The Mind and Body Relation
Dualism is a concept that suggests that everything has two parts and principles. It regards to the philosophy of the relationship between the mind/soul and body. This concept was supported by the substance dualist; Descartes who had a distinct approach on dualism compared to Aristotelian traditions which suggested that the body had three distinct souls. A soul of pain, pleasure and desire. The modern version of Dualism is present in Descartes, “Meditations”. Descartes suggests that the nature of the mind (non extended thinking) is completely different from that of the body (non thinking thing). He also conceives that the soul is a thinking substance and has intelligence but not space (Descartes, A discourse on Methods, Meditations and Principles, trans. John Veitch pg.87). Many philosophers attempted to disregard Descartes theory but only one intellectual individual accomplished this goal. Sadr ad Din Muhammad Shirazi, commonly known as Mullah Sadra was a 17th century Islamic philosopher who had a distinct point of view on the topic of the mind and body relation. The soul (rooh) and mind (aql) according to Mullah Sadra is a simple noetic existence which is one of the forms in the knowledge of God. He suggests that all things are externally distinct however internally everything is interconnected in existence. Things in this dunya (world) may be distinct when it pertains to physicality however in the metaphysical realm everything must be interconnected in order for the cosmos to function. Subsequently, existence has three different levels, the intellectual level, imaginative level and the natural level. All three levels are interconnected and are reflected in a human being. The mind and soul has an existence (kaynunat) within the world of intellect, nature and sense. “The soul needs the body (jasad) not of its aspect of the absolute intelligible reality, but for the existence of its individual entity and the creation of its soul-hood ipseity (Ibid, Volume 8 Page 382)”. Mullah Sadra emphasizes that the body and soul pertain to selfhood and can be an aspect of recognition once they are recognized as being together.
When the soul emanates on the body, then the matter of the body can be actualized as a human body. Sadra calls the human body “corporeal man” (al insaan al jismani) and refers to human intellect as “intellectual or noetic man” (al insaan al aqli). Imagination according to Sadra, is a level of being and consciousness of the soul that is situated between the spirit or intelligence and body. It perceives ideas in sensory forms. This level of the soul has five inner senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste). This psychic (nafs) faculty which is of imagination is immaterial. But at the reinforcement of imagination, the human soul can affect its body by the material representations (tasawwurat).
In Mulla Sadra’s philosophy of the relation between the mind and body, it is proven that both matter and body hold a degree of existence. The whole cosmos is interconnected and is alive due to its existence. Regardless of the fact that the mind and soul are pure within the intellectual world, they must obtain a higher level of goodness, and this can sub sequentially be done only though both metaphysical objects unifying with the corporeal body. The body needs the mind for actualization and its absolute aspect. According to Sadra, material and immaterial cannot be attached to each other, the body is a material in the physical realm and the mind is a material in the metaphysical realm. Being God conscious (Taqwa) is supported both by the aql (mind), rooh(soul) and the jasad(body). For an individual to gain the maximum amount of proximity towards the Divine, one must recognize the relationship between the mind and body. Both have the ability to interact, and one cannot function without the other