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face of a cheese, has legs which support and bear it along. The ponderous elephant, which moves slowly over space, has also legs with which he accomplishes his purpose ; but will our author say that the elephantwould walk as nimbly, supported on the legs of a mite, as on his own, and that intensity in these matters does not increase with bulk ?
This analogy is perfectly fair, because the dwarf and the bee feel, smell, and see, well for a dwarf and a bee, and so does the mite walk well enough for a mite ; but when you come to say, that, therefore, the intensity of the dwarf's and the bee's feelings equals that of a giant's and a dog's, and that the intensity of muscular power of a mite equals that of an elephant, the absurdity becomes strikingly apparent, and the true conclusion is perceived.
Phrenological Review of “ Thoughts on Religion and
other Subjects. By Blaise Pascal. A New Translation, by the Rev. EDWARD CRAIG, A. M. Oxon, 1825."
(FROM A CORRESPONDENT.)
PARENOLOGY, if true, although a recently-discovered science, will yet be found in harmony and accordance with the soundest principles of thinking, and with the most accurate views of human nature, which have in preceding times been established by the most highly-gifted individuals of the human
In like manner, in the material world, the sublime systems of Copernicus and Newton would scarcely have survived the minds which first conceived them, had not the succeeding experiments of all the sons of science proved their truth. But this point being proved, how futile have been all the censures which ignorance and folly, although veiling themselves in the sacerdotal robe, and enforced by the hand of power, once thundered forth against them ! Equally vain and futile will prove all anathemas against Phrenology on the score of its folly—its impiety—its dangerous tendency, when, by an accumulation of proof no longer to be withstood by any fair and competent inquirer, it shall be clearly set forth as true; or, in other words, as the right explanation of a portion of the divine creation, and that portion the most important, of man, the head of this lower world.
Most satisfactory evidence, both direct and indirect, has already been brought to bear upon this subject ; but in the present article we mean to confine ourselves to the argument in its favour, which will result from the perception, that the views of an individual who has long been ranked amongst the most deeply-thinking of the sons of literature, and who lived two centuries before the discovery of Phrenology, are yet in perfect and striking accordance with its inductions.
We avail ourselves of this opportunity to notice the valuable addition to our translated literature which the
present translator of this excellent work has given to the public, of a version more complete, free, elegant, and national, than has previously appeared in our language. Pascal may now be considered as naturalized amongst us, and fitted with an English dress which appears to suit him as well as his native costume.
Before we commence our task we will advert for a moment to Mr Dugald Stewart's theory, who states, that “a genius “ for mathematics is gradually formed by particular habits “ of study or of business.” Not exactly in accordance, however, with this principle of philosophy is the following extract from the memoir of Pascal's life :-" To trace effects
up to their causes was one of his chief pleasures, &c. " His fa“ther, however, fearful that this evidently strong predilection for " scientific pursuits would delay his progress in the attainment of " classical learning, agreed with his friends that they should refrain " from speaking of such topics in his presence, and this opposition to “his evidently ruling tendency was on principle carried so far, that, “ on his making an application to his father to be permitted to learn “ mathematics, the permission was positively withheld, till he should “ have mastered the Greek and Latin languages. In the mean “ time he obtained no other information on the subject, but that
geometry was a science which related to the extension of bodies,
" that it taught the mode of forming accurate figures, and pointed “out the relations which existed between them. But beyond this “ general information he was forbidden to inquire ; and all books “ on the subject were positively forbidden to him. This vague de “ finition, however, was the ray of light which guided him onward “in mathematical study. It became the subject of continued " thought. In his play-hours he would shut himself up in an “ empty room, and draw with chalk, on the floor, triangles, paral“ lelograms, and circles, without knowing their scientific names. “ He would compare these several figures, and would examine the “ relations that their several lines bore to each other; and in this
way he gradually arrived at the proof of the fact, that the sum “ of all the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles, which “ is the 32d proposition of the 1st book of Euclid. The young "geometer had just attained this point, when his father surprised “bim deeply occupied in the prohibited study.”
Now any reader of common sense must, on reading the preceding account, feel convinced, that, however Pascal's
genius for mathematics” might have been improved and brought to perfection by these “ habits of study,” still the genius must have been innate which could, unaided by the instruction or guidance of others, and even in defiance of the paternal probibition, have devised and successfully pursued “ habits of study” so peculiarly his own.
The memoir goes on to state, that “at twelve years of age Pascal “ read through the Elements of Euclid, without feeliog the need of
any explanation from teachers; and at sixteen he composed a “ treatise on conic sections, which was considered to possess very
extraordinary merit.” In the face of such examples, how can any soi-disant philosopher continue to assert, that all men are born with equal mental faculties, and that the differences observable among them are owing either to education, or to the accidental circumstances in which they are placed ?
It thus appears evident that Pascal's own history is a convincing proof of the truth of Phrenology. We will now endeavour to show the perfect accordance of some of his views and thoughts with the phrenological system, although the limits to which we must necessarily confine ourselves will render our consideration of this subject very cursory and imperfect. We shall take his thoughts just as they occur to us.
“ Things have various qualities, and the mind various inclina
“tions, for nothing presents itself simply to the mind, neither does “ the mind apply itself simply to any subject. Hence the same
thing will at different times produce tears or laughter.” This is because there exists a plurality of organs of the mind; many of them frequently act simultaneously, and it is probably seldom that one acts alone. But were the organ of the mind one and indivisible, the converse of Pascal's observation would be true ; every thing would present itself simply to the mind, and the mind would apply itself simply to every subject. In such a case, what would become of the metaphysician's favourite theme, the association of ideas? This effect, in a phrenological view, is resolvable into organs acting in combination with each other, and mutually exciting each other, (in a ratio proportionate to their degrees of natural force and activity) until such frequent acts of certain of the mental faculties in combination constitute the habit, which is defined to be “a power in a man of doing any thing ac“ quired by frequent doing it.”
“ A man may be possessed of sound sense, yet not be able to ap“ply it equally' to all subjects ; for there are evidently men who
are highly judicious in certain lines of thought, but who fail in “ others.” This assertion is highly phrenological, and its truth is proved by every day's experience; but it is only explicable on the ground that there exists a plurality of organs of the mind.
“ There are two sorts of minds, the one fathoms rapidly and deep“ly the principles of things, and this is the spirit of accurate discri"mination;" (in other words, the result of Comparison, Causality, “and Wit;). “ the other comprehends a great many principles with"out confusing them, and this is the spirit of mathematics,” (given “ by a larger development of the knowing organs.) “ The one is
energy and clearness of mind, the other is expansion of mind. “ Now the one may exist without the other; the mind may be e powerful, but narrow; or it may be expanded and feeble.” Could a Phrenologist more clearly set forth the difference between the effects of a large development of the reflective faculties alone, or of the knowing organs alone, in an individual ? “ The acute mind, accustomed to judge at a glance, is so astonished “ when it finds presented to it a series of mathematical propositions “ where it understands but little, and when to enter into them, it is
necessary to go previously through a host of definitions and dry
“ principles, that, not having been accustomed thus to examine in “ detail, it turns away in disgust.” This is the case where large reflective faculties are combined with an inferior development of Individuality, Locality, Form, &c.; and thus it is explained why many of the highly-gifted intellects, who in their maturer years come forward as the master-spirits of their age, distinguish themselves but little in the course of their academic studies.
“We are more forcibly persuaded, in general, by the reasons " which we ourselves search out, than by those which are the sug“ gestion of the minds of others,” because Causality is more strongly exercised in discovering than in merely comprehending reasons, and because the combination of faculties is different in each individual.
“ Mind has its own order of proceeding, which is by principles " and demonstrations ; the heart has another. We do not prove “ that we ought to be loved by setting forth systematically the
causes of love ; that would be ridiculous.” The mental organiza ation of man, on phrenological principles, consists of feelings or propensities, moral sentiments, and intellectual faculties ; and each organ must be acted upon by its appropriate motive. In accordance with this system is the apostolical declaration, “ I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with " the understanding also.”
“There are men who speak well, but who do not write well. “ The place, the circumstances, &c. excite them, and elicit from “ their mind more than they would find in it without that extra
ordinary stimulus.” A large development of Language, Ideality, and Comparison, with a favourable endowment of the organs of the moral sentiments, will suffice to constitute an interesting speaker, especially on subjects of devotion or charity. Should the topics to be discussed relate to matters of fact and business, then a good development of Individuality, aided by several other of the knowing organs, will be requisite; but to constitute a fine writer upon elevated subjects, will be required, in addition to all the above-named faculties, an extraordinary development of Causality, Concentrativeness, and Wit. It is no wonder then that there have been so few very fine writers.