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That Descartes' emphasis upon the middle of the head was in accord with the notions of the times we might bring many things to show. The most amusing illustration which comes to mind is in a book on hermetics and astrology by Robert Fludd, Doctor of Medicine at Oxford, “De supernaturali, naturali, præternaturali, et contranaturali microcosmi historia," 1619. In a full-page engraving is shown a man's head and hand in profile, with dotted lines connecting the organs of the five senses with mystic circles representing the material world. Upon the temples are two circles inscribed sensativa, imaginativa, and in the oval where they overlap, the sentence bic anima est. Upon the occiput are two other circles, memorativa and motiva, and again bic anima est. In the middle of the head (not far above the region of the pineal gland) are concentric circles, mens, intellectus, ratio; overlapping circles, cogitativa and aestimativa, and for the third time bic anima est; but from this middle soul there are dotted lines leading heavenward to radiant niches marked with names of angels and archangels, powers and principalities, thrones and dominations and the Persons of the Trinity.
Bartholin and Wharton, two of the best anatomists of the time, offered prompt objection to the pineal gland theory, on grounds no more subtle than Descartes' own. First, they urged, this little body, no more than twenty grains in weight, is too small to contain all the images of the soul. More to the point is their second objection, that the external nerves do not arise from the glandula pinealis, but from the spinal marrow, and thus anatomical study does not show how the animal spirits can pass into them from a structure so deeply placed. The third objection is based on the entirely antrue, but more striking notion that the cerebrospinal fluid of the third ventricle is refuse matter from the process of refinement of animal spirits, and hence Descartes
was locating the soul in a place of excrements. Other anatomists discovered the frequent presence of small gritty concretions in the pineal body, which somehow made that structure more sordid, less fit to be the seat of a great function.
These criticisms did not invalidate the methods, but only the results of the great philosopher's anatomy; and there seems to have been something fascinating about the Cartesian rules for discovering the soul that set all his friends dissecting as well. Two English relics of their search survive under the dust of libraries, which seems to lie thickest upon books of outworn philosophy. Sir Kenelm Digby found time, amid a life of experimenting in alchemy, of privateering in the Mediterranean, of promoting the most preposterous of all secret nostrums, writing cook-books, and of dueling, to visit Descartes and to write two thick treatises, “Of Bodies,” and “Of Man's Soul,” which are very treasuries of verbosity and of question-begging. Such a man, from pride of intellect alone, could not fail to take part in the search, and his solution was the septum pellucidum, the membrane or partition of cerebral substance which divides the right from the left lateral ventricle of the hemispheres. Digby's reasons, from first to fifthly, are too palpably like Descartes', but the last two are of a quaintness worthy quoting: “Sixthly, it is seated in the very hollow of the brain: which of necessity must be the place and receptacle, where the species and similitudes of things reside; and where they are moved and tumbled up and down, when we think of many things. And lastly, the situation we put our head in, when we think earnestly of any thing, favours this opinion: for then we hang our head forwards, as it were forcing the specieses to settle towards our forehead; that from thence they may rebound, and work upon this diaphanous substance.'
Dr. Henry More's “Treatise on the Immortality of the Soul” came from the seclusion of a fellowship in Christ's College, Cambridge. To him, as to Descartes, the soul is in the whole body, but that part of it which is called the common sensorium, wherein our five senses are joined in one understanding and reasoning faculty, must have a special seat in the brain. More would place it in "those purer animal spirits in the fourth ventricle of the brain."
The “Anatome Corporis Humani” of Isbrand van Diemerbroeck, professor at Utrecht, printed in 1672, would appear to be the last textbook which discussed the question of the soul as part of a routine description of the human body. After this the soul disappeared from the scope of anatomy as heaven had vanished from the maps of terrestrial geographers. Acuter insight began to distinguish the study of the mind's activities from pursuit of the soul, keener eyes began to trace the intricacies of the nervous system; and scholars came at last to share the opinion of Sir Thomas Browne: “In the brain, which we term the seat of reason, there is not anything of moment more than I can discover in the crany of a beast: and this is no inconsiderable argument of the inorganity of the soul, at least in that sense we generally so receive it. Thus we are men, and we know not how."
The sober hypotheses formed and discarded at one period of thought often remain alive in the belief of the credulous of a later time. Many pious enthusiasts still have great faith in the results of Piazzi Smith's attempt to prophesy the future by measuring the pyramids of Egypt; and in the same way the pineal gland is now having a revival of interest in Theosophic circles. In 1889, when Madame Blavatsky wrote her “Secret Doctrine," she was not aware of Herbert Spencer's brilliant discovery that the pineal body represents an undeveloped eye which in a few littleknown reptiles almost attains perfection
of form; and since the structure was still as inexplicable (lacking this knowledge) as it was in Descartes' time, it was eligible for
any function one might wish to give it. So, too, was the hypophysis or pituitary body; and in the new doctrine the latter was made the seat of a new, sixth sense, the power of comprehending unvoiced thought, psychic receptivity; while the pineal gland will be in later and higher races of our line the bodily lodging of the seventh sense, divine insight. Between these two structures there is a delicate connecting strand, whose invisibility to materialistic anatomists is explained by the statement that it is destroyed by shrinkage of the brain after death. Contrary to the usual rule, scientific investigation did not break down these views as far as the Theosophists were concerned) in suggesting more prosaic derivations and functions of the two mysterious bodies; the proven relations of the hypophysis to bodily growth and the embryological explanation of the pineal as a third eye, when they came, were accepted as renewed evidence of their psychic importance.
When a devotee by special endowment and training acquires the sixth sense, he can observe the functioning of another's inner processes of soul: “When a man is in his normal condition, an adept can see the golden aura pulsating in both the centers, like the pulsation of the heart. The arc of the pulsation of the Pituitary Body mounts upward, more and more, until the current finally strikes the Pineal Gland, and the dormant idea is awakened and set all glowing with the pure Â kâshik Fire. Once the sixth sense has awakened the seventh, the light which radiates from the seventh illuminates the fields of infinitude. For a brief space of time man becomes omniscient; the Past and the Future, Space and Time, disappear and become for him the Present.”—At this point the skeptic listener is tempted to quote Robert Boyle: :
“This seemingly rude lump of soft matter does for color and consistence look almost like so much custard; yet there are strange things performed in it!"
In this last strange recrudescence, we have an epitome of all searching for the soul in the body of man. If in this case the scientist is more likely to deny than to affirm, so has it always been. It is not the anatomist who has given us such dreams, but rather the mystic or philosopher who first created in his own thought an image of the soul, and set it down in whatever organ of the body seemed at the time most mysterious, most free from sordid function, nearest the inward fire. Into each of these
false temples of the spirit the anatomist has come by turn, but by the very breaking of idols he has helped to win the soul a brighter raiment. By the paradox of time we also count among the builders those who were destroyers, Asclepiades and his followers of all ages, who sought by experiment upon the body to prove non-existence of the soul; and against whom the voices of the pious have never ceased to be raised. So might sun-worshipers have mourned, to know that a prism of glass would one day prove that great light to come from the burning of earth-like minerals; wherein we conceive of Majesty exceeding earth
THE ESSENCE OF THE MEDIAEVAL SPIRIT
Well indeed may we turn our eyes away for a time; that if the social discipline and from those centuries wherein one of the chief fruition are to be renewed and enlarged it callings of man fell into unexampled and must be upon a new synthesis, as laborious even odious degradation. ... In the equal and ardent as the former, and more true. eye of history, the Middle Ages teach us that Meanwhile the business of a nation, whether slow and painful travail of natural science in war or peace, is first to be quick and strong is not to be regarded as the belated labor of light in action, to be rational afterwards; and swiftin the womb of darkness, nor as a mere ness and strength come of union of wills and stifling of the growth of the human mind by singleness of heart rather than wisdom. Even tyranny and oppression, nor indeed as the within its borders freedom of opinion must arming of moral forces against brute forces, awaken slowly; the nation strong enough to but as the condition of time in the making suffer irresolutions in its outward policy bas of societies on a necessarily provisional theory yet to appear. Hence it is that we find in ruling of life. They teach us that conduct in state classes, and in social circles which put on and morals depends upon a theory of life; aristocratical fashions, that ideas, and espethat although babits and even standards of cially scientific ideas, are beld in sincere etbics may abide for a time after the theory aversion and in simulated contempt. on which they were built is sapped, it is but
Sir Thomas Clifford Allbutt.
By WALTER A. JAYNE, M.D.,
(PERSIA) N ancient Iran, disease with its dād,” the Law against Demons. This last treatment was a definite part of the book is of especial interest to physicians, religious system. Medical doctrines as it relates almost entirely to disease.
and practices were determined by the Chapters XX-XXII are strictly medical. sacred books and were under the control The salient feature of the religion of and direction of the priesthood and physi- Zoroaster is a dualism, two creators and cians. The religion of Zoroaster prevailed two creations. Each creator has a following, in Iran, dating from an early period, and in creatures emanating from their principal, its development was highly moral and lofty, partaking of their respective characters, one of the most interesting of the ancient depositories of their respective powers and world. This system was dominant and prom- attributes, agents with varied functions ised to spread over the Orient, even to to carry out the creator's will and to Europe, when the ravages following the assist in waging the incessant warfare in conquest of Alexander the Great (330 which their principals are engaged. Ahura B. c.) checked it and effectually broke its Mazda (Ormazd), above all others, the god power. The “Avesta,” the Living Word, of Light, the omniscient and wise creator the sacred book of Iran, is now but a rem- of the universe and all good things, benefinant of the original, and is the holy scrip- cent in the extreme, is supported by six tures of the Parsees of India. It was a volu- Amesha Spentas, the “Immortal Holy minous work in the early days, inscribed Ones,” representing justice and piety, who with painstaking care on thousands of cow- form his court. Occupying an auxiliary place hides and on bricks in letters of gold, and are the Yazatas, the “Venerable Ones,” his was religiously guarded in the “Stronghold angels who are, for the most part, ancient of Records,” the treasuries, and temples. Aryan gods who have faded or have been Very much of it was destroyed by the orders demoted in favor of Zoroaster. To these of Alexander, and the Mohammedans, after are opposed in unremitting, malevolent, their conquest in the 7th Century A. D., bitter conflict Angra Mainyu (Ahriman), burned all of the remainder that was found. the Enemy Spirit, the Principle of Evil, The “Avesta” in its present form is, there- called “Druji,” (Deception), ignorant and fore, a reconstruction from traditions and the shortsighted, who created darkness, sin, memories of devotees. The portion called disease, suffering, and evil of every kind. the Gāthās bears internal evidence, how- With him are six Arch-fiends, the antitheses ever, in phraseology and dialect, of being of the Amesha Spentas, who are his commore intimately related to the original, and manders and direct the activities of untold parts of it may be a survival, at least in hordes of diabolical, evil spirits. These form. The “Avesta” is divided into several spirits of evil seek to overcome Ormazd, books and treats of the life of Zarathustra enslave him, and by every means in their (Zoroaster) and his teachings; precepts for power they endeavor to create confusion sanctity and a religious life; history or in all his good works, to destroy them. They cosmology; the law, moral and civil; the introduce all evil into the world and attack liturgy; and the book called the “Vendi- man to his detriment and destruction. Man
ever has a part in this struggle, aiding the one or opposing the other according to his moral attitude. Each work is an act of warfare for the good or for the bad. This conflict between the representatives of good and of evil continues without cessation through eons of time until eventually the world undergoes an ordeal, as of molten metal, by which it is purified. Thereafter evil will be eliminated and Ahura Mazda and goodness will reign supreme.
As is the religion so is the mythology of ancient Iran essentially dualistic and materially influenced by its neighbors, of Mesopotamia on one side and more definitely by the India on the other. Many of these myths are apparently of Aryan origin, and compared with those of the Vedas they show a marked similarity in theme and form, only personalities and details vary. For the most part they are truly Indo-Iranian. These myths all center about the theme of the struggles between the agencies of good and evil, mostly concerning creation and the valiant endeavors of Kings and ancient heroes to secure for the earth and for mankind the light, rain, and other blessings of Nature against the opposing forces of evil, of dragons and tyrants. These cosmic and terrestrial conflicts are often in a storm-cloud amid the raging elements, on a mountain, or in a cavern with thunderbolt, wind, and fire as weapons for the confusion and destruction of the demons.
The myth of the creation of the vegetable kingdom, furnishing later all medicinal plants, is of special interest. Ameretāt (Long Life or Immortality), one of the Amesha Spentas, who had all plants under her guardianship, pounded them all very small and mixed them with water. The dogstar, Sirius, who was a good genius in Iran, made that water rain over the earth and plants sprang up, like hair on the head of man. Ten thousand grew to overcome ten thousand produced in caverns by
evil spirits, and these ten became an hundred thousand. From these germs came the Tree of All Seeds which grew in the middle of the deep sea Vourukasha. Near to this tree, the Gaokerena (Ox-Horn) tree, the miraculous All Healer, developed. This tree was necessary to avert decrepitude and for the renovation of the Universe that immortality might follow. The Evil Spirit, Ahriman, set a lizard in the sea to injure the tree, but Ormazd, to keep that lizard away, created ten kar-fish which circle round it constantly, watch the lizard and guard the tree from harm. They are both fed spiritually and will watch each other until the whole Universe is renovated. The Gaokerena tree is the White Haeoma, a manifestation of the mystical haeoma plant, in its terrestrial form the yellow haeoma. The haeoma is the plant of IndoIranian sacrifice from which the famous drink, the haeoma, is made which gives strength and immortality to gods and men. This plant is named in the “Avesta (Yasna IX-XI), and the preparation of the drink, with ritualistic ceremonies, is described. It is personified, made a divinity, and is invoked by prayers and hymns to drive disease and death away.
Much of the “Avesta” is mythical and legendary. It praises and glorifies ancient Iranian kings and heroes. This portion is attributed to pre-Zoroastrian sages. Firdausi in his great Persian epic, “Shāhnāmah” or Book of Kings, written about A. D. 1025, relates many old traditions of Iran, and in historical form celebrates the mythical deeds of ancient kings and heroes,
cluding those of the healing gods and heroes, Thrita, Thraētaona (called Farīdūn), and Airyaman.
All disease was supposed to be governed by the same dualistic doctrine as religion and mythology. Being an attack or possession by spirits of evil, the power of good
· Carnoy, “Mythology of All Nations," Vol. VI, p. 263.