Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Antechamber of Consciousness 147 
does good work without the slightest exertion. In compo¬ 
sition it will often produce a better effect than if it acted 
with effort, because the essence of good composition is that 
the ideas should be connected by the easiest possible 
transitions. When a man has been thinking hard and long 
upon a subject, he becomes temporarily familiar with 
certain steps of thought, certain short cuts, and certain 
far-fetched associations, that do not commend themselves 
to the minds of other persons, nor indeed to his own at 
other times; therefore, it is better that his transitory 
familiarity with them should have come to an end before 
he begins to write or speak. When he returns to the work 
after a sufficient pause he is conscious that his ideas have 
settled ; that is, they have lost their adventitious relations 
to one another, and stand in those in which they are likely 
to reside permanently in his own mind, and to exist in the 
minds of others. 
Although the brain is able to do very fair work fluently 
in an automatic way, and though it will of its own accord 
strike out sudden and happy ideas, it is questionable if it 
is capable of working thoroughly and profoundly without 
past or present effort. The character of this effort seems 
to me chiefly to lie in bringing the contents of the ante¬ 
chamber more nearly within the ken of consciousness, 
which then takes comprehensive note of all its contents, 
and compels the logical faculty to test them seriatim before 
selecting the fittest for a summons to the presence-chamber. 
Extreme fluency and a vivid and rapid imagination are 
gifts naturally and healthfully possessed by those who rise 
to be great orators or literary men, for they could not have 
become successful in those careers without it. The curious 
fact already alluded to of five editors of newspapers being 
known to me as having phantasmagoria, points to a con¬ 
nection between two forms of fluency, the literary and the 
visual. Fluency may be also a morbid faculty, being 
markedly increased by alcohol (as poets are never tired of 
telling us), and by various drugs ; and it exists in delirium, 
insanity, and states of high emotions. The fluency of a 
vulgar scold is extraordinary. 
In preparing to write or speak upon a subject of which 
the details have been mastered, I gather, after some inquiry,
        

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