When We Play The Survival Card

January 4, 2011

“Where are my shoes,” Jayesh asked the paramedics as they carried him away from a ravine into which he had tumbled. The 22-year-old lay on a stretcher, bleeding and broken after plunging more than 200 feet from a hill-top But despite multiple facial and bodily fractures, these were the youngster’s first words after he regained consciousness.

There were no tears, there was no pain. Jayesh’s first thoughts were of his shoes, which he had bought only recently. Out of context, Jayesh would seem like a callous young man, ungrateful for the gift of life and concerned only with its trappings.

But let’s not be quick to judge. Jayesh Gaykar's is a typical case of a teenager forced to grow up overnight and shoulder the financial burden of a family of six while still in his teens. His parents were not earning and his elder brother had suddenly lost his job. Thus, by doing odd jobs, 16-year-old Jayesh managed to scrape together just enough to put himself through college while also putting food on the table.

Life deals us some pretty heavy blows. But for Jayesh, destiny had robbed him of life itself, and the only way he could carry his cross was to anesthetise himself – mentally, emotionally and physically. The young man seated across the table from me was 24 now and he showed me pictures of himself when ‘life was still beautiful’. He was a sensitive and vulnerable teenager then and the future beckoned, albeit with a few difficulties strewn his way.

When circumstances changed abruptly, Jayesh was forced to ‘switch gears’. (See discussion below for interpretation of the 3 Miasms in homeopathy – Psora, Sycosis, Syphillis). He braced himself by adopting a defensive posture towards life, the only way he could discharge his responsibilities. Jayesh built a wall that didn’t allow any feelings in. He had insulated himself so completely, which is why he felt no physical pain even after tumbling 200 feet into a ravine. He had hardened himself to life's blows so completely that he began to look old and haggard.

Somewhere down the line, Jayesh’s vital force – the dynamic, positive energy within each one of us that keeps us alive & kicking, growing & actualising, healthy & happy – began to get further twisted and contorted. That’s when this once happy teenager switched gears once again and slid into a physically and mentally destructive phase.

Now well and truly anesthetised and almost completely devoid of all emotion, Jayesh’s robotic existence was fast – and silently – taking a toll on him. He was sick but he didn’t even know it.

Eight years after his descent into destructive mode began, the young man I met had come to help regain sensation on the right side of his face as the multiple fractures he had sustained during the accident had affected his facial nerves two years ago.

Even if I had not known his case history, it was evident from Jayesh’s pictures that he had switched from the Psoric to Sycotic to Syphillic Miasm quite quickly and dramatically. His facial injuries, which he sustained later, had only further impacted his already Syphillitic appearance. Watch this video of Jayesh Gaykar ‘becoming human again’.

The 3 Faces of Miasms

Origin Of Misams

So how is Jayesh Gaykar’s case linked to the 3 Miasms of homeopathy? For my readers who are not homeopaths, we had discussed the Miasms of classical homeopathy in an earlier post. But just to recap… Miasm is essentially a pattern of reaction adopted by the mind and body to defend against, and even accommodate, the disease process. And although each one of us reacts in a highly individualised way, all human beings fall into one of these 3 basic Miasmatic states.

But before I discuss the classic personality types and traits associated with each Miasm, let’s look at the origin of these classic states of being. What if I said that the root of your mind, body, personality, thoughts and feelings lies in the nucleus of every cell in your body and its genetic code? Am I saying that we inherit what we are and that we are controlled by our genes? That the nature vs nurture conundrum is a foregone conclusion?

Let’s start, quite literally, at the very beginning. All life on earth evolved from single-celled organisms, growing in complexity and diversity to make the earth the wonderful planet it is. The living cell is programmed by its DNA and RNA to perform 3 basic functions: to nourish itself and grow; to reproduce and propagate; and to protect itself via the immune system.

At the cellular level, the world is an inherently hostile place and the cell needs to adjust and adapt to hostile agents, defend against them and sometimes even sacrifice its own functions or parts of itself to preserve itself. On an evolutionary level, this is the very purpose of life – self-preservation. And driven by its vital force, the cell will go to any lengths to achieve this goal.

Since the cell performs only 3 basic functions, there are only three ways it can defend against hostile forces or agents. When the first function is under threat, the cell increases its sensitivity and becomes literally hypersensitive so that it can better acquire the oxygen and nourishment it requires (Psora or the ‘Sensitive Miasm’).

When the threat or attack is prolonged or severe, this physiological or biochemical adaptation may fail and the cell is compelled to switch gears to use a stronger defence. It uses its second function to produce excesses or deficiencies to change itself structurally or morphologically. For instance, the cell wall hardens or shrinks in surface area to minimise the impact of the attack or it produces profusions and excesses to buttress itself (Sycosis or ‘Think-Skinned Miasm’). Finally, if its immune system also fails to fend off disease or harmful agents, the cell sacrifices a part of itself (the diseased portion) to save the whole (Syphillis or ‘Destructive Miasm’).

The 3 Miasms

This may sound rather primitive but then, despite our infinite complexity, our biology and genes boil down to a handful of simple rules. Thus,the way the human individual reacts to disease is nothing but an extension of the way the living cell reacts to harm or injury. As the human species evolved, we developed a mental make-up or ‘personality’. Each one’s mental make-up is a cluster of traits that is essentially an extension of the cell’s 3 basic functions – the 3 Miasms viz Psora, Sycocis and Syphillis.

In homeopathic terms, each human being exists primarily in one of the 3 Miasms – together at the physical level and psychological or mental level. Therefore, human behaviour is but a reflection of the mind mirroring biology.

It is important to remember that mind and body are but polar ends of the same axis, and that every human being is a single mind-body entity that functions as a whole. Thus, when we speak of Miasms, we refer to not only a physical defence against disease but also to a mental make-up that mirrors it.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, disease is a process that sets in and continues to pervade the body if the immune system is unable to repair or cleanse the body of disease agents. At this point, I would like to add that these ‘disease agents’ could either be purely physical as in invading pathogens, injury, harmful chemicals or a mental state as in prolonged stress or unhealthy thought processes that block or disturb the individual’s vibrational energy.

No matter what conventional medicine would have us believe, the mind CANNOT be separated from the body. They always work in tandem, in beautiful synchrony, in sickness and in health, for better or worse.

Miasmatic Personality

The Psoric Personality: The Psoric personality derives from the cell’s innate tendency to react to threat or injury with inflammation and pain. The cell heightens its sensitivity when any of its needs are under threat of deprivation so that it can maximise its ability to seek out and fulfil its basic requirements. This is the first line of defence adopted by all living cells and is a physiological or biochemical adaptive response.

This is one of my patients exhibiting the transition through the 3 classic Miasms while under treatment - a reversal from the Syphillitic to Sycotic to Psoric Miasm. Naturally, I have used the images in reverse order.

The Psoric individual is thus typically hypersensitive; vulnerable; anxious; gets emotionally injured easily; internalises rather than acts out; is emotional and expressive; temperamental, sentimental and perhaps even artistic. The Psoric personality experiences flash-in-the-pan anger. He / she is quick-tempered but does not harbour anger and resentment.

Psoric Diseases: The Psoric Miasm gives rise to diseases that have inflammation as their root cause. These include all the ‘itises’ such as bronchitis, arthritis, phelebitis, colitis, fever and diarrhoea etc and can affect a range of bodily functions and organs. There are also constant (chronic) or transient aches and pains caused by inflammation but no tissue destruction.

The Sycotic Personality: When the first line of defence is inadequate, the cell uses its second line of defence. It creates excesses or deficiencies in its structure and undergoes morphological changes to defend against disease. It basically hardens itself. Thus the Sycotic personality erects a wall between himself / herself and the world. He builds a façade and hides behind it.

Typically, the Sycotic personality is one who is predisposed towards ‘excesses’ and thus exaggeration, flamboyance, showing off and extravagance. These individuals are attention-seeking, the centre of attention, loquacious and the ‘life of the party’. In stark contrast to the Psoric personality, Sycotic individuals act out their feelings and are outward-oriented.

The Sycotic individual always wants to ‘accumulate’. These individuals are thus achievers; avaricious; and money, success, name and fame mean the world to them.

They are also terribly secretive, evasive and never reveal their true thoughts, feelings or motives. They are masters of deception, crafty and master-manipulators.

The Sycotic personality is retentive. They are not “giving people” and tend to be stingy both materially as well as emotionally. They give to get, are thick-skinned and ‘hard-hearted’ and appear emotionally shallow.

The Sycotic personality is also characterised by ‘lack’ rather than ‘excess’. Such individuals typically harbour deep-seated feelings of inferiority, inadequacy and lack confidence. They are inhibited individuals.

Sycotic Diseases: Sycotic diseases characterised by ‘excesses’ involve discharges, secretions, fluids and tissue eruptions. This gives rise to aliments such as polyps, warts, cysts, tumours; hyperplasies and hypertrophies, gonorrhoea, eczema with profuse effusion of fluids, cysts, fibrosis, gout, gall stones, stenosis and haemorrhoids.

‘Lack’ is characterised by a wide range of deficiencies viz calcium deficiency linked to osteomalacia; potassium deficiency linked to disorders of the acid-base equilibrium; sodium deficiency linked to withholding or loss of water; iodine deficiency linked to goitre; magnesium deficiency linked to neuromuscular disorders; and ferrum deficiency linked to anemia.

The Syphillitic Personality: When the immune system is so weakened that it fails to protect the cell and restore it to equilibrium, the cell adopts it third and final line of defence. It goes into Syphillitic mode, which is characterised by destruction. That’s when its processes and functions are ‘out of its own control’. This results in cell destruction and / or havoc to other cells and tissues.

The Syphillitic personality radiates negative energy. They are pessimistic and ‘dark’, even suicidal. They are either self-destructive or a hazard to people around them. When directed outward, they may experience a murderous rage. Also, serious psychological disorders such as psychoses, characterised by loss of contact with reality, are rooted in a Syphillitic predisposition.

When less extreme, Syphillitic individuals have a tendency to conquer and tilt at windmills. They are iconoclasts; rebellious; they have no respect for rules; and their anger is explosive and violent. Syphillitic individuals are infantile and cave in easily under stress and become chaotic and disorganised. They are also rigid and inflexible and would rather be destructive than try to change.

Another typical Syphillitic trait is mental paralysis, dullness and a complete disinterest in life. These individuals are indifferent to everything around them.

Syphillitic Disease: Diseases typical of this destructive Miasm are ulcers, gangrene, cirrhosis, autism, autoimmune disorders (systemic lupus erythmatosus, rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS) paralysis and cancer.

Misam is not merely a hypothesis or hypothetical construct to help us understand disease. It is real and it is rooted in our genes. It is a basic tenet of classical homeopathy… the beginning and the end of an individual’s battle for survival and the beginning and end of the treatment process.

Next: How and why does an individual switch Miasms? And is the human individual tethered to his / her genes? Is any one Miasm ‘better’ than the others? We’ll explore these issues in detail in my next post. Till then, happy reading!

Re-awaken the healer in you...
- Dr Anita S Salunke
MindHeal Homeopathy is based in Chembur, Mumbai. To find out more about MindHeal, call: 022-25230530 /
+91-9930363981. Or write to emindheal@mindheal.org. Website: www.mindheal.org. We’ll be happy to answer all your queries.

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