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wilfully set in their own way. They are always self-opinionated, and unwilling to examine new subjects, or alter any views which have long been entertained ; and when their minds are once made up, no force of argument, or amount of evidence, will induce them to change or modify their opinions, simply because they will not be convinced. In the fourth class we would include those who are considerably advanced in life, and whose habits and modes of thinking have become so fixed and settled, as to run almost necessarily in one circle or channel. Such is the nature and organisation of the brain, on which the exercise of every mental faculty depends, that it is very difficult, if not impossible, for persons past the age of fifty to canvass properly and rationally the merits of new discoveries and improvements. We yield to none in our respect for age, as well as our confidence in the judgment of those of long and successful experience; yet we do say, that the opinions of men passed the middle age of life, should have comparatively but little weight in settling the claims of new discoveries and improvements. We verily believe that not only medicine, but that the progress of civilisation, as well as of the arts and sciences generally, have been seriously retarded by giving an undue importance to the mere authority or opinions of such men.
3dly, The study of mental philosophy will eventually rectify or counteract the injurious effects of nosology on medicine. It has been a most unfortunate thing for this science, that its cultivators should ever have laid so much stress upon the mere nomenclature and verbal descriptions of diseases. In the first place, in order for such a course to be correct, it presupposes that the nature, causes, and symptoms of disease are already clearly and fully understood; and in the second place, that no change can be effected in these, either by time, climate, or other circumstances; and, lastly, that all individuals will look at these facts through the same medium, and arrive at precisely the same results ; either of which conditions is absolutely impossible as well as absurd. Now, a nosological classification of disease, based on premises so false and erroneous, could not fail to have a most disastrous effect on medicine, and such has actually been the case. It has always operated as a great barrier to any change or improvement; it has filled volumes on medicine with words comparatively destitute of ideas ; it has cultivated the memory and fostered the credulity of the student at the expense of his judgment and independence, and led him as a physician to prescribe for the names, rather than the symptoms of disease. Now, a system of mental science, whose invariable motto is, “res non verba quæso,” will lead to a more correct use and interpretation of language. It will teach us that words are the mere
. exponents of ideas, and should never be employed without clearly
expressing some idea or stating some fact. It will show the absurdity of attaching fixed names and stereotyped descriptions to phenomena, the features of which are constantly changing, and so blend with each other that no distinct lines of demarcation can possibly be drawn between them. It will constrain the student 10 observe and think for himself, and not rely so much on the opinions of others; it will compel him to study the great book of nature, rather than the productions of men. The immortal Hunter used to exclaim to his class, while pointing at the human body, “I never read—this is the book that I study; and it is the work which you must study, if you ever wish to become eminent in your profession."
That a knowledge of mental science is important to the physician in his, relations to the public, may be rendered obvious by numerous other considerations, aside from its bearings directly on his professional duties. We have already seen that such knowledge is not only necessary, but absolutely indispensable, in order to understand correctly many diseases to which the human body is subject; moreover, that it is of the highest importance in the treatment of disease that the physician should be thoroughly acquainted with the faculties of the mind, and the laws which regulate their developement, as connected with the brain. Now, as the lives and the health of the communityobjects, the dearest and most sacred to every human being-are frequently entrusted to the care of the physician, not only the dictates of philanthropy, but the claims of justice, require that he should make himself fully acquainted with all the remedial helps and agents in his power, which are calculated either to restore health or prolong life. It is also a duty which he owes to his individual patients, and the public generally, to employ his medical knowledge and exert his personal influence to prevent, as well as cure disease. But in order to do this succesfully, the community must be made far better acquainted ' with the laws of the animal economy, and the means of preserving health, than they now are. Formerly, it was supposed that man had but little control over the causes of pain, disease, and death ; some considered these afflictions as the mere results of chance or accident, while others viewed them as the visitations of a "mysterious Providence," and all apparently thought little, and practically cared less, about informing themselves on the subject. Now, it is found that disease and premature death are the penalties of violated laws--aws which it is the duty as well as the interest of all to study and obey. There can be no possible doubt but that disease in a multitude of instances might be prevented-that a vast amount of health might be saved, and the lives of many individuals be very much prolonged, by a more general diffusion, among all classes, of a knowledge of phy
siology and hygiene. But before mankind will ever pay that attention to the laws of the animal economy which their nature and importance absolutely demand, they must see and realise the entire dependence of all mental manifestations upon physical organisation. The omission of this fact, whether it has been through ignorance or neglect, is one of the principal causes why these laws have hitherto been so little appreciated or applied, both by the learned and the unlearned. Now, a system of mental science, based on the functions of the brain, is calculated more than any thing else to impress upon individuals, and the public generally, the importance of attending to those subjects which will vastly augment human happiness, by the prevention of disease and the promotion of health. And just in proportion as the principles of this science become understood, in the same proportion will individuals be induced to study the nature of their own constitutions, and yield obedience to the laws which govern them. For it will be found, by taking this view of the subject, that all possess within their own power the means of self-preservation and improvement, to a far greater extent than what has ever been considered in past ages, or is even now conceived of by the great mass of the public. When we come to consider that all the manifestations of the mind depend on the brain, it becomes an inquiry of the highest moment to know what are the causes or instruments operating to affect its developement, and what may be the degree of influence which we can personally exert over these agencies. It will then be made to appear how powerfully the character of every human being is affected by physical organisation--that the degree of his adaptation to the enjoyment of the social and domestic relations, his desire and capacity of elevation as a moral and religious being, and also the amount of his intellectual ability, depend in a great measure on the brain; then, and not till then, will the attention of the public be suitably waked up to the importance of this subject. And of all others, it is the peculiar province, and may we not add the imperative duty, of the physician to be foremost in imparting this knowledge, and to take the lead in effecting a result so desirable and philanthropic.
But these principles have a wider range, and embrace far higher objects, than mere physical health or individual enjoyment. They have an important bearing on every thing which affects the interests of the human mind in this world, as well as its preparation for an endless state of existence beyond the grave. We can here allude to only a few other topics connected with this science: it would require volumes to unfold all its numerous and varied applications. It should be remembered that these principles, though they had their origin with the creation of man, have but recently been brought to light, and made evident to the human intellect; and notwithstanding they are considered as fully proved and established as the facts of chemistry or geology, by all who have thoroughly and impartially examined them, yet the extent to which their truth is admitted, or that an application of them has actually been made, is very limited. A great work, therefore, remains yet to be done, and no small share of the labour belongs appropriately and necessarily to members of the medical profession. For the studies and pursuits of no other profession, or class of persons, are so nearly and intimately connected with mental science; this fact must be obvious from the exposition which we have already given of its principles. But aside from the superior advantages which the physician enjoys of studying the physiology of the brain, and understanding the various conditions that influence or modify its functions, the peculiar duties of his profession places him in the most favourable circumstances possible for acquiring a knowledge of human nature. In the language of Dr. Spurzheim, “No one has such opportunities of observing men at all times, and in all situations. He alone is present during the night and the day, to witness the most intimate concerns, and the most secret events of domestic life. Good and bad men, when sick, with difficulty conceal from him their true sentiments. To such a man, as knowing all that belongs to our nature, we unfold the most secret thoughts, and we acknowledge our frailties and our errors, in order that he may judge truly concerning our situations. There is, consequently, no man more called upon, no man more necessitated to study mankind, than the physician.” Says Dr. Rush, “it is the duty of physicians to assert their prerogative, and to rescue mental science from the usurpations of schoolmen and divines.”
But it is when we consider the great variety and extent of the applications of this science, that its cultivation becomes so important, and urges its claims on our attention in a manner superior to all other sciences or subjects of human research. It points out the only true mode of education (physical, intellectual, and moral) that deserves the name. It has already shed a vast deal of light on the nature and treatment of insanity, thus bringing joy and gladness" to multitudes whose situation for ages has been considered hopeless and irremediable. It is destined also to reform and perfect our present systems of medical jurisprudence, criminal legislation, and political economy, as well as our social, civil, and religious institutions. It lays the only foundation for a system of ethics and morals-being the true exposition of the faculties and laws of the human mind. It is the "handmaid of religion”--the "elder revelation of God," and will eventually become “The philosophy which the world for centuries had had only in expectation."
CHANGES IN THE FORM OF THE HEAD, WITH CORRESPONDING CHANGES
(Being the substance of Mr. Deville's statements before the meeting of the British
Phronological Association, at Glasgow, as reported in the 66th number of the Edinburgh Phronological Journal.)
Mr. Deville read an account of a number of cases in which a change had been produced in the form of the head by education and moral training; in illustration of which, he exhibited the principal casts referred to in his paper. He set out by explaining that, although his facts were of a very striking kind, he did not wish to be understood as affirming that dispositions could in all cases be remodeled, or new talents conferred. The brain and its parts have their limits of power; and endeavours to make them work beyond their strength must weaken the functions, and may even, if pushed too far, lead to imbecility and structural derangement. By judicious management, however, beneficial changes can seldom fail to be produced In educating children, parents and teachers often err in assuming their own minds as a type of that of the species ; so that, in the end, much toil is often found to have been thrown away. Phrenology is useful here, and also in enabling parents to see the propriety of not overworking the cerebral organs of their children. In the head of a young gentleman, eight years old, brought to Mr. Deville fifteen years ago for examination, he found a fine coronal region, with large Ideality, Constructiveness, Comparison, Causality, and Eventuality, fine perceptive organs, and an extraordinary large organ of Language; and the inference was, that with a little study he would be a fine linguist, and that he might cultivate with success the highest branches of literature. Mr. D. recommended repose from study for two, three, or four years, as otherwise mental weakness might be the result. The advice was neglected, and the youth is now little better than an idiot. Another case is that of G-N-, a mentally calculating boy, who, at the age of six years, was engaged, through the introduction of a friend of Mr. Deville's, by the late Mr. P of Liverpool, to perform a series of calculations. Mr. D. suggested the propriety of not overworking the boy's organ of Number, but the hint was not taken. The consequence was, that although the boy, when he went to Liverpool, could give the square or cube of two, three, or more numbers, in a few minutes, and perform other kinds of complicated calculation, at present, as Mr. D. was informed by himself a few weeks ago, he cannot give the square or cube of numbers, and has not sufficient arithmetical ability even to