Dualism – Two Things I Don’t Recommend

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…

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About RowenaFW

I am a Fish. But you wouldn't know it just from looking at me.
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One Response to Dualism – Two Things I Don’t Recommend

  1. guyfletch says:

    Dualism has a long history. The Gnostics were particularly extreme, believing that all material things were evil and created by an evil god, and only the soul was good. Though officially heretical, there is a strain of Gnostic influence in Christianity, not least from St Augustine, who was a Gnostic before converting and who came up with the doctrine of original sin (quite a gnostic idea, that all humans are sinners by nature).
    For many Protestants the influence is even stronger, with the Calvinist idea of total depravity – that there is something wrong or evil about every aspect of human life, without exception – turning that doctrine into detestation of the physical and obsession with prayer, churchgoing etc is easily done.
    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if most of the dualism in our culture is a legacy of this.

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