Regulating the Physical body
The physical human body is a modern marvel of architecture, engineering, and design including automated construction, maintenance and repair. Its programming and functionality is exquisitely economical and balanced to perfection. Trillions of co-dependent cells co-operating, each one alive in its own right but also collectively alive – various organs and tissues each uniquely designed to perform a special interconnected function in the total organism… each individual an eco-system of lesser and higher kingdoms and dimensions of existence… from co-valence bonding to extra-sensory perception everything is in relationship, in co-operation.
Its magnificent! But as fascinating as the rest of the body is, nothing can quite compare with the human brain…
The human brain (and perhaps the dolphin brain) is on another level, literally and figuratively, it towers high above anything the physical earth has thus far produced… an inner galaxy, receiving and processing a wide range of sensory information from the outside world, an extremely complex network of sensors, wiring, connections, converters, processors… decoding and presenting information to the primary center of perception for assessment, and decision. A similarly complex network and its many systems and checks and balances, is responsible for the response… whether it’s movement of the toes or vocalization, the primary center of willing initiates a little electro-chemical flurry, which travels from the cerebellum down the spine and branches off into the arm, all the way down to the hand and fingers, which turn and flex and bend and take hold of a cup, and using feedback sensory info it corrects and adjusts its grip, the amount of pressure, using temperature sensors in the skin it detects that the cup is too hot and responds immediately by putting the cup down as soon as possible to avoid pain and injury.
But what is really fascinating about the brain is its 4-d evolutionary map, or how it has developed over time, not merely the few hundred million years that the human species has been around, but actually from the very beginning and the emergence of life on this planet. All of evolution is recapitulated as a single cell divides and various cells arise and differentiate and specialize, and a human body grows, and a human brain grows, to co-ordinate the collective organism.
At its base is the brain stem which is responsible for all the autonomic functions that we don’t have to think about or consciously will and do, like heart beat, or the respiratory and circulatory system, all the other internal processes and systems that happen intelligently without our thinking about it. Above that is the Limbic System, a very unusually shaped complex which processes and encodes memory and the primal emotions like fear and anger, and primal behaviors like sexuality. The Limbic System is partially autonomic but also partially accessible to our willing and thinking. Above and wrapped around the Limbic System (and the brain stem) is the cortex, the brain structure which is truly different about humans especially in the parts that exercise control over and regulate the primal and other surface level emotions, and the ability to learn and change its own conditioning, or programming.
The conscious mind, that perceives a certain range of sensory stimulus, and is capable of a certain range of responses, is first and primarily concerned with its own survival. In every aspects and system the human body has many reward and punishment mechanisms to incentivize pro-survival behavior and minimize dangers and threats to well being and survival. These rewards and punishments are essentially pleasure and pain. Physically this is experienced as sensation, pleasant or unpleasant taste, or smell, to help us recognize beneficial foods and avoid harmful ones. Also we feel sensations of pain or pleasure in the skin and within the body which tells us when there is a problem somewhere, alerts us to the danger and motivates us to protect ourselves.
Sexual behavior is not itself a direct survival requirement, but is a survival strategy of the collective organism, the human species, and the strength of the sexual drive (more especially in men) is a measure of the unifying force required to create sufficient opportunities for life. The internal drive and the heightened pleasurable experience of sex and orgasm are two powerful motivational forces influencing our behavior. The urge and drive and the reward or pleasure we experience are all regulated and balanced to ensure optimum survival of the individual and the collective.
Rewards or pleasures also have to be regulated, so that they are not indefinitely exploited. When it comes to sexuality the body achieves this by controlling the urge and the drive with hormones which are released at different phases: arousal, sexual stimulation, intense arousal, orgasm, post orgasmic deflation, depletion of the urge, and base neutrality, and repeat the cycle.
When it comes to eating for example we can exploit the pleasure of sweet sensations and consume various kinds of fizzy drinks, cakes, chocolates, sweets, etc. etc. Originally wild fruits are the only things that were sweet and some other things like sugar cane. But human ingenuity allowed us to isolate and exploit sweetness and it has become a multi-trillion dollar industry. But anyways the perception of sweetness is a natural connection between plant and animal/human indicating that something is good for us, is a source of energy and nutrients. How much of any thing we consume is regulated by the digestive system, by our stomachs, and when we have had enough we feel discomfort and the hunger urge is switched off so we stop consuming. But there is, and can be, no built in mechanism to prevent us exploiting the pleasurable effect of eating sweet stuff, and so most of us tend to eat too much sweet stuff. Instead of filling up on healthy wholesome nutritious food we tend to over indulge on stuff that is not our natural diet and that is not good for us.
The body has a certain range of concentrations of substances it can handle, and an optimal amount that it can use. There are systems for removing waste and surplus substances from the body, but that system is designed within the acceptable range. Basically when we consume too much of a certain type of food like sugars the body has to compensate and can only do so for a certain period of time before its compensation becomes a chronic regime leading to diabetes and excessive weight gain, and in time it begins to affect your health and your survival.