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renown, they have originated as amorphous masses of tissue piled up or thrown together in the collision of molecular motions arriving from different points at the surface of the organism. They are therefore admirably fitted for the interception, the storing up and the release of motion, and, consequently, as it would seem, for making themselves directly felt in consciousness. Yet this, as we saw, is the very function which the facts constrain us to deny to them for they are not directly felt in consciousness at all; while the function with which in our hypothesis we credit them is the very one for which they seem to be unfitted. Relatively structureless themselves they stand midway between the wonderful organization of the universe outside and the more wonderful organization of the mind within, the interpretation of the one to the other, or the unification of the two. In his Physiology of Common Life, Mr. Lewes has turned this difficulty by ascribing to the homogeneous ganglia a single common property which he calls “Sensibility," whose reactions on different stimuli produce different sensations, so that the complex organization of consciousness is due, not to complexity of the nerve-cells, but to complexity of their connections with other parts of the organism. The objection to this generalization is that reaction requires a structure no less complex than is required by action ; as the wbole organism is able to reply to the environment only in so far as it has been differentiated into adjustment thereto, so the nervous centres reply to the rest of the organism, which is their environment, only in so far as they have been adjusted to the rest of the organism.* This difficulty again has been met by multiplying the connections of the nerve-cells with one another. Prof. Bain has calculated that there are molecules enough in the brain, and fibres enough running between them, to provide a concurrent action of two or more molecules for every change in the universe which is reg. istered after any sort whatsoever in consciousness, and Mr. Spencer abounds in speculation of the same sort; the idea being that by blending together simple units of molecular motion in multiples of increasing complexity we get a physical basis for complex consciousness. This is more to the purpose, and it increases our regret that Mr. Lewes bas not begun the foundations of his creed, by laying down the physiological data at
* The American representative of the Identität-Philosophie is very severe on the “detached abstractions" with which Metaphysics has corrupted the simplicity of science and of life. (Nation, No. 532, on “German Darwinism.") There is no better sample of such wicked abstractions than the “Sensibility" and "Neurility": of the Physiology of Cornmon Life. Mr. Lewes actually writes of the reactions of Sensibility on Neurility as if Sensibility were anything more than the sum of the reactions themselves, or Neurility more than the sum of the stimuli; and he defines sensibility the common property of the ganglionic substance as if "substance" were anything more than the sum of "properties." All this, however, was written years ago before Mr. Lewes had discovered the exact character of metaphysical method and detached abstractions.
Accepting, bowever, the promises to pay as lawful tender we will suppose that the unproduced data are producible; that in spite of their surpassing sensitiveness to stimulus and their unstable equilibrium or liability to “explode” and decompose, the nervous ganglia bave patiently taken on an enduring and intricate structure, bave developed into a microcosm whose reverberations answer perfectly to the universe outside. These we take it and the like of these are the physiological data ; high organization, the orderly reception of innumerable stimuli, the orderly liberation of innumerable motions; and the question is, do they supply the elements of a possible consciousness ? Motions of inconceivable fineness, in incalculable numbers, in endless succession, in sustained order; can sensation be got out of them ? can perception? or ideas ? or pleasure and pain ? or will? or personality ? In a word can that sum-total of all these which we call consciousness be got out of them ? or can it be identified with them?
If now Mr. Lewes is faithful to the principles and traditions of Empiricism this feat will be attempted in one way and no other. Thus, empirical science has got latent heat out of molar motion by the simple and beautiful process of declaring that latent heat is molecular motion; it has got radiant heat and light out of latent heat by declaring that they are undulatory motions; it has got, or means to get, polarity, affinity, cohesion, capillarity, by declaring them to be motion; and it means to get vitality and heredity out of lower modes of motion by declaring that they are motions too. In no one case has it ever actually witnessed the pocess of transmutation ; in
; every case it has supplied the missing steps of the process by the dogma that the so-called force in question is a redistribution of some antecedent motion or motions. This single generalization is the weapon with which Empiricism has won all its victories. We do not in the least question its validity bere; we simply say that this is the principle and tradition of Empiricism, and that if Mr. Lewes is faithful, if he really means to constitute the Science of Psychology on physiological data he will get consciousness in the same way that Helmholz gets heat or Spencer vitality by declaring that consciousness is motion. To swerve one bair's breadth from this line of demonstration is, we submit, to break with the philosophy we understand him to profess and the particular pledges we understand him to have given. He is under bonds to maintain as fact, theory, hypothesis or dogma, that the contents of consciousness are modes of motion.
(1) He begins, in thorough loyality to the empirical methods, by casting out of consciousness all transcendental elements which by the very terms of their definition could never have been yielded by experience acquired or inherited; the intuitions of necessary universal truths, the à priori forms of thought, the original faculties of knowing, reasoning, willing, the whole of that antiquated lumber which Psychology has trusted to as proofs of the separateness, the independence, and the durability of the soul. Manifestly these are things which cannot come from the organism, which it is impossible to provide with physiological data or to construe as modes of motion. Mr. Lewes therefore suppresses them and along with them whatever may be supposed to answer to them in the objective universe, individuality, substance, universal necessity, the absolute. How this is done will be subject of future consideration; here we only rote the fact. (2) What is left as the sum-total of consciousness are feelings and those segregations and integrations of feelings which have slowly arisen in the course of ages and which we may sum under the general term, ideas. This integrating process seems to have gone so far that no perfectly simple feelings can be discerned in consciousness standing uncompounded by themselves. The ultimate elements have all been worked up into multiples more or less complex exactly as the units of matter or motion in the external world have integrated into compound bodies or actions long before they become decernible to the senses. We have those lowest com: pounds which we term nervous shocks or discharges; then those higher ones known as sensations of sound, warmth, brightness, color, odor, pressure, movement, each being a cluster of similar feelings abstracted from other differing ones and fused together; then those still higher abstracts and integers called perceptions of bodies; then conceptions of the common characters of bodies which we express in general terms; until at last we escape quite out of the concrete into the ideal world Here reign the highest abstractions and syntheses of science and philosophy: here the superlative idealism of mathematics from which the concrete aspects of the Plenum have disappeared leaving only the purified conceptions of extension, duration, number, quantity. Probably no enumeration of mental phenomena has ever been contrived so inviting for the great empirical generalization which has wrought wonders elsewhere, that all changes are modes of motion.
However, the perplexing elements have not been all weeded out by the enumeration. To begin among the summits, as it were, of consciousness, the region of our most abstract feelings, wbat is meant by telling me that my idea of a perfect circle, or square, or triangle, is a motion, and how can it be shown that this is true? Figures are limitations of extension, and extension certainly is not motion, nor are its limitations motions, and how can our ideas of them be motions? If it be said that our ideas of abstract extension, or space, are derived from our experience of concrete extended things, then we are met by the difficulty that there are no perfect concrete figures anywhere in existence and so no experience of them. Perhaps we have no perfect ideas of perfect figures but reach our mathematical conclusions by comparing approximate ideas; but what sort of a motion is that which when given out by the molecules of the brain I call an approximate idea of a perfect circle? And how can any abstraction and fusion of such motions yield a mathematical certainty or even an identical proposition ?* Imagine the Consciousness of Sir Isaac Newton
* Practically we identify a thing by the equivalence of our present and our past feelings of the thing. There being no motions in the brain exactly equal, how is experience to yield an equivalent proposition ? If there are no equivalent propositions what becomes of Mathematics ? and what of the Identität-Philosophie ? This, however, properly belongs to the discussion of Necessary Truth.
when sitting down to review bis Optics or his treatise on Fluxions, the world of abstract ideas of quantity and infinitesimals of quantity, with their innumerable equations and proportions, and then try to fathom what is meant by saying that these ideas were all motions, and what the static and dynamic conditions of his brain must have been if they were. Or coming down out of this abstract empyrean, picture the interior of the brain from which flowed the Midsummer Night's Dream, or that other brain which yielded the Divine Comedy. Indeed, the difficulties increase as we descend to the concrete, from the ideal to the practical life. I find myself completely befogged by being told that a pain is a motion or that any other feeling is. And the more carefully I ponder over it the more it seems to me that this incapacity is constitutional, however we suppose the mind to have been constituted, whether by evolution or by creation. If it is a fact that mind is redistributed motion, then I can only say that Persistent Force has been busy from immemorial time in preparing for me this most mortifying predicament of having my feelings so organized that it seems to be nonsense to say that they are what they are—motions, and mere matter of fact to say that they are what they are not—not motions. That this organic incapacity of mine is insuperable I do not like to say ; remembering what has happened to affinity, vitality, and heredity, which have turned up modes of motion in the most surprising manner, it may be that this unthinkable proposition, “ feeling is motion too" will turn up in Mr. Lewes's bands not only thinkable but palpably true. It would be inexcusable rashness to deny the possibility of the feat, although one which Empiricism, flushed with all its other victories, has so far declined. Mr. Mill says it is not in him to do it; Mr. Spencer says it is not ic him; Prof. Tyndall says it is not in him. So we turn with exceeding curiosity to the Problems of Life and Mind to see if it is in Mr. Lewes. And this is what we find :
"Here at any rate, it is said, Science must acknowledge its impotence; . . . the transformation of a neural process into a sensation remains an impenetrable mystery. Mind we know, and Feeling we know; but we know them as utterly different, and know the one becomes changed into the other ... is a question which can never be answered."