Paradoxically, poison can kill as well as cure. Too much can kill; a little can cure. It is a matter of dose as well as intent. Not just too much of a bad thing like arsenic, but too much of nearly anything can be harmful. "Too much vitamin A, hypervitaminosis A, can cause liver damage. Too much vitamin D can damage the kidneys. Too much water can result in hyponatremia, a dilution of the blood's salt content, which disrupts brain, heart, and muscle function," writes Cathy Newman (National Geographic, May 2005). Our bodies are designed to protect us from both natural and man-made toxins. Toxicity is the result of high dosage. Newman writes:
H.P.B. mentions that tobacco, when moderately taken, is not an intoxicant, but when taken in excess, like everything else—bread and even pure water—it can be harmful. She points out that everything in this Universe of differentiated matter has a light and a dark side to it, and when applied practically, one leads to use and the other to abuse. A chemist who has mastered the science of "essences" knows that every one of them can both heal and kill. Every ingredient and poison, from the harmless wax to deadly prussic acid, or from the infant's saliva to the poison of a cobra, can be used for dual purposes. "The essence of that subtle, traceless poison, the most potent in nature, which entered into the composition of the so-called Medici and Borgia poisons, if used with discrimination by one well versed in the septenary degrees of its potentiality on each of the planes accessible to man on earth—could heal or kill every man in the world," the result depending upon whether the operator was a White or a Black Magician. There is neither "elixir of life" nor "elixir of death," per se, nor poison per se, but all is contained in the universal essence—the good or bad effect depends upon the degree of its differentiation and its various correlations. The light side produces life, health, bliss, divine peace, while the dark side brings death, disease, sorrow and strife. This is proven in the case of some of the most violent poisons, where even a large quantity of it fails to produce any evil effect on the organism, while a grain of it can kill with the rapidity of lightning. Also, "the same grain, again, altered by a certain combination, though its quantity remains almost identical—will heal. The number of the degrees of its differentiation is septenary, as the planes of its action, each degree being either beneficent or maleficent in its effects, according to the system into which it is introduced."
Americans debate if the growing influence and prominence of religion in public life is desirable. Skeptics and believers wonder whether faith is our only hope or a human flaw that keeps us shackled to a violent past. Karen Armstrong, the British ex-nun and author, arguably the world's most authoritative commentator on religion, feels the need to address the enormous problem of religious fundamentalism, writes Michael Valpy (Utne Reader, March-April, 2005). "Religious fundamentalists, always and everywhere, become more violent under attack." She believes that human beings are naturally religious. Religion continues to play a major role in the world because we are creatures who seek transcendence. We are meaning-seeking creatures, falling easily into despair. Further:
She believes that only a new spiritual quest that begins with an honest understanding of religion in the world today can save our world. "We need to reclaim religion from the religious politicians (and terrorists) who run it, who are just like other politicians—they speak for their own party and they can't be sufficiently pluralistic."
Mr. Crosbie defined true religion thus:
Where is the religion which satisfies the above definition? Every religion is true at the base and false on the surface, overlaid with cobwebs of superstition, dogmatism, materialism, etc. We find that religions and religious creeds with their rituals and dogmas are intellectual extinguishers. Today, religion is corrupted by terrorists and politicians, who use it to their own advantage. John Bunyan's remark that "Religion is the best armour that man can have, but it is the worst cloak," is applicable even in the present situation. There is a need to shift from blind belief to enlightened faith. H.P.B. writes:
Neuroscientists are uncovering anatomical, chemical and functional differences between male and female brains. It has been found that these differences were not restricted only to hypothalamus and mating behaviour, writes Larry Cahill (Scientific American, May 2005). Research has shown that sex-based differences in the brain relate to male and female cognition and behaviour. For instance, when selecting toys, boys reach out for balls or toy cars, while girls select dolls. Researchers attribute these preferences partly to innate brain biology. There was difference in brain activity in men and women while handling emotional memories. It was noticed that in men, only right amygdala—which is concerned with the ability to recall the gist of an emotional story—was lit up, and in women, only left amygdala—concerned with the ability to recall precise details of an emotional experience—was lit up. The National Academy of Sciences asserted in its 2001 report that "Sex, that is, being male or female, is an important basic human variable that should be considered when designing and analyzing studies in all areas and at all levels of biomedical and health-related research." Research into these variations could lead to sex-specific treatments for disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.
Mr. Judge mentions that undue prominence is given to the question of sex by both men and women. Soul or Spirit has no sex, and at that level male and female sexes are coalesced into one. However, "in the psychical states there are still distinctions, as the psychical, though higher than the material, is not as high as Spirit, for it still partakes of matter." Further:
Mr. Judge suggests that whether male or female element predominates in a person can be found out from whether the person is given to abstract or concrete thought, and similarly, whether he is given to superficial things or goes into deep fundamental matters.