Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thoughts on zombie states

Deric Bownds always has interesting bits blogged at his site, Mindblog (see link to the right). Today, he offered up this: Some Rambling on Selves and Purposes.

I won't recreate the links in his post. Just go to his post and click on them yourself. Especially, read the quote from the Blakeslees' book.

Ginger Campbell recently interviewed Christof Koch (neuroscientist) (see her show notes page for podcast #22) who has many insights into what he calls "zombie" behavior. Zombie behaviors are those which have grown so automatic that no one really has to really be "home" for them to be enacted. Much ordinary social exchange could go into this category - conventional behavior, smiling, etc. I think much PT practice can easily become zombie-like as well. This is a little-recognized and glossed-over possibility. If I am in pain, and am taking my body in to see if I can get some help for it, I don't want a zombie PT treating me. I want someone who will come alive to the pain output my nervous system is broadcasting throughout my body, and I want that individual to care about it and for it. I want her or him, to demonstrate this care, by handling me gently.

I will need this consideration from them, for no matter how together I may seem on the outside, inside I will feel thoroughly discombobulated. My nervous system will be completely sensitized to any hint of any lack of attentive care, especially while being touched - my nervous system will be reading theirs like mad. It will be like I have no boundaries, and I will rely on my caretaker to have ones that are adequate, both with respect to my physicality AND inside themselves, a simple ability to attend, to stay focused, to not permit interruption from outside the treatment room during this process, and to set up the treatment crucible with an optimum length of time in which our two nervous systems can be connected through manual contact.

I will most definitely need to be reassured in the midst of my decompensation, wittingly or unwittingly, and will need a helper who is NOT enacting behaviours from some disconnected state of awareness or attention. I want nothing less from a care giver of mine than I offer to others as their chosen Human Primate Social Groomer.

The only way to not become a zombie, insofar as I can gather, is to practice attending to things (with whatever illusion we can scrape together as an "I" construct), simple, physiological things like breath, like one's own movement/motor output, finding something fresh and new in it every single day, until the day comes when finally we no longer need to think about constructing any more "days" - our personal arrow of time will have hit its mark.

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