Monday, October 27, 2014

Self-Image-Incongruence Theory of Individual Health

By Denis G. Rancourt

Here, I propose a unifying model of individual health [1]. My other exploratory reports about the causes of ill-health include: [2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9].

This article was first published on October 26, 2014, at Dissident Voice [LINK].

Introductory background: Dominance-aggression-stress model of individual health

One of the most satisfying and penetrating models of individual health in animal communities is the model that can be said to have been clearly described in Sapolsky's 2005 review [10]. In this model -- supported by behavioral observations, bio-chemical measurements, physiological evaluations, and correlational studies --  dominance-hierarchy stress on a low-stratum individual directly affects the immune system, which makes the individual more susceptible to ill-health from infections, cancer, and hearth and other diseases.

A compelling body of work in this area has shown a direct link between being subjected to acts of dominance aggression and a negative impact on the individual's immune system, as measured by blood bio-chemical markers. Thus, in human populations, socioeconomic status is found to be the dominant predictor of individual health, far outranking differences of access to resources or differences in lifestyle. (This is contrary to the mainstream policy mantras about healthy lifestyles and healthy consumer choices. These public policy proscriptions do not survive scientific scrutiny.)

There is also a wide spectrum of individual-to-individual immune-system responses (or negative health consequences) for the same degree of dominance aggression. This large variability is inferred from the data to occur from "psychosocial factors" related to the individual's own perception or feeling of self-worth ("feeling poor"); and, again, is shown to not be due to differences of access to resources or to differences in lifestyle [10].

For example, low-strata individuals in more stratified societies (with larger income inequalities) are less healthy than low-strata individuals in less stratified societies, for the same access to resources and services.

Overall, these findings led researchers to propose that the individual's status in the dominance hierarchy of the society is the dominant health determinant -- via the metabolic immune-system's response to stressors -- but that the impact on the particular individual's health is also heavily modulated by that individual's "perception" of his/her/its social status or feeling of self-worth.

In summary, the above-described "dominance-aggression-stress model of individual health" proposes that individual health is predicted by a kind of "product" (O*P) of the objective social status (O) of the individual and the subjective (or perceived) social status (P) of the individual, in the dominance hierarchy [11].

Weakness of the dominance-aggression-stress model of individual health

Despite its basis in observations and its unifying capacity, the dominance-aggression-stress model suffers from conceptual difficulties, from a deficit of theoretical elegance.

If "O" alone is not determinant of individual health, then why should we believe that it is the actual physical and circumstantial events of dominance aggression against the individual that directly cause the stress and immune-system consequences? After all, "stress" is an internal metabolic reaction that does not follow a simple causal law, as does a reflex.

Likewise, if perceived status (P) is an important -- sometimes dominant -- modulating factor, then is that not simply too much of an arbitrary "fudge factor", in that "perception" itself is a complex phenomenon modulated by the individual's entire history and current physiological state, and by situational illusions?

Furthermore, "P" cannot be measured because it is subjective and not separately quantifiable, thus making the model untestable, a most undesirable feature of any model.

Proposed self-image-incongruence model of individual health

Here is an alternative model, which is also consistent with all the data. This model is based on a more holistic psychological model of the individual, and avoids the requirement for a product of factors in defining the final (dominant) determinant of individual health.

For the sake of clear exposition, I start by postulating without proof that an individual animal in a dominance hierarchy is constantly preoccupied with self-evaluation of its status within the dominance hierarchy; that is, preoccupied with its self-image that is predominantly about how it is recognized by others and its place "in the world".

I postulate that this is a continuous and consuming activity, and that the individual animal is predominantly concerned with evaluating and securing its status in the society, a status which is necessarily changing -- as individuals age, as power alliances evolve, as mating targets change, as the habitat changes, and so on.

The individual's self-image must largely concur with the evolving reality, as a question of survival. "Consciousness" itself is largely a project of maintaining awareness of status. The "Ego" requires constant attention, and consumes a large fraction of the individual's metabolic energy. (In humans, the brain consumes approximately 20% of metabolic energy, although it comprises only some 2% of body mass.)

As long, as the individual's self-image is consistent with the reality of the individual's place within the society's dominance hierarchy, and as long as the self-image adapts to the changing circumstances, things are fine. The individual has assigned-and-acknowledged purpose and meaning.

The problem (leading to deleterious health consequences) occurs when there is an identity incongruence that cannot easily be internally or externally resolved. Something changes: a "life-changing" event occurs that throws the individual into a "self-image crisis".

Such events are frequent and varied in intensity. There is a full spectrum of possible events that range from requiring only minor adjustments in self-image, or that cause minor identity incongruences that can be overlooked, to events that throw the individual into a debilitating self-image or identity crisis.

Examples of events on the spectrum of "life-changing" events include:
  • having one's expressed position or belief challenged, when that is usually infrequent
  • being made fun of at work, when that is not the norm
  • being reprimanded by a supervisor, when that is usually infrequent
  • being socially mobbed as undesirable, as a new development
  • being disproportionately targeted by authorities (such as a well-meaning and unintentional whistleblower) 
  • being "unfairly" treated by an institution, when one expects fair treatment
  • loosing one's family status (due to a birth, or divorce, and so on)
  • losing one's middle-class status
  • losing one's working-class status
  • losing one's citizen status
  • being shunned and expelled from one's religious community
  • being criminalized, when that possibility was not likely
When such events occur that cause incongruence between self-image and reality, there is a primal psycho-metabolic reaction, there is "stress", and the individual's primary task becomes to resolve the (micro or macro) identity crisis.

The resolution can be external. That is, the resolution can be achieved through the individual's actions to change the external circumstances, to change the world.

To the degree that action is possible, undertaken, and successful, the deleterious effects on health are minimized. The individual will typically seek to reestablish his/her status, without overhauling his/her self-image, for which there would be a tremendous cost.

Regarding the said cost, "depression" and "burnout" may, in many cases, be the required meltdowns that accompany overhauling one's self-image, in the face of impossibility to achieve successful action to change the world. As such, a given depression can be successful or it can be a failure. It is successful if a satisfactory new self-image is achieved that is consistent with the individual's new reality. (In this model, clearly, medicating-away the symptoms of depression -- by self-medicating or via medical-establishment prescriptions -- is the worst possible avenue for the individual.)

The actions used by the individual to attempt to reestablish identity congruence can include:
  • arguing with one's critic, or attempting to intimidate critics
  • avoiding critics, and avoiding groups that include critics
  • taking recourse against abusers, or against unfair supervisors
  • changing one's behaviours in attempts to secure acceptance
  • attacking the ring-leaders of mobbing groups
  • seeking support from new circles, and outside associations
  • going to the next level in the hierarchy to seek redress
  • seeking the help of a different institution, such as an ombudsman or an elected official
  • creating a new family
  • seeking re-employment
  • joining a new religion, or community, or sect, or gang
  • voluntary isolation and evasion or avoidance, including using psycho-active substances and repulsive behaviours
  • suicide
During the entire identity or self-image incongruence crisis, the individual is suffering the most impact to its immune system and is most vulnerable to negative health consequences, including coronary heart disease and cancer, the two predominant causes of death in First World nations. Coronary heart disease, infectious diseases and pulmonary infections are the dominant causes of death in Third World countries. For all the dominant causes of death, immune system response is the main protection.

During the entire self-image incongruence crisis, the individual's metabolic thrust and energy is dedicated to resolving the crisis. There is an existential imbalance of the highest order. The resulting "stress" can be fruitfully turned to action, or the action can be thwarted or ineffective. In the case of prevented or failed actions, the "stress" from the self-image incongruence does not dissipate, and suppression of the immune system lingers until the identity crisis is resolved, one way or another.

These are the circumstances -- prolonged and unresolved self-image incongruence -- that create the most devastating consequences on individual health, not to mention individual spirit and morale.

Thus, I propose that the stress of self-image incongruence affects the immune system directly and is the principle cause of ill-health of the individual. In particular, a self-image-incongruence crisis -- brought on by a dramatic change in the individual's social status and that is not successfully being resolved by action -- is all-consuming and throws the individual into a state of high vulnerability to infections, disease, and self-destruction.

Evasive tactics of escapism maintain the crisis, and ill-health itself provides a further barrier to attempting corrective actions. There is a steady-state of precariousness, or a downward spiral towards hospitalization and death, if the crisis is not resolved. Resolution can involve the demanding process of overhauling self-image, possibly aided by a depression "of passage". 

I my model, therefore, it is not the dominance aggressions in themselves that cause immune system weakening, but rather dominance aggressions representing or accompanying a loss of social status of the aggressed individual, relative to its self-image of its social status, that cannot easily be resolved. Thus, the observed correlations in animal studies between biochemically measured stress levels and social rank arises because lower-rank animals are more subjected to challenges to their rank and privileges, and less able to resolve these challenges. Lower-rank animals are more often reminded by dominance aggression that they do not have the priviledges that they see themselves having, and are less equipped to do something about it.

Indeed, for example, my proposal naturally explains why high-rank individuals often also suffer from high stress levels objectively measured by biochemical and physiological indicators [10]:

"In some cases, it is dominant individuals who show this profile. This includes species where dominant individuals have to repeatedly and physically reassert their rank (e.g., feral populations of dwarf mongooses, African wild dogs, female ring-tailed lemurs, and male chimpanzees) (12, 13, 39); those that are cooperative breeders (feral wolves and captive marmosets and tamarins) (16, 21); and those with transient periods of major rank instability (feral baboons and captive populations of talapoin, squirrel, and rhesus monkeys) (22)."

In other words, having to "repeatedly assert rank" is stressful whether the individual is in a high rank or a low rank. In both cases, the dominance-hierarchy aggression challenges the congruence between self-image about social status and actual social status. Of course, a high-rank individual will have more possible avenues of effective action to resolve the said incongruence, thus contributing to preserving the correlation between rank and health.

From the perspective of species survival, the individual suffering from a debilitating identity crisis may as well die. One could argue that from an evolutionary standpoint the downward spiral that can lead to the individual's death is a mechanism to rid the community of a burden. It is also possible that depression and temporary illnesses are tools developed through evolution to help repair massive identity crises, to bring the individual back into the fold.

As an aside, in human societies, my model implies that mass media and institutional indoctrination which set high societal status expectations can induce increased self-image incongruence, thereby reducing public health. If "comparison with the Jones" is amplified by mass media, including advertizing and the entertainment industry, then self-image incongruence can be created en masse and the health consequences can take on epidemic proportions.


If we accept that conscious living beings rely on self-image about social status and place in the world for decision making in view of survival and reproduction, then this self-image must be maintained in order to be dynamically congruent with the changing world, and with any changes in social status of the individual.

Furthermore, self-image must be strongly imbedded onto the individual because it is necessary for decision making and because identity must be quasi-permanent to ensure continuity of the communal structure. Perpetuated or stable self-image of the individual is necessary for any stable social structure.

Likewise, normal development must include development of a strong self-image congruent with reality, or the individual will suffer a constant background identity crisis that will impede its health and its integration in the dominance hierarchy, until development is achieved.

Thus, a crisis of self-image congruency (induced by a major change in social environment) is a major episode affecting the individual at a deep and all-consuming psycho-metabolic level. Such a crisis must be resolved. Otherwise, the individual is effectively paralyzed by having lost its internal decisional reference.

I have proposed that individual health is determined by self-image congruency, rather than the life aggressions themselves in a dominance hierarchy, and that intensity and duration of self-image incongruency -- intensity of the identity crisis -- is the overriding risk factor for succumbing to ill-health and death.
My model places personal psychology as the dominant ingredient of the health sphere, and is anchored on known impacts of experienced stress on the immune system.


[1] I have greatly benefited from interactions with graduate research students working in the area of public health theory. With one student, I had the benefit of discussions about her data from voluntary research participants, and its interpretation.

[2] Rancourt, Denis G., Two Authors that Medical Schools Avoid, Activist Teacher, September 22, 2013.

[3] Rancourt, Denis G., Do medical doctors improve health?, Activist Teacher, September 9, 2013.

[4] Rancourt, Denis G., On the individual psychology of food: Against calorie management, Activist Teacher, August 30, 2012.

[5] Rancourt, Denis G., A Theory of Chronic Pain -- A social and evolutionary theory of human disease and chronic pain, Dissident Voice, December 26, 2011.

[6] Rancourt, Denis G., Why should I trust a doctor with my body?, Activist Teacher, November 24, 2011.

[7] Rancourt, Denis G., Is establishment medicine an injurious scam?, Activist Teacher, November 21, 2011.

[8] Rancourt, Denis G., On the sociology of medical meta-science: Exposing the Truth supports the Lie, Activist Teacher, November 16, 2011.

[9] Rancourt, Denis G.,  Anti-smoking culture is harmful to health - On the truth problem of public health management, Activist Teacher, April 5, 2011.

[10] Sapolsky, Robert M., The Influence of Social Hierarchy on Primate Health, Science 29 April 2005: Vol. 308 no. 5722 pp. 648-652, DOI: 10.1126/science.1106477

[11] Mathematically, one can visualize this as the function of dominance-aggression intensity versus time "convoluted" with the function of perception response to the dominance-aggression events versus time, with the convolution function integrated over the life-time of the individual to produce the final individual health determinant factor, or individual's "health state" at present (at time to which the integration is performed).

Dr. Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured and Full Professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is known for his applications of physics education research (TVO Interview). He has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals, and has written several social commentary essays. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism. While he was at the University of Ottawa, he supported student activism and opposed the influence of the Israel lobby on that institution, which fired him for a false pretext in 2009: LINK


Shawn Robinson said...

There are many factors that influence self-image which is believed to start define itself from even within the womb. But self-image is not just created with environmental influences but also by biological structures that produce hormones and chemicals that strengthen and weaken an individual's ability to define their own self-worth.

The role of parenting greatly influences self-image and may even impact so deeply that to alter one's self-image later as adults for example, would be near impossible without some sort of mechanism that can reshape self-image.

Human behaviour within the animal kingdom has been documented through history and can even be found as far back as the "glyphs" of ancient Egyptian and Mayan societies.

When looking at the animal kingdom of which humans are located, the most important and common denominator of all species is in the "desire to survive". This can be seen by behaviour, evolutionary processes, relocation of the species and so forth. I believe that the concept of self-worth has an impact in these processes.

As of the last century the study of the mind and brain functions related to environmental and biological conditions has barely unfolded a full understanding. However it is my belief that environmental factors are the greatest influence on predicting individual health and self-image whether it be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

As stated above in the animal kingdom related to survival there is also another common denominator and it is the element of "survival of the fittest".

Some individuals survive public humiliation and isolation etc. as described in the article within society better than others as they have a stronger self-image and will to survive.

The tragedy for humankind is the generational behaviour that continues to marginalize and diminish the value of individuals in all societies through cultural norms and social behaviour. This could be as simple in refusing a marriage partner as their family member has a mental disability.

Life in past centuries was very difficult so survival and the will of survival were black and white. One survived or one did not. In today's society we have created a grey area where those who are challenged by societies bad behaviour that may have diminished their self-image, they no longer have to fight to survive. They can live on social benefits long-term and not have to improve their self-image or at least make an attempt.

Furthermore when looking at health in how it impacts overall in society rather than deal with issues such as pollution,individual poor choices and actual responsibility of environmental factors, we have created a system of health that denies independence and in actuality promotes reliance. The unfortunate concept of being "politically correct" has also further diminished individuals in being able to have honest discussions or ability to state facts that can improve self-worth. Such as women of some communities who under social pressure and cultural practices in the building of a family have to tolerate a partner who is not compelled to be true, or responsible or accountable for their actions.

Therefore in my opinion self-image is related to individual health. Self-image impacts one's choices which have an impact on one's health with stressors that they are able to handle or not handle mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

An unhealthy society leads to an unhealthy workforce which can impact economic conditions that can impact future development.

Denis Rancourt said...

Someone asked, so here it is...

In common English, the article states:

You see yourself having a certain place in society. You need that vision of yourself, and it must be realistic, in order to make all the important and frequent decisions in your life. If something happens and you lose your place in society (your status), then that is a very big deal. You will try to regain your place, or you will be forced to change your view of yourself. But changing your self-image is a major effort and may involve depression. The whole time that your view of yourself is out of whack with your actual place in society then that is some serious stress that must be resolved. That stress affects your body (immune system) in a way that makes you vulnerable to getting heart disease, cancer, and viral and bacterial infections. This kind of discord between your self-image and reality is by-far the main cause of ill-health in your life.

Anonymous said...

The self-image concept you are talking about Denis is a bit confusing in the sense that there is the ideal image of ourselves (the one we have internalized, influenced by the mainstream) and the image of ourselves after loosing our place in the society (e.g. a professional job). Wouldn't it be simpler to say that the identity crisis we then live is due to the incongruence between the self-image we have internalized as being valuable v. our current self-image related to our new reality which we and the mainstream value less?

VyseLegendaire said...

I think your analyses is spot on and I have to concur with it almost entirely, and I deeply thank you for daring to write this frankly revolutionary thesis.

However I do think you should add in a caveat about certain health problems that appear to be impinging on our standard view of reality in terms of their power to impact us; I.E., nuclear radiation.

Both humans over time, and wild animals from radio-impacted zones like the Fukushima prefecture exclusion zone suffer the effects of radiation regardless of their social dynamics, in a uniformly devastating way that impacts the entire survivability of the species.

hopefulandfree said...

I have been inquiring about similar ideas related to health. One perspective examines ways by which we come to perceive our social current focus explores symbolic violence as embodied discourse, whereby body discourse and spoken rhetoric act synergisticly... and impact all participants re domination / submission reactions. My theoretical foundations arise fron an experiment during which my body size, and hence my social status (loss of fat stigma) changed significantly. Along with other perceived social wounds, and various losses of "false identiity", it seemed as good a time as ever to explore madness or Psychosis---that is, when presented with intractible insomnia, I had a choice to see where that would lead, or to take/use an intervention to
coerce sleep. Becoming psychotic was enightening. For one, I found that my entire life, from about the time I learned speech, had consisted of participating in the false reality of all the psychotics surrounding me, including teachers, etc, with brief periods when I privately assessed my "strategy" (necessary for survival) for its moral implications. At some point, recently, I recognized the potental for "immunity" from some of the worst physiological harm related to participating in this ongoing socially-embodied "master/slave" (identity exchange) dialectic...currently I am grateful to a loved one and a stranger who trusted that irreversible mental disintegration was perhaps not the inevitable result. I don't suggest this kind of inquiry. Certain forms of privilege and sociial help were necessary for me to avoid institutional incarceration and/or suicide that would have otherwise befallen me. The experience is every bit as terrifying as portrayed by characters in certain films depicting ubiquitous alienation, such as the "body snatchers" also requires a kind of nothing left to lose acceptance of the unpredictable course of events arising during the process...which appears ongoing, btw...involvement with members of the health care professions is risky at any level, and especially when this sort of inquiry is not easy to carry out without provoking a certain clinical curiosity,which may be benign and not harmful, ultimately, but could also turn deadly (e.g. when the urge to "help" cannot be resisted)...

Thanks for sharing your ideas on these related issues.

hopefulandfree said...

Something that still bugs the hell out of me, when attempting to write about volitile processes of change, e.g. my words above, is the inevitable reification of psychological and medical constructs/discourse---which leave both writer and reader guessing and falsely assuming awareness of particular meanings, such as notions of mental/cognitive processes taking place supposedly within/inside individual brains rather than occuring within social relations of power. Thus, my use of "psychotic" may suggest an unusual condition of individual pathology whereas I am suggesting that the conditions assumed to represent psychosis (the conta-norm types of "individual" "thinking"/expression) are merely ubiquitous forms of social interaction/domination which pass as effective communication---yet are mostly highly stylized declarations of bullshit.

For a young child learning language, having to confront the constant disconnect between spoken discourse and, for instance, embodied discourse creates an impossible doubling, or inversion of meanings. Authentic feelings when expressed become, for instance, evidence of social manipulation or dysregulation, or pathological sensitivity.

As a student nurse, I cried when a new mother suckled her baby for the first time, moments after giving birth. I still feel nearly compelled to justify my feelings and my spontaneity in expressing my emotions by including the mother's apparent oblivion of all emotions save those shared between herself and her baby. Still, my supervisor needed to let me know, almost immediately, that my tears suggested one clear interpretation: "Not everything", she explained to me as if gravely concerned, "is about you." This was the first newborn and mother for whom I had been assigned as "nurse"...

The shame I felt for having openly shed tears was nonexistent. The shame I felt for having been expertly humiliated and "revealed" by expert assessment felt like a moral accusation of my character: petty, unaware, self-centered grandiosity. Hence, my trust in my capacity to know anything about "real" nursing eroded even more that day.

This is the meaning of psychosis to which I refer in the experience of confronting the subjective-as-if-objective pronouncements and interpretations of the alleged meanings of my own actions and words. Similar reprimands noted my excessive sensitivity and "boundary" issues when, in private, I expressed feelings of despair in relation to a patient in his 90s who wanted only to spend a little time with his grown daughter in a nearby state---yet that reunion was a "non medical" matter, having no relevance to the thousands $$$ per day being billed for his room and for painful, demeaning tests to legitimate his perceived need for pain relief. To me, such social interactions are psychotic.

So for me "becoming psychotic"---it turned out---was a terrifying experience in unravelling the everyday acceptance of systematic brutality, dehumanization, pain infliction, and even murder in the name of "providing care"... including my horrified recognition of my own participation...

These are not recognitions that could be faced honestly by "me" wthout first experiencing a shifting, a self destruction, and an acceptance of my need for an alteration in the embodied meanings of self and identity and other. Part of this process needs to rely on an act of my will, yet I still do not understand how I or any other individual person could ever navigate this process alone.

But that is my own condensed take on the ongoing mystery...I tend to see the process as a healing one, for personal reasons, only one of which includes the newfound ability to walk around---to skip and dance too---without becoming nauseated...

Denis Rancourt said...

Thank you hopefulandfree for your wonderful contributions.

Here is my perspective on one aspect of your experience. I envy you for being able to have the strong, spontaneous, and authentic metabolic and emotional reaction to the mother nursing her newborn. Your ability to be moved in this visceral way is a remarkable capacity! Such events are far too rare in my boy-to-man's life, and my difficulty is a tremendous liability compared to your gift. I compensate the best I can with the cognitive.

I wonder if you could find some way to tell your supervisor who reprimanded you "to fuck off and that she is sick"? Maybe in a "nice" but assertive way, that does not get you fired? After all, you are right and truthful and she is harmful to humankind. So it would be great if you could try to fix the universe a little by finding some way to punish and correct her, in an assertive way that is "all about you". :)

Transformative and liberating action on the outside world...?


hopefulandfree said...

Lol! I didn't tell any of them to fuck off...just walked away with my degree and license, and kept walking...never even applied to work as RN. Thankfully I cannot seem to lie convincingly to authority types, otherwise I might have tried conning myself into giving that a career a try---I knew I would never make it past the interviews. I saw too much during clinicals. I've had to accept that I love the narratives of medical scientism, but in a way that someone enjoys the literary/film genres of dystopian fiction. Reading about health care in theory is one thing--- having to live no no...they've got the "science" of body weight all wrong, the mental "illness" and nutrition fields are transparent supporters of corporate interests, and I cannot buy into the reductionist language of neuro science, etc, given the foundational metaphors of information technology, for instance. I know good folks working in the HC field, but apparently my body forbids it. I shut down and grieve whenever I toy with the idea.I would havee to be like TV's Nurse Jackie---strung out on psychotropics, breaking rules left and right to attempt manipulating some justice and compassion into the system---not that there is anything wrong with that, per se, but unlike the fictional Jackie, I would not be able to avoid accidentally killing patients; my technical proficiency on the job wouldn't kick in until long after the mistakes were dead and buried...and in this case the mistakes would not mean broken machines or symbolic lapses in syntax...human beings would cease to exist...I would have no defense against that intensity of domination. I nearly lost my "soul" coming through the cultural gaslighting of nursing school...and the verdict still isn't back in that regard. Everytime I hear news stories explaining how disorders exist INSIDE people's brains for instance, or I hear about another "treatment resistant" sufferer who puts a bullet where the disorder supposedly resides, I know that me and nursing were matter how good the whole charade seemed on the surface. I probably needed the stark inside view, as a student, to help drive my "breakdown". I could BS myself out of noticing a lot of creepy status quo horrors in society, but I could not make myself NOT see, NOT hear and NOT know the ugly realities of nursing culture. Eventually the entire health care industry became visible for its key role in supporting and manufacturing death and despair. The world I see now is as beautiful and tragic as, say,the film, "Never Let Me Go"...peopled by extraordinary individuals whose social value and personal sense of worth is measured no differently from that of any other commodity. We are slaves, no matter our temporary "privileges"---and our failures to take all these atrocities in stride are diagnosed as sicknesses inside us--in need of "treatment" to abolish any lurking remnants of our humanity...

hopefulandfree said...

The most transformative and activist actions I can take today...honestly, I'm sorta leaning in the direction of a modified Gnoll Credo, at the moment, minus the canibalism--but heavy on the laughter, friendship and brutal honesty. :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks, You are an awesome teacher. Seriously. First things first...I free this slave, today. I cannot help anyone who cannot notice their own bondage....I only waste my time, energy, and life force fighting for people who are working overtime to not see what is right in front of us.Sad.. Tragic. Ive cried enough...
Someone else can have a turn... :-)


Denis Rancourt said...

Wow, hopefulandfree, you have that most exceptional and rare human characteristic of not being able to buy into the Crime. Your constitution is a gem in society.

You've got me reading about The Gnoll Credo, and I read the credo but not the book. Thanks for pointing me to that amazing author and food expert.

The credo explains why we laugh but it does not seem to touch on why we fight? I think fighting produces additional and deep occasions for laughing, and for bonding.

Thanks for freeing your writing on my blog!

@Anonymous: Thank you for freeing the only slave that can be freed, today.

Cheers to both of you.

hopefulandfree said...

I hope you ejoy this link,i stumbled over today,honest thoughts from a bunch more slaves who are freeing themselves...

The topic seems quite appropriate for our dialog today.

I meant what I have handed me the keys, it was certainly not part of any strategy or cunning plan on your

fact i would bet it was a rather
common sort of action on your
part...a teacher in action..but
please know today is henceforth my "forever birthday"...the day of hope is here, and the recognition of my freedom--our freedom---to be shared with any and all who can hear the message. No hope needed...for in freedom all will be well. All is well. We are free, my friend.

It cannot be bought or sold or traded or lost...only shared...

You cannot know what has led up to this day for me, of course, but it gives me all i need to move---life is movement---and I am not alone
with this awareness, & partner is here with me, and we are
Grateful to you that we have this priceless gift to share now with others....

As for the credo...there are only a few parts that speak volumes to me, and the rest is...? I have not read the book either... I like the part about choosing my battles, and oone young commenter on the thread to which I linked speakes about saying with art---poetry---whatever the fuck needs to be said...YAY!

Peace to you, dear teacher, and god bless, and good luck!

We made it through...

Thank you. ♡

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hi! I deleted my comment because it appeared to be written by a drunk...not that there's anything wrong with that...except I don't drink...and the message was almost illegible on account of this tiny device requires barbie doll size fingers. Anyway, I am interested in hearing at some point whether/how you make a distiction between science and "scientism"---if you have already addressed tthis topic, and i am not seeing it, oops, would you offer a link in that case? :-)

Denis Rancourt said...

I liked your comment a lot Ruby and the typos were no problem regarding understanding.

I have not written directly about scientism but here are two related essays:

false science of fundamental basis...

Are physicists smart?

List of my essays

Unknown said...

Thanks. I like what i said too. It was not necessarily coherent for others, glad to know you got it. Discovered, however, I have no "pack" or clan, or others here for whom I am more than "food." Yeah. Ugh. I cannot recognize into existence another's is always already there, as was my own, just very tricky to make out, using the lenes of objectivity mistaken as subjectivity and vice versa. I doubt I am in imminent danger of being locked up, as a so called danger, etc, but one never knows. No LOL here. I have myself. I will be on the road. Will probably pop in to say hello. :-)

Thanks for being a teacher. The message of hope is clear, if hard to accept. Life is movement, got that from a zombie movie, hehehe, i.e...feets be a movin'... :-)


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Didnt include samplee paper for hypothetical notion, above, but examples of information signalling abound in biological journal articles in relation to other species. I wonder about signalling in human species, eskpecially after recent discovery at online bookstore which sells hundreds of books on topcs related to NLP, fo instance, aboug using language as control, etc. The disappearance ov a strong public sphere .leaves nko open or free space for meta communication....big risk for humanity, sadly.

Unknown said...

I hate that our system of power creates so many lost people who never chose to be victims of the power hierarchy. I hate that as individuals we can do so little to change the fate of others, and having to watch this horrible system in action is agonizingly painful. I hate that people must be forced to forgo options for change because they became engulfed by the power hierarchy sometimes before they can become autonomous beings. I grieve for this world of domination and cruelty, and wonder how we really differ from other animal species if the outcome....a kind of preprogrammed human food chain, is not so different from that of other species. I think freedom is an illusion, now. For how can even one person be free when others remain in bondage to a severe hierarchy of power. In this world, freedom is an illusion---but a very tempting one to believe in.