Professor Yaeger of Stuttgart has made a very interesting study of the sense of smell. He starts from the fact well known in medical jurisprudence, that the blood of an animal when treated by sulphuric, or indeed by any other decomposing acid, smells like the animal itself to which it belongs...|
Odorigen and Jiva
by L. Salzer, M.D
Professor Yaeger of Stuttgart has made a very interesting study of the sense of smell. He starts from the fact well known in medical jurisprudence, that the blood of an animal when treated by sulphuric, or indeed by any other decomposing acid, smells like the animal itself to which it belongs. This holds good even after the blood has been long dried.
Let us state before all what is to be understood by the smell of a certain animal. There is the pure, specific smell of the animal, inherent in its flesh, or, as we shall see hereafter, in certain portions of its flesh. This smell is best perceived when the flesh is gently boiling in water. The broth thereby obtained contains the specific taste and smell of the animal--I call it specific, because every species, nay every variety of species, has its own peculiar taste and smell. Think of mutton broth, chicken broth, fish broth, &c. &c. I shall call this smell, the specific scent of the animal. I need not say that the scent of an animal is quite different from all such odours as are generated within its organism, along with its various secretions and excretions: bile, gastric juice, sweat, &c. These odours are again different in the different species and varieties of animals. The cutaneous exhalation of the goat, the sheep, the donkey, widely differ from each other; and a similar difference prevails with regard to all the other effluvia of these animals. In fact, as far as olfactory experience goes, we may say that the odour of each secretion and excretion of a certain species of animals is peculiar to itself, and characteristically different in the similar products of another species.
By altering the food of an animal we may considerably alter all the above-mentioned odours, scents, as well as smells; yet essentially they will always retain their specific odoriferous type. All this is matter of strict experience.
Strongly diffusive as all these odorous substances are, they permeate the whole organism, and each of them contributes its share to what in the aggregate constitutes the smell of the living animal. It is altogether an excrementitious smell tempered by the scent of the animal. That excrementitious smell we shall henceforth simply call the smell, in contradistinction to the scent of the animal.
To return after this not very pleasant, but nevertheless necessary digression, to our subject. Professor Yaeger found that blood, treated by an acid, may emit the scent or the smell of the animal, according as the acid is weak or strong. A strong acid, rapidly disintegrating the blood, brings out the animal's smell; a weak acid, the animal's scent.
We see, then, that in every drop of blood of a certain species of animal, and we may as well say, in each of its blood corpuscles, and in the last instance, in each of its molecules, the respective animal species is fully represented, as to its odorant speciality, under both aspects of scent and smell.
We have, then, on the one side, the fact before us that wherever we meet in the animal kingdom with difference of shape, form, and construction, so different as to constitute a class, a genus, or a family of its own, there we meet at the same time with a distinct and specific scent and smell. On the other hand, we know that these specific odours are invariably interblended with the very life-blood of the animal. And lastly, we know that these specific odours cannot be accounted for by any agents taken up in the shape of food from the outer world. We are, then, driven to the conclusion that they are properties of the inner animal; that they, in other words, pertain to the specific protoplasm of the animal concerned.
And thus our conclusion attains almost certainty, when we remember that it stands the crucial test of experiment--that we need only decompose the blood in order to find there what we contend to be an essential ingredient of it.
I must now say a few words in explanation of the term protoplasm. Protoplasm is a soft, gelatinous substance, transparent and homogeneous, easily seen in large plant-cells; it may be compared to the white of an egg. When at rest all sorts of vibratory, quivering and trembling movements can be observed within its mass. It forms the living material in all vegetable and animal cells; in fact, it is that component of the body which really does the vital work. It is the formative agent of all living tissues. Vital activity, in the broadest sense of the term, manifests itself in the development of the germ into the complete organism, repeating the type of its parents, and in the subsequent maintenance of that organism in its integrity and both these functions are exclusively carried on by the protoplasm. Of course, there is a good deal of chemical and mechanical work done in the organism, but protoplasm is the formative agent of all the tissues and structures.
Of tissues and structures already formed, we may fairly say that they have passed out of the realms of vitality, as they are destined to gradual disintegration and decay in the course of life; it is they that are on the way of being cast out of the organism, when they have once run through the scale of retrograde metamorphosis; and it is they that give rise to what we have called the smell of the animal. What lives in them is the protoplasm.
In the shape of food the outer world supplies the organism with all the materials necessary for the building up of the constantly wasting organic structures; and, in the shape of heat, there comes from the outer world that other element necessary for structural changes, development and growth--the element of force. But the task of directing all the outward materials to the development and maintenance of the organism--in other words, the task of the director-general of the organic economy falls to the protoplasm.
Now this wonderful substance, chemically and physically the same in the highest animal and in the lowest plant, has been all along the puzzle of the biologist. How is it that in man protoplasm works out human structure; in fowl, fowl structure, &c. &c., while the protoplasm itself appears to be everywhere the same? To Professor Yaeger belongs the great merit of having shown us that the protoplasms of the various species of plants and animals are not the same; that each of them contains, moreover, imbedded in its molecules, odorant substances peculiar to the one species and not to the other.
That, on the other hand, those odorous substances are by no means inactive bodies, may be inferred from their great volatility, known as it is in physical science that volatility is owing to a state of atomic activity. Prevost has described two phenomena that are presented by odorous substances. One is that, when placed on water, they begin to move; and the other is, that a thin layer of water, extended on a perfectly clean glass plate, retracts when such an odorous substance as camphor is placed upon it. Monsieur Ligeois has further shown that the particles of an odorous body, placed on water, undergo a rapid division, and that the movements of camphor, or of benzoic acid, are inhibited, or altogether arrested, if an odorous substance be brought into contact with the water in which they are moving.
Seeing, then, that odorous substances, when coming in contact with liquid bodies, assume a peculiar motion, and impart at the same time motion to the liquid body, we may fairly conclude that the specific formative capacity of the protoplasm is owing, not to the protoplasm itself, since it is everywhere alike, but to the inherent, specific, odoriferous substances.
I shall only add that Professor Yaeger's theory may be carried farther yet. Each metal has also a certain taste and odour peculiar to itself; in other words, they are also endowed with odoriferous substances. And this may help us to explain the fact that each metal, when crystallizing out of a liquid solution, invariably assumes a distinct geometrical form, by which it may be distinguished from any other. Common salt, for instance, invariably crystallizes in cubes, alum in octohedra, and so on.
Professor Yaeger's theory explains further to us that other great mystery of Nature--the transmission from parent to offspring of the morphological speciality. This is another puzzle of the biologist. What is there in the embryonal germ that evolves out of the materials stored up therein a frame similar to the parents? In other words, what is there that presides over the preservation of the species, working out the miniature duplicate of the parents' configuration and character? It is the protoplasm, no doubt; and the female ovum contains protoplasm in abundance. But neither the physicist nor the chemist can detect any difference between the primordial germ, say of the fowl, and that of a female of the human race.
In answer to this question--a question before which science stands perplexed--we need only remember what has been said before about the protoplasmic scent. We have spoken before of the specific scent of the animal as a whole. We know, however, that every organ and tissue in a given animal has again its peculiar scent and taste. The scent and taste of the liver, spleen, brain, &c., are quite different in the same animal.
And if our theory is correct, then it could not be otherwise. Each of these organs is differently constructed, and as variety of organic structure is supposed to be dependent upon variety of scent, there must necessarily be a specific cerebral scent, a specific splenetic scent, a specific hepatic scent, &c. &c. What we call, then, the specific scent of the living animal must, therefore, be considered as the aggregate of all the different scents of its organs.
When we see that a weak solution of sulphuric acid is capable of disengaging from the blood the scent of the animal, we shall then bear in mind that this odorous emanation contains particles of all the scents peculiar to each tissue and organ of the animal. When we further say that each organ in a living animal draws by selective affinity from the blood those materials which are necessary for its sustenance, we must not forget that each organ draws at the same time by a similar selective affinity the specific odorous substances requisite for its constructive requirements.
We have now only to suppose that the embryonal germ contains, like the blood itself, all the odorous substances pertaining to the various tissues and organs of the parent, and we shall understand which is the moving principle in the germ that evolves an offspring, shaped in the image and after the likeness of the parents.
In plants it is the blossom which is entrusted with the function of reproduction, and the odorous emanations accompanying that process are well known. There is strong reason to believe that something similar prevails in the case of animals, as may be seen from an examination of what embryologists call the aura seminalis.
Let us now inquire what the effects are of odours generated in the outer world on animals. The odorous impressions produced may be pleasant or unpleasant, pleasant to one and unpleasant to another animal. What is it that constitutes this sensation of pleasure or displeasure? Professor Yaeger answers, It is harmony or disharmony which makes all the difference. The olfactory organs of each animal are impregnated by its own specific scent. Whenever the odorous waves of a substance harmonize in their vibration with the odorous waves emanating from the animal; in other words, whenever they fall in and agree with each other, an agreeable sensation is produced; whenever the reverse takes places, the sensation is disagreeable. In this way it is that the odour regulates the choice of the food on the part of the animal. In a similar way the sympathies and antipathies between the various animals are regulated. For every individual has not only its specific but also its individual scent. The selection between the sexes, or what, in the case of the human race, is called love, has its mainspring in the odorous harmony subsisting in the two individuals concerned.
This individual scent--a variation of the specific odorous type--alters (within the limits of its speciality) with age, with the particular mode of occupation, with the sex, with certain physiological conditions and functions during life, with the state of health, and last, but not least, with the state of our mind.
It is to be remembered that every time protoplasm undergoes disintegration, specific odours are set free. We have seen how sulphuric acid, or heat, when boiling or roasting meat, brings out the specific animal odour. But it is an established fact in science, that every physical or mental operation is accompanied by disintegration of tissue; consequently we are entitled to say that with every emotion odours are being disengaged. It can be shown that the quality of those odours differ with the nature of the emotion. The prescribed limits prevent further pursuit of the subject; I shall, therefore, content myself by drawing some conclusions from Professor Yaeger's theory in the light of the Esoteric Doctrine.
The phenomena of mesmeric cures find their full explanation in the theory just enunciated. For since the construction and preservation of the organism, and of every organ in particular, is owing to specific scents, we may fairly look upon disease in general as a disturbance of the specific scent of the organism, and upon disease of a particular organ of the body, as a disturbance of the specific scent pertaining to that particular organ. We have been hitherto in the habit of holding the protoplasm responsible for all phenomena of disease. We have now come to learn that what acts in the protoplasm are the scents; we shall, therefore, have to look to them as the ultimate cause of morbid phenomena. I have mentioned before the experiment of Mons. Ligeois, showing that odoriferous substances, when brought in contact with water, move; and that the motion of one odoriferous substance may be inhibited, or arrested altogether, by the presence of another odoriferous substance. Epidemic diseases, and the zymotic diseases in particular, have, then, most likely their origin in some local odours which inhibit the action of our specific organic odours. In the case of hereditary diseases, it is most likely the transmission of morbid specific odours from parent to offspring that is the cause of the evil, knowing, as we do, that in disease the natural specific odour is altered, and must, therefore, have been altered in the diseased parent.
Now comes the mesmeriser. He approaches the sick with the strong determination to cure him. This determination, or effort of the will, is absolutely necessary, according to the agreement of all mesmerisers, for his curative success. Now an effort of the will is a mental operation, and is, therefore, accompanied by tissue disintegration. The effort being purely mental, we may say it is accompanied by disintegration of cerebral and nervous tissue. But disintegration of organic tissue means, as we have seen before, disengagement of specific scents; the mesmeriser emits, then, during his operation, scents from his own body. And as the patient's sufferings are supposed to originate from a deficiency or alteration of his own specific scent, we can well see how the mesmeriser, by his mesmeric or odoriferous emanations, may effect a cure. He may supply the want of certain odoriferous substances in the patient, or he may correct others by his own emanations, knowing, as we do, from the experiment of Mons. Ligeois, that odorant matter does act on odorant matter.
One remark more and I have done. By the Esoteric Doctrine we are told that the living body is divided into two parts:
1. The physical body, composed wholly of matter in its grossest and most tangible form.
2. The vital principle (or Jiva), a form of force indestructible, and, when disconnected with one set of atoms, becoming attracted immediately by others.
Now this division, generally speaking, fully agrees with the teachings of science. I need only remind you of what I have said before with regard to the formed tissues and structures of the body and its formative agent the protoplasm. Formed structure is considered as material which has already passed out of the realms of life; what lives in it is the protoplasm. So far the esoteric conception fully agrees with the result of the latest investigations of modern science.
But when we are told by the Esoteric Doctrine that the vital principle is indestructible, we feel we move on occult, incomprehensible ground, for we know that protoplasm is, after all, as destructible as the body itself. It lives as long as life lasts, and, it may be said, it is the only material in the body that does live as long as life lasts. But it dies with the cessation of life. It is true it is capable of a sort of resuscitation. For that very dead protoplasm, be it animal or vegetable, serves again as our food, and as the food of all the animal world, and thus helps to repair our constantly wasting economy. But for all that it could hardly be said to be indestructible; it is assimilable--that is to say, capable of re-entering the domain of life, through its being taken up by a living body. But such an eventual chance does by no means confer upon it the attribute of indestructibility; for we need only leave the dead animal or plant containing the protoplasm alone, and it will rot and decay--organs, tissues, and protoplasm altogether.
To our further perplexity the Esoteric Doctrine tells us that the vital principle is not only indestructible, but it is a form of force, which, when disconnected with one set of atoms, becomes attracted immediately by others. The vital principle to the Esoteric Doctrine would then appear to be a sort of abstract force, not a force inherent in the living protoplasm--this is the scientific conception--but a force per se, independent altogether of the material with which it is connected.
Now I must confess this is a doctrine which puzzles one greatly, although one may have no difficulty in accepting the spirit of man as an entity, for the phenomena of ratiocination are altogether so widely different from all physical phenomena that they can hardly be explained by any of the physical forces known to us. The materialist, who tells us that consciousness, sensation, thought, and the spontaneous power of the will, so peculiar to man and to the higher animals, are altogether so many outcomes of certain conditions of matter and nothing else, makes at best merely a subjective statement. He cannot help acknowledging that spontaneity is not a quality of matter. He is then driven to the contention that what we believe to be spontaneous in us, is, after all, an unconscious result of external impulses only. His contention rests then on the basis of his own inner experience, or what he believes to be such.
This contention of his is, however, disputed by many, who no less appeal to their own inner experience, or what they believe to be their experience. It is then a question of inner experience of the one party versus inner experience of the other. And such being the case, the scientific materialist is driven to admit that his theory, however correct it may be, rests, after all, on subjective experience, and can, as such, not claim the rank of positive knowledge. There is then no difficulty in accepting the entity of the spirit in man, the materialistic assertion to the contrary notwithstanding. But the vital force is exclusively concerned with the construction of matter. Here we have a right to expect that physical and chemical forces should hold the whole ground of an explanation, if an explanation is possible at all. Now, physical and chemical forces are no entities; they are invariably connected with matter. In fact, they are so intimately connected with matter that they can never be dissevered from it altogether. The energy of matter may be latent or patent, and, when patent, it may manifest itself in one form or the other, according to the condition of its surroundings; it may manifest itself in the shape of light, heat, electricity, magnetism, or vitality; but in one form or the other energy constantly inheres in matter. The correlation of forces is now a well-established, scientific fact, and it is more than plausible that what is called the vital principle, or the vital force, forms a link in the chain of the other known physical forces, and is, therefore, transmutable into any of them; granted even that there is such a thing as a distinct vital force.
The tendency of modern Biology is then to discard the notion of a vital entity altogether. If vital force is to be indestructible, then so are also indestructible heat, light, electricity, &c.; they are indestructible in this sense, that whenever their respective manifestation is suspended or arrested, they make their appearance in some other form of force; and in this very same sense vital force may be looked upon as indestructible: whenever vital manifestation is arrested, what had been acting as vital force is transformed into chemical, electrical forces, &c., taking its place.
But the Esoteric Doctrine appears to teach something quite different from what I have just explained, and what is, as far as I understand, a fair representation of the scientific conception of the subject. The Esoteric Doctrine tells us that the vital principle is indestructible, and, when disconnected with one set of atoms, becomes attracted by others. He then evidently holds that, what constitutes the vital principle is a principle or form of force per se, a form of force which can leave one set of atoms and go over as such to another set, without leaving any substitute force behind. This, it must be said, is simply irreconcileable with the scientific view on the subject as hitherto understood.
By the and of Professor Yaeger's theory this difficulty can be explained, I am happy to say, in a most satisfactory way.
The seat of the vital principle, according to Professor Yaeger's theory, is not the protoplasm, but the odorant matter imbedded in it. And such being the case, the vital principle, as far as it can be reached by the breaking up of its animated protoplasm, is really indestructible. You destroy the protoplasm by burning it, by treating it with sulphuric acid, or any other decomposing agent--the odoriferous substances, far from being destroyed, become only so much the more manifest; they escape the moment protoplasmic destruction or decomposition begins, carrying along with them the vital principle, or what has been acting as such in the protoplasm. And as they are volatile, they must soon meet with other protoplasms congenial to their nature, and set up there the same kind of vital activity as they have done in their former habitat. They are, as the Esoteric Doctrine rightly teaches, indestructible, and when disconnected with one set of atoms, they immediately become attracted by others.
--L. Salzer, M.D.
Odorigen and Jiva (II.)
There is a well-known Sanskrit treatise, where most of the deductions of Dr. Yaeger are anticipated and practically applied to sexual selection in the human species. The subject of aura seminalis finds a pretty full treatment there.
The connection between what Dr. Yaeger calls "odorigen" and jiva or prana, as it is differently called in different systems of Indian philosophy, has been well traced. But his remarks on this subject, able as they no doubt are, call for a few observations from the point of view of occult philosophy.
Jiva has been described by a trustworthy authority as a "form of force indestructible, and, when disconnected with one set of atoms, is immediately attracted by another set." Dr. Salzer concludes from this that occult philosophy looks upon it as an abstract force or force per se. But surely this is bending too much to the Procrustean phraseology of modern science, and if not properly guarded will lead to some misapprehension.
Matter in occult philosophy means existence in the widest sense of that word. However much the various forms of existence, such as physical, vital, mental, spiritual, &c., differ from each other, they are mutually related as being parts of the ONE UNIVERSAL EXISTENCE, the Parabrahma of the Vedantist.
Force is the inherent power or capacity of Parabrahma, or the "matter" of occultism, to assume different forms. This power or capacity is not a separate entity, but is the thing itself in which it inheres, just as the three-angled character of a triangle is nothing separate from the triangle itself. From this it will be abundantly clear that, accepting the nomenclature of occult science, one cannot speak of an abstract force without being guilty of a palpable absurdity.
What is meant by Jiva being a "form of force," &c., is that it is matter in a state in which it exhibits certain phenomena, not produced by it in its sensuous state; or, in other words, it is a property of matter in a particular state, corresponding with properties called, under ordinary circumstances, heat, electricity, &c., by modern science, but at the same time without any correlation to them.
It might here be objected that if Jiva was not a force per se, in the sense which modern science would attach to the phrase, then how can it survive unchanged the grand change called death, which the protoplasms it inheres in undergo? and even granting that Jiva is matter in a particular state, in what part of the body shall we locate it, in the teeth of the fact that the most careful examination has not been successful in detecting it? Jiva, as has already been stated, is subtle supersensuous matter, permeating the entire physical structure of the living being, and when it is separated from such structure life is said to become extinct. It is not reasonable therefore to expect it to be subject to detection by the surgeon's knife.
A particular set of conditions is necessary for its connection with an animal structure, and when those conditions are disturbed, it is attracted by other bodies, presenting suitable conditions. Dr. Yaegar's "odorigen" is not Jiva itself, but is one of the links which connects it with the physical body; it seems to be matter standing between Sthula Sarira (gross body) and Jiva.