For *those that have just lost their keys *those that are well-versed *inebriated ones *wanderers *mermaids *those that belong elsewhere *whippersnappers *marvelous ones *those that are not included in this classification *those that flutter because the moment is fleeting *boundless ones *those colored with slippery fingerpaint *others *those that resemble someone I know from a distance

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

bodymind theorists - I love them so

I am in the middle of Candace Pert's The Molecules of Emotion and I am starting to feel vibratory and excited, almost joyful. I often feel this way when I am reading or hearing something that not only explains some of my world view, but gives me more information about what the hell is going on. Bodymind theorists - I love them so. The book is great for me becuase it synthesizes a lot of material that I have either already been interested in or have wanted to know more about: proteins, cells, (un)consciousness, state-dependent learning, emotions, information theory, and quantum physics. Whenever I skip ahead a little to see what else she writes about, the excitement increases. I can't wait to finish it.

Currently she is discussing the fact that the cells in the nervous system, endocrine system, and immune sytem all have receptors for and can produce the same peptides. She calls these peptides the molecules of emotion (since they are found and produced in abundance in the areas of the brain traditionally associated with emotions) or information substances. The implications of this, confirmed by studies, is that all of these systems affect one another - your state of mind affects your ability to heal, your hormones affect your state of mind, your immune system affects your hormones, and so on. Instead of all of these systems working independently of one another, each with it's own little master (brain, spleen, hypothalamus and pituitary gland), they are all swimming in the same informational juices and respond to them in their own way. These informational juices (peptides) co-ordinate the actions of these systems that were thought to act independently. We experience this as emotions, states, drives, and desires. So, simply put, our emotions coordinate our biological systems.

Think about that for a minute.

Did you know that your immune system can be conditioned in the same way that Pavlov conditioned dogs to salivate at the sound of a metronome? I didn't.

How can you not feel vibratory and excited?

Another thing that she has briefly touched on, and I hope she will talk about more, is the importance of emotions in learning and memory. One of the main purposes of the coordination of our biological systems by emotions is to help us remember and learn. Emotions, in effect, tell the bodymind how to respond to its experiences, to remember them, and to learn from them. She also talks about how emotions in themselves are not good or bad, whether they are "negative" emotions, like fear, anger and sadness, or "positive" emotions, like happiness, love, and joy. "Negative" emotions help us learn and remember just as well as "positive" emotions do.

From a scientific standpoint I think the link between emotions, memory and learning sounds ground-breaking, but I think a lot of us understand this in a fundamental way in everyday life. The thing is, for me at least, I forget that I know that. I get so caught up in the emotion, so identified with it, give it so much weight, that I lose track of everything else. Reminding myself that emotions are tools to help us remember what is happening to us and learn from our experiences helps create a space where I can experience life instead of getting totally consumed by what I am feeling. I do still have problems with the fact that emotions disappear, that they are so temporary, but I think I will leave that discussion for another day.

Labels: ,


Blogger ramzahn said...

ever thought about the possibility that emotions constitude something that comes from the outside?

8:25 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home