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is not affected in a greater or less degree. And this seems to be unavoidable. For relations always imply the existence of something else, of other objects. And if mistakes, in consequence of a wrong mental action in other respects, exist in regard to those other things, whatever they may be, they necessarily either annul or greatly perplex the results of the power by which such relations are perceived.-Besides this, the power, in its own nature and independently of perplexities from other sources, is liable to be, and is, in fact, sometimes disordered. But, as this subject is closely connected with that of reasoning, and as they reciprocally throw light upon each other, we shall say nothing further here.
$ 351. Disordered or alienated association. Light-headedness. The laws of the mind, the great principles which regulate its action, as well as its mere perceptions or states, inay be disordered; for instance, the law of association. The irregular action of this important principle of our intellectual nature is sometimes greater, at others lesse There is one of the slighter forms of mental alienation from this cause which may be termed LIGHT-HEADEDNESS ; otherwise called by Pinel demence, and by Dr. Rush dissociation. Persons subject to this mental disease are sometimes designated as “ flighty," "hair-brained;" and when the indications of it are pretty decided, as a " little cracked.”—Their disorder seems chiefly to consist in a deficiency of the ordinary power over associated ideas Their thoughts fly from one subject to another with great rapidity; and, consequently, one mark of this state of mind is great volubility of speech and almost constant motion of the body. This rapid succession of ideas and attendant volubility of tongue are generally accompanied with forgetfulness in a greater or less degree. And as the subject of this form of derangement is equally incapable of checking and reflecting upon his present ideas, and of recalling the past, he constantly forms incorrect judgments of things. Another mark which has been given is a diminished sensibility to external impressions.
$ 352. Illustrations of this mental disorder. Dr. Rush, in his valuable work on the Diseases of the
Mind, has repeated the account which an English clergyman, who visited Lavater the physiognomist, has given of that singular character. It accurately illustrates this mental disorder."I was detained,” says he," the whole morning by the strange, wild, eccentric Lavater, in various conversations. When once he is set a going, there is no such thing as stopping him, till he runs himself out of breath. He starts from subject to subject, flies from book to book, from picture to picture ; measures your nose, your eye, your mouth, with a pair of compasses;. pours forth a torrent of physiognomy upon you; drags you, for a proof of his dogma, to a dozen of closets, and unfolds ten thousand drawings; but will not let you open your lips to propose a difficulty, and crams a solution down your throat before you have uttered half a syllable of your objection.
“ He is as meager as the picture of famine; his nose and chin almost meet. I read him in my turn, and found little difficulty in discovering amid great genius, unaffected piety, unbounded benevolence, and moderate learning, much caprice and unsteadiness; a mind at once aspiring by nature, and grovelling through necessity; an endless turn to speculation and project; in a word, a clever, flighty, good-natured, necessitous man."
9 353. Of partial insanity or alienation of the memory. Among other exhibitions of partial insanity, using the terms in the manner already explained, we may include some of the more striking instances of weakened and disordered memory. Every other part of the intellect may be sound and regular in its action (for it will be recollected that we confine ourselves here to the disorders of the INTELLECT, without anticipating those of the Sensibilities and the Will), the powers of perception, of association, of imagination, of reasoning, at least so far as they are able to act independent of the memory, while the action of the latter power is either essentially obliterated, or is the subject of strange and unaccountable deviations. From the plan of this work we are obliged to content ourselves with the briefest possible notices; and can therefore only refer to one or two instances in illustration of
what has been said. The instances of weakened and perverted memory are of three kinds: (1.) those where there is a general prostration, caused in various ways, such as grief and old age; (2.) those where there is a sudden and entire prostration, extending to particular subjects or through a particular period of time, generally caused by some sudden and violent affection of the body; and, (3.) those where there is not so much an inordinate weakness or obliteration of the power under consideration, as a singularly perverse and irregular action of it.—It is probably not necessary to say anything of the first class. Of the second class is the case mentioned by Dr. Beattie, of a gentleman who, in consequence of a violent blow on the head, lost his knowledge of Greek, but did not appear to have lost anything else. Another instance is that . mentioned by Dr. Abercrombie, of a lady who, in consequence of a protracted illness, lost the recollection of a period of about ten or twelve years, but spoke with per
, fect consistency of things as they stood before that time. Of the third class is the case of a man who always called tobacco a hogshead ; and of another man, who, when he wanted coals put upon his fire, always called for paper, and when he wanted paper called for coals; and of another, who could not be made to understand the name of an object if it was spoken to him, but understood it perfectly when it was written. These three cases will be found more particularly detailed in Dr. Abercrombie's Inquiries into the Intellectual Powers. A case perhaps still more interesting is found in Dr. Conolly's Indications of Insanity as follows:
“A gentleman of considerable attainments, after longcontinued attention to various subjects, found himself incapable of writing what he sat down to write ; and, wishing to write a check, could get no farther than the first two words; he found that he wrote what he did not mean to write, but by no effort could he write what he intended. This impairment of his memory and attention lasted about half an hour, during which time his externa! senses were not impaired, but the only ideas which he had were such as the imagination dictated, without order. and... without object. He knew. also, during this
time, that when he spoke, the words he uttered were not the words he wished to utter. When he recovered, he found that in his attempt to write the check, he had, instead of the words "fifty dollars, being one half year's rate, put down “fifty dollars through the salvation of Bra.'
from the prem
Ø 354. Of the power of reasoning in the partially insane. It will be noticed, so far as we have gone in the examination of the subject of insanity, that we have considered the powers of the mind separately. Probably every power of the mind, but particularly those of the intellect, may become more or less disordered. Having considered sensation, perception, original suggestion, consciousness, judgment, association, and memory, we propose, as coming next in order, to examine the subject in its connexion with the reasoning power.-In some cases of insanity there is a total inability of reasoning. There is no power of attention, no power of comparison ; and, of course, no ability in the mind to
pass ises of an argument to the conclusion. We have already had occasion to refer to the power of relative suggestion, by means of which comparisons are instituted. Whenever this power is disordered and fails to perform its office, such is the close connexion between it and reasoning, the operations of the latter are disturbed also. In such cases the inability to reason is total; that is to say, it extends to all subjects alike. But it is more frequently the case, that the alienation of reasoning is not so extensive, but exists chiefly in relation to certain subjects, in respect to which the belief is affected. When the train of reasoning leads the person within the range of those particular subjects, whatever they are, we at once discover that the intellect is disordered. And this view has led to the common remark, which is obviously well founded, that the more common form of insane or alienated reason does not consist so much in the mode of connecting propositions, and in the conclusions drawn from them, as in the premises. The insane person believes, for instance, that he is a king. Accordingly, he reasons correctly in requiring for himself the homage suited to a king, and in expressing dissatisfaction on account of its being withheld; but he commits an essential error in the premises, which assume that he actually possesses that station.
$ 355. Instance of the above form of disordered reasoning. We have an instance of the form of insanity just mentioned in the character of Don Quixote. Cervantes represents the hero of this work as having his naturally good understanding perverted by the perusal of certain foolish, romantic stories, falsely purporting to be a true record of knights and deeds of chivalry. These books, containing the history of dwarfs, giants, necromancers, and other preternatural extravagance, were zealously perused, until the head of Don Quixote was effectually turned by them. Although he was thus brought into a state of real mental derangement, it was limited to the extravagances which have been mentioned. We are expressly informed, that in all his conversations and replies, he gave evident proofs of a most excellent understanding, and never “ lost the stirrups" except on the subject of chivalry. On this subject he “was crazed.”—Ac
cordingly, when the barber and curate visited him on a certain occasion, the conversation happened to turn on what are termed reasons of state, and on modes of administration; and Don Quixote spoke so well on every topic as to convince them that he was quite sound, and had recovered the right exercise of his judgment. But something being unadvisedly said about the Turkish war, the knight at once remarked, with much solemnity and seriousness, that his majesty had nothing to do but to issue a proclamation, commanding all the knight-errant in Spain to assemble at his court on a certain day; and although not more than half a dozen should come, among these one would be found who would alone be sufficient to overthrow the whole Turkish power.
When the subject of conversation turned upon war, which had so near a connexion with shields, and lances, and all the associations of chivalry, it came within the range of his malady, and led to the absurd remark, which showed at once the unsoundness of his mind, notwithstanding the sobriety and good sense which he had just before exhibited.