A CRITIQUE OF MODELS BASED ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THERE EXISTS A LINEAR AND DIRECT CONNECTION BETWEEN PSYCHOLOGICAL AND BODILY DYNAMICS
I have already begun a critique of the linear model of the body-spirit relationship. I now try to detail this critique. The basis of this critique is close to the one I proposed concerning Idealism: the conscious mind loves to find linear connections; it treats this type of connection in yoga poses a particularly comfortable way. What consciousness manages with comfort is felt as true. Science prefers empirical and logical arguments. There is no reason why the dynamics of the universe should be compatible with the comfort of the mind.
A Human Being Needs to Hope that What He Perceives Has a Meaning He Can Understand
The infatuation for Lavater’s physiognomy deflated like an over-baked souffle after the publication of an article by German philosopher Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1778). For Lichtenberg, physiognomy does not demonstrate a connection between a shape of the face and a content of the soul; instead, it reflects a spontaneous tendency of the human being to associate faces to some attributes of the soul. in yoga poses other words, the connection between a physical and a mental trait is in yoga poses the eyes of the beholder, not necessarily in yoga poses the mechanisms that associate psychological and physiological dynamics in yoga poses an organism
Lichtenberg starts from a model of the mind close to the one of the English empiricists like Hume. The need to guess what another thinks probably created the tendency to attribute to the soul of others a personal experience that associates itself automatically to the other’s bodily appearance.47 An individual conscious system cannot perceive what emerges from the outward manifestation of its organism; it cannot know how others perceive us. To reassure itself, it would like to have, at its disposal, a system that lets it know what aspects of its bodily appearance irritates or seduces those with whom we associate. As soon as an apparently brilliant scientist pretends to be able to propose such a system of readings, each of us experience an inclination to believe that such a system is pertinent and hopes that it can quell a permanent source of anxiety.48
An example of attributing mental traits to a physical appearance. It comes about that I cross paths with a person who resembles a woman that I loved a long time ago. I sometimes spontaneously attribute mental characteristics to that person that are like those of my friend of yesteryear. If I meet this person a little later and hear that person speak, I notice just as spontaneously that this person thinks and feels differently than my old friend.
Lichtenberg wanted to denounce certain physiognomists who exploited this propensity to think in yoga poses a linear fashion to make money. He feared that physiognomy could be used to hang children to whom one would attribute criminal traits before they even had the time to commit a crime.49 A way to summarize certain of Lichtenberg’s arguments is to ask how a man could discover all of his wife’s secret feelings by analyzing her profile for a few minutes, when he doesn’t get close to understanding her after having scrutinized her body and living with her for decades. Lichtenberg’s formula is more succinct: This incomprehensible being that we are and which would be even more incomprehensible if we were able to approach it even more closely; we ought not to want to find this incomprehensible being on a forehead (Lichtenberg, 1778).50
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