Howling at the Moon, Lunacy and the Zodiac - A Thought Experiment

 

For the most part, the moon plays a central role in regulating the rhythms of our planet without us being aware of it. As our planet turns, the water levels of our ocean are kept in place by a balance of gravity and centrifugal forces. 

Gravity is the force that draws a smaller thing to a bigger thing. We are drawn to the earth. The earth is drawn to gravitate around the sun. The moon is drawn to gravitate around the earth. Etc. 

The strength of gravitational pull is affected by how big things are and how far away things are. So, we are most affected by the moon (small but close) and the sun (big but distant). 

The closest planetary body to us, the moon, exerts a pull on the earth by dragging water towards it -- causing the ocean to bulge at point when the moon is closest to it. So, we get a high tide roughly once a day -- every twelve and a half hours or so. So tides are largely dependant on where the moon is in relation to the earth at any given time.

Despite being so far away, the sun is huge so it exerts gravitational force too. Not as much as the moon (30%) but still, some force. Together, the earth's gravitational orbit around the sun and the moon's gravitational orbit around the earth lead to the range of tidal phenomenons that we see.

So, if planetary bodies set the tides, then, theoretically, what if planetary bodies affected us to? 

Although there is no scientific proof that gravitational forces affect the human mind, wouldn’t it be extraordinary if “lunacy” was due to sudden fluctuations or tides of fluid in the brain?

Do brains have large bodies of salty fluid? Sure they do. It's called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). It sits in resouvoirs called the subarchnoid space and cerebral ventricles.

Electric impulses or information from our environment is relayed to and within the brain by what universal chemical messenger? You guessed it - sodium (google action potentials). Neurons and cerebral matter are highly excitable. That's their job. Human and animal neurons are highly suseptible to fluctuations, albeit even small ones, in salt and water due to their very nature.

Drastic imbalances in sodium levels relative to free water, called hyponatremia and hypernatreamia respectively, cause mentally deranged behaviour. In dogs, this takes the form of excessive vocalisation as well as circling, aggression and other abnormal behaviours.

Could this be why unconscious "lunatic" symptoms occur at full moons?

Could this be why wolves howl at the blue corn moon?

Take to it’s furthest possible extrapolation, what if neurosurgeons and medical epidemiologists analyse surgical data to determine if surgical outcomes are affected by the movements of planetary bodies in our solar systems? And possibly book non-emergency, neurosurgical surgical schedules that take into account local tidal extremes. 

On another tangent, lets say that basic physics of gravity is correct - that large things exert gravitational force on smaller things - then shouldn't the planets have an impact upon us? 

Well, the planets were to affect us, they would exert less gravitational force than the moon. So, when would they affect us the most? While we are being incubated inside an ocean -- amniotic fluid!

If the planets were exerting forces upon us, surely the changing tides of the amniotic fluid would be where we would see subtle changes in the formation of personality. The movement of the internal tide (CSF fluid) and external fluid to the foetus (amnionic fluid) surely would both impact the neuronal circuitry due to fluctuations in sodium; causing influxes of sodium and the propagation of action potentials. Surely, over a series of months, these "tides" have cumulative effects on the formation of a brain.

That's why, if the planets are exerting any force at all (they are medium sized and far away depending on where the earth is in relation to its orbit with the sun), it would be on a person during gestation and be formed by time of delivery i.e birthday.

Why, in fact, it would be the zodiac.

Anyway, the point is, despite the bulk of the worlds population living on the coast, few understand the science behind the tides. We aren’t connected to our planet anymore. We are so industrialised that we forget the role that nature plays in regulating the rhythms of our planet. Doctors and scientific community fob off the wisdom of ancient societies based around human behaviour according to the tides and the zodiac as "hippie bullshit".

And, it probably is.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Then again, there is so much in our world that is beyond our comprehension. Cycles and patterns and rhythms that osscilate to to an unknown scale, to a ticking clock.

A clock that ticks like Poe’s beating heart in the floorboard ribs of the human condition.

Wolves may howl at the moon. But we’re the lunatics.