Nervous Systems, Israel, Gaza, and Emergentism

When our nervous systems experience joyful connection, regulation, and felt-safety inside our bodies, in our environment, and in our relationships, things begin to shift.

Walls of protection recede; doors of curiosity open. Hyper- and hypoarousal diminish. Our window of tolerance expands, broadening the stage upon which we can roam with playfulness and wonder. The voice of trust moves centerstage. The voice of hypervigilance fades to the background. Our bodies feel safe and soothed. Our souls feel seen and loved. The true self begins to emerge. We're opening up, like a flower to the sun, toward healing, freedom, and the good life. Rules, commands, and critical feedback become less threatening. Rather, like a vine to a trellis, we creatively respond with humble submission to the freedom-producing boundaries of the trellis' structure.

But what happens when we don't experience this?

What happens when collective bodies don't experience this?

In thinking about this, my attention moved to the theory of emergentism. Roughly, as I understand it, this theory proposes that higher and larger entities are composed of lower and smaller entities. These lower and smaller entities act upon and influence the higher and larger entities that in turn shape the very particulates which comprise and sustain the larger being. Think: bees + hive, humans + architecture, child + family, brain + mind, etc.

What if something like this is one of the variables at play in the phenomena in Israel and Gaza? 

My question is not all meant to brush aside the suffering of real humans. The pain, grief, sorrow, and trauma are worthy of our compassion, action, prayers, and lament. It is not meant to discount the influence or presence of spiritual realities, religion, geopolitics, power, capitalism, economics, or any other variable. The history of the seemingly intractable conflict is centuries long, and is not one which I presume to fully grasp or have answers for resolution.  

But I do wonder, and this is today's "wondering." 

In the meantime, for all who are suffering, I will carry prayers, compassion, lament, and find my way to respectfully and justly neither be unhelpfully silent nor noisy.


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