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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Filter Theories of the Body in Jewish and Psychological Literature

A candle is lit above [the child’s] head [in the womb], and they look and see from one end of the world to the other...
Talmud Bavli, Niddah 30b
The light that was created on the first day was the light with which Adam saw from one end of the creation to the other. This original light is the light of consciousness, the light which illumines the mind. It is through this that Adam perceived and grasped the entirety of the universe. This is the light that was hidden away for the future when (Yeshayahu 11:9), "The earth will be filled with the Knowledge of G-d"
Vilna Gaon, Aderet Eliyahu, p. 37 (trans. R. Avraham Sutton)
“For the soul in its original form, before it’s descent into the body, was a Divine spirit. The soul’s conceptual grasp was not under the bounds of time and space, and their associated concepts. Instead, it would grasp everything in a simple and instant understanding, without any boundary or logical process. When the soul was placed in the body, under the sun, time, and movement…it became tied to time and space, according to the conditions of the intellect’s conceptual grasp while tied to physicality. Therefore, the soul is black in her outer manifestations, since the intellect and spiritual light is hidden in it in potential, not in actuality.”
Malbim, Shir Ha’Shirim 1:6
“There exists a more comprehensive consciousness, a profounder faculty, which for the most part remains potential only…but from which the consciousness and faculty of earth-life are mere selections… [N]o Self of which we can here have cognizance is in reality more than a fragment of a larger Self, - revealed in a fashion at once shifting and limited through an organism not so framed as to afford it full manifestation.”
F.W.H. Myers, Human Personality, vol. 2, pp. 12, 15
“When we think of the law that thought is a function of the brain, we are not required to think of 0productive function only; we are entitled also to consider permissive or transmissive function. And this is the ordinary psycho-physiologist leaves out of his account.”
William James, Human Immorality: Two Supposed Objections to the Doctrine, p. 15
“[T]he broad and abstract justification deriving from James’s (1898/1900) original argument (that such correlations can be interpreted in terms of permission or transmission rather than production) is not sufficient for our present purposes. We want now to get at least in outline a more detained positive characterization of how such a mind-brain system might normally operate, and try to reconcile that with a broad range of existing neuroscientific data…”
Edward F. Kelly and Emily Williams Kelly (ed.), Irreducible Mind, p. 617


Menachem said...

In reference to the quote from the Malbim:

"Modern man...denied the great Mystery of Life and out his faith in ratio-nality. A ratio is a portion, a part. The analytical mind divides life into parts; but in endless fragmentation, we miss the experience of the whole."

Zen and the art of making a living by Boldt.

Yona said...

Thank you Menachem for your insightful comment. Rav Kook (Orot ha'Kodesh I, p. 41) writes that it is the nature of spiritual perception to embrace everything in unity, as opposed to ordinary intellectual perception.