“It is that which Aristotle’s doctrine terms the form in the three principles of natural bodies, classified by him as privation, matter, and form. His philosophy teaches that besides the original matter, another principle is necessary to complete the triune nature of every particle, and this is form; an invisible, but still, in an ontological sense of the word, a substantial being, really distinct from matter property.
Thus, in an animal or a plant, besides the bone, the flesh, the nerves, the brains, and the blood, in the former, and besides the pulpy matter, tissues, fibres, and juice in the latter, which blood and juice, by circulating through the veins and fibres, nourishes all parts of both animal and plant; and besides the animal spirits, which are the principles of motion; and the chemical energy which is transformed into vital force in the green leaf, there must be a substantial form, which Aristotle called in the horse, the horse’s soul; Proclus, the demon of every mineral, plant, or animal, and the mediaeval philosophers, the elementary spirits of the four kingdoms.
All this is held in our century as metaphysics and gross superstition. Still, on strictly ontological principles, there is, in these old hypotheses, some shadow probability, some clew to the perplexing “missing links” of exact science.
The latter has become so dogmatical of late, that all that lies beyond the ken of inductive science is termed imaginary; and we find Professor Joseph Le Conte stating that some of the best scientists “ridicule the use of the term ‘vital force’, or vitality, as a remnant of superstition.”
De Candolle suggests the term “vital movement”, instead of vital force; thus preparing for a final scientific leap which will transform the immortal, thinking man, into an automaton with a clock-work inside him. “But”, objects Le Conte, “can we conceive of movement without force? And if the movement is peculiar, so also is the form of force.””
H. P. Blavatsky