§5. Feeling as Independent of Mind and Change 1)


305. Suppose I begin by inquiring of you, Reader, in what particulars a feeling of redness or of purple without beginning, end, or change; or an eternally sounding and unvarying railway whistle; or a sempiterne thrill of joyous delight — or rather, such as would afford us delight, but supposed to be in that respect quite neutral — that should constitute the entire universe, would differ from a substance? I suppose you will tell me that no such thing could be alone in the universe because, firstly, it would require a mind to feel it, which would not be the feeling itself; secondly, the color or sound and probably also the thrill of delight would consist of vibrations; thirdly, none of them could last forever without a flow of time; fourthly, each would have a quality, which would be a determination in several respects, the color in hue, luminosity, chroma, and vividness; the sound in pitch, timbre (itself highly complex), loudness, and vividness; the delight more or less sensual, more or less emotional, more or less elevated, etc.; and fifthly, each would require a physical substratum altogether disparate to the feeling itself. But I point out to you that these things are only known to us by extraneous experience; none of them are either seen in the color, heard in the sound, or felt in the visceral sensation. Consequently, there can be no logical difficulty in supposing them to be absent, and for my part, I encounter not the slightest psychological difficulty in doing so, either. To suppose, for example, that there is a flow of time, or any degree of vividness, be it high or low, seems to me quite as uncalled for as to suppose that there is freedom of the press or a magnetic field.


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