Saturday, February 25, 2017

Trauma

I am going to consciously confront something publicly that is a little painful for me.  No, I have no confessions to make. I've been pretty open and honest.

What I am realizing is that what comes AFTER confronting evil, is the following realization that all sorts of human feelings and emotions are underdeveloped in me. I am stunted in some ways, which I compensate for intellectually.  I think there are many like me.  I think, in fact, that most "intellectuals" are like me, just much less honest, and much less willing--and, to be sure, able--to go doubtful and painful places.

They say a neurological basis of social connection is mirror neurons.  In a healthy and satisfying attachment process, the infant learns that what it feels, others feel--that there is an "out there" which speaks back and can be conversed with, even if of course the conversation will take several more years to do in words.  And this talking back, this reaction, this connection, teaches the infant that those emotions exist, that they are valid--in the sense that some reaction is appropriate.  For example, when an infant cries, in a healthy mother/child relationship it will reliably be comforted.  If it is hungry it will be fed.  If its stomach hurts it will be burped, etc.  If it is happy, the caregiver is happy back.

This process not only creates a loop between care giver and infant, but also WITHIN the infant in that its own feelings are validated.  It does not have to learn to reject its own feelings in order to meet the emotional needs of the care-giver, which is the case is bad bonding.

And turning to that process, unnurturing mothers view crying infants not as a helpless being in need of comfort, but a nuisance to shut up.  They view small children expressing natural curiosity as brats who need to be spanked.  They view children who are always asking questions as annoying and disrespectful.  Sooner or later, such children learn to internalize the undesirability of those emotions, and by extension, spontaneous expressions of any sort.

They learn, in other words, to view with mistrust and fear their own feelings.

This, here, is where I think the heart of addiction lies.  Emotions and feelings are how we navigate the world.  They are what tell us who we are, and what we want, and what is worth pursuing.  They tell us when we feel a special connection with someone.  They tell us when we feel a special connection with a certain kind of work or activity.

Imagine if you will living in a world where every last spontaneous impulse generates an immediate feeling of fear and even revulsion.  Imagine trying to individuate in such a world, to develop a core self and sense of agency.

You can't not feel.  What you can do is reject all your feelings--which you have no hope of differentiating, since they were not differentiated effectively by the parent, and you have not yet learned that skill--then drink to numb the social isolation and internal pain that causes.

The evil is what pushes you out of your natural world, the one where things make sense, and being who you are is not a crime.  But where it pushes you to is a confusing world where all our natural, inherent, instinctual way-markers have been conditioned out of existence, or perhaps worse yet, reversed, so that anything good is seen as bad, and all bad seen as good; or perhaps most accurately: the whole fucking thing so muddles up it is hard to tell what is what.

This is what has driven me personally to develop my analytical faculty to the extent I have.  I don't have a clue who I am on an experiential level, and I have had to treat the entire world as an extended practical joke, at least in theory.  I would guess it is what led Descartes to his effort to create a philosophy from first principles.  Knowing nothing else about him than that he separated body/mind, and that he loved to sleep in every morning, I would guess he had considerable trauma in him he was never able to name or express.

It seems likely many famous people had terrible things in them they could not live down, could not express, and could not escape.

But we are gradually developing a vocabulary for all this, a praxis, orienting ideas based in good science.  This is all to the good.

Neurologically, circulating sensations, which is the goal of Kum Nye, would seem ideally suited to the loosening up of what amount to mental spasms, and to recontacting instinctual knowledge that was suppressed through punishment or neglect.

My own sessions this week have been quite interesting.  I can sometimes feel a sense that "I" have merged with space, and am present to a circulation of the Ten Thousand Things within me, in what in all candor feels like a colorful circus.  It has circus energy, whatever that means.

And to return to the topic, if you think about it, a connection with another human being is really a circulation, isn't it?  Isn't that a better metaphor?  A connection is static, but a circulation is when I send a feeling, and you respond, then I respond, and the whole circularity of it, the appropriateness of responses on both sides, is how we know we are connecting and bonding.  They may be a conversation in words, which is also a sort of circulation, but the words are determined by what happens beneath the words.

Likewise, intrapsychically, a healthy person will feel something, recognize they feel something, then respond appropriately.  Not all feelings, obviously, can be acted on, but a mature person recognizes and accepts this.  This, itself, is a reaction.

What I would submit is that absent healthy intrapsychic flow, healthy inter-psychic flow, that between people, is necessarily stunted.  The messages are not properly sent or received.  There is poor communication, and poor communication means poor flow of connection.

And practically, this can and often does cause psychic contraction.  You feel some combination of "people just don't get me", and "I am weird and different".

No, what has happened is that you do lack skill, but that it is a skill like any other, that with open practice, you will get better at.

In my own case, I am an outstanding faker.  But I am not going to do that any more, as much as I can help it (and this is no doubt a tide which comes in and out).  It is a stupid game, and if I aim for one thing in my life, it is to not be stupid.

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