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The Soul and its Mechanism - Glands and Human Behavior
We shall now consider the seven glands mentioned, but confining our discussion to their mental and psychic effects.

1. The Pineal Gland - location, head - secretion, unknown.

The pineal gland is cone-shaped, about the size of a pea, and is in the center of the brain in a tiny cave behind and above the pituitary gland which lies a little behind the root of the nose. The pineal gland is attached to the third ventricle of the brain. It contains a pigment similar to that in the retina of the eye, and also collections of what have been called "brain sand particles." Dr. Tilney says:

"Numerous attempts have been made to determine what function, if any, the pineal body possesses. Is it indispensable to life, or does it play some role important to a particular phase of metabolic activity? We may perhaps concede that this organ does possess a function in man and in most mammals. It is not improbable that this function is particularly determined by an internal secretion, a secretion, however, which is certainly not indispensable to life. The exact influence of the pineal secretion is still obscure."
- Tilney, Frederick, M.D., The Pineal Gland, pp. 537, 542.

It has also been suggested that this gland regulates our susceptibility to light, that it has a definite effect upon the sex nature, that it is related to brain growth and that its active functioning [42] causes intellectual precocity as is clearly indicated in the historic case discussed below. This gland has also been called the third eye, and the eye of the Cyclops. Beyond these facts or conjectures, investigators frankly say they know nothing, and experiments have produced little information. In the experiment of feeding pineal gland extract to children and to defectives the response was nothing when the subject was over fifteen years of age, and contradictory in all other cases, so deduction was impossible.

Until a few decades ago scant attention was paid to the pineal gland. Then came the case, noted by Dr. Berman, in which a child was brought to a German clinic suffering from eye trouble and headaches. He was five years old and very mature, and apparently had reached the age of adolescence. He was abnormally bright mentally, discussing metaphysical and spiritual subjects. He was strongly group-conscious and only happy when sharing what he had with others. After his arrival at the clinic, he rapidly grew worse and died in a month. An autopsy showed a tumor of the pineal gland.
- Berman, Louis, M.D., The Glands Regulating Personality, p. 89.

As will be seen later, this historic case has a special interest in view of the conclusions of Oriental philosophers.

Most of the books note that the pineal gland is stated by ancient philosophers to be the seat of the soul, and Descartes is frequently quoted as [43] saying, "In man, soul and body touch each other only at a single point, the pineal gland in the head."

In the ancient belief that the pineal gland is the seat of the soul and in the fact apparently established that the pineal gland is a distinctive gland of childhood and atrophies later, is there not, perhaps, some real connection, some indication of hidden truth? Children have a ready belief in God and recognition of Him. Christ said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you" and "Except ye become as little children ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven."

One is mindful, too, of Wordsworth's "Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood."

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy.
The youth, who daily farther from the East
Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended; [44]
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day."

Oriental philosophy confirms this possible connection between the pineal gland and the soul.

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