Monday, 29 September 2014

661 - Antonio Damasio

This man has written a book called 'The Feeling of What Happens: body, emotion and the making of consciousness'. I am excited to be reading it, because the ideas within it are so beautifully put. Here, for example, about the capacity of the conscious mind to hide as well as reveal:

"Perhaps it was easier to get a more balanced perspective in earlier times when there was no veil, when the environments were relatively simple, long before electronic media and jet travel, long before the printed word, before the empire, and ahead of the city-state. It must have been easier to sense the life within, when the brain provided a lopsided view in the opposite direction [to the present], tilted toward the dominant representation of the internal states of the organism. If it was ever like that, perhaps at some magic brief time between Homer and Athens, lucky humans would have perceived in an instant that all of their amusing antics were about life and that underneath every image of the outside world, there stood the ongoing image of their living bodies." [p. 29]

It would be fascinating to read the Bible on Adam and Eve in the light of this passage.

Monday, 15 September 2014

662 - Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

This is a story about madness. It can be found in Daniel, chapter 4. King Nebuchadnezzar dreams of a mighty tree which is cut down, leaving only the roots and a stump, which is bound in iron. Daniel interprets the dream to mean that the king is to be cast out for his pride, to live amongst animals for seven years, unless he changes. The experience of being cast out into madness will, however, purify him - the stump will remain, ready to shoot again when he acknowledges 'that Heaven rules'. In the story this is what happens.

I draw great comfort from this story for myself, because it suggests that God will allow madness to intervene to prevent evil taking place, after which there is redemption. Nebuchadnezzar is not a Jew but a foreign king, yet this redemption is available to him.

That's how I read the tale, anyway.