Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Body & Soul
Thoughts after reading Needleman (above):
We are spiritual beings in the bodies of evolved apes.
The divine is in the soul. The material is in the body. When the material overwhelms and misuses the body, that's original sin.
It's the difference between the afterglow of exercise and the feeling of a hangover. Or between making love and embarrassing sex.
Original sin is not a human evil but a result of assuming "corporeal flesh." It is the Catholic "temptations of the flesh," although the Catholics would not put it as I have.
Women are more familiar with this than men. Is there any difference between men and women other than all the hormones and chromosomes that come with our bodies?
Have you noticed what testosterone can do?
When we neutered my aging male dachshunds because two of their brothers had prostate problems, their life-long, life-and-death fights just ended.
The conscience is in the soul. The ego is in the body.
Democracy necessarily embraces both, using material comfort to create a place where the conscience is safe to grow. The invasion of Iraq can embrace either the higher purposes of democracy or the petroleum-driven, SUV-based, wealth-accumulating dreams of Bush.
On the other hand, when scientists talk about our "hard-wiring" or how something is "in the genes," they're actually using talking about qualities of the soul rather than of the body.
PS:Indian mystics talk about the "monkey brain," the part of us that craves materialism. You can trap a monkey by putting something like a walnut in a narrow-necked vase. The monkey will reach in, grab the walnut and and then be unable to get his hand out without releasing the walnut. But he'll refuse to release the walnut.
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I hope what follows doesn't seem screwball to you, or that it is written in the wrong tone. I wanted to respond to your 'body and soul' thoughts, because I don't see a foundation for the 'motive source' represented by your website veritas et venustas..." I've put your statements in quotes " * ", becaues I haven't figure out yet how to print this page.
I have always thought great artists were, presuppositionally, Catholic in their theology. Why? Catholic Theology takes "matter" very seriously...
Human beings are indivisible unities of matter and spirit...the Soul is the 'form' of the body...
Original sin, or 'the fall' is at the root an act of willful disobedience to God, which results in separation from Him, and participation in the source of Life. The body dies, not because it is 'not good', but because it is not connected to its Life Source. Man is created in the image of God, and God pronounced his creation 'very good'. 'Salvation' is receiving the Life that will perfect the man, a unity of body and soul, so that the embodied man will have a perfected material body and communion with the Source of Life, God.
"We are spiritual beings in the bodies of evolved apes."
This comment seems to imply a dismissive attitude to 'the body'. It hasn't 'caught up', or it has 'flaws.'
"The divine is in the soul. The material is in the body. When the material overwhelms and misuses the body, that's original sin..."
How is this 'division' (divine in soul; material in body...) so? How does 'the material' have intention and will? How does it 'act' independent of the person? Is the person not 'both soul and material'? How does one supercede the other and 'overwhelm the body'? Can the soul fight the material and keep it from owerwhelming the body?
"Original sin is not a human evil but a result of assuming "corporeal flesh." It is the Catholic "temptations of the flesh," although the Catholics would not put it as I have."
If sin is a sort of crime against God or against Nature, how is the 'soul' culpable for 'assuming corporeal flesh'? Or did the DemiUrge cause the act for which the Person (soul and body in conflict...) is indicted by the Supreme Being, or Nature? If it is sin to 'assume corporeal flesh', to take on existence in a material realm, how is maintaining the health of that material existence not itself a sin? How is maintaining itself embodied 'in matter' not a crime?
These sentiments, of a 'spirit trapped in matter', of 'sin being embodied in matter and conversely, of righteousness being 'free' of material embodiment' are a species of Gnosticism.
How does such a metaphysics undergird 'care' and 'concern for the health of' the 'form' of human society, the built environment which are the 'body(ies) of social 'forms'?'
"The conscience is in the soul. The ego is in the body."
If the conscience is in the soul, how does it direct the body? If the ego is in the body, how does it recieve direction from or ignore direction from the soul? Is there a war in the 'person' where one or the other prevails? Can the one prevail without destroying the other? Achieving a 'unification', which would give someone who believes in this species of outlined metaphysics a foundation to believe that acts to improve the health of cities, towns, buildings, environments, is not a form of 'sin', because it is an act of material bodies creating more material bodies which are shelter, and symbolic expressions of the 'worlds' they aspire to...models of their fundamental beliefs about the cosmos.
"Democracy necessarily embraces both, using material comfort to create a place where the conscience is safe to grow. The invasion of Iraq can embrace either the higher purposes of democracy or the petroleum-driven, SUV-based, wealth-accumulating dreams of Bush."
'...material comfort to create a place where the conscience is safe to grow?' How can anything extending the life, quality of anything 'material' be worthwhile if the fundamental coming-into-material-existence of the being who 'creates material comfort' is itself a crime? It seems to me the foremost righteous act of this being should be to be shed of that which causes it to 'fall' into its original sin.
"On the other hand, when scientists talk about our "hard-wiring" or how something is "in the genes," they're actually using talking about qualities of the soul rather than of the body."
They are talking about materialistic presuppositions...that there is no spiritual participation in embodied existence... and so the unity of the person, his 'character', is not affected by spiritual reality(ies)...it is just a complex assembly of circuitry, or a deterministic set of construction drawings and specifications.
I'm really curious as to how such a metaphysics can undergird the sentiments your website here seems to promote? In other words, that matter 'should' take certain 'form', and that some 'forms' are better than others. If it is sin for the person (a spirit in a flawed package)...or as I'd conclude from reading the body & soul thread...to 'take form', how can you say under this metaphysics a city scape 'ought' to be one form as opposed to another? This would imply the existence of a standard of judgement as to beter and worse, and that the standard is not just a 'concensus' agreement among embodied spirits! No, the standard exists prior to their existence...otherwise good and evil are subject to definition by vote, EACH time a definition is needed.
Oh well, enough. I'm mainly interested in the first sentence of the paragraph above this one.
Posted by: Carl Jahnes at Jul 5, 2004 3:06:55 AM
When you say, "I have always thought great artists were, presuppositionally, Catholic in their theology," I presume you mean that with a small "c" rather than a large one. But most of your responses seem to be straightforward Catholic theology. I say "seem to be" because I'm not an expert on Catholic theology.
Protestant theology is often different. The inchoate thoughts I wrote are different still. Theology does evolve over time: look at what the Founding Fathers thought of Natural Law compared to St. Thomas Aquinas, for example.
Thomas Aquinas and Thomas Jefferson both believed that Natural Law exists. Only one believed that it said we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Posted by: John Massengale at Jul 7, 2004 4:04:08 PM
I assume after reading this post that you are a Democrat. After much observation of what I deem "good" and "bad" in both primary political parties, it is my belief that one is no better than the other.
What I find interesting about this post is that you refer to the "monkey brain" that craves materialism and state "You can trap a monkey by putting something like a walnut in a narrow-necked vase. The monkey will reach in, grab the walnut and and then be unable to get his hand out without releasing the walnut. But he'll refuse to release the walnut."
So, I have this question for you... do you know how to cook a live frog? You put the frog into a pot of cold water and heat it ever so gradually. The frog becomes accustomed to the gradual increase in temperature until it dies.
IMHO this depicts why we have such a large segment of society that is dependent on welfare. We have made life too easy for these people. They lack motivation to do anything different about their plight. They have been stripped of their self confidence and any belief that it is possible for them to take care of themselves.
Posted by: Gene at Feb 10, 2010 12:27:04 PM