Of the Inward Senses.

Of the Inward Senses.

Common Sense.] INNER senses are three in number, so called, because they be within the brain-pan, as common sense, phantasy, memory. Their objects are not only things present, but they perceive the sensible species of things to come, past, absent, such as were before in the sense. This common sense is the judge or moderator of the rest, by whom we discern all differences of objects; for by mine eye I do not know that I see, or by mine ear that I hear, but by my common sense, who judgeth of sounds and colours: they are but the organs to bring the species to be censured; so that all their objects are his, and all their offices are his. The forepart of the brain is his organ or seat.

Phantasy.] Phantasy, or imagination, which some call estimative, or cogitative (confirmed, saith Fernelius, by frequent meditation), is an inner sense which doth more fully examine the species perceived by common sense, of things present or absent, and keeps them longer, recalling them to mind again, or making new of his own. In time of sleep this faculty is free, and many times conceives strange, stupend, absurd shapes, as in sick men we commonly observe. His organ is the middle cell of the brain; his objects all the species communicated to him by the common sense, by comparison of which he feigns infinite other unto himself. In melancholy men this faculty is most powerful and strong, and often hurt; producing many monstrous and prodigious things, especially if it be stirred up by some terrible object, presented to it from common sense or memory. In poets and painters imagination forcibly works, as appears by their several fictions, antics, images: as Ovid's house of sleep, Psyche's palace in Apuleius, &c. In men it is subject and governed by reason, or at least should be; but in brutes it hath no superior, and is ratio brutorum, all the reason they have.

Memory.] Memory lays up all the species which the senses have brought in, and records then as a good register, that they may be forthcoming when they are called for by phantasy and reason. His object is the same with phantasy, his seat and organ the back part of the brain.

Affection of the senses, sleep and waking.] The affections of these senses are sleep and waking, common to all sensible creatures. "Sleep is a rest or binding of the outward senses. and of the common sense, for the preservation of body and soul" (as Scaliger defines it); for when the common sense resteth, the outward senses rest also. The phantasy alone is free, and his commander reason: as appears by those imaginary dreams, which are of divers kinds, natural, divine, demoniacal, &c., which vary according to humours, diet, actions, objects, &c., of which Artemidorus, Cardanus, and Sambucus, with their several interpretators, have written great volumes. This ligation of senses proceeds from an inhibition of spirits, the way being stopped by which they should come; this stopping is caused of vapours arising out of the stomach, filling the nerves, by which the spirits should be conveyed. When these vapours are spent, the passage is open, and the spirits perform their accustomed duties: so that "waking is the action and motion of the senses, which the spirits dispersed over all parts cause."

Previous Next