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OPERATION OF THE WILL IN MEMORY.

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actual building. Wherefore, as we have the power to prolong our gaze at pleasure upon the real object, to turn from one part to another, to examine some points minutely and pass the rest over,-so when this building becomes a recollection, the same power of varying the inward gaze remains We can dwell upon the outline, to the exclusion of the details, we can concentrate the attention upon a column. or a cornice, we can indulge our recollection of the appearance of the material; in a word, we can deal with the idea, notion, or recollection, as we could with the reality. Volition is not crippled by the transition from the actual to the ideal; for the reason, as I conceive, that the same organs are concerned in both. If the objects of observation, when existing as ideas, were made to pass into a separate chamber of the mind, I should have a difficulty in comprehending how they could be reached by this voluntary control; because I look upon volition as existing only in connexion with the active organs, that is, with the muscular system. Even in the sphere of thought, the limitation holds. The same volition that rules the bodily eye, can rule the mental, because that mental eye is still not other than the bodily one.

Thus, then, volition operates in aiding the recovery of the past, through the power of directing and fixing the attention on any of the objects present to the mind at the time, to the exclusion of others. I remember one link of an otherwise forgotten chain: I dwell upon this link till it becomes more vivid itself, and thus acquires the power of calling up the rest. The object so selected is the one made intensely present, and thereby becomes the starting-point of the association. The idea that next comes up in the movement of reproduction, will be some associate, or similar, of this; just as the thing that we select for special observation out of a various array seen by the eye, will be the thing that will suggest the next idea that rises before the mind. We can, therefore, always give a preference of attention to one of the many objects that come up to our recollection, whichever is thus preferred being rendered the suggestive object; and,

accordingly, the resuscitated trains will be those in accordance with the purposes or ends of the moment.

In difficult or laboured recollection, we have already seen that the chief hope lies in obtaining additional bonds of association. An effort of volition is the means employed. The effort consists in fastening the attention on various things within the view till these, one after another, are rendered suggestive of trains of ideas, some one of which perchance may have a connexion with the thing sought, and may supplement the deficient bond up to the full power of recall. In searching out a historic parallel, for example, we may suppose the power of similarity unequal to the task of evoking a proper instance. The mind then starts off in a train of contiguity over the field of history; which proceeds not by any voluntary power of commanding one fact to succeed another, but by directing the view on a starting point, the age of Alexander the Great, for instance; with the attention fixed on him, the associated particulars of his time, so far as they have been made coherent, flow in of their own accord. This power of concentrating the attention on any part of a circle of notions present to the mind, like the power of directing the observation on some one aspect of a real scene, appears to be the main function of volition in the resuscitation of the past.

THE SINGLING OUT OF ONE AMONG MANY TRAINS.

14. If I look at a mountain, there are many trains that I may be led into, by taking this as a point to start from. By contiguity, I may pass to the other mountains of the chain, to the plains and the villages beyond, to the mineral composition of the mass, to the botany, to the geological structure, to the historical events happening there. By similarity, I may be led away to mountains that I have seen in other lands, or in the representations of the painter and the poet, to the analogous geometrical forms, to equivalent artistic effects. All these vents may be open to me, but it will happen that I go on some one track by preference, and there will be a motive

SPECIALIZING BONDS IN EQUALITY OF ATTRACTIONS. 561

for the preference. Perhaps one of the associations may have come by repetition to have greater force than any other; I may have been so accustomed to associate together the mountain and the neighbouring village, that I am led at once upon this one special transition. Another cause may be the presence of a second associating bond. If I see the adjoining mountain, I am then liable to be led along the chain; if I catch the glancings of the cascades, there is a double link of contiguity, tending to carry my mind to the river flowing from the sides of the mountain. If historical events have been recently in my mind, the events referable to this locality are suggested. If botany or geology is my study, a bent corresponding to these is impressed on the current of thought; if geometry, the forms suggested by preference are the figures of geometry; if I am an artist, the forms of art spring up instead.

The position supposed almost demands an additional and a specializing bond to set the mind in motion at all. We could imagine an intellectual situation so equally balanced, that no revival took place in any direction, just as in a conflict of equal volitions. Some inequality of restorative power in the various trains, or some second association coming in aid of one to give that one a preponderance, is the condition. of our reviving anything. The case of an intellectual standstill between opposing suggestions is neither chimerical nor unexampled.

I will suppose another instance. A violent storm has flooded the rivers, blown down trees and buildings, and inspired general terror. The trains of thought suggested by such an incident are extremely various, and will depend on the mental condition of the observer in other respects, or on the special ideas that concur with the aspect common to all. The sailor's wife thinks of her husband at sea. The merchant and underwriter have their thoughts on the same element. The farmer calculates the loss to his fields. The millowner sees a prospect of abundant water power. The meteorologist studies the direction, duration, and force of the hurri

cane, and compares it with previous cases. The poet sees grand and imposing effects. The religious man has his mind. carried upwards to the Deity.

These instances imply some habitual attitude of the mind, or an emotion, occupation, or pursuit, ever ready as a startingpoint to the intellectual movement, and combining itself with every casual impetus given to the mental trains, so as to constitute an element of the composite effect. The principle is exactly the same in cases where the second association is present merely by accident.

15. We have more than once adverted to the mental aggregates, formed by the cluster of properties attaching to natural objects, especially as viewed by the scientific mind. Thus the idea of the mineral quartz is a vast assemblage of facts, properties, and influences, all which are liable to come before the view, when the mineral is seen or named. So even a naked circle is rich in associations to the geometrical mind. It does not therefore follow that, every time a mineralogist looks upon a piece of quartz, all its many qualities shall rise and pass before his view; or that every circle shall hurry the mind of a geometer all through the Third Book of Euclid. The associating links in both cases are good and sound; but some motive additional to the force of the acquired adhesions is needed actually to recover the train. Not only must the mind be disengaged from other trains, there must also be a positive stimulus, a second starting point, to individualize and determine the bent of the suggesting power to one or other of the many associated ideas. If I am handling a piece of quartz and trying a knife edge upon it, the degree of hardness of the mineral is the quality suggested; if an acid is at hand, the chemical action of quartz is brought up to the view, and so on. When one of the many properties of the circle strung together in the mind of a mathematician is resuscitated by preference, it is by the agency of some specializing notion pointing to that individual. The most opulent mind has moments of quiescence, and yet how numerous the possible outlets of thought at every moment!

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OBSTRUCTIVE ASSOCIATIONS.

16. It will now be apparent that thoughts may fail to be suggested, notwithstanding an adequate force of association. We have had two remarkable cases in point; the influence of an emotion in keeping back what is not in harmony with it; and the necessity for an additional determining link where many lines of suggestion are equally open.

These are not all. A recollection is sometimes made impossible, through the mind's being inextricably seized with something near what is sought, but yet different. We are often in this state of embarrassment in remembering names. Falling accidentally into a wrong articulation, we are unable to get out of the coil; and it is not till some time afterwards, that we are even in a position to give a fair trial to the recollective adhesion actually present. So, a stroke of similarity may be effectually resisted, by the presence of something repugnant. The principle of compound association necessarily involves this efficacy to obstruct. If two ideas, by both pointing to a third, constitute a prevailing bond of restoration, it must likewise happen that if these two present ideas point in opposite directions, they will be liable to neutralize one another's efficacy. The power of assisting implies the power of resisting.

Both in the present chapter, and in speaking of constructive associations in the following chapter, it is open to us to remark the distracting influence of too many ideas. Promptitude of action is greatly favoured by the fewness. of the considerations that enter into a question. Marvels of ingenuity are often accomplished through the absence of superfluous suggestions. In the operations of animals, happy efforts occur to surprise us, as being apparently out of keeping with the range of their faculties; in some instances, the explanation is found in the limitation of the views. The animal does not suffer from a crowd of incompatible associations. The same circumstance often explains the extraordinary facility of speech, or the readiness in action,

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