Classical Texts in Psychology
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We see then that we are dealing with a fluctuating material. The same object being sometimes treated as a part of me, at other times as simply mine, and then again as if I had nothing to do with it at all. In its widest possible sense, however, a man's Self is the sum total of all that he CAN call his, not only his body and his psychic powers, but his clothes and his house, his wife and children, his ancestors and friends, his reputation and works, his lands and horses, and yacht and bank-account. All these things give him the same emotions. If they wax and prosper, he feels triumphant; if they dwindle and die away, he feels cast down, - not necessarily in the same degree for each [p. 292] thing, but in much the same way for all. Understanding the Self in this widest sense, we may begin by dividing the history of it into three parts, relating respectively to -
1. Its constituents;
2. The feelings and emotions they arouse, -- Self-feelings;
3. The actions to which they prompt, -- Self-seeking and Self-preservation.
1. The constituents of the Self may be divided into two classes, those which make up respectively -
(a) The material Self;
(b) The social Self;
(c) The spiritual Self; and
(d) The pure Ego.
(a) The body is the innermost part of the material Self in each of us; and certain parts of the body seem more intimately ours than the rest. The clothes come next. The old saying that the human person is composed of three parts - soul, body and clothes - is more than a joke. We so appropriate our clothes and identify ourselves with them that there are few of us who, if asked to choose between having a beautiful body clad in raiment perpetually shabby and unclean, and having an ugly and blemished form always spotlessly attired, would not hesitate a moment before making a decisive reply. Next, our immediate family is a part of ourselves. Our father and mother, our wife and babes, are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. When they die, a part of our very selves is gone. If they do anything wrong, it is our shame. If they are insulted, our anger flashes forth as readily as if we stood in their place. Our home comes next. Its scenes are part of our life; its aspects awaken the tenderest feelings of affection; and we do not easily forgive the stranger who, in visiting it, finds fault with its arrangements or treats it with contempt. All these different things are the objects of instinctive preferences coupled with the most important practical interests of life. We all have a blind impulse to watch over our body, to deck it with clothing of [p. 293] an ornamental sort, to cherish parents, wife and babes, and to find for ourselves a home of our own which we may live in and 'improve.'
An equally instinctive impulse drives us to collect property; and the collections thus made become, with different degrees of intimacy, parts of our empirical selves. The parts of our wealth most intimately ours are those which are saturated with our labor. There are few men who would not feel personally annihilated if a life-long construction of their hands or brains - say an entomological collection or an extensive work in manuscript - were suddenly swept away. The miser feels similarly towards his gold, and although it is true that a part of our depression at the loss of possessions is due to our feeling that we must now go without certain goods that we expected the possessions to bring in their train, yet in every case there remains, over and above this, a sense of the shrinkage of our personality, a partial conversion of ourselves to nothingness, which is a psychological phenomenon by itself. We are all at once assimilated to the tramps and poor devils whom we so despise, and at the same time removed farther than ever away from the happy sons of earth who lord it over land and sea and men in the full-blown lustihood that wealth and power can give, and before whom, stiffen ourselves as we will by appealing to anti-snobbish first principles, we cannot escape an emotion, open or sneaking, of respect and dread.
(b) A man's Social Self is the recognition which he gets from his mates. We are not only gregarious animals, liking to be in sight of our fellows, but we have an innate propensity to get ourselves noticed, and noticed favorably, by our kind. No more fiendish punishment could be devised, were such a thing physically possible, than that one should be turned loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed by all the members thereof. If no one turned round when we entered, answered when we spoke, or minded what we did, but if every person we met 'cut us dead,' and acted as if we were non-existing things, a kind of rage and impotent despair would ere long well up in us, from which the [p. 294] cruellest bodily tortures would be a relief; for these would make us feel that, however bad might be our plight, we had not sunk to such a depth as to be unworthy of attention at all.
Properly speaking, a man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him and carry an image of him in their mind. To wound any one of these his images is to wound him. But as the individuals who carry the images fall naturally into classes, we may practically say that he has as many different social selves as there are distinct groups of persons about whose opinion he cares. He generally shows a different side of himself to each of these different groups. Many a youth who is demure enough before his parents and teachers, swears and swaggers like a pirate among his 'tough' young friends. We do not show ourselves to our children as to our club-companions, to our customers as to the laborers we employ, to our own masters and employers as to our intimate friends. From this there results what practically is a division of the man into several selves; and this may be a discordant splitting, as where one is afraid to let one set of his acquaintances know him as he is elsewhere; or it may be a perfectly harmonious division of labor, as where one tender to his children is stern to the soldiers or prisoners under his command.
The most peculiar social self which one is apt to have is in the mind of the person one is in love with. The good or bad fortunes of this self cause the most intense elation and dejection - unreasonable enough as measured by every other standard than that of the organic feeling of the individual. To his own consciousness he is not, so long as this particular social self fails to get recognition, and when it is recognized his contentment passes all bounds.
A man's fame, good or bad, and his honor or dishonor, are names for one of his social selves. The particular social self of a man called his honor is usually the result of one of those splittings of which we have spoken. It is his image in the eyes of his own 'set,' which exalts or con- [p. 295] demns him as he conforms or not to certain requirements that may not be made of one in another walk of life. Thus a layman may abandon a city infected with cholera; but a priest or a doctor would think such an act incompatible with his honor. A soldier's honor requires him to fight or to die under circumstances where another man can apologize or run away with no stain upon his social self. A judge, a statesman, are in like manner debarred by the honor of their cloth from entering into pecuniary relations perfectly honorable to persons in private life. Nothing is commoner than to hear people discriminate between their different selves of this sort: "As a man I pity you, but as an official I must show you no mercy; as a politician I regard him as an ally, but as a moralist I loathe him;" etc., etc. What may be called 'club-opinion' is one of the very strongest forces in life. The thief must not steal from other thieves; the gambler must pay his gambling-debts, though he pay no other debts in the world. The code of honor of fashionable society has throughout history been full of permissions as well as of vetoes, the only reason for following either of which is that so we best serve one of [p. 296] our social selves. You must not lie in general, but you may lie as much as you please if asked about your relations with a lady; you must accept a challenge from an equal, but if challenged by an inferior you may laugh him to scorn: these are examples of what is meant.
(c) By the Spiritual Self, so far as it belongs to the Empirical Me, I mean a man's inner or subjective being, his psychic faculties or dispositions, taken concretely; not the bare principle of personal Unity, or 'pure' Ego, which remains still to be discussed. These psychic dispositions are the most enduring and intimate part of the self, that which we most verily seem to be. We take a purer self-satisfaction when we think of our ability to argue and discriminate, of our moral sensibility and conscience, of our indomitable will, than when we survey any of our other possessions. Only when these are altered is a man said to be alienatus a se.
Now this spiritual self may be considered in various ways. We may divide it into faculties, as just instanced, isolating them one from another, and identifying ourselves with either in turn. This is an abstract way of dealing with consciousness, in which, as it actually presents itself, a plurality of such faculties are always to be simultaneously found; or we may insist on a concrete view, and then the spiritual self in us will be either the entire stream of our personal consciousness, or the present 'segment' or 'section' of that stream, according as we take a broader or a narrower view - both the stream and the section being concrete existences in time, and each being a unity after its own peculiar kind. But whether we take it abstractly or concretely, our considering the spiritual self at all is a reflective process, is the result of our abandoning the outward-looking point of view, and of our having become able to think of subjectivity as such, to think ourselves as thinkers.
This attention to thought as such, and the identification of ourselves with it rather than with any of the objects which it reveals, is a momentous and in some respects a rather mysterious operation, of which we need here only say that as a matter of fact it exists; and that in everyone, at an early age, the distinction between thought as such, [p. 297] and what it is 'of' or 'about,' has become familiar to the mind. The deeper grounds for this discrimination may possibly be hard to find; but superficial grounds are plenty and near at hand. Almost anyone will tell us that thought is a different sort of existence from things, because many sorts of thought are of no things - e.g., pleasures, pains, and emotions; others are of non-existent things - errors and fictions; others again of existent things, but in a form that is symbolic and does not resemble them - abstract ideas and concepts; whilst in the thoughts that do resemble the things they are 'of' (percepts, sensations), we can feel, alongside of the thing known, the thought of it going on as an altogether separate act and operation in the mind.
Now this subjective life of ours, distinguished as such so clearly from the objects known by its means, may, as aforesaid, be taken by us in a concrete or in an abstract way. Of the concrete way I will say nothing just now, except that the actual 'section' of the stream will ere long, in our discussion of the nature of the principle of unity in consciousness, play a very important part. The abstract way claims our attention first. If the stream as a whole is identified with the Self far more than any outward thing, a certain portion of the stream abstracted from the rest is so identified in an altogether peculiar degree, and is felt by all men as a sort of innermost centre within the circle, of sanctuary within the citadel, constituted by the subjective life as a whole. Compared with this element of the stream, the other parts, even of the subjective life, seem transient external possessions, of which each in turn can be disowned, whilst that which disowns them remains. Now, what is this self of all the other selves?
Probably all men would describe it in much the same way up to a certain
point. They would call it the active element in all consciousness;
saying that whatever qualities a man's feelings may possess, or whatever
content his thought may include, there is a spiritual something in him
which seems to go out to meet these qualities and contents, whilst
they seem to come in to be received by it. It is what welcomes or
rejects. It presides over the perception of sensations, and by giving or
[p. 298] assent it influences the movements they tend to arouse. It is the home of interest, - not the pleasant or the painful, not even pleasure or pain, as such, but that within us to which pleasure and pain, the pleasant and the painful, speak. It is the source of effort and attention, and the place from which appear to emanate the fiats of the will. A physiologist who should reflect upon it in his own person could hardly help, I should think, connecting it more or less vaguely with the process by which ideas or incoming sensations are 'reflected' or pass over into outward acts. Not necessarily that it should be this process or the mere feeling of this process, but that it should be in some close way related to this process; for it plays a part analogous to it in the psychic life, being a sort of junction at which sensory ideas terminate and from which motor ideas proceed, and forming a kind of link between the two. Being more incessantly there than any other single element of the mental life, the other elements end by seeming to accrete round it and to belong to it. It becomes opposed to them as the permanent is opposed to the changing and inconstant.
One may, I think, without fear of being upset by any future Galtonian circulars, believe that all men must single out from the rest of what they call themselves some central principle of which each would recognize the foregoing to be a fair general description, - accurate enough, at any rate, to denote what is meant, and keep it unconfused with other things. The moment, however, they came to closer quarters with it, trying to define more accurately its precise nature, we should find opinions beginning to diverge. Some would say that it is a simple active substance, the soul, of which they are thus conscious; others, that it is nothing but a fiction, the imaginary being denoted by the pronoun I; and between these extremes of opinion all sorts of intermediaries would be found.
Later we must ourselves discuss them all, and sufficient to that day will be the evil thereof. Now, let us try to settle for ourselves as definitely as we can, just how this central nucleus of the Self may feel, no matter whether it be a spiritual substance or only a delusive word.
For this central part of the Self is felt. It may be all that [p. 299] Transcendentalists say it is, and all that Empiricists say it is into the bargain, but it is at any rate no mere ens rationis, cognized only in an intellectual way, and no mere summation of memories or mere sound of a word in our ears. It is something with which we also have direct sensible acquaintance, and which is as fully present at any moment of consciousness in which it is present, as in a whole lifetime of such moments. When, just now, it was called an abstraction, that did not mean that, like some general notion, it could not be presented in a particular experience. It only meant that in the stream of consciousness it never was found all alone. But when it is found, it is felt; just as the body is felt, the feeling of which is also an abstraction, because never is the body felt all alone, but always together with other things. Now can we tell more precisely in what the feeling of this central active self consists, - not necessarily as yet what the active self is, as a being or principle, but what we feel when we become aware of its existence?
I think I can in my own case; and as what I say will be likely to meet with opposition if generalized (as indeed it may be in part inapplicable to other individuals), I had better continue in the first person, leaving my description to be accepted by those to whose introspection it may commend itself as true, and confessing my inability to meet the demands of others, if others there be.
First of all, I am aware of a constant play of furtherances and hindrances in my thinking, of checks and releases, tendencies which run with desire, and tendencies which run the other way. Among the matters I think of, some range themselves on the side of the thought's interests, whilst others play an unfriendly part thereto. The mutual inconsistencies and agreements, reinforcements and obstructions, which obtain amonst these objective matters reverberate backwards and produce what seem to be incessant reactions of my spontaneity upon them, welcoming or opposing, appropriating or disowning, striving with or against, saying yes or no. This palpitating inward life is, in me, that central nucleus which I just tried to describe in terms that all men might use. But when I forsake such general descriptions and grap- [p. 300] ple with particulars, coming to the closest possible quarters with the facts, it is difficult for me to detect in the activity any purely spiritual element at all. Whenever my introspective glance succeeds in turning round quickly enough to catch one of these manifestations of spontaneity in the act, all it can ever feel distinctly is some bodily process, for the most part taking place within the head. Omitting for a moment what is obscure in these introspective results, let me try to state those particulars which to my own consciousness seem indubitable and distinct.
In the first place, the acts of attending, assenting, negating, making an effort, are felt as movements of something in the head. In many cases it is possible to describe these movements quite exactly. In attending to either an idea or a sensation belonging to a particular sense-sphere, the movement is the adjustment of the sense-organ, felt as it occurs. I cannot think in visual terms, for example, without feeling a fluctuating play of pressures, convergences, divergences, and accommodations in my eyeballs. The direction in which the object is conceived to lie determines the character of these movements, the feeling of which becomes, for my consciousness, identified with the manner in which I make myself ready to receive the visible thing. My brain appears to me as if all shot across with lines of direction, of which I have become conscious as my attention has shifted from one sense-organ to another, in passing to successive outer things, or in following trains of varying sense-ideas.
When I try to remember or reflect, the movements in question, instead of being directed towards the periphery, seem to come from the periphery inwards and feel like a sort of withdrawal from the outer world. As far as I can detect, these feelings are due to an actual rolling outwards and upwards of the eyeballs, such as I believe occurs in me in sleep, and is the exact opposite of their action in fixating a physical thing. In reasoning, I find that I am apt to have a kind of vaguely localized diagram in my mind, with the various fractional objects of the thought disposed at particular points thereof; and the oscillations of my attention from one of them to another are most distinctly felt [p. 301] as alternations of direction in movements occurring inside the head.
In consenting and negating, and in making a mental effort, the movements seem more complex, and I find them harder to describe. The opening and closing of the glottis play a great part in these operations, and, less distinctly, the movements of the soft palate, etc., shutting off the posterior nares of the mouth. My glottis is like a sensitive valve, intercepting my breath instantaneously at every mental hesitation or felt aversion to the objects of my thought, and as quickly opening, to let the air pass through my throat and nose, the moment the repugnance is overcome. The feeling of the movement of this air is, in me, one strong ingredient of the feeling of assent. The movements of the muscles of the brow and eyelids also respond very sensitively to every fluctuation in the agreeableness or disagreeableness of what comes before my mind.
In effort of any sort, contractions of the jaw-muscles and of those of respiration are added to those of the brow and glottis, and thus the feeling passes out of the head properly so called. It passes out of the head whenever the welcoming or rejecting of the object is strongly felt. Then a set of feelings pour in from many bodily parts, all 'expressive' of my emotion, and the head-feelings proper are swallowed up in this larger mass.
In a sense, then, it may be truly said that, in one person at least, the 'Self of selves,' when carefully examined, is found to consist mainly of the collection of these peculiar motions in the head or between the head and throat. I do not for a moment say that this is all it consists of, for I fully realize how desperately hard is introspection in this field. But I feel quite sure that these cephalic motions are the portions of my innermost activity of which I am most distinctly aware. If the dim portions which I cannot yet define should prove to be like unto these distinct portions in me, and I like other men, it would follow that our entire feeling of spiritual activity, or what commonly passes by that [p. 302] name, is really a feeling of bodily activities whose exact nature is by most men overlooked.
Now, without pledging ourselves in any way to adopt this hypothesis, let us dally with it for a while to see to what consequences it might lead if it were true.
In the first place, the nuclear part of the Self, intermediary between ideas and overt acts, would be a collection of activities physiologically in no essential way different from the overt acts themselves. If we divide all possible physiological acts into adjustments and executions, the nuclear self would be the adjustments collectively considered; and the less intimate, more shifting self, so far as it was active, would be the executions. But both adjustments and executions would obey the reflex type. Both would be the result of sensorial and ideational processes discharging either into each other within the brain, or into muscles and other parts outside. The peculiarity of the adjustments would be that they are minimal reflexes, few in number, incessantly repeated, constant amid great fluctuations in the rest of the mind's content, and entirely unimportant and uninteresting except through their uses in furthering or inhibiting the presence of various things, and actions before consciousness. These characters would naturally keep us from introspectively paying much attention to them in detail, whilst they would at the same time make us aware of them as a coherent group of processes, strongly contrasted with all the other things consciousness contained, - even with the other constituents of the 'Self,' material, social, or spiritual, as the case might be. They are reactions, and they are primary reactions. Everything arouses them; for objects which have no other effects will for a moment contract the brow and make the glottis close. It is as if all that visited the mind had to stand an entrance-examination, and just show its face so as to be either approved or sent back. These primary reactions are like the opening or the closing of the door. In the midst of psychic change they are the permanent core of turnings-towards and trunings-from, of yieldings and arrests, which naturally seem central and interior in com-[p. 303] parison with the foreign matters, apropos to which they occur, and hold a sort of arbitrating, decisive position, quite unlike that held by any of the other constituents of the Me. It would not be surprising, then, if we were to feel them as the birthplace of conclusions and the starting point of acts, or if they came to appear as what we called a while back the 'sanctuary within the citadel' of our personal life.
[p. 304] If they really were the innermost sanctuary, the ultimate one of all the selves whose being we can ever directly experience, it would follow that all that is experienced is, strictly considered, objective; that this Objective falls asunder into two contrasted parts, one realized as 'Self,' the other as 'not-Self;' and that over and above these parts there is nothing save the fact that they are known, the fact of the stream of thought being there as the indispensable subjective condition of their being experienced at all. But this condition of the experience is not one of the things experienced at the moment; this knowing is not immediately known. It is only known in subsequent reflection. Instead, then, of the stream of thought being one of con-sciousness, "thinking its own existence along with whatever else it thinks," (as Ferrier says) it might be better called a stream of Sciousness pure and simple, thinking objects of some of which it makes what it calls a 'Me,' and only aware of its 'pure' Self in an abstract, hypothetic or conceptual way. Each 'section' of the stream would then be a bit of sciousness or knowledge of this sort, including and contemplating its 'me' and its 'not-me' as objects which work out their drama together, but not yet including or contemplating its own subjective being. The sciousness in question would be the Thinker, and the existence of this thinker would be given to us rather as a logical postulate than as that direct inner perception of spiritual activity which we naturally believe ourselves to have. 'Matter,' as something behind physical phenomena, is a postulate of this sort. Between the postulated Matter and the postulated Thinker, the sheet of phenomena would then swing, some of them (the 'realities') pertaining more to the matter, others (the fictions, opinions, and errors) pertaining more to the Thinker. But who the Thinker would be, or how many distinct Thinkers we ought to suppose in the universe, would all be subjects for an ulterior metaphysical inquiry.
Speculations like this traverse common-sense; and not only do they traverse common sense (which in philosophy is no insuperable objection) but they contradict the fundamental assumption of every philosophic school. Spiritualists, transcendentalists, and empiricists alike admit in [p. 305] us a continual direct perception of the thinking activity in the concrete. However they may otherwise disagree, they vie with each other in the cordiality of their recognition of our thoughts as the one sort of existent which skepticism cannot touch. I will therefore treat the last few pages as a parenthetical digression, and from now to the end of the volume revert to the path of common-sense again. I mean by this that I will continue to assume (as I have assumed all along, especially in the last chapter) a direct awareness of the process of our thinking as such, simply insisting on the fact that it is an even more inward and subtle phenomenon than most of us suppose. At the conclusion of the volume, however, I may permit myself to revert again to the doubts here provisionally mooted, and will indulge in some metaphysical reflections suggested by them.
At present, then, the only conclusion I come to is the following: That (in some persons at least) the part of the innermost Self which is most vividly felt turns out to consist for the most part of a collection of cephalic movements of 'adjustments' which, for want of attention and reflection, usually fail to be perceived and classed as what they are; that over and above these there is an obscurer feeling of something more; but whether it be of fainter physiological processes, or of nothing objective at all, but rather of subjectivity as such, of thought become 'its own object,' must at present remain an open question, - like the question whether it be an indivisible active soul-substance, or the question whether it be a personification of the pronoun I, or any other of the guesses as to what its nature may be.
Farther than this we cannot as yet go clearly in our analysis of the Self's constituents. So let us proceed to the emotions of Self which they arouse.
One may say, however, that the normal provocative of self-feeling is one's actual success or failure, and the good or bad actual position one holds in the world. "He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum, and said what a good boy am I." A man with a broadly extended empirical Ego, with powers that have uniformly brought him success, with place and wealth and friends and fame, is not likely to be visited by the morbid diffidences and doubts about himself which he had when he was a boy. "Is not this great Babylon, which I have planted?" Whereas he who has made one blunder after another, and still lies in middle life among the failures at the foot of the hill, is liable to grow [p. 307] all sicklied o'er with self-distrust, and to shrink from trials with which his powers can really cope.
The emotions themselves of self-satisfaction and abasement are of a unique sort, each as worthy to be classed as a primitive emotional species as are, for example, rage or pain. Each has its own peculiar physiognomical expression. In self-satisfaction the extensor muscles are innervated, the eye is strong and glorious, the gait rolling and elastic, the nostril dilated, and a peculiar smile plays upon the lips. This whole complex of symptoms is seen in an exquisite way in lunatic asylums, which always contain some patients who are literally mad with conceit, and whose fatuous expression and absurdly strutting or swaggering gait is in tragic contrast with their lack of any valuable personal quality. It is in these same castles of despair that we find the strongest examples of the opposite physiognomy, in good people who think they have committed 'the unpardonable sin' and are lost forever, who crouch and cringe and slink from noticean, d [sic] are unable to speak aloud or look us in the eye. Like fear and like anger, in similar morbid conditions, these opposite feelings of Self may be aroused with no adequate exciting cause. And in fact we ourselves know how the barometer of our self-esteem and confidence rises and falls from one day to another through causes that seem to be visceral and organic rather than rational, and which certainly answer to no corresponding variations in the esteem in which we are held by our friends. Of the origin of these emotions in the race, we can speak better when we have treated of -
All the ordinary useful reflex actions and movements of alimentation and defence are acts of bodily self-preservation. Fear and anger prompt to acts that are useful in the same way. Whilst if by self-seeking we mean the providing for the future as distinguished from maintaining the present, we must class both anger and fear [p. 308] with the hunting, the acquisitive, the home-constructing and the tool-constructing instincts, as impulses to self-seeking of the bodily kind. Really, however, these latter instincts, with amativeness, parental fondness, curiosity and emulation, seek not only the development of the bodily Self, but that of the material Self in the widest possible sense of the word.
Our social self-seeking, in turn, is carried on directly through our amativeness and friendliness, our desire to please and attract notice and admiration, our emulation and jealousy, our love of glory, influence, and power, and indirectly through whichever of the material self-seeking impulses prove serviceable as means to social ends. That the direct social self-seeking impulses are probably pure instincts is easily seen. The noteworthy thing about the desire to be 'recognized' by others is that its strength has so little to do with the worth of the recognition computed in sensational or rational terms. We are crazy to get a visiting-list which shall be large, to be able to say when any one is mentioned, "Oh! I know him well," and to be bowed to in the street by half the people we meet. Of course distinguished friends and admiring recognition are the most desirable - Thackeray somewhere asks his readers to confess whether it would not give each of them an exquisite pleasure to be met walking down Pall Mall with a duke on either arm. But in default of dukes and envious salutations almost anything will do for some of us; and there is a whole race of beings to-day whose passion is to keep their names in the newspapers, no matter under what heading, 'arrivals and departures,' 'personal paragraphs,' 'interviews,' - gossip, even scandal, will suit them if nothing better is to be had. Guiteau, Garfield's assassin, is an example of the extremity to which this sort of craving for the notoriety of print may go in a pathological case. The newspapers bounded his mental horizon; and in the poor wretch's prayer on the scaffold, one of the most heartfelt expressions was: "The newspaper press of this land has a big bill to settle with thee, O Lord!"
Not only the people but the places and things I know enlarge my Self in a sort of metaphoric social way. 'Ça [p. 309] me connaît,' as the French workman says of the implement he can use well. So that is comes about that persons for whose opinion we care nothing are nevertheless persons whose notice we woo; and that many a man truly great, many a woman truly fastidious in most respects, will take a deal of trouble to dazzle some insignificant cad whose whole personality they heartily despise.
Under the head of spiritual self-seeking ought to be included every impulse towards psychic progress, whether intellectual, moral, or spiritual in the narrow sense of the term. It must be admitted, however, that much that commonly passes for spiritual self-seeking in this narrow sense is only material and social self-seeking beyond the grave. In the Mohammedan desire for paradise and the Christian aspiration not to be damned in hell, the materiality of the goods sought is undisguised. In the more positive and refined view of heaven many of its goods, the fellowship of the saints and of our dead ones, and the presence of God, are but social goods of the most exalted kind. It is only the search of the redeemed inward nature, the spotlessness from sin, whether here or hereafter, that can count as spiritual self-seeking pure and undefiled.
But this broad external review of the facts of the life of the Self will be incomplete without some account of the
I, who for the time have staked my all on being a psychologist, am mortified if others know much more psychology than I. But I am contented to wallow in the grossest ignorance of Greek. My deficiencies there give me no sense of personal humiliation at all. Had I 'pretensions' to be a linguist, it would have been just the reverse. So we have the paradox of a man shamed to death because he is only the second pugilist or the second oarsman in the world. That he is able to beat the whole population of the globe minus one is nothing; he has 'pitted' himself to beat that one; and as long as he doesn't do that nothing else counts. He is to his own regard as if he were not, indeed he is not.
Yonder puny fellow, however, whom every one can beat, suffers no chagrin about it, for he has long ago abandoned the attempt to 'carry that line,' as the merchants say, of self at all. With no attempt there can be no failure; with no failure no humiliation. So our self-feeling in this world depends entirely on what we back ourselves to be and do. It is determined by the ratio of our actualities to our supposed potentialities; a fraction of which our pretensions are the denominator and the numerator our success: thus, Self-esteem = Success / Pretensions. Such a fraction may be increased [p. 311] as well by diminishing the denominator as by increasing the numerator. To give up pretensions is as blessed a relief as to get them gratified; and where disappointment is incessant and the struggle unending, this is what men will always do. The history of evangelical theology, with its conviction of sin, its self-despair, and its abandonment of salvation by works, is the deepest of possible examples, but we meet others in every walk of life. There is the strangest lightness about the heart when one's nothingness in a particular line is once accepted in good faith. All is not bitterness in the lot of the lover sent away by the final inexorable 'No.' Many Bostonians, crede experto (and inhabitants of other cities, too, I fear), would be happier women and men to-day, if they could once for all abandon the notion of keeping up a Musical Self, and without shame let people hear them call a symphony a nuisance. How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young, - or slender! Thank God! we say, those illusions are gone. Everything added to the Self is a burden as well as a pride. A certain man who lost every penny during our civil war went and actually rolled in the dust, saying he had not felt so free and happy since he was born.
Once more, then, our self-feeling is in our power. As Carlyle says: "Make thy claim of wages a zero, then hast thou the world under thy feet. Well did the wisest of our time write, it is only with renunciation that life, properly speaking, can be said to begin."
Neither threats nor pleadings can move a man unless they touch some one of his potential or actual selves. Only thus can we, as a rule, get a 'purchase' on another's will. The first care of diplomatists and monarchs and all who wish to rule or influence is, accordingly, to find out their victim's strongest principle of self-regard, so as to make that the [p. 312] fulcrum of all appeals. But if a man has given up those things which are subject to foreign fate, and ceased to regard them as parts of himself at all, we are well-nigh powerless over him. The Stoic receipt for contentment was to dispossess yourself in advance of all that was out of your own power, - then fortune's shocks might rain down unfelt. Epictetus exhorts us, by thus narrowing and at the same time solidifying our Self to make it invulnerable: "I must die; well, but must I die groaning too? I will speak what appears to be right, and if the despot says, then I will put you to death, I will reply, 'When did I ever tell you that I was immortal? You will do your part and I mine; it is yours to kill and mine to die intrepid; yours to banish, mine to depart untroubled.' How do we act in a voyage? We choose the pilot, the sailors, the hour. Afterwards comes a storm. What have I to care for? My part is performed. This matter belongs to the pilot. But the ship is sinking; what then have I to do? That which alone I can do - submit to being drowned without fear, without clamor or accusing of God, but as one who knows that what is born must likewise die."
This Stoic fashion, though efficacious and heroic enough in its place and time, is, it must be confessed, only possible as an habitual mood of the soul to narrow and unsympathetic characters. It proceeds altogether by exclusion. If I am a Stoic, the goods I cannot appropriate cease to be my goods, and the temptation lies very near to deny that they are goods at all. We find this mode of protecting the Self by exclusion and denial very common among people who are in other respects not Stoics. All narrow people intrench their Me, they retract it, - from the region of what they cannot securely possess. People who don't resemble them, or who treat them with indifference, people over whom they gain no influence, are people on whose existence, however meritorious it may intrinsically be, they look with chill negation, if not with positive hate. Who will not be mine I will exclude from existence altogether; that is, as far as [p. 313] I can make it so, such people shall be as if they were not. Thus may a certain absoluteness and definiteness in the outline of my Me console me for the smallness of its content.
Sympathetic people, on the contrary, proceed by the entirely opposite way of expansion and inclusion. The outline of their self often gets uncertain enough, but for this the spread of its content more than atones. Nil humani a me alienum. Let them despise this little person of mine, and treat me like a dog, I shall not negate them so long as I have a soul in my body. They are realities as much as I am. What positive good is in them shall be mine too, etc., etc. The magnanimity of these expansive natures is often touching indeed. Such persons can feel a sort of delicate rapture in thinking that, however sick, ill-favored, mean-conditioned, and generally forsaken they may be, they yet are integral parts of the whole of this brave world, have a fellow's share in the strength of the dray-horses, the happiness of the young people, the wisdom of the wise ones, and are not altogether without part or lot in the good fortunes of the Vanderbilts and the Hohenzollerns themselves. Thus either by negating or by embracing, the Ego may seek to establish itself in reality. He who, with Marcus Aurelius, can truly say, "O Universe, I wish all that thou wishest," has a self from which every trace of negativeness and obstructiveness has been removed - no wind can blow except to fill its sails.
A tolerably unanimous opinion ranges the different selves of which a man may be 'seized and possessed,' and the consequent different orders of his self-regard, in an hierarchical scale, with the bodily Self at the bottom, the spiritual Self at the top, and the extracorporeal material selves and the various social selves between. Our merely natural self-seeking would lead us to aggrandize all these selves; we give up deliberately only those among them which we [p. 314] find we cannot keep. Our unselfishness is thus apt to be a 'virtue of necessity'; and it is not without all show of reason that cynics quote the fable of the fox and the grapes in describing our progress therein. But this is the moral education of the race; and if we agree in the result that on the whole the selves we can keep are the intrinsically best, we need not complain of being led to the knowledge of their superior worth in such a tortuous way.
Of course this is not the only way in which we learn to subordinate our lower selves to our higher. A direct ethical judgment unquestionably also plays its part, and last, not least, we apply to our own persons judgments originally called forth by the acts of others. It is one of the strangest laws of our nature that many things which we are well satisfied with in ourselves disgust us when seen in others. With another man's bodily 'hoggishness' hardly anyone has any sympathy; - almost as little with his cupidity, his social vanity and eagerness, his jealousy, his despotism, and his pride. Left absolutely to myself I should probably allow all these spontaneous tendencies to luxuriate in me unchecked, and it would be long before I formed a distinct notion of the order of their subordination. But having constantly to pass judgment on my associates, I come ere long to see, as Herr Horwicz says, my own lusts in the mirror of the lusts of others, and to think about them in a very different way from that in which I simply feel. Of course, the moral generalities which from childhood have been instilled into me accelerate enormously the advent of this reflective judgment on myself.
So it comes to pass that, as aforesaid, men have arranged the various
selves which they may seek in an hierarchical scale according to their
worth. A certain amount of bodily selfishness is required as a basis for
all the other selves. But too much sensuality is despised, or at best condoned
on account of the other qualities of the individual. The wider material
selves are regarded as higher than the immediate body. He is esteemed a
poor creature who is unable to forego a little meat and drink and warmth
and sleep for the sake of getting on in the world. The social self as a
whole, again, ranks higher than the material self
[p. 315] as a whole. We must care more for our honor, our friends, our human ties, than for a sound skin or wealth. And the spiritual self is so supremely precious that, rather than lose it, a man ought to be willing to give up friends and good fame, and property, and life itself.
In each kind of self, material, social, and spiritual, men distinguish between the immediate and actual, and the remote and potential, between the narrower and the wider view, to the detriment of the former and advantage of the latter. One must forego a present bodily enjoyment for the sake of one's general health; one must abandon the dollar in the hand for the sake of the hundred dollars to come; one must make an enemy of his present interlocutor if thereby one makes friends of a more valued circle; one must go without learning and grace, and wit, the better to compass one's soul's salvation.
Of all these wider, more potential selves, the potential social self is the most interesting, by reason of certain apparent paradoxes to which it leads in conduct, and by reason of its connection with our moral and religious life. When for motives of honor and conscience I brave the condemnation of my own family, club, and 'set'; when, as a protestant, I turn catholic; as a catholic, freethinker; as a 'regular practitioner,' homoeopath, or what not, I am always inwardly strengthened in my course and steeled against the loss of my actual social self by the thought of other and better possible social judges than those whose verdict goes against me now. The ideal social self which I thus seek in appealing to their decision may be very remote: it may be represented as barely possible. I may not hope for its realization during my lifetime; I may even expect the future generations, which would approve me if they knew me, to know nothing about me when I am dead and gone. Yet still the emotion that beckons me on is indubitably the pursuit of an ideal social self, of a self that is at least worthy of approving recognition by the highest possible judging companion, if such companion there be. This [p. 316] self is the true, the intimate, the ultimate, the permanent Me which I seek. This judge is God, the Absolute Mind, the 'Great Companion.' We hear, in these days of scientific enlightenment, a great deal of discussion about the efficacy of prayer; and many reasons are given us why we should not pray, whilst others are given us why we should. But in all this very little is said of the reason why we do pray, which is simply that we cannot help praying. It seems probable that, in spite of all that 'science' may do to the contrary, men will continue to pray to the end of time, unless their mental nature changes in a manner which nothing we know should lead us to expect. The impulse to pray is a necessary consequence of the fact that whilst the innermost of the empirical selves of a man is a Self of the social sort, it yet can find its only adequate Socius in an ideal world.
All progress in the social Self is the substitution of higher tribunals for lower; this ideal tribunal is the highest; and most men, either continually or occasionally, carry a reference to it in their breast. The humblest outcast on this earth can feel himself to be real and valid by means of this higher recognition. And, on the other hand, for most of us, a world with no such inner refuge when the outer social self failed and dropped from us would be the abyss of horror. I say 'for most of us,' because it is probable that individuals differ a good deal in the degree in which they are haunted by this sense of an ideal spectator. It is a much more essential part of the consciousness of some men that of others. Those who have the most of it are possibly the most religious men. But I am sure that even those who say they are altogether without it deceive themselves, and really have it in some degree. Only a non-gregarious animal could be completely without it. Probably no one can make sacrifices for 'right,' without [p. 317] to some degree personifying the principle of right for which the sacrifice is made, and expecting thanks from it. Complete social unselfishness, in other words, can hardly exist; complete social suicide hardly occur to a man's mind. Even such texts as Job's, "Though He slay me yet will I trust Him," or Marcus Aurelius's, "If gods hate me and my children, there is a reason for it," can least of all be cited to prove the contrary. For beyond all doubt Job revelled in the thought of Jehovah's recognition of the worship after the slaying should have been done; and the Roman emperor felt sure the Absolute Reason would not be all indifferent to his acquiescence in the gods' dislike. The old test of piety, "Are you willing to be damned for the glory of God?" was probably never answered in the affirmative except by those who felt sure in their heart of hearts that God would 'credit' them with their willingness, and set more store by them thus than if in His unfathomable scheme He had not damned them at all.
All this about the impossibility of suicide is said on the supposition of positive motives. When possessed by the emotion of fear, however, we are in a negative state of mind; that is, our desire is limited to the mere banishing of something, without regard to what shall take its place. In this state of mind there can unquestionably be genuine thoughts, and genuine acts, of suicide, spiritual and social, as well as bodily. Anything, anything, at such times, so as to escape and not to be! But such conditions of suicidal frenzy are pathological in their nature and run dead against everything that is regular in the life of the Self in man.
A man in whom self-seeking of any sort is largely developed is said to be selfish. He is on the other hand [p. 318] called unselfish if he shows consideration for the interest of other selves than his own. Now what is the intimate nature of the selfish emotion in him? and what is the primary object of its regard? We have described him pursuing and fostering as his self first one set of things and then another: we have seen the same set of facts gain or lose interest in his eyes, leave him indifferent, or fill him either with triumph or despair according as he made pretensions to appropriate them, treated them as if they were potentially or actually parts of himself, or not. We know how little it matters to us whether some man, a man taken at large and in the abstract, prove a failure or succeed in life, - he may be hanged for aught we care, - but we know the utter momentousness and terribleness of the alternative when the man is the one whose name we ourselves bear. I must not be a failure, is the very loudest of the voices that clamor in each of our breasts: let fail who may, I at least must succeed. Now the first conclusion which these facts suggest is that each of us is animated by a direct feeling of regard for his own pure principle of individual existence, whatever that may be, taken merely as such. It appears as if all our concrete manifestations of selfishness might be the conclusions of as many syllogisms, each with this principle as the subject of its major premiss, thus: Whatever is me is precious; this is me; therefore this is precious; whatever is mine must not fail; this is mine; therefore this must not fail, etc. It appears, I say, as if this principle inoculated all it touched with its own intimate quality of worth; as if, previous to the touching, everything might be matter of indifference, and nothing interesting in its own right; as if my regard for my own body even were an interest not simply in this body, but in this body only so far as it is mine.
But what is this abstract numerical principle of identity, [p. 319] this 'Number One' within me, for which, according to proverbial philosophy, I am supposed to keep so constant a 'lookout'? Is it the inner nucleus of my spiritual self, that collection of obscurely felt 'adjustments,' plus perhaps that still more obscurely perceived subjectivity as such, of which we recently spoke? Or is it perhaps the concrete stream of my thought in its entirety, or some one section of the same? Or may it be the indivisible Soul-Substance, in which, according to the orthodox tradition, my faculties inhere? Or, finally, can it be the mere pronoun I? Surely it is none of these things, that self for which I feel such hot regard. Though all of them together were put within me, I should still be cold, and fail to exhibit anything worthy of the name of selfishness or of devotion to 'Number One.' To have a self that I can care for, nature must first present me with some object interesting enough to make me instinctively wish to appropriate it for its own sake, and out of it to manufacture one of those material, social, or spiritual selves, which we have already passed in review. We shall find that all the facts of rivalry and substitution that have so struck us, all the shiftings and expansions and contractions of the sphere of what shall be considered me and mine, are but results of the fact that certain things appeal to primitive and instinctive impulses of our nature, and that we follow their destinies with an excitement that owes nothing to a reflective source. These objects our consciousness treats as the primordial constituents of its Me. Whatever other objects, whether by association with the fate of these, or in any other way, come to be followed with the same sort of interest, form our remoter and more secondary self. The words ME, then, and SELF, so far as they arouse feeling and connote emotional worth, are OBJECTIVE designations, meaning ALL THE THINGS which have the power to produce in a stream of consciousness excitement of a certain peculiar sort. Let us try to justify this proposition in detail.
The most palpable selfishness of a man is his bodily selfishness; and his most palpable self is the body to which that selfishness relates. Now I say that he identifies himself with this body because he loves it, and that he does [p. 320] not love it because he finds it to be identified with himself. Reverting to natural history-psychology will help us to see the truth of this. In the chapter on Instincts we shall learn that every creature has a certain selective interest in certain portions of the world, and that this interest is as often connate as acquired. Our interest in things means the attention and emotion which the thought of them will excite, and the actions which their presence will evoke. Thus every species is particularly interested in its own prey or food, its own enemies, its own sexual mates, and its own young. These things fascinate by their intrinsic power to do so; they are cared for for their own sakes.
Well, it stands not in the least otherwise with our bodies. They too are percepts in our objective field - they are simply the most interesting percepts there. What happens to them excites in us emotions and tendencies to action more energetic and habitual than any which are excited by other portions of the 'field.' What my comrades call my bodily selfishness or self-love, is nothing but the sum of all the outer acts which this interest in my body spontaneously draws from me. My 'selfishness' is here but a descriptive name for grouping together the outward symptoms which I show. When I am led by self-love to keep my seat whilst ladies stand, or to grab something first and cut out my neighbor, what I really love is the comfortable seat, is the thing itself which I grab. I love them primarily, as the mother loves her babe, or a generous man an heroic deed. Wherever, as here, self-seeking is the outcome of simple instinctive propensity, it is but a name for certain reflex acts. Something rivets my attention fatally, and fatally provokes the 'selfish' response. Could an automaton be so skilfully constructed as to ape these acts, it would be called selfish as properly as I. It is true that I am no automaton, but a thinker. But my thoughts, like my acts, are here concerned only with the outward things. They need neither know nor care for any pure principle within. In fact the more utterly 'selfish' I am in this primitive way, the more blindly absorbed my thought will be in the objects and impulses of my lusts, and the more devoid of any inward looking glance. A baby, whose con- [p. 321] sciousness of the pure Ego, of himself as a thinker, is not usually supposed developed, is, in this way, as some German has said, 'der vollendeteste Egoist.' His corporeal person, and what ministers to its needs, are the only self he can possibly be said to love. His so-called self-love is but a name for his insensibility to all but this one set of things. It may be that he needs a pure principle of subjectivity, a soul or pure Ego (he certainly needs a stream of thought) to make him sensible at all to anything, to make him discriminate and love uberhaupt, - how that may be, we shall see ere long; but this pure Ego, which would then be the condition of his loving, need no more be the object of his love than it need be the object of his thought. If his interests were altruistic and all his acts suicidal, still he would need a principle of consciousness just as he does now. Such a principle cannot then be the principle of his bodily selfishness any more than it is the principle of any other tendency he may show.
So much for the bodily self-love. But my social self-love, my interest in the images other men have framed of me, is also an interest in a set of objects external to my thought. These thoughts in other men's minds are out of my mind and 'ejective' to me. They come and go, and grow and dwindle, and I am puffed up with pride, or blush with shame, at the result, just as at my success or failure in the pursuit of a material thing. So that here again, just as in the former case, the pure principle seems out of the game as an object of regard, and present only as the general form or condition under which the regard and the thinking go on in me at all.
But, it will immediately be objected, this is giving a mutilated account of the facts. Those images of me in the minds of other men are, it is true, things outside of me, whose changes I perceive just as I perceive any other outward change. But the pride and shame which I feel are not concerned merely with those changes. I feel as if something else had changed too, when I perceived my image in your mind to have changed for the worse, something in me to which that image belongs, and which a moment ago I felt [p. 322] inside of me, big and strong and lusty, but now weak, contracted, and collapsed. Is not this latter change the change I feel the shame about? Is not the condition of this thing inside of me the proper object of my egoistic concern, of my self-regard? And is it not, after all, my pure Ego, my bare numerical principle of distinction from other men, and no empirical part of me at all?
No, it is no such pure principle, it is simply my total empirical selfhood again, my historic Me, a collection of objective facts, to which the depreciated image in your mind 'belongs.' In what capacity is it that I claim and demand a respectful greeting from you instead of this expression of disdain? It is not as being a bare I that I claim it; it is as being an I who has always been treated with respect, who belongs to a certain family and 'set,' who has certain powers, possessions, and public functions, sensibilities, duties, and purposes, and merits and deserts. All this is what your disdain negates and contradicts; this is 'the thing inside of me' whose changed treatment I feel the shame about; this is what was lusty, and now, in consequence of your conduct, is collapsed; and this certainly is an empirical objective thing. Indeed, the thing that is felt modified and changed for the worse during my feeling of shame is often more concrete even than this, - it is simply my bodily person, in which your conduct immediately and without any reflection at all on my part works those muscular, glandular, and vascular changes which together make up the 'expression' of shame. In this instinctive, reflex sort of shame, the body is just as much the entire vehicle of the self-feeling as, in the coarser cases which we first took up, it was the vehicle of the self-seeking. As, in simple 'hoggishness,' a succulent morsel gives rise, by the reflex mechanism, to behavior which the bystanders find 'greedy,' and consider to flow from a certain sort of 'self-regard;' so here your disdain gives rise, by a mechanism quite as reflex and immediate, to another sort of behavior, which the bystanders call 'shame-faced' and which they consider due to another kind of self-regard. But in both cases there may be no particular self regarded at all by the mind; and the name self-regard may be only a descriptive [p. 323] title imposed from without the reflex acts themselves, and the feelings that immediately result from their discharge.
After the bodily and social selves come the spiritual. But which of my spiritual selves do I really care for? My Soul-substance? my 'transcendental Ego, or Thinker'? my pronoun I? my subjectivity as such? my nucleus of cephalic adjustments? or my more phenomenal and perishable powers, my loves and hates, willingnesses and sensibilities, and the like? Surely the latter. But they, relatively to the central principle, whatever it may be, are external and objective. They come and go, and it remains - "so shakes the magnet, and so stands the pole." It may indeed have to be there for them to be loved, but being there is not identical with being loved itself.
To sum up, then, we see no reason to suppose that self-love' is primarily, or secondarily, or ever, love for one's mere principle of conscious identity. It is always love for something which, as compared with that principle, is superficial, transient, liable to be taken up or dropped at will.
And zoological psychology again comes to the aid of our understanding and shows us that this must needs be so. In fact, in answering the question what things it is that a man loves in his self-love, we have implicitly answered the farther question, of why he loves them.
Unless his consciousness were something more than cognitive, unless it experienced a partiality for certain of the objects, which, in succession, occupy its ken, it could not long maintain itself in existence; for, by an inscrutable necessity, each human mind's appearance on this earth is conditioned upon the integrity of the body with which it belongs, upon the treatment which that body gets from others, and upon the spiritual dispositions which use it as their tool, and lead it either towards longevity or to destruction. Its own body, then, first of all, its friends next, and finally its spiritual dispositions, MUST be the supremely interesting OBJECTS for each human mind. Each mind, to begin with, must have a certain minimum of selfishness in the shape of instincts of bodily self-seeking in order to exist. This minimum must be there as a basis for all farther conscious acts, whether of self-negation or of a selfishness [p. 324] more subtle still. All minds must have come, by the way of survival of the fittest, if by no director path, to take an intense interest in the bodies to which they are yoked, altogether apart from any interest in the pure Ego which they also possess.
And similarly with the images of their person in the minds of others. I should not be extant now had I not become sensitive to looks of approval or disapproval on the faces among which my life is cast. Looks of contempt cast on other persons need affect me in no such peculiar way. Were my mental life dependent exclusively on some other person's welfare, either directly or in an indirect way, then natural selection would unquestionably have brought it about that I should be as sensitive to the social vicissitudes of that other person as I now am to my own. Instead of being egoistic I should be spontaneously altruistic, then. But in this case, only partially realized in actual human conditions, though the self I empirically love would have changed, my pure Ego or Thinker would have to remain just what it is now.
My spiritual powers, again, must interest me more than those of other people, and for the same reason. I should not be here at all unless I had cultivated them and kept them from decay. And the same law which made me once care for them makes me care for them still.
My own body and what ministers to its needs are thus the primitive object, instinctively determined, of my egoistic interests. Other objects may become interesting derivatively through association with any of these things, either as means or as habitual concomitants; and so in a thousand ways the primitive sphere of the egoistic emotions may enlarge and change its boundaries.
This sort of interest is really the meaning of the word 'my.' Whatever has it is eo ipso a part of me. My child, my friend dies, and where he goes I feel that part of myself now is and evermore shall be:
The only author whom I know to have discussed the question whether the 'pure Ego,' per se, can be an object of regard, is Herr Horwicz, in his extremely able and acute Psychologische Analysen. He too says that all self-regard is regard for certain objective things. He disposes so well [p. 326] of one kind of objection that I must conclude by quoting a part of his own words:
First, the objection:
"The fact is indubitable that one's own children always pass for the prettiest and brightest, the wine from one's own cellar for the best - at least for its price, - one's own house and horses for the finest. With what tender admiration do we con over our own little deed of benevolence! our own frailties and misdemeanors, how ready we are to acquit ourselves for them, when we notice them at all, on the ground of 'extenuating circumstances'! How much more really comic are our own jokes than those of others, which, unlike ours, will not bear being repeated ten or twelve times over! How eloquent, striking, powerful, our own speeches are! How appropriate our own address! In short, how much more intelligent, soulful, better, is everything about us than in anyone else. The sad chapter of artists' and authors' conceit and vanity belongs here.
"The prevalence of this obvious preference which we feel for everything of our own is indeed striking. Does it not look as if our dear Ego must first lend its color and flavor to anything in order to make it please us? . . . Is it not the simplest explanation for all these phenomena, so consistent among themselves, to suppose that the Ego, the self, which forms the origin and centre of our thinking life, is at the same time the original and central object of our life of feeling, and the ground both of whatever special ideas and of whatever special feelings ensue?"
Herr Horwicz goes on to refer to what we have already noticed, that various things which disgust us in others do not disgust us at all in ourselves.
"To most of us even the bodily warmth of another, for example the chair warm from another's sitting, is felt unpleasantly, whereas there is nothing disagreeable in the warmth of the chair in which we have been sitting ourselves."
After some further remarks, he replies to these facts and reasonings as follows:
"We may with confidence affirm that our own possessions in most cases please us better [not because they are ours], but simply because we know them better, 'realize' them more intimately, feel them more deeply. We learn to appreciate what is ours in all its details and shadings, whilst the goods of others appear to us in coarse outlines and rude averages. Here are some examples: A piece of music which one plays one's self is heard and understood better than when it is played by another. We get more exactly all the details, penetrate more deeply into the musical thought. We may meanwhile perceive perfectly well that the other person is the better performer, and yet nevertheless - at times get more enjoyment from our own playing because it brings the [p. 327] melody and harmony so much nearer home to us. This case may almost be taken as typical for the other cases of self-love. On close examination, we shall almost always find that a great part of our feeling about what is ours is due to the fact that we live closer to our own things, and so feel them more thoroughly and deeply. As a friend of mine was about to marry, he often bored me by the repeated and minute way in which he would discuss the details of his new household arrangements. I wondered that so intellectual a man should be so deeply interested in things of so external a nature. But as I entered, a few years later, the same condition myself, these matters acquired for me an entirely different interest, and it became my turn to turn them over and talk of them unceasingly. . . . The reason was simply this, that in the first instance I understood nothing of these things and their importance for domestic comfort, whilst in the latter case they came home to me with irresistible urgency, and vividly took possession of my fancy. So it is with many a one who mocks at decorations and titles, until he gains one himself. And this is also surely the reason why one's own portrait or reflection in the mirror is so peculiarly interesting a thing to contemplate . . . not on account of any absolute 'c'est moi,' but just as with the music played by ourselves. What greets our eyes is what we know best, most deeply understand; because we ourselves have felt it and lived through it. We know what has ploughed these furrows, deepened these shadows, blanched this hair; and other faces may be handsomer, but none can speak to us or interest us like this."
Moreover, this author goes on to show that our own things are fuller for us than those of others because of the memories they awaken and the practical hopes and expectations they arouse. This alone would emphasize them, apart from any value derived from their belonging to ourselves. We may conclude with him, then, that an original central self-feeling can never explain the passionate warmth of our self-regarding emotions, which must, on the contrary, be addressed directly to special things less abstract and empty of content. To these things the name of 'self' may be given, or to our conduct towards them the name of 'selfishness,' but neither in the self nor the selfishness does the pure Thinker play the 'title-rôle.'
Only one more point connected with our self-regard need be mentioned. We have spoken of it so far as active instinct or emotion. It remains to speak of it as cold intellectual self-estimation. We may weigh our own Me in the [p. 328] balance of praise and blame as easily as we weigh other people, - though with difficulty quite as fairly. The just man is the one who can weigh himself impartially. Impartial weighing presupposes a rare faculty of abstraction from the vividness with which, as Herr Horwicz has pointed out, things known as intimately as our own possessions and performances appeal to our imagination; and an equally rare power of vividly representing the affairs of others. But, granting these rare powers, there is no reason why a man should not pass judgment on himself quite as objectively and well as on anyone else. No matter how he feels about himself, unduly elated or unduly depressed, he may still truly know his own worth by measuring it by the outward standard he applies to other men, and counteract the injustice of the feeling he cannot wholly escape. This self-measuring process has nothing to do with the instinctive self-regard we have hitherto been dealing with. Being merely one application of intellectual comparison, it need no longer detain us here. Please note again, however, how the pure Ego appears merely as the vehicle in which the estimation is carried on, the objects estimated being all of them facts of an empirical sort, one's body, one's credit, [p. 329] one's fame, one's intellectual ability, one's goodness, or whatever the case may be.
The empirical life of Self is divided, as below, into
||Intellectual, Moral and Reli -
The Pure Ego.
Now this consciousness of personal sameness may be treated either as a subjective phenomenon or as an objective deliverance, as a feeling, or as a truth. We may explain how one bit of thought can come to judge other bits to belong to the same Ego with itself; or we may criticise its judgment and decide how far it may tally with the nature of things.
As a mere subjective phenomenon the judgment presents no difficulty or mystery peculiar to itself. It belongs to the great class of judgments of sameness; and there is nothing more remarkable in making a judgment of sameness in the first person than in the second or the third. The intellectual operations seem essentially alike, whether I say 'I am the same,' or whether I say 'the pen is the same, as yesterday.' It is as easy to think this as to think the opposite and say 'neither I nor the pen is the same.'
This sort of bringing of things together into the object of a single judgment is of course essential to all thinking. The things are conjoined in the thought, whatever may be the relation in which they appear to the thought. The thinking them is thinking them together, even if only with the result of judging that they do not belong together. This sort of subjective synthesis, essential to knowledge as such (whenever it has a complex object), must not be confounded with objective synthesis or union instead of difference or disconnection, known among the things. The subjective syn- [p. 332] thesis is involved in thought's mere existence. Even a really disconnected world could only be known to be such by having its parts temporarily united in the Object of some pulse of consciousness.
The sense of personal identity is not, then, this mere synthetic form essential to all thought. It is the sense of a sameness perceived by thought and predicated of things thought-about. These things are a present self and a self of yesterday. The thought not only thinks them both, but thinks that they are identical. The psychologist, looking on and playing the critic, might prove the thought wrong, and show there was no real identity, - there might have been no yesterday, or, at any rate, no self of yesterday; or, if there were, the sameness predicated might not obtain, or might be predicated on insufficient grounds. In either case the personal identity would not exist as a fact; but it would exist as a feeling all the same; the consciousness of it by the thought would be there, and the psychologist would still have to analyze that, and show where its illusoriness lay. Let us now be the psychologist and see whether it be right or wrong when it says, I am the same self that I was yesterday.
We may immediately call it right and intelligible so far as it posits a past time with past thoughts or selves contained therein - these were data which we assumed at the outset of the book. Right also and intelligible so far as it thinks of a present self - that present self we have just studied in its various forms. The only question for us is as to what the consciousness may mean when it calls the [p. 333] present self the same with one of the past selves which it has in mind.
We spoke a moment since of warmth and intimacy. This leads us to the answer sought. For, whatever the thought we are criticising may think about its present self, that self comes to its acquaintance, or is actually felt, with warmth and intimacy. Of course this is the case with the bodily part of it; we feel the whole cubic mass of our body all the while, it gives us an unceasing sense of personal existence. Equally do we feel the inner 'nucleus of the spiritual self,' either in the shape of yon faint physiological adjustments, or (adopting the universal psychological belief), in that of the pure activity of our thought taking place as such. Our remoter spiritual, material, and social selves, so far as they are realized, come also with a glow and a warmth; for the thought of them infallibly brings some degree of organic emotion in the shape of quickened heart-beats, oppressed breathing, or some other alteration, even though it be a slight one, in the general bodily tone. The character of 'warmth,' then, in the present self, reduces itself to either of two things, - something in the feeling which we have of the thought itself, as thinking, or else the feeling of the body's actual existence at the moment, - or finally to both. We cannot realize our present self without simultaneously feeling one or other of these two things. Any other fact which brings these two things with it into consciousness will be thought with a warmth and an intimacy like those which cling to the present self.
Any distinct self which fulfills this condition will be thought with such warmth and intimacy. But which distant selves do fulfil the condition, when represented?
Obviously those, and only those, which fulfilled it when they were alive. Them we shall imagine with the animal warmth upon them, to them may possibly cling the aroma, the echo of the thinking taken in the act. And by a natural consequence, we shall assimilate them to each other and to the warm and intimate self we now feel within us as we think, and separate them as a collection from whatever selves have not this mark, much as out of a herd of cattle let loose for the winter on some wide western prairie the [p. 334] owner picks out and sorts together when the time for the round-up comes in the spring, all the beasts on which he finds his own particular brand.
The various members of the collection thus set apart are felt to belong with each other whenever they are thought at all. The animal warmth, etc., is their herd-mark, the brand from which they can never more escape. It runs through them all like a thread through a chaplet and makes them into a whole, which we treat as a unit, no matter how much in other ways the parts may differ inter se. Add to this character the farther one that the distant selves appear to our thought as having for hours of time been continuous with each other, and the most recent ones of them continuous with the Self of the present moment, melting into it by slow degrees; and we get a still stronger bond of union. As we think we see an identical bodily thing when, in spite of changes of structure, it exists continuously before our eyes, or when, however interrupted its presence, its quality returns unchanged; so here we think we experience an identical Self when it appears to us in an analogous way. Continuity makes us unite what dissimilarity might otherwise separate; similarity makes us unite what discontinuity might hold apart. And thus it is, finally, that Peter, awakening in the same bed with Paul, and recalling what both had in mind before they went to sleep, reidentifies and appropriates the 'warm' ideas as his, and is never tempted to confuse them with those cold and pale-appearing ones which he ascribes to Paul. As well might he confound Paul's body, which he only sees, with his own body, which he sees but also feels. Each of us when he awakens says, Here's the same old self again, just as he says, Here's the same old bed, the same old room, the same old world.
The sense of our own personal identity, then, is exactly like any one of our other perceptions of sameness among phenomena. It is a conclusion grounded either on the resemblance in a fundamental respect, or on the continuity before the mind, of the phenomena compared.
And it must not be taken to mean more than these grounds warrant, or treated as a sort of metaphysical or [p. 335] absolute Unity in which all differences are overwhelmed. The past and present selves compared are the same just so far as they are the same, and no farther. A uniform feeling of 'warmth,' of bodily existence (or an equally uniform feeling of pure psychic energy?) pervades them all; and this is what gives them a generic unity, and makes them the same in kind. But this generic unity coexists with generic differences just as real as the unity. And if from the one point of view they are one self, from others they are as truly not one but many selves. And similarly of the attribute of continuity; it gives its own kind of unity to the self - that of mere connectedness, or unbrokenness, a perfectly definite phenomenal thing - but it gives not a jot or tittle more. And this unbrokenness in the stream of selves, like the unbrokenness in an exhibition of 'dissolving views,' in no wise implies any farther unity or contradicts any amount of plurality in other respects.
And accordingly we find that, where the resemblance and the continuity are no longer felt, the sense of personal identity goes too. We hear from our parents various anecdotes about our infant years, but we do not appropriate them as we do our own memories. Those breaches of decorum awaken no blush, those bright sayings no self-complacency. That child is a foreign creature with which our present self is no more identified in feeling than it is with some stranger's living child to-day. Why? Partly because great time-gaps break up all these early years - we cannot ascend to them by continuous memories; and partly because no representation of how the child felt comes up with the stories. We know what he said and did; but no sentiment of his little body, of his emotions, of his psychic strivings as they felt to him, comes up to contribute an element of warmth and intimacy to the narrative we hear, and the main bond of union with our present self thus disappears. It is the same with certain of our dimly-recollected experiences. We hardly know whether to appropriate them or to disown them as fancies, or things read or heard and not lived through. Their animal heat has evaporated; the feelings that accompanied them are so lacking in the recall, or [p. 336] so different from those we now enjoy, that no judgment of identity can be decisively cast.
Resemblance among the parts of a continuum of feelings (especially bodily feelings) experienced along with things widely different in all other regards, thus constitutes the real and verifiable 'personal identity' which we feel. There is no other identity than this in the 'stream' of subjective consciousness which we described in the last chapter. Its parts differ, but under all their differences they are knit in these two ways; and if either way of knitting disappears, the sense of unity departs. If a man wakes up some fine day unable to recall any of his past experiences, so that he has to learn his biography afresh, or if he only recalls the facts of it in a cold abstract way as things that he is sure once happened; or if, without this loss of memory, his bodily and spiritual habits all change during the night, each organ giving a different tone, and the act of thought becoming aware of itself in a different way; he feels, and he says, that he is a changed person. He disowns his former me, gives himself a new name, identifies his present life with nothing from out of the older time. Such cases are not rare in mental pathology; but, as we still have some reasoning to do, we had better give no concrete account of them until the end of the chapter.
This description of personal identity will be recognized by the instructed reader as the ordinary doctrine professed by the empirical school. Associationists in England and France, Herbartians in Germany, all describe the Self as an aggregate of which each part, as to its being, is a separate fact. So far so good, then; thus much is true whatever farther things may be true; and it is to the imperishable glory of Hume and Herbart and their successors to have taken so much of the meaning of personal identity out of the clouds and made of the Self an empirical and verifiable thing.
But in leaving the matter here, and saying that this sum of passing things is all, these writers have neglected certain more subtle aspects of the Unity of Consciousness, to which we next must turn.
[p. 337] Our recent simile of the herd of cattle will help us. It will be remembered that the beasts were brought together into one herd because their owner found on each of them his brand. The 'owner' symbolized here that 'section' of consciousness, or pulse of thought, which we have all along represented as the vehicle of the judgment of identity; and the 'brand' symbolizes the characters of warmth and continuity, by reason of which the judgment is made. There is found a self-brand, just as there is found a herd-brand. Each brand, so far, is the mark, or cause of our knowing, that certain things belong-together. But if the brand is the ratio cognoscendi of the belonging, the belonging, in the case of the herd, is in turn the ratio existendi of the brand. No beast would be so branded unless he belonged to the owner of the herd. They are not his because they are branded; they are branded because they are his. So that it seems as if our description of the belonging-together of the various selves, as a belonging-together which is merely represented, in a later pulse of thought, had knocked the bottom out of the matter, and omitted the most characteristic one of all the features found in the herd - a feature which common-sense finds in the phenomenon of personal identity as well, and for our omission of which she will hold us to a strict account. For common-sense insists that the unity of all the selves is not a mere appearance of similarity or continuity, ascertained after the fact. She is sure that it involves a real belonging to a real Owner, to a pure spiritual entity of some kind. Relation to this entity is what makes the self's constituents stick together as they do for thought. The individual beasts do not stick together, for all that they wear the same brand. Each wanders with whatever accidental mates it finds. The herd's unity is only potential, its centre ideal, like the 'centre of gravity' in physics, until the herdsman or owner comes. He furnishes a real centre of accretion to which the beasts are driven and by which they are held. The beasts stick together by sticking severally to him. Just so, common-sense insists, there must be a real proprietor in the case of the selves, or else their actual accretion into a 'personal consciousness' would never have taken place.
[p. 338] To the usual empiricist explanation of personal consciousness this is a formidable reproof, because all the individual thoughts and feelings which have succeeded each other 'up to date' are represented by ordinary Associationism as in some inscrutable way 'integrating' or gumming themselves together on their own account, and thus fusing into a stream. All the incomprehensibilities which in Chapter VI we saw to attach to the idea of things fusing without a medium apply to the empiricist description of personal identity.
But in our own account the medium is fully assigned, the herdsman is there, in the shape of something not among the things collected, but superior to them all, namely, the real, present onlooking, remembering, 'judging thought' or identifying 'section' of the stream. This is what collects, - 'owns' some of the past facts which it surveys, and disowns the rest, - and so makes a unity that is actualized and anchored and does not merely float in the blue air of possibility. And the reality of such pulses of thought, with their function of knowing, it will be remembered that we did not seek to deduce or explain, but simply assumed them as the ultimate kind of fact that the psychologist must admit to exist.
But this assumption, though it yields much, still does not yield all that common-sense demands. The unity into which the Thought - as I shall for a time proceed to call, with a capital T, the present mental state - binds the individual past facts with each other and with itself, does not exist until the Thought is there. It is as if wild cattle were lassoed by a newly-created settler and then owned for the first time. But the essence of the matter to common-sense is that the past thoughts never were wild cattle, they were always owned. The Thought does not capture them, but as soon as it comes into existence it finds them already its own. How is this possible unless the Thought have a substantial identity with a former owner, - not a mere continuity or a resemblance, as in our account, but a real unity? Common-sense in fact would drive us to admit what we may for the moment call an Arch-Ego, dominating the entire stream of thought and all the selves that may be represented in it, as the ever self-same and changeless [p. 339] principle implied in their union. The 'Soul' of Metaphysics and the 'Transcendental Ego' of the Kantian Philosophy, are, as we shall soon see, but attempts to satisfy this urgent demand of common-sense. But, for a time at least, we can still express without any such hypotheses that appearance of never-lapsing ownership for which common-sense contends.
For how would it be if the Thought, the present judging Thought, instead of being in any way substantially or transcendentally identical with the former owner of the past self, merely inherited his 'title,' and thus stood as his legal representative now? It would then, if its birth coincided exactly with the death of another owner, find the past self already its own as soon as it found it at all, and the past self would thus never be wild, but always owned, by a title that never lapsed. We can imagine a long succession of herdsmen coming rapidly into possession of the same cattle by transmission of an original title by bequest. May not the 'title' of a collective self be passed from one Thought to another in some analogous way?
It is a patent fact of consciousness that a transmission like this actually occurs. Each pulse of cognitive consciousness, each Thought, dies away and is replaced by another. The other, among the things it knows, knows its own predecessor, and finding it 'warm,' in the way we have described, greets it, saying: "Thou art mine, and part of the same self with me." Each later Thought, knowing and including thus the Thoughts which went before, is the final receptacle - and appropriating them is the final owner - of all that they contain and own. Each Thought is thus born an owner, and dies owned, transmitting whatever it realized as its Self to its own later proprietor. As Kant says, it is as if elastic balls were to have not only motion but knowledge of it, and a first ball were to transmit both its motion and its consciousness to a second, which took both up into its consciousness and passed them to a third, until the last ball held all that the other balls had held, and realized it as its own. It is this trick which the nascent thought has of immediately taking up the expiring thought and 'adopting' it, which is the foundation of the [p. 340] appropriation of most of the remoter constituents of the self. Who owns the last self owns the self before the last, for what possesses the possessor possesses the possessed.
It is impossible to discover any verifiable features in personal identity, which this sketch does not contain, impossible to imagine how any transcendent non-phenomenal sort of an Arch-Ego, were he there, could shape matters to any other result, or be known in time by any other fruit, than just this production of a stream of consciousness each 'section' of which should know, and knowing, hug to itself and adopt, all those that went before, - thus standing as the representative of the entire past stream; and which should similarly adopt the objects already adopted by any portion of this spiritual stream. Such standing-as-representative, and such adopting, are perfectly clear phenomenal relations. The Thought which, whilst it knows another Thought and the Object of that Other, appropriates the Other and the Object which the Other appropriated, is still a perfectly distinct phenomenon form that Other; it may hardly resemble it; it may be far removed from it in space and time.
The only point that is obscure is the act of appropriation itself. Already in enumerating the constituents of the self and their rivalry, I had to use the word appropriate. And the quick-witted reader probably noticed at the time, in hearing how one constituent was let drop and disowned and another one held fast to and espoused, that the phrase was meaningless unless the constituents were objects in the hands of something else. A thing cannot appropriate itself; it is itself; and still less can it disown itself. There must be an agent of the appropriating and disowning; but that agent we have already named. It is the Thought to whom the various 'constituents' are known. That Thought is a vehicle of choice as well as of cognition; and among the choices it makes are these appropriations, or repudiations, of its 'own.' But the Thought never is an object in its own hands, it never appropriates or disowns itself. It appropriates to itself, it is the actual focus of accretion, the hook from which the chain of past selves dangles, planted firmly [p. 341] in the Present, which alone passes for real, and thus keeping the chain from being a purely ideal thing. Anon the hook itself will drop into the past with all it carries, and then be treated as an object and appropriated by a new Thought in the new present which will serve as living hook in turn. The present moment of consciousness is thus, as Mr. Hodgson says, the darkest in the whole series. It may feel its own immediate existence - we have all along admitted the possibility of this, hard as it is by direct introspection to ascertain the fact - but nothing can be known about it till it be dead and gone. Its appropriations are therefore less to itself than to the most intimately felt part of its present Object, the body, and the central adjustments, which accompany the act of thinking, in the head. These are the real nucleus of our personal identity, and it is their actual existence, realized as a solid present fact, which makes us say 'as sure as I exist, those past facts were part of myself.' They are the kernel to which the represented parts of the Self are assimilated, accreted, and knit on; and even were Thought entirely unconscious of itself in the act of thinking, these 'warm' parts of its present object would be a firm basis on which the consciousness of personal identity would rest. Such consciousness, then, [p. 342] as a psychologic fact, can be fully described without supposing any other agent than a succession of perishing thoughts, endowed with the functions of appropriation and rejection, and of which some can know and appropriate or reject objects already known, appropriated, or rejected by the rest.
To illustrate by diagram, let A, B, and C stand for three successive thoughts, each with its object inside of it.
The passing Thought then seems to be the Thinker; and though there may be another non-phenomenal Thinker behind that, so far we do not seem to need him to express the facts. But we cannot definitively make up our mind about him until we have heard the reasons that have historically been used to prove his reality.
1) The Spiritualist theory;
2) The Associationist theory;
3) The Transcendentalist theory.
The theory of the Soul is the theory of popular philosophy and of scholasticism, which is only popular philosophy made systematic. It declares that the principle of individuality within us must be substantial, for psychic phenomena are activities, and there can be no activity without a concrete agent. This substantial agent cannot be the brain but must be something immaterial; for its activity, thought, is both immaterial, and takes cognizance of immaterial things, and of material things in general and intelligible, as well as in particular and sensible ways, - all which powers are incompatible with the nature of matter, of which the brain is composed. Thought moreover is simple, whilst the activities of the brain are compounded of the elementary activities of each of its parts. Furthermore, thought is spontaneous or free, whilst all material activity is determined ab extra; and the will can turn itself against all corporeal goods and appetites, which would be impossible were it a corporeal function. For these objective reasons the principle of psychic life must be both immaterial and simple as well as substantial, must be what is called a Soul. The same consequence follows from subjective reasons. Our consciousness of personal identity assures us of our essential simplicity: the owner of the various constituents of the self, as we have seen them, the hypothetical Arch-Ego whom we provisionally conceived as possible, is a real entity of whose existence self-consciousness makes us directly aware. No material agent could thus turn round and grasp itself - material activities always grasp something else than the agent. And if a brain could grasp itself and be self-conscious, it would be conscious of itself as a brain and not as something of an altogether different kind. The Soul then exists as a simple spiritual substance in which the various psychic faculties, operations, and affections inhere.
[p. 344] If we ask what a Substance is, the only answer is that it is a self-existent being, or one which needs no other subject in which to inhere. At bottom its only positive determination is Being, and this is something whose meaning we all realize even though we find it hard to explain. The Soul is moreover an individual being, and if we ask what that is, we are told to look in upon our Self, and we shall learn by direct intuition better than through any abstract reply. Our direct perception of our own inward being is in fact by many deemed to be the original prototype out of which our notion of simple active substance in general is fashioned. The consequences of the simplicity and substantiality of the Soul are its incorruptibility and natural immortality - nothing but God's direct fiat can annihilate it - and its responsibility at all times for whatever it may have ever done.
This substantialist view of the soul was essentially the view of Plato and of Aristotle. It received its completely formal elaboration in the middle ages. It was believed in by Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, Leibnitz, Wolf, Berkeley, and is no defended by the entire modern dualistic or spiritualistic or common-sense school. Kant held to it while denying its fruitfulness as a premise for deducing consequences verifiable here below. Kant's successors, the absolute idealists, profess to have discarded it, - how that may be we shall inquire ere long. Let us make up our minds what to think of it ourselves.
It is at all events needless for expressing the actual subjective phenomena of consciousness as they appear. We have formulated them all without its aid, by the supposition of a stream of thoughts, each substantially different from the rest, but cognitive of the rest and 'appropriative' of each other's content. At least, if I have not already succeeded in making this plausible to the reader, I am hopeless of convincing him by anything I could add now. The unity, the identity, the individuality, and the immateriality that appear in the psychic life are thus accounted for as phenomenal and temporal facts exclusively, and with no need of reference to any more simple or substantial agent than the present Thought or 'section' of the stream. We [p. 345] have seen it to be single and unique in the sense of having no separable parts (above, p. 239 ff.) - perhaps that is the only kind of simplicity meant to be predicated of the soul. The present Thought also has being, - at least all believers in the Soul believe so - and if there be no other Being in which it 'inheres,' it ought itself to be a 'substance'. If this kind of simplicity and substantiality were all that is predicated of the Soul, then it might appear that we had been talking of the soul all along, without knowing it, when we treated the present Thought as an agent, an owner, and the like. But the Thought is a perishing and not an immortal or incorruptible thing. Its successors may continuously succeed to it, resemble it, and appropriate it, but they are not it, whereas the Soul-Substance is supposed to be a fixed unchanging thing. By the Soul is always meant something behind the present Thought, another kind of substance, existing on a non-phenomenal plane.
When we brought in the Soul at the end of the Chapter VI, as an entity which the various brain-processes were supposed to affect simultaneously, and which responded to their combined influence by single pulses of its thought, it was to escape integrated mind-stuff on the one hand, and an improbable cerebral monad on the other. But when (as now, after all we have been through since that earlier passage) we take the two formulations, first of a brain to whose processes pulses of thought simply correspond, and second, of one to whose processes pulses of thought in a Soul correspond, and compare them together, we see that at bottom the second formulation is only a more roundabout way than the first, of expressing the same bald fact. That bald fact is that when the brain acts, a thought occurs. The spiritualistic formulation says that the brain-processes knock the thought, so to speak, out of a Soul which stands there to receive their influence. The simpler formulation says that the thought simply comes. But what positive meaning has the Soul, when scrutinized, but the ground of possibility of the thought? And what is the 'knocking' but the determining of the possibility to actuality? And what is this after all but giving a sort of concreted form to one's belief that the coming of the thought, when the brain-processes [p. 346] occur, has some sort of ground in the nature of things? If the world Soul be understood merely to express that claim, it is a good word to use. But if it be held to do more, to gratify the claim, - for instance, to connect rationally the thought which comes, with the processes which occur, and to mediate intelligibly between their two disparate natures, - then it is an illusory term. It is, in fact, with the word Soul as with the word Substance in general. To say that phenomena inhere in a Substance is at bottom only to record one's protest against the notion that the bare existence of the phenomena is the total truth. A phenomenon would not itself be, we insist, unless there were something more than the phenomenon. To the more we give the provisional name of Substance. So, in the present instance, we ought certainly to admit that there is more than the bare fact of coexistence of a passing thought with a passing brain-state. But we do not answer the question 'What is that more?' when we say that it is a 'Soul' which the brain-state affects. This kind of more explains nothing; and when we are once trying metaphysical explanations we are foolish not to go as far as we can. For my own part I confess that the moment I become metaphysical and try to define the more, I find the notion of some sort of an anima mundi thinking in all of us to be a more promising hypothesis, in spite of all its difficulties, than that of a lot of absolutely individual souls. Meanwhile, as psychologists, we need not be metaphysical at all. The phenomena are enough, the passing Thought itself is the only verifiable thinker, and its empirical connection with the brain-process is the ultimate known law.
To the other arguments which would prove the need of a soul, we may also turn a deaf ear. The argument from free-will can convince only those who believe in free-will; and even they will have to admit that spontaneity is just as possible, to say the least, in a temporary spiritual agent like our 'Thought' as in a permanent one like the supposed Soul. The same is true of the argument from the kinds of things cognized. Even if the brain could not cognize universals, immaterials, or its 'Self,' still the 'Thought' which we have relied upon in our account is not the brain, closely [p. 347] as it seems connected with it; and after all, if the brain could cognize at all, one does not well see why it might not cognize one sort of thing as well as another. The great difficulty is in seeing how a thing can cognize anything. This difficulty is not in the least removed by giving to the thing that cognizes the name of Soul. The Spiritualists do not deduce any of the properties of the mental life from otherwise known properties of the soul. They simply find various characters ready-made in the mental life, and these they clap into the Soul, saying, "Lo! behold the source from whence they flow!" The merely verbal character of this 'explanation' is obvious. The Soul invoked, far from making the phenomena more intelligible, can only be made intelligible itself by borrowing their form, - it must be represented, if at all, as a transcendent stream of consciousness duplicating the one we know.
Altogether, the Soul is an outbirth of that sort of philosophizing whose great maxim, according to Dr. Hodgson, is: "Whatever you are totally ignorant of, assert to be the explanation of everything else."
Locke and Kant, whilst still believing in the soul, began the work of undermining the notion that we know anything about it. Most modern writers of the mitigated, spiritualistic, or dualistic philosophy - the Scotch school, as it is often called among us - are forward to proclaim this ignorance, and to attend exclusively to the verifiable phenomena of self-consciousness, as we have laid them down. Dr. Wayland, for example, begins his Elements of Intellectual Philosophy with the phrase "Of the essence of Mind we know nothing," and goes on: "All that we are able to affirm of it is that it is something which perceives, reflects, remembers, imagines, and wills; but what that something is which exerts these energies we know not. It is only as we are conscious of the action of these energies that we are conscious of the existence of mind. It is only by the exertion of its own powers that the mind becomes cognizant of their existence. The cognizance of its powers, however, gives us no knowledge of that essence of which they are predicated. In these respects our knowledge of mind is [p. 348] precisely analogous to our knowledge of matter." This analogy of our two ignorances is a favorite remark in the Scotch school. It is but a step to lump them together into a single ignorance, that of the 'Unknowable' to which any one fond of superfluities in philosophy may accord the hospitality of his belief, if it so please him, but which any one else may as freely ignore and reject.
The Soul-theory is, then, a complete superfluity, so far as accounting for the actually verified facts of conscious experience goes. So far, no one can be compelled to subscribe to it for definite scientific reasons. The case would rest here, and the reader be left free to make his choice, were it not for other demands of a more practical kind.
The first of these is Immortality, for which the simplicity and substantiality of the Soul seem to offer a solid guarantee. A 'stream' of thought, for aught that we see to be contained in its essence, may come to a full stop at any moment; but a simple substance is incorruptible and will, by its own inertia, persist in Being so long as the Creator does not by a direct miracle snuff it out. Unquestionably this is the stronghold of the spiritualistic belief, - as indeed the popular touchstone for all philosophies is the question, "What is their bearing on a future life?"
The Soul, however, when closely scrutinized, guarantees no immortality of a sort we care for. The enjoyment of the atom-like simplicity of their substance in soecula soeculorum would not to most people seem a consummation devoutly to be wished. The substance must give rise to a stream of consciousness continuous with the present stream, in order to arouse our hope, but of this the mere persistence of the substance per se offers no guarantee. Moreover, in the general advance of our moral ideas, there has come to be something ridiculous in the way our forefathers had of grounding their hopes of immortality on the simplicity of their substance. The demand for immortality is nowadays essentially teleological. We believe ourselves immortal because we believe ourselves fit for immortality. A 'substance, ought surely to perish, we think, if not worthy to survive, and an insubstantial 'stream' to prolong itself, provided it be worthy, if the nature of Things is organized [p. 349] in the rational way in which we trust it is. Substance or no substance, soul or 'stream,' what Lotze says of immortality is about all that human wisdom can say:
"We have no other principle for deciding it than this general idealistic belief: that every created thing will continue whose continuance belongs to the meaning of the world, and so long as it does so belong; whilst every one will pass away whose reality is justified only in a transitory phase of the world's course. That this principle admits of no further application in human hands need hardly be said. We surely know not the merits which may give to one being a claim on eternity, nor the defects which would cut others off."
A second alleged necessity for a soul-substance is our forensic responsibility before God. Locke caused an uproar when he said that the unity of consciousness made a man the same person, whether supported by the same substance or no, and that God would not, in the great day, make a person answer for what he remembered nothing of. It was supposed scandalous that our forgetfulness might thus deprive God of the chance of certain retributions, which otherwise would have enhanced his 'glory.' This is certainly a good speculative ground for retaining the Soul - at least for those who demand a plenitude of retribution. The mere stream of consciousness, with its lapses of memory, cannot possibly be as 'responsible' as a soul which is at the judgment day all that it ever was. To modern readers, however, who are less insatiate for retribution than their grandfathers, this argument will hardly be as convincing as it seems once to have been.
One great use of the Soul has always been to account for, and at the same time to guarantee, the closed individuality of each personal consciousness. The thoughts of one soul must unite into one self, it was supposed, and must be eternally insulated from those of every other soul. But we have already begun to see that, although unity is the rule of each man's consciousness, yet in some individuals, at least, thoughts may split away from the others and form sepa- [p. 350] rate selves. As for insulation, it would be rash, in view of the phenomena of thought-transference, mesmeric influence and spirit-control, which are being alleged nowadays on better authority than ever before, to be too sure about that point either. The definitively closed nature of our personal consciousness is probably an average statistical resultant of many conditions, but not an elementary force or fact; so that, if one wishes to preserve the Soul, the less he draws his arguments from that quarter the better. So long as our self, on the whole, makes itself good and practically maintains itself as a closed individual, why, as Lotze says, is not that enough? And why is the being-an-individual in some inaccessible metaphysical way so much prouder an achievement?
My final conclusion, then, about the substantial Soul is that it explains nothing and guarantees nothing. Its successive thoughts are the only intelligible and verifiable things about it, and definitely to ascertain the correlations of these with brain-processes is as much as psychology can empirically do. From the metaphysical point of view, it is true that one may claim that the correlations have a rational ground; and if the word Soul could be taken to mean merely some such vague problematic ground, it would be unobjectionable. But the trouble is that it professes to give the ground in positive terms of a very dubiously credible sort. I therefore feel entirely free to discard the word Soul from the rest of this book. If I ever use it, it will be in the vaguest and most popular way. The reader who finds any comfort in the idea of the Soul, is, however, perfectly free to continue to believe in it; for our reasonings have not established the non-existence of the Soul; they have only proved its superfluity for scientific purposes.
The next theory of the pure Self to which we pass is
Hume showed how great the consciousness of diversity actually was. In the famous chapter on Personal Identity, in his Treatise on Human Nature, he writes as follows:
"There are some philosophers who imagine we are every moment intimately conscious of what we call our SELF; that we feel its existence and its continuance in existence, and are certain, beyond the evidence of a demonstration, both of its perfect identity and simplicity. . . . Unluckily all these positive assertions are contrary to that very experience which is pleaded for them, nor have we any idea of Self, after the manner it is here explained. . . . It must be some one impression that gives rise to every real idea. . . . If any impression gives rise to the idea of Self, that impression must continue invariably the same through the whole course of our lives, since self is supposed to exist after that manner. But there is no impression constant and invariable. Pain and pleasure, grief and joy, passions and sensations succeed each other, and never all exist at the same time. . . . For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but the perception. When my perceptions are removed for any time, as by sound sleep, so long am I insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist. And were all my perceptions removed by death, and could I neither think, nor feel, nor see, nor love, nor hate after the dissolution of my body, I should be entirely annihilated, nor do I conceive what is farther requisite to make me a perfect non-entity. If anyone, upon serious and unprejudiced reflection, thinks he has a different notion of himself, I must confess I can reason no longer with him. All I can allow him is, that he may be in the right as well as I, and that we are essentially different in this particular. He may, perhaps, perceive something simple and continued which he calls himself; though I am certain there is no such principle in me.
"But setting aside some metaphysicians of this kind, I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeeded each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perceptual flux and movement. Our eyes cannot turn in their sockets without varying our perceptions. Our thought is still more variable than our sight; and all our other senses and faculties contribute to this change; nor is there any single power of [p. 352] the soul which remains unalterably the same, perhaps for one moment. The mind is a kind of theatre, where several perceptions successively make their appearance; pass, repass, glide away and mingle in an infinite variety of postures and situations. There is properly no simplicity in it at one time, nor identity in different; whatever natural propension we may have to imagine that simplicity and identity. The comparison of the theatre must not mislead us. They are the successive perceptions only, that constitute the mind; nor have we the most distant notion of the place where these scenes are represented, nor of the material of which it is composed."
But Hume, after doing this good piece of introspective work, proceeds to pour out the child with the bath, and to fly to as great an extreme as the substantialist philosophers. As they say the Self is nothing but Unity, unity abstract and absolute, so Hume says it is nothing but Diversity, diversity abstract and absolute; whereas in truth it is that mixture of unity and diversity which we ourselves have already found so easy to pick apart. We found among the objects of the stream certain feelings that hardly changed, that stood out warm and vivid in the past just as the present feeling does now; and we found the present feeling to be the centre of accretion to which, de proche en proche, these other feelings are, by the judging Thought, felt to cling. Hume says nothing of the judging Thought; and he denies this thread of resemblance, this core of sameness running through the ingredients of the Self, to exist even as a phenomenal thing. To him there is no tertium quid between pure unity and pure separateness. A succession of ideas "connected by a close relation affords to an accurate view as perfect a notion of diversity as if there was no manner of relation" at all.
"All our distinct perceptions are distinct existences, and the mind never perceives any real connection among distinct existences. Did our perceptions either inhere in something simple or individual, or did the mind perceive some real connection among them, there would be no difficulty in the case. For my part, I must plead the privilege of a sceptic and confess that this difficulty is too hard for my understanding. I pretend not, however, to pronounce it insuperable. Others, perhaps, . . . may discover some hypothesis that will reconcile these contradictions."
[p. 353] Hume is at bottom as much of a metaphysician as Thomas Aquinas. No wonder he can discover no 'hypothesis.' The unity of the parts of the stream is just as 'real' a connection as their diversity is a real separation; both connection and separation are ways in which the past thoughts appear to the present Thought; - unlike each other in respect of date and certain qualities - this is the separation; alike in other qualities, and continuous in time - this is the connection. In demanding a more 'real' connection than this obvious and verifiable likeness and continuity, Hume seeks 'the world behind the looking-glass,' and gives a striking example of that Absolutism which is the great disease of philosophic Thought.
The chain of distinct existences into which Hume thus chopped up our 'stream' was adopted by all of his successors as a complete inventory of the facts. The associationist Philosophy was founded. Somehow, out of 'ideas,' each separate, each ignorant of its mates, but sticking together and calling each other up according to certain laws, all the higher forms of consciousness were to be explained, and among them the consciousness of our personal identity. The task was a hard one, in which what we called the psychologist's fallacy (p. 196 ff.) bore the brunt of the work. Two ideas, one of 'A,' succeeded by another of 'B,' were transmuted into a third idea of 'A after B.' An idea from last year returning now was taken to be an idea of last year; two similar ideas stood for an idea of similarity, and the like; palpable confusions, in which certain facts about the ideas, possible only to an outside knower of them, were put into the place of the ideas' own proper and limited deliverance and content. Out of such recurrences and resemblances in a series of discrete ideas and feelings a knowledge was somehow supposed to be engendered in each feeling that it was recurrent and resembling, and that it helped to form a series to whose unity the name I came to be joined. In the same way, substantially, Herbart, in [p. 354] Germany, tried to show how a conflict of ideas would fuse into a manner of representing itself for which I was the consecrated name.
The defect of all these attempts is that the conclusion pretended to follow from certain premises is by no means rationally involved in the premises. A feeling of any kind, if it simply returns, ought to be nothing else than what it was at first. If memory of previous existence and all sorts of other cognitive functions are attributed to it when it returns, it is no longer the same, but a wholly different feeling, and ought to be so described. We have so described it with the greatest explicitness. We have said that feelings never do return. We have not pretended to explain this; we have recorded it as an empirically ascertained law, analogous to certain laws of brain-physiology; and, seeking to define the way in which new feelings do differ from the old, we have found them to be cognizant and appropriative of the old, whereas the old were always cognizant and appropriative of something else. Once more, this account pretended to be nothing more than a complete description of the facts. It explained them no more than the associationist account explains them. But the latter both assumes to explain them and in the same breath falsifies them, and for each reason stands condemned.
It is but just to say that the associationist writers as a rule seem to have a lurking bad conscience about the Self; and that although they are explicit enough about what it is, namely, a train of feelings or thoughts, they are very shy about openly tackling the problem of how it comes to be aware of itself. Neither Bain nor Spencer, for example, directly touch this problem. As a rule, associationist writers keep talking about 'the mind' and about what 'we' do; and so, smuggling in surreptitiously what they ought avowedly to have postulated in the form of a present 'judging Thought,' they either trade upon their reader's lack of discernment or are undiscerning themselves.
Mr. D. G. Thompson is the only associationist writer I know who perfectly escapes this confusion, and postulates [p. 355] openly what he needs. "All states of consciousness," he says, "imply and postulate a subject Ego, whose substance is unknown and unknowable, to which [why not say by which?] states of consciousness are referred as attributes, but which in the process of reference becomes objectified and becomes itself an attribute of a subject Ego which lies still beyond, and which ever eludes cognition though ever postulated for cognition.' This is exactly our judging and remembering present 'Thought,' described in less simple terms.
After Mr. Thompson, M. Taine and the two Mills deserve credit for seeking to be as clear as they can. Taine tells us in the first volume of his 'Intelligence' what the Ego is, - a continuous web of conscious events no more really distinct from each other than rhomboids, triangles, and squares marked with chalk on a plank are really distinct, for the plank itself is one. In the second volume he says all these parts have a common character embedded in them, that of being internal [this is our character of 'warmness,' otherwise named]. This character is abstracted and isolated by a mental fiction, and is what we are conscious of as our self - 'this stable within is what each of us calls I or me.' Obviously M. Taine forgets to tell us what this 'each of us' is, which suddenly starts up and performs the abstraction and 'calls' its product I or me. The character does not abstract itself. Taine means by 'each of us' merely the present 'judging Thought' with its memory and tendency to appropriate, but he does not name it distinctly enough, and lapses into the fiction that the entire series of thoughts, the entire 'plank,' is the reflecting psychologist.
James Mill, after defining Memory as a train of associated ideas beginning with that of my past self and ending with that of my present self, defines my Self as a train of ideas of which Memory declares the first to be continuously connected with the last. The successive associated ideas [p. 356] 'run, as it were, into a single point of consciousness.' John Mill, annotating this account, says:
"The phenomenon of Self and that of Memory are merely two sides of the same fact, or two different modes of viewing the same fact. We may, as psychologists, set out from either of them, and refer the other to it. . . . But it is hardly allowable to do both. At least it must be said that by doing so we explain neither. We only show that the two things are essentially the same; that my memory of having ascended Skiddaw on a given day, and my consciousness of being the same person who ascended Skiddaw on that day, are two modes of stating the same fact: a fact which psychology has as yet failed to resolve into anything more elementary. In analyzing the complex phenomena of consciousness, we must come to something ultimate; and we seem to have reached two elements which have a good prima facie claim to that title. There is, first, . . . the difference between a fact and the Thought of that fact: a distinction which we are able to cognize in the past, and which then constitutes Memory, and in the future, when it constitutes Expectation; but in neither case can we give any account of it except that it exists. . . . Secondly, in addition to this, and setting out from the belief . . . that the idea I now have was derived from a previous sensation . . . there is the further conviction that this sensation . . . was my own; that it happened to my self. In other words, I am aware of a long and uninterrupted succession of past feelings, going back as far as memory reaches, and terminating with the sensations I have at the present moment, all of which are connected by an inexplicable tie, that distinguishes them not only from any succession or combination in mere thought, but also from the parallel succession of feelings which I believe, on satisfactory evidence, to have happened to each of the other beings, shaped like myself, whom I perceive around me. This succession of feelings, which I call my memory of the past, is that by which I distinguish my Self. Myself is the person who had that series of feelings, and I know nothing of myself, by direct knowledge, except that I had them. But there is a bond of some sort among all the parts of the series, which makes me say that they were feelings of a person who was the same person throughout [according to us this is their 'warmth' and resemblance to the 'central spiritual self' now actually felt] and a different person from those who had any of the parallel successions of feelings; and this bond, to me, constitutes my Ego. Here I think the question must rest, until some psychologist succeeds better than anyone else has done, in showing a mode in which the analysis can be carried further."
[p. 357] The reader must judge of our own success in carrying the analysis farther. The various distinctions we have made are all part of an endeavor so to do. John Mill himself, in a later-written passage, so far from advancing in the line of analysis, seems to fall back upon something perilously near to the Soul. He says:
"The fact of recognizing a sensation, . . . remembering that it has been felt before, is the simplest and most elementary fact of memory: and the inexplicable tie . . . which connects the present consciousness with the past one of which it reminds me, is as near as I think we can get to a positive conception of Self. That there is something real in this tie, real as the sensations themselves, and not a mere product of the laws of thought without any fact corresponding to it, I hold to be indubitable . . . This original element, . . . to which we cannot give any name but its own peculiar one, without implying some false or ungrounded theory, is the Ego, or Self. As such I ascribe a reality to the Ego - to my own mind - different from that real existence as a Permanent Possibility, which is the only reality I acknowledge in Matter. . . . We are forced to apprehend every part of the series as linked with the other parts by something in common which is not the feelings themselves, any more than the succession of the feelings is the feelings themselves; and as that which is the same in the first as in the second, in the second as in the third, in the third as in the fourth, and so on, must be the same in the first and in the fiftieth, this common element is a permanent element. But beyond this we can affirm nothing of it except the states of consciousness themselves. The feelings or consciousnesses which belong or have belonged to it, and its possibilities of having more, are the only facts there are to be asserted of Self - the only positive attributes, except permanence, which we can ascribe to it."
Mr. Mill's habitual method of philosophizing was to affirm boldly some general doctrine derived from his father, and then make so many concessions of detail to its enemies as practically to abandon it altogether. In this place the [p. 358] concessions amount, so far as they are intelligible, to the admission of something very like the Soul. This 'inexplicable tie' which connects the feelings, this 'something in common' by which they are linked and which is not the passing feelings themselves, but something 'permanent,' of which we can 'affirm nothing' save its attributes and its permanence, what is it but metaphysical Substance come again to life? Much as one must respect the fairness of Mill's temper, quite as much must one regret his failure of acumen at this point. At bottom he makes the same blunder as Hume: the sensations per se, he thinks, have no 'tie.' The tie of resemblance and continuity which the remembering Thought finds among them is not a 'real tie' but 'a mere product of the laws of thought;' and the fact that the present Thought 'appropriates' them is also [p. 359] no real tie. But whereas Hume was contended to say that there might after all be no 'real tie,' Mill, unwilling to admit this possibility, is driven, like any scholastic, to place it in a non-phenomenal world.
John Mill's concessions may be regarded as the definitive bankruptcy
of the associationist description of the consciousness of self, starting,
as it does, with the best intentions, and dimly conscious of the path,
but 'perplexed in the extreme' at last with the inadequacy of those 'simple
feelings,' non-cognitive, non-transcendent of themselves, which were the
only baggage it was willing to take along. One must beg memory,
knowledge on the part of the feelings of something outside themselves.
That granted, every other true thing follows naturally, and it is hard
to go astray. The knowledge the present feeling has of the past
[p. 360] ones is a real tie between them, so is their resemblance; so is their continuity; so is the one's 'appropriation' of the other: all are real ties, realized in the judging Thought of every moment, the only place where disconnections could be realized, did they exist. Hume and Mill both imply that a disconnection can be realized there, whilst a tie cannot. But the ties and the disconnections are exactly on a par, in this matter of self-consciousness. The way in which the present Thought appropriates the past is a real way, so long as no other owner appropriates it in a more real way, and so long as the Thought has no grounds for repudiating it stronger than those which lead to its appropriation. But no other owner ever does in point of fact present himself for my past; and the grounds which I perceive for appropriating it - - viz., continuity and resemblance with the present - outweigh those I perceive for disowning it - - viz., distance in time. My present Thought stands thus in the plenitude of ownership of the train of my past selves, is owner not only de facto, but de jure, the most real owner there can be, and all without the supposition of any 'inexplicable tie,' but in a perfectly verifiable and phenomenal way.
Turn we now to what we may call
"The Understanding is, in fact, nothing more than the faculty of binding together a priori, and of bringing the Manifold of given ideas under the unity of Apperception, which consequently is the supreme principle of all human knowledge" ( § 16).
The material connected must be given by lower faculties to the Understanding, for the latter is not an intuitive faculty, but by nature 'empty.' And the bringing of this material 'under the unity of Apperception' is explained by Kant to mean the thinking it always so that, whatever its other determinations be, it may be known as thought by me. Though this consciousness, that I think it, need not be at every moment explicitly realized, it is always capable of being realized. For if an object incapable of being combined with the idea of a thinker were there, how could it be known, how related to other objects, how form part of 'experience' at all?
The awareness that I think is therefore implied in all experience. No connected consciousness of anything without that of Self as its presupposition and 'transcendental' condition! All things, then, so far as they are intelligible at all, are so through combination with pure consciousness of Self, [p. 362] and apart from this, at least potential, combination nothing is knowable to us at all.
But this self, whose consciousness Kant thus established deductively as a conditio sine quâ non of experience, is in the same breath denied by him to have any positive attributes. Although Kant's name for it - the 'original transcendental synthetic Unity of Apperception' - is so long, our consciousness about it is, according to him, short enough. Self-consciousness of this 'transcendental' sort tells us, 'not how we appear, not how we inwardly are, but only that we are' ( § 25). At the basis of our knowledge of our selves there lies only "the simple and utterly empty idea: I; of which we cannot even say we have a notion, but only a consciousness which accompanies all notions. In this I, or he or it (the thing) which thinks, nothing more is represented than the bare transcendental Subject of the knowledge = x, which is only recognized by the thoughts which are its predicates, and of which, taken by itself, we cannot form the least conception" (ibid. 'Paralogisms'). The pure Ego of all apperception is thus for Kant not the soul, but only that 'Subject' which is the necessary correlate of the Object in all knowledge. There is a soul, Kant thinks, but this mere ego-form of our consciousness tells us nothing about it, neither whether it be substantial, nor whether it be immaterial, nor whether it be simple, nor whether it be permanent. These declarations on Kant's part of the utter barrenness of the consciousness of the pure Self, and of the consequent impossibility of any deductive or 'rational' psychology, are what, more than anything else, earned for him the title of the 'all-destroyer.' The only self we know anything positive about, he thinks, is the empirical me, not the pure I; the self which is an object among other objects and the 'constituents' of which we ourselves have seen, and recognized to be phenomenal things appearing in the form of space as well as time.
This, for our purposes, is a sufficient account of the 'transcendental' Ego.
Those purposes go no farther than to ascertain whether anything in Kant's conception ought to make us give up our own, of a remembering and appropriating Thought inces- [p. 363] santly renewed. In many respects Kant's meaning is obscure, but it will not be necessary for us to squeeze the texts in order to make sure what it actually and historically was. If we can define clearly two or three things which it may possibly have been, that will help us just as much to clear our own ideas.
On the whole, a defensible interpretation of Kant's view would take somewhat the following shape. Like ourselves he believes in a Reality outside the mind of which he writes, but the critic who vouches for that reality does so on grounds of faith, for it is not a verifiable phenomenal thing. Neither is it manifold. The 'Manifold' which the intellectual functions combine is a mental manifold altogether, which thus stands between the Ego of Apperception and the outer Reality, but still stands inside the mind. In the function of knowing there is a multiplicity to be connected, and Kant brings this multiplicity inside the mind. The Reality becomes a mere empty locus, or unknowable, the so-called Noumenon; the manifold phenomenon is in the mind. We, on the contrary, put the Multiplicity with the Reality outside, and leave the mind simple. Both of us deal with the same elements - thought and object - the only question is in which of them the multiplicity shall be lodged. Wherever it is lodged it must be 'synthetized' when it comes to be thought. And that particular way of lodging it will be the better, which, in addition to describing the facts naturally, makes the 'mystery of synthesis' least hard to understand.
Well, Kant's way of describing the facts is mythological. The notion of our thought being this sort of an elaborate internal machine-shop stands condemned by all we said in favor of its simplicity on pages 276 ff. Our Thought is not composed of parts, however so composed its objects may be. There is no originally chaotic manifold in it to be reduced to order. There is something almost shocking in the notion of so chaste a function carrying this Kantian hurlyburly in her womb. If we are to have a dualism of Thought and Reality at all, the multiplicity should be lodged in the latter and not in the former member of the couple of related terms. The parts and the relations surely belong less to the knower than to what is known.
[p. 364] But even were all the mythology true, the process of synthesis would in no whit be explained by calling the inside of the mind its seat. No mystery would be made lighter by such means. It is just as much a puzzle how the 'Ego' can employ the productive Imagination to make the Understanding use the categories to combine the data which Recognition, Association, and Apprehension receive from sensible Intuition, as how the Thought can combine the objective facts. Phrase it as one may, the difficulty is always the same: the Many known by the One. Or does one seriously think he understands better how the knower 'connects' its objects, when one calls the former a transcendental Ego and the latter a 'Manifold of Intuition' than when one calls them Thought and Things respectively? Knowing must have a vehicle. Call the vehicle Ego, or call it Thought, Psychosis, Soul, Intelligence, Consciousness, Mind, Reason, Feeling, - what you like - it must know. The best grammatical subject for the verb know would, if possible, be one from whose other properties the knowing could be deduced. And if there be no such subject, the best one would be that with the fewest ambiguities and the least pretentious name. By Kant's confession, the transcendental Ego has no properties, and from it nothing can be deduced. Its name is pretentious, and, as we shall presently see, has its meaning ambiguously mixed up with that of the substantial soul. So on every possible account we are excused from using it instead of our own term of the present passing 'Thought,' as the principle by which the Many is simultaneously known.
The ambiguity referred to in the meaning of the transcendental Ego is as to whether Kant signified by it an Agent, and by the Experience it helps to constitute, an operation; or whether the experience is an event produced in an unassigned way, and the Ego a mere indwelling element therein contained. If an operation be meant, then Ego and Manifold must both be existent prior to that collision which results in the experience of one by the other. If a mere analysis is meant, there is no such prior existence, and the elements only are in so far as they are in union. Now Kant's tone and language are everywhere the very [p. 365] words of one who is talking of operations and the agents by which they are performed. And yet there is reason to think that at bottom he may have had nothing of the sort in mind. In this uncertainty we need again do no more than decide what to think of his transcendental Ego if it be an agent.
Well, if it be so, Transcendentalism is only Substantialism grown shame-faced, and the Ego only a 'cheap and nasty' edition of the soul. All our reasons for preferring the 'Thought' to the 'Soul' apply with redoubled force when the Soul is shrunk to this estate. The Soul truly explained nothing; the 'syntheses,' which she performed, were simply taken ready-made and clapped on to her as expressions of her nature taken after the fact; but at least she had some semblance of nobility and outlook. She was called active; might select; was responsible, and permanent in her way. The Ego is simply nothing: as ineffectual and windy an abortion as Philosophy can show. It would indeed by one of Reason's tragedies if the good Kant, with all his honesty and strenuous pains, should have deemed this conception an important outbirth of his thought.
But we have seen that Kant deemed it of next to no importance at all.
It was reserved for his Fichtean and Hegelian successors to call it the
first Principle of Philosophy, to spell its name in capitals and pronounce
it with adoration, to act, in short, as if they were going up in a balloon,
whenever the notion of it crossed their mind. Here again, however, I am
uncertain of the facts of history, and know that I may not read my authors
aright. The whole lesson of Kantian and post-Kantian speculation is, it
seems to me, the lesson of simplicity. With Kant, complication both of
thought and statement was an inborn infirmity, enhanced
[p. 366] by the musty academicism of his Königsberg existence. With Hegel is was a raging fever. Terribly, therefore, do the sour grapes which these fathers of philosophy have eaten set our teeth on edge. We have in England and America, however, a contemporary continuation of Hegelism from which, fortunately, somewhat simpler deliverances come; and, unable to find any definite psychology in what Hegel, Rosenkranz, or Erdmann tells us of the Ego, I turn to Caird and Green.
The great difference, practically, between these authors and Kant is their complete abstraction from the onlooking Psychologist and from the Reality he thinks he knows; or rather it is the absorption of both of these outlying terms into the proper topic of Psychology, viz., the mental experience of the mind under observation. The Reality coalesces with the connected Manifold, the Psychologist with the Ego, knowing becomes 'connecting,' and there results no longer a finite or criticisable, but an 'absolute' Experience, of which the Object and the Subject are always the same. Our finite 'Thought' is virtually and potentially this eternal (or rather this 'timeless'), absolute Ego, and only provisionally and speciously the limited thing which it seems primâ facie to be. The later 'sections' of our 'Stream,' which come and appropriate the earlier ones, are those earlier ones, just as in substantialism the Soul is throughout all time the same. This 'solipsistic' char- [p. 367] acter of an Experience conceived as absolute really annihilates psychology as a distinct body of science.
Psychology is a natural science, an account of particularly finite streams of thought, coexisting and succeeding in time. It is of course conceivable (though far from clearly so) that in the last metaphysical resort all these streams of thought may be thought by one universal All-thinker. But in this metaphysical notion there is no profit for psychology; for grant that one Thinker does think in all of us, still what He thinks in me and what in you can never be deduced from the bare idea of Him. The idea of Him seems even to exert a positively paralyzing effect on the mind. The existence of finite thoughts is suppressed altogether. Thought's characteristics, as Professor Green says, are
"not to be sought in the incidents of individual lives which last but for a day. . . . No knowledge, nor any mental act involved in knowledge, can properly be called a 'phenomenon of consciousness.' . . . For a phenomenon is a sensible event, related in the way of antecedence or consequence to other sensible events, but the consciousness which constitutes a knowledge . . . is not an event so related nor made up of such events."
"we examine the constituents of any perceived object, . . . we shall find alike that it is only for consciousness that they can exist, and that the consciousness for which they thus exist cannot be merely a series of phenomena or a succession of states. . . . It then becomes clear that there is a function of consciousness, as exercised in the most rudimentary experience [namely, the function of synthesis] which is incompatible with the definition of consciousness as any sort of succession of any sort of phenomena."
Were we to follow these remarks, we should have to abandon our notion of the 'Thought' (perennially renewed in time, but always cognitive thereof), and to espouse instead of [p. 368] it an entity copied from thought in all essential respects, but differing from it in being 'out of time.' What psychology can gain by this barter would be hard to divine. Moreover this resemblance of the timeless Ego to the Soul is completed by other resemblances still. The monism of the post-Kantian idealists seems always lapsing into a regular old-fashioned spiritualistic dualism. They incessantly talk as if, like the Soul, their All-thinker were an Agent, operating on detached materials of sense. This may come from the accidental fact that the English writings of the school have been more polemic than constructive, and that a reader may often take for a positive profession a statement ad hominem meant as part of a reduction to the absurd, or mistake the analysis of a bit of knowledge into elements for a dramatic myth about its creation. But I think the matter has profounder roots. Professor Green constantly talks of the 'activity' of Self as a 'condition' of knowledge taking place. Facts are said to become incorporated with other facts only through the 'action of a combining self-consciousness upon data of sensation.'
"Every object we perceive . . . requires, in order to its presentation, the action of a principle of consciousness, not itself subject to conditions of time, upon successive appearances, such action as may hold the appearances together, without fusion, in an apprehended fact."
It is needless to repeat that the connection of things in our knowledge is in no whit explained by making it the deed of an agent whose essence is self-identity and who is out of time. The agency of phenomenal thought coming and going in time is just as easy to understand. And when it is furthermore said that the agent that combines is the same 'self-distinguishing subject' which 'in another mode of its activity' presents the manifold object to itself, the unintelligibilities become quite paroxysmal, and we are forced to confess that the entire school of thought in question, in spite of occasional glimpses of something more refined, still dwells habitually in that mythological stage of thought where phenomena are explained as results of [p. 369] dramas enacted by entities which but reduplicate the characters of the phenomena themselves. The self must not only know its object, - that is too bald and dead a relation to be written down and left in its static state. The knowing must be painted as a 'famous victory' in which the object's distinctness is in some way 'overcome.'
"The self exists as one self only as it opposes itself, as object, to itself as subject, and immediately denies and transcends that opposition. Only because it is such a concrete unity, which has in itself a resolved contradiction, can the intelligence cope with all the manifoldness and division of the mighty universe, and hope to master its secrets. As the lightning sleeps in the dew-drop, so in the simple and transparent unity of self-consciousness there is held in equilibrium that vital antagonism of opposites which . . . seems to rend the world asunder. The intelligence is able to understand the world, or, in other words, to break down the barrier itself and things and find itself in them, just because its own existence is implicitly the solution of all the division and conflict of things."
This dynamic (I had almost written dynamitic) way of representing knowledge has the merit of not being tame. To turn from it to our own psychological formulation is like turning from the fireworks, trap-doors, and transformations of the pantomime into the insipidity of the midnight, where
With this, all possible rival formulations have been discussed. The literature of the Self is large, but all its [p. 371] authors may be classed as radical or mitigated representatives of the three schools we have named, substantialism, associationism, or transcendentalism. Our own opinion must be classed apart, although it incorporates essential elements from all three schools. There need never have been a quarrel between associationism and its rivals if the former had admitted the indecomposable unity of every pulse of thought, and the latter been willing to allow that 'perishing' pulses of thought might recollect and know.
We may sum up by saying that personality implies the incessant presence of two elements, and objective person, known by a passing subjective Thought and recognized as continuing in time. Hereafter let us see the words ME and I for the empirical person and the judging Thought.
Certain vicissitudes in the me demand our notice.
In the first place, although its changes are gradual, they become in time great. The central part of the me is the feeling of the body and of the adjustments in the head; and in the feeling of the body should be included that of the general emotional tones and tendencies, for at bottom these are but the habits in which organic activities and sensibilities run. Well, from infancy to old age, this assemblage of feelings, most constant of all, is yet a prey to slow mutation. Our powers, bodily and mental, change at least as fast. Our possessions notoriously are perishable facts.
[p. 372] The identity which the I discovers, as it surveys this long procession, can only be a relative identity, that of a slow shifting in which there is always some common ingredient retained. The commonest element of all, the most uniform, is the possession of the same memories. However different the man may be from the youth, both look back on the same childhood, and call it their own.
Thus the identity found by the I in its me is only a loosely construed thing, an identity 'on the whole,' just like that which any outside observer might find in the same [p. 373] assemblage of facts. We often say of a man 'he is so changed one would not know him'; and so does a man, less often, speak of himself. These changes in the me, recognized by the I, or by outside observers, may be grave or slight. They deserve some notice here.
1. Alterations of memory; and
2. Alterations in the present bodily and spiritual selves.
1. Alterations of memory are either losses or false recollections. In either case the me is changed. Should a man be punished for what he did in his childhood and no longer remembers? Should he be punished for crimes enacted in post-epileptic unconsciousness, somnambulism, or in any involuntarily induced state of which no recollection is retained? Law, in accord with common-sense, says: "No; he is not the same person forensically now which he was then." These losses of memory are a normal incident of extreme old age, and the person's me shrinks in the ratio of the facts that have disappeared.
In dreams we forget our waking experiences; they are as if they were not. And the converse is also true. As a rule, no memory is retained during the waking state of what has happened during mesmeric trance, although when again entranced the person may remember it distinctly, and may then forget facts belonging to the waking state. We thus have, within the bounds of healthy mental life, an approach to an alteration of me's.
False memories are by no means rare occurrences in most of us, and, whenever they occur, they distort the consciousness of the me. Most people, probably, are in doubt about certain matters ascribed to their past. They may have seen them, may have said them, done them, or they may only have dreamed or imagined they did so. The content of a dream will oftentimes insert itself into the stream of real life in a most perplexing way. The most frequent source of false memory is the accounts we give to others of our experiences. Such accounts we almost al- [p. 374] ways make both more simple and more interesting than the truth. We quote what we should have said or done, rather than what we really said or did; and in the first telling we may be fully aware of the distinction. But ere long the fiction expels the reality from memory and reigns in its stead alone. This is one great source of the fallibility of testimony meant to be quite honest. Especially where the marvellous is concerned, the story takes a tilt that way, and the memory follows the story. Dr. Carpenter quotes from Miss Cobbe the following, as in instance of a very common sort:
"It happened once to the Writer to hear a most scrupulously conscientious friend narrate an incident of table-turning, to which she appended an assurance that the table rapped when nobody was within a yard of it. The writer being confounded by this latter fact, the lady, though fully satisfied of the accuracy of her statement, promised to look at the note she had made ten years previously of the transaction. The note was examined, and was found to contain the distinct statement that the table rapped when the hands of six persons rested on it! The lady's memory as to all other points proved to be strictly correct; and in this point she had erred in entire good faith."
It is next to impossible to get a story of this sort accurate in all its details, although it is the inessential details that suffer most change. Dickens and Balzac were said to have constantly mingled their fictions with their real experiences. Every one must have known some specimen of our mortal dust so intoxicated with the thought of his own person and the sound of his own voice as never to be able even to think the truth when his autobiography was in question. Amiable, harmless, radiant J. V.! mayst thou ne'er wake to the difference between thy real and thy fondly-imagined self!
[p. 375] 2. When we pass beyond alterations of memory to abnormal alterations in the present self we have still graver disturbances. These alterations are of three main types, from the descriptive point of view. But certain cases unite features of two or more types; and our knowledge of the elements and causes of these changes of personality is so slight that the division into types must not be regarded as having any profound significance. The types are:
(1) Insane delusions;
(2) Alternating selves;
(3) Mediumships or possessions.
1) In insanity we often have delusions projected into the past, which are melancholic or sanguine according to the character of the disease. But the worst alterations of the self come from present perversions of sensibility and impulse which leave the past undisturbed, but induce the patient to think that the present me is an altogether new personage. Something of this sort happens normally in the rapid expansion of the whole character, intellectual as well as volitional, which takes place after the time of puberty. The pathological cases are curious enough to merit longer notice.
The basis of our personality, as M. Ribot says, is that feeling of our vitality which, because it is so perpetually present, remains in the background of our consciousness.
"It is the basis because, always present, always acting, without peace or rest, it knows neither sleep nor fainting, and lasts as long as life itself, of which it is one form. It serves as a support to that self-conscious me which memory constitutes, it is the medium of association among its other parts. . . . Suppose now that it were possible at once to change our body and put another into its place: skeleton, vessels, viscera, muscles, skin, everything made new, except the nervous system with its stored-up memory of the past. There can be no doubt that in such a case the afflux of unaccustomed vital sensations would produce the gravest disorders. Between the old sense of existence engraved on the nervous system, and the new one acting with all the intensity of its reality and novelty, there would be irreconcilable contradiction."
[p. 376] With the beginnings of cerebral disease there often happens something quite comparable to this:
"Masses of new sensation, hitherto foreign to the individual, impulses and ideas of the same inexperienced kind, for example terrors, representations of enacted crime, of enemies pursuing one, etc. At the outset, these stand in contrast with the old familiar me, as a strange, often astonishing and abhorrent thou. Often their invasion into the former circle of feelings is felt as if the old self were being taken possession of by a dark overpowering might, and the fact of such 'possession' is described in fantastic images. Always this doubleness, this struggle of the old self against the new discordant forms of experience, is accompanied with painful mental conflict, with passion, with violent emotional excitement. This is in great part the reason for the common experience, that the first stage in the immense majority of cases of mental disease is an emotional alteration particularly of a melancholic sort. If now the brain-affection, which is the immediate cause of the new abnormal train of ideas, be not relieved, the latter becomes confirmed. It may gradually contract associations with the trains of ideas which characterized the old self, or portions of the latter may be extinguished and lost in the progress of the cerebral malady, so that little by little the opposition of the two conscious me's abates, and the emotional storms are calmed. But by that time the old me itself has been falsified and turned into another by those associations, by that reception into itself of the abnormal elements of feeling and of will. The patient may again be quiet, and his thought sometimes logically correct, but in it the morbid erroneous ideas are always present, with the adhesions they have contracted, as uncontrollable premises, and the man is no longer the same, but a really new person, his old self transformed."
[p. 377] But the patient himself rarely continues to describe the change in just these terms unless new bodily sensations in him or the loss of old ones play a predominant part. Mere perversions of sight and hearing, or even of impulse, soon cease to be felt as contradictions of the unity of the me.
What the particular perversions of the bodily sensibility may be, which give rise to there contradictions, is for the most part impossible for a sound-minded person to conceive. One patient has another self that repeats all his thoughts for him. Others, among whom are some of the first characters in history, have familiar daemons who speak with them, and are replied to. In another someone 'makes' his thoughts for him. Another has two bodies, lying in different beds. Some patients feel as if they had lost parts of their bodies, teeth, brain, stomach, etc. In some it is made of wood, glass, butter, etc. In some it does not exist any longer, or is dead, or is a foreign object quite separate from the speaker's self. Occasionally, parts of the body lose their connection for consciousness with the rest, and are treated as belonging to another person and moved by a hostile will. Thus the right hand may fight with the left as with an enemy. Or the cries of the patient himself are assigned to another person with whom the patient expresses sympathy. The literature of insanity is filled with narratives of such illusions as these. M. Taine quotes from a patient of Dr. Krishaber an account of sufferings, from which it will be seen how completely aloof from what is normal a man's experience may suddenly become:
"After the first or second day it was for some weeks impossible to observe or analyze myself. The suffering - angina pectoris - was too overwhelming. It was not till the first days of January that I could give an account to myself of what I experienced. . . . Here is the first thing of which I retain a clear rememberance. I was alone, and already a prey to permanent visual trouble, when I was suddenly seized with a visual trouble infinitely more pronounced. Objects grew small and receded to infinite distances - men and things together. I was myself im- [p. 378] measurably far away. I looked about me with terror and astonishment; the world was escaping from me. . . . I remarked at the same time that my voice was extremely far away from me, that it sounded no longer as if mine. I struck the ground with my foot, and perceived its resistance; but this resistance seemed illusory - not that the soil was soft, but that the weight of my body was reduced to almost nothing. . . . I had the feeling of being without weight. . " In addition to being so distant, "objects appeared to me flat. When I spoke with anyone, I saw him like an image cut out of paper with no relief. . . . This sensation lasted intermittently for two years. . . . Constantly it seemed as if my legs did not belong to me. It was almost as bad with my arms. As for my head, it seemed no longer to exist. . . . I appeared to myself to act automatically, by an impulsion foreign to myself. . . . There was inside of me a new being, and another part of myself, the old being, which took no interest in the new-comer. I distinctly remember saying to myself that the sufferings of this new being were to me indifferent. I was never really dupe of these illusions, but my mind grew often tired of incessantly correcting the new impressions, and I let myself go an lived the unhappy life of this new entity. I had an ardent desire to see my old world again, to get back to my old self. This desire kept me from killing myself. . . . I was another, and I hated, I despised this other; he was perfectly odious to me; it was certainly another who had taken my form and assumed my functions."
In cases similar to this, it is as certain that the I is unaltered as that the me is changed. That is to say, the present Thought of the patient is cognitive of both the old me and the new, so long as its memory holds good. Only, within that objective sphere which formerly lent itself so simply to the judgment of recognition and of egoistic appropriation, strange perplexities have arisen. The present and the past both seen therein will not unite. Where is my old me? What is this new one? Are they the same? Or have I two? Such questions, answered by whatever theory the patient is able to conjure up as plausible, form the beginning of his insane life.
[p. 379] A case with which I am acquainted through Dr. C. J. Fisher of Tewksbury has possibly its origin in this way. The woman, Bridget F.,
"has been many years insane, and always speaks of her supposed self as 'the rat,' asking me to 'bury the little rat,' etc. Her real self she speaks of in the third person as 'the good woman,' saying, 'The good woman knew Dr. F. and used to work for him,' etc. Sometimes she sadly asks: 'Do you think the good woman will ever come back?' She works at needlework, knitting, laundry, etc., and shows her work, saying, 'Isn't that good for only a rat?' She has, during periods of depression, hid herself under buildings, and crawled into holes and under boxes. 'She was only a rat, and wants to die,' she would say when we found her."
2. The phenomenon of altering personality in its simplest phases seems based on lapses of memory. Any man becomes, as we say, inconsistent with himself if he forgets his engagements, pledges, knowledges, and habits; and it is merely a question of degree at what point we shall say that his personality is changed. In the pathological cases known as those of double or alternate personality the lapse of memory is abrupt, and is usually preceded by a period of unconsciousness or syncope lasting a variable length of time. In the hypnotic trance we can easily produce an alteration of the personality, either by telling the subject to forget all that has happened to him since such or such a date, in which case he becomes (it may be) a child again, or by telling him he is another altogether imaginary personage, in which case all facts about himself seem for the time being to lapse from out his mind, and he throws himself into the new character with a vivacity proportionate to the amount of histrionic imagination which he possesses. But in the pathological cases the transformation is spontaneous. The most famous case, perhaps, on record is that of Fèlida X., [p. 380] reported by Dr. Azam of Bordeaux. At the age of fourteen this woman began to pass into a 'secondary' state characterized by a change in her general disposition and character, as if certain 'inhibitions,' previously existing, were suddenly removed. During the secondary state she remembered the first state, but on emerging from it into the first state she remembered nothing of the second. At the age of forty-four the duration of the secondary state (which was on the whole superior in quality to the original state) had gained upon the latter so much as to occupy most of her time. During it she remembers the events belonging to the original state, but her complete oblivion of the secondary state when the original state recurs is often very distressing to her, as, for example, when the transition takes place in a carriage on her way to a funeral, and she hasn't the least idea which one of her friends may be dead. She actually became pregnant during one of her early secondary states, and during her first state had no knowledge of how it had come to pass. Her distress at these blanks of memory is sometimes intense and once drove her to attempt suicide.
To take another example, Dr. Rieger gives an account of an epileptic man who for seventeen years had passed his life alternately free, in prisons, or in asylums, his character being orderly enough in the normal state, but alternating with periods, during which he would leave his home for several weeks, leading the life of a thief and vagabond, being sent to jail, having epileptic fits and excitement, being accused of malingering, etc., etc., and with never a memory of the abnormal conditions which were to blame for all his wretchedness.
"I have never got from anyone," says Dr. Rieger, "so singular an impression as from this man, of whom it could not be said that he had any properly conscious past at all. . . . It is really impossible to think one's self into such a state of mind. His last larceny had been performed in Nürnberg, he knew nothing of it, and saw himself before the [p. 381] court and then in the hospital, but without in the least understanding the reason why. That he had epileptic attacks, he knew. But it was impossible to convince him that for hours together he raved and acted in an abnormal way."
Another remarkable case is that of Mary Reynolds, lately republished again by Dr. Weir Mitchell. This dull and melancholy young woman, inhabiting the Pennsylvania wilderness in 1811,
"was found one morning, long after her habitual time for rising, in a profound sleep from which it was impossible to arouse her. After eighteen or twenty hours of sleeping she awakened, but in a state of unnatural consciousness. Memory had fled. To all intents and purposes she was as a being for the first time ushered into the world. 'All of the past that remained to her was the faculty of pronouncing a few words, and this seems to have been as purely instinctive as the wailings of an infant; for at first the words which she uttered were connected with no ideas in her mind.' Until she was taught their significance they were unmeaning sounds.
"'Her eyes were virtually for the first time opened upon the world. Old things had passed away; all things had become new.' Her parents, brothers, sisters, friends, were not recognized or acknowledged as such by her. She had never seen them before, - never known them, - was not aware that such persons had been. Now for the first time she was introduced to their company and acquaintance. To the scenes by which she was surrounded she was a perfect stranger. The house, the fields, the forest, the hills, the vales, the streams, - all were novelties. The beauties of the landscape were all unexplored.
"She had not the slightest consciousness that she had ever existed previous to the moment in which she awoke from that mysterious slumber. 'In a word, she was an infant, just born, yet born in a state of maturity, with a capacity for relishing the rich, sublime, luxuriant wonders of created nature.'
"The first lesson in her education was to teach her by what ties she was bound to those by whom she was surrounded, and the duties devolving upon her accordingly. This she was very slow to learn, and, 'indeed, never did learn, or, at least, never would acknowledge the ties of consanguinity, or scarcely those of friendship. She considered those she had once known as for the most part strangers and enemies, among whom she was, by some remarkable and unaccountable means, transplanted, though from what region or state of existence was a problem unsolved.'
"The next lesson was to re-teach her the arts of reading and writing. She was apt enough, and made such rapid progress in both that in a [p. 382] few weeks she had readily re-learned to read and write. In copying her name which her brother had written for her as a first lesson, she took her pen in a very awkward manner and began to copy from right to left in the Hebrew mode, as though she had been transplanted from an Eastern soil. . . .
"The next thing that is noteworthy is the change which took place in her disposition. Instead of being melancholy she was now cheerful to extremity. Instead of being reserved she was buoyant and social. Formerly taciturn and retiring, she was now merry and jocose. Her disposition was totally and absolutely changed. While she was, in this second state, extravagantly found of company, she was much more enamoured of nature's works, as exhibited in the forests, hills, vales, and water-courses. She used to start in the morning, either on foot or horseback, and ramble until nightfall over the whole country; nor was she at all particular whether she were on a path or in the trackless forest. Her predilection for this manner of life may have been occasioned by the restraint necessarily imposed upon her by her friends, which caused her to consider them her enemies and not companions, and she was glad to keep out of their way.
"She knew no fear, and as bears and panthers were numerous in the woods, and rattlesnakes and copperheads abounded everywhere, her friends told her of the danger to which she exposed herself, but it produced no other effect than to draw forth a contemptuous laugh, as she said, 'I know you only want to frighten me and keep me at home, but you miss it, for I often see your bears and I am perfectly convinced that they are nothing more than black hogs.'
"One evening, after her return from her daily excursion, she told the following incident: 'As I was riding to-day along a narrow path a great black hog came out of the woods and stopped before me. I never saw such an impudent black hog before. It stood up on its hind feet and grinned and gnashed its teeth at me. I could not make the horse go on. I told him he was a fool to be frightened at a hog, and tried to whip him past, but he would not go an wanted to turn back. I told the hog to get out of the way, but he did not mind me. "Well," said I, "if you won't for words, I'll try blows;" so I got off and took a stick, and walked up toward it. When I got pretty close by, it got down on all fours and walked away slowly and sullenly, stopping every few steps and looking back and grinning and growling. Then I got on my horse and rode on.'. . .
"Thus it continued for five weeks, when one morning, after a protracted sleep, she awoke and was herself again. She recognized the parental, the brotherly, and sisterly ties as though nothing had happened, and immediately went about the performance of duties incumbent upon her, and which she had planned five weeks previously. Great was her surprise at the change which one night (as she supposed) had produced. Nature bore a different aspect. Not a trace was left in her mind of the giddy scenes through which she had passed. Her ram- [p. 383] blings through the forest, her tricks and humor, all were faded from her memory, and not a shadow left behind. Her parents saw their child; her brothers and sisters saw their sister. She now had all the knowledge that she had possessed in her first state previous to the change, still fresh and in as vigorous exercise as though no change had been. But any new acquisitions she had made, and any new ideas she had obtained, were lost to her now - yet not lost, but laid up out of sight in safe-keeping for future use. Of course her natural disposition returned; her melancholy was deepened by the information of what had occurred. All went on in the old-fashioned way, and it was fondly hoped that the mysterious occurrences of those five weeks would never be repeated, but these anticipations were not to be realized. After the lapse of a few weeks she fell into a profound sleep, and awoke in her second state, taking up her new life again precisely where she had left it when she before passed from that state. She was not now a daughter or a sister. All the knowledge she possessed was that acquired during the few weeks of her former period of second consciousness. She knew nothing of the intervening time. Two periods widely separated were brought into contact. She thought it was but one night.
"In this state she came to understand perfectly the facts of her case, not from memory, but from information. Yet her buoyancy of spirits was so great that no depression was produced. On the contrary, it added to her cheerfulness, and was made the foundation, as was everything else, of mirth.
"These alternations from one state to another continued at intervals of varying length for fifteen or sixteen years, but finally ceased when she attained the age of thirty-five or thirty-six, leaving her permanently in her second state. In this she remained without change for the last quarter of a century of her life."
The emotional opposition of the two states seems, however, to have become gradually effaced in Mary Reynolds:
"The change from a gay, hysterical, mischievous woman, fond of jests and subject to absurd beliefs or delusive convictions, to one retaining the joyousness and love of society, but sobered down to levels of practical usefulness, was gradual. The most of the twenty-five years which followed she was as different from her melancholy, morbid self as from the hilarious condition of the early years of her second state. Some of her family spoke of it as her third state. She is described as becoming rational, industrious, and very cheerful, yet reasonably serious; possessed of a well-balanced temperament, and not having the slightest indication of an injured or disturbed mind. For some years she taught school, and in that capacity was both useful and acceptable, being a general favorite with old and young.
"During these last twenty-five years she lived in the same house with
the Rev. Dr. John Reynolds, her nephew, part of that
[p. 384] time keeping house for him, showing a sound judgment and a thorough acquaintance with the duties of her position.
"Dr. Reynolds, who is still living in Meadville," says Dr. Mitchell, "and who has most kindly placed the facts at my disposal, states in his letter to me of January 4, 1888, that at a later period of her life she said she did sometimes seem to have a dim, dreamy idea of a shadowy past, which she could not fully grasp, and could not be certain whether it originated in a partially restored memory or in the statements of the events by others during her abnormal state.
"Miss Reynolds died in January, 1854, at the age of sixty-one. On the morning of the day of her death she rose in her usual health, at her breakfast, and superintended household duties. While thus employed she suddenly raised her hands to her head and exclaimed: 'Oh! I wonder what is the matter with my head!' and immediately fell to the floor. When carried to a sofa she gasped once or twice and died."
In such cases as the preceding, in which the secondary character is
superior to the first, there seems reason to think that the first one is
the morbid one. The word inhibition describes its dulness and melancholy.
Félida X.'s original character was dull and melancholy in comparison
with that which she later acquired, and the change may be regarded as the
removal of inhibitions which had maintained themselves from earlier years.
Such inhibitions we all know temporarily, when we can not recollect or
in some other way command our mental resources. The systematized amnesias
(losses of memory) of hypnotic subjects ordered to forget all nouns, or
all verbs, or a particular letter of the alphabet, or all that is relative
to a certain person, are inhibitions of the sort on a more extensive scale.
They sometimes occur spontaneously as symptoms of disease.
Now M. Pierre Janet has shown that such inhibitions when they bear on a
certain class of sensations (making the subject anaesthetic thereto) and
also on the memory of such sensations, are the basis of changes of personality.
The anaesthetic and 'amnesic' hysteric is one person; but when you restore
her inhibited sensibilities and memories by plunging her into the hypnotic
trance - in other words, when
[p. 385] you rescue them from their 'dissociated' and split-off condition, and make them rejoin the other sensibilities and memories - she is a different person. As said above (p. 203), the hypnotic trance is one method of restoring sensibility in hysterics. But one day when the hysteric anaesthetic named Lucie was already in the hypnotic trance, M. Janet for a certain reason continued to make passes over her for a full half-hour as if she were not already asleep. The result was to throw her into a sort of syncope from which, after half an hour, she revived in a second somnambulic condition entirely unlike that which had characterized her thitherto - different sensibilities, a different memory, a different person, in short. In the waking state the poor young woman was anaesthetic all over, nearly deaf, and with a badly contracted field of vision. Bad as it was, however, sight was her best sense, and she used it as a guide in all her movements. With her eyes bandaged she became entirely helpless, and like other persons of a similar sort whose cases have been recorded, she almost immediately fell asleep in consequence of the withdrawal of her last sensorial stimulus. M. Janet calls this waking or primary (one can hardly in such a connection say 'normal') state by the name of Lucie 1. In Lucie 2, her first sort of hypnotic trance, the anaesthesias were diminished but not removed. In the deeper trance, 'Lucie 3,' brought about as just described, no trace of them remained. Her sensibility became perfect, and instead of being an extreme example of the 'visual' type, she was transformed into what in Prof. Charcot's terminology is known as a motor. That is to say, that whereas when awake she had thought in visual terms exclusively, and could imagine things only by remembering how they looked, now in this deeper trance her thoughts and memories seemed to M. Janet to be largely composed of images of movement and of touch.
Having discovered this deeper trance and change of personality in Lucie, M. Janet naturally became eager to find it in his other subjects. He found it in Rose, in Marie, and in Léonie; and his brother, Dr. Jules Janet, who was interne at the Salpétrière Hospital, found it in the celebrated subject Wit . . . . whose trances had been studied for years [p. 386] by the various doctors of that institution without any of them having happened to awaken this very peculiar individuality.
With the return of all the sensibilities in the deeper trance, these subjects turned, as it were, into normal persons. Their memories in particular grew more extensive, and hereupon M. Janet spins a theoretic generalization. When a certain kind of sensation, he says, is abolished in an hysteric patient, there is also abolished along with it all recollection of past sensations of that kind. If, for example, hearing be the anaesthetic sense, the patient becomes unable even to imagine sounds and voices, and has to speak (when speech is till possible) by means of motor or articulatory cues. If the motor sense be abolished, the patient must will the movements of his limbs by first defining them to his mind in visual terms, and must innervate his voice by premonitory ideas of the way in which the words are going to sound. The practical consequences of this law would be great, for all experiences belonging to a sphere of sensibility which afterwards became anaesthetic, as, for example, touch, would have been stored away and remembered in tactile terms, and be incontinently forgotten as soon as the cutaneous and muscular sensibility should come to be cut out in the course of disease. Memory of them would be restored again, on the other hand, as soon as the sense of touch came back. Now, in the hysteric subjects on whom M. Janet experimented, touch did come back in the state of trance. The result was that all sorts of memories, absent in the ordinary condition, came back too, and they could then go back and explain the origin of many otherwise inexplicable things in their life. One stage in the great convulsive crisis of hystero-epilepsy, for example, is what French writers call the phase des attitudes passionelles, in which the patient, without speaking or giving any account of herself, will go through the outward movements of fear, anger, or some other emotional state of mind. Usually this phase is, with each [p. 387] patient, a thing so stereotyped as to seem automatic, and doubts have even been expressed as to whether any consciousness exists whilst it lasts. When, however, the patient Lucie's tactile sensibility came back in the deeper trance, she explained the origin of her hysteric crisis in a great fright which she had had when a child, on a day when certain men, hid behind the curtains, had jumped out upon her; she told how she went through this scene again in all her crises; she told of her sleep-walking fits through the house when a child, and how for several months she had been shut in a dark room because of a disorder of the eyes. All these were things of which she recollected nothing when awake, because they were records of experiences mainly of motion and of touch.
But M. Janet's subject Léonie is interesting, and shows best how with the sensibilities and motor impulses the memories and character will change.
"This woman, whose life sounds more like an improbable romance than a genuine history, has had attacks of natural somnambulism since the age of three years. She has been hypnotized constantly by all sorts of persons from the age of sixteen upwards, and she is now forty-five. Whilst her normal life developed in one way in the midst of her poor country surroundings, her second life was passed in drawing-rooms and doctors' offices, and naturally took an entirely different direction. Today, when in her normal state, this poor peasant woman is a serious and rather sad person, calm and slow, very mild with every one, and extremely timid: to look at her one would never suspect the personage which she contains. But hardly is she put to sleep hypnotically when a metamorphosis occurs. Her face is no longer the same. She keeps her eyes closed, it is true, but the acuteness of her other senses supplies their place. She is gay, noisy, restless, sometimes insupportably so. She remains good-natured, but has acquired a singular tendency to irony and sharp jesting. Nothing is more curious than to hear her after a sitting when she has received a visit from strangers who wished to see her asleep. She gives a word-portrait of them, apes their manners, pretends to know their little ridiculous aspects and passions, and for each invents a romance. To this character must be added the possession of an enormous number of recollections, whose existence she does not even suspect when awake, for her amnesia is then complete. . . . She refuses the name of Léonie and takes that of Léontine (Léonie 2) to which her first magnetizers had accustomed her. 'That good woman is not myself,' she says, 'she is too stupid!' To herself, Léontine or Léonie 2, she attributes all the sensations and all the actions, is a word all the conscious experiences which she has undergone in somnambulism, [p. 388] and knits them together to make the history of her already long life. To Léonie 1 (as M. Janet calls the waking woman] on the other hand, she exclusively ascribes the events lived through in waking hours. I was at first struck by an important exception to the rule, and was disposed to think that there might be something arbitrary in this partition of her recollections. In the normal state Léonie has a husband and children; but Léonie 2, the somnambulist, whilst acknowledging the children as her own, attributes the husband to 'the other.' This choice, was perhaps explicable, but it followed no rule. It was not till later that I learned that her magnetizers in early days, as audacious as certain hypnotizers of recent date, had somnambulized her for her first accouchements, and that she had lapsed into that state spontaneously in the later ones. Léonie 2 was thus quite right in ascribing to herself the children - it was she who had had them, and the rule that her first trance-state forms a different personality was not broken. But it is the same with her second or deepest state of trance. When after the renewed passes, syncope, etc., she reaches the condition which I have called Léonie 3, she is another person still. Serious and grave, instead of being a restless child, she speaks slowly and moves but little. Again she separates herself from the waking Léonie 1. 'A good but rather stupid woman,' she says, 'and not me.' And she also separates herself from Léonie 2: 'How can you see anything of me in that crazy creature?' she says. 'Fortunately I am nothing for her.'"
Léonie 1 knows only of herself; Léonie 2 of herself and of Léonie 1; Léonie 3 knows of herself and of both the others. Léonie 1 has a visual consciousness; Léonie 2 has one both visual and auditory; in Léonie 3 it is at once visual, auditory, and tactile. Prof. Janet thought at first that he was Léonie 3's discoverer. But she told him that she had been frequently in that condition before. A former magnetizer had hit upon her just as M. Janet had, in seeking by means of passes to deepen the sleep of Léonie 2.
"This resurrection of a somnambulic personage who had been extinct for twenty years is curious enough; and in speaking to Léonie 3, I naturally now adopt the name of Léonore which was given her by her first master."
The most carefully studies case of multiple personality is that of the hysteric youth Louis V. about whom MM. Bourru and Burot have written a book. The symptoms are too intricate to be reproduced here with detail. Suffice it that Louis V. had led an irregular life, in the army, in [p. 389] hospitals, and in houses of correction, and had had numerous hysteric anaesthesias, paralyses, and contractures attacking him differently at different times and when he lived at different places. At eighteen, at an agricultural House of Correction he was bitten by a viper, which brought on a convulsive crisis and left both of his legs paralyzed for three years. During this condition he was gentle, moral, and industrious. But suddenly at last, after a long convulsive seizure, his paralysis disappeared, and with it his memory for all the time during which it had endured. His character also changed: he became quarrelsome, gluttonous, impolite, stealing his comrades' wine, and money from an attendant, and finally escaped from the establishment and fought furiously when he was overtaken and caught. Later, when he first fell under the observation of the authors, his right side was half paralyzed and insensible, and his character intolerable; the application of metals transferred the paralysis to the left side, abolished his recollections of the other condition, and carried him psychically back to the hospital of Bicêtre where he had been treated for a similar physical condition. His character, opinions, education, all underwent a concomitant transformation. He was no longer the personage of the moment before. It appeared ere long that any present nervous disorder in him could be temporarily removed by metals, magnets, electric or other baths, etc.; and that any past disorder could be brought back by hypnotic suggestion. He also went through a rapid spontaneous repetition of his series of past disorders after each of the convulsive attacks which occurred in him at intervals. It was observed that each physical state in which he found himself, excluded certain memories and brought with it a definite modification of character.
"The law of these changes," say the authors, "is quite clear. There exist precise, constant, and necessary relations between the bodily and the mental state, such that it is impossible to modify the one without modifying the other in a parallel fashion."
[p. 390] The case of this proteiform individual would seem, then, nicely to corroborate M. P. Janet's law that anaesthesias and gaps in memory go together. Coupling Janet's law with Locke's that changes of memory bring changes of personality, we should have an apparent explanation of some cases at least of alternate personality. But mere anaesthesia does not sufficiently explain the changes of disposition, which are probably due to modifications in the perviousness of motor and associative paths, co-ordinate with those of the sensorial paths rather than consecutive upon them. And indeed a glance at other cases than M. Janet's own, suffices to show us that sensibility and memory are not coupled in any invariable way. M. Janet's law, true of his own cases, does not seem to hold good in all.
Of course it is mere guesswork to speculate on what may be the cause of the amnesias which lie at the bottom of changes in the Self. Changes of blood-supply have naturally been invoked. Alternate action of the two hemispheres was long ago proposed by Dr. Wigan in his book on the Duality of the Mind. I shall revert to this explanation after considering the third class of alterations of the Self, those, namely, which I have called 'possessions.'
I have myself become quite recently acquainted with the subject of a
case of alternate personality of the 'ambu- [p. 391] latory' sort, who
has given me permission to name him in these pages.
The Rev. Ansel Bourne, of Greene, R. I., was brought up to the trade of a carpenter; but, in consequence of a sudden temporary loss of sight and hearing under very peculiar circumstances, he became converted from Atheism to Christianity just before his thirtieth year, and has since that time for the most part lived the life of an itinerant preacher. He has been subject to headaches and temporary fits of depression of spirits during most of his life, and has had a few fits of unconsciousness lasting an hour or less. He also has a region of somewhat diminished cutaneous sensibility on the left thigh. Otherwise his health is good, and his muscular strength and endurance excellent. He is of a firm and self-reliant disposition, a man whose yea is yea and his nay, nay; and his character for uprightness is such in the community that no person who knows him will for a moment admit the possibility of his case not being perfectly genuine.
On January 17, 1887, he drew 551 dollars from a bank in Providence with which to pay for a certain lot of land in Greene, paid certain bills, and got into a Pawtucket horse-car. This is the last incident which he remembers. He did not return home that day, and nothing was heard of him for two months. He was published in the papers as missing, and foul play being suspected, the police sought in vain his whereabouts. On the morning of March 14th, however, at Norristown, Pennsylvania, a man calling himself A. J. Brown, who had rented a small shop six weeks previously stocked it with stationery, confectionery, fruit and small articles, and carried on his quiet trade without seeming to any one unnatural or eccentric, woke up in a fright and called in the people of the house to tell him where he was. He said that his name was Ansel Bourne, that he was entirely ignorant of Norristown, that he knew nothing of shop-keeping, and that the last thing he remembered - it seemed only yesterday - was drawing the money from the bank, etc., in Providence. He would not believe that two months had elapsed. The people of the house thought him insane; and so, at first, did Dr. Louis H. Read, whom they called in to see him. But on telegraphing to Providence, confirmatory messages came, and presently his nephew, Mr. Andrew Harris, arrived upon the scene, made everything straight, and took him home. He was very weak, having lost apparently over twenty pounds of flesh during his escapade, and had such a horror of the idea of the candy-store that he refused to set foot in it again.
The first two weeks of the period remained unaccounted for, as he had no memory, after he had once resumed his normal personality, of any part of the time, and no one who knew him seems to have seen him [p. 392] after he left home. The remarkable part of the change is, of course, the peculiar occupation which the so-called Brown indulged in. Mr. Bourne has never in his life had the slightest contract with trade. 'Brown' was described by the neighbors as taciturn, orderly in his habits, and in no way queer. He went to Philadelphia several times; replenished his stock; cooked for himself in the back shop, where he also slept; went regularly to church; and once at a prayer-meeting made what was considered by the hearers a good address, in the course of which he related an incident which he had witnessed in his natural state of Bourne.
This was all that was known of the case up to June 1890, when I induced Mr. Bourne to submit to hypnotism, so as to see whether, in the hypnotic trance, his 'Brown' memory would not come back. It did so with surprising readiness; so much so indeed that it proved quite impossible to make him whilst in the hypnosis remember any of the facts of his normal life. He had heard of Ansel Bourne, but "didn't know as he had ever met the man." When confronted with Mrs. Bourne he said that he had "never seen the woman before," etc. On the other hand, he told of his peregrinations during the lost fortnight, and gave all sorts of details about the Norristown episode. The whole thing was prosaic enough; and the Brown-personality seems to be nothing but a rather shrunken, dejected, and amnesic extract of Mr. Bourne himself. He gives no motive for the wandering except that there was 'trouble back there' and he 'wanted rest.' During the trance he looks old, the corners of his mouth are drawn down, his voice is slow and weak, and he sits screening his eyes and trying vainly to remember what lay before and after the two months of the Brown experience. "I'm all hedged in," he says: "I can't get out at either end. I don't know what set me down in that Pawtucket horse-car, and I don't know how I ever left that store, or what became of it." His eyes are practically normal, and all his sensibilities (save for tardier response) about the same in hypnosis as in waking. I had hoped by suggestion, etc., to run the two personalities into one, and make the memories continuous, but no artifice would avail to accomplish this, and Mr. Bourne's skull to-day still covers two distinct personal selves.
The case (whether it contain an epileptic element or not) should apparently be classed as one of spontaneous hypnotic trance, persisting for two months. The peculiarity of it is that nothing else like it ever occurred in the man's life, and that no eccentricity of character came [p. 393] out. In most similar cases, the attacks recur, and the sensibilities and conduct markedly change.
3. In 'mediumships' or 'possessions' the invasion and the passing away of the secondary state are both relatively abrupt, and the duration of the state is usually short - i.e., from a few minutes to a few hours. Whenever the secondary state is well developed no memory for aught that happened during it remains after the primary consciousness comes back. The subject during the secondary consciousness speaks, writes, or acts as if animated by a foreign person, and often names this foreign person and gives his history. In old times the foreign 'control' was usually a demon, and is so now in communities which favor that belief. With us he gives himself out at the worst for an Indian or other grotesquely speaking but harmless personage. Usually he purports to be the spirit of a dead person known or unknown to those present, and the subject is then what we call a 'medium.' Mediumistic possession in all its grades seems to form a perfectly natural special type of alternate personality, and the susceptibility to it in some form is by no means an uncommon gift, in persons who have no other obvious nervous anomaly. The phenomena are very intricate, and are only just beginning to be studied in a proper scientific way. The lowest phase of mediumship is automatic writing, and the lowest grade of that is where the Subject knows what words are coming, but feels impelled to write them as if from without. Then comes writing unconsciously, even whilst engaged in reading or talk. Inspirational speaking, playing on musical instruments, etc., also belong to the relatively lower phases of possession, in which the normal self is not excluded from conscious participation in the performance, though their initiative seems to come from elsewhere. In the highest phase the trance is complete, the voice, language, and [p. 394] everything are changed, and there is no after-memory whatever until the next trance comes. One curious thing about trance-utterances is their generic similarity in different individuals. The 'control' here in America is either a grotesque, slangy, and flippant personage ('Indian' controls, calling the ladies 'squaws,' the men 'braves,' the house a 'wigwam,' etc., etc., are excessively common); or, if he ventures on higher intellectual flights, he abounds in a curiously vague optimistic philosophy-and-water, in which phrases about spirit, harmony, beauty, law, progression, development, etc., keep recurring. It seems exactly as if one author composed more than half of the trance-messages, no matter by whom they are uttered. Whether all sub-conscious selves are peculiarly susceptible to a certain stratum of the Zeitgeist, and get their inspiration from it, I know not; but this is obviously the case with the secondary selves which become 'developed' in spiritualist circles. There the beginnings of the medium trance are indistinguishable from effects of hypnotic suggestion. The subject assumes the role of a medium simply because opinion expects it of him under the conditions which are present; and carries it out with a feebleness or a vivacity proportionate to his histrionic gifts. But the odd thing is that persons unexposed to spiritualist traditions will so often act in the same way when they become entranced, speak in the name of the departed, go through the motions of their several death-agonies, send messages about their happy home in the summer-land, and describe the ailments of those present. I have no theory to publish of these cases, several of which I have personally seen.
As an example of the automatic writing performances I will quote from an account of his own case kindly furnished me by Mr. Sidney Dean of Warren, R. I., member of Congress from Connecticut from 1855 to 1859, who has been all his life a robust and active journalist, author, and man of affairs. He has for many years been a writing subject, and has a large collection of manuscript automatically produced.
"Some of it," he writes us, "is in hieroglyph, or strange compounded arbitrary characters; each series possessing a seeming unity in general [p. 395] design or character, followed by what purports to be a translation or rendering into mother English. I never attempted the seemingly impossible feat of copying the characters. They were cut with the precision of a graver's tool, and generally with a single rapid stroke of the pencil. Many languages, some obsolete and passed from history, and professedly given. To see them would satisfy you that no one could copy them except by tracing.
"These, however, are but a small part of the phenomena. The 'automatic' has given place to the impressional, and when the work is in progress I am in the normal condition, and seemingly two minds, intelligences, persons, are practically engaged. The writing is in my own hand but the dictation not of my own mind and will, but that of another, upon subjects of which I can have no knowledge and hardly a theory; and I, myself, consciously criticise the thought, fact, mode of expressing it, etc., while the hand is recording the subject-matter and even the words impressed to be written. If I refuse to write the sentence, or even the word, the impression instantly ceases, and my willingness must be mentally expressed before the work is resumed, and it is resumed at the point of cessation, even if it should be in the middle of a sentence. Sentences are commenced without knowledge of mine as to their subject or ending. In fact, I have never known in advance the subject of disquisition.
"There is in progress now, at uncertain times, not subject to my will, a series of twenty-four chapters upon the scientific features of life, moral, spiritual, eternal. Seven have already been written in the manner indicated. These were preceded by twenty-four chapters relating generally to the life beyond material death, its characteristics, etc. Each chapter is signed by the name of some person who has lived on earth, - some with whom I have been personally acquainted, others known in history. . . . I know nothing of the alleged authorship of any chapter until it is completed and the name impressed and appended. . . . I am interested not only in the reputed authorship, - of which I have nothing corroborative, - but in the philosophy taught, of which I was in ignorance until these chapters appeared. From my standpoint of life - which has been that of biblical orthodoxy - the philosophy is new, seems to be reasonable, and is logically put. I confess to an inability to successfully controvert it to my own satisfaction.
"It is an intelligent ego who writes, or else the influence assumes individuality, which practically makes of the influence a personality. It is not myself; of that I am conscious at every step of the process. I have also traversed the whole field of the claims of 'unconscious cerebration,' so called, so far as I am competent to critically examine it, and it fails, as a theory, in numberless points, when applied to this strange work through me. It would be far more reasonable and satisfactory for me to accept the silly hypothesis of re-incarnation, - the old doctrine of metempsychosis, - as taught by some spiritualists to-day, and to believe that I lived a former life here, and that once in a while it dominates my [p. 396] intellectual powers, and writes chapters upon the philosophy of life, or opens a post-office for spirits to drop their effusions, and have them put into English script. No; the easiest and most natural solution to me is to admit the claim made, i.e., that it is a decarnated intelligence who writes. But who? that is the question. The names of scholars and thinkers who once lived are affixed to the most ungrammatical and weakest of bosh. . .
"It seems reasonable to me - upon the hypothesis that it is a person using another's mind or brain - that there must be more or less of that other's style or tone incorporated in the message, and that to the unseen personality, i.e., the power which impresses, the thought, the fact, or the philosophy, and not the style or tone, belongs. For instance, while the influence is impressing my brain with the greatest force and rapidity, so that my pencil fairly flies over the paper to record the thoughts, I am conscious that, in many cases, the vehicle of the thought, i.e., the language, is very natural and familiar to me, as if, somehow, my personality as a writer was getting mixed up with the message. And, again, the style, language, everything, is entirely foreign to my own style."
I am myself persuaded by abundant acquaintance with the trances of one medium that the 'control' may be altogether different from any possible waking self of the person. In the case I have in mind, if professes to be a certain departed French doctor; and is, I am convinced, acquainted with facts about the circumstances, and the living and dead relatives and acquaintances, of numberless sitters whom the medium never met before, and of whom she has never heard the names. I record my bare opinion here unsupported by the evidence, not, of course, in order to convert anyone to my view, but because I am persuaded that a serious study of these trance-phenomena is one of the greatest needs of psychology, and think that my personal confession may possibly draw a reader or two into a field which the soidisant 'scientist' usually refuses to explore.
Many persons have found evidence conclusive to their minds that in some cases the control is really the departed spirit whom it pretends to be. The phenomena shade off so gradually into cases where this is obviously absurd, that the presumption (quite apart from a priori 'scientific' prejudice) is great against its being true. The case of Lurancy Vennum is perhaps as extreme a case of 'pos- [p. 397] session' of the modern sort as one can find. Lurancy was a young girl of fourteen, living with her parents at Watseka, Ill., who (after various distressing hysterical disorders and spontaneous trances, during which she was possessed by departed spirits of a more or less grotesque sort) finally declared herself to be animated by the spirit of Mary Roff (a neighbor's daughter, who had died in an insane asylum twelve years before) and insisted on being sent 'home' to Mr. Roff's house. After a week of 'homesickness' and importunity on her part, her parents agreed, and the Roffs, who pitied her, and who were spiritualists into the bargain, took her in. Once there, she seems to have convinced the family that their dead Mary had exchanged habitations with Lurancy. Lurancy was said to be temporarily in heaven, and Mary's spirit now controlled her organism, and lived again in her former earthly home.
"The girl, now in her new home, seemed perfectly happy and content, knowing every person and everything that Mary knew when in her original body, twelve to twenty-five years ago, recognizing and calling by name those who were friends and neighbors of the family from 1852 to 1865, when Mary died, calling attention to scores, yes, hundreds of incidents that transpired during her natural life. During all the period of her sojourn at Mr. Roff's she had no knowledge of, and did not recognize, any of Mr. Vennum's family, their friends or neighbors, yet Mr. and Mrs. Vennum and their children visited her and Mr. Roff's people, she being introduced to them as to any strangers. After frequent visits, and hearing them often and favorably spoken of, she learned to love them as acquaintances, and visited them with Mrs. Roff three times. From day to day she appeared natural, easy, affable, and industrious, attending diligently and faithfully to her household duties, assisting in the general work of the family as a faithful, prudent daughter might be supposed to do, singing, reading, or conversing as opportunity offered, upon all matters of private or general interest to the family."
The so-called Mary whilst at the Roffs' would sometimes 'go back to heaven,' and leave the body in a 'quiet trance,' i.e., without the original personality of Lurancy returning. After eight or nine weeks however, the memory and manner of Lurancy would sometimes partially, but not entirely, return for a few minutes. Once Lurancy seems to [p. 398] have taken full possession for a short time. At last, after some fourteen weeks, comformably to the prophecy which 'Mary' had made when she first assumed 'control,' she departed definitively and the Lurancy-consciousness came back for good. Mr. Roff writes:
"She wanted me to take her home, which I did. She called me Mr. Roff, and talked with me as a young girl would, not being acquainted. I asked her how things appeared to her - if they seemed natural. She said it seemed like a dream to her. She met her parents and brothers in a very affectionate manner, hugging and kissing each one in tears of gladness. She clasped her arms around her father's neck a long time, fairly smothering him with kisses. I saw her father just now (eleven o'clock). He says she has been perfectly natural, and seems entirely well."
Lurancy's mother writes, a couple of months later, that she was
"perfectly and entirely well and natural. For two or three weeks after her return home, she seemed a little strange to what she had been before she was taken sick last summer, but only, perhaps, the natural change that had taken place with the girl, and except it seemed to her as though she had been dreaming or sleeping, etc. Lurancy has been smarter, more intelligent, more industrious, more womanly, and more polite than before. We give the credit of her complete cure and restoration to her family, to Dr. E. W. Stevens, and Mr. and Mrs. Roff, by their obtaining her removal to Mr. Roff's, where her cure was perfected. We firmly believe that, had she remained at home, she would have died, or we would have been obliged to send her to the insane asylum; and if so, that she would have died there; and further, that I could not have lived a short time with the care and trouble devolving on me. Several of the relatives of Lurancy, including ourselves, now believe she was cured by spirit power, and that Mary Roff controlled the girl."
Eight years later, Lurancy was reported to be married and a mother, and in good health. She had apparently outgrown the mediumistic phase of her existence.
On the condition of the sensibility during these invasions, few observations have been made. I have found the hands of two automatic writers anaesthetic during the act. [p. 399] In two others I have found this not to be the case. Automatic writing is usually preceded by shooting pains along the arm-nerves and irregular contractions of the arm-muscles. I have found one medium's tongue and lips apparently insensible to pin-pricks during her (speaking) trance.
If we speculate on the brain-condition during all these different perversions of personality, we see that it must be supposed capable of successively changing all its modes of action, and abandoning the use for the time being of whole sets of well organized association-paths. In no other way can we explain the loss of memory in passing from one alternating condition to another. And not only this, but we must admit that organized systems of paths can be thrown out of gear with others, so that the processes in one system give rise to one consciousness, and those of another system to another simultaneously existing consciousness. Thus only can we understand the facts of automatic writing, etc., whilst the patient is out of trance, and the false anaesthesias and amnesias of the hysteric type. But just what sort of dissociation the phrase 'thrown out of gear' may stand for, we cannot even conjecture; only I think we ought not to talk of the doubling of the self as if it consisted in the failure to combine on the part of certain systems of ideas which usually do so. It is better to talk of objects usually combined, and which are now divided between the two 'selves,' in the hysteric and automatic cases in question. Each of the selves is due to a system of cerebral paths acting by itself. If the brain acted normally, and the dissociated systems came together again, we should get a new affection of consciousness in the form of a third 'Self' different from the other two, but knowing their objects together, as the result. - After all I have said in the last chapter, this hardly needs further remark.
Some peculiarities in the lower automatic performances suggest that the systems thrown out of gear with each other are contained one in the right and the other in the left hemisphere. The subjects, e.g., often write backwards, or they transpose letters, or they write mirror-script. All these [p. 400] are symptoms of agraphic disease. The left hand, if left to its natural impulse, will in most people write mirror-script more easily than natural script. Mr. F. W. H. Myers has laid stress on these analogies. He has also called attention to the usual inferior moral tone of ordinary planchette writing. On Hughlings Jackson's principles, the left hemisphere, being the more evolved organ, at ordinary times inhibits the activity of the right one; but Mr. Myers suggests that during the automatic performances the usual inhibition may be removed and the right hemisphere set free to act all by itself. This is very likely to some extent to be the case. But the crude explanation of 'two' selves by 'two' hemispheres is of course far from Mr. Myers's thought. The selves may be more than two, and the brain-systems severally used for each must be conceived as interpenetrating each other in very minute ways.
If anyone urge that I assign no reason why the successive passing
thoughts should inherit each other's possessions, or why they and the brain-states
should be functions (in the mathematical sense) of each other, I reply
that the reason, if there be any, must lie where all real reasons lie,
in the total sense or meaning of the world. If there be such a meaning,
or any approach to it (as we are bound to trust there is), it alone can
make clear to us why such finite human streams of thought are called into
existence in such functional dependence upon brains. This is as much as
to say that the special natural science of psychology must stop
with the mere functional formula. If the passing thought be the directly
verifiable existent which no school has hitherto doubted it to be, then
that thought is itself the thinker, and psychology need not look beyond.
The only pathway that I can discover for bringing in a more transcendental
thinker would be to deny that we have any direct knowledge
of the thought as such. The latter's existence would then be reduced to
a postulate, an assertion that there must be a knower correlative
to all this known; and the problem who that knower is would
have become a metaphysical problem. With the question once stated in these
terms, the spiritualist and transcendentalist solutions must be considered
as prima facie on a par with our own psychological one, and
discussed impartially. But that carries us beyond the psychological or
naturalistic point of view.
 "He who imagines commendation and disgrace not to be strong motives on men . . . seems little skilled in the nature and history of mankind; the greatest part whereof he shall find to govern themselves chiefly, if not solely, by this law of fashion; and so they do that which keeps them in reputation with their company, little regard the laws of God or the magistrate. The penalties that attend the breach of God's laws some, nay, most, men seldom seriously reflect on; and amongst those that do, many, whilst they break the laws, entertain thoughts of future reconciliation, and making their peace for such breaches: and as to the punishments due from the laws of the commonwealth, they frequently flatter themselves with the hope of impunity. But no man escapes the punishment of their censure and dislike who offends against the fashion and opinion of the company he keeps, and would recommend himself to. Nor is there one in ten thousand who is stiff and insensible enough to bear up under the constant dislike and condemnation of his own club. He must be of a strange and unusual constitution who can content himself to live in constant disgrace and disrepute with his own particular society. Solitude many men have sought and been reconciled to; but nobody that has the least thought or sense of a man about him can live in society under the constant dislike and ill opinion of his familiars and those he converses with. This is a burden too heavy for human sufferance: and he must be made up of irreconcilable contradictions who can take pleasure in company and yet be insensible of contempt and disgrace from his companions." (Locke's Essay, book II. ch. XXVIII.§ 12.)
 Wundt's account of Self-consciousness deserves to be compared with this. What I have called 'adjustments' he calls processes of 'Apperception.' "In this development (of consciousness) one particular group of percepts claims a prominent significance, namely, those of which the spring lies in ourselves. The images of feelings we get from our own body, and the representations of our own movements distinguish themselves from all others by forming a permanent group. As there are always some muscles in a state either of tension or of activity it follows that we never lack a sense, either dim or clear, of the positions or movements of our body. . . . This permanent sense, moreover, has this particularity, that we are aware of our power at any moment voluntarily to arouse any one of its ingredients. We excite the sensations of movement immediately by such impulses of the will as shall arouse the movements themselves; and we excite the visual and tactile feelings of our body by the voluntary movement of our organs of sense. So we come to conceive this permanent mass of feeling as immediately or remotely subject to our will, and call it the consciousness of ourself. This self-consciousness is, at the outset, thoroughly sensational, . . . only gradually the second-named of its characters, its subjection to our will, attains predominance. In proportion as the apperception of all our mental objects appears to us as an inward exercise of will, does our self-consciousness begin both to widen itself and to narrow itself at the same time. It widens itself in that every mental act, whatever comes to stand in relation to our will; and it narrows itself in that it concentrates itself more and more upon the inner activity of apperception, over against which our own body and all the representations connected with it appear as external objects, different from our proper self. This consciousness, contracted down to the process of apperception, we call our Ego; and the apperception of mental objects in general, may thus, after Leibnitz, be designated as the raising of them into our self-consciousness. Thus the natural development of self-consciousness implicitly involves the most abstract forms in which this faculty has been described in philosophy; only philosophy is fond of placing the abstract ego at the outset, and so reversing the process of development. Nor should we overlook the fact that the completely abstract ego [as pure activity], although suggested by the natural development of our consciousness, is never actually found therein. The most speculative of philosophers is incapable of disjoining his ego form those bodily feelings and images which form the incessant background of his awareness of himself. The notion of his ego as such is, like every notion, derived from sensibility, for the process of apperception itself comes to our knowledge chiefly through those feelings of tension [what I have above called inward adjustments] which accompany it." (Physiologische Psychologie, 2te Aufl. Bd. II. pp. 217-19.)
 Cf. Carlyle: Sartor Resartus, 'The Everlasting Yea.' "I tell thee, blockhead, it all comes of thy vanity; of what thou fanciest those same deserts of thine to be. Fancy that thou deservest to be hanged (as is most likely), thou wilt feel it happiness to be only shot: fancy that thou deservest to be hanged in a hair halter, it will be luxury to die in hemp. . . . What act of legislature was there that thou shouldst be happy? A little while ago thou hadst no right to be at all," etc. etc.
 "The usual mode of lessening the shock of disappointment or disesteem is to contract, if possible, a low estimate of the persons that inflict it. This is our remedy for the unjust censures of party spirit, as well as of personal malignity." (Bain: Emotion and Will, p. 209.)
 It must be observed that the qualities of the Self thus ideally constituted are all qualities approved by my actual fellows in the first instance; and that my reason for now appealing from their verdict to that of the ideal judge lies in some outward peculiarity of the immediate case. What once was admired in me as courage has now become in the eyes of men 'impertinence'; what was fortitude is obstinacy; what was fidelity is now fanaticism. The ideal judge alone, I now believe, can read my qualities, my willingnesses, my powers, or what they truly are. My fellows, misled by interest and prejudice, have gone astray.
 The kind of selfishness varies with the self that is sought. If it be the mere bodily self; if a man grabs the best food the warm corner, the vacant seat; if he makes room for no one, spits about, and belches in our faces, - we call it hoggishness. If it be the social self, in the form of popularity or influence, for which he is greedy, he may in material ways subordinate himself to others as the best means to his end; and in this case he is very apt to pass for a disinterested man. If it be the 'other-worldly' self which he seeks, and if he seeks it ascetically, - even though he would rather see all mankind damned eternally than lose his individual soul, - 'saintliness' will probably be the name by which his selfishness will be called.
 Professor Bain, in his chapter on 'Emotions of Self,' does scant justice to the primitive nature of a large part of our self-feeling, and seems to reduce it to reflective self-estimation of this sober intellectual sort, which certainly most of it is not. He says that when the attention is turned inward upon self as a Personality, "we are putting forth towards ourselves the kind of exercise that properly accompanies our contemplation of other persons. We are accustomed to scrutinize the actions and conduct of those about us, to set a higher value upon one man than upon another, by comparing the two; to pity one in distress; to feel complacency towards a particular individual; to congratulate a man on some good fortune that it pleases us to see him gain; to admire greatness or excellence as displayed by any of our fellows. All these exercises are intrinsically social, like Love and Resentment; an isolated individual could never attain to them, nor exercise them. By what means, then, through what fiction [!] can we turn round and play them off upon self? Or how comes it that we obtain any satisfaction by putting self in the place of the other party? Perhaps the simplest form of the reflected act is that expressed by Self-worth and Self-estimation, based and begun upon observation of the ways and conduct of our fellow-beings. We soon make comparisons among the individuals about us; we see that one is stronger and does more work than another, and, in consequence perhaps, receives more pay. We see one putting forth perhaps more kindness than another, and in consequence receiving more love. We see some individuals surpassing the rest in astonishing feats, and drawing after them the gaze and admiration of a crowd. We acquire a series of fixed associations towards persons so situated; favorable in the case of the superior, and unfavorable to the inferior. To the strong and laborious man we attach an estimate of greater reward, and feel that to be in his place would be a happier lot than falls to others. Desiring, as we do, from the primary motives of our being, to possess good things, and observing these to come by a man's superior exertions, we feel a respect for such exertion and a wish that it might be ours. We know that we also put forth exertions for our share of good things; and on witnessing others, we are apt to be reminded of ourselves and to make comparisons with ourselves, which comparisons derive their interest from the substantial consequences. Having thus once learned to look at other persons as performing labors, greater or less, and as realizing fruits to accord; being, moreover, in all respects like our fellows, - we find it an exercise neither difficult nor unmeaning to contemplate self as doing work and receiving the reward. . . . As we decide between one man and another, - which is worthier, . . . so we decide between self and all other men; being, however, in this decision under the bias of our own desires." A couple of pages farther on we read: "By the terms Self-complacency, Self-gratulation, is indicated a positive enjoyment in dwelling upon our own merits and belongings. As in other modes, so here, the starting point is the contemplation of excellence or pleasing qualities in another person, accompanied more or less with fondness or love." Self-pity is also regarded by Professor Bain, in this place, as an emotion diverted to ourselves from a more immediate object, "in a manner that we may term fictitious and unreal. Still, as we can view self in the light of another person, we can feel towards it the emotion of pity called forth by others in our situation."
This account of Professor Bain's is, it will be observed a good specimen of the old-fashioned mode of explaining the several emotions as rapid calculations of results, and the transfer of feeling from one object to another, associated by contiguity or similarity with the first. Zoological evolutionism, which came up since Professor Bain first wrote, has made us see, on the contrary, that many emotions must be primitively aroused by special objects. None are more worthy of being ranked primitive than the self-gratulation and humiliation attendant on our own successes and failures in the main functions of life. We need no borrowed reflection for these feelings. Professor Bain's account applied to but that small fraction of our self-feeling which reflective criticism can add to, or subtract from, the total mass. - Lotze has some pages on the modifications of our self-regard by universal judgments, in Microcosmus, book V. chap. V. § 5.
 "Also nur dadurch, dass ich ein Mannigfaltiges gegebener Vorstellungen in einem Bewusstsein verbinden kann, ist es möglich dass ich die Identität des Bewusstseins in diesen Vorstellungen selbst vorstelle, d. h. die analytische Einheit der Apperception ist nur unter der Voraussetzung irgend einer synthetischen möglich." In this passage (Kritik der reinen Vernunft, 2te Aufl. § 16) Kant calls by the names of analytic and synthetic apperception what we here mean by objective and subjective synthesis respectively. It were much to be desired that some one might invent a good pair of terms in which to record the distinction - those used in the text are certainly very bad, but Kant's seem to me still worse. 'Categorical unity' and 'transcendental synthesis' would also be good Kantian, but hardly good human, speech.
 So that we might say, by a sort of bad pun, "only a connected world can be known as disconnected." I say bad pun, because the point of view shifts between the connectedness and the disconnectedness. The disconnectedness is of the realities known; the connectedness is of the knowledge of them; and reality and knowledge of it are, from the psychological point of view held fast to in these pages, two different facts.
 Some subtle reader will object that the Thought cannot call any part of its Object 'I' and knit other parts on to it, without first knitting that part on to Itself; and that it cannot knit it on to Itself without knowing Itself; - so that our supposition (above, p. 304) that the Thought may conceivably have no immediate knowledge of Itself is thus overthrown. To which the reply is that we must take care not to be duped by words. The words I and me signify nothing mysterious and unexampled - they are at bottom only names of emphasis; and Thought is always emphasizing something. Within a tract of space which it cognizes, it contrasts a here with a there; within a tract of time a now with a then; of a pair of things it calls one this, the other that. I and thou, I and it, are distinctions exactly on a par with these, - distinctions possible in an exclusively objective field of knowledge, the 'I' meaning for the Thought nothing but the bodily life which it momentarily feels. The sense of my bodily existence, however obscurely recognized as such, may then be the absolute original of my conscious selfhood, the fundamental perception that I am. All appropriations may be made to it, by a Thought not at the moment immediately cognized by itself. Whether these are not only logical possibilities but actual facts is something not yet dogmatically decided in the text.
 Metaphysik, § 245fin. This writer, who in his early work, the Medizinische Psychologie, was (to my reading) a strong defender of the Soul-Substance theory, has written in §§ 243-5 of his Metaphysik the most beautiful criticism of this theory which exists.
 His chapter on the Psychological Theory of Mind is a beautiful case in point, and his concessions there have become so celebrated that they must be quoted for the reader's benefit. He ends the chapter with these words (loc. cit. p. 247): "The theory, therefore, which resolves Mind into a series of feelings, with a background of possibilities of feeling, can effectually withstand the most invidious of the arguments directed against it. But groundless as are the extrinsic objections, the theory has intrinsic difficulties which we have not set forth, and which it seems to me beyond the power of metaphysical analysis to remove. . . .
"The thread of consciousness which composes the mind's phenomenal life consist not only of present sensations, but likewise, in part, of memories and expectations. Now what are these? In themselves, they are present feelings, states of present consciousness, and in that respect not distinguished from sensations. They all, moreover, resemble some given sensations or feelings, of which we have previously had experience. But they are attended with the peculiarity that each of them involves a belief in more than its own present existence. A sensation involves only this; but a remembrance of sensation, even if not referred to any particular date, involves the suggestion and belief that a sensation, of which it is a copy or representation, actually existed in the past; and an expectation involves the belief, more or less positive, that a sensation or other feeling to which it directly refers will exist in the future. Nor can the phenomena involved in these two states of consciousness be adequately expressed, without saying that the belief they include is, that I myself formerly had, or that I myself, and no other, shall hereafter have, the sensations remembered or expected. The fact believed is, that the sensations did actually form, or will hereafter form, part of the self-same series of states, or thread of consciousness, of which the remembrance or expectation of those sensations is the part now present. If, therefore, we speak of the mind as a series of feelings we are obliged to complete the statement by calling it a series of feelings which is aware of itself as past and future; and we are reduced to the alternative of believing that the mind, or Ego, is something different from any series of feelings, or possibilities of them, or of accepting the paradox that something which ex hypothesi is but a series of feelings, can be aware of itself as a series.
"The truth is, that we are here face to face with that final inexplicability, at which, as Sir W. Hamilton observes, we inevitably arrive when we reach ultimate facts; and in general, one mode of stating it only appears more incomprehensible than another, because the whole of human language is accommodated to the one, and is so incongruous with the other that it cannot be expressed in any terms which do not deny its truth. The real stumbling-block is perhaps not in any theory of the fact, but in the fact itself. The true incomprehensibility perhaps is, that something which has ceased, or is not yet in existence, can still be, in a manner, present; that a series of feelings, the infinitely greater part of which is past or future, can be gathered up, as it were, into a simple present conception, accompanied by a belief or reality. I think by far the wisest thing we can do is to accept the inexplicable fact, without any theory of how it takes place; and when we are obliged to speak of it in terms which assume a theory, to use them with a reservation as to their meaning."
In a later place in the same book (p. 561) Mill, speaking of what may rightly be demanded of a theorist, says: "He is not entitled to frame a theory from one class of phenomena, extend it to another class which it does not fit, and excuse himself by saying that if we cannot make it fit, it is because ultimate facts are inexplicable." The class of phenomena which the associationist school takes to frame its theory of the Ego are feelings unaware of each other. The class of phenomena the Ego presents are feelings of which the later ones are intensely aware of those that went before. The two classes do not 'fit,' and no exercise of ingenuity can ever make them fit. No shuffling of unaware feelings can make them aware. To get the awareness we must openly beg it by postulating a new feeling which has it. This new feeling is no 'Theory' of the phenomena, but a simple statement of them; and as such I postulate in the text the present passing Thought as a psychic integer, with its knowledge of so much that has gone before.
 It must be noticed, in justice to what was said above on page 274 ff., that neither Kant nor his successors anywhere discriminate between the presence of the apperceiving Ego to the combined object, and the awareness by that Ego of its own presence and of its distinctness from what it apperceives. That the Object must be known to something which thinks, and that it must be known to something which thinks that it thinks, are treated by them as identical necessities, - by what logic, does not appear. Kant tries to soften the jump in the reasoning by saying the thought of itself on the part of the Ego need only be potential - "the 'I think' must be capable of accompanying all other knowledge" - but a thought which is only potential is actually no thought at all, which practically gives up the case.
 "As regards the soul, now, or the 'I,' the 'thinker,' the whole drift of Kant's advance upon Hume and sensational psychology is towards the demonstration that the subject of knowledge is an Agent." (G. S. Morris, Kant's Critique, etc. (Chicago, 1882), p. 224.)
 "In Kant's Prolegomena," says II. Cohen, - I do not myself find the passage, - "it is expressly said that the problem is not to show how experience arises (ensteht), but of what it consists (besteht)." (Kant's Theorie d. Erfahrung (1871), p. 138.)
 The contrast between the Monism thus reached and our own psychological point of view can be exhibited schematically thus, the terms in squares standing for what, for us, are the ultimate irreducible data of psychological science, and the vincula above it symbolizing the reductions which post-Kantian idealism performs:
 One is almost tempted to believe that the pantomime-state of mind and that of the Hegelian dialectics are, emotionally considered, one and the same thing. In the pantomime all common things are represented to happen in impossible ways, people jump down each other's throats, houses turn inside out, old women become young men, everything 'passes into its opposite' with inconceivable celerity and skill; and this, so far from producing perplexity, brings rapture to the beholder's mind. And so in the Hegelian logic, relations elsewhere recognized under the insipid name of distinctions (such as that between knower and object, many and one) must first be translated into impossibilities and contradictions, then 'transcended' and identified by miracle, ere the proper temper is induced for thoroughly enjoying the spectacle they show.
 The reader will please understand that I am quite willing to leave the hypothesis of the transcendental Ego as a substitute for the passing Thought open to discussion on general speculative grounds. Only in this book I prefer to stick by the common-sense assumption that we have successive conscious states, because all psychologists make it, and because one does not see how there can be a Psychology written which does not postulate such thoughts as its ultimate data. The data of all natural sciences become in turn subjects of a critical treatment more refined than that which the sciences themselves accord; and so it may fare in the end with our passing Thought. We have ourselves seen (pp. 299-305) that the sensible certainty of its existence is less strong than is usually assumed. My quarrel with the transcendental Egoists is mainly about their grounds for their belief. Did they consistently propose it as a substitute for the passing Thought, did they consistently deny the latter's existence, I should respect their position more. But so far as I can understand them, they habitually believe in the passing Thought also. They seem even to believe in the Lockian stream of separate ideas, for the chief glory of the Ego in their pages is always its power to 'overcome' this separateness and unite the naturally disunited, 'synthetizing,' 'connecting,' or 'relating' the ideas together being used as synonyms, by transcendentalist writers, for knowing various objects at once. Not the being conscious at all, but the being conscious of many things together is held to be the difficult thing, in our psychic life, which only the wonder-working Ego can perform. But on what slippery ground does one get the moment one changes the definite notion of knowing an object into the altogether vague one of uniting or synthetizing the ideas of its various parts! - In the chapters on Sensation we shall come upon all this again.
 "When we compare the listeless inactivity of
the infant, slumbering from the moment at which he takes his milky food
to the moment at which he wakes to require it again, with the restless
energies of that mighty being which he is to become in his maturer years,
pouring truth after truth, in rapid and dazzling profusion, upon the world,
or grasping in his single hand the destiny of empires, how few are the
circumstances of resemblance which we can trace, of all that intelligence
which is afterwards to be displayed; how little more is seen than what
serves to give feeble motion to the mere machinery of life! . . . Every
age, if we may speak of many ages in the few years of human life, seems
to be marked with a distinct character. Each has its peculiar objects which
excite lively affections; and in each, exertion is excited by affections,
which in other periods terminate without inducing active desire. The boy
finds a world in less space than that which bounds his visible horizon;
he wanders over his range of field and exhausts his strength in the pursuit
of objects which, in the years that follow, are seen only to be neglected;
while to him the objects that are afterwards to absorb his whole soul are
as indifferent as the objects of his present passions are destined then
to appear. . . . How many opportunities must every one have had of witnessing
the progress of intellectual decay, and the coldness that steals upon the
once benevolent heart! We quit our country, perhaps at an early period
of life, and after an absence of many years we return with all the rememberances
of past pleasure which grow more tender as they approach their objects.
We eagerly seek him to whose paternal voice we have been accustomed to
listen with the same reverence as if its predictions had possessed oracular
certainty, - who first led us into knowledge, and whose image has been
constantly joined in our mind with all that veneration which does not forbid
love. We find him sunk, perhaps, in the imbecility of idiotism, unable
to recognize us, - ignorant alike of the past and of the future, and living
only in the sensibility of animal gratification. We seek the favorite companion
of our childhood, whose tenderness of heart, etc. . . . We find him hardened
into a man, meeting us scarcely with the cold hypocrisy of dissembled friendship
- in his general relations to the world careless of the misery he is
not to feel.
. . . When we observe all this, . . . do we use only a metaphor of little meaning when we say of him that he is become a different person, and that his mind and character are changed? In what does the identity consist?
. . . The supposed test of identity, when applied to the mind in these cases, completely fails. It neither affects, nor is affected, in the same manner in the same circumstances. It therefore, if the test be a just one, is not the same identical mind." (T. Brown: Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind, 'on Mental Identity.'
 "Sir John Cutler had a pair of black worsted stockings, which his maid darned so often with silk that they became at last a pair of silk stockings. Now, supposing these stockings of Sir John's endued with some degree of consciousness at every particular darning, they would have been sensible that they were the same individual pair of stockings both before and after the darning; and this sensation would have continued in them through all the succession of darnings; and yet after the last of all, there was not perhaps one thread left of the first pair of stockings: but they were grown to be silk stockings, as was said before." (Pope's Martinus Scriblerus, quoted by Brown, ibid.)
 For a careful study of the errors in narratives, see E. Gurney: Phantasms of the Living, vol. I. pp. 126-158. In the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research for May 1887 Mr. Richard Hodgson shows by an extraordinary array of instances how utterly inaccurate everyone's description from memory of a rapid series of events is certain to be.
 See Josiah Royce (Mind, vol. 13, p. 244, and Proceedings of Am. Soc. of Psych. Research, vol. I. p. 366), for evidence that a certain sort of hallucination of memory which he calls 'pseudo-presentiment' is no uncommon phenomenon.
 Maladies de la Mémoire, p. 85. The little that would be left of personal consciousness if all our senses stopped their work is ingenuously shown in the remark of the extraordinary anaesthetic youth whose case Professor Strümpell reports (in the Deutsches Archiv f. klin. Med., XXII. 347, 1878). This boy, whom we shall later find instructive in many connections, was totally anaesthetic without and (so far as could be tested) within, save for the sight of one eye and the hearing of one ear. When his eye was closed, he said: "Wenn ich nicht sehen kann, da BIN ich gar nicht - I no longer am."
 "One can compare the state of the patient to nothing so well as to that of a caterpillar, which, keeping all its caterpillar's ideas and remembrances, should suddenly become a butterfly with a butterfly's sense and sensations. Between the old and the new state, between the first self, that of the caterpillar, and second self, that of the butterfly, there is a deep scission, a complete rupture. The new feelings find no anterior series to which they can knit themselves on; the patient can neither interpret nor use them; he does not recognize them; they are unknown. Hence two conclusions, the first which consists in his saying, I no longer am; the second, somewhat later, which consists in his saying, I am another person." (H. Taine: de l'Intelligence, 3me édition (1878), p. 462.
 Sudden alterations in outward fortune often produce such a change in the empirical me as almost to amount to a pathological disturbance of self-consciousness. When a poor man draws the big prize in a lottery, or unexpectedly inherits an estate; when a man high in fame is publicly disgraced, a millionaire becomes a pauper, or a loving husband and father sees his family perish at one fell swoop, there is temporarily such a rupture between all past habits, whether of an active or a passive kind, and the exigencies and possibilities of the new situation, that the individual may find no medium of continuity or association to carry him over from the one phase to the other of his life. Under these conditions mental derangement is no unfrequent result.
 Op. cit. p. 84. In this work and in Dr. Azam's (cited on a previous page), as well as in Prof. Th. Ribot's Maladies de la Personnalité (1885), the reader will find information and references relative to the other known cases of the kind.
 His own brother's subject Wit. . . . , although in her anaesthetic waking state she recollected nothing of either of her trances, yet remembered her deeper trance (in which her sensibilities became perfect - see above, p. 207) when she was in her lighter trance. Nevertheless in the latter she was as anaesthetic as when awake. (Loc. cit. p. 619.) - It does not appear that there was an important difference in the sensibility of Félida X. between her two states - as far as one can judge from M. Azam's account she was to some degree anaesthetic in both (op. cit. pp. 71, 96). - In the case of double personality reported by M. Dufay (Revue Scientifique, vol. XVIII. p. 69), the memory seems to have been best in the more anaesthetic condition. - Hypnotic subjects made blind do not necessarily lose their visual ideas. It appears, then, both that amnesias may occur without anaesthesias, and anaesthesias without amnesias, though they may also occur in combination. Hypnotic subjects made blind by suggestion will tell you that they clearly imagine the things which they can no longer see.
 He had spent an afternoon in Boston, a night in New York, an afternoon in Newark, and ten days or more in Philadelphia, first in a certain hotel and next in a certain boarding-house, making no acquaintances, 'resting,' reading, and 'looking round.' I have unfortunately been unable to get independent corroboration of these details, as the hotel registers are destroyed, and the boarding-house named by him has been pulled down. He forgets the name of the two ladies who kept it.
 The details of the case, it will be seen, are all compatible with simulation. I can only say of that, that no one who has examined Mr. Bourne (including Dr. Read, Dr. Weir Mitchell, Dr. Guy Hindsdale, and Mr. R. Hodgson) practically doubts his ingrained honesty, nor, so far as I can discover, do any of his personal acquaintances indulge in a sceptical view.
 My friend Mr. R. Hodgson informs me that he visited Watseka in April 1889, and cross-examined the principal witnesses of this case. His confidence in the original narrative was strengthened by what he learned; and various unpublished facts were ascertained, which increased the plausibility of the spiritualistic interpretation of the phenomenon.
 See his highly important series of articles on
Automatic Writing, etc., in the Proceedings of the Soc. for Psych. Research,
especially Article II (May 1885). Compare also Dr. Maudsley's instructive
article in Mind, vol. XIV. p. 161, and Luys's essay, 'Sur le Dédoublement,'
etc., in l'Encéphale for 1889.