If consciousness is nothing but the subject of awareness for the individual objects, we see at once certain consequences which are too often forgotten in the popular, haphazard psychology. In the scientific system of psychology, consciousness has for instance nothing whatever to perform, that is, consciousness itself is in no way active. The active personality of real life has been left behind and has itself been transformed into that self which is merely content of consciousness. The person who acts and performs the deeds of our life is then only a central content of our consciousness which is crystallized about the idea of our organism. It has thus become one of the contents of which consciousness itself is passively aware. Consciousness is an inactive spectator for the procession of the contents. Thus, consciousness itself cannot change anything in the content nor can it connect the contents. No other function is left to consciousness but merely that of awareness. Every change and every fusion and every process must be explained through the relations of the various contents to one another. Consciousness has, therefore, not the power to prefer the one idea or to reject the other, to reinforce the one sensation and to inhibit the other.

From a psychological point of view, we have seen before that even attention does not mean an activity of consciousness but a change in the content of consciousness. Certain sensations become more impressive, clearer, and more vivid, and others fade away, become indistinct and disappear, but all that goes on in the content of consciousness and the spectator, consciousness itself, simply becomes aware of those changes. Consciousness has also in itself no special span, ideas appear or disappear not because consciousness expands or narrows itself but because the causal conditions awaken or suppress the various contents.

Consciousness has in itself no limit; all organization belongs to the content. Whatever psychical states are attributed to one organism belong thus to its consciousness, but all the connections are entirely connections of the content. We, therefore, have not even the right to say that consciousness, as such, has unity. Unity too belongs to the organization of the content. One part of the content hangs together with the other parts but consciousness is only the constant condition for their existence. Where there is no unity, there it cannot have any meaning to speak of the double or triple existence. There may be a disconnection in the various parts of the content and a dissociation by which the normal ties between the various contents may be broken but consciousness itself cannot fall asunder. Thus, consciousness cannot have any different degrees. The same consciousness experiences the distinct clear content and the vague fading confused content. Thus, also consciousness can never be aware of itself and the word self-consciousness is easily misleading. In psychology, it can never mean that the consciousness which is a subject of all experience is at the same time object of any experience. Its whole meaning lies in its being the passive spectator. That of which consciousness becomes aware in self-consciousness is the idea of the personality, which is certainly a content. The personality, the actor of our actions, is thus never anything but an object in psychology, and consciousness never anything but a subject. Consciousness itself is thus in no way altered when the idea of the personality is changing. Only if all this is carelessly confused, if consciousness is sometimes treated as meaning subject of consciousness, and at another time as meaning the content of consciousness, and again at another time the unified organization of the content, and at still another time the connection of the content with the personality, and if finally all that is confused with the purposive reality of the immediate personal life—only then, do we find the way open to those tempting theories of the subconscious personality.

If, instead, we stick to the scientific view, we find the following facts. First, we have everywhere with us the fact that the earlier experiences may again enter into consciousness as memory images or as imaginative ideas, that is, in the order in which they are experienced a long time before or in a new order, either with a feeling of acquaintance or without it. Certainly, at no time is the millionth part of what we may be able to reproduce present in our consciousness. Where are those words of the language, those faces of our friends, those landscapes, and those thoughts; where have they lingered in the time of their seclusion?

 Scientific psychology has no right to propose any other theory as explanation but that no mental states at all remain and that all which remained was the disposition of physiological centres. When I coupled the impression of a man with the sound of his name, a certain excitement of my visual centres occurred together with the excitement of my acoustical centres; the connecting paths became paths of least resistance, and any subsequent excitement of the one cell group now flows over into the other. It is the duty of physiology to elaborate such a clumsy scheme and to make us understand in detail how those processes in the neurons can occur and it is not the duty of psychology to develop detailed physiological hypotheses. Psychology has to be satisfied with the fact that all the requirements of the case can be furnished by principle through physiological explanation. Least of all ought we to be discouraged by the mere complexity of the process. If a simple sound and a simple colon sensation, or a simple taste and simple smell sensation, can associate themselves through mere nervous conditions of the brain, then there is nothing changed by going over to more and more complex contents of consciousness. We may substitute a whole landscape for a colour patch or the memory of a book for a word, but we do not reach by that a point where the physiological principle of explanation, once admitted, begins to lose its value. Complexity is certainly in good harmony with the bewildering manifoldness of those thousands of millions of possible connections between the brain cells.

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