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Orientation is internal

 

Your cells already know about order. They know about organization and structure. They know that if the community is going to thrive, each individual must fill its role within it. For your cells, community organization is called planar cell polarity, or PCP. Every cell has a front and a back, a top and a bottom, and each one naturally aligns itself with its neighbors so that all of the tops point in the same direction and all of the bottoms point in the opposite direction. The end result is a collective polarity, a community orientation.  

 

Planar cell polarity is essential for tissue function. It allows for unity. It allows for the community to function as a whole. And when it fails to emerge, when the cells fail to order themselves with respect to one another, the entire system breaks down.

 

Disorganization is, in fact, a hallmark of unhealthy cells. Cancer cells are known to completely lose this ability. When cells become cancerous, cell proliferation, migration and organization all become dysregulated, function becomes unpredictable and instead of supporting the ecosystem, the cells end up destroying the the entire ecosystem.

 

Order is an essential quality of health. Organization is what allows individuals to stay in sync with their community.

 

There’s something about this image of order that I find unsettling. It’s unsettling because I’ve so often been taught the importance of “order,” but order was really a thinly veiled form of control. Order was a mask for manipulation.

 

In these cases, order was imposed externally. I was told that I should fill a particular role, even though I knew I was meant for something else.

 

That’s not the type of order that your cells display.

 

Planar cell polarity only exists because of the internal polarity possessed by each individual cell. There is no boss, no leader, no arbiter determining the orientation that each one of your cells should assume. Their community organization, which determines their every function, interaction and communication, arises from their individual, internal, identity-based orientation. It starts within and it’s wholly autonomous.