• romans

The significance of breath

Throughout history, the subject of breath has held special significance in philosophy, religion, mythology and literature.Take a step back in time to the civilisation of Ancient Egypt and breath was inextricably associated with the concept of the 'soul'. The Egyptians believed this was composed of several parts, the 'Ka' or breath, which continued after death and remained in proximity to the earthly body , while another part commenced it spiritual journey. In Christianity, the first book of the Bible, Genesis, speaks of the 'breath of life', while in Hinduism, 'Atman' comes from Sanskrit meaning 'essence' or 'breath' .

Throughout history, the subject of breath has held special significance in philosophy, religion, mythology and literature. 

Take a step back in time to the civilisation of Ancient Egypt and breath was inextricably associated with the concept of the 'soul'. The Egyptians believed this was composed of several parts, the 'Ka' or breath, which continued after death and remained in proximity to the earthly body1 , while another part commenced it spiritual journey. In Christianity, the first book of the Bible, Genesis, speaks of the 'breath of life', while in Hinduism, 'Atman' comes from Sanskrit meaning 'essence' or 'breath'2

The 'spiritual' implications of breath are understandable. Breathing is tangible proof that we live and from that it could be said everything else follows. It was a source of philosophical and scientific interest to the ancient Greeks and Romans too. Cicero is credited with the wise words 'As long as I breathe, I hope', while Aristotle wrote about both the soul and breath3, and Hippocrates on 'Breaths'4.

When it comes to mythology, breath has a more sinister side, embodied by the mythological Basilisk. This 'king' of serpents was credited by Pliny the Elder in 79AD with the ability to destroy bushes with its breath5!

In terms of literature, the use of breath occurs in many guises. Wordsworth perhaps encapsulates its significance in the lines:

'A being breathing thoughtful breath, 

A traveller between life and death6.'

Breath is a qualifier of life, and many authors have used it as an analogy for bringing works and concepts 'alive'. Again, Wordsworth described poetry as 'the breath and finer spirit of knowledge'7 while Byron, in the Bride of Abydon, speaks of the 'music breathing from her face'. Jump forward to the 20th century and the significance of breath appears no less diminished -- Samuel Beckett's play 'Breath' which lasts less than a minute, contains only the sound of two birth-cries and of someone taking a breath. 

One writer who does have things to say about breath is of course Shakespeare, one of the Bard's most famous allusions contained in Sonnet 18: 

'As long as men can breathe or eyes can see, 

So long lives this and this gives life to thee.' 

However, Shakespeare's observations on breath were not always so complimentary, as he talks of breath 'that reeks' from his mistress8 and the 'foul wind' that 'is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome'9 ! He goes further still when the term 'breath infect breath'10 follows a reference to leprosy in the play Timon of Athens.

With so much significance having been conferred on, and inferred by, breath over the centuries, when the 'sweet breath'11 that Shakespeare also speaks of, fails us too, it can be troubling.

The term 'noisome' may be outmoded but 'bad' breath is very much alive and present today, with up to one in four adults in the UK thought to suffer from it on a regular basis12. The term 'bad' in this sense infers an unpleasant odour, in the same way one might refer to something that has 'gone bad', but what causes 'bad' breath? 

Sometimes bad breath can be the result, or an indication, of an underlying medical condition and it is important to ascertain the cause. In many cases however, the problem may be in the oral cavity, caused by the malodorous gases methyl mercaptan, hydrogen sulphide and dimethyl sulphide, known as Volatile Sulphur Compounds (VSCs), which are caused by bacteria in the mouth. 

Sufferers may find bad breath worrying or embarrassing, fearing it may affect such things as social life or concerned that others may find it offensive. It was certainly found to be a worry for many people going on a date13. Those who realize they are suffering from bad breath may look to their dental professional for help and advice. Treating bad breath will depend upon the circumstances of each individual patient, but in many cases, merely masking the smell of bad breath may not be sufficient or offer adequate relief, in which case CB12 may be able to help. 

CB12 uses the active ingredients of zinc acetate and chlorhexidine diacetate to neutralise the VSCs that cause bad breath, rather than merely masking the smell. It is effective for up to 12 hours and also contains fluoride. Easy to use and available in two different flavours, CB12 can offer welcome relief to sufferers. While CB12 does not cure halitosis, used regularly it can help to maintain fresh breath.

Helping to relieve bad breath can make a big difference to sufferers. Shakespeare, as always, puts it well: 

"For this relief much thanks"14.

 

1. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/555149/soul

2. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/atman

3. Aristotle Volume VIII. Loeb Classical Library 288. On the Soul. Parva Naturalia. On Breath. Aristotle. www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php

4. Volume II, Prognostic. Regimen in Acute Diseases. The Sacred Disease. The Art. Breaths. Law. Decorum. Physician (Ch. 1). Dentition. (Loeb Classical Library) by Hippocrates, W. H. S. Jones (Translator) 

5. Natural History. Pliny the Elder

6. Poem: She was a Phantom of Delight. William Wordsworth

7. Observations Prefixed to Lyrical Ballads (1800) by William Wordsworth 

8. Shakespeare Sonnet 130

9. Shakespeare. Much Ado About Nothing.

10. Shakespeare. Timon of Athens, Act IV. Scene I.

11. Act IV, Scene 2. Midsummer Nights Dream. Shakespeare

12. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Bad-breath/Pages/Introduction.aspx

13. www.cb12.co.uk CB12 Dating Press Release May 2013. 'Bad breath is Brits' biggest pre-date worry'

14. Hamlet. William Shakespeare. Hamlet Act 1, scene 1


Comments (2)

  1. Josef ⋅ November 17, 2018

    Good day, I'am Josef Lewis, A private loan lender who gives out loan to individuals, companies, and government establishments at a low interest rate of 2%. We know that there are lots of families out there who live on pay to pay check and others that cannot take care of their financial obligations and for this reason we are here for financial restoration.

    We offer a wide range of financial services which includes: Business Planning, Commercial and Development Finance, Properties and Mortgages, Debt Consolidation Loans, Business Loans, Private loans, Home Refinancing, Hotel Loans, student loans etc. Kindly respond immediately using the details below if interested in a loan and be free of scams..

    Email: progresiveloan@yahoo.com
    Call/Text +1(603) 786-7565 thanks

  2. Karen Brown ⋅ November 17, 2018

    .I AM FINALLY FREE FROM FINANCIAL BONDAGE THANKS TO MOORE LOAN COMPANY (mooreloancompany@yahoo.com).

    Good day everyone,I can’t hide this great testimony that took place in my life I will love everyone to know it and be a partaker of this, that is why I want to share it to the whole world by placing this advert on classifieds, I am Mrs Karen Brown by name, I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee United State, I want to thank ROBBINSON MOORE for his kindness upon my family life, I never knew that there is still a sincere and trustworthy lender like this on the internet and on earth. Just some days I was in search for a loan of $ 100,000.00, As I was running out of money for feeding, School fees, My business was really going out of capital and my rent. I was scammed about $15,000.00 dollars and I decided not to involve my self in such business again. But a Friend of mine introduced me to a loan firm due to my appearance and doings and also my complains to her. And I told her that I am not interested in any loan deal anymore but she told me that there is still a sincere lender who she will recommend me to, And she gave me the details of this man who is called MOORE ROBBINSON. And I really put a trial and I am most greatful and lucky today, I was given a loan amount of $95,000,00 Dollars by this great firm MOORE LOAN COMPANY. If you arew in need of a genuine, Sincere, durable and a truth worthy loan lender or financial assistance and also you know you can be reliable and trusted, capable of paying back at the due / duration time of the funds I will advice you to send your contact to them via email @[ mooreloancompany@yahoo.com] OR Text (414) 454-9493 . And you will be free from scams on the internet. Please I am begging everyone on earth to help me thank Mr ROBBINSON MOORE. And I ill always being sharing this great surprise and testimony that happened in my life everyday to all that need loans. Contact them now if you are in need of a loan: AS THEY ARE EFFICIENT,DYNAMIC AND RELAIBLE.....Again there contact email [mooreloancompany@yahoo.com OR Text (414) 454-9493
    .

Write new comment