Friday, 30 January 2015

The Revival of Microcosm and Macrocosm

Each person's biochemistry is as unique as their fingerprint. The interaction of the components of a complex system - hypothalamus and pituitary in the brain and adrenal near the kidneys - controls our reactions to stress and regulates many body processes (digestion, immune system, mood and emotions, sexuality and energy storage and expenditure). Much of how we react to the world - inner bodily comfort, sense of wellness, emotional state, lust and desire and our Will insofar as our Will is also the energy we can apply to a purpose - is managed by a system that links our complex mind (brain) with our body, both of which are only intermittently under our conscious control.

Is this a system that we should try to command through our reason - a rather futile intent on our part since our reason can influence but perhaps not command very much - or should we try to understand it, live with it as it is in general terms and manage it in the best interests both of mind and of body regardless of our conscious wilfulness? If mind and body are not in close accord, surely this system will, indeed must, break down through psychosomatic symptoms or even lead to total bodily or mental breakdown.

Although organic collapse of either body or mind is more than possible regardless of the other, most people most of the time are not well in body or mind because of a failure to bring the non-conscious Will of the body into alignment with the desires and instincts of the mind. To place on top of this the reasoning Will (a functional tool for the acquisition of resources and shaping of things) is almost certainly to over-burden it. We have a balance required here between disease (the collapse of the body) and psychosis (the collapse of the mind), both of which will have effects on the other. It is the inward turning of Reason on to the Body-Mind (not the same process by any means as the application of Reason, the tool, to the Body-Mind, of scientific medicine) that is most likely to disrupt that balance.

Standing between the two, Body and Mind, on the one side is psychosomatic illness - all those petty pains and illnesses that come at times of stress - and, on the other side, neurotic illnesses where the mind works but not very effectively. The calibration of our mind and body is thus a life's work and there can only ever be very personal adaptations of our general human condition. There are no external rules only the guidance of science, probability and possibility. Chance and necessity.

For example, a 'normal' circadian cortisol cycle (early morning rise to a peak in under an hour, then a fall, then a rise in late afternoon for a fall that reaches a trough in the middle of the night) might be disrupted and abnormally flattened by the demands of the social - the demand that one work at peak performance, for example, for eight hours at a stretch. The question is whether we are to try to 'normalise' an imposed new abnormal pattern through the exercise of Will – in other words, adapt to chronic fatigue by willing ourselves into not what we want or need but what the social wants or needs as 'rational' (for itself or others). This question of intervention or adaptation is a political question - a microcosmic version of the macroscosmic questions of intervention and adaptation in (say) international relations. And the microcosm and macrocosm find themselves in the same relation, that of the natural body to the unnaturalness of the social to that of the natural organically developed historical community to the demands of the Liberal (or any) Absolute.

This is where 'Will' is at the heart of things. With each apparent malfunction of 'normality', the person or the community can choose to seek help or find the inner resources to restore functionality or it can embrace the malfunction and propose to become adapted to the 'abnormality'. The 'abnormality' may soon become normal to the person or to the society despite the underlying damage to both mind and body, the psychosomatics and neuroses of statecraft as much as of the single human being . A genetic or minority 'abnormality' might be dysfunctional under conditions of 'normality' but be highly functional under abnormal social conditions. Evolution teaches us that the abnormal may, over a considerable period of time, become 'normal', leaving the previously normal as now abnormal.

We should not be dismissive of the potentiality of the abnormal but the evolutionary value of abnormality is incremental and works over great swathes of time - driving the abnormal into normality, as in the drive for the New Scientific Man or in transhumanist fantasies where minds cannot keep up with technologies, is driving humanity not into transcendence but into dysfunctionality. Instead the abnormal should be allowed to flourish in the now because of its incremental potential in the future and that includes abnormal cultures and communities as much as persons/ Homo Sovieticus is matched in its self-induced psychosis by the Rights agenda of Liberal Internationalist loons. This is why we must have both a general theory of social normality (which observes it at a distance and decides whether it suits the person), one that treats the claims of the social critically, but also a private theory of the self, against the insanity of denying the ever-present Self, where the Self is to be measured against its own and not society’s standards of normality and abnormality as it moves from birth to death. All is flow, nothing is fixed and Reason is a tool and nothing more.