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the mind but by the aid of the imagination: and these make the same direct appeal to that faculty, whether they relate to ourselves or to others, as the eye receives with equal directness the impression of our own external form or that of others. It will be easy to perceive by this train of reasoning how, notwithstanding the contradiction involved in the supposition of a generally absolute self-interest, the mind comes to feel a deep and habitual conviction of the truth of this principle. Finding in itself a continued consciousness of its past impressions, it is naturally enough disposed to transfer the same sort of identity and consciousness to the whole of its being. The objects of imagination and of the senses are, as it were, perpetually playing into one another's hands, and shifting characters, so that we lose our reckoning, and do not think it worth while to mark where the one ends and the other begins. As our actual being is constantly passing into our future being, and carries the internal feeling of consciousness along with it, we seem to be already identified with our future being in this permanent part of our nature, and to feel by a mutual impulse the same necessary sympathy with our future selves that we know we shall have with our past selves. We take the tablets


memory, reverse them, and stamp the image of self on that which as yet possesses nothing but the name. It is no wonder then that the imagination, constantly disregarding the progress of time, when its course is marked out along the straight unbroken line of individuality, should confound the necessary differences of things, and convert a distant object into a present reality. The interest which is hereafter to be felt by this continued conscious being, this indefinite unit, called me, seems necessarily to affect me in every state of my existence,"thrills in each nerve, and lives along the line." In the first place we abstract the successive modifications of our being, and particular temporary interests, into one simple nature and general principle of self-interest, and then make use of this nominal abstraction as an artificial medium to compel those particular actual interests into the closest affinity and union with each other, as different lines meeting in the same centre must have a mutual communication with each other. On the contrary, as I always remain perfectly distinct from others (the interest which I take in their former or present feelings being like that which I take in their future feelings, never any thing more than the effect of imagination and sympathy), the same illusion

and transposition of ideas cannot take place with regard to these; namely, the confounding a physical impulse with the rational motives to action. Indeed the uniform nature of my feelings with regard to others (my interest in their welfare having always the same source and sympathy) seems by analogy to confirm the supposition of a similar simplicity in my relation to myself, and of a positive, natural, absolute interest in whatever belongs to that self, not confined to my actual existence, but extending over the whole of my being. Every sensation that I feel, or that afterwards recurs vividly to my memory strengthens the sense of self, which increased strength in the mechanical feeling is indirectly transferred to the general idea, and to my remote, future, imaginary interest; whereas our sympathy with the feelings of others being always imaginary, standing only on its own basis, having no sensible interest to support it, no restless mechanical impulse to urge it on, the ties by which we are bound to others hang loose upon us the interest we take in their welfare seems to be something foreign to our own bosoms, to be transient, arbitrary, and directly opposed to that necessary, unalienable interest we are supposed to have in whatever conduces to our own well being.


There is another consideration (and that probably the principal one) to be taken into the account in explaining the origin and growth of our selfish habits, which is perfectly consistent with the foregoing theory, and evidently arises out of it. There is naturally, then, no essential difference between the motives by which I am impelled to the pursuit of my own good or that of others but though there is not a difference in kind, there is one in degree. We know better what our own future feelings will be than what those of others will be in a like case. can apply the materials afforded us by experience with less difficulty and more in a mass in making out the picture of our future pleasures and pains, without frittering them away or destroying their original sharpnesses: in a word, we can imagine them more plainly, and must therefore be more interested in them. This facility in passing from the recollection of my former impressions to the anticipation of my future ones makes the transition almost imperceptible, and gives to the latter an apparent reality and presentness to the imagination, to a degree in which the feelings of others can scarcely ever be brought home to us. It is chiefly from this greater readiness and certainty with which we can look forward into our own minds

than out of us into those of other men, that that strong and uneasy attachment to self, which often comes at last to overpower every generous feeling, takes its rise; not, as I think I have shown, from any natural and impenetrable hardness of the human heart, or necessary absorption of all its thoughts and purposes in a blind exclusive feeling of self interest. It confirms this account, that we constantly are found to feel for others in proportion as we know from long acquaintance with the turn of their minds, and events of their lives, "the hair-breadth scapes of their travelling history, or "some disastrous stroke which their youth suffered,” what the real nature of their feelings is; and that we have in general the strongest attachment to our immediate relatives and friends, who from this intercommunity of thoughts and feelings may more truly be said to be a part of ourselves than from even the ties of blood. Moreover, a man must be employed more usually in providing for his own wants and his own feelings than those of others. In like manner he is employed in providing for the immediate welfare of his family and connexions much more than in providing for the welfare of those who are not bound by any positive ties. And we accordingly find that the attention, time, and

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