Sunday, May 25, 2014

What’s normal now (6)…we are the worlds of our hosted bugs

Torrey Orton

May 25, 2014


Levels of life in fact …


Recently SBS TV hosted a series on the bugs upon and within us. We provide them with a living and they provide us with life. The uncounted hordes cleaning up our exterior are exceeded in number and diversity by those inside which give tangible meaning to a ‘gut feel’. Even knowing they are there vigorously gathering away does not give access to any perception of their presence in their reality – invisible and intangible things to us which yet succeed in comforting us, or not. We just have to believe they are so until we get a look though a scanning microscope at the myriad creeping and crawling things polishing our armour (skin) and processing our roughage (digestion).

We and they are all alive for a while, but only aware of each other in moments of failure to provide our respective services to each other, such as the result of an unintended injury like an antibiotic attack on a germ which defaults indiscriminately to all bugs and disables digestion in one way or another. However, our communication is indirect, by gesture as it were – ‘I’m sick to my stomach with…’ or, ‘It was a gut wrenching experience…’ from the inner residents to the host and ‘Here’s something soothing for that diarrhoea...’ from the host to the residents. Both are well within reach of the others’ sensibilities, but almost without regard for each other except in an emotional storm driven by objective threats to viability – menaces of death of various kinds.

… and perception

When the bugs’ world is distorted by ours, we, for those moments, are focussed by their collective distress away from our concerns, taking up theirs as if they are ours – which they are, so to speak, but we cannot conduct a life at the microscopic level. When we do so by force of disease we are heading for the doorways of perception’s close. That’s how a serious gastro-enteric stomach bug feels, as it literally lays waste with us.

So, too, do we dally with the brain’s presence to us: we kiss lips, not neuronal networks. If the networks are distorted by injuries physical (blunt force trauma; natural declines of genetic weakness or ageing) or emotional (disregard, deprivation, and the ensuing despairs of our oppression over time), our self in its physical guise is compromised. But it is unhelpful to our management of that compromise to point out its brainy compositions. What do we expect anyone to do with that observation themselves? Well, they can affect their sense of self by a variety of means – meditation, walking, eating right, sleeping OK …– those are the levels of action which are known to affect daily well-being directly already.

What’s neuron’s got to do with us – the lip kissing us - except in that facilitative sense which the bugs also are for us? They are different levels of perception and action, like that between Newtonian and quantum physics. We are in the Newtonian world and it is in the quantum.

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