Thursday, March 31, 2016
Rene Descartes and the Pineal Gland By Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
Rene Descartes and the Pineal Gland By Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
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It is well known that Descartes saw in the pineal gland the Seat of the Soul. Although it is joined to every part of the body, he said, there is one special portion of it in which the Soul exercises its functions more specially than in any other. And, as neither the heart, nor yet the brain could be that “ special" locality, he concluded that it was that little gland tied to the brain, yet having an action independent of it, as it could easily be put into a kind of swinging motion “by the animal Spirits which cross the cavities of the skull in every sense."
Unscientific as this may appear in our day of exact learning, Descartes was yet far nearer the occult truth than is any Haeckel. For the pineal gland, as shown, is far more connected with Soul and Spirit than with the physiological senses of man.
[In 1650, Descartes discusses the question of the seat of the soul, and concludes that, although the soul is united with the whole body, yet it exercises its functions more particularly in a little gland placed in the middle of the substance of the brain and suspended above the passage by which the "spirits" of its anterior cavities communicate with those of its posterior cavities, in such a manner that any movement in the gland will alter the course of these spirits, while at the same time any alteration in the course of the spirits will affect the movements of the gland.
There can be no doubt that the gland here referred to, though not mentioned by any special name, is the pineal gland or conarium of human anatomists, although the author's limited acquaintance with the structure of the human brain caused him to represent it as lying inside instead of outside the brain-cavity.
Descartes goes on to explain that the reason which induced him to regard this gland as the place where the soul immediately exercises its functions is that the other parts of the brain, as well as the external organs of sense, are all double, while our thoughts are single, i.e. we only have one single and simple thought of one and the same thing at the same time. Hence the double impressions which come from the paired organs of sense —such as the two images from the two eyes—must be able to unite into one before they reach the soul, or else we should see two objects instead of one; and this union is supposed to take place in the pineal gland by the mediation of the spirits which fill the cavities of the brain. ~The Pineal Gland by Arthur Dendy 1907]
Had the leading Scientists a glimmer of the real processes employed by the Evolutionary Impulse, and the winding cyclic course of this great law, they would know instead of conjecturing; and feel as certain of the future physical transformations of the human kind by the knowledge of its past forms. Then, would they see the fallacy and all the absurdity of their modern "blindforce" and mechanical processes of nature; realizing, in consequence of such knowledge, that the said pineal gland, for instance, could not but be disabled for physical use at this stage of our cycle. If the odd "eye" in man is now atrophied, it is a proof that, as in the lower animal, it has once been active; for nature never creates the smallest, the most insignificant form without some definite purpose and use. It was an active organ, we say, at that stage of evolution when the spiritual element in man reigned supreme over the hardly nascent intellectual and psychic elements. And, as the cycle ran down toward that point when the physiological senses were developed by, and went pari passu with, the growth and consolidation of the physical man, the interminable and complex vicissitudes and tribulations of zoological development, that median "eye" ended by atrophying along with the early spiritual and purely psychic characteristics in man. The eye is the mirror and also the window of the soul, says popular wisdom, and Vox populi Vox Dei.
In the beginning, every class and family of living species was hermaphrodite and objectively one-eyed. In the animal, whose form was as ethereal (astrally) as that of man, before the bodies of both began to evolve their coats of skin, viz., to evolve from within without the thick coating of physical substance or matter with its internal physiological mechanisn—the third eye was primarily, as in man, the only seeing organ. The two physical front eyes developed later on in both brute and man, whose organ of physical sight was, at the commencement of the Third Race, in the same position as that of some of the blind vertebrata, in our day, i.e., beneath an opaque skin. Only the stages of the odd, or primeval eye, in man and brute, are now inverted, as the former has already passed that animal non-rational stage in the Third Round, and is ahead of mere brute creation by a whole plane of consciousness. Therefore, while the "Cyclopean" eye was, and still is, in man the organ of spiritual sight, in the animal it was that of objective vision. And this eye, having performed its function, was replaced, in the course of physical evolution from the simple to the complex, by two eyes, and thus was stored and laid aside by nature for further use in AEons to come.
This explains why the pineal gland reached its highest development proportionately with the lowest physical development. It is the vertebrata in which it is the most prominent and objective, and in man it is most carefully hidden and inaccessible, except to the anatomist. No less light is thrown thereby on the future physical, spiritual, and intellectual state of mankind, in periods corresponding on parallel lines with other past periods, and always on the lines of ascending and descending cyclic evolution and development.
It is a curious fact; that it is especially in human beings that the cerebral hemispheres and the lateral ventricles have been developed, and that the optic thalami, corpora quadrigemina, and corpora striata are the principal parts which are developed in the mammalian brain. Moreover it is asserted that the intellect of any man may to some extent be gauged by the development of the central convolutions and the fore part of the cerebral hemispheres. It would seem a natural corollary that if the development and increased size of the pineal gland may be considered to be an index of the astral capacities and spiritual proclivities of any man, there will be a corresponding development of that part of the cranium, or an increase in the size of the pineal gland at the expense of the hinder part of the cerebral hemispheres. It is a curious speculation which would receive a confirmation in this case. We should see, below and behind, the cerebellum which has been held to be the seat of all the animal proclivities of a human being, and which is allowed by science to be the great centre for all the physiologically co-ordinated movements of the body, such as walking, eating, etc., etc.; in front, the fore-part of the brain -—the cerebral hemispheres—the part especially connected with the development of the intellectual powers in man; and in the middle, dominating them both, and especially the animal functions, the developed pineal gland, in connection with the more highly evolved, or spiritual man.