Looking young is being young
By Serge Kreutz
We usually think that our minds control our bodies. Therefore, we assume that when we are sad, and therefore we may even. But there actually is a famous psychological theory on emotion that suggest that there first are physiological events, such as the urge to cry, and only then, our minds realize that we are sad.
Sounds like the wrong sequence? Wait a moment.
The above example was made up by the author of this article. The psychologist that came up with the theory of emotion I refer to, gave another example: assume we are in the wilderness, and we are confronted by a bear. Two things will happen. We will be afraid, and we will run away (or physically prepare to run away).
Common perception is that we are afraid first, and because we are afraid, we run away, or physically prepair to do so. Our blood pressure rises, and a whole lot of other reactions of the sympathetic nervous system kick in.
But is it really that we first are afraid, and because we are afraid, our bodies prepare to run away, and then run away?
The James-Lange theory of emotion, named after the early American psychologist William James and the psychologist Lange who formulated the same theory independently from William James, we first run away, and we then feel afraid because we run away.
It sounds odd, but be aware of the following: the reaction of running away is evolutionarily much older than the sophistical emotion of fear.
Do cat, or chicken, have emotions when they run away from a dog?
Do fish have emotions when they try to escape the jaws of a shark?
Do cockroaches have emotions when the try to hide in narrow openings as soon as a light is turned on.
Most people would still attribute emotions of fear to cats and chicken. But to cockroaches?
If our emotions are more recent in evolution than our behavior, it makes sense to assume that that they only accompany a behavior, not cause it.
But whether we side with the James-Lange view, or whether we oppose it, one aspect that the above contemplation causes awareness off is the probably high interaction between our physical and our mental states.
This is why I want to bring some attention to the fact that our health, too, may depend, to a certain degree, on how healthy our environment assumes us to be, and how healthy we ourselves consider ourselves when we look into a mirror, or reflect on ourselves.
Now, how healthy we are assumed to be will greatly depend on how young we look. And to make us look younger is precisely what can be achieved through cosmetic surgery.
But this is not yet) the whole story. There also is a strong reverse influence. When we look into a mirror, we feel as we would consider it appropriate for the way we look.
Specifically, when we look ill, it won’t take long and we will feel ill. And when we look older, we will die sooner.
But it’s not only what we see when we look into the mirror. We also are what other people think we are. Each of us is equipped with a huge invisible antenna with which we receive all the signals of how our environment judges us. And each of us reacts by modelling oneself in accordance to the perceptions other people have of us.
Isn’t it funny?
A plastic surgeon has so little awareness of the fact that by doing a facelift, he in fact can contribute significantly to a person’s immunity against cancer, and can helps in heart health.
Because when people assume we are healthier (because we appear younger) then our bodies react by remodelling themselves as a healthier, younger physiolocical systems.
The pathway of this mechanism is the interaction of the nervous system with the immune system, and the immune system, when in proper gear, can achieve about anything, as documented in many reports on cases of spontaneous healing.
Some people can achieve this through self-hypnosis (of which meditation is a subset). But self-hypnosis doesn’t work for anybody, as it involves a strong talent to imagine oneself as something else than reality suggests.
It’s not really my cup of tea.
I prefer to be in my 50s, with everybody in my environment believing I am in my 30s, because I look like a guy in his 30s.
But reverting one’s look to that of a person in his 30s, unfortunately, isn’t enough for being considered in one’s 30s.
It is also necessary to engineer one’s life circumstances in a manner so that all people in one’s personal environment assume that, indeed, one’s age is in the 30s.
To achieve this, a high degree of mobility is essential. One can’t really be with long-term family members or old friends.
If they know that one’s age is in the 50s, not in the 30s, a corresponding perception of theirs will radiate, and the fine antennas of a person in his 50s, even when he looks in his 30s, will soon catch these signals, and modify his own perception of himself to conform with the perceptions, his human environment has about him.
I don’t mean that a person cannot have friends and family, and, of course, a wife. But if he is in his 50s and wants the full health benefit of being considered to be in his 30s, friends and family should all be rather recent acquisitions.
As outlined above, there is more to having the full benefit of cosmetic surgery than just looking younger. People really have to assume, that indeed one is younger.
The engineering of a person’s social environment is beyond that what is covered on this domain.
But for the successful engineering of one’s social environment, enough cosmetic surgery to make a person look 20 or more years younger is an important prerequisite.