The body is a spiritual, psychic, and social statement, biologically spoken. It is obviously private, yet it cannot be concealed, in that "it is where you are," in usual terms.
The individual body is what it is because it exists in the context of others like it. By this I mean that a given present body presupposes a biological past of like creatures. It presupposes contemporaries. If, for example, one adult human being were perceived by an alien from another world, certain facts would be apparent. Even though such an alien came upon a lone member of your species in otherwise uninhabited land, the alien could make certain assumptions from the individual's appearance and behavior.
If the "earthling" spoke, the alien would of course instantly know that you were communicating creatures, and in the vocal sounds recognize patterns that contained purpose and intent. To one extent or another, all creatures use language, implying a far vaster sociobiological relationship than is usually supposed. From [the earthling's] appearance the alien would be able to deduce — if it did not already know — the proportions of the various elements upon your planet; this being surmised from your method of locomotion, appendages, and the nature of your physical vision.
While each individual springs privately into the world at birth, then, each birth also represents quite literally an effort — a triumphant one — on the part of each member of each species, for the delicate balance of life requires for each birth quite precise conditions that no one species can guarantee alone, even to its own kind. The grain must grow. The animals must produce. The plants must do their part. Photosynthesis, in those terms, reigns.
The seasons must retain some stability. The rains must fall, but not too much. The storms must rage, but not too devastatingly. Behind all of this lies a biological and psychic cooperative venture. All of this could be perceived by our hypothetical alien from one lone human individual; and we will return to our alien later on.
Cells possess "social" characteristics. They have a tendency to unite with others. They naturally communicate. They naturally want to move. In making such statements I am not personifying the cell, for the desire for communication and motion does not belong to man, or even animals, alone. Man's desire to journey into other worlds is in its way as natural as the plant's urge to turn its leaves toward the sun.
Man's physical world, with all of its civilizations and cultural aspects, and even with its technologies and sciences, basically represents the species' innate drive to communicate, to move outward, to create, and to objectify sensed inner realities. The most private life imaginable is a very social affair. The most secluded recluse must still depend upon the biological sociability of not only his own body cells, but of the natural world with all of its creatures. The body, then, no matter how private, is also a public, social, biological statement. A spoken sentence has a certain structure in any language. It presupposes a mouth and a tongue, the kind of physical organization necessary; a mind; a certain kind of world in which sounds have meaning; and a very precise, quite practical knowledge of the nature of sounds, the combination of their patterns, the use of repetition, and a knowledge of the nervous system. Few of my readers possess such conscious knowledge, yet the majority speak quite well.
In one way or another, therefore, it certainly seems that your body possesses a kind of quite pragmatic information, and acts upon it. You can express almost any idea that you want in vocal terms, even if you have hardly any conception at all of the way in which your own speech is executed.
The body is geared then to act. It is pragmatically practical, and above all it wants to explore and to communicate. Communication implies a social nature. The body has within it inherently everything necessary for its own defense. The body itself will tease the child to speak, to crawl and walk, to seek its fellows. Through biological communication the child's cells are made aware of its physical environment, the temperature, air pressure, weather conditions, food supplies — and the body reacts to these conditions, making some adjustments with great rapidity.
At cellular levels the world exists with a kind of social interchange, in which the birth and death of cells are known to all others, and in which the death of a frog and a star gain equal weight. But at your level of activity your thoughts, feelings, and intents, however private, form part of the inner environment of communication. This inner environment is as pertinent and vital to the species' well-being as is the physical one. It represents the psychic, mass bank of potential, even as the planet provides a physical bank of potential. When there is an earthquake in another area of the world, the land mass in your own country is in one way or another affected. When there are psychic earthquakes in other areas of the world, then you are also affected, and usually to the same degree.
In the same way, if one portion of your own body is injured, then other portions feel the effects of the wound. An earthquake can be a disaster in the area where it occurs, even though its existence corrects imbalances, and therefore promotes the life of the planet. Emergency actions are quite rigorous in the immediate area of an earthquake, and aid is sent in from other countries. When an area of the body "erupts," there are also emergency measures taken locally, and aid sent from other portions of the body to afflicted parts.
The physical eruption, while it may appear to be a disaster in the area of the disease, is also, however, a part of the body's defense system, taken to insure the whole balance of the body. Biologically, illness therefore represents the overall body defense system at work.
I am trying to put this simply — but without some illnesses, the body could not endure. Give us a moment. . . First of all, the body must be in a state of constant change, making decisions far too fast for you to follow, adjusting hormonal levels, maintaining balances between all of its systems; not only in relationship to itself — the body — but to an environment that is also in constant change. At biological levels the body often produces its own "preventative medicine," or "inoculations," by seeking out, for example, new or foreign substances in its environment [that are] due to nature, science or technology; it assimilates such properties in small doses, coming down with an "illness" which, left alone, would soon vanish as the body utilized what it could [of it], or socialized "a seeming invader”.
The person might feel indisposed, but in such ways the body assimilates and uses properties that would otherwise be called alien ones. It immunizes itself through such methods. The body, however, exists with the mind to contend with — and the mind produces an inner environment of concepts. The cells that compose the body do not try to make sense of the cultural world. They rely upon your interpretation, therefore, for the existence of threats of a non-biological nature. So they depend upon your assessment.
If that assessment correlates with biological ones, you have a good working relationship with the body. It can react swiftly and clearly. When you sense threat or danger for which the body can find no biological correlation, even as through cellular communication it scans the environment physically, then it must rely upon your assessment and react to danger conditions. The body will, therefore, react to imagined dangers to some degree, as well as to those that are biologically pertinent. Its defense system often becomes overexerted as a result.
The body is, therefore, quite well equipped to deal with its physical stance in the physical world, and its defense systems are unerring in that respect. Your conscious mind, however, directs your temporal perception and interprets that perception, organizing it into mental patterns. The body, again, must depend upon those interpretations. The biological basis of all life is a loving, divine and cooperative one, and presupposes a safe physical stance from which any member of any species feels actively free to seek out its needs and to communicate with others of its kind.
It is fashionable to believe that the animals do not possess imagination, but this is a quite erroneous belief. They anticipate mating, for example, before its time. They all learn through experience, and despite all of your concepts, learning is impossible without imagination at any level.
In your terms, the imagination of the animals is limited. Theirs is not merely confined to the elements of previous experience, however. They can imagine events that have never happened to them. Man's abilities in this respect are far more complicated, for in his imagination he deals with probabilities. In any given period of time, with one physical body, he can anticipate or perform an infinitely vaster number of events — each one remaining probable until he activates it.
The body, responding to his thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, has much more data to deal with, therefore, and must have a clear area in which concise action is possible.
The body's defense system is automatic, and yet .to a certain degree it is a secondary rather than primary system, coming into mobilization as such only when the body is threatened.
The body's main purpose is not only to survive but to maintain a quality of existence at certain levels, and that quality itself promotes health and fulfillment. A definite, biologically pertinent fear alerts the body, and allows it to react completely and naturally. You might be reading a newspaper headline, for example, as you cross a busy street. Long before you are consciously aware of the circumstances, your body might leap out of the path of an approaching car. The body is doing what it is supposed to do. Though consciously you were not afraid, there was a biologically pertinent fear that was acted upon.
If, however, you dwell mentally in a generalized environment of fear, the body is given no clear line of action, allowed no appropriate response. Look at it this way: An animal, not necessarily just a wild one in some native forest, but an ordinary dog or cat, reacts in a certain fashion. It is alert to everything in its environment. A cat does not anticipate danger from a penned dog four blocks away, however, nor bother wondering what would happen if that dog were to escape and find the cat's cozy yard.
Many people, however, do not pay attention to everything in their environments, but through their beliefs concentrate only upon "the ferocious dog four blocks away." That is, they do not respond to what is physically present or perceivable in either space or time, but instead [dwell] upon the threats that may or may not exist, ignoring at the same time other pertinent data that are immediately at hand.
The mind then signals threat — but a threat that is nowhere physically present, so that the body cannot clearly respond. It therefore reacts to a pseudothreatening situation, and is caught between gears, so to speak, with resulting biological confusion. The body's responses must be specific.
The overall sense of health, vitality, and resiliency is a generalized condition of contentment — brought about, however, by multitudinous specific responses. Left alone, the body can defend itself against any disease, but it cannot defend itself appropriately against an exaggerated general fear of disease on the individual's part. It must mirror your own feelings and assessments. Usually, now, your entire medical systems literally generate as much disease as is cured — for you are everywhere hounded by the symptoms of various dis eases, and filled with the fear of disease, overwhelmed by what seems to be the body's propensity toward illness — and nowhere is the body's vitality or natural defense system stressed.
Private disease, then, happens also in a social context. This context is the result of personal and mass beliefs that are intertwined at all cultural levels, and so to that extent serve private and public purposes.
The illnesses generally attributed to all different ages are involved. Those of the elderly, again, fit in with your social and cultural beliefs, the structure of your family life. Old animals have their own dignity, and so should old men and women. Senility is a mental and physical epidemic — a needless one. You "catch" it because when you are young you believe that old people cannot perform. There are no inoculations against beliefs, so when young people with such beliefs grow old they become "victims."
The kinds of diseases change through historical periods. Some become fashionable, others go out of style. All epidemics, however, are mass statements both biologically and psychically. They point to mass beliefs that have brought about certain physical conditions that are abhorrent at all levels. They often go hand-in-hand with war, and represent biological protests.
Whenever the conditions of life are such that its quality is threatened, there will be such a mass statement. The quality of life must be at a certain level so that the individuals of a species — of any and all species — can develop. In your species the spiritual, mental and psychic abilities add a dimension that is biologically pertinent.
There simply must be, for example, a freedom to express ideas, an individual tendency, a worldwide social and political context in which each individual can develop his or her abilities and contribute to the species as a whole. Such a climate depends, however, upon many ideas not universally accepted — and yet the species is so formed that the biological importance of ideas cannot be stressed too strongly.
More and more, the quality of your lives is formed through the subjective realities of your feelings and mental constructions. Again, beliefs that foster despair are biologically destructive. They cause the physical system to shut down. If mass action against appalling social or political conditions is not effective, then other means are taken, and these are often in the guise of epidemics or natural disasters. The blight is wiped out in one way or another.
Such conditions, however, are the results of beliefs, which are mental, and so the most vital work must always be done in that area.
An animal has a sense of its own biological integrity. So does a child. In all forms of life each individual is born into a world already provided for it, with circumstances favorable to its growth and development; a world in which its own existence rests upon the equally valid existence of all other individuals and species, so that each contributes to nature's whole.
In that environment there is a cooperative sociability of a biological nature that is understood by the animals in their way, and taken for granted by the young of your own species. The means are given so that the needs of the individual can be met. The granting of those needs furthers the development of the individual, its species, and by inference all others in the fabric of nature.
Survival, of course, is important, but it is not the prime purpose of a species, in that it is a necessary means by which that species can attain its main goals. Of course [a species] must survive to do so, but it will, however, purposefully avoid survival if the conditions are not practically favorable to maintain the quality of life or existence that is considered basic.
A species that senses a lack of this quality can in one way or another destroy its offspring — not because they could not survive otherwise, but because the quality of that survival would bring about vast suffering, for example, so distorting the nature of life as to almost make a mockery of it. Each species seeks for the development of its abilities and capacities in a framework in which safety is a medium for action. Danger in that context exists under certain conditions clearly known to the animals, clearly defined: The prey is known, for example, as is the hunter. But even the natural prey of another animal does not fear the "hunter" when the hunter animal is full of belly, nor will the hunter then attack.
There are also emotional interactions among the animals that completely escape you, and biological mechanisms, so that animals felled as natural prey by other animals "understand" their part in nature. They do not anticipate death before it happens, however. The fatal act propels the consciousness out from the flesh, so that in those terms it is merciful.
During their lifetimes animals in their natural state enjoy their vigor and accept their worth. They regulate their own births — and their own deaths. The quality of their lives is such that their abilities are challenged. They enjoy contrasts: that between rest and motion, heat and cold, being in direct contact with natural phenomena that everywhere quickens their experience. They will migrate if necessary to seek conditions more auspicious. They are aware of approaching natural disasters, and when possible will leave such areas. They will protect their own, and according to circumstances and conditions they will tend their own wounded. Even in contests between young and old males for control of a group, under natural conditions the loser is seldom killed. Dangers are pinpointed clearly so that bodily reactions are concise.
The animal knows he has the right to exist, and a place in the fabric of nature. This sense of biological integrity supports him.
Man, on the other hand, has more to contend with. He must deal with beliefs and feelings often so ambiguous that no clear line of action seems possible. The body often does not know how to react. If you believe that the body is sinful, for example, you cannot expect to be happy, and health will most likely elude you, for your dark beliefs will blemish the psychological and biological integrity with which you were born.
The species is in a state of transition, one of many. This one began, generally speaking, when the species tried to step apart from nature in order to develop the unique kind of consciousness that is presently your own. That consciousness is not a finished product, however, but one meant to change, [to] evolve and develop." Certain artificial divisions were made along the way that must now be dispensed with.
You must return, wiser creatures, to the nature that spawned you — not only as loving caretakers but as partners with the other species of the earth. You must discover once again the spirituality of your biological heritage. The majority of accepted beliefs — religious, scientific, and cultural — have tended to stress a sense of powerlessness, impotence, and impending doom — a picture in which man and his world is an accidental production with little meaning, isolated yet seemingly ruled by a capricious God. Life is seen as "a valley of tears" — almost as a low-grade infection from which the soul can be cured only by death.
Religious, scientific, medical, and cultural communications stress the existence of danger, minimize the purpose of the species or of any individual member of it, or see mankind as the one erratic, half-insane member of an otherwise orderly realm of nature. Any or all of the above beliefs are held by various systems of thought. All of these, however, strain the individual's biological sense of integrity, reinforce ideas of danger, and shrink the area of psychological safety that is necessary to maintain the quality possible in life. The body's defense systems become confused to varying degrees.
I do not intend to give a treatise upon the biological structures of the body and their interworkings, but only to add such information in that line that is not currently known, and is otherwise important to the ideas I have in mind. I am far more concerned [with] more basic issues. The body's defenses will take care of themselves if they are allowed to, and if the psychological air is cleared of the true "carriers" of disease.
"MASS MEDITATIONS." "HEALTH" PLANS FOR DISEASE. EPIDEMICS OF BELIEFS, AND EFFECTIVE MENTAL "INOCULATIONS" AGAINST DESPAIR
While in this book I will point out some of the unfortunate areas of private and mass experience, I will also provide some suggestions for effective solutions. "You get what you concentrate upon." Your mental images bring about their own fulfillment. These are ancient dictums, but you must understand the ways in which your mass communication systems amplify both the "positive and the negative" issues.
I may for a while stress the ways in which individually, and as a civilization, you have undermined your own feelings of safety; yet I will also give you methods to reinforce those necessary feelings of biological integrity and spiritual comprehension that can vastly increase your spiritual and physical existence.
Your beliefs have generated feelings of unworth. Having artificially separated yourselves from nature, you do not trust it, but often experience it as an adversary. Your religions granted man a soul, while denying any to other species. Your bodies then were relegated to nature and your souls to God, who stood immaculately apart from His creations.
Your scientific beliefs tell you that your entire world happened accidentally. Your religions tell you that man is sinful: The body is not to be trusted; the senses can lead you astray. In this maze of beliefs you have largely lost a sense of your own worth and purpose. A generalized fear and suspicion is generated, and life too often becomes stripped of any heroic qualities. The body cannot react to generalized threats. It is, therefore, put under constant strain in such circumstances, and seeks to specify the danger. It is geared to act in your protection. It builds up strong stresses, therefore, so that on many occasions a specific disease or threat situation is "manufactured" to rid the body of a tension grown too strong to bear.
Many of my readers are familiar with private meditation, when concentration is focused in one particular area. There are many methods and schools of thought here, but a highly suggestive state of mind results, in which spiritual, mental, and physical goals are sought. It is impossible to meditate without a goal, for that intent is itself a purpose. Unfortunately, many of your public health programs, and commercial statements through the various media, provide you with mass meditations of a most deplorable kind. I refer to those in which the specific symptoms of various diseases are given, in which the individual is further told to examine the body with those symptoms in mind. I also refer to those statements that just as unfortunately specify diseases for which the individual may experience no symptoms of an observable kind, but is cautioned that these disastrous physical events may be happening despite his or her feelings of good health. Here the generalized fears fostered by religious, scientific, and cultural beliefs are often given as blueprints of diseases in which a person can find a specific focus — the individual can say: "Of course, I feel listless, or panicky, or unsafe since I have such-and-such a disease."
The breast cancer suggestions associated with self-examinations have caused more cancers than any treatments have cured (most emphatically). They involve intense meditation of the body, and adverse imagery that itself affects the bodily cells. Public health announcements about high blood pressure themselves raise the blood pressure of millions of television viewers (even more emphatically).
Your current ideas of preventative medicine, therefore, generate the very kind of fear that causes disease. They all undermine the individual's sense of bodily security and increase stress, while offering the body a specific, detailed disease plan. But most of all, they operate to increase the individual sense of alienation from the body, and to promote a sense of powerlessness and duality.
Your "medical commercials" are equally disease-promoting. Many, meaning to offer you relief through a product, instead actually promote the condition through suggestion, thereby generating a need for the product itself.
Headache remedies are a case in point here. Nowhere do any medically-oriented commercial or public service announcements mention the body's natural defenses, its integrity, vitality, or strength. Nowhere in your television or radio matter is any emphasis put upon the healthy. Medical statistics deal with the diseased. Studies upon the healthy are not carried out.
More and more foods, drugs, and natural environmental conditions are being added to the list of disease-causing elements. Different reports place dairy products, red meats, coffee, tea, eggs, and fats on the list. Generations before you managed to subsist on many such foods, and they were in fact promoted as additive to health. Indeed, man almost seems to be allergic to his own natural environment, a prey to the weather itself.
It is true that your food contains chemicals it did not in years past. Yet within reason man is biologically capable of assimilating such materials, and using them to his advantage.
When man feels powerless, however, and in a state of generalized fear; he can even turn the most natural earthly ingredients against himself. Your television, and your arts and sciences as well, add up to mass meditations. In your culture, at least, the educated in the literary arts provide you with novels featuring antiheroes, and often portray an individual existence [as being] without meaning, in which no action is sufficient to mitigate the private puzzlement or anguish.
Many — not all — plotless novels or movies are the result of this belief in man's powerlessness. In that context no action is heroic, and man is everywhere the victim of an alien universe. On the other hand your common, unlettered, violent television dramas do indeed provide a service, for they imaginatively specify a generalized fear in a given situation, which is then resolved through drama. Individual action counts. The plots may be stereotyped or the acting horrendous, but in the most conventional terms the "good" man wins.
Such programs do indeed pick up the generalized fears of the nation, but they also represent folk dramas — disdained by the intelligentsia — in which the common man can portray heroic capabilities, act concisely toward a desired end, and triumph.
Those programs often portray your cultural world in exaggerated terms, and most resolution is indeed through violence. Yet your more educated beliefs lead you to an even more pessimistic picture, in which even the violent action of men and women who are driven to the extreme serves no purpose. The individual must feel that his actions count. He is driven to violent action only as a last resort — and illness often is that last resort.
Your television dramas, the cops-and-robbers shows, the spy productions, are simplistic, yet they relieve tension in a way that your public health announcements cannot do. The viewer can say: "Of course I feel panicky, unsafe, and frightened, because I live in such a violent world." The generalized fear can find a reason [for its existence]. But the programs at least provide a resolution dramatically set, while the public health announcements continue to generate unease. Those mass meditations therefore reinforce negative conditions.
In the overall, then, violent shows provide a service, in that they usually promote the sense of a man's or a woman's individual power over a given set of circumstances. At best the public service announcements introduce the doctor as mediator: You are supposed to take your body to a doctor as you take your car to a garage, to have its parts serviced. Your body is seen as a vehicle out of control, that needs constant scrutiny.
The doctor is like a biological mechanic, who knows your body far better than you. Now these medical beliefs are intertwined with your economic and cultural structures, so you cannot lay the blame upon medical men or their profession alone. Your economic well-being is also a part of your personal reality. Many dedicated doctors use medical technology with spiritual understanding, and they are themselves the victims of the beliefs they hold.
If you do not buy headache potions, your uncle or your neighbor may be out of business and not able to support his family, and therefore lack the means to buy your wares. You cannot disconnect one area of life from another. En masse, your private beliefs form your cultural reality. Your society is not a thing in itself apart from you, but the result of the individual beliefs of each person in it. There is no stratum of society that you do not in one way or another affect. Your religions stress sin. Your medical profession stresses disease. Your orderly sciences stress the chaotic and accidental theories of creation. Your psychologies stress men as victims of their backgrounds. Your most advanced thinkers emphasize man's rape of the planet, or focus upon the future disaster that will overtake the world, or see men once again as victims of the stars.
Many of your resurrected occult schools speak of a recommended death of desire, the annihilation of the ego, for the transmutation of physical elements to finer levels. In all such cases the clear spiritual and biological integrity of the individual suffers, and the precious immediacy of your moments is largely lost.Earth life is seen as murky, a dim translation of greater existence, rather than portrayed as the unique, creative, living experience that it should be. The body becomes disoriented, sabotaged. The clear lines of communication between spirit and body become cluttered. Individually and en masse, diseases and conditions result that are meant to lead you into other realizations.