In the three posts hence, we have considered several different understandings of the term “integration.” In the final installment of this series, I intend to offer forth a fourth conception of the term; a culmination that in some sense integrates the prior three!
No individual subsists in isolation. We could say that this statement is self-evident & it would almost be fitting to relegate it to the dustbin of tired platitudes. But we often conduct our affairs as if we were entirely autonomous entities, like the island of Corsica. Attempt, however, to identify a man without reference to what he is doing, the space he is occupying, his orientation to another object, his political affiliation with the French government, etc… and we inevitably recognise this fundamental inter-dependency of all things, even Corsica, in fact—if nothing else, it depends on not being gobbled up by rising sea-levels. Contingency characterises existence. No aspect of our world does not depend upon another—
The whole depends on the parts,
The parts depend upon one another other
& one and another parts depend on the whole.
The various systems that we have considered in this series thus far—from (1)the levers, pulleys, & tensegritous-meridians of our physical structures, to the (2)interaction of our organisms with the material world, to the (3)internal congruence of our multi-faceted being—all demonstrate this pervasive contingency. In each of these systems, the emergence of an aggregate depends on the interplay of all the parts, just as all the parts depend for meaning on their context within the whole.
Given the breadth of inter-dependence in our lives, it is somewhat startling how often we altogether neglect the wider implications of this condition, particularly as it arises in our relationship to our surroundings. Adam Smith wrote that
No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.
Smith’s quote anticipates just such an intersubjective understanding of integration as I wish to offer in this post. In some sense, this broader scope was our perspective from the very start, only until now it remained implicit. Quite simply, as we appreciate ourselves persisting like herring in a sea continual exchange of information, we perceive a broader context of every action. Like omni-centric ripples emanating from ten-thousand single points, each action initiates anew a new causal cascade, all contained within the greater torrent.
The complexity of this exchange defies apprehension by our reason. And yet we sense the harmony of this great orchestra of inter-connectivity. Communicability of information & attitude through posture is what I call meta-kinetical relativity. It is a sympathetic vibration of sorts; like neighboring strings on a Stradivari violin, the one can scarce contain its own vibrations so that soon it disseminates its frequency to its impressionable fellow. It is a potential for outward expansion of harmony until the latter resonates throughout an entire concert-hall, an entire continent, the Milky-Way. Meta-kinetical relativity finds material expression in alignment & posture. But like the initial tremble of a cello-string that soon blossoms into the baseline of Le quattro stagione, this is but a sliver of a grander experience. To limit our ken to pure mechanics would be to tour the Sistine Chapel staring at our feet, or playing Scrabble™ on our iPhones.
Intersubjective integration arises when meta-kinetical relativity resonates beyond the body to inform the greater symphony. No longer are we isolated by the artifice of individuality. String Theory of modern physics postulates such interconnected resonance. Our fates are intimately bound by strands of reality. Imagining connective bands as strings on a hand-crafted violin, let us then take steps to sound in concert!
Take someone who slouches in the elevator, standing crookèd & sporting a nasty scowl withal. She might not appreciate it, but she’s continually broadcasting an attitude of dis-ease, discontent, & lack of vigour. As the strings on our proverbial viola, which can scarce contain their tremble & soon begin to buzz in resonance with their neighbors, sympathetic vibration dictates that all of us around her can’t help but pick it up on the sayd sloucher’s frequency. Or likewise might one broadcast the “mien of lord or lady,” communicating ease & dignity to her surrounding. Naturally it’s no one’s decision how another lives her life. But we do make choices for ourselves, & this decision is not without wider effect. Let us then each take care that our own note be concordant! This is the bloom of integration beyond the single subject. All melodies converge in a crescendo of intersubjective integration, a music whose stately billows wash over the sayd sloucher as an ocean wave that clears the sand in which some thoughful fellow had written the f-word, for example.
It’s rather simple actually (I just pretend it deserves four posts’-worth of wordy discourse for an excuse to muse about it): the better we feel in our bodies, the better we feel in our minds & the better everyone feels in general. We all have experienced that feeling good is often a sufficient condition for us to spread our joy through generosity to others. If there’s a moral principle to posture, it could be nothing other than this.
In short, seek integration on all strata! Step into your title as an upright & upstanding citizen, literally & figuratively! You can rest contentedly in so doing, knowing that you are compounding joy throughout the universe! Call the Traveling Rolfer today!