The Art of Physick
Section A. Of the 7 Naturals
7. Of the Actions
D. After the Faculties follow the Actions. What is an Action?
C. An Action is a Motion proceeding from a Faculty; sometimes from the Greek called Energy; from the Latins, Function or Operation.
D. How is Function divided?
C. As Faculty is threefold, so is Function, Animal, Vital, and Natural.
D. But Galen allows but two sorts of Function, Animal and Natural. Of Actions, says he, there are two primary Differences; for some are the Actions of the Soul, and others of Nature: therefore the first are called Animal, and the Second Natural.
C. I Answer, That in that place Galen comprehends the Vital under the Animal Functions.
D. How do the Intellectual Actions differ from the Sensible?
C. There is this particular difference between them, That the Sensible Actions have every one their particular Organs, by which they are committed; Sight, the Eye; Hearing, the Ear; the Action of Smelling, the Nose; Taste, the Tongue; Feeling, the Skin: But Intellectual Actions want the help of no Corporeal Organ, because they are not capable of Corporeity.
D. As if the Brain were not the Organ of the Functions of the Mind, whose Temperament is so necessary for the true performance of Understanding, Cognition, and Ratiocination; that that being once depraved, Frenzy follows.
C. I grant the Brain to be the Organ of Imagination, which contains the Idea’s of Corporeal things, but not of the Mind, only so far, as that it cannot operate in the Body, without the help of sensible Idea’s.
D. How are voluntary Actions divided?
C. They are twofold; some are continually free, others subject to the Affections of the Body.
D. Which are altogether free?
C. Those which we do perpetually when and as often as we please, without any impediment, as Speaking and Walking.
D. Which are subject to the Affections of the Body?
C. Such as are not perpetual, but at certain times, as the Necessities of the Body require; as making Water, and Easement of the Belly.
D. How are the Vital Functions distinguished?
C. Of the Vital Actions, the one is the Principal, which is the work of making the Vital Spirit, two Ministerial, as Respiration, and the Beating of the Pulses. Under the Pulsatile Actions are comprehended the Motions of the Heart, proceeding from the Irascible and Concupiscible Faculties: From the one Gladness, Hope, Love, which dilate the Heart, as embracing the Object of Good. From the other, Sadness, Fear, Hatred, by which the Heart is contracted, troubled and oppressed, as avoiding the Evil object.
D. Is Respiration an Animal or Natural Action?
C. It is a voluntary Action, being made by the help of Muscles, contracting and dilating the Breast, but not altogether free, because it is done upon Necessity. Others believe Respiration to be a mixed Action, partly Animal, in respect of the Organs; partly Natural, as depending upon the motion of the Heart, which is Natural; and because it never creases whether we sleep or wake, when all the Animal Actions cease in Sleep.
D. Is the Pulse an Animal or Natural Motion?
C. The Pulse neither depends upon the Will, nor Nature simply, but upon the Vital Faculty of the Soul, which is Natural. Not upon the Will, because we cannot make this motion, nor stop it at our own pleasures. Not simple upon Nature; for nothing moves in a living Body but the Soul: for otherwise there would be more than one form. The Soul is of an Animal Nature, which to preserve its Union with the Body, moves the Heart, concocts in the Stomach and Liver, and performs all the other Offices of Life. Therefore the Pulse is a Natural motion of the Heart proceeding from the Natural Faculty of the Soul, which is not voluntary, but Vital.
D. How many Actions proceed from the Natural Faculty?
C. The Nutritive, increasing, and Generative Faculties.
D. What is Nutrition?
C. Nutrition is the conversion of the received Aliment into the substance of the Body.
D. How is Nutrition brought to pass?
C. The same juice, which being to Nourish every part of the Body, falls from the Vessels, is first dispersed into every part, then applied, and agglutinated, and after that assimilated; so the Nutrition is a perfect Assimilation; but that Assimilation may be brought to pass, Agglutination must precede, and before that Application.
D. Which are the Assistants of Nutrition?
C. Attraction, Retention, Concoction and Expulsion.
D. How are these Actions brought to perfection?
C. They are all, except Concoction, brought to perfection by the help of the Fibers; Attraction by the aid of the straight Fibers; Retention, of the Oblique; and Expulsion by the Assistance of the Transverse. For the Muscles, contracted at our will and pleasure, and as it were reduced to their Original, cause Motion, so it happens to the Natural Instruments; that by the straight fibers through the only instinct of Nature contracted, the Nourishment in attracted; by the Transverse fibers contracted, whatever lay in the more roomy space, is by that contraction expelled. But because the Oblique fibers being stretched forth, admit neither of a shorter or narrower capacity, Nature observing a kind of equality and constancy, they contain every thing, and neither attract nor expel.
D. How is Concoction perfected?
C. By the Innate Heat alone.
D. How many sorts of Concoction can you reckon?
C. Three: The first in the Stomach, the Second in the Liver, and the Third in the several parts.
D. What is Increasing?
C. It is the enlargement of the several Parts into Length, Breadth, and Depth.
D. What is Generation?
C. It is the Production of a new substance; therefore it is not a simple action of Nature, but compounded of Mutation and Formation. By these two Actions all Generation is brought to perfection. For when any substance is changed into another, it suffers a mutations of its proper Essence; as when out of the procreative Seed and Blood, a Bone, or a Nerve, or any other Part is generated; being withall fashioned into the shape agreeable to Nature. But this Function then chiefly acts in part, when the Birth lies in the Womb.
Action is the result of Function, working through the Spirits.
Intellectual Actions are not immediately dependent on an organ as the 5 senses are.
Urine and Stool.
Respiration is both Natural (involuntary) and Animal (voluntary)
The Natural Faculty supports life of the individual, and of the species. Thus Nutrition and Generation are under the Natural Faculty
The 'Juice' which 'Nourishes every part' is converted into the tissue or organ; this is 'Third Digestion'.
Attraction (Air) draws nutrition (appetite); Retention (Earth) holds food to allow Digestion; Concoction (Fire) is the
Digestion itself, and Expulsion (Phlegm) is the passage of waste.
Innate Heat=Yang, in this case, specifically Spleen Yang.
First Digestion is in the Stomach; nutrient passes to the Liver for Second Digestion which forms the 4 Humors. Third Digestion is the Alteration of Humors into Tissues and Organs and happens locally.
The Art Of Physick
OF THE 7 NATURALS
Introduction to the 7 Naturals
OF THE 6 NOT-NATURALS
(Preservation of Health)
Introduction to the 6 Not-Naturals
1. Ambient Air
2. Food and Drink
3. Sleep and Waking
4a. Exercise &
6. Emotions (Passions of the Mind)
OF THE 3 PRETER-NATURALS
3a. Symptoms &