CHAPTER X. MEMORY.
“The science of metaphysics, as it regards the mind, is, in its most important respects, a science of analysis; and we carry on our analysis, only when we suspect that what is regarded by others as an ultimate principle, admits of still finer evolution into principles still more elementary.” Inquiry into the Relation of Cause and Effect, by Thomas Brown, M.D. P. iv. s. i. p. 331.
IT has been already observed that if we had no other state of consciousness than sensation, we never could have any knowledge, excepting that of the present instant. The moment each of our sensations ceased, it would be gone, for ever; and we should be as if we had never been.
The same would be the case if we had only ideas in addition to sensations. The sensation would be one state of consciousness, the idea another state of consciousness. But if they were perfectly insulated; the one having no connexion with the other; the idea, after the sensation, would give me no more information, than one sensation after another. We should still have the consciousness of the present instant, and nothing more. We should be wholly incapable of acquiring experience, and accommodating our actions to the laws of nature. Of course we could not continue to exist.
Even if our ideas were associated in trains, but only as they are in Imagination, we should still be without the capacity of acquiring knowledge. One idea, upon this supposition, would follow another. But that would be all. Each of our successive states of consciousness, the moment it ceased, would be gone for ever. Each of those momentary states would be our whole being.
Such, however, is not the nature of man. We have states of consciousness, which are connected with past states. I hear a musical air; I recognise it as the air which was sung to me in my infancy. I have an idea of a ghost; I recognise the terror with which, when I was alone in the dark, that idea, in my childish years, was accompanied. Uniting in this manner the present with the past, and not otherwise, I am susceptible of knowledge; I am capable of ascertaining the qualities of things; that is, their power of affecting me; and of knowing in what circumstances what other circumstances will take place. Suppose that my present state of consciousness is the idea of putting my finger in the flame of the candle. I recognise the act as a former act (87) and this recognition is followed by another, namely, that of the pain which I felt immediately after. This part of my constitution, which is of so much importance to me, I find it useful to name. And the name I give to it is MEMORY. When the memory of the past is transferred into an anticipation of the future, by a process which will be explained hereafter, it gets the name of experience; and all our power of avoiding evil, and obtaining good, is derived from it. Unless I remembered that my finger had been in the flame of the candle; and unless I anticipated a similar consequent, from a similar antecedent, I should touch the flame of the candle, after being burned by it a hundred times, just as I should have done, if neither burning nor any of its causes had ever formed part of my consciousness.
[87 The recognition of an act as a former act, or of a present sensation as having formerly occurred, is a phrase of the intellectual power named consciousness of Agreement, or Similarity, which is both an essential of our Knowledge, and a means of mental Reproduction. The defectiveness of the author’s view of this function of the intellect has been elsewhere commented on. B.]
Our inquiry is, what this part of our constitution, so highly important to us, is composed of. All inquirers are agreed, that it is complex; but what the elements are into which it may be resolved, has not been very successfully made out.
It is proper to begin with the elements which are universally acknowledged. Among them, it is certain, that IDEAS are the fundamental part. Nothing is remembered but through its IDEA. The memory, however, of a thing, and the idea of it, are not the same. The idea may be without the memory; but the memory cannot be without the idea. The idea of an elephant may occur to me, without the thought of its having been an object of my senses. But I cannot have the thought of its having been an object of my senses, without having the idea of the animal at the same time. The consciousness, therefore, which I call memory, is an idea, but not an idea alone; it is an idea and something more. So far is our inquiry narrowed. What is that which, combined with an idea, constitutes memory?
That memory may be, the idea must be. In what manner is the idea produced?
We have already seen in what manner an idea is called into existence by association. It is easy to prove that the idea which forms part of memory is called up in the same way, and no other. If I think of any case of memory, I shall always find that the idea, or the sensation which preceded the memory, was one of those which are calculated, according to the laws of association, to call up the idea involved in that case of memory; and that it was by the preceding idea, or sensation, that the idea of memory was in reality brought into the mind. I have not seen a person with whom I was formerly intimate for a number of years; nor have I, during all that interval, had occasion to think of him. Some object which had been frequently presented to my senses along with him, or the idea of something with which I have strongly associated the idea of him, occurs to me; instantly the memory of him exists. The friend with whom I had often seen him in company, accidentally meets rne; a letter of his which had been long unobserved, falls under my eye; or an observation which he was fond of producing, is repeated in my hearing; these are circumstances all associated with the idea of the individual in question; the idea of him is excited by them, and with the mere idea of the man, all the other circumstances which constitute memory.
The necessary dependence of memory upon association, may be proved still more rigidly in this way. It has been already observed, that we cannot call up any idea by willing it. When we are said to will, there must be in the mind, the idea of what is willed. “Will, without an idea,” are incongruous terms; as if one should say, “I can will, and will nothing.” But if the idea of the thing willed, must be in the mind, as a condition of willing, to will to have an idea in the mind, is to will to have that in it, which, by the supposition, is in it already.
There is a state of mind familiar to all men, in which we are said to try to remember. In this state, it is certain that we have not in the mind the idea which we are trying to have in it. How then is it, that we proceed in the course of our endeavour to procure its introduction into the mind? If we have not the idea itself, we have certain ideas connected with it. We run over those ideas, one after another, in hopes that some one of them will suggest the idea we are in quest of; and if any of them does, it is always one so connected with it, as to call it up in the way of association. I meet an old acquaintance, whose name I do not remember, and wish to recollect. I run over a number of names, in hopes that some of them may be associated with the idea of the individual. I think of all the circumstances in which I have seen him engaged; the time when I knew him, the place in which I knew him, the persons along with whom I knew him, the things he did, or the things he suffered; and, if I chance upon any idea with which the name is associated, then immediately I have the recollection; if not, my pursuit of it is in vain. (88)
[88 This process seems best expressed by laying down a law of Compound or Composite Association; under which a plurality of feeble links of connexion may be a substitute for one powerful and self-sufficing link. B.
[The laws of compound association are the subject of one of the most original and profound chapters of Mr. Bain’s treatise (The Senses and the Intellect. Part ii. Chap. 3.). Ed.]]
There is another set of cases, very familiar, but affording very important evidence on the subject. It frequently happens, that there are matters which we desire not to forget. What is the contrivance to which we have recourse for preserving the memory; that is, for making sure that it will be called into existence, when it is our wish that it should. All men, invariably employ the same expedient. They endeavour to form an association between the idea of the thing to be remembered, and some sensation, or some idea, which they know beforehand will occur at or near the time when they wish the remembrance to be in their minds. If this association is formed, and the sensation or the idea, with which it has been formed, occurs; the sensation, or idea, calls up the remembrance; and the object of him who formed the association is attained. To use a vulgar instance; a man receives a commission from his friend, and, that he may not forget it, ties a knot on his handkerchief. How is this fact to be explained? First of all, the idea of the commission is associated with the making of the knot. Next, the handkerchief is a thing which it is known beforehand will be frequently seen, and of course at no great distance of time from the occasion on which the memory is desired. The handkerchief being seen, the knot is seen, and this sensation recalls the idea of the commission, between which and itself, the association had been purposely formed.
What is thus effected through association with a sensation, may be effected through association with an idea. If there is any idea, which I know will occur to me at a particular time, I may render myself as sure of recalling any thing which I wish to remember at that time, by associating it with this idea, as if I associated it with a sensation. Suppose I know that the idea of Socrates will be present to my mind at twelve o’clock this day week: if I wish to remember at that time something which I have to do, my purpose will be gained, if I establish between the idea of Socrates, and the circumstance which I wish to remember, such an association that the one will call up the other.
A very remarkable application of this principle offers itself to our contemplation, in the artificial memory which was invented by the ancient orators and rhetoricians. The orator made choice of a set of objects, sufficient in number to answer his purpose. The ideas of those objects he taught himself, by frequent repetition, to pass through his mind in one constant order. The objects which he chose were commonly such as aided him in fixing them according to a certain order in his memory; the parts, for example, of some public building, or other remarkable assemblage. Having so prepared himself, the mode in which he made use of his machinery was as follows. The topics or sentiments of his speech were to follow in a certain order. The parts of the building he had chosen as his instrument had previously been taught to follow by association, in a certain order. With the first of these, then, he associated the first topic of his discourse; with the second, the second, and so on. The first part of the building suggested the first topic; the second, the second; and each another, to the end of his discourse. (89)
[89 The conditions of the success of this expedient are interesting to study as illustrations of the working of association. The supposition is that the parts of the building are perfectly coherent in the mind, that they can recall each other easily and rapidly. The advantage gained will depend entirely upon the superior facility of attaching a head of discourse to the visible appearance of a room, as compared with the facility of attaching it to a previous head. If we can form an enduring bond between a topic and the picture of an interior, by a smaller mental effort than is necessary to conjoin two successive topics, there is a gain by the employment of the device; the difference of the two efforts is the measure of the gain. Probably the result would depend upon the relative force of the pictorial and the verbal memory in the individual mind. In minds where the pictorial element prevails, there might be a positive advantage; in cases where the pictorial power is feeble and the verbal power strong, there would almost certainly be a dead loss. B.]
We not only have ideas of memory, individually taken; that is, separately, each by itself; as in the instances which we have just been considering: we have also trains of such ideas. All narratives of events which ourselves have witnessed are composed of such trains. The ideas forming those trains do not follow one another in a fortuitous manner. Each succeeding idea is called up by the one which precedes it; and every one of these successions takes place according to a law of association. After a lapse of many years, I see the house in which my father died. Instantly a long train of the circumstances connected with him rise in my mind: the sight of him on his death-bed; his pale and emaciated countenance; the calm contentment with which he looked forward to his end; his strong solicitude, terminating only with life, for the happiness of his son; my own sympathetic emotions when I saw him expire; the mode and guiding principles of his life; the thread of his history; and so on. In this succession of ideas, each of which is an idea of memory, there is not a single link which is not formed by association; not an idea which is not brought into existence by that which precedes it.
Whensoever there is a desire to fix any train in the memory, all men have recourse to one and the same expedient. They practise what is calculated to create a strong association. The grand cause of strong associations is repetition. This, accordingly, is the common resource. If any man, for example, wishes to remember a passage of a book, he repeats it a sufficient number of times. To the man practised in applying the principle of association to the phenomena in which it is concerned, the explication of this process presents itself immediately. The repetition of one word after another, and of one idea after another, gives the antecedent the power of calling up the consequent from the beginning to the end of that portion of discourse, which it is the purpose of the learner to remember.
That the remembrance is produced in no other way, is proved by a decisive experiment. For, after a passage has been committed to memory in the most perfect manner, if the learner attempts to repeat it in any other order than that, according to which the association was formed, he will fail. A man who has been accustomed to repeat the Lord’s Prayer, for example, from his infancy, will, if he has never tried it, find the impossibility of repeating it backwards, small as the number is of the words of which it consists.
That words alone, without ideas, suggest one another in a train, is proved by our power of repeating a number of words of an unknown language. (90) And, it is worth observing, that the power of arithmetical computation is dependent upon the same process. Thus, for example, when a child learns the multiplication table, and says, 11 times 11 is 121, or 12 times 12 is 144, he annexes no ideas to those words; but, by force of repetition, the expression 12 times 12 instantly calls up the expression 144, or 11 times 11 the expression 121, and so upwards from twice 2, with which he begins. In illustrating the mode in which repetition makes association more and more easy, I used the process of arithmetical addition as a striking example. Persons little accustomed to the process perform it with great difficulty; persons much accustomed to it, with astonishing facility. In men of the first class, the association is imperfectly formed, and the several antecedent expressions slowly suggest the proper consequent ones; in those of the latter class the association is very perfectly formed, and the expressions suggest one another with the greatest expedition and ease.
[90 There is here a lapse, of mere expression. The meaning is not that words suggest one another without ideas; words do not suggest words, but the ideas of words. The author intended to say that words, or the ideas of them, often suggest the ideas of other words (forming a series) without suggesting along with them any ideas of the things which, those words signify. Ed.]
Thus far we have proceeded with facility. In Memory there are ideas, and those ideas both rise up singly, and are connected in trains by association. The same occurs in Imagination. Imagination consists of ideas, both suggested singly, and connected in trains, by association. This is the whole account of Imagination. But Memory is not the same with Imagination. We all know, when we say, we imagine a thing, that we have not the same meaning, as when we say, we remember it. Memory, therefore, has in it all that Imagination has; but it must also have something more. We are now, then, to inquire what that additional something is.
There are two cases of Memory. One is, when we remember sensations. The other is, when we remember ideas. The first is, when we remember what we have seen, felt, heard, tasted, or smelt. The second is, when we remember what we have thought, without the intervention of the senses. I remember to have seen and heard George III, when making a speech at the opening of his Parliament. This is a case of sensation. I remember my conceptions of the Emperor Napoleon and his audience, when I read the account of his first address to the French Chambers. This is a case of ideas.
We shall consider the case of sensations first. What is it to remember any thing I have seen?
First, there is the idea of it; and that idea brought into existence by association.
But, in Memory, there is not only the idea of the thing remembered; there is also the idea of my having seen it. Now these two, 1, the idea of the thing, 2, the idea of my having seen it, combined, make up, it will not be doubted, the whole of that; state of consciousness which we call memory. (91)
[91 The doctrine which the author thinks “will not be doubted” is more than doubted by most people, and in my judgment rightly. To complete the memory of seeing the thing, I must have not only the idea of the thing, and the idea of my having seen it, but the belief of my having seen it; and even this is not always enough; for I may believe on the authority of others that I have seen a thing which I have no remembrance of seeing. Ed.]
But what is it we are to understand by what I have called “the idea of my having seen the object?” This is a very complex idea; and, in expounding, clearly, to the comprehension of persons, not familiar with these solutions, the import and force of a very complex idea, lies all the difficulty of the case.
It will be necessary for such persons to call to mind the illustrations they have already contemplated of the remarkable case of association, in which a long train of ideas is called up so rapidly as to appear but one idea; and also the other remarkable case, in which one idea is so strongly associated with another, that it is out of our power to separate them. Thus, when we use the word battle, the mind runs over the train of countless acts, from the beginning of that operation to the end; and it does this so rapidly, that the ideas are all clustered into one, which it calls a battle. In like manner, it clusters a series of battles, and all the intermediate operations, into one idea, and calls it a campaign; also several campaigns into one idea, and calls it a war. Of the same nature is the compound idea, which we denote by the word year; and the still more compound idea, which we denote by the word century. The mind runs over a long train of ideas, and combines them so closely to gether, that they assume the appearance of a single idea; to which, in the one case, we assign the name year, in the other, the name century.
In my remembrance of George III., addressing the two Houses of Parliament, there is, first of all, the mere idea, or simple apprehension; the conception as it is sometimes called, of the objects. There is combined with this, to make it memory, my idea of my having seen and heard those objects. And this combination is so close, that it is not in my power to separate them. I cannot have the idea of George III.; his person and attitude, the paper he held in his hand, the sound of his voice while reading from it, the throne, the apartment, the audience; without having the other idea along with it, that of my having been a witness of the scene.
Now, in this last-mentioned part of the compound, it is easy to perceive two important elements; the idea of my present self, the remembering self; and the idea of my past self, the remembered or witnessing self. These two ideas stand at the two ends of a portion of my being; that is, of a series of my states of consciousness. That series consists of the successive states of my consciousness, intervening between the moment of perception, or the past moment, and the moment of memory, or the present moment. What happens at the moment of memory? The mind runs back from that moment to the moment of perception. That is to say, it runs over the intervening states of consciousness, called up by association. But “to run over a number of states of consciousness, called up by association,” is but another mode of saying, that “we associate them;” and in this case we associate them so rapidly and closely, that they run, as it were, into a single point of consciousness, to which the name MEMORY is assigned.
If this explanation of the case in which we remember sensations is understood, the explanation of the case in which we remember ideas cannot occasion much of difficulty. I have a lively recollection of Polyphemus’s cave, and the actions of Ulysses and the Cyclops, as described by Homer. In this recollection there is, first of all, the ideas, or simple conceptions of the objects and acts; and along with these ideas, and so closely combined as not to be separable, the idea of my having formerly had those same ideas. And this idea of my having formerly had those ideas, is a very complicated idea; including the idea of myself of the present moment remembering, and that of myself of the past moment conceiving; and the whole series of the states of consciousness, which intervened between myself remembering, and myself conceiving.
If we contemplate forgetfulness, not memory, we shall see how completely the account of it confirms the account we have just rendered of memory. Every case of forgetfulness, is a case of weakened, or extinct, association. Some years ago, I could repeat a certain discourse with accuracy and ease, from beginning to end; attempting it, the other day, I was unable to repeat more than a few sentences. The reason is obvious. The last of the words and ideas which occurred to me failed to suggest the following; that is to say, the association which formerly existed between them was dissolved.
A remarkable piece of natural scenery, composed of mountains, woods, rivers, lakes, ocean, flocks, herds, cultivated fields, gay cottages, and splendid palaces, of which I had a lively recollection many years ago, presents itself to me now very much faded: in other words, a great variety of the circumstances, which make up the detail and minute features of the scene, were formerly remembered by me, but are now for gotten. And how forgotten? The manner is obvious. The greater features, which I still remember, had formerly the power of calling up the smaller along with them, and the whole scene was revived; the association gradually declining, the great objects have no longer the power to excite the idea of the small; and they are therefore gone from me for ever.
There are things of which I have so entirely lost the recollection, that it never can be revived. The meaning is, that the associations which were formed between the ideas of them, and other ideas, are so completely dissolved, that none of my present ideas has the power of exciting them.
It is observable, that sensations have a stronger power to excite recollections than is possessed by ideas. (92) A man, after an absence of many years, revisits the scenes of his infancy: a variety of circumstances crowd into his memory, which, but for the scene before him, would never have been remembered again. These are the circumstances between which, and the perception of the pristine objects, the association is not yet dissolved. There are other circumstances, without number, which (the association being completely dissolved) not even that perception can revive, and which never can be remembered more.
[92 This is for no other reason than the superior intensity or impressiveness of the actual as compared with the ideal. Although as a rule, the sensation has a greater hold of the mind, than the corresponding idea, there are exceptions. An idea may sometimes be accompanied with an intensity of mental occupation and excitement, surpassing the reality: what we have looked at with indifference when it occurred, may take on an extraordinary importance in the retrospect; in which case its power of resuscitating collateral circumstances will be far greater than the power of the original sensation. B.]
We have seen that there are two cases of memory; that in which sensations are remembered, and that in which ideas.
It is said, that there are men, who, by often telling a mendacious story as true, come at last to believe it to be true. When this happens, the fact is, that a case of the memory of ideas, comes to be mistaken for a case of the memory of sensations.
How did the man know at first that it was a fictitious story; and how did he afterwards lose that knowledge?
He knew, at first, by certain associations; he lost his knowledge, by losing those associations, and acquiring others in their stead. When he first told the story, the circumstances related called up to turn the idea of himself fabricating the story. This was the memory of the fabrication. In repeating the story as real, the idea of himself fabricating the story is hurried over rapidly; the idea of himself as actor in the story is dwelt upon with great emphasis. In continued repetitions, the first circumstance being attended to as little as possible, the association of it grows weaker and weaker; the other circumstance engrossing the attention, the association of it grows stronger and stronger; till the weaker is at last wholly overpowered by the stronger, and ceases to have any effect.
In delirium, madness, and dreams, men believe that what they only imagine, they hear, see, and do. This so far agrees with the case of forgetfulness, just explained, that, in both, there is a mistake of ideas for sensations; but, in the case of memory, it is a mistake of past ideas for past sensations; in delirium, madness, and dreaming, it is a mistake of present ideas for present sensations.
How men in sound memory distinguish the ideas remembered, from sensations remembered, and know that the one is not the other, seems to be accounted for by the difference of the things themselves. A sensation is different from an idea, only because it is felt to be different; and being felt to be different, and known to be different, are not two things, but one and the same thing. I have a sensation; I have an idea: if these two are distinguishable in the having, it is likely that the copy of the sensation should be distinguishable from the revival of the idea, when they are both brought up by association; just as when I have two distinguishable sensations, one, for example, of red, and another of black, the copies of them, when brought up by association, are distinguishable. Besides, the accompaniments of a sensation are always generically different from those of an idea; of course, the associations are generically different. The accompaniments of a sensation, are all the simultaneous objects of sensation, together with all those which, to a certain extent, both preceded and followed it. The accompaniments of an idea are not the simultaneous objects of sensation, but other ideas; namely, the neighbouring parts, antecedent and consequent, of the mental train. A sensation, therefore, called up by association, and an idea called up by association, are distinguished both by the difference of the two feelings, and the difference of the associated circumstances.
It is observable, that the idea of a sensation called up by association, and recognised as the idea of a sensation, is of course a remembrance. The recognition consists in that highly complex idea, consisting of three principal ingredients: 1, the point of consciousness called the remembering self; 2, the point of consciousness called the percipient self; 3, the successive states of consciousness which filled up the interval, between these two points.
An idea called up by association is not necessarily a remembrance; it is only a remembrance when recognised as having been an idea before. And it is recognised as having been an idea before, by the association of that idea, which connects the self of the present moment with the self of the past moment, the remembering self with the conceiving self: in other words, the complex idea is made up of those two selfs and the intermediate states of consciousness.
Another distinction is here suggested between the memory of a sensation and the memory of an idea. The complex idea, which needs to be associated with a mere simple idea, to make it memory, is not the same in the two cases. There is a specific difference. The self which is at the antecedent end of the associated train, in the case of sensation, is the sentient self; that is, seeing or hearing; the self at the antecedent end of the associated train, in the case of ideas, is not the sentient self, but the conceptive self, self having an idea. But myself percipient, and myself imagining or conceiving, are two very different states of consciousness: of course the ideas of these states of consciousness, or these states revived by association, are very different ideas.
The simplest of all cases of memory is that of a sensation immediately past. I have one sensation, and another sensation; call them A and B; and I recognise them as successive. Every man has experience of the fact, and is familiar with it. But not every man can tell what it involves.
When a sensation ceases, it is as completely gone, as if it had never existed. (93) It is, in a certain sense, revived again in its idea. But that idea must be called into existence by something with which it is associated. In my two sensations, supposed above, the one antecedent, the other consequent, how do I recognise the succession; if the first is gone, before the coming of the second? It is evident that it must be by memory. And how by memory? The preceding developments seem to make the process clear. The consciousness of the present moment calls up the idea of the consciousness of the preceding moment. The consciousness of the present moment is not absolutely simple; for, whether I have a sensation or idea, the idea of what I call Myself is always inseparably combined with it. The consciousness, then, of the second of the two moments in the case supposed, is the sensation combined with the idea of Myself, which compound I call Myself Sentient.” This “Self Sentient,” in other words sensation B, combined with the idea of self, calls up the idea of sensation A combined with the idea of self. This we call MEMORY; and, there being no intermediate link, immediate MEMORY. Suppose that, instead of two sensations, there had been three, A, B, C. In order to remember A, it is necessary to step over B. The consciousness of the third moment, namely, “sensation C, united with the idea of self,” calls up the idea of “sensation A, united with the idea of self,” and along with this the intermediate state of consciousness, “B, with the constant concomitant self.” If the intermediate state, B, were not included, the sensation A would appear to have immediately preceded sensation C, and the memory would be inaccurate.
[93 This is a statement that should be qualified. Looking to the change of outward situation, we may say that the difference between the present reality, and the idea of it when past, is total and vast: the wide prospect before the eyes at one moment is gone, annihilated, non-existent. But looking at the mental process, we must use more moderate language. The mind does not adapt itself to the new situation with the same rapidity. If one is very much impressed with a picture, one maintains the rapt attitude for a little time, after the picture is withdrawn, and only by degrees loses the hold in favour of the next thing presented to the view. It is possible for us to resist the solicitation of the actual scene, and to be absorbed to the full measure of actuality by something no longer actual. The immediate past may still divide the empire with the present. The psychological transition follows a different law from the objective transition: a circumstance in no small degree involved in the subtle question of our mental continuity or personal identity. B.]
We have thus carried the analysis of Memory to a certain point. We have found the association to consist of three parts; the remembering self; the remembered self; and the train which intervened. Of these three parts, the last has been fully expounded. The recalling of the successive states of consciousness, which composed the intervening train, is an ordinary case of association. The other parts, the two selfs, at the two extremities of this train, require further consideration. The self, at the first end, is the remembered self; the self which had a sensation, or an idea. The idea of this self, therefore, consists of two parts: of self, and a sensation, or an idea. The last-mentioned part of this combination, the sensation or idea, needs no explanation; the first, that which is called self, does. The self at the other extremity of the chain of consciousness, is the remembering self. Remembering is associating. The idea of this self, then, is the combination of self with the idea of associating. And here, too, associating needs no explanation; it is the other part of the combination that does. The analysis, then, of SELF, or the account of what is included in that state of consciousness commonly called the idea of personal identity, is still wanting to the complete developement of Memory.
Philosophers tell us also, that the idea of Time is included in every act of MEMORY; and again, that it is from MEMORY we obtain our idea of Time: thus asserting that the idea of Time must precede MEMORY, and that MEMORY must precede the idea of Time. These contradicting propositions imply that the idea of Time in the minds of those who make them, is a very confused idea. Nevertheless, as there can be no memory without the idea called Time, the exposition of that idea, likewise, is necessary to the full understanding of Memory.
The idea of personal IDENTITY, and the idea of TIME, two very remarkable states of consciousness, will be very carefully examined hereafter. But for the more ready understanding of what is necessary to be adduced in expounding those complicated cases of association, some other phenomena of the mind will first be explained.
What is to be understood by that BELIEF which is said to accompany MEMORY, will be seen in the next chapter, where all the different cases of belief will be resolved into their elements. (94)
[94 The only difficulty about Memory, when once the laws of Association are understood, is the difference between it and Imagination; but this is a difference which will probably long continue to perplex philosophers. The author finds in Memory, besides the idea of the fact remembered, two other ideas: “the idea of my present self, the remembering self, and the idea of my past self, the remembered or witnessing self:” and a supposed rapid repetition in thought, of the whole of the impressions which I received between the time remembered and the time of remembering. But (apart from the question whether we really do repeat in thought, however summarily, all this series) explaining memory by Self seems very like explaining a thing by the thing. For what notion of Self can we have, apart from Memory? The fact of remembering, i.e. of having an idea combined with the belief that the corresponding sensation was actually felt by me, seems to be the very elementary fact of Self, the origin and foundation of the idea; presupposed in our having the very complex notion of a Self, which is here introduced to explain it. As, however, the author admits that the phenomenon of Belief, and the notions of Time and of Personal Identity, must be taken into account in order to give a complete explanation of Memory, any further remarks had better be deferred until these subjects have been regularly brought under our consideration. Ed.]