biology zoology blog soul animals


Soul-Searching: the frustrating search for something we assume to exist, but cannot find

I think I am correct when I claim that most people once in a while think of the soul and accept the concept that all living beings must have one. There is, however, no single organ or anatomical structure in any species that could be identified as the seat of the soul (even if René Descartes, the famous 17th-century French mathematician and philosopher, had thought he’d found it in the pineal gland of the brain). Since he was wrong and all others searching for the physical manifestation of the soul were unsuccessful, we, therefore, have to conclude that, if present at all, the soul must pervade an animal’s body totally. —>—>


The Third Eye Comes First

But where is the third eye and what does it do?

My colleague swears by melatonin for alleviating jet lag and recommended I take a dose before departing on a flight across several time zones. The French 17th century philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes was convinced he had at last found it: the soul. Hindi and Jain women wear a “bindi” (a small red spot on the forehead between their eyes) as a “third eye” to fend off evil (and to look pretty). What do these three statements have to do with each other? Well, we shall see. The organ Descartes regarded as the soul was the “pineal”, also called “epiphysis” – a tiny appendage on the upper side of the brain, located between fore- and midbrain. Though we no longer believe it is the seat of the soul, we still don’t have all the answers regarding its function. In humans and other mammals this small glandular structure appears to be involved in suppressing the maturation of the sex organs, for a pineal tumour or the surgical removal of the structure can result in precocious puberty. —>