The Strange Order of Things, by Antonio Damasio

Anthony

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Reading Damasio's book in light of the Work is certainly beneficial, as it makes the case for why we should aim at maintaining a state of self-observation in regard to various feelings that we experience; they arise from the way the "machine" operates.

The circumstances, actual or recalled from memory, that can cause feelings are infinite. By contrast, the list of elementary contents of feelings is restricted, confined to only one class of object: the living organism of their owner, by which I mean components of the body itself and their current state. But let us dig deeper in this idea, and note that the reference to the organism is dominated by one sector of the body: the old interior world of the viscera that are located in the abdomen, thorax, and thick of the skin, along with the attendant chemical processes. The contents of feelings that dominate our conscious mind correspond largely to the ongoing actions of viscera, for example, the degree of contraction or relaxation of the smooth muscles that form the walls of tubular organs such as the trachea, bronchi, and gut, as well as countless blood vessels in the skin and visceral cavities. Equally prominent among the contents is the state of the mucosae — think of your throat, dry, moist, or just plain sore, or of your esophagus or stomach when you eat too much or are famished. The typical content of our feelings is governed by the degree to which the operations of the viscera listed above are smooth and uncomplicated or else labored and erratic. To make matters more complex, all of these varied organ states are the result of the action of chemical molecules — circulating in the blood or arising in nerve terminals distributed throughout the viscera — for example, cortisol, serotonin, dopamine, endogenous opioids, oxytocin. Some of these potions and elixirs are so powerful that their results are instantaneous. Last, the degree of tension or relaxation of the voluntary muscles (which… are part of the newer interior world of the body frame) also contributes to the content of feelings. Examples include the patterns of muscular activation of the face. They are so closely associated with certain emotional states that their deployment in our faces can rapidly conjure up feelings such as joy and surprise. We do not need to look in the mirror to know that we are experiencing such states.

In sum, feelings are experiences of certain aspects of the state of life within an organism. Those experiences are not mere decoration. They accomplish something extraordinary: a moment-to-moment report on the state of life in the interior of an organism.
 

genero81

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But as Damasio points out, one of the things that makes us human is our ability to recognize a wider hierarchy of value. We can dominate our drives and emotions if that is the right thing to do in certain situations. But first we need to own up to those feelings, place them into the story or character of who we wish to be and how we will 'get there'. That means seeing them for what they are and 'measuring' how they relate to the ideal we hold in mind - a constant calibration. It's a lot easier to do that if we have a 'map' like the one Damasio presents of the ways in which our innards really work - what signals are getting sent and why. Then we can become masters of our own souls.

First off, great job elucidating this idea in the last 'Truth Perspective.' I finished this book and I'm getting close to finishing 'The Dopaminergic Mind' The latter made me think of the grand programming project of 4D STS. The C's said that when the infrastructure was sufficient they (4D STS) could just move in and take over at that point. So it occurs to me that this hyper dopaminergic mind was, and is part of that infrastructure. The physical infrastructure the result of the 'dopaminergic mind' itself.

So I just came across this: "Hence, reducing dopamine levels in both men and women will require more than just masculinization of women; rather, it will require the restoration of more traditional female values of nurturance and affiliation across society as a whole."

Now, notice how the energy is pushing in the opposite direction, at least in Western Nations. The emancipation of women from more traditional female roles. Dionysius syndrome activation?

Truer words were never written. In a more real sense than you can imagine, reading these books can help with spiritual development than hundreds of vague and word-salady "esoteric" books. You have to know how to divide spirit from matter in order to grow spirit. And if you go along thinking that this or that "feeling" is spiritual when it is nothing but a bunch of bacteria in your gut having a jolly time, you are LOST.

Right, and the people who have the desire to be 'spiritual' most often confuse emotionalism with spiritualism. So it seems we have our work cut out for us to separate what has value to us as individuals and as a collective from both sides of the equation. Emotion without knowledge blinds. The Dopaminergic Mind without balance from intrinsic human values blinds. Think atheist/ materialist. OSIT
 

Laura

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Studying the machine from all angles, learning everything we can about it, reminds me of Castaneda's "Three Phase Progression" which begins with holding your own against petty tyrants; there seems to be nothing more tyrannical than our own nervous system!

And never before in recorded history have people had the possibilities that we have of learning these things because of science and the exchange and promulgation of information.

We have to keep in mind bad science, too; science that is driven by politics. But I think that if we keep political agendas and trends in mind, we can sift the wheat from the chaff. And again, that is a process of holding your own against petty tyrants. All of this reading and learning is part of becoming aware and "paying close and careful attention to reality, right and left".

I know that, for myself, doing this course of reading/study during my recovery from serious physical injury and disablement, has played a big part in that recovery. And that makes me think that study/learning can have a profound effect on the psyche/psychology which underpins achieving wellness or - Damasio's concept - homeostasis.
 

Chu

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I know that, for myself, doing this course of reading/study during my recovery from serious physical injury and disablement, has played a big part in that recovery. And that makes me think that study/learning can have a profound effect on the psyche/psychology which underpins achieving wellness or - Damasio's concept - homeostasis.

I think this is VERY true and precious advice! Homeostasis understood in Damasio's way is not just about balance, but also expansion and prosperity. Well, all this learning can have precisely that effect. When "stuck" in our own little problems, we can easily forget that there are many other factors involved, and lots of learn and do still.

At least for me, this year so far has been very important in terms of expanding horizons that way. It's as if little by little, all this reading was helping me have more answers or ideas, build a few more connections, and even "dare" explore more, in different fields, something I used to be quite bad at. What helps also is to find ways in which to make the information acquired turn into applied knowledge. Sometimes the simple fact of sharing it here provides an answer for someone else. Sometimes it can be small changes in perception or behavior, but they can make a huge difference in terms of "homeostasis". Not to mention the "happy hormones" that come from learning something new every day and trying to regain the curiosity of a child, and sharing, which in themselves can be very healing. OSIT.
 

JGeropoulas

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Chu thanks for this sample of Damasio's book. And thanks to everyone else for their excerpts and insights. I'm in the middle of Evolution 2.0, which is so fascinating, not only in learning about basic genetics, but especially reconsidering the process of evolution as presented. This Damasio book seems like the perfect complement and will definitely be my next one to read.
 

whitecoast

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I found an interesting article which documents various emotional "heat maps" generated by many volunteers who would draw where in their own bodies they would feel particular emotions:
_Scientists Have Mapped Where People Feel Emotions in Their Bodies
Scientists pooled this data to find generalizations and connections between different emotions in terms of how similar they were in terms of their heat map. I shared this in this thread because I thought it drove home the idea of emotions being a manifestation of bodily homeostasis, and on a continuum of other visceral sensations and responses.
1541471627302.png

Here are the heat maps themselves:

1541471515883.png
 

Mike

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I finished the book a few weeks ago and have been rolling some thoughts around my brain. Thank you to everyone that has posted their thoughts in this thread. I’d say the book has given me a new perspective on emotions, the body and the mind-body interaction in general. I guess it could be describing in detail a component of the ‘elephant’ that Haidt has described (ie the elephant and the rider) and in general great information to consider in terms of what a person is dealing with when it comes to working on their machine. As Laura mentioned, it is pretty amazing what is available to the average person to learn from and consider nowadays and I really appreciate that we are given the ‘golden nuggets.’

I had also highlighted for consideration the below quotes that Chu posted when reading the book, because they had me thinking about the wider application of the subject of homeostasis, such as a universal law or component of reality. My thoughts below after the quotes from Chu and an additional quote:

Homeostasis refers to the fundamental set of operations at the core of life, from the earliest and long-vanished point of its beginning in early biochemistry to the present. Homeostasis is the powerful, unthought, unspoken imperative, whose discharge implies, for every living organism, small or large, nothing less than enduring and prevailing.
The part of the homeostatic imperative that concerns “enduring” is transparent: it produces survival and is taken for granted without any specific reference or reverence whenever the evolution of any organism or species is considered. The part of homeostasis that concerns “prevailing” is more subtle and rarely acknowledged. It ensures that life is regulated within a range that is not just compatible with survival but also conducive to flourishing, to a projection of life into the future of an organism or a species.

[...]

Homeostasis has guided, non-consciously and non-deliberatively, without prior design, the selection of biological structures and mechanisms capable of not only maintaining life but also advancing the evolution of species to be found in varied branches of the evolutionary tree. This conception of homeostasis, which conforms most closely to the physical, chemical, and biological evidence, is remarkably different from the conventional and impoverished conception of homeostasis that confines itself to the “balanced” regulation of life’s operations.

It is my view that the unshakable imperative of homeostasis has been the pervasive governor of life in all its guises. Homeostasis has been the basis for the value behind natural selection, which in turn favors the genes—and consequently the kinds of organisms—that exhibit the most innovative and efficient homeostasis. The development of the genetic apparatus, which helps regulate life optimally and transmit it to descendants, is not conceivable without homeostasis.

[...]

Life would not be viable without the traits imposed by homeostasis, and we know that homeostasis has existed ever since life began.

[…]

In the end, human creativity is rooted in life and in the breathtaking fact that life comes equipped with a precise mandate: resist and project itself into the future, no matter what. It may be helpful to consider these humble but powerful origins as we cope with the instabilities and uncertainties of the present.

In terms of homeostasis being about enduring and prevailing, on the macroscale of things, maybe at the ‘universal’ level, the recent and past comments or allusion by the C’s that the earth benefits from periodic cleansing comes to mind. It can seem to be that humanity is a type of thermostat and transceiver in terms of homeostasis and allowing the ability for life to endure and prevail and a check against things becoming so lopsided that the earth and humanity are completely destroyed or corrupted totally by man, or rather psychopaths, and 4D STS. It is like the pendulum can only swing so far before the cosmic process (law?) of homeostasis relating to the viability of life and the ability for creation to advance pulls it back into balance or better yet activates processes that ensures life and creation in general won’t be totally subverted or abridged. Maybe some of it is destroyed, but the underlying system of creation of reality is maintained. And this also ties into what the C’s again have referred to on multiple occasions and the latest session:

(Pierre) There was this earthquake in Mexico that happened on the 19th of September in 1985, and then another on the same day in 2017. For the second one, you had people in Mexico commemorating the thousands of deaths in 1985, and then the second one happens that very day. Did the commemorative event have an effect on the second earthquake?

A: Indeed!

Q: (L) I guess you can refer to that session where we talked about the day after Christmas earthquake in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Isn't that the one that had the tsunami and some 200,000 people were killed? The Cs said that if you can't create without, you create within.

(Pierre) I don't think it was only the grieving in Mexico...

(L) It was the current state of affairs.

(Pierre) The injustice and poverty and misery that is so widespread...

(L) I have a theory that when you have oppression of human beings en masse without them being able to release it, that energy goes into the Earth and then the planet reacts for them. It may destroy them in the process, but it reacts for them. Is that anywhere near close to true?

A: Yes!!

So this aligns with what has been written about in the books ‘Comets and the Horns of Moses’ and ‘Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection.’ That humanities negative experiences and the cosmic connection can bring about or is related to disaster. And the mechanism of homeostasis as described by Damasio explains maybe a part of how it operates and why it operates this way.

This also got me to thinking about the balance between STO and STS in the universe. If I remember right the C’s in the past have said that it is 50% each if the whole universe or reality is taken into account. My thought is that this balance is not a law of reality, but inherent in a system of reality for learning lessons and the sustainability of reality to ensure this. If reality is to ensure the learning of lessons can endure and prevail, then it would seem to me to encompass a mechanism for ensuring that things can endure and prevail, such as via homeostasis. That the pendulum can swing one way in one part of reality, but in another area it is swinging the other way to ensure the viability of the system of reality for learning lessons. And Damasio’s explanation of homeostasis for humans, cultures etc could be scaled up to all of reality.

It is like every human or every being of creation is like a cell in the universal body feeding input into the universal information system via their consciousness and their actions in a feedback loop to maintain universal homeostasis. From DNA being a ‘receiver’ of the information system (as talked about in a previous C’s session), to beings being connected to 7th Density via the sexual center (see quote below), and to a human having the ability to develop themselves to a point where they are connected to their higher centers. And with all of these connections choices and actions are taken in life and existence to learn and grow down a certain path of existence (ie STO and STS). And these actions throughout all of creation taken with varied levels of consciousness keeps reality viable and dynamic for learning lessons as all is fed into the universal information system and then fed back or connected in some way into each individual being. All of these connections and feedback leads to a system of homeostasis where life and learning will endure and prevail.

Q: Does the recharging of the souled being come from a similar pool, only maybe the "human" pool?

A: No - it recharges from the so-called sexual center which is a higher center of creative energy. During sleep, the emotional center, not being blocked by the lower intellectual center and the moving center, transduces the energy from the sexual center. It is also the time during which the higher emotional and intellectual centers can rest from the "drain" of the lower centers' interaction with those pesky organic portals so much loved by the lower centers. This respite alone is sufficient to make a difference. But, more than that, the energy of the sexual center is also more available to the other higher centers.

Q: (L) Well, the next logical question was: where does the so-called "sexual center" get ITS energy?

A: The sexual center is in direct contact with 7th density in its "feminine" creative thought of "Thou, I Love." The "outbreath" of "God" in the relief of constriction. Pulsation. Unstable Gravity Waves.

Another quote from the book:

Homeostasis refers to the process by which the tendency of matter to drift into disorder is countered so as to maintain order but at a new level, the one allowed by the most efficient steady state. This countering takes advantage of the principle of least action – enunciated by the French mathematician Pierre Maupertuis – whereby free energy will be consumed most efficiently and as fast as possible. […]

The quote had me thinking about the Wave, as the C’s describe the experiencing of it as “hyperkinetic sensate” and homeostasis.

As Damasio has related homeostasis to the human body it is connected to feelings and emotions and the central nervous system. If the Wave is some kind of increase in ‘free energy’ or an influx of information that a person and their mind and body systems have to deal with and experience as a feeling and/or emotion via hyperkinetic sensate, then it would seem a person properly prepared with the emotional systems ‘cleaned’ would bump up to the next level (4D) of steady state as Damasio describes in relation to homeostasis above.
 

Laura

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That's pretty deep diving, Mike, for sure! And very interesting insights. Yes, I think "as above, so below" applies, and the physiological systems we can examine may tell us a lot about the hyperdimensional and higher density systems we cannot.
 

genero81

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I was thinking about Mike's post as well. Damasio's concept of homeostasis reminded me of Castaneda's indescribable force. There seems to be a driving force akin to instinct that compels all living things forward to seek out an optimized state of existence in order to propel themselves into the future. This seems to me operational below the level of awareness in the lower life forms that eventually reach the complexity to become self aware through evolution. Human beings have the freedom of choice such awareness gives them to make choices that go against achieving an optimal state of health, and they often do. With this added element of reasoned choices, homeostasis must be achieved at a whole other level. Now things get really interesting as individuals must navigate a world of lies and deceptions while attempting to reach an optimal state of existence. They become anchor points for forces and influences beyond their comprehension.

I was looking for the relevant quotes from Castaneda on the indescribable force but came across this instead:

"You must act like a warrior. One learns to act like a warrior by acting, not by talking. A warrior has only his will and his patience and with them he builds anything he wants. You have no more time for retreats or for regrets. You only have time to live like a warrior and work for patience and will . Will is something very special. It happens mysteriously. There is no real way of telling how one uses it, except that the results of using the will are astounding. Perhaps the first thing that one should do is to know that one can develop the will. A warrior knows that and proceeds to wait for it. A warrior knows that he is waiting and knows what he is waiting for. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for the average man to know what he is waiting for. A warrior, however, has no problems; he knows that he is waiting for his will. Will is something very clear and powerful which can direct our acts. Will is something a man uses, for instance, to win a battle which he, by all calculations, should lose. It is not what we call courage. Courage is something else. Men of courage are dependable men, noble men perennially surrounded by people who flock around them and admire them; yet very few men of courage have will . Usually they are fearless men who are given to performing daring common-sense acts; most of the time a courageous man is also fearsome and feared. Will , on the other hand, has to do with astonishing feats that defy our common sense. You may say that it is a kind of control. Will is not what one calls “will power.” Denying oneself certain things with “will power,” is an indulgence and I don’t recommend anything of the kind. The indulgence of denying is by far the worst; it forces us to believe we are doing great things, when in effect we are only fixed within ourselves. Will is a power. And since it is a power it has to be controlled and tuned and that takes time. When I was your age I was as impulsive as you. Yet I have changed. Our will operates in spite of our indulgence. For example your will is already opening your gap, little by little. There is a gap in us; like the soft spot on the head of a child which closes with age, this gap opens as one develops one’s will . It’s an opening. It allows a space for the will to shoot out, like an arrow. What a sorcerer calls will is a power within ourselves. It is not a thought, or an object, or a wish. An act of “will power” is not will because such an act needs thinking and wishing. Will is what can make you succeed when your thoughts tell you that you’re defeated. Will is a force which is the true link between men and the world. The world is whatever we perceive, in any manner we may choose to perceive. Perceiving the world entails a process of apprehending whatever presents itself to us. This particular perceiving is done with our senses and with our will . Will is a relation between ourselves and the perceived world. What the average man calls will is character and strong disposition. What a sorcerer calls will is a force that comes from within and attaches itself to the world out there. One can perceive the world with the senses as well as with the will. An average man can “grab” the things of the world only with his hands, or his senses, but a sorcerer can grab them also with his will . I cannot really describe how it is done, but you yourself, for instance, cannot describe to me how you hear. It happens that I am also capable of hearing, so we can talk about what we hear, but not about how we hear. A sorcerer uses his will to perceive the world. That perceiving, however, is not like hearing. When we look at the world or when we hear it, we have the impression that it is out there and that it is real. When we perceive the world with our will we know that the world is not as “out there” or as “real” as we think. Will is a force, a power. Seeing is not a force, but rather a way of getting through things. A sorcerer may have a very strong will and yet he may not see ; which means that only a man of knowledge perceives the world with his senses and with his will and also with his seeing. Now you know you are waiting for your will . You still don’t know what it is, or how it could happen to you. So watch carefully everything you do. The very thing that could help you develop your will is amidst all the little things you do."
 
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