The Theosophical Forum – July 1939


What are "hormones'? Some mysterious and marvelous agent in our body, that we hear about. According to an eminent man of science, the well-being of our body depends on the influence of these things — these chemicals or whatever they are. They are found in certain glands, which pour them into the blood and thus produce various effects on our body and our health. But here comes the serious difficulty: for the same man, in the same article, says that the body manufactures these hormones. Now is not this very like saying that an engine manufactures its own steam, or that a dynamo is driven by the current which it generates? We are reminded of a joke in an old number of the London Punch. A rustic is contemplating the newly-erected telegraph wires, and asks, "What be they postes for"? The answer is, "Why to hold up the wires, of course." "Then what be the wires for"? "Why to hold up the postes, certainly, Jarge." It is what the logicians call a "vicious circle."

The same thing was found in physics. What is a "force'? Force is what moves matter; also, force is generated by matter in motion. Obviously there are two kinds of force: one which sets matter in motion, and one which is generated when matter moves. The latter is the kind that engineers use; the former is a subject of speculation.

Again, the same difficulty as regards "life." Does life drive the body, or does the body make life? Is life the cause or the effect of our activity? Or are there two kinds of life, one driving the body and the other generated by the body?

We know for a fact that our thoughts and emotions influence the production of hormones in our body. So then, our thoughts produce hormones, and hormones drive the body; and this is understandable; the hormones may be an intermediate link between mind and body. People have speculated endlessly on how mind can act on matter, and have never been able to imagine a connecting link between them. But as long as we begin by imagining mind and matter to be separate, we shall never be able to explain how the one acts on the other. The fact is they are not separate; mind and matter is an artificial distinction which we have made for convenience, but the distinction is not real. The only real thing in nature is spirit-matter, life. The most recent science has discovered that matter, when deeply probed, vanishes into nothing but radiating centers of energy or fire or electricity. Our thought is a form of energy, which transmutes itself into one form after another and finally manifests itself as physical or bodily energy. Also, it is equally true to say that our thoughts are a form of matter, which becomes denser until it is manifested as the matter of our body. Thus the thoughts and the hormones and the bodily functions and tissues form a continuous chain.

There are action and interaction between mind and body; each influences the other. By injecting hormones into the blood with a syringe, you can produce various effects on the body and hence on the mind. But however useful this may be in emergencies, it is not to be commended as a way of living. Thought comes first. Let us rule our thoughts by our will, and the hormones will take care of themselves.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition