Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/623

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.



link becomes harder to dissect out. It becomes a real puzzle when the color pale-blue is said to have feminine, and blood-red masculine affinities. And if I hear a friend describe a certain family as having voices like blotting-paper, the image, though immediately felt to be apposite, baffles the utmost powers of analysis. The higher poets all use abrupt epithets, which are alike intimate and remote, and, as Emerson says, sweetly torment us with invitations to their inaccessible homes.

In these latter instances we must suppose that there is an identical portion in the similar ideas and that it is energetically operative, without, however, being sufficiently accentuated in consciousness to stand out per se, attract the attention to itself and be abstracted. We can not even by careful search see the bridge over which we passed from the heart of one representation to that of the next. In some brains, however, this mode of transition it extremely common. It would be one of the most important of physiological discoveries could we assign the mechanical or chemical difference which makes the thoughts of one brain cling close to Pure Contiguity while those of another shoot about in all the lawless revelry of Similarity. Why in these latter brains action should tend to focalize itself in small spots, while in the others it fills patiently its broad bed, it seems impossible to guess. Whatever the difference may be, it is what separates the man of genius from the prosaic creature of habit and routine thinking. Professor Bain, more profusely and cogently than any one else, has illustrated the truth that the leading fact in what we call genius in every department of life is a high development of the power of Similar Association. I therefore refer the reader to his work on the "Study of Character," Chapter XV., and to Chapter II., sections 25 to 45, of the portion entitled "Intellect" of his treatise on "The Senses and the Intellect."

Into the study of voluntary trains of thought there is no space to enter. The student will find in Hodgson’s "Theory of Practice," vol. i., pp. 394-400, the best account with which I am acquainted. Meanwhile he will no doubt admit that the promise with which this article set out has been fulfilled, and that the processes of spontaneous association have become already a little more intelligible to his mind.



THOUGH a large amount of material has been collected and published regarding the megalithic structures of Europe, their classification is in a somewhat unsatisfactory condition.

The misery of the systematist has already made itself apparent in