Friday, February 24, 2006

A note on flesh

I fool myself quite often into thinking my thoughts are something above my everyday experiences. However, I am wrong, for whatever thoughts I have are grounded in my body: what its senses, how it moves about the world, and what makes it laugh and cry. My thoughts of mathematics, philosophy, and politics arise from my body and everyday experience. To be sure, these thoughts are illuminated by complex metaphorical schemes that help me make sense of it all—creating a way to survive as long as I might—yet it is my flesh, and its immersion in the world that makes these thoughts possible.

This flesh is the starting point of all my thinking, and one day it will be the end.

6 Comments:

At 10:40 PM, Blogger -epm said...

—yet it is my flesh, and its immersion in the world that makes these thoughts possible.

This flesh is the starting point of all my thinking, and one day it will be the end.


Is it the flesh or the soul, I wonder. While the flesh may sense, it cannot think. And while the flesh may react, it cannot care -- nor wonder, nor love, nor hate. So is this flesh the starting point of thinking, or the ending point of not-thinking?

It isn't the flesh that lays awake at night, but the soul.

 
At 11:06 AM, Blogger Lynn said...

epm,

Observation of those who have suffered massive trauma or disease to their neural tissue seems to indicate that what is called soul or mind is completely emobodied. It is the flesh that makes caring, wonder, hate, and love. Take away the appropriate neural tissue of someone and none of those things exist for them.

Of course, if one is a Cartesian mind/body dualist, what I have said is unpersuasive. :)

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger -epm said...

If all that exists is what we can measure, then I suppose the entire realm of human emotion and psychology can be reduced to neuro-chemical mechanics. We, as human beings, are mere meat puppets -- vessels for lower life forms to propagate. I guess that's where faith comes in: to believe there exists more than what we can measure.

I unapologetically -- though not evangelically -- have one foot in the faith-camp. For me, the human soul, or spirit, exists. And though it manifests itself through the actions of the flesh it is not necessarily of the flesh.

But I suppose you might say this desire for the existence of a higher plane -- of a transcendent non-physical realm -- is in itself the manifestation of billions of years of neuro-chemical mechanical evolution. You may be right.

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger Lynn said...

epm,

One of the interesting things is that if ons believes in an embodied soul, one speaks and acts as though one does not believe it in one's normal daily affairs. The same holds for freedom. One may believe in strict determinism, but one acts and speaks as though one believes in freedom outside the study.

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger -epm said...

Where else can one go to have his ideas so enjoyably challenged?

I believe more than I know, and I suppose it will always be that way. But if I use my belief to deny what I know, please come to New Hampshire, look my up and smack me on the head. :)

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger Lynn said...

epm,

It's always a pleasure discussing things with you and sharing ideas.

 

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