September 18, 2006

Humpty Dumptys

Posted in martial arts, philosophy of mind, psychology at 3:06 pm by Jerry

What do you do when there’s a disconnect between your mind and your body?

When our noumena (world within ourselves) develops its intellect through our body’s perception of phenomena (world beyond ourselves), we can then use this intellect to critically analyze its developing data to find any logical conclusions. When we (or our noumena) have found conclusions, we arrive at a personal “Ought”. At this point we’ve discovered what we should do, our conscience has changed once again.

Then, the next step is to just do it. But is it as easy as saying “just do it”?

At the Kung-fu seminar I went to I learned so many things, I had no doubt it would take a long time before I could make my body do what my mind had concluded I should do. So, back to my original question — “What do you do when there’s a disconnect between your mind and your body?”

When it’s a matter of my Kung-Fu training, I can’t force my body to do what my mind wants it to do. This may sound weird, but it’s as if I need to set aside time for my mind and my body to get to know each other. You see, my body could pretend to make it look like it can do what my mind wanted, but it wouldn’t feel natural or be authentic. I would be ingenuine. My body needs time to get to know my mind, experience my mind’s world. And the more my body understands my mind, the more it can become unified with my mind.

I know, I know, what an internal labyrinth! But I think it’s important. We can get so caught up in doing “the right thing,” what we “Ought” to do, that we end up losing ourselves in the process. Or, to put it another way, we can make prisons of our consciences rather than homes. This makes doing “the right thing” sound bad, but we know it isn’t. We know that doing the right thing is beneficial for others. It just feels bad for us when it’s not our natural tendency. So, if we want to be genuine people, it’s up to us to make the right thing natural.

It’s up to us to put our minds and bodies back together again.

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8 Comments »

  1. nosceteipsum said,

    Your comments make it sound like you should try training in Systema for a while. Layering on techniques over you natural instincts/reactions is all well and good (and to be honest, quite a lot of fun), but no matter how natural they get, they’re still techniques. Why not just train and improve your natural reactions – there’s no mind body separation then…

    “So, if we want to be genuine people, it’s up to us to make the right thing natural”
    I think the the ‘right thing’ _is_ natural, we have just deviated from that in the process of ‘growing up’ in what ever culture/environment we’re exposed to. Rediscovering it is the hard part.

    Please don’t take any of this as being against Kung fu/karate/uncle Bob’s deadly fighting system, I know a few people that Kung fu _is_ they’re bodies natural system. Everyone’s different.

  2. Jerry said,

    Hey nosceteipsum, thanks for dropping by.

    You said, “Why not just train and improve your natural reactions – there’s no mind body separation then…”

    Where did you get the idea that your natural reactions need “improving” if not in the mind first?

    You also said, “I think the the ‘right thing’ _is_ natural, we have just deviated from that in the process of ‘growing up’ in what ever culture/environment we’re exposed to. Rediscovering it is the hard part.”

    I agree, but would add that many people, including myself, were not born with perfectly structured bodies. So deviation is not just a matter of improper nurturing, it’s also in nature itself. My method of rediscovering the natural is using the natural that hasn’t deviated within my noumena. That becomes my fixed standard I can use to restore the rest of my body to be consistent with it.

  3. nosceteipsum said,

    You’ve defiantly thought about this! 🙂 I agree with what you’ve said there.

    But, “[…]were not born with perfectly structured bodies,” ‘Perfect structure’ is a cultural construct. The body you were born with is your body and I think that we have to (re)learn to use that body as it’s dimensions and limits allow. My point is, that if you’ve got 3 arms, you wouldn’t not use one just because everyone else has 2. You’d make the most of what you had. ie, you’d use your arm just as freely as you did before you were aware that everyone else had only 2.

    also: “Where did you get the idea that your natural reactions need “improving” if not in the mind first?” You got me there! But I believe that our natural reactions are dulled down by fear/emotions etc stored/accumulated in our bodies. So the ‘improvement’ is really just stripping away the learnt behaviours. This is defiantly a process instigated by some belief in the mind that something is not optimal though..

  4. Jerry said,

    This is good stuff. I appreciate your comments. Please permit me to be even more defiant (and possibly politically incorrect).

    By ‘Perfect Structure,’ I mean what is healthiest. For those of us who have been born bowl-legged, we, nature itself, have learned through various methods (empirical, utilitarian, etc.) that it is an innate structure of the healthiest human being to walk with their knees bending over their feet rather than to the side.

    From a different perspective, if I was born with this healthy innate structure, and someone injured my knees in such a way that I could not walk with my knees bending over my feet, it would be considered in my best interest (avoid feet deformity, back problems, fatigue) to have my knees corrected.

  5. nosceteipsum said,

    “From a different perspective, if I was born with this healthy innate structure, and someone injured my knees in such a way that I could not walk with my knees bending over my feet, it would be considered in my best interest (avoid feet deformity, back problems, fatigue) to have my knees corrected. ”

    I partially agree with that, but I would add that it would be more important, in theory at least, lo learn how to utilise your deformity to give you some kind of advantage.

    What I’m getting at, and this is my main point, is that fighting against your nature is not the way to go.

    surgical intervention may leave you with weak knees, maybe putting you in a worse situation than before (obviously I’m not a surgeon!), training with your deformity may be the way to go.

    None of us are perfect. trying to make ourselves fit into a perceived view of perfection is incorrect and unobtainable (a good goal though). Surely the best we can do is emphasise our strengths and minimise our weaknesses

  6. Jerry said,

    “None of us are perfect. trying to make ourselves fit into a perceived view of perfection is incorrect and unobtainable (a good goal though). Surely the best we can do is emphasise our strengths and minimise our weaknesses”

    I agree.

  7. Eric said,

    I just have to throw in my 2 bits here…

    nosceteipsum says…
    “What I’m getting at, and this is my main point, is that fighting against your nature is not the way to go.”
    Sometimes it is ONE way to go. Our bodies (and I think I’ve discussed this with you already Jerry) tend to operate along the path of least resistence. The bigger muscle will move a joint (even if it is doesn’t have the biomechanical advantage to do so), the stiffer area will stay stiff, the looser muscle will stretch more etc. We will habitually, ‘naturally’ do the easier thing, whether it is picking up my coffee to drink, how I stand or bend to pick up my dog.
    These strategies work great for a while. Many of them will never even be a source of pain or discomfort. But sometimes, doing the same thing the same way all the time, following the path of least resistence, causes other movement strategies to grow weak, unused. This is the path to pain with no ‘apparent’ cause. This is when new stategies must be employed and doing what is ‘natural’ must be abandoned in favour of learning a ‘new natural’ way to hold and move your body.

  8. Jerry said,

    Eric, I’m glad you put those thoughts on my blog. I’ve been re-visiting them now and then, enjoying them and wondering where they could send me as catalysts. Info on kinetics outside of Kung-fu can only benefit my training. Thanks.


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