There is that paradox that reveals how we keep ourselves stuck by trying so diligently to change.  Two entries ago, I described how locked in fear I kept myself by forcing a transition.  Yesterday, I suggested how grief can linger longer if pressed to go away.  Fear, grief, anger and joy are the four seasons of our revolving internal world.

A premise of this work is that evolution unfolds on several scales.  Familiar to us is our own personal transformations and the societal transitions we observe.  We are less focused on our ontological development–our maturational and developmental unfolding–and on the evolution of species over time.  All four scales; biology, society, ontogeny and biography, manifest the same or similar patterns.  All four scales are evidence of one process.  The four scales are four ways to observe consciousness at play.

In a similar fashion to the way that physicists smash stuff together to see how the universe is formed, we clog up the works of our emotions to get perspective or achieve some wisdom on the nature of the now.  Ensconced in some particularly powerful feeling, we seek to accelerate the process of our departing from the experience.  By so doing, we end up lingering, experiencing, learning.

“The existence of mammary ridges on the embryo concording with ancient synapsids suggests that those ancient animals also had nutrient-supplying ridges on their bodies for which there is no paleontological evidence.  On the human embryo, the mammary ridges gradually coalesce and finally resolve into discrete nipples on day 58.  This event concords almost exactly with the lowermost Triassic, where the fossils of Cynognathus are found.  Discrete mammary glands and a fused secondary palate in the embryo coincide with a fused secondary palate in the fossil record.” (Swan, Lawrence W. 1990.  The Concordance of Ontogeny with Phylogeny.  Bioscience 40: 380)

As profound a transformation as that which created mammals is the evolution that we live through in the womb.  As individuals, we have literally experienced a half billion years of changes.  We are masters of change.  Every emotion that passes through our body is another opportunity to experience change.  I am partially convinced that every personality idiosyncrasy that we create to mask an emotion we don’t want to feel is but a deliberate attempt to play with the process of transformation.  Part of play is making believe.  We are playing at being separate.  It’s a struggle to maintain this fiction of individuality.  Our bodies know different.  Our bodies breathe with the wisdom of that half-billion year journey taken those 10 moon months.  Our bodies know that the present is directly linked to every moment in the past.

An emotion is the immediate experience of an ecological fluctuation–the impact of an environmental influence on the now.  An emotion reveals an experience in our body–the same body built from this planet’s memory of change.  As walking, talking, living, breathing registries of time, our emotions are like the changing weather–rhythmic ice ages–that compel transformations in species.

Each man is not an island.  Every person is a planet.  Like the seasons, our four emotions dance from year to year.


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