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Section 29

29. Are we, then, to refer memory to the perceptive faculty and so make one principle of our nature the seat of both awareness and remembrance?

Now supposing the very Shade, as we were saying in the case of Hercules, has memory, then the perceptive faculty is twofold.

[(And if (on the same supposition) the faculty that remembers is not the faculty that perceives, but some other thing, then the remembering faculty is twofold.]

And further if the perceptive faculty [= the memory] deals with matters learned [as well as with matters of observation and feeling] it will be the faculty for the processes of reason also: but these two orders certainly require two separate faculties.

Must we then suppose a common faculty of apprehension [one covering both sense perceptions and ideas] and assign memory in both orders to this?

The solution might serve if there were one and the same percipient for objects of sense and objects of the Intellectual-Kind; but if these stand in definite duality, then, for all we can say or do, we are left with two separate principles of memory; and, supposing each of the two orders of soul to possess both principles, then we have four.

And, on general grounds, what compelling reason is there that the principle by which we perceive should be the principle by which we remember, that these two acts should be vested in the one faculty? Why must the seat of our intellectual action be also the seat of our remembrance of that action? The most powerful thought does not always go with the readiest memory; people of equal perception are not equally good at remembering; some are especially gifted in perception, others, never swift to grasp, are strong to retain.

But, once more, admitting two distinct principles, something quite separate remembering what sense-perception has first known- still this something must have felt what it is required to remember?

No; we may well conceive that where there is to be memory of a sense-perception, this perception becomes a mere presentment, and that to this image-grasping power, a distinct thing, belongs the memory, the retention of the object: for in this imaging faculty the perception culminates; the impression passes away but the vision remains present to the imagination.

By the fact of harbouring the presentment of an object that has disappeared, the imagination is, at once, a seat of memory: where the persistence of the image is brief, the memory is poor; people of powerful memory are those in whom the image-holding power is firmer, not easily allowing the record to be jostled out of its grip.

Remembrance, thus, is vested in the imaging faculty; and memory deals with images. Its differing quality or degree from man to man, we would explain by difference or similarity in the strength of the individual powers, by conduct like or unlike, by bodily conditions present or absent, producing change and disorder or not- a point this, however, which need not detain us here.

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