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the study of the useless is made over to 'Esthetics.' Esthetics and Psychiatry will receive no special notice in this book.
All mental states (no matter what their character as regards utility may be) are followed by bodily activity of some sort. They lead to inconspicuous changes in breathing, circulation, general muscular tension, and glandular or other visceral activity, even if they do not lead to conspicuous movements of the muscles of voluntary life. Not only certain particular states of mind, then (such as those called volitions, for example), but states of mind as such, all states of mind, even mere thoughts and feelings, are motor in their consequences. This will be made manifest in detail as our study advances. Meanwhile let it be set down as one of the fundamental facts of the science with which we are engaged.
It was said above that the 'conditions' of states of consciousness must be studied. The immediate condition of a state of consciousness is an activity of some sort in the cerebral hemispheres. This proposition is supported by so many pathological facts, and laid by physiologists at the base of so many of their reasonings, that to the medically educated mind it seems almost axiomatic. It would be hard, however, to give any short and peremptory proof of the unconditional dependence of mental action upon neural change. That a general and usual amount of dependence exists cannot possibly be ignored. One has only to consider how quickly consciousness may be (so far as we know) abolished by a blow on the head, by rapid loss of blood, by an epileptic discharge, by a full dose of alcohol, opium, ether, or nitrous oxide-or how easily it may be altered in quality by a smaller dose of any of these agents or of others, or by a fever, to see how at the mercy of bodily happenings our spirit is. A little stoppage of the gall-duct, a swallow of cathartic medicine, a cup of strong coffee at the proper moment, will entirely overturn for the time a man's views of life. Our moods and resolutions are more determined
by the condition of our circulation than by our logical grounds. Whether a man shall be a hero or a coward is a matter of his temporary nerves.' In many kinds of insanity, though by no means in all, distinct alterations of the brain-tissue have been found. Destruction of certain definite portions of the cerebral hemispheres involves losses of memory and of acquired motor faculty of quite determinate sorts, to which we shall revert again under the title of aphasias. Taking all such facts together, the simple and radical conception dawns upon the mind that mental action may be uniformly and absolutely a function of brain-action, varying as the latter varies, and being to the brain-action as effect to cause.
This conception is the 'working hypothesis' which underlies all the 'physiological psychology' of recent years, and it will be the working hypothesis of this book. Taken thus absolutely, it may possibly be too sweeping a statement of what in reality is only a partial truth. But the only way to make sure of its unsatisfactoriness is to apply it seriously to every possible case that can turn up. To work an hypothesis for all it is worth' is the real, and often the only, way to prove its insufficiency. I shall therefore assume without scruple at the outset that the uniform correlation of brain-states with mind-states is a law of nature. The interpretation of the law in detail will best show where its facilities and where its difficulties lie. To some readers such an assumption will seem like the most unjustifiable a priori materialism. In one sense it doubtless is materialism: it puts the Higher at the mercy of the Lower. But although we affirm that the coming to pass of thought is a consequence of mechanical laws,-for, according to another working hypothesis,' that namely of physiology, the laws of brain-action are at bottom mechanical laws,we do not in the least explain the nature of thought by affirming this dependence, and in that latter sense our proposition is not materialism. The authors who most unconditionally affirm the dependence of our thoughts
on our brain to be a fact are often the loudest to insist that the fact is inexplicable, and that the intimate essence of consciousness can never be rationally accounted for by any material cause. It will doubtless take several generations of psychologists to test the hypothesis of dependence with anything like minuteness. The books which postulate it will be to some extent on conjectural ground. But the student will remember that the Sciences constantly have to take these risks, and habitually advance by zigzagging from one absolute formula to another which corrects it by going too far the other way. At present Psychology is on the materialistic tack, and ought in the interests of ultimate success to be allowed full headway even by those who are certain she will never fetch the port without putting down the helm once more. The only thing that is perfectly certain is that when taken up into the total body of Philosophy, the formulas of Psychology will appear with a very different meaning from that which they suggest so long as they are studied from the point of view of an abstract and truncated natural science,' however practically necessary and indispensable their study from such a provisional point of view may be.
The Divisions of Psychology.-So far as possible, then, we are to study states of consciousness in correlation with their probable neural conditions. Now the nervous system is well understood to-day to be nothing but a machine for receiving impressions and discharging reactions preservative to the individual and his kind-so much of physiology the reader will surely know. Anatomically, therefore, the nervous system falls into three main divisions, comprising—
1) The fibres which carry currents in;
2) The organs of central redirection of them; and
Functionally, we have sensation, central reflection, and motion, to correspond to these anatomical divisions. In Psychology we may divide our work according to a similar
scheme, and treat successively of three fundamental conscious processes and their conditions. The first will be Sensation; the second will be Cerebration or Intellection; the third will be the Tendency to Action. Much vagueness results from this division, but it has practical conveniences for such a book as this, and they may be allowed to prevail over whatever objections may be urged.
SENSATION IN GENERAL.
Incoming nerve-currents are the only agents which normally affect the brain. The human nerve-centres are surrounded by many dense wrappings of which the effect is to protect them from the direct action of the forces of the outer world. The hair, the thick skin of the scalp, the skull, and two membranes at least, one of them a tough one, surround the brain; and this organ moreover, like the spinal cord, is bathed by a serous fluid in which it floats suspended. Under these circumstances the only things that can happen to the brain are:
1) The dullest and feeblest mechanical jars;
2) Changes in the quantity and quality of the bloodsupply; and
3) Currents running in through the so-called afferent or centripetal nerves.
The mechanical jars are usually ineffective; the effects of the blood-changes are usually transient; the nerve-currents, on the contrary, produce consequences of the most vital sort, both at the moment of their arrival, and later, through the invisible paths of escape which they plough in the substance of the organ and which, as we believe, remain as more or less permanent features of its structure, modifying its action throughout all future time.