health and fluency
To children, history is just a comic strip of tired old tales and odd people, yet still they are absorbed by their schooling. It is a magician's misdirection, a sleight-of hand: even as they are focused on decoding their experiences these are being framed for them in the categories their society presents. But though they might be crippled still they rebel. Their cries echo up from the playgrounds: "Crazy! Let's do it!", "Wicked! You're mental!" Children don't need schooling to recognize leaders; they recognize them instinctively.
As we gather information about our environment from our senses, we synthesize the whole that we come to perceive. No being can see past this. Children, born expecting their world to make sense, see only foundations around them and build on these regardless. We learn as best we can in a lifelong recursion that begins at conception, relying on information that is limited as well as broadened by our experience.
Reality is real yet we can only imagine it - like the floor of a cave in the darkness felt as pressure from the head of a walking stick against the palm of our hand. Our sense of it, of our life and environment, is just a model we construct in our minds, formed from those elements we can recognize - those that have significance for us. Even though things are not as obvious as they might appear reality still makes sense - whether or not that is clear - it's just that all we have of it is our perception.
In order to survive, every being must communicate appropriately with an environment made up of not only inanimate entities but animate ones. As relationships have developed between these, societies formed, and as they became more complex and interdependent, multi-cellular, modular, and symbiotic beings evolved. For social as well as individual needs, communication developed and languages evolved. These reflected their inherited pre-conceptions and framed their perception, good or bad, right or wrong, mad or not.
Communicating constantly and unavoidably - with non-verbal more than verbal language - each of us expresses a unique, nested set of cultures. These cultures, of our family, community, school, profession, region, and state, aggregate into one that is singularly personal and unique. The understanding that this provides frames both our experiences and our learning - even that which concerns language and culture. For every individual it is this cultural understanding that makes sense of what they do and who they are.
As well as patterning our environment with constructions and artifacts, our culture patterns our perception. Through the paradigm it has provided we have learnt how to anticipate and interpret the responses we receive from the world around us and how to sustain our society by balancing responses of candor and kindness. Categories and patterns that seem concrete to us evaporate whenever we discover that this paradigm is not universal. Shocked, we find ourselves lost and speechless, tourists or immigrants, happy to be able to huddle together.
Every individual being engages with reality by sensing a world of essentially relative data. For us, this random stream is filtered, and translated into functional information through a unique, personal culture that expands outwards from that of our mother. This provides the trellis that guides the development of our psyche as it crystallizes around our genetic algorithm, impartially incorporating new understanding as well as privation as it builds moment by moment, each layer of our experience meshing with those laid down before.
To successfully integrate with society and obtain its protection and support, learning to communicate effectively is vital. Being shunned is often a death sentence. Infants are instinctively aware of this - as the insistence of their demands for conversation shows. Their drive to communicate readily overwhelms their other fears as well as their drives of hunger and thirst. We cry first, and then we suckle - all animals do. The pattern of expression we learn during ontogeny determines the quality of the conversations we have with the world around us. In later life, away from our family home, through it we must learn to negotiate meaning with those from cultures other than our own.
The survival of each being depends upon it making sense of its environments, external and internal, and appropriately communicating with these. Our success in doing so determines not only our biological well-being but also our mental well-being - its meta-biological expression. When understood as distinct from an ineffable soul, the psyche is a label for the fluency of our communication skills. It is engagement with these that determines any success that mental-wellbeing interventions have.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill):.. On the night of 10th May, 1941, with one of the last bombs of the last serious raid, our House of Commons was destroyed by the violence of the enemy, and we have now to consider whether we should build it up again, and how, and when. We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us
Hansard, from the UK House of Commons debate on 28 October 1943, vol 393 cc403-73
Whatever and however health conditions are presented, they intrinsically have impacts on mental-wellbeing. In addition, all interventions that are made do too, whether through surgery, chemical or physical therapies, psychotherapy, formal or informal social support, or simply through the act of engaging with healthcare providers, as each of these necessarily involves profound cognitive interaction.
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