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398 FRAGMENTS or SCIENCE.

interval of transmission, a still further time is necessary for
the brain to put itself in order—for its molecules to take
up the motions or positions necessary to the completion of
consciousness. Helmholtz considers that one-tenth of a
second is demanded for this purpose. Thus, in the case of
the whale above supposed, we have first half a second con—
sumed in the transmission of the intelligence through the
sensor nerves to the head, one-tenth of a second consumed
by the brain in completing the arrangements necessary to
consciousness, and, if the velocity of transmission through
the motor be the same as that through the sensor nerves,
half a second in sending a command to the tail to defend
itself. Thus one second and a tenth would elapse before
an impression made upon its caudal nerves could be re-
sponded to by a whale fifty feet long.

N ow, it is quite conceivable that an injury might be
inflicted which would render the nerves unfit to be the con-
ductors of the motion which results in sensation; and if
such a thing occurred, no matter how severe the injury
might be, we should not be conscious of it. Or it may
be that, long before the time required by the brain to
complete the arrangement necessary to consciousness, its
power of arrangement might be wholly suspended. In
such a case also, though the injury might be of a nature
to cause death, this would occur without feeling of any
kind. Death in this case would be simply the sudden
negation of life, without any intervention of consciousness
whatever.

Doubtless there are many kinds of death of this char-
acter. The passage of a muskebbullet through the brain
is a case in point; and the placid aspect of a man thus killed
is in perfect accordance with the conclusion which might be
drawn a priori from the experiments of Helmholtz. Cases
of insensibility, moreover, are not uncommon which do not
result in death, and after which the persons affected have

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