"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Thursday 18 November 2021


As I understand it, you pronounce the word "awe-toph-uh-gee" with emphasis on the "toph" part. The word literally means "eat oneself". No, not cannibalism, but the process of removing old dysfunctional material in order to make room for regeneration. 

Relating to my previous post, autophagy involves the recycling of body cells that are old or damaged to make room for healthier new growth. It is an expected result when one goes onto a two-meal-a-day or less regime. Quoting a study from 2017 by Nuria Martinez-Lopez and Marina Garcia-Macia et al, : "Our studies suggest that consuming two meals a day with complete food restriction in between the meals is sufficient to lower blood glucose and lipid levels. This simple dietary approach activates a cell “cleansing system” called autophagy in liver, fat, brain, and muscle that helps prevent obesity and diabetes."

I have heard claims that this same process can prevent dementia, reverse hypertension, and remedy other age-related conditions. I will likely never know if any of this is true for me. I do feel really well, but that might have to do with other factors. 

Since I transitioned, basic attitudes I carry toward myself and others have thankfully undergone some autophagy as well. A lot of old worn-out ways of dealing with the world have been shuffled off to the bin, much as the façade was so many years ago. Memories that have haunted me for years - of interpersonal interactions gone wrong and friends or family lost because of those interactions - while not forgotten, have been put to new, more productive, purpose. It is as though a distillation process has removed toxic, hurtful feelings, allowing lessons learned to be retained in a more positive way. In the past others could manipulate me by making me feel sorry for them. I now know that it is possible to have empathy while at the same time maintaining firm personal boundaries. 

It seems likely that the ability to alter my emotional responses has to do with hormones. So often we are lead to believe that women have emotions that rule their lives. In my experience - what a unique position to make a comparison I have - my range of emotional response has widened considerably yet at the same time a tendency to allow emotions to overrule good judgement has been flushed away along with the testosterone. 

Another use for the concept of autophagy describes a process that clearly needs to take place in the world as a whole. Old and inappropriate animosities among nations or among religious groups have, in too many cases, stiffened to become hatreds. Media, social or otherwise, is full of vicious accusations, and, in some cases, bold lies designed to dehumanize or demonize the opponents. Within nations, political differences which at one time would have resulted in debates in the house of government now seem to have a tendency to harden into hatred as well. In the not too distant past, bitter political rivals might have been friends away from the debate. In important matters of state, they would even have agreed, putting forth joint motions with unanimous consent.

In the next decades, it seems inevitable that more people will be displaced from countries where the climate no longer supports food production. In some places, scarcities are causing bloodshed.  The way other nations respond will determine whether we have a future of peace or of endless war.

When a body has diseased cells that are not removed and recycled, death is the inevitable result. If we choose a way of life that involves clinging to what is toxic, we must expect to live with the consequences. 

"And so, while the end-of-the-world- scenario will be rife with
 unimaginable horrors, we believe that the pre-end period will be filled
 with unprecedented opportunities for profit."