It was said in the foregoing lecture that conscious reference always involves revival. It was also said that for “this” to be referable to “that” there is implied something of the nature of storage of knowledge. It is clear therefore that retention and revival which fall under the general heading of memory demand more detailed consideration from the point of view of our constructive scheme.
Lecture V. Memory
XXI. A Tentative Scheme. XXII. Recognition and Againness. XXIII. Retention and Revival. XXIV. Restatement under Emergent Evolution. XXV. Secondary and Tertiary Retention.
§ XXI. A Tentative Scheme.
As a line of approach to an interpretation in accordance with emergent evolution let us first take note of what the plain man may say about memory.
He commonly speaks of a retentive memory and of retaining this or that in memory. And if we ask him wherein lies the advantage of having such a memory he may say that pretty obviously it enables us to recall that which is so retained. He may very likely add that we either remember such and such a fact without any effort or may have to search for it among our store of memories. In the one case the remembrance just comes; in the other we try to recollect with more or less effort and with more or less success. Let us ask him: What is the good of remembering or recollecting—what do we do with the fact recalled? He may reply that we place it where it is wanted for some purpose in hand. We refer it to some remembered time when as a fact it occurred; to some locality where it took place; to some episode in our life-history. I think he would include under memory reference to a place in a system of knowledge—chemistry general history geometry and so forth—as well as to an episode in his own personal biography; but perhaps with a difference. And I think he would regard ready and rapid placing as a mark of a serviceable memory. If he were asked whether his personal biography a system of geometry or what not must be in mind he might perhaps reply that the net result of what he knows about it must be so retained in memory as to be subject to recall but that only what is immediately relevant need be actually recalled at the time. I suppose he would certainly attribute to a good memory the gift of recognising people and to a yet better memory the rapid recall of the occasion where and when. And if he were asked why many old people who remember quite well what happened when they were young are so apt to forget the events of last week he would perhaps interpret this by saying that the memory has lost the power of registering new facts and perchance add that the senile brain no longer takes and keeps the impress of these facts.
Without pausing to dwell on some ambiguities in the common use of the word “memory” e.g. now as a process or act of remembering or recollecting; now as that which is revived or recalled; and now that which is in some way so retained as to be revivable or within call—let us try to arrange such data as we have thus gleaned from the current usage of familiar speech in something like systematic form in accordance with an order of involution and dependence so as to get a scheme to which the facts connected with memory may themselves be referable. I say the facts connected with memory so as to make the scheme as comprehensive as possible. I tentatively suggest that for our present purpose they may conveniently be grouped in tabular form as under:
Here the assigned order within the scheme means this: any item at any given level involves that which lies below it on the list and cannot have being without it; but it does not in the same sense involve that which lies above it. Retention for example involves what I set down as registration (“on the tablets of memory” as we say) in the absence of which however it be registered there would be nothing to retain. But it does not in like manner involve revival. A fact may be in some way retained; but just now it may not be revived and we may strive in vain to recall it. Half an hour hence however it may come to mind unbidden; and this seems to show that something involved in its revival was in some way retained all the while. We often say by the way that we retain it in memory but cannot recall it to memory. Clearly the word “memory” is used with some difference of meaning in the two expressions. Is this because the word is used at different levels? Again recognition involves revival; if there be nothing revived how on seeing an acquaintance can we recognise him?
This suffices for the present to indicate the principle on which the table is constructed. Let it stand just now on its own merits independently of emergent evolution. Read downwards the several items involve what lies below them; read upwards each item may be said proleptically to depend for its value or utility within the scheme on what lies above it. The good of retention is for revival and the good of revival is to subserve the ends of recognition and appropriate reference.
If we draw the distinction between remembering and what is remembered each is in a broad sense correlative to the other. One cannot have “a memory” or a memory-image in objective regard—that of which one is conscious—without a process of remembering in which (I should say in the enjoyment of which) one is in some measure and in some sense conscious. But reading down the list the emphasis on minding as a process which is distinctively psychical or mental in its nature is more marked near the top than near the bottom. We cannot well use the word “recognizing” without any mental implication. But we can and often do use the word “reviving” as applicable to the life of vegetation in the spring. And we can and do use the word “registering” of such things as thermometers and photographic plates. It may be said that these are metaphorical expressions. But take the table as expressing “facts connected with memory” in its purely mental aspect. Is there not more of the distinctive quality of consciousness in say recognizing than there is in just receiving an impress on the “tablets of memory”? In a sense memory is more active near the top than it is lower down in the scale. If we say that memory is the register; regarded as such is it not relatively passive?
§ XXII. Recognition and Againness.
Passing now to some further detail little need be added with respect to reference since I have already dealt with this at some length. In our own reflective life significant reference is a distinguishing feature of what many would regard as the upper reaches of memory. But is it memory? Or does it only in my phrase involve memory? The one or the other I suppose in accordance with the connotation accepted. Herein lies part of our trouble in interpretation. It is no doubt partly a matter of emphasis. Some writers lay stress on memory as register; others on retention; others on serviceable recognition and reference. Retentionists may say that reference of the reflective kind is a higher mental process which of course involves memory but is more than memory properly so called. Others may urge that this excludes much in our mental life that memory is good for. Among those who include reflective reference there are some who restrict memory at this level to the field of that which is referred or referable to its place in one's personal life-experience. This is a widely accepted usage in psychology. I remember steaming into Reyjavik harbour; I do not remember in like manner the landing of William the Conqueror; I only remember that according to history he came to England. In a more liberal usage however the schoolmaster would include under memory a boy's assigning to the Reform Bill its proper place in the development of the British Constitution. Each I take it is right in accordance with that connotation of the word he accepts. In common speech the context generally shows the meaning that is intended. Within my present context I provisionally accept the most comprehensive usage inclusive of all kinds of reference so as to bring what we have to consider under one scheme comprising what remembering and that which is remembered is good for and what it involves.
Take next recognition. Has it a distinguishable status between reference and revival? We often mean by recognition that which implies a deliberate process of comparison bringing out points of similarity as contrasted with points of difference. Such reflective recognition so clearly depends on contemplative reference that a line of distinction between them is hard to draw. Let us however descend a step from the conceptual level. We commonly admit a lower perceptual form of recognition belonging to an earlier stage of mental development than that which I have characterised as reflective. A puppy that has snapped at a toad and found it bitter seems thereafter to “recognize” one when he sees it and does not then snap at it as before. There is probably no reflective comparison here. There is I think no contemplative recognition of similarity; there is only perceptual recognition of something to be avoided. Even this expression perhaps introduces by implication a psychological attitude higher than that which is present. The observed behaviour is much nearer what is now spoken of as a “conditioned response” where a visual stimulation (a) gives rise to behaviour appropriate to a taste-stimulation (b) though there is no such actual stimulation. If there be here (as we may suppose) a lowly form of psychological recognition it must be interpreted in connection with revived or re-presented taste-experience. It may be noticed in passing that what naturalists speak of as “recognition marks” afford data for such a process of recognition. That is what they are good for—to be recognized when again presented.
Now in so far as the nasty taste is referred to the toad which is avoided—generally at first with a pantomime act of snapping at it and rejection though the toad is not touched and with a conditioned flow of saliva—we have not yet got down to what I regard as the foundational note of recognition—that feature of recognition which underlies reference and justifies an analytical distinction of one from the other. I submit that this is given in that which may be called psychical “againness.” By this I mean an indefinable character in experiencing and of that which is experienced which I think can only be described by saying that a feeling of “again” is superadded to that which comes again. Is there not in our daily life often a passing phase of conscious experience when there is just this felt againness though what is again only comes to mind if at all under reflective recognition with reference? Of course with our vigorous development of the higher reaches of memory no sooner do we have this feeling of againness than we are apt to ask: If thus again when before? And forthwith we try to recollect and regard what is both now and before as referable to their due place as terms in that relational place-time scheme which is our conceptual frame for the setting of events. It so happens that I have seen pretty frequently for some months in connection with an appeal for funds in support of the University of Bristol Mr. Raemakers'striking picture of the kind of man to be benefited. Something rather specific about it has given me this feeling of againness. But what it was I could not say (and I troubled little to determine) till I was asked whether some likeness to Matthew Arnold was intentional. Then reference supervened on the vague feeling of againness; then there was reflective recognition. I picked up a while since a novel that I had read some decades ago. Most of it felt quite new; but here and there in some salient episode or in some pithy remark psychical againness was quite unmistakably there; and for the most part it just remained at that. I had however read it all before; and much of the experience in reading it a second time must have been substantially similar to that which I had when I read it before. There was for the most part what one may speak of as a renewal of experience but without any feeling of againness.
A not uncommon experience is that of having lived through some episode before; and there has been much discussion of how it comes about. Some years ago walking in the Lake District with a congenial companion I had such an experience which may or may not be typical. The predominant feature at the moment was just a strange sense of againness. When before was a subsequent and supplementary consideration. The whole episode just felt overwhelmingly again. There was renewal of previous cognition with this felt againness and that was as far as it went. But ere it got further than this my companion broke the thread of our talk and exclaimed: “How like this valley with its rounded roches moutonnees and surrounding features is to Borrowdale which we walked down last year—at Eastertide too and on just such a day as this. Then as now we were talking of the Lake poets”; and so on in further detail. In his case there was not only re-cognition—renewal of like experience perceptual and reflective—but there was distinct recognition of similarity of factors on this occasion and that. The mere againness which is all that I had so far felt was in him swiftly supplemented by that which served as a clue to the interpretation of the occurrence. Whether this affords an interpretation which suffices for all such occurrences is another matter.
It may no doubt be said that this foundational note (as I have called it) of againness ought not to be regarded as or given the name of recognition (or even re-cognition) which it may be urged is always something more than this. Let us not quarrel over the connotation of words. It is much more pertinent to ask whether it is a distinguishable phase in the memory-process. If this be granted and if it be thought better to amend the wording of the tabular scheme I raise no objection. Its upper part might then run: Conceptual and perceptual reference involving recognition; and this in turn involving a feeling of againness. What I am concerned to emphasise is that this againness felt only as such or felt as a factor in some higher synthesis is there pretty nearly as low down as we can dig towards the base of a conscious system. It is quite distinctively of the mental order. There may be againness in the renewal of vital processes like those that have occurred in the organism before; but felt againness in something supervenient. It is a mark one of the most noteworthy marks of the emergent quality of consciousness.
§ XXIII. Retention and Revival.
Our tentative scheme was to include not only the reference reflective or perceptual which remembering is good for but all that remembrance involves. And in accordance with the arrangement of the items in our table recognition (or if it be preferred the againness-factor in recognition) involves revival. Here again arises the question: Under what connotation do we use our words? It may be said that whenever we speak of revival in the memory-context we mean revival with a feeling of againness. For purposes of my treatment however I must ask that revival as such be distinguished from revival with againness.
To clear the ground we may press further the distinction of renewal from revival. All day long we have examples of the renewal of experience under stimulating influences substantially like those by which we have been stimulated before. There is againness of repetition with renewal of conscious enjoyment. But this againness in renewal need not carry with it the feeling of againness. One may tell a boy something connected with his studies a dozen times; and on the twelfth occasion it seems to come to him with (one might almost say) beautiful and enviable freshness. Of any feeling of againness there seems to be hardly a trace. In the re-perusal of a novel there is much that is renewed without felt againness. But when the againness is felt then revival is involved. This revival as such is from within and is supplementary to or supervenient on what I have called renewal which comes with external influence. But just as there may be renewal without any felt againness so there may be revival from within which carries no such feeling.
Let us for the present deal with retention and revival—it will be convenient to take them together—in their distinctively mental regard; and let us start again with quite familiar kinds of experience. We read a paragraph and at the end (sometimes at any rate) we retain the gist of what has preceded. Recall is unnecessary; the net result of what has gone before is still there and needs no revival. Following Mr. Stout we may speak of this as primary retention. But it is a not uncommon experience (I can at least vouch for one person) that the net result of the foregoing sentences in a difficult paragraph may not be thus retained. Certain important points may have dropped out; they seem to be clean gone. And I suppose on the principle: De non apparenttbus et non existentibus eadem est ratio: we may say that they are clean gone so far as primary retention is concerned. It is not however always necessary to re-read the paragraph in order to recapture those salient points which have been lost for awhile. Let us suppose that with some effort one does recapture them without having to read the passage again. How can we recall that which is not in some way retained? But it is not retained in primary fashion; for in that case it would not have escaped us so as to need recapture. It must therefore be retained in some other fashion; and this is what characterises that which Mr. Stout calls secondary retention. The question then is: What is thus retained?
Here we reach a parting of the ways. Some take one route and some another. And the view opened up is quite different. If there is one thing that M. Bergson and his disciples seek to impress on us by frequent reiteration it is the utter absurdity of supposing that images are stored in the brain and the sweet reasonableness of the hypothesis that they are stored in mind—that is in pure memory. Now if one speaks of storing goods one means that they are deposited in some safe place where they remain until they are needed and reclaimed. The wine in one's cellar was put away as wine and as wine it remains until someone fetches it and brings it to table. So in Herbartian psychology ideas carry on their existence in a region of disembodied shades. Or shall we put it thus? On the death of percepts and concepts they still survive as ghosts which may in due course reappear bidden or unbidden from the underworld of Hades and bring back with them some of their ghostly associates. That is the view opened up by following one of the routes. It may be said that one can only describe what is then seen in language which is in some measure metaphorical. That may be true enough. But is this essential feature to be accepted as metaphor only: that what is preserved in memory still retains its spirit-form and is in this same form revived?
For better or worse I take the other route. Let me put a bold face on it and roundly assert that for emergent evolution what is retained is not that which is mentally reproduced but some organic precondition (subject of course to correlation) of its so-called revival such as is afforded by some neural “engram.” There is strictly speaking no revival (in the etymological sense) of the memory image as from sleep or trance; there is a new birth of an image-child like unto but yet differing from the parental percept. Secondary retention is of the same order as that which I shall speak of as tertiary retention in the plant e.g. the capacity of flowering in the spring. Ghostly blossoms are not retained; but new flowers are produced by the plant in due season and under appropriate conditions. So too images blossom forth to-day and reproduce with a difference the likeness of percepts of weeks months or years ago. Even the analogy of the gramophone record if it be not pressed too far is valid. It carries down retention to the physical world. Sounds as such are not retained therein; not even physical vibrations are retained. What is retained is the complex harmonic form of a groove that has been duly registered. That is the kind of view opened up by following the other route.
§ XXIV. Restatement under Emergent Evolution.
In accordance with the general hypothesis I seek to develop reflective consciousness involves as natural basis a lower plane of consciousness which is unreflective and perceptual; this involves a basis of life on which it is founded; and this again involves a physico-chemical basis on which it in turn is founded. In descending order each emergent level cannot come into being save as “involving” (as I phrase it) the level or levels that lie below it. In ascending order there are at each higher level new and emergent kinds of relatedness which are there found and which are to be accepted as we find them—accepted in an attitude of natural piety. But when they come—as we believe they do come—then the “particular go” of events at the level of their advent is altered. The go of physico-chemical events at the level of life is not the same as that which obtains at the level of materiality only; the go of organic events at the level of effective consciousness is not the same as that which obtains at the level of vitality only. I speak of this alteration in the manner of go at any given level as “dependent on” the new and emergent kind of relatedness which there supervenes in the course of emergent evolution. So long as the words are used in a purely naturalistic sense one may say that the higher kinds of relatedness guide or control the go of lower-level events.
In this lecture I seek to apply our general principles to the interpretation of memory in the most comprehensive sense of that word. Given the person or mind-body system (cf. S. T. D. I. p. 103) which a human being is (for emergent evolution) there are concurrent many events at all the levels of reality. There are physico-chemical events as such; there are vital or organic events as such; there are conscious events as such. All are integrated in the effective go of the system as a whole. Only under the distinguishing analysis of thought can the several sets of events be regarded as even quasi-independent. But in view of such analysis one may ask: Is such and such a factor common in some form to all these distinguishable levels? Is it found in a natural system in which the upper-level kinds of relatedness are not in being?
Let us now restate and rearrange our tabular scheme and express it thus:
C. Reference and recognition with psychical againness.
B. Revival with no such feeling of againness.
A. Retention and registration.
A. With regard to registration and retention there is nothing (save of course in grade of development at this level or that) which is not so to speak “common form” throughout nature wherever causation obtains. Any system (and such a system is the register) subject to external influence retains in some measure the effects of this influence. Indeed the effect is in this regard just that which is so registered in the system. For it is some modification of the way in which that system is already intrinsically going; and this modification is retained until it is itself in some way causally modified under extrinsic give and take. Retention is at bottom (and also at top) just such intrinsic persistence on the assumption that there is no extrinsic modification. And it is just because there is in any system retention of the existing manner of its going that it “tends” to persist as a system and to resist in the degree of its goingness extraneous influence.
To such persistence of intrinsic go as a distinguishable factor in a system of events Spinoza applied the word conatus. Descartes had said that “each particular thing continues to exist in the same state as far as it can and never changes it except by collision with others” (Cog. Met. II. vi.). Spinoza said: “Everything in so far as it is in itself endeavours to persist in its own being” (Eth. III. 6). This endeavour or tendency is conatus. It expresses what Spinoza calls the “essence” of the thing; and it is in this sense that he speaks of it as a “force” (II. 45 Schol.). All that we are here concerned with is the de facto go of a system. Descartes'“so far as it can” Spinoza's “endeavour” or conatus must be taken in a purely descriptive and naturalistic sense. A thing goes; and so far as it is nowise interfered with ab extra this go persists or is retained. As Descartes said it never changes except by collision with others. And this holds for the go of an atom that of a molecule that of a complex inorganic system that of an organism and that under correlation of a mind—as Spinoza taught. It is a factor whatever other factors may be compresent.
Under correlation then primary retention which perhaps may be regarded as the pivotal concept in memory is the persistent go of a psychical system and involves an equally persistent go of neural process on the plane of vitality. Thus registration and retention are pervasive world-characters; and there is in a discussion of memory for the purpose of a constructive philosophy nothing new in the fact of retention—only in the special form it assumes at this level or that.
B. When we pass to revival we have no longer a pervasive world-character in the same sense. Even among ultimate physical events there is retention of the effects of causal influence; but there is here no place for revival. As I use the word it betokens not only renewal of some change in a given system by the repetition of extrinsic influence thereon but renewal of like change by something that happens within the system. It is as a secondary change intrinsically determined and not only as a primary change repeated as before on repetition of extrinsic influence that it gets its status as revival. For illustration therefore we must turn to the organism. Reduce the essential feature to diagrammatic form which has obvious bearing on our topic.
Let a and b be two related centres of change within an organism. Let x and y be extrinsic influences (from an external system) which take effect on a and b respectively. And let x and y so influence a and b in swift succession that changes in the latter are concurrent (owing to the retention of one of them) and connected within the system. One knows of course something of how such a − b connections are established under “conditioned responses” in the nervous system. Finally let x or y (not both) subsequently influence a or b. Then the changes in a (or in b) will induce secondary changes in b (or in a) and such induced change is a revival of that kind of change which was in the first instance due to direct influence from without. The good of revival at this stage on the life-plane lies in its connection with behaviour. For if x precedes y by five seconds and intrinsic revival of b takes only one tenth of a second renewal under revival forestalls renewal under extrinsic influence by 4.9 seconds; and this affords time for some adaptive behaviour. We have here a critical turning-point in the course of events.
Now whether in physico-chemical systems as such there may be found the analogue of revival in the organism we need not stay to enquire. There may be cases of which I am ignorant or there may not. That does not much matter. What does matter is that revival is certainly a vital characteristic of the organism and plays no such distinctive role on the plane of materiality.
C. When we rise to the level of recognition in however primitive a form we find a character that is something more than organic or vital—that is an expression of the emergent quality of consciousness. I have suggested that the foundational note of recognition (or if it be preferred the note supervenient on organic revival) is the feeling of againness. And this may well be one of the criteria of conscious enjoyment. If this be so not until there is enjoyment of againness enriching revival do we have one of the earliest signs of the emergent quality of consciousness. Here therefore we are at a level above that of revival only (for that need not carry any feeling of againness) as revival is at a level above retention.
Thus at the highest of our three emergent levels—that of consciousness—we have at least felt againness as well as revival and retention; at the mid-level—that of life—we have no felt againness no recognition and no mental reference but both revival and retention; while at the lowest physico-chemical level we have neither recognition nor revival but only registration and retention. None the less the mid-level involves retention; and the top-level involves both revival and retention. Furthermore just how retention plays its part at the level of life depends on the vital relatedness that there obtains; and just how both retention and revival play their part at the level of consciousness depends on the new kinds of relatedness that supervene at that level.
§ XXV. Secondary and Tertiary Retention.
It may I think be said that although there is a sense and perhaps a valid sense in which retention may be called a pervasive character common to all levels of emergent evolution—that sense in which one may say that every system of events intrinsically conserves its existing go unless or until that go is causally altered by some extrinsic influence—still this has little practical bearing on what purports to be a discussion of memory. For here we are concerned with retention at the level of mind. This may mean that the concept of emergent evolution and that of what I have called involution are inapplicable to mind which belongs to a disparate order of being. Mind and consciousness it may be said simply do not emerge as you call it and there's an end on't! Nor does what you call life emerge. Life and mind alike belong to a different order of being which cannot arise out of—can only act into—the material order of being. That of course is an alternative hypothesis. I am here concerned with that of emergent evolution; must say what I can in support of it; and at any rate must try to show what those who accept something of the sort are driving at.
Primary retention in consciousness involves from our point of view the continuance of a correlated set of vital processes in the central nervous system which since they have not ceased going stand in no need of revival. But when these processes are no longer going and there is therefore no conscious correlate in being (for when they are not it is not in being) they may be set going again either
(i) By renewal of extrinsic influence adequate to that end or
(ii) Under revival by some other process within the organism.
Given (i) there is renewed presentation; given (ii) there is re-presentation under revival. But such revival involves secondary retention. There must be some suitable physiological provision (nowadays spoken of as a “mechanism”) of means to this end of revival.
Now the point as I see it is this. If a set of say neural processes be not going there is no conscious accompaniment of their go. It does not exist. If they be set agoing one way or the other—let us say loosely but comprehensibly as percept or image—then with the coming of neural go (he percept or the image comes also. Neither is strictly speaking retained when the physiological go has ceased. Let there be no mistake as to what is meant. What is definitely meant is frankly this. Neither the percept nor the image is retained as a mental entity. Only the organic “mechanism” (the word is a misnomer “organism” were it permissible would be much better) which provides for renewal as percept or revival as image—only this is retained and that on the plane of life. Conscious retention of the secondary order is a convenient metaphorical expression and should in strictness be replaced by some such phrase as the retention of those organic conditions which are involved in so-called revival.
The interpretation of what may be called tertiary retention is on similar lines. Here is a Blackcap. It has specific form and specific plumage; it behaves in specific ways secures a “territory” sings therein mates builds a nest and so forth. We say that these specific traits in the adult are hereditary. But we cannot say that form or plumage or behaviour is retained in the germinal disc of the recently fertilised egg. So far as the behaviour in singing mating and nest-building is concerned we presumably believe that it is accompanied by conscious enjoyment which under heredity is similar to that of its parents under like circumstances. It is renewed in this generation in the likeness of that of the foregoing generation. But we cannot say that such specific kinds of enjoyment are retained in the egg. What then is retained? Can one say more than that some “mechanism” is retained to provide for the individual development of the bird? Such “mechanism” (whatever may be its nature as shown by genetic biology) is what is transmitted to afford the conditions of tertiary retention if it be treated under the concept of epigenesis not of preformation. Even unit-characters which as some think lend colour to the latter interpretation must be traced back to their epigenetic origin subject to emergence. This is one of the crucial problems of modern biology.
Without here probing so deeply into the arcana of the germinal substance let me put the matter thus. In the adult there are highly differendated tissues and cells and their products. In the germ is the “mechanism” for their epigenetic development. Trace backwards as far as you can go along some hereditary line. Never again do you come to differentiated cells or tissues; at most as it seems there may be some of their products (internal secretions) which circulate in the blood that bathes the germ and in mammals the developing embryo. But these secretions do not hold form or plumage or behaviour in solution. Their influence if it be admitted (a matter sub judice) is determining; they supply certain requisite conditions. Apart from this although the fertilised ovum is the mother of all the many differentiated cells incorporated in the body of the adult organism it is the daughter of cells like unto itself and its ancestry may be traced to others of similarly lowly status. Otherwise stated there is germinal continuity in parents and offspring: but there is no such continuity of parental and daughter neurones; for neurones die without issue. Nor is there continuity of parental and daughter consciousness. In each generation consciousness is a newly emergent quality. Continuity in mental development as such must be interpreted on the plane of life—nay deeper still on the plane of physico-chemical events.
Such is the materialism ultimately involved under emergent evolution. But my contention is that though this is as I think a valid interpretation on naturalistic lines—though it is so far true it is not the whole truth.
In the first place no allusion has been made—lest it should confuse the issue—to the hypothesis of universal correlation which I accept no less than the principle of involution. Does this invalidate what has been said above? It was said for example that there is no continuity of parental and daughter consciousness; nor even of cortical processes in the brains of father or mother and offspring. Nay more it was said that continuity must be au fond interpreted on the plane of physico-chemical events.
What must now be added on the hypothesis of universal correlation? Clearly the rendering explicit of that which is implicit in the acceptance of this acknowledgment. We have to insist on the unrestricted presence of correlates from the base to the apex of our pyramid. There are correlates on the plane of matter and on the plane of life. Could we but trace them there are correlated qualities or “qualia” answering to those which we observe in the physical aspect all of entities in all ascending grades. But when we come to the level of mind the correlates take on this emergent form—that which is pre-eminently distinctive of this level and gives it its name (cf. § V.). That which is continuous with consciousness is the correlated aspect which is common to all events. If it be preferred we may say that on the plane of life's correlates is continuity to be sought. But consciousness is an emergent quality of the correlated aspect of nature supervenient at quite a late stage of evolutionary progress. Hence when I say that there is no continuity of parental and daughter consciousness I nowise deny continuity of correlation e.g. in the life events that are involved. That there is as part of the continuity of all psychophysical events. But there is no continuous existence of this emergent level of correlation e.g. in the germ from which the daughter is developed.
But in addition to involution and correlation there is also dependence. And here I need only repeat that on my philosophic creed emergent evolution from bottom to top is ultimately dependent on an acknowledged directive Activity.
Seeing however that under emergent treatment the whole problem of memory and that which is involved in the ascending steps of its development must necessarily be considered sub specie temporis it might well seem that nothing of the nature of memory can subsist sub specie aeternitatis. It has indeed often been suggested that by extending our concept of the so-called “specious present” to its ideal limit there is afforded an avenue of approach to the annihilation of time-limitations. But can this goal be reached if the curve along which we travel towards it be asymptotic? Must one not accept the saltum mortale of acknowledgment?
Still if some form of primary retention be regarded as central and salient there may be a valid sense in which the universalised present tense may be acknowledged as properly applicable:
(a) To the physical go of events;
(b) To a psychical aspect universally correlated therewith;
(c) To nisus; and
(d) To God on whom all is dependent.
In this sense the question: When? (and also Where?) is regarded as irrelevant. Of causation throughout the effective field of the universe we say that it is present at all times and in all places. I take it that the probability of this proposition is logically something less than 1. Hence the need of supplementary acknowledgment. When and where apply only to illustrative examples of its presence. So too the past or the future tense may be relevant only to this or that instance of go of correlation of nisus or of dependence on God.
From the book: