Wednesday, January 29, 2014

does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body? I dunno.

Using physical metaphor to describe abstract concepts is something we tend to do all the time.

In this blog I'll usually call important books we've been reading a weighty tome, or something.

Meetings get pushed out, arguments are heated, ideas get bounced around (ok, to be clear I never say that one but I've heard it plenty).

As you would expect, there's a name for this phenomenon, there's a couple actually.

In philosophy, the embodied mind thesis holds that the nature of the human mind is largely determined by the form of the human body. And psychologists call it embodied cognition.

Morrissey asked the question - in Still ill - 'does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body? I dunno.'

So, despite being somewhat well read, Moz has clearly skipped some of his key philosophy and psychology texts. It would appear the body does indeed rule the mind.

This mode of interpreting the world has evolved because our thoughts are rooted in the physical, and in particular in our bodies. And that's how we frame it.

Theres a ton of research showing how the physical world can influence our thoughts.

Washing our hands tends to make us more moralistic in the immediate period afterwards.

Other studies have shown that when speaking about the future we tend to lean slightly forwards versus thinking about the past and we lean slightly backwards. The underlying metaphor, of course is that of the 'past being behind us' and 'the future is ahead of us'

The top person on this topic is the linguist George Lakoff. Funnily enough he is the chap most associated with developing idea of framing. Itself an embodied metaphor.

One final example of embodiment interacting with the mind’s metaphors.

As it goes, there's some evidence to suggest that heavier people will often display a greater sense of their own self-importance.

I've dropped nearly 10 kilos over the last 3 or 4 months which is good news, possibly for readers of this blog, and almost certainly for those who have to deal with me on a daily basis.

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