Superphysics Superphysics
Part 2

Excrements and Diseases

by Rene Descartes Icon
5 minutes  • 945 words

Convulsion occurs when there is a gas trapped within the nerves, not pure animal spirits.

The gas is generated there, either when a nerve is pinched or when a slow vapor penetrates it.

The gas in the nerves connects the parts of the spirit, causing them to conspire and work together to overcome the force of the nerve, and thus it determines the motion of the parts.

The gas does not arise solely from heat and cold, but rather from the cold that follows heat. For heat indeed attenuates the spirit, but it does not create the gas: because, while it attenuates them, it also opens up the passages through which they escape; and if heat is not taken away, these passages will always respond in proportion to the amount of spirits that are rarefied.

If, however, cold intervenes and closes these passages, and the spirit that was rarefied begins to move, then because it has begun to move, it moves even more so with the help of heat from other parts.

Then, this spirit, which cannot escape, turns into gas.

The same thing happens in the case of chestnuts placed on top of a perforated iron bar and ignited: if they do not move, the heat of the fire attenuates the spirit inside them, but it also attenuates the bark of the chestnuts that is closest to the fire, through which the spirit expels itself.

If, however, they do move, then the bark that was closest to the fire is opposed to another part of the cold air, and its passages are therefore constricted; the spirit inside is not attenuated, either because it has begun to move or because the fire urges it from the other side.

Nor can it expel itself through the bark of the fire at that time: because it is not yet fully rarefied, and because it has already directed its paths towards another part."

Some foods, however, are flatulent, which, when they are easily dissolved by natural heat, do not have their pores opened so easily by the same heat, through which they can escape from the intestines. The arm is tied to the vein section, so that more blood remains in the arm. This is done because blood is propelled with force to the extremities of the body during diastole, and since it does so with force, it impedes the blood from reaching the arm. On the other hand, during systole, the blood refluxes from the extremities of the body without force, because the bond can impede it from refluxing.

If a paralysis occurs due to a cholic disease, only the motion is lost, not the sensation, because the membranes of the nerves are affected, not the medulla. The medulla is sometimes damaged, and the motion of the femur is lost, while the motion of the arm is preserved. It is not surprising, since the nerve that goes to the femur is distinct from the nerve of the arm and is located in a thinner place.

Mucus that flows through the nose and palate is generated in the same place, not in the brain: because as long as the material from which it is born is in the brain, it is nothing but spirit, not mucus. Just as soot from a chimney is not darkness, but smoke, when it emerges from the fire.

The fetus is nourished in the womb by blood that flows from all the members of the mother’s body; and that blood can imbue the forms or ideas that are in her fantasy, whence signs are expressed in the fetus’s body.

During sleep, more spirits emerge through the nose and palate than during wakefulness, whence the body is sustained at that time. There is a pandiculation after sleep to replenish the muscles with spirits that were evacuated during sleep.

Crocus is beneficial for asthma: give 1/2 grain of moss and a little wine. Fabæ purge and liberate the body from phlegm and cough. Phthisicus is healed by using two ovules of eggs slightly cooked and sprinkled with sulfur powder and wine, in a larger quantity than the size of the fabæ, with a sweet wine draft, at the same hour before other foods.

Antidote against pestilence and poisons of King Mithridates. Take two dry nuts, two figs, and as many rue leaves, add a grain of salt, and drink it every morning fasting.

If there is a tedious complaint in the feet and hands, while the maggots are emerging, contain them in warm water for a long time.

The pulse increases immediately after waking up. This is because the blood, which had been stagnant in certain veins and muscles, suddenly flows towards the heart due to:

  • the motion of the whole body and
  • the sudden entry of spirits into the muscles.

This is why yawns and pandiculations occur simultaneously at times.

Sneezing is the expulsion of ventricles in the brain through the nose.

Yawns are the expulsion of vapors between the two meninges existing through the palate.

The vapors collect there due to a lack of agitation in the substance of the brain, or when, in that space between the two meninges, which is always full, it suddenly contracts, because the brain becomes inflated.

When we wake up, we breathe out spirit through the nose, if there is an odor in the closed mouth, and even if gold is placed on it.

A woman has a hemorrhage every seven days, struggling with labor.

In scurvy, some people experience an aggravated motion on the 4th or 5th day, others on the third day, and others on alternate days, without manifest fever or with very slight fever.

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