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The scratching, which excites the pleasure of itching, is a species of friction, and friction, in most parts of the body, excites a sensation very different from the mere sense of touching or the simple feeling of the object. The tickling of the feather in the nose, for example, is very different from the mere feeling of the feather in touch. In some parts of the body the most intense sensations are produced by friction.
There is difficulty in classing those sensations. They are not the same with those of any of the five senses and they are not the same with those which rise from any tendency to disorganization in the parts of the body to which they are referred. Great accuracy, however, in the classification of the sensations, is not essential to that acquaintance with them, which is requisite for the subsequent parts of this inquiry. It will suffice for our purpose, if the reader so far attend to them, as to be secure from the danger of overlooking or mistaking them, where a distinct consideration of them is necessary for developing any of the complicated phenomena in which they are concerned.
MUSCULAR SENSATIONS, OR THOSE FEELINGS WHICH ACCOMPANY THE ACTION OF THE MUSCLES.
There is no part of our Consciousness, which deserves greater attention than this; though, till lately, it has been miserably overlooked. Hartley, Darwin, and Brown, are the only philosophical inquirers into Mind, at least in our own country, who seem to have been aware that it fell within the province of their speculations.
The muscles are bundles of fibres, which, by their contraction and relaxation, produce all the motions of the body. The nerves, with which they are supplied, seem to be the immediate instruments of the muscular action.
That these muscles have the power of acute sensation, we know, by what happens, when they are diseased, when they suffer any external injury, or even when, the integuments being removed, they can be touched, though ever so gently.
It has been said, that if we had but one sen
Itaque et sensioni adhæret, proprie dictæ, ut ei aliqua insita sit perpetuo phantasmatum varietas, ita ut aliud ab alio discerni possit. Si supponeremus, enim, esse hominem, oculis quidem claris cæterisque videndi organis recte se habentibus compositum, nullo autem alio sensu præditum, eumque ad eandem rem eodem
sation, and that uninterrupted, it would be as if we had no sensation at all; and, to the justice of this observation, some very striking facts appear to bear evidence. We know that the air is continually pressing upon our bodies. But, the sensation being continual, without any call to attend to it, we lose, from habit, the power of doing So. The sensation is as if it did not exist. We feel the air when it is in motion, or when it is hotter or colder, to a certain degree, than our bodies; but it is because we have the habit of attending to it in those states. As the muscles are always in contact with the same things, the sensations of the muscles must be almost constantly the same. This is one reason why they are very little attended to, and, amid the crowd of other feelings, are, in general, wholly forgotten. They are of that class of feelings which occur as antecedents to other more interesting feelings. To these the attention is immediately called off, and those which preceded and introduced them are forgotten. In such cases the thought of the less interesting sensations is merged in that of the more interesting.
semper colore et specie sine ulla vel minima varietate apparentem obversum esse, mihi certe, quicquid dicant alii, non magis videre videretur, quam ego videor mihi per tactus organa sentire lacertorum meorumo ssa. Ea tamen perpetuo et undequaque sensibilissima membrana continguntur.-Adeo sentire semper idem, et non sentire, ad idem recidunt. Hobbes, Elem. Philos. Pars IV. c. XXV. § 5.
If we had not direct proof, analogy would lead us to conclude, that no change could take place, in parts of so much sensibility as the muscles, without a change of feeling; in particular, that a distinguishable feeling must attend every contraction, and relaxation. We have proof that there is such a feeling, because intimation is conveyed to the mind that the relaxation or contraction is made. I will, to move my arm; and though I observe the motion by none of my senses, I know that the motion is made. The feeling that attends the motion has existed. Yet so complete is my habit of attending only to the motion, and not to the feeling, that no attention can make me distinctly sensible that I have it. Nay, there are some muscles of the body in constant and vehement action, as the heart, of the feelings attendant upon the action of which we seem to have no cognisance at all. That this is no argument against the existence of those feelings, will be made apparent, by the subsequent explanation of other phenomena, in which the existence of certain feelings, and an acquired incapacity of attending to them, are out of dispute.
In most cases of the muscular feelings, there is not only that obscurity, of which we have immediately spoken, but great complexity; as several muscles almost always act together; in many of the common actions of the body, a great number. The result of these complex feelings is often
sufficiently perceptible, though the feelings, separately, can hardly be made objects of attention. The unpleasant feeling of fatigue, in part at least a muscular feeling, is one of those results. The pleasure which almost all the more perfect animals, especially the young, appear to feel, in even violent exercise, may be regarded as another. The restlessness of a healthy child; the uneasiness in confinement, the delight in the activity of freedom, which so strongly distinguish the vigorous schoolboy; seem to indicate, both a painful state of the muscular system in rest, and a pleasurable state of it in action. Who has not remarked the playful activity of the kitten and the puppy? The delight of the dog, on being permitted to take exercise with his master, extends through the greater part of his life.
One of the cases in which the feeling of muscular action seems the most capable of being attended to, is the pleasure accompanying the act of stretching, which most animals perform in drowsiness, or after sleep.
A very slight degree of reflection is sufficient to evince, that we could not have had the idea of resistance, which forms so great a part of what we call our idea of matter, without the feelings which attend muscular action. Resistance means a force opposed to a force; the force of the object, opposed to the force which we apply to it. The force which we apply is the action of our muscles,