Dualism is the belief system that the mind and body are entirely separate entities. Everybody subscribes to dualism in some small way – and it’s only natural: a defence system for coping with threats and dangers. It’s probably linked to the fight or flight reaction.
Some people do it more than others, though. In Ken Robson’s rant on school killing creativity, he talks about academics as head people – people who walk around in their heads seeing their body as simply a machine for getting their head places. Setting aside the number of academics I know who are very into sport, he has a genuine point. Some people live in their heads.
This resonates with me because, as a small child, I felt very similarly. Why was I in this body rather than any other? It constantly confused me. How did my brain and ideas translate into motions and expressions? Sometimes I had to consciously control my body.
As I got older, I realised that I didn’t actually like my body, and this may have contributed to my dissociation from it. So I started working on that, doing a lot of sport and taking more interest in cooking and eating. As discussed in this Science News Mind vs. Body research summary, looking after yourself actually helps you to unite body and mind, as well as the slightly more disturbing aspect – that being a dualism can actually lead to physical neglect…