Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/70

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60
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

steps by which these wonderful powers were gradually acquired? is one of the problems presented to the evolutionist.

Mr. Darwin submits his work wonderfully advanced when compared with the state in which he found it, but there remains much to be done.

 

INDUCED DISEASE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF THE PASSIONS.[1]
By B. W. RICHARDSON, M. D., F. R. S.

MANY of the forms of disease previously detailed may be induced by other causes than worry or mental strain. They may be the effects of the unrestrained influence of certain of the passions. I say certain of the passions, because all do not seem to act with the same intensity. Some of them act with a sharpness of intensity that is peculiar, while others apparently excite no physical injury.

The passions which act most severely on the physical life are anger, fear, hatred, and grief. The other passions are comparatively innocuous. What is called the passion of love is not injurious until it lapses into grief and anxiety; on the contrary, it sustains the physical power. What is called ambition is of itself harmless; for ambition, when it exists purely, is a nobility lifting its owner entirely, from himself into the exalted service of mankind. It injures when it is debased by its meaner ally, pride; or when, stimulating a man to too strenuous efforts after some great object, it leads him to the performance of excessive mental or physical labor and to the consequences that follow such effort.

The passion called avarice, according to my experience, tends rather to the preservation of the body than to its deterioration. The avaricious man, who seems to the luxurious world to be debarring himself of all the pleasures of the world, and even to be exposing himself to the fangs of poverty, is generally placing himself in the precise conditions favorable to a long and healthy existence. By his economy, he is saving himself from all the worry incident to penury; by his caution he is screening himself from all the risks incident to speculation or the attempt to amass wealth by hazardous means; by his regularity of hours and perfect appropriation of the sunlight, in preference to artificial illumination, he rests and works in periods that precisely accord with the periodicity of Nature; by his abstemiousness in living he takes just enough to live, which is precisely the right thing to do according to the rigid natural law. Thus, in almost

  1. From advance sheets of a new work in press of D. Appleton & Co., entitled "The Diseases of Modern Life."