Been a while since I did a Words Crush Wednesday, huh? Well, I hope I remembered the title correctly on the book I’m quoting here! It’s not a book I own, you see, but one I came across as I was cataloging the museum’s library on Sunday. I seem to recall the title being The Reason Why, but it might have been the plural “Reasons” or…well, this is the general idea, anyway. It was a book of “scientific facts” explaining all sorts of things like why a bubble is round, where condensation comes from, et cetera. The stuff a five year old asks.
Anyway, this one was so funny I had to take a photo of it so I could quote it here.
977. Why do tears form in the eyes?
Because, under the emotions of the mind, the circulation of blood in brain, and in its nearest branches, becomes considerably quickened. The eyes receive a larger amount of blood, and the secretion of the lachrymal glands being increased, the fluid overflows, and tears are formed. The use of tears is probably to keep the eyes cool during the excitement of the brain. They are formed also during laughing, but less frequently. [Emphasis in original.]
Yup, this allegedly scientific document just claimed that you cry to keep your eyes cool ’cause your brain is overheating. Because that’s such a scientific explanation.
(Actually, while I understand that the main purpose of the tear glands is to keep the eyes moist and to wash away dust and other particulate matter that accrues on the surface of the eyeball, I have to admit to some curiosity about why emotional distress causes tears in most people. Primarily because this put the idea in my head; I’d never really stopped to think about it before.)