Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/578
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
in a state of inaction. In the same manner during sleep the Cerebrum may be awake and working, and yet the Sensorium shall be asleep, and we may know nothing of what the cerebrum is doing except by the results. And it is in this manner, I believe, that, having been once set going, and the cerebrum having been shaped, so to speak, in accordance with our ordinary processes of mental activity, having grown to the kind of work we are accustomed to set it to execute, the cerebrum can go on and do its work for itself. The work of invention, I am certain, is so mainly produced, from concurrent testimony I have received from a great number of inventors, or what the old English called "makers"—what the Greeks called poets, because the word poet means a maker. Every inventor must have a certain amount of imagination, which may be exercised in mechanical contrivance or in the creations of art; these are inventions—they are made, they are produced, we don't know how; the conception comes into the mind we cannot tell whence; but these inventions are the result of the original capacity for that particular kind of work, trained and disciplined by the culture we have gone through. It is not given to every one of us to be an inventor. We may love art thoroughly, and yet we may never be able to evolve it for ourselves. So in regard to humor. For instance, there are some men who throw out flashes of wit and humor in their conversation, who cannot help it—it flows from them spontaneously. There are other men who enjoy this amazingly, whose nature it is to relish such expressions keenly, but who cannot make them themselves. The power of invention is something quite distinct from the intellectual capacity or the emotional capacity for enjoying and appreciating; but although we may not have these powers of invention, we can all train and discipline our minds to utilize that which we do possess to its utmost extent. And here is the conclusion to which I would lead you in regard to Common-Sense. We fall back upon this, that common-sense is, so to speak, the general resultant of the whole previous action of our minds. We submit to common-sense any questions—such questions as I shall have to bring before you in my next lecture; and the judgment of that common-sense is the judgment elaborated as it were by the whole of our mental life. It is just according as our mental life has been good and true and pure, that the value of this acquired and this higher common-sense is reached. We may in proportion I believe to our honesty in the search for truth—in proportion as we discard all selfish considerations and look merely at this grand image of truth, so to speak, set before us, with the purpose of steadily pursuing our way toward it—in proportion as we discard all low and sensual feelings in our love of beauty, and especially in proportion to the earnestness of the desire by which our minds are pervaded always to keep the right before us in all our judgments—so I believe will our minds be cleared in their perception of what are merely prudential considerations. It has on several occasions occurred to me to form a