Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/676

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

will then appear that each theory had its element of truth. In like manner we are endeavoring to attain to the proper conception of the condition of the earth in the Age of Ice. The whole truth has not yet been discovered. When fully revealed, it will appear far more magnificent and glorious than has now been surmised.

 

THE PATHOLOGY OF THE PASSIONS.
By FERNAND PAPILLON.

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH, BY J. FITZGERALD, A. M.

III.

IN the former part of this essay we considered the general physiology of the passions: their pathology is no less interesting, and to that we now ask attention. When we reflect that the nervous system of the animal life and the system of the great sympathetic govern all the vital operations, and that the regularity of these latter is absolutely dependent on the orderly performance of their functions by the centres wherein are found the prime springs and the fundamental activities of the animal economy, we conceive at once how countless diseases may arise out of disturbances produced by an abuse or an excess of the passions. Physicians have in all ages reckoned the passions among the predisposing, determining, or aggravating causes of the majority of diseases—especially chronic diseases; for it is a peculiarity of the nerve-substance that it is impaired, and that it spreads abroad the consequences of its impairment, only little by little, and by imperceptible degrees. The work of the passions might be compared to the operations by which an army approaches a beleaguered city: they set about overmastering health and life circumspectly and slowly, but their advance is always sure. A few observations concerning the psychological and physiological disturbances produced by the passions of the moral order, which are the most disastrous in their effects, viz., love, melancholy, hate, anger, etc., will give some idea of the material working of these poisons of the soul.

We may regard love as a neurosis of the organs of memory and imagination, in so far as these two faculties are related to the object of love. The memory in particular seems here to acquire an intensity that is truly extraordinary. In illustration of this point, Alibert states a fact which he observed at Fahlun. As some laborers were one day at work making a connection between two shafts in a mine, they found the remains of a young man in a complete state of preservation, and impregnated with bituminous substances. The man's features were not recognized by any of the workmen. Nothing further was known