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The phrases in their context!


The first is, the resemblance of the perceptions: The second is the resemblance, which the act of the mind in surveying a succession of resembling objects bears to that in surveying an identical object.
Now these resemblances we are apt to confound with each other; and it is natural we shoud, according to this very reasoning.
But let us keep them distinct, and we shall find no difficulty in conceiving the precedent argument.]
The persons, who entertain this opinion concerning the identity of our resembling perceptions, are in general an the unthinking and unphilosophical part of mankind, (that is, all of us, at one time or other) and consequently such as suppose their perceptions to be their only objects, and never think of a double existence internal and external, representing and represented.
The very image, which is present to the senses, is with us the real body; and it is to these interrupted images we ascribe a perfect identity.
But as the interruption of the appearance seems contrary to the identity, and naturally leads us to regard these resembling perceptions as different from each other, we here find ourselves at a loss how to reconcile such opposite opinions.
The smooth passage of the imagination along the ideas of the resembling perceptions makes us ascribe to them a perfect identity.
The interrupted manner of their appearance makes us consider them as so many resembling, but still distinct beings, which appear after certain intervals.
The perplexity arising from this contradiction produces a propension to unite these broken appearances by the fiction of a continued existence, which is the third part of that hypothesis I proposed to explain.
Nothing is more certain from experience, than that any contradiction either to the sentiments or passions gives a sensible uneasiness, whether it proceeds from without or from within; from the opposition of external objects, or from the combat of internal principles.
On the contrary, whatever strikes in with the natural propensities, and either externally forwards their satisfaction, or internally concurs with their movements, is sure to give a sensible pleasure.
Now there being here an opposition betwixt the notion of the identity of resembling perceptions, and the interruption of their appearance, the mind must be uneasy in that situation, and will naturally seek relief from the uneasiness.
Since the uneasiness arises from the opposition of two contrary principles, it must look for relief by sacrificing the one to the other.
But as the smooth passage of our thought along our resembling perceptions makes us ascribe to them an identity, we can never without reluctance yield up that opinion.
We must, therefore, turn to the other side, and suppose that our perceptions are no longer interrupted, but preserve a continued as well as an invariable existence, and are by that means entirely the same.
But here the interruptions in the appearance of these perceptions are so long and frequent, that it is impossible to overlook them; and as the appearance of a perception in the mind and its existence seem at first sight entirely the same, it may be doubted, whether we can ever assent to so palpable a contradiction, and suppose a perception to exist without being present to the mind.
In order to clear up this matter, and learn how the interruption in the appearance of a perception implies not necessarily an interruption in its existence, it will be proper to touch upon some principles, which we shall have occasion to explain more fully afterwards.
[SECT. 6.] We may begin with observing, that the difficulty in the present case is not concerning the matter of fact, or whether the mind forms such a conclusion concerning the continued existence of its perceptions, but only concerning the manner in which the conclusion is formed, and principles from which it is derived.
It is certain, that almost all mankind, and even philosophers themselves, for the greatest part of their lives, take their perceptions to be their only objects, and suppose, that the very being, which is intimately present to the mind, is the real body or material existence.
It is also certain, that this very perception or object is supposed to have a continued uninterrupted being, and neither to be annihilated by our absence, nor to be brought into existence by our presence.
When we are absent from it, we say it still exists, but that we do not feel, we do not see it.