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The Soul and its Mechanism - Glands and Human Behavior
7. Gonads - location, lower abdomen - secretion, that of male testes and female ovaries.

The gonads or interstitial glands are the sex glands of external secretion, but are known to have an internal secretion also. Their gross secretion is the medium for reproduction. It is unnecessary to dwell at length upon the effects of the gonads on personality. The sex impulse and its various subsidiary effects, both physical and psychical, are well recognized and much studied, and this study, largely of perversions and inhibitions, has proved of paramount importance to the understanding of humanity. Some psychologists relate all human reactions - physical, emotional and mental - to sex and sex alone, and, back of every extreme position, we know there lies a substratum of truth. Others regard sex as playing an important part, but not as responsible for the entire story. The Eastern wisdom offers an interpretation which warrants consideration and which will appear when we consider the force centers and their relation to the glands.

Of all the foregoing, and of many books and articles on the subject, the following may be given as a brief summary. [51]

The whole subject is in an experimental stage, and much remains to be done. Clearly, however, there is a close relationship between the glands and a similarity of function, and most of them have to do with the metabolism of the body and with growth, and all of them seem closely related to sex life. Finally, they determine, apparently, the type and temperament of the personality.

Experimental as the science is, man seems to have been psychoanalyzed and understood at last. Those elusive and intangible processes, called emotions and mental concepts, are accounted for in terms of matter. To the glands and to the nervous system, and to the poor or good development and functioning of man's apparatus of contact and response, is ascribed all that he is. A saint can be made into a sinner and the sinner into a saint, and this merely by increasing or decreasing certain internal secretions. Thus a man is no better, no worse, than the equipment with which he comes into the world and his mechanism is the sum total of him. He can improve it or misuse it, but the apparatus is the determining factor. Free-will is eliminated and immortality denied. The best a man can do is so to act that he is happy and, also, to shoulder the responsibility of building better bodies in order that the next generation can manifest better psychically.

Whether we agree with those conclusions or disagree, we must at least admit that, with the mechanism the object of all study, it should eventually [52] be possible to ascertain the laws and methods by which perfect bodies may be constructed which, in turn, can be the instruments through which a perfect psychic nature can function.

But are all these conclusions as to the endocrine glands, in fact correct? Has man, in outline, been classified and labeled, and does there remain only the filling of blanks in the general outline? Who can say? But to my mind the answer lies in two questions or groups of questions, the one primarily a matter of the individual, and the second all-embracing.

As for the individual, are glands and glandular functions primary causes, or are they merely effects or instrumentalities? Is there not, in truth, something greater which lies beyond? Is there not in each of us a soul which functions through the whole physical and psychic mechanism? Was not St. Paul, in short, right in saying that man has a natural body and a spiritual body, and in implying that the glory of the natural is one, and the glory of the spiritual another?

And as for the second and broader question, is a mere mechanism the be-all and end-all of existence, and our only guiding star the perfecting of that mechanism? Then, indeed, "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." Is it not that there is not only a finer self in us - call it spirit, soul, or what you will, - but does it not, itself form a part of a transcendent whole - call it God as religion does, or Oversoul as Emerson does, or by any other [53] name - but in any case a transcendent whole, the glory and radiance of which surpass all understanding? Shall we never be at-one with That, and meanwhile the longing for that at-one-ment lead us onward? Shall this corruptible never put on incorruption, or this mortal never put on immortality? Shall death never be swallowed up in victory?

For answers to these questions, let us turn to the Wisdom of the East. [54]

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