Article 1st. It is on that principle that the partisans of inoculation chiefly relied to defend both the practice and success of that proceeding. It is still according to the same maxim, that physicians attempt to inoculate many kinds of distempers, either to prevent them, or to make them serve as a counterpoise to other diseases; and now the art of curing one disease by another, is esteemed in medicine as a compleat knowledge of physic. It is expected, however, that physicians will oppose this similitude, in establishing some differences and distinctions; nay, they will perhaps forget themselves so far as to take Somnambulism from the number of maladies, by disowning their nosologists in this point.
That no pretence may be left for subterfuge, we shall be intent on maladies and discourse solely on sleep. Neither doctor, or natural philosophers, have as yet been able to explain the cause of sleep, nor the manner by which it is produced. Whatever has been said on the subject offers nothing but mere conjectures, the work of imagination; one thing only is certain, that sleep comes on whenever the body is in any disposition to produce it, and is put in such a disposition by the assistance of art.
Now; if there exists any art whatever conducive to put the body in a disposition to sleep, it is not surprising at all that Magnetical proceedings might also produce the same effect. Will they say that there is a want of similitude, because in Magnetical proceedings neither decoctions nor infusions are employed to create sleep? I answer that there is no need at all to have recourse either to drink, or any drug whatever, to convert any one into the state of sleep; the same effect is produced by a multitude of other means and proceedings; and it is even one of the particular singularities inherent to sleep, that it is produced by an infinitely different number of causes, and which are all contrary to each other.
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Others are said to have yielded to sleep while lying on the wheel. Gemelli Carreri relates, that when in China he travelled with a Tartar, who, every night, was obliged, in order to procure sleep, to desire somebody to beat him for a while on the belly, as they do a drum. Hunger and the excess of food, fatigue and rest, and cool and warm refreshments likewise produce sleep; it is also the result of the increase or decrease of the blood running in the brain. It is the effect of bathing as well as bleeding: fever, which causes insomnies, likewise creates drowsiness; a small difference in a dose of wine awakes or makes a man sleep.
But in both cases, one must confess that the means productive of sleep are infinite, and that we are unable to determine on their nature or quality. This consideration alone, doubtless, suffices to destroy the improbability of a sleep arising from Magnetical feelings. If touching could not produce it, it would be the only one deprived of that faculty. Indeed, if we consider but a moment the four other senses, hearing, smelling, sight and taste, we shall perceive in them as many conductors to sleep. The smell of aromatical and narcotical plants occasions a drowsiness, and some chymists have in their works given the receipt of somniserous essences, which criminals have often abused.
Lastly, the sight is no less productive of sleep. Too bright a light, by inviting the eyelids to shut themselves, insensibly encourages and causes sleep. Many people never resist that impression, and even they make, upon occasion, a sure resource of it. And it must not be said that sleep is then the effect of tediousenss, since sleep is, for the most part, involuntary, and comes on in the middle of the interesting lectures we could hear other people deliver, without feeling the least propensity to sleep.
It is agreed, that, generally speaking, there is but one sense, which is feeling, and that the other four are only a modification of it. The light, sound, savours and smell only act upon us by shaking the nervous tufts of our organs, and such a shaking can never be obtained before they have touched them. Feeling, properly so called, only differs from other senses by its great energy and vast extent. Lastly, it is so certain that sleep is introduced by feeling, that the faculty prescribe opium taken in topic and applied to the skin, which really produces sleep. But, will they say, supposing the Magnetisers to be endowed with the power of producing sleep, there is not the like reason to lead us to think that they can likewise produce Somnambulism?
There is no Somnambulism without sleep. This proposition, which is apparently a paradox, is no less incontestable, provided too much extent is not allowed to the meaning of the word Somnambule. Perfect sleep is a time of rest, during which, sensations are reduced to a state of concentration, which discovers seemingly no other sign of life but respiration and the motion of the pulse.
Imperfect sleep is that in which such a concentration is not complete, so that it still leaves some access for the interior display of organs. We seldom enjoy the former kind of sleep. Is such a state useful in curing the disease? Others are only drowsy for a short time, then awake, and fall again into a state of drowsiness. The nuances are infinitely multiplied from the very sleepers, who display nothing but what usually appears in a common sleep to those who perform the wonderful things so much spoken of in all the world. Such is the last allegation, which serves as a refuge to the incredulity of those who never saw any Somnambule, and the disbelief of them who had it in their power to see and be convinced.
Those very persons might, perhaps, have had a different opinion on that matter, if it had been in their power to know that there exists in nature a state absolutely the same as that given out merely as a feigned one; and, that, the same phoenomena, which are, in the one, pronounced to be chimerical, impossible and inadmissible, are, in the other looked upon as incontestable, and certainly beyond any manner of doubt. Open the Encyclopedia, and at the word Somnambule, you may read literally thus:. The learned consequently for Encyclopedia is their work are convinced plainly to believe, with Magnetisers, that it is possible to see without the eyes assistance, and that though the Somnambule has his eyes open he does not make use of them.
Truth itself becomes incredible. The author despising the exaggerations often attending on such stories, has only referred "to notorious sacts, of which the truth cannot even be suspected. It is after such a preamble, that he relates the story of a young Somnambule, a clergyman and fellow-student of the Archbishop of Bourdeaux. That Prelate used to go every night in that Somnambule's room, as soon as he thought him asleep. He remarked in particular, that the person got up, took paper, composed and wrote sermons.
There are facts certified in the Encyclopedia itself, equally notorious, and above all contradiction; which is no doubt sufficient evidently to prove one of these two points, viz. The author of the same article, after having mentioned many surprising facts, which he asserts as incontestable, makes a judicious sarcasm against those pretenders in point of learning, who believe nothing but what they can account for, and will not for a moment suppose, that there are in nature mysteries impenetrable to their sagacity. Let us now observe the dangerous effect of prejudice.
For example, such a man who dexterously crosses a row of chairs without touching them, and writes or reads through a paste-board, shall not see whether there are people round him; he will take one thing for another, and shall not perceive the fraud imposed on him. The natural Somnambule of Encyclopedia well saw his paper and letter through a paste-board, and yet could not see the very person who was placed before him, busily employed in examining his motions.
By that example it is evident that the Somnambule, though deceived by the sight and feeling, had his taste sound and perfect, since he well knew how to discern brandy from water. I had many times an opportunity of seeing myself such contradictions, which at first produced in me a great diffidence, because I was not then well acquainted with the singularities inherent to Somnambulism. I did not express my command in speaking, but only by sign in tracing the line which I gave him to run over, and at the end of which was the hat.
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How could he mistake himself so far as to think he had one in his hand? From thence I inferred, that having committed so gross and palpable a mistake, he was far from having the feeling and sight as subtile as they would give to understand, and that there was in the rest of his operations more address than fair practice.
Pigatti, who was present at those experiments, has given an exact and precise account of them, which is found in the Journal Etranger, March After having looked for a light, the Somnambule imagines he has a candle in his hand; without perceiving his error, he thinks he holds a candlestick whilst it is only a bottle; he helps himself with that pretended light by carrying it along with him; he draws near the chimney to dry a wet towel, though there is no fire; he salutes the ladies and gentlemen in whose company he imagines himself, whilst there is not any such person as he supposes among those that surround him.
There are contradictions to explain that which struck me so forcibly in the Somnambule of the Marquis of Puysegur, on account of the imaginary brush he thought he held. The Library of Medicine, vol.
The Somnambule mounted to the very top of that house, and jumped from one beam to another, though there was under a profound abyss. How a man, who had address enough to climb up the top of a decayed house, and run on a few weak beams, could not perceive the profound abyss which lay under?
To explain those singularities, the principle of Somnambulism, and that want of organization which at that moment took place in the individual, should be better known. That induces Mr. Rehelini, a colebrated Italian doctor, author of many observations on Somnambulism, to say, that we ought to content ourselves with admiring the wonderful effects of that condition which Providence seems to present to the learned, in order to confound them, and shew the narrow compass of human understanding.
The apparent immobility and insensibility of Magnetical Somnambules, for whatever is said or transacted round them, is also experienced in natural Somnambules. He whom I just now spoken of, was quite insensible to the approach of a candle, which almost burnt his eyebrows. There is likewise in the memorials of the Academy of Sciences for the year , p. At first, as the girl had her eyes open, I thought that dissimulation, if there was any in the case, could not withstand a slap on the hand, or one given suddenly on the face; but this repeated experiment did not either occasion the least grimace or interrupt her discourse: I had recourse to another experiment, which was to put briskly my singer to her eye, and to approach a lighted wax candle near enough to burn her eye-brows; but she did not even twinkle on the occasion.
The 10th vol. The ancient professors in that town looking on the event as a fable and mere chimera, could not take on themselves to increase the number of spectators. It is thus," continues the author, "that prejudice shuts the eyes of men of the first merit, and hinders them from studying and applying themselves to the discovery of several things which might prove very beneficial to monkind—Lastly," says the same author, t"he young professors and other physicians in the town, looking on this phoenomenon with an indifferent eye, seriously enquired into the case of that sleeper, and after a thorough investigation, had every reason to be fully satisfied.
While I walk, I put into perspective what's important to me. My favorite reason for walking? It's a time when the strangest things pop into my head. As I walk, I devise new recipes to test or a solution to the Middle East conflicts. Solitary walks and walks with companions each have their own pleasures. On walks with companions, acquaintances become friends and friendships deepen. People I've known for years open up and reveal the struggle they went through to find the right career, the trials and tribulations of their children's adolescence, and their excitement over a gem of a movie or a nugget of self-discovery.
I first became intrigued with walks when I read "Pride and Prejudice.
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Then, still in my impressionable pubescence, I learned that the Romantic poets — William Wordsworth , John Keats , and Percy Bysshe Shelley — frequently strolled for hours for creative inspiration. It's an easy mannerism to assume. I might not have been able to write like these poets but I could take walks as they did, I thought.
In college, walks were my only escape from the hordes of people who surrounded me in the dormitory, boardinghouse, classes, parties, dates, meetings, and library sessions. Wherever I went, I constantly had people telling me what to do or asking me what I thought or felt. I figured out the answers on my walks. I remember one tramp in the pouring rain when I made a decision to break off a serious relationship with a boyfriend, and another when I cobbled together my own explanation for the rise and fall of American imperialism.