At present I hurry on to the third form of medisense which is that of the formation of sets of ideas, or association proper. A great many associations of ideas are inherited. Others grow up spontaneously. The rest depend upon the principle that ideas once brought together into a set remain in that set. Many associations are merely accidental. A child acquires a distaste for a particular kind of food merely because it ate it when it was sick. The idea of that food and the feeling of sickness are brought into a set; and the consequence is that every time the idea of that food reaches a high degree of vividness, the feeling of sickness gets a swift upward motion. Other associations cannot be called accidental because it was in the nature of things that they should appear in sets. Thus, light and warm get associated in our minds because they are associated in Nature.
Medisense has three modes, Abstraction, Suggestion, Association.
According to those rules I am bound to use scientific terms in the senses in which they first became terms of science. Accordingly, the English associationalists having first made association a term of science, and they having been careful never to extend it to the operation or event whereby one idea calls up another into the mind, but to restrict it primarily to a habit or disposition of mind in consequence of which an idea of one description is likely to bring into comparative vividness of consciousness an idea of another description, or, when they applied the term association to any operation or event, to designate by it only that process of habituation by which such a habit or disposition of mind acquires strength, they having been punctilious in this matter, my code of rules obliges me logically and morally, to follow them.
The great founders of associationalism and of scientific psychology (after Aristotle), the Rev. Mr. Gay and Dr. David Hartley, usefully limited the term “association” to the process whereby one idea acquires the power to attract another from the depths of memory to the surface of consciousness, and to the habit resulting from this process.
I follow the usage of the early associationalists, Gay, Hartley, etc., in confining the term “association” to the storing away, in our spiritual or physical organisms, [of] ideas that, when so stored away, are in the potential mode of being, and in terming the agency of ideas in calling forth others from such potential, into actual being, suggestion, – a word of which the hypnotists ought not to be allowed the monopoly.