Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/234

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primary feeling of activity; (4) the reflex effect of these strain sensations, intensifying the idea apperceived."[1] Despite this complexity, the apperceptive theory posits fundamentally a necessary "original activity," or "psychical energy," which arises from within consciousness and transforms, as by a synthesis, what, for convenience sake, may be termed simple factors. Physiological stimulus pales, and subjective transitiveness becomes determining. This activity has close connection with will, often with choice. How can it be explained? With Wundt the term consciousness possesses a special and restricted meaning. It consists of all contents, such as feelings, ideas, excitations of the will, and—there is no underlying substance or occult being. This represents the analytic aspect; the synthetic remains to be reckoned with. Now, the spontaneous activity of the mind itself, whereby presentations come to be distinguished clearly, appears as appercipient attention, when brought to play upon perceptions or upon the "stream of consciousness," and as volition, when it originates movements of the body. Obviously, the former is the more fundamental, because, in it, I connect my ideas with my will. It "depends, on the one hand, upon the stimuli then at work; and, on the other hand, upon the total state of consciousness, bow it is made up that is, by present impressions and prior experiences. . . . If we would describe more nearly what it is that we experience in ourselves when pleased or pained we can not do this more concretely than by denoting pleasure as a straining after, and pain as a straining against, an object."[2] We may say, then, that apperception means will brought to bear upon states of consciousness and then directed to external muscular acts. For, "there is absolutely nothing outside man or in him which we can call wholly or entirely his own except his will."[3] So Wundt finds the existence of a synthetic activity of consciousness beyond the range of mere association. Without going far wrong, we might term this the single faculty into which all the faculties of the old psychology are absorbed. For it compares and selects among conscious states; or peradventure, it can be described as a species of conscious striving. Here, then, the mental unity presents its distinctive, differentiating nature, and, as some have indeed supposed, might be held exempt from the persistent sapping of psychophysiological method, secluding itself within its unattainable citadel. But this is a complete mistake; and I take the opportunity to call attention to Wundt's modern position even here, a pronouncement the more necessary that he has been so frequently misunderstood, strangely enough, by those who ought to know better. Apperception, or what you please, happens to be an undoubted fact of mental life. Accord-

  1. Am. Journal of Psych., Vol. VIII., part 3.
  2. "Physiol. Psych.," p. 535, Vol. I. (3d ed.)
  3. System d. Phil.," p. 387.