— 119 —
The mind can neither make nor destroy them.       §2. These simple Ideas, the Materials of all our Knowledge, are
suggested and furnished to the Mind, only by those two ways above
mentioned, viz. Sensation and Reflection. When the Understanding is
once stored with these simple Ideas, it has the Power to repeat, com-
pare, and unite them even to an almost infinite Variety, and so can
make at Pleasure new complex Ideas. But it is not in the Power of the
most exalted Wit, or enlarged Understanding, by any quickness or
— 120 —
variety of Thought, to invent or frame one new simple Idea in the mind,
not taken in by the ways before mentioned: nor can any force of the
Understanding, destroy those that are there. The Dominion of Man,
in this little World of his own Understanding, being muchwhat the
same, as it is in the great World of visible things; wherein his Power,
however managed by Art and Skill, reaches no farther, than to
compound and divide the Materials, that are made to his Hand; but
can do nothing towards the making the least Particle of new Matter,
or destroying one Atome of what is already in Being. The same
inability, will every one find in himself, who shall go about to
fashion in his Understanding any simple Idea, not received in by his
Senses, from external Objects; or by reflection from the Operations
of his own mind about them. I would have any one try to fancy any
Taste, which had never affected his Palate; or frame the Idea of a
Scent, he had never smelt: And when he can do this, I will also
conclude, that a blind Man hath Ideas of Colours, and a deaf Man
true distinct Notions of Sounds.
Locke Hum II, 2, §2, pp. 119-120