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In general, the discourse must move freely and smoothly onward. There must be no hitching back and forth; the thought must grow by easy and imperceptible gradations from point to point. Not that it must move in a straight line, — for rather there should be rise and fall, a rhythmical flow, for thought and feeling obey the universal law of rhythmical motion, but that there must be no lunging ahead, or returning to pick up pieces left by the wayside. No one feature gives a discourse more power than a steady onward movement to the end set up. All hesitancy and eddying about of the thought are prime sources of weakness. The points made must have a distinct and orderly succession, or the receiving mind will be baffled in its effort to organize the material presented, and miss the object for which the discourse stands. We have seen that interpretation is primarily the process of bringing into unity the elements as rapidly as they are presented, and nothing can assist the interpreting mind so much as the orderly arrangement of elements in their presentation.
In order that a composer master a theme in its unity and diversity, so that he may wield it with precision and effect, and in order that one may interpret with appreciation and profit, the various ways in which a theme is organized must be traced out. The different methods of theme organization give rise to clearly defined discourse processes.
THE DISCOURSE PROCESSES.
Since themes are unities of elements, it follows that the two primary movements of thought in the preparation and the presentation of any theme for any purpose are those of analysis and synthesis. The elements of the theme must first be discerned, and then integrated into the whole. Or better, perhaps, three steps may be distinguished : First, seizing the theme in its vague unity; second, analyzing the theme into its elements; third, organizing the elements into the theme, giving a definite organic whole instead of the vague one grasped at the outset.
This analysis and synthesis takes definite character from the kinds of unities which constitute the theme, — from the kinds of relations which bind the parts into unity.
The parts of an engine are bound together in cooperation to the end for which the engine is designed. The parts of a tree are parts in working together to carry on the life process of the tree as a whole. The . parts of the human body contribute to one life process, and are not parts except in and through the whole; and the whole is not a whole except in and through the parts. The government is composed of parts working together to secure the ends of justice. The earth, the solar system, the universe have parts bound together in coöperation. Such a unit is called an organic unit. The lowest form of it, or the form in which it seems to vanish, is the unit whose parts have spatial unity, as in the case of a stone or a pile of material. Here the
parts are in touch, and bound together by physical force; yet in this case the parts coöperate to make the whole. In some of the other cases named, parts were separated in space, and the unity consists in functional coöperation rather than in spatial wholeness. But in both cases the wholes are bounded in space, and both have parts whose connection makes the whole; both are called individual objects. Gladstone is an individual; and so is the British nation, and for the same reason. The police force of a city is an individual police force, because the parts work together to keep order, as do the parts of one policeman. The reasons given for calling Jupiter an individual apply equally well to the solar system as an individual. Let it not be understood, therefore, that a theme to be individual must consist of parts touching in space ; yet every individual, though it be a mental act or state, must be figured to the mind as bounded in space. Hence, such themes must first be presented to the imagination as pictured wholes; after which their deeper thought unity may be penetrated.
Further guidance for presenting the individual is obtained from noting that each individual has parts which coexist in space and parts which succeed each other in time — space wholes and time wholes. The parts of this tree exist together now, but considering the life of this tree as a whole, in its growth from the seed, it has parts succeeding each other: as, first the sprout and then the shoot appearing above ground, then the shrub, etc. A battle may be caught up in one view at a given moment, as having coexisting parts
in space; but it is also a moving panorama, having parts in distinct succession. A complete view of the earth brings before the mind its successive stages of development, and also its parts as they at present work together side by side. Thus every individual is a space whole or a time whole - a simultaneous whole or a successive whole.
While it requires both views of an individual to complete its organization, the two views cannot be taken at the same time. This will become evident by an attempt to think of an object as fixed and as changing at the same time. Since this is true, two distinct discourse processes arise in treating the individual. The process presenting the individual as a space, or coexisting, whole is called Description; the process presenting the individual as a time, or successive, whole is called Narration.
Themes have quite a different kind of unity from the organic unity above described. A sewing-machine has its origin in an idea which creates all other sewing-machines, and may create them infinitely, so far as the possibility of the idea is concerned. All sewing-machines have their unity in the one originating idea, or type. The idea as an outgoing energy produces all sewingmachines, and thus gives unity to all. When one says simply “sewing-machine” or “the sewing-machine" he is naming the type, or idea, which brings forth the individual sewing-machines. To think any given sewing-machine requires it to be viewed in connection with the common idea of all sewing-machines. A certain activity produces a triangle — an activity which goes out and comes back to the place of starting by two pointed turns. This activity produces all triangles, and can produce them infinitely. All are one in this activity, and this is the essence of each one. The mind cannot grasp any one triangle without seizing upon the activity which produces triangles in general. Triangles may vary infinitely, but they are all alike in being produced by an activity returning to the place of starting by two pointed turns. There is an idea, a nature, a potency which produces oak trees, and which may produce them without limit. All trees formed under the impulse of this idea are one in that idea; and the study of each oak requires it to be viewed in connection with the all-producing idea. When we speak of the nature of anything we have reference to its producing idea; for the word nature means that which is about to appear. The nature of man is the energy, the potency which persists in producing men as distinguished from other objects. The nature of an Indian is the fixed idea or type which determines all individual Indians.
Such a unit is called a class unit, or concept, as distinguished from the organic unit. The class unit does not mean simply the common productive idea of a number of individuals, but the unity of the individuals in and through the idea. The parts of this unit are the individuals which spring from the same originating source. It differs from the organic unit, not in parts, but in the way the parts are unified. Thinking of the French people as a nation, as individuals working together for a common good, we have an individual —