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The Logic of the Body and the Logic of the Organs: Symmetries and Asymmetries

Conflicts become an inherent component of the phylogenetic equilibrium of the subject, because it is intrinsic to the “human condition” which determines the functional architecture of a human organism. (Guy Cellerier, 2010, Postface, 131; translated by Michael C. Heller and Marcel Duclos)

An individual who wants to understand how a skeleton, the muscles, the fascia, and the ligaments are coordinated can easily arrive at the conclusion that symmetry is the basic rule of the organism On the other hand, as soon as this person includes the functioning of the organs into his observations, he will have to admit that there exists a manifest heterogeneity between the body system and the organ system. Some organs respect the rules of symmetry (the brain, lungs), whereas others are clearly asymmetric (heart and liver). To this, we have to add the functional asymmetry imposed by some organs, like the brain, which makes most of us either right- or left-handed. This differentiation implies a different calibration of the sensory-motor circuits and of the development of the muscular mass. The necessity to create modes of bodily compensation to integrate the asymmetry imposed by the organs is therefore a necessary part of the requirements that the physiologic dimension imposes on the body. The result is that most of the human bodies are more or less asymmetrical while the comfort and the health of the body seek symmetry. The health of the organs also imposes requirements on other dimensions, like the respect of the demands of the metabolism Here are new conflicts of interest between the dimensions. Especially when the social environment provides for an ample supply of water and nourishment, behavioral and psychological propensions do not respect metabolic needs. They tend to take more. Everything happens as if the homeostatic mechanisms operate according to the following rules:

1. A metabolic disequilibrium can activate the homeostatic mechanisms that influence all of the dimensions of the organism

2. The mechanisms that permit a homeostatic propensity to recruit the support of the other dimensions also permits each dimension to activate this propensity for their own ends, which may have nothing to do with metabolic needs (for example, to drink alcohol to drown a sorrow and not because one is thirsty).

3. The psychic and behavioral dimensions have no direct link with the homeostatic equilibrium. Therefore, consciousness does not have the means to explicitly know the metabolic exigencies.

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