results from the explanations we have just given that the notion of our sentient ego, our inner person ality, far from being a simple and unique phenomenon, is merely the result of a series of organic opeiations, which combine and lend each other a mutual support, but which are nevertheless capable of isolated action. We have also shown that this notion of our per sonality, connected with the life of the organisms which sustain it, cannot maintain itself in us, always vivid and always brilliant, like burning fire, except under the express condition that it shall be incessantly kept alive by the vital forces of the elements which concur to produce and maintain it. As it is dependent upon the oscillations of the substratum which supports it, it is liable to become languid, to rise and fall with this. We shall now endeavour to give a sketch of these different vicissitudes.
Thus it is sometimes the peripheral regions of the nervous system that are first disturbed in their function ment, and thus induce a morbid slackening in the evolution of the processes of the central regions.
Sometimes, on the contrary, it is the central regions which are engaged, either by congestions or by sudden arrests in the course of the blood in their plexuses ; phenomena which in the first case lead to exaggerations of the personality, in the second to transient obtuse ness, loss of consciousness, etc.
In the first case we meet with patients (otherwise pre lisposed) attacked by of the skin, in whom sensory excitations, instead of developing in the s en sorium the habitual reactions which result from contact with the external world, cease to react. Then we see a series of delirious conceptions of a peculiar kind occur in them ; the process of personality, deprived of its elementary materials, naturally undergoes an arrest of development. Thus they think they have lost their personality, that they are changed into animals, that they have become inanimate things—a lump of clay, glass or butter—that they are no longer alive. An patient described by Michea, said that his body had been changed, and that he had been trans formed into a machine : " You see," he said " that I no longer have a body." Another insisted that he was dead from head to feet.* The elder Foville reports the case of an old soldier who said that he had been long dead. When anyone asked after his health. he would say : " How is Pere Lambert, do you ask ? He is dead. He was killed by a bullet. What you see
is not he ; it is a machine they have made to resemble him." In speaking of himself he never said me but that.
A lady affected by emotional exitement, whom I have had occasion to observe, and who was similarly anws thetic, has told me she no longer felt anything surround ing her, that she was in space, that her body no longer possessed weight, and that she was on the point of flying away.
The surgeon Baudeloque, at the last period of his life, had lost consciousness of the existence of his body. If he were asked : " How is your head ? " he would answer: "My head ! I have none." If he were asked to hold out his hand and have his pulse felt, he would say that he did not know where it was. He wished one day to feel his own pulse ; they placed his right hand over his left wrist, and he then asked if it were really his own hand he felt.* When the central regions of the nervous .system are engaged in their essential constitution, the most interesting disturbances may take place in connection with the processes of the notion of personality ; these disturbances being different, according as the organic conditions of the substratum differ as regards erethism or collapse of the cerebral cells, and as regards acceler ation or slackening of the blood circulating in their plexuses.
Thus in the congestive period of general paralysis, when the elements of the seizsorium, t;uffering from the most intense circulatory super-activity, receive nutrient materials in excess, they are by this means impelled, like all the other histological elements of the economy, to develop their peculiar vitality in an exaggerated manner. They then assume a condition of exaltation, and soon develop a species of continuous erethism, while the physiological function they consequently accomplish by no means increases in an equal proportion. Thus it is that in this congestive period the normal process of the evolution of personality is exaggerated in so characteristic a manner. At this period, indeed, the personality of the individual is raised several degrees above its normal pitch. It extends, enlarges,* swells out, with the morphological elements upon which it lives, and the patient, hurried into that fatal cycle, feels himself richer, greater, stronger than he was before. He speaks of himself, his physical health, which is splendid, of the riches he has accumulated, of his social importance, which is immense—he has become a king, an emperor, a pope, etc.