It is obviously private, yet it cannot be concealed, in that “it is where you are,” in unusual 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 our 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 we were communicating creatures, and in the vocal sounds recognize patterns that contained purpose and intent. To one extent or another, all creatures us 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 proportion of the various elements upon our planet; the being surmised from our method of locomotion, appendages, and the nature of our 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.
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 cells, for the desire of communication and motion does not belong to man and woman, or even animals, alone. Man’s and woman’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 and woman’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 if 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 possess such conscious knowledge, yet the majority speak quite well.
In one way or another, therefore, it certainly seems that our body possesses a kind of quite pragmatic information, and acts upon it. We can express almost any idea that we want in vocal terms, even if we have hardly any conception at all of the way in which our 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. Though 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 inter-change, 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 our level of activity our 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 pass in our own country is in one way or another affected. When there are psychic earthquakes in other areas of the world, then we are also affected, and usually to the same degree.
In the same way, if one portion of our 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.
Simply — without some illnesses, the body could not endure. First of all, the body must be in a state of constant change, making decisions far too fast for us 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 our interpretation, therefore, for the existence of threats of non-biological nature. So they depend upon our assessment.
If that assessment correlates with biological ones, we have a good working relationship with the body. It can react swiftly and clearly. When we 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 our 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 the respect. Our conscious mind, however, directs our 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 our concepts, learning is impossible without imagination at any level.
In our terms, the imagination of the animals is limited. There’s is not merely confined to the elements of previous experience, however,. They can imagine events that have never happened to them. Man’s and woman’s abilities in this respect are far more complicated, for in his/her imagination he/she deals with probabilities. In any given period of time, with one physical body, he or she can anticipate or perform an infinitely vaster number of events — each one remaining probable until he or she 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.