Structuralism and the Plant Kingdom

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Frodsham (Chester), Cheshire, United Kingdom
Interests: Philosophy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Buddhism, Psychosynthesis, Hypnotherapy and R.E.B.T.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

The hierarchy of existence

Tree of Life - A Hiearchicial Representation
Hierarchies just seem to turn up everywhere.  Once you start looking for them you just cant stop seeing them.  There appears to be a proliferation of hierarchies in every direction.  Lets start with one of the biggest and well documented hierarchies - the tree of life, and the plant kingdom in particular.

The plant kingdom itself is a part of the, bigger more expansive picture, the tree of life,  since all living things are included in the tree of life.  Looking in the other direction, towards the components of the plant kingdom itself we observe a massive diversity of life forms that are all 'plant-like'.  These forms are grouped by genetic similarity into groups known as orders, and these orders are themselves grouped into families.

So as we look at the parts of the plant kingdom in more detail we find plant families whose members all have some genetic similarity. These genetic similarities impart some special evolutionary advantage to each family which allows this family to proliferate. We are all well aware of the differences between an onion (Monocots::Liliaceae) and a lemon (Dicots::Rutaceae) but both families are still members of the larger group - the plantae.

When we look closely at samples from any plant family under the microscope we see tissues, which themselves are comprised of parts such as vessels, leaf parenchyma, chloroplasts.  At higher magnification we just see  cells, which themselves contain further structures called organelles, which themselves are made up of proteins, fats and so on.  At this level of investigation all plant material looks pretty much the same!
So, just to recap, looking at the smaller parts we have structural hierarchies within the tissues of the plants. Looking at the tree of life as a whole we larger groups of hierarchies based on structures and tissues which share certain genetic specialisations and adaptations.

This whole explanation seems rather verbose and unwieldy.  We just don't have the vocabulary to describe the intermediate nodes on this hierarchical structure succinctly.  Arthur Koestler coined the term 'holon' ... from the Greek holos, meaning whole, with the suffix 'on' indicating its particulate nature.

As I said, hierarchies spring to mind whenever we look at any structure or object. Even an apparently innocent object such a table, which at first glance appears to exist naturally, without any parts, is in fact dependent on the legs, the wood, and even the carpenter, his tools and so on. Any functioning thing, from an insect colony to the pentagon (to use Koestler's examples), arises in dependence upon its holons.
Can you find anything that does not arise in dependence on its parts?  Anything that does not contribute towards the construction of some larger 'entity' in some way? Anything at all?

But does this view of holonic existence change our view of how the universe is constructed?  What seemed to be 'real' and 'solid' is revealed for what it is ... an inconceivably complex interaction of dependent relationships.  Our natural perception of the solidity of our world is threatened!  Yet out of this holonic complexity an apparent perceptual singularity arises - the World we live and function in.

Because of this complexity this is a fragile world and things are inclined to break down and fall apart at the seams.   It is a wonder that anything functions at all!   Because we naturally feel that the word is a whole, a singularity,  we are surprised and upset when something, somewhere (inevitably) breaks down.

If our happiness depends on the expectation that consumer products arising from a perfectly functioning whole will always be available we are likely to be deeply disappointed sooner or later. Is continual upgrading of car, computer  and appliance the only answer? If consumerism has its limits, where can we look for a more lasting source of happiness?

Perhaps the answer is to celebrate the wonder of it all every morning when we open our eyes to a brand new day. Our nearest Red Dwarf, Betelgeuse may indeed go Super-Nova tomorrow ... and Earth may soon have a second Sun!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Characteristics of the Leprosy Miasm in HIV and Stage 17

The feeling of the Leprosy misam is of intense oppression, intense hopelessness, isolation and an intense desire for change.

Disgust. Great contempt Isolation Dirty Hunted
Intense hopelessness Intense oppression
Tears himself. Bites.  Mutilation
Despair Outcast Sadism
Repulsion Loathing
Confine Castaway Seclude

Plant remedies:  Secale, Hura, Ocimum-s, Aloe, Cicuta, Mandragora.

Psychologically, the pace of this Miasm can be quite sudden in its onset, usually there is a serious shock or series of shocks in succession that erode our self respect and confidence.  Once established the miasm seems to engender a gradual deterioration of human and social values ... which can be perceived as the destruction of the very 'structure' of life.  The subjective feelings simple reflect the intensity of the distress experienced.  Anguish and depression are common.
A study of HIV and AIDS in the UK provides and example of this pattern of physical and emotional decline.

Humanistic and Cultural Aspects of the picture of AIDS in the UK. 

The most horrendous Humanistic and Psychological aspects of the suffering of AIDS have been brought to the attention of the Homoeopathic Community by Misha Norland in his study and proving of aids (1999).  He points out that we were all deeply shocked by the initial prospect of exponential contagion and the subsequent death toll. Remember the demonisation of HIV in the T.V. Tombstone Campaign in 1996?

This blatant stereotyping exaggerated negative characteristics which stood out and was used to separate the group from what is considered normal or acceptable.

It was as low on fact as it was high in the fear factor.   Regardless of its original intention the whole unfortunate  campaign became reminiscent of "Crystal-nacht" in Germany  ... and this had a huge Psychological impact on the Public and even more so on many HIV suffers. Any fragile sense of belonging that lingered on was finally dealt a blow from which there was little chance of recovery. Gay HIV patients became regarded as "other" more than ever before.

This all became part of the presenting picture and could also be considered as a maintaining cause in some of the mental and emotional difficulties.

Misha's proving revealed many interesting themes,  and it is interesting to note that it appeared in the same decade that research began into genetic meddling across species boundaries to create GM foods.  Breaking Boundaries is therefore an important theme, and  in particular the whole feeling of being on the outside and having no defences seem to reflect the experience of immunological deficiency as a sensation of needing a shell or barrier on the mental level :-

-Felt very exposed - I had no shell to protect me. I felt that I had lost my wall, my protection and my shell, and there was a free flow of emotions both in and out. I was exposed, almost naked, with no control.
-It feels as though barriers between me and other people can come down with this man.
It appears that the taboo engendered by the Tombstone Campaign made AIDS sufferers feel even more ostracised, and unwanted than ever,
- Began to panic about being rejected in the middle of the night. Panic lasted all day. Feel in need of loads of reassurance.
- Had the desire to be alone. Felt different to and separate from other people. Felt very individual.
- The first thing I noticed after taking the remedy was before hand I had been very sociable and after taking the remedy and about 10 or 15 minutes after, I started to feel very self conscious and kind of almost paranoid and I went and sat in the corner.
- I imagined everything I said was wrong - that I had offended someone.
- Not connecting with people - feelings of isolation - felt, 'nobody loves me'.
These feeling even goes as deep as outright fear ...
- Feelings of paranoia. Felt lied to; that people were plotting against me.
- Fear of authority, adults, schooling. Feelings of powerlessness, vulnerability, failure. 

Reckless behaviour is part of the macho image and an important factor in the transmission of HIV ...

- Normally feel easily rejected, now feel great. I loved being on my own. I felt like doing something mischievous. I wanted to do something naked and extravagant. I had no embarrassment with nakedness. 

Miasmatic Influences in HIV

Tuberculosis also has an inescapable diagnosis of an early death resulting in a hedonistic intensity for living life to the full, so there is a logical affinity for the tubercular remedies.
There is enough evidence of isolation and estrangement here to suggest the AIDS really falls into the Syphilitic or Leprotic Miasm.

There is also enough to suggest that the breaking down of personal (as well as physical and immunological) boundaries is a regression towards the Carbon Series - where the issue is of the definition and delight in the Sense of Self. This regression seems to arise from a loss of Spirituality - materialistic selfishness.
Was Scholten's Iquilai remedy an element from Stage11 (Del: appreciated not) with a Carbonate? (Germanium has loss of boundaries). 
  A  mental profile derived from repertorising rubrics having the feelings of isolation in AIDS gives Thuja, Positron and Carcinosin.

The Mineral remedies of Stage 17 have an abundance of Leprotic symptoms.

The Stage 17 remedies are all about endings.  In every remedy in this column of the Periodic Table something or other is coming to an end. They let go of something normally considered precious.

The first Stage 17 remedy from the Carbon Series is Fluorine. Lets discuss the characteristics found in the carbon series remedies first. We can expect these to influence the remedy to some extent. In fact the Series determines the problematic (symptomatic) area of  psychological or social development that is affected.  In the Carbon Series the focus is internal... problems related to establishing our sense of Self in relation to family and friends.  At the end of the Series, Flourine has the most bouncing, unpredictable and unmanageable ego!

If Stage 17 remedies are about loss and letting go , Flourine is about letting of self-imposed behavioural restrictions. This makes them hard, fast and care-free, these are some the ingredients found in the composition of the criminal mind!

It is  self-worth that is coming to an end in this remedy.  The reaction is to prop up our sense of worth by exaggerating our performance out there - in society.

The ruthless justice (ferrums) seen in the roles portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson springs to mind immediately.  This glamorous character, like Dirty Harry before him, acquires almost Super-Hero Status. He uses any means to accomplish his goal. Clearly this is a great contrast to the collapsed state of HIV described above ... but there are common factors.  He is a loner, adamantly and contemptuously going his own way, regardless of risk, always operating outside of social norms and constraints.   This makes such good television because it provides the 'normal' socially constrained viewer a measure of freedom and catharsis.  This can also happen in the euphoria of demonstrations and pop festivals.

It should not come as any surprise to discover that such flamboyant flouratums are attracted to easy money. It allows them to purchase the accessories and gadgets which accentuate their image and allows them the time and freedom to behave outrageously.

Subconsciously they pay the price ... they can be worried about their health and physique to the extent of becoming physical fitness fanatics ... which can provide yet another opportunity to brag.  Society validates these superficial values at every turn and Flouratums take it all onboard - swallowing advertising hook, line and sinker.  Although they feel flash and clean on the outside they can feel empty and dirty inside, especially sexually -  promiscuity becomes the norm and there are often lewd and 'dirty' dreams.

This dirty feeling may have come from some particular experience such as having a teenage abortion or some unfair accusation or criminal conviction.  This is not felt as a sense of guilt however. There is little remorse or guilt in the Flouratums, they are too  hardened  emotionally, they brush it off (flouride is often added to toothpaste to harden the enamal) - guilt is Bromatum territory.

Chlorine remedies (natrums) being in the Silica Series focus less on  self-gratification and more on their family and on relationships.  In this Series the ego becomes defined in terms of the binary opposition between self and other (Flouratums couldn't give a jot about others).  Because emotions and relationships are the focus Natrums are often the saddest of remedies (just had to include that quote from Spinal Tap!)  The Leprotic themes of isolation and separation are felt very tangibly on the emotional level - as profound grief.

The Bromatums belongs to the Ferrum (work) series.  This means that their focus is not so intensely directed towards image and ego; they are fully directed towards making connections to the outside world, on the world of conscientious duty and responsibility.  They need the protection and security that comes from passing exams and getting a good job.  There is a lot of form filling and tick-boxing in this group!

Stage 17 - the end stage of the work series, which brings us to the Bromatums, implies giving up work. It may be through some misfortune, some disability or simply old age .  Subsequently they begin to miss the routine of work and need to be 'doing something'.  This is the type of guilty feeling and also the source of the restlessness that is typical of the Bromatums.  These people suffer greatly when they require support from public funds and benefits.  The feeling can escalate to the point where they feel that if they are branded as guilty they may as well hang for a sheep as for a goat.

Bromatums tend to be very passionate and when things go wrong they can respond instinctively and can sometimes be quite dangerous.  Their instincts can take control of their reason.  As in the other Stage 17 remedies this uncontrolled behaviour can be one factor leading to isolation.  They often feel such an intense sense of disgrace that there is a sense that their downfall is apparent to everyone - the result is that they feel awkward and shy.  A characteristic symptom is the feeling that someone it looking over your shoulder.  Ultimately they want to get away - yet another expression of the isolation typical of the Leprosy Miasm.

The Iodine salts (Iodatums) belong to the Silver Series, hence the concept of the loss of culture ... not only the arts but also in cultural traditions, which in this modern world often means immigration and emigration.  There can be such a sense of isolation that they feel as if are walking in a wasteland.

Some Iodatum rubrics reflecting the themes we have been considering …

DISGUST – himself
APPROACHED by persons; being – aversion to
AVERSION – family; to members of
COMPANY – aversion to – sight of people; avoids the
COMPANY – aversion to – strangers, to the presence of
HATRED – persons – offended him
DREAMS – WALKING – ruins, among

The Lanthanide remedy of Stage 17 is Lutetium.  The feeling here is that nothing  matters anymore.  The material world holds no further attraction.  They are free, perhaps blissfully, because nothing can harm them and nothing is taboo anymore - but they are floating away; it is the end of the game...

Rien ne va Plus.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Stage 1 (Column one of the Periodic Table)

The struggle of Stage 1 remedies is reflected in the acute Miasm. Acute patients are fighting for survival so there is a lot of anxiety and fear, and where there is fear there is confusion and the behaviour is very impulsive. Some of these characteristics show through in the behaviour of the Stage 1 Remedies.

The basic themes of each remedy are shared by the whole group to some degree, this is especially true in very sensitive patients. As we go down the column the atomic weight increases which changes the expression of these basic themes.

It would be very interesting to compare the Stage 1 remedies with the Lacs (milk remedies)since there quite clearly several developmental themes emerging as we go down this column of the periodic table.

Hydrogen -(the lightest element burns in air to form water)

Expansion and contraction

The lighter elements esp. Hydrogen correspond to the Ayurvedic idea of Akasha. On that theory Hydrogen would indeed be a remedy for ungrounded Vata types. But you would still take the case fully before commiting yourself to making a prescription, of course.

The extreme of Ungroundeness arises from severe vata disturbance. That degree of Vata disturbance could arise from a very SEVERE fright. The traditional Ayurvedic remedy to reduce Vata (airiness) and improve the quality of Kapha (peace) is Withiana Somnifera (Ashwaganda).

Because it is at Stage one it should theoretically have the Stage one themes of ’New Beginnings’ or ’Starting out’, like someone who’s not sure what to try next. In theory every challenge gives rise to difficult dilemmas which stem from uncertainty about one’s sense of SELF and about IDENTITY.  In the end decisions are made out of impulse … not properly thought out…. often seeming a bit foolish or even a bit crazy to others.

Hydrogen symptoms in depth

The confusion of identity stems from of loss of boundaries and can take the form of detachment, confusion of sexual identity or a sense of union with a higher consciousness. Loss of boundaries is also found in their spatial perception - giving rise to sensation of being larger or smaller.

The sense of expansion is seen in feelings of love and being in heaven. This reminds me of babies, who at a certain stage, seem to beam with smiles and happiness. The sensation of contraction and smallness may be at the root of their fears and their sense of vulnerability, especially when it is accompanied heavy pathology such as contraction of the chest and palpitation. They feel small, which may give rise to  feelings (dreams or delusions) of rejection, dirt, crime, criminality, enemies and escape.

Lithium (a light alkali metal which tarnishes in air)

Lithium met has symptoms of anxiety with confusion, fear, impulsive behaviour and hysteria. There is also sadness, self-mutilation and thoughts of suicide.  It is listed under the rubric 'mania - alternating with depression', hence its use in bipolar disorders.

They are timid and sensitive to criticism, so there is a stronger sense of self than is found in Hydrogen. Specific fears include fear of strangers and crowds, which suggest that SELF WORTH is the issue. Their view of the world seems quite self-centered and restricted and I suspect their behaviour would seem selfish to others.

In general the remedies at the beginning of the Carbon Series have little appreciation of their own SELF WORTH and potential. The sense of self-grasping and self-worth becomes more significant, exaggerated and egotistical across the row.

Sodium (a reactive alkali metal)

We don't have much info on the next Stage1 Remedy, Natrium Met; there is sadness, pessimism and despair with anxiety about the future and fear of death.  In general they are easily frightened esp. by people.

With little faith in the future their reflections are turned to the past, perhaps to times when they felt less threatened and insecure.

In the Silica Series there are lots of anxieties, but anxieties about getting on with other PEOPLE (RELATIONSHIPS) become more and more prominent.  We begin to appreciate other people and hence the importance of knindness and love.
… the anxiety is still felt pretty acutely in Natrium.

Potassium (A soft and extermely reactive metal; oxidsies in air)

Kalium seems to focus the anxiety and fear on what they are going to DO NEXT (fears – anticipation; failure).

They dream of unsuccessful efforts. Sadness and indifference come when they give up.
Kalium is in the Ferrum Series – this is where Dr. Scholten makes the connection between remedies with the wish to be DOING something with EFFORT or WORK of some sort.
(anxieties still seem acute; I dont want to fail – I must DO SOMETHING NOW)

Rubidium (Ignites spontaineously in air)

Rubidium is still full of fears, especially of being trapped or of falling. They are much more assertive and can be abrupt and quite opinionated  (haughty). Their behaviour is impatient and impulsive and is described as chaotic in the literature. This reminds me of the 'terrible twos' - the stage where the young child starts to emphatically say "NO!".

Interestingly they are sensitive to music, which gives them great joy and delight. Music is an aspect of culture which develops fully in the Silver series.

Caesium (Alkali - reacts explosively with water)

Caesium met can be obstinate, haughty and manic. Haughtiness, found in Rubidium (above) develops into delusions of superiority in Caesium.

Caesuims fears are similar to the other remedies of Stage 1, except that they fear being murdered and fear insanity. With superiority comes loneliness because they set themselves apart from lesser mortals. If they feel that they must be in command of the situation they can no longer draw support from others. They have to think for themselves, which can be quite a big responsibility. It seems that they may also fear that their attitude may deeply offend others and single them out for trouble. This feeling may be present in their dreams too - like every other Stage 1 remedy, they dream of falling.

The sense of autonomy and responsibility increases across the remedies of the Gold Series and the Lanthanides.

Francium (One of the most unstable elements)

I have no data on Francium. Dr. Scholten believes this series focuses on the development and maturation of intuition and clairvoyance. If this is so Francium's intuition would be very naiave and aspirational - as opposed to reliable. This might attract them to various obscure philosophies and sects.

If the fear of falling, which is found in all the other Stage 1 remedies, is present in Francium I suspect they would be quite supersticious - walking around with placards predicting the end of the world or the collapse of the Euro - rather like the predictions of Nostradamus.