Neurological Kindling

Kindling is the tendency for cells or groups of cells in the nervous system to 'fire' either at a much lower stimulus threshold than is 'healthy' for the present situation, or even to fire spontaneously. It is an attempt at adaptation and represents allostasis. Kindling may or may play a role in primary seizures. A seizure is an event where the neurons in a large part of the brain especially the cortex fire all at once because the firing of several reaches a contagious level. Seizures can act as a 'reset' on kindling. Electro-shock therapy (and hypoglycemic 'insulin shock' before that) was used to artificially induce seizures and create a down-regulating 'reset' of sorts on neurons that was manifested as docility and 'feeling safer.' (Of course brain damage also accompanied these methods of inducing seizures as it also sometimes accompanies spontaneous seizures). More recently anti-epileptic drugs are used to 'stabilize' the neurons and defeat at least for a time the effects of kindling (including the interpersonal). Like most allopathic strategies, this probably increases dysregulation over time.

With kindling it is possible for some processes to become self perpetuating, either on a purely neural level, or on a mixed behavioral-neural level. An example of the latter is for instance, having a limbic system over-vigilant for possible threat, then over-reacting to the requests of others as if harm was meant, and inducing a hostile response which increases the baseline of the threat system. Self-perpetuating processes like this of course create an unstable positive feedback loop that leads to progressive dysfunction on a biological level. This dysfunction may be partly compensated crudely by other behavioral strategies but this is never satisfying, and behavioral dysfunction may occur as well.

Kindling that affects relationships is mostly an issue with the limbic system, which is the middle part of the 'triune' brain. Our modern tendency is to try to 'cool' the limbic system from above, with the cortex or thinking brain. This is largely unsuccessful because 1) the connection between the cortex and limbic system is weakened by the kindling, and 2) (unless there is a very strong dissociation, which is itself a problem) the emotional tone of thoughts is driven by the state of the limbic system, and so attempts to soothe by thoughts just start a positive feedback loop. This is rumination. The strategy that works best, is cooling from below, from the body via the brainstem, with breathing, pleasure, and movement.

Kindling of Experience

Hurts that are unresolved make it somewhat easier to be hurt in the future. This is not saying that when hurts are unresolved it is easier to think one is hurt, it is actually easier to be hurt because of kindling in the threat-detection and pain-reception systems, and weakening in the sense of self. This can be a progressive process where an increasing array of experiences becomes traumatic until everyday life becomes continually painful. This is a real. common, and biologically-based development that I call the kindling of experience. This contrasts with the maturing process in which an increasing array of experiences becomes no longer painful due to differentiation in the threat detection and pain reception systems.

Controversy arises from the social process of determining what is actual mistreatment, and what is a unpleasant but inevitable bit of social friction.

There is no way of forming a group, family, relationship, community or society without social friction--it is unavoidable. To try to suppress it creates a farce which is ultimately more harmful. Social friction probably is necessary to keep the biology robust. It is possible perhaps to form a smaller group, family or relationship free from abuse. That is why a differential response is so necessary. After a certain amount of kindling of experience, individuals become triggered by the very interactions necessary in getting support. This is not a mental mistake but a biological reaction.

But we do have a culture that is attempting to enact this very farce--that is the idea behind the 'culture of victims allegation. Now a great deal of the 'hardiness shown is not health but insensitivity.The issue should not be between being 'too sensitive' and 'properly insensitive' The response ideally is awareness without alarm.

What is central to this present discussion is not the 'meaning' of social frictional actions but just the short and long-term effects they have on neurological kindling

Social Friction