Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/330

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318
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
cause of it is exclusively moral—that those enjoyments which are least connected with material objects, the most spiritual, the most ideal—may be nothing else than sensations purely physical, developed in the interior of the system, as are those procured by the Hashish. At least, so far as relates to that of which we are internally conscious, there is no distinction between these two orders of sensations, in spite of the diversity in the causes to which they are due; for the Hashish-eater is happy, not like the gourmand or the famished man when satisfying his appetite, or the voluptuary in gratifying his amative desires; but like him who hears tidings which fill him with joy, like the miser counting his treasures, the gambler who is successful at play, or the ambitious man who is intoxicated with success."

Most persons will be able to recall analogous states of exhilaration, and the reverse condition of depression, in themselves; the former being characterized by a feeling of general well-being, a sentiment of pleasure in the use of all the bodily and mental powers, and a dis- position to look with enjoyment upon the present, and with hope to the future; while in the latter state there is a feeling of general but indefinable discomfort. Every exertion, whether Mental or Bodily, is felt as a burden; the present is wearisome, and the future is gloomy. These, like all other phases of Human Nature, are faithfully portrayed by Shakespeare. Thus Romeo gives expression to the feelings inspired by the first state:

"My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne;

And, all this day, an unaccustomed spirit
Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts."
 (Romeo and Juliet, V., 1.

While the reverse state is delineated by Hamlet in his familiar soliloquy:

"I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth, foregone all custom of exercises; and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you—this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestic roof fretted with golden fire, why it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors."—(Hamlet, II., 2.)

In the conditions here referred to, the same feelings of pleasure and discomfort attend all the operations of the mind—the merely Sensational and the Intellectual. In the state of exhilaration, we feel a gratification from sensations which at other times pass unnoticed, while those which are usually pleasurable are remarkably enhanced; and in like manner, the trains of Ideas which are started being genererally attended with similar agreeable feelings, we are said to be under the influence of the pleasurable or elevating Emotions. On the other hand, in the state of depression we feel an indescribable discomfort from the very sensations which before produced the liveliest gratification; and the thoughts of the past, the present, and the future,