An Autobiography: Herbert Spencer - Vol. 2

By Herbert Spencer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XLIII.
DEVELOPING THE PSYCHOLOGY. 1867-70. ÆT. 47-50.

MY daily efforts for some four months before the Italian tour just narrated, had been expended on the "Data of Psychology"--the first division of the treatise in its developed form. With this I struggled to make some progress notwithstanding my nervous relapse; and to that end, as already described, took Mr. Duncan with me to the racquet court, and alternated between dictation and games.

Some of my friends have expressed surprise that I should be able to carry on my work by dictation; and others have expressed surprise that I should be able to interrupt a course of thought, for the purpose of taking exercise, and then resume it. "I do not think properly until I take pen in hand," said one of them; "and I am at a loss to understand how you can reel off your ideas to an amanuensis." Another described himself as unable to bear interruption when once he got his thoughts bent to a subject.

The solution is much simpler than at first appears. In an early chapter of this volume I described the way in which my conceptions on this or that subject developed themselves. I said that my method was not that of sitting down to a problem, and puzzling over it till I came

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