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So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

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Metaphysica Transponderae
by: Zanzibar

**This writing is a follow-up of a journal entry I made a little while ago exploring the roots of mental illness from both a biological and metaphysical standpoint. The working analogy here is that your being consists of a mind, a body, and a soul, the former two being of this world and the last being of another. The soul is inherently good and made in the image of God, the infinite, or whatever metaphysical Diety or Being you would like to imagine. The only way a soul can do evil is when it fails to stop evil or omits good. The body and mind are neither evil nor good, though they suffer from the temptations of the flesh, and thus without the guidance of the soul (e.g. conscience), are prone to making ethical blunders. It is really only a thought experiment, though I would welcome your comments. The piece is built out of the analogy from the original journal entry- that the communcation between your mind and body and your soul is not unlike that of an imperfectly functioning two-way radio.**

I begin with a quote from Marcel Proust:

It is in moments of illness that we are compelled to recognize that we live not alone but chained to a creature of a different kingdom, whole worlds apart, who has no knowledge of us and by whom it is impossible to make ourselves understood: our body.

Part I: The Enduring Nature of the Personality

Imagine the case of the wife whose husband was stuck for hours and hours in a coal mine in West Virginia. One among many waiting wives, she was the only one to get her husband back that day. But was it her husband that she got back? Due to the lack of oxygen in the mine, over that extended period of time, he experienced brain damage, impairing his abilities and thought processes. (A note: The last news I could find of this story said that he may be suffering from severe brain damage. I could not find an item of news which told whether or not this was borne out to be the case. For the purposes of this thought experiment, we will assume that it was indeed the case. For the sake of the woman, I hope it was not.)
In the minds of the public, the woman¡¦s extreme good fortune at getting her husband back turns suddenly sour--- the other women, struck with terrible grief, will bury their husbands and grieve forever over their loss. Someday perhaps they will move on and find happiness elsewhere. They will receive solace in the sympathy of their community members.
But let us return to the lucky woman whose husband returned. The other women are surely envious of her good fortune, they wonder why she was blessed with the safe return of a husband while their husbands were taken from them. What did her husband do in the cave to survive? How did he secure his advantage above the others? She does not receive the sympathy of a widow. However, she is a widow as surely as the others, is she not? Her husband is gone; the man with whom she now lives is a stranger. His mannerisms, likes and dislikes, and most importantly intelligence and personality have all changed. He is no longer able to bring in money for the family, so she must support the family and him, with his likely increased medical bills, all without the benefit of life insurance. She cannot move on, and she cannot grieve.
But inside the man who was her husband, let us imagine what has changed: Is his original personality still there? Is his capacity for understanding still there? Is his soul the same? Certainly the answer to the second question is no. His capacity for understanding has been reduced because whether or not his soul contains a desire for understanding, the machinery that facilitates this exchange has been compromised. The answer to the first one is less certain. Surely if your personality is a manifestation of your soul, then your personality does not fundamentally change. However, the aspects of your personality that are manifested in your actions can change depending on the chemical imbalances of your brain. The answer to the third question I will optimistically judge to be ¡§yes¡¨. I believe that no matter what the malfunction of that other being you are chained to in life, your soul is eternal, and can only be changed or affected by matters of the spirit.

Part II: Meditation as a pathway to Eternity

Again I call upon the analogy of a two-way radio. Your soul communicates with your body and to some extent affects its actions. Your body is the outlet that faces the world; your soul is the outlet that faces eternity. Both are equally important for navigating life on earth. Each contributes information that results in your final actions and words. Each can over-take the other in times during which one or the other finds it necessary. Thus signals of bodily pain can be fully ignored for long periods of time when the soul believes something to be worthy and chooses to override it. In cases this may result in a kind of out-of-body experience: this is a dangerous state of being in which the body has been neglected, perhaps starved, perhaps exposed to toxins, and it is still not being allowed control. The signal pathway between the body and the soul is stretched and becomes tenuous. In the best of circumstances, this type of stress on the body„³soul connection is voluntary and attempted while exercising appropriate caution; i.e., in the case of an aesthetic who retreats into the mountains for meditation and fasting. In this case enlightenment may be achieved though a regime of meditation that allows the soul free reign to explore eternity. Instead of forcing the soul to try to manipulate the body (as a worker in a clean lab might stick his hands into a pair of stiff gloves and attempt to manipulate a delicate experiment on the other side of the wall), the aesthetic attempts to allow the body to sit still, forget its own need for control, and listen to what the soul sees on the other side. This technique, if followed properly and gradually, can be extremely rewarding. It requires, however, a strong and disciplined soul and a passive body, which in the best cases does not feel many of the carnal urges that direct many of humankind¡¦s actions. However, ignoring the body completely for the sake of the soul is not a recommended path for most, especially if the avenue is pursued without proper training and in a haphazard and defensive manner. Consider the case of abuse.

Part III: The Case of Abuse.

In the case of abuse, the soul, for the protection of its health and ideals, isolates itself from the body. It is not a manner of the body slipping into quietness in order that one can hear more clearly the soul; it is a case of the soul refusing to hear what the body is sending it. When it receives signals about what is happening to the body it begins to construe them as signals from a different body than its own. This, as many psychologists have witnessed, can result in a series of serious psychological disorders including a multiple personality disorder, in which the soul has so isolated the body that the body begins to seek guidance elsewhere, many times in imperfect substitutes of a soul that the corporeal mind has invented in desperation.
This is why, in the case of abuse leading to mental illness, the mental illness is curable with therapy. Since the actual biological/metaphysical connection between mind and soul is not broken; it is simply the parties are unwilling to communicate, so the therapist can coax the soul back into accepting ownership over the body, using such techniques as telling the person that she is not at fault, that she did not do anything morally wrong (or repugnant to the soul), and that she is just as worthy and loveable a human being as before.
With the return of the soul, the mind can begin to erase its bad habits of listening to voices of its own invention. This is a separate part of the healing process from that which unalienated the soul; since the mind is a biological entity, it is accomplished when the a stable and healthy environment is provided upon which platform the mind can build new routines and abandon the unhealthy ones (like the retraining of muscle memories). Depending on the character of the soul, the healing process may take a short time or a long time, but it is important to note that the mind, having already developed these unhealthy pathways, never completely forgets them. While in a normal, healthy person a disconnection of the soul caused by severe emotional trauma means that the mind will be sorting through static for a certain amount of time in search of it; in a person with a history of mental illness of this type the mind without the influence of the soul can fall directly back into its pattern of self-constructed personalities- and ¡§madness¡¨.

Part IV: The Case of Criminal Guilt
This type of soul-body instability can also happen in a case where the soul feels as if the person has committed an act it can not reconcile with its holy nature, and either wishes for the body to feel pain in retribution for the act (transferring the guilt for the act to the carnal self) or fights continuously with the mind, the latter reasoning that a crime is not a crime unless discovered, and the soul knowing that the crime itself makes he who commits it morally deficient, and tries to rectify that knowledge with the knowledge the soul has of its own divinity and its grasp upon infinity. This results in harmful physical manifestations such as we associate with the guilty: sweating, shaking, pacing, bad dreams, etc. This person is not mad; this person is in the critical stage between the former choice, to punish the body (which, depending upon the severity of punishment and the depth of effect the experience has on the soul, may result in absolution and the forming of better structured and more moral mental pathways), and the choice that follows. This choice involves the retreat by the soul from the act in much of the way an abuse victim¡¦s soul retreats from its body, leaving the mind in a state both guilty and isolated. This can dissolve into mental illness of a benign kind, but more often this dissolves into a mental illness of a more sinister kind- with the absence of a conscience directing soul, the mind and body settle into a pattern of criminal activity, in part because that is what it was doing upon the departure of the soul, and in part because it wishes the soul to return and it remembers that the last time the soul paid it attention was when the violent action occurred. If the mind becomes fixated upon the absence of the soul, it can result in an increase in the amplitude and horror of the criminal actions, which can be designated the acts of the criminally insane. Either of these results in a person seemingly without guilt or conscience. This case is less easy to treat. In order to coax back the influence of the soul, it would be necessary to reconcile the actions of the body with the values of the soul. In the case of abuse, this is not as difficult because the only hurdle lies in convincing the victim that the events affecting their body were not their fault and do not constitute a failing of their soul. In the case of a criminal, say the caliber of a murderer, it is neither helpful nor true to say that the murderer¡¦s victim was truly the perpetrator and the murderer the victim. In the case of a single murder, it is easier to justify the murder as being a crime of passion (which is usually a crime precipitated by a series of conditions that are not likely to be repeated) and justify it to the soul as something that will ¡§never happen again.¡¨ This does not heal the connection; the soul still distrusts itself and the mind and body, and if it does not accept some form of absolution it will go though the rest of life attempting to make up for its action, sometimes by doing good (as if the good done will balance out the previous bad) and sometimes by bodily punishing itself as recompense. In the worst cases, this solution ends in suicide.
In the case of multiple murders or repeat and heinous crime, it is extremely difficult to justify to the soul what the unit of soul and body has done, or more correctly, what the body has done and what the soul failed to prevent. This is one of the cases where a long sentence in prison is likely unhelpful. The soul is permanently absent and there is little besides a spiritual absolution that will ever reconcile it to the body. In these cases, spiritual intervention can be attempted, if unsuccessful, life imprisonment can be suggested; this will likely not help and simply delay the inevitable- that the person will die; and since their soul will be unaware or disintegrated, it will never be free to explore eternity.

Part V: Biological Mental Illness

In other cases pertaining to mental illness, the trouble in the connection between soul and body is not due to the soul; but to the body. The body does not have the capacity, as the soul does, to retreat into another plane of existence; it is imprisoned in this one. The body does in some cases dominate the relationship, resulting in lust, laziness, obesity, and other carnal vices. In these cases the soul does not withdraw, it is simply ignored by the body and mind and taken for granted. This does not cause any sort of mental illness, unless its vices become so involved and disgusting to the soul that the soul cannot reconcile them with its divinity, as described above. Thus the type of mental illness that is described here is not due to the metaphysical strength of the body in the balance between body and soul. Instead, this type of mental illness is of biological origin, meaning that the biological and neurological pathways in the brain that constitute the ¡§receiving device¡¨ that the body uses to communicate with the soul is physically damaged and not working properly. This can be thought of in terms of the man whose brain was damaged in the coal mine. While some of the changes in his personality or intelligence were likely caused by the trauma of being stuck for some 36 hours in a mine shaft and hearing and seeing all of his co-workers perish around him while he had time to meditate upon his life and whether or not he was ready for a journey into death (and can be mitigated by therapy and counseling), the simple lack of oxygen in the mine shaft caused many of his brain cells to die. Since brain cells are in the class of cells which cannot be regenerated (nerve cells are also in this category), the ¡§receiving antenna¡¨ capacity of his brain will never work as well as it did before, and he will never regain all of the properties of his old personality. His mind¡¦s communication with his soul will always be incomplete.
In this circumstance we have discussed the physical oxygen deprivation and cell death, which does not cause madness, but simply the commonly termed ¡§brain damage¡¨ by which we imply the slowing of mental faculties, the impairment of recognition and memory, and the changing of personality traits. However, this is also true for purely chemical imbalances, such as some types of depression. Depression can be precipitated by the stress of the soul and the body¡¦s reaction to it or compensation for it, but since the body is a physical being, the problem is manifested physically, and the chemical balance can only be solved with a physical treatment, such as psychiatric drugs. This is especially apparent in cases where depression occurs without a precipitating event, a seemingly ¡§random¡¨ depression. In both cases the problem is a carnal defect caused by a chemical malfunction of the body, it manifests itself chemically (and in the emotional machinery of the body and mind, listlessness, tears, an excess of dopamine, etc.), and it can only be solved chemically. This is why schizophrenia can be divided into several types. Some schizophrenia comes as a result of abuse or a traumatic experience. This type should not react particularly well to drugs, as the drugs would be treating the symptoms and not the cause. In ¡§randomly occurring¡¨ or hereditary schizophrenia, drugs should prove more helpful, as the cause is bodily and possibly genetic, and treating it chemically is sufficient. At present this hypothesis would be difficult to test, as the workings of the disease is not well understood. If it was, this could be tested by studying the random schizophrenic mind and determining the pathway and inner workings of the disease, and proposing a biological correction measure. If the model is correct, the correction measure should be sufficient for the random schizophrenic but it should not be effective for the trauma-induced schizophrenic. In the case of the trauma-induced schizophrenic, drugs can be administered, and it is possible that they will treat the symptoms of the sufferer (thus making it more difficult to test the model now, as both types of sufferers will have their problems temporarily relieved by the use of a temporary and imperfect psychiatric drug), but in order to achieve true freedom from the disease therapy is the necessary elixir. It is my hypothesis that should such a cure be developed, it will be successful in curing patients only of randomly occurring or hereditary schizophrenia. It is also my hypothesis that a patient suffering from random or hereditary schizophrenia will not seem to benefit from therapy.

Probably likely to be continued....

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