posted on Jan, 13 2018 @ 12:03 PM
If you're like me - a philosophical type who reads a lot - you may have probably experienced the same sort of feelings I have.
I assume this because big readers into philosophy or the sciences know a lot. We've spent a large chunk of our lives learning, and if we didn't
enjoy it at least most of the time, I don't think we'd even do it.
But life is never the same. Sometimes we get sick; the flu, a cold, or are severely under-slept. Sometimes someone we know and are close to dies - and
we feel sick to our stomachs. We can have arguments; and those arguments deplete our energy. Bowel issues can be a big-cause of mental-issues, and
when that happens, for the philosophically educated types, all those things we know and are usually proud about enter our consciousness again, but
from a very different perspective.
The belly and the brain are like a point-counterpoint communication system. The belly - if its off - can project meanings (via feelings) which, when
they enter our noggins, compel the formation of ideas. The "heaviness" of an inflamed gut, can, for instance, via metaphor, transform into an
internal narrative where the self experiences the universe nihilistically.
Time in particular seems to be the primary "torturing device". We can project backward and forwards in our heads and ask pointless and depressing
questions like: what is the purpose of this all? All of it seems meaningless, particularly from the perspective of a heavy-body that isn't feeling
Thoughts like these are some of the most noxious thoughts humans can have. Time - the self - before and after. These things can either "fall away"
from our interests when were feeling light and enlivened, or come into our heads at our lowliest moments and compel us to believe a perspective -
temporality - which seems to torture the human mind with the sense of the arbitrary, nonsensical, and purposeless. Non-existence can seem preferable
to existence when you feel this way; and indeed, the narratives which form in our heads can seem logical, even if they are destructive.
Early Life Trauma
The only thing which helps me think more clearly is what I know about early-life trauma, brain development, communication dynamics, and the formation
of the self.
The fears we feel in this civilization of ours were inherited from our ancestors. Their fear becomes our fear, and so on. Most Humans have lived harsh
and short lives over the last few millennia, and this has much to do with depression as it does to do with disease. Our narratives are weak and foster
a weak and morbid mentality. Thus, the evolution of humans seems to have much to do with the evolution of our narratives - with what we believe is
real, and, even more important, what we can do to make the world more pleasurable for us.
So what am I trying to say? I'm saying that what my "gut" is communicating to me is what my mind has done to it. I'm also saying that what my mind
is saying derives from the fears present in the civilization I exist within - and the sorts of 'energies' which move within and between us.
A popular theory of brain development can help make this idea more coherent. The triune brain theory is based upon anatomical analyses of brain
development in many different species. The theory was elaborated by the neuroscientist Paul Mclain, who noted the existence of a "reptilain brain",
a "paleo-mammalian brain" and a "neo-mammalian brain", as three different areas of the brain, from the lowest/oldest, to the middle/secind oldest,
to the top/newest. Mclain conceptualized the evolution of higher layers as related to the regulation of lower layers, as Hughlings Jackson posited.
Early-life brain development supports this image of a brain that is fundamentally organized from the 'bottom-up", so that, if early-life experience
with other humans tended to be negative and anxiety inducing, the brain will develop in such a way as to 'regulate' these fears. The effect of this
is not merely a psychological 'shiftiness', but more fundamentally, the building up of unresolved traumas/affects that, via idealization, have been
dissociated from consciousness and so operate as 'background' feelings/processes that can modify our cognitive relations to the world.
In short, what I'm saying can be boiled down to this: I feel good knowing that, if early life experience can be properly provisioned, human
experience can be profoundly different from the way it is experienced by us today. The ability to dismiss and turn away from uselessly depressing and
counter-productive thoughts - such as "the ultimate meaning" of time and being - is greater, because the early-brainstem and midbrain connections
have been better provisioned for. The "abyss" - the emptiness that is said to surround us - doesn't torture as it does us humans today.
Because of the hope created by developmental research, there is much to say for a human future on Earth. Anyone who can be tortured by feelings the
way I can be - in a sense that even transcends individual existence - should feel a sense of relief knowing that we can fix things.