Those Alchemists – Our Glands
George Winslow Plummer
We believe that the religion of the future will be science spiritualized, not by the application of any phase of present day sectarianism, but by a broad recognition on the part of an awakened humanity, that, science, having for its goal nothing more or less than concrete truth, will be found to be the most satisfactory dispenser of truth. This idea is developed by the truth brought home to us in our increasing knowledge of the functions of the endocrine glands, commonly called the “ductless glands,” in the human body. What out ancient brethren sought to accomplish in their secret and dusty laboratories with crude apparatus, the glands in the human machine actually do in the secret but not dusty laboratories of the body.
The ductless glands, twelve in number, Pineal, Pituitary, Thyroid, Parathyroid, Thymus, Pancreas, Spleen, Adrenals, Coccygeal, Carotid, Parasympathetic and Gonads are veritable alchemists, working in all the secrecy of the traditional alchemist. They have preserved their secret longer than any other type of alchemists, for even now, the secretions and functions of all the glands named, are not by any means completely known.
Dr. Louis Berman, in his really remarkable books, has shown conclusively how the glands known as the endocrine directly affect us physiologically and biologically in a way that creates what we ordinarily call “personality” and “character.”
This does not mean that all our hard earned knowledge of the wonderful power of the human mind in effecting and modifying personality and character is set at naught. It means that, added to the power of the human mind, we have tremendous resources for developing greater possibilities in the way of transformations of character and personality: of re-creation and true regeneration free from any approach to the methods of Voronoff and Steinach. The way of the glands is the way of nature and “day by day, in every way” we are learning more and more about nature’s way.
Dr. Berman presents a line of descent of human characteristics that is singularly analogous to a concept of reincarnation through the cells and the glandular secretions. Naturally, his idea of “soul” will not be found orthodox, yet few of the ultra orthodox ever use the term soul with an intelligent idea of what it means. In the daily usage, it really, though erroneously, refers to the human Ego. Nevertheless, the intriguing part of Dr. Berman’s writings on the subject of the glands is, that the most timorous amongst the orthodox need have no fear that he will lose his cherished traditions, if he uses his brains at all, while the genuine seeker-of truth-at-any-cost finds vistas of psychological research, experiment and investigation opening before him, that inspire his imagination and whet his desire for more light and further knowledge.
It seems almost true that through the ever widening and increasing knowledge of the glands and their relation to character and personality, we are on the threshold of a religion based, not on faith but on fact: of knowledge based, not on theory but on demonstrable evidence regarding those principles in man which have hitherto been regarded as solely within the province of theology alone.
The day may not be far off when we may be able to write prescriptions for character that will be as effective as prescriptions for mumps. Meantime, the dyed-in-the-wool occultist and metaphysician of the untra-credulous class will discover some severe jolts in the facts revealed by Berman. Particularly is this true regarding the Pineal gland as the so-called “third-eye.”
The good doctor takes a sly crack at the general theory but also admits that Microscopic scrutiny reveals that it (the Pineal) is made up in part of nerve cells containing a pigment similar to that present in the cells of the retina, thus clinching the argument for its ancient functions as an eye.
So, the concept of the Pineal as a “third eye” need not be entirely discarded nor the ancient teachings set aside, but as our information increases we may be prepared to observe modifications of the general theory at least.
Dr. Berman’s statement that the word “cretin” is derived from an old Swiss word for “Christian” will not cause any exuberant happiness among Fundamentalists or the sages of Arkansas, and students of lexicology will find it an interesting subject for research.
The student of alchemy who has always insisted upon reading into the spagyric art ingredients it has never required, will be surprised to discover that in the alchemy of the human body all the legitimate and traditional processes of alchemy are developed by the glands in the exercise of their several and individual functions. Fermentatio, Putrefactio, Sublimatio, Condensatio, Calcinatio, etc., are active in the exact formulae prescribed by the ancient writers, and the distilled product veils a secret Principle, unknown even to the foremost researchers in glandular activity, that functions in the development and manifestation of human traits we have hitherto been led to accept as works of the Spirit that is in Man. Perhaps we are tracing that spirit in Man to its very lair. Perhaps the endocrine glands will prove to be the threshold of the entrance from the Seen to the Unseen. It seems but a short step anyway.
As we tear away the veil of mystery from Man, we also tear away the veil of mystery from Spirit and we believe the day will come when spirit will be as much a legitimate subject for laboratory research as what we now call matter, in any of its forms.
According to Dr. Ivo Geike Cobb, old age is nothing more or less than hypoendocrinism, which tongue twister means simply the insufficiency of the endocrine secretions. As long as we can keep our glands working at a fair degree of normalcy, old age can be successfully warded off.
This researcher shows how truly our glands determine our destiny, yet the discriminating reader or student will also note how the glands themselves are simply the agents of destiny in the economy of the human individual.
Childlike adults are victims of a thymus that refuses to retire when sexual activity has attained its normalcy and those social beings who honor us with shower baths whenever they speak should be gently invited to have their parathyroid attended to. If we cannot control our emotions, the reason is clear; the autonomic vegetative nervous system requires a sympathetic massage to induce a more cordial relationship between the sympathetic, or thoracico-lumbar and the parasympathetic, or vagus divisions. It is ridiculously simple, you see. Nevertheless, the activities of these complex organisms, which are now beginning to be understood, are the means by which our individuality and character are determined.
The thyroid has been termed the “king of the glands” and while this appellation may be extravagant it also appears that so long as we can keep our thyroids up to the batting average we may retain a persistent youth. Will thyroid be discovered to be the elixir of life? The endocrine secretions are responsible for the dwarfs and giants, and it may be that the giants of Biblical record were simply acromegalic types. Cobb cites the instance of one dainty maid who measured two feet around the leg and four feet, three inches around the waist. She would present some problem at a modern necking or petting convention.
The extent to which we are dependent upon our glandular activity in our daily routine is almost unbelievable. One gland gives us combativeness when fight looms up before us. Another creates fear, another courage and caution. Still another develops the faculty of concentration and insight, while another gives us persistence and devotion to whatsoever may be before us. Spiritual science will find that many of the mysteries it has hitherto ascribed to invisible planes of being are in reality simply the functions of invisible organs of being and the new science of endocrinology bids fair to compel a revision of many theories which have been honored by age, if not by common sense. It is at least a science wherein many seeming mysteries of human life will be in due time revealed and show us to ourselves in a new and far better though not less wonderful light.