Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Helpful Explanation

“We objectify everything and begin to think of our bodies as an achievement… We see the body as a problem, as a hindrance to spiritual life – in order to get to the true self, who we really are, we have to somehow control the body and make it do what we want it to do.  In that way we will finally be who we’re ‘supposed to be’,  ‘who we are’.  Previously secular women have a lot of interest in spirituality.  And what drives this is the idea that spirituality is a way to find your ‘true, inner self’ as seen in opposition to your ‘bodily self’.  In other words, we want to escape the body and the limitations of our bodies by becoming spiritual in a disembodied spirituality.  This comes from Descartes’s mind/body opposition.  What happens when you do that is everything done immediately through the body – your eating, your work, your sexuality - becomes meaningless.  So you can do anything you want to, sexually, or through surgery, or manipulation of any kind that you want.  These things are considered acceptable because you’re just trying to get down to ‘who you really are’ your ‘inner self’.  Now, we are more than our bodies, but we are our bodies.  And we need to think of ourselves and other people holistically – not think, ‘Well, there’s somebody in there who really is who you really are’.  In the Christian paradigm, this is how our faith is supposed to be lived out.”

Lillian Calles Barger, author of Eve’s Revenge: Women and a Spirituality of the Body and President of the Damaris Project

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