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Acting And Mimicry:
 Expressions - Part 1

 Expressions - Part 2

 The Smile—the Laugh

 Love In Its Different States And Expressions

 Intellectual And Other Expressions

 General Expressions

 Effects Of Pathological States On The Expressions

 Read More Articles About: Acting And Mimicry

Expressions - Part 2

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

The expressions or imprints on our face and body are the result of the internal upheaval of our passions, of the workings of our minds, or of the excitement of our senses. Consequently the expressions can be divided into:

1. Expressions of the senses, or a separate faculty of perception connected with a special organ of the body. They are sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, which are subject to pleasant or painful impressions. These impressions act directly upon the whole body or parts of it, thus producing the fundamental mimicry of pleasure and pain.

2. Expressions of the passions, such as love, hatred, wrath, etc. These are rich in the elements of mimicry.

3. Intellectual expressions or the workings of the thought process, such as attention, reflection, meditation, etc. Contrary to the expressions of the passions, the intellectual processes are not strongly indicated by exterior signs.

4. General expressions, or those caused by internal feelings and states of mind for varied reasons, such as impatience, irony, courage, etc.

The two poles of general expressions are "action and repose." In repose we are lying down or seated. The mimicry of expression gradually dies out until we fall asleep. Action is just the opposite of repose. In action our will and, consequently, our expressions, gradually awaken until they develop into a form capable of mimicry.

5. Simulated expressions are the ones dictated by the will in order to cover the explosions of the passions and certain intellectual processes, such as hypocrisy, falsity, etc.


There is no existence without both pain and pleasure. Darwin teaches that at birth our consciousness is awakened by pain. In later life it warns us of danger and acts as a safeguard to the body.

Psychologists have thoroughly investigated the characteristics of pain and pleasure, and Mantegazza, after having written two very interesting volumes on these subjects, divides the expressions of pleasure and pain, according to the sources from which they are derived, into:

1. Pleasure and pain of the senses.

2. Pleasure and pain of the passions.

3. Pleasure and pain of the intellect.

4. Pleasure and pain of the body.

The mimicry of pain or pleasure of the senses manifests itself mostly around the organ of a specific sense. Pain of the visual senses (eye) can be produced by looking at an unpleasant or sad picture; pain to the sense of hearing, by listening to some ultra-futuristic music, for in-stance.

The expression of pleasure of the passions is illustrated by love, which impels noble emotions while pain of the passions may be illustrated by hatred, which prompts low actions.

Intellectual pain or pleasure reflects itself in the eye and forehead, thus producing frowns and wrinkles on all the upper part of the face.

Bodily pain is thus splendidly described by Bell:

In bodily pain the jaws are fixed, and the teeth grind; the lips are drawn laterally, the nostrils dilated; the eyes are largely uncovered and the eyebrows raised; the face is turgid with blood, and the veins of the temple and fore-head distended; the breath being checked, and the descent of blood from the head impeded by the agony of the chest, the cutaneous muscle of the neck acts strongly and draws down the angles of the mouth. But when, joined to this, the man cries out, the lips are retracted and the mouth open; and we find the muscles of his body rigid, straining, struggling. If the pain be excessive he becomes insensible, and the chest is affected by sudden spasms. On recovering consciousness, he is incoherent, until again roused by suffering. In bodily pain conjoined with distress of mind, the eyebrows are knit, while their inner extremities are raised ; the pupils are in part concealed by the upper eye-lids; and the nostrils are agitated.

The external symptoms of pleasure are often the laugh and the smile; of pain, crying and weeping.

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