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to others. Children and young people are continually feeling and observing the good effects of benevolence, as manifested in their own conduct, or in that of others; and hence, in well-disposed children, the pleasurable feelings connected with benevolent actions are very strong; they are very glad to see others made happy, and very glad to be enabled to make others happy; the pleasure derived from the approbation of others, from the approbation of their own minds; the increase of good will in the person benefited; and the accordance with all the religious feelings which are possessed, and with various circumstances less general; add such a stock of pleasurable feelings to the doing good to others, that by degrees it is an object of desire, altogether independently of any consideration beyond itself. A person who has completely gone through this process desires to benefit others, without the slightest reference to his own personal benefit, either in this world or in the next; he employs the different opportunities which present themselves to him of doing good to others, without thinking of any thing more than the immediate object. If it call for great exertion on his part, great efforts of self-denial, he brings to his aid the desire of following the dictates of duty, of obeying the commands of God; and where his benevolence, his love of duty, and his love of God, are thoroughly purified from self, to do good he will forego great and any pleasures, and endure great and any pains, without a thought beyond the attainment of the good which he proposes, and the obedience to the claims of God and duty. Is he not now a noble being, worthy the discipline which his Heavenly Father has bestowed upon him And would not any one, to attain this height, go through any correction or trial A less height is often observed. Benevolence may, with the strictest propriety, be termed disinterested, when, in a considerable number of its promptings, it has no end beside the good which it proposes, and this is obtained by numbers; and by those who have attained this height, that improvement may be made, by cultivating a general love of duty, and a regard to the will of God, which refutes, beyond the possibility of rational controversy, the opinion that every feeling of the human mind is selfish.-We surely need not show how these things illustrate and explain the law of transWOL. IX,
ference, by which means become the ends. We, shall, however, just point out, that the desire of doing good itself may sometimes be lost from the view of the mind in attention to the means of doing it. Some of our readers are probably considerably interested in the welfare of institutions for the promotion of the welfare of the poor and afflicted; these institutions were planned by benevolence, and benevolence prompts their support. It is the desire of doing good which has led to the frequently returning exertions which are made to keep then in vigour; but we have no doubt but the welfare of one or other of those institutions will often be found to be an object of the mind, without reference to the good it does. The mind rejoices in its success, without thinking of the benefit which will result from it. As soon as the attention is directed to the benefits, the mind dwells upon them as the ultimate reason of its pleasure; but that was not in the view of the mind. Whether we have been successful or not in making our readers feel the force of the assertion by this illustration, we are confident of the fact, that the means of doing good often themselves become ends; and that the desire of their successful furtherance, which was originally felt for them, merely on account of the good they promised or did, is at last felt without reference to that good; though, on the other hand, it would by degrees, though perhaps not very soon, decay, if it were proved to the satisfaction of the mind, that the means of the hoped-for good were and must be totally inefficacious.-But there would be no end to illustrations of this law, if we were to trace it out in all its operations. We are continually loving things, because—and afterwards loving them for themselves alone: it extends to the love of duty in general, without any reference to those peculiar branches of it with which we have been more immediately concerned. All the pleasurable feelings arising from particular branches of duty, and all the tendencies to particular branches of duty, by degrees become connected with the idea of duty in general, which is, in fact, formed of all the ideas of particular branches, &c. which we have considered as right and our duty; hence duty becomes an object of desire, because parts of it are loved on their own account, and this hastens the progress of a disinterested love of duty in general. But, leaving this out of the K k.
question, a great variety of considerations make it an object of choice; and if it be pursued as a mean to obtain the object in view, with sufficient steadiness, and for a sufficient length of time, by degrees it is pursued as an end, and duty is then loved for itself. 46. We shall think ourselves fortunate, if we have succeeded in giving a distinct idea of the progress of the mind from self to disinterestedness. There are few things in mental investigations more interesting, or of greater practical value, than the tendency to love and to desire to promote things which have no immediate connection with our own good, without any reference to our own good.—That the human mind is capable of gross selfishness, which defies all present discipline to correct, is a fact which cannot be denied, and which should excite our vigilance and concern. But it is no less a fact, that it is also capable of disinterestedness, which shall run through the whole of the conduct, and prompt uniformly and steadily to the promotion of others’ welfare. The earliest pleasures are personal : I wish not to call them selfish, because we seem to appropriate that term to those feelings which have an explicit reference to our own real or imaginary good, and which prompt to this even at the expense of others: in this sense the human mind cannot with the least propriety be said to be originally selfish; but its earliest pleasures are personal, and its earliest desires are consequently personal. Its interest in the pleasures of others arises from their connection with the personal pleasures, and consequently the desire of promoting their pleasures: the love of others is originally interested; that is, it is in consequence of its personal pleasures depending on the pleasures of others. There is nothing criminal in this, it is according to the laws of our mental frame; it is only criminal when the mind rests here; for it cannot, without being wrongfully impeded. The good of others promotes our personal pleasures, and hence it is originally that we desire to promote their good. By degrees the desire is transferred completely from the original end, personal pleasures, to the good of others, the original means, and then this becomes an end, and the desire is disinterested. 47. We feel the glow of pleasure in thus tracing the progress of the mind, and shewing that its tendency is to disinterestedness, and that it is often obtained in a comparatively universal extent. Let us not then listen to the degrading ideas of
those, who would persuade us that the most perfect benevolence is only the most refined selfishness; that all which is said by philosophers and moralists, respecting disinterestedness, is unmeaning rant, and that when we call upon mankind to divest themselves of self and personal considera– tions we call upon them for something which they are not able to practise. We may, with the consistency of truth, have a nobler view of our species; and we may ourselves hold up, as the object of our steady exertions, that state of mind, in which to perceive the practicable means of promoting the good of others, and to employ them, will be invariably associated, without any connecting, intervening bond of union. On the other hand, let no one less highly value the exertions of disinterestedness, because it can be shewn to arise from a meaner origin. Ought we not rather to admire the height which has been gained by a steady use of the general means of worth, and by a right employment of the discipline of Providence : Is his conductless lovely, who has gone through the trial, and brought from it disinterestedness, which prompts to ef. forts of the noblest kind for the good of others The original disinterestedness of the mind may be pleasing in some points of view ; but in others it is the contrary : it diminishes the worth of character in those cases where it exists, for constitutional disinterestedness has no more merit than the possession of a good sight; and it damps too the efforts to obtain disinterestedness. Those who find themselves deficient, who discover feelings which disinterestedness owns not, have, on the theory here proposed, the best encouragement, the prospect of success in their endeavours to transfer their affections from self. It leads too, humbly and gratefully, to acquiesce in every means which Providence may appoint to discipline the mind, and to purify it from all that can debase. In short, it points the view to the highest excellence, and di
rects the means of attaining it.
4. Habitual Biases.
48. We now proceed to the last of those laws of association, which we propose to notice, and in what we shall advance on the subject, we shall make a free use of Stewart's Elements.-The leading feature of the operations of the associative power is, that when two or more ideas, &c. are presented to the mind together, or in close succession, they become conrected with one another, or blended together, so that the one, when recalled to the view of the mind, is accompanied with the other. But we must not limit its exercise to this operation; it not only connects ideas when they are thus presented together to the mind, but is the cause of the introduction of ideas with one another, which have never before been presented together to the mind. An object which has never before been presented to the mind may excite numerous ideas, or trains of ideas; while another may continually occur, without exciting a single idea. And the same object will affect different persons differently, so that in the mind of one it will excite trains of thought, while in another it will only produce a momentary impression; and in different persons too the same object will excite different trains of thought; and in the same person, at different times, different effects will be produced.—Now all this depends upon the habitual or accidental biases to particular kinds of connection, produced either by the habitual tendency of the mental constitution, or, more usually, by the particular culture of the individual mind, owing to direct instruction, or to the effect of circumstances, operating without any intention, either on his part or on that of others. 49. The earliest bond of union between objects of thought is, their being presented to the mind together, or in close succession, through the medium of sensation; this is owing to the objects of sensation being connected either in time or place, or, in other words, owing to the relation of contiguity in time and place existing between these objects. This cause of connection among our ideas is what necessarily has the earliest efficacy in forming those connections, because it does not presuppose, as every other does, the existence of other ideas in the mind, or the exercise of attention to other relations which exist among them. Children associate ideas together almost entirely by this bond of union; persons of uncultivated minds, in the same manner, usually have their ideas connected by the same bond of union, contiguity of time and place of the objects of sensation, producing impressions on the mind at the same time, or in close succession; and more or less it is a connecting link, or cause of connection, in every one, in every period of life. We might, d priori, calculate upon its high importance in the mental structure, and as a matter of fact, it is the foundation of all experience and philosophy, and at the
same time the source of numerous prejudices. It is the source of numerous prejudices, by leading us to expect continued conjunction in time or place, where the conjunction was only occasional, and thus to suppose a real and permanent connection between objects which had only an accidental and temporary connection. Hence unenlightened experience of the past will fill the mind, in numberless instances, with vain expectations, or with groundless alarms concerning the future; hence the regard which is paid to unlucky days, to unlucky colours, to the influence of the planets, &c.; apprehensions which render human life, to many, a continual series of absurd terrors. But this principle of connection among our ideas is also the foundation of all experience and philosophy; for the grand object of philosophy is the knowledge of those laws which regulate the succession of events, so that from the past we may be enabled to anticipate the probable course of the future, and to regulate our conduct accordingly ; and therefore it is of the first importance that the connections of time and place should have a strong power over the mind. Experience is of a more limited nature, but has the same object to anticipate the probable course of events, so as to make the past subservient to the conduct of the future; and by rendering contiguity, in time, one of the strongest principles of connection in our minds, the wise Author of our frame has conjoined in our thoughts the same events which we find conjoined in our experience, and has thus accommodated (without any effort on our part) the order of our ideas to that scene in which we are destined to act. 50. Upon the connections established by this principle, all other connections are founded. Some of the most striking are, those which arise from the relations of similarity, of contrariety, of cause and effect, of means and end, of premises and conclusion. Next to the relation of contiguity in time and place, that of similarity is most universally operative. It does not depend upon an active exertion of intellect, but arises spontaneously from the mental constitution. Similarity implies partial identity of sensation, and hence an object, when first presented to the mind, frequently recals the idea of that which has some parts of its component sensations the same. Thus, when we see a face which considerably interests us, we are often led to recollect the face of some other person, in consequence of the impressions from each agreeing in. some particulars. In the same manner, where the circumstances of one event are, in some respects, the same with the circumstances of another, which had before fallen under our notice, so far there is a recurrence of the same impressions, and that by the more general law of association recals the remaining circumstances.—This cause of connection among our ideas, like that of contiguity in time or place, is of the greatest importance, and at the same time liable to be greatly misused. Without it, the experience of the past would be of no utility to us, for the same set of circumstances never occurs twice; if there be sufficient similarity to recal the past, it now answers the purpose of exciting the expectations of what occurred in similar circumstances, that is, of bringing the experience of the past to bear upon the present. But as similarity is only partial sameness, if it be not accompanied with some discrimination, consequences will be expected that will never happen, and conclusions, which will mislead, will be formed without any just foundation.—Ideas are connected together not only in consequence of similarity, that is, sameness in some of their component parts, but frequently also from similarity in the sounds expressing them. It is upon this circumstance that the art of punning is founded; an art which may be innocent in itself considered, but which, when made an object of the mind, leads from sense to sound, and prevents us from carefully examining the arguments and differences of things on which alone reasoning can be founded. So much, indeed, is a habit of punning at variance with habits of thought and sober reflection, that the whole current of thought will sometimes be diverted from its proper channel, by some word in which the thought is expressed, recalling, by similarity of sound, some other which calls up its own train of thought. A good pun may sometimes be considered as an exercise of the judgment; but more usually is merely an exercise of the associative power, in this particular principle of connection, similarity in sound; and therefore it would be wise in young persons to check the desire to obtain an acquisition, which is of little value, because almost every one may acquire it, and which must check the culture of other more valuable principles of association. 51. Another fertile principle of connection is contrariety, which connects together ideas which are totally, or in many
respects opposite to each other. This, however, is more the result of attention and habit than those of contiguity in time or place, and similarity. Some persons are particularly disposed to it, others have little tendency to it. It frequently appears to arise from the natural tendency of the mind to change from one set of feelings, which are in some way or other displeasing, to others which may be pleasing ; and very often serves to illustrate reasoning ; but particularly to give interest and force to a description of natural scenery, or a delineation of character. 52. The other principles of connection, which we mentioned, are more refined, and are the result of culture. A person who has been more accustomed to philosophize, or to reason, than to follow the airy flights of wit or poetic fancy, connects his ideas by the principles of cause and effect, of means and end, of premises and conclusion. When a phenomenon is stated to his mind, it almost involuntarily brings forward ideas which serve to account for the phenomenon: we do not mean, that the mind invariably brings forward the right ideas, but simply those which answer the wants of the individual, by serving to account to him for the phenomenon. So, in the same manner, when an end is proposed, the train of thought is concerned about the means, which are often suggested, though the object itself was never before in the view of the mind. All these relations doubtless produce their effect by minute and almost imperceptible sameness in the particular object now in the view of the mind, and some one which before has been, and has been connected by some cause or other with the cause or means by which it was produced, or to be produced: but it is convenient to speak of them as distinct from the more obvious relations, because they imply different culture of the mind, and lead to such widely different effects.-Now any one of these connecting principles may, by habit, be strengthened to such a degree, as to give us a command over all the different ideas in our mind which have the given relation to each other; so that when any one in the class occurs to us, we have almost a certainty that it will suggest the rest.—As this appears to be an indisputable fact respecting the influence of association, we may state it in the following general form:—When an idea is presented to the mind, either by sensation or by association, bearing certain
I'elations, either in itself, or in its effects on the mind, with another idea already on the mind, the latter is recalled by the former, and becomes connected with it: and the association thus produced is subject to the same laws with those formed, owing to the contiguity in the times of the reception of the ideas.
It ESPECTING THE COMPOSITION OF IDEAS.
53. Another grand law, or mode of operation, of the associative power is that by which simple ideas are formed into compound, or complex ideas; in other words, more generally, by which simple sensorial changes are combined and blended together.—In the consideration of this law, we shall derive most of our statements from those of Hartley, divesting them, however, of those peculiarities of expression, which depend for their correctness upon the truth of the positions, that the medullary substance of the brain is the sensorium, and that sensorial changes are vibrations of the medullary substance. In order to explain this law of association, it is necessary to take a view of the modes in which simple ideas, or ideas of sensation, may be associated.
Case 1. Let the sensation A be often associated with each of the sensations B, C, D, &c.; that is, at certain times with B, at certain other times with C, and so on: it is evident from what has been before stated (§ 21.) that A, when produced alone, will raise a, b, c, d, &c. (the simple ideas of sensation correspending respectively with A, B, C, D, &c.) altogether, and consequently will associate them together. If a, b, c, d, &c. are distinct in all their parts, then, in the first instance, they will be merely connected, so as to make a group (which may be represented, by a-Fb-Hc-H d,) but if they are not distinct in their parts, they more or less run into each other, so as to form a complex cluster, (which may be represented by abcd.) Now the more frequently the group a +b+c+d, &c. occurs in connection, the more closely the single ideas are united; and unless any one has a peculiar degree of vividness, they will by degrees appear to the mind as one idea; and unless the notice of the mind is particularly directed to the circumstance, that it is composed of parts, it appears as much a single idea as originally each of the parts would have done, if the attention had been directed to them singly. Again, the more the cluster abcd,&c, occursin combination,
the more completely the parts coalesce, so that by degrees they form a complex idea, the parts of which are scarcely distinguishable.
54. Case 2. If the sensations A, B, C, D, &c. be associated together, according to various combinations of twos, or even of threes, fours, &c. then will A raise up b-H. c—Hd, &c.; also B will raise up a-Hc-Ed, &c.; and compound or complex ideas will be formed of those combinations, precisely as was before stated in the case of sensations singly associated with another sensation. It may happen indeed in both cases, that A may raise a particular idea, as b, preferably to any of the rest, in consequence of its being more frequently associated with b, or of the greater novelty of the impression of the corresponding sensation, B, rendering it more vivid, or of some tendency of the sensorium to excite b, or of some other cause; and in like manner that B may raise c or d preferable to the rest. However, all this will at last be over-ruled by the recurrence of the associations, so that any one of the sensations will excite the ideas of the rest at the same instant, and therefore associate them together.
55. Case 3. Let A, B, C, D, &c. represent, successive sensations (occuring in contiguous, successive instants), A will raise b, c, d, &c. B will raise c, d, &c.: and though the ideas do not rise precisely in the same instant, yet they come nearer and nearer together than the sensations did in their original impression; so that these ideas are at last associated synchronously, as they were from the first successively.
56. Case 4. All compound impressions, A+B+C+D, &c. or A B C D, &c. (according as they are received by different organs, or the same) after sufficent repetition, leave behind their compound ideas a-H b-H c-F d, &c. or abcd, &c. which recur every now and then by means of sensations, or ideas, with which the whole compound, or any one or more of the parts, A, B, C, D, &c. have been associated. Now in these recurrences of compound ideas, the parts are further associated, and more intimately united to one another agreeably to what was observed above, so as to form a compound or complex idea, which shall appear to the mind as one single idea.—As the same causes produce the recurrence of the compounded ideas in whatsoever way the union was first produced, the same remark may be made under each of the cases, as has been un