The Body as a Source of Truth: A Back-to-the-Body Perspective

The Body Is the Model for All.

The Body Is the Model for All.

Ever since starting this blog on the December Solstice of 2012, I have been proposing the body as an excellent standard of truth. This does not mean that we have to discard the wisdom of the ages, as it was transmitted to us through traditions and teachings. It is foolish to disregard all the wealth that we have inherited from the past. We treasure our rich heritage and honor the past.

As an example, consider the teachings of the Bahá’i Faith. According to the Bahá’i Faith, humankind is one family. They believe that humankind can be compared to the human body. But when it is time to be specific about what the united humankind is supposed to look like, they go the their sacred writings rather than the body to find the answers. But books are theories; theories are opinions; and opinions are always one-sided. For believers, the Holy Books are authoritative, but for the rest of the people, those books are subject to critical analysis.

The Body Is a Fountain of Truth.

The Body Is a Fountain of Truth.

That is why I am suggesting that we should go back to our fountain of truth, namely, the human body. This idea is not new. Besides the Bahá’i Faith, the Family Federation for the Unification of World Christianity (best known as the Unification Church) has a similar teaching. Members of the FFUWP believe that “the universe was created after that pattern of the human being, and every entity in [the universe] resembles [the structure] of the human being” (Principle of Creation). Thus, by studying the human mind, I can know what the incorporeal world looks like; and by studying the human body, I can know what the corporeal world (i.e., physical universe) looks like.

Other philosophies considered the relationship between the universe and the body. The stoics, for instance, regarded the universe as a living body. In the design of tall buildings, architects sometimes take the anatomy of the body as a model. Theorists sometimes observe that both the cultural space and the narrative space can be patterned on the body. Consider, for example, Punday, D. (2003). Narrative Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Narratology. Palgrave Macmillan.

The Body as a Model

The Body Is a Blueprint for All Things.

The Body Is a Blueprint for All Things.

We can see, then, that the claim that the body is a model, or a pattern, or a blueprint for everything that there is in the physical universe is not a novel idea. What is new, though, in the Back-to-the-Body Perspective, which I have been proposing in this blog, is the way we take a careful look at the body and glean a growing number of insights about how society should be. The difference is this: in the past, people knew the body was a treasure; today, we actually look at this treasure and learn every day from it. It’s the difference between knowing there is a treasure chest in the attic and actually going up there to open up that treasure chest.

Consider a few examples about how to use the body for discovering the truth.

Example 1: Two Christians are discussing a point about society and propose a certain opinion. One of them could ask, “Where in the Bible can you find a justification for this opinion?”

Example 2: Two traditionalist philosophers talks about an opinion about life or the universe. One of them may ask, “Which author in the history of philosophy has proposed this view?”

The New Way: Differently from these traditionalist ways of discovering the truth, the new way starts with a question about some social issue or some other problem and then asks, “What pattern in the body could help us form an opinion about this?” And based on that pattern, they propose an opinion as a hypothesis. This hypothesis needs to be tested to see if it works in reality. In other words, it is always a matter of opinion and verification.

For example, suppose I wish to inquire as to a good way to secure a city or a state or a nation. The question is, then, “What structure in the body can help us to understand the best way to provide security for a city/state/nation?” The body has its own security system. Part of it is the immune system. So, perhaps by observing the immune system, we can devise a good system of protecting the citizens in a city/state/nation.

Paulo-Juarez Pereira
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
September 2, 2015

Photo Credits:

Photo: Gracia Flamenca; Author: Luna Lunita; Source: http://bit.ly/1EAd4nh; Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Photo: Fountain; Author: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland; Source: http://bit.ly/1N3A4w7; Creative Commons License: Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Photo: Blueprint; Author: Djinn76; Source: http://bit.ly/1hV7rX0; Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

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