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force itself upon inquisitive and strong understandings. Did Locke and Davy, (names, which we select to represent improvements in the two departments of intellectual and physical science,) did they rely on a divulged and explicit statute of Lord Bacon for the character and success of their researches? No more, we apprehend, than Napoleon fought his way to empire under the influence of an axiom.
In making, however, this large concession, or rather, in drawing this due distinction, we are by no means disposed either to depreciate the actual merit of Lord Bacon's rule, or to disavow the past unequivocal successes of the branch of science in question, or to abandon our hopes of its future indefinite triumphs. Much, certainly, was gained by embodying the inductive method in a preceptive frame, and so suggesting and recommending it to the world. If an earlier start along the true path of science was hereby given to men, than they would otherwise have taken, and if, by the same means, an incalculable expenditure of time and talents has in many cases been saved, these are achievements, which certainly belong to the science of the mind. For we scarcely need contend, that the investigation and laying down of precepts for the prosecution of general science strictly constitutes one department of intellectual philosophy.
But, to take our stand on still more unquestionable ground; supposing all that has been written and said about the principle of association of ideas had been suppressed from the very first, and that men had been left to avail themselves of that principle only as nature prompted and experience dictated; can it be conceived, that every individual in the world at this moment would have been equally wise and skilful, equally happy and virtuous? On the contrary, has not the specification and description of this element of our minds, and the perpetual pressing of its existence and uses upon the attention of men, caused it to become a more constant, systematic, and efficient instrument of thought and practice? Of two orators, in other respects equal, which should we most confidently select for the management of a cause, one who has been taught the doctrine of association in all its known relations and effects, or one who only instinctively and unconsciously acts upon it? To us there seems a vast accession of power and resources placed at the disposal of the former. Our own
convictions are both deliberate and strong, that in the whole body of literature and mental effort at the present day, comprehending alike the speculations of the labored and formal volume, the pulpit, bar, legislative hall, periodical press, ephemeral paragraph, conversation, and solitary thought, no contemptible degree of whatever deep research, true sentiment, accurate rhetoric, and just reasoning, are found to prevail, owes its origin more or less directly to the influence of what has been said and inculcated respecting right methods of ratiocination, and respecting the proper application of the associating principle.
Who can doubt that individual virtue has been strengthened, and individual happiness increased, by a scientific acquaintance with the principle of association? When gloomy thoughts overshadow and oppress his soul, the well educated man, who happily has not neglected the science of the mind, recollects what he has been taught in books, and in the lecture room, concerning continued trains of ideas, and the power of the associating principle. He, therefore, seizes the assistance of this intellectual instrument to lead his attention towards brighter objects of contemplation, and thus to dissipate his gloom. And this he does with much more avidity and effect, than the untutored son of sorrow, who, unacquainted with the whole nature and extent of the blessed power within him, makes perhaps, or perhaps not, a few faint efforts, which instinct may benevolently prompt, to turn the train of his ideas and feelings, but soon again desperately yields up his soul to its fixed and haunting agony.
We rejoice to believe, that the science we are recommending is frequently found instrumental also in purifying the current of thought, as well as recalling it to its proper channels; that it assists in eluding the suggestions of temptation, in controlling a wayward imagination, in analysing and dissolving prejudices; and that it produces many other similar effects, favorable to virtue and happiness, which would have arisen less certainly and systematically, had the power of the associating principle been left to its own spontaneous operations, unaffected by former scientific speculations, and unaided by the cultivated habit of looking into ourselves.
The very nature of the thing, we confess, forbids us to point out, ocularly, the influence of these intellectual instru
ments acting on the minds of men, as one may show the. compass in the binnacle, virtually influencing every motion of a ship, and guiding her safely through difficulties and dangers. All that we can do is, to throw out our suggestions and the results of our own experience for what they are worth, and leave them to excite the convictions or dissent of our readers, according to their views, experience, and modes of thinking. But if there is any truth in the preceding reflections, the claims of intellectual philosophy are vindicated, and she can boast of her specific instruments, that wield as prodigious a power, and are capable of conferring as exhaustless benefits, as certain more tangible discoveries in the sister department of natural philosophy. Observe, we are careful not to claim for this science the principle of association itself, any more than the principle of reasoning, or of memory, or of imagination. It is only the formal recognition, the verbal statement, the didactic exposition, of these principles, which we understand here by intellectual instruments, and for the positively beneficial influences of which we are taking the trouble to contend.
The topical system of the ancients was such an intellectual instrument, as has been demanded of mental philosophy, and nearly as palpable as the safety lamp. The discovery of it strictly belonged to the genuine science of the mind. The art of Mnemonics may be at present only in its infancy. We hold the expectation of new discoveries and methods in this branch of learning to be as reasonable, as to look for farther knowledge on the subjects of light and heat. For instance, as an humble example, has a general rule been yet laid down, apportioning the quantity of anything to be committed to memory, to the number of times necessary to repeat it, so as to introduce the greatest possible economy of time and labor? If a half page of letter press requires to be only six times read over, in order to be well fixed in the memory, and a whole page seven times, it is manifestly better to divide the task of a whole page into two portions, and thus to save one reading. If, again, a quarter of a page only requires to be repeated five times, a further economy may be obtained by dividing the task into four portions. It is evident, however, that these divisions may be continued so far as to frustrate the purpose of them; for if the page is broken up into portions as small as
one line each, although each portion could be well remembered at one reading, yet the whole page must be read over seven times as at first, and a loss is thus incurred by carrying the divisions too far. But where is the point at which the divisions may cease, and still allow the smallest possible number of repeated readings? Now a few patient and attentive experiments and calculations, upon a memory of average strength and quickness, might conduct an inquirer to some result or formula on this subject, which should prove as useful to the world as a new algebraic expression in the general doctrine of chances. Who will pretend to limit the possible multiplication of such facts and rules of every kind, connected with all our mental operations? The time may come, when a grammar or accidence of the mind shall be put into the hands of youth, on a very extended and improved plan of some of our easy systems of logic, which shall reveal to the opening intellect the extent of its powers, and early teach it the adroit and perfect use of itself, far beyond what is now practised or conjectured by the most accomplished and experienced men. Should it be incredulously asked, if such things can be expected at this late period of the world, we would inquire in return, how long, on the one hand, the species may yet hope to exist, and, on the other, how long the circulation of the blood has been discovered?
A complete system of intellectual philosophy, in all its abstract perfection, necessarily cannot be executed until the full extent of the human powers has been tried in every art and every science, that can possibly develop and employ them. Such a period, it is true, stands at an indefinite distance. But still the remark illustrates and strengthens our position at the outset of this article, that the science of the mind is destined to become the most advanced of all. Approximations to its ideal completeness can be made from time to time, according as the mind of man exhibits new achievements and capacities to serve as materials for this last and highest branch of knowledge. When the mathematician has exhausted his skill in numerical combination, and has invented methods, by which even the relations of infinite quantities can be managed to his purposes, the philosopher of the mind steps in, looks at the point which has been reached, and records it on some page of the intellectual system. When the natural philosopher has
made every possible experiment on matter, has investigated the affinities of atoms, or taken the weight of worlds, or systematised the laws of motion, or measured the long, long journey of a ray of light from some outer system of the universe, or examined the different properties of opposite sides of that ray, or searched for the lines which divide organized from inorganic substance, and sentient from sluggish life, then the intellectual philosopher comes up to revise the task of his indefatigable agent and forerunner, marking wherein he has triumphed, or wherein he has been baffled, and notes down on the tablet of his own science the strength and the weakness of the human intellect.
When the poet, the orator, the scholar, the reasoner, the historian, the painter, the musician, the sculptor, the architect, with the laborers in every other kindred art or pursuit, have exhausted their powers in affecting the souls of men, now moving them with transports of delight, now stimulating and correcting the progress of thought, now impressing a new character on whole generations, and guiding them to new courses of action, the mental philosopher fails not, with observant eye, to follow after these varied achievements, and transfers them to his chapter of the influences of mind upon mind. It is equally a branch of his vocation to watch the spontaneous movements of individual and collective man; to trace the changes of opinion, custom, character; to observe what is universally pleasing or displeasing; in short, to note and record the operations and affections of the general mind. When hundreds of solitary thinkers have turned their attention inwards to survey the operations of their own individual intellect, compared with what they know of others, and have classified, as well as the evanescent and impalpable nature of the subject will permit, those laws of thought and emotion, that may be gathered from their combined internal experience and foreign observation, at length some master philosopher of the mind avails himself of the labors of his predecessors, and employs their recorded results to mould into a new frame and aspect this keystone of the sciences. When sciences, which are now unthought of, shall arise and be carried to perfection, calling forth mental powers as yet unexerted and unknown, and when perhaps new combinations and exhibitions of moral excellence shall brighten the face of society, the faithful phi