no easy matter after
that to make it suck at all. So of calves. If their mother die, or be
dry, or refuse to let them suck for a day or two, so that they are fed
by hand, it becomes hard to get them to suck at all when a new nurse is
provided. The ease with which sucking creatures are weaned, by simply
breaking the habit and giving them food in a new way, shows that the
instinct, purely as such, must be entirely extinct.

Assuredly the simple fact that instincts are transient, and that the
effect of later ones may be altered by the habits which earlier ones
have left behind, is a far more philosophical explanation than the
notion of an instinctive constitution vaguely 'deranged' or 'thrown out
of gear.'

I have observed a Scotch terrier, born on the floor of a stable in
December, and transferred six weeks later to a carpeted house, make,
when he was less than four months old, a very elaborate pretence of
burying things, such as gloves, etc., with which he had played till he
was tired. He scratched the carpet with his forefeet, dropped the object
from his mouth upon the spot, then scratched all about it, and finally
went away and let it lie. Of course, the act was entirely useless. I saw
him perform it at that age some four or five times, and never again in
his life. The conditions were not present to fix a habit which should
last when the prompting instinct died away. But suppose meat instead of
a glove, earth instead of a carpet, hunger-pangs instead of a fresh
supper a few hours later, and it is easy to see how this dog might have
got into a habit of burying superfluous food, which might have lasted
all his life. Who can swear that the strictly instinctive part of the
food-burying propensity in the wild _Canidæ_ may not be as short-lived
as it was in this terrier?

Leaving lower animals aside, and turning to human instincts, we see the
law of transiency corroborated on the widest scale by the alternation of
different interests and passions as human life goes on. With the child,
life is all play and fairy-tales and learning the external properties of
'things'; with the youth, it is bodily exercises of a more systematic
sort, novels of the real world, boon-fellowship and song, friendship and
love, nature, travel and adventure, science and philosophy; with the
man, ambition and policy, acquisitiveness, responsibility to others, and
the selfish zest of the battle of life. If a boy grows up alone at the
age of games and sports, and learns neither to play ball, nor row, nor
sail, nor ride, nor skate, nor fish, nor shoot, probably he will be
sedentary to the end of his days; and, though the best of opportunities
be afforded him for learning these things later, it is a hundred to one
but he will pass them by and shrink back from the effort of taking those
necessary first steps the prospect of which, at an earlier age, would
have filled him with eager delight. The sexual passion expires after a
protracted reign; but it is well known that its peculiar manifestations
in a given individual depend almost entirely on the habits he may form
during the early period of its activity. Exposure to bad company then
makes him a loose liver all his days; chastity kept at first makes the
same easy later on. In all pedagogy the great thing is to strike the
iron while hot, and to seize the wave of the pupil's interest in each
successive subject before its ebb has come, so that knowledge may be
got and a habit of skill acquired--a headway of interest, in short,
secured, on which afterward the individual may float. There is a happy
moment for fixing skill in drawing, for making boys collectors in
natural history, and presently dissectors and botanists; then for
initiating them into the harmonies of mechanics and the wonders of
physical and chemical law. Later, introspective psychology and the
metaphysical and religious mysteries take their turn; and, last of all,
the drama of human affairs and worldly wisdom in the widest sense of the
term. In each of us a saturation-point is soon reached in all these
things; the impetus of our purely intellectual zeal expires, and unless
the topic be one associated with some urgent personal need that keeps
our wits constantly whetted about it, we settle into an equilibrium, and
live on what we learned when our interest was fresh and instinctive,
without adding to the store. Outside of their own business, the ideas
gained by men before they are twenty-five are practically the only ideas
they shall have in their lives. They _cannot_ get anything new.
Disinterested curiosity is past, the mental grooves and channels set,
the power of assimilation gone. If by chance we ever do learn anything
about some entirely new topic, we are afflicted with a strange sense of
insecurity, and we fear to advance a resolute opinion. But with things
learned in the plastic days of instinctive curiosity we never lose
entirely our sense of being at home. There remains a kinship, a
sentiment of intimate acquaintance, which, even when we know we have
failed to keep abreast of the subject, flatters us with a sense of power
over it, and makes us feel not altogether out of the pale.

Whatever individual exceptions to this might be cited are of the sort
that 'prove the rule.'

To detect the moment of the instinctive readiness for the subject is,
then, the first duty of every educator. As for the pupils, it would
probably lead to a more earnest temper on the part of college students
if they had less belief in their unlimited future intellectual
potentialities, and could be brought to realize that whatever physics
and political economy and philosophy they are now acquiring are, for
better or worse, the physics and political economy and philosophy that
will have to serve them to the end.

=Enumeration of Instincts in Man.=--Professor Preyer, in his careful
little work, 'Die Seele des Kindes,' says "instinctive acts are in man
few in number, and, apart from those connected with the sexual passion,
difficult to recognize after early youth is past." And he adds, "so much
the more attention should we pay to the instinctive movements of
new-born babies, sucklings, and small children." That instinctive acts
should be easiest _recognized_ in childhood would be a very natural
effect of our principles of transitoriness, and of the restrictive
influence of habits once acquired; but they are far indeed from being
'few in number' in man. Professor Preyer divides the movements of
infants into _impulsive_, _reflex_, and _instinctive_. By impulsive
movements he means _random_ movements of limbs, body, and voice, with no
aim, and before perception is aroused. Among the first reflex movements
are crying on contact with the air, _sneezing, snuffling, snoring,
coughing, sighing, sobbing, gagging, vomiting, hiccuping, starting,
moving the limbs when touched, and sucking_. To these may now be added
_hanging by the hands_ (see _Nineteenth Century_, Nov. 1891). Later on
come _biting_, _clasping objects_, and _carrying them to the mouth_,
_sitting up_, _standing_, _creeping_, and _walking_. It is probable that
the centres for executing these three latter acts ripen spontaneously,
just as those for flight have been proved to do in birds, and that the
appearance of _learning_ to stand and walk, by trial and failure, is due
to the exercise beginning in most children before the centres are ripe.
Children vary enormously in the rate and manner in which they learn to
walk. With the first impulses to _imitation_, those to significant
_vocalization_ are born. _Emulation_ rapidly ensues, with _pugnacity_ in
its train. _Fear_ of definite objects comes in early, _sympathy_ much
later, though on the instinct (or emotion?--see p. 373) of sympathy so
much in human life depends. _Shyness_ and _sociability_, _play_,
_curiosity_, _acquisitiveness_, all begin very early in life. The
_hunting instinct_, _modesty_, _love_, the _parental instinct_, etc.,
come later. By the age of 15 or 16 the whole array of human instincts is
complete. It will be observed that _no other mammal, not even the
monkey, shows so large a list_. In a perfectly-rounded development every
one of these instincts would start a habit toward certain objects and
inhibit a habit towards certain others. Usually this is the case; but,
in the one-sided development of civilized life, it happens that the
timely age goes by in a sort of starvation of objects, and the
individual then grows up with gaps in his psychic constitution which
future experiences can never fill. Compare the accomplished gentleman
with the poor artisan or tradesman of a city: during the adolescence of
the former, objects appropriate to his growing interests, bodily and
mental, were offered as fast as the interests awoke, and, as a
consequence, he is armed and equipped at every angle to meet the world.
Sport came to the rescue and completed his education where real things
were lacking. He has tasted of the essence of every side of human life,
being sailor, hunter, athlete, scholar, fighter, talker, dandy, man of
affairs, etc., all in one. Over the city poor boy's youth no such golden
opportunities were hung, and in his manhood no desires for most of them
exist. Fortunate it is for him if gaps are the only anomalies his
instinctive life presents; perversions are too often the fruit of his
unnatural bringing-up.

=Description of Fear.=--In order to treat at least one instinct at greater
length, I will take the instance of _fear_.

Fear is a reaction aroused by the same objects that arouse ferocity. The
antagonism of the two is an interesting study in instinctive dynamics.
We both fear, and wish to kill, anything that may kill us; and the
question which of the two impulses we shall follow is usually decided
by some one of those collateral circumstances of the particular case, to
be moved by which is the mark of superior mental natures. Of course this
introduces uncertainty into the reaction; but it is an uncertainty found
in the higher brutes as well as in men, and ought not to be taken as
proof that we are less instinctive than they. Fear has bodily
expressions of an extremely energetic kind, and stands, beside lust and
anger, as one of the three most exciting emotions of which our nature is
susceptible. The progress from brute to man is characterized by nothing
so much as by the decrease in frequency of proper occasions for fear. In
civilized life, in particular, it has at last become possible for large
numbers of people to pass from the cradle to the grave without ever
having had a pang of genuine fear. Many of us need an attack of mental
disease to teach us the meaning of the word. Hence the possibility of so
much blindly optimistic philosophy and religion. The atrocities of life
become 'like a tale of little meaning though the words are strong'; we
doubt if anything like _us_ ever really was within the tiger's jaws, and
conclude that the horrors we hear of are but a sort of painted tapestry
for the chambers in which we lie so comfortably at peace with ourselves
and with the world.

Be this as it may, fear is a genuine instinct, and one of the earliest
shown by the human child. _Noises_ seem especially to call it forth.
Most noises from the outer world, to a child bred in the house, have no
exact significance. They are simply startling. To quote a good observer,
M. Perez:

"Children between three and ten months are less often alarmed by visual
than by auditory impressions. In cats, from the fifteenth day, the
contrary is the case. A child, three and a half months old, in the midst
of the turmoil of a conflagration, in presence of the devouring flames
and ruined walls, showed neither astonishment nor fear, but smiled at
the woman who was taking care of him, while his parents were busy. The
noise, however, of the trumpet of the firemen, who were approaching, and
that of the wheels of the engine, made him start and cry. At this age I
have never yet seen an infant startled at a flash of lightning, even
when intense; but I have seen many of them alarmed at the voice of the
thunder.... Thus fear comes rather by the ears than by the eyes, to the
child without experience."[51]

The effect of noise in heightening any terror we may feel in adult years
is very marked. The _howling_ of the storm, whether on sea or land, is a
principal cause of our anxiety when exposed to it. The writer has been
interested in noticing in his own person, while lying in bed, and kept
awake by the wind outside, how invariably each loud gust of it arrested
momentarily his heart. A dog attacking us is much more dreadful by
reason of the noises he makes.

_Strange men_, and _strange animals_, either large or small, excite
fear, but especially men or animals advancing toward us in a threatening
way. This is entirely instinctive and antecedent to experience. Some
children will cry with terror at their very first sight of a cat or dog,
and it will often be impossible for weeks to make them touch it. Others
will wish to fondle it almost immediately. Certain kinds of 'vermin,'
especially spiders and snakes, seem to excite a fear unusually difficult
to overcome. It is impossible to say how much of this difference is
instinctive and how much the result of stories heard about these
creatures. That the fear of 'vermin' ripens gradually seemed to me to be
proved in a child of my own to whom I gave a live frog once, at the age
of six to eight months, and again when he was a year and a half old. The
first time, he seized it promptly, and holding it in spite of its
struggling, at last got its head into his mouth. He then let it crawl
up his breast, and get upon his face, without showing alarm. But the
second time, although he had seen no frog and heard no story about a
frog betweenwhiles, it was almost impossible to induce him to touch it.
Another child, a year old, eagerly took some very large spiders into his
hand. At present he is afraid, but has been exposed meanwhile to the
teachings of the nursery. One of my children from her birth upwards saw
daily the pet pug-dog of the house, and never betrayed the slightest
fear until she was (if I recollect rightly) about eight months old. Then
the instinct suddenly seemed to develop, and with such intensity that
familiarity had no mitigating effect. She screamed whenever the dog
entered the room, and for many months remained afraid to touch him. It
is needless to say that no change in the pug's unfailingly friendly
conduct had anything to do with this change of feeling in the child. Two
of my children were afraid, when babies, of _fur_: Richet reports a
similar observation.

Preyer tells of a young child screaming with fear on being carried near
to the _sea_. The great source of terror to infancy is solitude. The
teleology of this is obvious, as is also that of the infant's expression
of dismay--the never-failing cry--on waking up and finding himself

_Black things_, and especially _dark places_, holes, caverns, etc.,
arouse a peculiarly gruesome fear. This fear, as well as that of
solitude, of being 'lost,' are explained after a fashion by ancestral
experience. Says Schneider:

"It is a fact that men, especially in childhood, fear to go into a dark
cavern or a gloomy wood. This feeling of fear arises, to be sure, partly
from the fact that we easily suspect that dangerous beasts may lurk in
these localities--a suspicion due to stories we have heard and read.
But, on the other hand, it is quite sure that this fear at a certain
perception is also directly inherited. Children who have been carefully
guarded from all ghost-stories are nevertheless terrified and cry if
led into a dark place, especially if sounds are made there. Even an
adult can easily observe that an uncomfortable timidity steals over him
in a lonely wood at night, although he may have the fixed conviction
that not the slightest danger is near.

"This feeling of fear occurs in many men even in their own house after
dark, although it is much stronger in a dark cavern or forest. The fact
of such instinctive fear is easily explicable when we consider that our
savage ancestors through innumerable generations were accustomed to meet
with dangerous beasts in caverns, especially bears, and were for the
most part attacked by such beasts during the night and in the woods, and
that thus an inseparable association between the perceptions of
darkness, caverns, woods, and fear took place, and was inherited."[52]

_High places_ cause fear of a peculiarly sickening sort, though here,
again, individuals differ enormously. The utterly blind instinctive
character of the motor impulses here is shown by the fact that they are
almost always entirely unreasonable, but that reason is powerless to
suppress them. That they are a mere incidental peculiarity of the
nervous system, like liability to sea-sickness, or love of music, with
no teleological significance, seems more than probable. The fear in
question varies so much from one person to another, and its detrimental
effects are so much more obvious than its uses, that it is hard to see
how it could be a selected instinct. Man is anatomically one of the best
fitted of animals for climbing about high places. The best psychical
complement to this equipment would seem to be a 'level head' when there,
not a dread of going there at all. In fact, the teleology of fear,
beyond a certain point, is more than dubious. A certain amount of
timidity obviously adapts us to the world we live in, but the
_fear-paroxysm_ is surely altogether harmful to him who is its prey.

Fear of the supernatural is one variety of fear. It is difficult to
assign any normal object for this fear, unless it were a genuine ghost.
But, in spite of psychical-research societies, science has not yet
adopted ghosts; so we can only say that certain _ideas_ of supernatural
agency, associated with real circumstances, produce a peculiar kind of
horror. This horror is probably explicable as the result of a
combination of simpler horrors. To bring the ghostly terror to its
maximum, many usual elements of the dreadful must combine, such as
loneliness, darkness, inexplicable sounds, especially of a dismal
character, moving figures half discerned (or, if discerned, of dreadful
aspect), and a vertiginous baffling of the expectation. This last
element, which is _intellectual_, is very important. It produces a
strange emotional 'curdle' in our blood to see a process with which we
are familiar deliberately taking an unwonted course. Anyone's heart
would stop beating if he perceived his chair sliding unassisted across
the floor. The lower animals appear to be sensitive to the mysteriously
exceptional as well as ourselves. My friend Professor W. K. Brooks told
me of his large and noble dog being frightened into a sort of epileptic
fit by a bone being drawn across the floor by a thread which the dog did
not see. Darwin and Romanes have given similar experiences. The idea of
the supernatural involves that the usual should be set at naught. In the
witch and hobgoblin supernatural, other elements still of fear are
brought in--caverns, slime and ooze, vermin, corpses, and the like. A
human corpse seems normally to produce an instinctive dread, which is no
doubt somewhat due to its mysteriousness, and which familiarity rapidly
dispels. But, in view of the fact that cadaveric, reptilian, and
underground horrors play so specific and constant a part in many
nightmares and forms of delirium, it seems not altogether unwise to ask
whether these forms of dreadful circumstance may not at a former period
have been more normal objects of the environment than now. The ordinary
cock-sure evolutionist ought to have no difficulty in explaining these
terrors, and the scenery that provokes them, as relapses into the
consciousness of the cave-men, a consciousness usually overlaid in us by
experiences of more recent date.

There are certain other pathological fears, and certain peculiarities in
the expression of ordinary fear, which might receive an explanatory
light from ancestral conditions, even infra-human ones. In ordinary
fear, one may either run, or remain semi-paralyzed. The latter condition
reminds us of the so-called death-shamming instinct shown by many
animals. Dr. Lindsay, in his work 'Mind in Animals,' says this must
require great self-command in those that practise it. But it is really
no feigning of death at all, and requires no self-command. It is simply
a terror-paralysis which has been so useful as to become hereditary. The
beast of prey does not think the motionless bird, insect, or crustacean
dead. He simply fails to notice them at all; because his senses, like
ours, are much more strongly excited by a moving object than by a still
one. It is the same instinct which leads a boy playing 'I spy' to hold
his very breath when the seeker is near, and which makes the beast of
prey himself in many cases motionlessly lie in wait for his victim or
silently 'stalk' it, by stealthy advances alternated with periods of
immobility. It is the opposite of the instinct which makes us jump up
and down and move our arms when we wish to attract the notice of someone
passing far away, and makes the shipwrecked sailor upon the raft where
he is floating frantically wave a cloth when a distant sail appears.
Now, may not the statue-like, crouching immobility of some
melancholiacs, insane with general anxiety and fear of everything, be in
some way connected with this old instinct? They can give no _reason_ for
their fear to move; but immobility makes them feel safer and more
comfortable. Is not this the mental state of the 'feigning' animal?

Again, take the strange symptom which has been described of late years
by the rather absurd name of _agoraphobia_. The patient is seized with
palpitation and terror at the sight of any open place or broad street
which he has to cross alone. He trembles, his knees bend, he may even
faint at the idea. Where he has sufficient self-command he sometimes
accomplishes the object by keeping safe under the lee of a vehicle going
across, or joining himself to a knot of other people. But usually he
slinks round the sides of the square, hugging the houses as closely as
he can. This emotion has no utility in a civilized man, but when we
notice the chronic agoraphobia of our domestic cats, and see the
tenacious way in which many wild animals, especially rodents, cling to
cover, and only venture on a dash across the open as a desperate
measure--even then making for every stone or bunch of weeds which may
give a momentary shelter--when we see this we are strongly tempted to
ask whether such an odd kind of fear in us be not due to the accidental
resurrection, through disease, of a sort of instinct which may in some
of our remote ancestors have had a permanent and on the whole a useful
part to play?



=Voluntary Acts.=--Desire, wish, will, are states of mind which everyone
knows, and which no definition can make plainer. We desire to feel, to
have, to do, all sorts of things which at the moment are not felt, had,
or done. If with the desire there goes a sense that attainment is not
possible, we simply _wish_; but if we believe that the end is in our
power, we _will_ that the desired feeling, having, or doing shall be
real; and real it presently becomes, either immediately upon the willing
or after certain preliminaries have been fulfilled.

The only ends which follow _immediately_ upon our willing seem to be
movements of our own bodies. Whatever _feelings_ and _havings_ we may
will to get come in as results of preliminary movements which we make
for the purpose. This fact is too familiar to need illustration; so that
we may start with the proposition that the only _direct_ outward effects
of our will are bodily movements. The mechanism of production of these
voluntary movements is what befalls us to study now.

=They are secondary performances.= The movements we have studied hitherto
have been automatic and reflex, and (on the first occasion of their
performance, at any rate) unforeseen by the agent. The movements to the
study of which we now address ourselves, being desired and intended
beforehand, are of course done with full prevision of what they are to
be. It follows from this that _voluntary movements must be secondary,
not primary, functions of our organism_. This is the first point to
understand in the psychology of Volition. Reflex, instinctive, and
emotional movements are all primary performances. The nerve-centres are
so organized that certain stimuli pull the trigger of certain explosive
parts; and a creature going through one of these explosions for the
first time undergoes an entirely novel experience. The other day I was
standing at a railroad station with a little child, when an
express-train went thundering by. The child, who was near the edge of
the platform, started, winked, had his breathing convulsed, turned pale,
burst out crying, and ran frantically towards me and hid his face. I
have no doubt that this youngster was almost as much astonished by his
own behavior as he was by the train, and more than I was, who stood by.
Of course if such a reaction has many times occurred we learn what to
expect of ourselves, and can then foresee our conduct, even though it
remain as involuntary and uncontrollable as it was before. But if, in
voluntary action properly so called, the act must be foreseen, it
follows that no creature not endowed with prophetic power can perform an
act voluntarily for the first time. Well, we are no more endowed with
prophetic vision of what movements lie in our power than we are endowed
with prophetic vision of what sensations we are capable of receiving. As
we must wait for the sensations to be given us, so we must wait for the
movements to be performed involuntarily, before we can frame ideas of
what either of these things are. We learn all our possibilities by the
way of experience. When a particular movement, having once occurred in a
random, reflex, or involuntary way, has left an image of itself in the
memory, then the movement can be desired again, and deliberately willed.
But it is impossible to see how it could be willed before.

_A supply of ideas of the various movements that are possible, left in
the memory by experiences of their involuntary performance, is thus the
first prerequisite of the voluntary life._

=Two Kinds of Ideas of Movement.=--Now these ideas may be either
_resident_ or _remote_. That is, they may be of the movement as it
feels, when taking place, in the moving parts; or they may be of the
movement as it feels in some other part of the body which it affects
(strokes, presses, scratches, etc.), or as it sounds, or as it looks.
The resident sensations in the parts that move have been called
_kinæsthetic_ feelings, the memories of them are kinæsthetic ideas. It
is by these kinæsthetic sensations that we are made conscious of
_passive movements_--movements communicated to our limbs by others. If
you lie with closed eyes, and another person noiselessly places your arm
or leg in any arbitrarily chosen attitude, you receive a feeling of what
attitude it is, and can reproduce it yourself in the arm or leg of the
opposite side. Similarly a man waked suddenly from sleep in the dark is
aware of how he finds himself lying. At least this is what happens in
normal cases. But when the feelings of passive movement as well as all
the other feelings of a limb are lost, we get such results as are given
in the following account by Prof. A. Strümpell of his wonderful
anæsthetic boy, whose only sources of feeling were the right eye and the
left ear:[53]

"Passive movements could be imprinted on all the extremities to the
greatest extent, without attracting the patient's notice. Only in
violent forced hyperextension of the joints, especially of the knees,
there arose a dull vague feeling of strain, but this was seldom
precisely localized. We have often, after bandaging the eyes of the
patient, carried him about the room, laid him on a table, given to his
arms and legs the most fantastic and apparently the most inconvenient
attitudes without his having a suspicion of it. The expression of
astonishment in his face, when all at once the removal of the
handkerchief revealed his situation, is indescribable in words. Only
when his head was made to hang away down he immediately spoke of
dizziness, but could not assign its ground. Later he sometimes inferred
from the sounds connected with the manipulation that something special
was being done with him.... He had no feelings of muscular fatigue. If,
with his eyes shut, we told him to raise his arm and to keep it up, he
did so without trouble. After one or two minutes, however, the arm began
to tremble and sink without his being aware of it. He asserted still his
ability to keep it up.... Passively holding still his fingers did not
affect him. He thought constantly that he opened and shut his hand,
whereas it was really fixed."

_No third kind of idea is called for._ We need, then, when we perform a
movement, either a kinæsthetic or a remote idea of which special
movement it is to be. In addition to this it has often been supposed
that we need an _idea of the amount of innervation_ required for the
muscular contraction. The discharge from the motor centre into the motor
nerve is supposed to give a sensation _sui generis_, opposed to all our
other sensations. These accompany incoming currents, whilst that, it is
said, accompanies an outgoing current, and no movement is supposed to be
totally defined in our mind, unless an anticipation of this feeling
enter into our idea. The movement's degree of strength, and the effort
required to perform it, are supposed to be specially revealed by the
feeling of innervation. Many authors deny that this feeling exists, and
the proofs given of its existence are certainly insufficient.

The various degrees of 'effort' actually felt in making the same
movement against different resistances are all accounted for by the
incoming feelings from our chest, jaws, abdomen, and other parts
sympathetically contracted whenever the effort is great. There is no
need of a consciousness of the amount of outgoing current required. If
anything be obvious to introspection, it is that the degree of strength
put forth is completely revealed to us by incoming feelings from the
muscles themselves and their insertions, from the vicinity of the
joints, and from the general fixation of the larynx, chest, face, and
body. When a certain degree of energy of contraction rather than
another is thought of by us, this complex aggregate of afferent
feelings, forming the material of our thought, renders absolutely
precise and distinctive our mental image of the exact strength of
movement to be made, and the exact amount of resistance to be overcome.

Let the reader try to direct his will towards a particular movement, and
then notice what _constituted_ the direction of the will. Was it
anything over and above the notion of the different feelings to which
the movement when effected would give rise? If we abstract from these
feelings, will any sign, principle, or means of orientation be left by
which the will may innervate the proper muscles with the right
intensity, and not go astray into the wrong ones? Strip off these images
anticipative of the results of the motion, and so far from leaving us
with a complete assortment of directions into which our will may launch
itself, you leave our consciousness in an absolute and total vacuum. If
I will to write _Peter_ rather than _Paul_, it is the thought of certain
digital sensations, of certain alphabetic sounds, of certain appearances
on the paper, and of no others, which immediately precedes the motion of
my pen. If I will to utter the word _Paul_ rather than _Peter_, it is
the thought of my voice falling on my ear, and of certain muscular
feelings in my tongue, lips, and larynx, which guide the utterance. All
these are incoming feelings, and between the thought of them, by which
the act is mentally specified with all possible completeness, and the
act itself, there is no room for any third order of mental phenomenon.

There is indeed the _fiat_, the element of consent, or resolve that the
act shall ensue. This, doubtless, to the reader's mind, as to my own,
constitutes the essence of the voluntariness of the act. This _fiat_
will be treated of in detail farther on. It may be entirely neglected
here, for it is a constant coefficient, affecting all voluntary actions
alike, and incapable of serving to distinguish them. No one will
pretend that its quality varies according as the right arm, for example,
or the left is used.

_An anticipatory image, then, of the sensorial consequences of a
movement, plus (on certain occasions) the fiat that these consequences
shall become actual, is the only psychic state which introspection lets
us discern as the forerunner of our voluntary acts._ There is no
coercive evidence of any feeling attached to the efferent discharge.

The entire content and material of our consciousness--consciousness of
movement, as of all things else--seems thus to be of peripheral origin,
and to come to us in the first instance through the peripheral nerves.

_The Motor-cue._--Let us call the last idea which in the mind precedes
the motor discharge the 'motor-cue.' Now do 'resident' images form the
only motor-cue, or will 'remote' ones equally suffice?

_There can be no doubt whatever that the cue may be an image either of
the resident or of the remote kind._ Although, at the outset of our
learning a movement, it would seem that the resident feelings must come
strongly before consciousness, later this need not be the case. The
rule, in fact, would seem to be that they tend to lapse more and more
from consciousness, and that the more practised we become in a movement,
the more 'remote' do the ideas become which form its mental cue. What we
are _interested_ in is what sticks in our consciousness; everything else
we get rid of as quickly as we can. Our resident feelings of movement
have no substantive interest for us at all, as a rule. What interest us
are the ends which the movement is to attain. Such an end is generally a
remote sensation, an impression which the movement produces on the eye
or ear, or sometimes on the skin, nose, or palate. Now let the idea of
such an end associate itself definitely with the right discharge, and
the thought of the innervation's _resident_ effects will become as great
an encumbrance as we have already concluded that the feeling of the
innervation itself is. The mind does not need it; the end alone is

The idea of the end, then, tends more and more to make itself
all-sufficient. Or, at any rate, if the kinæsthetic ideas are called up
at all, they are so swamped in the vivid kinæsthetic feelings by which
they are immediately overtaken that we have no time to be aware of their
separate existence. As I write, I have no anticipation, as a thing
distinct from my sensation, of either the look or the digital feel of
the letters which flow from my pen. The words chime on my mental _ear_,
as it were, before I write them, but not on my mental eye or hand. This
comes from the rapidity with which the movements follow on their mental
cue. An end consented to as soon as conceived innervates directly the
centre of the first movement of the chain which leads to its
accomplishment, and then the whole chain rattles off _quasi_-reflexly,
as was described on pp. 115-6.

The reader will certainly recognize this to be true in all fluent and
unhesitating voluntary acts. The only special fiat there is at the
outset of the performance. A man says to himself, "I must change my
clothes," and involuntarily he has taken off his coat, and his fingers
are at work in their accustomed manner on his waistcoat-buttons, etc.;
or we say, "I must go downstairs," and ere we know it we have risen,
walked, and turned the handle of the door;--all through the idea of an
end coupled with a series of guiding sensations which successively
arise. It would seem indeed that we fail of accuracy and certainty in
our attainment of the end whenever we are preoccupied with the way in
which the movement will feel. We walk a beam the better the less we
think of the position of our feet upon it. We pitch or catch, we shoot
or chop the better the less tactile and muscular (the less resident),
and the more exclusively optical (the more remote), our consciousness
is. Keep your _eye_ on the place aimed at, and your hand will fetch it;
think of your hand, and you will very likely miss your aim. Dr.
Southard found that he could touch a spot with a pencil-point more
accurately with a visual than with a tactile mental cue. In the former
case he looked at a small object and closed his eyes before trying to
touch it. In the latter case he _placed_ it with closed eyes, and then
after removing his hand tried to touch it again. The average error with
touch (when the results were most favorable) was 17.13 mm. With sight it
was only 12.37 mm.--All these are plain results of introspection and
observation. By what neural machinery they are made possible we do not

In Chapter XIX we saw how enormously individuals differ in respect to
their mental imagery. In the type of imagination called _tactile_ by the
French authors, it is probable that the kinæsthetic ideas are more
prominent than in my account. We must not expect too great a uniformity
in individual accounts, nor wrangle overmuch as to which one 'truly'
represents the process.

I trust that I have now made clear what that 'idea of a movement' is
which must precede it in order that it be voluntary. It is not the
thought of the innervation which the movement requires. It is the
anticipation of the movement's sensible effects, resident or remote, and
sometimes very remote indeed. Such anticipations, to say the least,
determine _what_ our movements shall be. I have spoken all along as if
they also might determine _that_ they shall be. This, no doubt, has
disconcerted many readers, for it certainly seems as if a special fiat,
or consent to the movement, were required in addition to the mere
conception of it, in many cases of volition; and this fiat I have
altogether left out of my account. This leads us to the next point in
our discussion.

=Ideo-motor Action.=--The question is this: _Is the bare idea of a
movement's sensible effects its sufficient motor-cue, or must there be
an additional mental antecedent, in the shape of a fiat, decision,
consent, volitional mandate, or other synonymous phenomenon of
consciousness, before the movement can follow?_

I answer: Sometimes the bare idea is sufficient, but sometimes an
additional conscious element, in the shape of a fiat, mandate, or
express consent, has to intervene and precede the movement. The cases
without a fiat constitute the more fundamental, because the more simple,
variety. The others involve a special complication, which must be fully
discussed at the proper time. For the present let us turn to _ideo-motor
action_, as it has been termed, or the sequence of movement upon the
mere thought of it, without a special fiat, as the type of the process
of volition.

Wherever a movement _unhesitatingly and immediately_ follows upon the
idea of it, we have ideo-motor action. We are then aware of nothing
between the conception and the execution. All sorts of neuro-muscular
processes come between, of course, but we know absolutely nothing of
them. We think the act, and it is done; and that is all that
introspection tells us of the matter. Dr. Carpenter, who first used, I
believe, the name of ideo-motor action, placed it, if I mistake not,
among the curiosities of our mental life. The truth is that it is no
curiosity, but simply the normal process stripped of disguise. Whilst
talking I become conscious of a pin on the floor, or of some dust on my
sleeve. Without interrupting the conversation I brush away the dust or
pick up the pin. I make no express resolve, but the mere perception of
the object and the fleeting notion of the act seem of themselves to
bring the latter about. Similarly, I sit at table after dinner and find
myself from time to time taking nuts or raisins out of the dish and
eating them. My dinner properly is over, and in the heat of the
conversation I am hardly aware of what I do; but the perception of the
fruit, and the fleeting notion that I may eat it, seem fatally to bring
the act about. There is certainly no express fiat here; any more than
there is in all those habitual goings and comings and rearrangements of
ourselves which fill every hour of the day, and which incoming
sensations instigate so immediately that it is often difficult to decide
whether not to call them reflex rather than voluntary acts. As Lotze

"We see in writing or piano-playing a great number of very complicated
movements following quickly one upon the other, the instigative
representations of which remained scarcely a second in consciousness,
certainly not long enough to awaken any other volition than the general
one of resigning one's self without reserve to the passing over of
representation into action. All the acts of our daily life happen in
this wise: Our standing up, walking, talking, all this never demands a
distinct impulse of the will, but is adequately brought about by the
pure flux of thought."[54]

In all this the determining condition of the unhesitating and resistless
sequence of the act seems to be _the absence of any conflicting notion
in the mind_. Either there is nothing else at all in the mind, or what
is there does not conflict. We know what it is to get out of bed on a
freezing morning in a room without a fire, and how the very vital
principle within us protests against the ordeal. Probably most persons
have lain on certain mornings for an hour at a time unable to brace
themselves to the resolve. We think how late we shall be, how the duties
of the day will suffer; we say, "I _must_ get up, this is ignominious,"
etc.; but still the warm couch feels too delicious, the cold outside too
cruel, and resolutions faints away and postpones itself again and again
just as it seemed on the verge of bursting the resistance and passing
over into the decisive act. Now how do we _ever_ get up under such
circumstances? If I may generalize from my own experience, we more often
than not get up without any struggle or decision at all. We suddenly
find that we _have_ got up. A fortunate lapse of consciousness occurs;
we forget both the warmth and the cold; we fall into some revery
connected with the day's life, in the course of which the idea flashes
across us, "Hollo! I must lie here no longer"--an idea which at that
lucky instant awakens no contradictory or paralyzing suggestions, and
consequently produces immediately its appropriate motor effects. It was
our acute consciousness of both the warmth and the cold during the
period of struggle, which paralyzed our activity then and kept our idea
of rising in the condition of _wish_ and not of _will_. The moment these
inhibitory ideas ceased, the original idea exerted its effects.

This case seems to me to contain in miniature form the data for an
entire psychology of volition. It was in fact through meditating on the
phenomenon in my own person that I first became convinced of the truth
of the doctrine which these pages present, and which I need here
illustrate by no farther examples. The reason why that doctrine is not a
self-evident truth is that we have so many ideas which _do not_ result
in action. But it will be seen that in every such case, without
exception, that is because other ideas simultaneously present rob them
of their impulsive power. But even here, and when a movement is
inhibited from _completely_ taking place by contrary ideas, it will
_incipiently_ take place. To quote Lotze once more:

"The spectator accompanies the throwing of a billiard-ball, or the
thrust of the swordsman, with slight movements of his arm; the untaught
narrator tells his story with many gesticulations; the reader while
absorbed in the perusal of a battle-scene feels a slight tension run
through his muscular system, keeping time as it were with the actions he
is reading of. These results become the more marked the more we are
absorbed in thinking of the movements which suggest them; they grow
fainter exactly in proportion as a complex consciousness, under the
dominion of a crowd of other representations, withstands the passing
over of mental contemplation into outward action."

The 'willing-game,' the exhibitions of so-called 'mind-reading,' or more
properly muscle-reading, which have lately grown so fashionable, are
based on this incipient obedience of muscular contraction to idea, even
when the deliberate intention is that no contraction shall occur.

We may then lay it down for certain that _every representation of a
movement awakens in some degree the actual movement which is its object;
and awakens it in a maximum degree whenever it is not kept from so doing
by an antagonistic representation present simultaneously to the mind_.

The express fiat, or act of mental consent to the movement, comes in
when the neutralization of the antagonistic and inhibitory idea is
required. But that there is no express fiat needed when the conditions
are simple, the reader ought now to be convinced. Lest, however, he
should still share the common prejudice that voluntary action without
'exertion of will-power' is Hamlet with the prince's part left out, I
will make a few farther remarks. The first point to start from, in
understanding voluntary action and the possible occurrence of it with no
fiat or express resolve, is the fact that consciousness is _in its very
nature impulsive_. We do not first have a sensation or thought, and then
have to _add_ something dynamic to it to get a movement. Every pulse of
feeling which we have is the correlate of some neural activity that is
already on its way to instigate a movement. Our sensations and thoughts
are but cross-sections, as it were, of currents whose essential
consequence is motion, and which have no sooner run in at one nerve than
they are ready to run out by another. The popular notion that
consciousness is not essentially a forerunner of activity, but that the
latter must result from some superadded 'will-force,' is a very natural
inference from those special cases in which we think of an act for an
indefinite length of time without the action taking place. These cases,
however, are not the norm; they are cases of inhibition by antagonistic
thoughts. When the blocking is released we feel as if an inward spring
were let loose, and this is the additional impulse or _fiat_ upon which
the act effectively succeeds. We shall study anon the blocking and its
release. Our higher thought is full of it. But where there is no
blocking, there is naturally no hiatus between the thought-process and
the motor discharge. _Movement is the natural immediate effect of the
process of feeling, irrespective of what the quality of the feeling may
be. It is so in reflex action, it is so in emotional expression, it is
so in the voluntary life._ Ideo-motor action is thus no paradox, to be
softened or explained away. It obeys the type of all conscious action,
and from it one must start to explain the sort of action in which a
special fiat is involved.

It may be remarked in passing, that the inhibition of a movement no more
involves an express effort or command than its execution does. Either of
them _may_ require it. But in all simple and ordinary cases, just as the
bare presence of one idea prompts a movement, so the bare presence of
another idea will prevent its taking place. Try to feel as if you were
crooking your finger, whilst keeping it straight. In a minute it will
fairly tingle with the imaginary change of position; yet it will not
sensibly move, because _its not really moving_ is also a part of what
you have in mind. Drop _this_ idea, think purely and simply of the
movement, and nothing else, and, presto! it takes place with no effort
at all.

A waking man's behavior is thus at all times the resultant of two
opposing neural forces. With unimaginable fineness some currents among
the cells and fibres of his brain are playing on his motor nerves,
whilst other currents, as unimaginably fine, are playing on the first
currents, damming or helping them, altering their direction or their
speed. The upshot of it all is, that whilst the currents must always end
by being drained off through _some_ motor nerves, they are drained off
sometimes through one set and sometimes through another; and sometimes
they keep each other in equilibrium so long that a superficial observer
may think they are not drained off at all. Such an observer must
remember, however, that from the physiological point of view a gesture,
an expression of the brow, or an expulsion of the breath are movements
as much as an act of locomotion is. A king's breath slays as well as an
assassin's blow; and the outpouring of those currents which the magic
imponderable streaming of our ideas accompanies need not always be of an
explosive or otherwise physically conspicuous kind.

=Action after Deliberation.=--We are now in a position to describe _what
happens in deliberate action_, or when the mind has many objects before
it, related to each other in antagonistic or in favorable ways. One of
these objects of its thought may be an act. By itself this would prompt
a movement; some of the additional objects or considerations, however,
block the motor discharge, whilst others, on the contrary, solicit it to
take place. The result is that peculiar feeling of inward unrest known
as _indecision_. Fortunately it is too familiar to need description, for
to describe it would be impossible. As long as it lasts, with the
various objects before the attention, we are said to _deliberate_; and
when finally the original suggestion either prevails and makes the
movement take place, or gets definitively quenched by its antagonists,
we are said to _decide_, or to _utter our voluntary fiat_, in favor of
one or the other course. The reinforcing and inhibiting objects
meanwhile are termed the _reasons_ or _motives_ by which the decision is
brought about.

The process of deliberation contains endless degrees of complication. At
every moment of it our consciousness is of an extremely complex thing,
namely, the whole set of motives and their conflict. Of this complicated
object, the totality of which is realized more or less dimly all the
while by consciousness, certain parts stand out more or less sharply at
one moment in the foreground, and at another moment other parts, in
consequence of the oscillations of our attention, and of the
'associative' flow of our ideas. But no matter how sharp the
foreground-reasons may be, or how imminently close to bursting through
the dam and carrying the motor consequences their own way, the
background, however dimly felt, is always there as a fringe (p. 163);
and its presence (so long as the indecision actually lasts) serves as an
effective check upon the irrevocable discharge. The deliberation may
last for weeks or months, occupying at intervals the mind. The motives
which yesterday seemed full of urgency and blood and life to-day feel
strangely weak and pale and dead. But as little to-day as to-morrow is
the question finally resolved. Something tells us that all this is
provisional; that the weakened reasons will wax strong again, and the
stronger weaken; that equilibrium is unreached; that testing our
reasons, not obeying them, is still the order of the day, and that we
must wait awhile, patiently or impatiently, until our mind is made up
'for good and all.' This inclining first to one, then to another future,
both of which we represent as possible, resembles the oscillations to
and fro of a material body within the limits of its elasticity. There is
inward strain, but no outward rupture. And this condition, plainly
enough, is susceptible of indefinite continuance, as well in the
physical mass as in the mind. If the elasticity give way, however, if
the dam ever do break, and the currents burst the crust, vacillation is
over and decision is irrevocably there.

The decision may come in either of many modes. I will try briefly to
sketch the most characteristic types of it, merely warning the reader
that this is only an introspective account of symptoms and phenomena,
and that all questions of causal agency, whether neural or spiritual,
are relegated to a later page.

=Five Chief Types of Decision.=--Turning now to the form of the decision
itself, we may distinguish five chief types. _The first may be called
the reasonable type._ It is that of those cases in which the arguments
for and against a given course seem gradually and almost insensibly to
settle themselves in the mind and to end by leaving a clear balance in
favor of one alternative, which alternative we then adopt without effort
or constraint. Until this rational balancing of the books is consummated
we have a calm feeling that the evidence is not yet all in, and this
keeps action in suspense. But some day we wake with the sense that we
see the matter rightly, that no new light will be thrown on it by
farther delay, and that it had better be settled _now_. In this easy
transition from doubt to assurance we seem to ourselves almost passive;
the 'reasons' which decide us appearing to flow in from the nature of
things, and to owe nothing to our will. We have, however, a perfect
sense of being _free_, in that we are devoid of any feeling of coercion.
The conclusive reason for the decision in these cases usually is the
discovery that we can refer the case to a _class_ upon which we are
accustomed to act unhesitatingly in a certain stereotyped way. It may be
said in general that a great part of every deliberation consists in the
turning over of all the possible modes of _conceiving_ the doing or not
doing of the act in point. The moment we hit upon a conception which
lets us apply some principle of action which is a fixed and stable part
of our Ego, our state of doubt is at an end. Persons of authority, who
have to make many decisions in the day, carry with them a set of heads
of classification, each bearing its volitional consequence, and under
these they seek as far as possible to range each new emergency as it
occurs. It is where the emergency belongs to a species without
precedent, to which consequently no cut-and-dried maxim will apply, that
we feel most at a loss, and are distressed at the indeterminateness of
our task. As soon, however, as we see our way to a familiar
classification, we are at ease again. _In action as in reasoning, then,
the great thing is the quest of the right conception._ The concrete
dilemmas do not come to us with labels gummed upon their backs. We may
name them by many names. The wise man is he who succeeds in finding the
name which suits the needs of the particular occasion best (p. 357 ff.).
A 'reasonable' character is one who has a store of stable and worthy
ends, and who does not decide about an action till he has calmly
ascertained whether it be ministerial or detrimental to any one of

In the next two types of decision, the final fiat occurs before the
evidence is all 'in.' It often happens that no paramount and
authoritative reason for either course will come. Either seems a good,
and there is no umpire to decide which should yield its place to the
other. We grow tired of long hesitation and inconclusiveness, and the
hour may come when we feel that even a bad decision is better than no
decision at all. Under these conditions it will often happen that some
accidental circumstance, supervening at a particular movement upon our
mental weariness, will upset the balance in the direction of one of the
alternatives, to which then we feel ourselves committed, although an
opposite accident at the same time might have produced the opposite

In the _second type_ our feeling is to a great extent that of letting
ourselves drift with a certain indifferent acquiescence in a direction
accidentally determined _from without_, with the conviction that, after
all, we might as well stand by this course as by the other, and that
things are in any event sure to turn out sufficiently right.

_In the third type_ the determination seems equally accidental, but it
comes from within, and not from without. It often happens, when the
absence of imperative principle is perplexing and suspense distracting,
that we find ourselves acting, as it were, automatically, and as if by a
spontaneous discharge of our nerves, in the direction of one of the
horns of the dilemma. But so exciting is this sense of motion after our
intolerable pent-up state that we eagerly throw ourselves into it.
'Forward now!' we inwardly cry, 'though the heavens fall.' This reckless
and exultant espousal of an energy so little premeditated by us that we
feel rather like passive spectators cheering on the display of some
extraneous force than like voluntary agents is a type of decision too
abrupt and tumultuous to occur often in humdrum and cool-blooded
natures. But it is probably frequent in persons of strong emotional
endowment and unstable or vacillating character. And in men of the
world-shaking type, the Napoleons, Luthers, etc., in whom tenacious
passion combines with ebullient activity, when by any chance the
passion's outlet has been dammed by scruples or apprehensions, the
resolution is probably often of this catastrophic kind. The flood breaks
quite unexpectedly through the dam. That it should so often do so is
quite sufficient to account for the tendency of these characters to a
fatalistic mood of mind. And the fatalistic mood itself is sure to
reinforce the strength of the energy just started on its exciting path
of discharge.

There is a _fourth form_ of decision, which often ends deliberation as
suddenly as the third form does. It comes when, in consequence of some
outer experience or some inexplicable inward change, _we suddenly pass
from the easy and careless to the sober and strenuous mood_, or possibly
the other way. The whole scale of values of our motives and impulses
then undergoes a change like that which a change of the observer's level
produces on a view. The most sobering possible agents are objects of
grief and fear. When one of these affects us, all 'light fantastic'
notions lose their motive power, all solemn ones find theirs multiplied
many-fold. The consequence is an instant abandonment of the more trivial
projects with which we had been dallying, and an instant practical
acceptance of the more grim and earnest alternative which till then
could not extort our mind's consent. All those 'changes of heart,'
'awakenings of conscience,' etc., which make new men of so many of us
may be classed under this head. The character abruptly rises to another
'level,' and deliberation comes to an immediate end.

In the _fifth and final type_ of decision, the feeling that the
evidence is all in, and that reason has balanced the books, may be
either present or absent. But in either case we feel, in deciding, as if
we ourselves by our own wilful act inclined the beam: in the former case
by adding our living effort to the weight of the logical reason which,
taken alone, seems powerless to make the act discharge; in the latter by
a kind of creative contribution of something instead of a reason which
does a reason's work. The slow dead heave of the will that is felt in
these instances makes of them a class altogether different subjectively
from all the four preceding classes. What the heave of the will betokens
metaphysically, what the effort might lead us to infer about a
will-power distinct from motives, are not matters that concern us yet.
Subjectively and phenomenally, the _feeling of effort_, absent from the
former decisions, accompanies these. Whether it be the dreary
resignation for the sake of austere and naked duty of all sorts of rich
mundane delights; or whether it be the heavy resolve that of two
mutually exclusive trains of future fact, both sweet and good and with
no strictly objective or imperative principle of choice between them,
one shall forevermore become impossible, while the other shall become
reality; it is a desolate and acrid sort of act, an entrance into a
lonesome moral wilderness. If examined closely, its chief difference
from the former cases appears to be that in those cases the mind at the
moment of deciding on the triumphant alternative dropped the other one
wholly or nearly out of sight, whereas here both alternatives are
steadily held in view, and in the very act of murdering the vanquished
possibility the chooser realizes how much in that instant he is making
himself lose. It is deliberately driving a thorn into one's flesh; and
the sense of _inward effort_ with which the act is accompanied is an
element which sets this fifth type of decision in strong contrast with
the previous four varieties, and makes of it an altogether peculiar sort
of mental phenomenon. The immense majority of human decisions are
decisions without effort. In comparatively few of them, in most people,
does effort accompany the final act. We are, I think, misled into
supposing that effort is more frequent than it is by the fact that
_during deliberation_ we so often have a feeling of how great an effort
it would take to make a decision _now_. Later, after the decision has
made itself with ease, we recollect this and erroneously suppose the
effort also to have been made then.

The existence of the effort as a phenomenal fact in our consciousness
cannot of course be doubted or denied. Its significance, on the other
hand, is a matter about which the gravest difference of opinion
prevails. Questions as momentous as that of the very existence of
spiritual causality, as vast as that of universal predestination or
free-will, depend on its interpretation. It therefore becomes essential
that we study with some care the conditions under which the feeling of
volitional effort is found.

=The Feeling of Effort.=--When I said, awhile back, that _consciousness_
(or the neural process which goes with it) _is in its very nature
impulsive_, I should have added the proviso that _it must be
sufficiently intense_. Now there are remarkable differences in the power
of different sorts of consciousness to excite movement. The intensity of
some feelings is practically apt to be below the discharging point,
whilst that of others is apt to be above it. By practically apt, I mean
apt under ordinary circumstances. These circumstances may be habitual
inhibitions, like that comfortable feeling of the _dolce far niente_
which gives to each and all of us a certain dose of laziness only to be
overcome by the acuteness of the impulsive spur; or they may consist in
the native inertia, or internal resistance, of the motor centres
themselves, making explosion impossible until a certain inward tension
has been reached and over-passed. These conditions may vary from one
person to another, and in the same person from time to time. The neural
inertia may wax or wane, and the habitual inhibitions dwindle or
augment. The intensity of particular thought-processes and stimulations
may also change independently, and particular paths of association grow
more pervious or less so. There thus result great possibilities of
alteration in the actual impulsive efficacy of particular motives
compared with others. It is where the normally less efficacious motive
becomes more efficacious, and the normally more efficacious one less so,
that actions ordinarily effortless, or abstinences ordinarily easy,
either become impossible, or are effected (if at all) by the expenditure
of effort. A little more description will make it plainer what these
cases are.

=Healthiness of Will.=--_There is a certain normal ratio in the impulsive
power of different mental objects, which characterizes what may be
called ordinary healthiness of will_, and which is departed from only at
exceptional times or by exceptional individuals. The states of mind
which normally possess the most impulsive quality are either those which
represent objects of passion, appetite, or emotion--objects of
instinctive reaction, in short; or they are feelings or ideas of
pleasure or of pain; or ideas which for any reason we have grown
accustomed to obey, so that the habit of reacting on them is ingrained;
or finally, in comparison with ideas of remoter objects, they are ideas
of objects present or near in space and time. Compared with these
various objects, all far-off considerations, all highly abstract
conceptions, unaccustomed reasons, and motives foreign to the
instinctive history of the race, have little or no impulsive power. They
prevail, when they ever do prevail, _with effort_; _and the normal_, as
distinguished from the pathological, _sphere of effort is thus found
wherever non-instinctive motives to behavior must be reinforced so as to
rule the day_.

Healthiness of will moreover requires a certain amount of complication
in the process which precedes the fiat or the act. Each stimulus or
idea, at the same time that it wakens its own impulse, must also arouse
other ideas along with _their_ characteristic impulses, and action must
finally follow, neither too slowly nor too rapidly, as the resultant of
all the forces thus engaged. Even when the decision is pretty prompt,
the normal thing is thus a sort of preliminary survey of the field and a
vision of which course is best before the fiat comes. And where the will
is healthy, _the vision must be right_ (i.e., the motives must be on the
whole in a normal or not too unusual ratio to each other), _and the
action must obey the vision's lead_.

=Unhealthiness of will= may thus come about in many ways. The action may
follow the stimulus or idea too rapidly, leaving no time for the arousal
of restraining associates--_we then have a precipitate will_. Or,
although the associates may come, the ratio which the impulsive and
inhibitive forces normally bear to each other may be distorted, and we
then have _a will which is perverse_. The perversity, in turn, may be
due to either of many causes--too much intensity, or too little, here;
too much or too little inertia there; or elsewhere too much or too
little inhibitory power. _If we compare the outward symptoms of
perversity together, they fall into two groups_, in one of which normal
actions are impossible, and in the other abnormal ones are
irrepressible. Briefly, _we may call them respectively the obstructed
and the explosive will_.

It must be kept in mind, however, that since the resultant action is
always due to the _ratio_ between the obstructive and the explosive
forces which are present, we never can tell by the mere outward symptoms
to what _elementary_ cause the perversion of a man's will may be due,
whether to an increase of one component or a diminution of the other.
One may grow explosive as readily by losing the usual brakes as by
getting up more of the impulsive steam; and one may find things
impossible as well through the enfeeblement of the original desire as
through the advent of new lions in the path. As Dr. Clouston says, "the
driver may be so weak that he cannot control well-broken horses, or the
horses may be so hard-mouthed that no driver can pull them up."

=The Explosive Will.= 1.) =From Defective Inhibition.=--There is a normal
type of character, for example, in which impulses seem to discharge so
promptly into movements that inhibitions get no time to arise. These are
the 'dare-devil' and 'mercurial' temperaments, overflowing with
animation and fizzling with talk, which are so common in the Slavic and
Celtic races, and with which the cold-blooded and long-headed English
character forms so marked a contrast. Simian these people seem to us,
whilst we seem to them reptilian. It is quite impossible to judge, as
between an obstructed and an explosive individual, which has the greater
sum of vital energy. An explosive Italian with good perception and
intellect will cut a figure as a perfectly tremendous fellow, on an
inward capital that could be tucked away inside of an obstructed Yankee
and hardly let you know that it was there. He will be the king of his
company, sing the songs and make the speeches, lead the parties, carry
out the practical jokes, kiss the girls, fight the men, and, if need be,
lead the forlorn hopes and enterprises, so that an onlooker would think
he has more life in his little finger than can exist in the whole body
of a correct judicious fellow. But the judicious fellow all the while
may have all these possibilities and more besides, ready to break out in
the same or even a more violent way, if only the brakes were taken off.
It is the absence of scruples, of consequences, of considerations, the
extraordinary simplification of each moment's mental outlook, that gives
to the explosive individual such motor energy and ease; it need not be
the greater intensity of any of his passions, motives, or thoughts. As
mental evolution goes on, the complexity of human consciousness grows
ever greater, and with it the multiplication of the inhibitions to which
every impulse is exposed. How much freedom of discourse we English folk
lose because we feel obliged always to speak the truth! This
predominance of inhibition has a bad as well as a good side; and if a
man's impulses are in the main orderly as well as prompt, if he has
courage to accept their consequences, and intellect to lead them to a
successful end, he is all the better for his hair-trigger organization,
and for not being 'sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought.' Many of
the most successful military and revolutionary characters in history
have belonged to this simple but quick-witted impulsive type. Problems
come much harder to reflective and inhibitive minds. They can, it is
true, solve much vaster problems; and they can avoid many a mistake to
which the men of impulse are exposed. But when the latter do not make
mistakes, or when they are always able to retrieve them, theirs is one
of the most engaging and indispensable of human types.

In infancy, and in certain conditions of exhaustion, as well as in
peculiar pathological states, the inhibitory power may fail to arrest
the explosions of the impulsive discharge. We have then an explosive
temperament temporarily realized in an individual who at other times may
be of a relatively obstructed type. In other persons, again, hysterics,
epileptics, criminals of the neurotic class called _dégénérés_ by French
authors, there is such a native feebleness in the mental machinery that
before the inhibitory ideas can arise the impulsive ones have already
discharged into act. In persons healthy-willed by nature bad habits can
bring about this condition, especially in relation to particular sorts
of impulse. Ask half the common drunkards you know why it is that they
fall so often a prey to temptation, and they will say that most of the
time they cannot tell. It is a sort of vertigo with them. Their nervous
centres have become a sluice-way pathologically unlocked by every
passing conception of a bottle and a glass. They do not thirst for the
beverage; the taste of it may even appear repugnant; and they perfectly
foresee the morrow's remorse. But when they think of the liquor or see
it, they find themselves preparing to drink, and do not stop themselves:
and more than this they cannot say. Similarly a man may lead a life of
incessant love-making or sexual indulgence, though what spurs him
thereto seems to be trivial suggestions and notions of possibility
rather than any real solid strength of passion or desire. Such
characters are too flimsy even to be bad in any deep sense of the word.
The paths of natural (or it may be unnatural) impulse are so pervious in
them that the slightest rise in the level of innervation produces an
overflow. It is the condition recognized in pathology as 'irritable
weakness.' The phase known as nascency or latency is so short in the
excitement of the neural tissues that there is no opportunity for strain
or tension to accumulate within them; and the consequence is that with
all the agitation and activity, the amount of real feeling engaged may
be very small. The hysterical temperament is the playground _par
excellence_ of this unstable equilibrium. One of these subjects will be
filled with what seems the most genuine and settled aversion to a
certain line of conduct, and the very next _instant_ follow the stirring
of temptation and plunge in it up to the neck.

2.) =From Exaggerated Impulsion.=--Disorderly and impulsive conduct may,
on the other hand, come about where the neural tissues preserve their
proper inward tone, and where the inhibitory power is normal or even
unusually great. In such cases _the strength of the impulsive idea is
preternaturally exalted_, and what would be for most people the passing
suggestion of a possibility becomes a gnawing, craving urgency to act.
Works on insanity are full of examples of these morbid insistent ideas,
in obstinately struggling against which the unfortunate victim's soul
often sweats with agony ere at last it gets swept away.

The craving for drink in real dipsomaniacs, or for opium or chloral in
those subjugated, is of a strength of which normal persons can form no
conception. "Were a keg of rum in one corner of a room and were a cannon
constantly discharging balls between me and it, I could not refrain
from passing before that cannon in order to get the rum;" "If a bottle
of brandy stood at one hand and the pit of hell yawned at the other, and
I were convinced that I should be pushed in as sure as I took one glass,
I could not refrain:" such statements abound in dipsomaniacs' mouths.
Dr. Mussey of Cincinnati relates this case:

"A few years ago a tippler was put into an almshouse in this State.
Within a few days he had devised various expedients to procure rum, but
failed. At length, however, he hit upon one which was successful. He
went into the wood-yard of the establishment, placed one hand upon the
block, and with an axe in the other struck it off at a single blow. With
the stump raised and streaming he ran into the house and cried, 'Get
some rum! get some rum! My hand is off!' In the confusion and bustle of
the occasion a bowl of rum was brought, into which he plunged the
bleeding member of his body, then raising the bowl to his mouth, drank
freely, and exultingly exclaimed, 'Now I am satisfied.' Dr. J. E. Turner
tells of a man who, while under treatment for inebriety, during four
weeks secretly drank the alcohol from six jars containing morbid
specimens. On asking him why he had committed this loathsome act, he
replied: 'Sir, it is as impossible for me to control this diseased
appetite as it is for me to control the pulsations of my heart.'"

Often the insistent idea is of a trivial sort, but it may wear the
patient's life out. His hands feel dirty, they must be washed. He
_knows_ they are not dirty; yet to get rid of the teasing idea he washes
them. The idea, however, returns in a moment, and the unfortunate
victim, who is not in the least deluded _intellectually_, will end by
spending the whole day at the wash-stand. Or his clothes are not
'rightly' put on; and to banish the thought he takes them off and puts
them on again, till his toilet consumes two or three hours of time. Most
people have the potentiality of this disease. To few has it not
happened to conceive, after getting into bed, that they may have
forgotten to lock the front door, or to turn out the entry gas. And few
of us have not on some occasion got up to repeat the performance, less
because we believed in the reality of its omission than because only so
could we banish the worrying doubt and get to sleep.

=The Obstructed Will.=--In striking contrast with the cases in which
inhibition is insufficient or impulsion in excess are those in which
impulsion is insufficient or inhibition in excess. We all know the
condition described on p. 218, in which the mind for a few moments seems
to lose its focussing power and to be unable to rally its attention to
any determinate thing. At such times we sit blankly staring and do
nothing. The objects of consciousness fail to touch the quick or break
the skin. They are there, but do not reach the level of effectiveness.
This state of non-efficacious presence is the normal condition of _some_
objects, in all of us. Great fatigue or exhaustion may make it the
condition of almost all objects; and an apathy resembling that then
brought about is recognized in asylums under the name of _abulia_ as a
symptom of mental disease. The healthy state of the will requires, as
aforesaid, both that vision should be right, and that action should obey
its lead. But in the morbid condition in question the vision may be
wholly unaffected, and the intellect clear, and yet the act either fails
to follow or follows in some other way.

"_Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor_" is the classic expression
of this latter condition of mind. The moral tragedy of human life comes
almost wholly from the fact that the link is ruptured which normally
should hold between vision of the truth and action, and that this
pungent sense of effective reality will not attach to certain ideas. Men
do not differ so much in their mere feelings and conceptions. Their
notions of possibility and their ideals are not as far apart as might be
argued from their differing fates. No class of them have better
sentiments or feel more constantly the difference between the higher
and the lower path in life than the hopeless failures, the
sentimentalists, the drunkards, the schemers, the 'deadbeats,' whose
life is one long contradiction between knowledge and action, and who,
with full command of theory, never get to holding their limp characters
erect. No one eats of the fruit of the tree of knowledge as they do; as
far as moral insight goes, in comparison with them, the orderly and
prosperous philistines whom they scandalize are sucking babes. And yet
their moral knowledge, always there grumbling and rumbling in the
background,--discerning, commenting, protesting, longing, half
resolving,--never wholly resolves, never gets its voice out of the minor
into the major key, or its speech out of the subjunctive into the
imperative mood, never breaks the spell, never takes the helm into its
hands. In such characters as Rousseau and Restif it would seem as if the
lower motives had all the impulsive efficacy in their hands. Like trains
with the right of way, they retain exclusive possession of the track.
The more ideal motives exist alongside of them in profusion, but they
never get switched on, and the man's conduct is no more influenced by
them than an express train is influenced by a wayfarer standing by the
roadside and calling to be taken aboard. They are an inert accompaniment
to the end of time; and the consciousness of inward hollowness that
accrues from habitually seeing the better only to do the worse, is one
of the saddest feelings one can bear with him through this vale of

=Effort feels like an original force.= We now see at one view when it is
that effort complicates volition. It does so whenever a rarer and more
ideal impulse is called upon to neutralize others of a more instinctive
and habitual kind; it does so whenever strongly explosive tendencies are
checked, or strongly obstructive conditions overcome. The _âme bien
née_, the child of the sunshine, at whose birth the fairies made their
gifts, does not need much of it in his life. The hero and the neurotic
subject, on the other hand, do. Now our spontaneous way of conceiving
the effort, under all these circumstances, is as an active force adding
its strength to that of the motives which ultimately prevail. When outer
forces impinge upon a body, we say that the resultant motion is in the
line of least resistance, or of greatest traction. But it is a curious
fact that our spontaneous language never speaks of volition with effort
in this way. Of course if we proceed _a priori_ and define the line of
least resistance as the line that is followed, the physical law must
also hold good in the mental sphere. But we _feel_, in all hard cases of
volition, as if the line taken, when the rarer and more ideal motives
prevail, were the line of greater resistance, and as if the line of
coarser motivation were the more pervious and easy one, even at the very
moment when we refuse to follow it. He who under the surgeon's knife
represses cries of pain, or he who exposes himself to social obloquy for
duty's sake, feels as if he were following the line of greatest
temporary resistance. He speaks of conquering and overcoming his
impulses and temptations.

But the sluggard, the drunkard, the coward, never talk of their conduct
in that way, or say they resist their energy, overcome their sobriety,
conquer their courage, and so forth. If in general we class all springs
of action as propensities on the one hand and ideals on the other, the
sensualist never says of his behavior that it results from a victory
over his ideals, but the moralist always speaks of his as a victory over
his propensities. The sensualist uses terms of inactivity, says he
forgets his ideals, is deaf to duty, and so forth; which terms seem to
imply that the ideal motives _per se_ can be annulled without energy or
effort, and that the strongest mere traction lies in the line of the
propensities. The ideal impulse appears, in comparison with this, a
still small voice which must be artificially reinforced to prevail.
Effort is what reinforces it, making things seem as if, while the force
of propensity were essentially a fixed quantity, the ideal force might
be of various amount. But what determines the amount of the effort when,
by its aid, an ideal motive becomes victorious over a great sensual
resistance? The very greatness of the resistance itself. If the sensual
propensity is small, the effort is small. The latter is _made great_ by
the presence of a great antagonist to overcome. And if a brief
definition of ideal or moral action were required, none could be given
which would better fit the appearances than this: _It is action in the
line of the greatest resistance_.

       *       *       *       *       *

The facts may be most briefly symbolized thus, P standing for the
propensity, I for the ideal impulse, and E for the effort:

        I _per se_ < P.

        I + E      > P.

In other words, if E adds itself to I, P immediately offers the least
resistance, and motion occurs in spite of it.

But the E does not seem to form an integral part of the I. It appears
adventitious and indeterminate in advance. We can make more or less as
we please, and _if_ we make enough we can convert the greatest mental
resistance into the least. Such, at least, is the impression which the
facts spontaneously produce upon us. But we will not discuss the truth
of this impression at present; let us rather continue our descriptive

=Pleasure and Pain as Springs of Action.=--Objects and thoughts of objects
start our action, but the pleasures and pains which action brings modify
its course and regulate it; and later the thoughts of the pleasures and
the pains acquire themselves impulsive and inhibitive power. Not that
the thought of a pleasure need be itself a pleasure, usually it is the
reverse--_nessun maggior dolore_--as Dante says--and not that the
thought of pain need be a pain, for, as Homer says, "griefs are often
afterwards an entertainment." But as present pleasures are tremendous
reinforcers, and present pains tremendous inhibitors of whatever action
leads to them, so the thoughts of pleasures and pains take rank amongst
the thoughts which have most impulsive and inhibitive power. The precise
relation which these thoughts hold to other thoughts is thus a matter
demanding some attention.

       *       *       *       *       *

If a movement feels agreeable, we repeat and repeat it as long as the
pleasure lasts. If it hurts us, our muscular contractions at the instant
stop. So complete is the inhibition in this latter case that it is
almost impossible for a man to cut or mutilate himself slowly and
deliberately--his hand invincibly refusing to bring on the pain. And
there are many pleasures which, when once we have begun to taste them,
make it all but obligatory to keep up the activity to which they are
due. So widespread and searching is this influence of pleasures and
pains upon our movements that a premature philosophy has decided that
these are our only spurs to action, and that wherever they seem to be
absent, it is only because they are so far on among the 'remoter' images
that prompt the action that they are overlooked.

This is a great mistake, however. Important as is the influence of
pleasures and pains upon our movements, they are far from being our only
stimuli. With the manifestations of instinct and emotional expression,
for example, they have absolutely nothing to do. Who smiles for the
pleasure of the smiling, or frowns for the pleasure of the frown? Who
blushes to escape the discomfort of not blushing? Or who in anger,
grief, or fear is actuated to the movements which he makes by the
pleasures which they yield? In all these cases the movements are
discharged fatally by the _vis a tergo_ which the stimulus exerts upon a
nervous system framed to respond in just that way. The objects of our
rage, love, or terror, the occasions of our tears and smiles, whether
they be present to our senses, or whether they be merely represented in
idea, have this peculiar sort of impulsive power. The _impulsive
quality_ of mental states is an attribute behind which we cannot go.
Some states of mind have more of it than others, some have it in this
direction and some in that. Feelings of pleasure and pain have it, and
perceptions and imaginations of fact have it, but neither have it
exclusively or peculiarly. It is of the essence of all consciousness (or
of the neural process which underlies it) to instigate movement of some
sort. That with one creature and object it should be of one sort, with
others of another sort, is a problem for evolutionary history to
explain. However the actual impulsions may have arisen, they must now be
described as they exist; and those persons obey a curiously narrow
teleological superstition who think themselves bound to interpret them
in every instance as effects of the secret solicitancy of pleasure and
repugnancy of pain. If the thought of pleasure can impel to action,
surely other thoughts may. Experience only can decide which thoughts do.
The chapters on Instinct and Emotion have shown us that their name is
legion; and with this verdict we ought to remain contented, and not seek
an illusory simplification at the cost of half the facts.

If in these our _first_ acts pleasures and pains bear no part, as little
do they bear in our last acts, or those artificially acquired
performances which have become habitual. All the daily routine of life,
our dressing and undressing, the coming and going from our work or
carrying through of its various operations, is utterly without mental
reference to pleasure and pain, except under rarely realized conditions.
It is ideo-motor action. As I do not breathe for the pleasure of the
breathing, but simply find that I _am_ breathing, so I do not write for
the pleasure of the writing, but simply because I have once begun, and
being in a state of intellectual excitement which keeps venting itself
in that way, find that I _am_ writing still. Who will pretend that when
he idly fingers his knife-handle at the table, it is for the sake of any
pleasure which it gives him, or pain which he thereby avoids? We do all
these things because at the moment we cannot help it; our nervous
systems are so shaped that they overflow in just that way; and for many
of our idle or purely 'nervous' and fidgety performances we can assign
absolutely no _reason_ at all.

Or what shall be said of a shy and unsociable man who receives
point-blank an invitation to a small party? The thing is to him an
abomination; but your presence exerts a compulsion on him, he can think
of no excuse, and so says yes, cursing himself the while for what he
does. He is unusually _sui compos_ who does not every week of his life
fall into some such blundering act as this. Such instances of _voluntas
invita_ show not only that our acts cannot all be conceived as effects
of represented pleasure, but that they cannot even be classed as cases
of represented _good_. The class 'goods' contains many more generally
influential motives to action than the class 'pleasants.' But almost as
little as under the form of pleasures do our acts invariably appear to
us under the form of _goods_. All diseased impulses and pathological
fixed ideas are instances to the contrary. It is the very badness of the
act that gives it then its vertiginous fascination. Remove the
prohibition, and the attraction stops. In my university days a student
threw himself from an upper entry window of one of the college buildings
and was nearly killed. Another student, a friend of my own, had to pass
the window daily in coming and going from his room, and experienced a
dreadful temptation to imitate the deed. Being a Catholic, he told his
director, who said, 'All right! if you must, you must,' and added, 'Go
ahead and do it,' thereby instantly quenching his desire. This director
knew how to minister to a mind diseased. But we need not go to minds
diseased for examples of the occasional tempting-power of simple badness
and unpleasantness as such. Every one who has a wound or hurt anywhere,
a sore tooth, e.g., will ever and anon press it just to bring out the
pain. If we are near a new sort of stink, we must sniff it again just to
verify once more how bad it is. This very day I have been repeating
over and over to myself a verbal jingle whose mawkish silliness was the
secret of its haunting power. I loathed yet could not banish it.

=What holds attention determines action.= If one must have a single name
for the condition upon which the impulsive and inhibitive quality of
objects depends, one had better call it their _interest_. 'The
interesting' is a title which covers not only the pleasant and the
painful, but also the morbidly fascinating, the tediously haunting, and
even the simply habitual, inasmuch as the attention usually travels on
habitual lines, and what-we-attend-to and what-interests-us are
synonymous terms. It seems as if we ought to look for the secret of an
idea's impulsiveness, not in any peculiar relations which it may have
with paths of motor discharge,--for _all_ ideas have relations with some
such paths,--but rather in a preliminary phenomenon, the _urgency,
namely, with which it is able to compel attention and dominate in
consciousness_. Let it once so dominate, let no other ideas succeed in
displacing it, and whatever motor effects belong to it by nature will
inevitably occur--its impulsion, in short, will be given to boot, and
will manifest itself as a matter of course. This is what we have seen in
instinct, in emotion, in common ideo-motor action, in hypnotic
suggestion, in morbid impulsion, and in _voluntas invita_,--the
impelling idea is simply the one which possesses the attention. It is
the same where pleasure and pain are the motor spurs--they drive other
thoughts from consciousness at the same time that they instigate their
own characteristic 'volitional' effects. And this is also what happens
at the moment of the _fiat_, in all the five types of 'decision' which
we have described. In short, one does not see any case in which the
steadfast occupancy of consciousness does not appear to be the prime
condition of impulsive power. It is still more obviously the prime
condition of inhibitive power. What checks our impulses is the mere
thinking of reasons to the contrary--it is their bare presence to the
mind which gives the veto, and makes acts, otherwise seductive,
impossible to perform. If we could only _forget_ our scruples, our
doubts, our fears, what exultant energy we should for a while display!

=Will is a relation between the mind and its 'ideas.'= In closing in,
therefore, after all these preliminaries, upon the more _intimate_
nature of the volitional process, we find ourselves driven more and more
exclusively to consider the conditions which make ideas prevail in the
mind. With the prevalence, once there as a fact, of the motive idea, the
_psychology_ of volition properly stops. The movements which ensue are
exclusively physiological phenomena, following according to
physiological laws upon the neural events to which the idea corresponds.
The _willing_ terminates with the prevalence of the idea; and whether
the act then follows or not is a matter quite immaterial, so far as the
willing itself goes. I will to write, and the act follows. I will to
sneeze, and it does not. I will that the distant table slide over the
floor towards me; it also does not. My willing representation can no
more instigate my sneezing-centre than it can instigate the table to
activity. But in both cases it is as true and good willing as it was
when I willed to write. In a word, volition is a psychic or moral fact
pure and simple, and is absolutely completed when the stable state of
the idea is there. The supervention of motion is a supernumerary
phenomenon depending on executive ganglia whose function lies outside
the mind. If the ganglia work duly, the act occurs perfectly. If they
work, but work wrongly, we have St. Vitus's dance, locomotor ataxy,
motor aphasia, or minor degrees of awkwardness. If they don't work at
all, the act fails altogether, and we say the man is paralyzed. He may
make a tremendous effort, and contract the other muscles of the body,
but the paralyzed limb fails to move. In all these cases, however, the
volition considered as a psychic process is intact.

=Volitional effort is effort of attention.= We thus find that _we reach
the heart of our inquiry into volition when we ask by what process it is
that the thought of any given action comes to prevail stably in the
mind_. Where thoughts prevail without effort, we have sufficiently
studied in the several chapters on Sensation, Association, and
Attention, the laws of their advent before consciousness and of their
stay. We shall not go over that ground again, for we know that interest
and association are the words, let their worth be what it may, on which
our explanations must perforce rely. Where, on the other hand, the
prevalence of the thought is accompanied by the phenomenon of effort,
the case is much less clear. Already in the chapter on Attention we
postponed the final consideration of voluntary attention with effort to
a later place. We have now brought things to a point at which we see
that attention with effort is all that any case of volition implies.
_The essential achievement of the will, in short, when it is most
'voluntary,' is to attend to a difficult object and hold it fast before
the mind._ The so-doing _is_ the _fiat_; and it is a mere physiological
incident that when the object is thus attended to, immediate motor
consequences should ensue.

_Effort of attention is thus the essential phenomenon of will._[55]
Every reader must know by his own experience that this is so, for every
reader must have felt some fiery passion's grasp. What constitutes the
difficulty for a man laboring under an unwise passion of acting as if
the passion were wise? Certainly there is no physical difficulty. It is
as easy physically to avoid a fight as to begin one, to pocket one's
money as to squander it on one's cupidities, to walk away from as
towards a coquette's door. The difficulty is mental: it is that of
getting the idea of the wise action to stay before our mind at all. When
any strong emotional state whatever is upon us, the tendency is for no
images but such as are congruous with it to come up. If others by chance
offer themselves, they are instantly smothered and crowded out. If we be
joyous, we cannot keep thinking of those uncertainties and risks of
failure which abound upon our path; if lugubrious, we cannot think of
new triumphs, travels, loves, and joys; nor if vengeful, of our
oppressor's community of nature with ourselves. The cooling advice which
we get from others when the fever-fit is on us is the most jarring and
exasperating thing in life. Reply we cannot, so we get angry; for by a
sort of self-preserving instinct which our passion has, it feels that
these chill objects, if they once but gain a lodgment, will work and
work until they have frozen the very vital spark from out of all our
mood and brought our airy castles in ruin to the ground. Such is the
inevitable effect of reasonable ideas over others--_if they can once get
a quiet hearing_; and passion's cue accordingly is always and everywhere
to prevent their still small voice from being heard at all. "Let me not
think of that! Don't speak to me of that!" This is the sudden cry of all
those who in a passion perceive some sobering considerations about to
check them in mid-career. There is something so icy in this cold-water
bath, something which seems so hostile to the movement of our life, so
purely negative, in Reason, when she lays her corpse-like finger on our
heart and says, "Halt! give up! leave off! go back! sit down!" that it
is no wonder that to most men the steadying influence seems, for the
time being, a very minister of death.

The strong-willed man, however, is the man who hears the still small
voice unflinchingly, and who, when the death-bringing consideration
comes, looks at its face, consents to its presence, clings to it,
affirms it, and holds it fast, in spite of the host of exciting mental
images which rise in revolt against it and would expel it from the mind.
Sustained in this way by a resolute effort of attention, the difficult
object erelong begins to call up its own congeners and associates and
ends by changing the disposition of the man's consciousness altogether.
And with his consciousness his action changes, for the new object, once
stably in possession of the field of his thoughts, infallibly produces
its own motor effects. The difficulty lies in the gaining possession of
that field. Though the spontaneous drift of thought is all the other
way, the attention must be kept strained on that one object until at
last it _grows_, so as to maintain itself before the mind with ease.
This strain of the attention is the fundamental act of will. And the
will's work is in most cases practically ended when the bare presence to
our thought of the naturally unwelcome object has been secured. For the
mysterious tie between the thought and the motor centres next comes into
play, and, in a way which we cannot even guess at, the obedience of the
bodily organs follows as a matter of course.

In all this one sees how the immediate point of application of the
volitional effort lies exclusively in the mental world. The whole drama
is a mental drama. The whole difficulty is a mental difficulty, a
difficulty with an ideal object of our thought. It is, in one word, an
_idea_ to which our will applies itself, an idea which if we let it go
would slip away, but which we will not let go. _Consent to the idea's
undivided presence, this is effort's sole achievement._ Its only
function is to get this feeling of consent into the mind. And for this
there is but one way. The idea to be consented to must be kept from
flickering and going out. It must be held steadily before the mind until
it _fills_ the mind. Such filling of the mind by an idea, with its
congruous associates, _is_ consent to the idea and to the fact which the
idea represents. If the idea be that, or include that, of a bodily
movement of our own, then we call the consent thus laboriously gained a
motor volition. For Nature here 'backs' us instantaneously and follows
up our inward willingness by outward changes on her own part. She does
this in no other instance. Pity she should not have been more generous,
nor made a world whose other parts were as immediately subject to our

On page 430, in describing the 'reasonable type' of decision, it was
said that it usually came when the right conception of the case was
found. Where, however, the right conception is an anti-impulsive one,
the whole intellectual ingenuity of the man usually goes to work to
crowd it out of sight, and to find for the emergency names by the help
of which the dispositions of the moment may sound sanctified, and sloth
or passion may reign unchecked. How many excuses does the drunkard find
when each new temptation comes! It is a new brand of liquor which the
interests of intellectual culture in such matters oblige him to test;
moreover it is poured out and it is sin to waste it; also others are
drinking and it would be churlishness to refuse. Or it is but to enable
him to sleep, or just to get through this job of work; or it isn't
drinking, it is because he feels so cold; or it is Christmas-day; or it
is a means of stimulating him to make a more powerful resolution in
favor of abstinence than any he has hitherto made; or it is just this
once, and once doesn't count, etc., etc., _ad libitum_--it is, in fact,
anything you like except _being a drunkard_. _That_ is the conception
that will not stay before the poor soul's attention. But if he once gets
able to pick out that way of conceiving, from all the other possible
ways of conceiving the various opportunities which occur, if through
thick and thin he holds to it that this is being a drunkard and is
nothing else, he is not likely to remain one long. The effort by which
he succeeds in keeping the right _name_ unwaveringly present to his mind
proves to be his saving moral act.

Everywhere, then, the function of the effort is the same: to keep
affirming and adopting a thought which, if left to itself, would slip
away. It may be cold and flat when the spontaneous mental drift is
towards excitement, or great and arduous when the spontaneous drift is
towards repose. In the one case the effort has to inhibit an explosive,
in the other to arouse an obstructed will. The exhausted sailor on a
wreck has a will which is obstructed. One of his ideas is that of his
sore hands, of the nameless exhaustion of his whole frame which the act
of farther pumping involves, and of the deliciousness of sinking into
sleep. The other is that of the hungry sea ingulfing him. "Rather the
aching toil!" he says; and it becomes reality then, in spite of the
inhibiting influence of the relatively luxurious sensations which he
gets from lying still. Often again it may be the thought of sleep and
what leads to it which is the hard one to keep before the mind. If a
patient afflicted with insomnia can only control the whirling chase of
his ideas so far as to think of _nothing at all_ (which can be done), or
so far as to imagine one letter after another of a verse of Scripture or
poetry spelt slowly and monotonously out, it is almost certain that
here, too, specific bodily effects will follow, and that sleep will
come. The trouble is to keep the mind upon a train of objects naturally
so insipid. _To sustain a representation, to think_, is, in short, the
only moral act, for the impulsive and the obstructed, for sane and
lunatics alike. Most maniacs know their thoughts to be crazy, but find
them too pressing to be withstood. Compared with them the sane truths
are so deadly sober, so cadaverous, that the lunatic cannot bear to look
them in the face and say, "Let these alone be my reality!" But with
sufficient effort, as Dr. Wigan says, "Such a man can for a time _wind
himself up_, as it were, and determine that the notions of the
disordered brain shall not be manifested. Many instances are on record
similar to that told by Pinel, where an inmate of the Bicêtre, having
stood a long cross-examination, and given every mark of restored reason,
signed his name to the paper authorizing his discharge 'Jesus Christ,'
and then went off into all the vagaries connected with that delusion. In
the phraseology of the gentleman whose case is related in an early part
of this [Wigan's] work he had 'held himself tight' during the
examination in order to attain his object; this once accomplished he
'let himself down' again, and, if even _conscious_ of his delusion,
could not control it. I have observed with such persons that it requires
a considerable time to wind themselves up to the pitch of complete
self-control, that the effort is a painful tension of the mind.... When
thrown off their guard by any accidental remark or worn out by the
length of the examination, they _let themselves go_, and cannot gather
themselves up again without preparation."

To sum it all up in a word, _the terminus of the psychological process
in volition, the point to which the will is directly applied, is always
an idea_. There are at all times some ideas from which we shy away like
frightened horses the moment we get a glimpse of their forbidding
profile upon the threshold of our thought. _The only resistance which
our will can possibly experience is the resistance which such an idea
offers to being attended to at all._ To attend to it is the volitional
act, and the only inward volitional act which we ever perform.

=The Question of 'Free-will.'=--As was remarked on p. 443, in the
experience of effort we feel as if we might make more or less than we
actually at any moment are making.

The effort appears, in other words, not as a fixed reaction on our part
which the object that resists us necessarily calls forth, but as what
the mathematicians call an 'independent variable' amongst the fixed
data of the case, our motives, character, etc. If it be really so, if
the amount of our effort is not a determinate function of those other
data, then, in common parlance, _our wills are free_. If, on the
contrary, the amount of effort be a fixed function, so that whatever
object at any time fills our consciousness was from eternity bound to
fill it then and there, and compel from us the exact effort, neither
more nor less, which we bestow upon it,--then our wills are not free,
and all our acts are foreordained. _The question of fact in the
free-will controversy is thus extremely simple. It relates solely to the
amount of effort of attention which we can at any time put forth._ Are
the duration and intensity of this effort fixed functions of the object,
or are they not? Now, as I just said, it _seems_ as if we might exert
more or less in any given case. When a man has let his thoughts go for
days and weeks until at last they culminate in some particularly dirty
or cowardly or cruel act, it is hard to persuade him, in the midst of
his remorse, that he might not have reined them in; hard to make him
believe that this whole goodly universe (which his act so jars upon)
required and exacted it of him at that fatal moment, and from eternity
made aught else impossible. But, on the other hand, there is the
certainty that all his _effortless_ volitions are resultants of
interests and associations whose strength and sequence are mechanically
determined by the structure of that physical mass, his brain; and the
general continuity of things and the monistic conception of the world
may lead one irresistibly to postulate that a little fact like effort
can form no real exception to the overwhelming reign of deterministic
law. Even in effortless volition we have the consciousness of the
alternative being also possible. This is surely a delusion here; why is
it not a delusion everywhere?

_The fact is that the question of free-will is insoluble on strictly
psychologic grounds._ After a certain amount of effort of attention has
been given to an idea, it is manifestly impossible to tell whether
either more or less of it _might_ have been given or not. To tell that,
we should have to ascend to the antecedents of the effort, and defining
them with mathematical exactitude, prove, by laws of which we have not
at present even an inkling, that the only amount of sequent effort which
could _possibly_ comport with them was the precise amount that actually
came. Such measurements, whether of psychic or of neural quantities, and
such deductive reasonings as this method of proof implies, will surely
be forever beyond human reach. No serious psychologist or physiologist
will venture even to suggest a notion of how they might be practically
made. Had one no motives drawn from elsewhere to make one partial to
either solution, one might easily leave the matter undecided. But a
psychologist cannot be expected to be thus impartial, having a great
motive in favor of determinism. He wants to build a _Science_; and a
Science is a system of fixed relations. Wherever there are independent
variables, there Science stops. So far, then, as our volitions may be
independent variables, a scientific psychology must ignore that fact,
and treat of them only so far as they are fixed functions. In other
words, she must deal with the _general laws_ of volition exclusively;
with the impulsive and inhibitory character of ideas; with the nature of
their appeals to the attention; with the conditions under which effort
may arise, etc.; but not with the precise amounts of effort, for these,
if our wills be free, are impossible to compute. She thus abstracts from
free-will, without necessarily denying its existence. Practically,
however, such abstraction is not distinguished from rejection; and most
actual psychologists have no hesitation in denying that free-will

For ourselves, we can hand the free-will controversy over to
metaphysics. Psychology will surely never grow refined enough to
discover, in the case of any individual's decision, a discrepancy
between her scientific calculations and the fact. Her prevision will
never foretell, whether the effort be completely predestinate or not,
the way in which each individual emergency is resolved. Psychology will
be psychology, and Science science, as much as ever (as much and no
more) in this world, whether free-will be true in it or not.

We can thus ignore the free-will question in psychology. As we said on
p. 452, the operation of free effort, if it existed, could only be to
hold some one ideal object, or part of an object, a little longer or a
little more intensely before the mind. Amongst the alternatives which
present themselves as _genuine possibles_, it would thus make one
effective. And although such quickening of one idea might be morally and
historically momentous, yet, if considered _dynamically_, it would be an
operation amongst those physiological infinitesimals which an actual
science must forever neglect.

=Ethical Importance of the Phenomenon of Effort.=--But whilst eliminating
the question about the amount of our effort as one which psychology will
never have a practical call to decide, I must say one word about the
extraordinarily intimate and important character which the phenomenon of
effort assumes in our own eyes as individual men. Of course we measure
ourselves by many standards. Our strength and our intelligence, our
wealth and even our good luck, are things which warm our heart and make
us feel ourselves a match for life. But deeper than all such things, and
able to suffice unto itself without them, is the sense of the amount of
effort which we can put forth. Those are, after all, but effects,
products, and reflections of the outer world within. But the effort
seems to belong to an altogether different realm, as if it were the
substantive thing which we _are_, and those were but externals which we
_carry_. If the 'searching of our heart and reins' be the purpose of
this human drama, then what is sought seems to be what effort we can
make. He who can make none is but a shadow; he who can make much is a
hero. The huge world that girdles us about puts all sorts of questions
to us, and tests us in all sorts of ways. Some of the tests we meet by
actions that are easy, and some of the questions we answer in
articulately formulated words. But the deepest question that is ever
asked admits of no reply but the dumb turning of the will and tightening
of our heart-strings as we say, "_Yes, I will even have it so!_" When a
dreadful object is presented, or when life as a whole turns up its dark
abysses to our view, then the worthless ones among us lose their hold on
the situation altogether, and either escape from its difficulties by
averting their attention, or if they cannot do that, collapse into
yielding masses of plaintiveness and fear. The effort required for
facing and consenting to such objects is beyond their power to make. But
the heroic mind does differently. To it, too, the objects are sinister
and dreadful, unwelcome, incompatible with wished-for things. But it can
face them if necessary, without for that losing its hold upon the rest
of life. The world thus finds in the heroic man its worthy match and
mate; and the effort which he is able to put forth to hold himself erect
and keep his heart unshaken is the direct measure of his worth and
function in the game of human life. He can _stand_ this Universe. He can
meet it and keep up his faith in it in presence of those same features
which lay his weaker brethren low. He can still find a zest in it, not
by 'ostrich-like forgetfulness,' but by pure inward willingness to face
it with those deterrent objects there. And hereby he makes himself one
of the masters and the lords of life. He must be counted with
henceforth; he forms a part of human destiny. Neither in the theoretic
nor in the practical sphere do we care for, or go for help to, those who
have no head for risks, or sense for living on the perilous edge. Our
religious life lies more, our practical life lies less, than it used to,
on the perilous edge. But just as our courage is so often a reflex of
another's courage, so our faith is apt to be a faith in some one else's
faith. We draw new life from the heroic example. The prophet has drunk
more deeply than anyone of the cup of bitterness, but his countenance is
so unshaken and he speaks such mighty words of cheer that his will
becomes our will, and our life is kindled at his own.

Thus not only our morality but our religion, so far as the latter is
deliberate, depend on the effort which we can make. "_Will you or won't
you have it so?_" is the most probing question we are ever asked; we are
asked it every hour of the day, and about the largest as well as the
smallest, the most theoretical as well as the most practical, things. We
answer by _consents or non-consents_ and not by words. What wonder that
these dumb responses should seem our deepest organs of communication
with the nature of things! What wonder if the effort demanded by them be
the measure of our worth as men! What wonder if the amount which we
accord of it were the one strictly underived and original contribution
which we make to the world!



=What the Word Metaphysics means.=--In the last chapter we handed the
question of free-will over to 'metaphysics.' It would indeed have been
hasty to settle the question absolutely, inside the limits of
psychology. Let psychology frankly admit that _for her scientific
purposes_ determinism may be _claimed_, and no one can find fault. If,
then, it turn out later that the claim has only a relative purpose, and
may be crossed by counter-claims, the readjustment can be made. Now
ethics makes a counterclaim; and the present writer, for one, has no
hesitation in regarding her claim as the stronger, and in assuming that
our wills are 'free.' For him, then, the deterministic assumption of
psychology is merely provisional and methodological. This is no place to
argue the ethical point; and I only mention the conflict to show that
all these special sciences, marked off for convenience from the
remaining body of truth (cf. p. 1), must hold their assumptions and
results subject to revision in the light of each others' needs. The
forum where they hold discussion is called metaphysics. Metaphysics
means only an unusually obstinate attempt to think clearly and
consistently. The special sciences all deal with data that are full of
obscurity and contradiction; but from the point of view of their limited
purposes these defects may be overlooked. Hence the disparaging use of
the name metaphysics which is so common. To a man with a limited purpose
any discussion that is over-subtle for that purpose is branded as
'metaphysical.' A geologist's purposes fall short of understanding Time
itself. A mechanist need not know how action and reaction are possible
at all. A psychologist has enough to do without asking how both he and
the mind which he studies are able to take cognizance of the same outer
world. But it is obvious that problems irrelevant from one standpoint
may be essential from another. And as soon as one's purpose is the
attainment of the maximum of possible insight into the world as a whole,
the metaphysical puzzles become the most urgent ones of all. Psychology
contributes to general philosophy her full share of these; and I propose
in this last chapter to indicate briefly which of them seem the more
important. And first, of the

=Relation of Consciousness to the Brain.=--When psychology is treated as a
natural science (after the fashion in which it has been treated in this
book), 'states of mind' are taken for granted, as data immediately given
in experience; and the working hypothesis (see p. 6) is the mere
empirical law that to the entire state of the brain at any moment one
unique state of mind always 'corresponds.' This does very well till we
begin to be metaphysical and ask ourselves just what we mean by such a
word as 'corresponds.' This notion appears dark in the extreme, the
moment we seek to translate it into something more intimate than mere
parallel variation. Some think they make the notion of it clearer by
calling the mental state and the brain the inner and outer 'aspects,'
respectively, of 'One and the Same Reality.' Others consider the mental
state as the 'reaction' of a unitary being, the Soul, upon the multiple
activities which the brain presents. Others again comminute the mystery
by supposing each brain-cell to be separately conscious, and the
empirically given mental state to be the appearance of all the little
consciousnesses fused into one, just as the 'brain' itself is the
appearance of all the cells together, when looked at from one point of

We may call these three metaphysical attempts the _monistic_, the
_spiritualistic_, and the _atomistic_ theories respectively. Each has
its difficulties, of which it seems to me that those of the
spiritualistic theory are _logically_ much the least grave. But the
spiritualistic theory is quite out of touch with the facts of multiple
consciousness, alternate personality, etc. (pp. 207-214). These lend
themselves more naturally to the atomistic formulation, for it seems
easier to think of a lot of minor consciousnesses now gathering together
into one large mass, and now into several smaller ones, than of a Soul
now reacting totally, now breaking into several disconnected
simultaneous reactions. The localization of brain-functions also makes
for the atomistic view. If in my experience, say of a bell, it is my
occipital lobes which are the condition of its being seen, and my
temporal lobes which are the condition of its being heard, what is more
natural than to say that the former _see_ it and the latter _hear_ it,
and then 'combine their information'? In view of the extreme naturalness
of such a way of representing the well-established fact that the
appearance of the several parts of an object to consciousness at any
moment does depend on as many several parts of the brain being then
active, all such objections as were urged, on pp. 23, 57, and elsewhere,
to the notion that 'parts' of consciousness _can_ 'combine' will be
rejected as far-fetched, unreal, and 'metaphysical' by the atomistic
philosopher. His 'purpose' is to gain a formula which shall unify things
in a natural and easy manner, and for such a purpose the atomistic
theory seems expressly made to his hand.

But the difficulty with the problem of 'correspondence' is not only that
of solving it, it is that of even stating it in elementary terms.

"L'ombre en ce lieu s'amasse, et la nuit est la toute."

Before we can know just what sort of goings-on occur when thought
corresponds to a change in the brain, we must know the _subjects_ of the
goings-on. We must know which sort of mental fact and which sort of
cerebral fact are, so to speak, in immediate juxtaposition. We must
find the minimal mental fact whose being reposes directly on a
brain-fact; and we must similarly find the minimal brain-event which can
have a mental counterpart at all. Between the mental and the physical
minima thus found there will be an immediate relation, the expression of
which, if we had it, would be the elementary psycho-physic law.

Our own formula has escaped the metempiric assumption of psychic atoms
by _taking the entire thought_ (even of a complex object) _as the
minimum with which it deals on the mental_ side, and the entire brain as
the minimum on the physical side. But the 'entire brain' is not a
physical fact at all! It is nothing but our name for the way in which a
billion of molecules arranged in certain positions may affect our sense.
On the principles of the corpuscular or mechanical philosophy, the only
realities are the separate molecules, or at most the cells. Their
aggregation into a 'brain' is a fiction of popular speech. Such a
figment cannot serve as the objectively real counterpart to any psychic
state whatever. Only a genuinely physical fact can so serve, and the
molecular fact is the only genuine physical fact. Whereupon we seem, if
we are to have an elementary psycho-physic law at all, thrust right back
upon something like the mental-atom-theory, for the molecular fact,
being an element of the 'brain,' would seem naturally to correspond, not
to total thoughts, but to elements of thoughts. Thus the real in
psychics seems to 'correspond' to the unreal in physics, and _vice
versa_; and our perplexity is extreme.

=The Relation of States of Mind to their 'Objects.'=--The perplexity is
not diminished when we reflect upon our assumption that states of
consciousness can _know_ (pp. 2-13). From the common-sense point of view
(which is that of all the natural sciences) knowledge is an ultimate
relation between two mutually external entities, the knower and the
known. The world first exists, and then the states of mind; and these
gain a cognizance of the world which gets gradually more and more
complete. But it is hard to carry through this simple dualism, for
idealistic reflections will intrude. Take the states of mind called pure
sensations (so far as such may exist), that for example of _blue_, which
we may get from looking into the zenith on a clear day. Is the blue a
determination of the feeling itself, or of its 'object'? Shall we
describe the experience as a quality of our feeling or as our feeling of
a quality? Ordinary speech vacillates incessantly on this point. The
ambiguous word 'content' has been recently invented instead of 'object,'
to escape a decision; for 'content' suggests something not exactly out
of the feeling, nor yet exactly identical with the feeling, since the
latter remains suggested as the container or vessel. Yet of our feelings
as vessels apart from their content we really have no clear notion
whatever. The fact is that such an experience as _blue_, as it is
immediately given, can only be called by some such neutral name as that
of _phenomenon_. It does not _come_ to us _immediately_ as a relation
between two realities, one mental and one physical. It is only when,
still thinking of it as the _same_ blue (cf. p. 239), we trace relations
between it and other things, that it doubles itself, so to speak, and
develops in two directions; and, taken in connection with some
associates, figures as a physical quality, whilst with others it figures
as a feeling in the mind.

Our non-sensational, or conceptual, states of mind, on the other hand,
seem to obey a different law. They present themselves immediately as
referring beyond themselves. Although they also possess an immediately
given 'content,' they have a 'fringe' beyond it (p. 168), and claim to
'represent' something else than it. The 'blue' we have just spoken of,
for instance, was, substantively considered, a _word_; but it was a word
with a _meaning_. The quality blue was the _object_ of the thought, the
word was its _content_. The mental state, in short, was not
self-sufficient as sensations are, but expressly pointed at something
more in which it meant to terminate.

But the moment when, as in sensations, object and conscious state seem
to be different ways of considering one and the same fact, it becomes
hard to justify our denial that mental states consist of parts. The blue
sky, considered physically, is a sum of mutually external parts; why is
it not such a sum, when considered as a content of sensation?

The only result that is plain from all this is that the relations of the
known and the knower are infinitely complicated, and that a genial,
whole-hearted, popular-science way of formulating them will not suffice.
The only possible path to understanding them lies through metaphysical
subtlety; and Idealism and _Erkenntnisstheorie_ must say their say
before the natural-science assumption that thoughts 'know' things grows

=The changing character of consciousness= presents another puzzle. We
first assumed conscious 'states' as the units with which psychology
deals, and we said later that they were in constant change. Yet any
state must have a certain duration to be _effective_ at all--a pain
which lasted but a hundredth of a second would practically be no
pain--and the question comes up, how long may a state last and still be
treated as _one_ state? In time-perception for example, if the 'present'
as known (the 'specious present,' as we called it) may be a dozen
seconds long (p. 281), how long need the present as knower be? That is,
what is the minimum duration of the consciousness in which those twelve
seconds can be apprehended as just past, the minimum which can be called
a 'state,' for such a cognitive purpose? Consciousness, as a process in
time, offers the paradoxes which have been found in all continuous
change. There are no 'states' in such a thing, any more than there are
facets in a circle, or places where an arrow 'is' when it flies. The
vertical raised upon the time-line on which (p. 285) we represented the
past to be 'projected' at any given instant of memory, is only an ideal
construction. Yet anything broader than that vertical _is_ not, for the
_actual_ present is only the joint between the past and future and has
no breadth of its own. Where everything is change and process, how can
we talk of 'state'? Yet how can we do without 'states,' in describing
what the vehicles of our knowledge seem to be?

=States of consciousness themselves are not verifiable facts.= But 'worse
remains behind.' Neither common-sense, nor psychology so far as it has
yet been written, has ever doubted that the states of consciousness
which that science studies are immediate data of experience. 'Things'
have been doubted, but thoughts and feelings have never been doubted.
The outer world, but never the inner world, has been denied. Everyone
assumes that we have direct introspective acquaintance with our thinking
activity as such, with our consciousness as something inward and
contrasted with the outer objects which it knows. Yet I must confess
that for my part I cannot feel sure of this conclusion. Whenever I try
to become sensible of my thinking activity as such, what I catch is some
bodily fact, an impression coming from my brow, or head, or throat, or
nose. It seems as if consciousness as an inner activity were rather a
_postulate_ than a sensibly given fact, the postulate, namely, of a
_knower_ as correlative to all this known; and as if '_scious_ness'
might be a better word by which to describe it. But 'sciousness
postulated as an hypothesis' is practically a very different thing from
'states of consciousness apprehended with infallible certainty by an
inner sense.' For one thing, it throws the question of _who the knower
really is_ wide open again, and makes the answer which we gave to it at
the end of Chapter XII a mere provisional statement from a popular and
prejudiced point of view.

=Conclusion.=--When, then, we talk of 'psychology as a natural science,'
we must not assume that that means a sort of psychology that stands at
last on solid ground. It means just the reverse; it means a psychology
particularly fragile, and into which the waters of metaphysical
criticism leak at every joint, a psychology all of whose elementary
assumptions and data must be reconsidered in wider connections and
translated into other terms. It is, in short, a phrase of diffidence,
and not of arrogance; and it is indeed strange to hear people talk
triumphantly of 'the New Psychology,' and write 'Histories of
Psychology,' when into the real elements and forces which the word
covers not the first glimpse of clear insight exists. A string of raw
facts; a little gossip and wrangle about opinions; a little
classification and generalization on the mere descriptive level; a
strong prejudice that we _have_ states of mind, and that our brain
conditions them: but not a single law in the sense in which physics
shows us laws, not a single proposition from which any consequence can
causally be deduced. We don't even know the terms between which the
elementary laws would obtain if we had them (p. 464). This is no
science, it is only the hope of a science. The matter of a science is
with us. Something definite happens when to a certain brain-state a
certain 'sciousness' corresponds. A genuine glimpse into what it is
would be _the_ scientific achievement, before which all past
achievements would pale. But at present psychology is in the condition
of physics before Galileo and the laws of motion, of chemistry before
Lavoisier and the notion that mass is preserved in all reactions. The
Galileo and the Lavoisier of psychology will be famous men indeed when
they come, as come they some day surely will, or past successes are no
index to the future. When they do come, however, the necessities of the
case will make them 'metaphysical.' Meanwhile the best way in which we
can facilitate their advent is to understand how great is the darkness
in which we grope, and never to forget that the natural-science
assumptions with which we started are provisional and revisable things.



Abstract ideas, 240, 25;
  characters, 353;
  propositions, 354

Abstraction, 251;
  see _Distraction_

_Accommodation_, of crystalline lens, 32;
  of ear, 49

Acquaintance, 14

Acquisitiveness, 407

Action, what holds attention determines, 448

After-images, 43-5


Alexia, 113


Alternating personality, 205 ff.


Analysis, 56, 248, 251, 362

Anger, 374

Aphasia, 108, 113;
  loss of images in, 309

Apperception, 326

Aqueduct of Silvius, 80

Arachnoid membrane, 84

Arbor vitæ, 86


Articular sensibility, 74

Association, Chapter XVI;
  the order of our ideas, 253;
  determined by cerebral laws, 255;
  is not of ideas, but of things thought of, 255;
  the elementary principle of, 256;
  the ultimate cause of is habit, 256;
  indeterminateness of its results, 258;
  total recall, 259;
  partial recall and the law of interest, 261;
  frequency, recency, vividness, and emotional congruity
       tend to determine the object recalled, 264;
  focalized recall or by similarity, 267, 364;
  voluntary trains of thought, 271;
  problems, 273

Atomistic theories of consciousness, 462

Attention, Chapter XIII;
  its relation to interest, 170;
  its physiological ground, 217;
  narrowness of field of consciousness, 217;
  to how many things possible, 219;
  to simultaneous sight and sound, 220;
  its varieties, 220;
  voluntary, 224;
  involuntary, 220;
  change necessary to, 226;
  its relation to genius, 227;
  physiological conditions of, 228;
  the sense-organ must be adapted, 229;
  the idea of the object must be aroused, 232;
  pedagogic remarks, 236;
  attention and free-will, 237;
  what holds attention determines action, 448;
  volitional effort is effort of attention, 450

Auditory centre in brain, 113

Auditory type of imagination, 306

AUSTEN, Miss, 261

Automaton theory, 10, 101

AZAM, 210


BAIN, 145, 367, 370

BERKLEV, 302, 303, 347

BINET, 318, 332

Black, 45-6

Blind Spot, 31

BLIX, 64, 68

Blood-supply, cerebral, 130

Bodily expression, cause of emotions, 375


Brain, the functions of, Chapter VIII, 91

_Brain_, its connection with mind, 5-7;
  its relations to outer forces, 9;
  relations of consciousness to, 462

Brain, structure of, Chapter VII, 78 ff.;
  vesicles, 78 ff.;
  dissection of sheep's, 81;
  how to preserve, 83;
  functions of, Chapter VIII, 91 ff.


BROCA, 109, 113, 115

Broca's convolution, 109


BROOKS, Prof. W. K., 412

Brutes, reasoning of, 367

Calamus scriptorius, 84

_Canals_, semicircular, 50

CARPENTER, 223, 224

CATTELL, 125, 126, 127

Caudate nucleus, 81, 86

Centres, nerve, 92

Cerebellum, its relation to equilibrium, 76;
  its anatomy, 79, 84

Cerebral laws, of association, 255

Cerebral process, see _Neural Process_

Cerebrum, see _Brain_, _Hemisphere_

Changing character of consciousness, 152, 466

CHARCOT, 113, 309

Choice, see _Interest_

Coalescence of different sensations into the same 'thing,' 339

_Cochlea_, 51, 52

Cognition, see _Reasoning_

Cold, sensations of, 63 ff.;
  nerves of, 64

_Color_, 40-3

Commissures, 84

Commissure, middle, 88 ff.;
  anterior, 88;
  posterior, 88

Comparison of magnitudes, 342

_Compounding_ of sensations, 23, 43, 57

Compound objects, analysis of, 248

Concatenated acts, dependent on habit, 140

Conceiving, mode of, what is meant by, 354

Conceptions, Chapter XIV;
  defined, 239;
  their permanence, 239;
  different states of mind can mean the same, 239;
  abstract, universal, and problematic, 240;
  the thought of 'the same' is not the same thought over again, 243

Conceptual order different from perceptual, 243

Consciousness, stream of, Chapter XI, 151;
  four characters in, 152;
  personal, 152;
  is in constant change, 152, 466;
  same state of mind never occurs twice, 154;
  consciousness is continuous, 157;
  substantive and transitive states of, 160;
  interested in one part of its object more than another, 170;
  double consciousness, 206 ff.;
  narrowness of field of, 217;
  relations of to brain, 462

Consciousness and Movement, Chapter XXIII;
  all consciousness is motor, 370

Concomitants, law of varying, 251

Consent, in willing, 452

Continuity of object of consciousness, 157

_Contrast_, 25, 44-5

_Convergence_ of eyeballs, 31, 33

Convolutions, motor, 106

Corpora fimbriata, 86

Corpora quadrigemma, 79, 86, 89

Corpus albicans, 84

Corpus callosum, 81, 84

Corpus striatum, 81, 86, 108

_Cortex_, 11, note

Cortex, localization in, 104;
  motor region of, 106

_Corti's_ organ, 52

Cramming, 295

Crura of brain, 79, 84, 108

Curiosity, 407

Currents, in nerves, 10


DARWIN, 388, 389

Deafness, mental, 113


Deliberation, 448

Delusions of insane, 207

Dermal senses, 60 ff.

Determinism and psychology, 461

Decision, five types, 429

Differences, 24;
  directly felt, 245;
  not resolvable into composition, 245;
  inferred, 248

Diffusion of movements, the law of, 371

Dimension, third, 342, 346

Discharge, nervous, 120

Discord, 58

Discrimination, Chapter XV, 59;
  touch, 62;
  defined, 244;
  conditions which favor, 245;
  sensation of difference, 246;
  differences inferred, 248;
  analysis of compound objects, 249;
  to be easily singled out a quality should already be
     separately known, 250;
  dissociation by varying concomitants, 251;
  practice improves discrimination, 252;
  of space, 338
  See _Difference_

'Disparate' retinal points, 35

Dissection, of sheep's brain, 81

_Distance_, as seen, 39;
  between members of series, 24;
  in space, see _Third dimension_

Distraction, 218 ff.

Division of space, 338


Double consciousness, 206 ff.

Double images, 36

Double personality, 205

Duality of brain, 205


Dura mater, 82

Duration, the primitive object in time-perception, 280;
  our estimation of short, 281

Ear, 47 ff.

Effort, feeling of, 434;
  feels like an original force, 442;
  volitional effort is effort of attention, 450;
  ethical importance of the phenomena of effort, 458

Ego, see _Self_

Embryological sketch, Chapter VII, 78

Emotion, Chapter XXIV;
  compared with instincts, 373;
  varieties of, innumerable, 374;
  causes of varieties, 375, 381;
  results from bodily expression, 375;
  this view not materialistic, 380;
  the subtler emotions, 384;
  fear, 385;
  genesis of reactions, 388

Emotional congruity, determines association, 264

Empirical self, see _Self_

Emulation, 406

End-organs, 10;
  of touch, 60;
  of temperature, 64;
  of pressure, 60;
  of pain, 67

Environment, 3

Essence of reason, always for subjective interest, 358

Essential characters, in reason, 354

Ethical importance of effort, 458

Exaggerated impulsion, causes an explosive will, 439

EXNER, 123, 281

Experience, 218, 244

Explosive will, from defective inhibition, 437;
  from exaggerated impulsion, 439

Expression, bodily, cause of emotions, 375

Extensity, primitive to all sensation, 335

Exteriority of objects, 15

External world, 15

Extirpation of higher nerve-centres, 95 ff.

Eye, its anatomy, 28-30

Familiarity, sense of, see _Recognition_

Fear, 385, 406, 407

FECHNER, 21, 229

Feeling of effort, 434

FÉRÉ, 311


Fissure of Rolando, seat of motor incitations, 106

Fissure of Sylvius, 108

Foramen of Monro, 88

Force, original, effort feels like, 442

Forgetting, 300

Fornix, 81, 86, 87, 89

Fovea centralis, 31


FRANZ, Dr., 308

Freedom of the will, 237

Free-will and attention, 237;
  relates solely to effort of attention, 455;
  insoluble on strictly psychologic grounds, 456;
  ethical importance of the phenomena of effort, 458

Frequency, determines association, 264

"Fringes" of mental objects, 163 ff.

Frogs' lower centres, 95

Functions of the Brain, Chapter VIII, 91;
  nervous functions, general idea of, 91

Fusion of mental states, 197, 245, 339

Fusion, of sensations, 23, 43, 57

GALTON, 126, 265, 303, 306

Genius, 227, 327

GOETHE, 146, 157

GOLDSCHEIDER, 11, 64, 68

GOLTZ, 100


GURNEY, EDMUND, 331, 334

Habit, Chapter X, 134 ff.;
  has a physical basis, 134;
  due to plasticity, 135;
  due to pathways through nerve-centres, 136;
  effects of, 138;
  practical use of, 138;
  depends on sensations not attended to, 141;
  ethical and pedagogical importance of 142 ff.;
  habit the ultimate cause of association, 256



Hallucinations, 330 ff.

HAMILTON, 260, 268

Harmony, 58


Hearing, 47 ff.;
  centre of, in cortex, 113

Heat-sensations, 63 ff.;
  nerves of, 64

HELMHOLTZ, 26, 42, 43, 55, 56, 58, 121, 226, 227, 231, 233, 234, 321

Hemispheres, general notion of, 97;
  chief seat of memory, 98;
  effects of deprivation of, on frogs, 92;
  on pigeons, 96

HERBART, 222, 326


HERING, 24, 26

HERZEN, 123, 124


HODGSON, 262, 264, 280, 283


HORSLEY, 107, 118

HUME, 161, 244

Hunger, sensations of, 69


Hypnotic conditions, 301

Ideas, the theory of, 154 ff.;
  never come twice the same, 154;
  they do not permanently exist, 157;
  abstract ideas, 240, 251;
  universal 240;
  order of ideas by association, 253

'Identical retinal points,' 35

Identity, personal, 201;
  mutations of, 205 ff.;
  alternating personality, 205

Ideo-motor action the type of all volition, 432

Illusions, 317 ff., 330

Images, mental, compared with sensations, 14;
  double, in vision, 36;
  'after-images,' 43-5;
  visual, 302;
  auditory, 306;
  motor, 307;
  tactile, 308

Imagination, Chapter XIX;
  defined, 302;
  differs in individuals, 302;
  Galton's statistics of, 302;
  visual, 302;
  auditory, 306;
  motor, 307;
  tactile, 308;
differences, 308;
  cerebral process of, 310;
  not locally distinct from that of sensation, 310

Imitation, 406

Inattention, 218, 236

Increase of stimulus, 20;
  serial, 24

Infundibulum, 82, 84, 88

Inhibition, defective, causes an Explosive Will, 437

Inhibition of instincts by habits, 399

Insane delusions, 207

Instinct, Chapter XXV;
  emotions compared with, 373;
  definition of, 391;
  every instinct is an impulse, 392;
  not always blind or invariable, 395;
  modified by experience, 396;
  two principles of non-uniformity, 398;
  man has more than beasts, 398, 406;
  transitory, 402;
  of children, 406;
  fear, 407

Intellect, part played by, in space-perception, 349

Intensity of sensations, 16

Interest, selects certain objects and determines thoughts 170;
  influence in association, 262

Introspection, 118

JANET, 211, 212, 301


Joints, their sensibility, 74


Knowledge, theory of, 2, 464, 467;
  two kinds of, 14



Labyrinth, 47, 49-52

LANGE, K., 329

Laws, cerebral, of association, 255

Law, Weber's, 17;
  --, Fechner's 21;
  --, of relativity, 24

LAZARUS, 300, 323

Lenticular nucleus, 81

LEWES, 11, 232, 326

Likeness, 243, 364

LINDSAY, Dr., 413

Localization of Functions in the hemispheres, 104 ff.

Localization, Skin, 61

Locations, in environment, 340;
  serial order of, 341

LOCKE, 244, 302, 357


Locomotion, instinct of, 406


Longituditional fissure, 84

LOTZE, 175

Love, 407

Lower Centres, of frogs and pigeons, 95 ff.


MACH, 75

Mamillary bodies, 84

Man's intellectual distinction from brutes, 367


MARTIN, 40, 44, 45, 49, 52, 53, 60, 61, 65, 69


Materialism and emotion, 380



Measurement, of sensations, 22;
  of space, 342

'Mediumships,' 212

Medulla oblongata, 84, 108

Memory, Chapter XVIII;
  hemispheres physical seat of, 98;
  defined, 287;
  analysis of the phenomenon of memory, 287 ff.;
  return of a mental image is not memory, 289;
  association explains recall and retention, 289;
  brain-scheme of, 291;
  conditions of good memory, 292;
  multiple associations favor, 294;
  effects of cramming on, 295;
  how to improve memory, 298;
  recognition, 299;
  forgetting, 300;
  hypnotics, 301

Mental blindness, 112

Mental images, 14

Mental operations, simultaneous, 219

Mental states, cannot fuse, 197;
  relation of, to their objects, 464

MERKEL, 59, 66

Metaphysics, what the word means, 461

MEYER, G. H., 308, 311

MEYNERT, 105, 117

MILL, JAMES, 196, 276, 289

MILL, J. S., 147, 157

Mimicry, 406

Mind depends on brain conditions, 3-7;
  states of, their relation to their objects, 464;
  see _Consciousness_

Modesty, 407

Monistic theories of consciousness, 462


MOSSO, 130, 131

Motion, sensations of, Chapter VI, 70 ff.;
  feeling of motion over surfaces, 70

Motor aphasia, 108

Motor region of cortex, 106

Motor type of imagination, 307

Movement, consciousness and, II, Chapter I;
  images of movement, 307;
  all consciousness is motor, 370

MUNK, 110


Muscular sensation, 65 ff.;
  relations to space, 66, 74;
  muscular centre in cortex, 106

MUSSEY, DR., 440


_Nerve-currents_, 9

Nervous discharge, 120

Nerve-endings in the skin, 60;
  in muscles and tendons, 66-67;
  Pain, 67 ff.;
  nerve-centres, 92

Nerves, general functions of, 91 ff.

Neural activity, general conditions of, Chapter IX, 120;
  nervous discharge, 120

Neural functions, general idea of, 91

Neural process, in habit, 134 ff.;
  in association, 255 ff.;
  in memory, 291;
  in imagination, 310;
  in perception, 329

Nucleus lenticularis, 81, 108;
  caudatus, 81, 108

Object, the, of sensation, 13-15;
  of thought, 154, 163;
  one part of, more interesting than another, 170;
  object must change to hold attention, 226;
  objects as signs and as realities, 345;
  relation of states of mind to their object, 464

Occipitel lobes, seat of visual centre, 110

Old-fogyism vs. genius, 327

Olfactory lobes, 82, 84

Olivary bodies, 85

Optic nerve, 82, 89

Optic tracts, 84

Original force, effort feels like one, 442

Overtones, 55

Pain, 67 ff.;
  pain and pleasure as springs of action, 444


Past time, known in a present feeling, 285;
  the immediate past is a portion of the present duration-block, 280

PAULHAN, 219, 220

Pedagogic remarks on habit, 142;
  on attention, 236

Peduncles, 84, 85, 86

Perception, Chapter XX;
  compared with sensation, 312;
  involves reproductive processes, 312;
  the perceptive state of mind is not a compound, 313;
  perception is of definite and probable things, 316;
  illusory perceptions, 317;
  physiological process of perception, 329

Perception of Space, Chapter XXI

PEREZ, M., 408

Personal Identity, 201;
  mutations of, 205 ff.;
  alternating personality, 205 ff.

Personality, alterations of, 205 ff.

Philosophy, Psychology and, Epilogue, 461

Phosphorus and thought, 132

Pia mater, 82

Pigeons' lower centres, 96

Pitch, 54

Pituitary body, 82, 89

Place, a series of positions, 341

Plasticity, as basis of habit, defined, 135

PLATO, 240

Play, 407

Pleasure, and pain, as springs of action, 444

Psychology and Philosophy, Epilogue, 461

Pons Varolii, 79, 84, 108

Positions, place a series of, 341

Practice, improves discrimination, 252

Present, the present moment, 280

Pressure sense, 60


Probability determines what object shall be perceived, 316, 329

Problematic conceptions, 240

Problems, solution of, 272

Projection of sensations, eccentric, 15

Psychology, defined, 1;
  a natural science, 2;
  what data it assumes, 2;
  Psychology and Philosophy, Chapter XXVII

Psycho-physic law, 17, 24, 46, 59, 66, 67

Pugnacity, 406


Pyramids, 85

Quality, 13, 23, 25, 56

Raehlmann, 349

Rationality, 173

Reaction-time, 120 ff.

Real magnitude, determined by æsthetic and practical interests, 344

Real space, 337

Reason, 254

Reasoning, Chapter XXIII;
  what it is, 351;
  involves use of abstract characters, 353;
  what is meant by an essential character, 354;
  the essence is always for a subjective interest, 358;
  two great points in reasoning, 360;
  sagacity, 362;
  help from association by similarity, 364;
  reasoning power of brutes, 367

Recall, 289

Recency, determines association, 264

'Recepts,' 368

Recognition, 299

Recollection, 289 ff.

Redintegration, 264

Reflex acts, defined, 92;
  reaction-time measures one, 123;
  concatenated habits are constituted by a chain of, 140

REID, 313

Relations, between objects, 162;
  feelings of, 162

'_Relativity_ of knowledge,' 24

Reproduction in memory, 289 ff.;
  voluntary, 271

Resemblance, 243

Retention in memory, 289

Retentiveness, organic, 291;
  it is unchangeable, 296

Retina, peripheral parts of, act as sentinels, 73

Revival in memory, 289 ff.

RIBOT, 300


Rivalry of selves, 186


Rolando, fissure of, 106

ROMANES, 128, 322, 367



Rotation, sense of, 75

Sagacity, 362

Sameness, 201, 202

SCHAEFER, 107, 110, 118


SCHNEIDER, 72, 372, 392

_Science_, natural, 1

SCOTT, Prof., 311

Sea-sickness, accidental origin, 390

Seat of consciousness, 5

Selection, 10;
  a cardinal function of consciousness, 170

Self, The, Chapter XII;
  not primary, 176;
  the empirical self, 176;
  its constituents, 177;
  the material self, 177;

  the social self, 179;
  the spiritual self, 181;
  self-appreciation, 182;
  self-seeking, bodily, social, and spiritual, 184;
  rivalry of the mes. 186;
  their hierarchy, 190;
  teleology of self-interest, 193;
  the I, or 'pure ego,' 195;
  thoughts are not compounded of 'fused' sensations, 196;
  the soul as a combining medium, 200;
  the sense of personal identity, 201;
  explained by identity of function in successive passing thoughts, 203;
  mutations of the self, 205;
  insane delusions, 207;
  alternating personalities, 210;
  medium-ships, 212;
  who is the thinker? 215

Self-appreciation, 182

Self-interest, theological uses of, 193;
  teleological character of, 193

Selves, their rivalry, 186

Semicircular canals, 50

Semicircular canals, their relation to sensations of rotation, 75

Sensations, in General, Chapter II, p. 9;
  distinguished from perceptions, 12;
  from images, 14;
  _first_ things in consciousness, 12;
  make us acquainted with qualities, 14;
  their exteriority, 15;
  intensity of sensations, 16;
  their measurement, 21;
  they are not compounds, 23

Sensations, of touch, 60;
  of skin, 60 ff.;
  of smell, 69;
  of pain, 67;
  of heat, 63;
  of cold, 63;
  of hunger, 69;
  of thirst, 69;
  of motion, 70;
  muscular, 65;
  of taste, 69;
  of pressure, 60;
  of joints, 74;
  of movement through space, 75;
  of rotation, 75;
  of translation, 76

Sense of time, see _Time_

Sensory centres in the cortex, 113 ff.

Septum lucidum, 87

Serial order of locations, 341

Shame, 374

Sheep's brain, dissection of, 81

Sight, 28 ff.;
  see _Vision_

Signs, 40;
  sensations are, to us of other sensations, whose
        space-value is held to be more real, 345 ff.

Similarity, association by, 267, 364;
  see _Likeness_

Size, 40

Skin--senses, 60 ff.;
  localizing power of, 61;
  discrimination of points on, 247

Smell, 69;
  centre of, in cortex, 116

SMITH, T. C., 311

Sociability, 407

Soul, the, as ego or thinker, 196;
  as a combining medium, 200, 203

Sound, 53-59;
  images of, 306

Space, Perception of, Chapter XXI;
  extensity in three dimensions primitive to all sensation, 335;
  construction of real space, 337;
  the processes which it involves: (1) Subdivision, 338;
  (2) Coalescence of different sensible data into one 'thing,' 339;
  (3) Location in an environment, 342;
  objects which are signs, and objects which are realities, 345;
  the third dimension, 346;
  Berkeley's theory of distance, 346;
  part played by intellect in space-perception, 349

Space, relation of muscular sense to, 66, 74

SPALDING, 401 ff.

Span of consciousness, 219, 286

Specific energies, 11

Speech, centres of, in cortex, 109;
  thought possible without it, 169;
  see _Aphasia_

SPENCER, 103, 387, 390

Spinal cord, conduction of pain by, 68;
  centre of defensive movements, 93

Spiritual substance, see _Soul_

Spiritualistic theories of consciousness, 462

Spontaneous trains of thought, 257;
  examples, 257 ff., 271

STARR, 107, 113, 115


Stream of Consciousness, Chapter XI, 151


Subdivision of space, 338

Substantive states of mind, 160

Succession _vs._ duration, 280;
  not known by successive feelings, 285

Summation of stimuli, 128

Surfaces, feeling of motion over, 70

Tactile centre in cortex, 116

Tactile images, 308

TAINE, 208

Taste, 69;
  centre of, in cortex, 116

Teleological character of consciousness, 4;
  of self-interest, 193

Temperature-sense, 63 ff.

Terminal organs, 10, 30, 52

Thalami, 80, 86, 89, 108

Thermometry, cerebral, 131

'Thing,' coalescence of sensations to form the same, 339

Thinking principle, see _Soul_

Third dimension of space, 346

Thirst, sensations of, 69


Thought, the 'Topic' of, 167;
  stream of, 151;
  can be carried on in any terms, 167;
  unity of, 196;
  spontaneous trains of, 257;
  the entire thought the minimum, 464

'Timbre,' 55

Time, sense of, Chapter XVII;
  begins with duration, 280;
  no sense of empty time, 281;
  compared with perception of space, 282;
  discrete flow of time, 282;
  long intervals conceived symbolically, 283;
  we measure duration by events that succeed in it, 283;
  variations in our estimations of its length, 283;
  cerebral processes of, 286

Touch, 60 ff.;
  centre of, in cortex, 116;
  images of, 308

Transcendental self or ego, 196

Transitive states of mind, 160

Translation, sense of, 76

Trapezium, 85

TURNER, Dr. J. E., 440

Tympanum, 48

Types of decision, 429

Unity of the passing thought, 196

Universal conceptions, 240


Valve of Vieussens, 80, 86

Variability of the emotions, 381

Varying concomitants, law of disassociation by, 251

Ventricles, 79 ff.


Vision, 28 ff.;
  binocular, 33-9;
  of solidity, 37

Visual centre of cortex, 110, 115

Visual imagination, 302

Visualizing power, 302

Vividness, determines association, 264

Volition, see _Will_


Voluminousness, primitive, of sensations, 335

Voluntary acts, defined, 92;
  voluntary attention, 224;
  voluntary trains of thought, 271

Weber's law, 17, 24, 46, 59

Weber's law--weight, 66;
  pain, 67

Weight, sensibility to, 66 ff.

WERNICKE, 109, 113, 115



WIGAN, 300

Will, Chapter XXVI;
  voluntary acts, 415;
  they are secondary performances, 415;
  no third kind of idea is called for, 418;
  the motor-cue, 420;
  ideo-motor action, 432;
  action after deliberation, 428;
  five types of decision, 429;
  feeling of effort, 434;
  healthiness of will, 435;
  defects of, 436;
  the explosive will: (1) from defective inhibition, 437;
  (2) from exaggerated impulsion, 439;
  the obstructed will, 441;
  effort feels like an original force, 442;
  pleasure and pain as springs of action, 444;
  what holds attention determines action, 448;
  will is a relation between the mind and its ideas, 449;
  volitional effort is effort of attention, 450;
  free-will, 455;
  ethical importance of effort, 458

Willing terminates with the prevalence of the idea, 449

WUNDT, 11, 18, 25, 58, 122, 123, 125, 127, 220, 281


 [1] In the present volume I have given so much extension to the
 details of 'Sensation' that I have obeyed custom and put that subject
 first, although by no means persuaded that such order intrinsically is
 the best. I feel now (when it is too late for the change to be made)
 that the chapters on the Production of Motion, on Instinct, and on
 Emotion ought, for purposes of teaching, to follow immediately upon
 that on Habit, and that the chapter on Reasoning ought to come in
 very early, perhaps immediately after that upon the Self. I advise
 teachers to adopt this modified order, in spite of the fact that with
 the change of place of 'Reasoning' there ought properly to go a slight
 amount of re-writing.

 [2] The subject may feel _pain_, however, in this experiment; and it
 must be admitted that nerve-fibres of every description, terminal
 organs as well, are to some degree excitable by mechanical violence
 and by the electric current.

 [3] Thus the optic nerve-fibres are traced to the occipital lobes,
 the olfactory tracts go to the lower part of the temporal lobe
 (hippocampal convolution), the auditory nerve-fibres pass first to the
 cerebellum, and probably from thence to the upper part of the temporal
 lobe. These anatomical terms used in this chapter will be explained
 later. The _cortex_ is the gray surface of the convolutions.

 [4] Vorlesungen über Menschen u. Thierseele, Lecture VII.

 [5] In other words, _S_ standing for the sensation in general, and _d_
 for its noticeable increment, we have the equation _d__S_ = const. The
 increment of stimulus which produces _d__S_ (call it _d__R_) meanwhile
 varies. Fechner calls it the 'differential threshold'; and as its
 _relative_ value to _R_ is always the same, we have the equation
 _d__R_/_R_ = const.

 [6] Beiträge zur exp. Psychol., Heft 3, p. 4.

 [7] I borrow it from Ziehen: Leitfaden d. Physiologischen Psychologie,
 1891, p. 36, who quotes Hering's version of it.

 [8] Successive ones also; but I consider simultaneous ones only, for
 simplicity's sake.

 [9] The extreme case is where green light and red, _e.g._ light
 falling simultaneously on the retina, give a sensation of yellow.
 But I abstract from this because it is not certain that the incoming
 currents here affect different fibres of the optic nerve.

 [10] The student can easily verify the coarser features of the eye's
 anatomy upon a bullock's eye, which any butcher will furnish. Clean
 it first from fat and muscles and study its shape, etc., and then
 (following Golding Bird's method) make an incision with a pointed
 scalpel into the sclerotic half an inch from the edge of the cornea,
 so that the black choroid membrane comes into view. Next with one
 blade of a pair of scissors inserted into this aperature, cut through
 sclerotic, choroid, and retina (avoid wounding the membrane of the
 vitreous body!) all round the eyeball parallel to the cornea's edge.

 The eyeball is thus divided into two parts, the anterior one
 containing the iris, lens, vitreous body, etc., whilst the posterior
 one contains most of the retina. The two parts can be separated by
 immersing the eyeball in water, cornea downwards, and simply pulling
 off the portion to which the optic nerve is attached. Floating this
 detached posterior cap in water, the delicate retina will be seen
 spread out over the choroid (which is partly iridescent in the ox
 tribe); and by turning the cup inside out, and working under water
 with a camel's-hair brush, the vessels and nerves of the eyeball may
 be detected.

 The anterior part of the eyeball can then be attacked. Seize with
 forceps on each side the edge of the sclerotic and choroid (not
 including the retina), raise the eye with the forceps thus applied
 and shake it gently till the vitreous body, lens, capsule, ligament,
 etc., drop out by their weight, and separate from the iris, ciliary
 processes, cornea, and sclerotic, which remains in the forceps.
 Examine these latter parts, and get a view of the ciliary muscle which
 appears as a white line, when with camel's-hair brush and scalpel
 the choroid membrane is detached from the sclerotic as far forward
 as it will go. Turning to the parts that cling to the vitreous body
 observe the clear ring around the lens, and radiating outside of it
 the marks made by the ciliary processes before they were torn away
 from its suspensory ligament. A fine capillary tube may now be used to
 insufflate the clear ring, just below the letter _p_ in Fig. 3, and
 thus to reveal the suspensory ligament itself.

 All these parts can be seen in section in a frozen eye or one hardened
 in alcohol.

 [11] This vertical partition is introduced into stereoscopes, which
 otherwise would give us three pictures instead of one.

 [12] The simplest form of stereoscope is two tin tubes about one and
 one-half inches calibre, dead black inside and (for normal eyes) ten
 inches long. Close each end with paper not too opaque, on which an
 inch-long thick black line is drawn. The tubes can be looked through,
 one by each eye, and held either parallel or with their farther ends
 converging. When properly rotated, their images will show every
 variety of fusion and non-fusion, and stereoscopic effect.

 [13] Martin: The Human Body, p. 530.

 [14] Ibid.

 [15] The ordinary mixing of _pigments_ is not an addition, but rather,
 as Helmholtz has shown, a subtraction, of lights. To _add_ one color
 to another we must either by appropriate glasses throw differently
 colored beams upon the same reflecting surface; or we must let the eye
 look at one color through an inclined plate of glass beneath which it
 lies, whilst the upper surface of the glass reflects into the same
 eye another color placed alongside--the two lights then mix on the
 retina; or, finally, we must let the differently colored lights fall
 in succession upon the retina, so fast that the second is there before
 the impression made by the first has died away. This is best done by
 looking at a rapidly rotating disk whose sectors are of the several
 colors to be mixed.

 [16] Martin: _op. cit._

 [17] Martin, pp. 525-8.

 [18] In teaching the anatomy of the ear, great assistance will
 be yielded by the admirable model made by Dr. Auzoux, 56 Rue de
 Vaugirard, Paris, described in the catalogue of the firm as "No.
 21--_Oreille, temporal de_ 60 cm., nouvelle édition," etc.

 [19] This description is abridged from Martin's 'Human Body'.

 [20] Martin: _op. cit._

 [21] Martin: _op. cit._

 [22] Martin: _op. cit._

 [23] Martin: _op. cit._

 [24] Martin: _op. cit._

 [25] Martin: _op. cit._, with omissions.

 [26] Martin: _op. cit._

 [27] Vierteljahrsch. für wiss. Philos., II. 377.

 [28] This chapter will be understood as a mere sketch for beginners.
 Models will be found of assistance. The best is the 'Cerveau de
 Texture de Grande Dimension,' made by Auzoux, 56 Rue de Vaugirard,
 Paris. It is a wonderful work of art, and costs 300 francs. M. Jules
 Talrich of No. 97 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris, makes a series
 of five large plaster models, which I have found very useful for
 class-room purposes. They cost 350 francs, and are far better than any
 German models which I have seen.

 [29] All the places in the brain at which the cavities come through
 are filled in during life by prolongations of the membrane called _pia
 mater_, carrying rich plexuses of blood-vessels in their folds.

 [30] The Physiology of Mind, p. 155.

 [31] J. Bahnsen: 'Beiträge zu Charakterologie' (1867), vol. I. p. 209.

 [32] De l'Intelligence, 3me édition (1878), vol. II.
 p. 461, note.

 [33] Some of the evidence for this medium's supernormal powers is
 given in The Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research,
 vol. VI. p. 436, and in the last Part of vol.
 VII. (1892).

 [34] Mental Physiol., § 124. The oft-cited case of soldiers in battle
 not perceiving that they are wounded is of an analogous sort.

 [35] Physiol. Optik, p. 741.

 [36] I refer to a recency of a few hours. Mr. Galton found that
 experiences from boyhood and youth were more likely to be suggested
 by words seen at random than experiences of later years. See his
 highly interesting account of experiments in his Inquiries into Human
 Faculty, pp. 191-203.

 [37] Miss M. W. Calkins (Philosophical Review, I. 389, 1892) points
 out that the persistent feature of the going thought, on which
 the association in cases of similarity hinges, is by no means
 always so slight as to warrant the term 'focalized.' "If the sight
 of the whole breakfast-room be followed by the visual image of
 yesterday's breakfast-table, with the same setting and in the same
 surroundings, the association is practically total," and yet the
 case is one of similarity. For Miss Calkins, accordingly, the more
 important distinction is that between what she calls _desistent_ and
 _persistent_ association. In 'desistent' association all parts of the
 going thought fade out and are replaced. In 'persistent' association
 some of them remain, and form a bond of similarity between the mind's
 successive objects; but only where this bond is extremely delicate
 (as in the case of an abstract relation or quality) is there need to
 call the persistent process 'focalized.' I must concede the justice
 of Miss Calkins's criticism, and think her new pair of terms a useful
 contribution. Wundt's division of associations into the two classes of
 _external_ and _internal_ is congruent with Miss Calkins's division.
 Things associated internally must have some element in common; and
 Miss Calkins's word 'persistent' suggests how this may cerebrally come
 to pass. 'Desistent,' on the other hand, suggests the process by which
 the successive ideas become external to each other or preserve no
 inner tie.

 [38] A common figure-alphabet is this:

    1  2  3  4  5   6   7  8  9  0
    t  n  m  r  l  sh   g  f  b  s
    d               j   k  v  p  c
                   ch   c        z
                    g  qu

 [39] In Mind, IX. 206, M. Binet points out the fact
 that what is fallaciously inferred is always an object of some other
 sense than the 'this.' 'Optical illusions' are generally errors of
 touch and muscular sensibility, and the fallaciously perceived object
 and the experiences which correct it are both tactile in these cases.

 [40] Romanes, Mental Evolution in Animals, p. 324.

 [41] M. Lazarus: Das Leben d. Seele (1857), II. p. 32.
 In the ordinary hearing of speech half the words we seem to hear are
 supplied out of our own head. A language with which we are familiar is
 understood even when spoken in low tones and far off. An unfamiliar
 language is unintelligible under these conditions. The 'ideas' for
 interpreting the sounds by not being ready-made in our minds, as they
 are in our familiar mother-tongue, do not start up at so faint a cue.

 [42] Einleitung in die Psychologie u. Sprachwissenschaft (1881), p.

 [43] The great maxim in pedagogy is to knit every new piece of
 knowledge on to a preëxisting curiosity--i.e., to assimilate its
 matter in some way to what is already known. Hence the advantage of
 "comparing all that is far off and foreign to something that is near
 home, of making the unknown plain by the example of the known, and of
 connecting all the instruction with the personal experience of the
 pupil.... If the teacher is to explain the distance of the sun from
 the earth, let him ask ... 'If anyone there in the sun fired off a
 cannon straight at you, what should you do?' 'Get out of the way,'
 would be the answer. 'No need of that,' the teacher might reply. 'You
 may quietly go to sleep in your room, and get up again, you may wait
 till your confirmation-day, you may learn a trade, and grow as old as
 I am,--_then_ only will the cannon-ball be getting near, _then_ you
 may jump to one side! See, so great as that is the sun's distance!'"
 (K. Lange, Ueber Apperception, 1879, p. 76.)

 [44] The writer of the present work is Agent of the Census
 for America, and will thankfully receive accounts of cases of
 hallucination of vision, hearing, etc., of which the reader may have

 [45] Cf. Raehlmann in Zeitschrift für Psychol. und Physiol. der
 Sinnesorgane, II. 79.

 [46] Readers brought up on Popular Science may think that the
 molecular structure of things is their real essence in an absolute
 sense, and that water is H-O-H more deeply and truly than it is a
 solvent of sugar or a slaker of thirst. Not a whit! It is _all_ of
 these things with equal reality, and the only reason why _for the
 chemist_ it is H-O-H primarily, and only secondarily the other things,
 is that _for his purpose_ of laboratory analysis and synthesis,
 and inclusion in the science which treats of compositions and
 decompositions, the H-O-H aspect of it is the more important one to
 bear in mind.

 [47] Mental Evolution in Man, p. 74.

 [48] Origin of the Emotions (N. Y. ed.), p. 292.

 [49] Spalding, Macmillan's Magazine, Feb. 1873, p. 287.

 [50] _Ibid._, p. 289.

 [51] Psychologie de l'Enfant, p. 72.

 [52] Der Menschliche Wille, p. 224.

 [53] Deutsches Archiv f. Klin. Medicin, xxii. 321.

 [54] Medicinische Psychologie, p. 293.

 [55] This _volitional_ effort pure and simple must be carefully
 distinguished from the _muscular_ effort with which it is usually
 confounded. The latter consists of all those peripheral feelings to
 which a muscular 'exertion' may give rise. These feelings, whenever
 they are massive and the body is not 'fresh,' are rather disagreeable,
 especially when accompanied by stopped breath, congested head, bruised
 skin of fingers, toes, or shoulders, and strained joints. And it is
 only _as thus disagreeable_ that the mind must make its _volitional_
 effort in stably representing their reality and consequently bringing
 it about. That they happen to be made real by muscular activity is a
 purely accidental circumstance. There are instances where the fiat
 demands great volitional effort though the muscular exertion be
 insignificant, e.g. the getting out of bed and bathing one's self on a
 cold morning. Again, a soldier standing still to be fired at expects
 disagreeable sensations from his muscular passivity. The action of his
 will, in sustaining the expectation, is identical with that required
 for a painful muscular effort. What is hard for both is _facing an
 idea as real_.

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