|On sickness and on health
||[Jul. 2nd, 2008|02:05 am]
I'm just hitting a wee hippy phase and, as a result, there are some thoughts I want to put to electrons.
My basic question is, what can a human body learn from others? (At this point it's worth bearing in mind that I've written this over the course of a week, so if it's patchy, bear with me)
I'm not talking about consciously sitting down (or standing or hanging by your ankles from the ceiling of establishment of your choice - just to be inclusive of those who practice alternative forms of congregation), and discussing things that you've learnt, but with bodies actually communicating and exchanging ideas without us even knowing.
Given my extremely computer-nerdish background, this makes sense to me in a certain way. Anyone who's learnt about networks, or about nearly any aspect of computer programming will come across the idea of abstraction. For those not in the field, the basic idea is that higher level concepts use lower level concepts but they don't know how they work. For a more practical example, my browser knows how to talk to the livejournal servers. The browser only knows really how to talk to the server at a high level, but relies on the rest of the operating system to know how to talk to the network card or modem, and all the stuff in between. In other words, my browser doesn't know or care what the computers say to each other so long as it also says what my browser wants it to say.
The horrible, unscientific, leap I'm making is by asking the question, "What if the body's like that?". When we move arms or legs, we don't concentrate on the muscle groups that we have move to bring about the action, we just consider it that we're moving our limbs. To me, that suggests that there are levels of abstraction for our minds when dealing with our bodies. The same can be said when we communicate, there are levels of body language, which half of us don't realise we're doing or reading. We read and transmit body language subconsciously, can there be more?
I'm not saying that there are definitely overt channels where human bodies can communicate, but I don't think it can be ruled out. This is good enough for my inner hippy to continue writing on it.
So with all that weak justification done with, my inner hippy is wondering if our bodies can share things without our conscious minds knowing. My main interest is if we can learn to be healthy or sick from others. When I say learning to be sick, I don't mean infections, my inner hippy doesn't go so far as to deny that they tend to be caused by foreign bodies entering our system; I'm just wondering about things immuno-response failures. With allergies, the immune system overreacts to a stimulus to the point that the response is worse for your body than the allergen. Is that a reaction that can be learned from another body?
There again, can the body learn from others that it is an overreaction, and that it needs to calm down, and not wage an ultimate war against a single grain of pollen? You see, I'm considering all of this because of people's joking comments to each other like "My allergies have gotten worse since I met you", and part of me thinks that there could be a grain of truth to it.
However, I don't like discussing this with certain people because there is a chance that conversation will veer into certain systems that I really don't like. One big pet hate of mine is NLP, Neural-Linguistic Programming. One of the main reasons I can't stand it is that it is devoid of ethics, or at least the people it appeals to are deficient in the area. What's more scary about the lack of ethics is that while traditional hypnotheraputic trances leave you with a particular critical factor to stop suggestions that you do not want, NLP bypasses it. I happen to know bits about it because my parents practiced it, and while my mum just took what she needed from it, my dad went into it majorly, and it scared me (for reasons I'll not be going into right now). Now, this field opens up interesting techniques like fast phobia cures, and one of other ones was allergy cures. The main idea of NLP is that you get the mind/body to realise that the response that's happening now is not a useful one. The thing is, I really don't want to go anywhere near it. In other words, I'm afraid I don't like the idea that groups I don't like would agree with me. (By the way, I do believe it has its place, but people seem to be using it in more "cosmetic" rather than "reconstructive" forms, which I don't like)
Still, if channels for communication like this exist, how close would you have to get to use them? It strikes me that it wouldn't be useful to exchange ideas with every body you meet, so what would govern it? Without wanting to board a complete flight of fantasy, or sound like some sort of cult nut, my own theory would be that some emotional proximity is needed. More to the point, I'd say you'd need to be just short of lovers to be open enough to such an exchange.
Then there are other questions of if it's easier to learn to be healthy than sick, or vice versa, or if there's even a difference?
At any rate, it's of no more consequence than it was before I thought of it. Also, even if this theory does have some credence, they'll be taken no more seriously by the established health institutions than they already take alternative medicine in general. In short, it's something I'll never get a firm answer about in my lifetime... but it seems to be an interesting detail of my world view now.
As a final note: the reason for me to wonder about this is probably obvious, but it was an idea I was considering even before my current circumstances, although possibly not before I met the particular person I have in mind.