Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/625

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EPILEPTIC ORIGIN OF ISLAMISM.

of the universe and from the mind of man himself. And that the pursuit of natural science does not lead to materialism, and in no way injures the ideal mind, is vouched for by the case of Alexander von Humboldt himself, who, even in extreme old age, kept up his love for research and power of work as well as his lively susceptibility for and energetic share in all the noble pursuits of mankind.

Dr. Cohn concludes his lecture, so brimful of true eloquence founded on sober fact, with a high compliment to the many worthy qualities of the president of the Silesian Society, Dr. Goeppert. Such a man as he is said to be, the lecturer truly says, may hope, like Goethe, Humboldt, and other previous philosophers, to maintain, to the utmost limit of existence, life, heart, and spirit, full of the freshness of youth, and, moreover, in later generations be honored as a true guardian of the highest good of grateful mankind.—Nature.

 
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EPILEPTIC ORIGIN OF ISLAMISM.

DR. J.C. HOWDEN, medical superintendent of the Montrose Royal Lunatic Asylum, recently read an able paper before the Edinburgh Medico-Psychological Association on the mental condition of epileptics in relation to the religious sentiment. He states that these patients manifest the strangest mental contradictions. Irritability, suspicion, impulsive violence, egotism, and strong homicidal propensities, are among the most commonly-observed characteristics in the insane epileptic; but these traits are very frequently combined with strong devotional feeling, manifested in simple piety or in decided religious delusions. Dr. Howden has the following remarks on the peculiar mental characteristics of epileptics:

"The mysterious nature of the disease—the consciousness of infirmity and helplessness—develops a craving for sympathy in the epileptic which we rarely see in other lunatics. In the wards and airing-courts of our asylums, epileptics may be distinguished from their fellow-patients by the fact that they are generally found associating in little groups of twos or threes. They sympathize with each other, lean on each other for help in the time of trouble, and, however much they exhibit violence and viciousness to others, they rarely attack each other. Along with this desire for sympathy, the epileptic is mercifully endowed with strong hope. He is always getting over his trouble, he thinks the turns are less severe, and will tell you, perhaps the day before a fatal seizure, that he thinks he will have no more fits. We all know how much hope has helped the physician in his efforts to combat this disease with a whole battery of drugs, each of which in its turn seems for a time to promise success, only too surely to fail in the end. This