We read that man is fearfully and wonderfully created in Psalm 139, but hardly have we taken time to make the impact of this statement dawn on us. We might have taken it literally and moved on.
Yet, the statement is one of the eternal spiritual gems in our different scriptures. In the understanding of this statement lies the true worship of God, that is in spirit – The Real Born Again.
Man is indeed a tripod made up of the physical body, mind and soul. What is known generally to humans is the physical body. Because both the mind and soul are not visible, the material scientists have continued to doubt the existence of them.
The set up of man is that enclosed in his body are two forces being the mind and the soul antagonising each other ceaselessly. They are metaphorically termed as the Wolf and the Dove.
The soul wants to return to the Creator but the mind wants to stay here in the world. This situation makes man restless and restive all the days of his life.
The Wolf-Mind is vengeful, fearful, envious, greedy, covetous, utterly deceptive and it embraces all other vices without any exception.
In contradistinction, the Dove-Soul being of Divinity is loving, compassionate, generous, forgiving, truthful, serene. It is also the fountain of all virtues known and unknown to man.
When a Mystic was asked as to which of the two, that is the mind or the soul, will win the fight, his answer was: The one we feed between the two. This is much we could say on the mind and soul for now. They will both be taken at length after we have dwelt on the physical aspects of the human body.
On the physical aspect of man, we must give big kudos to the material scientists for the tremendous exploration made in the understanding of the physical aspect of the human body. This itself is a marvel. This is with particular regard to how human system such as the mechanical, biological, sensations and its operations totally depreciated the Darwin’s theory of the Big Bang.
Which Big Bang phenomenon could have brought about the delicately web of human physical nature without a Supreme Intelligence, in the manner we are privileged with five senses and a couple of involuntary organs, together with nine apertures. We need a good comprehension of these attributes of man, to perceive the Creator in awe and unqualified reverence.
The five basic senses of man are the senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. All these send necessary sensations to the brain for man to perceive and function in the world. One can write volumes on the wonders of the human body, yet there will be more to write on the matter. Therefore, for lack of space and time, I will just cite the digestive system as an example among other human attributes.
Human’s digestive system actually starts on scenting or sighting of food respectively by the nose and the eyes. Either of these immediately initiates a signal to the brain, especially when we are hungry, that this man is about to eat.
Digestion of food actually occurs in three stages, viz: Cephalic, Gastric and Intestinal.
The cephalic is the stage in which the sight and smell of food result in the stimulation of gastric secretions. Mastication breaks down the food mechanically and allows mixing with saliva, containing digestive enzymes such as amylase and lingual lipase that further facilitate its chemical breakdown.
On swallowing, the food bolus enters the stomach and so begins the gastric phase. This is where the food mixes with gastric acid contents that serve to continue the chemical breakdown. As the food enters the small bowel, the intestinal phase begins. The main objective here is absorption. The food mixes with pancreatic enzymes and propelled along the colon (small to large colon) by peristalsis.
Resorption of nutrients occurs in the small bowel and the large bowel facilitates the resorption of water and some minerals, leaving the remnant as the waste product of digestion and this is excreted as faeces.
All these actions take place naturally just on sighting food delicacy and anytime we consume food. Coupled with this, our involuntarily organs such as the liver, kidney, heart, the villi in the intestine respectively go on working, by sifting and supplying blood, waste processing, passing of processed nutrients into the blood vessels, all for the sustenance of the human body, as long as we live.
To explain all these away as Dawin theorised amounts to going round in circles. How I wish we can treat this matter at length in exploring other extensive and variegated aspects of the physical form of the human body.
The good news however is that literatures abound for us to improve on our understanding of the workings of the physical body. We are accordingly encouraged to take steps to acquire a good knowledge of the functionalities of our body, for the purpose of leading a meaningful and healthy life. Man is meant to be his primary doctor, by the type of food he eats and this limits sicknesses that are not karmic. We will also make this clearer as we continue with this series.
To wrap up the brief on the physical body of man, permit me to introduce a narrative that tries to depict how every organ of man is vital, essentially dependent on each other, and indispensable to the survival of the human body.
The humorous narrative is on the essence of team spirit and deprecating our delusion of self importance. The metaphor goes thus:
One day, the organs of the body suddenly got egocentric and started claiming superiority over the other.
First, the brain said since I control everything, I should be the boss.
The feet challenged the brain and said since I carry man wherever he goes, I should be the boss.
The hands insisted and said because I must do all the work and earn all the money to keep all the rest of you going, I should be the boss.
The eye got pissed off, it quipped: ‘I am the touch bearer, I do the looking out for all of you and I tell you where danger lurks, I should lead you all.’
The exchange went on and on with the heart, ears, lungs, kidney, liver, bile, arteries et all each asserting superiority over the other.
Meanwhile, the rectum has become livid with anger. It charged at the assembly of organs and demanded to be the boss. Of course all the other organs derisively laughed at the idea of the rectum being the boss, a waste outlet for that matter.
Because of the way the rectum was sneered at, the rectum got so angered and immediately stopped functioning.
Within a short span of the stoppage of the activities of the rectum, the brain became feverish, the eyes became swollen and ached, the feet got so weak unable to walk, the hands hung limply, while the hearts and lungs and other organs were struggling to survive.
Finally, they pleaded and resolved with each other to abandon the idea of any of them being the boss and so it happened, the idea was dropped, the rectum resumed work again. All the organs got relieved. The carrier of the organs – being the man – became well and happy again.
The gist of the allegory is to emphasise the fact that just like the organs of the human body, all of we humans are important, dependent on each other and between and betwixt. No man is an island all alone to himself. So, we should try and embrace team spirit in any endeavours of ours that involve other people.
The takeaway here is that we are neither superior nor inferior to any one. We are all playing out our roles in the evolutionary scale of our different souls.
With this self worth, a tiny worm looked at the intimidating presence of a huge elephant and concluded it might not have been created by a lesser God than that which created the elephant.
We will be discussing at length the Mind and the Soul from next week, with the hope of explaining the role each plays in the compositions of man.
To be continued.
. Aare Oyefeso is a philosopher and businessman who resides in Lagos.