Science and medicine of the present days are known to study the human body as a strictly physical matter without subdividing it into physical and metaphysical aspects. Yet, it seems that practically human beings are used to identify their bodies with their feelings, emotions, thoughts, and other non-physical experiences and find all kinds of connections. This way, in different countries and cultures, bodily experiences can be viewed for morals and reliability, the subjectivity of physical skills, spiritual purity, social identification, and professional worth and value. It seems like, even though viewing the human body from the perspective of its metaphysical aspects is considered unscientific, in modern societies all around the world, this approach is frequently and widely practiced.
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Multiple esoteric authors of the present days tell their readers about the invisible connection between mind and body, and strong influences these two aspects of self may have on one another. Modern science rejects such beliefs, but they still tend to exist in society. For example, in shamanist cultures, it is believed that a shaman may feel what their patient is feeling, and this way addresses the disease (Harvey 904). The shamans of Brazilian people called Sanuma also practice this belief, but in their religion, it also refers to animals, so after a death of an animal’s body it’s the spirit continues to live as an invisible substance, and a person gifted with particular sensitivity can communicate with such spirits (Taylor 28). These two believe it clear that in ancient times and the old societies, the belief of the metaphysical aspect of the human body has been equally popular.
This subject is often viewed under a much more modern perspective in the contemporary world. The study researching Norwegian gay men’s vision of condoms and the feelings they may represent demonstrates that being a simple object, a condom also becomes a symbol of deep feelings such as trust (Middelthon, 59). Many other objects are also given metaphysical meaning, for example, fans of various sportsmen or singers dream of gaining a piece of clothing worn by these celebrities, such objects seem to represent some physical level of closeness with the adored individual. Handwritten letters are considered filled with deeper value as they were created and touched by individuals. Interestingly, such visions exist in many cultures, so is it natural for people to come to such conclusions, or do we sense something metaphysical about various objects touched by other individuals?
The shape and size of human bodies are also aspects that tend to represent the value of people. For example, in the Chinese patriarchal society, females are less valuable as workers and members of society (Lee 52). In Confucianism, a woman’s incapability to carry on her family name was her main inferiority. I wonder why all around the world, people’s sex was associated with their ability to continue their breed, because medically a child may inherit their mother’s blood as well as their father’s blood, so how come the family name this child is given is the father’s name? Even today, even though the similarity between male and female bodies is also scientifically proved, in many cultures, children are still viewed as belonging to the male parents only (Martin 28).
Perceiving the world through the perspective of signs, symbols, and hidden meanings seems to be a part of human nature that occurred centuries ago and cannot be defeated even though the contemporary blossom of science and technologies keeps proving that metaphysical objects such as souls and spirits are the myths of the past. New signs of non-material connections between physical and non-physical worlds keep being found, and they still fit perfectly into our materialistic and skeptic world.
Harvey, T. S. “Ipseity, Alterity and Community: The Tri-Unity of Maya Therapeutic Healing.” Zygon, 41.4 (2006): 903-913. Print.
Lee, Sing. “Fat, Fatigue and the Feminine: The Changing Cultural Experience of Women in Hong Kong.” Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 23 (1999): 51-73. Print.
Martin, Emily. The Woman in the Body: The Cultural Analysis of Reproduction. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992. Print.
Middlethon, Anne-Lise. “Interpretations of Condom Use and Nonuse among Young Norwegian Gay Men: a Qualitative Study.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 15.1 (2001): 58-83. Print.
Taylor, Kenneth I. “Body and Spirit among the Sanuma (Yanoama) of North Brazil.” World Anthropology. Ed. Sol Tax. Chicago: Mouton Publishers, 1976. Print.