صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

produces respect to our superiors, and a supreme love and regard to the Creator,—and Benevolence, which leads to the love of our neighbour. When united and combined with these different feelings, it converts what was before simple inclination into binding duty : and thus it points lo three different classes of duties, the duties we owe to ourselves and our families, the duties we owe to God and to civil magistrates, and the duties we owe to our fellow-men and fellow-subjects. These it is the province of the moralist and the divine to point out, and to enforce with their proper sanctions.

The organ of Self-esteem, though placed behind these, as inferior in dignity, must still be considered of high importance, and is indispensable to the perfection of the human character. When properly directed by intellect and conscientiousness, it may undoubtedly be considered a moral feeling, and many cases occur where it materially aids in preserving us from mean and improper actions. It would, however, be apt to become excessive and

pernicious, were it not accompanied on each side by the Love of approbation, which renders us amenable to the opinion of others; and had it not adjoining it the organs of the domestic and kindly affections, embracing those whose good opinion we would most wish to preserve; all tending to modify and soften down any overweening conceit of ourselves, and preserve it within the bounds of propriety.

Then, to give the character consistency and power, and to prevent our actions and purposes from being the sport of every passing emotion, there lies at the top of the head the organ of Firmness, giving, as we have seen, constancy to persevere in our undertakings, resolution to face danger and difficulty, patience to endure suffering ; which gives the power to resolve, supplies the determined will to do what is right, and converts what would

[ocr errors]

otherwise be mere feeling into steadfast moral principle. This is the faculty which binds together and gives solidity and consistency to the whole character, of which the other sentiments and faculties compose the separate parts. It is, therefore, one of the most important of the faculties, being, in fact, the keystone of the arch which keeps all the rest in their places.

I have hitherto taken no notice, in this arrangement, of the faculties of words and of Language. The organs appropriated to these faculties lie at the base of the brain in front, behind and above the orbits of the eyes, forming the inferior roof of that vault, the upper part of which is occupied by the organs of the intellectual faculties. As all conventional signs consist of some modification of sound or form, and as language consequently depends in the first instance on the faculties which perceive these qualities, its organ is naturally placed in contact with those of Form and Tune. But there is another reason for its being placed where it is, namely, that from this position it communicates with the organs of the observing, knowing, comparing, reasoning, and imaginative faculties, indicating distinctly the union of all the intellectual powers requisite to the perfection of that rarest and most splendid of human endowments, the gift of eloquence.

These are all the faculties generally recognized by phrenologists, and of which the organs have been discovered to lie in the exterior convolutions of the brain ; but there seems to be something more necessary to afford a complete view of the mental system. Man possesses, besides these, Consciousness, by which he is enabled to perceive and reflect upon the feelings and operations, or states of mind produced by the activity of these organs, and by which also he is conscious that he remains the same individual from day to day and from year to year, notwithstanding all the changes that take place both in

[ocr errors]

his bodily organs and his mental capacities. Mr Conibe
alludes to this in his System of Phrenology, * and states
that it is “ extremely difficult to determine whether the
consciousness of personal identity is connected with a
particular organ, or is the result of the general action of
the whole.” It is impossible to discuss the point here
fully, but the following is generally understood by
Phrenologists to be the true explanation of the matter :
That the living and conscious principle which we call
Self, or let us say at once the Soul, is a simple and
indivisible being, of which the brain is the organ during
life; that what we call faculties are merely different states
of this simple being; that the separate organs of the
brain afford the means by which these states of mind
are induced and manifested ; that consciousness is not
to be considered an attribute of each faculty, but only
an attribute of the mind itself, of which the faculties
are the different states. This view of the matter
entirely relieves Phrenology from the imputation of its
leading to Materialism, to which it is no more liable
than any other system admitting the brain to be the
organ of the mind. It is also a strong confirmation of
this view, and of the soul being a simple and uncom-
pounded substance, that Consciousness is always the
same, and always single. Whatever faculties are active,
we have the feeling that they belong to the mind, but
are not the mind; that the living principle, Self, would
remain the same, though one or more of our faculties
were dormant or lost, or though we were to acquire
new ones, just as we remain the same individual though
we become blind or deaf, or though we acquire the gift
of sight by the operation of couching for cataract.
With this explanation, the system of faculties seems to
account satisfactorily for all the mental phenomena.
* System of Phrenology, by George Combe. Second edition, p. 402.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

To return to our consideration of the position of the organs, I think it appears that, taking the system as we have it, the situation of every faculty is exactly that which is most proper and commodious, and that none of them could be changed or reversed without deranging what appears a very beautiful scheme. We have seen that they lie in regular order, advancing gradually from the lower to the higher, and thence to the highest of all. Each organ seems to lie adjacent to those of the other faculties with which it is most nearly allied; and in some instances the different groups are so connected with one another, and radiate through each other in such a way, as to make the whole hang together like the different parts of one elegant design. This harmonious junction and dovetailing of the different organs is exceedingly curious; and it is obvious that the coincidences are far too numerous and exact to have occurred by chance. As soon might we expect that a number of separate pieces of wood, bronght casually together, should form a beautiful cabinet, as that the names of thirty-four or .thirty-five faculties put down at random should compose a complete and well-combined system of the mental powers, as this appears to be. But it is well known that Gall and Spurzheim did not invent this system at once, but formed it piecemeal, by a gradual and patient examination of facts. The organs of the different faculties were discovered one after another, and in some of their earlier works many blanks appear in the scheme of the faculties, which then wore a bald and disjointed appearance, till these were filled up by subsequent discoveries.

It is indeed extremely unlikely that such a scheme should be devised by conjecture and hypothesis. It is so different from any that has been previously given to the world, that it is almost impossible it should have

occurred to the mind of man, in any other way than that in which it did occur to its authors. The inference I would draw from the whole is, that this is not a human invention, but the evolution of a scheme composed and designed by the same mighty mind which devised the structure of the universe.

Had Doctors Gall and Spurzheim sat down to devise a system from their own imagination, it is morally impossible they could have contrived one which harmonizes so completely with itself, and with the actual state of the human faculties, and the uses to which these are subservient. This is a problem which has puzzled the most eminent philosophers, so as almost to entitle us to conclude that its solution was beyond the reach of human ingenuity. Independently, therefore, of more direct evidence, the presumption is exceedingly strong, that they did not invent, but discovered it by observation.

Supposing that we knew nothing of human nature but what we are able to gather from systems of philosophy, what notion could we form of man from perusing all the works that have ever been written on the metaphysics of the schools? Is it not obvious that they afford a very indistinct or inadequate account of what man really is, and of what are his powers, dispositions, and functions. On the contrary, the system we have been now considering, to use the expression of an acute writer, * seems to present us with “ a portrait from the life.”

If we take our account of man from this system, would it not be evident, that a being possessed of the powers and faculties here attributed to him must be a wonderful being; that if the intellectual faculties are active and predominant, he must be a great and powerful being ; that if to these be added a large share of the destructive propensities, he must be a terrible being; and if the

* The late Mr Abernethy of London.

« السابقةمتابعة »