Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/417

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feelings are painful; the progress here is not so tedious nor so liable to thwarting and interruption.

With understood exceptions, pleasure is related physically with vitality, health, vigor, harmonious adjustment of all the parts of the system; it needs sufficiency of nutriment or support, excitement within due limits, the absence of everything that could mar or irritate any organ. Pain comes of the deficiency in any of these conditions, and is therefore as easy to bring about and maintain as the other is difficult. To evoke an echo or recollection of pleasure, is to secure, or at least to simulate, the copiousness, the due adjustment and harmony of the powers. This may be easy enough when such is the actual state at the time, but that is no test. What we need is to induce a pleasurable tone, when the actuality is no more than indifferent or neutral, and even, in the midst of actual pain, to restore pleasure by force of mental adhesiveness. A growth of this description is, on a priori grounds, not likely to be very soon reached.

On the other hand, pain is easy in the actual, and easy in the ideal. It is easy to burn one's fingers, and easy to associate pain with a flame, a cinder, a hot iron. Going as spectators to visit a fine mansion, we feel in some degree elated by the associations of enjoyment; but we are apt to be in a still greater degree depressed by entering the abodes of wretchedness, or visiting the gloomy chambers of a prison.

II. The facility of painful growths is not fully comprehended, until we advert to the case of passionate outbursts or the modes of feeling whose characteristic is explosiveness. These costly discharges of vital energy are easy to induce at first hand, and easy to attach to indifferent things, so as to be induced at second hand likewise. Very rarely are they desirable in themselves; our study is to check and control them in their original operation, and to hinder the rise of new occasions for their display. One of the best examples is terror, an explosive and wasteful manifestation of energy under certain forms of pain. If it is frequently stimulated by its proper causes, it attaches itself to by-standing circumstances with fatal readiness, and proceeds with no tardy steps. Next is irascibility, also an explosive emotion. It too, if ready to burst out by its primary causes, soon enlarges its borders by new associations. It is in every way more dangerous than terror. The state of fear is so miserable that we would restrain it if we could; the state of anger, although containing painful elements, is in its nature a luxurious mood; and we may not wish either to check it in the first instance, or to prevent it from spreading over collateral things. When any one has stirred our irascibility to its depths, the feeling overflows upon all that relates to him. If this be pleasure, it is a pleasure of rapid growth; even in tender years we may be advanced in hatreds. That combination of terror and irascibility giving rise to what is named antipathy is (unless strongly resisted) a state easy to assume and easy to cultivate, and is in wide