Between Sinew and Spirit: Are You a Body with a Mind or a Mind with a Body?
SCIENCE - SPIRITUALITY, 27 Nov 2017
An Animated Journey to the Center of the Self
“The body provides something for the spirit to look after and use,” computing pioneer Alan Turing wrote as he anguished at the intersection of love and loss. And yet we are creatures of atoms, with spirit and sinew inextricably entwined. A century before neuroscientists came to explore the central mystery of consciousness, Rilke knew how beholden the mind is to the body when he wrote: “I am not one of those who neglect the body in order to make of it a sacrificial offering for the soul, since my soul would thoroughly dislike being served in such a fashion.”
So what is the direction of servitude between the body and the mind, and where does the constellation of certitudes we experience as a self reside in all of it?
In this lovely animated inquiry from TED-Ed, inspired by Isaac Asimov’s I Robot (public library), Maryam Alimardani traces the mind-body problem from Descartes’s foundational ideas to the disorienting findings of neuroscience to explore the ever-elusive locus of self.
Complement with Walt Whitman on the paradox of the self, pioneering immunologist Esther Sternberg on how our minds affect our bodies, and PTSD researcher Bessel van der Kolk on how body and mind converge in the healing of trauma, then revisit other illuminating TED-Ed animations exploring why we fall in love, what makes you you, how melancholy enhances creativity, why some people are left-handed, what depression actually feels like, and why playing music benefits your brain more than any other activity.
Brain Pickings is the brain child of Maria Popova, an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large obsessed with combinatorial creativity who also writes for Wired UK and The Atlantic, among others, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow. She has gotten occasional help from a handful of guest contributors.
DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.