Already in the days of the ancient Greeks, the words φρην, καρδια meant not only the heart in its direct meaning, but also the soul, mood, sight, thought, even prudence, intelligence, conviction, etc.
The “folk instinct” has long since appreciated the important role of the heart in a person’s life. The heart stops beating – life has come to an end, which is why some call the heart “the engine of life.” We now well know how much physical and spiritual well-being depends on the correct function of the heart.
We have to hear in everyday life that the heart “suffers,” “hurts,” etc. In fiction, in fiction, one can find expressions: “The heart is yearning,” “rejoices,” “feels,” etc. Thus, the heart became, as it were, an organ of the senses, and, moreover, extremely subtle and universal.
It is necessary to dwell on this because all the indicated phenomena in their basis have a deep physiological meaning, says I.P. Pavlov. In a distant epoch, when our ancestors were in the zoological stage of development, they reacted almost exclusively to all stimuli received by them with muscular activity, which prevailed over all other reflex acts. And muscular activity is closely related to the activity of the heart and blood vessels. In a modern civilized person, muscle reflexes are almost already reduced to a minimum, while the changes in cardiac activity associated with the latter are well preserved …
A modern civilized person, by working on himself, learns to hide his muscle reflexes, and only changes in cardiac activity can still indicate to us his experiences. Thus, the heart remained for us a sense organ, subtly indicating our subjective state and always exposing it. For a doctor, it should be noted that how well the regulation of cardiac work occurs, due to muscle activity, of course, not excessive, just as bad is the regulation of cardiac work during various excitements, which do not lead to muscle work. That is why the heart is so easily struck in persons of free professions who carry light physical labor, but are too prone to life anxieties.
This is how the pathologist (“On the death of a person”) and the great physiologist, Academician IP Pavlov (“Course of Physiology” edited by Prof. Savich, 1924) judge the heart.
Let us add some more remarks to this. The innervation of the heart is strikingly rich and complex. It is all braided by a network of fibers of the sympathetic nervous system and through it is closely connected with the brain and spinal cord. It receives a whole system of cerebral fibers from the vagus nerve, through which the polysyllabic effects of the central nervous system are transmitted to it and, very likely, centripetal sensory impulses of the heart are sent to the brain. The functions of the sympathetic and autonomic nervous systems are still little studied and full of unknowns, but it is already quite clear that they are deeply important and multifaceted. And what is especially important for us, these nerve nodes and fibers undoubtedly play a very important role in the physiology of sensitivity.
Thus, our anatomical and physiological knowledge of the heart not only does not interfere, but rather even prompts us to consider the heart as the most important sensory organ, and not only as the central motor of blood circulation.
But Scripture tells us much more about the heart. The heart is discussed on almost every page of the Bible, and a first-time reader cannot fail to notice that the heart is given importance not only as the central organ of the senses, but also as the most important organ of cognition, the organ of thought and perception of spiritual influences. And more than that: according to Holy Scripture, the heart is the organ of communication between man and God, and therefore, it is the organ of higher knowledge.
Truly all-embracing, according to Holy Scripture, is the role of the heart in the area of feeling. It rejoices (Jer. 15:16; Est. 1:10; Ps. 103, 15; Proverbs. 15:13; 15:15; 17:22; Judges 16:25), rejoices (Lam. 5:15; Proverbs 27, 9; Proverbs 15:30; Isa 66-14; Ps 12: 6; 15, 9; Proverbs 23, 15; Eccl. 2:10), grieves (Ps 12: 3; Jer 4:19; Ps. 24:17), is tormented to the point that the psalmist screams (Jer. 4:19; 4 Kings 6, II; Ps. 72, 21), torn with anger (Acts 7, 54) and burns with a tremulous foreboding in Cleopas (Luke 24, 32). It is indignant at the Lord (Proverbs 19: 3), anger (Ecclesiastes 9: 3), adulterous passion (Matthew 5:28), envy (James 3:14), arrogance (Proverbs 16: 5) ), courage and fear (Ps. 26: 3; Lev. 26, 36), the impurity of lusts (Rom. 1:24), he is overwhelmed by reproaches (Ps. 68, 21). But it also perceives consolations (Flm. 1, 7),
In addition to this fullness of feelings, the heart has the highest ability to feel God, about which Al. Paul in the Athenian Areopagus: … so that they seek God, whether they feel Him and find Him … (Acts 17:27).
Many ascetics of piety, many saints, speak of the sensation of God, or rather, the gracious influences of the Spirit of God on the heart. All of them more or less clearly felt the same as St. prophet Jeremiah: it was in my heart like a burning fire (Jer. 20.9).
Where does this fire come from? St. Ephraim the Syrian, the great mystery of God’s grace: Inaccessible to every mind enters the heart and dwells in it. The secret one from the fire-transparent is found in the heart. The earth lifts up His feet, and a pure heart carries Him in itself and, we add, contemplates Him without eyes, according to the word of Christ: blessed be a pure heart, for they will see God. We read a similar story in John Climacus: Spiritual fire, which came to the heart, resurrects prayer: after the resurrection and ascension to heaven, there is a descent of heavenly fire into the upper room of the soul.
And here are the words of Macarius the Great: The heart rules over all organs, and when grace takes over all the divisions of the heart, it rules over all thoughts and members, for there is the mind and all the thoughts of the soul … For there it is necessary to see whether the grace of the law of the spirit is written.
Where exactly? In the main organ, where is the throne of grace and where the mind and all the thoughts of the soul, that is, in the heart.
We will not multiply similar statements of those who lived the deepest spiritual life. A lot of them can be found in “Philosophy”. All of them, from their own experience, say that with a good and gracious dispensation of the soul, a quiet joy, deep peace and warmth are felt in the heart, always increasing with unswerving and ardent prayer and after good deeds. On the contrary, the influence on the heart of the spirit of Satan and his servants gives rise to a vague anxiety in it, some kind of burning and coldness and unaccountable anxiety.
It is by these feelings of the heart that the ascetics advise to evaluate their spiritual state and to distinguish the Spirit of light from the spirit of darkness.
But not only such more or less vague sensations limit the ability of the heart to communicate with God. As doubtful as it may be for unbelievers, we affirm that with the heart it is possible to perceive quite definite suggestions directly as the words of God. But this is not only the lot of the saints. And I, like many, have experienced this more than once with great strength and deep emotional excitement. Reading or listening to the words of Holy Scripture, I suddenly got an amazing feeling that these are the words of God addressed directly to me. They sounded like thunder to me, like lightning piercing my brain and heart. Certain phrases were completely unexpectedly and precisely taken out of the context of the Scriptures for me, illuminated with a bright dazzling light and were indelibly imprinted in my mind. And always these lightning phrases, God’s verbs, were the most important, the most necessary for me at that moment suggestions, instructions or even prophecies that invariably came true afterwards. Their strength was sometimes colossal, amazing, incomparable with the strength of any ordinary psychic influences.
After I, partly due to circumstances beyond my control, left my episcopal service for several years, one day during the all-night vigil, when the reading of the Gospel was to begin, I suddenly felt the excitement of a vague premonition that something terrible was about to happen. The words that I myself often read calmly: Simone Ionia, do you love Me more than these? .. Feed My lambs. This reproach from God, the call to resume the abandoned ministry suddenly shook me so powerfully that until the end of the all-night vigil my whole body trembled, then I did not close my eyes all night, and for about 1.5 months after that, every time I remembered this extraordinary event, I was shocked by sobs and tears.
Let the skeptics not think that I attuned myself to this experience with melancholy memories of my abandoned sacred service and reproaches of my conscience. Quite the opposite, I was then focused on my illness and the operation ahead of me, was in the most normal state of mind, very far from any exaltation.
For the holy prophets, it was also possible to directly hear the words of God and to perceive them with the heart. And he said to me: Son of man! all My words that I will speak to you, accept in your heart and hear with your ears (Ezek. 8, 10).
My heart speaks from You. “Seek my face”; and I will seek Thy face, O Lord “(Psalm 26: 8).
The prophet Jeremiah tells of his calling as a direct conversation of God with him.
The prophet Ezekiel, describing his extraordinary vision of the glory of God, continues: Seeing this, I fell on my face and heard the voice of the Speaker, and He said to me: Son of man! stand on your feet, and I will speak to you. And when He spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard Him speaking to me (Ezek. 2: 2).
All the prophets say in the name of God: “And the Lord said to me, Thus says the Lord, And the word of the Lord came to me.”
They received revelation from God in reality and in dreams through visions (Ezekiel 40 48; dream of Daniel 7, his visions 8 10; visions of Amos 8 9; visions of Zechariah 1 6).
Here is what the holy fathers have to say about these different ways of receiving revelations from God.
“If anyone assumes that the prophetic visions, images and revelations were a matter of fantasy and occurred in a natural order, let him know that it rushes far from the right goal and truth. For the prophets, and the priests who visit us at the present time, are not in such a natural order and they saw the rank and imagined that they saw something divinely different and, more than nature, it was in their minds that was impressed and represented by the ineffable power and grace of the Holy Spirit, as Basil the Great says: By some undescribed power, the prophets took imagination in their minds, having it undistracted and pure, and They heard the word “fear” as if proclaimed in them. And the prophets also saw visions by the action of the Spirit, which imprinted images in their sovereign mind.The Holy Spirit) acted first in the angelic and heavenly powers, then in the fathers and prophets, of whom some saw God and knew, others foresaw the future, when their sovereign mind from the Spirit took such images in which they were present with the future, like the present “(monks Callistus and Ignatius).
In this excerpt from the writings of Callistus and Ignatius, there is no talk about the perception of the Boyas’ revelations by the prophets by the heart, but about the perception by the mind, but later we will point out that the Holy Scriptures ascribe to the heart those functions that in psychological science are considered to belong to the mind, and it is the heart that is called the organ of the higher knowledge.
The Scripture speaks not only of the ability of the heart to perceive the influence of the Spirit of God, but presents it as an organ that perfects and corrects God, as the center of our spiritual life and knowledge of God.
Here are a number of texts that show this with greater clarity.
And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit in them, and I will take from their flesh the heart of stone, and I will give them a wardrobe heart (Ezek. II, 19).
For this reason, Thou didst instill Thy fear in our hearts, so that we might call on Thy name; and we will glorify You in our transmigration: for we have cast away from our hearts all the unrighteousness of our fathers who sinned against You (Var. 3: 7).
Cast away from you all your sins with which you have sinned, and create for yourself a new Heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 18:31).
He gave you the spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Him, and enlightened the eyes of your heart, so that you might know what the hope of His calling is (Ephesians 1,17-18).
The heart of this people was hardened, and they hardly heard with their ears, and closed their eyes, so that they would not see with their eyes, and would not hear with their ears, and would not understand in their hearts, and would not turn, so that I would heal them (Isaiah 6: 10).
God has sent the Spirit into your hearts (Gal. 4: 6).
Christ may dwell in your hearts (Eph. 3:17).
The peace of God … will keep your hearts (Phil. 4: 7).
I will put My fear in their hearts (Jer. 32.40).
I will put My laws in their hearts (Heb. 10:16).
The love of Boyasia was poured out into our hearts (Rom. 5: 5).
God … has illuminated our hearts (2 Cor. 4: 6).
In the parable of the sower, the Lord Himself says that the seed of the Word of God is sown in the human heart and is kept by it, if it is pure, or stolen from it by the devil, if it does not know how and is not worthy to keep it.
The heart carries out the highest functions of the human spirit – faith in God and love for Him. They believe with their hearts to righteousness, but with their lips they confess to salvation (Rom. 10: 10).
If … you will … believe in your heart (Rom. 10: 9).
Love the Lord your God with all your heart (Matt. 22: 37).
Do you love the Lord your God with all your heart (Deut. 13: 3).
Love the Lord your God with all your heart (Deut. 6.5).
Hallow the Lord God in your hearts (1 Pet. 3:15).
With our hearts we pray, and one of the great forms of prayer is a silent cry to God. This is how Anna, the mother of the prophet Samuel, prayed for the granting of this great son to her. On Mount Sinai, God said to Moses: Why are you crying to Me? – and he prayed without words, without moving his lips.
Their heart cries out to God, – says the prophet Jeremiah (Lamentations 2:18).
Landrieu put it well in his book Prayer: Once an angel said to one of the fiery souls: “What are you really doing? You shake the heavenly palace, and nothing is heard there except your cries. ” However, this soul did not utter a word: only her heart was agitated, and this invisible movement was enough to shake the height of heaven. “
The heart is a repository of good and evil, as the Lord Jesus Christ told us: how can you speak good when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good person out of a good treasure brings out good, and an evil person out of an evil treasure brings out evil (Matt. 12, 34 35).
And again: What comes from the mouth comes from the heart, cue defiles a person, for from the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, perjury, blasphemy (Matthew 15, 18-19).
In the heart is the seat of our conscience, this guardian angel. If our heart condemns us … (1 John 3.20).
The prophet Elisha told his servant Gehazi about the amazing ability of the heart: Did not my heart accompany you when that man with his chariot turned to meet you (2 Kings 5:26). Likewise, the heart of loving mothers accompanies their children in everything, but, of course, not with such prophetic clairvoyance as the heart of Elisha accompanied Gehazi.
The heart is meant not only for feeling and for communicating with God. Holy Scripture testifies that it is also an organ of desire, a source of will, good and evil intentions. <
The Lord will come … and will reveal the heart’s intentions (1 Cor. 4: 5).
A good word is poured out of my heart (Ps. 44: 2).
My heart’s desire … for Israel (Rom. 10: 1).
He acted with all his heart (2 Chron. 31.21).
He … followed the path of his heart (Isaiah 57,17).
He lives according to the stubbornness of his heart (Jer. 13.10).
Until he fulfills the intentions of his heart (Jer. 23,20).
He will fulfill the desires of your heart (Ps. 37.4).
A heart that forges evil designs (Proverbs 6:18).
The heart of the wicked is cruel (Proverbs 12:10).
This people has a violent heart (Jer. 5:23).
… what his heart desired (Ps. 20: 3).
A people deluded in heart (Psalm 94.10).
They have evil in their hearts (Psalm 27: 3).
There are many designs in the heart of man (Proverbs 19:21).
It is clearly seen from these texts that it is precisely the desires and aspirations of the heart that determine all human behavior, the choice of life. And as we will see below, the direction of the path of thinking is also determined by feelings and desires. But the heart not only determines our thinking; strange as it may seem to everyone who considers the immutable doctrine of psychology about the mind as an organ of thinking and cognition, it is the heart, according to the Holy Scriptures, that thinks, reflects, learns. Yes, the reader is in no hurry to close the book, having reached this unacceptable statement for many. And the philosopher Bergson, who in all fairness should be considered one of the greatest thinkers, gives his heart a very prominent place in the matter of knowledge. But let’s start again with the text of the Bible:
But … the Lord [God] has not given you a heart to understand (Deut. 29: 4).
The thoughts of their hearts were evil (Genesis 6: 5).
He scattered the National with the thoughts of their hearts (Luke 1, 51).
Seeing the thoughts of their hearts (Luke 9, 47).
So that you know the thoughts of your heart (Dan. 2.30).
They will utter … the meditations of my heart knowledge (Psalm 48: 4).
To man (belongs) the assumptions of the heart (Proverbs 16: 1).
The Word of God … judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12).
Ponder in your hearts (Ps. 4: 5).
Why do you think evil in your hearts? (Matthew 9.4).
What are you thinking in your hearts? (Luke 5.22).
They thought in their hearts (Mark 2, 6; Luke 3, 15).
Grant your servant a reasonable heart (1 Kings 3: 9).
Wisdom will enter your heart (Proverbs 2:10).
Do not understand this with your heart (Isa. 42, 25).
You know with all your heart (Josh. 23:14).
Thoughts wander in the heart (Psalm 72: 7).
Wisdom will rest in the heart of the prudent (Proverbs 14:33).
Madness in their hearts (Eccl. 9: 3).
The heart of the frivolous will be able to reason (Isa. 32.4).
The heart of a fool is like a broken vessel and does not retain any knowledge … The words of the rational will be sought in the assembly, and their words will be pondered in the heart (Sire. 21, 17-20).
He gave them (people) meaning, language and eyes, and ears and heart for reasoning (Sir 17.5).
May the thoughts of many hearts be revealed (Luke 2: 35).
Why do such thoughts enter your hearts? (Luke 24.38).
Let’s dwell on the last text. How do these thoughts enter your hearts? where do they come from? If they enter the heart, then they are not born in it. Of course, Scripture does not contradict undoubted physiological facts and does not deny the role of the brain in thinking, and not only in thinking, but in all mental processes. In the above words of the monks Callistus and Ignatius, Saints Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian, prophecies and visions are explained by the graceful influence of the Holy Spirit on the mind of the prophets, and mental processes occur in the brain. Yes, of course, but only thinking is not limited to the activity of the cerebral cortex and does not end there.
We know motor and sensory centers in the brain, vasomotor and respiratory, heat and other centers, but there are no sense centers in it. No one knows the centers of joy and sadness, anger and fear, aesthetic and religious feeling. Although all sensory organs and all organs of the body in general are sent to the brain, all sensory fibers end in the cells of its sensory centers, but they carry only visual and auditory, olfactory and gustatory, tactile and thermal, locomotor and many others sensations. But these are just sensations. And not making a distinction between sensations and feelings is to fall into the deepest psychological error.
If we could, which, of course, is unthinkable, stop the rapid and complex dynamics of mental processes and consider individual elements in a static state, then sensations would appear to us only as impulses to the emergence of thoughts, feelings, desires and volitional movements. And thoughts snatched from the brain would be only unfinished, raw material, subject to deep and final processing in the heart – the crucible of feelings and will.
We do not know how the thoughts that have arisen in the brain are transmitted to the heart, but thought as a purely psychological act, in contrast to sensations as physiological acts, does not need anatomical ways of conducting. The feelings that arise in the heart depending on these or those thoughts and to a large extent shape them do not need these paths.
But not only from the brain, the heart receives these processed thoughts, sensory perceptions, but it itself has an amazing, most important ability to receive from the spiritual world exogenous, in no way adequate to the senses, sensations of the highest order.
And these sensations from the heart are transmitted to the mind, to the brain and to a great extent determine, direct and change all mental processes that occur in the mind and spirit. Let’s turn to other texts from the above.
May the thoughts of many hearts be revealed.
Wisdom will rest in the heart of the rational.
Madness in their hearts.
If we can talk about the thoughts of the heart, about the fact that the heart serves as the focus and abode of wisdom, then it means that not only the thoughts born in the brain receive sensory and volitional replenishment in it, and not only exogenous spiritual influences transmitted to the brain are perceived by it, but in the heart, these perceptions also give rise to thoughts, reflections, just as sensory perceptions serve as impulses and material for the mental activity of the brain. The heart, therefore, is the second organ of perception, cognition and thought. Knowledge is born in him from this activity and wisdom rests in him. Or, if the heart is deprived of God’s grace and does not receive from the world the transcendent inspiration of the Spirit of truth and goodness, but is inclined to perceive the spirit of evil, lies, pride, then madness is born and dwells in it.
Intellectualists consider it an immutable truth that we cognize reality with the mind, the anatomical physiological organ of which they naturally consider the brain. But already in the 17th century, at the height of Cartesian dogmatism, when intellectualism was omnipotent, the brilliant mathematician and thinker Blaise Pascal managed to find the limit and impotence of reason and proposed to replace it with a cognitive ability that would be distinguished by immediacy and suitability for the study of truth.
What Bergson later finally called intuition, Pascal called a sense of subtleties, a sense of judgment, feeling, inspiration, heart, instinct. All these words in the same way designate in his “Thoughts” the direct cognition of reality, the consciousness of living reality, which is opposite to rational knowledge and rational calculations. In his earliest creations, Pascal established this new difference between the “geometric mind” and the instinct for subtleties. The geometric mind is exactly what we call the rationalistic or logical way of thinking; a sense of subtleties – intuitive thinking.
Reason, says Pascal, acts slowly, taking into account the table of principles that should always be present, that it gets tired and scattered every minute, unable to simultaneously hold them. Feeling acts differently: it acts in one second and is always ready to act.
His conclusion is as follows: It is necessary, therefore, to place our trust in “feeling”, otherwise our hope will constantly waver.
Then follows the famous saying: The heart has its reasons, unknown to the mind, and Pascal adds: The heart, not the mind, feels God.
The concept of knowledge and all the great verbosity of our spiritual life, which is given to us by Holy Scripture, is completely incompatible with intellectualism, a philosophical doctrine that asserts that all reality is cognizable and that it is accessible only to the cognitive ability of the mind.
Intellectualism sees in free, speculative knowledge the perfect human activity and even the only activity worthy of it. But, what is even more important, he recognizes reality for objects only insofar as they can be accepted by reason.
How can we compare the pretentiousness of this proud doctrine, which denies reality to everything that does not fit into our poor and very limited mind? All that is so brightly and undoubtedly perceived by the heart from the transcendental world, all that is cognized by Pascal’s “sense of subtleties”, intellectualists ignore. And the ancient philosopher Epicurus said that all objects of perception are true and real, for the same thing is to say that a thing is true and that it exists. Why are the highest perceptions of the heart not true?
Only the brain is considered an organ of reason and will, and the spinal cord is only a system of pathways and an organ of reflex and trophic activity. However, if a decapitated frog is irritated to the skin, then it takes appropriate actions aimed at eliminating the irritation, and if they continue, it turns to flight and hides in the same way as a non-decapitated one. In the wars of ants that do not have a brain, intentionality is clearly revealed, and therefore rationality, which is no different from human. It is quite obvious that not only the brain, but also the ganglia of insects, the spinal cord, and the sympathetic nervous system of vertebrates serve as the organ of the will.
In a small theological treatise, it is impossible to explain in any way at all clearly the basic ideas of Henri Bergson’s amazing and deeply vital philosophy. I will only say that he paved a completely new path to the knowledge of life and, with a great depth of thought, revealed the complete inability to this of the philosophy of intellectualism.
Pascal was not the only great predecessor of Bergson on this revolutionary path of philosophy. The method of introspection by Maine de Biran – the study of reality in the mind of a person – is close to the Bergsonian method of cognition. He thinks that it is impossible to grasp reality otherwise than in a living self. Neither subtle observation nor rational reflection can achieve this.
Schopenhauer was the first to prove that the concepts invented by the mind, working in vain and in emptiness, can be nothing more than empty chimeras, suitable only for the satisfaction of the professors of philosophy; that the mind has only forms, that it is an empty capacity. He opposes intuition to reason.
Bergson made amazing and completely new judgments about the brain – the idol of the intellectualists. He believes that the difference between the spinal cord, which reflexively responds to the received impulses, and the brain is only in the complexity, and not in the nature of the functions. In the brain, only the perception that came from the outside is registered, and the appropriate method of response is selected.
The brain, says Bergson, is nothing more than something like a central telephone exchange: its role is reduced to issuing a message or to clarifying it. He adds nothing to what he receives. All the organs of perception send nerve fibers to it; the motor system is located in it, and it is the center in which peripheral stimulation enters into intercourse with one or another motor mechanism.
By its very structure, the brain proves that its function is the transformation of someone else’s irritation into a well-chosen reaction. Afferent nerve fibers, which bring sensory stimuli, end in the cells of the sensory zone of the cerebral cortex, and they are connected by other fibers with the cells of the motor zone, to which the irritation is transmitted. With a myriad of such connections, the brain has the ability to endlessly modify the responses to external stimuli, and acts as a kind of switch.
The nervous system, and especially the brain, is not an apparatus of pure representation and cognition, but only tools intended for action.
The brain is not an organ of thought, feeling, consciousness, but it is what rivets consciousness, feelings, thoughts to real life, makes them listen to real needs and makes them capable of useful action. The brain, in fact, is the organ of attention to life, adjustment to reality (Soul and body. You and life. 1921, 20 December).
Surprising as it may seem, these stunning thoughts of the great metaphysician almost completely coincide with the new doctrine of higher nervous activity created by our brilliant physiologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov. Even more: we have the right to say that not long before Pavlov, Henri Bergson, by pure philosophical thinking, anticipated the essence of Pavlov’s physiological doctrine, constructed experimentally by the method of studying the conditioned reflexes of the brain.
To substantiate this position, I must cite several excerpts from Pavlov’s book “Twenty Years of Objective Study of the Higher Nervous Activity of Animals”, but first it is necessary to explain what conditioned reflexes are and what Pavlov calls analyzers.
Each animal has many innate constant reflexes, which Pavlov calls unconditioned. So, for example, an animal immediately rushes on food that it sees, pulls back its leg when it is irritated, the snail is pulled into its shell when touched, the newborn baby makes a sucking motion when it touches the mother’s breast. But along with these unconditioned reflexes in higher animals, it is in the dogs on which Pavlov experimented, it is also possible to artificially develop new reflexes, which he calls conditioned (you can also call them temporary or acquired). So, for example, if, for a short time before giving food, the dog will receive the same conditioned stimulus in the form of a sound of a certain height, a light signal, or scratching of the skin during a series of experiments ^, then soon this conditioned stimulus will begin to act in the same way as the sight and smell of meat (an unconditioned stimulus): with a conditioned signal, the dog immediately begins salivating and the usual motor excitement at the sight of food. The conditioned signal led to the formation of a new, temporary, conditioned reflex.
How are these reflexes formed? When stimulated by a conditioned signal, retina cells (optic membrane of the eye) that perceive light, cells of Corti’s organ that perceive sound, stamp bodies and terminal apparatuses of sensory nerves of the skin that perceive tactile and painful sensations, all these sensations are transmitted along fibers of sensory nerves to those areas of the cerebral cortex. whose nerve cells are designed to perceive only these stimuli (the nuclei of the optic nerve are located in the occipital lobe of the hemispheres, the sound ones in the temporal lobe, etc.). The nerve cells of the cortex, having perceived the irritation, analyze it and, according to the results of the analysis, transmit an impulse to the lower centers of the brain and spinal cord for the corresponding executive action (effects): motor, secretory,
The analyzer Pavlov calls the entire system, consisting of specific, perceiving cells of the sense organ, the nerve fibers of the sensory nerve starting from them, their extensions – the fibers of the white matter of the brain and their endings – the nerve cells of the sensory region of the cerebral cortex. There are countless such analyzers in the brain. Among them, in addition to those that originate in our five senses, there are many others that carry irritation from all organs of our body and signal the cerebral cortex about everything that happens inside the body. Thus, the brain is entrusted with the daunting task of analyzing all these stimuli and responding to them with reactions of the effector centers.
The following extracts from Pavlov’s book will now be clear:
From the point of view of conditioned reflexes, the cerebral hemispheres are presented as a complex of analyzers with the task of decomposing the complexity of the external and internal world into separate elements and moments and then linking all this with the diverse activities of the organism.
Remaining on the basis of exact facts, we can say that the large hemispheres are a set of analyzers that decompose the complexity of the external and internal world into separate elements and moments and then link the analyzed phenomena in this way with one or another activity of the organism.
The large hemispheres are an organ of an animal organism, which is specialized in constantly carrying out an ever more perfect balance of the organism with the external environment – an organ for a corresponding and direct response to various combinations and fluctuations of phenomena of the external world, and to a certain extent a special organ for the continuous further development of the animal organism.
The motor region of the hemispheres is the receptor region, or the main sphere, etc., and the motor effect upon irritation of the cortex is essentially a reflex of nature. This establishes the unity of the entire cortex of the hemispheres. The cortex, therefore, is only a receptor apparatus that analyzes and synthesizes incoming stimuli in a variety of ways, which only reach the effector apparatus through the downwardly directed connective fibers.
There are no mechanisms in the anterior lobes that are superior to all hemispheres. There can be no question of some general mechanisms in the anterior lobes. Obviously, there are no particularly important instruments that would establish the highest perfection of nervous activity.
I. Pavlov, like Bergson, believes that the difference between the brain and the spinal cord is only in the complexity, and not in the nature of the functions. He and his school consider it possible that the deciphering of the higher nervous activity of a dog, which was given by experiments with conditioned reflexes, can also be attributed to the physiology of the human brain.
If in a dog it is possible to obtain only secondary conditioned reflexes from the primary, then in a monkey their number is already higher, and in a person, undoubtedly, a very large layering of some acquired reflexes on others that preceded them is possible, and this formation, constantly continuing and becoming more complicated during a person’s life. new brain connections are given the opportunity to improve mental activity and expand the volume of consciousness. But all the same, this most complex brain activity remains only the reflexes of the brain, and this new physiology of the brain, as it seems to us, should take the place of the psychological doctrine of associations.
But isn’t that the same as Bergson said: The brain is nothing more than something like a central telephone exchange: its role is to issue a message or to clarify it. He will not add anything to what he has received.
The studies of Pavlov and his collaborators of the physiological significance of the frontal lobes of the cerebral hemispheres are of enormous importance. Until now, these lobes were considered by all to be the most important part of the brain, centers of higher mental activity, the organ of thinking, par excellence, even the seat of the soul. But Pavlov did not find in them any particularly important devices that would establish the highest perfection of nervous activity, and the cortex of these advanced lobes of the cerebral hemispheres, like the rest of the cortex, is a sensory area. The entire cerebral cortex, this most perfect part of the brain, consists only of countless analyzers, analyzers and analyzers. And if there was no room in the cortex for some kind of center of feelings, then all the more it cannot be looked for in the gray nodes of the brain stem, which, as is partly known, have purely physiological functions. The cerebral cortex does not analyze feelings, but sensations.
And if the brain cannot be considered an organ of feeling, then this greatly confirms the teaching of Holy Scripture about the heart as an organ of the senses in general, and especially the higher senses.
These studies by Pavlov are consistent with the observations of surgeons on many wounded with abscesses of the frontal lobes of the brain. They, as a rule, are not accompanied by any noticeable changes in the psyche or a disorder of higher mental functions. From my own practice, I will give only two striking observations.
In a young wounded man, I opened a huge abscess (about 50 cm3 of pus), which undoubtedly destroyed the entire left frontal lobe, and I did not observe any mental defects after this operation.
I can say the same about another patient who was operated on for a huge cyst of the meninges. With a wide opening of the skull, I was surprised to see that almost the entire right half of it was empty, and the entire right hemisphere was compressed almost to the point of impossibility to distinguish it.
If, therefore, the brain cannot be considered an organ of the senses and an exclusive organ of higher cognition, then this greatly confirms the teaching of Holy Scripture about the heart as an organ of the senses in general and especially of the higher senses.