Michael J. Denton in Nature’s Destiny (1998) gives an interesting example from biochemistry, that of proteins. Proteins are built of chains of amino acids which mainly consist of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. Proteins have a specific spatial structure which, as we have seen above, is very sensitive – for example to the temperature or acidity of the environment – and which can very easily be changed and restored for specific purposes within a living organism. Proteins are stable, but remain in a delicate balance, ever on the threshold of chaos. They are able to bond themselves to certain chemicals and to release them in other situations. It is this property which enables them to perform a variety of functions, for example catalyzing other chemical reactions in a cell. Proteins have the power to integrate information from various chemical sources, which is determined by the concentration within the cell of the chemicals involved. As we have seen when discussing the eye, proteins enable the processes in the cell to regulate themselves. This self-regulation is called allostery.
Thus proteins have a remarkable two-sided power – firstly, the performance of unique chemical reactions and the integration of the information of diverse chemical components of the cell; and secondly, intelligent reaction to this information by increasing or decreasing their own enzymic activity according to present needs. How this is possible is still regarded as one of the greatest mysteries of life. It means that the functional units which perform the chemical processes are at the same time the regulating units. This property is crucial for the functioning of the cell processes in orderly coherence. It prevents the chaos that would no doubt follow if the enzymic activity were not precisely adjusted to the ever-changing needs of the cell. It is thus the remarkable property of proteins to unite the role of both a microprocessor and a functional machine in one object. Because of this fundamental property, proteins are far more advanced than any man-made instrument. An oven, for example, has a thermostat to regulate temperature, and a functional unit, the burner or electric coil, which produces heat. In a protein these two would be unified.
Blavatsky maintained that every cell in the human body is furnished with its own brain, with a memory of its own, and therefore with the experience and power to discriminate between things. How could she say so within the context of the scientific knowledge of her day? Her knowledge was deduced from occult axioms concerning the functioning of the universe and from analogy, which is applicable on all levels of being. If there is intelligence in the great order of the cosmos, then this is also represented within a cell, and there must be a structure within the cell comparable to the physical brain. This structure must have the power to enable the processes of intelligence on the physical level to take place.
G. de Purucker wrote some seventy years ago about life-atoms, centrosomes, and centrioles. He stated that “In each cell there is a central pranic nucleus which is the life-germ of a life-atom, and all the rest of the cell is merely the carpentry of the cell builded around it by the forces flowing forth from the heart of this life-atom.” A life-atom is a consciousness-point. He explained that
the life-atom works through the two tiny dots or sparks in the centrosome which fall apart at the beginning of cell-division and its energies stream out from these two tiny dots, and each tiny dot, as it were, is already the beginning of a new cell; or, to put it in other words, one remains the central part of the mother-cell, while the other tiny dot becomes the central part of the daughter-cell, etc. All these phenomena of mitosis or cell-division are simply the works of the inner soul of the physical cell . . . The heart of an original nucleolus in a cell is the life-atom, and the two tiny dots or spots [the centrioles] in the centrosome are, as it were, extensions or fingers of its energy. The energy of the original life-atom, which is the heart of a cell, works throughout the entire cellular framework or structure in general, but more particularly through the nucleolus and also through the two tiny dots. — Studies in Occult Philosophy
Along these lines Blavatsky says that the
inner soul of the physical cell . . . dominates the germinal plasm . . . the key that must open one day the gates of the terra incognita of the Biologist . . . (The Secret Doctrine).