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their respective order, the other three operations. This impression, considered as giving us notice of its presence or existence, is what I call consciousness. If the notice we take of it is such, that it seems to be the only perception of which we are conscious, it is properly attention. In fine, when it makes itself known as having affected the mind before, it is reminiscence. Consciousness fays, as it were, to the soul, You have a perception. Attention says, You have now only one single perception. Reminiscence says, You have now a perception which you had before.
Experience shews us, that the first effect of attention is, to make the perceptions occasioned by objects continue still in the mind, even when the objects themselves are removed. These perceptions are preserved in the same order, generally speaking, in which the objects presented them. By this means a chain, or connection, is formed amongst them, from whence several operations, as well as reminiscence, derive their origin. The first is imagination, which takes place when a perception, in virtue of the connection established between it and its object by attention, is revived at the fight of the object.
And yet it is not always in our power to revive the perceptions we have felt. On fome occasions, the most we can do is, by recalling to mind their names, to recollect some of the circumstances attending them, along with their abstract idea. The operation which produces this effect, I call memory.
There is still another operation, which arises from the connection established by the attention betwixt our ideas ; this is contemplation. It consists in uninterruptedly preserving in view the perception, name, or circumstances, of an object vanished out of sight. By means of this operation, we are capable of continuing to think of a thing, when it ceases to be present. This operation we may reduce as we please, either to the imagination, or to memory: to the former, if it preferves the perception itself: to the latter, if it preserves only the name, or circumstances of it.
It is of great importance carefully to distinguish the point, which separates the imagination from the memory.
Between imagination, memory, and reminiscence, there is a certain progress, by which alone they are diftinguished, The first renews the perceptions themselves; the second brings to our mind only their fignis or circumstances; the third makes us discern them as perceptions which we have had before.
The connection of ideas can arise from no other cause than from the attention given to them, when they presented themselves conjunctly to the mind. Hence, as things attract our
attention only by the relation they bear to our constitution, passions, state, or, to sum up all in one word, to our wants; it follows, that attention embraces at once the ideas of wants, and of such things as are relative to these wants, and connects them together.
Our wants are all allied among themselves, and in some respects united one to another, by belonging, as they all of them do, to the same individual person ; and the perceptions we have of them may be considered as a series of fundamental ideas, to which all others, within the compass of our knowlege, are linked, some more closely, others more remotely. Want is connected with the idea of the thing proper for relieving it; this is connected with the ideas of the place where it is to be had; this with the idea of the persons we have seen there; this, in fine, with the idea of such pleafures or pains as we have felt there, and with many others. A first fundamental idea is connected with two or three others; each of these with an equal, or even with a greater, number; and so on.
These fuppofitions admitted, in order to recollect ideas familiar to us, all that is needful on our part is, only to turn our attention upon some of those fundamental ideas with which they are connected. Now, this is always practicable; because, so long as we are awake, there is not an instant in which our constitution, paffions, and situation, do not excite some one or other of those perceptions, which I call fundamental. We must therefore iucceed in this with more or less ease, as the idea we are willing to revive has a nearer or more diftant connection with many, or a few, of our wants. Take away this connection, and you destroy the Imagination and Memory.
All men cannot connect their ideas with equal force, norin equal number; and this is the reason why all are not equally happy in their Imagination and Memory. This incapacity proceeds from the different conformation of the organs, or perhaps from the very nature of the soul.
In order to develop the real cause of the progrefs and perfection of these several faculties, Imagination, Contemplation, and Memory, we must investigate what aslistance these mentai operations derive from the use of figns.
I observe that there are three sorts of signs. ift. Accidental figns, or such objects as particular circumstantes have connected with some of our ideas, so as to render the one proper to revive the other. 2dly. Natural signs, or those sounds of voice, and gestures of body, by which nature, in every creature, expresses the passions of joy, fear, grief, &c. 3dly. In
stituted signs, or those which we have chosen ourselves, and which bear only an arbitrary relation to our ideas,
These signs are not necessary for acquiring the habit of those mental operations, which precede Reminiscence: for Perception and Consciousness cannot but take place, so long as we are awake, and Attention being no other than that Confciousness, which informs us more immediately of the present perception, nothing more is wanting to occasion it, than that one object act upon the senses with greater force than another.
Tho’a man were entirely divested of the use of arbitrary figns, he might, however, even by the sole aid of accidental figns, make some advances towards acquiring the habit of Imagination, or Reminiscence; that is, at the fight of an object, the perception with which that object was connected, might be revived, and he might know it to be the very same with what he had before. Yet we must observe here, that this would not happen, except when some extrinsic cause, or occasion, replaced the object before his eyes : for when it was absent, he would have no poffible means of reviving it of himself, having no command over any thing connected with it; and contequently could not retrieve the idea to which it was united. And hence it appears, that his imagination would not be as yet in his power.
With regard to natural signs, those sounds and gestures exprefsive of the passions, this man would form them, so soon as he felt the passions to which they belonged. They would not, however, with respect to him, be signs at first; because, instead of reviving his perceptions, they would as yet
be more than consequences of those perceptions. But when he had often felt the same paffion, and as often broke out into the sound accompanying it, both would be so strongly connected in his imagination, that he could not hear the one, without, in some measure, experiencing the other. Then would this sound become a sign: but he himself would not acquire any habit of imagination, till he had heard it by chance; consequently this habit would be no more in his power than in the case preceding.
Memory, as we have seen, consists entirely in the power of reviving the signs of our ideas, or the circumstances attending them; a power which never can take place, till by the analogy of chosen figns, and an established order among our ideas, the objects which we would revive, are connected with some of our present wants. In short, we cannot -recall a thing to mind, till it be connected with something else in our power. Now a man who has only accidental and natural 9
figns, has nothing at his command. His wants therefore can only occasion repeated acts of imagination; consequently he hath no memory.
Hence also we may conclude, that brutes have no memory, but are only supplied with an imagination, which they cannot command as they please.
By following the explications here given, we may frame a clear idea of what is commonly called Instinct. It is imagination re-exciting upon, the presence of an object, such perceptions as are connected with it, and thereby directing every species of animals, without the affiftance of reflection.
What we have been saying, in regard to imagination and memory, may be applied to contemplation, as it respects either. If it be considered as retaining perceptions in view, then it is plain, that the exercise of it cannot depend upon ourselves, until we have acquired the use of instituted signs ; but if it be made to consist in preserving the figns themselves in view, we can, in this case, have no exercise at all of it, so as to establish a habit,
So long as we remain without the habit, or voluntary ex. ercise and exertion of imagination, contemplation, and memory; or whilst the habit of the two first is not subordinate to our command, we cannot dispose of our attention as we please. For how indeed should we dispose of it, when the soul as yet has no operation in her power, but passes from one object to another, only as she is dragged by their different impressions ?
But fo soon as a man comes to connect his ideas with signs of his own chusing, his memory is formed. He begins of himself to dispose of his imagination, and to give it a new habit. For by means of the signs, which he is able to recal at pleasure, he revives, or at least is capable of reviving, the ideas connected with them. He obtains afterwards a greater command over his imagination, in proportion as he invents more signs, because thereby he procures more means of employing it. These particulars Thew in what manner the use of signs contributes to the progress of imagination, contemplation, and memory,
No sooner is memory formed, and the habit or exercise of imagination in our own power, than the signs recollected by the former, and ideas revived by the latter, free the soul from all dependence on surrounding objects. Having it now in her power to recal whatever she has seen, she can direct her whole attention where she pleases, and transfer it from all present objects, Qur ability to dispose thus of our attention is enREVIEW, July 1756.
tirely owing to the assistance afforded us by the vivacity of the imagination, which is the effect of great memory; otherwise we could not regulate ourselves, but would be entirely subject to the action of external objects.
The power of successfully applying our attention to different objects at pleasure, or to the different parts of one object only, is what we call, to reflect. Thus we distinctly perceive in what manner reflection arises from imagination and memory. But the degrees, by which this is effected ought no: to escape our obfervation.
The very dawn of memory is sufficient to render us masters of the habit of imagination. A single arbitrary fign is enough to enable a person to revive an idea by himself. This is certainly the first and smallest degree of memory, and of that command which we may acquire over imagination. The power it gives us of disposing of our attention, is the weakeft that can be. But such as it is, it begins to make us sensible of the advantage of signs, and, incites us to embrace every opportunity on which it may be either useful or necessary for us to invent new ones; by this means the habits of memory and imagination are strengthened in us, and that of reflection improved, which re-acting upon imagination and memory, by which itself was produced, improves them in its turn. Thus these operations, by the mutual assistance they lend, contribute to each others progress. It is by reflection we begin to have a glimpse of the capacity of the mind. So long as we do not direct our attention ourselves, the soul is subject to whatever environs it, and poffeffes nothing but by extrinsic impulse. But when we become masters of our own attention, and direct it agreeably to our wishes, then it is that the mind assumes the disposal of itself, calls or dismilles ideas by itfelf, and is enriched from its own fund.
The effect of this operation is fo very great, that thereby we controul our perceptions, raising some and depreffing others, in the same manner almost as if we had a power of producing and annihilating them. Suppose I chuse one from among those which I actually experience; my consciousness of it will immediately become so lively, and that of the rest fo weak, that it will appear to be the only one of which I am at all conscious. Suppose again, that next moment I have a mind to lay it aside, in order to amuse myself entirely with one of those which made the slightest impression on me; it will seem to be annihilated, whilst another emerges from nothing.
Thus have we at length developed whatever was most abfruse and difficult to conception in the progress of the mind's