1902 Encyclopedia > Psychology > Impenetrability

(Part 33)

(E) Perception (cont.)


(b) Here our properly motor presentations or "feelings of effort or innervation" come specially into play. They are not entirely absent in those movements of exploration by which we attain a knowledge of space ; but it is when these movements are definitely resisted, or are only possible by increased effort, that we reach the full meaning of body as that which occupies space. Heat and cold, light and sound , the natural man regards as real, and by and by perhaps as due to the powers of thing known or unknown, but not as themselves things. At the outset things are all corporeal like his own body, the first and archetypal thing, that is to say : things are intuited only when touch is accompanied by pressure ; and, though at a later stage passive touch without pressure may suffice, this is only because pressure muscular exertion, have been previously experienced. It is of more psychological interest to remark how the primordial factor in materiality is thus due to the projection of a subjectively determined reaction to that action of a not-self on which sense-impressions depend—,an action of the not-self which, of course, is not known as such till this projection of the subjective reaction has taken place. Still we must remember that accompanying sense-impressions are a condition of its projection : muscular effort without simultaneous sensations of contact would not yield the distinct presentation of the resistant occupying the space into which we have moved and would move again. Nay more, it is in the highest degree an essential circumstance in this experience that muscular effort, though subjectively initiated, is still only possible when there is contact with something that, as it seems, is making an effort the counterpart of our own. But this something is so far no more than thing-stuff; without the elements next to be considered our psychological individual would fall short of the complete intuition of distinct things.

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