The journal, Neurosurgery Clinics of North America, for July 2011 carries an interesting paper “On the Surgery of the Seat of the Soul: The Pineal Gland and the History of its Surgical Approaches” by O. Choudhry, G. Gupta and C. J. Prestigiacomo.
The pineal gland has been studied through philosophy and science for thousands of years. Its role in human physiology was not well understood until the scientific community first started to report on pineal pathology in the eighteenth century. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, reports on pineal tumors and the emergence of comparative anatomy allowed more complete understanding of pineal function. Neurosurgical methods of treating pineal pathology first emerged in the early twentieth century. In the latter half of the twentieth century, the emergence of microsurgical technique allowed for excellent outcomes with minimal morbidity and mortality.
The place of the pineal gland in occult anatomy was one of Mme. Blavatsky’s favorite subjects, for it suggested the remnant of what had been the “third eye” of primeval humanity. And her ideas are duly noted: For Madame Blavatsky, humans received this divine inspiration not through a figurative third eye but literally through the pineal gland itself. It was an “organ of spiritual vision.”