Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

knowledge is

could not understand one another nor live by means of one another. But, in virtue of these influences, the differences between them become superficial and secondary. In the end the same kind of mental powers are employed by all, and they are employed in a way and under final conditions which are the same. Some minds, I need hardly say, are more imaginative, emotional, intuitive, judicious, etc., etc., than others; and psychology cannot well omit speaking of "faculties," as if they were more or less separate. In truth, these mental powers can neither exist nor act in complete independence or isolation, so long as there is sanity. There can be no judgment where there is no memory, and no memory where there has been no judgment. There is neither memory, nor judgment, nor observation, nor ratiocination, nor intuition except where there is coherence—the coherence of a system which is the more or less adequate expression of a single, sane and purposeful experience.

Further, any fact or datum of which we become aware in any way, even as a mere "this" calling for explication, already bears the marks of the working of our minds upon it. It already has a double aspect. It is, The ultimate it is an object" standing over against us, and it has condition of some more or less vague meaning, value or interest for us. In a word, we never do get back to the manifold of mere sensation, nor to an undifferentiated continuum." Nor has psychology the least right to attribute a cognitive function to feeling. We cannot even imaginatively justify the dualism of pure Ego and pure datum. We do not know what a subject having no object or an object of no subject could be. We have never discovered either except in relation to

a subject and object indiscerptibly

related.

[ocr errors]

THE PREMISSES OF INTUITIONS

69

its other. From beginning to end we detect them only in their interaction. We are born into and awake within a world which has been for countless centuries moulded by men; we come into it equipped with a mental apparatus at the forming of which centuries of civilization have been engaged.

The differences between men and their intellectual methods are thus relatively shallow. They fall within a deeper unity. No contrast is absolute. There is nothing quite unique. The unique were the unknowable. We speak of intuitive minds, as if there were some men to whom the laborious processes of ratiocination were a mere cumbersome redundancy. As a matter of fact, the musician and painter and poet can as little do without observation and judgment, purposeful reason and will, as they can without their intuitions. Their intuitions are always the fruition of a toilsome experience. And what is true of the aesthetic is not less true of the religious spirit. I have no difficulty in admitting, not only that there are markedly intuitive The preminds and that aesthetic and religious experience gives intuition is ample evidence of what is called " intuitive apprehen- fused and sion"; but also that the steps of that method, even if united self. they do exist separately, cannot be separately indicated and described by psychology. Intuition leaves no footmarks. The musical movement arises within the soul, possesses it possibly to intoxication, and passes away. It has not been summoned, and it cannot be retained by any act of will. The significance of the conception of the Fatherhood of God, the consciousness of the overwhelming presence of a boundless and everlasting love, these sudden inundations are familiar to the religious mystic, and they have been

misses of an

the whole

rests upon

previous judgments though we

cannot trace

them.

experienced by some very humble and inconspicuous followers of what is right, and they are in a sense quite inexplicable. We cannot break up the experience into the separate steps of a more or less continuous or prolonged process. But they are inexplicable only in the same sense as the breaking into blossom of the plant is inexplicable. The bud is there to-day and the rose blushes: they were not there yesterday. But the conditions were present and they were in operation. The change had its causes, and we can point these out. Similarly as to the intuitions of Art and Religion. Their roots, conditions, causes are real; they are elements of experience. Indeed, to call religion the noblest blossoming of human experience were not a bad definition of it.

What is characteristic of intuition is, not the absence of the conditions of a new experience, but the fulness of their presence and the intense fusion of their functions. Mind is never so really at one as in its intuitive activities. Nor at any other time is the past experience so fully present and living and active. Intuitions are the emanations of a past experience.

An intuition They come only to minds or dispositions that are saturated with their conditions. They do not come out of the blue. They are not without their premisses; little as we are able to point them out when they occur. They are examples of "judgment," expressions of mind and character, and in the end differ in nothing that is fundamental from the laborious activities of slow minds. Just as all the parts of the body are involved, more or less directly, in every physiological process, so it is with mind. But with this distinction— as I may try to show more fully hereafter-that the

MIND NEEDS ITS DATA

71

parts of the mind, if we may use the phrase, differ from one another in a more far-reaching way than the parts of the body; and at the same time that the former interact and interpenetrate and form a unity that is much more intense. In no kind of experience, whether secular or religious, are any of these powers omitted as redundant. Whatever differences of method of enquiry and progress there may be, they fall within the unity of personality.

always

well as

Mind is, we may further point out, receptive as well as creative in both its natural and its spiritual experience. It can itself furnish the data for neither. It professes to find the facts, not to fabricate them. Not one step can it go beyond the given. Man as an intelligence is as completely shut within his world, and has as completely borrowed from his world all the material of which he is made, as he is as a physical being. He cannot step outside of it. The man who Mind is is in advance of his age owes his advance to his age and receptive as is really its best product. The powerlessness of man formative. which religious apologists have accentuated in order to emphasize the unconstrained freedom of divine benevolence is not confined to the spiritual world. Man is as little creative, he is as dependent on that which is granted him, as much an almsman standing at the door of a benevolent power in the natural, as he is in a spiritual sense. I have somewhere compared the soul of man to a city with many gates, situated on a plain and besieged by the benevolent powers of his world. Both nature and spirit, both the world of things and the world of men are perpetually proffering their gifts to him, and in the most diverse ways. If their truth and beauty and value cannot get in by one gate, they may by another. If they cannot force a

[blocks in formation]

Intensity of the inter

facts.

passage, panoplied in the armour of reason, they may creep in through the darkness and silence like the mist into Milton's Eden. The aesthetic sense may give them entrance. He who is slow to hear the voice of truth speaking of morality and religion, and who is callous to all reasoning may hear them in music, or recognize their appeal in colour and form. The truth I would impress is the friendliness of the world to man, the co-operation and final identity of the purposes of nature and spirit. The contrast is real,

but it is not absolute.

It could be proved, I believe, that no facts are more dependence interdependent than those of mind-the facts of of spiritual knowledge, morality, art and religion. There is far less evidence of "It does not matter to me" on the higher than there is on the lower levels of mental life or spiritual life. It is the "Good" Shepherd that goes into the wilderness to seek the hundredth sheep. It is the enlightened and illumined spirit in which the purposes of its times throb, and whose good or ill fate is its own. Below the domain of mind, apart from the marvellous fact of Motherhood, animal and human, in the region we call natural there is relative independence and mutual externality. It is the region of comparative indifference, even though it is true that

we cannot change the position of a pebble without moving the centre of gravity of the Universe." In the region of mind and spirit, of truth, goodness and beauty, the contrasts are deeper, but the interpenetration and interaction of the elements are also greater. No differences are deeper, no antagonisms more direct or uncompromising than those of the spirit of truth. and of falsehood, or of the wicked and virtuous will. On

« ForrigeFortsæt »