— 156 —
The difference of Wit and Judgment.       §2. How much the imperfection of accurately discriminating
Ideas one from another lies, either in the dulness, or faults of the
Organs of Sense; or want of acuteness, exercise, or attention in the
Understanding; or hastiness and precipitancy, natural to some
Tempers, I will not here examine: It suffices to take notice, that
this is one of the Operations, that the Mind may reflect on, and
observe in it self. It is of that consequence to its other Knowledge,
that so far as this faculty is in it self dull, or not rightly made use of,
for the distinguishing one thing from another; so far our Notions
are confused, and our Reason and Judgment disturbed or misled.
If in having our Ideas in the Memory ready at hand, consists quick-
ness of parts; in this of having them unconfused, and being able
nicely to distinguish one thing from another, where there is but
the least difference, consists, in a great measure, the exactness of
Judgment, and clearness of Reason, which is to be observed in one
Man above another. And hence, perhaps, may be given some
Reason of that common Observation, That Men who have a great
deal of Wit, and prompt Memories, have not always the clearest
Judgment, or deepest Reason. For Wit lying most in the assem-
blage of Ideas, and putting those together with quickness and
variety, wherein can be found any resemblance or congruity,
thereby to make up pleasant Pictures, and agreeable Visions in the
Fancy: Judgment, on the contrary, lies quite on the other side, in
separating carefully, one from another, Ideas, wherein can be found
the least difference, thereby to avoid being misled by Similitude,
and by affinity to take one thing for another. This is a way of
proceeding quite contrary to Metaphor and Allusion, wherein, for
the most part, lies that entertainment and pleasantry of Wit, which
strikes so lively on the Fancy, and therefore so acceptable to all
People; because its Beauty appears at first sight, and there is
required no labour of thought, to examine what Truth or Reason
there is in it. The Mind without looking any farther, rests satisfied
— 157 —
with the agreeableness of the Picture, and the gayety of the Fancy:
And it is a kind of an affront to go about to examine it, by the
severe Rules of Truth, and good Reason; whereby it appears, that
it consists in something, that is not perfectly conformable to them.
Locke Hum II, 11, §2, pp. 156-157