Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/345

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331
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF JOKING.

should begin the new stage of the inquiry with the quasi-healthy feeling of "reminiscence," clearly an element in a mental diplopia. For my task would be an endeavor to show that all morbid mental states are departures from normal (stereoscopic) mental states in particular ways—that, for example, the process of mentation in the maniac is but a caricature of stereoscopic and diplopic mentation in healthy people. Thus, the reminiscence, although it is almost pedantic to call it morbid, is really a link between perfectly normal and decidedly abnormal mentation. For reminiscence occurs in slight attacks of a certain variety of epilepsy, as do other voluminous mental states ("intellectual auræ"): I call them all "dreamy states." These cases I should take next. There is clearly in them morbid mental diplopia, and yet this is traceably only a gross caricature of normal mental diplopia, being linked on to it by the reminiscence occurring in people we call healthy. And I think we may show that it has the same mechanism that puns have. Next, taking these miniature and transient cases of insanity, and other cases commonly called insanity, I should try to show that the comparison of mentation with vision is of direct value. In the symptomatology of a patient who has paralysis of an ocular muscle there are many elements. There is morbid visual diplopia; in insanity there is morbid mental diplopia. The ophthalmologist's "true" and "false" images have their analogues in the "true" and "false" mental states in the cases of epilepsy mentioned. In the former, when the divergence of the eyes is slight, there is more visual confusion; in the latter, when the dissolution of the highest centers is shallow, there is more mental confusion. In the former, when the divergence is great, diplopia ceases (the patient, the ophthalmologist says, "neglects" the false image); in cases of epilepsy, upon deeper dissolution than that with which there is the "dreamy state," the actions are considerably coherent. The "erroneous projections" of the former have their clear analogues in the hallucinations of many cases of insanity. Believing that all diseases are to be looked on as flaws in different parts of one evolutionary system, I urge the "Comparative Study of Diseases of the Nervous System." I submit that, recognizing the enormous difference between insanity and ocular paralysis, a profitable comparison and contrast may, nevertheless, be made, which will further a better knowledge of both. I do not mean simply that ocular paralysis may be taken as an illustration to simplify explanation of a case of insanity, but also that, both being examples of dissolution, the very same principles are displayed in each.—Lancet.

 


 
The Bishop of Manchester preached recently that the criticisms of men of science had induced Christians to modify some of their old views derived from the Bible. A closer study of the book showed that there had been evolution in religion—a gradual and orderly development by which people were led to the truth as they could bear it.