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The Soul and its Mechanism - The Theory of the Etheric Body
In summarizing our ideas we might formulate them as follows:

Behind the objective body lies a subjective form constituted of etheric matter and acting as a conductor of the life principle of energy, or prana. This life principle is the force aspect of the soul, and through the medium of the etheric body the soul animates the form, gives it its peculiar qualities and attributes, impresses upon it its desires and, eventually directs it through the activity of the mind. Through the medium of the brain the soul galvanizes the body into conscious activity and through the medium of the heart all parts of the body are pervaded by life.

This theory has a close correspondence to the animistic theory of the West and will be defined later. The term animism has sufficed up to the present, but is likely to be superseded by that of "dynamism," owing to the developments taking place within the human consciousness itself. Man, being now a fully self-conscious entity and the personality being now integrated and functioning, the time has come when he can, for the first time, demonstrate conscious purpose and directive will.

The three states of man's nature, referred to [70] earlier in this chapter, - physical, sentient and mental, - form a coordinated unity for the first time in the history of the race. The directing self, therefore, can now take control, and, through the mind, acting on the vital or etheric body and having its point of contact in the brain, drive its instrument into fully controlled expression, and subsequent creative activity. Thus will emerge what Keyserling calls the "deeper Being," He says:

"The next question is whether and how it is possible to develop deeper Being. When we speak of the Being of a man in contradistinction to his ability, we mean his vital soul; and when we say that this Being decides, we mean that all his utterances are penetrated with individual life, that every single expression radiates personality, and that this personality is ultimately responsible. Now such a penetration can actually be achieved where it does not already exist. It is possible, thanks for the fact that man as a being possessing a mind and a soul represents a Sense connection within which his consciousness moves freely. He is free to lay the emphasis wherever he pleases; according to the 'place' thus stressed the psychic organism actually shifts its center, and thus actually obtains a new center of Being. Therefore, if theoretical inquiry shows that it depends upon the centering of consciousness, whether the center of a man lies in his Being or at the surface, then it must be practically possible to induce the necessary process of shifting. Hence in principle everybody can succeed in raising his Being; to this end he need only persistently lay the emphasis on his essential Being, persistently demand of himself that he should never utter anything but what is really consistent with his inner Being. Surely the task is a [71] hard one. Its solution is not only a very slow process; it necessitates a specific technique of training."
- Keyserling, Count Hermann, Creative Understanding, pp. 180, 181.

The possibility of man functioning as a soul, as a synthesis of mechanism, life and purpose, will, I believe, be greatly hastened when the Eastern and Western psychologies are merged and the relationship of the Glands to the vital body, with its centers of force, studied and understood. Hocking in this connection, comes to this conclusion:

"There seems reason to hope for a better physical future of the race by the aid of a sound mental hygiene. After the era of the charlatans has gone by, and to some extent by their aid, there appears a possibility of steadily enlarging self-mastery, as the spiritual sense of such discipline as the Yoga joins with the sober elements of Western psychology and a sane system of ethics. No one of these is worth much without the others."
- Hocking, Wm. E., Self, Its Body and Freedom, p. 75.

Two points merit discussion, before we pass on to a detailed account of the Eastern teaching as to the force centers. One is a consideration as to the nature of the soul, and the other is an attempt to consider the testimony of the centuries as to the probable location of the soul consciousness. [72]

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