How the Mind gets Knowledge. Everything the mind knows of the external world, it learns through the organs of sense, which communicate with it through these nerves. Thus, the nerves are acted on by external agents, and then they act on the brain and cause sensations. When the hand is burned the nerves of sensation run with the intelligence to the brain, which, quick as thought, through the nerves of motion, dispatches orders to the muscles to repel the injury.
Comparison. The arrangement and operation of the nervous system are like those of the electric firealarm system of a city. The brain is the intelligent centre, like the central office. The nerves of sensation which carry to the brain, with electric speed, intelligence of what is going on outside, are like the wires which run to the central station from the several boxes. The quick carrying to the brain of any information of injury done to some part of the body, is like sending to the central station from an alarmbox the intelligence of fire in one of the districts. The rapid transmission of orders from the mind to the muscles is like flashing the alarm over the wires to every part of the city. And, finally, the powerful action of the muscles in warding off danger is like the dashing of firemen over the pavements and the energetic playing of the engines.
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