Ideas are constant and contain a certain order about them. Although they are neither the result of cause or effect, they support a sort of mechanical process which works within the laws of nature, following patterns and designs which are necessarily joined and sequential. A watchmaker, for instance, is aware that certain parts of a watch will produce particular effects and must be arranged in such a way that the proper motion will take place. These may be considered “marks” that signify changes from one process to another. Now, it is not the watchmaker’s artistic ingenuity which produce the movements of the watch. It isn’t even the framework of its parts that causes it to properly function and land at the correct points on its face. It is the idea itself that is the source of its operation and provides the actions of the watch. The idea which originates in the forces of nature, contriving the best possible means to a specific end and continually reshaping itself until that form, which it desires, comes about. And, it comes about in a universal sense where the same idea is shared by a multitude of minds and used in different, but relatable, ways.
Ideas are both separate from the mind and contained within, and originate from, the mind. They are representations which are never randomly produced internally, but arise from the internal sense. They are unbound, freely contrived and assembled, and are the manifestations of reason; that which in itself is formed as the ground of understanding. It is through reason that the mind is able to comprehend appearances. It is the idea which explains the appearances and steers them toward a finite world where substances take shape and reality unfolds with the idea of itself.
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