The Glands Regulating Personality
by Louis Berman, M.D.
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The passage from the miracles of nature to those of art is easy.

—Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, 1620.







Man, know thyself, said the old Greek philosopher. Man perforce has taken that advice to heart. His life-long interest is his own species. In the cradle he begins to collect observations on the nature of the queer beings about him. As he grows, the research continues, amplifies, broadens. Wisdom he measures by the devastating accuracy of the data he accumulates. When he declares he knows human nature, consciously cynical maturity speaks. Doctor of human nature—every man feels himself entitled to that degree from the university of disillusioning experience. In defense of his claim, only the limitations of his articulate faculty will curb the vehemence of his indictment of his fellows.

For all history provides the material, literature the critique, biology the inexorable logic of the case against human nature. The historical record is a spectacle of man destroying man, a collection of chapters on man's increasing cruelty to man. Limitations of time and space have been shortened and eliminated. Tools of production have been multiplied and complicated. The sources of energy and power have been systematically attacked and trapped. But the nature of man has remained so unchanged that clap trap about progress is easy target for the barrage of every cheap pamphleteer.

The naturalist probes into codes of conduct, systems of morality, structures of societies, variations in the scales of value that individuals, races and nations have subjected themselves to as custom, law and religion. Again and again the portrait is presented of man preying upon man, of cunning a parasite upon stupidity and of predatory strength enslaving the weakling intellect. Until finally are evoked reactions and consequences that overtake in catastrophe and cataclysm preyer and preyed upon alike.

Human nature is but part of the magnificent tree of beast nature. Man is linked by every tie of blood and bone and cell memories with his brethren of the sea, the jungle, the forest and the fields. The beast is a seeker of freedom, but a seeker for his own ego alone, and the satisfaction of his own instincts only. Thus he struggles to a sort of freedom which makes him the Ishmael of the Universe, everyone's hand against him, as his own hand is against everyone. The human animal has achieved no advance beyond the necessities of his ancestors, nor freed himself from his bondage to their instincts and automatic reflexes. And so the sociologist, the analyst of human associations, turns out to be simply the historian and accountant of slaveries.

Yet the history of mankind is, too, a long research into the nature of the machinery of freedom. All recorded history, indeed, is but the documentation of that research. Viewed thus, customs, laws, institutions, sciences, arts, codes of morality and honor, systems of life, become inventions, come upon, tried out, standardized, established until scrapped in everlasting search for more and more perfect means of freeing body and soul from their congenital thralldom to a host of innumerable masters. Indeed, the history of all life, vegetable and animal, of bacillus, elephant, orchid, gorilla, as well as of man is the history of a searching for freedom.

Freedom! What to a living creature is freedom? How completely has it dominated the life history of every creature that ever crawled upon the earth? Trace our cellular pedigree, descend our family tree to its rootlets, our amebic ancestors, and the craving for more freedom is manifest in the soul of even the lowest, buried in darkness and slime. When the first clever bit of colloidal ooze, protoplasm as the ameba, protruded a bit of itself as a pseudopod, it achieved a new freedom. For, accidentally or deliberately, it created for itself a new power—the ability to go directly for food in its environment, instead of waiting, patiently, passively, as the plant does, for food to just happen along. Therewith developed in place of the previous quietist pacifist, quaker attitude toward its surroundings, a new religion, a new tone: aggressive, predatory, careerist.

That adventure was a great step forward for the ameba—a miracle that freed it forever from the danger of death by starvation. But latent in that move were all the terrible possibilities of the tiger, the alligator, the wolf and all the varieties of predaceous beast and plant, parasitism and slavery. The device that enabled the ameba to change its position in space of its own will, and so increased its freedom immeasureably, meant the generation of infinite evil, pain, suffering and degradation for billions in the womb of time.


Human history, being a continuation of vertebrate history, is full of similar instances. The invention of the stock company, for example, furnished a certain relative freedom to hundreds, a certain amount of leisure to think and play, and independence to travel and record, and immunity from a daily routine and drudgery. In turn, it bore fruit in miseries and horrors multiplied for millions, like those of the child lacemakers of Mid-Victorian England, who were dragged from their beds at two or three o'clock in the morning to work until ten or eleven at night in the services of a stock company.

A corporation is said to have no soul. The struggle for freedom of every living thing has no conscience. Throughout the living world, from ameba to man, parasitism and slavery together with their by-products, physical and spiritual degeneracy, appear as the after effects of the more vital individual's efforts to remain alive and free. The origins of slavery may be seen in the parasitisms of the infectious diseases which kill man. The change from parasitism to slavery was an inevitable step of creative intelligence. In the transition evolution made one of those breaks which it indulges in periodically as its mode of progress.

The natural effect of slavery has been a selection of two sorts of individuals along the lines of the survival of the adapted. It has tended to perpetuate in the breed the qualities of the strong which would make them stronger, and certain qualities in the weak which would increase their weakness. For parasitism and likewise slavery infallibly entail the degradation of certain structures and an overgrowth of others by the law of use and disuse. The type of organ which would function normally, were not its possessor parasitic in that function, invariably degenerates or disappears. Parasitic insects lose their wings. An entire anatomical system may even be lost. So the tapeworm, which feeds upon the digested food present in the intestines of its host, has no alimentary canal of its own because it needs none. On the other hand, the organs of attack and combat grow by a constant use into the most remarkable of efficient weapons.

In human society the process continues. Out of the tapeworm nature, the tiger nature, the wolf nature, the simian nature, human nature evolves. Repeated episodes of subjugation and suppression mixed with countless incidents of predaceous cupidity and rapacity have made Man what he is today. Indeed, by a sort of instinct, society has constructed its institutions upon empirical observations and assumptions agreeing with this principle. The deductions concerning human nature and human traits that an interplanetary visitor would draw from a study of our common law would be at least slightly humiliating to our incorrigible pride. Law courts, codes of civil contract and criminal procedure, the systems of subordination in armies and navies, castes and classes, men and women, employers and employees, teachers and pupils, parents and children, are based upon the fundamental, the conservative axiom that man, especially the common plain man (Lincoln's phrase), is a being incurably lazy, stupid, dishonest, muddled, cowardly, greedy, restless, obsessed with a low cunning and a selfish callousness and insensibility to the sufferings of his fellow creatures, animal and human.

Why is it that Man, the noblest creature of creation, made in the image of God, capable of the flights of attainment that distinguish a Christ, a Caesar, a Plato, a Shakespeare, a Shelley, a Newton, is so described, not alone by hopeless pessimists like Koheleth, Swift, and Mark Twain, but by the common law, the common opinion, the common assumptions of mankind? Because the development of slavery and parasitism in human society, the subjection of the weak to the strong, the dull and base to the clever and headstrong, set up a vicious cycle: the liberation of more energy for the making of more and more slaves and the propagation of slaves and slave qualities in a geometrically increasing proportion.

This might be called the Malthusian law of slavery. For the qualities that I have named as man's own characterization of himself are the qualities of the slave and the slave-soul. Nietzche took great pains to repeat ad nauseam that these qualities were the qualities of the slave. But by burdening himself with the hypothesis, evolved from his inner consciousness, that the slaves imposed from below a morality of weakness upon their masters, he missed the really obvious process by which slaves beget more slaves, slavery begets more slavery, and the slave-soul becomes universal. That process is the simple action of physical and spiritual reproduction of the slaves. The subnormal begets the subnormal, the inferior begets the inferior.

Slavery appeared as an invention of the would-be-free. It was a brilliant flash of genius of a seeker after freedom. However, it became a boomerang. By multiplication and hereditary transmission, the inferiority and the number of the slaves created a new overwhelming problem for the superior few, the upper crust of the free. At last the problem grew into the problem of problems, the problem of government, that threatened all freedom, as an epidemic disease threatens even the most healthy. Government, at first organized for conquest and subjugation, had to change its character until it became more and more to consist of experiments in a new social machinery that would free somebody of the incubus. So through the centuries, one technique of liberty after another was tested in the laboratory of experience.

But always the attempts are so muddled, because the problem is not grasped. Muddledom is the essence of the slave-soul. And the essence infiltrates and poisons the whole atmosphere in which the would-be-free think and act. Kings' heads are chopped off, a whole class is guillotined, reform movements come and go, the masters fight every inch of their retreat, and pile stratagem upon stratagem, device upon device, to retain their spoils.

The democratic formula of freedom for all comes to the fore. So at last universal suffrage is introduced as the panacea. Freedom seems within grasp. Now it looks as if a method and an objective have been hit upon, that will lead both the free and the enslaved out of their mutual bondage, and release the handcuffs which have bound them together. All the trial and error tests to which history had subjected institutions appeared to culminate in the formula that would automatically yield Liberty. The French wanted a little more and added Equality and Fraternity. The Americans put it quite definitely as the formula that would assist the Pursuit of Life, Liberty, and Happiness. That formula is: the democracy of the normals.

To be sure, a civilization might be organized for the breeding and the glorification of the supernormals. Such a civilization may yet have to be tried. But as the supernormals, as we know them today, are merely biologic sports, in a sense, simple accidents, no one can tell whether they will turn out true shots or just flashes in the pan. So it looks the better course to stick to the plan of nature, which seems to be the raising of the level of the normals, and the gradual increase of their faculties and powers.


Under the terms of the democratic formula the problems of the statesman seem to become enormously simplified. That is, if one assumes that he has worked out a perfectly clear idea of what a democracy means and what the normal means. Assuming these unassumables, his problem simplifies into the definite object of producing and developing the greatest possible number of normals—or if you will, the greatest happiness of the greatest number of normal lives.

Furthermore you then begin to have the entirely novel possibility in the world: some sort of collective effort for a collective purpose, beyond the personal greeds and fears, factions and hatreds. So the state, instead of fulfilling its old function of serving as the tool of certain powerful individuals, latterly known as the Big Men, might be transformed into an instrument toward freedom. With the ideal of a democracy of the normals ever before him, the statesman could go on to construct and modify his social machinery. That would entail the satisfaction not alone of the animal needs, but also the highest aspirations and therefore the provision of the finest conditions of life for the normal: those most favorable, stimulative, and assistant to creative activity. For what else is the content of the idea of freedom?

Without committing the intellectual sin which William James named Vicious Abstractionism, the goal of the clearest progressive and liberal thought and forces of the twentieth century might be summed up as this freedom in a democracy of normals. A good formula which coincides with the technique of nature in the evolution of species. A fair fight, a free-for-all who are unhandicapped, is the motto of natural selection. Where civilization shakes hands with natural instinct, what but the happiest of results can be expected?

Unfortunately, the formula in human society possesses an Achilles' heel. Again it is slavery. Where slavery has become bred into the bone, the standard of the normal becomes reduced so tremendously that the average of normals, the majority, are hopelessly inferior. In effect, they are really subnormal. So the ideal of our ideal statesman is bound to be defeated because of the inadequacy of his material.

No matter how interested in his main business: the promotion of freedom for creative activities in a democracy of the normals, he is bound to be beaten by the majority consisting of subnormals. There is nothing left for him but to cater to the minority of careerists, the one-eighth of the electorate representing superior intelligence. The intelligence tests employed in the War showed that and also that forty-five per cent of the examined, or about one half the total population, had a mental capacity, or natural ability that would never develop beyond the stage normal to a twelve-year-old child. They are doomed to remain forever subnormal.


The careerists are those who practice the careerist religion. The careerist religion is the religion par excellence of modernity. Someone once said, with the perfect candor of the North American, that America is the land of opportunity. He meant that America is the land of the Careerist or, as it has also been put, it is the land of the man on the make. The careerist, or the man on the make, is of a thousand genera and species, varieties and subvarieties, with transition links between. One finds him at every level of society.

Excepting a negligible minority, the feminine career of today (as of the last ten thousand years of the race's history) consists in the acquisition of a husband. After that she is so identified with him that her own life, as something distinct, individual and unique, becomes blurred and then completely erased. The feminine careerist, the careeristina, if you will, is a definite type. Consider the unimportance of a collective purpose to the woman whose career is the mate, and then the mate's career. All the kinks and twists of the feminine mind, resulting from the necessities of that fundamental primary problem, would form a multitudinous and interesting list. The most successful careeristinas are the absolutely unconscious ones because they are not passively besieged nor actively bombarded by any doubts as to what they want. They play their game exceedingly well as do not the quasi-rebels and faint-hearted revoltees that form no small percentage of the Newest Women. For a number of women the feminist movement has been an attempt to break away from the traditions of the wife-careerist, and to strike a line of auto-careerism. Can the careeristina instinct, the fruit of the practice of so many generations, be uprooted by the good intentions of a mere statesman?

But the masculine careerist is a marvelous creature. He is a biologic sport, an abnormal variation. New York is the place to watch and study him in his thousands and tens of thousands. You can observe him climbing, climbing, climbing, precisely as an ant climbs a tree. Nothing can really discourage or sway him from his chosen path. If he is not getting on financially, he is getting on socially, or he is using the one method of advance to help him with the other. How the line of least resistance and greatest advantage is determined for and taken by him is a fascinating process.

The careerist instinct, the inherited flair for a career, must not be confounded with the instincts of self-preservation, self-expansion or self-expression, because they are utterly different. Indeed, the careerist instinct is often their direct antagonist, clashing with and dominating them. The making of the career involves the distortion, the mutilation, degradation, degeneration or even the complete suppression of the true personality. But it is all instinctive. To consider the life of the careerist as an expression of instinct will explain too the success of so many who have no inner awareness of what they want. These go straight for the career, looking neither to the right nor to the left, without doubt or hesitation, just as they go for the respiration business as soon as they are born.

Then there is the Super-Careerist. Ordinarily, the careerist is rather obvious, easily recognizable, with diaphanous motives and conduct. But there is another and rarer bird, the careerist of talent, even the careerist of genius, whom it is not so easy to see through. Clever and brainy, he may be a good all around trifler, or his specific gift for some line of achievement may make him more effective. There is nothing he may not call himself: conservative, liberal, progressive, or radical. Often he is an agnostic about social and political affairs and problems, which passes for the indecision of the open mind, and is quite handy to render him all things to all men. But perpetually, the underlying careerist instinct drives him to use all men and women, all ideas and movements and forces he comes in contact with for his own personal advancement, just as the slave making instinct guides the red ant in all its activities to procure its captives. Ideas do not make a hero out of him, but he makes heroes of ideas, because they serve him in his ascent.

Because he is the most subtle, the most complex and the most deceptive type of careerist, he is the most dangerous to the adventure and speculation in intellect which mankind is. To say that he is a wolf in sheepskin is to be unjust to him, since he is most successful when he is most unaware of his own charlatanry. He is most sincere when he is most insincere, and most truthful when he lies best. A little self-consciousness of hypocrisy is a corrupting thing, much of it completely incompatible with the most successful careerism. Tartuffe is always applauded by the world when he plays Hamlet, if he really believes in himself as Hamlet. And, as all he has to do, if he is at all talented, is to look into his glass and see himself in the part, he carries it off very well.


Slaves and careerists, subnormals and abnormals, are the important elements of the constituency of every modern statesman. The financial and social careerists as business men, professionals, artists, publicists, presidents of countries, politicians, philosophers dominate his outlook, his plans, his horizon. The slaves, the inferiors, the subnormals exist merely to be exploited by them. No one questions the causes of the multiplicity of them. No one asks why there are so many little lives. For a fundamentally minded statesman the control of the production of the careerist, why he is produced, and how he may be prevented, becomes the primary problem of his art.

Well, you say, what are you going to do about it? That is human nature. The Evils of Human Nature! There is the perpetual answer to be repeated by our clever editors unto Eternity. You cannot get away from human nature. It is human nature to be a careerist. It is human nature to put the immediate triumphs of the self and its pleasures above the more indirect, the more remote and distant benefits of a great, wonderful, free community. We are all careerists. In so far as democracy has succeeded as a form, it has persisted because there was in it for the common man the promise of his getting more out of life that way than any other way. For himself. And the devil take the others. The myopia of such crude selfishness continues to determine his politics to this very day. And so he proceeds to vote for favors bestowed and patronage past or potential. That is, when he does not throw his ballot away altogether into the fire of family habit, sectional inertia, or race prejudice.

Again you say, that is human nature. It is human nature for us to be narrow, to be confined within the circle of personal thought and desire, without imagination for the beyond. So the calf is limited in its wanderings to the radius of the rope by which it is tethered. The servile soul will always be submissive and docile, greedy and stupid. What else could you expect from the descendant of the solitary beast who once lived for thousands of years in caves? Without servility of the soul, without chains for the spirit of the wild animal against the world, men could never have been driven to live together for twenty-four hours in communities.

The conception of human quality out of which all social machinery has been devised and built is a conception of slave quality and careerist quality. As we are all caught in the net, as the unconscious memories of our slave and careerist ancestors flow in our blood and echo in our cells, all we can do is accept it and work with it. Human nature is an incurable disease. Like Jehovah's definition of Himself, it is, it has been, and ever will be. Everywhere the same, always the same, forever the same, there is no way out.


All of these strictures upon poor human nature are exceedingly delightful to our careerists. Every unpleasant social fact, every outrage to our best instincts, every exhibition of incapacity, incompetency, inefficiency, indifference, every example of super-criminal negligence is pardoned as an effect of that universal sin, human nature. Take the case of the statesman and the diplomats who failed to prevent the Great War, though they saw it coming for years, and who should therefore all, Entente as well as German, American as well as Japanese, be indicted for their criminal negligence, precisely as a physician would be for failure to report and stop the spread of an epidemic disease. All these crimes of omission and commission are excused on the plea that it was all due to human nature, and that what can be blamed on human nature in general can be blamed on no one in particular.

Poor human nature! Flagellated on every hand, what are we to do with it? Why is the careerist so numerous and ubiquitous? Why does the slave-soul infiltrate like a cancer the soul of society with its black fluid? Is freedom, the divine idea, nothing but the toy of an orator to the majority, a distant star in the night to a helpless minority? Yet the instinct to freedom, the appetite for freedom, flickers through the centuries as a fitful flame, though snuffed out by every gust of class passion, every wind of mob resentment, and every storm of national jealousy. Though the inferior subnormals multiply into great sheep majorities, and the careerists, like Napoleon, morbid variants, involve millions in their disease, the idea of freedom persists obstinately. Have we any reason for regarding it as other than an illusion?

If freedom is an illusion, we must admit the doom of democracy. And no Wagnerian crashes of orchestration mitigate the tragedy of the scene as our eyes are opened to the twilight of our new gods. For what other social methods are there left to us? In the struggle against nature's barriers upon human aspiration for perfect satisfactions, it looks as though every other method has failed us.

In the past, refined aristocracies and benevolent despotisms have failed as miserably as our democracies are now failing and as we are sure crude anarchism and communism would. Their inferiority has thrown them on the scrap heap. As for our present ways of government as a permanent method, the storage of power in the hands of the Clever Few. War burns in the lesson of how little the careerist regards either the subnormal or supernormal. He condemns them all sooner or later to wholesale slavery and carnage.

Is man then never to be the architect of his own destiny? Are we to surrender our faith in the future of our kind to the spectacle of a miserable species sentenced by its own nature to self-destruction? We thought to rise upon the wings of knowledge and beauty, lured by the mysteries of color and the magic of design and the might of the intellect and its words, that have transfigured life into the greatest adventure ever attempted in time and space. But we find ourselves merely another experiment, intricate and rather long drawn out, to be sure, with marvelous pyrotechnics, magnificent effects here and there, but bound to eliminate itself in the end, to make stuff for the museums of the real conqueror of the stars yet to come. We are condemned to be classed with the dodo and the mammoth by the coming discoverer of an escape from the slave and careerist. And so let us resign ourselves to fate. Let us eat of the humble bread of the stoic's consolation in the face of the mocking laughter of the gods, let us admit that Mind in Man has unconsciously but irretrievably willed its own self-annihilation. What remains for us except to beat our breasts and proclaim: So be it, O Lord, so be it?


Yet, true as it is that the human animal has achieved no advance beyond the necessities of his ancestors, nor freed himself from his bondage to their instincts and automatic reflexes, is there no way out anywhere? Is there perhaps some ground for hope and consolation in the thought that we, of the twentieth century, no longer see ourselves, Man, as something final and fixed? Darwin changed Fate from a static sphinx into a chameleon flux. Just as certainly as man has arisen from something whose bones alone remain as reminders of his existence, we are persuaded man himself is to be the ancestor of another creature, differing as much from him as he from the Chimpanzi, and who, if he will not supplant and wipe him out, will probably segregate him and allow him to play out his existence in cage cities.

The vision of this After-man or From-man is really about as helpful to us as the water of the oasis mirage is to the lost dying of thirst in the desert. The outcries of the wretched and miserable, the gray-and-dreary lived din an unmanageable tinnitus in our ears. Like God, it may be but a large, vague idea toward which we grope to snuggle up against. It seems implicit in the doctrines of evolution. But how do we know that in man the spiral of life has not reached its apex, and that now, even now, the vortices of its descent are not beginning? How do we know that the From-man is to be a Superman and not a Subman? How can we dare to hope that the slave-beast-brute is to give birth to an heir, fine and free and superior?

We do not know and we have every indication and induction for the most oppositely contrary conclusions. Life has blundered supremely, in, while making brains its darling, forgetting or helplessly surrendering to the egoisms of alimentation. So it has spawned a conflict between its organs, and a consequent impasse in which the lower centres drive the higher pitilessly into devising means and instruments for the suicide of the whole.

As War shows plainly to the most stupidly gross imagination, the germs of our own self-destruction as a species saturate our blood. The probability looms with almost the certainty of a syllogistic deduction, that such will be the outcome to our hundreds of thousands of years of pain upon earth. In the face of that, speculations upon a comet or gaseous emanations hitting the planet, or the sun growing cold, become babyish fancies. How clearly the possibility is pointed in the discussions about the use in the next War of bacterial bombs containing the bacilli of cholera, plague, dysentery and many others! What influenza did in destroying millions, they can repeat a thousand times and ten thousand times. What else the laboratories will bring forth, of which no man dreams, in the way of destructive agents acting at long distance, upon huge masses and over any extent of territory, is presaged in that single example. But besides thus willing, by an inner necessity, its own annihilation, Life, in the very structure and machinery of its being, seems caught into the entanglements of an inescapable net, an eternity-long bondage it can never rip, to flee and remake itself into the immortal image that is its God.

And so there go by the board the last alleviations of those unbeatable optimists who would soothe their aching souls with at least the drop of comfort: that if man is a mortal species, with not the slightest prospect of a continuing immortality, not to mention a glorious future and destiny, there are others. Man, after all, may be simply a bad habit Life will succeed in shaking off. No philosophy or religion can afford to be anthropocentric merely. It must include all life and all living things to which we are blood-related. There are other species or latent species to take up the torch that burned poor homo sapiens and ascend the heights. The ant and bee may yet mutate along certain lines that would make them the masters of the universe.

But no matter what species or variety gets the upper hand in the struggle for survival and power, the implications of the qualities necessary to victory in conflicts of individual separate pieces of protoplasm will be there. Besides, life is always begotten of life. That is why synthetic protoplasm is nothing but a phrase. It is impossible to conceive of something alive, possessed of the property of remembering, that is not possessed of a store of past experiences. You can no more think of getting rid of these unconscious memories of protoplasm than you can think of getting rid of the wetness of water. They are imbedded in the most intimate chemistry of the primeval ameba as well as in our most complex tissues.

The memories of the cold lone fish and the hot predatory carnivor who were our begetters, may haunt us to the end of time. The bee and the ant, too, have woven inextricably into the woof of their cells the instincts that sooner or later would send their brain ganglia, even when evolved to the pitch of perfection, to elaborating the self-and-species murdering inventions and discoveries that are apparently destined to slay us. The powers of unconscious memory and unlearnable technique of reaction to experience, once grooved, thus prove the great gift and the eternal curse of protoplasm. Making it possible for it to be and become what it is and has, they have also made it forever impossible for it to be or become its own contradiction.

Add to this unsloughable remembrance of the past, for better, for worse, the secretive consciousness of its present needs every living thing, as against every other living thing, is obsessed with. As a peregrinating, finite, spatially limited being, it is separated from all other living beings by inorganic, dead masses, and yet driven to contact with them by a fundamental impulse to assimilate them into itself, and make them part of itself. That assimilatory urge is present in every activity from coarse ingestion as food to the moral metabolism of the hermit-saint who would influence others to do as he.


In effect the history of Life resembles the life history of the smallest things we know of, the electrons, and the largest, the great suns and stars of space. The electron begins, perhaps, as a swirl in the primeval ether, joins other electrons, forms colonies, cities, empires, elements of an increasing complexity, through stages of a relative stability, like lead or gold. Until it reaches the stage of integration which wills its own disintegration, that we have been taught to look upon with proper awe and reverence as radium. And we are told that nebulae wander until they collide and give birth to stars, stars wander and collide and give birth to nebulae. Life begins as a quivering colloid, goes on painfully to build a brain, which automatically refines itself to the point of discovering and using the most efficient methods of destroying others, and by a boomerang effect, itself. Fate!

The conception of Fate was a Greek idea. The classic formula for tragedy, the struggle of Man with the sequence of cause and effect within him and without, that is so utterly beyond his grasp and ken, or power to modify, originated with them. But they must also be given the credit for having conceived an idea and started a process which, at first slowly and gropingly, now slipping and falling, torn and bleeding among the thorns of the dark forest of human motives, presently goes on, with a firmer, more practiced, more confident step, to emerge into the light as the deliberate Conqueror of Fate. That idea-process, this Anti-Fate is Science.

Science began with the adventures of free-thinking speculators, who revolted against religious cosmogonies and superstitions. Sceptics concerning the knowledge that was the accepted monopoly of the priesthood must have existed in the oldest civilization we know anything of, more than twenty-five thousand years ago, the Aurignacians. But it was to the Greeks that we owe that amalgamation of curiosity delivered of fear, that merger of systematic research and critical thinking untrammelled by social inhibitions which is the essence of modern science. Out of them has come the great Tree of Knowledge of our time, which is, too, the only Ygdrasil of Life, undying because it lives upon successive generations of human brain cells.

Science, as the pursuit of the real, began with very small things by men with very small intentions. Inventories, collections of isolated data, something permanent for the mind out of the flux of transient sensations, little tracks and foot paths in the jungle of phenomena, were their goal. With no sense of themselves as the mightiest of master-builders, cultivating humility toward their material at any rate, the little men ploughed their little fields, striking the oil of a great generalization or classification or explanation with no fanfare of trumpets.

First as freaks and cranks, then as scholars and pedants, then protected and perhaps stimulated under the competitive royal patronage as societies and academies, they prepared for the harvest. Comparing them to pioneer farmers sowing an undeveloped territory is really totally inadequate and inaccurate. For the most part, they were like coral makers, laboriously constructing, with no vision, certainly no sustained vision, of the whole. To the practical men of affairs, the shopkeepers and traders, the land-owners and ship-owners, the soldiers and sailors, the statesmen and politicians, the people who specialized in maneuvering human beings and materials, they were, for this futile devotion to abstract knowledge, marked ridiculous and absurd weaklings, mollycoddles, babies, not to be trusted with the demands and dangers of public life.

But it so happened remarkably late in history that with the discovery of the possibilities of coal there was a great boom in the demand for industrial machinery. At the same time there were thrown up the most marvelous advances in physics and chemistry. Recurring War became not the clashes of mercenary armies, but the catapulting of whole nations at each other. New destructive devices out of the laboratories were raised into the commandants of the course of history. Then science acquired prestige.

Science as King, science as power, looms as the great new figure, the overshadowing novel factor, in practical statesmanship. Unlike the factor X in the traditional equation, it is the known factor par excellence, the factor by which the value of all the other factors of human life will be ascertained and solved. As knowledge of the conditions determining all life, it stands as the courageous David of the race against the Goliath territory of the uncontrollable and the inevitable, even the unknowable. Human history resolves itself into the drama: Science contra Fate. Quite a change from the vaudeville show of the restless personal ambitions of vindictive fools and greedy scoundrels, the mischief and adventures of half-witted geniuses and licensed rogues that have been figures of the prologue.

The future of science has become the future of the race. So much of an inkling of the truth is beginning to be appreciated. That is ordinarily taken to mean that the process by which the Wessex man became the New York and London man, the accumulation of accidental discoveries and inspired inventions of scattered individuals, will go on, providing a succession of marvels and miracles for the careerist and his retinue. Not only is he to be entertained and served by them, but any commercial value will also be exploited by him. The natural wonders of the laboratories have taken the place of the supernatural absurdities of the medieval mind as a fillip for the imagination of the man in the street. Even spiritualism apes the technique of the physicist. The credulity of reporters alone concerning developments in surgery, for example, is incredible. There is enough rot published daily for a brief to be made out against the idolatry of science.


Science also as a religion, as a faith to bind men together, as a substitute for the moribund old mythologies and theologies which kept them sundered, is commencing to be talked of in a more serious tone. The wonder-maker may have forced upon him, may welcome, the honors of the priest, though he pose as the humble slave of Nature and her secrets. Presently the foundations and institutes, which coexist with the cathedrals and churches, just as once the new Christian chapels and congregations stood side by side with pagan temples and heathen shrines, may oust their rivals, and assume the monopoly of ritual. Should its spirit remain fine and clear, should it maintain the glorious promise of its dawn, should its high priests realize the perpetually widening intimations of its universal triumph, and escape the ossification that has overtaken all young and hopeful things and institutions, the real foundation for a future of the species would be laid, and so its ultimate suicide prevented.

The time has gone by, however, for any complacent assurance that the redemption of mankind is to be attained by a new religion of words. There is no doubt that the damnation or salvation of an individual has often been determined by a religious crisis, in which the magic of words have worked their witchery. There is plenty of evidence that a psychic conversion will effect an actual revolution in the whole way of living of the victim or patient, as you like it. William James, in his "Varieties of Religious Experience," established that pretty definitely. When it comes to groups, races, nations, the outlook is wholly different. There is a conflict of so many and diverse habits and interests, beliefs and prejudices, that hope for some common merely intellectual solvent for all of them is rather forlorn. If at all, the resolution of the conflict will come by a pooling of actual powers and interests, in which the religion of science will play the great part of the Liberator of mankind from the whole system of torments that have made the way of all flesh a path of rocks along which a manacled prisoner crawls to his doom.


Science has a future. The religion of science has a future. Can science assure us that human nature, in spite of its beast-brute-slave origins holds the possibility of a genuine transformation of its texture? Can Fate's stranglehold upon us be broken? There will be certainly a tremendous, an overwhelming increase in the general stock of informations we call physics and chemistry and biology. An abundance of new comforts, novel sensations, fresh experiences, and breath-bereaving devices that will thrill or heal, will follow of course in their wake. The religion of science will infiltrate and penetrate and permeate by its capillary action the barbaric superstitions, the ridiculous rites, the unsanitary insanities of our social systems.

But what about the poor human soul itself, with its inherent vices and virtues, its fears and indulgences, audacities and nobilities, jealousies, shames, blunders, incurable likes, cravings and diseases? Can science change the texture of the slave and careerist, if they represent the subnormal and the abnormal? What about the Becky Sharps, the Mark Tapleys, and Tom Pinches, not to speak of the Nicholas Nicklebys and the Hamlets, the Micawbers and the Falstaffs? What future have they as they recur in the generations? Indeed, does not the very fact of their recurrence, of them and of the hundreds of other types and temperaments, point implacably to the conclusion to which the historian, the philosopher and the biologist have driven us: that in the grip of an endless chain of pasts the human soul has no future?

That may appear an irrelevant, an immaterial, and an incompetent question to our men of business and affairs. Human nature, as fallen angel or ape parvenu, has always looked upon itself as fixed for eternity. "Human nature never changes, and is everywhere and always will be the same." "As a man is built." "Bred in the bone." These are the axioms of our social and economic Euclids. Indeed, Man, assuming that his nature is as uncontrollable as the course of the stars, has limited his research into the substance of freedom to a groping for an understanding of the adequate external conditions of liberty. Thus he set himself another of the insoluble problems he seems to delight in by neglecting the most important factor in the equation. Yet the invisible soul of man, ignored, as a variable, varying quantity, has upset all societies and constitutions, and all schemes of bondage as well as of freedom.

For freedom, it becomes obvious as soon as it is clearly stated, is sheer impossibility until the internal conditions of his nature are ascertained, and the way paved for their control. A simple illustration of the working of this principle is supplied by our democracies, grossly pretenders. How can a democracy be possible without a knowledge of the control of the individually and socially subnormal, who, since they offer themselves to exploitation by the careerists, prove themselves the weak links in the chain of co-operation with an equal opportunity for all, that is the democratic ideal? In what does the equality or inequality of men consist? Just what are the qualities necessary for successful competition, or if you will, co-living, of man with his fellow-men, and how and why do they operate? No freedom, independent of the servile repetitions of history and heredity, is conceivable until these inquiries have been elaborately carried out toward a certain working finality.


There are, to be sure, the claims and assertions and negative achievements of the youngest of the sciences, eugenics. They are invincible optimists, the eugenists: it is perhaps a case of a virtue born of necessity. Thus Francis Galton, in the preface to the "Bible of Eugenics," his essays on Hereditary Genius, declares: "There is nothing either in the history of domestic animals or in that of evolution to make us doubt that a race of sane men may be formed who shall be as much superior, mentally and morally, to the Modern European, as the Modern European is to the lowest of the Negro races." High hopes beat in this declaration. But Galton could not have foreseen that the signing of a scrap of paper by one of the Modern Europeans would let loose all the other Modern Europeans in a pandemonium of horrors the lowest of the Negro races could not but envy as a masterpiece of its kind. It seemed to be suspiciously easy for him to accept an excuse to slide down the dizzy height he had climbed from the African level.

The eugenists would put their trust in the encouraged breeding of the best and the compulsory sterility of the rest. But what is the best, and who are the best, and where will you find them when they are not inextricably emulsified with the worst? It's a long, long way to the day of a segregating out and in of Mendelian unit-characters. Besides, this is a strange world of choices. Nobody is to be considered worthy of parenthood until he has fallen in love properly. Nobody who would permit an outsider's decision as to when he was properly in love would be worth thirty cents as a parent. There is the ultimate dilemma of the eugenist—the dilemma which destroys forever the dream of a control of parenthood from the point of view of merely psychic values.


There are the claims and outcries and promises of the psychologists—the specialists in the probing of the human soul and human nature. In our time, the demand for a dynamic psychology of process and becoming, psychology with an energy in it, has split them into two schools—the emphasizers of instinct and the subconscious, the McDougallians, and the pleaders for sex and the unconscious, the Freudians. A synthesis between these two groups is latent, since their differences are those of horizon merely. For the McDougallians look upon the world with two eyes and see it whole and broad—the Freudians see through their telescope a circular field and exclaim that they behold the universe. It is true that they own a telescope.

But what has either to offer our quest for light on the future of the species? Nothing very much. Thus, to turn to the disciples of McDougall. In a recent volume entitled, "Human Nature and its Remaking," Professor William Ernest Hocking of Harvard contends that Man, all axioms about his nature to the contrary, is but a creature of habit, and so the most plastic of living things, since habit is self-controlled and self-determined. By the self-determination of the habits of the race will the new freedom be reborn. It sounds old, very old. And pathetic because it recognizes original and permanent ingredients of our composition in the words pugnacity, greed, sex, fear, as elements to be accepted in any system of the principles of civilization. It is the bubble of education all over again. What in our cells is pugnacity? What in our bones is greed? What in our blood is sex? What in our nerves is fear? Until these inquiries are respected, conscious character building or even stock breeding must remain the laughing stock of the smoking rooms and the regimental barracks.

Come the Freudians. To them we owe the aeroplanes to a new universe. They have opened up for us the geology of the soul. Layer upon layer, cross-section upon cross-section have been piled before us. And what a melodramatic cinema of thrills and shivers, villains and heroes, heroines and adventuresses have they not unfolded. Each motive, as the stiff psychologist of the nineteenth century, with his plaster-of-Paris categories and pigeon holes and classifications, labelled the teeming creatures of the mind, becomes anon a strutting actor upon a multitudinous stage, and an audience in a crowded playhouse. Scenes are enacted the febrile fancy of a Poe or a de Maupassant never could have conjured. The complex, the neurosis, the compulsion, the obsession, the slip of speech, the trick of manner, the devotion of a life-time, the culture of a nation all furnish bits for the Freudian mosaic. Attractions and inhibitions, repulsions and suppressions are held up as the ultimate pulling and pushing forces of human nature.

But is the problem solved? Is not human nature primarily animal nature? And do we so thoroughly understand this animal nature? Does not all this material of Freudianism consist of variations upon social burdens imposed on the original human nature? To be sure, at every moment of life, choices have to be made, and choice involves the clashing of instincts and motives, with victory for one or some, and defeat for the others. But the Freudian material per se—the sex material—is it not merely the by-product of a certain state of society? A sane society would eliminate nearly all of Freudian disease, but still have original human nature upon its hands. Why is it that of two individuals exposed to the same situation, one will develop a complex, the other will remain immune? The only soil we know of, the real foundation stones of our being and living, are the cells we are made of. Tell me the cellular basis of a complex, and I will grant that you have arrived at some real knowledge.


There has grown up, contemporaneously with the teachings of Freud, a body of discoveries and knowledge in physiology, concerning these factors, which is like a long sword of light illuminating a pitch-black spot in the night. The dark places in human nature seem to have become the sole monopoly of the Freudians and their psychology. But only seemingly. For all this time the physiologist has been working. Beginning with a candle and now holding in his hands the most powerful arc-lights, he has explored two regions, the sympathetic nervous system and the glands of internal secretion, and has come upon data which in due course will render a good many of the Freudian dicta obsolete. Not that the Freudian fundamentals will be scrapped completely. But they will have to fit into the great synthesis which must form the basis of any control of the future of human nature. That future belongs to the physiologist. Already his achievements provide the foundations. I propose in the following chapters to sketch the history and outline the elements of this new knowledge, and then to glimpse some of the larger human reactions to it. A good deal of this new knowledge is not altogether new. A number of the isolated facts have been known and talked about for more than two generations. But the newer additions, and the light they have thrown upon old problems present the opportunity for a synthesis, which must sooner or later be made.


Besides, it is time that the secrets of the laboratories stepped out into the market place, unashamed. Imaginative man has played for ages immemorial with wondrous fairy tales and fancies of what he would achieve. The sciences of physics and chemistry have made everyday commonplace realities out of his radiant dreams. One need not repeat the cliches of our editors. But the analogy is there nevertheless. No control over heat and light and electricity, today our slaves, was possible until physics and chemistry took them in hand. No control of the human soul is possible until it too will be taken in hand by them. We may now look forward to a real future for mankind because we have before us the beginnings of a chemistry of human nature. The internal secretions, with their influence upon brain and nervous system as well as every other part of the body corporation, as essentially blood-circulating chemical substances, have been discovered the real governors and arbiters of instincts and dispositions, emotions and reactions, characters and temperaments, good and bad. A huge complex of evidence, as various, complicated and obscure as human nature itself, supports that fundamental law.

The chemistry of the soul! Magnificent phrase! It's a long, long way to that goal. The exact formula is as yet far beyond our reach. But we have started upon the long journey and we shall get there. Then will Man truly become the experimental animal of the future, experimenting not only with the external conditions of his life, but with the constituents of his very nature and soul. The chemical conditions of his being, including the internal secretions, are the steps of the ladder by which he will climb to those dizzy heights where he will stretch out his hands and find himself a God. Modern knowledge of these chemical substances, circulating in the blood, and affecting every cell of the body, dates back scarce half a century. But already the paths blazed by the pioneers have led to the exploration of great countries. The thyroid gland, the pituitary gland, the adrenal glands, the thymus, the pineal, the sex glands, have yielded secrets. And certain great postulates have been established. The life of every individual, normal or abnormal, his physical appearance, and his psychic traits, are dominated largely by his internal secretions. All normal as well as abnormal individuals are classifiable according to the internal secretions which rule in their make-up. Individuals, families, nations and races show definite internal secretion traits, which stamp them with the quality of difference. The internal secretion formula of an individual may, in the future, constitute his measurement which will place him accurately in the social system.

"More and more we are forced to realize that the general form and external appearance of the human body depends, to a large extent, upon the functioning, during the early developmental period, of the endocrine glands. Our stature, the kinds of faces we have, the length of our arms and legs, the shape of the pelvis, the color and consistency of the integument, the quantity and regional location of our subcutaneous fat, the amount and distribution of hair on our bodies, the tonicity of our muscles, the sound of the voice, and the size of the larynx, the emotions to which our exterior gives expression. All are to a certain extent conditioned by the productivity of our glands of internal secretion." (Llewellys F. Barker, Johns Hopkins University, 1st President of Association for Study of Internal Secretions.)

The implications for the statesman, the educator, the vocational expert, the student of the neurotic and of genius, of delinquents, deficients and criminals, the explorers of the exceptional and the commonplace, the understanding of the poetic and kinetic, base and dull types, as well as of those two master interests of mankind, Sex and War, are manifest. The mystery of the individual, in all his distinct uniqueness, begins to be penetrated. And so every phase of social life, in which the individual is at bottom the final determinant, must be reviewed in the light of the new knowledge. History may be examined from an entirely new angle. The biographies of our Heroes of the Past, in the Carlylean sense, will bear reinspection. Even Utopias will have to be revised.

The internal secretions constitute and determine much of the inherited powers of the individual and their development They control physical and mental growth and all the metabolic processes of fundamental importance. They dominate all the vital functions during the three cycles of life. They co-operate in an intimate relationship which may be compared to an interlocking directorate. A derangement of their function, causing an insufficiency of them, an excess, or an abnormality, upsets the entire equilibrium of the body, with transforming effects upon the mind and the organs. In short, they control human nature, and whoever controls them, controls human nature.

The control of the glands of internal secretion waits upon our knowledge of them, the nature and precise composition of the substances manufactured by them, and just what they do to the cells. Envisaging the future, that knowledge today is meagre. Looking back fifty years, it becomes an amazing achievement and revelation. It is worth our while to survey the accomplished, and to trace its general human significance. For a certain tangible degree of knowledge and control has been attained and should be part of the average citizen's equipment in dealing with the everyday problems of his life.


A certain number of so-called experimental physiologists, that is, the physiologists of the animal laboratory, who will have nothing but syllogistic deductions and quantitative determinations based upon animal experiments as the data of their science, will be apt to look askance upon the preceding paragraphs, and those which will follow. To them, any man who relates the internal secretions to anything, outside of the routineer's paths, puts his reputation at stake, if he has any reputation at all to start in with. They would have us deliver a Scotch verdict upon all the questions which arise as soon as one attempts to take in the more general significance of the glands of internal secretion. This, even though the more general implications concerning the effects of their products, the relations of them to growth and development, nutrition and energy, environmental reactions and resistance to disease, as well as the grand complex of intelligence, are admittedly well ascertained in some directions.

The method of absolute measurement in science has yielded miracles. For some thousands of years, an isolated individual, here and there or an isolated institution have devoted themselves to the task, struggling not only with their own weaknesses, but with religious and political dogmas which spoiled and vitiated even the beginnings of their efforts. When, in the seventeenth century, men associated themselves in research, for free communication and discussion of their findings, a great invention came alive. Close on its heels was born the exact experimental method. Amazing triumphs were born of that marriage which swept away before it ignorance and superstition and prejudice. Its children and grandchildren have flourished and grown strong and mighty. They have transmuted the material conditions of life. Certainly all the laurels belong to the method of absolute, measured observations.

Yet all this time the old method of inductive observation has not gone dead. Most magnificent triumph of nineteenth century science, the evolution theory of Charles Darwin, remains the most conspicuous instance of clarification of thought in human history. That work was the outcome of an attempt to relate and interpret a collection of observations on species and their variations, that had long lain to hand, a mixture without a solvent. Darwin saw certain generalizations as solvents, and behold! a clear solution out of the mud. But it was by piling evidence upon evidence, co-ordinating isolated facts not directly associated, that the towering structure was erected. There is no prettier sample extant of the powers of the inductive method.

Not that there are no triumphs of the quantitative method in store for the biologist. Already, the materials of the Mendelians have become basic parts of his structure. And today, in pursuit of the solutions of hundreds of the problems of living matter, chemists and physiologists are employing the most precise standards, units, and measures of the physical sciences. Blood chemistry of our time is a marvel, undreamed of a generation ago. Also, these achievements are a perfect example of the accomplished fact contradicting a priori prediction and criticism. For it was one of the accepted dogmas of the nineteenth century that the phenomena of the living could never be subjected to accurate quantitative analysis.

However desirable the purely quantitative experimental methods may be, they naturally need always to be preceded by the qualitative studies of direct observations. Inevitably there will be numberless errors, apparent and real inconsistencies and contradictions, and ideas that will have to be discarded. Just the same there is no other method of progress. Every bit of evidence points towards the internal secretions as the holders of the secrets of our inmost being. They are the well springs of life, the dynamos of the organism. In trailing their scent we appear to be upon the track not only of the chemistry of our bodies, but of the chemistry of our very souls. An increasing host of factors and studies marshal themselves solidly for that declaration. Endeavor to conceive the consequences and possibilities for the future. A synthesis of the known in the field provides even now a means of understanding and control of the perplexities of human nature and life that are like a vista seen from a mountain top after the lifting of a fog.

The most precious bit of knowledge we possess today about Man is that he is the creature of his glands of internal secretion. That is, Man as a distinctive organism is the product, the by-product, of a number of cell factories which control the parts of his make-up. Much as the different divisions of an automobile concern produce the different parts of a car. These chemical factories consist of cells, manufacture special substances, which act upon the other cells of the body and so start and determine the countless processes we call Life. Life, body and soul emerge from the activities of the magic ooze of their silent chemistry precisely as a tree of tin crystals arises from the chemical reactions started in a solution of tin salts by an electric current.

Man is regulated by his Glands of Internal Secretion. At the beginning of the third decade of the twentieth century, after he had struggled, for we know at least fifty thousand years, to define and know himself, that summary may be accepted as the truth about himself. It is a far-reaching induction, but a valid induction, supported by a multitude of detailed facts.

Amazingly enough, the incontestable evidence, that first pointed to, and then proved up to the hilt, this answer to the question: What is Man? has been gathered in less than the last fifty years. Darwin and Huxley, and Spencer, who first opened men's eyes to their origins, were ignorant of the very existence of some of them, and had not the faintest notion or suspicion of the real importance or function of any of them.


Now, there are certain prejudices and problems which appear to be rudely brushed away by the dogmatic arrogance of the principle stated. What, you say, is Man but an affair of his peculiar gland chemistry? But what of mind, soul, consciousness? Still another of these pathetically one-sided and superficial theories of man as a machine pure and simple which would make him the most complicated of mechanisms, a marvel of intricate parts, but would deprive him of his essence as self-conscious unique in the universe. Man, thinking man, at any rate, dreads to lose the cherished impregnable conviction that he is something apart, inherently, and therefore infinitely different from every other phenomenon in the range of his cosmos.

A thorough dissection of the relation and attitude toward psychic material of the consistent physiologist, who refuses to deal in contradictory terms, would lead us a little too far. So would the reconciliation between the claims of mind and the concept of the organism as a system of chemical reactions. The most fundamental aspects of that herculean task, warned by the sign, No Trespassing, we shall leave to the metaphysicians. The influence of the glands of internal secretion upon the mind we must consider, but at present postpone. Yet the hot-headed contenders on both sides may be reminded of certain facts.

We live in the most iconoclastic of ages. There are sane people alive today going quietly about their business who deny the very existence of consciousness. These heretics of course pooh-pooh absolutely the lions of metaphysics. On the other hand, it may be pointed out to our mechanists who believe in mechanism to the bitter end, that even if man can be described entirely as a mere transformer of energy, there is no reason why he cannot also be described as a transformer of energy plus someone who makes use of the transformer and of the energy transformed. The stone wall before the honest mechanist is the abolition of purpose, and design, an old insoluble problem upon his premises. Preach, until you are blue in the face, behaviorist tropisms, in which man is pushed and pulled about in his environment as are iron filings in a magnetic field. Think up objective physiologies in which your life and mine become a series of concatenated influences and compound reflexes. Play with words like the concentration reflex when you mean idea, and the symbolic reflex when you mean language. But your most rigid nomenclature will never abolish the mystic personal purpose in the equation, no matter how low the step in the animal series to which you descend. The declaration that a man is dominated by certain glands within his body should not be taken to give aid and comfort to those who would banish mind from the universe.



Just what are the glands of internal secretion? And how have we become possessed of whatever information about them we have? A brief review of how the idea of a gland of internal secretion came into the human mind and of the contributions that have converged into a single body of knowledge is worth while.

A gland is a collection of cells (those viscous globules which are the units of all tissues and organs). It manufactures substances intended for a particular effect upon the body economy. The effect may be either local or upon the body as a whole.

Originally, a gland meant something in the body which was seen to make something else, generally a juice or a liquid mixture of some sort. A classical example is the salivary glands elaborating saliva. The microscope has shown us that every gland is a chemical factory in which the cells are the workers. The product of the gland work is its secretion. Thus the sweat glands of the skin secrete the perspiration as their secretion, the lachrymal glands of the eyes the tears as theirs. The collectivism of management and control is the only essential difference between them and the modern soap factory or T.N.T. plant.

Man as a carnivor, and as a consequent anatomist, has been acquainted with these more superficially placed glands for some thousands of years. During all this time and during the epoch of the achievements of gross anatomy, it was believed that the secretions of all glands were poured out upon some surface of the body. Either an exterior surface like the skin, or some interior surface, the various mucous membranes. This was supported by the discovery of canal-like passage ways leading from the gland to the particular surface where its secretion was to act. These corridors, the secretory or excretory ducts, are present, for example, in the liver, conducting the bile to the small intestine. Devices of transportation fit happily into a comparison of a gland to a chemical factory, corresponding thus closely to the tramways and railroads of our industrial centers.

Little more than a hundred years ago, it was observed that certain organs, like the thyroid body in the neck, and the adrenal capsules in the abdomen, hitherto neglected because their function was hopelessly obscure, had a glandular structure. As in so much scientific advance, the discovery or improvement of a new instrument or method, a fresh tool of research, was responsible. The perfection of the microscope was the reason this time.

If one wishes to trace the idea of internal secretion by cells to an individual, it is convenient, if not pedantic, to give the credit to Theophile de Bordeu, a famous physician of Paris in the eighteenth century. Bordeu came to Paris as a brilliant provincial in his early twenties and by the charm of his manner and daring therapy fought his way to the most exclusive aristocratic practice of the court. Naturally a courtier, taking to the intrigues of the royal court like a duck to water, making enemies on every hand as well as friends, and with a fastidious and impatient clientele, he yet found time to dabble in the wonders of the newly perfected microscope and to speculate upon the meaning of the novelties revealed by it in the tissues. He coined the thought of a gland secretion into the blood.

It was in the year 1749 that he came to Paris from the Pyrenees, a young medical graduate, destined to become the most fashionable practitioner of his time. At the age of twenty-three he was holding the professorship of anatomy at his alma mater, Montpelier, where his father was a successful physician. At twenty-five he was elected corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Sciences. A handsome presence and a Tartarin de Tarascon disposition assured his success from the start. The medical world was then composed of the emulsion of charlatanry and science Moliere ridiculed. Success stimulated envy and jealousy. One of the richest of the older medical men set himself the job of procuring his scalp. On a trumped-up charge of stealing jewels from a dead patient—a favorite accusation against the doctors of the eighteenth century—he had Bordeu's license taken away from him. The good graces of certain women to whom Bordeu had always appealed, and who indeed supplied the funds to get him started in Paris, rammed through two acts of Parliament to reinstate him. Nothing daunted, he returned to his quest for a court clientele, and was rewarded finally by having the moribund Louis XV as a patient.

This was the man with whom the modern history of the internal secretions begins. Not content with adventures among the courtiers and desperadoes of the most corrupt court in the most corrupt city of the world, he went in for research. The high power microscope that came into vogue when he was studying, revealed vague wonders which he described in a monograph, "Researches into the mucous tissues or cellular organs." But what makes him interesting is a slender volume on the "Medical Analysis of the Blood," published in the year of the American Declaration of Independence. The sexual side of men and women aroused Bordeu's most ardent enthusiasms. Starting with observations on the characters of eunuchs and capons, as well as spayed female animals, he formulated a conception of sexual secretions absorbed into the blood, settling the male or female tint of the organism and setting the seal upon the destiny of the individual. Thus he must be donated the credit of anticipating the most modern doctrine on the subject.

The generation after him witnessed the triumph of the cell as the recognized unit of structure of the tissues, the brick of the organs. It was soon found that the cells of the more familiar glands, like the sweat or tear glands, resembled the cells of the more mysterious structures named the thyroid in the neck, or adrenal in the abdomen, of which the function was unknown. What had hitherto prevented classification of the latter as glands was the fact that they possessed no visible pathways for the removal of their secretion. So now they were set apart as the ductless glands, the glands without ducts, as contrasted with the glands normally equipped with ducts. Since, too, they were observed to have an exceedingly rich supply of blood, the blood presented itself as the only conceivable mode of egress for the secretions packed within the cells. So they were also called the blood or vascular glands.

The names which became most popular were those which represented a contrast of the glands with the ducts, conveying their secretion to the exterior, as the glands of EXTERNAL SECRETION and the glands without the ducts, the secretions of which were kept within the body, absorbed by the blood and lymph to be used by the other cells, as the glands of INTERNAL SECRETION. How different these two classes of glands are may be realized by imagining the existence of great factories manufacturing food products, which would diffuse through their walls into the atmosphere, to be absorbed by our bodies.

There are certain terms for the glands of internal secretion which are used interchangeably. They are spoken of often as the endocrine glands and as the hormone producing glands. Endocrine is most convenient for it stands for both the gland and its secretion. Hormone is employed a good deal in the literature of the subject. But it applies specifically to the internal secretion, and not to the gland.


All this clarification of the concept of the glands of internal secretion occurred in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. However, no inkling of their real importance to the body, of which quantitatively they form so insignificant a part, was apparently revealed to anyone. Not even the most daring speculation or brilliant guess work in physiology engaged them as material. Thus Henle, the great anatomist, calmly affirmed that these glands "have no influence on animal life: they may be extirpated or they degenerate without sensation or motion suffering in the least." Johann Mueller, the most celebrated physiologist of his day and contemporary of Henle, wrote in 1844 and coolly stated, "The ductless glands are alike in one particular—they either produce a different change in the blood which circulates through them or the lymph which they elaborate plays a special role in the formation of blood or of chyle." In other words, they were dismissed as curious nonentities, of no real significance to the running of the body. Laennec, the French founder of the Art of Diagnosis in Medicine, once said that nothing about a science is more interesting than the progress of that science itself. He might have added that nothing either was more interesting than the contradictions in that progress. For while these grand moguls of their sciences were enunciating their dogmas, pioneers here and there were already setting the mines that were to explode them.

The experimental method, to the value of which biologists were just beginning to awaken, was destined to be the vehicle of Time's revenges. An application of it to the mysteries of sex was the immediate occasion. Sex and sex differences have always more or less obsessed the imagination of mankind. The volumes of theories about them would constitute a respectable museum. Certain gross facts, however, were known. The effects of loss of the sex glands upon the configuration of the body and the predominating constitution in animals and eunuchs have always attracted attention. The proverbs and stories of all nations are full of references to them. But up to the nineteenth century no controlled experimental work was ever carried out regarding them. It was in 1849, that A.A. Berthold of Goettingen, a quiet, sedate lecturer, carried out the pioneer experiment of removing the testes of four roosters and transplanting them under the skin. It was Berthold's idea to test whether a gland with a definite external secretion, and a duct through which that secretion was expelled, but which yet had powers over the body as a whole that were to be attributed only to an internal secretion, could not be shown, by a clean-cut experiment, to possess such an internal secretion. He succeeded perfectly. For he found that, though, in thus separating the gland from its duct and so cutting off its external secretion, the action of the cells manufacturing that secretion was destroyed, the general effects upon the body were not those of castration. The animals retained their male characteristics as regards voice, reproductive instinct, fighting spirit and growth of comb and wattles. Whereas if the glands were entirely removed, these male traits, peculiar to the rooster, were completely lost. The inference was the existence of an internal secretion.

To Berthold belongs the honor of being the first experimental demonstrator who proved the reality of a gland with a true internal secretion and the power it exercised through the blood upon the entire organism. Besides, he showed that a typical gland of external secretion could also have an internal secretion, a possibility never before considered. That two kinds of cells could live within the same gland: one set usually recognized as producing the external secretion, the other evolving the internal secretion, was an astounding original conception.


Science is supposed to be immune to the personal prejudices and emotional habits of the vulgar. It is the tradition that a new contribution to knowledge emerging from no matter how obscure the source, should be hailed as a gift from the gods. But the sad truth of the matter is that a new finding in science requires as much backing as a new project in high finance or social climbing. Berthold, like Mendel, the founder of genetics, was a great pioneer. But there was no personage, no person of consequence, with no patronage by anyone of consequence, no wife or kin, to push him, and no audience to stimulate him. His poor four little pages of a report, published ten years before Darwin's "Origin of Species," attracted not the slightest notice. Buried in the print of a journal with a subscription list of possibly two or three hundred, of whom perhaps two dozen may have been interested enough to read it, but without any recorded reaction on the part of any of them, it was a flash in the pan. Though it was good, original, conclusive stuff, it was cut dead, absolutely, by the scientific world. As a result, forty years elapsed before the implications of his studies were rediscovered by the Columbus of the modern approach to the internal secretions, the American Frenchman, Brown-Sequard.

It took a first class man of genius in his field, in Paris, with a respected position in the whirl of its medical planetary system and a university appointment, to boom and advertise the doctrine of the internal secretions, so that people began to sit up and listen and take sides—on the wrong grounds. This Frenchman was Claude Bernard. At a series of lectures on experimental physiology delivered at the College of France, in 1855, he coined the terms internal secretion and external secretion and emphasized the opposition between them, on the basis of an incorrect example, the function of the liver in the supply of sugar to the blood.

Just as Columbus reached America, carried on a series of logical syllogisms, built upon unreal pictures of a straight path to the East, Claude Bernard opened up the continent of the internal secretions to the experimental enthusiasts of his time by a discovery which today is not grouped among the phenomena of internal secretion at all. In attempting to throw light upon the disease diabetes, in which there is a loss of the normal ability of the cells to burn up sugar, he examined the sugar content of the blood in different regions of the body. He found that the blood of the veins, in general, contained less sugar than the blood of the arteries, which meant that sugar was taken from the blood in passing through the tissues. But the venous blood of the right side of the heart contained as much sugar as the arterial blood. Evidently, somewhere, sugar was added to the blood in the veins before it got to the heart. The blood of the vein which goes from the liver to the right side of the heart was then found to contain a higher percentage of sugar than is present in the arteries. The vein which transmits the blood from the intestines to the liver had the usual lower percentage of sugar corresponding to the analysis established for the other veins. The liver, therefore, must add sugar to the blood on its way to the heart. Extraction of the liver then revealed the presence in it of a form of starch, an animal starch, which Bernard called glycogen, the sugar-maker. The origin of the sugar added to the blood on its way from the liver to the heart was thus settled. Bernard went on to hail glycogen and the sugar derivable as the internal secretions of the liver, and to erect, and then drive home, a theory of internal secretions and their importance in the body economy.

The case he had hit upon was exquisitely fortunate, as the liver had hitherto been regarded purely a gland of external secretion, the bile. Nowadays, glycogen and the blood sugar are not considered internal secretions, because they are classified as elementary reserve food, while the concept of the internal secretions has become narrowed down to substances acting as starters or inhibitors of different processes. Moreover, the process of liberation of sugar from glycogen itself in the liver, upon demand, is today set down to the action of an internal secretion, adrenalin. Claude Bernard's conception, like a novelist's characters, has turned upon its creator, taken on a life of its own, and evolved into something he never intended. He looked upon an internal secretion as simply maintaining the normal composition of the blood, which bathed alike and treated alike the democracy of cells. Today, the blood is believed merely the transporting medium for the internal secretion, destined for a particular group of cells.


The years 1855-56 are red-letter years in the history of the glands of internal secretion. They witnessed, not only the publication of Claude Bernard's "Lectures on Experimental Physiology," but also the appearance of a monograph by Thomas Addison, an English physician, entitled "On the constitutional and local effects of disease of the suprarenal bodies." In this, he described a fatal disease during which the individual affected became languid and weak, and developed a dingy or smoky discoloration of the whole surface of the body, a browning or bronzing of the skin, caused generally by destructive tuberculous disease of the suprarenal or adrenal bodies. Addison promptly put down these constitutional effects of loss of the adrenal bodies to loss of something produced by them of constitutional importance. He was particularly struck by the change in the pigmentation of the skin, so much so that his own designation for the affection was "bronzed skin." Since then, however, the condition has been universally styled Addison's Disease.

There is something spectacularly mysterious and picturesque about most of the malign, insidious effects of the disease which appealed at once to a number of investigators. The most adventurous, the most daring, the most imbued with enthusiasm for the experimental method, was the American Frenchman, Brown-Sequard, who is acknowledged the father of modern knowledge of the glands of internal secretion, though to Claude Bernard belong the honors of the grandfather.


Brown-Sequard, as the outstanding figure in the history of the glands of internal secretion, deserves some notice as a personality. In the words of the note-makers for novels and plays, he was a card. He was born in 1817 at Port-Louis, on the island of Mauritius, off Africa, then French property. His father was a Mr. Brown, an American sea captain; his mother a Mme. Sequard, a Frenchwoman. Early in childhood, the father sailed away on one of his voyages and never came back. The mother thereafter supported herself and her son sewing embroideries. At fifteen, Brown-Sequard, with the physical appearance of an Indian Creole, was clerking in a colonial store by day, and composing poetry, romances and plays by night. The call of Paris was in his blood, which was indeed a supersaturated solution of wanderlust.

Soon he was landed there to make his fortune in literature, only too speedily to be disillusioned. Exhibition of manuscripts to a leading literary light merely evoked curt advice to learn a trade or go into business. He would have none of either and studied medicine instead, earning his way by teaching as he learned. In the laboratories, he made the acquaintance of people who more than once were to be his salvation in the ups and downs of his career. In 1848 he was one of the secretaries of the Society of Biology, newly founded by Claude Bernard.

Some trouble, perhaps some effect upon his health of cholera which then swept Paris, caused him to return to his native Mauritius, to encounter an epidemic of cholera. There he slaved manfully, for which a gold medal was afterward struck for him. That over with, he embarked in 1852 for New York, without a word of American, learning English on board. This was the first of a series of voyages. As he often boasted, he crossed the ocean sixty times, not a bad record for the days when the Mauretania was still in the womb of time. He made a hopeless failure out of practice in New York, became so poor as to practice obstetrics at five dollars a case, and married a niece of Daniel Webster. Then he went back to Paris. Back to America next as Professor of Physiology at the University of Richmond, Virginia, a job occupied for a few months only because of his opinions on slavery, ostensibly anyhow.

To Paris then the rolling stone meandered again. So that soon after he was offered and accepted the charge of a great newly opened hospital for epileptics in London. That proved merely an interlude and in 1863 we find him back in his fatherland (if we may hold France his motherland) as Professor of Neuropathology at Harvard. In New York fame preceded him now with a thousand trumpets, so that on the day of his arrival, he was kept busy seeing patients until night, when he had to desist because of exhaustion. But still he did not prosper. An unfortunate second marriage almost broke his heart, and an attempt to found in New York a new medical periodical, the Archives of Scientific and Practical Medicine and Surgery, got him into hot water. Not until the death of Claude Bernard in 1878 left vacant the chair of physiology in the College of France, did he find peace and rest. He hastened to Paris, was appointed, and lived, in spite of the most erratic of existences, to the ripe old age of 78, working up to the last minute.

Addison's monograph stimulated Brown-Sequard, in the year after its printing, to reproduce the fatal disease experimentally by excising the suprarenal capsules in animals. Addison was very modest in his monograph. He stated that the first case of the malady had been reported by his great predecessor at Guy's Hospital, London, Richard Bright, the describer of Bright's Disease. Then he talks about the "curious facts" he had "stumbled upon" and refers to an "ill-defined impression" that these suprarenal bodies, in common with the spleen and other organs, "in some way or other minister to the elaboration of the blood." In the preface to his work he had spoken more confidently of the fact that Nature, as an experimenter and a vivisector, can beat the physiologist to a frazzle. Indeed, he begins like this: "If Pathology be to disease what Physiology is to health, it appears reasonable to conclude that, in any given structure or organ, the laws of the former will be as fixed and significant as those of the latter: and that the peculiar characters of any structure or organ may be as certainly recognized in the phenomena of disease as in the phenomena of health. Although pathology, therefore, as a branch of medical science, is necessarily founded on physiology, questions may nevertheless arise regarding the true character of a structure or organ, to which occasionally the pathologist may be able to return a more satisfactory and decisive reply than the physiologist—these two branches of medical knowledge being thus found mutually to advance and illustrate each other. Indeed, as regards the functions of individual organs, the mutual aids of these two branches of knowledge are probably much more nearly balanced than many may be disposed to admit: for in estimating them we are very apt to forget how large an amount of our present physiological knowledge respecting the functions of these organs has been the immediate result of casual observations made on the effects of disease." William James expressed the same thought some decades later, when he emphasized that the abnormal was but the normal exaggerated and magnified, played upon by the limelight, and therefore the best teacher and indicator of the exact definition and limitations of the normal.

Addison, speaking before the South London Medical Society in 1849, declared that in all of three afflicted individuals there was found a diseased condition of the suprarenal capsules, and that in spite of the consciousness "of the bias and prejudice inseparable from the hope or vanity of an original discovery ... he could not help entertaining a very strong impression that these hitherto mysterious organs—the suprarenal capsules—may be either directly or indirectly concerned in sanguification (the making of the blood): and that a diseased condition of them, functional or structural, may interfere with the proper elaboration of the body generally, or of the red particles more especially...." A modern, acquainted with after developments, would say that Addison was very hot upon the trail indeed. But withal, though he must have been well aware of John Hunter's advice to Jenner on vaccination, "Don't think, make some observations," his training in the indirect reasoning and deductions of the clinician prevented him from going right on to a direct experimental test of his theories.

This Brown-Sequard proceeded to do. Removing the adrenal glands in several species of animals, he found, meant a terrible weakness in twenty-four to forty-eight hours, and death shortly after. If only one were removed, there was no change apparent in the normal animal, but death occurred rapidly upon removal of the other, even after a long interval. Furthermore, transfusion of blood from a normal into one deprived of its suprarenals prevented death for a long time, indicating that the suprarenals normally secreted something into the blood necessary to life.

The years 1855-1856 beheld two other important glands of internal secretion, the thyroid, the gland in the neck astride the windpipe, and the thymus, in the chest above the heart, make their debut.

The thymus was introduced by the great classic monograph of Friedleben on the "Physiology of the Thymus," in which he mentioned the usual forgotten pioneers: Felix Plater, a Swiss physician, who in 1614 had found an enlarged thymus in an infant dying suddenly, and Restelli, an Italian, who interested himself in the effects of removal of the thymus more than ten years before. Friedleben believed that in the young without a thymus, there occurred a softening of the bones, and general physical and mental deterioration. He started the ball rolling for a number of researches.

Moritz Schiff, of Frankfort-on-the-Main, showed that excision of the thyroid gland in dogs is invariably fatal. A number of physicians in the first half of the century had reported certain remarkable symptoms associated with enlargement of the thyroid gland, as goitre. In 1825 the collected posthumous writings of Caleb Perry, an eminent physician of Bath, England, recorded eight cases, in which, together with enlargement of the gland, there developed enlargement and palpitation of the heart, a distinct protrusion of the eyes from their sockets and an appearance of agitation and distress. Schiff's paper was the first to throw any light on the subject. But for some reason, probably the same as in Berthold's forlorn experiments with the sex glands, the work of a person of no importance was ignored, or perhaps the more charitable view is that it was forgotten. Yet the tide of observation kept sweeping in relevant data.

In 1850, Curling, an English pathologist, studying the cretinous idiots of Salzburg, written about centuries before by Paracelsus, discovered that with their defective brain and mentality there was associated an absence of the thyroid body, and accompanying symmetrical swellings of fat tissue at the sides of the neck. Then Sir William Gull in 1873 painted the singular details of a cretinous condition developing in adult women, a condition to which another Englishman, William Ord, of London, five years later donated the title of myxedema, because of a characteristic thickening and infiltration of the skin that is one of its features.

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