Scientists of the Neuroscience Research Centre of the University of Cambridge, have not only proven the existence of the soul, but also identified the region of the brain in which it is located.
A team of neurologists, directed by Dr. James Edward Monroe and Dr. Waheed Langhani, spent the last three years studying thousands of scans obtained with a technology called Functional magnetic resonance Imaging (FMRI), which enables scientists to see images of changing blood flow in the brain associated with neural activity.
This allows images to be generated that reflect which brain structures are activated while performing various tasks, helping to determine the various uses of each structure within the brain..
While studying the numerous FMRI scans, the researchers noticed that every time they asked a patient to pray or meditate, the brain activity suddenly concentrated around the epithalamus, more specifically in the pineal gland.
After thorough testing and investigation, they were able to determine that the small endocrine gland was the center of all spiritual and religious thoughts and beliefs, within the brain, acting as the headquarters of spiritual activity that receives information and sends “orders” to the other structures of the brain.
The exact functions of the pineal gland and the nature of the relationship between the “soul” and the body remains unclear, however, because the extremely intense level of brain activity and its concentration make the data harder to analyze.
“We first noticed that when the patients began to pray, their pineal gland became completely hyperactive,” Professor Monroe told reporters. “This seemed really unusual, since this gland was known to have a low and constant level of activity. We were finally able to determine that every time a patient prayed, meditated or even read a holy book, the brain activity was clearly centered on the pineal gland and the thalamus. There is so much activity at times, that it almost glows on our scanners, and it’s hard to see exactly what’s happening.”
Called atman by ancient Indian philosophers, psyche by the Greek and anima by the Romans, the concept of the “human soul” is at least 5000 years old, and the search for its location dates back to the awareness of such an entity. Many consider it immortal, postulating death to be the consequence of the departure of the soul from the body.
Many religious traditions and scientific theories have associated the soul with the pineal gland in the past, but this is the first time, that any scientific evidence of a link is ever found.
Seventeenth-century philosopher and scientist René Descartes, who was highly interested in anatomy and physiology, regarded the pineal gland as “the principal seat of the soul and the place in which all our thoughts are formed.”
In the 1950s, Descartes’ work inspired the work of British neurosurgeon, Frederick Gibbs, who even linked the fact that Hitler had an atrophied pineal gland, to the fact that he had “no soul”.