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John Bascom - Creator of Science of Mind - progenitor of New Thought

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John Bascom's

Science of Mind

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Introduction - Intellect - Mental Science's Divisions - Intellect's Divisions and Perceptions - The Understanding - The Reason - The Dynamics of the Intellect - Physical Feelings - Intellectual Feelings - Spiritual Feelings - Dynamics of Feelings - The Will - The Nervous System - Nervous System of Man - Executive Volition - Primary Volition, or Choice - Dynamics of the Will and the Mind - The Relations of the Systems Here Offered to Prevalent Forms of Philosophy - Index - Contents -


Lesson 86 - 1. General relations of the nervous system - p.371

1. IF it were asked, What one fact more than any other distinguishes animal life collectively from vegetable life? we should answer, a nervous system; not merely because a nervous system is confined to animal life, but because it is a controlling condition in all higher forms of that life. This nervous system, though either wholly wanting or very obscure in the lower forms of animal life, once present, assumes increasing importance with every step upward. In the higher animals it is the administrative system, whose modifications contain a record of the history of evolution.

A formal distinction between vegetable and animal life lies in the much greater freedom of motion, internal and external, which characterizes animals. The primary function of the nervous system, out of which all others grow, is the facilitating of motion. Motion is made by it more rapid, more varied, more general, more concurrent. Vegetable life, in exceptional cases, exhibits definite and somewhat rapid motion under external stimuli; concurrent movement of parts within itself for an end, and functional activity in prosecuting that end.

It thus presents, in the absence of a nervous system, a clear rudimentary expression of the primary offices of that system. But the last attainment of vegetable life becomes the first of animal life, and, as specialized in the nervous system, the means of its enlargement. This system, therefore, is the pre-eminent structural factor in the new development. By means of it, functions of many orders proceed

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