Hack Tuke, Daniel – Sickness - Heart arrythmia induced by powerful emotions – anxiety
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
As described in Illustrations Of The Influence Of The Mind Upon The Body In Health And Disease, Designed To Elucidate The Action Of The Imagination - Daniel Hack Tuke, M.D., M.R.C.P.,
PART II. THE EMOTIONS.
CHAPTER IX. INFLUENCE OF THE EMOTIONS UPON THE INVOLUNTARY MUSCLES.
The influence of the emotions upon this organ is so remarkable, that it has always been a problem of great interest to determine the nature of their relation ; and to ascertain from anatomical facts, why it is that the feelings and the heart are, and always have been, so inseparably connected. The heart, it need hardly be said, is a most prolific source of figurative modes of speech. Indeed the fact from which this arises, that of the heart being regarded by mankind as the organ of the passions, is itself an indication of the intimate relation subsisting between certain states of the mind and the movements and sensations of this viscus.
" Heart-rending " descriptions, " cordial " expressions of good-will, and numberless cognate terms at once occur to the mind.
Elihu said, " At this also my heart trembleth and is moved out of his place."
Dr. Johnson's commentary is, "The heart is considered as the seat of tenderness : a hard heart therefore is cruelty."……..
Burdach, writing in 1726, observes, "it is said I love you with all my heart," " this tears my heart," &c.; not because those sentiments are produced in the heart, but because in every violent affection, either the heart or other parts, by the movements of which we describe the affections, in our language, act sympathetically. (" Meditationes de Anima Humana," cap. vii, p. 198, xxii, II, p. 75.)
Irregular contraction of the heart from emotion, from slight intermission to actual spasm, is a frequent circumstance. It arises sometimes from a particular cause, and is not excited by another, which appears to involve a more powerful emotion. Active anxiety or suspense has a special tendency to induce it. John Hunter says he was subject to "spasm of his vital parts" when anxious about any event — a circumstance of interest when his mode of death is remembered.
"At my country -box I have bees which I am very fond of, and I was once anxious about their swarming, lest it should happen before I set off for town; this brought it on. The cats tease me very much by destroying my tame pheasants, partridges, &c, and rooting up my plants. I saw a large cat sitting at the root of a tree, and was going into the house for a gun, when I became anxious lest she should get away before my return; this likewise brought on the spasm; other states when my mind is much more affected will not bring it on" (The Works of John Hunter. Edited by Mr. Palmer. 1838. 4 vols, I, p. 336).
Hunter could tell an affecting story without experiencing any spasm; but it acted upon his power of articulation — he had to stop several times during its relation. Passion, as well as anxiety, affected his heart. " My life," he used to say, " is at the mercy of any scoundrel who chooses to put me in a passion."