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Chapter III: Mental Space and Time


By mental or psychological time I mean the time in which the mind experiences itself as living, the time which it enjoys; by mental space I mean, assuming it to exist, the space in which the mind experiences itself as living or which it enjoys. They are contrasted provisionally with the space and time of the objects of mind which the mind contemplates. I hope to show on the strength of experience that mental space and time possess the same characters and are related in the same intimacy of relation as physical Space and Time; that the time of mental events is spatial and their space temporal precisely as with physical Space and Time, and further that mental time, the time in which the mind lives its life or minds its mind, is a piece of the Time in which physical events occur; and similarly of mental space. In many respects it would have made the task of analysing physical Space and Time in the preceding chapters easier if, following the method of the angels and assuming mind to be an existence alongside of physical existence, I had examined first the simplest elements in mind rather than in physical objects, and with the results of the analysis of the familiar thing mind, had passed to the analysis of the less familiar external world. But I felt myself precluded from this procedure because it would have meant before approaching physical Space and Time that we should need to accept two very disputable propositions, first that the mind is spatial, that is, is enjoyed in space, and second, that this enjoyed space is at any instant occupied not merely by the mind's present but also by its enjoyed past and future. Accordingly I have endeavoured to examine physical Space and Time without encumbrance by these difficulties.

Mental time part of the same Time as physical Time.

That the mind as the experienced continuum of mental acts (the nature of what underlies this continuum is a subject for later inquiry) is a time-series, and in that sense is in time, or has Time in its very constitution, would be admitted on all hands. By continuity is meant mental or felt continuity, so that, by memory or other means, in a normal mind no event occurs which is disconnected with the rest. There may be intervals of time, as in sleep without dreams, or in narcosis, when the mind apparently ceases to act: “the mind thinks not always.” But consciousness, as William James puts it, bridges these gaps, so long as it is normal, and it feels itself one. The elements of this continuum are conscious events or processes. There is no rest in mind but a relative one. We only think there is, because with our practical interests we are concerned with the persistent objects—the trees and men, which we apprehend in what James calls “substantive” conditions of mind. If we overlook the transitions between these objects, their repugnances and likenesses, how much more easy is it to overlook the transitions in our minds, the feelings of ‘and,’ and ‘but,’ and ‘because,’ and ‘if’ or ‘like’—the “transitive” states. We catch them for notice when we happen to be arrested in our thinking, when we leave off, for instance, in a sentence with a ‘because,’ when the forward and defeated movement of the mind is directly made the centre of our attention.1 The sense we have in such cases that the flow of our meaning is stopped is accompanied by caught breath or tense forward bending of the head or other bodily gestures, but it is not to be confused with the consciousness of these gestures. They are but the outward bodily discharge of the mental arrest. It is these transitive conditions which betray the real nature of the mind. The substantive states are but persistence in movements which have the same character and correspond to objects of the same quality. In itself the mind is a theatre of movement or transition, motion without end. Like all other things it has the glory of going on.

But not only is mind experienced in time, but the direct deliverance of our consciousness of external events is that the time in which we enjoy our mind is part of the same Time in which those external events occur. It is only when philosophy steps in with its hasty interpretations, that we can say that Time belongs, as Kant believed, to external events because they have a mental or internal side in our experiencing of them. On the contrary, to be aware of the date or duration of physical events is the most glaring instance, derived from direct experience, of how an enjoyed existent and a contemplated existent can be compresent with one another. In this case the compresence is a time-relation which unites both terms within the one Time (I am assuming, let me remind my reader, the hypothesis of direct apprehension of the external object). In memory or expectation we are aware of the past or future event, and I date the past or future event by reference to the act of remembering or expecting which is the present event. An event five years past occurred five years before my present act of mind. We have seen, in fact, that physical Time is only earlier or later, and that the instants in it are only past, present, or future in relation to the mind which apprehends. Now without doubt, when I remember that a friend called at my house an hour ago, I mean that that event occurred an hour before my present condition of myself in the act of remembering that event, and that the mental and the physical event are apprehended within the one Time.

Only in regard of present physical events does doubt arise. We are accustomed to call those physical events present which are contemplated by us in sensory form in the present moment of consciousness. Now it is certain that the physical events which I contemplate precede by a small but measurable interval my sensory apprehension of them, and this is true not only of events outside me but of the events in my body which I describe as occurring at the present moment. They are all anterior to my apprehension of them. But this is not the deliverance of unsophisticated experience, but a fact which we learn about our process of perceiving external events, and is not given directly in our acquaintance with them. Ask an untrained man whether the events which he sees occur at the same time as his perception of them, and he is merely puzzled by the question. For him the present events are those which he perceives, and he has not asked himself, and does not understand, the question whether they really are simultaneous with the perceiving of them or not. Further experience of a reflective sort, experimental experience of the times of reaction to external objects, shows him that they are not. But equally he may find by reflection or scientific methods that the event he remembers as occurring an hour ago occurred in reality an hour and five minutes ago or longer. Thus the philosophical question of the precise time-relation between our perception and its objects does not arise for us in practice. It remains true that all our mental events stand in some time-relation, whether rightly apprehended or not, to the contemplated physical events. The enjoyed mind is compresent in a time-relation with those objects. This is the whole meaning of a time-relation in which the terms are not both contemplated, as they are when we are dating two physical events with reference to one another in physical Time, but when the one is contemplated and the other enjoyed. That the mental duration or instant stands thus in relation to the contemplated instant in time shows, then, so far as experience directly gives us information, that the times of both terms are parts of one Time.

From this mere vague experience that I who enjoy am in Time along with the event contemplated which is in Time, we may easily pass to a more definite statement. We may date the physical event with reference to the physical events going on in my body at the ‘present’ moment. Then I am contemplating a stretch of time between the event and me (I may even, as we shall see later when we come to discuss our memory of the past, enjoy the interval between me and my apprehension of the physical event). At a later stage in my experience, when I have learnt that my mental act occurs really at the same time as a certain physiological process which corresponds to it, I may contemplate the time-interval between that process and the cognised physical event, and then we have a still exacter notion of the time-relation, but clearly one which is only possible for more advanced experience and not given in the mere cognition, in the mere memory, for example, of my friend's visit an hour ago.

Mental space and physical Space belong to the same Space.

Turning to Space, we find that mind enjoys itself spatially, or is extensive, in the same sense as it is successive and endures in enjoyed time. But while it is admitted that mind as experienced is in time, the proposition that it is extended meets with direct and even contemptuous opposition. Partly the repugnance is moral; it seems to some to savour of materialism. Now if materialism in philosophy were forced upon us by inquiry we should have to make our account with it and acquiesce. Nothing can in fact be further from the spirit of the present investigation, as the whole issue of it will demonstrate. But even now it is plain that if mind is spatial like matter, Space is as much in affinity with mind as it is with matter and the fear of materialism is groundless. The other objection arises from the mistaken belief that a spatial mind must be apprehended like a spatial physical object. This, however, would be to imagine that the mind is asserted to enjoy itself in contemplated Space; whereas the assertion is that mind enjoys itself in enjoyed space, and we shall presently see that the space which we enjoy as occupied by our minds may also be contemplated as occupied by a physical thing. Bearing this proviso in mind, turn to experience itself. My mind is for me, that is for itself, spread out or voluminous in its enjoyment. Within this vague extension or volume the separate and salient mental acts or processes stand out as having position, and ‘direction.’ My mind is streaked with these more pungent processes, as when a shoot of painful consciousness is felt or a sudden thought produces a new distribution in this extended mass. These streaks and shoots of consciousness have the vaguest position, but they have it, and such position and direction are most clearly marked in the higher acts of mind, imagination, or desire, or thinking, and especially when there is a change in what we call the direction of our thinking. There is verifiable truth in the words of Tennyson “As when a great thought strikes along the brain and flushes all the cheek”; though he has described the enjoyed direction in terms of its position in contemplated Space.

Thus just as we enjoy a time filled with mental events, so we enjoy an extension or space filled with mental events. Further, as with time, so here the deliverance of experience is that in apprehending physical extension, say a physical object in space, we are aware in our act of enjoyment of an enjoyed space as related to the extension of the physical object within the one Space. Our mental space and our contemplated space belong experientially to one Space, which is in part contemplated, in part enjoyed. For all our physical objects are apprehended ‘over there’ in spatial relation to our own mental space. This is evident enough, when once the terms are understood in the case of sensible apprehension of objects in space. The contemplated and the enjoyed spaces are in spatial relation, though distance is only vaguely apprehended as somewhere there away from me. But what is true of perception is true also in imagination. The contemplated space is now only imagined, but it is still somewhere there away from me. Once more I cite Tennyson. The words on Gordon “Somewhere, dead, far in the waste Soudan” illustrate the relation of enjoyed to imagined space, both of them being equally real space, though their distance if vague in perception is still vaguer in imagination. I will add two less simple examples which I have used elsewhere.2 Let any one who at all possesses sensory imagination think of the lines

The same that ofttimes hath

Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam

Of perilous seas, in fairy lands forlorn;

and ask himself whether he is not conscious of the object described as somewhere in Space along with himself, that is, does not enjoy himself in an enjoyed space, along with an object somewhere in contemplated Space. Here the Space is the Space of fancy, of fairyland. Or let him try the same experiment on

The ante chapel where the statue stood

Of Newton with his prism and silent face,

The marble index of a mind for ever

Voyaging through strange seas of thought alone,

when he will enjoy himself in space, not only along with the statue of Newton somewhere there in Trinity College, Cambridge, but also with the strange seas over which Newton's mind is supposed to be travelling, the world of contemplated things before Newton's mind.

The place of an image.

In saying that when I imagine an object I locate it somewhere in the same Space wherein I enjoy myself, I do not mean that I locate it somewhere in front of my eyes.3 On the contrary, I locate it in the place in Space to which it actually belongs. If it is the image of the Soudan I locate it in the south of Egypt. For the imaged Space is but perceived Space as it appears in an imaged form. All images of external objects are themselves spatial in character, and their parts have position relatively to each other. But also they have position in the whole of Space so far as we imagine the rest of Space. Now images are for the most part isolated objects, cut off more or less completely from their surroundings, and so far as this is the case the image as a whole cannot be said to have position at all. But directly we ask where the image is we begin to supply in image the rest of Space. Thus if I can remember the map and bear in mind the way I am facing, I image the Soudan more or less accurately where I know it to be, or in other words where it actually is.

The place of an image is its position in imaged Space, and according to the fulness of that imagination will its place be determined accurately or become so shadowy as almost to vanish. How the place in imaged Space is correlated with the place in perceived Space which is imaged in imaged Space, is discovered by experience, as for example, to take a very simple case, I recognise that the image of a person in front of me when I first look at him and then shut my eyes belongs to the same place as the percept of the same person. When the image is not the image of anything actual its place in actual Space is of course not actual either. This only means that the object imaged is not actual in the form which it assumes. It purports to have a place in Space, which is not actually filled by any such object. The Space which is imaged is still the same Space as is perceived, but it is occupied with imagined objects. Further discussion of the problems thus suggested belongs to a later part of our inquiry.4

Place of mental space.

But this vague experience of interval in space between myself and the place of physical objects in space becomes more definite when I ask where is my mind and its enjoyed space in the whole of Space. I cannot ask where I am in enjoyed space, for the space and time I enjoy are the whole of enjoyed space and time. I can date a mental event in my past; and I can dimly localise a mental event in my space: I can distinguish the outstanding point, or if it is a connected event, the streak in my space which it occupies. But when I ask when I occur in Time as a whole I answer by reference to some physical event in my body with which I am simultaneous. When I ask where I am in the whole of Space I answer by reference to my body. My mind is somewhere within my body, or within my head, or when I have acquired knowledge about my central nervous system it is for me recognised as being in the same place as that system or more specifically as the brain or some part of it. In this way I localise my mind in Space by recognising it as occupying the same place as some physical object. Now this is our constant and early acquired experience. I feel myself somewhere in my body or more particularly in my head. I am now contemplating the whole of Space and localising my enjoyed space in the same place as a contemplated object my body; just as I localise myself in time in the same part of physical Time as is occupied by my bodily ‘present’ events.

All this will seem to some to be founded on an elementary blunder of confusion between the locality of consciousness and the sensations derived from the scalp or the movements of the eyes. All our mental life is accompanied by these experiences, and when we talk of enjoyed space we are thinking of and misinterpreting what we learn about our head. And this kind of localisation is an arbitrary matter. Did not Aristotle regard the mind as seated in the heart, and the brain as merely a cooling apparatus to the heart? He attended to the cardiac region, we to the head and brain. The case of Aristotle is really not damaging to our contention as it seems, but rather supports it. For though Aristotle is so far removed from us in time, it may reasonably be supposed that like us he felt his headaches and fatigue of attention in his head. If then he still located his mind in the heart, he must have done so, not because he was guided by direct experience of the parts most affected in mental process but from imperfect anatomy. His mistake is therefore irrelevant.

But, Aristotle apart, there is a clear distinction in experience between the contemplated sense (or objects of sensation) belonging to the body and the movements of consciousness itself. In my own case a change of thought is nearly always accompanied by sensations of movement in the eyes; but I distinguish these from the acts of thought. The consciousness of colour is different from, that of eye-movement, and is particularly easy to distinguish from it because vision is not localised in the body like touch, but projected. I see a colour in the external coloured object but I do not refer it (I mean in my plain experience, apart from theories) to the eye. In localised sensations like touch, the bodily object, say the hand, does intrude into the felt pressure, and so it is easier here to imagine that when we speak of the enjoyed place of a touch sensation, we are thinking of the place where the touch occurs. But even here it is possible to get a faintly accentuated experience of the movement of consciousness in sensing a touch as distinct from the actual sensum or pressure of which we are conscious. This is best done when there are two distinct sense in the mind at once, as when, leaning against an armchair, one is seeing a bright light. There are then two differently localised movements of consciousness. Thus in the first place we may distinguish the course of the thoughts from the accompanying bodily sensations. And in the next place in sensation there is besides the sensum (the object sensed) the mental act of sensing it, and it is this, not the other, which is enjoyed. Thus it cannot be because we have sensations from the region of the head that we assert our experiencing of external objects to be located in enjoyed space within the head. For the same problem arises with regard to these sensations from the head, it is their objects which are in the contemplated head; the enjoyments of apprehending them are in an enjoyed space, whose place is identified with the place of the head. It is indeed difficult, if not impossible, to understand how we could ever correlate a particular mental process as we do with a particular neural process possessing its contemplated or physical character, had not mind already its own spatial enjoyment. The correlation, if that is the right term to use, is the identification of an enjoyed space with an observed or contemplated one.

Localisation of mental space; how effected.

The identification of the place of mind with that of the body which begins by locating the mind roughly within the body and ends by the more accurate correlation of mental with physiological processes within the central nervous system is not mere matter of theory but is derived from empirical experience; and experience which in its earlier stages is of a quite elementary character. It is an essential part of the history whereby we become aware of ourselves as a union of body and mind, a body organic to a mind, a mind whose functioning is conditioned by a body. I shall call this union of mind and body the person. In every stage of the growth of our self or person two elements are palpably present, one the body and the other the subject or consciousness. Sometimes it is the body which is predominant, as when I say I have a headache or a cold and do not feel quite myself; sometimes it is the subject or mental factor, as when I say I am most myself when I let myself go dreaming by day, or I never feel like myself when I am doing something so distasteful as reading examination papers or books of travel, or that I wish myself “like to one more rich in hope.” In the first case myself is an embodied self, in the second it is the inner self, the self which thinks, desires, imagines, wishes, wills. The most developed stage of the person is the personality, the persistent stable organised set of habits of action, thought, and feeling by which I am to be judged, by which I stand or fall. I say, for instance, I was not myself when I lied or cheated. The person is in the first case mainly a body, in the second it is mainly something psychical, in the third it is something spiritual. The two elements are, however, traceable everywhere in the history; the one the body, what Locke called the man, the other the subject, the element of consciousness itself.5

Subject and object self.

The bodily self or person is the one with which we are chiefly concerned. We experience it in the form of organic and motor or kinaesthetic sensations as well as the special sensations of touch, sight, or other sensations derived from the body itself. The body is a percept, in which various sense or sensed elements and corresponding ideational elements are revealed. It is like other external things a synthesis of these various sense, some felt, some suggested. But the bodily self or person is never the body alone but the body with the apprehension of it. It is the experienced body along with the experiencing of it, these two forming a whole. This bodily self is the nucleus of the later stages of the self; but it is only the person with its two elements which could thus serve as their foundation, and not the body alone. How intimately the bodily experience is involved in the inner self or in the personality is easy to recognise. For motor sensations in a very high degree, and organic sensations as well, are present in all the higher life of thought, emotion, and will, and sustain that life and give it richness and resonance. Thinking is not, indeed, identical with the tense movements and strains of attention, but it is sustained by them, and the emotions without organic sensations and the other sensations of the expression of the emotion would be like an old vintage of port wine which has lost its colour and ‘body.’ Even where these elements are less apparent they betray themselves to closer inspection. When I feel myself ill at ease, or not myself, in the company of a person whom I dislike, what may be uppermost in my mind is the hindrance which his presence offers to the free working of my inner thoughts and wishes. But I may soon discover that these impediments to my spiritual activity mean also restriction of my motor freedom, or other reactions of bodily uneasiness. I recognise here that I am both spirit and body, and the one will not work freely without the other. Other facts of the normal and the abnormal life of mind supply additional and familiar evidence. Changes and disturbances in the organic and motor sensations or, apart from them, in the organs of sense and connected parts of the body, though we may not be aware of them through means of organic or motor sensations, may and do alter the tone and build of the whole personality. Such changes occur normally at the climacteric epochs of life, like the time of teething or adolescence. In abnormal cases, failures in organic or tactual or visual sensibility, or any functional breakdown, may be an important factor in violent alterations of temper and thought, or even lead to division of personality.

The difference of the bodily stage of the personal life and the higher stages is in fact mainly one of emphasis. We are absorbed in the practical urgency of our bodily needs and changes and the subject-side of the self does not stand out in our experience. Even in ideation or volition, it is still the things we think about, or imagine, or desire, which interest us most. If we were confined in our inner life to the sensations we have from external objects we should still have an inner life, but should hardly notice it. But imagination, and, above all, willing and desiring, which go on in the absence of sensory objects corresponding to our ideas, begin to bring the mental action as such into relief. Even then it may be doubted whether the inner life of the subject would be attended to for its own sake were it not that in the intercourse with other persons, to which we chiefly owe the unfolding of the personality proper, we are thrown back upon ourselves by the effect of contrast, or imitation, or co-operation or rivalry, and we become definitely aware of ourselves as subjects of experience. It is then we can begin to see that even in sensation it is we who have the sensations, and it is then that the conditions arise for the birth of the science of psychology.

The higher self is thus in all its stages a continuation and expansion, and refinement of the bodily self. The body, it may be observed, is capable of indefinite extension. We feel the ground at the end of the stick we carry, not at the finger which holds the stick: the stick has become part of our body. So may anything in contact with our bodies; like our dress, injury or offence to which we resent as we do offences to our body. All this has been described by Lotze in a well-known passage.6 But my ‘body’ may include things not in contact with me, or indeed any of the external objects I am interested in—my room, my books, my friends, and all the things I care about, philosophy or psychology, which are systems of knowledge, the works of Plato, the history of my country. All these things may become extensions of my body and the experiences I get from them may be for a time of a class with my organic and other bodily sensations. The self, if I may quote a happy phrase of Mr. Henry James in one of his novels, “overflows into” these objects. Damage to my property, or disaster to philosophy or my country, is like a blow in the face. I may in certain moods feel myself one with the universe: the universe has become part of my body. Many or most of these extensions of the body are only possible to a life which has gone far beyond the interests of the body itself. But still these higher objects of interest may become as intimately organic to me as my proper body. This is the interpretation of that exchange of the self and the not-self which has sometimes been thought to demonstrate the ultimate unreality of the self. The not-self becomes part of the self and I may even turn myself outside me so that it becomes part of the not-self. Yet the not-self in such cases never becomes part of the subject nor the subject part of the contemplated world. I may take external things into my body or loose my body into the external world. But it is but a shifting of the borders within which I have the experience of intimacy or organic connection. My body may expand to include the world or it may shrink and be lost in a remote and independent system of things outside me.

Subject and body referred to same place.

The bodily person is thus the type and beginning of all forms of the self, and we may return to the question of the experience by which in the self the subject and the body come to be apprehended as unified into a whole or person, which is more than a mere aggregate. Their unity is known in its simpler stages through very elementary experiences. In the first place we have the direct identification of the place of mind and body. The enjoyed space of the one is identified with the contemplated space of the other in precisely the same way as we identify a colour as occupying roughly the same space as a hardness or a tone, or as we identify again roughly the place of an organic sensum of, say, cramp in an area of the skin with a touch sensum in that area of the skin. In both these cases we have two external objects localised within the same contour. In the case we are considering we localise the mind and the body within the contour of the body and declare it to be in the body or even more narrowly in the head. There is no difference in the two cases except that one of the things whose space is identified is spread out in enjoyed and not in contemplated space. This identification is accomplished experientially. Moreover, we do not necessarily refer the consciousness always to the place of the body, we may refer the body to the consciousness as being in part or it in the same place. Here too we have a parallel in external experience. Pain in the toe is an organic sensum and the toe itself is seen. But W. James has said with as much truth as wit that when a baby feels a pain in its toe it is really feeling the toe in the pain. Now the pain, though a sensum and not a mere feeling of painfulness, is notwithstanding more personal, nearer to mind than the seen toe. It is but a step from this to identifying the seen space of part of the body with the enjoyed space of the mind. Mental events and bodily events are thus realised to belong to one place, and we may add by similar considerations, roughly speaking, to one time. Mind and body are experientially one thing, not two altogether separate things, because they occupy the same extension and places as a part of the body.

Mental process continued into bodily movement.

Besides this direct spatial identification, the union of mind and body is experienced by us in the bodily movements into which the mental response to external things is continued. The mental process of perception of the apple is continued into the movement of seizing the apple, which movement in its turn is perceived. Moreover, there is a difference in these responses with the difference in the mental processes—with their more or less vaguely experienced differences of locality within enjoyed space. In securing its ends the mind's actions issue into appropriately distinct bodily actions. The body is experienced as an instrument of the mind. This is true not only in the life of the senses and appetites, but also in the life of intellect. We experience that these activities issue in bodily movements which sustain them and affect the external world, were it only in the form of speech. Thus the person is experienced as no mere aggregate of mind and body, because these have place (and time) in common and their movements are in experienced connection. And all the facts before referred to which indicate how changes in the one determine changes in the other come in, when the person reflects, to swell the tide of evidence flowing in that direction.

The map of mental space.

So much, except for such phrases as imply a slightly more extended knowledge or reflection, may be taken as describing the ordinary history of how mind and body come to be recognised as connected; and it is compatible with different hypotheses as to the ultimate nature of that connection. That experience teaches us that the mind is somewhere within the body and is felt in particular within the head; and it answers roughly the question, Where is the enjoyed space of mind in the whole Space which is contemplated? But from what we learn about our own bodies and from the bodies and, above all, the brains of others, we are able to establish a much more detailed and intimate connection between mental processes and physiological ones. Let us assume for shortness that consciousness is conditioned by physical events in the cerebral cortex.7 This must not be taken to mean that there is some place in that cortex at which the mental event is located, as if the rest of the brain or the central nervous system were indifferent. No conception could be so naïve. Rather what is meant is that certain processes occurring in specific parts of the cortex are so vital for a particular sort of mental event that unless the affection reached this part of the cortex the mental event would not occur. We learn then that specific consciousness such as vision is correlated with specific movements in the occipital region of the brain. Plainly this kind of knowledge is not direct experience of my own vision or of its relation to the brain. For it is a commonplace that in seeing a tree I know nothing of the occipital movement, and when I think of the occipital movement I am not seeing the tree. But it is knowledge about my own vision, and extends my experience of vision, for when I see I can think of these processes in my own brain, in ideal contemplation, and when I think of them I can think of vision in ideal enjoyment. Having learnt from other brains what underlies vision I can use that knowledge to understand my own.

Now if we accept the commonly held results of correlation between specific mental acts and specific neural processes, we arrive at a much closer conception of how the psychosis is related to the neurosis. Instead of roughly feeling our mind within our heads we can think of a psychosis as occupying the place of its correlative neurosis. Once more no particular theory is here implied of the ultimate connection of psychosis and neurosis. The doctrine that they are correlated or even parallel, regarded as a bare compendious statement of facts, is sufficient for our purpose. There may be interaction between mind and brain; there may be, as indeed I believe to be the case, identity of psychosis with its own neurosis.8 But this is not necessary here to affirm. Those who think that secondary qualities like colour and sound interpenetrate, that is, are found in precisely the same place, may well believe that a psychosis may occur in the place of a neurosis and yet be something distinct from the neurosis. We have made no such supposition as to the coincidence of a colour and a smell, for we have only supposed them to coincide in the rough.9 The question may be left open and we may be content with the hypothesis founded on cerebral localisation that mental events, with their specific enjoyed place, are in the very contemplated place of their neurosis. This is a mere extension of the experienced rough identity of place between mind and body.

This picture of our neural space is painted by inference. But it enables us to derive two results. First it substitutes, as said, for the vague blur of enjoyed space a map of that enjoyed region, and we can attach a definite meaning to the proposition that our mental states are enjoyed as having place and direction. So far as any one mental process is defined against the general mental background, its direction is that of its specific anatomical or physiological path. The direction is defined within the brain itself and it does not change if I alter the position of my body by turning round. For my brain, or at least my central nervous system, is the whole region which I can experience in enjoyment. I am my own microcosm so far as enjoyment goes. When I turn round, my brain processes may change their direction according to the compass used in contemplated Space, but not in relation to my brain as taken by itself. The orientation of its constituent movements does not change when the orientation of the contemplated brain changes in the rest of contemplated Space. It is therefore irrelevant if any one objects that a mental direction would vary with every movement of my body.10

Some of these anatomical or physiological paths are occupied by present states of mind; some of them by the mental states which are the enjoyments of remembered or expected objects, that is, which are in ordinary language memories or expectations of ourselves. Not all of our brain is necessarily at any one moment occupied by mental events, except so far as the whole brain may be needed to function in order that there may be specific functioning of any one path within it. This apparent lapse or abeyance of mental action in certain parts of our neural system raises a problem. But we need not discuss it now. The fact is that not every part of our brain is mentally effective at once: we may see without hearing.

Mental space-time: the problem.

Secondly, with our picture before us, we can begin to understand better the connection of enjoyed space and time. For mental events are processes in time and occupy our enjoyed space, and different mental events are connected together either as contemporaneous with or following one another within this space. Hence in this microcosm of enjoyed space and time, time, that is, enjoyed time, is laid out in space, primarily in enjoyed space but also in the contemplated space which is identical with ft. It is therefore no mere metaphor or illusion by which we represent the passage of mental life in time by spatial pictures. For now we recognise that in fact mental time enjoyed in mental process occupies space, or like physical Time it is experientially spatial.

So far we can see; but what we learn is little more than a recognition that mental processes which occur in time, and which are related in time-relations, occupy space. But to go further requires us to determine the relation of the time of the mental process, that is, the enjoyed date, to the time of the physiological process which corresponds to it. This is a matter which presents great difficulty. Strangely enough, though we accept at once the proposition that the mind is in Time and with difficulty the proposition that it is in Space, yet it is easy to see that if the mind is in Space the place of a mental process is identical with that of its brain process, but the question, Are their times identical or not? seems to us half unnecessary to ask and exceedingly difficult to answer. The reason is, that the time of a present mental event is clearly and palpably itself the date from which we reckon Time, and we need to ask no more about it. But we can only give definiteness to the place of a mental event by correlating and identifying it with the place of some contemplated event.

Let us state the problems before us more distinctly. I am at this moment seeing a colour and hearing a sound. The corresponding parts of the brain in the occipital and the temporal regions are excited at one and the same time: certain phases of the movements are contemporaneous. But suppose that while I am at this moment seeing a colour I am remembering part of a friend's conversation in which the predominant images are auditory. The corresponding enjoyments which occupy my brain are the present enjoyment of the colour, that is, the seeing of it, and the renewal in memory (I purposely leave the phrase vague) of the hearing of the conversation. Is that renewal by way of memory wholly a present enjoyment? If so, then, since the like would apply to expectations, and my mind is filled with present thoughts, images, rememberings, and expectations, my brain would be occupied at this moment by a mass of present enjoyments. The time of an enjoyment would be identical with the time in contemplated Time of its corresponding neurosis. Since the time of every part of the brain corresponding to mental action would be the same, we should have in mental space an exception to what we have learned of contemplated Space, that it is primarily not all simultaneous. We are forced, therefore, to ask ourselves whether the time of a mental enjoyment is always that of its underlying neural process, or in other words whether a remembered enjoyment is not itself a past enjoyment, not a present one. We shall find, strange as the statement may seem, that this is the truth. But the inquiry cannot be an easy nor a short one.

  • 1.

    There are many happy examples in Humpty Dumpty's poem in Through the Looking-Glass: “I'd go and wake them, if—”, “We cannot do it, Sir, because—”

  • 2.

    Mind, vol. xxi., 1912, ‘On relation's.’

  • 3.

    I believe that I have said so in one of my papers. From this disloyalty to my own principles I was saved by the admirable treatment of this subject in Mr. E. B. Holt's Concept of Consciousness (London, 1914), chap. xii. pp. 230 ff. I borrow from him the statement that the image taken by itself has no position at all. But I doubt if an image ever is cut off completely. And so I persist in holding that the image of a town belongs to the actual place of the actual town, only of course under the indistinctness and falsification which attach to any imagination. The matter becomes clear only at a later stage when we come to speak of illusions and imagination. See in particular the mirror experiment described in Bk. III. ch. vii.

  • 4.

    Bk. III. ch. vii.

  • 5.

    For fuller treatment see ‘Self as Subject and as Person’ (Proceedings Aristotelian Society, 1910–11, vol. xi.).

  • 6.

    Microcosmus, ‘On dress and ornament,’ Bd. ii. pp. 203 ff. Engl. transl. vol. i. pp. 586 ff.

  • 7.

    Written before the appearance of Dr. Head's recent paper in Brain, xli., 1918, on ‘Sensation and the Cerebral Cortex.’ (Cp. later, Bk. III. ch. vi. Suppl. Note.) The precise localisation of mental process is, however, indifferent for our purpose here.

  • 8.

    See later, Bk. III. ch. i. A.

  • 9.

    See later, Bk. II. ch. vi. A, p. 275.

  • 10.

    I may note here that the direction of a mental process is thus understood by me literally, in its spatio-temporal sense. Sometimes it is said, and I have myself on various occasions said, that in any act of cognition, e.g. in seeing a tree or colour, the mental act is directed upon the object contemplated. I suppose it is this which may have led to the criticism that the direction of a mental process alters with the position of the head. But direction is understood in these other statements metaphorically, as when we speak of directing our attention to an object. It means strictly in such phrases little more than being concerned with, and expresses the correlation of the mental act with its object, the parallelism of mental act (or its neural process) with the external object with which it is in my language compresent. (See later, Bk. III. ch. i. A.)