What is the relationship between spirit, soul and body?
Materialists, who do not recognize spirit as a special entity, reduce all manifestations of the psyche to the processes taking place in the brain, and, first of all, in the cortical substance of its hemispheres; all mental acts are considered a function of the brain. This is largely true. Physiologists have fully clarified the dependence of mental acts and states on the normal or pathological functions of the nervous system in general, and above all of the brain, and, consequently, on the functions of the body’s internal secretion, the entire complex hormonal system, which exerts a powerful influence on the brain and nerves. Everything that happens in the body, and its very anatomical structure, leaves a deep imprint on the psyche. Various forms of character correspond to various structures of the body, and character is one of the most important manifestations of the soul and spirit.
But can it be argued that these undoubted physiological data fully justify the purely materialistic concept of the entire psyche? No way!
After all, the same physiology and especially the great discoveries of I.P. Pavlov and his school found out that the central nervous system dominates all somatic processes, determines and directs the work of all organs, their growth and trophic state, and has a powerful effect on the course of physiological processes.
But the nervous system is an organ of the psyche, and according to the ideas of vulgar materialism, even thought and feeling were interpreted as secretions from the brain. This crude notion has long been abandoned; but modern materialists attribute mental functions to the brain.
And if so, then along with the lower functions, it is necessary to include the higher ones, which dominate all others and are as inseparable from them as the function of contraction is inseparable from muscle tissue. Therefore, we have the right to consider all the effects of the central nervous system on organs and tissues as mental influences. And if it is certain that somatic processes largely determine the course of mental processes, then it is equally certain that it is necessary to recognize the mental impact on all somatic processes in the body.
The powerful influence of the patient’s psyche on the course of the disease is well known. The state of mind of the patient, his trust or distrust of the doctor, the depth of his faith and hope for healing, or, conversely, mental depression caused by careless conversations of doctors in the presence of the patient about the seriousness of his illness, deeply determine the outcome of the disease. Psychotherapy, consisting in the verbal, or rather, the spiritual influence of the doctor on the patient, is a generally recognized method of treating many diseases, often giving excellent results.
Charles Richet explains the undoubted miracles in Lourdes by the powerful influence of the brain (we would say spirit). Of the three miracles that he cites as an example, the most amazing was the healing of the worker Derruder, who in 1875 received an open fracture of the shin bones complicated by an infection. Heavy suppuration lasted for a long time, the bones did not grow together, and the lower part of the lower leg with the foot dangled in all directions. After 8 years, he went to worship in the holy city and there he suddenly felt healed. He can stand and walk, stepping equally freely on both feet. And for 8 years he walked on crutches.
Another case is no less surprising. In 1897, Gargam suffered a spinal fracture during a train accident, which resulted in leg paralysis with muscle atrophy and incipient gangrene. Arriving in Lourdes, Gargam was almost suddenly healed: having entered the grotto, he was able to take several wrong steps. The next day, the festering ulcers of the foot healed. He could walk without a cane, despite muscle atrophy. After three weeks, he gained 10 kg in weight and could start his previous work.
We could cite many similar healings at the discovery of the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov, from the lives of St. Pitirim of Tambov and many other saints.
It is impossible to explain these amazing facts together with S. Richet only by the physiological influence of the brain, even a mighty one, because all brain processes and all brain influences occur in time, and these miraculous healings took place almost outside of time. Such speed of action is possible only for the spirit.
In addition, Gargam had severe spinal cord injury, as evidenced by not only paralysis of the legs, but also muscle atrophy and even incipient gangrene. All these are irreversible changes according to our medical knowledge, and none of the most powerful, but only the physiological influence of the brain could correct them.
With these considerations, we reinforce and substantiate the proposition stated in the third chapter that the spirit creates forms. The statement that the spiritual is determined only by the material is narrow and unreasonable, for it is necessary to admit that there is also a reverse influence – a spiritual effect on the matter of the body through the nervous system – an organ of the psyche.
The spirit not only creates the forms of material bodies, directing and determining the growth process, but can itself take these forms – materialize.
No matter how one treats spiritualism, one cannot but admit the certainty of this fact. Only he who judges spiritualistic phenomena by hearsay can frivolously and indiscriminately deny them. Anyone who has read an extensive chapter on this subject in Sh. Rita’s book “Treatise of Metaphysics” will be convinced of the reality of the facts of the materialization of spirit in some unknown special forms of matter.
However, I cannot refrain from citing a few facts of materialization from among the multitude of them, observing which even the most stubborn skeptics, scientists with a major name, repented of their disbelief.
Sir William Crookes, who experimented with the famous medium Home, saw a graceful hand rise from the table in the daylight and give him a flower. “She appeared and disappeared three times, giving me the opportunity to make sure that she was as real as my own hand, while I was holding tightly to the medium’s arms and legs. The hand and fingers did not always seem to me to be firm and definitely alive. Sometimes they appeared to be a concentration of cloudy vapor; the light cloud seemed to be forming and transforming into a perfect hand. She seemed the same human flesh as the hands of those present. At the wrist and shoulder, it became like a pair and was lost in a bright cloud. I held this hand in mine, firmly resolved not to let it go, but without the slightest effort it freed itself and turned into steam. “
Richet received dummies from such fluid hands. The ghost immersed his hands in paraffin melted at 43 ° C. When the hand came out, its paraffin form remained, and the hand disappeared. Gypsum was poured into the mold and the paraffin was removed. The photographs of these plaster casts show all the small details of living skin, the pattern of veins. To avoid any suspicion that the mold was substituted by a medium, without his knowledge, cholesterol was added to the paraffin, which turns purple from sulfuric acid, and the broken piece of the mold really turned into this color. The medium’s arms and legs were firmly held during the entire experiment.
For all those who consider the Holy Scriptures to be true, there can be no doubt about the possibility of the materialization of the spirit, for they know that the Hendor sorceress, at the request of King Saul, summoned the spirit of the prophet Samuel. And the king said to her: Do not be afraid, [tell], what do you see? And the woman answered: I see, as it were, a god coming out of the earth. What kind is he? – Saul asked her. She said: An old man, dressed in long clothes, is coming out of the earth. Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and fell face down on the ground and bowed. And Samuel said to Saul, Why do you trouble me, so that I go out? (1 Samuel 28, 1315). If the facts of summoning the dead were not generally known in ancient times, that is, the materialization of the spirit, then why would Moses forbid calling those who summon the dead: Do not appeal to those who summon the dead, and do not go to wizards, and do not lead yourself to defilement from them (Lev. 19:31; 20, 6). You must not have … a charm, summoning spirits, a magician and inquiring of the dead (Deut. 18:10 11).
Are empty words possible in the mouth of the great prophet Isaiah? And he said: … and they will resort to idols and to sorcerers, and to those who summon the dead and to fortunetellers (Isa. 19: 3).
How, if not the materialization of the spirit, can explain the appearance of Elijah and Moses to the Lord Jesus Christ during His Transfiguration on Mount Tabor? And the appearance of angels in human form? The angel that appeared to Gideon and his wife disappeared in the smoke of burning meat and stew in the same way as materialized spirits, summoned by spiritists, disappear (Judg. 6, 19-21; 13, 20).
During the first imperialist war, professor of physics N., a materialist, lived in the summer in a Ukrainian village. In the evening, when he went out onto the porch, the hostess of the hut went to the gate to let the cow in. Suddenly she seemed to be dumbfounded, threw up her hands, exclaimed: “Petro!” and fainted. Later, she told the professor that she saw her son, who was in the war, smiling and joyful. He was killed that day.
The appearance of ghosts at the time of death is a well-known and undoubted fact. Richet gives many examples of this kind in his book. I will mention only a few of them:
1. Colonel N. slept in his room in London. At dawn, he suddenly woke up and saw Paul, his comrade in the army, in a khaki suit, a helmet, with a thick black beard, which he did not wear when N.
N. knew that Pool was in the Transvaal, at the front. The vision was so clear that N. almost took it for reality, he saw a face, lively eyes, a khaki suit, a helmet. N. sat on the bed, looked at Poole and talked to him. Poole said, “I am killed by a piercing wound in the chest,” and as he said this, he slowly raised his hand to his chest. “The general ordered me to go.”
N. told some of his comrades about this phenomenon and the next day he learned that Poole had been killed in battle. He wore a khaki uniform and beard, and was killed by a piercing wound to the chest.
2. Panchchi, who lived in Pisa, at night saw his father pale and dying with the words: “Kiss me for the last time, for I am leaving forever,” and felt the cold touch of his lips to his lips.
Although there was no reason to think about the misfortune, oya went to Florence and there learned that his father had died the previous night, at the hour when the ghost appeared to him.
I will add to this a similar incident from the annals of my family. My sister died in the wing of the house where my older brother lived. He took a nap, sitting on the couch, and at one o’clock in the morning he woke up, obviously feeling some kind of breath near his face and a kiss on his cheek. At that moment, my sister died.
3. Dr. Marie de Thiele, who lived in Lausanne, heard a knock at the door at 6 am. Someone entered in a black dress, wrapped like a veil in a white transparent cloth. The cat in the room arched its back, its fur rose, it grumbled terribly and trembled. After a while, Madame de Thiele learned that one of her best friends, whom she, however, did not think about at the time of the appearance of the ghost, had died of acute peritonitis in India.
Here’s another example of this kind. Miss K. caressed the kitty in her lap. Suddenly the cat got up in horror, arched its back and, raising its fur on end, began to breathe convulsively. Then Miss K. saw an old shrew with a pale face sitting in an armchair beside her, staring at her intently. The cat, as if distraught, rushed with a noisy jump at the door. Miss K. cried out in fear for help. Her mother came in and the ghost disappeared. Miss K. saw him for about five minutes. An old woman hanged herself in this room, she was told.
Richet cites many striking examples of collective vision of ghosts. Here is just one of them.
Madame Teleshova in 1896 was in her living room in St. Petersburg with her five children and the dog Mustash. Suddenly the dog barked loudly, and all those present saw a little boy of about six, in a shirt, in which they recognized Andrey, the son of their milkman, about whom they knew that he was sick. A ghost appeared from the oven, passed over the heads of those present, and disappeared through the open window. It lasted about five seconds. Mustash never stopped barking and running after the moving ghost. At that moment, little Andrei died.
This is how Richet says about the phenomena of ghosts: one cannot think that these images, these noises, these ghosts, which are seen by several people, do not represent an objective reality (mechanically objective). And yet, we cannot prove it absolutely and indisputably.
As with all observational knowledge. If it was impossible to explain the phenomena of materialized facts other than collective hallucinations, then due to the strangeness of these phenomena, one should speak of their unreality. But the empirical evidence of materialization is very convincing. Ghosts can be observed. This observation cannot be exactly the same as in experimental methods, for the observers can have neither photographic plates, nor a microphone, nor a balance, nor a galvanometer at their disposal. The only proof of actual materialization, which has a mechanical and light reality, can be the simultaneous perception of such a phenomenon by several persons and, moreover, absolutely the same. If two normal, intelligent people accurately describe the same vision,
Somewhat different from the phenomena of ghosts, but very close to them are the calls of the living by the dead, who appear in the form of ghosts only to those whom they call to themselves, but are not visible to anyone else. In other cases, such calls are perceived as voices, without the appearance of ghosts. Facts of this kind are extremely numerous and undoubtedly reliable.
Here are some prime examples.
1. The case reported by Bozzano relates to a child of 2 years and 7 months named Rei. His eight-month-old brother has just died. He repeatedly appears to little Ray, who sees him sitting on a chair and calling him. “Mom,” he says, “the little brother is calling for Rhea. He wants Rei with him. ” Another time he said: “Don’t cry, mom, little brother is smiling. Ray will go to him. ” Rey, an intelligent child beyond his age, died two months and 7 days after his brother. This case is all the more surprising because at such an early age children do not understand what death is.
2. Louise S., 45 years old, died of celiac disease. During her illness, she constantly asked that after her recovery, her three-year-old niece Lily, whom she loved very much, should be brought to her village. Little Lily, very smart, quite healthy, a month after the death of her aunt, often suddenly interrupted her games, went to the window and gazed somewhere. The mother asked what she was looking at. “Aunt Louise holds out her hands to me and calls me.” The frightened mother tried to entertain her, but the child, not paying attention to her, dragged a chair to the window and for several minutes did not take his eyes off the aunt calling her. She asked her sister: “How can you not see Tata?” (“Tata” was their aunt’s diminutive.) But she didn’t see anything. After a few months it stopped. On May 20, little Lily fell ill and, lying in the crib, she looked at the ceiling and said that she saw her aunt surrounded by little angels. “How wonderful it is, Mom,” she said. Day by day she got worse and worse, but she kept repeating: “Here is my aunt. She came for me and holds out her hands to me. ” And she said to her crying mother: “Don’t cry, mom, it’s wonderful, the angels are around me.” She died on July 3, 1896, four months after Louise.
3. Three months before the death of Metropolitan Filaret of Moscow, his late father appeared to him in a dream and said: “Remember the nineteenth.” The Metropolitan died on November 19.
4. Mrs. Morrison in India, lying in bed, suddenly heard a voice: “When darkness comes, death will come.” Morrison sat up in bed in fear. The same voice slowly repeated the same words. Two days later, her daughter fell seriously ill. During the week there was not a cloud in the sky, but on the eighth day a terrible storm suddenly broke out. A few minutes before eleven o’clock it became completely dark in the house. The little daughter died at thirteen o’clock.
The phenomena of the so-called exteriorization of living people are close to the ghosts of dead people. Many of them can be found in the lives of saints. In Catholic hagiology, the case of Alphonse Lituori is known, who on September 17, 1774 became motionless and dumb in his cell. He did not take any food and did not speak to anyone. Then on September 22 in the morning he woke up and said that he was with his dad, who had just died. On that very night, September 21-22, Pope Clement XIV died, and Alphonse Lituori was with him.
We can cite the case of the exteriorization of the Optina elder Ambrose, our contemporary (died in 1891). The peasant woman Avdotya, sick with her legs, went on foot to Optina Hermitage, expecting healing from Elder Ambrose. Not reaching 7 versts to the monastery, she lost her way, got lost and fell in tears on a felled tree. Soon an old man in a cassock and a skufie came up to her, asked what she was crying about, and showed her the way to the monastery with a stick. Arriving at the skete in which Ambrose lived, she sat down in a crowd of women waiting to be received by the elder. A few minutes later Ambrose’s cell attendant came out onto the porch and said loudly: “Where is Avdotya from Voronezh?” Avdotya was so amazed that she responded only to the second call of the cell attendant. About 15 minutes later she came out in tears from the elder, in whom she immediately recognized the old man who showed her the way in the forest.
Ambrose, due to his soreness, left his cells only in summer and often fell asleep, constantly lying on the sofa. There was no one like him in the skete or in the monastery. And his appearance was very remarkable, and Avdotya could not be mistaken.
The exteriorization of the human spirit is often observed in hypnotic sleep.
Dr. Pierre Janet, while in Le Havre, put Leonie B. to sleep and inspired her to go (in a hypnotic dream) to Paris, to his apartment. Falling asleep, Leonie suddenly became worried and exclaimed: “It is burning, it is burning!” Pierre Janet began to calm her down. She woke up, then fell asleep again and woke up with the words: “Janet, I assure you that it is burning there.” Indeed, on the day this happened, a fire destroyed Dr. Janet’s laboratory in Paris.
Let us remember that Vasily the Blessed at a feast at Ivan the Terrible three times poured a goblet of wine poured onto the floor on the floor and answered the cry of the angry tsar: “It is I who put out the fire in Novgorod.” At this time, a really terrible fire was raging in Novgorod!
What is incredible that the enlightened spirit of the saints fully and always possesses those transcendental abilities that ordinary people manifest only in a state of somnambulism. We can draw extremely important conclusions from these mysterious and completely inexplicable facts. They are not only inexplicable in the current state of science, but they are unlikely to ever be explained by psychophysiological methods. For, of course, these phenomena are of a very special order, radically different from those that are available for scientific study. These are not phenomena of a psycho-physiological nature, but the actions of the spirit, temporarily or finally separated from the body. The exteriorization of the spirit of the living in their normal state (Elder Ambrose) or hypnosis (Leonie B.), of course, differ from the phenomena of the dead in the form of materialized ghosts or mysterious voices foreshadowing death or misfortune. But with all their differences, these inexplicable phenomena indicate that the connection of the spirit with the body is not unconditional and the spirit can exist separately from the body.
At the same time, the appearances of the dead serve as a very important, further indisputable proof of the existence of the spirit.
That the spirit can have an existence separate from the soul and body is also proved by the inheritance of the spiritual properties of parents to children. I am talking about the heredity of spiritual properties, and not mental ones, as they usually say, because only the main character traits, their moral direction, a tendency to good or evil, higher abilities of mind, feelings and will are inherited, but memories of the life of parents are never inherited , their sensory or organic perceptions, their private thoughts and feelings. This testifies to the separation of spirit from soul and body.
The facts of the heredity of the spirit are known and undoubted. In the twenties of the last century, there was a young woman in America who was extremely depraved. Sentenced to be hanged in early youth, she escaped punishment – she got married and had many children. After 60 years, the number of her descendants in a straight line reached eighty. Of these, 20 were punished by the law for crimes, and the remaining 60 consisted of drunkards, madmen, idiots, beggars.
In the French, known in history, the Lemoinier family, already at the end of the 17th century, noticed the hereditary transmission of the most noble properties. This is one of those families in which they are born, it seems, only for justice and mercy, in which virtue is transmitted with blood, supported by advice and excited by great examples (Fleschier).
The history of the ancient Roman imperial families, Spanish and French royal families presents many well-known vivid examples of moral and mental degeneration.