« VorigeDoorgaan »
By this time everybody has read sidence, and manifests its high activi. Sir Benjamin Brodie's interesting little ties in the body. But, in fact, when volume. Everybody, at least, should we speak of the nerve being the seat read it. There are no professional of sensation, we are not, at that terms to embarrass, and no crabbed moment, viewing it with relation to style to repel, the reader. It might the mind, but comparing it with other lie with as much propriety and fitness parts of the vital organism. Comupon a lady's table as on the student's pared with a bone or a blood-vessel, desk. It can weary no one, it will it is the seat of sensation. The auinstruct most, it will suggest some thor before us occasionally uses this thing to all.
very form of expression, and, if we No introduction to the reader's mistake not, has, in one place, designotice of it is now necessary on our nated the brain as “the sole seat of part; neither do we feel disposed to consciousness;" yet no one could be enter into minute or captious criticism. more precise and emphatic in his We hold that such men as Sir Benja. strict maintenance of the dualism of min Brodie do a great service to the mind and body. public by enunciating in a simple “ Crites. Ergates regards the brain, manner their own conclusions upon properly so called, as the physical subjects which interest us all, and on organ by means of wbich alone (to use which they have had some peculiar his own expression) the one indivisopportunities of forming an opinion. ible percipient and thinking being, When they do this with good faith, it which each of us feels himself to be, would be both unjust and impolitic to maintains its communication with the encounter them with the same critical external material world." requisitions which it would be fair and When, therefore, we shall havo necessary to make, in the case of one occasion to speak of the brain, or some whose main business in life had been portion of it, as the organ of memory the composition of a treatise on philo- -or the nerve, together with some sophy. Our purpose, therefore, is, to other portion of the brain, as the seat pass on at once to some few remarks of sensation--we claim to be interon the subjects themselves which this preted in strict accordance and conagreeable volume treats of, and which sistency with the passage we have it has, in part, suggested.
just quoted. What sort of instrument is it which And, first of all, we have to make in the brain is committed over to the an observation, simple enough, and mind ? Such is the question we should which will wear to many the air of a put; and we will endeavour to con- truism, and which yet, in our subsetribute something towards framing quent inquiries, will be found to be of the fitting answer. Speaking of the considerable importance. The conbrain from a psychological point of tents of the human consciousness may view, it is impossible to avoid expres- be divided into two great classessions which, taken apart and inter. Thoughts and Sensations. So far as preted literally, would trench upon the the brain is the organ of thought sole prerogatives of the mind. When (and we agree with Sir Benjamin we describe an organ or a nerve as Brodie in regarding it as essential to the “ seat of consciousness, "-or of the exercise of memory), it is a sensation, which is one form of con- special or complete organ, and may sciousness, -we might, if literally in- be described as the sole seat of terpreted, be supposed to assign to memory. But in relation to sensathe physical organisation psychical tion the case is very different. Here properties which belong (in man) to it only forms a part of the organ. The that spirit which has taken up its re- nerve, with its ganglion, is the organ
Psychological Inquiries; in a Series of Essays intended to Illustrate the Mutual Relations of the Physical Organisation and the Mental Faculties.
of sensation. In the language of sions arising from the action of the some writers, all that portion of the muscle. But the gathering up of nerve, from the point at which it quits these nerves into the brain is not only the central organ to its extreme dis necessary to what is strictly called tribution, is called its periphery ; and voluntary motion, (which implies their then it would be stated (as we find it union with an organ of memory), but is in Romberg) to be the very law of their congregation together in one sensation, that it is felt " in the peri- central ganglion is evidently connectphery of the sensitive fibre." With ed with that sympathy or harmony regard, therefore, to sensation, the of action which takes place prior to, brain, essential as it is, cannot be de- and independently of the developscribed as the sole seat of conscious- ment of memory, and which we can ness ; it is that central ganglion, a ovly trace to the great laws of animal union with which is necessary for the life. Here the brain simply provides sensitiveness of the nerve-without that union of many pairs of sensitive which the nerve ceases to be a nerve; and motor nerves which is necessary but if either part of the divided and for their related and harmonious acdestroyed organ could be contem- tion, plated by itself, it would be more ac- We shall find it necessary to bear curate to speak of the periphery of these truths in mind when we come the nerve as being peculiarly the seat to speak of the brain as tbe organ of of sensation. Touch is felt always in our instincts or appetites, or of locothe skin ; internal sensations, though motion, or, according to the very exmore vaguely located, always in the traordinary expression now current body ; it is the eye that sees; it is in the books, as "the organ for the cothe ear that hears. Cut off the com- ordination of muscular movements." munication between the retina and It may be as well to state at once the brain, and its susceptibility is gone; the best conclusion to which some at. you have destroyed the organ, which tention to a very difficult subject has consisted of the retina together with conducted us. We are unable to resome portion of the brain. But if gard the brain with any distinctness there are degrees of erroneous expres- except under two aspects : 1. As the sion, it is a less error to speak of the organ of memory, or that association retina as being the seat of vision than of ideas which may be described as a to apply such an expression to any development of memory. 2. As the portion of the brain.
centre of the whole nervous sysThe same remark must be made tem. With every part of this, whether with regard to all our motor nerves. nerves of special sense, or of what It is by their connection with the is called general sensation, whether brain that, first co-ordinate, and then nerves of voluntary motion, or what voluntary movement becomes pos. is called the sympathetic nerve, it is sible. But the harmonious move- intimately connected. As to our feelment of many muscles is the result of ings, they are, so far as the brain this connection; it is no especial or is concerned, resolvable into memoexclusive attribute of the brain. When ries and sensations, to be distributed the reflex action takes place from the accordingly; or they must be placed spinal cord, the only phenomena we altogether out of the brain, baving have are irritability and motion; their seat only in the spiritual essence. when from the central organ, we have We are not aware that there is also sensation, both preceding the anything in this statement opposed muscular motion and accompanying it to the views which Sir Benjamin -for there is no sensation more dis. Brodie has put forth in the volume tinct than that of muscular exertion, before us, except that its author introwhether we ascribe it to a combined duces two special cerebral organsaction of many sensitive nerves, or one for speech, and one for locomodescribe it at once as the specific sen- tion, much too hastily, as we thinksation of the motor nerve; which, and that he appears disposed to overlike the optic nerve, may be non-sep- estimate the functions of the brain as sitive to ordinary stimulants, and yet the central portion of the whole nervous susceptible to some specific impres- system. But even this is rather shown
in the reasonings he adopts than in nervous system, and as having their speany direct statement.
cial places allotted to them in it. But The following is a very graphic we are not warranted in having the same description of the brain as necessary
conclusions as to the emotions and pasto sensation :
sions, properly so called. Hope and fear,
joy and sorrow, pride and shame, these " A large extravasation of blood with and such as these are conditions of the in the head, by the pressure which it mind which have an abstract or indepencauses on the brain, induces a state in dent existence; but which, as they may which there is a total insensibility to all be superadded to our perceptions and external impressions, and at the same thoughts, admit of being excited and time an entire suspension of the influ- acted on through the medium of the ences of volition. But the effect of a nervous system. At the same time, as far similar injury of the spinal chord is as we can see, they have no special localwidely different. The parts below the ity in it.” injury, the communication of which with
The last sentence or two of this the brain is thus interrupted, are deprived of sensibility. The muscles are no longer quotation is not very clear; there is subjected to the dominion of the will, perhaps no sensation of the luman although they may still contract on the frame which is not capable of being application of mechanical stimuli or elec- reproduced in some degree by the retricity. The lower limbs may be made to action of thought, or memory. Now, if start by tickling the soles of the feet. But instinct and appetite have their place these motions are merely automatic, and in the nervous system, such of our we have no reason to believe that they simple passions as immediately conare attended with sensation or preceded cern these, such as can be fairly ana. by volition, any more than those of the
the lysed into a memory and an appeleaves of the Mimosa sensitiva. At the
tite, would be as fairly distributed same time, in those parts which are above
between the brain and the nervous the injury, and whose nervous communication with the brain is not interrupted. system. There are higher emotions the sensibility and power of voluntary which accompany the faculty of reamotion are unimpaired, as are also the son, which we should be loth to mental faculties. Singular, indeed, is the connect with our organisation at all, condition of the individual in whom there except with the brain as organ of has been a laceration, or equally severe memory. injury of the spinal chord, in that part of No part of Sir Benjamin Brodie's the neck which is immediately below the book will probably have left a more origin of the nerves belonging to the distinct impression upon the reader diaphragm. In him, respiration, though than his attack upon the current sysimperfectly performed, continues, so that life may be maintained during a period
tem of phrenology. He selects two which varies from twenty-four hours to
formidable objections Iron
formidable objections from the science five or six days. He retains his conscious of comparative anatomy, one of which ness, he can see and hear and compre- seems imperatively to demand a new hend what passes around him; but, ex- arrangement of the phrenological map; cept his head and the upper part of his the more animal passions baving been neck, his body is as if it did not belong to placed in that posterior region of the him. He is a living head, and nothing brain, which is peculiarly developed more. I saw a lady under these cir- in man. But, as arguments drawn cumstances with her mind as active, her
her from comparative anatomy cannot be
from syin pathy with others, and her sense of
conclusive against the phrenologist, duty as perfect as before the injury had
until it is demonstrated bow far occurred."
“similarity of structure" is proof of "A living head and nothing more." "identity of function," we see very But we must add there were living plainly that the pbrenologist has a eyes and living cars, as well as a liv- mode of escape; and of this mode of ing brain ; and with regard to that escape, he has already very dexterously part of the system where the nerve was availed himself. Comparative anadestroyed, the head was just as dead tomy, he admits, or sometimes admits, as the body. Sir Benjamin continues to have been his guide or auxiliary
“We must regard,” (continues our au- to have intimated to him where to thor,)“ the animal appetites and instincts look, and what organ to look for; but as being intimately connected with the then his real proof of any phrenological organ has consisted in a series of collect if they have the opportunity, observations on the human head, in its or think it worth their while. True, relation to human feelings and human he measures and observes; but oftenfaculties. He therefore is independent times he is measuring mere bone, and of any knowledge he may possibly watching mere cloud ; - uncertain have acquired from comparative ana- traits of character where the eye of tomy. You may tell him that his the observer "half-creates " what it guide was not trustworthy; no mat- is looking for. ter, he has found his way neverthe- But there is one great service which less.
phrenology has performed, and still It is the peculiar nature of this continues to perform, which it would "proof”—of this series of observations be injustice to forget. Like every - which accounts for the tenacity of other bold hypothesis in which there life which pbrenology has displayed. is a substratum of truth, it acts as a Wonder is often expressed how it is stimulant to inquiry, and gives that that so crude and immature a system ground-work which is necessary tocontinues to survive the many mortal wards the framing of a correct theory. blows, or blows that ought to prove “How far do you agree with the mortal, which it receives. But it phrenologists?" has been the question must be remembered that pbrenology incessantly put; and the repeated anis an art and practice, as well as a swers to the question will in time, theory; that this series of observa- let us hope, conduct to some definite tions" is a series also of divinations. views on the nature and functions Get but your disciple to practise the of the human brain. Sir Benjamin rites of any religion, however absurd, Brodie has satisfied himself of the and you have secured his faith. If three following organs-an organ of once the phrenologist has undertaken memory, one of speech, and one of to divine the characters and powers locomotion, or the co-ordination of of living men and women-if, combin- muscular movements. ing, consciously or unconsciously, the « Crites. If these views be correct, and intimations of physiognomy, of voice, if your speculation also be correct as to of language, or information gathered the existence of special organs on the from other sources, with what to every brain for the purposes of locomotion and observer a human head may fairly speech, it would appear probable that indicate, he has been successful in his there is a special organ for that of metrials of skill- he will be a phrenolo. mory also. gist for life. His skill and his faith
nd his faith
“Ergates. That is true. But there our will increase together. It is in vain knowledge ends." now that you argue from anatomy For our own part, we yield to the or psychology-that you prove to him arguments here and elsewhere brought that, in some instances, it is bone and forward to prove that the brain is the not brain he is dealing with — that organ of memory; let us say the yoo show, in other instances, that the whole cerebrom is this organ, or that classification he makes of human feel- nerves of memory are diffused throughings must be either redundant or de- out the whole of it ; nay, if the cerefective-that he has not made out his bellum or any other portion of the organ, or assigned to it an intelligible brain claim a sbare in this faculty, function-he has one answer for all we will not hastily decide against objections,-bis own success! His such claims; we will hear counsel for own, and that of his fellow.augurs. tbe cerebellum. But, having attained Against this proof no argument will an organ here of so vast importance avail. Is he not perfectly Baconian and so wide a range that it seems to in his method of procedure? Is he domineer over the whole field of not on the high-road of experimental psychology, we pause. We pause science? Does he not measure and because we do not meet with the observe? What more could you de- same stringent evidence for other sire? Yes; he is on the bigh-road of organs, and because, baving this potent experimental science, but he gathers organ of memory, there remains no up and registers his successes only, intelligible functions for many of those and leaves the failures for others to which might be proposed to us. We
cannot, for instance, conceive what of the palate, of the tongue, of the an organ of speech is to do, unless it lips. The exquisite organisation of all is to be an organ of memory also, or this is not visible in the organs of the some inconceivable auxiliary to the voice, as they are called; it is to be physical organ of the voice. Neither, found in the nerves which combine on grounds that we have already their various parts in one simultaneglanced at, can we admit a cerebral ous act. The meshes of a spider's web, organ of locomotion. The system of or cordage of a man-of-war, are few Gall and Spurzheim gives to each and simple, compared with the conorgan its own memory; but when cealed filaments of nerves which move you have once introduced this great these parts; and if but one of them organ of memory, you have swallow- be wanting, or its tone or action dised up in it a number of minor organs. turbed in the slightest degree, everyAmongst others, an organ of speech body knows how a man will stand or language becomes a manifest re- with bis mouth open in vain attempts dundancy.
to utter a single word." Two examples have come under We should rather conclude that the author's own observation of chil- something was wrong in this intridren who were dumb, but who yetcate and invisible “ cordage," than were neither deaf por deficient in infer, from Sir Benjamin's cases, the memory, and in whom po defect could existence of a cerebral organ of be traced in the external organs" of speech. This organ of speech he is speech. From these cases he con. partly induced to adopt from the anacludes that there is a cerebral organ logy it bears to another supposed of speech; the want or imperfection organ, that of locomotion, or the coof which occasioned their dumbness. ordination of the muscles which move Surely this is very insufficient evi- our limbs. It is common, we know, dence. The. external organs, the to speak of this co-ordination of the palate, mouth, lips, might have been nerves of motion, as the function of a perfect, but there is much in the won- cerebral organ (the cerebellum), but a derful mechanism of the human voice little consideration, we think, will that would escape all surgical exa- show that it is a use of language alto. mination. It seems a far more pro- gether inadmissible. bable supposition that the organ of It is the generally received doctrine utterance was itself defective in some that the pair of nerves, the motor of those delicate parts which elude and the sensitive, together with the observation. How complicate an ap- ganglion, in which they terminate, (and paratus it is that we employ in the where the impression made upon the articulation of every single word, may one appears to be reflected upon the be gathered from the following extract other), form together what may be taken from one of the works of Sir called a nervous circle or circuit. Charles Bell.
Now, when several of these pairs of "In speaking there is first a cer- nerves meet in one common centre or tain force of expired air, and an action ganglion, we may expect to find a symof the whole muscles of respiration pathy or co-ordinate action amongst required ; in the second place, the vo- them. And, whether from their concal chords at the top of the wind-pipe tiguity or not, the physiologist can must be drawn by their muscles into have no hesitation whatever in deaccordance, else no vibration will scribing this sympathetic or harmonitake place, and no sound issue; third- ous action as a law of the nervous ly, the open passages of the throat system. Romberg lays it down as his must be expanded, contracted, or ex- second great law of nervous action. tended by their numerous muscles, in Now, if a number of nervous filaments correspondence with the condition of connected with the various muscles the vocal chords; and these must all of our limbs should be traced to one sympathise before even a single sound centre, their meeting in this centre will be produced. But to articulate may be the necessary condition of that sound, so that it may become a their barmonious action ; but surely part of a conventional language, there you would not say tbat this centre must be added actions of the pharynx, was the organ of their co-ordination.