about 4 years ago

The learning of every word in a language, of every fact, argues organised reaction, and every word or fact so acquired implies an established trend. From week to week, perhaps from hour to hour, we are building up and breaking down temporary habits. Let me transcribe from my note book: "A certain noise made by boots. I recognise the noise and the purpose; but there is nothing present except a sense of familiarity and such feelings as might go with verbal and other images. Then, as expceted—here again there is but a feeling—I feel a tap on my arm. Then a voice says, 'Are you ready?' I knew what was going to be asked of me, and so I at once quietly nod my head." Observe the total absence of verbal and other imagery. Essentially I react as I had reacted before. The creaking boots were familiar, so was the implication, so was the tapping, so was the short speech, and so was my nod. The noise of the boots was expected about about that time. The moment I heard the voice, I did not so much know what was coming as felt its purport. In this way we act according to innumerable habits more or less transitory, attention being reduced whenever a thing is thought, or said or done a second time. Thus the way I turn over the pages of a book is a distinct trend, the manner in which I open and shut the door, the fashion in which I read, and the like.

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