What makes a human being?

I used to think that a human being was like this:

Fig2HierarchicalModelThe mind was in the driving seat of the personality, and emotion was a result of what the mind thought. Floating over the top of this was the spiritual life. Others might call this bit intuition, religious life, or perhaps not have this in their model at all. For me, it represented the highest part of me, definitely on a higher plane than the rest, and sometimes at war with the mind. The body was there to carry the brain and therefore the rest of me around from A to B.

Now I have changed my mind – and all the rest of me.


I now see it more like this:Fig2IntegratedModel

In this way of looking at at it, I recognise that all parts of us are equally essential to our sense of being. Above all, I realised that obvious: that we are embodied beings. Each of these parts of our self overlaps, influences and is moved by the other.

We now know much more about the interrelation between the body and the mind, for example. We know that the body remembers things that we experience, good and bad, in its own way. Think of how a scent, or a piece of music, can conjure the past in great immediacy in a way that mere thinking might struggle to do.

More in my next post.