IN the consideration of consciousness, a difference was found in its general aspect according as a number of presentations were loosely scattered about its field or as some one held the mind directed to itself. Consciousness is thus passive or active. Active consciousness is in general attention. It is the focusing of the mind upon a presentation. It is in all cases a conscious act. What goes on in the relating of this presentation to others, in their combination, dissolution, arrangement, is due to the activity of apperception, which is, in a large measure, subconscious; but the attention which makes the activity of apperception possible is a matter of immediate consciousness.
Reflex or Involuntary Attention.2 Upon observation of ourselves, we find that attention may be stimulated either from some foreign and unexpected source or from the will. A loud noise, a violent contact, a disagreeable odor, at once attract the attention without our volition or even against it. This is reflex or involuntary attention. In the normal state of the consciousness, attention is constantly open to appeals of this kind. Minds with little power of will live under control of such external excitation. The attention is drawn hither and thither in rapid transition with no fixed concentration upon any sensation or idea. In such minds, as we shall see later, the functions of apperception are disturbed, and its products instable.____________________