1902 Encyclopedia > Psychology > Ideation and Intellection

Psychology
(Part 56)




(H) Feeling (cont.)

Ideation and Intellection

3. The more or less spontaneous workings of imagination, as well as that direct control of this working necessary to thinking in the stricter sense, are always productive of pain or pleasure in varying degrees. Though the exposition of the higher intellectual processes has not yet been reached, there will be no inconvenience in at once taking account of their effects on feeling, since these are fairly obvious and largely independent of any analysis of the processes themselves. It will also be convenient to include under the once term "intellectual feelings," not only the feelings connected with certainty, doubt, perplexity, comprehension, and so forth, but also what the Herbartian psychologists – whose work in this department of psychology is classical – have called par excellence the formal feelings, -- that is to say, feelings which they regard as entirely determined by the form of the flow of ideas, and not by the ideas themselves. Thus, be the ideas what they may, when their onward movement is checked by divergent or obstructing lines of association, and especially when in this manner we are hindered, say, from recollecting a name, or a quotation (as if, e.g., the names of Archimedes, Anaximenes, and Anaximander each arrested the clear revival of the other), we are conscious of a certain strain and oppressiveness, which give way to momentary relief when at length what is wanted rises into distinct consciousness and our ideas resume their flow. Here again, too, as in muscular movements, we have the contrast of exertion and facility, when "thoughts refuse to flow" and we work "invita Minerva," or when the appropriate ideas seem to unfold and display themselves before us like a vision before one inspired. To be confronted with propositions we cannot reconcile – i.e., with what is or appears inconsistent, false, contradictory – is apt to be painful; the recognition of truth or logical coherence, on the other hand, is pleasurable. The feeling in either case is, no doubt, greater the greater our interest in the subject-matter; but the mere conflict of ideas as such is in itself depressing, and the discernment of agreement, of the one in the many, in like manner a distinct satisfaction. Now in the once case we are conscious of futile efforts to comprehend as on e ideas which the more distinctly we apprehend them for the purpose only prove to be the more completely and diametrically opposed; we can only affirm and mentally envisage the one by denying and suppressing the representation of the other, and yet we have to strive to predicate both and to embody them together in the same mental image. Attention is like a house divided against itself: there is effort but it is not effective for the field of consciousness in narrowed and the flow of ideas arrested. When, on the other hand, we discern a common principle among diverse and apparently disconnected particulars, instead of all the attention we can command being taxes in the separate apprehension of these "disjecta membra," they become as one, and we seem at once to have at our disposal resources for the command of an enlarged filed and the detection of new resemblances.





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