Mental Chemistry: The Chemist
Universal intelligence leaves its source to become embodied in material forms through which it returns to its source as an individual or entity. Mineral life animated by electro-magnetism is the first step of intelligence upward, toward its universal source. Universal energy is intelligent, and this involuntary process by which matter is built up, is an intelligent process of nature which has for its specific purpose the individualization of her intelligence.
Stockwell says: The basis of life and consciousness lies back of the atoms, and may be found in the universal ether. Hemstreet says: Mind in the ether is no more unnatural than mind in flesh and blood. Stockwell says: The ether is coming to be apprehended as an immaterial superphysical substance, filling all space, carrying in its infinite, throbbing bosom the specks of aggregated dynamic force called worlds. It embodies the ultimate spiritual principle, and represents the unity of those forces and energies from which spring, as their source, all phenomena, physical, mental, and spiritual, as they are known to man. Dolbear, in his great work on the ether, says: Besides the function of energy and motion, the ether has other inherent properties, out of which could emerge, under proper circumstances, other phenomena, such as life or mind or whatever may be in the substratum.
The microscopic cell, a minute speck of matter that is to become man, has in it the promise and germ of mind. May we not draw the inference that the elements of mind are present in those chemical elements--carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulphur, phosphorous, sodium, potassium, chlorine--that are found in the cell? Not only must we do so; but we must go further, since we know that each of these elements, and every other, is built up of one invariable unit, the electron, and we must therefore assert that mind is potential in the unit of matter-the electron itself.
Atoms of mineral matter are attracted to each other to form aggregates or masses. This attraction is called Chemical Affinity. Chemical combinations of atoms are due to their magnetic relations to each other. Positive atoms will always attract negative atoms. The combination will last only so long as a still more positive force is not brought to bear on it to break it apart.
Two or more atoms brought into combination form a molecule, which is defined as the smallest particle of a substance that can maintain its own identity. Thus a molecule of water is a combination of one atom of hydrogen and two atoms of oxygen (H2O).
In building a plant, nature works with colloid cells rather than with atoms, for she has built up the cell as an entity just as she built the atom and the molecule as entities with which to work in mineral substance. The vegetable cell (colloid), has power to draw to itself from earth, air, and water whatever energies it needs for its growth. It therefore draws from mineral life and dominates it.
When vegetable matter is sufficiently refined to be receptive to still more of the universal intelligent energy, animal life appears. The plant cells have now become so plastic that they have additional capacities--those of individual consciousness, and also additional powers; those of sensational magnetism. It draws its life forces from both mineral and plant life, and therefore dominates them.
The body is an aggregate of cells animated by the spiritual magnetic life that tends toward organizing these cells into communities, and these communities into co-ordinated bodies which will operate the entire mass of the body as a conscious entity able to carry itself from one place to the other.
Atoms and molecules and their energies are now subordinated to the welfare of the cell. Each cell is a living, conscious entity, capable of selecting its own food, of resisting aggression, and of reproducing itself.
As each cell has its individual consciousness, intuition, and volition, so each federated group of cells has a collective individual consciousness, intuition, and volition. Likewise, each co-ordinated group of federations; until the entire body has one central brain where the great co-ordination of all the brains takes place.
The body of an average human being is composed of some twenty-six trillions (26,000,000,000,000) of cells; the brain and the spinal cord by themselves consist of some two billion.
The biogenic law proves that every vertebrate, like every other animal, evolves from a single cell. Even the human organism, according to Haeckel, is at first a simple nucleated globule of plasm, about 1.125 inch in diameter, barely visible to the naked eye as a tiny point. The ovum transmits to the child by heredity the personal traits of the mother, the sperm-cell those of the father; and this hereditary transmission extends to the finest characteristics of the soul as well as the body. What is plasm? What is this mysterious living substance that we find everywhere as the material foundation of the wonders of life? Plasm or protoplasm, is, as Huxley rightly said, the physical basis of organic life; to speak more precisely, it is a chemical compound of carbon that alone accomplishes the various processes of life. In its simplest form the living cell is merely a soft globule of plasm, containing a firmer nucleus. As soon as it is fertilized, it multiplies by division and forms a community or colony of many special cells.
These differentiate themselves, and by their specialization, or modifications, the tissues which compose the various organs are developed. the developed, many-celled organisms of man and all higher animals resemble, a social, civil community, the numerous single individuals of which are developed in various ways, but were originally only simple cells of one common structure.
All life on this earth, as Dr. Butler points out in How the Mind Cures, began in the form of a cell which consisted of a body animated by a mind. In the beginning and long afterward the animating mind was the one we now call the subconscious. But as the forms grew in complexity and produced organs of sense, the mind threw out an addition, . . . forming another part, the one we now call the conscious. While at first all living creatures had but one guide that they must follow in all things, this later addition to mind gave the creature a choice. This was the formation of what has been termed Free Will.
Each cell is endowed with an individual intelligence, that helps it carry on, as by a miracle, its complex labours. The cell is the basis of man, and this fact must be constantly borne in mind in dealing with the wonders of mental chemistry.
As a nation is made up of a large number of living individuals, so the body is made up of a large number of living cells. The citizens of a country are engaged in varied pursuits--some in the work of production, in field, forest, mine, factory; some in the work of distribution, in transportation, in warehouse, store, or bank; some in the work of regulation, in legislative halls, on the bench, in the executive chair; some in the work of protection-soldiers, sailors, doctors, teachers, preachers. Likewise in the body some cells are working on production: mouth, stomach, intestines, lungs, supplying food, water, air; some are engaged in distribution of supplies and elimination of wastes: heart, blood, lymph, lungs, liver, kidneys, skin; some perform the office regulation: brain, spinal cord, nerves; some are occupied in protection; white blood corpuscles, skin, bone, muscle; there are also cells to which are entrusted the reproduction of species.
As the vigour and welfare of a nation depend fundamentally on the vitality and efficiency and co-operation of its citizens, so the health and life of the body depend upon the vitality, efficiency and co-operation of its myriad cells.
We have seen that the cells are gathered into systems and groups for the performance of particular functions essential to physical life and expression, such as we see in organs and tissues.
So long as the several parts all act together, in concord and due regard to one another and the general purposes of the organism, there is health and efficiency. But when from any cause discord arises, illness supervenes. Disease is lack of comfort and harmony.
In the brain and nervous system the cells are grouped in their action according to the particular functions which they are called upon to perform. It is in this way that we are able to see, to taste, to smell, to feel, and to hear. It is also in this way we are able to recall past experiences, to remember facts and figures, and so on.
In mental and physical health these various groups of neurons work in fine harmony, but in disease they do not. In normal conditions the ego holds all these individual cells and groups, as we as system of cells, in harmonious and co-ordinate action.
Disease represents dissociated organic action; certain systems or groups, each of which is made up of a vast number of microscopic cells, begin functioning independently, and hence inharmoniously; and thus upset the tone of the whole organism. A single organ or system can thus get out of tune with the rest of the body and do serious harm. this is one kind of disease.
In a federation of any sort, efficiency and concord of action depend upon the strength and confidence accorded the central administration of its affairs; and just in proportion to the degree of failure to maintain these conditions are discord and confusion sure to ensue.
Nels Quevli makes this clear in Cell Intelligence; he says, The intelligence of man is the intelligence possessed by the cells in his brain. If man is intelligent and by virtue thereof is able to combine and arrange matter and force so as to effect structures such as houses and railroads, why is not the cell also intelligent when he is able to direct the forces of nature so as to effect the structures we see such as plants and animals. The cell is not compelled to act by reason of any chemical and mechanical force, any more than is man. He acts by reason of will and judgment of his own. He is a separate living animal. Bergson in his Creative Evolution seems to see in matter and life a creative energy. If we stood at a distance watching a skyscraper gradually grow into completeness, we would say there must be some creative energy back of it, pushing the construction and, if we could never get near enough to see the men and builders at work, we could have no other idea of how that skyscraper came into existence except that it was caused by some creative energy.
The cell is an animal, very highly organized and specialized. Take the single cell called amoeba for instance. He has no machinery with which he can manufacture starch. He does, however, carry with him building material with which he can in an emergency save his life by covering himself with a coat of armor. Other cells carry with them a structure which is called chromatophore. With this instrument, these cells are able to manufacture starch from the crude substances of earth, air and water by the aid of sunlight. From these facts, it must appear evident to the reader that the cell is a very highly organized and specialized individual, and that to look at him from the point of view of being mere matter and force is the same as to compare the actions of a stone rolling down a hill with that of an automobile moving over a smooth pavement. One is compelled to move by reason of the force of gravitation, while the other moves by virtue of the intellect that guides it. The structures of life, like plants and animals, are built from the materials taken from the earth, air, and water, just as are the structures man builds, like railroads and skyscrapers. If we were asked how it is possible for man to effect the construction of these railroads and buildings, we would say that it is by reason of the fact that he is an intelligent being.
If the cell has gone through the same process of social organization and evolution as man, why is it not also the same intelligent being as man? Did you ever stop to think what takes place when the surface of the body is cut or bruised? The white blood cells or corpuscles, as they are called, who are the general caretakers of the body, whose duty it is to look after everything in general, such as the fighting of bacteria and disease germs and the general repair work, will sacrifice their own lives by thousands if necessary to save the body. They live in the body, enjoying complete liberty. They do not float in the blood stream except when in a hurry to get somewhere, but move around everywhere as separate independent beings to see that everything goes right. If a bruise or cut happens, they are at once informed, and rush to the spot by thousands and direct the repair work and if necessary they change their own occupation and take a different job, that of making connective tissue in order to bind the tissues together. In nearly every open sore, bruise or cut, they are killed in great numbers in their faithful effort to repair and close up the wound. A text book on physiology briefly speaks of it as follows:
When the skin is injured the white blood cells form new tissue upon the surface, while the epithelium spreads over it from the edges, stopping the growth and completing the healing processes.
There seems to be no particular center in the body around which intelligence revolves. Every cell seems to be a center of intelligence and knows what its duties are wherever it is placed and wherever we find it. Every citizen of the cell republic is an intelligent independent existence, and all are working together for the welfare of all. Nowhere can we find more absolute sacrifice of the lives of the individuals to the general welfare of all than we do in the cell republic. The results cannot be obtained in any other way nor at any less cost of individual sacrifice, so it is necessary to their social existence. The principle of individual sacrifice to common welfare has been accepted and agreed up as the right thing and as their common duty, impartially distributed among them, and they perform their allotted work and duties regardless of their own individual comfort.
Mr. Edison says, I believe that our bodies are made up of myriads of units of life. Our body is not itself the unit of life or a unit of life. Let me give you as an example the S. S. Mauretania.
The Mauretania is not herself a living thing--it is the men in her that are alive. If she is wrecked on the coast, for instance, the men get out, and when the men get out it simply means that the life units leave the ship. And so in the same way a man is not dead because his body is buried and the vital principle, that is, the life units, have left the body.
Everything that pertains to life is still living and cannot be destroyed. Everything that pertains to life is still subject to the laws of animal life. We have myriads of cells and it is the inhabitants in these cells, inhabitants which themselves are beyond the limits of the microscope, which vitalize our body.
To put it another way, I believe that these life-units of which I have spoken band themselves together in countless millions and billions in order to make a man. We have too facilely assumed that each one of us is himself a unit. This, I am convinced is wrong, even by the high-powered microscope, and so we have assumed that the unit is the man, which we can see, and have ignored the existence of the real life units, which are those we cannot see.
No man today can set the line as to where life begins and ends. Even in the formation of crystals, we see a definitely ordered plan of work. Certain solutions will always form a particular kind of crystal without variation. It is not impossible that these life entities are at work in the mineral and plant as in what we call the animal world.
We have seen something of the chemist, something of his laboratory, something of his system of communication.
What about the product? This is a very practical age, an age of commercialism, if you please. If the chemist produces nothing of value, nothing which can be converted into cash, we are not interested.
But, fortunately the chemist in this case produces an article which has the highest cash value of any article known to man.
He provides the one thing which all the world demands, something which can be realized upon anywhere, at any time; it is not a slow asset; on the contrary, its value is recognized in every marked.
The product is thought; thought rules the world; thought rules every Government, every bank, every industry, every person and everything in existence, and is differentiated from everything else, simply and only because of thought.
Every person is what he is because of his method of thinking, and men and nations differ from each other only because they think differently.
What then is thought? Thought is the product of the chemical laboratory possessed by every thinking individual; it is the blossom, the combined intelligence which is the result of all previous thinking processes; it is the fruit and contains the best of all that the individual has to give.
There is nothing material about a thought, and yet no man would give up his ability to think for all the gold in Christendom; it is therefore of more value than anything which exists. As it is not material it must be spiritual.
Here then is an explanation of the wonderful value of thought. Thought is a spiritual activity; in fact, it is the only activity which the spirit possesses. Spirit is the creative principle of the Universe, as a part must be the same in kind and quality as the whole, and can differ only in degree, thought must be creative also.
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