« AnteriorContinuar »
Imagination, the presence of the image is necessarily accompanied by a conviction of the possible existence of the corresponding object in an intuition. Memory is the presence of the same image, accompanied by a conviction of the fact, that the object represented has actually existed in a past intuition. Hope, in like manner, is the presence of the same image, together with an anticipation, more or less vivid, of the actual existence of the object in a future intuition.
Imagination, memory, and hope, are thus (whether formed by a reflective process or not) in their actual results partly presentative, partly representative. They are presentative of the image, which has its own distinct existence in consciousness, irrespectively of its relation to the object which it is supposed to represent. They are representative of the object, which that image resembles, and which, either in its present form or in its several elements, must have been presented in a past act of intuition. Thus there is combined an immediate consciousness of the present with a mediate consciousness of the past. An immediate or presentative consciousness of the past or the future, as such, is impossible. Imagination, being representative of an intuition, is, like intuition, only possible on the condition that its immediate object should be an individual.
On the other hand, my notion of a man in general can attain to universality only by surrendering resemblance ; it becomes the indifferent representative of all man. kind, only because it has no special likeness to
any one in particular. This distinction must be carefully borne in mind in comparing imagination with the cognate process of conception.
Memory is sometimes considered as the result of a process of thought." (Mansel, Metaphysics, pp. 128–9, ed. 1871.)
165.*The resuscitation of thoughts which in some shape or other have previously occupied the mind,' is nothing more or less than a prelude to what will unquestionably form a chief part of our intellectual experience of futurity; namely, the inalienable and irrepressible recollection of the deeds and feelings played forth while in the flesh, providing a beatitude or a misery forever. Ordinarily, this resuscitation is of such a medley and jumbled character, that not only is the general product unintelligible, but the particular incidents are themselves too fragmentary and dislocated to be recognised. But it is not always so. There must be few who have not experienced in their sleep, with what peculiar vividness, unknown to their waking hours, and with what minute exactitude of portraiture, events long past and long lost sight of, will not infrequently come back, shewing that there is something within which never forgets, and which only waits the negation of the external world, to leap up and certify its powers.
That which so vividly remembers is the Soul ; and if in the sleep which refreshes our organic nature, it utters its recollections brokenly and indistinctly, it will abundantly compensate itself when the material vesture which clogs it shall be cast
Much of the indistinctness of dreams probably arises from physical unhealthiness. If a sound body be one of the first requirements to a sound mind, in relation to its waking employinents, no less must it be needful to the sanity and precision of its sleeping ones. Brilliant as are the powers and functions of the spiritual body, the performance of them, whether sleeping or waking, so long as it is investured with flesh and blood, is immensely, perhaps wholly, contingent on the health of the material body. (Grindon, Life, pp. 290—291, 3d ed., London.)
166. “Memory, a receptive, not a creative faculty, is subjected to physical conditions more than all other mental powers ; for every kind of weakness (direct and indirect, as well bleeding as intoxication) impairs it, and dreams interrupt it ; it is not subject to the will, is possessed by us in common with the beasts ; and can be most effectually strengthened by the physician: a bitter stomachic will increase it more than a whole dictionary learnt by heart. For if it gained strength by what it receives, it would grow with increasing years, that is, in proportion to its wealth in hoarded names ; but it can carry the heaviest burdens most easily in unpracticed youth, and it holds those so firmly that they appear above the gray hairs of age as the evergreens of childhood." (Richter, Levana, pp. 370–1.).
“No one has a memory for everything, because no one feels an interest in everything. And the physical powers set bounds even to the strengthening influence of desire on the memory ;
-think of that when with children,-for instance, if a Hebrew bill of exchange for a thousand pounds were promised, on condition of de. manding its payment in the very words of the document, as once read aloud, everybody would try to remember them, but, unless he were a Jew, the words and the form would fail him.
I myself, however, would not choose any of these proposed methods of catching and yoking attention artificial arts of memory), but would adopt that of steady industry. I do believe that a rod would help a creeping child to walk better than crutches under his arms, which at first carry, but afterwards are carried by him. Yea yea, nay nay, are the best double watchwords for children.
Fear cripples the memory, both by producing physical weakness and mental irritation ; the frost of cold fear chains every living power which it approaches." (Richter, Levana, pp. 374-6.)
167. “It is incomprehensible to me, how people fancy they can teach children to read or write the letters easily by pointing out their resemblances, and laying before them at once i y,c e, or, in writing, i r, h k, &c. The very opposite plan ought to be pursued ; i should be placed next g, v next z, o next r; the contrast, sike light and shadow, make both prominent ; until reflected lights and half shades can separate them anew from each other. The fast-rooted dissimilarities serve at last to hold fast the resemblance that exists among them. So the old plan of teaching spelling by lists of words alpha
betically arranged is bad, on account of the difficulty of distinguishing similar sounds; whereas that of classing together derivations from the same Latin or Greek word assists the remembrance, because the radical word does not alter. (Richter, Levana, pp. 375–6.)
168. There is not a man living, whom it would so little become to speak of memory as myself, for I have none at all ; and do not think that the world has again another so treacherous as mine.
My other faculties are all very ordinary and mean ; but in this I think myself very singular, and to such a degree of excellence, that (besides the inconvenience I suffer by it, which merits something) I deserve methinks, to be famous for it, and to have more than a common reputation : though, in truth the necessary use of memory consider’d, Plato had reason when he call'd it a great and powerful Goddess. In my country, when they would decypher a man that has no sense, they say, such a one has no memory. (Montaigne, Essays, p. 33, third ed., London.)
169. “ I am oblig'd to fortune for having so oft assaulted me with the same sort of weapons ; she forms and fashions me by usance, hardens and habituates me so, that I can know within a little for how much I shall be quit. For want of natural memory, I make one of paper ; and as any new symptom happens in my disease, I set it down ; from whence it falls out, that being now almost past all sorts of examples, if any astonishment threaten me, tumbling over these lit