THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF PHILOSOPHICAL MEDICINEEdit
Seven Natural Factors Philosophical Medicine Wheel Four Basic Qualities Four Elements Four Humors Four Temperaments Individual Temperament Inherent Temperament Four Faculties Pneuma and Ignis Vital Faculty Natural Faculty Psychic Faculty Radical Moisture Pepsis Philosophical Chakras Generative Faculty Philosophical Medicine and Ayurveda Philosophical Medicine and Chinese Medicine
THE SEVEN NATURAL FACTORSEdit
Standards of Health
Before one can begin to understand and treat disease, which is a deviation from the normal, healthy state of the body, we must first have a clear and definite picture of exactly what constitutes its healthy, normal state. And so, Philosophical Medicine begins with a study of the Seven Natural Factors, which constitute the standards of health and normalcy for the human organism.
The Four Elements - what the body is made of. The Four Humors - the metabolic agents of the Four Elements, the proper balance and confluence of which constitutes health, and the imbalance of which constitutes disease. The Four Temperaments - the qualitative yardsticks by which health and homeostasis, or deviation therefrom, are measured; the basis of constitutional medicine. The Four Faculties - the basic functions of the organism, and the essential functions of Life. The Vital Principles - the energies and essences that give life to the organism. The Organs and Parts - the basic units or components of the body, and how they function. The Forces, or Administering Virtues - the four principal vectors of all bodily functions.
When all the Seven Natural Factors are working together in a balanced, harmonious manner, there is health and homeostasis. When they aren't working together properly, there is dysfunction and disease. When any one of these Seven Natural Factors or their essential components ceases to function, there is death.
THE PHILOSOPHICAL MEDICINE WHEELEdit
Philosophical Medicine also has a medicine wheel, through which its most basic and fundamental correspondences may be known.
The Seasons of the Year
The Philosophical Medicine Wheel starts in Winter, whose Cold, Wet weather produces excessive Phlegm, causing, colds, coughs and lung congestion. In Spring, the weather gets moderately Hot, or Warm, but still remains Wet, or Moist. Sap, the lifeblood of the trees, rises up to the leaves and branches; in our bodies, Blood also gets lively and exuberant, and rises to the surface. In Summer, the increasing heat evaporates the remaining moisture, making the weather Hot and Dry. The hot, dry conditions aggravate Yellow Bile, making us feverish and irritable. In autumn, the weather cools off but the dryness remains, making autumn Cold and Dry. These climactic conditions aggravate Black Bile, which has similar qualities. Then, increasing Cold as autumn moves back into Winter condenses the atmospheric moisture, making Winter again Cold and Wet. The wheel has come full circle.
The Times of Day
The waxing and waning light and heat of the daily natural cycle mimicks the seasonal changes of the year. And so, each quarter of the natural cycle corresponds to a certain season of the year, with similar associations of humor and temperament. Winter corresponds to Midnight of the natural cycle. And so, the six hour period surrounding midnight, from 9:00 PM to 3:00 AM, is Cold, Wet, and Phlegmatic in temperament. Spring corresponds to Sunrise/morning of the natural cycle. And so, the six hour period surrounding sunrise, from 3:00 AM to 9:00 AM, is Warm, Moist and Sanguine in temperament. Summer corresponds to Noon of the natural cycle. And so, the six hour period surrounding noon, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, is Hot, Dry and Choleric in temperament. Fall corresponds to Sunset of the natural cycle. And so, the six hour period surrounding sunset, from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM, is Cold, Dry, and Melancholic in temperament.
The Stages of Life
Poetic or metaphoric analogies can be drawn between the seasons of the year and the stages of life, which have corresponding affinities of humor and temperament. Spring corresponds to Youth. Youthful bodies are Warm and Moist, are full of good, exuberant blood, and are constantly growing. Summer corresponds to Adulthood. These are the peak, full throttle years of life's zenith, with lots of Choleric drive and ambition. Fall corresponds to Maturity, or Middle Age. The light and heat of the sun have begun to wane, and so has the Life Force within us.
A Melancholy, philosophical realization of the transitoriness of life dawns. Winter corresponds to Old Age which is Cold, Wet and Phlegmatic in temperament. The light and heat of the sun are at their lowest ebb, and so is the Life Force in our bodies. Finally, all light and life are extinguished. Then, some say that this cycle also repeats with the youthful rebirth of a new Spring.
THE FOUR BASIC QUALITIESEdit
Cyclism & dualism, Philosophical Style
A strong dualism runs through Philosophical science and medicine, which sees all cycles, manifestation and phenomena in the natural world as resulting from the dynamic interplay of opposite yet complementary forces and qualities. Although many such qualities may be observed interacting in Nature, Philosophers concluded that four of them, or two pairs of opposites, were more central and important than all the others: Hot, Cold, Dry and Wet. These he called the Four Basic Qualities. The Hot / Cold polarity is called active or primary because it drives all change and manifestation and causes or produces the other two qualities. The Dry / Wet polarity is called passive or secondary because they are usually caused by the active, primary qualities. Both Hot and Dry are qualities that are closely associated with each other because heat evaporates moisture, producing dryness. Both Cold and Wet are qualities closely associated with each other because cold condenses moisture, producing wetness.
Understanding the Four Basic Qualities.
The Philosophers have an understanding of the Four Basic Qualities. It is less literal, and more figurative and poetic. The primary, active polarity of Hot / Cold is the easiest to understand, and refers to the relative level of energy or activity present in a system or entity. Hot denotes a high level of energy or activity. Hot activates, excites, expands, disperses, moves and circulates. Cold denotes a low level of energy or activity. Cold slows down, sedates, contracts, congeals and obstructs. The secondary, passive polarity of Dry / Wet is a bit more complex, and has both literal and figurative interpretations. Literally, Dry / Wet refers to the relative level of moisture present in a system or entity, with Dry denoting a low level or absence of moisture and Wet a high level or abundance of moisture. When flour is dry, it is a powder that easily disperses. Add water to it, and it sticks together as dough. Therefore: Dry also means separate, objective, discrete. Wet also means coherent, subjective, indiscrete. When a rawhide drumhead is Wet, it gets soft, malleable, flexible and lax in tone. When that drumhead is Dry, it gets hard, stiff, rigid, tight in tone, and withers, or shrinks. Mix a spoonful of salt into enough water, and it will completely dissolve. When the water evaporates under the hot sun, the salt will start to crystallize and come out of solution. And so, Wet is liquid or fluidic in its behaviour, whereas Dry is solid and discrete.
Temperament and the Four Basic Qualities
Philosophical Medicine is based on the concept of temperament. Temperament is defined as the prevailing balance or makeup of qualities and attributes within a substance, system or entity. Philosophical Medicine measures conditions of temperament primarily in terms of the Four Basic Qualities. Philosophical Medicine defines eight possible conditions of temperament, four of them simple and four compound. In addition, there is a ninth, called balanced or equable temperament. The four simple conditions of temperament each involve only one of the Four Basic Qualities, as follows: Hot - Hotter than normal, but neither Wetter nor Dryer. Cold - Colder than normal, but neither Wetter nor Dryer. Dry - Dryer than normal, but neither Hotter nor Colder. Wet - Wetter than normal, but neither Hotter nor Colder. The four compound conditions of temperament each involve two of the Four Basic Qualities, as follows: Hot and Dry - Both Hotter and Dryer than normal. Hot and Wet - Both Hotter and Wetter than normal. Cold and Dry - Both Colder and Dryer than normal. Cold and Wet - Both Colder and Wetter than normal. Conditions of both Hot and Cold can't exist simultaneously, since these two qualities are polar opposites. For the same reason, neither can conditions of Dry and Wet coexist. Each of the four compound temperaments has associations with a certain element, humor and temperament, or constitutional type.
Working with the Four Basic Qualities
Because the Four Basic Qualities aren't static, but rather always changing, we can work with them. Here are a few simple, basic rules for working with the Four Basic Qualities: Like increases like. If we wish to increase a certain quality in the organism, we use medicines and treatments that have that quality. Opposites balance. If we wish to bring an excessive or aggravated quality back into balance, we use medicines and treatments that have its opposite yet complementary quality. Heat produces dryness. Moderate amounts of heat, applied over a short period of time will only increase heat and dissipate excessive cold. Intense levels of heat applied over a long period of time will also evaporate moisture, producing dryness. Cold condenses moisture. Moderate amounts of cold applied over a short period of time will only cool down the body and disperse excessive heat. Intense cold applied over a long period of time will also condense moisture, producing wetness.
THE FOUR ELEMENTS
What the Body is Made Of
In Philosophical science and medicine, the Four Elements are the basic constituents of all matter. Everything in the universe is composed of the Four Elements, in varying proportions and amounts. The elemental composition of a substance determines its particular nature and attributes, properties and actions. The Four Elements are Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. We can see them as embodying the four basic states of matter: Fire - igneous, incandescent or metamorphic state Air - gaseous state Water - liquid state Earth - solid state
Cosmology of the Four Elements
The Four Elements formed the classical Philosophical conception of the universe, as follows: At the center of our world is the Earth, as the planet we live on, the ground and support beneath our feet. Because of Earth's great heaviness and density, all things gravitate towards it. Running over and around the Earth is Water, in the form of lakes, rivers, and oceans. Water fertilizes and impregnates the Earth, giving it Life. Over the spheres of Earth and Water is that of Air, the atmosphere in which we live, move and have our being. Air's essence is exchange, contact and movement. All living things need Air to breathe. And finally, Fire lights up the Sun, Moon, and stars in the celestial firmament. Fire has brilliance and spirit, and symbolizes the Life Force within us. The human body and each of its constituent parts is also composed of the Four Elements, in varying proportions. The basic distribution and arrangement of the elements in the human body, or microcosm reflects that of the macrocosm of Nature.
Light and Heavy Elements
Two of the elements, Fire and Air, are light, subtle and energetic. Both of these elements have Hot as their primary quality. Two of the elements, Water and Earth, are heavy, dense and substantial, or gross. Both of these elements have Cold as their primary quality.
Fluidic and Discrete Elements
The two elements having Wet as their secondary quality, Air and Water, are both fluidic in their behaviour, taking the shape of their container and rushing in to fill every space or vacuum. Air is hot, light and flows upwards, whereas Water is cold, heavy and flows or sinks downwards. The two elements having Dry as their secondary quality, Fire and Earth, both have a tendency to separate things and make them discrete. Fire, being Hot, does this in an active, dynamic way, by refining, distilling and transforming. Earth, being Cold, does this in a passive, receptive way, by solidifying, condensing and coagulating.
Extreme and Moderate Elements
Fire and Water are the extreme elements, being purely Yang or Yin in their basic qualities, respectively. Fire is Hot and Dry, whereas Water is Cold and Wet. Because of their extreme qualities, both elements can destroy or overwhelm easily. Fire and Water both embody the Cardinal quality of being able to drive or initiate manifestation and change. In the human body, Fire and Water drive all the metabolic processes. Air and Earth are the moderate or mixed elements. Air, being Hot and Wet, is fluidic, subtle and Mutable in nature. Earth, being Cold and Dry, is heavy, solid and Fixed in nature.
The Four Elements in the Human Body
Each of the constituent parts of the human body is composed of the Four Elements, in varying proportions. Here is where each of the Four Elements is primarily found in the human body: Fire: The digestive enzymes and secretions, and all enzymes. Yellow Bile. The Innate Heat of metabolism and the Digestive Fire. The heart, liver and stomach. All active, muscular heat generating tissues; the muscles. The Fire of spirit and intelligence, and the sparkle in the eyes. Air: The lungs, chest and thorax. All the cavities and open spaces, which allow for movement and function. The blood and the Vital Force it carries. The arteries, which pulsate with Air, or pneuma. All hollow or porous tissues and structures, which are lightened, rarefied and refined by Air: the bones, connective tissue, and membranous structures. Points of exchange and contact: the lungs, kidneys and digestive mucosa. Water: All the vital fluids of the body, especially the clear fluids: phlegm, mucus, plasma, lymph and serous and interstitial fluids. The kidneys, bladder and urinary tract, which pass superfluous Water from the body. The mucosa of the digestive, respiratory and genitourinary tracts. The lymphatic system. The brain and spinal cord. Earth: All the dense, solid, deeper, more permanent parts of the body. Bones, joints and structural connective tissue. Nerves, bone marrow and nervous tissue. Teeth and gums. The hair and nails.
Qualities, Actions and Correspondences of the Elements
Each element has certain inherent qualities, which give rise to its properties and actions. Each element also corresponds to a certain humor, temperament and season of the year. The basic correspondences are as follows: Fire: Hot and Dry. The most active, energetic and volatile element, and the greatest emitter of energy. Light, rising and penetrating. Distilling, refining, extracting, digesting, metabolizing, transforming. Yellow Bile. The Choleric temperament. Summer. Air: Hot and Wet. The subtlest, most refined element. Flowing and fluidic, filling every vacuum. Exchange, movement and contact. Ascending, lightening, rarefying. Blood. The Sanguine temperament. Spring. Earth: Cold and Dry. The heaviest, densest, most solid element. Draws, retains, solidifies, coagulates, precipitates, sustains, supports, endures. Black Bile. The Melancholic temperament. Fall or Autumn. Water: Cold and Wet. The most passive, receptive element, and the greatest receiver and absorber of energy. Flowing and fluidic. Cools, moistens, lubricates, dissolves, cleanses, purifies, sinks downwards. Fertilizes and germinates as the Source of all Life. Phlegm. The Phlegmatic temperament. Winter.
Ether, the Fifth Element
Some Philosophical medical practitioners include a fifth element, which is Space, or Ether. It is the lightest, subtlest and most refined of all the elements. Plato called it Prima Materia, or the primal source, womb or matrix from which all matter arises and manifests. Ether could be called matter on the verge of manifestation, or the space that allows matter to exist. Like Earth, Ether is also Cold and Dry in its basic qualities. But contrary to Earth, Ether is extremely light, subtle and mobile. Some say that Ether corresponds to the Nervous humor and temperament, which is the subtle counterpart of the Melancholic temperament and black bile. But for most practical clinical purposes, Ether and its Nervous humor and temperament are subsumed and included under Earth and its Melancholic humor and temperament.
THE FOUR HUMORSEdit
Agents of Metabolism
The Four Humors are the metabolic agents of the Four Elements in the human body. The right balance and purity of them is essential to maintaining health. The Four Humors and the elements they serve are as follows: BLOOD - AIR PHLEGM - WATER YELLOW BILE - FIRE BLACK BILE - EARTH All four of these humors, or vital fluids, are present in the bloodstream in varying quantities: Blood, or the Sanguine humor, is the red, hemoglobin-rich portion. Phlegm, or the Phlegmatic humor, is present as the clear plasma portion. Yellow Bile, or the Choleric humor, is present as a slight residue or bilirubin, imparting a slight yellowish tint. Black Bile, or the Melancholic humor, is present as a brownish grey sediment with platelets and clotting factors.
Digestion: Origin and Metabolism of the Four Humors
The Four Humors are responsible for the nutrition, growth and metabolism of the organism. They originate in the digestive process. In Philosophical Medicine, digestion happens in four stages: The First Digestion happens in the gastrointestinal tract, and produces chyle; its waste product is the feces, or stool. The Second Digestion happens in the liver, and produces the Four Humors. Its wastes are eliminated via the bile, urine and sweat. The Third Digestion happens in the blood vessels, and feeds the principal organs of the body. Its wastes are eliminated via the urine and sweat. The Fourth Digestion happens in the tissues, and is the final congellation of the Four Humors into living tissue. Its wastes are eliminated similarly to the Third Digestion. The Four Humors originate in the liver in the Second Digestion as follows: Blood, or the Sanguine humor, is the first to arise, and receives the richest, choicest share of nutrients. It is the most plentiful humor, and enters the general circulation. Phlegm, as Plasma or the Phlegmatic humor, is the second to arise and receives the next richest share of nutrients. It is also very plentiful, and enters the general circulation. Yellow Bile, or the Choleric humor, is the third to arise and receives a rather coarse, meager share of nutrients. It is not so plentiful. Only a slight residue enters the general circulation; the rest is stored in the gall bladder, its receptacle, to be used as needed. Black Bile, or the Melancholic humor, is the last to arise, and receives the coarsest, most meager share of nutrients. It is the least plentiful. Only a slight residue enters the general circulation; the rest is stored in the spleen, its receptacle, to be used as needed. The first two humors, blood and phlegm, are moist and flourishing, and are the metabolic agents of the Wet elements - Air and Water, respectively. Most of the nutrition, growth and metabolism of the organism depends on them. The last two humors, yellow bile and black bile, are dry and effete, and only needed by the organism in small amounts. They are the metabolic agents of the Dry elements - Fire and Earth, respectively. Although only needed in small amounts, they are potent and essential catalysts where needed.
Blood / Sanguine Humor / Air
Blood is Hot and Wet, or Warm and Moist. It is the very essence of vitality and health, nutrition and growth. Blood is perfect nourishment perfectly digested. Its receptacle or home is in the arteries and blood vessels. Blood carries the Vital Force and Innate Heat, which power cellular metabolism. The essence of blood is exchange and contact, as it is the basic nutritional and metabolic currency of the organism. Blood has an Attractive virtue, or force, since all cells, organs and tissues have an absolute need for it, and are therefore attracted to it.
Phlegm / Phlegmatic Humor / Water
The Phlegmatic humor is Cold and Wet. It includes not just phlegm, but all the other clear fluids of the body: mucus, saliva, plasma, lymph, and serous and interstitial fluids. Together, these fluids cool, moisten, nourish, lubricate, protect, and purify the organism. The Plegmatic humor has an Expulsive virtue, or force, which flushes out impurities, transports vital nutrients, and helps eliminate wastes. The home of the Phlegmatic humor is in the veins and lymphatics. The Phlegmatic humor nourishes the body on a deep and fundamental level.
Yellow Bile / Choleric Humor / Fire
The Choleric humor is Hot and Dry. It is produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Bile has a hot, caustic nature and a Digestive virtue, or force, which gives it a strong affinity with the other digestive secretions of the middle GI tract. Fire and bile digest and consume, metabolize and transform. Digestively, bile powers digestion; digests, assimilates and excretes fats and cholesterol; and acts as a natural laxative to stimulate intestinal peristalsis and defecation. It also colors the stool brown. Systemically, Choleric residues in the bloodstream thin the blood, enabling it to penetrate through the finest capillaries; empowers the inflammatory response; and opens up the lungs and respiratory passages as a surfactant.
Black Bile / Melancholic Humor / Earth
Black Bile is Cold and Dry. Healthy black bile is a normal sediment of blood, or the Sanguine humor. Black Bile has a Retentive virtue or force, and a cooling, drying, astringing, precipitating, condensing, coagulating, solidifying effect on metabolism necessary for building the bones, teeth, and all dense, solid structural connective tissues of the body. Digestively, Black Bile awakens the stomach and appetite, solidifies the stool, and enables the digestive organs to hold on to their contents long enough to process them properly. Systemically, Melancholic residues in the bloodstream thicken the blood, enabling it to clot; this is vitally important in wound granulation, scar tissue formation, and all structural repair of the body. Black Bile also governs mineral metabolism and bone formation.
The Psychological Effects of the Humors
The Four Humors are not just gross, physical substances. They also pervade the whole organism as subtle vapors, even affecting the mind, thoughts, and emotions. And so, the Four Humors also have psychological effects, making them capable of affecting both body and mind: Blood promotes a feeling of joy, mirth, optimism, enthusiasm, affection and wellbeing. Phlegm induces passivity, lethargy, subjectivity, devotion, emotionalism, sensitivity and sentimentality. Yellow Bile provokes, excites and emboldens the passions. Being inflammatory, irritating and caustic, it provokes anger, irritability, boldness, ambition, envy, jealousy and courage. Black Bile makes one pensive, melancholy and withdrawn. It encourages prudence, caution, realism, pragmatism and pessimism. The Four Humors tend to have negative effects on the mind and emotions only when they're excessive or aggravated. Otherwise, they can also strengthen positive aspects of character.
Confluence of the Humors
Health is a harmonious balance and interworking of the humors. Although the Four Humors work together to ensure the optimum nutrition, growth and metabolism of the organism, healthy humors still maintain their own identity and functional integrity. When the humors are harmonious, balanced and working well together, that is a condition called eucrasia, or "good mixture". When the humors are unbalanced, aggravated, or out of sorts, that is a condition called dyscrasia, or "bad mixture".
THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTSEdit
The Basis of Constitutional Medicine
The Four Temperaments are the basic constitutional body-mind types of Philosophical Medicine. Each one is named after a certain humor, and is characterized by the predominance of that humor and its associated basic qualities. The Four Temperaments are the basic of all constitutional notions of diagnosis and treatment in Philosophical Medicine. Know your constitutional type and you know how to eat, live and medicate yourself properly for optimum health maintenance and disease prevention. Each of the Four Temperaments can be recognized by certain basic traits of physique, physiology, digestion and metabolism, personality and character. The Four Temperaments and their distinguishing traits are as follows:
Sanguine Temperament Humor: Blood Basic Qualities: Hot and Wet (Warm and Moist)
Generally considered to be the most desirable temperament, since blood is the essence of vitality and health, but not without its drawbacks. Its traits are: Face: Oval or acorn-shaped face and head. Delicate, well-formed mouth and lips. Beautiful almond shaped eyes, often brown. An elegant, swanlike neck. Physique: In youth, balanced, neither too fat nor too thin. Moderate frame and build. Elegant, statuesque form, with ample, luxuriant flesh. Joints well-formed; bones, tendons, veins not prominent. Can put on weight past forty, mostly around hips, thighs, buttocks. Hair: Thick, luxuriant, wavy. Abundant facial and body hair in men. Skin: Pink, rosy, blushing complexion. Soft, creamy smooth luxurious feel. Pleasantly warm to the touch. Appetite: Quite hearty, often greater than digestive capacity. A predeliction for rich gourmet foods. The epicure. Digestion: Good to moderate; balanced. Can be overwhelmed by excessive food. Metabolism: Moderate, balanced. Bowel tone can be a bit lax. Digestive, respiratory, genitourinary mucosa can be problem areas. Predispositions: Metabolic excesses of the blood: uremia, gout, diabetes, high cholesterol. Intestinal sluggishness, putrefaction. Congested, sluggish liver and pancreas. Congested blood, bleeding disorders. Respiratory catarrh, congestion, asthma. Urinary conditions, genitourinary disorders. Excessive menstruation in women. Skin conditions, hypersensitivity, capillary congestion. Urine: Tends to be rich or bright yellow and thick. Stool: Well-formed, neither too hard nor too soft. Sweat: Balanced, moderate. Sleep: Moderate, balanced, sound. Can be some snoring. Dreams: Usually pleasant, of a charming, amusing, romantic nature. Travel, enjoyment, games, distractions. Mind: Faculty of Judgement well-developed. A synthetic intellect that likes to see the whole picture. An optimistic, positive mental outlook. Rather conventional and conformist; good social skills. Personality: Exuberant, enthusiastic, outgoing. Optimistic, confident, poised, graceful. Expansive, generous. Romantically inclined; loves beauty, aesthetics, the arts. Sensual, indulgent nature. Sociable, gregarious, lighthearted, cheerful.
Choleric Temperament Humor: Yellow Bile Basic Qualities: Hot and Dry
The Choleric temperament is the hottest, most active and catabolic of all. Its traits are: Face: Broad jaw. Sharp nose, high cheekbones. Sharp, angular facial features. Reddish face common. Sharp, fiery, brilliant, penetrating eyes. Physique: Compact, lean, wiry. Good muscle tone, definition. Prominent veins and tendons. Broad chest common. An active, sportive type. Weight gain usually in chest, arms, belly, upper body. Hair: Often curly. Can also be thin, fine. Balding common in men. Blonde or reddish hair common. Skin: Ruddy or reddish color if heat predominates; sallow or bright yellow if bile predominates. Rough and dry, quite warm. Appetite: Sharp and quick. Soon overcome by ravenous hunger. Fond of meat, fried foods, salty or spicy foods, alcohol, intense or stimulating taste sensations. Digestion: Sharp and quick. Tendency towards gastritis, hyperacidity, acid reflux. When balanced and healthy, can have a "cast iron stomach", able to digest anything. Metabolism: Strong, fast, active; catabolic dominant. Strong Innate Heat of metabolism. Liver and bile metabolism can be problematic. Digestive secretions strong, bowel transit time short. Adrenals, sympathetic nervous system dominant. Strong inflammatory reactions. Predispositions: Fevers, infections, inflammation. Hives, rashes, urticaria. Fatty liver, bilious conditions. Hyperacidity, acid reflux, inflammatory and ulcerative conditions of middle GI tract. Headaches, migraines, irritability. Eyestrain, red sore eyes. Purulent conditions. High cholesterol, cardiovascular disorders. Gingivitis. Bleeding disorders from excess heat, choler in the blood. Hypertension, stress disorders. Urine: Tends to be scanty, dark, thin. Can be hot or burning. Stool: Tends towards diarrhea, loose stools. Can have a yellowish color, foul odor. Sweat: Profuse, especially in summer, or with vigorous physical activity. Strong body odor. Sensitive to hot weather, suffers greatly in summer. Sleep: Often fitful, restless, disturbed, especially with stress, indigestion. Often tends to wake up early, or in the middle of the night. Dreams: Often of a military or violent nature. Dreams of fire, red things common. Fight or flight, confrontation. Mind: Bold, daring, original, imaginative, visionary. Ideation faculty well-developed. Brilliant intellect, sharp penetrating insight. The idea man who prefers to leave the details to others. Personality: Prone to anger, impatience, irritability; short temper. Bold, courageous, audacious; confrontive, contentious. Dramatic, bombastic manner; high powered personality. The rugged individualist and pioneer; thrives on challenge. The fearless leader. Seeks exhilaration, intense experiences. Driven, "Type A" personality. Prone to extremism, fanaticism.
Melancholic Temperament Humor: Black Bile Basic Qualities: Cold and Dry
The Melancholic temperament tends to be the most problematic, since it's contrary to the Sanguine. However, with proper management, Melancholics can also be healthy. Face: Squarish or rectangular head and face. Prominent cheekbones, sunken hollow cheeks common. Small, beady eyes. Teeth can be prominent, crooked or loose. Thin lips. Physique: Tends to be thin, lean. Knobby, prominent bones and joints common. Prominent veins, sinews, tendons. Muscle tone good, but tends to be stiff, tight. Rib cage long and narrow, with ribs often prominent. Can gain weight in later years, mainly around midriff. Hair: Color dark, brunette. Thick and straight. Facial and body hair in men tends to be sparse. Skin: A dull yellow or darkish, swarthy complexion. Feels coarse, dry, leathery, cool. Callouses common. Appetite: Variable to poor. Varies, fluctuates according to mental/nervous/emotional state. Digestion: Variable to poor; irregular. Digestion also varies according to mental/nervous/emotional state. Colic, gas, distension, bloating common. Metabolism: Often slow. Can also be variable, erratic. Prone to dehydration. Nervous system consumes many nutrients, minerals. GI function variable, erratic; digestive secretions tend to be deficient. Blood tends to be thick. Nutritional deficiencies can cause a craving for sweets, starches. Thyroid tends to be challenged, stressed. Predispositions: Anorexia, poor appetite. Nervous, colicky digestive disorders. Constipation. Spleen disorders. Nutritional and mineral deficiencies, anemia. Blood sugar problems, hypoglycemia. Wasting, emaciation, dehydration. Poor circulation and immunity. Arthritis, rheumatism, neuromuscular disorders. Nervous and spasmodic afflictions. Dizziness, vertigo, ringing in ears. Nervousness, depression, anxiety, mood swings. Neurovegetative dystonia. Urine: Tends to be clear and thin. Stool: Can either be hard, dry, compact; or irregular, porous, club shaped. Constipation, irritable bowel common. Sweat: Generally scanty. Can be subtle, thin, furtive, indicating poor immunity. Nervous stress can increase sweating. Sleep: Difficulty falling asleep, insomnia. Stress, overwork, staying up late aggravates insomnia. Generally a light sleeper. Dreams: Generally dark, moody, somber, disturbing. Themes of grief, loss common. Mind: An analytical intellect; detail oriented. Efficient, realistic, pragmatic. Reflective, studious, philosophical. Retentive faculty of memory well-developed. Thinking can be too rigid, dogmatic. A prudent, cautious, pessimistic mental outlook. Personality: Practical, pragmatic, realistic. Efficient, reliable, dependable. A reflective, stoic, philosophical bent. Can be nervous, high strung. Frugal, austere; can be too attached to material possessions. Serious, averse to gambling, risk taking. Can be moody, depressed, withdrawn. Can easily get stuck in a rut. Excessive attachment to status quo.
Phlegmatic Temperament Humor: Phlegm Basic Qualities: Cold and Wet
The Phlegmatic temperament is the coldest, most passive, energy conserving and anabolic. Its traits are: Face: Round face; full cheeks, often dimpled. Soft, rounded features. Double chin, pug nose common. Large, moist eyes. Thick eyelids and eyelashes. Physique: Heavy frame, stout, with flesh ample and well-developed. Often pudgy, plump or overweight; obesity common. Joints dimpled, not prominent. Veins not prominent, but can be bluish and visible. Lax muscle tone common. Feet and ankles often puffy, swollen. Women tend to have large breasts. Weight gain especially in lower body. Hair: Light colored, blondish hair common. Light facial and body hair in men. Skin: Pale, pallid complexion; very fair. Soft, delicate, cool moist skin. Cool, clammy perspiration common, especially in hands and feet. Appetite: Slow but steady. Craves sweets, dairy products, starchy glutinous foods. Digestion: Slow but steady to sluggish. Gastric or digestive atony common. Sleepiness, drowsiness after meals common. Metabolism: Cold, wet and slow. Conserves energy, favors anabolic metabolism. Congestion, poor circulation, especially in veins and lymphatics. Kidneys slow, hypofunctioning, inefficient. Adrenals and thyroid tend towards hypofunction; basal metabolic rate low. Metabolic Water drowning out metabolic Fire. Predispositions: Phlegm congestion. Water retention, edema. Lymphatic congestion, obstruction. Poor veinous circulation. Gastric atony, slow digestion. Hypothyroid, myxedema. Adrenal hypofunction. Weight gain, obesity. Frequent colds and flu. Chronic respiratory conditions, congestion. Swollen legs, ankles, feet. Cellulite. Poor tone of skin, muscles, fascia. Urine: Tends to be clear/pale and thick. Tends to be scanty in volume, with excess fluid accumulation in the body. Stool: Well-formed, but tends to be slightly loose, soft. Bowels tend to be sluggish. Sweat: Cool, clammy sweat common, especially on hands and feet. Sweating can be easy and profuse, especially with kidney hypofunction. Sensitive to cold weather; suffers greatly in winter. Sleep: Very deep and sound. Tends towards excessive sleep, somnolence. Snoring common; can be loud or excessive. Dreams: Generally very languid, placid. Water and aquatic themes common. Mind: Tends to be dull, foggy, slow. Slow to learn, but once learned, excellent and long retention. Patient, devoted, faithful. Faculty of Empathy well-developed. Sentimental, subjective thinking. A calm, good-natured, benevolent mental outlook. Personality: Good natured, benevolent, kind. Nurturing, compassionate, sympathetic, charitable. Great faith, patience, devotion; tends to be religious, spiritual. Sensitive, sentimental, emotional, empathetic. Passive, slow, sluggish; averse to exertion or exercise. Calm, relaxed, takes life easy. Excessive sluggishness, torpor can lead to depression.
THE FOUR FACULTIESEdit
The Basic Functions of Life
Galen was a brilliant physician and anatomist who contributed much to Philosophical Medicine's understanding of the organs and systems of the human body and how they function. His chief contribution in this area was his doctrine of the Four Faculties. According to Galen, the human body and all living organisms have to be able to do four basic things for themselves in order to live and survive: 1) They have to be able to vitalize themselves with the basic Life Energy necessary to function. 2) They have to be able to feed themselves and nourish, grow and regenerate their physical structure. 3) They must have consciousness and cognition, perception and awareness to be able to respond to their environment in an intelligent and timely manner in the interest of self preservation. 4) They must be able to reproduce themselves to further the continuity of Life and the propagation of their species. These four seminal ideas became the basis for his doctrine of the Four Faculties of the organism, which perform these four basic functions. Each of these faculties has a principal organ, which is its central control or processing unit, which in turn is served by subsidiary organs and vessels of the faculty. The Four Faculties of the organism, and their principal functions and organs, are as follows: Vital Faculty - Vitalizes the organism, enabling it to function; coordinates whole body responses. Governs respiration, circulation, cellular metabolism and the immune response.
Principal Organ - Heart
Natural Faculty - Feeds the organism, enabling it to grow and regenerate its physical structure. Governs digestion, metabolism, nutrition and growth.
Principal Organ - Liver
Psychic Faculty - Intelligence, awareness, perception. Stimulus and response. Enables the organism to respond to its environment in the interests of self preservation.
Principal Organ - Brain
Generative Faculty - Reproduction, procreation. Propagates the species in service of the continuance of Life.
Principal Organ - Gonads
The first three faculties are primary, because they're needed on a daily basis. The fourth faculty, the Generative Faculty, serves the purpose of procreation, which is not needed on a daily basis. To demonstrate the importance of the three primary faculties, let's consider a limb of the body, like a leg, for example: The Vital Faculty vitalizes that leg, giving it life. Without the Vital Faculty and its lifegiving blood supply, that leg would necrose and die within minutes. The Natural Faculty feeds that leg, nourishing it and regenerating its structure. Without the humors and nutrients it supplies, that leg would gradually atrophy and wither away over a period of days, weeks or months. The Psychic Faculty enables that leg to perform specialized movements like kicking and walking, and take us where we want to go. Through the Psychic Faculty, that leg becomes a useful instrument for the indwelling soul, or psyche.
Principal Organs and Attendant Vessels
The principal organs are the master organs, the central control and processing units, which are served by various subsidiary organs and attendant vessels. Those which come before the principal organ in functional order are called afferent vessels, whereas those that come after it are called efferent vessels. A chart of the Four Faculties, their principal organs, and the afferent and efferent vessels to them, would be as follows:
Vital Faculty Principal Organ Heart Afferent Vessels Lungs and respiratory tract; diaphragm Veins and pulmonary vessels; lymphatics Efferent Vessels Arteries and capillaries
Natural Faculty Principal Organ Liver Afferent Vessels Stomach and digestive tract Veins of hepatic portal system Efferent Vessels Inferior vena cava, gall bladder, spleen
Psychic Faculty Principal Organ Brain Afferent Vessels Sense organs, sensory nerves Efferent Vessels Motor nerves, effector organs and muscles
Generative Faculty Principal Organ Gonads - testes (male) ovaries (female) Afferent Vessels male - epididymus, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate, urethra, penis female - fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina, vulvae Efferent Vessels Arteries and capillaries
The Noble Organs
Besides the principal organs of the Four Faculties, there are other important organs, which are also served by their subsidiary organs and vessels; these are called the Noble Organs. Some of the Noble Organs clearly pertain to one faculty, whereas others interface between multiple faculties. The main Noble Organs, the faculties they serve, and the organs and vessels that serve them, are as follows:
Vital Faculty Lungs - served by the ribs, diaphragm and upper respiratory tract. Thymus Gland - served by the lymphatic system and lymphocytes.
Natural Faculty Spleen - served by the stomach, colon, lymphatic and circulatory systems. Pancreas - served by the circulatory system, digestive tract. Kidneys - served by bladder, lower urinary tract; also interfaces with Vital Faculty.
Psychic Faculty Sense Organs - eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin - served by their sensory nerves.
Generative Faculty Uterus - served by all the other organs and vessels of the female reproductive system; grows the foetus into the newborn. Breasts - The female breasts produce milk.
The endocrine glands, which produce important hormones that regulate and govern important whole body responses, are also noble organs; most of them interface between multiple faculties and systems. Every organ, vessel or gland in the human body serves at least one of the Four Faculties.
PNEUMA AND IGNISEdit
The Energies of Life
The human body and all its faculties, organs and systems function on energy, which is distilled, generated and supplied by the organism itself. Without energy to animate it, there is no life. There are two basic types of energy in the human organism: kinetic and thermal. Kinetic energy is responsible for all function and movement, whereas thermal energy is responsible for all digestion, metabolism and transformation. Life requires both kinetic and thermal energy. Philosophical Medicine calls kinetic energy Pneuma, or the Breath of Life. Pneuma is similar to what Chinese Medicine calls Qi and yoga and Ayurveda call Prana. Philosophical Medicine calls thermal energy Ignis, which is Latin for Fire. Ignis is similar to what Chinese Medicine calls Yang or Huo and to what yoga and Ayurveda call Agni. As they are generated, and subsequently flow and are distributed throughout the various faculties and systems of the organism, both Pneuma and Ignis assume various forms. The essence of these vital energies remains the same, but the functions they are adapted to perform change. All the major bodily functions have both a kinetic and a thermal aspect. Take digestion, for example: Its kinetic aspect is the churning and peristalsis of the stomach and intestines, whereas its thermal aspect is the distillation, generation and metabolism of the humors.
The Three Forms of Pneuma
Pneuma, or the Breath of Life, is initially extracted from the air we breathe by the lungs, which then send this raw pneuma to the heart. There, it is combusted and infused into the blood, assuming a very potent and concentrated form. This is the Pneuma zoticon, or Vital Force, which is the basic, primal form of pneuma in the organism. This Vital force is the pneuma of the Vital Faculty, where its main functions are to power the circulation of blood and cellular metabolism. This Pneuma zoticon is then changed into other forms of pneuma by the principal organs of the other faculties. In the liver, the Vital Force is changed into Pneuma physicon, or the Natural Force, which is the basic form of pneuma for the Natural Faculty. When the liver infuses this Natural Force into the Four Humors upon their generation, this Natural Force is then differentiated into four different subforms, called the Four Administering Virtues, which animate the humors and give them their respective functions and actions: Blood, or the Sanguine humor, is infused with the Attractive Virtue, or force. Yellow Bile, or the Choleric humor, is infused with the Digestive Virtue, or force. Black Bile, or the Melancholic humor, is infused with the Retentive Virtue, or force. Phlegm, or the Phlegmatic humor, is infused with the Expulsive Virtue, or force. In the brain, the Vital Force is changed into the Pneuma psychicon, or Psychic Force, which is the basic form of pneuma for the Psychic Faculty. You could also call it Nerve Force. Being closest to the psyche, or indwelling soul in its nature, the Psychic Force also has the attributes of intelligence, awareness, and consciousness. The Psychic Force is responsible for all sensation and perception, thought and cognition, and movement and response to stimuli. In the Generative Faculty, the basic, primal form of pneuma, the Vital Force, is used to spark and germinate a new life. The doctrine of the three forms of pneuma was first developed by Galen as an adjunct to his doctrine of the Four Faculties. In Hippocrates' day, there was just a general doctrine of pneuma, as the Life Force.
The Three Forms of Ignis
Ignis is responsible for all digestion, metabolism and transformation in the organism - in other words, pepsis. Like pneuma, ignis also has three basic forms in the organism. Since Air is necessary to combust Fire, ignis is the product of pneuma. Ignis is first combusted in the heart, along with the Vital Force. There, it assumes its basic, primal form in the organism: the Ignis zoticon, or Innate Heat. This is the basic body heat emitted by all the organs and tissues of the body due to cellular metabolism. The Innate Heat, along with the Vital Force, is carried by the blood to all the organs and tissues of the body to power cellular metabolism. From there, throughout the organism, these two twin forces, ignis and pneuma, are never far apart. In the liver, the Innate Heat is converted into the Metabolic Heat, or Ignis physicon, which powers all pepsis in the Natural Faculty. Together with the Natural Force, the Metabolic Heat generates the Four Humors. The Metabolic heat cooks or concocts the humors in a process of pepsis, whereas the Natural Force gives the humors their functions and actions. Some say that there is another Fire in the stomach and duodenum called the Digestive Fire, or Ignis gastricon, which cooks or concocts the raw food juices into chyle. Then, the chyle is sent to the liver to be processed into the Four Humors. But others attribute the digestive power of these organs to the caustic, Choleric secretions they produce. In the brain, the Innate Heat is converted into the Psychic Heat, or Ignis psychicon, which powers all psychic pepsis, or the digestion, assimilation and processing of thoughts, ideas and experiences. The Psychic Faculty is the coldest in temperament of all the faculties, so the Psychic Heat is more subtle and latent than blatant or obvious. Nevertheless, the Psychic Heat, being a Fire principle, is highly developed in those of a fiery Choleric temperament, who have a penetrating insight and a great ability to distill the essential meaning and significance of various thoughts, ideas and experiences. In the Generative Faculty, the basic, primal form of ignis, the Innate Heat, is used as the catalyst to spark a new life.
THE VITAL FACULTYEdit
The Source of Life
The Vital faculty is the first and most important faculty because it gives the organism life. It is centered around the heart and lungs and includes the respiratory, circulatory and immune systems. Besides giving life to the organism and empowering cellular metabolism, the Vital Faculty also activates and coordinates responses of the organism as a whole to its environment. This includes the immune response. And so, the Vital Faculty acts as a central nexus for the whole organism.
The Heart and Lungs
The heart and lungs are the central core of the Vital Faculty, and work closely together. The lungs function like a bellows, pumping fresh, raw pneuma to the heart. This fans the flames of the heart, which acts like a furnace, combusting the raw pneuma into the Vital Force and Innate Heat, which it infuses into the blood. The fresh blood, infused with these vital principles, is then pumped out to every cell, organ and tissue of the body via the arteries and the circulatory network.
The Vital Principles: The Vital Force, Innate Heat and Thymos
The Vital Faculty generates three vital principles, which bestow life, health and immunity upon the organism. These are: The Vital Force: The basic, primal form of kinetic energy in the organism, which powers all bodily movement and function. The Vital Force is then converted and specialized into other forms of pneuma or kinetic energy by the principal organs of the Natural and Psychic faculties. The Innate Heat: The basic, primal form of thermal energy in the organism, which powers all pepsis - digestion, metabolism and transformation. The Innate Heat is then converted and specialized into other forms of ignis or thermal energy by the principal organs of the Natural and Psychic faculties. Together, the Vital Force and Innate Heat power all cellular metabolism in the body. The Vital Force and Innate Heat then fuse together to create the thymos, which is the distilled essence of the Vital Faculty. Thymos, which means, "fierce, proud, bold" in Philosophical, is the immune force of the organism, and powers the immune response. The thermal aspect of thymos asserts the metabolic presence of the host organism, and so keeps parasites and microbes, with their foreign metabolisms, at bay. The kinetic aspect of thymos mobilizes the immune response and activates its biological intelligence. Like the Vital Force and Innate Heat, the thymos is also carried by the blood to every cell, organ and tissue of the body.
The Circulatory Network
The circulatory network is the great central highway of the Vital Faculty. Branching out from the heart in all directions, it is also called the vascular tree. The circulatory network includes the arteries, capillaries, veins and lymphatics. Since it branches out from the heart, the circulatory network pertains most to the Vital Faculty. However, it is also used by the Natural Faculty to transport the Four Humors. Blood, one of the Natural Faculty's Four Humors, is the physical vehicle used by the Vital Faculty to transport the Innate Heat, Vital Force and Thymos. The endocrine glands also use the circulatory network to disseminate hormones. All these factors, plus its ability to connect and integrate all parts of the organism, both superficial and deep, make the circulatory network a very useful and versatile system. The circulatory network has four gateways, or portals of entry and exit. These are the lungs, liver, kidneys and skin.
The Vital Faculty and the Natural Faculty
There is a natural feedback loop between the Vital and Natural faculties. It goes something like this: Since the Natural Force is derived from the Vital Force, and the Metabolic Heat from the Innate Heat, the Natural Force and Metabolic Heat produced by the Natural Faculty can only be as good as the Vital Force and Innate Heat produced by the Vital Faculty. Since the Natural Force and Metabolic Heat in the liver generate the humors, ultimately, the quality of humors generated can only be as good as the Vital Force and Innate Heat generated by the Vital Faculty. Inferior quality blood generated by an inferior quality Natural Force and Metabolic Heat, derived from an inferior quality Vital Force and Innate Heat, won't be a very good vehicle for carrying the Vital Force and Innate Heat to the Natural Faculty, resulting in the generation of an even lower quality of humors. This becomes a vicious circle, and also affects the quality of thymos generated, compromising immunity. Blood is the humoral link between the Vital and Natural faculties. Therefore, it's important to keep the blood pure, vital, and of high quality, to make it a better vehicle for the vital principles.
The Vital Faculty and the Psychic Faculty
The brain, or head thinks, and the heart feels. The heart feels what the head thinks, and ultimately all thoughts have their emotional and feeling repercussions on the heart. This is the mutual communication or feedback loop between the Psychic and Vital faculties, or head and heart. The essence of what the heart feels is embodied in the Vital Spirits that surround the heart. Expansive, joyful, noble feelings and emotions expand and strengthen the Vital Spirits, whereas base, ignoble, constrictive feelings and emotions contract and weaken the Vital Spirits. If the strength and quality of the Vital Spirits are good, plenty of good quality Vital Force, Innate Heat and Thymos will be generated in the heart, which will in turn have a beneficial vitalizing effect on the whole organism. The thoughts we habitually think and our prevailing mental outlook have a profound effect on the Vital Spirits, and on the quality of Thymos and other vital principles generated in the heart. Since the Thymos is responsible for the immune response, our habitual thoughts and attitudes can affect our immunity. And so, Philosophical Medicine was into psychoneuroimmunology long before it became the latest buzzword in holistic medicine. It's an accepted fact that our mental and emotional states affect our breathing patterns, and vice versa. If our mind is plagued by fear and anxiety, our breathing becomes rapid and shallow; a few long, deep breaths will calm the mind. The brain also needs a lot of fresh oxygen, or pneuma, supplied by the lungs, heart and Vital Faculty. If we're not breathing right, our brains cannot think and function at full capacity.
THE NATURAL FACULTY Edit
Feeding the Body
The Natural Faculty feeds and regenerates the physical structure of the body. It is responsible for all digestion and metabolism, nutrition and growth. The Natural Faculty is most developed in plants or vegetable life, which can make their own food. And so, the functions of the Natural Faculty are sometimes called the vegetative functions.
The principal organ of the Natural Faculty is the liver, which is the master metabolic chemist of the bloodstream. The liver generates the Four Humors from chyle through the combined action of the Metabolic Heat and the Natural Force, which are the basic thermal and kinetic energies of the Natural Faculty. All the other organs and vessels of the Natural Faculty are ultimately the servants and attendants of the liver. The entire digestive tract exists to digest food and drink into chyle, which is then sent to the liver from the small intestine via the veins of the hepatic portal system. From the liver, the inferior vena cava takes the fresh humors to the heart, to be infused with the vital principles and pumped out all over the body. And so, a close relationship exists between the liver and the veins. In Philosophical Medicine, the veins serve the liver and the Natural Faculty, whereas the arteries serve the heart and the Vital Faculty.
The Thermal Aspect of Digestion
The thermal aspect of digestion is primary, for without it there woud be no digestion. In digestion, the organism uses its own Metabolic Heat to cook or concoct the food into chyle, and chyle into the Four Humors. In the First Digestion, the Digestive Fire in the stomach and small intestine concocts the raw food into chyle. The chyle is then sent to the liver to be concocted into the Four Humors by the Metabolic Heat in the Second Digestion. The subtler, more refined pepsis that occurs in the Third and Fourth digestions, through which the humors are transformed into living tissue, is actually called metabolism. Actually, metabolism is nothing more than micro-digestion, which is occurring all throughout the organism, all the way down to the cellular level. The essential action of heat in digestion works something like a refiner's or smelter's fire. The food, or raw ore, is consumed or digested and the humors, or pure metal, is distilled or extracted; then the dross, or waste products, are cast off. This is the basic process for all stages of digestion and metabolism. Something is consumed or digested, something is produced, distilled, or extracted, and some byproduct is cast off as unusable waste. The secret to proper digestion or pepsis lies in getting the heat level just right, and cooking the chyle and humors to perfection. Either overcooking or undercooking will result in the production of toxic humors that can poison or clog the organism.
The Kinetic Aspect of Digestion
The Vital Force enters the liver and is converted into the Natural Force, which animates all digestive function. The Natural Force and the Metabolic Heat together generate the Four Humors. Each one of the Four Humors is then infused with a certain Administering Virtue, which is a specialized form of the Natural Force. These Four Administering Virtues give their respective humors their basic functions in the digestive and metabolic process. The Sanguine humor is infused with the Attractive Virtue, or force, which enables an organ to attract or draw into itself that which it needs to process and nourish itself with. The Attractive Virtue is also responsible for our tastes and appetites, and the ability to assimilate nutrients. The Choleric humor is infused with the Digestive Virtue, or force, which enables it to consume and digest things. The digestive organs of the middle GI tract and their secretions are strong in the Digestive Virtue. The Digestive virtue enables an organ to digest or process things in the proper manner. The Melancholic humor is infused with the Retentive Virtue, which has a drying, condensing, solidifying effect on metabolism. The Retentive Virtue also enables an organ to hold on to the substances it has drawn into itself long enough to process them properly. The Phlegmatic humor is infused with the Expulsive Virtue, which enables it to expel, transport, smooth, lubricate, and wash away impurities. The Expulsive Virtue enables an organ to release its contents when the time is right to do so, and is necessary for all eliminative functions. So, the general digestive process or cycle is: each organ in turn attracts, digests and retains, and then expels its contents. The harmonious function of digestion depends on the proper balance and distribution of the Four Humors and their respective Administering Virtues, all working together in an orderly fashion. The balanced, harmonious function of all four Administering Virtues ultimately depends on the smooth, harmonious flow and functioning of the Natural Force in the liver. The basic functions of an organ are determined by its dominant humor and its Administering Virtue. For example, the stomach, which initiates the major part of digestion, is governed manly by the Choleric humor and its Digestive Virtue. In the colon, which absorbs fluids and electrolytes and solidifies the stool, the dominant humor is black bile, with its Retentive Virtue. However, all four Administering Virtues, in the right proportion, are necessary for the proper, balanced functioning of each organ.
The Digestive Process
Subtle vapors of black bile from the spleen enter the stomach to awaken the gastric secretions and the appetite, and one feels hungry. The tongue's taste buds also awaken, and the mouth secretes saliva, a Sanguine fluid that begins the digestion of carbohydrates. The tongue signals to the digestive organs what to secrete through its sense of taste.
In the upper digestive tract, from the mouth to the stomach, the Phlegmatic humor and its Expulsive Virtue predominates. In the mouth, the teeth thoroughly chew or masticate the food with ample saliva to form a semiliquid bolus, which can easily be propelled down the esophagus to the stomach. In the middle digestive tract, or the stomach and duodenum, the Choleric humor and its Digestive Virtue predominates. The stomach receives the food and initiates the major part of digestion with its caustic, Choleric acids and enzymes, which would digest the stomach itself if it weren't for its protective mucous coat, of the opposite yet complementary Phlegmatic humor. Residues of black bile in the stomach enable it to hold on to its contents long enough to process them properly. When the time is ripe, the pyloric valve opens under the action of the Phlegmatic humor and its Expulsive Virtue. In the duodenum, yellow bile is secreted into it from the liver and gall bladder. Yellow bile facilitates the digestion and absorption of fats, and also eliminates excess fats and cholesterol from the body. Bile also acts as a natural laxative, stimulating intestinal peristalsis. Then, the pancreas secretes its digestive enzymes and bicarbonates, which neutralize and tone down the caustic, acidic heat of the middle GI tract, giving the food and digestive juices a more balanced, Sanguine nature, which facilitates absorption. The digestion of food into chyle is completed in the small intestine. After the digestion of chyle is completed, the villi of the small intestine absorb its nutrients via the Attractive Virtue of the blood that runs through them. These nutrients are then sent to the liver for processing into the Four Humors. In the colon, black bile and its Retentive Virtue predominate as the remaining fluids and electrolytes are reabsorbed and the stool condensed and solidified. The Retentive Virtue of black bile enables the stool to be held until the time is right for defecation. The drying, hardening action of black bile is tempered and counterbalanced by the moistening, lubricating action of the Phlegmatic humor, which makes the stools soft enough to expel through its Expulsive Virtue. The presence of yellow bile, a natural laxative, tips the balance in favor of excretion.
The Four Wastes
Pepsis isn't complete until the final excretion of waste from the body. The elimination of wastes is usually the last step in a long chain of metabolic events in which many byproducts are reused and recycled. Finally, what can no longer be used is eliminated as waste. There are four major waste products of the body in Philosophical Medicine, which correspond to the Four Elements. Each is produced via the thermal energies and eliminated via the kinetic energies of its respective eliminative organ. Exhalation is the waste product of the Air element and the Vital Faculty. It's the exhaust of cellular metabolism and is eliminated via the lungs, through the process of gas exchange. Sweat is the waste product of the Fire element, and is eliminated through the skin, which is the largest eliminative organ of the body. Sweat is the body's main vehicle for eliminating excess heat; many fevers are broken by releasing a sweat. Urine is the waste product of the Water element, and is eliminated by the kidneys and urinary tract. Urine is the main liquid waste of the body. Faeces, also called the stool or Alvine Discharge, is the waste product of the Earth element, and is eliminated via the colon. Faeces are the main solid waste of the body. Since elimination is the end result of the metabolic process, the waste products can yield many valuable clues about the condition of one's metabolism. Humorally, the organism will try to eliminate excesses and superfluities, whatever they may be, through the wastes. Analysis of the urine and stool are important diagnostic procedures in Philosophical Medicine. The right balance between the retention and evacuation of wastes is important to proper hygiene.
The Digestive Tract, or Alimentary Canal
The digestive tract is a great central tube running through the core of the organism, from mouth to anus. It's the Great Central Channel of the Natural Faculty, and most of the assimilation and elimination of substances by the organism takes place via this channel. Although it consists of many different organs, the digestive tract is actually one continuous tube. And so, an intricate network of reflex relationships exists between its various component orgns, through which one part affects others, and the whole of the digestive tract. This Great Central Channel is able to either assimilate or eliminate via both ends, which makes it very useful, both physiologically and therapeutically. Through the top end, or orally, one can ingest all manner of food, drink and medicine; one can eliminate via the top end either by expectoration, gargling or vomiting. From the bottom end, defecation is the usual means of elimination, although evacuations may also be therapeutic or procured, as in purgatives or enemas. Through enemas and suppositories, one may also assimilate via the bottom end. Many deep organs of digestion and metabolism, such as the liver, gall bladder, spleen and pancreas, pour their various digestive secretions into this Great Central Channel. Therapeutically, their secretions can also become vehicles for the ripening and elimination of morbid humors and metabolic residues, or toxins.
THE PSYCHIC FACULTYEdit
The Connecting Link Between Soul and Body
The Psychic Faculty is so-called because it endows the body with consciousness, which enables it to be the physical vehicle for the indwelling soul, or psyche. This enables the organism to receive incoming sensory impressions and stimuli, perceive and cognize them, think and reason, and respond in an intelligent manner in the interests of self preservation and furthering one's aims, objectives and mission in life. The Psychic Faculty's functions are basically threefold: Sensory, cognitive or Intellective, and Responsive, or motor. These three basic functions then have their various organs and subdivisions.
The brain is the principal organ or central processing and control unit of the Psychic Faculty. It is served by the nerves, or the neural network of the organism. The central nexus or switchboard of this neural network is the spinal column, from whence nerves branch out to all parts of the body. The spinal column and its energy centers are symbolized by the Caduceus, or the magic wand of Hermes. The nerves that serve the brain are basically of two types: afferent or sensory, which take sensory impressions and stimuli to the brain; and efferent, or motor, which carry the responses and commands of the brain out to the various muscles and effector organs. The Psychic Faculty as a whole has a Cold, Dry Melancholic nature and temperament. Its coldness makes it governed more by reason than by passion. Its dryness makes it capable of discernment, objectivity and self awareness. The nerves and nervous tissues are also Cold, Dry and Melancholic. The brain, however, has a wetter temperament than the nerves, which makes it, although cold and rational, Phlegmatic in temperament. The wetness of the brain gives it a certain receptivity and identification with its thoughts, perceptions and ideas. Physically, the wetness of the brain comes from the fact that it's bathed in a sea of cerebrospinal fluid. Philosophical Medicine also considers the head and brain to be one of the main accumulation sites for excess phlegm and dampness. The essence of the Psychic Faculty is communication, and the brain is its central switchboard. Through the brain and its neural network, the soul or psyche communicates with the body and with its environment, or the outer world.
The Psychic Force
The Psychic Force is a highly specialized form or derivation of the Vital Force which has been highly refined by the brain to make it capable of being a vehicle for the conscious awareness of the soul, or psyche. From the brain, the Psychic Force flows outwards through the motor nerves and back inwards through the sensory nerves. Through the inherent virtues and qualities of its Psychic Force, the Psychic Faculty is closest to the soul in its basic nature.
The Psychic Heat
Because of the overall coldness of the Psychic Faculty, its kinetic functions predominate over its thermal functions, which are more latent and subtle. Nevertheless, a certain Psychic Heat exists, which enables the brain to digest, assimilate, cognize and process the experiences, energies, impressions, thoughts and ideas it receives. This is psychic pepsis. The Psychic Heat is well-developed in those of a fiery Choleric temperament, whose brilliant intellects and penetrating insights can instantly get to the heart of the matter. Overwhelming or traumatic experiences that can't be properly processed lead to disorders of psychic pepsis, which are at the root of many, if not most, psychological disorders.
The Intellective Functions
The intellective functions of the Psychic Faculty lie closest to the soul in that they involve thought and reason, cognition and intelligence. The intellective functions, or faculties, are four in number, and correspond in their inherent temperaments to the Four Humors. The Ideation faculty is responsible for all thoughts, ideas, conceptualization, visualization and imagination. It is Hot, Dry and Choleric, and is most highly developed in Choleric types. It is located in the front of the brain. Ideation is always active and never sleeps, even when we're dreaming. The Judgement faculty is responsible for all reason, logic, discretion and judgement. It is Warm, Moist and Sanguine, and is most highly developed in the Sanguine temperament. Judgement is located in the middle part of the brain. It is asleep in dreams, which exhibit no discretion, and don't have to make sense. The Memory, or Retentive faculty is responsible for all memory and retention of experiences, facts, information and details. It is Cold, Dry and Melancholic, and is most highly developed in those of that temperament. It is located in the back of the brain, and is garbled and only partially active in dreams. The faculty of Empathy enables one to sympathize and connect with the thoughts, emotions and feelings of others. It is Cold, Wet and Phlegmatic, and is most highly developed in Phlegmatic types. Empathy is located in the core of the brain, or limbic system. It is the basis of all charity and compassion, love and devotion.
The Sensory Functions
The sensory functions of the Psychic Faculty are of two basic types: Common Sense and Special Sense. The faculty of Common Sense is like a great central sensorimotor switchboard, or like the central processing unit of a computer. It takes in data from all the five senses and puts together a picture or facsimile of the outer world and relays this to the intellective faculties of the brain, which use these pictures and data to reach a decision and act. The commands of the intellective faculties are then sent out via the faculty of Common Sense to the appropriate motor effector organs for the desired response. The faculty of Common Sense is also called the Mundane Mind, because its main function is to keep us in touch with the world around us. It also excels in basic learning and adaptation, and in the mastery of basic skills and competencies. The faculties of Special Sense are the five sense organs. Each one has its own particular affinities and correspondences of element, humor and temperament. These are as follows: The eyes, or Visual Faculty, is Cold, Wet and Phlegmatic in temperament, and belong to the Water element. Think of the eyes as pools of clear Water that reflect the light of the opposite yet complementary Fire element back to the brain. The eyeballs are filled with watery fluids, the Aqueous and Vitreous humors, which channel and focus light and visual images onto the retina. The ears, or Auditory Faculty, is Cold, Dry and Melancholic in temperament, and belong to the Earth element. The ears are like hollow caves and shells of solid, resilient material that resonate to and amplify sound vibrations in that subtlest of elements and contrary counterpart to Earth, Ether. Like a cavernous cave, the ears echo and amplify sound vibrations back to the brain. The nose, or the Olfactory Faculty, is Hot, Dry and Choleric in temperament, and belongs to the Fire element. Volatility is a key attribute of Fire, and a substance must have a certain volatility inherent in it to disperse through the atmosphere and be smelled. Like a burning stick of incense, Fire excites aromatic substances and disperses them through the atmosphere. With the olfactory receptors being so close to the brain, the sense of smell is the gateway to the mind. It is also our most primitive sense, and certain smells arouse strong subliminal memories, passions, emotions and states of mind. All this is amply exploited and made use of in aromatherapy. The tongue, or the Gustatory Faculty, is Warm, Moist and Sanguine in temperament, and belongs to the Air element. The Sanguine Attractive Virtue is fully embodied in the sense of taste, because when we say we have a taste for something, it means we're attracted to it, and have an appetite for it. The tongue has a close reflex relationship with the digestive organs, and signals to them what they need to secrete via its sense of taste. The sense of taste probably evolved as a kind of protective mechanism, to tell which substances were wholesome and good to eat, and which were noxious and not acceptable to the organism. The skin, or the Tactile Faculty, has no single affinity of element, humor or temperament because it encompasses them all. Considering the wide variety of sensory receptors in the skin, and the wide range of sensations it can experience through the sense of touch, how can it belong to any single one? The skin is also the most neutral and balanced in temperament, and therefore contains an equal proportion of all temperaments and qualities.
The Psychic Faculty and the Natural Faculty
As we have seen, one's constitutional temperament and dominant humor determine the relative strength and development of the various faculties of the mind and intellect. But acquired imbalances and aggravations of the Four Humors can also influence and unsettle the mind, as we saw in the section on The Psychological Effects of the Four Humors.
The Psychic Faculty and the Vital Faculty
The two way communication between the head, or Psychic Faculty, and the heart, or Vital Faculty has already been described under the Vital Faculty. So has the effect of our mental and emotional states on our breathing patterns. I wish to add here that yoga and other esoteric sciences have also known and utilized the tremendous capacity of the breath and breath cultivation to expand and deepen the powers of the mind and its ability to concentrate and cognize. Modern scientific research affirms this, and has found that the brain is one of the greatest consumers of oxygen in the human organism.
THE RADICAL MOISTUREEdit
And the Lamp of Life
Philosophical Medicine recognizes four basic vital principles that give life and health to the whole organism. The first three have already been discussed, and are products of the Vital Faculty: The Vital Force The Innate Heat Thymos The fourth vital principle is the quintessence or distillate of the Natural Faculty and its Four Humors. In many ways, it's the complement or counterpart of the first three vital principles. It's called the Radical Moisture. It could also be called the nutritive, hormonal essence of the organism.
Genesis of the Radical Moisture
In the Fourth Digestion, right before the Four Humors are congealed and converted into living tissue, an extremely refined essence of all of them is withheld from this process. The Radical Moisture is very precious, and only a few drops of it are distilled from each digestion. The Radical Moisture is circulated through the bloodstream and is distributed to all the principal and noble organs, which then circulate and distribute a portion of it to their subsidiary organs and attendant vessels. The reproductive organs or gonads of both sexes get a large share of the Radical Moisture. From this they produce the generative seed. The Radical Moisture is of a pale, creamy color. It is thick, rich, moist, oily, unctuous and has a mild, pleasant aroma. Its main taste is bland or mildly sweet, but with a slightly sour, acrid bite to it - hints of all the other tastes are also present, since it's the quintessence of all the humors. Basically, the physical properties of the Radical Moisture resemble those of Royal Jelly, which is indeed the Radical Moisture of the queen bee.
Properties and Functions of the Radical Moisture
The Radical Moisture has several important and distinctive properties and functions: The Radical Moisture nourishes the organism on a deep and fundamental level. It gives nutritive power to the humors, especially the moist, flourishing Phlegmatic and Sanguine humors, which predominate in bulk and nutritive importance to the organism. The Radical Moisture guides the growth, development and maturation of the organism over the long term. These include sexual development and reproductive flowering or maturation. The other vital principles and the Four Humors handle the day-to-day functioning and nutrition of the organism, but the Radical Moisture guides it over the long term. The Radical Moisture gives nutritive finish, polish, completion and integrity to the organs and tissues. It also endows them with basic, nonspecific immune resistance. Immunologically, the Radical Moisture underlies humoral immunity, whereas Thymos empowers vital immunity, or the immune response. The Radical Moisture is the hormonal essence of the organism. It is centrally and deeply involved in all the anabolic growth processes of the organism, which are the function of the endocrine glands and their hormones. You could also call the Radical Moisture the vital marrow or sap of the organism. The Radical Moisture and its quality are responsible for our basic mental and spiritual traits. Besides growth and developmental disorders, defects in the Radical Moisture can create imbecility, mental retardation, and defects of character and intelligence. The Radical Moisture is the essence of the life lived, and what gives it purpose and direction. The Radical Moisture is the anchor that gives the functions of the other vital principles stability, focus, grounding and persistence. As the Yin anchor and complement to the other vital principles, the Radical Moisture is necessary to enable the organism to attain a quiescent state of sleep or rest. It also supports, and is regenerated by, the vegetative functions of the organism. The Radical Moisture forms the genetic code or procreative seed that is passed on from parent to offspring. At conception, each parent contributes a portion of their Radical Moisture to form a new life. In this sense, the Radical Moisture is the essence of the Water element, which is the original source of life.
The Origin and Metabolism of the Radical Moisture
The initial, most important and greatest portion of the Radical Moisture that we receive in life was given to us by our parents at the moment of conception. It determines the overall quality, character and longevity of our life. Over the course of our life, we replenish the Radical Moisture somewhat, but in a much more partial and imperfect way. The Radical Moisture that we replenish ourselves with after birth is the quintessence of the Four Humors, or the end product of digestion and metabolism. To ensure optimum quantity and quality of the Radical Moisture, we must eat a balanced, wholesome, nutritious diet, and we must keep our digestive systems and pepsis functioning optimally. The Radical Moisture has a symbiotic relationship with the Innate Heat, which it needs to function and unfold properly, much as Fire releases the fragrance of incense, or the petals of a flower unfold under the lifegiving heat of the sun. But the Radical Moisture is also like the oil in a lamp, and the Innate Heat like the lamp's flame. The flame lives by consuming the oil, and will eventually consume it entirely. Such, regrettably, is the inherent nature of life. Nevertheless, there's still a lot we can do to conserve our precious Radical Moisture and prolong the quality and longevity of life: Eat well and digest well, since the replenished Radical Moisture is the quintessence of the Four Humors and the Natural Faculty. Avoid undue stress, overwork, worry, anger, or anxiety, as well as staying up late and "burning the midnight oil", as these unduly consume the Radical Moisture. Sexually speaking, a man loses the most Radical Moisture in ejaculation, whereas a woman loses the greatest amount through gestation and childbirth. Learning Tantric techniques of withholding ejaculation and achieving a Non Ejaculatory Male Orgasm (NEMO) during sexual relations is a great boon to male longevity, especially in middle age and beyond. For women, optimal nutrition during pregnancy and nursing, as well as family planning, help conserve the Radical Moisture.
Metaphor: The Lamp of Life
The Radical Moisture is the oil, and the Innate Heat is the flame. These two complementary vital principles form the basis for an important metaphor in Philosophical Medicine: the Lamp of Life. The burning of the lamp's flame is analogous to the basic evolution and progression of a man's life, which happens in four basic stages, as follows: When the lamp is first lit at conception, the flame is small but disproportionately bright for its size. It grows quickly and steadily, most quickly at first but more slowly later on, until the flame reaches its peak of heat and light. This stage is analogous to the Sanguine growing years of gestation, infancy, childhood and youth. The flame is small because it's dampened by a lot of Radical Moisture, or oil, and is only warm, not hot. The growth rate of the flame is most rapid at first, during gestation, but gradually slows down in its growth rate as the full flame of adulthood draws closer. In adulthood, the lamp's flame has reached its maximum size and peak output of light and heat. The flame and its oil are both abundant, and in equilibrium. These are the Choleric full throttle years of life's zenith, full of ambition and drive. The strength and vigor of the body are at their maximum. In maturity, or middle age, the lamp's flame begins to dwindle, and its light and heat output aren't what they used to be. Neither is the oil supply, or vital reserves of Radical Moisture that the flame feeds on, what it used to be. The flame starts to crackle with dryness. These are the years of declining strength, vigor and resiliency, when a Melancholic, philosophical sense of the transitional nature of life dawns. In old age, the end draws near, and the lamp's flame begins to flicker and sputter as the oil levels get critically low. The flame's light and heat output are negligible and inconsistent. The Phlegmatic years of old age are coldest and lowest in life energy. When the oil supply is totally exhausted, the lamp runs dry and its flame is finally extinguished.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PEPSISEdit
Digestion and Metabolism
We've all heard that old health food slogan, "You are what you eat." But how true is it? As important as good, healthy food is to good health, Philosophical Medicine says that it's only half the story. The other half of the equation is the strength and quality of your pepsis, or digestion and metabolism. To revise the health food saying, you aren't exactly what you eat. More precisely, you are what you can digest, assimilate and metabolize properly from what you eat.
The Five Stages of Pepsis
The process of pepsis is like a chain reaction. There are five basic links in this chain, or five stages in the process of pepsis. They are: Ingestion is the initial intake of food and drink. This also includes our appetites and tastes for foods, which influence food selection. Digestion is the breakdown of food into its constituent nutrients. The Ignis, or Fire principle, is used to cook, distill or ripen the food to release its nutrient constituents. Assimilation is the absorption or incorporation of nutrients into living organs and tissues. For this to happen, a transformation must occur, which again involves Ignis, or the Metabolic Heat. Metabolism encompasses the totality of all biochemical reactions or transformations occurring within the organsim. Every step in the metabolic process requires Ignis; at each step something is kept and used and something is cast off as being unusable. Elimination is the final step in the process of pepsis. It may be excretion from a cell, organ or tissue, or it may be the final elimination of wastes from the organism. Pepsis is incomplete until final elimination has occurred. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link; so it is with the process of pepsis. For pepsis to be perfect and complete, all its five stages must function properly.
The Nature and Functions of Ignis
Ignis is the Fire principle of the body, and has many forms within the organism. In the Vital Faculty, Ignis manifests as the Innate Heat and Thymos, which confer energy and immunity on the organism. In the Natural Faculty, Ignis manifests as the Digestive Fire and the Metabolic Heat, which digests the food into chyle, concocts the humors, assimilates and metabolizes them into living tissue, and neutralizes and eliminates the toxins and wastes. If the Ignis is strong, the body will be energetic, immunity will be good, pepsis will be balanced and efficient, and toxins and wastes will be promptly and properly eliminated. If the Ignis is weak, the body will be tired, immunity will be poor, appetite and digestion poor or erratic, and toxins and wastes will accumulate. In nature, Fire can be destructive. But when tamed as Ignis in the healthy body, it manifests the qualities of intelligence, lightness, dryness and clarity. One of the main secrets of good health and longevity is keeping a healthy, well-balanced Ignis. A healthy, balanced Ignis assures proper, normal pepsis in all its stages. An unhealthy, unbalanced Ignis will manifest problems or dysfunction in one or more of the five stages of pepsis: Ingestion - A healthy, balanced Ignis will give us the instincts we need to make the right food choices, and a calm, balanced appetite that assures good, sensible eating habits. An unbalanced Ignis will pervert the appetite and our food choices, and manifest either as poor appetite or as a sudden, ravenous hunger that encourages binge eating and discourages sensible eating habits. Digestion - Proceeds smoothly and efficiently with balanced Ignis. Bloating, gas, distension, colic, discomfort or pain common with unbalanced Ignis. Assimilation - With balanced Ignis, there's good healthy tissue nutrition and nutrient metabolism. With unbalanced Ignis, assimilation disorders, nutritional excesses or deficiencies, or food sensitivities or allergies may develop; degenerative changes set in. Metabolism - With healthy, balanced, Ignis, metabolism is efficient and body weight optimal. With unbalanced Ignis, metabolic disorders, emaciation or obesity may develop. Elimination - With healthy Ignis, wastes are eliminated efficiently, and toxins easily burned off or neutralized. With unbalanced or weak Ignis, toxins and wastes accumulate in the body.
Toxins, or Crudities
The secret to proper pepsis lies in getting the heat level just right, and in cooking or concocting the humors to perfection. If the Ignis or heat is too high, the food will get charred or burned, leaving a toxic residue that is something like ash. If the Ignis is too low, excessive cold, wet, raw humors and phlegm will accumulate, forming a kind of toxic sludge that obstructs or impedes normal body functioning. Either way, the resulting toxins, called crudities, are poorly digested or undigested metabolic residues that can't be properly assimilated and integrated into the organism, and so impede its functioning. Toxins are sticky, turbid, foul, noxious, heavy, inert and irritating. Periodically, it's good to fast and cleanse the body of toxins. But there are two great secrets to keeping them from being created in the first place: First, always eat in accordance with your Ignis, and never eat more food than your Digestive Fire can efficiently handle. Secondly, eat a balanced diet to keep your Ignis balanced, healthy and well regulated.
Ignis and the Four Temperaments
Just as there are Four Temperaments, there are also four basic types of Ignis that one can have. Each of the four temperaments has its own type of Ignis, which governs its basic patterns of appetite and digestion. Each type of Ignis tends to produce an overabundance of the humor associated with its temperament. Each type also has its own particular problematic foods, which tend to aggravate and unbalance the Ignis even further. Often, these problematic foods are the very ones craved by the Ignis type in question, which tends to create a vicious circle of aggravation and imbalance. The practitioner of Philosophical Medicine should familiarize himself well with these four basic types of Ignis. Not only will they help him to better understand and treat digestive and metabolic disorders, but they're also very good indicators of constitutional nature and temperament. Besides indicating the constitutional type of the individual, these four Ignis types also indicate acquired disorders or imbalances of digestion associated with aggravations of the type's associated humor and its temperament. The manifestations of Ignis associated with these acquired conditions will tend to be more transitory in nature, and emphasize the dysfunctional patterns of the respective Ignis type. The type of Ignis manifesting in an individual's digestion will usually be reflected in the general patterns and behavior of Ignis throughout the organism. Thus, the cellular metabolism of the Vital Faculty will reflect the digestive metabolism of the Natural Faculty, and exhibit the same basic patterns and tendencies.
Ignis Cholerica: Sharp and Quick
Strong, powerful Ignis digests and metabolizes things very quickly. Can eat a huge meal and be ravenously hungry an hour later. When functioning well, digestion is quick and efficient, can handle most anything. The proverbial "cast iron stomach". With quick metabolism, weight gain is slight to moderate, usually appearing past middle age. When dysfunctioning, digestion may be quick, but it won't be good. Tends towards ulcers, gastritis, heartburn, hyperacidity, acid reflux. There can also be the sudden onset of ravenous hunger. Stools tend to be soft or loose, often foetid or smelly, especially with dysfunction. Intestinal transit time tends to be short. Craves intense taste sensations: salt, hot spices, fried foods, vinegar, sharp aged cheeses, hard liquor. But these foods should be avoided, as they tend to aggravate the Choleric Ignis evenfurther. Needs to take care to eat calmly and moderately, and not be so driven by their ravenous appetites.
Ignis Phlegmatica: Slow and Lethargic
Slow, low level Ignis and digestion. When functioning well, digestion is slow but steady. When dysfunctioning or aggravated by phlegm and dampness, Ignis gets sluggish and lethargic, producing sluggishness, bloating, lethargy, drowsiness after meals, heavy head and limbs. Problematic foods are sweets, starches, dairy, farinaceous or glutinous foods; but these are often the very foods craved. Needs to reduce, eliminate phlegm with heating, drying foods and hot, pungent spices. Caloric needs are slight, since metabolic rate is low. When Phlegmatic Ignis is functioning well, stools are solid, bulky, well-formed, may be slightly soft. Intestinal transit time tends to be slow. When malfunctioning, stools can be excessively soft or loose; in extreme cases, pieces of undigested food may be present. Prone to weight gain, obesity due to low metabolic rate. Cellulite, lipomas, soft nodules may appear as organism tries to peripheralize unmetabolized Phlegmatic residues.
Ignis Melancholica: Nervous and Irregular
Ignis variable, sometimes high, sometimes low, fluctuating according to mental/nervous/emotional states, with moodiness, depression lowering and nervousness, agitation raising Ignis. Digestive irregularity produces colic, gas, distension, bloating, irritable bowel. Nervous, sour stomach also common. Intestinal immunity tends to be poor, with intestinal flora imbalances common. Needs to make meals a happy, joyous occasion, free from undue worry, anxiety, stress. This also includes excessive worry and fuss about their food. Problematic foods include astringent foods, some proteins, nightshade vegetables: beans, soy, nuts, tomatoes, eggplant, etc... Old, dry, stale foods, cold foods, rancid or fried foods also bad. Pungent, sweet, aromatic spices aid the Melancholic digestion. Prone to nutritional deficiencies: anemia, hypoglycemia, dehydration, mineral imbalances, etc... due to erratic digestion. Can crave sweets, starches as quick energy boosts due to underlying malnutrition and devitalization. Needs a nutritious, wholesome diet, also high in fiber. Of all Ignis types, finds it hardest to be purely vegetarian. Stools usually hard, compact due to coldness, dryness. Prone to constipation or alternating constipation / diarrhea with irritable bowel. Stools can also be gassy, porous with wind, flatulence.
Ignis Sanguina: Balanced to Relaxed
Midway between Choleric quickness and Phlegmatic slowness; balanced. Not as strong as Choleric, can be overwhelmed. Prone to excesses of appetite due to Sanguine Attractive Virtue. Can overwhelm digestive capacity with overconsumption of sweet, rich, creamy, fatty food, leading to liver congestion, intestinal putrefactions. Light, easy to digest foods should be stressed, Sanguine Ignis is generally the most balanced and desirable, and is problem free when good, sensible eating habits are followed. With dietary excess, it can become too relaxed, even sluggish.
Working with Ignis
The cardinal rule of all constitutional management of diet is: Always eat in accordance with your Ignis and its type. Never give your Ignis more than it can handle. Although the inherent strength of Ignis can be unduly diminished by chronically underfeeding it, overfeeding and overwhelming the Ignis is much more common and problematic, and leads to autointoxication, or the generation and accumulation of toxins and morbid superfluous humors. Never eat when you're tired, angry, emotionally upset, or when you're not hungry. At these times, the Ignis is likely to be weak or unbalanced. Many people have constitutions of mixed temperament; their Ignis and pepsis will also be of mixed quality, changing in its predominant symptoms and manifestations depending on what they eat and how they take care of their Digestive Fire. Working with Ignis through diet and lifestyle modification is one of the main methods of constitutional improvement in Philosophical Medicine. With improved Ignis and pepsis comes increased health, vitality, immunity and longevity.
Ignis and the Four Stages of Life
In the metaphor of the Lamp of Life, we saw that the flame of Ignis does not remain constant throughout the lifespan of the individual, but changes in its quality and intensity. Therefore, it must be fed differently in the different stages of life. In the Sanguine growing years of childhood and youth, which are Warm and Moist, we must eat a more moistening, nutritious diet to feed the demands of rapid growth. Still, the stomach and digestion have some delicacy to them, and should not be overwhelmed. Children and youths endure fasting with the most difficulty, especially long fasts. In the Hot, Dry Choleric years of adulthood, the stomach and digestion are usually at their strongest and most vigorous, and able to handle most anything. Because the body has stopped growing, short fasts are OK, but long ones are borne with difficulty, and not recommended. In the Cold, Dry Melancholic years of maturity and middle age, the metabolic rate slows down, and our caloric needs decline. The digestion generally gets more fussy and delicate, and food allergies and sensitivities may develop. Food should be modest in quantity but high in quality, and in micronutrients. Middle aged people generally tolerate fasting the best, and benefit from it the most. In the Cold, Wet Phlegmatic years of old age, a light, easy to digest diet is essential. Meals should be sensibly planned and regular. The overall health of old people is generally too delicate to endure long fasts, although short ones are OK.
THE GENERATIVE FACULTYEdit
Sexuality and Reproduction
The Generative Faculty rules the male and female reproductive systems and governs sexual relations and procreation. Unlike the three primary faculties, the Generative Faculty isn't absolutely necessary on a day-to-day basis, but comes into play only during sexual relations, procreation, and the gestational phase of the life cycle. Therefore, it's the most specialized of all the faculties.
The gonads are the principal organs of the Generative Faculty. The male gonads are the testes, and the female gonads are the ovaries. In both sexes, the gonads produce the reproductive seed. In the male, the testes produce sperm and in the female, the ovaries produce the ovum, or egg. When the procreative seed of both sexes unite during the sexual act, there is conception. The procreative seed of both sexes is made from the Radical Moisture, which is drawn from the endocrine glands, which are rich in Radical Moisture, or hormonal essence. The gonads are themselves endocrine glands, and are also the center or focal point of the Generative Center, or chakra. Ultimately, all the other organs and vessels of the Generative Faculty, in both the male and female reproductive systems, exist to guide the procreative seed of both sexes to the point of union or conception, which is the female uterus, or womb. All the subsidiary organs and vessels of the male reproductive system serve to channel and condition the sperm and spermatic fluid into the female.
The Uterus, or Womb
What distinguishes a woman from a man is that she has a womb: she's a "womb-man". The female reproductive system is distinctively different from that of the male in that it contains a secondary principal organ, or noble organ: the uterus, or womb. The uterus' product is the embryo, which grows into the foetus, and finally into the newborn. It is the organ of conception, gestation and childbirth, which are the dominion and responsibility of the female. Archetypally, the womb is the essence of the female principle: the Sacred Space, vessel, or chalice; human life's first home, a protective cocoon in which the foetus grows until it's ready to be released out into the world at birth. It's also the special psychic function of the woman to draw souls into embodiment during gestation, and to remain very nurturing and receptive to the child's needs, particularly during infancy and early childhood. Because sexual union basically happens inside the female, women are generally much more receptive, subjective and inwardly directed than men in their basic approach to sexuality and sexual relations. Men, on the other hand, are more outwardly directed in a quest to find the right partner, the missing other half.
The Reproductive Life Cycle
A tree grows to maturity from a little seedling or sapling. When it has reached a certain level of maturity, it begins to flower and produce fruit. So it is with the human being. The action of the Innate Heat of metabolism working upon the Radical Moisture as he/she grows to maturity will eventually produce an unfoldment or flowering of his/her reproductive potential. The point at which this flowering happens is called puberty, which begins the reproductive phase of the human life cycle. The Radical Moisture inherent in the individual that flowers at puberty was mostly inherited from one's parents at the moment of conception. Each parent contributed an equal portion of their reproductive seed, generated from their own inherent Radical Moisture, to form the new life. For the man, the onset of puberty happens with the first ejaculation, or seminal emission; with the woman, it happens with menarche, or the onset of her first monthly menstrual period. Other signs presage and announce the onset of puberty as well. These concern the development of secondary sexual characteristics in both sexes, which Philosophical Medicine considers to be a manifestation of the abundant superfluence of the Radical Moisture, which is spilling over, as it were. These secondary sexual characteristics also become a potent source of attraction between the sexes. The reproductive phase of the life cycle continues as long as the organism has a sufficient abundance of the Radical Moisture to pass on to their offspring. But, as we saw in the metaphor of the Lamp of Life, the inherent supply of Radical Moisture eventually dwindles, to the point where there isn't enough to spare. When this happens, the woman undergoes menopause, and the man's semen becomes sterile and unable to conceive. Since the fertility and reproductive capacity of both sexes is intimately tied to the quality and quantity of the Radical Moisture, following the principles of moderation and balanced, sensible living in one's sexual relations helps conserve and preserve the Radical Moisture. Since the man loses most of his Radical Moisture in ejaculation, sexual overindulgence and profligacy are most harmful and depleting for the male; learning to control or withhold ejaculation during sexual relations with Tantric techniques helps preserve youthful vitality and virility and extends the lifespan. Since women lose most of their Radical Moisture during gestation and childbirth, optimal nutrition during pregnancy and nursing, as well as family planning, are important. In both sexes, there is considerable individual variation constitutionally regarding native endowment of Radical Moisture. The greater the endowment, the greater the sexual and reproductive capacity, and the greater the overall level of fertility; the lesser the endowment, the more diminished and feeble this capacity will be. So, there are no hard and fast rules as to exactly what, or how much, constitutes sensible sexual relations and what constitutes overindulgence. Each man or woman must listen to his or her own body and its needs.
The Sanguine Nature of Sexuality and Reproduction
In many different ways, sexuality and reproduction have an overwhelmingly Sanguine character. Let me explain: First of all, there are obvious associations of season and life stage, as depicted in the Philosophical Medicine Wheel. In springtime, the Sanguine season, a young man's (and woman's) thoughts turn to love and romance. Enjoying sexual relations requires a certain youthful exuberance and vitality of spirit, even if you're not that young. The Sanguine principle of abundance endows us with the capacity to enjoy sexual relations, and provides us with a surplus that we can then pass on to our offspring. This is the guiding principle at work behind the reproductive phase of the life cycle. In sexual relations, Nature's strategy for assuring procreation and the survival of the species is by designing overabundance into the process. Millions more sperm are ejaculated during the sexual act than the one that finally fertilizes the egg. Many female eggs are washed away in the monthly menstrual cycle without being fertilized over the course of a woman's lifetime. The Sanguine principle of growth is also very prominent in procreation and gestation. The gestational phase of the human life cycle is the most Sanguine, since the growth rate is higher than it will ever beduring the rest of the individual's life. The female reproductive system is also very Sanguine, since the woman sheds blood every month during menstration. The health of the female reproductive system is only as good as the health of the blood. The Sanguine Attractive Virtue is amply embodied in sexuality and reproduction, which is Life's attraction to Itself. The essence of sexuality and reproduction is attraction and union. Sex and romance are associated with the Sanguine good life. A man and woman go out on a date, go to a restaurant and eat a big, sumptuous meal. Then, when fresh blood from that meal has fully sated their veins, they discharge the superfluity by engaging in sexual relations.
The Reproductive Process
Although they hadn't discovered genes and chromosomes, the ancient Philosophicals realized that both parents contributed a portion of their essence, or Radical Moisture, through their procreative seed, since the traits of both parents could be observed in the offspring. Some ancient authorities believed that the new life came solely from the male seed, or spermatic fluid, whereas the female's contribution was often seen to be just the menstrual blood, which they considered to be merely a passive substrate. More progressively minded physicians realized that the female must also contribute a procrative seed, and not just menstrual blood. Semen was seen to be like a catalyst or enzyme that curdled menstrual blood to form the nascent features of the developing embryo. Over the course of the gestational period, the woman saves the blood she would have excreted in her monthly periods and uses it to feed the rapidly growing foetus. Moisture, or the Wet quality, was seen to provide the embryo/foetus with the potential and capacity for growth. The Innate Heat sparked into the new life at conception activates this moisture and growth potential, and the more moisture there is to be consumed, the quicker the growth. The new life is never more moist, and growth never more rapid, than right after conception. From that point onward, the Innate Heat, by its very nature, steadily consumes more and more of the Radical Moisture, and the inherent moisture of the organism, until it is finally exhausted in Old Age, which leaves us totally withered and dry. So, life is basically a drying out process. The growing foetus inside the womb doesn't yet have his/her own immune system, since their Vital Force and Thymos are totally supplied through the mother's blood. Only when the newborn takes his/her first breath at birth do they start to generate their own Vital Force and Thymos, and hence their own independent selfhood and immune system. At birth and with the first breath, the Vital Faculty of the newborn begins its own independent existence and function. And since the Vital Faculty is the first among faculties, all the other faculties of the baby's organism develop and unfold from there. The Generative Faculty is the last faculty to develop and become fully functional.