Saturday, September 13, 2008

Brain: Harbin Pools, Harmonizing Effects, and 'Neurophysiological' Being

There's something about the Harbin pools, that brings one to this very free and easy space, – neurophysiologically. I just came out of the pools, and am 'there' a little.

What goes on? How can one characterize this and study it?

How can one look at this from the perspective of brain research? I'll talk more with a faculty member at Berkeley about this. I'm enjoying sitting-in occasionally in his class on the evolution of language and the brain a lot. How can one study this, in order to make the experience more accessible for people?

It's the otherness of this way of being, a kind of transformation from normal day-to-day patterns and analyses, - to this harmonizing-way-of-being, that is very interesting to me. And it's understanding this in material and biological terms that is also fascinating, and may be relatively under-studied.

My focus with Harbin, in some ways, is on life in the pools, the effects of the pools on people, and in relation to the social life that is at Harbin. The Harbin warm pool is my field, anthropologically, - my field site.

The day is warm on the sun deck, but the light is growing long, and sunset is coming earlier than ever. It's only 5 pm and it feels like almost-dusk. There are only a few more weekends of warm weather when everyone will be out relaxing on the sun deck, so we're coming toward the end of summer. That people have come out and relaxed on this sun deck for around 37 years with great regularity in the warm weather suggests a kind of reproduction of a pattern, of a set of practices which I might call a culture, or an assemblage. But maybe it's just the Harbin pool area, and what is and has been, - without explanation.

Harbin can often attract folks who are 'out there,' or willing to think on their own or in ways that are different.

Could we all be in the pools together, dancing together in ease, - in and around every city in the U.S.?

And if so, why aren't there unique hot spring retreat centers everywhere? The cultural reasons I would suggest have to do with 'taboos' about the body, shaped possibly by the Judeo-Christian or spiritual traditions or a folk metaphysic, taboos about relaxation, enjoyment and pleasure, as well as ideas and practices relating to what's possible. Many people don't recognize how regenerative and sensible Harbin is.

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