Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Judaism' keyword pg.1 of 1
06 OCTOBER 2013

Modern medicine evokes a Cartesian mind-body dualism

"If we look at the history of medicine, we can see that it became what it is today because of a sweeping social transformation that modernized Europe centuries ago. Urbanization and commerce, along with Protestantism and the Catholic Counter–Reformation, encouraged new ways of conceiving and interacting with nature. It was within this context that 'scientific medicine' was invented and elaborated. The particular scientific model that became predominant in Europe in the seventeenth century accepted the mind–body dualism of René Descartes, for whom the human body is a self–contained, entirely material machine. His contemporary, Baruch Spinoza, on the other hand, elaborated a more relational view, stemming from a Jewish tradition that regards the body as essential to a complex and ultimately spiritual being, and all beings as mutually dependent.

Spinoza's perspective is no less compatible with scientific medicine than the Cartesian view. For science has two complementary ways of explaining: by taking apart–as atomic physics mainly does–and by bringing into relation–as Einstein's relativity theory does. Spinoza was quite aware of the power of the first approach, as elaborated by Descartes and advanced by technologies such as the newly invented microscope. Spinoza acknowledges that the human body is composed of parts, and those parts of smaller parts still. But he recognizes also that bodies are encompassed by, and can be adequately understood only in relation to, unities larger than themselves, until we reach the widest system of all, which is 'the whole of nature.' Spinoza was an early exponent of what is known today as 'systems theory.'

Medicine in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries could have taken a more integrative path, in keeping with Spinoza's insight that we are guardians not only of our bodies, taken individually, but of the entire domain of nature with which they are continuous. Instead–for reasons that this essay will explore – mainstream medicine adopted the Cartesian machine model."

(Raymond Barglow, Tikkun Magazine, March 2002)



16th century17th centuryAlbert Einstein • atomic physics • atomisticBaruch Spinozabodybringing into relation • Cartesian machine model • Cartesian view • Catholiccomplexitycomposed of partscontingencydualismhealth carehistory of medicinehuman bodyintegrative practices • Jewish tradition • Judaism • mainstream medicine • man and nature • material machine • medicinemicroscopemind-body dualismnatureProtestantismrelational aestheticsrelational viewRene Descartessciencescientific medicine • scientific model • self-contained • social transformation • spiritual being • systems theorytaking apart • theory of relativity • urbansation


Simon Perkins
09 NOVEMBER 2012

This Land Is Mine: the great Middle East tragicomedy

"I envisioned This Land Is Mine as the last scene of my potential–possible–maybe– feature film, Seder–Masochism, but it's the first (and so far only) scene I've animated. As the Bible says, 'So the last will be first, and the first will be last.'"

(Nina Paley)

Fig.1 Nina Paley (2012) "This Land Is Mine".




20122D animation • Alexander conquer • Alexander the Great • Ancient Egyptian • Ancient Greek • Angel of Death • animationapocalypseArab • Arab Caliph • Assyrian • Ayyubid dynasty • Babylonian • Babylonian Exile • belligerenceBibleBritish EmpireByzantine • Byzantine Empire • Caliph • Canaanite • Channukah • Children of Israel • conflictcontested state • Crusader • Crusadesdevil • Eastern and Western Empires • Egypt • Egyptian • Egyptian Mamluk • European Jew • freedom fighter • futility of warGreek • Greek-Macedonian • Grim Reaper • guerrilla warfareHamas • Hebrew Priest • Hezbollah • historyhistory of conflictideological intoleranceideologyIsraelIsraeli-Palestinian conflict • Israelite • JerusalemJesus ChristJewish settlersJudaism • Kingdom of Jerusalem • Maccabee • Macedonian • Mamluk of Egypt • mamluks • militarized resistance movementsmilitaryMuslimNina Paley • Old Testament • Ottoman Empire • Ottoman Turk • Ottoman Turkish • ownershipPalestinePalestinian • Palestinian Liberation Organization • Palestinian territoriespeace • PLO • Ptolemaic • Ptolemy • Ptolmaic • RomanRoman Empire • Second Temple • Seder Masochism • Seleucid • Seleucids • State of Israelterritorialisationterritoryterrorist • terrorists • This Land Is MinetimelinetragicomicwarZionist


Simon Perkins

Retrospective Identities: unambiguous, stable, intellectually impervious and collective

Retrospective "identities use as resources narratives of the past which provide exemplars, criteria, belonging and . ... This provides for an unambiguous, stable, intellectually impervious, collective identity. This consumes the self in all its manifestations and gives it a site outside of current and future instabilities, beyond current ambiguities of judgement, relation and conduct. In some contexts it produces a strong insulation between the sacred and profane, such that it is possible to enter the profane world without either being appropriated or colonised by it. Islamic fundamentalism enables the appropriation of western technologies without cultural penetration. Nearer home orthodox Jews in the 1920s, and even earlier, occupied small shops and business slots in the economy and retained their identity through strict orthodox practice. In the 1960s and onwards many British [Central] Asian Moslems occupied a similar economic and cultural context. The problem here for such retrospective identities is their reproduction in the next generation, and here we might expect a shift to prospective or even therapeutic positions. Age may well influence the expression of the retrospective identity through differential selection of resources. It may well be that the young are attracted to the current revival of charismatic Christianity with its emphasis upon the subjective, the emotional, upon intense interactive participation and upon oppositions to institutional orthodoxes. On a more anecdotal level I have been impressed with the revival of student fraternity rituals in Portugal, Norway and Germany. Finally we can consider nationalism and populism as subsets of retrospective fundamentalism, drawing on mythological resources of origin, belonging, progression and destiny (rise of the extreme right). Any weakening of the collective resource on which the fundamentalist identity draws and which minutely regulates conduct, belief and participation, as is likely in inter–generation reproduction, may entail a shift to re–centring identities on the part of the young."

(Basil Bernstein 2000, p.74)

Bernstein, Basil. (2000). 'Pedagogy Symbolic Control and Identity, Theory Research Critique'. Oxford, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.



Basil Bernsteinbelief systemsbelongingChristianitycoherenceconservative attitudesfaithfraternityfundamentalismGermany • Hillsong Church • identityinsular communitiesIslamIslamicJudaism • Moslem • MuslimmythologynationalismNorwaynostalgiaold fashioned family valuesorthodox practicesorthodoxy • Paradise Community Church • populism • Portugalprofaneradicalisationreligionreligious fundamentalism • retrospective identity • ritualsacredsubculture • televangelism

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