Page images

succession), nevertheless does not seem to have perceived the processes by which resemblance and contrast may be resolved into this principle, and furthermore treats the topic under the threefold division of resemblance, contrast, and contiguity in place or time, all which he inconsistently calls primary principles. (Lect. 34 foll) Mr. Mill has two principles, subdivisions (and perhaps unnecessary subdivisions) of the one principle, as it is represented by Hume and Brown, contiguity; he calls them the ‘synchronous order,’ which, he says, answers to contiguity in place, and the ‘successive order,’ which, he says, answers to contiguity in time. (Analysis of the Human Mind, vol. i. p. 53.) He observes rightly, that the principles of causation, resemblance, and contrast, may be resolved into previous proximate succes: sion; though he does not go through the analyses, and indeed the few hints which he gives of what he deems the necessary processes seem to show that he did not understand them. The mode of resolving causation is obvious; causation indeed is but a name for previous proximate succession, under particular circumstances. Let us briefly explain (Mr. Mill not having done it) the modes of resolving resemblance and contrast into the same principle; taking, which is the most convenient method in such cases, a particular instance of each. The sight of a man, A, calls up the idea of another man, B, who resembles him. Some of the sensations and ideas which are elements of the complex feeling called the sight of A, have been before present to the mind as elements of the complex feeling called the sight of B; and these sensations and ideas call up the ideas of the other sensations and the other ideas which go to make up the complex feeling called the sight of B, and which are not elements of the complex feeling called the sight of A; for with these other sensations and other ideas they have before existed in proximate succession, or (as we may say for shortness) have co-existed. These ideas, thus called up, co-exist (as we may again say for shortness) with the ideas of the sensations, and with the ideas, which, belonging both to the sight of A and the sight of B, called them up; and thus the idea of the sight of B, or the idea of B, is present to the mind. Again, as regards contrast, the idea of a giant calls up the idea of a dwarf. One idea that is an element of the complex feeling called the idea of a giant is the idea of tallness, which idea is made up of the idea of height and that of greatness. The idea of tallness, and therefore that of height, is a vivid idea, or (changing the phrase) it is an idea on which the mind dwells, or which very frequently presents itself to the mind when a giant is being thought of; and so when a dwarf is being thought of, is the idea of shortness, which again includes the idea of height, a vivid idea. Now the idea of height being a vivid idea, or one which very frequently presents itself to the mind when a dwarf is o: of, is strongly (and strongly by reason of the frequent proximate succession of the two ideas) associated with the idea of a dwarf, as it is, for the same reason, strongly associated with the idea of a giant. The idea of the giant then calls up the idea of height, which has freuently before (as we may say for shortness) co-existed with the idea of the giant; and the idea of height thus called up, calls up, for the same reason, the idea of the dwarf. We have dwelt thus at length on the psychological law of association, and its primary principle of previous proximate succession, because it may be said to be the key to the whole psychological theory of dreams. This law being fully comprehended at the outset, so much of the remainder of our task as consists in the exemplification of its mode of operation is made straightforward and easy. We arrive at the law of association, as determining waking trains of 1deas, by the processes of observation and of induction. We may either extend the law, thus arrived at in the case of waking trains of ideas, to the case of dreams, knowing independently that these are made up of ideas, and are therefore not different in kind from waking trains; or again we may arrive at the law, in the case of dreams separately, by the same processes of observation and induction. The former mode is as satisfactory as the latter; and in the way of this latter there are many difficulties, arising out of the nature of the case, which do not exist as regards the former. By the former mode, therefore, which is the easier, and which is at the same time logically correct, we come to the conclusion that, in dreams, one idea is followed by

another idea, when either the sensation of which the first is the copy has, at a previous time or times, been followed by the sensation of which the second is the copy, or when one of the ideas has followed or been followed by (as the case may be) the sensation of which the other is the copy, or again when the ideas themselves have been, at a previous time or times, present to the mind in proximate succession; and that this happens the more surely, or (changing the phrase) the association between the two ideas is the more strong, in proportion as the previous proximate succession has been more recent, and in proportion as it has been more frequent. Of the law thus modified by the circumstances of recency and frequency, causation, resemblance, and contrast, are names for classes of instances; and in dreams, as in waking trains, the idea of what is called a cause is generally followed by the idea of what is called its effect; the idea of an object which resembles another object is generally followed by the idea of the object which it resembles; and the idea of an object which is said to be contrasted with another object is sometimes followed by the object with which it is said to be contrasted. We will now exemplify, with somewhat more particularity, the operation of this law of association in dreams. 1. The classes of associations which make up the greater part of our mental history when we are awake, those concerned in naming, in classification and abstraction, in me. mory, in belief, in reasoning (whether to ourselves or by word of mouth or in writing), in imagination, in desires and aversions, in affections, occur likewise during sleep, and make up a considerable part of our mental history in sleep, that is, of our dreams. It will not be necessary to give instances of the occurrence of each of these classes of associations, as every one who is conscious of having dreamed must be conscious of having had these several states of mind during his dreams. And further, the giving of the instances would be of little use, unless the instances given of the several states of mind were analysed, and the associations forming these several states of mind set forth in the particular instances given; but this, even were it relevant to our É. purpose, would carry us to an unreasonable length. eferring the reader then to Mr. Mill's masterly work, entitled the ‘Analysis of the Human Mind,” in which the working of the law of association is thoroughly developed, we shall content ourselves with some striking instances of reasoning and imagination, and with an exemplification of belief, of that kind which is most important for the full comprehension of dreams. e not only converse, in dreams, with the persons whom we believe to be present, speaking to them, and again attributing to them connected words which we believe that they speak to us, but we frequently go so far as to make a speech or written dissertation, which, as remembered when we have awoke, is not only coherent, but often (owing to psychological circumstances peculiar to the state of sleep) more clearly and forcibly arranged than it would have been had we been awake, and had we actually spoken the speech or written the dissertation. Condillac is said to have often brought to a conclusion in his dreams reasonings on which he had been employed during the day, and which he had not completely worked out when he retired to bed. (Cabanis, Rapports du Physique et du Moral de l'Homme, ii. p. 395.) Cabanis says, in the same place, of Franklin:-" I knew a very wise and enlightened man who believed he had often been instructed in his dreams concerning the issue of events which at the time occupied his mind. His strong head, and his freedom, in every other respect, from prejudice, had not been able to guard him against a superstition in respect of these inward warnings. He observed not that his profound skill and rare sagacity continued to direct the action of his brain during sleep.”— The circumstances under which Mr. Coleridge composed the fragment called “Kubla Khan' have been described by himself as the following, and we see no reason to discredit his statement.” He had taken an anodyne which had been prescribed to him in consequence of a slight indisosition, and fell asleep in his chair while he was reading in urchass Pilgrimage of a palace built by Khan Kubla; he remained asleep for about three hours, during which, as he himself tells us, “he could not have composed less than from * This account was ridiculed in the Edinburgh Review (vol. xxvii. p.65), in one of a series of articles on Mr. Coleridge, concerning the truth and taste of which the world has now very unequivocally expressed its opinion. As no

arguments are adduced in support of the reviewer's denial of Mr. Coleridge's statement we consider ourselves justified in retaining our own faith therein,

two to three hundred lines; if that indeed can be called composition in which all the images rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation or consciousness of effort.’ On awaking he instantly sat down to commit his poem to paper. After having written so many lines as were afterwards published, he was interrupted by a person on business; and when he returned to the task the poem had vanished from his memory. The fragment begins thus:—

* Ili Xanadu did Kubla Khau A stately pleasure-dome decree: where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea.”

The poem proceeds as one stream of melody; and the diction is throughout beautifully appropriate and condensed. (Poetical Works, i. p. 266.)—There are many trite instances, which we shall only thus generally allude to, of writing performed during sleep, under the particular circumstances which constitute somnambulism. These particular circumstances, it will be observed, affect the body only, and in nowise affect the mind or its operations. Our belief in the presence of external objects not present is one of the most curious and, from the frequency of its occurrence, together with its curiousness, one of the most important of the phenomena of dreams. This belief is a complicated case of association. When we are awake, and, having sensations of sight from a present object, believe that the object is present, we have, first, the sensations of sight which the object excites, then the ideas of distance and extension and figure, which are closely associated with these sensations: again, the ideas of all the other sensations which the object has at other times and in other circumstances excited (those of resistance, smell, sound, &c.), and of ourselves as having these sensations: and, lastly, the idea of a cause of all those sensations, whether present or past, whether those which are themselves, or those of which only the ideas or copies are present to the mind. All those ideas, inseparably associated with the sensations of sight of which we are conscious, make up the complex state of mind called belief in the presence of earternal objects, or belief in the existence of erternal objects, present. The same ideas, inseparably associated with the ideas of the sensations of sight which were themselves present in the former case, constitute another complex state, which is also a state of belief in the existence of the external objects, but which, having ideas of the sensations of sight instead of the sensations themselves, is thus distinguished from the former state, and which may be called belief in the eristence of eacternal objects not present. This last state of mind is the one which occurs during sleep, appearing to be the former one. Why it so appears we shall explain presently. At present we have had to do only with what it actually is, and with the associations which it comprehends. 2. It is said that a man's character and pursuits influence his dreams. Now we mean by the phrase “a man's character,’ nothing more than certain classes of associations which occur to him most frequently; and his ‘pursuits’ again, viewed subjectively or in respect of himself pursuing, may be paraphrased in the same way. When we say then that a man's character and pursuits influence his dreams, it is only a way of saying that those associations which most frequently occur when he is awake will also occur most frequently, catteris paribus, when he is asleep. This circumstance, therefore, observed in dreams, exemplifies the manner in which frequency strengthens association. It would be but a waste of words to bring particular instances in support of the general remark; and indeed it will be incidentally exemplified in some of the illustrations which we shall presently adduce of the influence of sensations on dreams. 3. Dreams turn upon subjects which have been present to the mind recently, rather than those which have been present to it at a greater distance of time. In other words, the most recent associations will recur, caeteris paribus, the most frequently in our dreams. As under the last head, therefore, was exemplified the influence of frequency on association, so under the present is that of recency exemplified; and it will not be necessary to dwell any longer upon this than upon the last topic. 4. We shall enter at rather greater length into the manner in which the sensations occasionally felt in sleep modify dreams through association. We have already alluded to the occasional occurrence of these sensations. They are themselves very unimportant parts of dreams, even when

they occur; but they call up vivid and interesting trains of ideas, the connexion between which and the sensations it is amusing to trace. We shall take the different kinds of sensations separately. a. Of the five external senses, sight is the least excitable during sleep. But a strong light brought before the eyes of a person sleeping generally affects the nerves concerned in the sensation of sight; a sensation of a light is generally felt ; and whilst its ultimate effect is almost always to awaken the sleeper, a train of ideas associated with the sensation of a light is first called up, and passes before the mind in the interval between the sensation and waking. The sleeper probably awakes from a dream of some conflagration, whether one which has actually taken place (for instance, the conflagration of Moscow, or any other which may have been impressed on his mind), or else a conflagration of some house well known to him, perhaps even his own. b. The least excitable of the senses, after sight, is taste. And even so far as it is excitable, the circumstances under which we sleep are such as to preclude almost entirely the possibility of its being brought into action. When, however, from ill-health, or in consequence of something which we have ate shortly before going to bed, there is (in the vulgar phrase) a bad taste in the mouth, this may have its effect on dreams. ‘A bad taste in the mouth,” says Mr. Macnish, the author of a book called the Philosophy of Sleep,' which, however, is not exactly the book of a philosopher, ‘presents us with everything bitter and nauseous in the vegetable world; a mercurial course perhaps with the mines of Spain, from whence that mineral is obtained.” (p. 69.) c. Smell comes next of the senses, in respect of defect of excitability during sleep. The circumstances under which we sleep are again such as to preclude almost entirely the action of this sense; and it is difficult, while it is by no means important, to select an apposite instance of its operation in modifying dreams. d. We come next to the sense of hearing. ‘The sound of a flute in the neighbourhood, says Mr. Waco, “may invoke a thousand beautiful and delightful associations. The air is perhaps filled with the tones of harps, and all other varieties of music; nay the performers themselves are visible; and while the cause of this strange scene is one trivial instrument, he may be regaled with a rich and melodious concert.” (p. 61.)—A loud noise taking place near the sleeper, heard by him, and eventually awaking him, calls up ideas of various loud noises, and these again various other ideas associated with them. The following curious instance, which exemplifies the tendency of ideas that have been most frequently and most recently resent to the mind to recur in dreams, is taken from r. Abercrombie's work on the Intellectual Powers. At a time when the inhabitants of Edinburgh were all in constant alarm of a French invasion, and every preparation had been made for the landing of the enemy, it was further arranged that the first notice thereof should be given by a gun from the castle. “A gentleman,’ says Dr. Abercrombie, “who had been a most zealous volunteer, was in bed between two and three o'clock in the morning, when he dreamt of hearing the signal gun. He was immediately at the castle, witnessed the proceedings for displaying the signals, and saw and heard a great bustle over the town, from troops and artillery assembling. At this time he was roused by his wife, who awoke in a fright, in consequence of a similar dream, connected with much noise and the landing of an enemy, and concluding with the death of a particular friend of her husband, who had served with him as a volunteer during the late war. The origin of this remarkable concurrence was ascertained, in the morning, to be the noise produced in the room above by the fall of a pair of tongs, which had been left in some very awkward position, in support of a clothes-screen.” (p. 277.)—Again, whispering in a person's ear when he is asleep is found sometimes to modify his dreams very considerably. Some persons, it is true, are instantly awaked thereby; others, who sleep on, are not conscious when they awake of having had dreams akin to the subjects on which the whisperer has discoursed; while others again may have their dreams modified at one time by the whispering, and not at another, according as the sleep is more or less deep. But instances are recorded of persons susceptible always, and, to a pecuitar degree of the influence of this whispering in the ear on their dreams. Dr. Abercrombie gives an amusing account of an officer in the expedition to Louisburg in 1758, on whom his companions in arms, knowing his susceptibility, used constantly, to amuse themselves by practising the whispering. - - hey could produce in him any kind of dream by whispering into his ear, especially if this was done by a friend with whose voice he was familiar. At one time they conducted him through the whole progress of a quarrel, which ended in a duel; and when the parties were, supposed to be met, a pistol was put into his hand, which he fired, and was awai.ened by the report. On another occasion, they found him asleep on the top of a locker or bunker in the cabin, when they made him believe he had fallen overboard, and exhorted him to save himself by swimming. He immediately imitated all the motions of swimming. They then told him that a shark was pursuing him, and entreated him to dive for his life. He instantly did so, with such force as to throw himself entirely from the locker upon the cabin floor, by which he was much bruised, and awakened of course. After the landing of the army at Louisburg, his friends found him one day asleep in his tent, and evidently much annoyed by the cannonading. They then made him believe that he was engaged, when he expressed great fear, and showed an evident disposition to run away. , Against this they remonstrated, but at the same time increased his fears by imitating the groans of the wounded and the dying; and when he asked, as he often did, who was down, they named his particular friends. ...At last they told him that the man next himself in the line had fallen, when he instantly sprung from his bed, rushed out of the tent, and was roused from his danger and his dream together by falling over the tent-ropes.” (p. 278.) e. Of the five external senses, touch is the most excitable during sleep. In continually changing, as we do, our position during sleep, we are influenced by tactile sensations of which the bed and the bed-clothes are the causes. We are most easily awaked by being touched, the slightest tickling in the nose, or the sole of the foot being sufficient for the purpose. And as regards the operation of sensations of touch in modifying dreams, let it suffice to observe generally, that those by which we are awaked may call up, in the interval between the touch and the waking, ideas of various causes of touch which will be pleasurable or painful ideas according to other circumstances. f. Sensations of bodily pain, or of disorganization (as they have been named by Mr. Mill, who has been the first to treat of the munder a separate head), including the sensations of heat and cold, frequently occur to modify dreams. Hobbes has enunciated this modifying circumstance with distinctness, interweaving however a somatological hypothesis for its explanation which is neither necessary nor correct; but this hypothesis may be kept apart from the enunciation of the fact. “And seeing dreams are caused by the distemper of some of the inward parts of the body, divers distempers must needs cause different dreams; and hence it is that lying cold breedeth dreams of fear, and raiseth the thought and image of some fearful object (the motion from the brain to the inner parts, and from the inner parts to the brain being reciprocal); and that as anger causeth heat in some parts of the body when we are awake; so when we sleep, the over-heating of the same parts causeth anger, and raiseth up in the brain the imagination of an enemy.” (Leviathan, i. 2.)—Dr. Abercrombie furnishes us with the following instance of a dream caused by cold. Dr. Gregory, who had recently been reading an account of Hudson's Bay, dreamt one night that he spent a winter in that part of the world, and suffered intensely from frost; and upon awaking he found that he had thrown off his bed-clothes during sleep (p. 276). Heat arising from an accumulation of bed-clothes will lead to a dream of an opposite character, the particular ideas associated with the sensation of heat which come in to make up the scenes being dependent, as in the case of Dr. Gregory's dream, on particular circumstances.—The same Dr. Gregory having applied a bottle of hot water to his feet one night in consequence of indisposition, dreamt that he was walking up Mount AEtna, and felt the ground under him warm. Dr. Reid, having one night a blister applied to his head, dreamed that he was scalped by a party of Indians. (Abercrombie, id.; Stewart's Philosophy of the Human Mind, vol. i. p. 335.) The writer of this article, when suffering once from acute pains in the back during a rheumatic fever, dreamt that he was pursued by enemies, who were shooting arrows at him, and whose every arrow told.

D R E able and sometimes painful, have a very important influence on dreams. These sensations indeed influence very considerably our waking trains of ideas; and much more, inasmuch as in sleep there are no external objects to call us away from the ideas which these sensations call up, do they influence our sleeping trains. When the digestion is good, and we have ate nothing which weighs upon or disagrees with the stomach, our dreams are, generally speaking, pleasurable. When, on the other hand, we suffer from indigestion, which, in respect of the effect, is but a name for an aggregate of painful sensations in the alimentary canal, we are afflicted with dreams of the most painful character. The exhilarating effects of opium and of intoxicating draughts, which effects are neither more nor less than sensations in the alimentary canal, are also discernible in dreams. And in connexion with this topic, we may allude to the dreams caused by the uneasy sensations attendant on obstructed respiration, which, sometimes caused by and sometimes combined with indigestion, constitute the most dreadful evils to which in sleep we are subject, and which are known to all under the name of nightmare. We have thus explained the law of association which determines the formation of dreams, and have exemplified its operation. Thus far, it will be observed, we have spoken of dreams only in their generic character of trains of ideas; or, at least, any reference which we have made to the specific circumstances which distinguish them from trains of ideas in the waking state has been incidental. It remains, in order to complete the psychological theory of dreams, to state and explain the circumstances distinguishing dreams, as trains of ideas during sleep, from trains of ideas as they generally occur in the waking state. We say as they generally occur, because in the waking state there are trains of ideas, which occur under peculiar circumstances, resembling dreams, and differing from the generality of trains of ideas in the wakin state in those very points by means of which dreams, j the generality of waking trains, are to be distinguished from one another. The trains of ideas which in the waking state occur thus under peculiar circumstances are those called reveries, or, more expressively, waking dreams; and again, those which present themselves to the mind during delirium. 1. Ideas which occur in dreams are believed to be sensations : scenes fashioned by the fancy are believed to be real. What has been already said, when we were resolving this belief in the presence of external objects not present into its component elements, in order to exemplify the operation of the law of association in dreams, has expedited the explanation of this phenomenon. When we are awake we are conscious continually of two different states of mind, belief in the existence of external objects present, and belief in the existence of external objects not present. These two states of mind differ only in this point, that the former comprehends certain sensations of sight, while the latter, in the place of the sensations themselves, has but the ideas of the sensations. Now, when we are awake, ideas are compared with sensations, the belief in the existence of external objects not present with the belief in the existence of external objects present; and ideas are seen to be less vivid than sensations, the former belief than the latter belief. Thus, and thus alone, are these states of mind respectively distinguished from each other when we are awake; but when we are asleep we have no sensations with which to compare our ideas, and no external objects present, with the belief in whose presence we can compare the belief in their existence when they are not present. Ideas therefore, no longer viewed relatively, take the place of sensations; they are the most vivid representations which present themselves to the mind of the qualities of external objects; and, being the most vivid, are believed to be sensations. Whence it follows that the belief in the existence of external objects not present takes the place also of the belief in the existence of external objects present, or (changing the phrase) the belief in the presence of external objects. It may also be, that ideas when we are asleep are, from bodily causes which we cannot trace, actually more vivid than are the same ideas when we are awake: if this be so, which we cannot positively say, but which is probable, it will combine with the previous consideration to explain the above-mentioned phenomenon. Pr; Hartley wrote upon this point with great sagacity;

g. Sensations in the alimentary canal, sometimes pleasur

and the only fault in the following extract is the intrusion of a material hypothesis at the end of it “The scenes which

present themselves are taken to be real. Now this happeras, first, because we have no other reality to oppose to the ideas which offer themselves, whereas in the common fictions of the fancy, while we are awake, there is always a set of real external objects striking some of our senses, and precluding a like mistake there, or if we become quite inattentive to external objects, the reverie does so far put on the nature of a dream as to appear a reality; secondly, the trains of visible ideas which occur in dreams are far more vivid than common visible ideas, and therefore may the more easily be taken for actual impressions. For what reasons these ideas should be so much more vivid, I cannot presume to say. I guess that the exclusion of real impressions has some share, and the increased heat of the brain zzzay have some likewise. The fact is most observable in the first approaches of sleep, all the visible ideas beginning then to be more than usually glaring.” (Observations on Man, vol. i. p. 398, ed. 1810.) Thus it is that we never dream of a past event as a past event. Any historical event of which we dream is believed to be taking place before our eyes, and any historical individual to be our companion. Another singular consequence is observable in the case of dreams produced by sensations of bodily pain. The sensation of the pain may call up, as well as kindred ideas of pain and its causes, an idea of that which will remove the pain, which, when we are awake, must often follow the sensation of pain; and this idea will be taken for the actual presence of that which is fitted to relieve us. When, for instance, we hunger or thirst in sleep, these uneasy sensations call up respectively the ideas of food or drink; we believe that we have food or drink in our possession, but (the hunger or thirst of course continuing) we go on to dream of some occurrence which prevents the satisfaction of our appetites; or perhaps we have the idea of the taste of the food or drink, and believe that we have the sensation of tasting, but yet the hunger or thirst is not allayed. Immediately some other viand or beverage presents itself to us; again are we debarred from the enjoyment, or again do we taste and profit not; and thus does the dream proceed until we awake. The incongruity of dreams, or (in other words) the grouping of objects in our dreams which could not exist together in reality, results immediately from this mistaking of ideas for sensations. There is no more incongruity in the collocation of our ideas themselves during sleep, than in that of our ideas in the waking state. In both states they follow one another according to the same law. But when we have ideas of objects during sleep, we believe that the objects are themselves present; and though the collocation of the ideas is natural, and such as would excite no surprise in the waking state, the collocation of the objects is strange, and would then also excite surprise. Dreams, though only trains of ideas, are believed at the time (as has been explained) to be successions of objects; and when afterwards remembered as such, they seem strange and incongruous. Dryden's poetical description and instance may here relieve the weariness of our own prose:— • Dreams are the interludes which fancy makes: When monarch reason sleeps, this mimic wakes, Compounds a medley of disjointed things, A court of coblers or a mob of kings.' 2. There being no sensations in sleep, as in the waking state, to break off the trains of our ideas, the associations which have been at any previous time or times formed be. tween these ideas have more uninterrupted play when we are asleep than when we are awake. When we are awake, one idea calls up another, this perhaps a third, and thus a train of ideas is commenced, when of a sudden we see some object; the sensation then takes possession of the mind, and (in the common phrase) the attention is withdrawn from the train of ideas. When we are asleep this cannot happen; and an association between any two ideas has to give way only to a stronger association between one of them and a third. The greater coherency, than if they were made by us when awake, of speeches or essays which we believe in our dreams that we speak or write, has been already noticed. Thus it is that we often go through a repetition in our dreams with considerably greater ease than we can do it when awake. For the same reason again, ideas occur to us in our dreams of which we have not for a very long time been conscious when awake, and which we have been perhaps unable, when anxious to do so, to call up; and trains of ideas are gone through, which we have

perhaps wished to complete, when awake, but to no purpose, inasmuch as the associations between the several pairs of ideas in the trains are too faint to bear up against the continual interruptions of sensations. These ideas and trains of ideas occurring in dreams, which we are unable to call up when we are awake, are said to have been forgotten. Dr. Abercrombie gives an instance of a gentleman who, having been something of a Greek scholar in his youth, had afterwards so entirely forgotten the language that he could not even read the words, but who often dreamt of reading Greek works which he had used at college, and in such manner as to understand them. (p. 284.) Sir Walter Scott relates a very extraordinary dream of this kind in his Notes to ‘The Antiquary, in the last edition of the Waverley Novels, to which we must content ourselves with referring the reader. We may observe, that the same revival of long-forgotten ideas and trains of ideas takes place often during delirium, the similarity between our trains in which state and our dreams we have already alluded to. A very singular instance of such revival during delirium is related by Mr. Cole. ridge, in his ‘Biographia Literaria' (vol. i. chap. vi.). To this head is to be referred a remark generally made concerning dreams, that the mind exercises no control over the ideas which compose them, or (as it is otherwise expressed) that the mind does not exert its will upon them, as it does upon ideas composing trains in the waking state. The mind is not diverted from the trains of ideas which pass before it by the occurrence of sensations; thus it need not desire, as it continually does in the waking state, to have the ideas composing the trains rather than the sensations; and thus the ideas are not presented to it, as they continually are in the waking state, in that particular combination which is called desire of the ideas, or willing of the ideas. This, we believe, is the full extent to which the remark concerning the absence of will (as it is called) over ideas in dreams is true; though, from the manner in which it is expressed, it seems, and indeed it is generally intended, to imply much more. When we are awake, we are said to will bodily actions, and to will mental actions or ideas. Now, when we are asleep, we will bodily actions likewise; but from the manner in which the body is affected during sleep, the actions do not follow the state of mind called will, as they do when we are awake. We will to run from an enemy who, we believe, is pursuing us, but we cannot run; the muscles are so affected in sleep that their action does not follow the state of mind called will, as it does when we are awake. Every one who has dreamed must have experienced such a dream as this, and must remember the fear which follows it. But the circumstance that the action does not follow by no means affects the existence of the state of mind called will during dreams; and in sleep therefore, as in the waking state, we will bodily actions. ...Again, as regards mental actions or ideas, we exert our will over these, in the waking state, either by attending to them, or by endeavouring to recollect them, and in no i. way; and every one who has dreamed must be conscious of attention to trains of ideas during his dreams, and of endeavours to recollect ideas. Thus neither as regards mental actions is there any absence during dreams of the state of mind called will. The only difference in respect of this state of mind between dreams and waking trains is, as we have said, that in the former there is not so much need of attention to the ideas as in the latter; inasmuch as dreams are not interrupted by sensations, as are trains of ideas in the waking state. 3. Qur measure of time during dreams appears not to coincide with that in the waking state. Having fallen asleep for a few moments, we believe that we go through, before we awake, a series of events, which would occupy, did they really happen, days or months, or even years. And the same takes place often, when a sensation occurs to awake us, in the brief interval between the having of the sensation and the waking... Dr. Abercrombie gives the sollowing instance, which will serve us as well as any other for illustration:—“A gentleman dreamed that he had en listed as a soldier, joined his regiment, deserted, was apo. hended, carried back, tried, condemned to be shot, aid a last led out for execution. After all the usual popo a gun was fired: he awoke with the report, and found th. a noise in an adjoining room had both produced the do and awaked him.” (p. 379.) Again: “Afrieno of mine so

[ocr errors]

and spent a fortnight in America. In embarking on his return, he fell into the sea; and having awaked with the fright, discovered that he had not been asleep above ten minutes.’ This discrepancy between our notions of time when we are asleep and when we are awake may be very easily explained. The idea of time is only an idea of so many successions of events, or of ideas, whether called up by these events or otherwise. On looking back through any period of our mental history, if we remember many feelings that have succeeded the one to the other, we have the idea of a long time; if few, of a short one. Now ideas are remembered in proportion as they are interesting or vivid. In the waking state and in sleep the same ideas would pass before the mind during the same time; but in the waking state they would be viewed as ideas only, and the greater number would not be remembered. But in sleep they are believed to be sensations, the events thought of are believed o to take place, and the ideas thus become interesting to suc a degree that they cannot be forgotten. Looking back through these ideas, and remembering every one of them, we judge the time during which they have passed before the mind to have been a long time. 4. It remains to speak of the absence of surprise in dreams. It is not indeed true that the feeling of surprise is altogether absent from dreams, as is generally asserted; while in those cases in which it is absent, and in which its absence is thought worthy of remark, the explanation is simple. In our dreams we believe that we see persons who are either dead or in a distant country, and we are not surprised; we believe that we witness events which happened a very long time ago, and we are not surprised. Now we have the ideas of the persons and events, and we have not at the same time the ideas of the death or the distant country or the distant time at which the event took place; having, the ideas of the persons and events, we believe these ideas, as has been already explained, to be sensations; and as we have not, together with the apparent sensations, the ideas of the death, distant country, &c., we have no ideas with which the apparent sensations are incongruous; and there being no incongruity, there is nothing to ol. us. We think of the persons or events, as we might think of them when awake, without certain additional ideas; and not having these additional ideas, we are not surprised at seeing, or believing that we see, the persons or events, any more than we should be surprised at seeing (could we by possibility do so) the same persons or events when we were awake, if we knew not that the person had died or was in another country, or that the event was one of history. This explanation is confirmed by those instances in which we do feel surprise. The idea of a person or event believed to be seen may call up any of the additional ideas that have before been absent. We believe that we see a person, and we then think of his death; we are immediately surprised; and we dream that we are dreaming. Every one who has dreamed must have experienced such a dream as this. II. This second part of the article was to contain so much of the little that is known concerning the state of the body in sleep as is relevant to the subject of dreams. The organs of the five external senses are so affected by sleep, that the sensations which respectively pertain to them are either not felt at all, or are felt very much less often, and very much less, than when we are awake, and even when they are felt they generally awake us. But of this we have already spoken. We have also spoken of the effects of sensations of bodily pain and of internal sensations on dreams. The manner in which sickness, through the medium of internal sensations, intensifies dreams, is familiar to every one. It is a question whether sleep operates on the mind as well as on the body; whether, while it suspends the action of the body, it also, either through the body or otherwise, suspends the action of the mind. This is a question on which we cannot speak positively, and on which our opinion can be determined only by the greater probability of the one side or of the other. Some writers, assert that we do not always dream when we are asleep. They say that the proper effect of sleep is to suspend the action of the mind as well as of the body, and that, to the extent to which we dream, sleep is impaired. They speak of two kinds of sleep, the one in which we do not dream, and which they call perfect sleep; the other, in which we dream, and which they

call imperfect. One of these writers is Mr. I ocke, who has expressed a very decided opinion that during sleep we do not always think; his arguments in favour of the opinion being, that all of us are conscious of having no dreams during a considerable portion of the time that we sleep, that some persons even do not dream at all, and that a supposition that the dreams are forgotten almost the very moment after they have taken place is absurd. (Essay on the Human Understanding, 2, i. sec. ii.) If however we do not dream always, how is the beginning of our dreams accounted for?. The mind is, on this supposition, at a par. ticular period of sleep, void of ideas; an idea suddenly enters it, and dreaming begins. Now the idea was not called up by an idea antecedent to it, for antecedently there was no idea in the mind. How then did it come to enter the mind? This consideration appears to us adequate to set the question at rest as to whether we dream always or not. Dreaming always, we may remember or forget our dreams according to whether our sleep is deep or slight, and remember them in proportion, as it is not deep. One part of the same fit of sleep is more intense than another; the dreamer remembers the dreams of this last part, but forgets those of the first, as regards which it is the same as if he had not dreamt at all. In one state of health the same person has a greater amount of deep sleep than in another; he in consequence remembers his dreams better, or (as he would most probably express it) he dreams more in the second state of health than in the first. Again, one person's bodily constitution is such as to make his sleep generally more intense than that of another person, and in consequence he is less of a dreamer. There have been instances of persons who do not remember ever to have dreamed, and of others who have not remembered any dreams until at a very advanced period of life. III. As regards the instances of dreams which we propose to relate, there are three possible cases; they are either untrue, or true and explainable by ordinary or natural means, or else true and not so explainable, and therefore (in the common phrase) supernatural. Now these instances are so far authenticated, that we are not authorized altogether to discredit them. . Not discrediting them, we are yet unable to explain them by the ordinary means; though it is possible, certainly, that as the dreams and their attendant circumstances come to us, there may be both some exaggeration in the dreams themselves, and some omission of incidents previous to the occurrence of the dreams which might help to explain the attendant circumstances. On the other hand, the instances (and we are about to give merely a selection) are numerous. And again, there is another set of incidents, also well authenticated, which, like these instances of dreams, are, if we believe them as they are related, unsusceptible of explanation by ordinary or natural means. We refer to the many stories told of the appearance of persons, at the moment of death, to friends or relations at a distance from the spot where the death takes place. Now these incidents pave the way to some extent for a belief in the o of such dreams as we are about to relate. If these incidents are believed to be supernatural, there is no reason why there should not also be supernatural dreams. We must observe however that in calling either the incidents to which we have referred or the dreams supernatural, we mean no more than that they cannot be explained by natural means. We cannot say how they were brought about; neither can we say, looking at the particular circumstances under which they happened and the particular persons to whom they happened, why they were brought about. The first instance that we give is of a dream which occurred to a gentleman now alive, and which was related by him to members of his family who are also now alive, and to other persons, on the day after he dreamt it, and before the event which he seems to have foreseen in his dream was known. We extract the account of the dream, making some immaterial alterations, from a book called the ‘Royal Book of Dreams,’ in which it is given with the greatest particularity. “In the night of the 11th of May, 1812, Mr. Williams, of Scorrior House, near Redruth, in Cornwall, awoke his wife, and, exceedingly agitated, told her that he had dreamt that he was in the lobby of the House of Commons, and saw a man shoot with a pistol a gentleman who had just entered the lobby, who was said to be the chancellor; to which Mrs. W. replied that it was only a dream, and recommended him to go to sleep as soon

« EelmineJätka »