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the words merely as a whole, but every letteç of which they are made up, and even the minute parts of these letters. But it is merely a glance; it does not for any length of time occupy our attention ; we immediately forget, and with great difficulty persuade ourselves that we have truly perceived the letters of the word. The fact that every letter is in ordinary cases observed by us, may be proved by leaving out a letter of the word, or by substituting others of a similar form. We readily, in reading, detect such omissions or substitutions.
(5.) An expert accountant can sum up, almost with a single glance of the eye, a long column of figures. The operation is performed almost instantaneously, and yet he ascertains the sum of the whole with unerring certainty. It is impossible that he should learn the sum without noticing every figure in the whole column, and withvut allowing each its proper worth ; but the attention to them was so very slight, that he is unable to rememl-er this distinct notice.
Many facts of this kind evidently show, as we think, that memory depends upon attention, or rather upon a continuance of attention, and varies with that continuance.
Ø 91. Of exercising attention in reading. If attention, as we have seen, be requisite to memory, then we are furnished with a practical rule of considerable importance. The rule is, Not to give a hasty and careless reading of authors, but read them with a suitable degree of deliberation and thought.-If we are asked the reason of this direction, we find a good and satisfactory one in the fact referred to at the head of this section, that there cannot be memory without attention, or, rather, that the power of memory will vary with the degiee of attention. By yielding to the desire of becoming acquainted with a greater variety of departments of knowledge than the understanding is able to master, and, as a necessary consequence, by bestowing upon each of them only a very slight attention, we remain essentially ignorant of the whole.
(1.) The person who pursues such a course finds himself unable to recall what he has been over; he has great many half-formed notions floating in his mind, but
these are so ill shaped and so little under his control as to be but little better than actual ignorance. This is one evil result of reading authors and of going over sciences in the careless way which has been specified, that the knowledge thus acquired, if it can be called knowledge, is of very little practical benefit, in consequence of being so poorly digested and so little under control.—(2.) But there is another, and perhaps more serious evil. This practice greatly disqualifies one for all intellectual pursuits. To store the mind with new ideas is only a part of education. It is, at least, a matter of equal importance, to impart to all the mental powers a suitable discipline, to exercise those that are strong, to strengthen those that are weak, and to maintain among all of them a suitable balance. An attentive and thorough examination of subjects is a training up of the mind in both these respects. It furnishes it with that species of knowledge which is most valuable, because it is not mixed
with errors; and, moreover, gives a strength and consistency to the whole structure of the intellect. Whereas, when the mind is long left at liberty to wander from object to object, without being called to account and subjected to the rules of salutary discipline, it entirely loses, at last, the ability to dwell upon the subjects of its thoughts, and examine them. And, when this power is once lost, there is but little ground to expect any solid attainments.
Ø 92. Alleged inability to command the attention. We are aware that 'hose who, in accordance with these directions, are required to make a close and thorough examination of subjects, will sometimes complain that they find a great obstacle in their inability to fix their attention. They are not wanting in ability to comprehend; but find it difficult to retain the mind in one position so long as to enable them to connect together all the parts of a subject, and duly estimate their various bearings. When this intellectual defect exists, it becomes a new reason for that thorough examination of subjects, which has been above recommended. It has probably been caused by a neglect of such strictness of exami: nation, and by a too rapid and careless transition from one subject to another
ATTENTION, it will be recollected, expresses the state of the mind when it is steadily directed for some time, whether longer or shorter, to some object of sense or intellect, exclusive of other objects. All other objects are shut out; and when this exclusion of everything else continues for some time, the attention is said to be intense.--Now it is well known that such an exclusive dia rection of the mind cannot exist for any long period without being accompanied with a feeling of desire or of duty. In the greatest intellectual exertions, not the mere powers of judging, of abstracting, and of reasoning are concerned; there will also be a greater or less movement of the feelings. And it will be found that no feeling will effectually confine the minds of men in scientific pursuits, but a love of the truth.
Mr. Locke thought that the person who should discover a remedy for wandering thoughts would do a great service to the studious and contemplative part of mankind. We know of no other effective remedy than the one just mentioned, A LOVE OF THE TRUTH, a desire to know the nature and relations of things, merely for the sake of knowledge. It is true, that a conviction of duty will do much; ambition and interest may possibly do more; but when the mind is led to deep investigations by these views merely, without finding something beautifül and attractive in the aspect of knowledge itself, it is likely to prove a tiresome process. The excellence of knowledge, therefore, considered meßely in the light of its being suited to the intellectual nature of man, and as the appropriate incentive and reward of intellectual activity, ought to be frequently impressed.—“ I saw D’Alembert,” says a recent writer, “ congratulate a young man very coldly who brought him a solution of a problem. The
young man said, I have done this in order to have a seat in the Academy.' Sir,' answered D'Alembert, ' with such dispositions you never will earn one. Science must be loved for its own sake, and not for the advantage to be derived. No other principle will enable a man to make
progress in the sciences !! 15* * Memoirs of Montlosier, vol. i., page 58, as quoted in Mackintosh's Ethical Philosoplay, sert vii
9 03. Definition of dreams and the prevaier.ce of chem. AMONG numerous other subjects in mental philosopay which claim their share of attention, that of Lreawing is entitled to its place; nor can we be certain thai any other will be found more appropriate to it than the present, especially when we consider how closely it is connected in all its forms with our sensations and conceptions. And what are Dreams? It approaches, perhaps, sufficiently near to a correct general description to say, that they are our mental states and operations while we are asleep. But the particular views which are to be taken in the examination of this subject will not fail to throw light on this general statement.
The mental states and exercises which go under this name have ever excited much interest. It is undoubtedly one reason of the attention, which the subject of our dreams has ever elicited among all classes of people, that they are so prevalent; it being very difficult, if not impossible, to find a person who has not had more or less of this experience. Mr. Locke, however, tells us of an individual who never dreamed till the twenty-sixth year of his age, when he happened to have a fever, and then dreamed for the first time. Plutarch also mentions one Cleon, a friend of his, who lived to an advanced age, and yet had never dreamed once in his life; and remarks that he had heard the same thing reported of Thrasymedes.
Undoubtedly these persons dreamed very seldom, as we find that some dream much more than others; but it is possible that they may have dreamed at some time and entirely forgotten it. So that it cannot with certainty be inferred from such instances as these, that there are any who are entirely exempt from dreaming.
$94. Connexion of dreams with our waking thoughts. In giving an explanation of dreams, our attention is
first arrested by the circumstance that they have an intimate relationship with our waking thoughts. The great body of our waking experiences appear in the form of trains of associations; and these trains of associated ideas, in greater or less continuity, and with greater or less variation, continue when we are asleep.-Condorcet (a name famous in the history of France) told some one, that, while he was engaged in abstruse and profound calculations, he was frequently obliged to leave them in an unfinished state, in order to retire to rest, and that the remaining steps and the conclusion of his calculations have more than once presented themselves in his dreams.Franklin also has made the remark, that the bearings and results of political events, which had caused him much trouble while awake, were not unfrequently unfolded to him in dreaming.–Mr. Coleridge says, that, as he was once reading in the Pilgrimage of Purchas an account of the palace and garden of the Khan Kubla, he fell into a sleep, and in that situation composed an entire poem of not less than two hundred lines, some of which he afterward committed to writing. The poem is entitled Kubla Khan, and begins as follows:
“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree ;
Down to a sunless sea." It is evident from such statements as these, which are confirmed by the experience of almost every person, that our dreams are fashioned from the materials of the thoughts and feelings which we have while awake; in other words, they will, in a great degree, be merely the repetition of our customary and prevailing associations. So well understood is this, that President Edwards, who was no less distinguished as a mental philosopher than as a theolo gian, thought it a good practice to take particular notice of his dreams, in order to ascertain from them what his predominant inclinations were.
Ø 95. Dreams are often caused by our sensations. But while we are to look for the materials of our dreams in thoughts which had previously existed, we