The Concept of Excess through Inter-personal Relationship and Hoarding
|The Concept of Excess through Inter-personal Relationship and Hoarding|
“Live life in Excess” are the four words that set the stage for an unparalleled experience.
Excess is for the select few that savour the extraspecial in life, with the perfect blend of Progressive Global Cuisine, an International Live Band, an In House DJ and World Class Bartenders, Excess is a lifestyle. So Indulge, Live it up and Experience life in Excess”.
Does this ad represent the mantra of the modern man? Should we define whether this is normal / abnormal, physiological / pathological, individual / social, miasmatic /demiasmatic etc.? You may ask me why I am making the things perplexing. You may argue that these issues are already difficult. You may also render the philosophy – ‘Just go ahead’. ‘Indulge’. ‘Don’t think more’. ‘Just flow yourself’. ‘Life is large and a human being is too small to enjoy the excess of life’.
What is excess? Excess is a relative term. Individual priorities and resources have a big say in the issue of excess. Still excess can be defined, provided we do study interconnections and parameters well! The social parameters should not be brushed aside. The conscience, that judge inside, is the individual parameter.
We will try to discuss the issue of excess in two ways – inter-personal relationship and hoarding. For a homoeopath, it is essential know the dimensions of excess. He has to first define what is normal and then has to decide what is excess or abnormal.
1. Interpersonal Relationship
We will begin with relationships. It is said that life is nothing but relationships. An interpersonal relationship is an association between two or more people that may range from fleeting to enduring. It may be based on several factors like love, business or some other type of social commitment. Interpersonal relationships are formed in the context of social, cultural and other influences and the context can vary from family or kinship relations, friendship, marriage, relations with associates, work, clubs, neighborhood, places of worship, rather, any subject .
Relationships usually involve some level of interdependence. People in a relationship tend to influence each other, share their thoughts and feelings and engage in activities together. Because of this interdependence, most things that change or impact one member of the relationship will have some level of impact on the other member. The study of interpersonal relationship involves several branches of the social sciences, such as sociology, psychology, anthropology etc.
Interpersonal relationships are dynamic systems that change continuously during their existence. Like living organisms, relationships have a beginning, a life span and an end. They tend to grow and improve gradually, as people get to know each other and become closer emotionally or they gradually deteriorate as people drift apart, move on with their lives and form new relationships.
George Levinger’s Model
One of the most influential models of relationship development was proposed by psychologist George Levinger. According to the model, the natural development of a relationship follows five stages:
1. Acquaintance – Becoming acquainted depends on previous relationships, physical proximity, first impressions and a variety of other factors. If two people begin to like each other, continued interactions may lead to the next stage, but acquaintance can continue indefinitely.
2. Buildup – During this stage, people begin to trust and care about each other. The need for intimacy, compatibility and such filtering agents as common background and goals will influence whether or not interaction continues.
3. Continuation – This stage follows a mutual commitment to a long-term friendship, romantic relationship or marriage. It is generally a long, relative stable period. Nevertheless, continued growth and development will occur during this time. Mutual trust is important for sustaining the relationship.
4. Deterioration – Not all relationships deteriorate, but those that do tend to show signs of trouble. Boredom, resentment and dissatisfaction may occur and individuals may communicate less and avoid self-disclosure. Loss of trust and betrayals may take place as the downward spiral continues, eventually ending the relationship. (Alternately, the participants may find some way to resolve the problems and reestablish trust.)
5. Termination – The final stage marks the end of the relationship, either by death in the case of a healthy relationship or by separation.
The benefit of this model is that one can see the stage in which the quality of relationship exists and one can anticipate the outcome.
Relationships: New and Too many
Every new relationship opens up new explorations, new worlds, new avenues, new possibilities, new responsibilities, new learning and it adds to the repertoire of life. When a person is unrelated, he is alone but with relationship, sharing begins. This addition may be positive, negative or neutral. If the relations are positive, it goes for fostering the relations. Negative relations result in severing the relations and finally cutting them off. It is necessary that the objective of relations should be clearly defined. Many good relations wither out of no common goal or the relations remain at frivolous level. It is interesting to note that relationship is created by a person and a person is also shaped by the relationship.
Some people don’t see the demerits of too many relations. They get swayed away by the influences relations exert upon them. Remember, relationships cause a lot of chaos in the life and there is extra burden of maintaining them as time flows by. “We are more affected by our relation to each other than by our physical environment…The serious dangers and troubles of human life arise from difficulties of adjustment with our social environment” (Perkins, 1898 as cited in Appelrouth & Edles, 2008). Perkins lends support to the idea that human evolution is no longer based on the natural environment, but the social environment which we have created.
It is important to figure out who are the most significant people in the life that demand our attention and time and which relationships are keeping us occupied for no reason. Managing the relationships is as important as managing the time. The best example in this digital world is the use of social media like Facebook! There are many people in the friend list whom we do not even remember to know and we are still sharing our personal matters with them. Life will become more complex if one enters in more and more relationships. The relations should be based on quality rather than on quantity. It is better to be truly loved by few rather than just liked by all. Do we want to be known by a lot of people who hardly understand us? In business, one can understand the more gathering of people. There is a qualitative difference between business relations and the intimate relations. Intimate relations are based on the foundation of trust, love and personal sharing.
People are often after new relations; they get bored soon and automatically flow themselves between old and new. Most of the people are discontented and they run after new relations in search of happiness. Some relations are fixed ones, given to us by Almighty. Our parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, even neighbours are fixed! In the work area too, we have the same people with us for a long time. Discontentment results if the rhythm doesn’t match in the relations. Then relations take on a shape based on the dispositions that the involved individuals carry. The discontentment has to be defined in detail. A person’s wishes, intentions, aspirations, ambitions, motives, needs and greed – all play a role in being discontented. However, priorities do surpass all factors for the majority of people. People put their priorities first and try to fulfill them at the cost of others. Then mutual symbiosis disappears and one sided affair ends the relations. Once fulfilling the demands becomes a burden, harmony is affected. Limitations of the concerned people is a matter not to be overlooked. In the capitalistic world of today, ‘usability’ concept has become so dominant that everyone has to bear the brunt of it. Capitalism dehumanizes the human beings and it is becoming a major concern of poor health now.
Active conflict in the relationship may cause relations to be toxic. It is compulsive for many people to continue with toxic relations. Remember, toxic relations are major causes of illness for human beings and they outweigh the infectious diseases. In the so called life style related diseases, the role of toxic relations can’t be underestimated. Toxic relations irritate, erode the people; the honour, the esteem is confronted, challenged and hurt over the years and people can’t cope up for long.
Interview through exploring the Inter-personal relationship yields rewards! Exploring each individual family member in terms of characters and then portraying the concerned patient’s image is one of the rewarding techniques of interview.
Let us deal with our remedies, the living, throbbing individuals of our Materia medica.
1. Ars-alb longs for company in an obsessive way, chiefly to alleviate his inner fears and anxieties. He can’t tolerate being alone. His demand for order in even a trifling matter puts others in a ‘driving state’. His miserly, malicious, selfish and censorious dispositions put the relations under strain. Ars-alb may make the relations toxic esp. the close relations. Excess is pushing, anxiety, harping on mistakes of others and demands for perfection.
2. Pulsatilla craves company out of her abandoned feeling and attention mongering. Inter-personal relations are like an O2 for Puls. She is after too many relations. Her indecisiveness also plays a part. She is not all sugar. Her excessive, importunate but passive demands and craving for something more make the relations uninteresting. Puls is “given to extremes of pleasure and pain, of sentiments or moods.” Puls doesn’t make the relations toxic. Out of her coyness and infantile character, she withdraws from annoying and threatening relations. Excess is being a leech and being greedy.
3. Kali-carb is also for company. But she has some say in relations. She likes company but may treat the persons disgracefully. Attachment is the basis of Kali carb and she can’t tolerate separation. She likes to continue harmonious relations with others. Kali carb puts too much anxiety in relations and this disturbs close relatives. She withdraws from toxic relations. She suppresses her anger in relations and become sorrowful. Excess is attachment, anger, anxiety and sensitivity. Kali-iod is, however, different. Her family relations are strained and she is excess at abusiveness towards his family members (like Scorp.).
4. It is interesting to observe how the family dynamics affect the individuals in the family. I had a family in which Anacardium was born and the whole family lost the peace and the honour. It became increasingly difficult to control the rage and destructiveness of Anac and court, criminality, jail became the often repeated occurrences. Whenever we will think of toxic relations, remedies like Anac, Acid-nit, Hyos, Verat-alb, Merc-sol, Lach etc. should be thought of. I recall a case of the only daughter who did an inter-caste marriage against the wish of the parents and father of the case, Acid-nit type, literally wanted to kill the couple. Life for the couple was of threat and torture. Father didn’t forgive and couldn’t deviate himself from his acidic behavior. Toxic prolonged relation was the chief cause of chronic grief for the daughter.
5. Hyoscyamus craves company, but it is more for sexuality. He may be generous towards strangers and avarice towards his own family members. There is a rubric under Hyos, ‘Grasps greedily with both hands anything offered to him’ and this indicates his avarice state. He has a strong delusion that he is not at home and he also can’t recognize his relatives. These two aspects indicate his state of detachment. Excess is his foolishness, sexuality, jealousy and suspiciousness and all contribute to make the relations toxic.
Hoarding and Excess
Hoarding is a natural and adaptive instinct. It is basic for survival. People take joy in hoarding. They feel honoured. They feel worthy that they are able to collect something out of this prodigious universe! Humans always feel shortage of mundane goods. Insecurity hovers! For, insecurity is also basic. Humans are sensitive to shortages. They are after filling the gaps, perpetually! They feel empty, vacant, unfilled and incomplete! How can I be incomplete in this world? I will do everything possible to make me adequate. The journey continues…
Hoarding has two sides – physiological and pathological. It’s like need and greed. The demarcation line between them is distinct but thin for many people. Hoarding to what extent? What have the people been collecting? Stockpiling of unnecessary things in an obsessive way is certainly pathological. Hoarding may have varying degrees depending on abundance. But this is not always true. Humans hoard in spite that the resources are insufficient and even capabilities are poor. The unnecessary rules the necessary! Humans are nostalgic. They are the only species that take hoarding to a pathological level of excess.
Are we turning into a generation of hoarders? The recent survey in Britain has suggested that half of the space in Brits’ homes is occupied by what could only be deemed as junk, ranging from toys to old computers and even clothes. The growth in consumerism, globalization and availability of money go for junk and clutter. One should not only blame external causes. The real cause springs from the human self. I would like to quote, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak” - Hans Hofmann (Introduction to the Bootstrap, 1993). Steven Anderson and his fellow neurologists at the Universityof Iowa found a link between indiscriminate hoarding and injuries to the brain's right mesial prefrontal cortex.
For a homoeopath, it is necessary to study what makes a person to hoard pathologically. One of my patients was shopaholic and it was an overt reaction of the lady towards the husband who was humiliating her. Hoarding was the revengeful act!Another case - A person from well-to-do family was begging for money and he used to become restless if he was with scarcity of money. This was an embarrassing situation for the family and Platina helped this case. Still another case – An exuberant lady with psychosis will go on visiting malls one after other and will return back after she has exhausted her money. Her house was full with all kinds of stuff, the house was better termed as trash and everything was crammed into shelves, cabinets, on top of tables and counters or even piled up in certain rooms, entryways and hallways throughout their house. Her husband was telling me that in a small apartment it is now difficult even to walk!
1. Calc’s selfishness is rooted in his insecurity coupled with intellectual averageness. He knows that he is not capable to deliver excellence and he has to depend on others. In addition to this, he is idle and averse to work. His excess fat body makes him indolent. Calc hoards in order that the collected objects can be of use when needed.He hoards also the people on whom he can lean upon. He is a routinist and conformist and hence more self-centered too. He engages himself more in his family, in his home and deprives himself of vivacity of life.
2. No remedy matches Sulphur in being selfish! The concept with Sulph is ‘what is mine is mine and what is yours is also mine’. He is unconcerned with others and just thinks of himself. He constructs a model of world in his head and there is fixity about it. He is a great collector and he doesn’t want to give his things to the others. His house is like a shop and too many objects make him messy and disorganized. Mean mindedness, ego-centricity, haughtiness and detachment characterize his life. He is a great gambler. Sulph has two sides – one which is materialistic and the other non-materialistic. He hoards objects but is indifferent to use them. Excess is also ‘indifference to external things’ and philosophical leaning which play a role. He hoards knowledge more and that makes him excessively egoistic.
3. What can be said about vegetable Sulphur, our opportunistic and pompous Lycopodium? His journey is for excessive appreciation. Inflation of ego and encroachment on others for grabbing his ‘id’ is his way of life. He hoards objects of highly expensive type and boasts of his achievements. He has excessive lust of power and he uses all tricks to remain in power. He is a charlatan and a cheater who uses others for his self. Lyc may be called as a representative of the modern capitalistic society where people are valued on the basis of their usability.
4. Plumbum met is self-indulgent in excess. It is indicated for the types who have been egoistic, selfish throughout their lives and enjoyed the best of everything. They hoard expensive objects, decorate their homes and they get money out of deceiving and cheating people. Plumbums are usually found in politics and hi fi society and they are unconcerned with the sufferings of the poor people.
5. There is an interesting rubric, Mind, desire, more than she needs and the remedies are Ars. Ars-s-f, Bar-s, Bry, Zinc-p. Arsenicum’s greedy disposition demands more and more and that too in a perfect manner. In Ars-s-f, both Ars and Sulph make a double expression of greed. Bry is calculative and money minded and his demands are centered on his inner insecurity. Zinc has fear of robbers, of being imprisoned or buried alive and these fears play a big role in desires in excess.
Excess has been discussed in terms of inter-personal relationship and hoarding. As a matter of fact, excess touches every field of our life. Excess has to be defined in an individual instance. Miasmatic assessment of excess is necessary for perceiving it in all dimensions. All miasms-Psora, Sycosis, Tubercular and Syphilis represent Excess. In which context excess is exhibited, in which way it causes the disturbance of the self and others is important.
*Dr. Ajit Kulkarni