Page:On the Fourfold Root, and On the Will in Nature.djvu/113

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(according to Göthe's perfectly correct and true theory of colours), and also of the growing indistinctness of all outlines. In Italy, where the atmosphere is very transparent, this datum loses its power and is apt to mislead: Tivoli, for instance, seems to be very near when seen from Frascati. On the other hand, all objects appear larger in a mist, which is an abnormal exaggeration of the datum; because our Understanding assumes them to be further from us.

Finally, there remains the estimation of distance by means of the size (known to us intuitively) of intervening objects, such as fields, woods, rivers, &c. &c. This mode of estimation is only applicable where there is uninterrupted succession: in other words, it can only be applied to terrestrial, not to celestial objects. Moreover, we have in general more practice in using it horizontally than vertically: a ball on the top of a tower 200 feet high appears much smaller to us than when lying on the ground 200 feet from us; because, in the latter case, we estimate the distance more accurately. When we see human beings in such a way, that what lies between them and ourselves is in a great measure hidden from our sight, they always appear strikingly small.

The fact that our Understanding assumes everything it perceives in a horizontal direction to be farther off, therefore larger, than what is seen in a vertical direction, must partly be attributed to this last mode of estimating distances, inasmuch as it only holds good when applied horizontally and to terrestrial objects; but partly also to our estimation of distances by atmospheric perspective, which is subject to similar conditions. This is why the moon seems so much larger on the horizon than at its zenith, although its visual angle accurately measured—that is, the image projected by it on to the eye—is not at all larger in one case than in the other; and this also accounts for the flattened appearance of