In 1965, while I was a student of Human Anatomy at Kurnool Medical College, I had the opportunity to know about Dr. J. C. B. Grant (1886-1973), the author of Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy. The 5th Edition of his Atlas was published in 1962 and was available in India in our Medical College Library.
Born in Loanhead (south of Edinburgh) in 1886, Grant studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and graduated with an M.B., Ch.B. degree in 1908. While at Edinburgh, he worked under the renowned anatomist Daniel John Cunningham. Grant became a decorated serviceman of the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War before moving to Canada. He established himself as an ‘anatomist extraordinary’ at the University of Toronto, publishing three textbooks that form the basis of Grant’s Anatomy. The textbooks are still used in anatomy classes today, and made unforgettable memories for those who found themselves in his classes nearly a century ago. One of Grant’s many accomplishments was establishing a division of histology within the department.
As a medical student, I used Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy, the seminal work of Scottish-born Dr. John Charles Boileau Grant, who would become the chair of Anatomy at the University of Toronto in 1930 and retired in 1965.
John Charles Boileau Grant (1886–1973)
The author of Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy (1943), Grant used to train thousands of medical students around the world. He came to University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine from University of Manitoba (and previously Edinburgh), and was Chair of the Department of Anatomy there from 1930 to 1965. Although he is best known for this famous atlas, his research and teaching also included biological anthropology, as evidenced by such work as Anthropometry of the Cree and Saulteaux Indians in Northeastern Manitoba (Archaeological Survey of Canada 1929). The human skeletal collection he formed, the “J.C.B. Grant Collection,” is still a core collection for human osteology in the Department of Anthropology at University of Toronto. He is also remembered in the Grant’s Museum at the Medical Sciences Building at the University of Toronto. This museum, with its displays of anatomical specimens, many of which were dissected by Grant himself, continues to be used in an active learning environment by more than 1000 students each year.
Students continue to use Grant’s textbooks today, and for the more artistic anatomist there’s even a Grant’s Anatomy Coloring Book, published in 2018.
At the University of Toronto, Dr.McMurrich, Chair of Anatomy was succeeded as chairman in 1930 by Dr. John Charles Boileau Grant. Dr. Grant wrote three text books, of which “An Atlas of Anatomy” (published in 1943) rapidly gained international prominence and is still, one of the most widely used anatomical atlases in the world. It is now known as “Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy” and is in its tenth edition. The atlas was based on a series of elegant dissections done either by Grant or by others under his supervision. Many of these dissections are currently housed in Grant’s Museum at the University of Toronto.
The Rudi-Grant Connection is about knowing the man, the building blocks and the structural units and organization of the human body. To defend the human existence, the Rudi-Grant Connection lays the emphasis on knowing the person who is at risk apart from knowing the agent posing the risk.
THE IDENTITY OF MULTICELLULAR HUMAN ORGANISM:
Daniel John Cunningham was born on 15 April 1850 in Scotland. After his initial schooling at his home town, Crieff, he took up the study of medicine at the University of Edinburgh and passed with honours. He is best known for the excellent series of dissection manuals, namely Cunningham’s Dissection Manuals.
I learned about the human body while dissecting the body in a systematic manner. The Manual of Practical Anatomy which guides us through this entire process was published in England. The author Dr. Daniel John Cunningham prepared the Manual while dissecting cadavers of British or Irish citizens. He had never encountered cadavers of Indian citizens. At Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India, where I was a student, the Department of Anatomy obtains dead bodies from Government General Hospital Kurnool and most of the deceased are the poor, illiterate, and uneducated people of that region. None of the deceased had the chance to know this man called Cunningham and Cunningham had no knowledge about the existence of these people who arrive on our dissection tables. But, as the dissection of the human body proceeds, inch, by inch, we recognize the anatomical parts as described by Cunningham. The manual also lists some anatomical variations and we very often exchange information between various dissection tables and recognize the variations mentioned. The dissections also involve slicing the organs and studying them, both macroscopically, and microscopically. We did not miss any part of the human body. So what is the Identity of this Human person or Human subject? How does the living Human organism maintain its Identity and Individuality? Apart from the Cultural Traditions of India, several Schools of Religious Thought claim that the Human Individual and its Identity is represented by Human Soul. Where does this soul exist in the human body? What is the location if the soul is present in the living person? Does man have a soul?
The Rudi Connection at Whole Foods asks, What is Consciousness?
Yes indeed, Life is complicated. The complexities of Life can only be understood by knowing the fundamental living functions that are the characteristics of Life. A thing has Life if it knows the fact of its own living condition called existence.
Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, Dean of the Harvard Medical School (1847-1882) views Life in terms of performing the living functions. He says, ”To live is to function and that is all there is in living.” Life is defined by the nature of its living functions. Consciousness is the absolute characteristic of all living functions. Life involves the fact of knowing information or knowledge and hence Life can be defined as Knowledge in Action.
What is Consciousness?
Consciousness is described as a state of knowing, or awareness, or recognizing the existence, truth, or fact of ‘something’. What is that ‘something’ that is known or recognized by Consciousness? I propose to explore the contents of Consciousness to answer the question of what is Consciousness?
Consciousness is a Sense Experience:
The Neural Correlates of Consciousness defined by Mormann & Koch explores Consciousness as a Sense Experience. It fails to describe the Totality of Consciousness. Can there be any Sense Experience or Sense Perception without the fact of Existence? What is that Exists and knows that it Exists?
Consciousness is generally viewed as a form of relationship or act of the mind towards objects in nature. Consciousness has been described as a continuous field or stream of mental sense-data. Some biologists and neurophysiologists view Consciousness as a brain function and describe it as an exclusive function of the nerve cells; neuronal and axonal function. Dr. Florian Mormann and Dr. Christof Koch have defined Neural Correlates of Consciousness (Florian Mormann & Christof Koch (2007) NCC, Scholarpedia 2(12):1740) as the minimal neuronal mechanisms jointly sufficient for any one specific conscious percept. Further, Mormann & Koch state that, “Consciousness is a puzzling, state-dependent property of certain types of complex, biological, adaptive, and highly connected systems. A Science of Consciousness must strive to explain the exact relationship between phenomenal, mental states and brain states.” They have posed the question: ” What is the nature of the relationship between the immaterial, conscious mind and its physical basis in the electro-chemical interactions in the body? The answer to their question is very simple. Consciousness is related to a material substance that is called Protoplasm and electro-chemical interactions in the body describe the properties of this living substance or material. The brain cells and all other cells of the body have the same basic features; they are constituted by Protoplasm which has a Biological Membrane to define the limits of the Cell. Mormann & Koch also erroneously suggest that, “Only a few particular systems can experience anything, why they are Conscious and other systems such as the enteric nervous system or the immune system are not Conscious.” The enteric nervous system does in fact provide a wide range of Conscious experiences. A baby would respond with a cry when it experiences gripes or colic. In the practice of Clinical Medicine, evaluation of pain as a symptom and as a diagnostic clinical sign plays a very significant role. The pain experienced by an individual with gastrointestinal, or genitourinary problems, or from inflammation of tissues and organs, and from problems with skeleton and musculature is registered by Consciousness. The immune system behaves in a Conscious manner and displays specificity, selectivity, and memory.
A Living Cell is a highly complex, biological, adaptive, and highly connected system known in Natural Science.
A simple understanding of various cell functions would explain this issue. For example, mitochondria are organelles found within most cells which provide the cells with energy. Extensive protein translocation occurs in mitochondria where about one thousand different polypeptides are imported from the cytosol. This event is orchestrated by distinct translocation machineries in the outer and the inner mitochondrial membranes. Mitochondria display functional awareness and perform the task of oxidising sugars and fats in a deliberate, and sequential manner that involves the use of different enzymes to facilitate each chemical reaction.
Consciousness is a Physical or Body Experience – The Concept of Homeostasis:
Apart from thoughts, intellect, feelings, moods, and perception of various sensory information, man is aware of the fact of and the state or condition of his physical existence. Man is aware or Conscious of hunger, thirst, and sexual drive. Man is aware of vital functions like respiration, and circulation. Man is alerted and often reacts with a sense of fear when these vital functions are disturbed or threatened in a significant manner. Consciousness or awareness includes awareness of bodily functions such as appetite, lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting sensation, deglutition (the act of swallowing food and drink), satiation, and the functions of excretion and the associated sensations like the fullness of the bladder, and rectum. The human organism has awareness of its internal condition such as the state of hydration, water and electrolyte balance, and acid/base balance. The chemical events collectively called “metabolism” require concentration of hydrogen ions and electrolytes to remain within narrow limits in the tissue cells and in the fluids which bathes them. Body responds to both volume changes and changes in the osmotic pressure of the body fluids. Life is possible only if the hydrogen ion concentration of body fluid is kept within a narrow range. In health, a blood hydrogen ion concentration of 36-44 nmol/liter or pH 7.37 – 7.45 is maintained by several closely integrated but widely differing mechanisms. 19th century French physiologist Claude Bernard defines “Homeostasis” as “all the vital mechanisms, varied as they are, have only one object; that of preserving constant the conditions of life.” All living things maintain a constant internal environment or Internal Milieu. Living cells and organisms are aware or Conscious of the environment in which they exist as well as the state of their own internal environment making possible to witness this phenomenon of Homeostasis.
Consciousness is a Cellular Experience:
Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, the former Dean of Harvard Medical School had defined Life by stating that, “To live is to function and that is all there is in living.” Who or what is the subject who lives because of its living functions? Consciousness is a cellular experience of the cells of the brain and the body. It is an experience shared by the Whole Organism. It is an experience shared by all the living cells. The living functions of cells include uptake and conversion of nutrients, synthesis of new molecules, production of energy, and regulation and coordination of metabolic sequences apart from function of reproduction by asexual cell division. All the solid tissues in the human body can be shown to consist largely of similar cells, differing it is true, but that are essentially similar to an ovum. The most significant feature of similarity between the cells is presence of a soft, gelatinous, semi-fluid, granular material inside the cell. This substance known as Protoplasm is similar to that found in the ovum or the egg cell. This viscous, translucent, colloidal substance is enclosed in a membrane called Plasma Membrane or Biological Membrane. A small, spherical body called nucleus is embedded in the protoplasm. The protoplasm could be differentiated into cytoplasm/cytosol, and nucleoplasm based upon its location. Cytoplasm refers to protoplasm located outside the nucleus. Nucleoplasm refers to the protoplasm located inside the nucleus. The two essential features of any living cell in the human body are that of presence of protoplasm and the nucleus. The most striking characteristics of protoplasm are its vital properties of “MOTION”, and “NUTRITION”. Protoplasm has the intrinsic power to change its shape and position and the motion is described as amoeboid movement as the motion is similar to the motion that is observed in Amoeba proteus. Nutrition is the power which protoplasm has of attracting or drawing the materials that are necessary for its growth and maintenance from surrounding matter/environment. Nutrition is not a passive, unguided, and physical event. The Biological Membrane or the Plasma Membrane allows a highly controlled exchange of matter across the barrier it poses; some compounds are able to pass through the Membrane easily, others are completely blocked. The Biological Membrane helps to maintain cell’s internal environment or constant interior milieu in which intracellular reactions occur. To maintain life, the cell not only repairs or replaces, (or both) its structures by continual synthesis of new organic molecules. This is characteristic of functional awareness or Consciousness that is at work at the cellular level. The human organism uses a repair process and it is described as Inflammation and Repair. Wound healing, and hemostasis (or blood leakage or bleeding from an injured blood vessel is controlled) are natural mechanisms operated by Cellular Consciousness. Human existence is possible because of this valuable and protective healing process which comes into immediate play after an injury or damage. Similarly, the human organism defines its identity and defends its existence by deploying unique protein molecules such as the antibodies. Antibodies recognize their antigens or foreign protein molecules with high affinity and extreme selectivity. The ability to develop specific immunity to infection is only one consequence of a wider capacity in the individual to recognize and to specifically respond to the foreignness of an extensive range of biological substances that are not normally present in the body of that individual. The adaptive immune system remembers that particular infectious agent and can prevent it causing disease later. The immune system consists of a variety of molecules and cells that are distributed throughout the body. They play an important role in inflammation, tissue damage and repair, the killing of bacteria, viruses, and tumor cells. Cellular Consciousness defends human existence.
Consciousness is a Social Experience:
Sociology lays claim to the whole of human life beyond the biological level because virtually all human activities possess a social aspect. Consciousness can be viewed as the capacity in an individual to form harmonious relations with others and to participate in or contribute constructively to changes in the social environment. Man is a social being and he is aware of the social structures and the social organization that he is part of. Parental instincts and social instincts describe an aspect of social behavior exhibited by all animals. Animals exhibit social behaviors and form parental societies to care for their offspring. Bacteria come together to live as colonies. At cellular level, the social aspect of Consciousness is reflected by the cell’s abilities such as association, cooperation, communication using signaling molecules, recognition, and functional subordination in its interactions with other living cells present in its environment. In an Ecological System, the Consciousness plays the role to establish the interrelatedness, the interdependence, and the interconnectedness.
Consciousness is a Moral Experience:
Consciousness is the attribute of a conscientious person. Conscious behavior is often described as conscientious action that is scrupulous, characterized by or done with careful attention. Conscience describes awareness of one’s own acts and the application of knowledge to discern an act as right or wrong, good or evil, selfish or altruistic. Man has the intrinsic ability to recognize his acts of transgression or sinful conduct. Man is a creature with conscience and hence exists as a Moral Being.
Consciousness is a Spiritual Experience:
The word spiritual is often used to describe the fact of having a relationship based on sympathy of thought or feeling. Consciousness has a spiritual function as it establishes a relationship between the energy dependent living cell and its energy provider. The living cell is a thermodynamically unstable system. This means that without continuous input of energy, a cell will degrade spontaneously into a nonliving collection of molecules. The life journey of the human organism begins as a single cell, that of a fertilized egg cell. This single fertilized egg cell is Conscious of its existence, is Conscious of its energy dependence and it promptly connects itself to its energy provider. Human life begins to move forward when this egg cell implants itself into the maternal tissue and the biological mother has no cortical awareness of this implantation. Cortical awareness does not describe the Totality of Consciousness. The Science of Consciousness must describe the mental, the sensory, the physical, the cellular, the social, the moral, and the spiritual aspects of Consciousness.
Consciousness is Awareness of Existence in any given Environment:
Consciousness describes the condition of an individual; the condition of knowing, awareness, or recognizing the fact, the state, and the act of existence or living in a given environment. Thus, Consciousness is a natural principle that could explain what an individual knows and experiences about the world around one and inside one. There are two aspects of Consciousness that is registered subjectively by an individual; 1. Consciousness is a state of knowing or awareness of what goes on around an individual, and 2. Consciousness is a state of knowing or awareness of what goes on within the individual. Who is this individual who has ability to know and be aware of its external and internal environment? The term environment refers to all the conditions, circumstances, and influences surrounding, and affecting existence of a given individual, or group of individuals. The individual is a living organism and the organism could be unicellular or multicellular.
Consciousness and Material Substance:
Consciousness is an absolute attribute of Life; it is the fundamental characteristic of living matter or living substance described as Protoplasm or Cytoplasm, the essential living matter or material substance of all animal, and plant cells. Wherever Protoplasm is found, irrespective of the size, shape, and form of the cell or of the living organism, the contents of its Consciousness could be discovered.
Consciousness – The Law of Individuality and Creation:
The contents of Consciousness vary from individual to individual. There are individualistic variations in the contents of Consciousness. There can never be two identical living individuals. Even when the cells are cloned and have the same or identical genomes, the state, or condition of Protoplasm that is Conscious is never identical. With the same genome, or different genomes, the living cells can only exist or live as individuals and they have no other choice. The living substance is the same, and the nature of Consciousness is the same and yet the contents of Consciousness are not the same. This Individualistic variation of Consciousness is the characteristic of what I describe as ‘The Law of Individuality and Creation’.
The Principles of Consciousness:
Consciousness is the natural principle, the vital principle that moves and animates all Life. It has a set of defining features; it is the principle by which a living cell or organism knows the fact of its own existence, it knows as to where it exists, and knows as to how it is existing. Cognition is described as the act of knowing. Cognitive Science involves the study of all human activities related to Knowledge. These activities include attention, creativity, memory, perception, problem solving, thinking, and the use of language. Cognition is the process involved in knowing, or the act of knowing which includes awareness and judgment. The nature of cognition, the relationship between the knowing mind and external reality, is applicable in the study of living functions that are characteristic of the living substance or material called Protoplasm. The functions at cellular level that require cognition include nutrition, reproduction, metabolism, and association with other living cells present in the immediate environment. The human brain is often viewed as the Seat of Knowledge. Human brain’s ability to acquire, process, store, and use information is essentially a function of the Protoplasm of the brain cells. Cognitive functions like perception and memory would establish Protoplasm as the Seat of Knowledge.
Consciousness in the Human Organism:
There are two distinct aspects of human Consciousness namely the Capacity for Consciousness and the Contents of Consciousness. When Consciousness is viewed as a psychological or strictly as a mental function, it is represented by the Contents of Consciousness, function of Cerebral Cortex. When Consciousness is understood as a biological or living function, it is represented by the aspect of Capacity for Consciousness. The upper Brain Stem, the neural structures like the Reticular Formation, and Thalamus function to compose the contents of Consciousness and project the contents to the cerebral hemispheres via the tracts of the Ascending Reticular Activating System. Integrity of these neurons and neural connections is important to maintain the alertness, and Arousal State of the Whole Organism in its relationship to its environment and internal maintenance of coordination of various living functions.
The Grading of Consciousness in Clinical Medicine:
Apart from philosophers, psychologists, psychics, theologians and others, the term Consciousness is frequently used by the practitioners of Clinical Medicine. It is a useful term with several practical applications in management of individuals with a variety of conditions that impact the neural functions, particularly the Arousal. In medical practice, the assessment and grading of Consciousness serves the purpose of being good predictor of the eventual long-term outcome or prognosis of the underlying disease or medical condition.
In Clinical Medicine, the medical practitioner evaluates the Level of Arousal or Alertness of his patient. The different levels of Consciousness are :
a. alert or awake, fully Conscious and fully Oriented to person, place, and time. This Orientation represents the normal operation of Higher Intellectual Functions. A person who is Conscious, but is under influence of alcohol or other psychotropic drugs, neural stimulants or depressants may not be fully oriented.
b. phase of automatism – the person is not fully alert as in Sleep-walking, or recovering from the effects of anesthesia.
c. Lethargic – drowsy, sleepy, but easily arousable.
d. Delirium – a state of mental confusion, a toxic condition, altered physical, and mental state or condition.
e. Stupor – semiconscious, responsive only to painful stimuli.
f. Coma – Unconscious or not responsive to painful stimuli.
Similarly, the Edinburgh method of grading Consciousness is:
Grade 0 – Fully Conscious
Grade 1 – drowsy but responsive to vocal command.
Grade 2 – Unconscious but responsive to minimal painful stimuli.
Grade 3 – Unconscious but just responsive to strong painful stimuli.
Grade 4 – Unconscious with no response to verbal commands and all other painful stimuli.
The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS ) is universally used in assessment of the head injury victim. This Scale measures and provides a score that ranges from 3 to 15 points by evaluating three kinds of responses from the patient.
1. Eye Opening: Spontaneous eye opening=4; Eye opening in response to command=3; Eye opening in response to painful stimuli=2; and no response of eye opening=1.
2. Motor Response: Obeys commands=6; Localizes pain=5; Shows flexion(decorticate) response to pain=3; Shows extension (decerebrate) response to pain=2; and no response (no reflex muscular activity)=1.
3. Vocal Response: Oriented to person, place, and time=5; Confused=4; Shows inappropriate speech=3; Makes incomprehensible sounds=2; and no vocal sounds=1.
Such neurological evaluations are repeated periodically to record significant changes in the medical condition of the patient. However, it must be noted that Clinical Medicine always evaluates totality of all living functions and the medical usage of the terms Conscious and Unconscious represent a careful interpretation in the context of the medical condition of the patient.
The Totality of Consciousness:
The Science of Consciousness must explore and investigate the entire contents of Consciousness. By understanding the nature of experience provided by the Totality of Consciousness, the condition, the state, or the act of being Conscious could be explained.
Consciousness is a Mental Experience:
The term consciousness is most widely used as meaning “attention to the contents or workings of one’s own mind.” English philosopher John Locke defined Consciousness as a psychological condition; it is described as perception of what passes in a man’s own mind. In the Indian tradition, mental activities are of four kinds and collectively constitute what is named as Antahkarana; these are : 1. Manas or Manah- the seat of thoughts, 2. Buddhi or intellect and knowledge, 3. Chitta or the seat of emotions such as Kindness and Love, and 4. Ahamkara or self-ego. The mental experience or knowing of these activities of thoughts, intellect, moods, feelings, and self-ego describe Consciousness as a mental experience. Using this view, many philosophers, religious thinkers, and mystics have shared their experience of different levels of Consciousness and have given names to the higher levels or states of Consciousness. Terms such as Pure Consciousness, Cosmic Consciousness, and Super Consciousness may describe some kind of mental experience and such terms may not add any information to understand the Totality of Consciousness and its experience.
Rudolf is reborn as Rudi to describe the spiritual connection between the Cell and its Energy Provider
Rudi acknowledges his German heritage at Whole Foods when he discovered the spiritual connection between man, food, and Providence.
Whole Foods, Whole People, and Whole Planet are connected by a material substance called Protoplasm or Cytoplasm, a divine plan to provide nourishment to Life.
The Rudolf and Rudi Connection at Whole Foods, Ann Arbor can be best described as the concept of Whole Spirituality, the three dimensional spiritual relationship between the multicellular human organism, food, and the Divine Providence.
Spiritualism – The Cell Theory of Spirituality:
In Biology, cell is the basic or fundamental unit of structure, function, and organization in all living things or it is the building block of life. Let me begin with my respectful tribute to some of the people who contributed to ‘The Cell Theory’, one of the foundations of Biological Sciences. Cells were first observed in the 17th century shortly after the discovery of the microscope. Robert Hooke, british curator of instruments at The Royal Society of London, during 1665 coined the word cell. Dutch microscopist Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) made over 247 microscopes and examined microorganisms and tissue samples. He gave the first complete descriptions of bacteria, protozoa (which he called animalcules), spermatozoa, and striped muscle. He also studied capillary circulation and observed Red Blood Cells.
Improvements in microscopy during early 19th century permitted closer observation and the significance of cells had received better understanding. Matthias Jakob Schleiden (1838), German botanist, Theodor Schwann (1839), German physiologist, and Rudolf Virchow (1855), German pathologist, and others made important contributions to the Cell Theory that describes cell as the building block of all Life.
The Cell is the smallest unit in the living organism that is capable of carrying on the essential life processes of sustaining metabolism for producing energy and reproducing. Many simple, small, single-celled organisms like Protozoa perform all life functions. In higher, complex, bigger, multicellular organisms, groups of cells are structurally and functionally differentiated into specialized tissues and organ systems. Thus, the Cell Theory includes the following foundational principles of the Biological Sciences:
1. All living things are made up of cells. Cell is the most elementary or basic unit of Life.
2. Cell is a fundamental unit of structure, function, and organization in all living things including plants and animals.
3. Cells only rise from division of previously existing cells.
4. All cells are similar in composition, form, and function. All cells are basically the same in chemical composition (in spite of variations) in organisms of similar species. For example, all the solid tissues in the human body can be shown to consist largely of similar cells; differing it is true, but that are essentially similar to an Ovum.
5. The cells exhibit functional autonomy. The activity of an organism depends on the total activity of ‘INDEPENDENT’ cells.
6. Energy flow (metabolism and biochemistry) occurs within cells.
7. Cells contain hereditary, biological information (DNA) which is passed from cell to cell during cell division.
The Cell Theory of Spirituality:
The basic or fundamental unit of life in the human organism is derived from the fertilized egg cell that eventually develops into a complete organism. The most significant feature of similarity between the cells of the human body is the presence of a soft, gelatinous, semi-fluid, granular material inside the cell. This substance known as Protoplasm or Cytoplasm, or Cytosol is similar to the ground substance found in the Ovum or the Egg Cell.
This viscous, translucent, colloidal substance is enclosed in a membrane called Cell Membrane, Plasma Membrane or Biological Membrane. A small spherical body called nucleus is embedded in the Protoplasm of the cell. The three essential features of any living cell in the human body are that of the presence of protoplasm, the nucleus, and the cell membrane.
Protoplasm – The Ground Substance of Spiritualism and Spirituality:
I seek the existence of Soul or Spirit in a substance that is basic to life activities, and in a material that is responsible for all living processes. I, therefore, propose that the understanding of the true or real nature of this ground substance of all living matter will help man to discover peace, harmony, and tranquility in all of his internal and external relationships while man exists in a physical environment as a member of a social group, social community, and Society. In this blog post, I would like to pay my respectful tribute to Jan Evangelista Purkinje and Hugo Von Mohl for their great contribution to the scientific understanding of the living substance, living material, and living matter.
Purkinje conducted his research on human vision at the University of Prague and later on, he served there as a Professor of Physiology (1850-69). He went to Germany and was appointed the Chair of Physiology and Pathology (1823-50) at the University of Breslau, Prussia. There Purkinje created the world’s first independent Department of Physiology (1839) and the first Physiological Laboratory (Physiological Institute, 1842). He is best known for his discovery of large nerve cells with many branching extensions found in the cortex of Cerebellum of the brain (Purkinje Cells, 1837). He discovered the fibrous tissue that conducts electrical impulses from the ‘pacemaker’ called Atrioventricular node or A-V node along the inside walls of the ventricles to all parts of the heart to help in Cardiac contractile function (Purkinje Fibers, 1839). In 1835, he invented and introduced the scientific term ‘Protoplasm’ to describe the ground substance found inside young animal embryo cells. He discovered the sweat glands of the skin (1833); he discovered the nine configuration groups of Fingerprints used in biometric identification of man (1823); he described the germinal vesicle or nucleus of the unripe ovum that now bears his name (1825), and he noted the protein digesting power of pancreatic extracts (1836).
Hugo Von Mohl named the granular, colloidal material that made up the main substance of the plant cell as “Protoplasm” in 1846. Purkinje invented the word, but Hugo gave more clarity, understanding, and knowing the nature of this ground substance. He viewed cell as an “elementary organ” and in Physiology he explained Protoplasm as an organ of Motion or Movement, Nutrition, and Reproduction. It is the preliminary material in cellular generation. He was the first to propose that new cells are formed by division of preexisting cells and he had observed this process of Cell Division in the algal cells of Conferva glomerata. His observations are very important to understand the Cell Theory that explains cells as the basic building blocks of Life. He was the first to investigate the phenomenon of the stomatal openings in leaves.
Protoplasm is a complex, viscous, translucent solution of such materials as salts and simple sugars with other molecules, mostly proteins and fats, in a colloidal state, that is dispersed but not dissolved in one another. Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen constitute more than 90 percent of Protoplasm.
It exhibits properties such as Protoplasmic Streaming or Cytoplasmic Streaming or Motion that is called “Amoeboid Movement.” It has the intrinsic power to change its shape and position.
Protoplasm has the power of Nutrition by which it can attract and obtain the materials necessary for its growth and maintenance from surrounding matter/environment.
The living functions such as Nutrition, Cellular Respiration, and Reproduction performed by Cytoplasm involve acquiring, processing, retaining, and using information to perform tasks in a sequential manner for a predetermined purpose and hence describe Consciousness, Memory, and Intelligence.
The terms Soul and Spirit belong to the materialistic realm where the Physical Reality of man’s biological existence is established. I have not yet discovered any good reason to use the terms Soul and Spirit as a metaphysical or transcendental Reality.
The Inheritance of Cytoplasmic Membrane or Cell or Plasma Membrane:
The Functions of Cytoplasmic Membrane or Cell Membrane or Biological Membrane:
1. Protection: It protects the cell from its surroundings or extracellular environment. Plant cell possess wall over the plasma membrane for extra protection and support.
2. Holding cell contents: Plasma membranes hold the semi fluid protoplasmic contents of the cell intact; thus keeping the individuality of the cell.
3. Selective Permeability: Cell membrane allows only selected or specific substances to enter into the cell and are impermeable to others.
- Gases like O2 and CO2 can diffuse rapidly in solution through membranes.
- Small compounds like H2O and methane can easily pass through where as sugars, amino acids and charged ions are transported with the help of transport proteins.
- The size of the molecules which can pass through the plasma membrane is 1-15 A0. This property is responsible for keeping a cell ‘as a cell’, an individual unit.
4. Shape: It maintains form and shape of the cell. It serves as site of anchorage or attachment of the cytoskeleton; thus providing shape to the cell (especially in animal cells without cell wall).
5. Organelles: Cell membrane delimits or covers all sub-cellular structures or organelles like nucleus, mitochondria, plastids, Golgi apparatus, endoplasmic reticulum, microbodies etc. thus protecting them form the surroundings and also helps in maintaining a constant internal environment.
6. Compartmentalization: Cell membrane separate the cells from their external environment and cell organelle from cytosol. It help the cells and their organelles to have their own microenvironments, structural and functional individuality.
7. Cell Recognition: With the help of glycolipids and glycoproteins on its surface, cell membranes are able to differentiate similar cells from dissimilar ones, foreign substances and cells own materials. Cell recognition is useful for tissue formation and defence against microbes.
8. Antigens: Cell membranes possess antigens which determine blood grouping, immune response, acceptance or rejection of a transplant (graft rejection by MHC’s on plasma membrane).
9. Microvilli: They are microscopic finger like projections of plasma membrane present on some cells like intestinal epithelial cells, which are involved in a wide variety of functions, including increasing surface area for absorption, secretion, cellular adhesion etc.
10. Sheaths of cilia and flagella: Cilia and flagella are projections from the cell; made up of microtubules which are covered by an extension of the plasma membrane.
11. Cytoplasmic bridges in plasmodesmata and gap junctions: Plasmodesmata in plant cells and gap junctions in animal cells; meant for intercellular transport and communication, form cytoplasmic bridges between adjacent cells through plasma membrane.
12. Endocytosis and Exocytosis: Bulk intake of materials or endocytosis occurs through development of membrane vesicles or invagination and engulfing by plasma membrane.
Exocytosis: It is reverse of endocytosis that provides for releasing waste products and secretory materials ot of the cells with the help of plasma membrane.
13. Impulse transmission in neurons: The transmission of a nerve impulse along a neuron from one end to the other occurs as a result of electrical changes across the plasma membrane of the neuron
14. Cell metabolism: Cell membranes control cell metabolism through selective permeability and retentivity of substances in a cell.
15. Electron transport chain in bacteria: In bacteria; Electron transport chain is located in cell membrane.
16. Osmosis through cell membrane: It is movement of solvent molecules (generally water) from the region of less concentrated solution to the region of high concentrated solution through a semi permeable membrane. Here the semi permeable membrane that helps in osmosis is the cell membrane. Eg: Root cells take up water from the soil by osmosis
17. Carrier proteins for active transport: They occur in the cell membranes and control active transport of substances. Example, GLUT1 is a named carrier protein found in almost all animal cell membranes that transports glucose across the bilayer or plasma membrane.
18. Plasma Membrane enzymes: Many enzymes are present on the plasma membrane with wide variety of catalytic activity. Example: Red blood cell plasma membranes contain a number of enzymes such as ATPases, anion transport protein, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase, protein kinases, adenylate cyclase, acetylcholinesterase.
19. Cell Membrane Receptors: Receptor on the plasma membrane performs signal transduction, converting an extracellular signal into an intra-cellular signal. Membrane possess receptors for hormones, neurotransmitters, antibodies and several other biochemicals.
20. Plasma membrane assisted Cell movements: Undulation and pseudopodia are cell membrane phenomenon involved in cell movement. Amoeba, macrophages and WBCs move with the helps of temporary organelles like pseudopodia. Pseudopods are temporary cytoplasmic projections of the cell membrane in certain unicellular protists such as Amoeba. Some mammalian cells such as fibroblasts can move over a solid surface by wave like undulations of the plasma membrane.
The Ground Substance of Spiritualism and Spirituality. The vital characteristics, the animating principles of Protoplasm could be known by observing Amoeba proteus. The Living Substance works as an organ of Motion or Movement, as an organ of Nutrition, and as an organ of Reproduction to generate new cells which have a life span of their own. In these physiological functions, I describe the characteristics such as Cognition, Consciousness, Memory, and Intelligence as spiritual attributes of Life as they bring functional unity and harmony in the interactions between different parts of the same individual organism while it exists in an environment as a member of a biological community.
The Spirituality of Substance, Function, Organization, Action, and Interactions:
To establish the biological existence of the human organism, I add the concept of Spiritualism and Spirituality to the Cell Theory.
The Single Fertilized Egg Cell has ground substance that is of Spiritual nature and the Spiritualism and Spirituality consists of the following functional, and organizational characteristics:
1. The Cell is Conscious of its own existence and knows its internal condition and knows it external environment.
2. The Cell is intelligent and it has the cognitive abilities like perception and memory to acquire information, to retain information, to recall information, and to use information in the performance of its complex tasks in a sequential manner.
3. The Cell has the ability to show characteristics such as mutual cooperation, mutual tolerance, and display functional subordination and subservience while being independent.
4. The Cell grows, divides, and develops into a complete organism while it acquires substances and energy from an external environment. The power of Protoplasm/Cytoplasm to attract matter found in its external environment is called Nutrition. The Cell continuously transforms matter to build matter of its own kind for its own benefit to sustain its existence with its own identity and individuality. The Organism represents a social group or a biological community of Cells. The Spiritual nature of Protoplasm/Cytoplasm brings this functional harmony and unity in the Social Group or Biotic Community of Cells by bringing together its Essence and Existence.
5. The Cell Theory is incomplete for it does not describe the conditioned nature of the Cell’s existence. The Cell represents a Living System that is thermodynamically unstable. It requires a constant supply of matter and energy from its external environment to sustain its living functions. The concept of Whole Spirituality formulates the connection between the Cell and its external source of matter and energy.
The theoretical claims about Spirit and Soul, the religious and philosophical doctrines of Spiritualism and Spirituality must be verified using the Cell Theory that defines the human organism. To describe Soul or Spirit as nonmaterial or immaterial Self will not help man to know the real or true man.
Whole Foods, Whole People, and Whole Planet come together in a Wholesome Relationship as God is the Energy Provider, the Original Source of Matter and Energy for Life.