The Berean Expositor
Volume 31 - Page 45 of 181
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presence of light and its degree of intensity. Light is independent of the atmosphere, for
we can see an object in a glass jar, from which all air has been extracted. The sense of
touch has no special organ, the nerves that convey this sensation to the brain being
distributed all over the surface of the body, with the exception of the hair, the nails, the
enamel of the teeth, and the outer skin known as the cuticle.
It is through the sensations associated with these five senses that the inner man
becomes acquainted with the facts of creation, and provided with the material upon which
thought can be exercised. By the time we have begun to think much about the processes
of thought, and the exercise of discernment and judgment, we have traveled so far from
our earlier experiences that we are apt to forget the important place that these lowly
organs of sense have had in the development of our mental faculties. To make this point
clearer, let us go back in imagination to the days of our infancy.
In a very short time a baby begins to learn, either by painful or pleasant experience,
that his fingers belong to himself, while the edge of his cot, the cup from which he feeds,
and the person who looks after him are external to himself. He has learned, without
being conscious of it, the first great lesson, the differentiation that the philosopher refers
to as "The Self, and the Not Self". Beginning with this distinction, discernment springs
more and more into operation, and by easy stages the infant mind begins to compare, to
ponder, to discern differences, to arrive at judgments.
One of the basic subdivisions that the mind makes between the sensations is that of
pleasure and pain. One sound will soothe, another irritate; one touch will cause intense
pain, another give great pleasure, and with this realization comes the natural desire to
seek that which causes pleasure, and avoid that which causes pain. Moral reasons may
operate at a later stage to cause the individual to seek pain and avoid pleasure, but not at
the beginning.
We have, therefore, a link between the sensations of pleasure and pain, and the
emotions of desire and aversion. From these two emotions spring hope and fear. After a
pleasant sensation has been experienced several times a pleasant expectation is set up,
while the repetition of a painful sensation would produce the emotion of fear. Now
suppose a series of sensations that had ended formerly in pleasure should fail on one
occasion to give this pleasure, then a new emotion, a feeling of disappointment or sorrow,
would come to birth. Conversely, if a series of sensations that had usually ended in pain
should fail to produce this effect, the new emotion produced would be that of joy or
surprise. There is no need to pursue this idea further, through the whole gamut of human
emotions. We trust that the link between emotion and sensation is sufficiently clear.
Not only are the emotions directly associated with the sensations, but the higher
intellectual powers are also dependent in the first instance on these same fundamental
aids. Memory, actuated by the law of suggestion, is the power of the mind to recall or
revive sensations. If the varying sensations that affect the mind left behind no more trace
than does our reflection upon a mirror, memory would be an impossibility--and without
memory we could not build. We should be for ever handling bricks and stones, with