Page:Mars - Lowell.djvu/215

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a certain person, an approaching figure will most deceitfully take on his garb. The mere idea of a man walking finds the expectation ready instinctively to endow it with the attributes of our friend. But this may happen truly as well as falsely. The expert sees what the tyro misses, not from better eyesight but from better mechanism in the higher centres. A very slight hint from the eye goes a long way in the brain of the one; no distance at all in the brain of the other.

Our senses are our avenues of approach from the outer world. Messages from them are therefore usually and rightly attributed to stimuli from without. But it is possible for these messages to be tampered with at any stage of their journey. It is even possible for them to be started in some other part of the brain, travel down to the lower centres and be sent up from them to the higher ones, indistinguishable from bona fide messages from without. Bright points in the sky or a blow on the head will equally cause one to see stars. In the first case the eyes were duly affected from without; in the second, the nerves were tapped to the same effect in mid-route; but in each case the subsequent current travels to the higher centres apparently as authentic the one as the other.

Hallucinations of one sort and another occur