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smooth :' and a little after it is added, that, when one organ is very largely developed, it sometimes pushes a neighbouring organ a litile out of its place.'
Now, considering that there are no fewer than five organs of great importance in the line of each eyebrow, it is easy to see in what perplexity an anxious observer may often be placed. If there be no distinct protuberance in this region, how is the smooth surface to be interpreted? It is plain, we suppose, that all the faculties inhabiting it must be held to be in an equal degree of vigour: But how are we to determine whether they are all deficient, or all redundant-of an inferior, an average, or an extraordinary development ? Suppose, by a happy balance of its faculties, a head should be without any protuberances, and all over as smooth as a barber's block-what are we to infer as to the condition of these equal faculties ? Are we to rate them according to its total calibre ? and are all sizes to be valued according to actual dimensions ?-or with any, and what reference to the general bulk of the body, the stature, weight or form, of the individual ? Again, if the organ of Size, being very largely developed, should push the organ of Weight, which stands nextit, a little out of its place, and into that of Colouring or of Tune, which immediately adjoin, what terrible errors would ensue? Or if one small organ should unluckily be surrounded by three in a state of great development, would there not be imminent hazard either of its being entirely obliterated by their expansion, or of having its portion of the skull heaved up along with theirs, to a most deceptive and fatal elevation? This, however, is trifling. It is enough, to complete our view of the kind of evidence by which this system is supported, that the observations from which it is to be derived are admitted to be attended with great difficulty and hazard of mistake, and indeed not at all to be trusted to, except in the hands of the initiated !
In what respect, then, do the pretences of Phrenology differ, as to their evidence, from the ordinary cases of pretended Miracles, pretended infallible medicines, pretended expositions of dreams, or of any of the other fancies and impostures by which the credulity of men has been amused, and their love of the marvellous excited, from the beginning of the world ? ' In all these cases there are niceties of operation to be observed, to the neglect of which the failures are in part to be ascribed. There is a determination to count only the few cases that succeed, and to keep out of view the many that fail—there are imputations of prejudice and unfairness to be cast on the unbelievers--and a very strong disposition to make the most of the slightest advantages, to construe a very partial success into a decisive one and to celebrate a mere mitigation of defeat as a
te mrichter nie wolne most say hof the Decisive os are of the tow,
signal and triumphant victory. ' A sick man takes an infallible medicine, and is no better and then, what says the quack for his nostrum ?-O, it has been prepared by an unskilful apothecary, and taken in a wrong dose, or at an unfit period-or, it has been counterworked by some improper food or exercise taken along with it-or by some preposterous prescription administered the year before. The medicine itself could not possibly fail-here are fifty attestations of its efficacy, in far worse cases, in as many newspapers ! Besides, the patient is quite mistaken in supposing himself no better ! - his eye is much brighter, and his pulse more calm. If it had not been for the drug, he would probably have been dead by this time ! in fact, it is one of the most surprising of the many cures it has effected! It is needless to say how exactly parallel to this are the reasonings and perversions of the Phrenologists ! .
But we have something still more decisive to say to them. Their proposition is, that their thirty-six bumps are the organs of so many separate faculties—and that the strength of the endowment is in exact proportion to the size of the bump. Now, independent of all flaws in the theory, we think it can be proved, by facts that admit of no denial, that this proposition neither is, nor can, by possibility, be true. • In the first place, let us say a word about Size. That the mere bulk or quantity of matter, in such wonderful and delicate structures, should be the exclusive measure of their value, without any regard to their quality or condition, certainly must appear, on the first statement, to be a very improbable allegation ;-and we cannot help suspecting, that it was nothing but the plain impossibility of ascertaining any thing as to their structure and quality, that drove our dogmatic theorists upon that bold proposition. Their assumed organs, however, are all buried deep under skin and bone of an uniform appearance; and having nothing, therefore, but size left to go upon, (at least in the living subject), they seem to have even made up their minds to say that that was quite enough-and that nothing else was to be regarded. In the next place, however; the proposition is no less contrary to the analogy of all our known organs than to general probability. The grandmamma Wolf, in the fairy tale, does indeed lean a little to the phrenological heresy, when she tells little Riding-hood that she has large eyes, to see her the better--and large ears, to hear her the better :-But, with this one venerable exception, we rather think it has never been held before, that the strength of vision depended on the size of the eye, the perfection of hearing on the magnitude of the ear-or the nicety of taste on the
VOL. XLIV. NO. 88.
and theny facule
breadth of the tongue or palate. It might also be mentioned as a third circumstance of strong improbability in this theory, that if mere size be the criterion of mental endowment, the most important and purely intellectual of the faculties should have on the whole such very small organs assigned to them. All the reasoning and reflecting powers are crowded into a small area on the forehead and temples-while by far the largest space is allotted to love of progeny, self-conceit, and cowardice. As the masses of the brain seem on the whole to be nearly of one quality, and the very basis of the phrenological system is to take no account of any thing but quantity, it is certainly a little startling to find the least amiable or exalted of our endowments so much more amply provided for than those of a higher order. These, however, we allow, are probabilities only-let us come at length to the facts.
All the world knows, and the Phrenologists themselves admit, that the vigour of any faculty may be improved by exercise and education and the strength of any propensity by habitual indulgence, though these changes are not accompanied by any increase in the size of the organ. But is not this admitted and most familiar fact in absolute and glaring contradiction to the fundamental assumption of the system? The strength of the faculty is always in exact proportion to the size of its organ. This is their proposition, and, in fact, the whole of their doctrine. But here are two men, with organs of precisely the same size, in one of whom the faculty is, in point of fact, of double the strength as in the other. Is not this a conclusive refutation of their statement ? It is nothing to the purpose to say, that the other might have been improved too, and that neither could have been so much improved as if their organs had been larger. These, in the first place, are mere gratis dicta, without the least vestige of proof; and, secondly, they do not touch the decisive fact, that it is thus proved and admitted that the vigour of the faculty does not depend, at least solely, on the size of the organ, but in a great measure on the quality either of that organ, or of the mind itself, to which it is supposed to be subservient: And the consequences of that fact are inevitable. If a man, by exercise and education, may have double the talent or energy of another with organs of the same size, how can it be assumed that size alone is, in any given case, the mark of talent or energy ?-or that other causes besides exercise and education may not produce those variations, in spite of the equal bulk of the organs ? The only safe proposition is, that the size of the organs absolutely determines the quantity of talent and energy, as the diameter of a
plain any reason, why chuired differences with organs of at all the
pipe determines the quantity of water that can be conveyed by it. But if this be given up-if it be admitted that, in many most common cases, the size of the organ is no measure at all of the actual quantity of talent or energy which acts by it, it is plain that the whole game is up; and it is quite impossible to give any reason, why there should not be primitive differences of talent, as well as acquired differences, with organs of equal size. It is still undeniably true, that, with organs of a certain size, there is a capacity of having a great deal more of all the faculties, than actually belong to many people with that very size of organ; and this, we conceive, at once extinguishes the whole science of phrenology.
But even if there were any grounds for maintaining so strange a distinction, how, we should like to know, are we to discriminate the increments of faculty that have been derived from culture and education, from those that have been developed spontaneously, and should therefore be referred to the native energy of the organs ? Education, in this question, plainly cannot be restrained to what is taught in lessons, or inculcated by preceptors. The education by which our faculties are exercised and strengthened, is the education of society, of reflection, of events, of suffering, enjoyment, and experience. It is the education, in short, which is necessarily implied in living, which all men receive, more or less favourably in kind and degree; and to which we ascribe almost all that ultimately distinguishes them from each other, in talents, disposition, manners, morals, and character. If it is according to this training and education, that the Phrenologists allow that all our faculties and propensities may be indefinitely strengthened or repressed, what room, we again ask, can be left for their theory ? In what sense, or at what period, can it be alleged, that the strength of the faculty is fn proportion to the size of its supposed organ? Or of what practical use would it be (even if it were possible) to ascertain, that, before his birth, every man had a certain original peculiarity, when that was to be so soon superseded, and so totally deranged, by the innumerable and untraceable variations in the training to which each was severally to be exposed ? The education of which we are now speaking begins long before we are conscious of it, and continues to the last moment of our existence; and, during all that time, it is continually altering, modifying, and new-modelling our character, capacities, and habits. It is impossible to trace its earliest and most important rudiments; and neither these, nor its after course, are the same, we believe, for any two individuals. The Phrenologists seem to us distinctly to admit this generally; and
we do not know that they deny any part of the statement. But if it be admitted, what scope, what field, or materials, can possibly remain for their science? In this view, there is no such thing as a spontaneous development; and every intellect and disposition must be regarded as formed and modified by the accidents to which it is exposed. We too, perhaps, believe that men are born with some differences of mental capacity and disposition-though we have no idea that they are indicated by bumps on the skull. But, believing as we do, that these are utterly insignificant, compared with the far greater differences which time and events afterwards impress on them, we are convinced it is impossible, and would be idle if it were possible, to ascertain what may have been their original indications. We think it probable, that some have originally a greater excitability or general vivacity of mind than others and that this is the chief difference. But, considering how variously this may be developed or directed in after life, it seems to us of no sort of importance, whether we call it a temperament, and say it is marked by the colour of the hair and the eyes—or maintain that it is a balance of certain powers and propensities, the organs of which are on the skull. If education--that education which no man can either regulate or avoid—is to change all this, and to change it to an indefinite extent, it certainly is not true, that the characters or faculties of grown men are in accordance with these supposed organs-or that the dreams of phrenology can receive any proof from observation--though they may be, as they are, effectually disproved, by the admissions thus extorted from their advocates.
Another means of refutation is supplied by another admission, or rather postulate and principle of the Phrenologists. The energy of any faculty or propensity may be increased, it seems, by any Disease or morbid affection of its organ, without any augmentation of its size. This is a very favourite resource, we find, of these learned authors; and seems to us admirably to illustrate their hostility to common sense. Very many of Dr Gall's discoveries were made it seems in madhouses. He found an insane person under the ungoverned influence of some strong propensity; and almost always found that he had the organ of that propensity enormously large ! Now, if the patient had been mad, and in the same key, from his birth up, there might have been something in this reasoning—but as there is no example, we believe, of such a case, it seems to us very plain, that madness of a particular character, supervening in mature life, in a person who had lived many years with a remarkably large organ of some propensity, could not, in common sense, be re