Thursday, 3 May 2012

i think therefore i am

the relationship between thought and reality, or thought and circumstance has been a recurring theme in my life of late. learning about childbirth has reinforced to me over and over, that the circumstances of a birth, the gory detail of inductions, episiotomies, maternal exhaustion, forceps delivery, ventouse extraction (extraction? really?) and the big childbirth C aesarean, are determined in some part, maybe even in large part, by the thoughts of the birthing woman.
it makes sense really but nobody explains it to the expectant mother. if unexplored and unaddressed, the fears and concerns that a mother has going into her pregnancy, labour and birth will produce an adrenaline "fight or flight" response and the name says it all: fight or flight leaves no room for birth! the fight or flight hormones work contrary to the hormones of labour, in fact they are designed to shut down a labour, saving the life of the mother in a dangerous situation and allowing her to delay the birth for a safer time and place. all of this sounds a little extreme but if you apply the same logic to a wild animal it makes sense and we really aren't so far removed from the animals when basic instinct and survival is involved.
a scared mum leads to delayed and complicated labour and lets face it, what new mother wouldnt be a little afraid? bringing a new life into the world is the biggest responsibility we will ever face and one of the greatest unknowns. all of this is known as the fear-tension-pain response.
(at some level) i think i cant birth, therefore i cant?

moving into the post natal period, women who had the positive emotional support of a doula at their child's birth, felt empowered during the experience and suffered less birth trauma are proven to have less post natal depression, bond to baby better, breastfeed more easily and express greater confidence as mothers.
i think i can mother confidently and competently, therefore i can?

after all of that reflection on birth and mothering i came across a documentary called "what the bleep do we know?" which i cant really begin to explain to you here because i would have to watch it and cogitate on it at least 100 more times to begin to understand but what i will say is that it lives up to the hype as a "revolutionary cinematic blend of dramatic film, documentary, animation and comedy, while serving up a mind-jarring blend of Quantum Physics, spirituality, neurology and evolutionary thought."
i love to say i watched a doco on quantum physics, by the way :)

despite my inability to explain it all the film explained and hypothesised a whole lot of things including the fact that our reality is shaped by our thoughts and not in a vague hippy or self help kind of way but genuinely and scientifically: the way we experience the world around us is determined by the way we think. we influence the people around us by our thoughts, we create health or illness by our thoughts, we create or happiness, successes and emotional strengths or weaknesses through our thoughts.
quantum physics teach us that there is no reality without a mind to interpret that reality. that's not philosophical rhetoric, it's science and when we accept that our mind is essential to the very existence of something we call reality then naturally our thoughts create our realities.

every single aspect of our lives: health, luck, career, relationships, joy and pain are all inextricably bound to our thoughts and if that wasnt enough we see that God is explained as well! the existence and functioning of God is explained by quantum physics and if you dont believe there is a God, wont believe it, cant believe it or struggle with it in any way this film puts it all into some kind of rational order. or maybe my mind did that because thats the reality i created but it was a product of my mind together with outside factors and is therefore real.

some time ago i had this brief exchange on facebook and i want to quote it. i found it amazing at the time and now even more so: two of us, in the intellectual, philosophical, largely Godless wasteland that is facebook, inadvertently stumbled around the edge of the truths powering the universe.

"Mr. Shermer delves into the neuroscience of "the believing brain" where he cites research suggesting that people with high levels of the feel-good neurochemical dopamine "are more likely to find significance in coincidences and pick out meaning and patterns where there are none." When we come across information that confirms what we already believe, we get a rewarding jolt of dopamine. "
"Shermer doesn't take religious faith seriously except as an object for debunking—God is simply the human explanation for pattern-making and agency on an epic scale. "

Mr Shermer.....just maybe the dopamine is actually God's way of telling us that we're on the right track.......‎"

"God is simply the human explanation for pattern-making and agency on an epic scale." and isnt epic scaled pattern making and agency pretty much a synonym for God? "

it's ok if you think i'm grandly delusional, just watch the film and whether you agree with me about the God thing or not you wont regret the 108 minutes.


  1. My wont I sincerely hope is not cant.

  2. Oh Dear. I was just going to quietly tip-toe away and pretend I hadn't read this. Very dishonest of me. I am sorry, but I am dubious in the extreme. And it makes me crabby (putting it mildly) when people imply that I wouldn't have MS, person B wouldn't have cancer if we hadn't thought the ugly reality upon ourselves.
    If I calm down I might go and watch the documentary. Might.

  3. EC!
    i dont think it would be dishonest of you to sneak away! but i'm glad you didnt!
    i didnt interpret it quite that way, i dont think that people are to be blamed for their illnesses or for long and complicated labours either.
    what i do think is that the research is interesting and if we can use these things to inform our behaviours we might be able to take some steps towards a wholistic kind of health. for example, you might always have MS but you might be able to avoid the complication of depression.

    cancers have anecdotally been linked to stress or long term bitterness and heart disease to the type A personality. maybe we can look at those types of links in the same way we look at genetic factors, predisposing an individual to a problem but condemning them to it.

    i'm sorry if i caused personal offence, i'm not trying to play a blame game, just to explore some ways we might be able to improve our lives.


  4. Ah. I am sorry. I have in the past been told flatly that I would not have developed MS if I had been a better person. Which made me well nigh ballistic with rage. To which she said 'You see...' Which didn't improve the shining hour.
    Your viewpoint seems to equate to making the best of what you have been dealt which I try to do.

  5. people who say things like that are so ridiculously bigoted and uninformed that they are not worth wasting time or energy on, she was an idiot.

    have a great weekend :)

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. Pregnant women scare me...
    Sorry about the deleted comment - I made a grammatical error, and as a teacher of English, I couldn't keep it in the blogosphere...

  8. of course not pete! i wouldnt want it on my blog, either ;)


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