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tude to perceive such relations, and to be acted on by the suggestions they awaken.
The connection of memory with association makes it evident that our peculiar habits in this respect must have a marked influence upon memory. When we say we remember, it is only another word for saying that the thought present to our minds has suggested another which had formerly been present to it. Our recollections must arise according to the same principles of suggestion which regulate the succession of our thoughts; hence, while the quickness and retentiveness of memory depend on original constitution, its character depends on our habits of association. The suggestions to which our minds are most alive are those which will always act most readily on the memory.
There are some memories so retentive, that what has been once presented to the mind remains impressed there, and whether useful or useless is seldom again effaced. In more ordinary cases the memory retains only those points on which attention has been fixed, and on which the mind has dwelt long enough to associate them with other ideas. The weaker the memory, the more does it depend on association, and accordingly it is upon this principle that all the methods of artificial memory have been constructed. Such methods have, however, one common and radical defect; they are founded on purely arbitrary associations, and are opposed, therefore, to forming those habits of philosophical associations, the value of which we have just pointed out. The strength of arbitrary associations is, however, in some cases very great; there is, for instance, no analogy, no rational connection between the words and the air of a song; but we arbitrarily establish such a connexion, and they become so strongly associated in our minds, that it is frequently impossible to recall the one without the other. Accordingly, many persons who could not without great effort learn and recite a sonnet, yet retain with ease the words of a hundred songs, the first note of the air bringing them back to the mind, even if apparently forgotten before. Many other instances of arbitrary association will occur to every one, and it is sufficiently manifest that it is upon this principle that the memoria technica, and all other forms of artificial memory are constructed. These methods may occasionally be useful in facilitating the remembrance of any mere catalogue of facts or names, whether in chronology or the classification of science, or in our daily business; but they are so far injurious to the mind, as they tend to create habits of false association. They are also wholly wanting in system, whereas that which groups our information according to real analogies and associations, is eminently systematic; for such grouping is itself a classification, and classification is an essential element of system.
An unmethodical mind is most commonly swayed by casual associations, except where great natural gifts may have counteracted in some degree the effect of the absence of any ruling principle. The information it possesses will generally be a chaotic mass, which nothing but the most powerful memory can make available for any useful purpose; while, on the other hand, in the methodical mind, knowledge is classified under general principles, and And may be referred to with comparative ease and accuracy. whenever such reference is made, the necessary information, and no more, will be recalled, without any mixture of matter foreign to the subject, such as would crowd upon the recollection and confuse the mind, had the facts been linked in the memory by mere casual association. The rambling diary of a fashionable traveller, and the note-book of a man engaged in some serious pursuit, may familiarly illustrate the difference between the methodical and the unmethodical memory, and the value of each.
Long experience and many trials have led us to the conviction that by far the best way to improve a defective memory is to cultivate habits of method and philosophical associations, to accustom ourselves to class each new fact with facts of the same order, and to associate objects and events according to their real relations, so that the mind may be led by the suggestion of one to the recollection of the other. Even where the object is to commit words to memory, it is, perhaps, as much facilitated in this manner as in any other; for we are quite as likely to remember the lines or the passages which are associated in our minds with similar passages or lines on similar subjects in other authors, or with the reflections induced by reading them, as if they were only connected with a square in the ceiling, or some object in the room where we learnt them. The memory which depends upon such casual and local associations as those of time and place, may, indeed, be the readiest, since the most obvious relations of facts are those which are most frequently suggested to us in daily life. The possessor of such a memory has, therefore, a better chance of shining in society than one whose different habits of association make the process of recollection, to a certain degree, one of reasoning, or, at least, of retracing former reasonings. But this very circumstance is that which gives much of its superiority to the philosophical over the verbal or local memory.
To form the associations on which it is founded, it is necessary that we should compare and classify facts; that we should reason upon them, in short; so that in cultivating this species of memory, we are not simply getting knowledge by rote, but we are exercising at the same time some of the most valuable mental faculties. The difference between these two kinds of memory accounts, v believe, for the very common opinion, that a good memory seldom
accompanies sound judgment or original genius. The fact seems to be, that where these qualities are possessed, the memory is not less, but different from that of more shallow minds. It is naturally less retentive of all the insignificant detail of daily life which has probably excited no attention, while facts or arguments which have become woven, as it were, into the web of thought, cannot be reproduced as readily in their crude state, as if they had been simply learnt by rote.* It may thus be correct to say, that generally (for there are many exceptions), persons of strong reasoning powers have a less ready memory than those of inferior intellect: but where this is the case, it is a defect only in society. In the closet the advantage is in a great measure on the other side, and in some kinds of intellectual labour, a very quick memory may be a drawback. In composition, for instance, if the arguments, and even the words of others, occur very readily, it may greatly injure the originality of the writer's expression of his own thoughts; and in general study it may possibly (unless there be intense power of attention) retard the formation of opinion, from the difficulty of forgetting the opinions of others, and stripping the subject of all adventitious circumstances.
CULTIVATION OF REASON.
We are far from intending by these remarks, to undervalue the great advantage of a quick and retentive memory. We wish only to point out what species of memory is best worth cultivating, when the natural power needs strengthening, and the most effectual means, in our opinion, of doing so. The readiest memory will always have the advantage in society; and will gain for us often a higher reputation for knowledge than we deserve; the choice that we make, therefore, of the kind of memory we wish to cultivate, will be no bad test of whether our studies have for their object, social display and the gratification of vanity, or the general improvement of the mind.
SEC. V.-CULTIVATION OF THE REASON.
WE come now to consider the crowning object of all mental cultivation, namely, the training of that reason which is the distinguishing characteristic of the human intellect, and the importance of which, as the great instrument for the discovery of truth, we have already dwelt upon. Man is not endowed with this noble faculty on the same conditions that the lower animals enjoy the various instincts, which to them supply in some measure its place; for those instincts are unerring as they are blind, whereas human reason is liable to every perversion and every error which can withdraw it from its original purposes, and is rendered capable of
See Dugald Stewart's Philosophy of the Human Mind, Sec. on Memory.
fulfilling those purposes only by long and careful cultivation. In other words, the faculty of reason is the gift of God, but the right use of it, i. e., habits of reasoning, depend upon the voluntary exertions of man.
We all call ourselves reasonable creatures, says Locke,* "because we are born to it if we please; yet we may truly say nature gives but the seeds of it; we are born to be, if we please, rational creatures, but it is use and exercise only that makes us so, and we are indeed so no further than industry and application has carried us. Where these have been wanting, we remain in some respects even below the level of the brute creation; since their unerring instincts carry them to the full perfection of their nature, while unreasoning man wilfully sinks beneath the destined excellence of his. He renounces his high privilege of intelligence, and remains the creature of impulse and routine, incapable of discerning truth, and incapable, therefore, of any high perception of moral or intellectual beauty.
The best mode of cultivating and strengthening this chief faculty of the mind is of so much importance, that it has occupied the ablest writers, and been expanded into whole philosophical systems. We cannot enter into these wide views of the subject; and our efforts aim no higher than to give to the young of our own sex (who are too often debarred from books or instruction). some practical hints as to the method by which they may forn: habits of accurate reasoning, and consequently of sound judgment.
The formation of every mental habit bears reference, as we have already observed, to the assistance it affords towards the right use of reason; the cultivation of the latter may then, in on sense, be considered as coextensive with the whole of menta training. It is in order that we may think and reason correctly, that habits of observation and methodical arrangement of attention and inquiry are valuable; all that has been said, therefore, upon these points, may be considered as belonging to the vast subject of training the reasoning powers. Beyond this, however, there are certain studies peculiarly fitted to draw forth those powers and form the habit of reasoning, and certain defects materially interfering with their exercise, which require to be more closely examined.
We have seen † in what manner reason operates in the search for truth, and that it is mostly concerned in tracing relations. It is first trained to this exercise among the common things which surround us from the cradle, and excite the attention of the child from being connected with his hourly wants and enjoyments.
Of the Conduct of the Human Understanding, Sec. 6. † Chap. v.,
Among these familiar objects infant reason first learns to examine, to compare, to trace analogies and relations of cause and effect, in a narrow but practical school, where the conclusions are mostly corrected by experience: and thus trained by hourly practice, it becomes gradually fitted for higher efforts, and capable of the severer exercise required, when it sh come to deal with wider subjects, or with abstract ideas. The field for comparison and judgment then becomes so extensive, and presents so many difficulties, the analogies are often so remote from casual perception, and the relations so complicated, that although the actual process of reasoning remains the same, long and careful training alone enables us to carry on that process securely. We have acquired sound habits of reasoning when this process has become familiar; when thought habitually works in that mode which brings most rapidly to light the true relations and consequences of whatever it contemplates.*
The reasoning process consists in drawing an inference or a conclusion from previously known facts or principles. From what is known to us we infer the unknown, or from the comparison of two ideas we deduce a relation between them. For instance, we see a footprint on the sand, and having seen similar footprints made by a cloven-footed animal, we infer that such an animal has been there; or we find that A and B are both equal to C, and thence conclude that they are equal to each other; in other words, we deduce a relation of equality between them.
The known or assumed facts or principles from which we reason, are called the premises of the argument. In every process of reasoning there are two premises expressed or implied, i.e., the particular fact we are reasoning upon and the general fact, maxim, or principle to which the particular fact is referred. The latter is called in logic the major, the former the minor premiss; both together, with the conclusion, constitute the logical syllogism, in which form every process of reasoning may be stated as thus:
Major. All good mothers watch over their children's education.
Minor.-A is a good mother.
Conclusion. Therefore she will watch over her children's education.
In common language, one of the premises is generally suppressed, but that it is in the mind, and only omitted because too
Part of this section in the next few pages has been altered and enlarged from the first edition.