However the associationist may represent the present ideas as thronging and

However the associationist may represent the present

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However the associationist may represent the present ideas as thronging and arranging themselves, still, the spiritualist insists, he has in the end to admit that something, be it brain, be it * ideas,' be it * asso- ciation,' knoivs past time as past, and fills it out with this or that event. And when the spiritualist calls memory an ' irreducible faculty,' he says no more than this admission of the associationist already grants. And yet the admission is far from being a satisfactory simplification of the concrete facts. For why should this absolute god-given Faculty retain so much better the events of yesterday than those of last year, and, best of all, those
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THE SCOPE OF FS7CE0L0GY. 3 of an hour ago ? Why, again, in old age sliould its grasp of childhood's events seem firmest ? Why should illness and exhaustion enfeeble it ? Why should repeating an ex- perience strengthen our recollection of it ? "Why should drugs, fevers, asphyxia, and excitement resuscitate things long since forgotten ? If we content ourselves with merely affirming that the faculty of memory is so jpeculiarly con- stituted by nature as to exhibit just these oddities, we seem little the better for having invoked it, for our explanation iDecomes as complicated as that of the crude facts with which we started. Moreover there is something grotesque and irrational in the supposition that the soul is equipped with elementary powers of such an ingeniously intricate sort. Why sliould our memory cling more easily to the near than the remote ? Why should it lose its grasp of proper sooner than of abstract names ? Such peculiarities seem quite fan- tastic ; and might, for aught we can see a priori, be the precise opposites of what they are. Evidently, then, the faculty does not exist absolutely, hut works under conditions and the quest of the conditions becomes the psychologist's most interesting task. However firmly he may hold to the soul and her re- membering faculty, he must acknowledge that she never exerts the latter without a cue, and that something must al- ways precede and remind us of whatever we are to recoUect- ^' An idea r says the associationist, " an idea associated with the remembered thing ; and this explains also why things repeatedly met with are more easily recollected, for their as- sociates on the various occasions furnish so many distinct avenues of recall." But this does not explain the effects of fever, exhaustion, hypnotism, old age, and the like. And in general, the pure associationist's account of our mental life is almost as bewildering as that of the pure spiritualist. This multitude of ideas, existing absolutely, yet clinging together, and weaving an endless carpet of themselves, like dominoes in ceaseless change, or the bits of glass in a kaleidoscope, whence do they get their fantastic laws of clinging, and why do they cling in just the shapes they do ?
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