Posts Tagged ‘anthony synnott’

The soul is superior to the body. While the body remains on earth, the human mind bolted far through the sky.

The essentialists who are mostly philosophers and theologians tend to denigrate the body within their brilliant minds. They saw the body as an enemy or prison for the soul. They glorified the power of the mind and ignored the existence of the body.

The discourse has continued throughout the history of human existence, as old as the dispute between heaven and hell.

Anthony Synnott in The Body Social: Symbolism, Self and Society 1993 states that the hyper-intellectualism of western cultural traditions has historically privileged the soul over body because most humans often have difficulty dealing with their body’s desires and passions.

Small numbers were survive treated their body based on social and religious norms while some others surrender and choose to satisfy their desires even though it was against their consciences.

That is why a long time ago, Plato emphasized that body and soul are not only separated but both are contradictory. Only in death, the soul can be freed from the evil desires and passions of the body.

Meanwhile, Freud described the conflict of satisfying the desires of the body in the form of unconscious conflict between the Id, super-ego, and ego, and disputes between the three could even cause certain mental illnesses.

Apart from the discourse, humans do tend to lack respect for their bodies. The body was often seen as a prison or enemy while biological desire is a sin. The body neglected, abused or mistreated. Human health and physical perfection as medical wonders were seen as a normal condition and taken for granted.

Tragically, most people have to fall ill before they understand how precious the body is. They never really cared for their body, until changes suddenly occurred, experienced pain or threatened with death.

Usually, when life’s threatened, humans finally understand the nature of the existence of the body and soul together. At that moment, the body and soul are finally aware of how much they need each other to be function properly.

When life’s threatened, humans realized that the body is not an enemy nor an object to be treated haphazardly.

But as Al-Ghazali: The body is a conveyance for the soul to carve out the good and bad records of its existence.

It is a conveyance for a human to become closer to The Creator, or otherwise

even further.


In this case, the mind is part of the soul – but some scholars distinguish between the soul and the mind.

Bogor April 2020

Hesty Dharmanita Wianggawati

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