Self Birth: Disorganisation

Sometimes in the recesses of our soul we wish to feel new again. Sometimes, in the dark matter of our minds, we wonder what we could be if we were someone else. In the subcutaneous layer of our skin, the pulsing vibrations of our excitement at the possibilities energises our lifeblood giving us a rush of some sorts. We could be day dreaming or we could be in the gestation period of our self-birth.

The origin of life is a controversial topic in the science world with multiple theories laced with loopholes. Many of which are quite difficult to answer presently. However, researchers over the years have proposed and modified multiple types of theories to explain how the first life came about. Many of these theories can not specifically explain how life started without help from an external influence. However, chemical evolution is a leading theory with the Oparin-Haldin  hypothesis suggesting that life arose gradually from inorganic molecules, with “building blocks” like amino acids forming first and then combining to make complex polymers. While, other scientists support the RNA World Hypothesis which suggests that the first life was self-replicating RNA. Others favour the Metabolism- First hypothesis placing metabolic networks before DNA or RNA. How can the wonder of birth and how living things came about not cause such a frenzy?

Central to the chemical evolution theory , self assembly and self organisation can be said to play an important role. Self- assembly involves the formation of structures in a system from its component parts without any external source of information purely driven by the tendency of systems to minimise their free energy in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics. In biology, self- assembly occurs in protein folding which explains how amino acids can indeed be the active ingredient in the formation of life. Self-organisation on the other hand is formation of a system which is driven by a constant input of energy. According to Sneyd, Theraulaz & Bonabeau, 2001, Self-organization refers to diverse pattern formation processes in the physical and biological world, from sand grains assembling into rippled dunes to cells combining to create highly structured tissues to individual insects working to create sophisticated societies.  The brain is even considered to be a self-organising structure. However, what does all this mean? In nature, patterns are usually investigated and found to be ordered and structured in complex ways. However, within troubled minds there is a lack of order leading to a disorganisation of some sorts. This disorganisation goes against natural laws and soon the body earnestly begins to seek stability. This quest for equilibrium will bring about a biological occurrence that would produce a well ordered system. Well, I say this occurrence is self-birth. I believe, from the simplest external influences the mind can be said to produce a hierarchical sequence of reactions that will slowly give way to an effectual circumstance. In other words, during troubled times, mind would become increasingly disorganised and in the deep of the disorganisation pushing for stability a birth of some sorts would occur.

Percival Everett’s Alice Achitophel from Zulus has always been an outcast all her life, a walking label, an oddity in a “singularistic” world. However, Alice, a massive aberration in Percival Everett’s failed planet failed world fictional narrative is a fertile woman who gives birth to herself! Alice has been persecuted all her life because of her size and finds herself in more danger when she is raped and becomes pregnant. She tries to flee but finds herself in a terribly bad place as a prisoner. Slowly, with her haunting fears as a prisoner, an abused woman and a society reject , she swells up until she bursts. At the point of her birth, Alice becomes a museum of some sorts with her organs turning into houses, cities, streets and walkways, while her new body runs out of her different from what she used to be. Indeed “her thoughts spilled with shards of her brain down her body…… frozen still, was a thin Achitophel, waiting to wake… growing to the size of life…… the woman was breaking up”. (Zulus, 1990.)  Before her self birth, Alice’s mind was in a disorganised state having slipped into a hallucinatory state. Eventually, her body begins to experience several changes, growing and adjusting until she gives birth to herself. There would never be a reconciliation of her old self and new self.

While a sordid idea, I likened Everett’s surrealist idea to a metamorphic growth and liberation of one’s self. When we as individual’s face persecution and bullying from the outside world, we begin to experience a disorganisation of some sorts. We shut down, slip into depression until our body becomes weak. Just like it can be said for Cee in Home, “she was broken. Not broken up but broken down, down into her separate parts”. After eloping with her lover, Cee left home only to be jilted by Prince, left with nothing and left to be an emotional wreck. Her step grand mother had constantly maltreated her, she was deceived by a wide eyed boy, made sterile by a racist doctor. Wolves in sheep’s clothing or Morrison would say “belted trousers instead of overalls” (Home, pg. 47.) had caused her to spiral wounding her very soul. Eventually, Cee finds herself in the arms of her brother and goes on a recuperating journey. In terrifying situations, our disorganised mind gets broken down into tiny separate parts following the organisation of life, from simplest to complex. Our mind starts pushing for stability, searching for healing, finding ourselves, discovering our truth until we become whole again. Before this occurs, we are first “broken down not up” because after one reaches rock bottom the only way left is up. To be broken up leaves no hope for reconciliation but to be broken down, a chance for something wonderful awaits. In the wake of our disorganisation and persecution, we will self-birth and metamorphose from slimy caterpillars to the beautiful butterflies we were always meant to be. There is an Alice Achitophel waiting to happen in all of us.



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