Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/591

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REMINISCENCE]
575
PSYCHOLOGY


of continuity from its own working, yet to occasional blocks or impediments to the smooth succession of images at points where re duplications diverge, and either permanently or at the particular time neutralize each other.1

The How of ideas is, however, exposed to positive interruptions from 'two distinct sides-by the intrusion of new presentations and of voluntary interference. The only result of such C°”md°f interruptions which we need here consider is the conflict P"°"”“" of presentations that may ensue. Herbart and his followers have gone so far as to elaborate a complete system of psychical statics and dynamics, based on the conception of presentations as, forces and on certain more or, less improbable assumptions as to the modes in which such forces interact. Since our power of attention is limited, it continually tions.

-happens that attention is drawn off by new presentations at the expense of old ones. But, even if we regard this non-voluntary redistribution of attention as implying a struggle between presentations, still such conflict to secure a place in consciousness is very different from a conflict between presentations that are already there. Either may be experienced to any degree possible without the other appearing at all; thus, absorbed in watching a starry sky, one might be unaware of the chilliness of the air, though recognizing at once, as soon as the cold is felt, that, so far from being incompatible, the clearness and the coldness are causally connected. This difference between a conflict of presentations to enter the field of consciousness-if we allow for a moment the propriety of the expression-and that opposition or incompatibility between presentations which is only possible when they are in consciousness has been strangely confused by the Herbartians. In the former the intensity of the presentation is primarily alone of account; in the latter, on the contrary, quality and content are mainly concerned. Only the last requires any notice here, since such opposition arises when the ideational continuum is interrupted in the ways just mentioned, and apparently arises in no other way. Certainly there is no such opposition between primary presentations: there we have the law of incopresentability preventing the presentation of opposites with the same local sign; and their presentation with different local signs involves, on this level at all events, no conflict. But what has never been presented could hardly be represented, if the ideational process were undisturbed: even in our dreams white negroes or round squares, for instance, never appear. In fact, absurd and bizarre as dream-imagery is, it never at any moment entails overt contradictions, though contradiction may be implicit. But between ideas and percepts actual incompatibility is frequent. In the perplexity of Isaac, e.g. -“ The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau "-we have such a case in a familiar form. There is here not merely mental arrest but actual conflict: the voice perceived identifies Jacob, at the same time the hands identify Esau. The images of Esau and Jacob by themselves are different, but do not conflict; neither is there any strain, quite the contrary, in recognizing a person partly like Jacob and partly like Esau. For there is no direct incompatibility between smooth and rough, so long as one pertains only to voice and the other only to hands, but the same hands and voice cannot be both smooth and rough. Similar incompatibilities may arise without the intrusion of percepts, as when, in trying to guess a riddle or to solve a problem, or generally to eliminate intellectual differences, we have images which in themselves are only logically opposite, psychologically o posed, or in conflict, because each strives to enter the Same compliex. In all such conflicts alike we find, in fact, a relation of presentations the exact converse of that which constitutes similarity. In the latter we have two complete presentations, a b x and a b y, as similar, each including the common part a b; in the former we have two partial presentations, x and y, as contraries, each excluding the other from the incomplete a b-. And this a b, it is to be noted, is not more essential to the similarity than to the conflict. But in the one case it is a generic image (and can logically be predicated of two subjects); in the other it is a partially determined individual (and cannot be subject to opposing predicates). Except as thus supplementing a b, x and y do not conflict; black and white are not incompatible save as' attributes of the same thing. The possibility of most of these conflicts-of all, indeed, that have any logical interest-lies in that reduplication of the memory-continuum which gives rise to these new complexes, generic images or general ideas. Reminiscences and Expectation: Temporal Perception. 26. Having thus attempted to ascertain the formation of the ideational continuum out of the memory-train, the question arises: How now are we to distinguish between imagining and remembering, and again, between imagining and expecting? 1 It is a mark of the looseness of much of our psychological terminology that facts of this kind are commonly described as cases of association. Dr Bain calls them “obstructive associate0n, :' which is about on a par with “ progress backwards "; Mr Sully's “ divergent association " is better. But it is plain that what we really have is an arrest or inhibition consequent on association and, not ing that is either itself association or that leads to association. It is plainly absurd to make the difference depend on the presence of belief in memory and expectation and on its absence in mere imagination; for the belief itself depends on this difference instead of constituting it. One real and obvious distinction, however which Hume pointed out as regards memory, is the Hxed order and position of the ideas of what is remembered or expected as contrasted with “the liberty ” of the imagination to transpose and change its ideas. This order and Imagination position in the case of memory are, of course, normally those of the original impressions, but it seems rather naive of Hume to tell us that memory “ is tied down to these without any power of variation, ” while imagination has liberty to transpose as it pleases, as if the originals sat to memory for their portraits, while to imagination they were but studies. Such correspondence being out of the question-as Hume takes care to state as soon as it suits him-all we have, so far, is this fixity and definiteness as contrasted with the kaleidoscopic instability of ideation. In this respect what is remembered or expected resembles what is perceived: the grouping not only does not change capriciously and spontaneously, but resists any mental efforts to change it. But, provided these characteristics are there, we should be apt to believe that we are remembering, just as, mutatis mutandis, with like characteristics we might believe that we were perceiving: hallucination is possible in either case.

This fixity of order and position is, however, not sufficient to constitute a typical reminiscence where the term is exactly used. But remembering is often regarded as equivalent to knowing and recognizing, as when on revisiting some once familiar place one remarks, “How well I remember it!" What is meant is that the place is recognized, and that its recognition awakens memories. Memory includes recognition; recognition as such does not include memory. In human consciousness, as we directly observe it, there is, perhaps, no pure recognition: here the new presentation in not only assimilated to the old, but the former framing of circumstance is reinstated, and so perforce distinguished from the present. It may be there is no warrant for supposing that such red integration of a preceding field is ever absolutely nil, still we are justified in regarding it as extremely vague and meagre, both where mental evolution is but slightly advanced and where frequent repetition in Varying and irrelevant circumstances has produced a blurred and neutral zone. The last is the case with a great part of our knowledge; the writer happens to know that bos is the Latin for “ ox ” and bufo the Latin for “ toad, ” and may be said to remember both items of knowledge, if “ remember ” is only to be synonymous with “ retain.” But if he came across bas in reading he would think of an ox and nothing more; bufa would immediately call up not only “ toad ” but Virgil's Georgics, the only place in which he has seen the word, and which he never read but once. In the former there is so far nothing but recognition (which, however, of course rests upon retentiveness); in the latter there is also remembrance of the time and circumstances in which that piece of knowledge was acquired. Of course in so far as we are aware that we recognize we also think that remembrance is at any rate possible, since what we know we must previously have learned-recognition excluding novelty. But the point here urged is that there is an actual reminiscence only when the recognition is accompanied by a reinstatement of portions of the memory-train continuous with the previous presentation of what is now recognized. Summarily stated, we may say that between knowing and remembering on the one hand and imagining on the other the difference primarily turns on the Hxity and completeness of the grouping in the former; in the latter there is a shifting play of images more or less “ generic, ” reminding one of “ dissolving views.” Hence the first two approximate in .character to perception, and are rightly called recognitions. Between them, again, the difference turns primarily on the presence or absence of temporal signs. In what is remembered these are still intact enough to ensure a localization in the past of what is recognized; in what is known merely such localization is prevented, either because of the obliviscence of temporal connexions or because Y

and M emoty.