« AnteriorContinuar »
SLIGHT REMARKS ON THE MODIFICATIONS WHICH
THE INTELLECTUAL FACULTY OFTEN UNDERGOES DURING INTENSE EXCITEMENTS OF THE MIND.
SLIGHT REMARKS ON THE MODIFICATIONS WHICH THE
"Hark, amid the wond'ring grove,
In the last part of this treatise, the research, as I observed at the time, was of a novel kind. Since арраritions are ideas equalling or exceeding in vividness actual impressions, there ought to exist some important and definite laws of the mind which have given rise to this undue degree of vividness. It was, chiefly,
therefore, for the purpose of investigating such laws that this dissertation was written.
But I have here entered into a perfectly new field of research, where far greater difficulties were to be encountered than I anticipated. The extent of these can only be estimated by the metaphysician.
The last object of this dissertation was to have established, that all the subordinate incidents connected with phantasms might be explained on the following general principle:-That, in every undue excitement of our feelings, (as, for instance, when ideas become more vivid than actual impressions,) the operations of the intellectual faculty of the mind sustain corresponding modifications, by which the efforts of the judgment are rendered proportionally incorrect. But here I must pause. In order to give a full rationale of the phenomena which we have been lately contemplating, certain principles of the mind, to which I have yet but slightly adverted, require the fullest consideration. I allude to the laws connected with the intellectual faculty, and to the obstacles which are opposed to the correctness of its operations, during the extreme degrees of intensity to which the states of the mind become liable from morbific causes.-But, can it be reasonably expected, that any individual would undertake an investigation of this kind, which demands the consideration of every phenomenon of the human mind as it is presented in health or disease, with the solitary object in view of explaining the subordinate incidents connected with apparitions? For such a purpose, it would be necessary to incorporate within
this treatise a complete systematic view of the pathology of the human mind,—a mark of attention, which, to the bugbears of popular superstition, I am not inclined to pay. Yet, not to avoid the question altogether, I shall in preference quote the opinion of other authors upon the subject, rather than submit to the reader any remarks of my own. This plan I prefer, because the explanation of my own views would comprehend the notice of many other mental principles, besides those which will now be quoted, that might require an extensive discussion. To any pneumatologist, therefore, who has more inclination than myself to persist in an investigation of this kind-who has the spirit to exclaim, with one of Dryden's heroes,
"I'll face these babbling demons of the air,
the slight remarks and illustrations which appear in this part of the work are, with due deference, submitted.
Dr Brown, in his Physiology of the Human Mind, remarks, "That the union of perception with conceptions that harmonize with it, does truly vivify those harmonizing conceptions, by giving a sort of mixed reality to the whole, is shewn by some of the most interesting phenomena of thought and emotion. It is, indeed, a law of the mind, which, though little heeded by metaphysical inquirers, seems to me far more important, and far more extensive, than many of those to which they have paid the greatest attention. Some of our most vivid emotions, those of beauty, for example,-derive their