One Being

Josef Pieper is teaching me about the extent to which our thought processes have been corrupted by Descartes:
...we shall have to recall once more something difficult to grasp, that even the acts of man's mind, which means even his volition and not just his sensual desires, take place by nature and thus are not something at our own command. Rather, such acts happen over our heads, asit were; they are not left to our freedom of choice but have already been imposed. We find this difficult to grasp because we usually understand the terms "nature" and "mind" as mutually exclusive concepts. According to this habit of thought, for example, willing is either a mental act and consequently something not given by nature; or it is a natural event and consequently neither an act of volition nor a mental act at all. In contrast to this, the great teachers of Christendom unanimously insist that there is one being- that is in the strictest sense both mind and nature at once; and this being is the created mind.

Josef Pieper, On Love
Normally I would say something so abstract has little impact on the way we live. Reading this passage, one is tempted to say, as any good American pragmatist would, "so what?" To answer the pragmatist: this is important because it is a deeply revealing cultural and really psychological truth. It tells us something about ourselves. We almost naturally separate our minds and our bodies; we are really, really convinced that we are "a ghost in a machine." This belief affects all our other beliefs. And our beliefs drive our actions, the way we live.

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