|The differentiations, the terminologies, and the tabulations
in connection with these various approaches to truth are the cause of much of the
confusion. We are engaged in separating a unified Reality into parts, and in so doing we
lose our sense of proportion and over-emphasize that particular part which we happen
temporarily to be dissecting. But the whole remains intact, and our realization of this
Reality grows as we become inclusive in our consciousness and participate in a veritable
The testimony to this experience can be traced from the very night of time.
From the emergence  of the human family in the unfolding evolutionary development of
the world plan there has been a paralleling progressive development of the God idea to
account for nature and the soul idea to account for man. An anthology of the soul remains
as yet to be compiled, the very magnitude of the task probably serving as a deterrent.
has always been rife as to where the soul was to be found, and where, within the human
form, it might be located. A few of the theories propounded might be touched upon here.
Augustine regarded the soul as located in the middle ventricle.
Arabian philosophers, who so strongly molded thought in the Middle Ages, identified
the ventricles of the brain as the seat of the soul or conscious life.
- Plato held that the vital principle was in the brain and that brain and spinal
cord were coordinators of vital force, whilst
- Strato placed it in the forepart of the brain, between the eyebrows.
- Hippocrates placed the consciousness or soul in the brain and
- Herophilus made the calamus scriptorius the chief seat of the soul.
- Erasistratos located the soul in the cerebellum, or the little brain, and stated
that it was concerned in the coordination of movement.
- Galen, the great forerunner of modern medical methods, argued for the fourth
ventricle of the brain as the home of the soul in man.
- Hippolytus (3rd century A.D.) says: "The membranes in the head are gently
moved by the spirit which advances toward the pineal gland. Near this is situated the
entrance to the cerebellum which admits the current of spirit and distributes  it into
the spinal column. This cerebellum by an ineffable and inscrutable process attracts
through the pineal gland the spiritual and life giving substance.
Hollander tells us that: "The reason why the ancient philosophers, from whom the
Arabs adopted this localization, placed the faculties in certain cells, meaning cavities
or ventricles, probably was to give more room for the pneuma, the gaseous substance, to
expand... Some distinguished four regions, as follows: The first or anterior
ventricle of the brain, which was supposed to look towards the front, was the ventricle of
common sense; because from it the nerves of the five outer senses were presumed to branch
off, and into it, by the aid of these nerves, all sensations were brought together. The second
ventricle, connected by a minute opening with the first, was fixed upon as the seat of
the imaginative faculty, because the impressions from the five outer senses are
transmitted from the first ventricle into it, as a second stage in their progress through
the brain. The third ventricle was the seat of the understanding; and the fourth
was sacred to memory, because it was commodiously situated as a storehouse into which
the conceptions of the mind, digested in the second ventricle. might be transmitted for
attention and accumulation. As a matter of fact, the so-called anterior ventricle
consists of two ventricles: the right and left lateral  ventricles, which communicate
with one another and are continuous with the third ventricle - called in ancient times the
middle ventricle - by the Foramen of Monro; and the third ventricle communicates
with the fourth ventricle - called by the ancients the posterior ventricle - by the
Aqueduct of Sylvius.
ventricles are roofed over by the corpus callosum; the third is covered by the optic
thalamus; and the fourth is situated between cerebellum and pons. ...If the sense of sight
and sense of hearing are stimulated at the same time, their effects somehow cohere in
consciousness, and the knowledge of this fact inspired the hypothesis of a sensory center
to which the term sensorium commune or common sense was applied. By some this was regarded
as the seat of the soul. As parts of the brain are double, the localities to be selected
were very limited, and only structures in the middle line could be chosen; as, for
example, the pineal gland by Descartes and, as late as the nineteenth century, the optic
thalamus by W. B. Carpenter, and the pons cerebri by Herbert Spencer."
- Hollander, Bernard, M.D., In Search of the Soul, Vol. I, p. 97.
Bacon regarded the center of the brain as the place where the soul could be found.
Vives "regarded the soul as the principle, not only of conscious life, but of
life in general; the heart is the center of its vital or vegetative activity, the brain of
its intellectual activity."
- Hollander, Bernard, M.D., In Search of the Soul, Vol. I, p. 119.
a famous anatomist of the Middle Ages, believed firmly in "animal spirits."
He taught that these animal spirits passed into the third ventricle by a narrow passage.
He also  taught that the cellules of the brain are the seat of the intellect.
the first to discern the difference between the gray and white matter of the brain and
to describe the five ventricles, "distinguished three souls... and he assigned to the
brain the chief soul, the sum of the animal spirits, whose functions were distinctly
- Hollander, Bernard, M.D., In Search of the Soul, Vol. I, p. 129.
- Servetus located
the soul in the Aqueduct of Sylvius, the channel connecting the third and fourth ventricle
of the brain.
- Telesio in
De Rerum Natura "taught that the soul was the subtlest form of matter, a very
delicate substance, enclosed within the nervous system and therefore eluding our senses.
Its seat is chiefly the brain, but it extends also to the spinal cord, the nerves,
arteries, veins, and the covering membranes of the internal organs... Recognizing that the
nervous system is in close connection with soul-life, he acknowledged that the soul in man
differs only in degree from the soul in animals. He assumed beside the material soul in
man, a divine non-corporeal soul directly implanted by God, which united with the material
- Hollander, Bernard, M.D., In Search of the Soul, Vol. I, p. 132.
ascribed the various faculties of the soul, such as mentality, vitality, memory, etc., to
different parts of the brain.
located the soul in the centrum ovale.
says: "The royal road of the sensations  of the body to the soul... is
through the corpora striata... All determinations of the will also descend by that road...
It is the Mercury of Olympus; it announces to the soul what is happening to the body, and
it bears the mandates of the soul to the body."
- Hollander, Bernard, M.D., In Search of the Soul, Vol. I, p. 186.
- The corpora
striata are a pair of large ganglia of the brain immediately under the anterior and
superior region of the brain. Hollis concluded that "both sensation and
movement have their power in the medulla of the brain. This therefore is the seat of the
Bonnet said: "The different senses... with which we are endowed... have,
somewhere, in the brain, secret communications by means of which they may act on one
another. The part where the communications take place is that which must be regarded as
the seat of the soul... It is by this part that the soul acts on the body, and by the body
on so many different beings. Now the soul acts only by the agency of the nerves."
- Hollander, Bernard, M.D., In Search of the Soul, Vol. I, p. 190.
Sommering localized the scat of the soul in the fluid of the cerebral ventricles,
- W. B.
Carpenter, the physiologist, regarded the optic thalamus as the scat of the soul life.
speculations of these various writers have been taken from Dr. Hollander's work quoted