ouroboric loops of moods

Think of how ongoing droning at a lecture engenders boredom and sleepiness while vibrancy brings forth inspiration and alertness. Now, let’s think further…

One fascinating phenomenon is – allow me the poetic/speculative licence – the ’symmetrical cascade’ inherent in natural systems. This is a basic principle of a dynamics that involves a simultaneous cascade of systemic repercussions. What goes on at one scale of organization affects and reflects the processes at another and vice versa, in a circular (rather than linear) kind of causality that loops in a moebius-like fashion in on itself, self-reinforcing the flow of its own internal dynamics. In effect, human beings (as natural systems that evince this fundamental quality) are one of the most plastic of such systems.

To concretize these abstruse abstractions think of how just raising your voice and/or standing upright and erect feeds ’self-confidence’ back into your system, of how the slick combination of candidness and skillful use of social niceties actually lighten you up in situations. By the same token, being self-effacing and unassuming or, more concretely, generally soft-spoken may reflect a narcissistic personality riddled with insecurities and a relentless outsourcing of validation whereby, paradoxically, others are constantly seen as mistrustful and attuned to our shortcomings. (In this latter case, it is not that hard to understand why withdrawn individuals -in order to avoid a sense of inferiority- tend to nurture a mindset of superiority and maximalism, which can be as much beneficial (if constructively utilized) as detrimental (if not managed) to one’s development. Usually, this sense of superiority is covert and subconscious, a subtle crypto-hubris so to speak. This is the way, for instance, that emotionally distant parents can prompt their kids to emotionally distance themselves from others and become excessively introverted and self-conscious and thus very perceptible yet subdued and inhibited in character. The short-circuit that would result from feeling truly worthless is simply unaffordable/impossible for the psyche.)

In essence, a sense of ease feeds ease back and this (internal) ease produces ease ’out’ in the environment as well. Different moods heighten one’s sensitivities to pick up different, mood-correlated signals in the environment. In other words, the perceiver and the perceived are two sides of the same (dynamic) unity. When I am energetic and rock and roll with a robust momentum I not only perceive different stimuli and relations but also I see stressors as challenges as opposed to seeing them as obstructions and nuisances (which happens when I feel dejected). Mindset and bodyset thus go ’hand in hand’ and the overall dynamics is open for modulation at each of these poles. Hence the importance, incidentally, of nurturing right posture and tweaking bodily systems through diet and exercise.

Let’s take another tangent: say, the spirit. When in a crisis we become vulnerable and (therefore) rather self-absorbed we relentlessly seek distractions even though we are not that easily dazzled by them. All the new acquaintances we happen to make and all the situations and relations we enter into help make us feel that we still belong. Somewhere, we are there. But being alone in a depressed state of mind makes us feel disconnected and out of the loop: we feel that we are not in the right place at the right time. This is the curious situation where we look for a ’there’ because we find the ’here’ an indefinite void, a kind of spaceless space. Yet, paradoxically, this anxiety is aggravated by the presence of others because we may feel all the more isolated from them and therefore, although we crave, we tend to avoid possible connections. (Here’s a question to ponder: aren’t we always already (t)here (note the positive connotation of the word ’there’ in contrast to the blandness/flatness of the ’here’)? Isn’t the present moment pregnant with potential the fullness of which is denied so long as we avoid the anxieties that self-reliance provokes in us?)

Once again: body- and mindset go hand in hand. Dejection makes the world shrink and shrivel up and our sense of space becomes something in(de)finite yet stifling. And as the sense of space contracts so does our bodily dynamics – inside and outside being two sides of the same dynamic unity. Inertia sets in and the body curls inward. The muscles and the bones tighten up and movement/dynamics in general becomes rigid. The resultant blockages in circulation echo the stale and clotted nature of our interactions. The world turns monochrome and all the tones monotone. In contrast, vitality is like opening up: the same way as a flower, the body slowly unfolds. Getting more self-reliant and outspoken and not protective of our persona/ego we become more disinhibited and positive and genuinely interesting for others, and, by the same token, our respect for others also grows. This is the way intensity breeds intensity.


About The Still Small Man

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