Book “Pathologies – A Life in Essays”

Mind Reader
In the nineteenth century, if you wanted to understand yourself better, you went to a phrenologist and had your head examined. Phrenologists argued that each human faculty corresponded to a particular “organ” of the brain and that the shape and size of these organs suggested their relative power. They massaged their subjects’ skulls, feeling for the bumps, and then massaged their egos, telling them about their characters. Queen Victoria believed in phrenology; so did Whitman and Dickens and Charlotte Bronte and George Eliot. Ambrose Bierce did not. He called it “the science of picking the pocket through the scalp. It consists in locating and exploiting the organ that one is a dupe with.”

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