Desktop version

Home arrow Philosophy arrow The fathers of the church

Why the members are discovered to be cold in one who is dying but they are warm in one already dead.

One asks why the members are discovered to be cold in one who is dying but they are warm in one already dead.

It is on account of this: that when someone is dying, the blood and the spirits are recalled from the exterior members to the interior ones to assist nature, and this is why the exterior ones are cold. But once the person dies and the war of illness versus nature has finished, nature succumbs and the blood is then redirected to the exterior members along with the spirit, and this is why they are warm. Some, after the soul's exit, become engorged when earlier they were not swollen, because at that time a great deal of windiness is generated in them from the mortifying cold, on account of which the belly swells and becomes hard.

Why marine fish are very bland although they are nourished on salt water.

Again one asks why marine fish are very bland, although they are nourished on salt water.

Response. Seawater consists of three elements. Although it is salty, there is still something contained in it that is not salty but is sweet and likeable and similar to the fish's substance, namely, a certain moisture. The members then attract it to themselves for their nourishment by a natural sensation.[1] That is why fish are not salty.

Or, in another way. Although they are nourished by salt water, on account of the digesting and decocting heat of the members they lose the saltiness and are despoiled of it.

Why insanity follows after being bitten by a rabid dog.

Again one asks why insanity follows after being bitten by a rabid dog and why the man who has been injured spews forth poison just like one who is driven by an evil spirit.

Response. While the wound is open, the poison is not perceived and it evaporates. After the wound has closed, the poison ascends to the brain and infects it.

Cure: Place a cautery on the head and use theriac.[2]

Why a person who passes by a corpse suffers goosebumps.

Again one asks why a person who passes by a corpse, or if there is someone hidden, suffers goose bumps [horripilatio].

Response: the hidden person emits an exhalation that touches the one passing while infecting the air, and thus goose bumps occur, or he imagines that there is something fearful there, and this is why he is afraid.[3]

It is the same for a corpse, because it infects the air, etc.

Why madmen have so much strength.

<Again, one asks why madmen have so much strength.

Response.> Madmen have such great strength because, although they have an infected brain, they are not afraid of anything. Thus the brain is not constrained or straitened. A large quantity of the motive spirit distributed throughout the members produces great strength.

Another reason is that although the brain is infected, they do not think about the future nor that anything bad can happen to them, and this is why they dare anything.

Another reason is that although the spirit in them is not intent upon producing imagination, reason, or memory, it is nonetheless diffused in large quantity throughout the members and produces great strength on behalf of the amount of fumes generated in them, which, wandering among the members, produces great strength.

  • [1] Lit., "a judgment that is natural to sense," sensu naturali sententia. This redundancy seems to be an interpolation.
  • [2] On the famous poison antidote called theriaca, see DA 1.1.8.102, 2.2.4.119 (SZ 1: 84, 342-43). Yet another valid meaning is "treacle" (Latham, s.v. theriaca) which might better suit a cure of this sort. Cf. De veg. 6.455.
  • [3] Cf. A., Decausispropr. elem. 2.2.1. Horripilatioalso implies that the person's hair stands up on end.
 
Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >

Related topics