The thing-ing of us

Man is like a cyclone, whose very existence is sustained by the perpetual motion of his constituent parts.

 2 minutes read in being andMedium
The thing-ing of us

All living things, no matter how small or apparently immobile, are in perpetual motion. Their very form depends upon the dynamic motion of their constituent parts. The very word live comes from the Latin vivus, which means to be moving and changing, which in turn comes from the Sanskrit jiv. Animals in particular are a dynamic arrangement of multifarious entities that subsist within the bodily ecosystem. Man on average is composed of 37 trillion cells that organise themselves into various functional units depending on their constitution. Some into sharp and hard boulders that dash together to reduce what we eat to a pulp, some band together to form the supple and delicate apparatus of sight, and still others roll themselves up into narrow tubes that absorb the nutrition from the food processing system and purge the waste left behind. Cells are built up from proteins. The basic building blocks of protein are amino acids. The particular type of cell that forms the substance of all living things is called a eukaryote. Eukaryotes differ from simpler prokaryotes such as Mitochondria Eukaryotes are composed from many simpler prokaryotes such as Mitochondria, which at one time were “completely independent creatures”. Though they now abide symbiotically within the nucleus of host cells, they still have their DNA.

This predilection to take apart things is a product of a scientific tradition that has dominated since the time of Descartes. While this approach works well for the study of inanimate objects or non-living things or inorganic things which are in fact things composed of a relatively small number of other things whose apparent movement is periodic, it doesn’t work, in principle, for animals, which are composed of billions of independently moving parts that work together symbiotically.

Since we are in perpetual motion, “it takes power / energy to keep our body upright and to move it. it takes power-energy to protect ourselves. Many people are afraid of power because to them it means only force. I think of power as energy, something that can be used, channeled, and directed towards destructive and constructive ends.”

We are conditioned from childhood to believe that we are a single monolithic entity, an integral whole. Yet, social customs, education, religious indoctrinations, family values, … shape the individual as an amalgamation of innumerable loosely connected “psychophysical cysts” (Needleman). Affirming this socially constructed identity means forsaking any possible growth of the inner being.

the very energy that is diverted and consumed in upholding the sense of “I”. The individual becomes a lie, a lie that is now ingrained in the very neural pathways of the organism. He habitually, automatically pretends he is one and whole—it is demanded of him and he demands it of himself. Yet in fact he is scattered and multiple.

“According to tradition, there is something potentially divine within man, which is born when his physical body is born but which needs for it’s growth an entirely different sustenance from what is needed by the physical body or the social self.

Western social order is based on acquiring strength, independence, self-esteem, security and “meaningful relationships”.

“Man is seen as being divided. His problems and suffering are believed to stem from this fragmentation, this failure to become whole and to take responsibility for himself.”

When man identifies himself with some parts of his being and rejects others, these then become projected and perceived in negative fashion in those around him.

The result of the inner division and deceit is that the subterfuge necessary to preserve some illusion of coherence is the cause of man’s suffering.

Josiah Royce, as quoted by William James in A Certain Blindness, says that to us our fellow man is a “littLe less living” than us, for we have “made a thing of him”, a half-living object whose life is “a pale fire beside our own burning desire”. He urges us to see that “pain is pain, joy is joy, everywhere … everywhere, from the lowest to the noblest, the same conscious burning, wilful life is found, endlessly manifold as the forms of the living creatures, unquenchable as the fires of the sun, real as these impulses that even now throb in thine own little selfish heart.”

Tagged: selfconsciousnessscience.

Related notes

Looking for stories that will nourish your soul?

According to Hermann Heesse, reading plays an essential role in our spiritual life, and the end of a book’s wisdom appears to us as merely the start of our own. Sign up to my weekly newsletter at Revue for stories that will soothe, ruffle, and challenge your unconscious mind.