Useful Analogy for Mental Suffering

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Useful Analogy for Mental Suffering

Postby ashley72 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:26 am

A good analogy to better understand human mental suffering... is surprisingly global warming.

The planet earth has climatic processes that operate using homoeostasis to keep our climate stable.

As you may already know global warming is happening because negative feedback loops have been altered by human intervention or interference... the man-made production of CO2 has created unstable positive feedback loops into our normally stable dynamic system.

A positive feedback loop develops when the change in one quantity alters a change in a secondary quantity which than acts back onto the first quantity creating a positive gain.

Here are some examples of positive feedback loops due to climate change:

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Why does this help us understand mental suffering?

Well our internal processes, physical sensations, emotions, feelings, thoughts due to stress response are very much like the earth's climate. They normally keep stability or equilibrium by using negative feedback loops. An example of a negative feedback loop that maintains a constant body temperature of 37 deg is shown below.

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Another example is blood pressure

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Mental Suffering arises when normally unconscious physical processes, such as increased heart rate, hot flushes, sweaty palms, etc.... gets interrupted by conscious cognitive processes which are normally useful for external threats, but very unhelpful for internal processes.

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Interpretation of these physical responses as "danger" is what turns a negative feedback loop into a positive feedback loop. Basically, our interpretation of those "stress" symptoms as "unwelcome" and "dangerous" is what interrupts the normal feedback cycle of the body.... in the same way man-made CO2 production from fossil fuels interrupts the climate through global warming.

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