Dynamic Equilibrium (Homeostasis)
Without water we dehydrate and die. With too much water, we risk the toxicity of overhydration.
Without food we starve and die. With too much food, especially the wrong kind, we become fat and lethargic and sick.
Normal bacterial flora of the mouth and skin and genitals and intestines
protect against invasion by more pathogenic organisms . Yet, infections of the skin or genitals or intestines by their more pathogenic cousins can lead to serious infection, even death.
To maintain 37 degree internal temperature, we sweat when it’s hot or vasoconstrict when it’s cold.
Without emotion we function sub-optimally in the world. Without emotion we probably can’t love. Without reason, we act on pure emotion, the counter sub-optimal manner of navigating the world. Without reason we cannot think.
People prone to openness and adventure tend to be politically liberal. They push boundaries and tend to be creative but disorganized. Conservatives tend to score low in openness but high in order. For a society to function, they are complimentary, yet necessarily conflicting. They constrain the others’ tenancies so we neither dehydrate nor overhydrate.
Aesop’s Fables and Anna Karenina and the Bible are stories.
The values and lessons within Aesop’s Fables or Anna Karenina or the Bible will resonate with some people more than an explanation of the values contained in them. These are the values that keep us within a healthy state of dynamic equilibrium.
Those predisposed toward reason may discard the stories themselves, seeking to extract the values and the reasons for the values contained within them. They seek the truths within the stories while the techniques of emotional engagement within them are mostly irrelevant, perhaps because for these people – low on emotion – that part doesn’t stick.
For the values to stick there must be an intellectual engagement – a reasoned or reasonable conclusion about them – but for others the values stick by way of the emotional engagement with the story. For one, he accepts the values based on reason while, for the other, there needs to be an emotional connection to those values. The Lion’s Share or Noah’s Ark may not be true, but as a vehicle for values it serves an important purpose for those who need the emotional engagement of a narrative for the values to stick. In other words, they need the fable in order to learn the lesson. And though it may seem dumb, we still need their explosive emotion just as they need our cold reason. For our reason may pull them away from abject hedonism or fanaticism some day just as their emotion may pull us out of our abject nihilism or away from a genocide derived and justified by cold calculation.
We are individuals yet members of a whole, just as we are both emotional and rational.
And neither is necessarily right or wrong, for dehydration is just as bad as overhydration. A healthy body regulates our consumption and understands that, though certain outcomes are at odds, the conflict is necessary and must be managed with care.