Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/297

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Nevertheless, it is a fact that two great displays of force cannot coexist; violent muscular exertion and intense thought cannot go on together; the thinker sits, or stands, abstracted, motionless. The man who is rowing or running a race cannot command his thoughts; ideas come and go through his mind, but he cannot keep up a continuous current of mental work. His force is being expended on bodily movement.

What is the answer to those who say they believe that emotions reside in this or that part of the brain? We may object, first, that every attempt to locate emotions has signally failed, from the days of Gall, Spurzheim, and Combe, to those of Schroder van der Kolk. Some have separated the seat of emotion from the seat of the consciousness thereof, and have placed the latter in the sensory ganglia. Others have placed emotions in the hemispheres alone, and so would deny every thing of the kind to those beings which have no cerebral hemispheres; yet we see considerable emotional feeling manifested by such creatures as the ant and the bee.

Secondly, by an analysis of emotions we may perceive that there is no real line of demarcation between them and mere feelings of a much lower order, and that one and the other belong to the action of the moment, and not to any past or future time. If we are watching, say, a splendid sunset, we experience a feeling of intense delight as the heavens are lit in gorgeous color. The following day we may recall the scene, but we do not feel the pleasure. We remember the pleasure, but it remains, like the scene, only as an idea, it is not now a feeling. Now, few, I presume, would assert that the perception of this sight resides in one part of the brain, and the* feeling attending it in another. If this were so, we ought to be able to excite the feeling by means of the idea preserved in the memory; but this we cannot do. The original stimulation causes the pleasure, and this vanishes, never again to return. It is only in complexity that the highest emotions differ from this simple feeling; they involve more ideas, more acquisitions, previously laid up, but the effect of the immediate stimulation is the same; this it is which, according to its intensity, causes the pleasure or pain. The same may be said of pain experienced; we may recall the memory of it, but this is not the same thing; even the memory may be distressing and saddening, but this is different from the acute pang which we suffer at the first shock.

The brain is a sealed book far more than some of the other organs of the body, as the lungs and heart; but, if we could inspect it at work, it is not probable that we should be able to note those molecular changes, which, nevertheless, we believe to take place when mental action is going on. What we should see, however, would be alterations in the circulation of the blood. We should see that the whole circulation, or portions of it, would be affected by mental excitation, by the stimulation of the various cells or groups of cells, which we call