Navigation bar
  Home Start Previous page
 101 of 305 
Next page End 79
the mechanician, the engineer, and the architect. The lady’s maid who
arranges a new dress requires it for the same reason as the decorator
employed on a palace, or the agent who lays out great estates. Strategists,
artists of all denominations, physicists who contrive new experiments, and
in short all who do not follow routine, have need of it. The pleasure its use
can afford is immense. I have many correspondents who say that the
delight, of recalling beautiful scenery and great works of art is the highest
that they know; they carry whole picture galleries in their minds. Our
bookish and wordy education tends to repress this valuable gift of nature.
A faculty that is of importance in all technical and artistic occupations,
that gives accuracy to our perceptions, and justness to our generalisations,
is starved by lazy disuse, instead of being cultivated judiciously in such a
way as will on the whole bring the best return. I believe that a serious
study of the best method of developing and utilising this faculty, without
prejudice to the practice of abstract thought in symbols, is one of the
many pressing, desiderata in the yet unformed science of education.
Persons who are imaginative almost invariably think of numerals in
some form of visual imagery. If the idea of six occurs to them, the word
“six” does not sound in their mental ear, but the figure 6 in a written or
printed form rises before their mental eye. The clearness of the images of
numerals, and the number of them that can be mentally viewed at the
same time, differs greatly in different persons. The most common case is
to see only two or three figures at once, and in a position too vague to
admit of definition. There are a few persons in whom the visualising
faculty is so low that they can mentally see neither numerals nor anything
else; and again there are a few in whom it is so high as to give rise to
hallucinations. Those who are able to visualise a numeral with a
distinctness comparable to reality, and to behold it as if it were before
their eyes, and not in some sort of dreamland, will define the direction in
which it seems to lie, and the distance at which it appears to be. If they
were looking at a ship on the horizon at the Previous page Top Next page