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International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 29, Issue 2, Fall 2015

Ari Santas
Pages 207-220

Diagonalized Asymmetry
Myofascial Pain and Social Dysfunction

Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MFPS) is somatic pain due to muscular tension associated with muscular-skeletal imbalance. The pain and discomfort of the patient is not simply due to some isolated tension, but in the dynamic relationships between related structures. As the body adjusts to reestablish balance and symmetry, the tension and pain in one area “diagonalizes,” creating a tense correlate along a diagonal axis. This diagonalization of tension exacerbates and perpetuates the initial condition of pain and dysfunction. The purpose of this paper is to argue that there are moral and social analogues to MFPS with their own forms of diagonalized asymmetry. Following the Aristotelian model of virtue and vice, whereby moral traits and dispositions become vice as a result of a loss of balance in conduct, and George Herbert Mead’s social psychology, which describes the self in terms of dynamic interrelation and co-operation of multiple sub-selves, I maintain that otherwise positive strengths in personal character, when overemphasized or exaggerated, can be juxtaposed to analogous weaknesses in related areas of personal health and conduct. I will argue that the descriptive analogy of MFPS has a corollary set of prescriptions for restoring balance in a moral subject.

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