In the association of ideas "unnatural connections become by custom as natural to the mind, as sun and light"

— Locke, John (1632-1704)

Place of Publication
Printed by W.B. for A. and J. Churchill
In the association of ideas "unnatural connections become by custom as natural to the mind, as sun and light"
Metaphor in Context
By this one easy and unheeded miscarriage of the understanding, sandy and loose foundations become infallible principles, and will not suffer themselves to be touched or questioned: such unnatural connections become by custom as natural to the mind, as sun and light. Fire and warmth go together, and so seem to carry with them as natural an evidence as self-evident truths themselves. And where then shall one with hopes of success begin the cure? Many men firmly embrace falsehood for truth; not only because they never thought otherwise, but also because, thus blinded as they have been from the beginning, they never could think otherwise; at least without a vigour of mind able to contest the empire of habit, and look into its own principles, a freedom which few men have the notion of in themselves, and fewer are allowed the practice of by others; it being the great art and business of the teachers and guides in most sects, to suppress, as much as they can, this fundamental duty which every man owes himself, and [which] is the first steady step towards right and truth in the whole train of his actions and opinions. This would give one reason to suspect that such teachers are conscious to themselves of the falsehood or weakness of the tenets they profess, since they will not suffer the grounds whereon they are built to be examined; whereas those who seek truth only, and desire to own and propagate nothing else, freely expose their principles to the test, are pleased to have them examined, give men leave to reject them if they can, and, if there be any thing weak and unsound in them, are willing to have it detected, that they themselves, as well as others, may not lay any stress upon any received proposition beyond what the evidence of its truth will warrant and allow.

Locke: OCOU Sct 41 p 88
Searching in Past Masters
15 entries in ESTC (1706, 1741, 1753, 1754, 1762, 1763, 1781, 1782, 1793, 1794, 1795, 1798, 1800).

See John Locke, Posthumous Works of John Locke (London: Printed by W.B. for A. and J. Churchill, 1706). <Link to ESTC><Link to Google Books>

Text from Some Thoughts Concerning Education and Of the Conduct of the Understanding, eds. Ruth W. Grant and Nathan Tarcov (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1996).
Association of Ideas
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.