One Way of Imagining Perfectly 155
of a letter, is imagined to be other than it is, the mental picture is foggy and inconstant, just like a letter which is seen imperfectly.
The ways in which the imagination can be interfered with are very numerous. There is one way of imagining perfectly and an infinite number of ways of imagining imperfectly. The right way is easy. The mental pic ture of the thing imagined comes as quick as thought, and can be held more or less continuously. The wrong way is difficult. The picture comes slowly, and is both variable and discontinuous. This can be demonstrated to the patient by asking him first to imagine or remember a black letter as perfectly as possible with the eyes closed, and then to imagine the same letter imperfectly. The first he can usually do easily; but it will be found very difficult to imagine a black letter with clear out lines to be grey, with fuzzy edges and clouded openings, and impossible to form a mental picture of it that will remain constant for an appreciable length of time. The letter will vary in color, shape and location in the visual field, precisely as a letter does when it is seen imper fectly; and just as the strain of imperfect sight pro duces discomfort and pain, the effort to imagine im perfectly will sometimes produce pain. The more nearly perfect the mental picture of the letter, on the contrary, the more easily and quickly it comes and the more con stant it is.
Some very dramatic cures have been effected by means of the imagination. One patient, a physician, who had worn glasses for forty years and who could not without them see the big C at twenty feet, was cured in fifteen minutes simply by imagining that he saw the letters black. When asked to describe the big C with unaided