Observations on an Experiment with the Body-Mind Device

The other day, I made a demonstration video on the effect of depressive and activating stimuli on the output of the Body-Mind Reader.

Making that video was a pain in the butt. I’m new to Youtube production, but I rather imagine those of you who do this sort of thing, have had days like this, where nothing goes right. Take 1: barrage of text messages. New TicTok video for you! Call the bank! Ex-girlfriend wants to give you grief! Take 2: belching elsewhere in the room. Take 3: brain fart, forgot lines. Take 4: Cat walks on keyboard. Take 5: internet goes on the fritz. You get the picture.

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Chronic fatigue, POTS, and HRV

As Dr. Bill has been working on the Body-Mind Reader, he’s been focused on people who have insufficient parasympathetic tone. Using the car analogy, this would be a person who isn’t good at putting on the brakes, and it would be manifested by difficulty thinking properly.

I’ve grown interested in the converse; namely, people who are riding the brakes all the time.

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Considering Heart Rate (HR) and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Simultaneously with the Body-Mind Reader

Heart Rate (HR) and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) each indicate aspects of physical and mental functioning. Compared to Low HR, High HR indicates the person has more ENERGY. HRV, the change in the interval between heart beats, is a measure of CONTROL. Greater variability produces greater CONTROL. When we consider these variables simultaneously, we can assess the degree of ALIGNMENT in one’s nervous system. The chart below shows nine combinations of ENERGY and CONTROL. When aligned, CONTROL is proportional to ENERGY. We can think of ENERGY as the accelerator of a car, and CONTROL as the brake. More braking is required at high speeds than low speeds. Having too much or too little braking creates an unbalanced, unaligned nervous condition.

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Conspicuous Consumption

I just came back from a Walmart Super Store. Therein one can seemingly buy ANYTHING. The place is gigantic and stocked with food, clothing, hardware, kitchen ware, camping gear, drugs, electronics, home and office furniture, bath items, toys, automotive items, and on and on. It is the the Mount Everest of an economy built on constant demand for many essential and many stupid products. To me, the place is entirely depressing. Maybe it’s efficient to be able to buy anything you want in one place. But this is not what is disheartening about being there. It is seeing all the buyers trudge sadly through the aisles looking for what they think they need. They search for crap instead of feelings of friendship and love. The things that really matter. These feelings have been replaced by the need to acquire some of what they need and much of what they could do without.

I found it telling that when the virus quarantine was first lifted, people crowed into stores in order to buy new clothes! You know what makes up the largest percentage of land fills? Clothes. Things people throw away. Modern societies depend on constant demand for consumer goods, needed and inane. This requires constant production, ruthless competition for money, and status seeking. These in turn create alienation, class warfare, envy, denial of health needs, environmental degradation, racism, and the election of a schmuck like Trump. Consumer economies have worked to overshoot the carrying capacity of the planet and of human societies. I think this will all end soon and violently .

Psychical Impotence

Many males have an inability to enjoy sex with one they love or difficulty loving another they have sex with. This Freud called ‘Psychical Impotence’. Usually, a person who the man can perform with sexually is debased, thought of a whore. Hence the syndrome gets its other name: The Madonna-Whore Complex. Freud felt that this occurs when a man has unresolved Oedipus conflicts. That is, tender feelings of love reminds him of his original love, the mother. Having sex with one’s mother, a Madonna figure, is of course, incest. Such a grave sin is imagined to be certainly followed by great punishment. Psychoanalysts call this fear “castration anxiety”. Such intense fear makes it impossible to get an erection, hence the label Psychical Impotence. It’s not impotence proper because the person can perform sex as long as it is not with a loved one.

Much pornography is geared to men with the Madonna-Whore Complex. Woman are debased to make them attractive to the psychically impotent male who fears love. The severity of the complex runs from mild to severe. Patients with a less severe form of the disorder report becoming turned off, even disgusted by sex without love. This is improves their prognosis. The alternative, love without sex may turn into a more complete relationship in which one can have satisfactory sex with a loved one. That is, they can become Psychically and Physically Potent.

The Brain is in the Body, the Mind is in the Brain

This website is nominally about body and mind interactions. The body includes the brain. And the mind depends on the brain to function. Everything is connected. In the not too distant past, the mind was seen as totally ineffable. The words ‘spirit’ and ‘mind’ were often used interchangeably. That is, they were both considered beyond understanding. Today, with MRI devices, we are able to correlate the physical actions of a person’s brain with their subjective experiences of thoughts and feelings. In other words, we can relate body phenomena to psychological events.

Freud was a neurologist who built a psychological theory of the mind. He knew, of course, that the psychology depended on the biology. He thought that 100 years after he built the theory of psychoanalysis, we would be able to see connections between mental and physical events. It turns out he was exactly right! The field of Neuropsychoanalysis came into being in 1999, 100 years after Freud’s publication of ‘The Interpretation of Dreams” of 1900.

The biology of dreaming began to be be studied in the early 1950’s. Rapid Eye Movement Sleep (REM) was discovered then. Kleitman, Jouvet, and others found that the person had the most vivid dreams while their eyes darted back and forth during REM–a clear connection between biological and subjective experience. Animals from sharks to humans have REM sleep. So, certainly, REM sleep has been conserved over evolution as a key feature of maintaining brain functions, and it seems reasonable that lions, dogs, cats and apes have subjective experiences when in REM states.

Besides being able to measure brain and mind connections via MRI and EEG methods, a great deal is now know about how chemicals, especially psychiatric drugs, operate to affect feelings, thoughts and overt behavior. Antidepressants like prozac, stimulants such as ritalin, mood stabilizers like Lithium, and antipsychotics like Seroquel affect subjective experiences in more or less reliable ways. These drugs work at the level of neurons, the single cells which make up the brain and its connections to the rest of he the body.

So body-brain-mind connections are being increasingly illuminated. Today, there are more neuroscientists than any other kinds of scientists. Formerly genetics research drew the most biologists. Now it’s neuroscience. Computer technology is very related to brain-mind studies. Computers made it clear that concrete, physical things could do something like thinking. Such insights have transformed the world. This is very exciting and sometimes disagreeable. While these discoveries can enhance our lives, they also can be used by nefarious forces within governments, the military, and corporations. The world is now in a very unstable condition driven in large part by advances in computing which affect energy, agriculture, communication, manufacturing, education, medicine, government, the military, and frankly everything else.

I am not too optimistic about the short term effect of humankind’s scientific advances. Some lunatics deny the validity of science altogether. They want to think what they think regardless of scientific knowledge. This has been on stark display during the politicization of the Covid pandemic. But whenever one of these science deniers needs heart surgery, life saving medications, or even a root canal procedure, they run to the best scientific medical professional they can find. Go figure.

Dying By the Sword

If we live by the sword, we die by the sword. Because we eventually get old.

In youth, aggressiveness and fast-twitch reflexes are enough. In middle age, it becomes a matter of fighting smarter, and then picking your battles. There will come a day when even that’s not enough.

That’s true in a more general sense with other forms of competition. With money competition, we tend to peak older, as being smart, and picking our battles, has a good return on investment. With sex, we tend to peak younger, because the physical and psychological equipment required to compete in the sexual arena wears out quickly. Yet the same principle applies. Money competition ends with the heart attack. Sexual competition kills the spirit before the body; but despair is not a formula for long life, and the body will follow soon enough.

“I will fight no more forever,” said Chief Joseph. Because he was an old man when he said it, it doesn’t matter if he said it in victory or defeat, as the outcome is the same.

For men who have gone to war have the benefit of a certain perspective. Many find they have had enough of killing before they are fully adults. Likewise, the unavoidable task before each of us is to resolve, at an age young or old, to step off the karmic merry-go-round. To rise above the cycle of betrayal and redemption. To find a little farm. To ride off on a motorcycle. To become a spouse. To mark out a corner of the world, perhaps with a picket fence, where we can live out what’s coming to us in peace.

It’s not that we have nothing to do, or that we seek to do nothing. If we are alive, we have important work to do. As to what that work might be, that’s a different conversation for a different day. The point is, there’s a “step one” involved. That’s true whether we live by the sword literally, or symbolically.

Do You Consult Astrologers or Tarot Card Readers?

I wrote two days ago about two different ways people use to comfort themselves. One is getting comfort from themselves or other people. The other is asking god for help. The latter method involves appealing not to a human being but to a giant force that is thought to have created the entire world and should thereby be able to solve any problem. When a problem seems too great to overcome by oneself or other mortals, people often turn to the universe or god to help us. Awful problems for which we seem to need divine intervention include losing a spouse, losing children, terminal disease, and so on. These things no person can undo.

Besides god proper, there are other systems of belief that people seek out when help seems unavailable in the 3-D world. These include astrology, tarot cards, fortune tellers, and other so called ‘mystical’ or ‘occult’ methods. These sorts of comfort systems involve an appeal to the mysterious forces of the universe, as do appeals to god. Belief in the occultism is often called ‘spiritual’. Many people today say, “I am spiritual, not religious”. So there is an assumption that belief in god, which is central to all religions, is not the same as belief in, for example, astrology. But both sorts of things involve some belief in the power of invisible forces.

Tarot card readings can no doubt help one feel better when there are no obvious solutions to their problems. Most of the tarot and astrology experts on the internet make predictions and give advice that are comforting. Of course, this increases business. No one wants to hear from a psychic or anyone else that the future looks gloomy. Practitioners of spiritual practices explain this bias by imaging that ,in the end, spirits will make everything okay. This assumption is not too different from that made by religions. But religious faith usually includes the idea that if one’s behavior has been sinful, it may take some special effort to get god to help you out. You might go to hell perhaps. In some contrast, spiritualism has less rules. Everything will be okay eventually, regardless of how much of a miscreant one has been.

Some say, “Everything happens for a reason” Now that doesn’t seem especially profound. Of course everything happens for a reason if you believe in causality. What happens today is caused by something that happened previously. But religious and spiritual traditions suspend the usual rules of causality prefered by science. Scientists would think that if a giant rock rolls over you, it is likely you’ll never get up again. But religious or occultist might imagine that the rock fell on you due to your ‘karma’ or ‘god’s will’. These things plays out in the long run. Bad and good karma , and good and sinful behavior will influence what happens in the long run.But as the economist John Maynard Keynes said, “The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.” And that kind of sums this all up. Death seems inevitable unless one imagines that one’s soul never dies. This is, more or less, what both religionist and spiritualists think. Isn’t it?

Horrid Health Care System in USA

I know both the patient and provider sides of healthcare delivery in America. To bill insurance companies for patient visits I had to hire a biller to navigate the absurd complicated rules for getting reimbursed. I had to pay the biller 7% of my fees just to collect the money. Insurers in America are horrible institutions. Every claim they pay is a business “loss”. Of course, they don’t want to pay for what customers pay them to pay. They exclude this or that type of treatment and charge ridiculous premiums. For myself, I had to pay $550 per month for my health policy, and it didn’t include dental care. Aren’t teeth a critical part of the body? Most plans don’t pay properly for mental health disorders. Isn’t the mind important? Most CEO’s of insurance and drug companies may make as much as $30,000,000 a year!

In American health, A few people get wildly rich and most others get shafted. We have to pay too much for less than adequate coverage. Copays, coinsurance, exclusions, and deductibles all obscure the costs policy holders have to pay. Have you tried to read the contracts for the health care insurance? As Woody Guthrie said, “Some will rob you with a six gun and some with a fountain pen.” Corporations don’t exist to serve your needs but to get more and more of your money in exchange for fewer and fewer services and products.

The insurers’ key advantage is if you don’t treat a heart attack, stroke, brain aneurysm, cancer, mental illness, lung disease, etc, you will die. This motivates every shmo to buy the crappy insurance. Everyone knows the system stinks, unless you are an insurer or biller or drug company. But somehow many if not most hospitals in the US are very close to bankruptcy. I don’t quite understand this but I think it is because insurers benefit from cost cutting measures enforced on hospitals. After all, hospital stays cost an immense amounts of money. Insurers want to discourage hospital spending so they underpay for hospital costs. This had led to, for example, breast cancer surgery being an outpatient procedure. Keep ’em out of the hospital or ’em get ’em out as fast as possible. Lot’s of healthcare and comfort in that, right?

I have seriously considered dying before getting medical services that might push me into bankruptcy, as it has very many patients. “Your money or your life?”. I would like say, “Go to hell, shoot me!”. Of course, that is a rather radical decision. But if everyone did it the medical industrial complex would collapse. Its like with Trump. The only way to defeat him is to not pay attention to him. Call his bluff. Ignore the bastard who is working to ruin your life. “Yeah, come and get me!” Would you sacrifice your life to take down the oppressors? It a war. And, in war people often sacrifice their lives for something they believe in.

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