What is Life?
Updated: Jul 21, 2018
NB: This is part of a series on Romantic Healthcare, setting out the foundational ideas of a system of healthcare based on vital nature and vital science. Each can be read independently, though it is recommended to read the introductory article, 'What If You Gave a Revolution and No One Came', first. Some articles refer to previous ones, so this can guide you to go and read these as well, either before or after the article you are on.
Warning: serious content ahead - may cause unusual drowsiness.
What you are about to read has to do with one of the three big ’L’s: Life.
Samuel Clemens, better known by his nom de plume, Mark Twain, once apologized to his audience for a presentation he was about to make. He apologized for it being lengthy, but explained that he had not had sufficient time to prepare a shorter one. Luckily for you, dear Reader, I’ve had the time: some four decades of coming to grips with life itself (what is that saying, ‘life is what happens when you are making other plans’), and then another two decades at least in trying to make understand it, with a little help from my friends. You are the beneficiary, assuming you continue past the warning.
While life may be rather short as one lives it, trying to explain seems a much lengthier process, and messy at that, much like the making of sausages. What follows is an attempt to explain Life phenomenologically, its dynamic essence, given that Life is what we are grappling with in a true healthcare system. Without a proper understanding of Life, we can’t really proceed very far without running into trouble. As we saw earlier, the materialistic version of life is that it arises by chance out of whirling particles, and the living organism can effectively be regarded as a complicated machine. Life itself, is more or less an afterthought, but the result is deadly (‘death by medicine’).
The very essence and nature of Life is activity. As activity, it is a power and as a power it must be a dynamic functional polarity in which the two poles of the primordial, initial creative power are distinct, but not separate aspects of a common functioning principle. Life is an antithetical unity: the two poles making up the unity of function are interdependent and interactive, that is dynamic, and, thus, self-generating.
The primordial creative power consists of two poles acting in dynamic or antithetic unity. One is centrifugal and elevating or ascending in nature, moving outward from core to periphery, that is extensive. This is what in Genesis is termed ‘the heavens’ (SHMYM or ‘shamayim’). The other power is centripetal and lowering or descending in nature, moving from periphery to core, that is compressive. This is termed ‘the earth’ (ARTZ or ‘aretz’) in Genesis.
Genesis 1.1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The extensive power is dominant and the compressive power subordinate, resulting in a net expansion.
From this initial creative function emerge a hierarchical subset of subordinate antithetical functions, such as masculine-feminine, light-dark, heat-cold, etc.
At the same time, there is an aspect of the universe (inert nature) that is entropic, that is, that tends to a reduction of available energy for activity/structure (order) over time. This aspect is overall contractive.
Thus, we have the dual aspects of Nature – vital and inert.
We have then a bi-polarity of function, one aspect of which tends to contraction, the other to expansion.
The operation of Life through antithetical functions constitutes Creation. Creation expands quantitatively – unfolding descending emanation), as well as qualitatively – emergent ascending evolution.
The creative antithetical power, that is, the common functioning principle of Life or Creation, was named by Wilhelm Reich, OR (Orgone). The expansive-compressive polaric nature of OR results in streams of OR energy that have a spinning wave configuration, the result of the pulsation produced by the constant alternation of expansion and compression.
These spinning waves of OR continually interact and come together, or superimpose (cosmic superimposition) to form an orgonotic (OR) unit or open orgonome.
At the point of most intense compression (densification) where two such streams superimpose, OR energy movement (Coleridge’s ‘free life’) is immobilized (‘frozen’) to such a degree that the resulting form (‘confining form’) we term matter, with greater or lesser mass depending on the degree of compression.
This form consists of a cosmic OR core and peripheral matter (membrane). The inner core OR and the peripheral membrane constitute an orgonomic unit, or closed orgonome, which has an egg-like shape, reflecting the very nature of OR. An individual wave or bionic vesicle of OR, bending in on itself, gives us a closed orgonome, as opposed to the previous open orgonome (see slideshow below).
The nature of the pulsatory OR is polaric in that if presents both as wave and node or particle (intensity of the OR energy).
The now separated OR contained within the membrane still has the motion of the cosmic OR ocean outside, but the flow of the internal OR is confined to and guided by the membrane.
Now we have two distinct activities.
The one activity involves the internal streams of OR within the closed orgonome, or organismic OR. These streams continue to superimpose, resulting in the creation of units of form (cells) which then result in groupings (tissue) and out of these distinct realms of form and function (organ and organ systems). The orgonome then becomes a biological organism.
The other activity involves the interaction between the organismic and the cosmic OR, or between the organism and its environment.
We also have a distinction between the OR pulsatory movement (functional bio-energetic pulsation), which is primary, and the mechanical pulsation of bodily fluids that results from the functional pulsation.
This derives from the difference between inorganic (inert) and organic (vital) nature.
Biological life of the organism is an activity involving a continuous stream of activating agents acting on a capacity of the organism to be activated (derived from the very nature of cosmic OR, which has an active (seminal) and receptive (germinal), or ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ polarity). This impression-responsion function produces internal vital energy (OR). Because of the creative nature of OR, more energy is produced than is needed for maintenance of life at its optimum level. The surplus must be discharged into the cosmic OR ocean (or other closed orgonomes) to maintain the necessary equilibrium between core and periphery.
Cosmic OR contains the potential for Life, which is activated by the creation of the primordial antithetical function, expansion (‘the heavens’) and compression (‘the earth’). Separated physically from the cosmic OR, the organismic OR (a forced state) cannot supply sufficient activation internally, but requires a constant impingement of activating agents (‘necessities of life’) from outside itself to produce the energy necessary to maintain and evolve its distinct bio-economy.
Activating agents or activants consist of an antithetical function: stimulants and sedatives, derivative from the primordial or common functioning principle (CFP) of Creation. Stimulants, in turn, consist of an antithesis between internal/external percitants and irritants. In each case, the second is the minor (recessive), and the first the major (dominant) pole of the function.
The role of the recessive side of the function is to keep the dominant side, which tends to expansion, within bounds. Life is neither expansion nor compression, but the activity between these two aspects, just as "music is the space between the notes" (Debussy). Without any sedative power, there would be too much stimulation, and without any irritant power in the equation, there would be too much excitation.
It is common to refer here to excitation involving excitants, but there are also activating agents coming from within the organism. Thus, we speak of stimulants consisting of a polarity between ‘percitants’ and irritants, and percitants then being distinguished between excitants, those life promoting agents coming from without, from the environment, and incitants, those coming from within.
Initially, the organism relies mostly on excitants, but as it develops and evolves, it generates its own activating agents, and progressively becomes less dependent on external agents. As it does so, and as co-creator within Creation, the organism generates its own emanation, a counter-emanation or ambient that contains those factors that are resonant to, that is, that enhance the life of the organism.
Initially, the excitants will predominate, acting on the excitability capacity (vital potential) to produce excitation (vital energy) within. As the organism evolves, it becomes more and more capable, that is, develops the inherent capacity for incitability (creative potential) that is acted upon by incitants, resulting in incitation (creative energy).
This process of conversion of a percitant into percitation (excitation or incitation) is dynamic, consisting of a capacity first, to receive the percitant, that is, able to be excited or incited, and second, to react to the percitant so as to produce percitation (life energy).
This internal dynamic involves catabolism and anabolism, or the break-down and building up process, with catabolic activity predominating to produce percitation (excitation/incitation). Catabolism-anabolism, or metabolism is the dynamic of interaction between a physiological percitant and the bio-chemical complexion or make-up of the organism (physical substance).
The amount of excitation and/or incitation (percitation) is, in a state of health, in excess of the organism’s requirements. Some of this surplus energy is used internally for system restoration, the rest must be discharged.
The entire process of percitant à percitability à percitation is dynamic, as the production of life energy in turn triggers a restoration of percitability (anabolic predominance).
Thus, metabolism consists of a catabolic (break-down) and anabolic (building-up)process.
The Living Power has a Living Economy that consists of an antithetical unity between consumption of life energy (auto-consumption) and its replenishment (auto-regeneration). The maintenance and optimization of this living process depends on the continuous optimal provision, quantitatively and qualitatively, of the necessities of life, as well as the optimal make-up of the various organs and their living functions. Excitation and incitation depend on appropriate restorative substances (nutrient repletion). Thus, the dynamic aspect is the formal and substance the physical condition of life.
This replenishment is not entire, as some slight loss always results, which leads to a gradual diminution of energy production and organismic structural integrity – the natural aging (‘aging gracefully’) organism loses its integrity, as the living power, OR, no longer produces sufficient energy to sustain it (stem cell telomere management). At that point, the organismic form starts to disintegrate and the basic units of OR (bions) return to the cosmic OR ocean. The material physical body, to the extent it is part of inert nature is subject to entropy, or the physical tendency to dissolution into its constituent elements (periodic table).
Thus, life is energy, but OR energy, that is, energy before matter, not electrical, magnetic, or electro-magnetic energy, which is energy after matter.
Natural aging can be slowed by regimenal measures (‘macro-biotics’ - optimal detoxification and nutrient repletion), but can also then be accelerated (premature aging) by faulty non-resonant selection. Life ultimately is romantic, that is, it depends on relationships we enter into with the world around us, the choices we make regarding people, places, things that we draw into our orbit, consciously or unconsciously. Your life, qualitatively and quantitatively, literally depends on your choices. Romantic Healthcare is the science of making resonant choices, ones that enhance life and increase mind and consciousness. OK, enough for today. Class dismissed!
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