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Here is an obvious analogy for you: the physical world — meatspace, if you will — as “meat” of an actual body, both skeletal (muscles, ligaments, tendons and such), and visceral (entrails, the liver, vital organs); the internet as nerve impulses connecting the various parts both sensorially (how are the navels of the world doing these days?) and in effect (from Facebook groups to GoFundMe pages bringing actual change).

You know how X and other social networks made everything feel connected to everything else? Well, there is an organic counterpart to this phenomenon, and it’s called a generalized tonic-clonic — or grand mal — seizure, manifesting, in the clonic phase, in widespread convulsions of the body.

The reason why our bodies are usually not convulsing is that the nerve impulse pathways are tightly controlled in space: there are separate nerves, differentiated brain areas for different roles, and let’s not forget the biggest separation of them all: two semi-independent brain hemispheres connected only by the corpus callosum which, imagine this, is sometimes cut completely for treatment of refractory seizures. There is also chemical separation: many of the pathways are inhibitory, and the most abundant neurotransmitter in the body is not dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine or others you’ve heard of because they go haywire, but glycin, a modest amino acid which people don’t hear about because it is so good at its job of tamping down bad impulses.

The world’s ongoing convulsions started — after an initial tonic phase — right after we have all become interconnected: Hezbollah, Hamas, and your neighborhood association all hooked up to the same firehose. There is a feeling at the edge of my consciousness that the answer to solving them is in ourselves, and not in a new age self-fulfilment way but in pragmatic steps we can take to extrapolate from this most obvious analogy.

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