The Supremacy Of Mind

From the standpoint we have now reached we can look back once more on

those troublesome naturalistic insinuations as to the dependence of the

mind upon the body, which we have already considered. It is evident to us

all that our mental development and the fate of our inner life are closely

bound up with the states and changes of the body. And it did not need the

attacks and insinuations of naturalism to point this out. But the reas

brought forward by naturalism are not convincing, and all the weighty

facts it adduces could be balanced by facts equally weighty on the other

side. We have already shown that the apparently dangerous doctrine of

localisation is far from being seriously prejudicial. But if the

dependence of the mind upon the body be great, that of the body upon the

mind is greater still. Even Kant wrote tersely and drily about "the power

of our mind through mere will to be master over our morbid feelings." And

every one who has a will knows how much strict self-discipline and firm

willing can achieve even with a frail and wretched body, and handicapped

by exhaustion and weakness. Joy heals, care wastes away, and both may

kill. The influence which "blood" and "bile" or any other predisposition

may have upon temperament and character can be obviated or modified

through education, or transformed and guided into new channels through

strong psychical impressions and experiences, most of all by great

experiences in the domain of morals and religion. No one doubts the

reality of those great internal revolutions of which religion is well

aware, which arise purely from the mind, and are able to rid us of all

natural bonds and burdens. This mysterious region of the influence of the

mind in modifying bodily states or producing new ones is in these days

being more and more opened up. That grief can turn the hair grey and

disgust bring out eruptions on the skin has long been known. But new and

often marvellous facts are being continually added to our knowledge

through curious experiments with suggestion, hypnosis, and

auto-suggestion. And we are no longer far from believing that through

exaltations, forced states of mind associated with auto-suggestion, many

phenomena, such as "stigmata," for instance, which have hitherto been over

hastily relegated to the domain of pious legend, may possibly have a

"scientific" background.