Thursday, April 25, 2013

Embodied Beings

"We are embodied beings and not just beings in bodies"

Sir Ken Robinson wrote his book, Out of our Minds: Learning to be Creative, several years before we had our conversation last Sunday, but today I stumbled across an oh-so-pertinent section worth quoting here.

We had been reflecting on the first of the Campus Alpha videos in which the speaker advocates for a view of mankind as being triune: body, soul, and spirit.  Some of us in the room thought there was good reason to segregate our human experience into three parts, while others spoke up for a body & mind (but not a separate spirit) human experience.

Robinson describes a historical reason for how our society has got to such a place where we dismiss the spiritual and emotional aspect of our humanity:

    "In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the leading figures of the Enlightenment and of Romanticism drew clear divisions between intellect and emotion.  The Rationalists distrust feelings; the Romantics trusted little else.  In their different ways, both saw intellect and feelings as separate realms of experience that should be kept apart from each other.  The consequences of this division are still felt to this day.  They can be catastrophic and they are everywhere.
    Rationalist philosophers aimed to see through the illusions of superstition and common sense by a remorseless process of skeptical reasoning.  In the natural sciences (including physics and biology), feelings, intuition, values and beliefs were seen as dangerous distractions: the murky froth of an undisciplined mind.  David Hume, a leading light of the Enlightenment, put it bluntly:  'If we take in hand any volume of divinity . . . for instance, let us ask, does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No.  Commit it then to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.' . . . If there is a force beyond logic and evidence . . . science should make no presumptions about it and take no interest in it."