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Chapter 11 Correspondence of the Brain and the Mind

The brain is the immediate organ of the spirit of man, or is a mediate substance through which the mind acts upon and into the rest of the body, and through which mind is externally manifested in this lower stage of our being. It corresponds or answers to the mind, as an echo to the original sound. Its sensitive fibres respond to every change in the inner life. It is the veil drawn over the interior man, tremulous and wavy to all its motions. But the brain is extended through the whole body, by means of myriads of white cords or rays procecding from the cerebro-spinal center, and interfused through all the living textures. So the soul-principle is co-extensive with it, and is everywhere in the organic structure.

All the manifold forms of mental life and action may be arranged into two grand divisions, and are activities either of the love or intellect. In all the endless variety of human character and condition, one or the other of these two departments is uppermost, and rules. What we call the mind is the union or these two into a harmonious unity. The one is positive and the other negative, for polarity is a universal property of things. We have everywhere action and reaction in the outward world, answering to love and intellect in the realm of spirit.

All the phenomena of nature are generated by two distinct forces. A large proportion of mineral or earthy compounds are formed by the union of a positive alkali and a negative acid, whose combination produces the endless variety of the salts of chemistry. In the body we have the mucous and serous membranes, with their positive and negative secretions, the harmonious relation of which is necessary to its healthy functional, action. So in the composition of the cerebral mass, there are two distinct substances for the brain is the echo of the mind. There is a greyish, cineritious, or ash-colored substance, and a white medullary or fibrous substance. The ash of the former exhibits an alkeline reaction; that of the latter is acid. The one is positive; the other negative. The cineritious portion is relatively external, and has been called the cortical substance, because it is as the bark or rind of the other. The fibrous portion is below it.

The first has been pronounced by some the correspondent of the will or love. It is arranged into clusters like grapes, and the fibres radiate from them as beams of light from a luminous center. The nerves extending from the brain and spinal column, are only fascicles or bundles of these two kinds of cerebral substance, inclosed in a sheath called the neurilemma. The lower part of the brain corre-sponds to the intellect, and is the medium through which it acts upon the body. The brain is first formed in the body of the fetus, and the rest of the organism is an outgrowth from it. The life of man is first in the brain, and derivatively through the nervous system, in the rest of the body. The brain is the connecting link which unites the inner man to the outer.

As the mind consists of a pleurality of faculties combined into a harmonions unity, so there is a correspondent pleurality of organs in the brain, as was demonstrated by Dr. Gall. For distinct functions require different instruments for their performance. But as all pleurality proceeds from a fundamental unity, or from one as its root, so this does not destroy the unity of either the soul or the body. The most perfect one-ness is that which is made by the combination of the greatest number of various and harmonious parts.

The doctrine of a pleurality of organs in the brain, and a knowledge of their special functions in the manifestations of the mind, is the science of Phrenology — a branch of human knowledge yet in its infancy and formative stage. There are many discoveries not made by Dr. Gall, in relation to the sympathetic connection of the various organs of the body with particular parts of the brain, whence they receive their vital stimulus, which are of great importance in the system of Mental Hygiene.

The whole body is connected with the brain. By means of the grand systems of ganglionic and sympathetic nerves, every organ is united to every other, as by a sort of spiritual telegraph, and the whole with the mind. This explains a mystery. It is known from experience, and comes under the cognition of consciousness, that particular mental states or faculties act into and affect certain organs of the body. It was given the most remarkable man of modern history, “ to know this from much experience.”

The influx of certain feelings, which was first into the appropriate parts of the brain, was seen to affeoct the organs of the body that were in sympathetic connection with those portions of the cerebral structure. Those parts are like the key of the telegraph. Place your anger upon them, and your influence sends a message which is at once recorded in the distant organ. Your mind in that way acts upon that part of the cerebrum, and the bodily organ, through the telegraphic nerves, responds with a vibratory motion in harmony with your own mental force.

We have a thousand times in this way affected sensibly to the consciousness of the patient the functional activity of any part of the body. But to do this, requires a knowledge of the anatomical structure not given the student in his usual course of medical study. The heart, the lungs, the diaphragm, the stomach, the liver, the
kidney, and the intestinal canal, are all bound by sympathy with certain parts of the brain, and the faculties of the mind to which those parts correspond. Thus we are prepared to sec more clearly still, the truth of a statement previously made, that the states of the mind are ultimated, or recorded, in corresponding bodily conditions, and are the body’s health or malady.

The mind is not only to be divided into the two distinct departments of the love and the intellect, but there are three degrees or planes of mental life, like the three stories of a palace, or, more correctly, like three concentric circles or spheres, each within the other. The doctrine of the degrees of the mind is imaged in the cerebral system. There are in reality three brains. We have first the cerebrum, the large brain, composed of the two kinds of substance of which we have spoken.

Then we have the cerebelum or little brain, about one eighth part of the former in size, and containing both kinds of cerebral substance; but what is peculiar, the cineritious portion is internal, and the fibrous external. Though smaller in size, it has far more vitality. For these three brains are like the mysterious books of the Sybil — as they decrease in quantity, they increase in value.

Next we have the primitive brain, the medulla oblongata. It is that which is first formed in the fetus, and the other portions of the cerebral system proceed from it in order. It would weigh but little more than the Koinoor, the mountain of light, the celebrated diamond of queen Victoria, but is far more valuable.

To one whose inner vision is unveiled, there dart from it in every direction millions of rays of a pure light into every part of the system. It is much smaller than the cerebellum, but a myriad times more sensitive and vital. These three distinct brains, as we have reason to believe, are correspondences and organs of the three degrees of the mind. Either may act by itself, or our mental activity, our memory and conciousness, and perceptivity, may use either as its organ.

In our normal state, and our waking hours, we use the cerebrum as the instrument of our thoughts and volitions, This in sleep becomes quiescent, as we have had occasion to notice in cases of fracture of the skull, where a portion of the cranium has been removed. Its pulsations cease, and all is still as the tomb. Its vital force has retreated backward and downward to the cerebellum.

On the dividing line between sleeping and waking, the mysterious dream-land, the mental powers become greatly exalted and quickened, so that the experiences and perceptions of hours, and even weeks and months, are crowded into moments. The mind breaks loose from its material thraldom, the limitations of time, place, and sense, and asserts its innate freedom. It sees without the external eye, and to distances almost unlimited. It perceives distant objects, persons and things, something as we see the image of an absent friend in the mind, only with more objective clearness, and they do not appear to be in the mind, but external to it, like the scenery around us in our everyday life.

There are those who can enter this state at will. It has become, in fact, their normal condition. We have experimented much with it, putting it to severe tests, a thousand miles sway, and have found it as reliable as our ordinary vision. The power of thus suspending the action of the cerebrum, possesscd by a scientific person, is of great value in the diagnosis of disease. It is a condition of the highest wakefulness, though physiologically it is a state of sleep, and has been denominated somnambulism. It may exist when the external senses are not oblivious to the objects surrounding us. It is a waking up from their usually dormant state of the undeveloped powers of our inner life. Like the apocalyptic angel, it breaks the seals of the closed book of nature, and unrolls the parchment on which are written characters that our usual vision cannot read, and the wonders of an inner world pass in panoramic review.

The veil of sense, ordinarily opaque, becomes transparent, and through it the interior man looks out upon the universe. It is a state of illustration, or interior illumination, which may be permanent, normal, and attended with no loss of consciousness as to our external surroundings. It is governed by fixed laws, which may be the subject of education, but is none the less a gift of God for this. Blessed is the man to whom it has been given, and who consecrates it, with all his activities, to the good of universal being.

In the trance, both the cerebrum and cerebellum are quiescent (whenit is with the individual subject an abnormal state), and their vital force has passed to the primitive brain, the medulla oblongata. The mind is awakened to the most intense degree of activity and power of which it is susceptible, in the present stage of our existence. Usually, but not necessarily, there is a loss of consciousness of the outward world. The pulse sometimes becomes nearly or quite imperceptible. The movementof the lungs is tacit, and the spiritual body only breathes. But these are not necessary concomitants of this interior state, for all the degrees of the mind may be consciously active at the same time. Persons may be developed normally into this almost angelic range of the soul’s powers and activities.

In this degree of the inner life the heavens are opened, the separating veil is rent if not removed, the curtain is rolled up, the invisible appears in sight, and the soul is transported in its vision to the perception of the solid and enduring realities of a world veiled in darkness to our common sight.

In this degree of the unfoldment of the soul’s life, man possesses in a degree the properties and powers of a spirit, and may act upon others as our guardian angels do, and seems to be a messenger from another world, to demonstrate to mortals the reality of its existence. Hidden imponderable forces, to a certain extent, come under his control, and he may appear to a sensuous world as a Thaumaturgus, or wonder-worker, and like a partially developed Messiah, he heals all manner of sickness and disease among the people. Such a mind has blossomed into angelic proportions.

The next step beyond, is what men have called death. In every step and degree of progress towards it, the mental powers become more and more exalted, and their range of action extended. Viewed in this scientific light, death is seen to be only transition to a higher life. It cannot be a punishment for our sins, but a necessary step and normal process in human development. Having finished the work committed to our hands, and accomplished our appointed use here in the plan of Providence, when our friends shall call us dead, we shall have only languished into life.


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