Maybe time flies at different speeds in different countries?
Would that explain how I missed my usual posting day? Again. Astonishing how quickly the week goes by. I think our posting regime is getting nicely organic and chaotic around about now, which suits my creative flow.
Neale wrote about the human foible of giving what is effectively an excuse for our choices rather than simply saying, “I felt like doing this…so I did it.”
I liked his observation and I feel like chewing it over in a slightly different way, so that’s what I shall do.
Seems to me that most of our decisions come out of our emotional processes rather than our cognitive processes.
Having written that sentence I would like to entirely reject the notion that there is actually any divide between feeling and thinking – there is no divide between them but they are not the same either.
Thoughts and feelings both run on the same network, the neuro-chemical system in our bodies. I’m not going to bother you with details of that system here, just pointing out that there is not a network of nerves that are used for “thinking” and another network used for “feeling”.
We really need one word to change how we organise this reality – the Western tradition has, thanks to the Greek Philosophers, valued “thinking” and demonized “feeling” as if they were two entirely different processes.
We are trapped by our language here – if I keep using “thinking” and “feeling” even as I say they are part of a whole, if there is no name for that whole, then our language arranges the whole as two separate realities regardless of what sentences I construct.
I’m not settling on this as my lifetime choice for a term but for this post I shall use ‘processing’ to refer to the whole.
We process the information that is available to us in multiple ways, all of the processing happens in our bodies. I am including “mind” in my concept of “body” even though no-one has yet been able to adequately describe or define “mind” or establish clearly how ‘mind’ is connected to ‘body’. As an Existentialist thinker I am happy to take our shared experience of Being as a sufficient ground to continue the conversation – we all think of ourselves has having body and mind even if none of us can actually define both of those realities with settled certainty.
We process information that comes into our bodies from outside, we add our “self” to that processing, it is always MY processing.
My processing always includes my body chemistry, my history (One form of context.), my surroundings (Another form of context.), my sensation state (What you could call the “weather” in your body – aches and pains, muscle tensions and relaxations, heart rate, blood oxygenation….etc etc), my current sense of identity, the patterns of interpretation I favour, the patterns given to me by my language, the patterns given to me by my culture and by my family – you getting the picture? There is a MASS of information being melded together with the information my senses bring into my body – my processing is a subtle, profound, chaotic, focused and complex dynamic and my whole body is always involved.
All my processing happens in all my body all the time. Sensations, emotions and cognitions are all elements in all decisions, they are part of the melange from which decisions emerge.
That’s what is actually going on as I write this and as you “think” about what you are reading.
Western view says you are “thinking” about what I’m writing, as if that is a cool, linear, controlled process only happening in your brain. Total nonsense.
You are having a whole body engagement of these words and that whole body engagement includes a whole of your history engagement as well. We carry our history/life in our body. Parts of our history are processed and integrated and balanced, other parts are still wild and disconnected and full of loose ends that keep snagging on other people’s loose ends. Maybe something in what I am writing will snag one or more of your loose ends and you’ll feel a strong “reaction” to this post without even knowing why. That’s our actual reality – our whole body and our whole history is always involved and present in our processing of everything coming to us from outside us.
The Western way radically alienates us from our bodies, we are in fact, ashamed of our bodies, not in the simplistic sense of sexual shame, in the deeper, sadder alienation that we don’t even recognise our bodies for what they are, we deny that our actions flow from what we “feel” in our body, we make excuses for our actions, pretending, even to our self, that we “thought” our way to a decision or an action, we offer others a “good REASON” why we did this thing or that thing.
In reality decisions don’t come out of our “head”. Our decisions come out of our entire self, all of you is in every decision, all of you is involved in ‘making’ every decision, though I think I might prefer to say that all of you is involved in you FINDING your decision, but that would be another entire post.
“I wanted to do it.”
“It felt right to me.”
“It is the decision I made because it is the decision I made”
These are not egotistical explanations.
They are the actual reality.
When it comes to decisions we are making about our own bodies, our own selves, no other explanation is needed, or accurate.
Neale’s reflection on this thing we do was far more fun than mine and surely our two posts are a pretty good illustration of how subjective and individual each human being is, even when processing the same human reality.