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The 34th Article


How the soul and the body act one against another.

Let us then conceive that the soul holds her principal seat in that little kernel in the midst of the brain, from whence she diffuses her beams into all the rest of the body by intercourse of the spirit, nerves, yea and the very blood, which participating the impressions of the spirits, may convey them through the arteries into all the members. And remembering what was formerly said concerning this machine our body, to wit, that the little strings of our nerves are so distributed into all parts of it, that upon occasion of several motions excited therein by sensible objects, they variously open the pores of the brain, which causes the animal spirits contained in the cavities thereof, to enter divers ways into the muscles, by whose means they can move the members all the several ways they are apt to move and also that all the other causes which can differently move the spirits, are enough to convey them into several muscles. Let us here add, that the little kernel which is the chief seat of the soul hangs so between the cavities which contain these spirits, that it may be moved by them as many several fashions as there are sensible diversities in objects. But withal, that it may be moved several ways by the soul too, which is of such a nature, that she receives as many various impressions (that is, has as many several apprehensions) as there come several motions into this kernel. As also on the other side, the machine of the body is so composed that this kernel being only divers ways moved by the soul, or by any other cause whatsoever, it drives the spirits that environ it towards the pores of the brains, which convey them by the nerves into the muscles by which means it causes them to move the members.