By ERASMUS DARWIN, M.D. F.R.S.
AUTHOR OF THE BOTANIC GARDEN.
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Principio coelum, ac terras, camposque liquentes, Lucentemque globum lunae, titaniaque astra, Spiritus intus alit, totamque infusa per artus Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet.—VIRG. AEn. vi.
Earth, on whose lap a thousand nations tread, And Ocean, brooding his prolific bed, Night's changeful orb, blue pole, and silvery zones, Where other worlds encircle other suns, One Mind inhabits, one diffusive Soul Wields the large limbs, and mingles with the whole.
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THE SECOND EDITION, CORRECTED.
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LONDON: PRINTED FOR. J. JOHNSON, IN ST. PAUL'S CHURCH-YARD. 1796.
Entered at Stationers' Hall.
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To the candid and ingenious Members of the College of Physicians, of the Royal Philosophical Society, of the Two Universities, and to all those, who study the Operations of the Mind as a Science, or who practice Medicine as a Profession, the subsequent Work is, with great respect, inscribed by the Author,
DERBY, May 1, 1794.
Preface. SECT. I. Of Motion. II. Explanations and Definitions. III. The Motions of the Retina demonstrated by Experiments. IV. Laws of Animal Causation. V. Of the four Faculties or Motions of the Sensorium. VI. Of the four Classes of Fibrous Motions. VII. Of Irritative Motions. VIII. Of Sensitive Motions. IX. Of Voluntary Motions. X. Of Associate Motions. XI. Additional Observations on the Sensorial Powers. XII. Of Stimulus, Sensorial Exertion, and Fibrous Contraction. XIII. Of Vegetable Animation. XIV. Of the Production of Ideas. XV. Of the Classes of Ideas. XVI. Of Instinct. XVII. The Catenation of Animal Motions. XVIII. Of Sleep. XIX. Of Reverie. XX. Of Vertigo. XXI. Of Drunkenness. XXII. Of Propensity to Motion. Repetition. Imitation. XXIII. Of the Circulatory System. XXIV. Of the Secretion of Saliva, and of Tears. And of the Lacrymal Sack. XXV. Of the Stomach and Intestines. XXVI. Of the Capillary Glands, and of the Membranes. XXVII. Of Hemorrhages. XXVIII. The Paralysis of the Lacteals. XXIX. The Retrograde Motions of the Absorbent Vessels. XXX. The Paralysis of the Liver. XXXI. Of Temperaments. XXXII. Diseases of Irritation. XXXIII. —— of Sensation. XXXIV. —— of Volition. XXXV. —— of Relation. XXXVI. The Periods of Diseases. XXXVII. Of Digestion, Secretion, Nutrition. XXXVIII. Of the Oxygenation of the Blood in the Lungs and Placenta. XXXIX. Of Generation. XL. Of Ocular Spectra.
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ON HIS WORK INTITLED
By DEWHURST BILSBORROW.
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HAIL TO THE BARD! who sung, from Chaos hurl'd How suns and planets form'd the whirling world; How sphere on sphere Earth's hidden strata bend, And caves of rock her central fires defend; Where gems new-born their twinkling eyes unfold, 5 And young ores shoot in arborescent gold. How the fair Flower, by Zephyr woo'd, unfurls Its panting leaves, and waves its azure curls; Or spreads in gay undress its lucid form To meet the sun, and shuts it to the storm; 10 While in green veins impassion'd eddies move, And Beauty kindles into life and love. How the first embryon-fibre, sphere, or cube, Lives in new forms,—a line,—a ring,—a tube; Closed in the womb with limbs unfinish'd laves, 15 Sips with rude mouth the salutary waves; Seeks round its cell the sanguine streams, that pass, And drinks with crimson gills the vital gas; Weaves with soft threads the blue meandering vein, The heart's red concave, and the silver brain; 20 Leads the long nerve, expands the impatient sense, And clothes in silken skin the nascent Ens. Erewhile, emerging from its liquid bed, It lifts in gelid air its nodding head; The lights first dawn with trembling eyelid hails, 25 With lungs untaught arrests the balmy gales; Tries its new tongue in tones unknown, and hears The strange vibrations with unpractised ears; Seeks with spread hands the bosom's velvet orbs. With closing lips the milky fount absorbs; 30 And, as compress'd the dulcet streams distil, Drinks warmth and fragrance from the living rill;— Eyes with mute rapture every waving line, Prints with adoring kiss the Paphian shrine, And learns erelong, the perfect form confess'd, 35 Ideal Beauty from its mother's breast. Now in strong lines, with bolder tints design'd, You sketch ideas, and portray the mind; Teach how fine atoms of impinging light To ceaseless change the visual sense excite; 40 While the bright lens collects the rays, that swerve, And bends their focus on the moving nerve. How thoughts to thoughts are link'd with viewless chains, Tribes leading tribes, and trains pursuing trains; With shadowy trident how Volition guides, 45 Surge after surge, his intellectual tides; Or, Queen of Sleep, Imagination roves With frantic Sorrows, or delirious Loves. Go on, O FRIEND! explore with eagle-eye; Where wrapp'd in night retiring Causes lie: 50 Trace their slight bands, their secret haunts betray, And give new wonders to the beam of day; Till, link by link with step aspiring trod, You climb from NATURE to the throne of GOD. —So saw the Patriarch with admiring eyes 55 From earth to heaven a golden ladder rise; Involv'd in clouds the mystic scale ascends, And brutes and angels crowd the distant ends.
TRIN. COL. CAMBRIDGE, Jan. 1, 1794.
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REFERENCES TO THE WORK.
Botanic Garden. Part I.
Line 1. Canto I. l. 105. —— 3. —— IV. l. 402. —— 4. —— I. l. 140. —— 5. —— III. l. 401. —— 8. —— IV. l. 452. —— 9. —— I. l. 14.
—— 12. Sect. XIII. —— 13. —— XXXIX. 4. 1. —— 18. —— XVI. 2. and XXXVIII. —— 26. —— XVI. 4. —— 30. —— XVI. 4. —— 36. —— XVI. 6. —— 38. —— III. and VII. —— 43. —— X. —— 44. —— XVIII. 17. —— 45. —— XVII. 3. 7. —— 47. —— XVIII. 8. —— 50. —— XXXIX. 4. 8. —— 51. —— XXXIX the Motto. —— 54. —— XXXIX. 8.
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The purport of the following pages is an endeavour to reduce the facts belonging to ANIMAL LIFE into classes, orders, genera, and species; and, by comparing them with each other, to unravel the theory of diseases. It happened, perhaps unfortunately for the inquirers into the knowledge of diseases, that other sciences had received improvement previous to their own; whence, instead of comparing the properties belonging to animated nature with each other, they, idly ingenious, busied themselves in attempting to explain the laws of life by those of mechanism and chemistry; they considered the body as an hydraulic machine, and the fluids as passing through a series of chemical changes, forgetting that animation was its essential characteristic.
The great CREATOR of all things has infinitely diversified the works of his hands, but has at the same time stamped a certain similitude on the features of nature, that demonstrates to us, that the whole is one family of one parent. On this similitude is founded all rational analogy; which, so long as it is concerned in comparing the essential properties of bodies, leads us to many and important discoveries; but when with licentious activity it links together objects, otherwise discordant, by some fanciful similitude; it may indeed collect ornaments for wit and poetry, but philosophy and truth recoil from its combinations.
The want of a theory, deduced from such strict analogy, to conduct the practice of medicine is lamented by its professors; for, as a great number of unconnected facts are difficult to be acquired, and to be reasoned from, the art of medicine is in many instances less efficacious under the direction of its wisest practitioners; and by that busy crowd, who either boldly wade in darkness, or are led into endless error by the glare of false theory, it is daily practised to the destruction of thousands; add to this the unceasing injury which accrues to the public by the perpetual advertisements of pretended nostrums; the minds of the indolent become superstitiously fearful of diseases, which they do not labour under; and thus become the daily prey of some crafty empyric.
A theory founded upon nature, that should bind together the scattered facts of medical knowledge, and converge into one point of view the laws of organic life, would thus on many accounts contribute to the interest of society. It would capacitate men of moderate abilities to practise the art of healing with real advantage to the public; it would enable every one of literary acquirements to distinguish the genuine disciples of medicine from those of boastful effrontery, or of wily address; and would teach mankind in some important situations the knowledge of themselves.
There are some modern practitioners, who declaim against medical theory in general, not considering that to think is to theorize; and that no one can direct a method of cure to a person labouring under disease without thinking, that is, without theorizing; and happy therefore is the patient, whose physician possesses the best theory.
The words idea, perception, sensation, recollection, suggestion, and association, are each of them used in this treatise in a more limited sense than in the writers of metaphysic. The author was in doubt, whether he should rather have substituted new words instead of them; but was at length of opinion, that new definitions of words already in use would be less burthensome to the memory of the reader.
A great part of this work has lain by the writer above twenty years, as some of his friends can testify: he had hoped by frequent revision to have made it more worthy the acceptance of the public; this however his other perpetual occupations have in part prevented, and may continue to prevent, as long as he may be capable of revising it; he therefore begs of the candid reader to accept of it in its present state, and to excuse any inaccuracies of expression, or of conclusion, into which the intricacy of his subject, the general imperfection of language, or the frailty he has in common with other men, may have betrayed him; and from which he has not the vanity to believe this treatise to be exempt.
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The whole of nature may be supposed to consist of two essences or substances; one of which may be termed spirit, and the other matter. The former of these possesses the power to commence or produce motion, and the latter to receive and communicate it. So that motion, considered as a cause, immediately precedes every effect; and, considered as an effect, it immediately succeeds every cause.
The MOTIONS OF MATTER may be divided into two kinds, primary and secondary. The secondary motions are those, which are given to or received from other matter in motion. Their laws have been successfully investigated by philosophers in their treatises on mechanic powers. These motions are distinguished by this circumstance, that the velocity multiplied into the quantity of matter of the body acted upon is equal to the velocity multiplied into the quantity of matter of the acting body.
The primary motions of matter may be divided into three classes, those belonging to gravitation, to chemistry, and to life; and each class has its peculiar laws. Though these three classes include the motions of solid, liquid, and aerial bodies; there is nevertheless a fourth division of motions; I mean those of the supposed ethereal fluids of magnetism, electricity, heat, and light; whose properties are not so well investigated as to be classed with sufficient accuracy.
1st. The gravitating motions include the annual and diurnal rotation of the earth and planets, the flux and reflux of the ocean, the descent of heavy bodies, and other phaenomena of gravitation. The unparalleled sagacity of the great NEWTON has deduced the laws of this class of motions from the simple principle of the general attraction of matter. These motions are distinguished by their tendency to or from the centers of the sun or planets.
2d. The chemical class of motions includes all the various appearances of chemistry. Many of the facts, which belong to these branches of science, are nicely ascertained, and elegantly classed; but their laws have not yet been developed from such simple principles as those above-mentioned; though it is probable, that they depend on the specific attractions belonging to the particles of bodies, or to the difference of the quantity of attraction belonging to the sides and angles of those particles. The chemical motions are distinguished by their being generally attended with an evident decomposition or new combination of the active materials.
3d. The third class includes all the motions of the animal and vegetable world; as well those of the vessels, which circulate their juices, and of the muscles, which perform their locomotion, as those of the organs of sense, which constitute their ideas.
This last class of motion is the subject of the following pages; which, though conscious of their many imperfections, I hope may give some pleasure to the patient reader, and contribute something to the knowledge and to the cure of diseases.
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EXPLANATIONS AND DEFINITIONS.
I. Outline of the animal economy.—II. 1. Of the sensorium. 2. Of the brain and nervous medulla. 3. A nerve. 4. A muscular fibre. 5. The immediate organs of sense. 6. The external organs of sense. 7. An idea or sensual motion. 8. Perception. 9. Sensation. 10. Recollection and suggestion. 11. Habit, causation, association, catenation. 12. Reflex ideas. 13. Stimulus defined.
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As some explanations and definitions will be necessary in the prosecution of the work, the reader is troubled with them in this place, and is intreated to keep them in his mind as he proceeds, and to take them for granted, till an apt opportunity occurs to evince their truth; to which I shall premise a very short outline of the animal economy.
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I.—1. The nervous system has its origin from the brain, and is distributed to every part of the body. Those nerves, which serve the senses, principally arise from that part of the brain, which is lodged in the head; and those, which serve the purposes of muscular motion, principally arise from that part of the brain, which is lodged in the neck and back, and which is erroneously called the spinal marrow. The ultimate fibrils of these nerves terminate in the immediate organs of sense and muscular fibres, and if a ligature be put on any part of their passage from the head or spine, all motion and perception cease in the parts beneath the ligature.
2. The longitudinal muscular fibres compose the locomotive muscles, whose contractions move the bones of the limbs and trunk, to which their extremities are attached. The annular or spiral muscular fibres compose the vascular muscles, which constitute the intestinal canal, the arteries, veins, glands, and absorbent vessels.
3. The immediate organs of sense, as the retina of the eye, probably consist of moving fibrils, with a power of contraction similar to that of the larger muscles above described.
4. The cellular membrane consists of cells, which resemble those of a sponge, communicating with each other, and connecting together all the other parts of the body.
5. The arterial system consists of the aortal and the pulmonary artery, which are attended through their whole course with their correspondent veins. The pulmonary artery receives the blood from the right chamber of the heart, and carries it to the minute extensive ramifications of the lungs, where it is exposed to the action of the air on a surface equal to that of the whole external skin, through the thin moist coats of those vessels, which are spread on the air-cells, which constitute the minute terminal ramifications of the wind-pipe. Here the blood changes its colour from a dark red to a bright scarlet. It is then collected by the branches of the pulmonary vein, and conveyed to the left chamber of the heart.
6. The aorta is another large artery, which receives the blood from the left chamber of the heart, after it has been thus aerated in the lungs, and conveys it by ascending and descending branches to every other part of the system; the extremities of this artery terminate either in glands, as the salivary glands, lacrymal glands, &c. or in capillary vessels, which are probably less involuted glands; in these some fluid, as saliva, tears, perspiration, are separated from the blood; and the remainder of the blood is absorbed or drank up by branches of veins correspondent to the branches of the artery; which are furnished with valves to prevent its return; and is thus carried back, after having again changed its colour to a dark red, to the right chamber of the heart. The circulation of the blood in the liver differs from this general system; for the veins which drink up the refluent blood from those arteries, which are spread on the bowels and mesentery, unite into a trunk in the liver, and form a kind of artery, which is branched into the whole substance of the liver, and is called the vena portarum; and from which the bile is separated by the numerous hepatic glands, which constitute that viscus.
7. The glands may be divided into three systems, the convoluted glands, such as those above described, which separate bile, tears, saliva, &c. Secondly, the glands without convolution, as the capillary vessels, which unite the terminations of the arteries and veins; and separate both the mucus, which lubricates the cellular membrane, and the perspirable matter, which preserves the skin moist and flexible. And thirdly, the whole absorbent system, consisting of the lacteals, which open their mouths into the stomach and intestines, and of the lymphatics, which open their mouths on the external surface of the body, and on the internal linings of all the cells of the cellular membrane, and other cavities of the body.
These lacteal and lymphatic vessels are furnished with numerous valves to prevent the return of the fluids, which they absorb, and terminate in glands, called lymphatic glands, and may hence be considered as long necks or mouths belonging to these glands. To these they convey the chyle and mucus, with a part of the perspirable matter, and atmospheric moisture; all which, after having passed through these glands, and having suffered some change in them, are carried forward into the blood, and supply perpetual nourishment to the system, or replace its hourly waste.
8. The stomach and intestinal canal have a constant vermicular motion, which carries forwards their contents, after the lacteals have drank up the chyle from them; and which is excited into action by the stimulus of the aliment we swallow, but which becomes occasionally inverted or retrograde, as in vomiting, and in the iliac passion.
II. 1. The word sensorium in the following pages is designed to express not only the medullary part of the brain, spinal marrow, nerves, organs of sense, and of the muscles; but also at the same time that living principle, or spirit of animation, which resides throughout the body, without being cognizable to our senses, except by its effects. The changes which occasionally take place in the sensorium, as during the exertions of volition, or the sensations of pleasure or pain, are termed sensorial motions.
2. The similarity of the texture of the brain to that of the pancreas, and some other glands of the body, has induced the inquirers into this subject to believe, that a fluid, perhaps much more subtile than the electric aura, is separated from the blood by that organ for the purposes of motion and sensation. When we recollect, that the electric fluid itself is actually accumulated and given out voluntarily by the torpedo and the gymnotus electricus, that an electric shock will frequently stimulate into motion a paralytic limb, and lastly that it needs no perceptible tubes to convey it, this opinion seems not without probability; and the singular figure of the brain and nervous system seems well adapted to distribute it over every part of the body.
For the medullary substance of the brain not only occupies the cavities of the head and spine, but passes along the innumerable ramifications of the nerves to the various muscles and organs of sense. In these it lays aside its coverings, and is intermixed with the slender fibres, which constitute those muscles and organs of sense. Thus all these distant ramifications of the sensorium are united at one of their extremities, that is, in the head and spine; and thus these central parts of the sensorium constitute a communication between all the organs of sense and muscles.
3. A nerve is a continuation of the medullary substance of the brain from the head or spine towards the other parts of the body, wrapped in its proper membrane.
4. The muscular fibres are moving organs intermixed with that medullary substance, which is continued along the nerves, as mentioned above. They are indued with the power of contraction, and are again elongated either by antagonist muscles, by circulating fluids, or by elastic ligaments. So the muscles on one side of the forearm bend the fingers by means of their tendons, and those on the other side of the fore-arm extend them again. The arteries are distended by the circulating blood; and in the necks of quadrupeds there is a strong elastic ligament, which assists the muscles, which elevate the head, to keep it in its horizontal position, and to raise it after it has been depressed.
5. The immediate organs of sense consist in like manner of moving fibres enveloped in the medullary substance above mentioned; and are erroneously supposed to be simply an expansion of the nervous medulla, as the retina of the eye, and the rete mucosum of the skin, which are the immediate organs of vision, and of touch. Hence when we speak of the contractions of the fibrous parts of the body, we shall mean both the contractions of the muscles, and those of the immediate organs of sense. These fibrous motions are thus distinguished from the sensorial motions above mentioned.
6. The external organs of sense are the coverings of the immediate organs of sense, and are mechanically adapted for the reception or transmission of peculiar bodies, or of their qualities, as the cornea and humours of the eye, the tympanum of the ear, the cuticle of the finders and tongue.
7. The word idea has various meanings in the writers of metaphysic: it is here used simply for those notions of external things, which our organs of sense bring us acquainted with originally; and is defined a contraction, or motion, or configuration, of the fibres, which constitute the immediate organ of sense; which will be explained at large in another part of the work. Synonymous with the word idea, we shall sometimes use the words sensual motion in contradistinction to muscular motion.
8. The word perception includes both the action of the organ of sense in consequence of the impact of external objects, and our attention to that action; that is, it expresses both the motion of the organ of sense, or idea, and the pain or pleasure that succeeds or accompanies it.
9. The pleasure or pain which necessarily accompanies all those perceptions or ideas which we attend to, either gradually subsides, or is succeeded by other fibrous motions. In the latter case it is termed sensation, as explained in Sect. V. 2, and VI. 2.—The reader is intreated to keep this in his mind, that through all this treatise the word sensation is used to express pleasure or pain only in its active state, by whatever means it is introduced into the system, without any reference to the stimulation of external objects.
10. The vulgar use of the word memory is too unlimited for our purpose: those ideas which we voluntarily recall are here termed ideas of recollection, as when we will to repeat the alphabet backwards. And those ideas which are suggested to us by preceding ideas are here termed ideas of suggestion, as whilst we repeat the alphabet in the usual order; when by habits previously acquired B is suggested by A, and C by B, without any effort of deliberation.
11. The word association properly signifies a society or convention of things in some respects similar to each other. We never say in common language, that the effect is associated with the cause, though they necessarily accompany or succeed each other. Thus the contractions of our muscles and organs of sense may be said to be associated together, but cannot with propriety be said to be associated with irritations, or with volition, or with sensation; because they are caused by them, as mentioned in Sect. IV. When fibrous contractions succeed other fibrous contractions, the connection is termed association; when fibrous contractions succeed sensorial motions, the connection is termed causation; when fibrous and sensorial motions reciprocally introduce each other in progressive trains or tribes, it is termed catenation of animal motions. All these connections are said to be produced by habit; that is, by frequent repetition.
12. It may be proper to observe, that by the unavoidable idiom of our language the ideas of perception, of recollection, or of imagination, in the plural number signify the ideas belonging to perception, to recollection, or to imagination; whilst the idea of perception, of recollection, or of imagination, in the singular number is used for what is termed "a reflex idea of any of those operations of the sensorium."
13. By the word stimulus is not only meant the application of external bodies to our organs of sense and muscular fibres, which excites into action the sensorial power termed irritation; but also pleasure or pain, when they excite into action the sensorial power termed sensation; and desire or aversion, when they excite into action the power of volition; and lastly, the fibrous contractions which precede association; as is further explained in Sect. XII. 2. 1.
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THE MOTIONS OF THE RETINA DEMONSTRATED BY EXPERIMENTS.
I. Of animal motions and of ideas. II. The fibrous structure of the retina. III. The activity of the retina in vision. 1. Rays of light have no momentum. 2. Objects long viewed become fainter. 3. Spectra of black objects become luminous. 4. Varying spectra from gyration. 5. From long inspection of various colours. IV. Motions of the organs of sense constitute ideas. 1. Light from pressing the eye-ball, and sound from the pulsation of the carotid artery. 2. Ideas in sleep mistaken for perceptions. 3. Ideas of imagination produce pain and sickness like sensations. 4. When the organ of sense is destroyed, the ideas belonging to that sense perish. V. Analogy between muscular motions and sensual motions, or ideas. 1. They are both originally excited by irritations. 2. And associated together in the same manner. 3. Both act in nearly the same times. 4. Are alike strengthened or fatigued by exercise. 5. Are alike painful from inflammation. 6. Are alike benumbed by compression. 7. Are alike liable to paralysis. 8. To convulsion. 9. To the influence of old age.—VI. Objections answered. 1. Why we cannot invent new ideas. 2. If ideas resemble external objects. 3. Of the imagined sensation in an amputated limb. 4. Abstract ideas.—VII. What are ideas, if they are not animal motions?
Before the great variety of animal motions can be duly arranged into natural classes and orders, it is necessary to smooth the way to this yet unconquered field of science, by removing some obstacles which thwart our passage. I. To demonstrate that the retina and other immediate organs of sense possess a power of motion, and that these motions constitute our ideas, according to the fifth and seventh of the preceding assertions, claims our first attention.
Animal motions are distinguished from the communicated motions, mentioned in the first section, as they have no mechanical proportion to their cause; for the goad of a spur on the skin of a horse shall induce him to move a load of hay. They differ from the gravitating motions there mentioned as they are exerted with equal facility in all directions, and they differ from the chemical class of motions, because no apparent decompositions or new combinations are produced in the moving materials.
Hence, when we say animal motion is excited by irritation, we do not mean that the motion bears any proportion to the mechanical impulse of the stimulus; nor that it is affected by the general gravitation of the two bodies; nor by their chemical properties, but solely that certain animal fibres are excited into action by something external to the moving organ.
In this sense the stimulus of the blood produces the contractions of the heart; and the substances we take into our stomach and bowels stimulate them to perform their necessary functions. The rays of light excite the retina into animal motion by their stimulus; at the same time that those rays of light themselves are physically converged to a focus by the inactive humours of the eye. The vibrations of the air stimulate the auditory nerve into animal action; while it is probable that the tympanum of the ear at the same time undergoes a mechanical vibration.
To render this circumstance more easy to be comprehended, motion may be defined to be a variation of figure; for the whole universe may be considered as one thing possessing a certain figure; the motions of any of its parts are a variation of this figure of the whole: this definition of motion will be further explained in Section XIV. 2. 2. on the production of ideas.
Now the motions of an organ of sense are a succession of configurations of that organ; these configurations succeed each other quicker or slower; and whatever configuration of this organ of sense, that is, whatever portion of the motion of it is, or has usually been, attended to, constitutes an idea. Hence the configuration is not to be considered as an effect of the motion of the organ, but rather as a part or temporary termination of it; and that, whether a pause succeeds it, or a new configuration immediately takes place. Thus when a succession of moving objects are presented to our view, the ideas of trumpets, horns, lords and ladies, trains and canopies, are configurations, that is, parts or links of the successive motions of the organ of vision.
These motions or configurations of the organs of sense differ from the sensorial motions to be described hereafter, as they appear to be simply contractions of the fibrous extremities of those organs, and in that respect exactly resemble the motions or contractions of the larger muscles, as appears from the following experiment. Place a circular piece of red silk about an inch in diameter on a sheet of white paper in a strong light, as in Plate I.—look for a minute on this area, or till the eye becomes somewhat fatigued, and then, gently closing your eyes, and shading them with your hand, a circular green area of the same apparent diameter becomes visible in the closed eye. This green area is the colour reverse to the red area, which had been previously inspected, as explained in the experiments on ocular spectra at the end of the work, and in Botanical Garden, P. 1. additional note, No. 1. Hence it appears, that a part of the retina, which had been fatigued by contraction in one direction, relieves itself by exerting the antagonist fibres, and producing a contraction in an opposite direction, as is common in the exertions of our muscles. Thus when we are tired with long action of our arms in one direction, as in holding a bridle on a journey, we occasionally throw them into an opposite position to relieve the fatigued muscles.
Mr. Locke has defined an idea to be "whatever is present to the mind;" but this would include the exertions of volition, and the sensations of pleasure and pain, as well as those operations of our system, which acquaint us with external objects; and is therefore too unlimited for our purpose. Mr. Lock seems to have fallen into a further error, by conceiving, that the mind could form a general or abstract idea by its own operation, which was the copy of no particular perception; as of a triangle in general, that was neither acute, obtuse, nor right angled. The ingenious Dr. Berkley and Mr. Hume have demonstrated, that such general ideas have no existence in nature, not even in the mind of their celebrated inventor. We shall therefore take for granted at present, that our recollection or imagination of external objects consists of a partial repetition of the perceptions, which were excited by those external objects, at the time we became acquainted with them; and that our reflex ideas of the operations of our minds are partial repetitions of those operations.
II. The following article evinces that the organ of vision consists of a fibrous part as well as of the nervous medulla, like other white muscles; and hence, as it resembles the muscular parts of the body in its structure, we may conclude, that it must resemble them in possessing a power of being excited into animal motion.—The subsequent experiments on the optic nerve, and on the colours remaining in the eye, are copied from a paper on ocular spectra published in the seventy-sixth volume of the Philos. Trans. by Dr. R. Darwin of Shrewsbury; which, as I shall have frequent occasion to refer to, is reprinted in this work, Sect. XL. The retina of an ox's eye was suspended in a glass of warm water, and forcibly torn in a few places; the edges of these parts appeared jagged and hairy, and did not contract and become smooth like simple mucus, when it is distended till it breaks; which evinced that it consisted of fibres. This fibrous construction became still more distinct to the light by adding some caustic alcali to the water; as the adhering mucus was first eroded, and the hair-like fibres remained floating in the vessel. Nor does the degree of transparency of the retina invalidate this evidence of its fibrous structure, since Leeuwenhoek has shewn, that the crystalline humour itself consists of fibres. Arc. Nat. V. I. 70.
Hence it appears, that as the muscles consist of larger fibres intermixed with a smaller quantity of nervous medulla, the organ of vision consists of a greater quantity of nervous medulla intermixed with smaller fibres. It is probable that the locomotive muscles of microscopic animals may have greater tenuity than these of the retina; and there is reason to conclude from analogy, that the other immediate organs of sense, as the portio mollis of the auditory nerve, and the rete mucosum of the skin, possess a similarity of structure with the retina, and a similar power of being excited into animal motion.
III. The subsequent articles shew, that neither mechanical impressions, nor chemical combinations of light, but that the animal activity of the retina constitutes vision.
1. Much has been conjectured by philosophers about the momentum of the rays of light; to subject this to experiment a very light horizontal balance was constructed by Mr. Michel, with about an inch square of thin leaf-copper suspended at each end of it, as described in Dr. Priestley's History of Light and Colours. The focus of a very large convex mirror was thrown by Dr. Powel, in his lectures on experimental philosophy, in my presence, on one wing of this delicate balance, and it receded from the light; thrown on the other wing, it approached towards the light, and this repeatedly; so that no sensible impulse could be observed, but what might well be ascribed to the ascent of heated air.
Whence it is reasonable to conclude, that the light of the day must be much too weak in its dilute state to make any mechanical impression on so tenacious a substance as the retina of the eye.—Add to this, that as the retina is nearly transparent, it could therefore make less resistance to the mechanical impulse of light; which, according, to the observations related by Mr. Melvil in the Edinburgh Literary Essays, only communicates heat, and should therefore only communicate momentum, where it is obstructed, reflected, or refracted.—From whence also may be collected the final cause of this degree of transparency of the retina, viz. left by the focus of stronger lights, heat and pain should have been produced in the retina, instead of that stimulus which excites it into animal motion.
2. On looking long on an area of scarlet silk of about an inch in diameter laid on white paper, as in Plate I. the scarlet colour becomes fainter, till at length it entirely vanishes, though the eye is kept uniformly and steadily upon it. Now if the change or motion of the retina was a mechanical impression, or a chemical tinge of coloured light, the perception would every minute become stronger and stronger,—whereas in this experiment it becomes every instant weaker and weaker. The same circumstance obtains in the continued application of sound, or of sapid bodies, or of odorous ones, or of tangible ones, to their adapted organs of sense.
Thus when a circular coin, as a shilling, is pressed on the palm of the hand, the sense of touch is mechanically compressed; but it is the stimulus of this pressure that excites the organ of touch into animal action, which constitutes the perception of hardness and of figure; for in some minutes the perception ceases, though the mechanical pressure of the object remains.
3. Make with ink on white paper a very black spot about half an inch in diameter, with a tail about an inch in length, so as to resemble a tadpole, as in Plate II.; look steadfastly for a minute on the center of this spot, and, on moving the eye a little, the figure of the tadpole will be seen on the white part of the paper; which figure of the tadpole will appear more luminous than the other part of the white paper; which can only be explained by supposing that a part of the retina, on which the tadpole was delineated, to have become more sensible to light than the other parts of it, which were exposed to the white paper; and not from any idea of mechanical impression or chemical combination of light with the retina.
4. When any one turns round rapidly, till he becomes dizzy, and falls upon the ground, the spectra of the ambient objects continue to present themselves in rotation, and he seems to behold the objects still in motion. Now if these spectra were impressions on a passive organ, they either must continue as they were received last, or not continue at all.
5. Place a piece of red silk about an inch in diameter on a sheet of white paper in a strong light, as in Plate I; look steadily upon it from the distance of about half a yard for a minute; then closing your eye-lids, cover them with your hands and handkerchief, and a green spectrum will be seen in your eyes resembling in form the piece of red silk. After some seconds of time the spectrum will disappear, and in a few more seconds will reappear; and thus alternately three or four times, if the experiment be well made, till at length it vanishes entirely.
6. Place a circular piece of white paper, about four inches in diameter, in the sunshine, cover the center of this with a circular piece of black silk, about three inches in diameter; and the center of the black silk with a circle of pink silk, about two inches in diameter; and the center of the pink silk with a circle of yellow silk, about one inch in diameter; and the center of this with a circle of blue silk, about half an inch in diameter; make a small spot with ink in the center of the blue silk, as in Plate III.; look steadily for a minute on this central spot, and then closing your eyes, and applying your hand at about an inch distance before them, so as to prevent too much or too little light from passing through the eye-lids, and you will see the most beautiful circles of colours that imagination can conceive; which are most resembled by the colours occasioned by pouring a drop or two of oil on a still lake in a bright day. But these circular irises of colours are not only different from the colours of the silks above mentioned, but are at the same time perpetually changing as long as they exist.
From all these experiments it appears, that these spectra in the eye are not owing to the mechanical impulse of light impressed on the retina; nor to its chemical combination with that organ; nor to the absorption and emission of light, as is supposed, perhaps erroneously, to take place in calcined shells and other phosphorescent bodies, after having been exposed to the light: for in all these cases the spectra in the eye should either remain of the same colour, or gradually decay, when the object is withdrawn; and neither their evanescence during the presence of their object, as in the second experiment, nor their change from dark to luminous, as in the third experiment, nor their rotation, as in the fourth experiment, nor the alternate presence and evanescence of them, as in the fifth experiment, nor the perpetual change of colours of them, as in the last experiment, could exist.
IV. The subsequent articles shew, that these animal motions or configurations of our organs of sense constitute our ideas.
1. If any one in the dark presses the ball of his eye, by applying his finger to the external corner of it, a luminous appearance is observed; and by a smart stroke on the eye great slashes of fire are perceived. (Newton's Optics.) So that when the arteries, that are near the auditory nerve, make stronger pulsations than usual, as in some fevers, an undulating sound is excited in the ears. Hence it is not the presence of the light and sound, but the motions of the organ, that are immediately necessary to constitute the perception or idea of light and sound.
2. During the time of sleep, or in delirium, the ideas of imagination are mistaken for the perceptions of external objects; whence it appears, that these ideas of imagination, are no other than a reiteration of those motions of the organs of sense, which were originally excited by the stimulus of external objects: and in our waking hours the simple ideas, that we call up by recollection or by imagination, as the colour of red, or the smell of a rose, are exact resemblances of the same simple ideas from perception; and in consequence must be a repetition of those very motions.
3. The disagreeable sensation called the tooth-edge is originally excited by the painful jarring of the teeth in biting the edge of the glass, or porcelain cup, in which our food was given us in our infancy, as is further explained in the Section XVI. 10, on Instinct.—This disagreeable sensation is afterwards excitable not only by a repetition of the sound, that was then produced, but by imagination alone, as I have myself frequently experienced; in this case the idea of biting a china cup, when I imagine it very distinctly, or when I see another person bite a cup or glass, excites an actual pain in the nerves of my teeth. So that this idea and pain seem to be nothing more than the reiterated motions of those nerves, that were formerly so disagreeably affected.
Other ideas that are excited by imagination or recollection in many instances produce similar effects on the constitution, as our perceptions had formerly produced, and are therefore undoubtedly a repetition of the same motions. A story which the celebrated Baron Van Swieton relates of himself is to this purpose. He was present when the putrid carcase of a dead dog exploded with prodigious stench; and some years afterwards, accidentally riding along the same road, he was thrown into the same sickness and vomiting by the idea of the stench, as he had before experienced from the perception of it.
4. Where the organ of sense is totally destroyed, the ideas which were received by that organ seem to perish along with it, as well as the power of perception. Of this a satisfactory instance has fallen under my observation. A gentleman about sixty years of age had been totally deaf for near thirty years: he appeared to be a man of good understanding, and amused himself with reading, and by conversing either by the use of the pen, or by signs made with his fingers, to represent letters. I observed that he had so far forgot the pronunciation of the language, that when he attempted to speak, none of his words had distinct articulation, though his relations could sometimes understand his meaning. But, which is much to the point, he assured me, that in his dreams he always imagined that people conversed with him by signs or writing, and never that he heard any one speak to him. From hence it appears, that with the perceptions of sounds he has also lost the ideas of them; though the organs of speech still retain somewhat of their usual habits of articulation.
This observation may throw some light on the medical treatment of deaf people; as it may be learnt from their dreams whether the auditory nerve be paralytic, or their deafness be owing to some defect of the external organ.
It rarely happens that the immediate organ of vision is perfectly destroyed. The most frequent causes of blindness are occasioned by defects of the external organ, as in cataracts and obfuscations of the cornea. But I have had the opportunity of conversing with two men, who had been some years blind; one of them had a complete gutta serena, and the other had lost the whole substance of his eyes. They both told me that they did not remember to have ever dreamt of visible objects, since the total loss of their sight.
V. Another method of discovering that our ideas are animal motions of the organs of sense, is from considering the great analogy they bear to the motions of the larger muscles of the body. In the following articles it will appear that they are originally excited into action by the irritation of external objects like our muscles; are associated together like our muscular motions; act in similar time with them; are fatigued by continued exertion like them; and that the organs of sense are subject to inflammation, numbness, palsy, convulsion, and the defects of old age, in the same manner as the muscular fibres.
1. All our perceptions or ideas of external objects are universally allowed to have been originally excited by the stimulus of those external objects; and it will be shewn in a succeeding section, that it is probable that all our muscular motions, as well those that are become voluntary as those of the heart and glandular system, were originally in like manner excited by the stimulus of something external to the organ of motion.
2. Our ideas are also associated together after their production precisely in the same manner as our muscular motions; which will likewise be fully explained in the succeeding section.
3. The time taken up in performing an idea is likewise much the same as that taken up in performing a muscular motion. A musician can press the keys of an harpsichord with his fingers in the order of a tune he has been accustomed to play, in as little time as he can run over those notes in his mind. So we many times in an hour cover our eye-balls with our eye-lids without perceiving that we are in the dark; hence the perception or idea of light is not changed for that of darkness in so small a time as the twinkling of an eye; so that in this case the muscular motion of the eye-lid is performed quicker than the perception of light can be changed for that of darkness.—So if a fire-stick be whirled round in the dark, a luminous circle appears to the observer; if it be whirled somewhat slower, this circle becomes interrupted in one part; and then the time taken up in such a revolution of the stick is the same that the observer uses in changing his ideas: thus the [Greek: dolikoskoton enkos] of Homer, the long shadow of the flying javelin, is elegantly designed to give us an idea of its velocity, and not of its length.
4. The fatigue that follows a continued attention of the mind to one object is relieved by changing the subject of our thoughts; as the continued movement of one limb is relieved by moving another in its stead. Whereas a due exercise of the faculties of the mind strengthens and improves those faculties, whether of imagination or recollection; as the exercise of our limbs in dancing or fencing increases the strength and agility of the muscles thus employed.
5. If the muscles of any limb are inflamed, they do not move without pain; so when the retina is inflamed, its motions also are painful. Hence light is as intolerable in this kind of ophthalmia, as pressure is to the finger in the paronychia. In this disease the patients frequently dream of having their eyes painfully dazzled; hence the idea of strong light is painful as well as the reality. The first of these facts evinces that our perceptions are motions of the organs of sense; and the latter, that our imaginations are also motions of the same organs.
6. The organs of sense, like the moving muscles, are liable to become benumbed, or less sensible, from compression. Thus, if any person on a light day looks on a white wall, he may perceive the ramifications of the optic artery, at every pulsation of it, represented by darker branches on the white wall; which is evidently owing to its compressing the retina during the diastole of the artery. Savage Nosolog.
7. The organs of sense and the moving muscles are alike liable to be affected with palsy, as in the gutta serena, and in some cases of deafness; and one side of the face has sometimes lost its power of sensation, but retained its power of motion; other parts of the body have lost their motions but retained their sensation, as in the common hemiplagia; and in other instances both these powers have perished together.
8. In some convulsive diseases a delirium or insanity supervenes, and the convulsions cease; and conversely the convulsions shall supervene, and the delirium cease. Of this I have been a witness many times in a day in the paroxysms of violent epilepsies; which evinces that one kind of delirium is a convulsion of the organs of sense, and that our ideas are the motions of these organs: the subsequent cases will illustrate this observation.
Miss G——, a fair young lady, with light eyes and hair, was seized with most violent convulsions of her limbs, with outrageous hiccough, and most vehement efforts to vomit: after near an hour was elapsed this tragedy ceased, and a calm talkative delirium supervened for about another hour; and these relieved each other at intervals during the greatest part of three or four days. After having carefully considered this disease, I thought the convulsions of her ideas less dangerous than those of her muscles; and having in vain attempted to make any opiate continue in her stomach, an ounce of laudanum was rubbed along the spine of her back, and a dram of it was used as an enema; by this medicine a kind of drunken delirium was continued many hours; and when it ceased the convulsions did not return; and the lady continued well many years, except some lighter relapses, which were relieved in the same manner.
Miss H——, an accomplished young lady, with light eyes and hair, was seized with convulsions of her limbs, with hiccough, and efforts to vomit, more violent than words can express; these continued near an hour, and were succeeded with a cataleptic spasm of one arm, with the hand applied to her head; and after about twenty minutes these spasms ceased, and a talkative reverie supervened for near an other hour, from which no violence, which it was proper to use, could awaken her. These periods of convulsions, first of the muscles, and then of the ideas, returned twice a day for several weeks; and were at length removed by great doses of opium, after a great variety of other medicines and applications had been in vain experienced. This lady was subject to frequent relapses, once or twice a year for many years, and was as frequently relieved by the same method.
Miss W——, an elegant young lady, with black eyes and hair, had sometimes a violent pain of her side, at other times a most painful strangury, which were every day succeeded by delirium; which gave a temporary relief to the painful spasms. After the vain exhibition of variety of medicines and applications by different physicians, for more than a twelvemonth, she was directed to take some doses of opium, which were gradually increased, by which a drunken delirium was kept up for a day or two, and the pains prevented from returning. A flesh diet, with a little wine or beer, instead of the low regimen she had previously used, in a few weeks completely established her health; which, except a few relapses, has continued for many years.
9. Lastly, as we advance in life all the parts of the body become more rigid, and are rendered less susceptible of new habits of motion, though they retain those that were before established. This is sensibly observed by those who apply themselves late in life to music, fencing, or any of the mechanic arts. In the same manner many elderly people retain the ideas they had learned early in life, but find great difficulty in acquiring new trains of memory; insomuch that in extreme old age we frequently see a forgetfulness of the business of yesterday, and at the same time a circumstantial remembrance of the amusements of their youth; till at length the ideas of recollection and activity of the body gradually cease together,—such is the condition of humanity!—and nothing remains but the vital motions and sensations.
VI. 1. In opposition to this doctrine of the production of our ideas, it may be asked, if some of our ideas, like other animal motions, are voluntary, why can we not invent new ones, that have not been received by perception? The answer will be better understood after having perused the succeeding section, where it will be explained, that the muscular motions likewise are originally excited by the stimulus of bodies external to the moving organ; and that the will has only the power of repeating the motions thus excited.
2. Another objector may ask, Can the motion of an organ of sense resemble an odour or a colour? To which I can only answer, that it has not been demonstrated that any of our ideas resemble the objects that excite them; it has generally been believed that they do not; but this shall be discussed at large in Sect. XIV.
3. There is another objection that at first view would seem less easy to surmount. After the amputation, of a foot or a finger, it has frequently happened, that an injury being offered to the stump of the amputated limb, whether from cold air, too great pressure, or other accidents, the patient has complained, of a sensation of pain in the foot or finger, that was cut off. Does not this evince that all our ideas are excited in the brain, and not in the organs of sense? This objection is answered, by observing that our ideas of the shape, place, and solidity of our limbs, are acquired by our organs of touch and of sight, which are situated in our fingers and eyes, and not by any sensations in the limb itself.
In this case the pain or sensation, which formerly has arisen in the foot or toes, and been propagated along the nerves to the central part of the sensorium, was at the same time accompanied with a visible idea of the shape and place, and with a tangible idea of the solidity of the affected limb: now when these nerves are afterwards affected by any injury done to the remaining stump with a similar degree or kind of pain, the ideas of the shape, place, or solidity of the lost limb, return by association; as these ideas belong to the organs of sight and touch, on which they were first excited.
4. If you wonder what organs of sense can be excited into motion, when you call up the ideas of wisdom or benevolence, which Mr. Locke has termed abstracted ideas; I ask you by what organs of sense you first became acquainted with these ideas? And the answer will be reciprocal; for it is certain that all our ideas were originally acquired by our organs of sense; for whatever excites our perception must be external to the organ that perceives it, and we have no other inlets to knowledge but by our perceptions: as will be further explained in Section XIV. and XV. on the Productions and Classes of Ideas.
VII. If our recollection or imagination be not a repetition of animal movements, I ask, in my turn, What is it? You tell me it consists of images or pictures of things. Where is this extensive canvas hung up? or where are the numerous receptacles in which those are deposited? or to what else in the animal system have they any similitude?
That pleasing picture of objects, represented in miniature on the retina of the eye, seems to have given rise to this illusive oratory! It was forgot that this representation belongs rather to the laws of light, than to those of life; and may with equal elegance be seen in the camera obscura as in the eye; and that the picture vanishes for ever, when the object is withdrawn.
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LAWS OF ANIMAL CAUSATION.
I. The fibres, which constitute the muscles and organs of sense, possess a power of contraction. The circumstances attending the exertion of this power of CONTRACTION constitute the laws of animal motion, as the circumstances attending the exertion of the power of ATTRACTION constitute the laws of motion of inanimate matter.
II. The spirit of animation is the immediate cause of the contraction of animal fibres, it resides in the brain and nerves, and is liable to general or partial diminution or accumulation.
III. The stimulus of bodies external to the moving organ is the remote cause of the original contractions of animal fibres.
IV. A certain quantity of stimulus produces irritation, which is an exertion of the spirit of animation exciting the fibres into contraction.
V. A certain quantity of contraction of animal fibres, if it be perceived at all, produces pleasure; a greater or less quantity of contraction, if it be perceived at all, produces pain; these constitute sensation.
VI. A certain quantity of sensation produces desire or aversion; these constitute volition.
VII. All animal motions which have occurred at the same time, or in immediate succession, become so connected, that when one of them is reproduced, the other has a tendency to accompany or succeed it. When fibrous contractions succeed or accompany other fibrous contractions, the connection is termed association; when fibrous contractions succeed sensorial motions, the connexion is termed causation; when fibrous and sensorial motions reciprocally introduce each other, it is termed catenation of animal motions. All these connections are said to be produced by habit, that is, by frequent repetition. These laws of animal causation will be evinced by numerous facts, which occur in our daily exertions; and will afterwards be employed to explain the more recondite phaenomena of the production, growth, diseases, and decay of the animal system.
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OF THE FOUR FACULTIES OR MOTIONS OF THE SENSORIUM.
1. Four sensorial powers. 2. Irritation, sensation, volition, association defined. 3. Sensorial motions distinguished from fibrous motions.
1. The spirit of animation has four different modes of action, or in other words the animal sensorium possesses four different faculties, which are occasionally exerted, and cause all the contractions of the fibrous parts of the body. These are the faculty of causing fibrous contractions in consequence of the irritations excited by external bodies, in consequence of the sensations of pleasure or pain, in consequence of volition, and in consequence of the associations of fibrous contractions with other fibrous contractions, which precede or accompany them.
These four faculties of the sensorium during their inactive state are termed irritability, sensibility, voluntarity, and associability; in their active state they are termed as above, irritation, sensation, volition, association.
2. IRRITATION is an exertion or change of some extreme part of the sensorium residing in the muscles or organs of sense, in consequence of the appulses of external bodies.
SENSATION is an exertion or change of the central parts of the sensorium, or of the whole of it, beginning at some of those extreme parts of it, which reside in the muscles or organs of sense.
VOLITION is an exertion or change of the central parts of the sensorium, or of the whole of it, terminating in some of those extreme parts of it, which reside in the muscles or organs of sense.
ASSOCIATION is an exertion or change of some extreme part of the sensorium residing in the muscles or organs of sense, in consequence of some antecedent or attendant fibrous contractions.
3. These four faculties of the animal sensorium may at the time of their exertions be termed motions without impropriety of language; for we cannot pass from a state of insensibility or inaction to a state of sensibility or of exertion without some change of the sensorium, and every change includes motion. We shall therefore sometimes term the above described faculties sensorial motions to distinguish them from fibrous motions; which latter expression includes the motions of the muscles and organs of sense.
The active motions of the fibres, whether those of the muscles or organs of sense, are probably simple contractions; the fibres being again elongated by antagonist muscles, by circulating fluids, or sometimes by elastic ligaments, as in the necks of quadrupeds. The sensorial motions, which constitute the sensations of pleasure or pain, and which constitute volition, and which cause the fibrous contractions in consequence of irritation or of association, are not here supposed to be fluctuations or refluctuations of the spirit of animation; nor are they supposed to be vibrations or revibrations, nor condensations or equilibrations of it; but to be changes or motions of it peculiar to life.
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OF THE FOUR CLASSES OF FIBROUS MOTIONS.
I. Origin of fibrous contractions. II. Distribution of them into four classes, irritative motions, sensitive motions, voluntary motions, and associate motions, defined.
I. All the fibrous contractions of animal bodies originate from the sensorium, and resolve themselves into four classes, correspondent with the four powers or motions of the sensorium above described, and from which they have their causation.
1. These fibrous contractions were originally caused by the irritations excited by objects, which are external to the moving organ. As the pulsations of the heart are owing to the irritations excited by the stimulus of the blood; and the ideas of perception are owing to the irritations excited by external bodies.
2. But as painful or pleasurable sensations frequently accompanied those irritations, by habit these fibrous contractions became causeable by the sensations, and the irritations ceased to be necessary to their production. As the secretion of tears in grief is caused by the sensation of pain; and the ideas of imagination, as in dreams or delirium, are excited by the pleasure or pain, with which they were formerly accompanied.
3. But as the efforts of the will frequently accompanied these painful or pleasureable sensations, by habit the fibrous contractions became causable by volition; and both the irritations and sensations ceased to be necessary to their production. As the deliberate locomotions of the body, and the ideas of recollection, as when we will to repeat the alphabet backwards.
4. But as many of these fibrous contractions frequently accompanied other fibrous contractions, by habit they became causable by their associations with them; and the irritations, sensations, and volition, ceased to be necessary to their production. As the actions of the muscles of the lower limbs in fencing are associated with those of the arms; and the ideas of suggestion are associated with other ideas, which precede or accompany them; as in repeating carelessly the alphabet in its usual order after having began it.
II. We shall give the following names to these four classes of fibrous motions, and subjoin their definitions.
1. Irritative motions. That exertion or change of the sensorium, which is caused by the appulses of external bodies, either simply subsides, or is succeeded by sensation, or it produces fibrous motions; it is termed irritation, and irritative motions are those contractions of the muscular fibres, or of the organs of sense, that are immediately consequent to this exertion or change of the sensorium.
2. Sensitive motions. That exertion or change of the sensorium, which constitutes pleasure or pain, either simply subsides, or is succeeded by volition, or it produces fibrous motions; it is termed sensation, and the sensitive motions are those contractions of the muscular fibres, or of the organs of sense, that are immediately consequent to this exertion or change of the sensorium.
3. Voluntary motions. That exertion or change of the sensorium, which constitutes desire or aversion, either simply subsides, or is succeeded by fibrous motions; it is then termed volition, and voluntary motions are those contractions of the muscular fibres, or of the organs of sense, that are immediately consequent to this exertion or change of the sensorium.
4. Associate motions. That exertion or change of the sensorium, which accompanies fibrous motions, either simply subsides, or is succeeded by sensation or volition, or it produces other fibrous motions; it is then termed association, and the associate motions are those contractions of the muscular fibres, or of the organs of sense, that are immediately consequent to this exertion or change of the sensorium.
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OF IRRITATIVE MOTIONS.
I. 1. Some muscular motions are excited by perpetual irritations. 2. Others more frequently by sensations. 3. Others by volition. Case of involuntary stretchings in paralytic limbs. 4. Some sensual motions are excited by perpetual irritations. 5. Others more frequently by sensation or volition.
II. 1. Muscular motions excited by perpetual irritations occasionally become obedient sensation and to volition. 2. And the sensual motions.
III. 1. Other muscular motions are associated with the irritative ones. 2. And other ideas with irritative ones. Of letters, language, hieroglyphics. Irritative ideas exist without our attention to them.
I. 1. Many of our muscular motions are excited by perpetual irritations, as those of the heart and arterial system by the circumfluent blood. Many other of them are excited by intermitted irritations, as those of the stomach and bowels by the aliment we swallow; of the bile-ducts by the bile; of the kidneys, pancreas, and many other glands, by the peculiar fluids they separate from the blood; and those of the lacteal and other absorbent vessels by the chyle, lymph, and moisture of the atmosphere. These motions are accelerated or retarded, as their correspondent irritations are increased or diminished, without our attention or consciousness, in the same manner as the various secretions of fruit, gum, resin, wax, and, honey, are produced in the vegetable world, and as the juices of the earth and the moisture of the atmosphere are absorbed by their roots and foliage.
2. Other muscular motions, that are most frequently connected with our sensations, as those of the sphincters of the bladder and anus, and the musculi erectores penis, were originally excited into motion by irritation, for young children make water, and have other evacuations without attention to these circumstances; "et primis etiam ab incunabulis tenduntur saepius puerorum penes, amore nondum expergefacto." So the nipples of young women are liable to become turgid by irritation, long before they are in a situation to be excited by the pleasure of giving milk to the lips of a child.
3. The contractions of the larger muscles of our bodies, that are most frequently connected with volition, were originally excited into action by internal irritations: as appears from the stretching or yawning of all animals after long sleep. In the beginning of some fevers this irritation of the muscles produces perpetual stretching and yawning; in other periods of fever an universal restlessness arises from the same cause, the patient changing the attitude of his body every minute. The repeated struggles of the foetus in the uterus must be owing to this internal irritation: for the foetus can have no other inducement to move its limbs but the taedium or irksomeness of a continued posture.
The following case evinces, that the motions of stretching the limbs after a continued attitude are not always owing to the power of the will. Mr. Dean, a mason, of Austry in Leicestershire, had the spine of the third vertebra of the back enlarged; in some weeks his lower extremities became feeble, and at length quite paralytic: neither the pain of blisters, the heat of fomentations, nor the utmost efforts of the will could produce the least motion in these limbs; yet twice or thrice a day for many months his feet, legs, and thighs, were affected for many minutes with forceable stretchings, attended with the sensation of fatigue; and he at length recovered the use of his limbs, though the spine continued protuberant. The same circumstance is frequently seen in a less degree in the common hemiplagia; and when this happens, I have believed repeated and strong shocks of electricity to have been of great advantage.
4. In like manner the various organs of sense are originally excited into motion by various external stimuli adapted to this purpose, which motions are termed perceptions or ideas; and many of these motions during our waking hours are excited by perpetual irritation, as those of the organs of hearing and of touch. The former by the constant low indistinct noises that murmur around us, and the latter by the weight of our bodies on the parts which support them; and by the unceasing variations of the heat, moisture, and pressure of the atmosphere; and these sensual motions, precisely as the muscular ones above mentioned, obey their correspondent irritations without our attention or consciousness.
5. Other classes of our ideas are more frequently excited by our sensations of pleasure or pain, and others by volition: but that these have all been originally excited by stimuli from external objects, and only vary in their combinations or reparations, has been fully evinced by Mr. Locke: and are by him termed the ideas of perception in contradistinction to those, which he calls the ideas of reflection.
II. 1. These muscular motions, that are excited by perpetual irritation, are nevertheless occasionally excitable by the sensations of pleasure or pain, or by volition; as appears by the palpitation of the heart from fear, the increased secretion of saliva at the sight of agreeable food, and the glow on the skin of those who are ashamed. There is an instance told in the Philosophical Transactions of a man, who could for a time stop the motion of his heart when he pleased; and Mr. D. has often told me, be could so far increase the peristaltic motion of his bowels by voluntary efforts, as to produce an evacuation by stool at any time in half an hour.
2. In like manner the sensual motions, or ideas, that are excited by perpetual irritation, are nevertheless occasionally excited by sensation or volition; as in the night, when we listen under the influence of fear, or from voluntary attention, the motions excited in the organ of hearing by the whispering of the air in our room, the pulsation of our own arteries, or the faint beating of a distant watch, become objects of perception.
III. 1. Innumerable trains or tribes of other motions are associated with these muscular motions which are excited by irritation; as by the stimulus of the blood in the right chamber of the heart, the lungs are induced to expand themselves; and the pectoral and intercostal muscles, and the diaphragm, act at the same time by their associations with them. And when the pharinx is irritated by agreeable food, the muscles of deglutition are brought into action by association. Thus when a greater light falls on the eye, the iris is brought into action without our attention; and the ciliary process, when the focus is formed before or behind the retina, by their associations with the increased irritative motions of the organ of vision. Many common actions of life are produced in a similar manner. If a fly settle on my forehead, whilst I am intent on my present occupation, I dislodge it with my finger, without exciting my attention or breaking the train of my ideas.
2. In like manner the irritative ideas suggest to us many other trains or tribes of ideas that are associated with them. On this kind of connection, language, letters, hieroglyphics, and every kind of symbol, depend. The symbols themselves produce irritative ideas, or sensual motions, which we do not attend to; and other ideas, that are succeeded by sensation, are excited by their association with them. And as these irritative ideas make up a part of the chain of our waking thoughts, introducing other ideas that engage our attention, though themselves are unattended to, we find it very difficult to investigate by what steps many of our hourly trains of ideas gain their admittance.
It may appear paradoxical, that ideas can exist, and not be attended to; but all our perceptions are ideas excited by irritation, and succeeded by sensation. Now when these ideas excited by irritation give us neither pleasure nor pain, we cease to attend to them. Thus whilst I am walking through that grove before my window, I do not run against the trees or the benches, though my thoughts are strenuously exerted on some other object. This leads us to a distinct knowledge of irritative ideas, for the idea of the tree or bench, which I avoid, exists on my retina, and induces by association the action of certain locomotive muscles; though neither itself nor the actions of those muscles engage my attention.
Thus whilst we are conversing on this subject, the tone, note, and articulation of every individual word forms its correspondent irritative idea on the organ of hearing; but we only attend to the associated ideas, that are attached by habit to these irritative ones, and are succeeded by sensation; thus when we read the words "PRINTING-PRESS" we do not attend to the shape, size, or existence of the letters which compose these words, though each of them excites a correspondent irritative motion of our organ of vision, but they introduce by association our idea of the most useful of modern inventions; the capacious reservoir of human knowledge, whose branching streams diffuse sciences, arts, and morality, through all nations and all ages.
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OF SENSITIVE MOTIONS.
I. 1. Sensitive muscular motions were originally excited into action by irritation. 2. And sensitive sensual motions, ideas of imagination, dreams. II. 1. Sensitive muscular motions are occasionally obedient to volition. 2. And sensitive sensual motions. III. 1. Other muscular motions are associated with the sensitive ones. 2. And other sensual motions.
I. 1. Many of the motions of our muscles, that are excited into action by irritation, are at the same time accompanied with painful or pleasurable sensations; and at length become by habit causable by the sensations. Thus the motions of the sphincters of the bladder and anus were originally excited into action by irritation; for young children give no attention to these evacuations; but as soon as they become sensible of the inconvenience of obeying these irritations, they suffer the water or excrement to accumulate, till it disagreeably affects them; and the action of those sphincters is then in consequence of this disagreeable sensation. So the secretion of saliva, which in young children is copiously produced by irritation, and drops from their mouths, is frequently attended with the agreeable sensation produced by the mastication of tasteful food;, till at length the sight of such food to a hungry person excites into action these salival glands; as is seen in the slavering of hungry dogs.
The motions of those muscles, which are affected by lascivious ideas, and those which are exerted in smiling, weeping, starting from fear, and winking at the approach of danger to the eye, and at times the actions of every large muscle of the body become causable by our sensations. And all these motions are performed with strength and velocity in proportion to the energy of the sensation that excites them, and the quantity of sensorial power.
2. Many of the motions of our organs of sense, or ideas, that were originally excited into action by irritation, become in like manner more frequently causable by our sensations of pleasure or pain. These motions are then termed the ideas of imagination, and make up all the scenery and transactions of our dreams. Thus when any painful or pleasurable sensations possess us, as of love, anger, fear; whether in our sleep or waking hours, the ideas, that have been formerly excited by the objects of these sensations, now vividly recur before us by their connection with these sensations themselves. So the fair smiling virgin, that excited your love by her presence, whenever that sensation recurs, rises before you in imagination; and that with all the pleasing circumstances, that had before engaged your attention. And in sleep, when you dream under the influence of fear, all the robbers, fires, and precipices, that you formerly have seen or heard of, arise before you with terrible vivacity. All these sensual motions, like the muscular ones above mentioned, are performed with strength and velocity in proportion to the energy of the sensation of pleasure or pain, which excites them, and the quantity of sensorial power.
II. 1. Many of these muscular motions above described, that are most frequently excited by our sensations, are nevertheless occasionally causable by volition; for we can smile or frown spontaneously, can make water before the quantity or acrimony of the urine produces a disagreeable sensation, and can voluntarily masticate a nauseous drug, or swallow a bitter draught, though our sensation would strongly dissuade us.
2. In like manner the sensual motions, or ideas, that are most frequently excited by our sensations, are nevertheless occasionally causeable by volition, as we can spontaneously call up our last night's dream before us, tracing it industriously step by step through all its variety of scenery and transaction; or can voluntarily examine or repeat the ideas, that have been excited by out disgust or admiration.
III. 1. Innumerable trains or tribes of motions are associated with these sensitive muscular motions above mentioned; as when a drop of water falling into the wind-pipe disagreeably affects the air-vessels of the lungs, they are excited into violent action; and with these sensitive motions are associated the actions of the pectoral and intercostal muscles, and the diaphragm; till by their united and repeated succussions the drop is returned through the larinx. The same occurs when any thing disagreeably affects the nostrils, or the stomach, or the uterus; variety of muscles are excited by association into forcible action, not to be suppressed by the utmost efforts of the will; as in sneezing, vomiting, and parturition.
2. In like manner with these sensitive sensual motions, or ideas of imagination, are associated many other trains or tribes of ideas, which by some writers of metaphysics have been classed under the terms of resemblance, causation, and contiguity; and will be more fully treated of hereafter.
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OF VOLUNTARY MOTIONS.
I. 1. Voluntary muscular motions are originally excited by irritations. 2. And voluntary ideas. Of reason. II. 1. Voluntary muscular motions are occasionally causable by sensations. 2. And voluntary ideas. III. 1. Voluntary muscular motions are occasionally obedient to irritations. 2. And voluntary ideas. IV. 1. Voluntary muscular motions are associated with other muscular motions. 2. And voluntary ideas.
When pleasure or pain affect the animal system, many of its motions both muscular and sensual are brought into action; as was shewn in the preceding section, and were called sensitive motions. The general tendency of these motions is to arrest and to possess the pleasure, or to dislodge or avoid the pain: but if this cannot immediately be accomplished, desire or aversion are produced, and the motions in consequence of this new faculty of the sensorium are called voluntary.
I. 1. Those muscles of the body that are attached to bones, have in general their principal connections with volition, as I move my pen or raise my body. These motions were originally excited by irritation, as was explained in the section on that subject, afterwards the sensations of pleasure or pain, that accompanied the motions thus excited, induced a repetition of them; and at length many of them were voluntarily practised in succession or in combination for the common purposes of life, as in learning to walk, or to speak; and are performed with strength and velocity in proportion to the energy of the volition, that excites them, and the quantity of sensorial power.
2. Another great class of voluntary motions consists of the ideas of recollection. We will to repeat a certain train of ideas, as of the alphabet backwards; and if any ideas, that do not belong to this intended train, intrude themselves by other connections, we will to reject them, and voluntarily persist in the determined train. So at my approach to a house which I have but once visited, and that at the distance of many months, I will to recollect the names of the numerous family I expect to see there, and I do recollect them.
On this voluntary recollection of ideas our faculty of reason depends, as it enables us to acquire an idea of the dissimilitude of any two ideas. Thus if you voluntarily produce the idea of a right-angled triangle, and then of a square; and after having excited these ideas repeatedly, you excite the idea of their difference, which is that of another right-angled triangle inverted over the former; you are said to reason upon this subject, or to compare your ideas.
These ideas of recollection, like the muscular motions above mentioned, were originally excited by the irritation of external bodies, and were termed ideas of perception: afterwards the pleasure or pain, that accompanied these motions, induced a repetition of them in the absence of the external body, by which they were first excited; and then they were termed ideas of imagination. At length they become voluntarily practised in succession or in combination for the common purposes of life; as when we make ourselves masters of the history of mankind, or of the sciences they have investigated; and are then called ideas of recollection; and are performed with strength and velocity in proportion to the energy of the volition that excites them, and the quantity of sensorial power.
II. 1. The muscular motions above described, that are most frequently obedient to the will are nevertheless occasionally causable by painful or pleasurable sensation, as in the starting from fear, and the contraction of the calf of the leg in the cramp.
2. In like manner the sensual motions, or ideas, that are most frequently connected with volition, are nevertheless occasionally causable by painful or pleasurable sensation. As the histories of men, or the description of places, which we have voluntarily taken pains to remember, sometimes occur to us in our dreams.
III. 1. The muscular motions that are generally subservient to volition, are also occasionally causable by irritation, as in stretching the limbs after sleep, and yawning. In this manner a contraction of the arm is produced by passing the electric fluid from the Leyden phial along its muscles; and that even though the limb is paralytic. The sudden motion of the arm produces a disagreeable sensation in the joint, but the muscles seem to be brought into action simply by irritation.
2. The ideas, that are generally subservient to the will, are in like manner occasionally excited by irritation; as when we view again an object, we have before well studied, and often recollected.
IV. 1. Innumerable trains or tribes of motions are associated with these voluntary muscular motions above mentioned; as when I will to extend my arm to a distant object, some other muscles are brought into action, and preserve the balance of my body. And when I wish to perform any steady exertion, as in threading a needle, or chopping with an ax, the pectoral muscles are at the same time brought into action to preserve the trunk of the body motionless, and we cease to respire for a time.
2. In like manner the voluntary sensual motions, or ideas of recollection, are associated with many other trains or tribes of ideas. As when I voluntarily recollect a gothic window, that I saw some time ago, the whole front of the cathedral occurs to me at the same time.