Thesis: Early life developmental trauma, defined as 'asymmetric interactions with a caregiver', strongly determines the canalization of
brain-development, and with it, the development of the adult personality.
The reason for this is simple: homeostasis and attachment processes are supposed to operate together. In the beginning of life, the 'affective', or
'feeling system', becomes organized around the expectancies the infant has of its environment.
The foundation of the 'temple' of our
conscious-mind derives from these interactions. If interactions are threatening, arborisation, or the growth patterns of neurons, turn away -
seemingly for the entire life span - because physically and emotionally abusive caregivers severely dysregulate the body's homeostasis, leading to a
severe 'dampening' of information from the environment as it relates to the internal attachment systems of the brain.
So at the core of nearly every cell on Earth is the TCA cycle - a common metabolic 'referent' which puts each interacting unit in dynamical
'resonance' with the objects outside it. This lowest level dynamic operates within human beings as much as it operates within multicellular and
unicellular organisms. Trees, whales, birds, bugs, all work the same way at the cellular level.
This is metabolism, or what is called 'homeostasis'. This system informs, or becomes translated into, what we experience as our 'feelings'.
Next, social relations, or the 'social feelings' communicated in relationships, becomes imprinted. Like metabolism, it has its 'individual units'
(as cells) but now at the level of 'dyadic interactions'. Each dyadic interaction has a self pole and an other pole: the self has a functional
'need', and the other pole has a way of responding to that need. Being recognized leads to a 'dyadic expansion of consciousness' (Tronick, 2010),
whereas not being recognized forces a 'reshuffling' in noise towards that interactive 'object' that the other wants you to embody. Such breakdowns
in interaction have severe consequences for the later life process.
All transformations from affect into thought follows the rules of metaphor; there is truly nothing going on in our heads that doesn't have a 'root'
in the physiological interactions of a body with an environment, and a mind that shares stories/metaphors/images with other minds. All sound thinking
seeks meaning at this level before a less parsimonious speculation be made about "aliens" in space. The dynamic can be seen as such: metabolism
provides the ground for affect, and affect provides the ground for thinking. This is a 'bottom-up' dynamic. At the same time, language
(psycholinguistic thought) activates feeling-schemas (self-other dynamics) which influence metabolic processes. This is a top-down dynamic.
Finally, lets be more clear as to what "affect", or feeling, is, from the perspective of the nervous system and body:
Whenever a feeling is activated in humans, it has immediate consequences for the musculature of the body. This idea is insufficiently understood, but
understanding it can go a long way to transitioning out of a negative state of consciousness.
At the lowest and most basic level, there is the sensorimotor loop that hooks action and perception into a single unit. But since action and
perception are based upon embodied proceses, every emotionally threating thought (let alone threatening social interction) activates the unconscious
motor systems of the brain, leading to a dissipation of energy down the brainstem, the spinal chord, and into the musculature of the legs and arms
i.e. for fleeing or fighting. This "fight-flight" system is very basic to all mammalian organisms, and yes, it applies to ours as well. This part of
our body consumes around 10% of bodily energy, helping to explain why negative states of mind 'stay' that way for so long: part of our bodily energy
is being fed to the muscles to maintain (and prepare for) a defense response.
This is the most unsconscious level, or the level that is easiest to ignore from the perspective of the cognizing mind. "Within" our emotional
experience, however, lies a very powerful 'inner core' of visceral affects deriving from the heart, stomach and intestines, and it is chiefly from
here that our emotional responses to the world are mounted. Heart rate is precisely that dynamic which 'holds' and transforms what's happening in
the mind, and transferring what's happening there into the body - particularly if the experience is threatening or distressing. The heart is
therefore a fractal of the entire structure of the organism, 'gating' and coordinating the relations between body and brain.
Lastly, there is the central nervous system itself - the brain - and this two can be divided into parts: the distinctly 'social world', and the way
it can occupy our attention, and the distinctly ''existential world'.
I considered what it meant to present the emotional mind in this way, and I wasn't sure whether I should put the social at the bottom and existential
at the top; or the reverse, the existential at the bottom, and social at the top. As can be seen, as settled for putting them side-by-side, for the
simple reason that they are parts of the same bundle: the most coherent existential response to your life-situation is to consider the value and power
of your social relations with others.
Whereas religion largely grows from the existential dimension, I feel a coherent understanding of the human being depends upon a truthful
representation of how everything we experience and know seems to be a metaphorical transposition of our social relations into existential thoughts.
Therefore, the existential, or religious/spiritual relation of the human being to reality, could be thought of as the way and manner ones social life
has been metaphorically transformed into a mythological representation taht more or less denies the input of social-relations into that structure.
It takes science for objective reality to be seen for what it is, and science appears to indicate that existential belief systems - the right-brain
feeling images, and the left-brained psycholinguistic representations - depend for their 'grist' the meanings of interpersonal interactions with
others. The metaphorical transformation is largely ignored and not noticed; taken as a 'thing in itself', as opposed to a 'reflection' of the
self, which in turn is a reflection of the society a self formed within.
It is this indisputable knowledge from the brain sciences which makes a religious education without an education in the life sciences so unbelievably
insane, in my opinion. It is crazy to think you can ignore social-reality, or the golden-rule, as if everything that you are wasn't, fundamentally,
an expression/structure taht derives from these interchanges.