ART THE RELIEVER
IN the endeavour to secure the transmission and perpetuation of a feeling, the expressional activity gradually loses its purely impulsive character. From an almost reflex outlet for abnormal nervous pressure, it is more and more transformed into deliberate artistic production, which is conscious of its aim as well as of the means for attaining it. The elaboration of a work of art, in which the expression of a feeling-state is to be concentrated, and concentrated in a way which not only facilitates but even enforces in the spectator the assimilation of this state, is a complicated operation which cannot of course take place without the effectual co-operation of intellectual and volitional activities. And their cooperation, on the other hand, must evidently exercise some influence on the primordial feeling.
It is a familiar observation, duly emphasised in all psychological handbooks, that strong feelings make clear thought impossible. Everyday experience, as well as scientific experiment, gives unmistakable evidence of the influence which abnormal excitement or depression exercises, not only on our ideas and their associations, but even on the perceptions. The converse has perhaps not been stated so often. Still, it does not admit of