This suggests that a stimulus may act upon our thoughts without our being conscious of the origin of the feeling produced, and this is what happens in connection with that well-known sensation, felt on visiting a new place, that one has been there before. If a close examination is made it will be found that there is really something–a picture, a scent, or even so slight a stimulus as a puff of warm air–which has stirred a memory in the unconscious; this memory fails to reach the consciousness in its entirety, or it would immediately be recognised as caused by the particular stimulus, but in its incomplete form it appears as a memory of nothing in particular. Such a memory being inconceivable it is at once joined on to the whole scene, and one feels ‘I’ve surely been here before’. This feeling may be regarded as an intuition in its most useless and incomplete form, but its theoretical importance will be seen later.
Women exercise intuition more than do men, and up to a point this gives them an advantage, though it may annoy the male who prefers to find his reasons on the surface and call them logical.
‘The reason why I cannot tell, But this I know and know full well, I do not like thee, Dr. Fell’,
is a perfect example of intuition, and a full analysis of the unconscious of the poet would undoubtedly recall a wealth of reasons why. Still, intuition is likely to be a fallible guide, and the man who wishes to avoid trouble with his personal dislikes must always be prepared to check it by whatever conscious knowledge and reasoning power he may possess. The lines quoted above would be a poor defence against a charge of assault.
The person who is guided by intuition in some accustomed situation may be incapable of understanding why another person has not that power. I saw an example of this when I was making a short journey in the North Queensland bush with a white boy who had been reared in that district, but was a stranger to the particular locality in which we then were. It was a rainy day, and we were bound for a place which could be reached by following a stream down to the main river and then travelling up the latter, and this route I proposed to take. My companion showed astonishment at this, and said, pointing as it were along the other side of the triangle, ‘But that’s the way.’ I agreed, but told him that I couldn’t find the way and should get ‘bushed’ if I tried. He could not understand, but we set off for a ride of some nine to ten miles through fairly dense timber with the boy as guide. In vain I asked him how he kept his course; in similar circumstances I should have marked a tree as far ahead as possible and ridden towards it, marking another before I reached the first, and so on. All he could say was, ‘That’s the way’, and I puzzled him by my questions more than he puzzled me by his ability to go straight to our destination.
The sense of direction is of course well known amongst animals, and I have often in my bush-days confidently trusted my horse to take me to his and my home on the darkest of nights. Although one talks of the ‘sense of direction’, there is no need to assume anything more than ordinary sense perceptions interpreted by the unconscious workings of the mind. The man who is over-anxious about his capabilities cannot allow his unconscious to take charge of his thoughts in this way. I was always afraid of being lost in the bush and always preoccupied with the need for carefully watching my course; therefore, although I could find my way, I never developed a ‘sense of direction’.
To sum up, the unconscious is a collection of mental processes, memories, desires, and influences of infinite variety which are not always or even often perceived as such by our conscious mind, but the presence of which may and does influence our thoughts and actions. By its aid we obtain results the factors of which are unknown to us, and of which we fail to recognise the origin, and in it is stored not only what we remember but also what we forget. It is in relation to our stream of consciousness and normally blends with it, but the more independently we can allow it to operate the more surely does it reach its end in certain cases.
I must add that Freud introduces a _foreconscious_ to indicate the mind-contents which are accessible to the consciousness, but are not of it, but for the sake of simplicity I have avoided the use of that word. The reader must bear in mind that such terms are used to describe not phenomena, but conceptions. Newspapers, the voices of men in the train or the street, marks on ballot-papers, are all phenomena, but ‘public opinion’ is only a conception useful to facilitate the expression of ideas. If one asks, ‘Where is this unconscious and what does it look like?’, I can only answer by asking, ‘Where is this “public opinion” and what does it look like?’
The same caution is necessary in regard to other phrases. The stream of consciousness and dissociation are conceptions only, and are not intended to indicate the existence of things having relation to each other in space; the words are used as convenient means to sum up processes which I hope to show really take place.