I’d like to talk about the obsession with mind - mindfulness, mindset, growth mindset – it feels like we are increasingly in relationship with ourselves as machines, that the MIND is king, grow the mind, control the mind, use the mind to make the machine perform at its best.
I was re-reading Lynne McTaggart's 'The Field' last night which was really validating because she talks about the same things I am about Descartes and Newton and how they continue to dictate our values, our perceptions and beliefs some 400 years on.
17th Century Philosopher Stakes His Claim
It was largely Descartes who set us up for the head centric worldview we are completely ensconced in when he proclaimed; “I think therefore I am.” Thought is king, the mind is king, our experience of life is controlled, directed and experienced with our minds. The body is merely the machine that houses the mind. Matter follows strict laws. The rational - i.e. worked out by the mind was normal and healthy, the irrational was abnormal and unhealthy. Everything had to be reasoned, if it failed the process of reasoning, rationalisation it was dismissed as paranormal, metaphysical, mystical and therefore invalid. Our feelings and emotions were merely expressions of our base animal instincts and other animals were denied them all together. We became head centric.
This philosophy underpinned western medical science. People were seen as a material body that served as the vessel for the unique human mind, the only mind in all the animal kingdom capable of higher functioning, of reason. This justified a 'separation' of humans from nature with its base instincts and primitive laws. Our minds elevated above everything else, we bestowed on ourselves, superiority over all else.
A False Separation
What we know now about the nature of the universe, of time and space, of the ecology of life that this was not a separation, because it is impossible to separate a part of the whole. By creating this false separation we instigated the disintegration, of ourselves with the separation of mind and the disintegration of the living wholeness of life. We broke the wholeness; we broke the integrity of the system if you like.
By contrast, something is integral to something else, it is indivisible from of the whole, integrity means wholeness. It belongs to the whole and whole belongs to it. When the whole loses integrity it loses itself, it is no longer whole, no longer what it is, it can't be because the integrity, its wholeness is compromised. This is how nature is, how the ecology of life is, how the Earth is, how every aspect of the life we are part of is Whole and we are integral as is all and everything else is. Each being within the whole is also a whole being, not a sum of parts, when we lose our wholeness, we lose our self, when we gain wholeness, we find our self. This is the natural state.
Back to Wholeness
Our birth right is this sort of wholeness, this integrity. Connection or disconnection is only relevant where there are separate parts and this is what we have been conditioned to believe is the truth about us, about nature, about life, about the universe about everything, The work of Newton and Descartes laid this down as the laws of nature and the laws of physics and so the laws of life.
The concept of a unique, human, all powerful mind housed within and directing a mute body still largely informs both the medical and the cultural concept of the human being which is concerning considering it has been superseded by contemporary science and discovery knowledge. Why do we remain so wedded to the outmoded and limiting obsession with ‘mind’? Wholeness is far more exciting, has far reaching and profoundly valuable implications for human health and happiness as well as restoration and regeneration of plant Earth.