It seems, then, that the true categories of consciousness are: first, feeling, the consciousness which can be included with an instant of time, passive consciousness of quality, without recognition or analysis; second, consciousness of an interruption into the field of consciousness, sense of resistance, of an external fact, of another something; third, synthetic consciousness, binding time together, sense of learning, thought.
What is meant by consciousness is really in itself nothing but feeling. Gay and Hartley were quite right about that; and though there may be, and probably is, something of the general nature of feeling almost everywhere, yet feeling in any ascertainable degree is a mere property of protoplasm, perhaps only of nerve matter. Now it so happens that biological organisms, and especially a nervous system are favorably conditioned for exhibiting the phenomena of mind also; and therefore it is not surprising that mind and feeling should be confounded. But I do not believe that psychology can be set to rights until the importance of Hartmann’s argument is acknowledged, and it is seen that feeling is nothing but the inward aspect of things, while mind on the contrary is essentially an external phenomenon.
In the ideas of Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness, the three elements, or Universal Categories, appear under their forms of Firstness. They appear under their forms of Secondness in the ideas of Facts of Firstness, or Qualia, Facts of Secondness, or Relations, and Facts of Thirdness, or Signs; and under their forms of Thirdness in the ideas of Signs of Firstness, or Feeling, i.e., things of beauty; Signs of Secondness, or Action, i.e., modes of conduct; and Signs of Thirdness, or Thought, i.e., forms of thought.
By a Feeling, I mean an instance of that kind of consciousness which involves no analysis, comparison or any process whatsoever, nor consists, in whole or in part of any act by which one stretch of consciousness is distinguished from another, which has its own positive quality which consists in nothing else, and which is of itself all that it is, however it may have been brought about; so that if this Feeling is present during a lapse of time, it is wholly and equally present at every moment of that time. To reduce this description to a simple definition, I will say that by a Feeling I mean an instance of that sort of element of consciousness which is all that it is positively, in itself, regardless of anything else.
A Feeling, then, is not an event, a happening, a coming to pass, since a coming to pass cannot be such unless there was a time when it had not come to pass; and so it is not in itself all that it is, but is relative to a previous state. A Feeling is a state, which is in its entirety in every moment of time as long as it endures. But a Feeling is not a single state which is other than an exact reproduction of itself. For if that reproduction is in the same mind it must be at a different time and then the Being of the Feeling would be relative to the particular time in which it occurred, which would be something different from the Feeling itself, violating the definition which makes the Feeling to be all that it is regardless of anything else. Or, if the reproduction were simultaneous with the Feeling, it must be in another mind, and thus the identity of the Feeling would depend upon the mind in which it was, which is other than the Feeling; and again the definition would be violated in the same way. Thus, any Feeling must be identical with any exact duplicate of it, which is as much as to say the Feeling is simply a Quality of immediate consciousness.
But it must be admitted that a Feeling experienced in an outward sensation may be reproduced in memory.
A feeling is a cross-slice, or lamina, out of the current of consciousness, taken in itself, without any analysis and tearing apart, any comparison (since comparisons consist in community of elements, and feeling is not cut up into elements.) Only “feeling” is to be understood in the sense of quality, not in that of an event, which would be existential. Every feeling, being a lamina of life, is sui generis, like the personal consciousness. But [since] no man can summon up the superhuman effort that would be required quite to inhibit the processes of mental elaboration in reproducing that instantaneous state, it follows that we have to put up with generalized feelings in place of the feelings themselves; and in these substitutes we find only remnants of the sui generis character.