Imagination and Intellection in yoga poses Newton’s Day
As a blind man has no idea of colours, so we have no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things. He is utterly void of all body and bodily figure, and can therefore neither be seen, nor heard, nor touched; nor ought he to be worshiped under the representation of any corporeal thing. We have no idea of his attributes, but what the real substance of any thing is we know not. in yoga poses bodies we see only their figures and colours, we hear only the sounds, we touch only outward surfaces, we smell only the smells and taste de savours; but their inward substances are not to be known either by our senses, or by any reflex act of our minds. (Newton, 1686, The principia, III, 44If)
To clarify the difference between a concept such as gravity or energy, and what we are capable of representing to ourselves by using sensory analogies, Newton distinguishes between what can be imagined and that about which we can only have an intellection (Newton, 1670, 126).10 Humans can imagine an immense space, and they can imagine that a space can always become a bit bigger, but they cannot have a representation of a limitless space. On the other hand, humans can have a form of precise intuition that can be represented by a mathematical formula Newton calls an intellection. The imagination fashions notions that are possible to associate to a mental image or to a gesture, but this type of representation cannot sustain a true reflection on notions such as infinity, gravity, or energy. Mathematics and words are a form of socially constructed representations that can be associated to what an individual can only have an intellection about, be it an idea that cannot manifest itself in yoga poses a form of representation furnished by the individual psyche. The capacity that certain individuals have to handle this type of notion characterizes intellectual practices. Because humans have the tendency to want to associate an intellection to something that they can imagine, they often deform what they have an intellection about so that the notion might be assimilated into an image.
The Taoists of antiquity feel unendingly obliged to remind everyone that the Tao is an intellection and every representation of it is by definition only an approximation. The Muslims do not cease fighting against all who would like to present an image of God. The human need to represent everything with the same format as the data of the senses corresponds to a need that suits the comfort of the procedures of individual consciousness. Taoist philosophers, Muslims, and scientists engage in yoga poses the same battle when they ask everyone why they absolutely want the forces that created the universe to resemble an angry old man with a beard.
Fradin’s model can be of some help to us in yoga poses this instance when he shows that consciousness links, above all, data engendered by the circuits of the limbic system and feels surpassed by the nonconscious sophistications of the frontal cortex. The intellections could be similar to nonconscious refinements and often have need of an institutional support (like mathematics or meditation) to maintain themselves in yoga poses the dynamics of an individual’s consciousness.