Home Again, Home Again

Hello dear readers. I apologise for the long absence from the blog, but I was in hospital for some time with kidney failure and have only recently been discharged to return home. So that “shudder of death” of which I wrote last fall in the blog wasn’t just fantasy. I have had one foot in death and the other in life.

But then, so do we all.

I won’t annoy you with the usual details of how I seemed to slide into kidney disease. There is, as yet, no conclusive diagnosis. Fortunately, at this time I’ve no need of dreadful dialysis. But I am scheduled for a couple of surgeries again in the near future.

I hope to return once again to the the usual themes of The Chrysalis — the prospective metamorphosis of human consciousness in our time. The bare, tedious walls of a hospital ward will either drive you insane or into philosophising, which are very often one and the same thing anyway; that is, when one isn’t wrestling with the many self-contradictions of the medical care system. I’ve had a very bird’s-eye view of those, being, by turns, confused, bemused, and perplexed by the whole experience.

Being in hospital is basically to be reduced to a body-machine. In that regard, doctors are very much like your automobile mechanic. Nobody is interested in your “soul”. They want to know if the machine is running soundly or needs repair or a tune-up. Maybe a fluid change. Maybe a rebuild. Automobile mechanics use much the same diagnostic tools and approaches as doctors, I noted — pressure gauges, scopes, and so on.

To a certain extent, this impersonal approach is very good and necessary. It’s rooted in the assumptions and premises of The Mechanical Philosophy that has pretty much dominated the Modern Mind for the last four centuries. The Mechanical Philosophy conceives of the kosmos as a Great Machine — the Clockwork — and everything in it as correspondingly mechanical. To a certain extent, this approach has been valuable, but also very myopic. We in the Western World basically ingest the assumptions and hidden premises of the Mechanical Philosophy with our mother’s milk. We’ve been raised on it as being “the common sense”.

Against The Mechanical Philosophy today is emerging something we might call “The Holistic Philosophy”. As you may know from past posts in The Chrysalis, I’ve always tended to think of the Holistic Philosophy as arising from the rejected philosophy and ways of thought of the alchemists or early thinkers like Nicholas of Cusa. I would say that the two contending orientations of consciousness presently are either toward the Mechanical or the Holistic, and that these orientations may very well lie at the root of what we call “culture war”.  Another word for “holistic” is, of course, “integral”.

This clash of consciousness structures informs many of the present social controversies — economics versus ecologics, conventional farming versus biodynamic-organic farming, classical physics or quantum physics, and so on. Past and future are in conflict, for it seems that the continuing hegemony of the Mechanical-Analytical Philosophy over the Modern Mind is very much in doubt, as much as the Newtonian hegemony over physics is also a thing of the past.

The differences between the Mechanical mode of perception and the Holistic mode of perception are sometimes quite stark. I’ll have more to say about that in future posts. But I do think that the clash between the Mechanical and the Holistic remains the dominant tendency of our time, although the Holistic is still struggling to really become fully eloquent and articulate.



7 responses to “Home Again, Home Again”

  1. Steve Haines says :

    Hey Scott, Here’s wishing you well!

    • Scott Preston says :

      Thanks for the well-wishes, Steve. I feel quite well actually. I have quite a bit of energy back, which is most welcome. The spice doth flow again.

      I have been preoccupied with diet, of course. A CKD (chronic kidney disease) diet is pretty bland. I try to figure out ways of making it appetizing. I measure, calculate, and record everything, which is a bit time consuming. But my sodium limit is 1500 mg, potassium is 2,000 mg, and phosphorus is about 800 mg. These are the “three devils”, as it were, that I have to control. I spend hours now in grocery stores reading labels. I suppose that pretty soon I’ll have a routine.

      If this was the worst it got, I could live with it I think.

  2. abdulmonem says :

    happy to hear you are well and back

  3. LittleBigMan says :

    Hi, Scott.

    My apologies for missing class for such a long time. Tonight (or should I say this early morning) is the first I’ve been back on The Chrysalis after nearly four months.

    As remarkably magnetic as your blog is, I was forced to stay away from it in order to carry some heavy loads across the bridge so to speak. Needless to say that I missed The Chrysalis very much. But now, 4 out of 5 things done, I’m happy to be back in the class.

    The news here has been a bit unsettling to me. But I’m so happy to hear that you are back at home and out of the hospital. It’s also terrific to hear that you feel energetic again. At the same time, please let your body rest and recuperate fully before you go back to your active lifestyle on the farms over there.

    I know nothing about kidney disease, but here’s some scattered information I have gathered about kidneys over the years:

    1. cranberry juice is believed to clear minor kidney infections. But for anyone with a temporary or long-term kidney condition, doctor’s advice must be sought before drinking it as a remedy.

    2. Excessive consumption of protein is stressful to the kidneys. This is especially an issue with bodybuilders who consume huge amounts of protein on a daily basis.

    3. Staying in Jacuzzi hot tubs is good for circulation, but not so good for kidneys if the stay in the water exceeds beyond 20 minutes.

    4. Finally, as don Juan Matus told Castaneda, excessive walking is not so good for all internal organs, because it drives blood away from them to the large muscles of the back and legs. So, he recommended periodic rest stops during long walks.

    5. And yes, as you wrote up there, the intake of salt should be watched by anyone who is interested in healthy kidneys, heart, bones, arteries, etc.

    6. The other thing is that I don’t think Watermelon receives enough credit in this world. I eat a lot of watermelon and it always makes me feel great. It must be good for everything from liver to heart to brain to kidneys and what have you.

    7. Last but not least, please watch the quality of the water you drink out there in the middle of all those farms.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Hello LittleBigMan. Thanks for the kidney tips, most of which I’ve been following. Didn’t know that about the “long walks” though. Good to know.
      Cranberry juice is a staple of mine, although I don’t drink a lot of it. I think the issue is that it is acidifying of the blood, and my blood is already too acid because the kidneys aren’t working effectively to filter the blood of toxins. So, cranberry juice in moderation. I’ve never been a big meat eater either, and usually stick to fish and fowl when I do eat meat. In fact, I just ordered a book entitled “The Vegetarian Diet for Kidney Health”, which I hope will have more palatable recipes for the “kidney-friendly diet” than the ones I’m using presently. A CKD (chronic kidney disease) diet is pretty bland.

      No worries about the jaccuzi. I can’t even take a shower. I’m restricted to a sponge bath. And as for watermelon, yes… it has become a staple, too. It’s also de-acidifying (alkaline producing) which should be beneficial for the blood. My blood acid is way too high, and that has the potential to bring about other complicating health factors.

      Also, deep-breathing to the “core” (the area just below the navel) is also generally beneficial to the entire system. Most people breathe to shallow, into the lungs. The breath should be drawn right into the abdomen. This seems to have had a very beneficial effect on my blood-pressure. Actually, all my vital signs are very good despite the malfunctioning of the kidneys. It’s why the doctors are confused on whether I should go on dialysis or not. All my vital signs indicate good health, but my kidneys are only functioning at 15% or so.

      I go for surgery on Tuesday, so I will be out of action for a few days. The intent of the surgery is to correct a blockage somewhere in the tubes connecting the kidney and bladder. Apparently, those tubes are twisted for some reason. It’s putting back pressure on the kidneys. So, with the relief of that pressure, it’s anticipated that greater kidney function can be restored. I would not be surprised, though, if the surgeons discover that the blockage is a tumor. There is a genetic history of that in my family line. We’ll see.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        Hello to my grand teacher and friend.

        Everything you’ve said tells me that you are under the care of excellent doctors. Please take as much time as you need to rest and avoid anything stressful, since I believe stress is another cause of increasing blood’s acidity.

        I know a little bit about strict diets. Some 17 years ago, because of severely receding gums, I had to have reconstructive gum surgery, or else I would lose all my teeth in less than 20 years – so I was told by two dentists.

        So, I had the surgery and afterwards the doctor told me that for 8 weeks I could have only very soft foods. No cereals, or crunchy foods, she told me. No kidding, I told her.

        So, I put myself on a diet of bananas (potassium rich) mashed in apple sauce for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and anything in between for 8 weeks until my gums recovered from all the cutting and stitching. They cut my gums from the healthy parts and transplanted it over where it had receded badly.

        The applesauce company, I’m sure, couldn’t understand why they were selling so much applesauce all of a sudden.

        I had a couple of other surgeries as a kid for my tonsils and a nasal polyp that had to be removed. I used to get a kick out of the anesthesiologist injecting me with the anesthetic and then daring me to count loudly until 10 if I could. I could never do it. I would always lose consciousness around 7 or 8.

        By the way, that loss of consciousness under the influence of the anesthesia was the same as the ones I experienced during a drowning accident and a wrestling accident in the schoolyard playing around with my friends. A total blackout!

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