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On Memory And Reminiscense   


apart, in order to see how (by recollection) we remember; one in which

they lie near one another will serve equally well. For it is clear

that the method is in each case the same, that is, one hunts up the

objective series, without any previous search or previous

recollection. For (there is, besides the natural order, viz. the order

of the pralmata, or events of the primary experience, also a customary

order, and) by the effect of custom the mnemonic movements tend to

succeed one another in a certain order. Accordingly, therefore, when

one wishes to recollect, this is what he will do: he will try to

obtain a beginning of movement whose sequel shall be the movement

which he desires to reawaken. This explains why attempts at

recollection succeed soonest and best when they start from a beginning

(of some objective series). For, in order of succession, the

mnemonic movements are to one another as the objective facts (from

which they are derived). Accordingly, things arranged in a fixed

order, like the successive demonstrations in geometry, are easy to

remember (or recollect) while badly arranged subjects are remembered

with difficulty.

Recollecting differs also in this respect from relearning, that

one who recollects will be able, somehow, to move, solely by his own

effort, to the term next after the starting-point. When one cannot

do this of himself, but only by external assistance, he no longer

remembers (i.e. he has totally forgotten, and therefore of course

cannot recollect). It often happens that, though a person cannot

recollect at the moment, yet by seeking he can do so, and discovers

what he seeks. This he succeeds in doing by setting up many movements,

until finally he excites one of a kind which will have for its

sequel the fact he wishes to recollect. For remembering (which is

the condicio sine qua non of recollecting) is the existence,

potentially, in the mind of a movement capable of stimulating it to

the desired movement, and this, as has been said, in such a way that

the person should be moved (prompted to recollection) from within

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