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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/582

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

own language, its own tones, its own note, just as it has its own nerve and its own muscle. Physiological analysis, however, is far more difficult here than in the case of the physiognomy. How shall we analyze the complex mechanisms that cause the lungs and the larynx to produce the various sounds of moaning, crying, groaning, sobbing, and sighing? We are acquainted with the ensemble of muscular functions which give rise to these different expressions of the soul's states, but why does laughter express gayety, and sighing express sadness? We cannot tell.

To sum up: a profound disturbance of the circulatory and respiratory acts; a more or less violent agitation of the members; changes of the attitude of the body; diversified movements in the physiognomy; infinitely-varied inflections and modulations of the voice—all these phenomena are the consequence of what takes place in the brain when that organ receives impressions of such a nature as to agitate it.

Hence we see that the main-spring of passion is the sense-impression. But what is this impression? In order to answer this question, let us analyze some passional state. We shall there find four principal elements: a more or less distinct initial sensation of pleasure or pain; voluntary or involuntary movements, more or less pronounced; and, finally, a recurrent sensation consecutive to these movements. It is clear that if there were no sensation there would be no passion. On the other hand, if the sensation were but a motion, we might say that passion consists of a series of motions originating in the agitation of the sensorium produced by the internal or external causes of emotion; but, then, we never could understand why this agitation, being purely vibratory, should affect us at one time agreeably, at another painfully, or why it should act in so many different modes. Hence the power of discerning, immediately, in the sensorial perception, differences that have no mechanical equivalent, cannot be explained on mechanical grounds, and it is absolutely necessary to recognize here a psychic faculty, whose function it is to ascertain and to conceive the causes of emotions, and to regulate, according to a certain harmony, the consecutive physiological movements. Passion, therefore, resides in a something that is neither the brain, nor the nerves, nor the muscles; a something which perceives, and joys, and suffers, and which moves the entire body in unison with its own feelings. Now, this conscious faculty, this faculty of perceiving causes in no wise mechanical, is the soul. The more deeply we study the physiology of the passions, the more are we convinced that the agitation of the nervous and motor energies is but the external manifestation of deeper causes, which we denominate psychic. So, too, the more we study into matter, the better we see that it is only an external form, a vesture that clothes the activity of an invisible principle. Thus does Science ever lead us back to that eternal and mysterious thing, force, and, beyond force, to spirit.—Revue des Deux Mondes.