§10. The Transition to Secondness 1)


317. The whole content of consciousness is made up of qualities of feeling, as truly as the whole of space is made up of points or the whole of time of instants.

318. Contemplate anything by itself — anything whatever that can be so contemplated. Attend to the whole and drop the parts out of attention altogether. One can approximate nearly enough to the accomplishment of that to see that the result of its perfect accomplishment would be that one would have in his consciousness at the moment nothing but a quality of feeling. This quality of feeling would in itself, as so contemplated, have no parts. It would be unlike any other such quality of feeling. In itself, it would not even resemble any other; for resemblance has its being only in comparison. It would be a pure priman. Since this is true of whatever we contemplate, however complex may be the object, it follows that there is nothing else in immediate consciousness. To be conscious is nothing else than to feel.

319. What room, then, is there for secundans and tertians? Was there some mistake in our demonstration that they must also have their places in the phaneron? No, there was no mistake. I said that the phaneron is made up entirely of qualities of feeling as truly as space is entirely made up of points. There is a certain protoidal aspect — I coin the word for the need — under which space is truly made up of nothing but points. Yet it is certain that no collection of points — using the word collection to mean merely a plural, without the idea of the objects being brought together — no collection of points, no matter how abnumerable its multitude, can in itself constitute space. . . .

320. The phaneron does contain genuine secundans. Standing on the outside of a door that is slightly ajar, you put your hand upon the knob to open and enter it. You experience an unseen, silent resistance. You put your shoulder against the door and, gathering your forces, put forth a tremendous effort. Effort supposes resistance. Where there is no effort there is no resistance, where there is no resistance there is no effort either in this world or any of the worlds of possibility. It follows that an effort is not a feeling nor anything priman or protoidal. There are feelings connected with it: they are the sum of consciousness during the effort. But it is conceivable that a man should have it in his power directly to summon up all those feelings, or any feelings. He could not, in any world, be endowed with the power of summoning up an effort to which there did not happen to be a resistance all ready to exist. For it is an absurdity to suppose that a man could directly will to oppose that very will. A very little thinking will show that this is what it comes to. According to such psychological analysis as I can make, effort is a phenomenon which only arises when one feeling abuts upon another in time, and which then always arises. But my psychological pretensions are little, if they exist at all, and I only mention my theory in order that contrast should impress the reader with the irrelevancy of psychology to our present problem, which is to say of what sort that is which is in our minds when we make an effort and which constitutes it an effort.

321. We live in two worlds, a world of fact and a world of fancy. Each of us is accustomed to think that he is the creator of his world of fancy; that he has but to pronounce his fiat, and the thing exists, with no resistance and no effort; and although this is so far from the truth that I doubt not that much the greater part of the reader's labor is expended on the world of fancy, yet it is near enough the truth for a first approximation. For this reason we call the world of fancy the internal world, the world of fact the external world. In this latter we are masters, each of us, of his own voluntary muscles, and of nothing more. But man is sly, and contrives to make this little more than he needs. Beyond that, he defends himself from the angles of hard fact by clothing himself with a garment of contentment and of habituation. Were it not for this garment, he would every now and then find his internal world rudely disturbed and his fiats set at naught by brutal inroads of ideas from without. I call such forcible modification of our ways of thinking the influence of the world of fact or experience. But he patches up his garment by guessing what those inroads are likely to be and carefully excluding from his internal world every idea which is likely to be so disturbed. Instead of waiting for experience to come at untoward times, he provokes it when it can do no harm and changes the government of his internal world accordingly.


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