Health vs. Casino

Yesterday evening, I entered a casino for the first time. What struck me was the abundance of carpeting and the curious hush surrounding the tables. I have never heard that kind of silence before. But I was only there to visit its restaurant, where I sat marvelling at how much of life may remain unseen.
This became associated in my mind to what someone said later on: that the subconscious has a funny way of sneaking up on people: the stress of looking the other way in hardship can affect the organs, the lungs. Things imbalanced, disparate.
In the single body, the circulation may be interrupted: hunching over interesting work; holding breath in the face of being misunderstood - the system becomes damaged, and if it is not fixed, it becomes increasingly lopsided. In the Chinese way of things, diet, treatment, and exercise may help one regain harmony. I cannot look at such practices "askance" so it is always curious to me when people view "folk" remedies as backwards.
I tried to write earlier this week about a colleague who was frustrated by the folk medicinal advice she's been proffered here. She took offense to it, thinking it hogwash tossed out by modern science. But what of the psychological component in healing, let alone intention.
Thence, συμπάθεια: Plotinus writes of the theurgical practice of attempting to bring everything in the universe into sympathy, and to bring man in sympathy with the various forces. But is this not a universal concept - how else would one define the Navajo sandpaintings, where order is restored through signing problematic forces, and balancing them out with benevolent ideas.
There is a fantastic post about 'weird remedies and the problem of folklore', in which the author recognises the "range of choices for the early modern sufferer" (my emphasis). Other interesting work questions whether it is correct to discard sympathy as occult. 

And yet, the casino, home of l'hasard, thrives. I've already written how Zolla considered the modern man like a gambler. The gambler has a touchy relationship with the environment: there is no trust, just the tic of opportunism.
As sympathy gave way to the science that I do not mean to sound unthankful for, Darwin (E.) wrote: sun sink on suns, and systems crush... Chaos mingle all; Pope, wrote: See Mystery to Mathematics fly! In vain! They gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die ... In vain... The sable throne behold ... of Chaos old!" and then Yeats: The falcon cannot hear the falconner; things fall apart, the centre cannot hold. Chaos is where things do not have their place; sympathy is an earnest housekeeper.
A good housekeeper (manager of the home; i.e. oikos+nomos - and also not a gambler, because the livelihood depends on stewardship, not stakes) has respect for things. Not like the disdainful critic who mocks yesteryear: one wonders how such people can stand who they themselves were before they became more learned.
So when it comes to science, do we view our knowledge today as perfection set in stone, or something in progress? The Byzantine notions of akrivia and economia (i.e. variance; exactness) show that even where there are laws (i.e. nomos), they are not necessarily regarded as a fist of iron: economia allows for concessions to be made, for ultimate good.
Even a law may be malleable. We may wish to remember the incipit of Nature magazine bore Goethe's aphorisms along with Huxley's musings of the day when the discoveries of his age would seem laughable.
If we do not have sympathy for our own shortcomings, our derision is predictable, if not healthy. To cut off the primitive leg of yesteryear is to be haunted by the phantom itch - if even only in the economy of the subconscious.

No comments:

Post a Comment