Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/599

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far as continued presentation entails diminished intensity we have nothing but diminished feeling as a consequence; so far as its continued presentation entails satiety the train of agreeable accompaniments ceases in which the pleasurable tone consisted. But in another way long duration and frequent repetition produce indirectly certain characteristic effects on feeling in consequence of habituation and accommodation. We may get used to a painful presentation in such wise that we cease to be conscious of it as positively disagreeable, though its cessation is at once a source of pleasure; in like manner we come to require things simply because it is painful to be without them, although their possession has long ceased to be a ground of positive enjoyment. This loss (or gain) consequent on accommodation 1 has a most important effect in changing the sources of feeling: it helps to transfer attention from mere sensations to what we may distinguish as interests.

b. Certain sensations or movements not separately unpleasant become so when presented together or in immediate succession; Gambia” and contrariwise, some combinations of sensations “png of or of movements may be such as to afford pleasure Sells-INUHS distinct from, and often greater than, any that """'°' they separately yield. Here again we find that in some cases the effect seems mainly to depend on intensity, in others mainly on quality. (i.) As instances of the former may be mentioned the pleasurableness of a rhythmic succession of sounds or movements, of symmetrical forms and curved outlines, of gentle crescendos and diminuendos in sound, and of gradual variations of shade in colour, and the painfulness of flickering lights, “ beats ” in musical notes, false time, false steps, false quantities, and the like. In all these, whenever the result is pleasurable, attention can be readily accommodate dis, so to say, economically meted out; and, whenever the result is painful, attention is surprised, balked, wasted. Thus we can make more movements and with less expenditure of energy when they are rhythmic than when they are not, as the performances of a ball-room or of troops” marching to music amply testify. Of this economy we have also a striking proof in the ease with which rhythmic language is retained. (ii.) As instances of the latter may be cited those arrangements of musical tones and of colours that are called harmonious or the opposite. Harmony, however, must be taken to have a different meaning in the two cases. When two or three tones harmonize there results, as is well known, a distinct pleasure over and above any pleasure due to the tones themselves. On the other hand, tones that are discordant are unpleasant in spite of any pleasantness they may have singly. Besides the negative condition of absence of beats, a musical interval to be pleasant must fulfil certain positive conditions, sufficiently expressed for our purpose by saying that two tones are pleasant when they give rise to few combination-tones, and when among these there are several that coincide. and that they are unpleasant when they give rise to many combination-tones, and when among these there are few or none that coincide. Too many tones together prevent any from being distinct. But where tones coincide the number of tones actually present is less than the number of possible tones, and there is a proportionate simplification, so to put it: more is commanded and with less effort. An ingenious writer? on harmony, in fact, compares the confusion of a discord to that of “ trying to reckon up a sum in one's head and failing because the numbers are too high.” A different explanation must be given of the so-called harmonies of colour. The pleasurable effect of graduations of colour or shade-to which, as Ruskin tells us, the rose owes its victorious beauty when compared with other flowers-has been already mentioned: it is rather a quantitative than a qualitative effect. What we are Movements

it has been definitely formulated, but in physiological language, by Bain as the Law of Novelty: “ No second occurrence of any great shock or stimulus, whether pleasure, pain, or mere excitement, is ever fully equal to the first, notwithstanding that full time has been given for the nerves to recover from their exhaustion" (Mind and Body, p. 51). Cf. also his Emotions and Will, 3rd ed., p. 83.

2 Preyer, Akustische Untersuchzmgen, p. 59

now concerned with are the pleasurable or painful combinations of different ungraduated colours. A comparison of these seems to justify the general statement that those colours yield good combinations that are far apart in the colour circle, while those near together are apt to be discordant. The explanation given, viz. that the one arrangement secures and the other prevents perfect retinal activity, seems on the whole satisfactory#especially if we acknowledge the tendency of all recent investigations and distinguish sensibility to colour and sensibility to mere light as both psychologically and physiologically two separate facts. Thus, when red and green are juxtaposed, the red increases the saturation of the green and the green that of the red, so that both colours are heightened in brilliance. But such an effect is only pleasing to the child and the savage; for civilized men the contrast is excessive, and colours less completely opposed, as red and blue, are preferred, each being a rest from the other, so that as the eye wanders to and fro over their border different elements are active by turns. Red and orange, again, are bad, in that both exhaust in a similar manner and leave the remaining factors out of play.

o. The more or less spontaneous workings of imagination, as well as that direct control of this working necessary to thinking in the stricter sense, are always productive of pain or pleasure in varying degrees. Though the ex- Meatiauaud position of the higher intellectual processes has not yet been reached, there will be no inconvenience in at once taking account of their effects on feeling, since these are fairly obvious and largely independent of any analysis of the processes themselves. It will also be convenient to include under the one term “ intellectual feelings, ” not only the feelings connected with certainty, doubt, perplexity, comprehension, and so forth, but also what the Herbartian psychologists-whose work in this department of psychology is classical-have called por excellence the formal feelings-that is to say, feelings which they regard as entirely determined by the form of the flow of ideas, and not by the ideas themselves. Thus, be the ideas what they may, when their onward movement is checked by divergent or obstructing lines of association, and especially when in this manner we are hindered, say, from recollecting a name or a quotation (as if, e.g. the names of Archimedes, Anaximenes and Anaximander each arrested the clear revival of the other), we are conscious of a certain strain and oppressiveness, which give way to momentary relief when at length what is wanted rises into distinct consciousness and our ideas resume their flow. Here again, too, as in muscular movements, we have the contrast of exertion and facility, when “ thoughts refuse to flow ” and we work “ invita Minerva, ” or when the appropriate ideas seem to unfold and display themselves before us like a vision before one inspired. To be confronted with propositions we cannot reconcile-i.e. with what is or appears inconsistent, false, contradictory-is apt to be painful; the recognition of truth or logical coherence, on the other hand, is pleasurable. The feeling in either case is, no doubt, greater the greater our interest in the subject-matter; but the mere conflict of ideas as such is in itself depressing, while the discernment of agreement, of the one in the many, is a distinct satisfaction. Now in the one case we are conscious of futile efforts to comprehend as one ideas which the more distinctly We apprehend them for the purpose only prove to be the more completely and diametrically opposed: we can only affirm and mentally envisage the one by denying and suppressing the representation of the other; and yet we have to strive to predicate both and to embody them together in the same mental image. Attention is like a house divided against itself: there is effort but it is not effective, for the field of consciousness is narrowed and the flow of ideas arrested. When, on the other hand, we discern a common principle among diverse and apparently disconnected particulars, instead of all the attention we can command being taxed in the separate apprehension of these " disjecta membra, ” they become as one, and we seem at once to have at our disposal resources for the command of an enlarged field and the detection of new resemblances.