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143. The faculties pertaining to the preservation of the life
of the individual.

The nutritive faculty is that whereby the aliments are
transformed into the likeness of the thing nourished, thereby
replacing the loss incidental to the process of life.

The augmentative faculty is that whereby the increase in
size of the body in" all directions in just proportion is secured.
This is brought about by means of the substances derived from
the aliments. The nutritive faculty is subservient to this
augmentative faculty in so far as it enables the preparation of the
requisite substances from the aliments, but growth will not occur
unless more is supplied than is lost. However the supply of
more substances than are lost does not necessarily produce
growth. Growth implies an increase in all directions in the
proper proportions. To become fat or obese with advancing
years, after being slim, is not growth. It is not growth unless
the increase is in all dimensions and in natural proportions,
so as to culminate in a state of perfection of growth. Adiposity,
for instance, is not a perfection of growth before adult age,
any more than it is a perfection for the figure to be very slim after
maturity to a greater degree than natural.

144. There are three special functions in the process of
nutrition, (i) the apposition of the altered material, namely,
the blood, or a humour which is potentially like the tissue to be
nourished. If this process is defective, as may happen in disease >
there is " atrophy," which is a defect of nutrition, (ii) agglutina-
tion' — a later stage. Here the nutriment apposed to the tissue
is now fully united up to it, and made a part of it. This may be
lacking owing to disease, and then occurs what is called " fleshy
dropsy." (iii) true assimilation — a stage still further where that
which has been made into a part of a member becomes absolutely
like it m all respects, in essence and colour. This fails in such
conditions as leprosy and vitiligo, in which cases the first two
functions are achieved, but not the third.

These three procedures are the work of the transformative
power. This is really a single faculty, though distributed among
the respective members. For in every member this faculty is
corresponding to its temperament, and so transforms the aliment
into the likeness (ad-similis) of that member ; in each case it
differs from that which transforms aliment into the likeness of
the various other members (or tissues). So (we may say) the
transformative faculty of the liver ramifies throughout the whole


145. The faculties pertaining to the preservation of the race. — ■
The generative faculty is two-fold, (i) That which gives rise to the
male and female " sperm," the reproductive units, (ii) the forma-
tive power (i.e., in the male element) which separates from one
another the various faculties in the sperm and rearranges them in
such a way that each member (and tissue) receives the tempera-
ment appropriate to it— thus, to nerve, its distinctive tempera-
ment ; to bone, its distinctive temperament. The one " sperm,"
apparently homogeneous, opens out in all these directions. This
is called the primary transformative faculty.

The informative or plastic j : acuity (lit. as in making a sculpture
painting) is that (in the female element, Tr.) whereby, subject or
to the decree of Allah, the delineation and configuration of the
members is produced, with all their cavities, foramina, positions
and relations to one another, their smoothness or roughness, and
so on' — all being controlled up to the final limits of their natural
growth (dimensions). Subservient to this faculty, in regard to
that part of the nutriment which serves for the preservation of
the species, are the nutritive faculty and the power of growth.

§ 132. From the annotations by Costaeus : reproduction implies a plastic
faculty ; and that implies transformative power, and that depends on the four
qualities. Growth cannot occur without nutrition ; nutrition cannot occur without
agglutination or assimilation ; agglutination cannot occur without apposition ;
assimilation cannot occur without transformation ; transformation cannot occur
without retention ; and retention cannot occur without affinity. Each successive
step entails the removal and excretion of the products and by-products of the
preceding steps, for these are hindrances to reproduction, nutrition and growth.

3. The Faculties Subservient to the Natural Faculties

(Vegetative Life)

146. Vegetative Life (i.e. the natural faculties) is sub-
served by four faculties : attractive,* retentive, transformative,t

147. The attractive faculty was created so that the body
could draw to itself whatever nutriment is required for its
preservation. The longitudinal fibres in an organ form the
instrument used for the purpose. The liver attracts the chyle
from the stomach by sucking, as it were, the purer parts thereof
by way of the mesenteric veins.

148. The retentive faculty was made so that the material
so drawn in could be held (in position) during the time that the

* The word attractive, in the original, is primarily with the thought of the
attraction of (female) beauty and has a peculiarly appropriate application in

■f " Ferment " actions of the body belong here.


alterative (transformative) faculty is engaged in preparing sound
nutritive substances from it. The instrument employed for this
are the oblique, and in part, the transverse fibres. (In the case
of the_ liver, the chyle is retained in it long enough to enable the
sanguificatory power to act upon it.)

149. The alterative or transformative faculty is that which
alters the material attracted and held by these two powers. It
transmutes the material from its former state until it has become
worked up into a temperament such as enables it to become
efficient nutrient material. This process is " digestion '-' in the
strict sense.

At the same time it produces a change in the superfluities
so that they can be easily discharged from the member containing
them. This process is called " maturation." By its means three
things happen : (i) — the texture of the superfluities becomes
attenuated, when it is inspissation that hinders expulsion ;
(2). — the texture of the superfluities becomes thickened, when it is
attenuation that prevents their discharge ; (3) — the superfluities
are entirely broken up, if it be viscidity that hinders expulsion.
It is a mistake to use the terms " digestion " and " maturation "
as synonymous.

150. The expulsive faculty is that whereby the superfluities
from digestion are expelled. Superfluities are such as are
unsuitable as nutriment, or are in excess of requirements (and
therefore " superfluous "). By means of this faculty, the waste
matter is expelled into the bladder as urine, and other excreta
through their several appropriate organs and apertures. Where
there are no orifices, the wastes are transferred by this faculty
from noble to less noble organs ; from hard structures to soft
ones. And if there is a diversion of waste matter from the proper
route, the expulsive faculty cannot remove as much as otherwise.

151. Inter-relations between the faculties and the qualities. — -
These four natural faculties are subserved by the four

primary qualities — heat, cold, dryness, moisture. Strictly
speaking, heat is the underlying factor in all the subservient

152. Action of cold. — While cold aids all four faculties
it does so indirectly and not directly — except in so far as
it is the contrary of all the faculties. For all the facul
ties act in virtue of movement, which is shown not only as
attraction and expulsion, but even in the transformative
process (digestion proper) ; for the latter consists in the
separation of gross and aggregated particles from one another,


and in the condensation together of the finer and separated
particles. The movements of dispersion and aggregation
are simultaneous. Movement is also concerned indirectly
in the retentive faculty, because the transverse muscular
fibres come into play. Coldness enfeebles, stupefies, and morti-
fies, and hinders this faculty in all its functions ; yet, indirectly,
it helps it by fixing the fibres in the position referred to._ There-
fore it is not directly concerned with the faculties ; it simply
causes their instruments to be in a state which will help their
functions to be maintained.

Coldness aids the expulsive faculty (i) by preventing the
dispersal of the gases which favour peristalsis, (2) by keeping the
particles of the aliment coarse, (3) by its astringent action upon the
transverse muscular fibres. In these ways coldness renders the
instruments of the faculty in an appropriate state. Evidently,
then, it only helps the faculty indirectly. Did it act directly, it
would obstruct and weaken the movements.

153. Action of dryness. — Dryness is directly instrumental
in the functions of two faculties. — namely the alterative and re-
tentive. It is auxiliary in the case of the other two— the attractive
and expulsive. This is because dryness delays the movement of
the breath, enabling it to take on with it those faculties which it
has encountered with a vehement impact. It also prevents the
moisture present in the substance of the breath or its instrument
from flowing away. Dryness helps the retentive faculty because
it favours (muscular) contraction (i.e. upon the contents of the
organ). The transformative faculty needs moisture (and not


154. Comparative relations between the qualities and the
j 'acuities. —If one compares the degree of active and passive
quality requisite for the various faculties, one finds that the
retentive faculty needs more dryness than heat. This is because
more time is required for a movement to come to rest than is
needed to start a contractile movement of the transverse fibres.

155. Heat is necessary for movement, and it takes only a
short time to produce its effect, so that the remainder of the time
is occupied in holding the material and coming to a state of rest.
This explains why the temperament of juveniles tends to moist-
ness, for their digestive power is weaker.

156. The attractive faculty needs more heat than dryness
because the chief feature of attraction is movement, and move-
ment demands heat. The organs concerned must move rather
than be at rest and contracted (for which dryness is needed).

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