Thursday, September 10, 2015

I Am

One of the divisions between Western and Eastern thinking seems to be the way we view the mind and body as a separate things. 'I think therefore I am' and so the I is deeply connected to our thought. Vedantic thinking drops the first three words as redundant and leaves it as 'I am'. By 'elevating' our identity to be linked to consciousness and thought, the body becomes, well, an afterthought. Ken Robinson describes many western academics as viewing their bodies as a transportation system for their heads. A way of getting their head from meeting to meeting.

Sara, a family member I have met in person for the first time, is a dance instructor and so has done lots of thinking on the connection between the body and thought. She has given me a reading list to ponder. I have often thought a standard reading list would be a good thing for all of us to do. Share openly the books we think have affected our world view. Of course, most of us are so busy we don't have time to look at other world views, only time to apply our own, but wouldn't it be great if we did. Here are the books Sara has given me...

'Six Memos for the Next Millennium', 'Phenomenology of Perception', 'Self Comes To Mind'
'The Tell-Tale Brain', 'The Meaning of the Body', 'Action in Perception'

At some point we stop prioritising our physical well being, because we need to focus on work or 'more important' mental endeavours. I find it interesting that in Yoga, it is often the other way around. You have to exercise first. You have to be able to have control of the body so you can do something as simple as sit comfortably. It is only once you are freed from aches and pains that you are able to focus.

I move therefore I am?
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