The mind body connection (part I)

photo by techpinion.com

This phrase is so common in the world of fitness and sports, when one is asked to establish the mind body connection to activate muscles or to fire the brain into activating some muscles in a specific exercise. Anyone who works out is familiar to this idea. However, the mind body connection or relationship is not new in philosophy; it is actually a very old dilemma that is found also in religions. Therefore what is the mind and what is the body? Is the mind inside the body or vice-versa? Are we made of both or are these two the same dimension? In this dialectic dissertation, two potential answers are found: dualism and monism. For the depth and complexity of this subject, the study will be developed through multiple posts.

Definitions and etymologies:

Before digging into dualism and monism, the everlasting starting point of any analysis must take into consideration etymologies and definitions of the two main concepts, the mind and the body, as in the spirit and the matter, to give a frame to our study. Here are the conceptual ramifications of each one:

Spirit → mind →consciousness

Matter → body → brain

At a first glance, these concepts appear to belong to different categories which will be shown later on in the common definitions. But, scientifically speaking and in certain philosophical schools, they are not as different as they may sound. We will start with matter then with spirit.

Matter:

Matter is a physical substance in general, as distinct from mind and spirit; (in physics) that which occupies space and possesses rest mass, especially as distinct from energy. Albert Einstein proposed a definition of the matter that was, and maybe still, confusing to the non-specialists: matter is energy, better known in his formula E=mc2 where E is energy, m is mass, and c is the speed of light. This new definition of the matter transformed the latter into a non-perceptible phenomenon. Put is simply, matter is for the common people what is tangible or perceptible with a form, dimensions and content. For physics since the 20th century, it is energy for Einstein and a complete uncertainty of movements in quantum physics. In both definitions, there is no mention of the spirit.

To make things more complicated, some ancient and current tribes believe that matter is animated by a spirit; a belief better known as animism.

So, as one can see, the problematic concept is spirit.

Body:

The body is made of matter, of physical interacting substances that can form an organism or a structure of organs. In a living body, organs are made of tissues and cells where each cell is subdivided and has a certain function. That’s why the body functions as a whole.

Spirit:

The spirit has many definitions but to this study, the main one will be retained. The spirit is the non-physical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character, known as the soul.

Spirit comes also from the Latin word anima, which is the principle of animation. As aforementioned, some people believe that nature is animated, that means has a spirit as spiritus, breath (the word animal comes from anima). Aristotle believed that animals had a spirit. Of course, later on spirit as a concept will have a different meaning.

Mind:

The mind is the invisible and non-perceptible element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought. The correlation between mind and thought can be seen in the origin of the word:

Old English gemynd ‘memory, thought’, of Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root meaning ‘revolve in the mind, think’, shared by Sanskrit manas and Latin mens ‘mind’.

Therefore the concepts of mind and consciousness are synonyms.

After a long platonic influence and a long religious tradition, precisely monotheistic religions, only humans have a spirit and a mind; the rest of creatures are only determined by their instincts. The questions remain the same: what is the mind and what is the body? Is the mind inside the body or vice-versa? Are we made of both or are these two the same dimension? In this short dialectic dissertation, two potential answers are found: dualism and monism on more upcoming posts.

Resilience or denial?

I was born in Lebanon during the civil war (1975-1990) and I grew up to the sounds of bombs, which back then seemed very normal to me. Even today, I ask myself how I was not scared, how was I able as a child to find bombs and hiding underground a sort of an amusement. In 1990, Syria occupied Lebanon until 2005. It was a dictatorial occupation, an iron stranglehold which gave a lot of security to the country and some economic growth. Since 2005, we have known peace and turmoils, and now an economic and financial crisis like never known before; some says it is a reminder of the eve of WWI.

On parallel, Lebanon has always been the party place of the world. We party all day. We party for any reason. We party for no reason. I guess we love wars and partying. Some might say it is resilience or probably denial. There is a fine line between resilience and denial. Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. It is being mentally flexible to adapt to difficult situations in order to survive. On the other hand, denial is trying to self-protection by refusing to accept the truth about something that’s happening in life. Maybe, we are both and any Lebanese somehow is both wherever they live.

Turmoil and party may seem contradictory but it is not. On this, I like to refer to Nietzsche in The Birth of tragedy where he explains the relationship between tragedy and music.

Life to Nietzsche is essentially tragic and tragedy can happen to anyone. The ultimate tragedy is death; the latter gives meaning to life. Knowing and accepting tragedy can only result in a celebration of life. Therefore music and partying are a celebration of life; a life lived on the edge of tragedy. When the day is gone with its worries and tasks, here comes the night in its gravity and depth, the drunkenness of love and beauty. In other words, only a joyful night can make an enjoyable day. Because, whatever we do, tragedy is around the corner.

Is this attitude resilient or a denial? I guess it is neither nor. It is the attitude of anyone who lives on the edge where every action can be like stepping on a landmine.

Protests, violence and mimesis.

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Ever wondered how come The  Global Wave Protests in 2019 (and still on in 2020) were born? Going back few years ago how was it possible for the Arab Spring to occur amongst brutal dictatorships? And on a smaller scale, why would a peaceful protest turn to violent riots?

On my previous post (https://maylynno.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/), I pointed out a link between desire, desire of recognition and mimesis. Humans are driven by desire and by competition which is an underlying desire of recognition, leading to envy, to jealousy and to imitation. These social dynamic concepts are intensified by the infinite mirror of the word that is social media. Social media is the production (one can use the word industry) of mimesis. It takes one massively broadcasted happening protest on social media to trigger many other protests around the world. Also, it takes one individual violent act during a strike to turn a peaceful march into a war zone.

I have spent half of my life protesting down the streets for all kind of rights. I know for a fact that once in a crowd, the energy level of each participant is intensified. There is a crowd bath that makes all people function like one body. Fear of being attacked becomes a rage of attacking. The boiling energy, as any energy, will eventually burst out, especially when awaited solutions are delayed. The more they are delayed, the bigger will be the possibility of violent acts. The rage of one person will trigger mimesis or the rage of every marching participant. This happened in Black Lives Matter movement (The US riots: a mirror of the world), with the Gilets Jaunes, in Hong Kong, in Lebanon Protests (Revolution and emotional wreck), in the Arab Spring, in Ukraine, in Sudan and elsewhere too throughout history until now.

However, this mimic violent act, mostly caused by rage and energy of protesters, is the desire of the government. Violence is responded by violence. And who has based its power on the “legitimate violence” (Eric Weil)? The State has. “The legitimate violence” is incarnated by the State’s armed forces. Forces of order will mimic violent protesters and sometimes it is vice versa, depending on the situation. Everybody imitates everybody. It explains why Mahatma Gandhi was so powerful in both his silence and his stillness down the streets along millions of his Indian followers.

The question remains on the importance or not of violence for a protest’s success. There is no one size fits all type of answer. Sometimes violence works and sometimes it turns against protesters. What is a common ground to any violence act in the world, whether in protesting or in wars, is mimesis and the desire of recognition.

Understanding the Media in a Time of “Fake News”

The media is not neutral or unbiased. It never has been. The formation of mass newspapers around the world were tied to political parties to promote respective agendas. As such, the media can be distinctively broken down into a three-tiers. The first, faute de mieux, is the mainstream media. The mainstream media is the basest […]

Understanding the Media in a Time of “Fake News”

keep calm and amor fati

Great post on Nietzsche, the ultimate life lover!

Philosophy as Therapy

Nietzsche's Concept of the Will to Power

How many times have you find yourself agonizing over the past, your actions or inactions?

If only I had done….If only I hadn’t done….If only I could just go back and change….If only I could go back and do…..? 

I know that I regret my past at least twice a day!

Sometimes I’ll think back and say, I wish I had purchased that stock when it was low. Sometimes I’ll think, why did I try a new flavor of bubble tea when I knew the original would be a safe choice?

Going through the mental process of should have, would have, couldhave is mental torture. I am aware that I cannot go back in time and do things differently yet I still regret my past actions which causes me to lose confidence in myself and be more self deprecating than necessary.

Friedrich Nietzsche had a concept called Amor Fati…

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On covid-19: why social distancing is the normal vital space

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Tannourine cedars- Lebanon

Let’s assume that nature/life is trying to tell us something through the corona virus outbreak. The message would be in what we have ended up being: distant and home. Maybe nature is trying to tell us that we are too many?

We share this planet with other creatures. Instead of being a fair share, 7 billion people (the number is big) kill yearly 70 billion animals only for consumption. Each person needs yearly 10 animals to eat. It is way over the top even without touching upon used energy for slaughtery, pollution, GMO and so on. So we killed animals, where would viruses live then?

A virus is not alive; it needs a living organism to survive. With the void we created by massive animal slautery, viruses haven chosen us as their new ecosystem. On top of this, we are too many and big cities are jammed. Hence the necessity of social distancing.

Social distancing is the vital space that each creature needs in order to survive and thrive. In big cities, we learned to forget it and adapt to a new way of living. The reason why social distancing is so disturbing is due to our forgotten nature and needs. We are after all cultural beings.

It’s the season to be jolly!

In this blessed period, I want to wish to each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

May this period bring you health, awareness, freedom and compassion, because we all need them.

May this period make you you in touch with your inner light to reflect it on the world, because we are made of stars and light.

I wish you all peace, love and harmony.

Until them be legendary and an inspiration to me first, and to the ones around you.

Sorry.. time for revolution!

Since last night, people all over Lebanon, gathered down the streets, thousands and thousands of them, to say no to corruption and economical crisis, in spite of police efforts to stop the protests. Here some pictures:

For those who of you who want to know more, you can find the news on all social media #lebanonprotests.

Meanwhile I am going back to the streets. See you all very soon and let’s be free 👊✌❤

Another Wittgenstein Reveal.

My blogger friend Landzek just shared this article about Wittgenstein, probably one of those enigmatic philosophers of the 20th century, whom we can’t get enough of. So, every now and then, interesting articles about him pop up on the net.

For people who don’t know Wittgenstein, he is an Austrian philosopher, who mainly worked on logic and criticized his predecessors on logic. Adding to this, his personality and his life were novel like kind of story.

This article is somehow slightly different than the usual ones, talking about the manipulation of meaning and the high impact of all this on the mind. The full article is down below and my friend Landzek never fails to deliver great contents! 👇

https://wp.me/p39ife-4Tl