Schrodinger, Erwin - Mind and Matter - Where is the Personality
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Erwin Schrodinger – Mind and Matter
It is very difficult for us to take stock of the fact that the localisation of the personality, of the conscious mind, inside the body is only symbolic, just an aid for practical use. Let us with all the knowledge we have about it, follow such a ‘tender look’ inside the body. We do not hit there on a supremely interesting bustle, or if you like machinery. We find millions of cells of very specialised build in an arrangement that is unsurveyably intricate, but quite obviously serves a very far reaching and highly consummate mutual communication and collaboration; a ceaseless hammering of regular electrochemical pulses which, however, change rapidly in their configuration, being conducted from nerve cell to nerve cell, tens of thousands of contacts being opened and blocked within every split second, chemical transformations being induced and maybe other changes as yet undiscovered.
All this we meet and, as the science of physiology advances, we may trust that we shall come to know more and more about it.
But now let us assume that in a particular case you eventually observe several efferent bundles of pulsating currents, which issue from the brain and through long cellular protrusions [motor nerve fibres] are conducted to certain muscles of the arm, which, as a consequence tends to a trembling hand to bid you farewell – for a long heart rending separation; at the same time you may find some other pulsating bundles produce a certain glandular secretion so as to veil the poor sad eye with a crape of tears. But nowhere along this way from the eye through the central organ to the arm muscles and the tear glands – nowhere, you may be sure, however far physiology advances, will you meet the dire pain, the bewildered worry within the soul, though their reality is to you so certain as though you suffered them yourself – as in actual fact you do!
To become aware of this may in the first moment upset one. To me it seems, on deeper thought, rather a consolation. If you have to face the body of a deceased friend whom you sorely miss, is it not soothing to realise that this body was never really the seat of his personality, but only symbolically ‘for practical reference?’