Psychological Investigations 247
in our brain; the appearance of relative strength is deceptive. Galton draws attention to the startling spontaneity with which some of the ideas that determine the will seem to arise. He suggests a subconscious chain of ideas a part of which suddenly comes into consciousness and may dominate the will. "Most of our ideas are partially shaped when they are first consciously perceived, and frequently they are fully shaped."
Those who with closed eyes witness a whole series of transformations not called up by any act of will of their own, and of which they cannot change. the sequence by any conscious effort, will be prepared to consider favourably Galton's view that every form of sudden presentation, every new idea, has an analogous source to these visual ones.
"Moreover, as the imagination works in obscure depths out of the usual ken of consciousness, there seems reason for supposing that the `something' upon which it works may in most cases be equally beyond its view. It is also certain that those who introspect, and those who study
the genesis of dreams, succeed in discovering plain causes for numerous images and thoughts that had seemed to have arisen spontaneously. If there explanations are correct, as I feel assured they are, we must understand the word 'spontaneity' in the same sense that a scientific man understands the word 'chance.' He thereby affirms his ignorance of the precise causes of an event, but he does not in any way deny the possibility of determining them. The general results of my introspective inquiry support the views of those who hold that man is little more than a conscious machine, the larger part of whose actions are predictable. As regards such residuum as there may be, which is not automatic and which a man however wise and well informed could not possibly foresee, I have nothing to say, but I have found that the more carefully I inquired, whether it was into the facts of hereditary similarities of conduct, into the life-histories of very like or very unlike twins, or now introspectively into the processes of what I should have called my own Free-will, the smaller seems the room left for the possible
residuum." (pp. 412-3.)
Galton would have been the last to claim finality for his conclusions, but his investigation raises many points of interest, and like so much of his psychological work emphasises the wide field of subconscious mental activity springing at odd intervals into consciousness. This Galton compares with the sudden and silent appearance of the head of a seal above the surface of still water and its just as sudden and silent disappearance, the observer being yet aware that the seal has been continuously active in a manner unperceived below the surface.
Three other psychological experiments on himself were made by Galton, but the results were not published. He refers to them in his Memories'. In the first, made in his youthful days, he was guided by a passionate desire to subjugate the body to the spirit, and determined that the will should replace automatic acts. He applied this to breathing, and every breath was submitted to the will. The normal power of breathing was dangerously interfered with and he felt as if he should suffocate, if he ceased to will. He had a terrible half-hour in which by slow and irregular steps the lost automatic power was recovered. Secondly Galton determined to gain some of the commoner feelings of Insanity. He adopted the plan of investing everything he met with the imaginary attributes of a spy. Galton found the experiment only too successful; in the course of a morning stroll by the time he had
1 Pp. 276-7.