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quence, as magoitude is a general word, expressive of the felt varieties of comparative dimensions.
But I have already dwelt too long on a point, which I may very probably have made darker to you than it was before ; but which, impressed as I am with the truth of St Austin's remark, I scarcely can venture to flatter myself with the hope of having made much more distinctly conceivable by you,
Obscure as the relation of priority and succession may be, however, which is all that mingles with conception in our remembrance, it is still only a certain relation ; and the feeling of this relation does not imply any peculiar power, generically distinct from that which perceives other relations, whether clear or obscure ; unless, indeed, we should be inclined to invent a separate name of some new faculty of the mind for every relation with which the mind can be impressed, in the almost infinite variety of these feelings. Memory, therefore, is not a distinct intellectual faculty, but is merely conception or suggestion combined with the feeling of a particular relation,—the relation to which we give the name of priority, a feeling that is not essential, indeed, to the accompanying conception itself, but that admits of being combined with it, in the same manner as the relation of place, or any other relation, admits of being combined with other conceptions or perceptions. It cannot be denied, for example, that in the darkness of the night, after an interval of many years, and at the distance probably of many thousand miles, we have the faculty of conceiving, or of beholding again, almost with the same vividness as when we trod its steep ascent, the mountain which we have been accustomed perhaps to ascend in our boyhood, for the pleasure of looking down, from its topmost rock, with a sort of pride at the height which we had mastered. To behold mentally this eminence again, without any feeling of the relation of past time, is to have only a conception of the mountain. We cannot think of the mountain itself, however, even for a few moments, without thinking also of the scene which we have been accustomed to survey from it,—the humbler hills around, that served only to make the valley between appear lower, than we should otherwise have conceived it to be, and to make us feel still more proudly the height which we had attained,--the scattered villages,--the woods, the streams, in various directions, mingling and resting in the motionless expanse of the lake. By comprehending gradually more of these objects in our mental view, we have widened our conception, indeed, but it is still a conception only; and we are not said to exercise any power distinct from that of conception or suggestion. Yet we cannot thus conceive the landscape as a whole, without feeling various relations which its parts bear to each other in space, as near or distant, high or low,--the wood hanging over the village,-the spire gleaming through the trees,--the brook hurrying down to the mill, and the narrow path-way by its side. These relations, which give unity to the scene, are relations of space only, and they do not hinder our complex feeling from being denominated simply a conception. So far, then, no new power is said to be concerned. If, however, in addition to all these local relations, we introduce but a single relation of time,—the thought of the most trifling circumstance which occurred when we last ascended the same mountain, and beheld the same scene,—though this new part of the complex feeling have risen, according to the same exact laws of suggestion, as the conception of the mere scene, the conception is then instantly said to indicate a new power, and what was before a conception is a conception no longer. In one sense, indeed, there is truly the operation of a new power, for there is a dew relation most certainly felt; and every relation felt implies a power or susceptibility in the mind of feeling this relation. But the relations of coexistence in space are not less relations than those of succession in time; and both or neither, therefore, when coexisting with our conceptions, should be said to indicate a new intellectual faculty.
The state of mind, in memory, is, as I have already said, a complex one,-a conception, and a feeling of relation. But it admits of very easy analysis into these two parts, and, therefore, does not require the supposition of any new power to comprehend it, more than the complex state of mind, which results from the combination of the simple sensations of warmth and fragrance, requires the supposition of a new power to comprehend it, distinct from the separate senses to which the elementary feelings, if existing alone, would be referred. The conception, which forms one element of the remembrance, is referable to the capacity of simple suggestion, which we have been considering; the feeling of the relation of priority, which forms the other element of the
remembrance, is referable, like all our other feelings of relation, to the capacity of relative suggestion, which we are afterwards to consider. It is merely as this relation of priority is or is not felt, that the state of mind, in which there is pictured some absent object or past feeling, has the name of a conception or the name of a remembrance; and that part of the complex whole, which is a mere conception, does not differ from the common products of suggestion, but as we have seen, in treating of our conceptions in general, is merely a particular form, or result, of that general power of suggestion, which gives a second being to the whole shadowy train of our thought. Indeed, since one of the relations, according to which association or suggestion is said to take place, is, by every writer who treats of the laws of association, allowed to be that of priority, or former succession in time, it would surely have been a very singular arrangement, if the conceptions, arising according to this very relation, were to be held as not fairly referable to the class to which they have previously been ascribed ; and that what renders them associate should be itself the very cause, for which, and for which alone, they are to be excluded from the class of associations.
Simple memory, then, it appears, is nothing more than a particular suggestion, combined with the feeling of the relation of priority; and all the conceptions, therefore, which it involves, arise according to the laws which regulate suggestion in general. The same resemblances, contrasts, contiguities, give rise to our conceptions of objects, whether we do or do not consider those objects in the relation of priority, which they bear to our present feeling, or to any other event. In journeying along a road which I have never passed before, some form of the varying landscape may recal to me the scenery around the home which I have left; and it suggests it equally by its mere resemblance, whether it recal it to me as a simple picture, or remind me, at the same time, that it is the very home which I have left, and that, as many weeks have intervened since I saw it, many weeks are likely also to pass before I see it again.
In simple memory, then, it will be allowed, that conception follows conception by the ordinary laws of suggestion, as much as in those conceptions to which we do not attach, that is to say, with which there is not combined, any notion of time. But there is a species of memory, which is said to be under our controul,--that memory, combined with desire of remembering something forgotten, to which we commonly give the name of recollection. We will the existence of certain ideas, it is said, and they arise in consequence of our volition ; though, assuredly, to will any idea, is to know what we will, and therefore to be conscious of that
idea which we surely need not desire to know, when we already know it, so well as to will its actual existence.
The contradiction implied in this direct volition of any particular idea, is, indeed, so manifest, that the assertion of such a direct power over the course of our thought, is now pretty generally abandoned. But still it is affirmed, with at least equal incongruity, that we have it in our power to will certain conceptions indirectly, and that there is, therefore, a species of memory which is not mere suggestion, but follows, in part at least, other laws. This indirect volition, however, as I have shewn in some paragraphs of my Essay on Cause and Effect,* is only another form of that very direct volition of ideas, the absurdity of which it is introduced to obviate. Thus, if I wish to remember a piece of news which was communicated to me by a friend, it is acknowledged, indeed, that I cannot will the conception of this immediately and directly, since that would be to know it already ; but I am said to bave the power of calling up such ideas as I know to have coexisted with it, the place at which the news was told me, the person who told it, and various circumstances of our conversation, at the same time; and this supposed power of calling up such relative ideas, is that indirect power over our course of thought which we are said to possess. But, surely, if these ideas of the circumstances that formerly accompanied the event which I wish to remember, arise, of themselves, to the mind, according to the simple course of suggestion, there is not even indirect volition in the parts of the spontaneous train ; and, if they do not arise of themselves, but are separately willed, there is then as direct volition, and consequently as much absurdily, involved in this calling up of the person, the place, and the other accompanying circumstances, as in calling up the very conception itself, which is the object of all this search. In either case, we must be
See particularly, 2d Edit. p. 72–79. 3d Edit. p. 73--79. The whole question about the direct or indirect volition of Ideas, is fully discussed in Sect. III. of 3d Edit. of that Essay, p. 41--79. VOL. II.
supposed to will to know that, of which the will to know it implies the knowledge. The only difference is, that instead of one direct volition, which is acknowledged, or which must be acknowledged to be absurd, we have now many separate direct volitions, and have consequently multiplied the inconsistency which we wished to avoid. The true and simple theory of the recollection is to be found in the permanence of the desire, and the natural spontaneous course of the suggestion. I do not call up the ideas of the person and the place; but these by their relations to the desire which I feel, arise uncalled ; and when these have arisen, the suggestion of some part of the conversation at that place, and with that person, is a very natural effect of this mere conception of the person and of the place. If that particular part of the discourse be thus simply suggested, which I wished to remember, my object is gained, and my desire, of course, ceases ; if not, my desire still continuing, and being itself now more strongly, because more recently associated with the conceptions of the person and the place, keeps them constantly before me, till, in the variety of suggestions to which they spontaneously give rise, I either obtain, at last, the remembrance which I wish, or, by some new suggestion, am led into a new channel of thought, and forget altogether that there was any thing which I wished to remember. What is termed voluntary recollection, then, whether direct or indirect, is nothing more than the coexistence of some vague and indistinct desire with our simple trains of suggestion.
It is a complex feeling, or series of feelings, of which the continued desire, and a variety of successive relative conceptions, are parts ; but the coexistence of the train of conceptions, with an upsatisfied desire, though a complex state of mind, is not the exercise of any new power, distinct from the elementary powers or feelings which compose it. We have only to perform our mental analysis, as in any other complex phenomenon of the mind, and the elements instantly appear.
Such, then, is memory, not a simple affection of the mind, the result of a peculiar power, but a combination of two elementary feelings, the more important of which is to be traced to the laws of simple suggestion, while the other element is referable to a power that is afterwards to be considered by us.