This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

HABIT

31

its first trial; and he would, furthermore, be completely exhausted by his exertions. Think of the pains necessary to teach a child to stand, of the many efforts which it must make, and of the ease with which it at last stands, unconscious of any effort. For while secondarily automatic acts are accomplished with comparatively little weariness—in this regard approaching the organic movements, or the original reflex movements—the conscious effort of the will soon produces exhaustion. A spinal cord without ... memory would simply be an idiotic spinal cord. ... It is impossible for an individual to realize how much he owes to its automatic agency until disease has impaired its functions."


The next result is that habit diminishes the conscious attention with which our acts are performed.