“The mind is inherently embodied. Thought is mostly unconscious. Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical.” - George Lakoff
The idea of a mind body duality has defined western philosophy since the Enlightenment, with profound implications. Cartesian Dualism is a powerful thought structure, shaping the way we view the world, and dividing it into opposites: mind and body, rational and irrational, right and wrong. Its rigid linearity ignoring the edges, slippage in meanings, the vague and undefined.
This mind body duality is now being questioned. The idea of the disembodied mind, disproved.
Whichever way we look at it, our minds are embodied. We learn by doing and being. Our physicality defines our existence, and metaphors rooted in experience shape our consciousness.
Painting is sensuous: the body in dialogue with the canvas. At times rational, but largely intuitive. The physicality of the gesture, like a dance. This visual language can’t be expressed though words alone, we experience it though feeling.
The artists in Embodied Cognition possess a unique visual language. Bypassing the linear, they use ambiguity and suggestion to create new metaphors and ways of seeing. They draw on a complex network of association – here a colour, there a familiar shape – to appeal to the subconscious, with layered and intuitive references.
A new language embracing the slippage, the other. The mind, embodied.
As we negotiate new realities this age of connection, with minds that can no longer navigate its immense complexity, perhaps, as Hannah Arendt said, “One must think with the body and the soul or not think at all. ”