Vitalism and the Kosmic Mind | Studies in Occultism
In no other present-day philosophical tradition is the concept of a “VITAL FORCE” in nature so prominent and detailed, more than in Theosophy, a theory now taken to be refuted by biologists and has existed since ancient times. Helena P. Blavatsky in Studies in Occultism on the Kosmic Mind tried to demonstrate the link between phenomena in nature and the mind; that the vital-theory, or rather hylozoism cannot be merely understood through a physicalist and mechanical explanation. Herein, we will find the fundamental notions upheld in the School of modern Theosophy.
“Hitherto the opponents of vitalism and “life-principle,” as well as the followers of the mechanical theory of life, based their views on the supposed fact, that, as physiology was progressing forward, its students succeeded more and more in connecting its functions with the laws of blind matter. All those manifestations that used to be attributed to a “mystical life-force,” they said, may be brought now under physical and chemical laws. And they were, and still are loudly clamoring for the recognition of the fact that it is only a question of time when it will be triumphantly demonstrated that the whole vital process, in its grand totality, represents nothing more mysterious than a very complicated phenomenon of motion, exclusively governed by the forces of inanimate nature.
But here we have a professor of physiology who asserts that the history of physiology proves, unfortunately for them, quite the contrary; and he pronounces these ominous words:
I maintain that the more our experiments and observations are exact and many-sided, the deeper we penetrate into facts, the more we try to fathom and speculate on the phenomena of life, the more we acquire the conviction, that even those phenomena that we had hoped to be already able to explain by physical and chemical laws, are in reality unfathomable. They are vastly more complicated, in fact; and as we stand at present, they will not yield to any mechanical explanation.
This is a terrible blow at the puffed-up bladder known as Materialism, which is as empty as it is dilated.”