A question - would it be better that the body is a prisoner and the mind free or that the mind be a prisoner and the body free

Just a question which do you think would be preferable?

Hi Scott. I’m just wondering if you could clarify what you mean by “better” and “preferable” in this question.

Are you talking about levels of pain and suffering? If so, then your question is probably a theodicy question (and there have been lots of theodicy discussions on BioLogos).

If you’re talking about relative levels of pain and suffering, then what kind? Physical pain? Intellectual pain? Emotional pain? Spiritual pain? Are you including “the heart” in your definition of the “the mind,” or are you excluding the brain’s System 1 “heart traits” (e.g. empathy, trust, faith, intuition, creativity) from your either-or question? Are you assuming in a dualistic way that the body’s pain can actually be separated from the mind’s pain (and the heart’s pain)?

Or are you talking about different kinds of slavery?

I honestly don’t think any kind of slavery is “better.” We like to believe we’ve largely done away with slavery in the third millennium, but I have grave doubts about that. We have fewer people with imprisoned bodies, but we now have the widespread phenomenon of “hearts and spirits” being imprisoned while bodies roam free.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

Well it’s just a hypothetical if you were forced to choose to be a physically bound prisoner but to have freedom of thought or would you choose to be unbound physically to move as you want but to not have freedom of thought?

Freedom of thought is freedom to think and say whatever you want.

I get that it’s hypothetical.

It’s a rare slave who is physically bound but who is still able to say out loud whatever he/she wants. The slave may have the freedom to think, but even that can be curtailed if the body has been repeatedly tortured or starved or deprived of essential social contacts (to name a few possibilities).

Although it sounds nice in principle to say the mind can always be free when the body is enslaved, the biological reality says otherwise. The brain’s ability to function is intimately linked to everything that happens to the physical body.

We’re holistic creatures, with minds connected not only to our physical bodies, but also to other people and to all Creation. Our ability to think and feel isn’t like a jar of pickles – with pickles that are visible through the glass, but neatly separated from the rest of our reality.

So I guess what I’m saying is that I object to the dualism of your hypothetical question. But maybe you have another suggestion for how to look at this?

“Education doesn’t make you happy. Nor does freedom. We don’t become happy just because we’re free – if we are. Or because we’ve been educated – if we have. But because education may be the means by which we realize we are happy. It opens our eyes, our ears, tells us where delights are lurking, convinces us that there is only one freedom of any importance whatsoever, that of the mind, and gives us the assurance – the confidence – to walk the path our mind, our educated mind, offers.”
― Iris Murdoch

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Loving and beloved children are happy, and that is one reason Father wants us to be childlike (and not childish).

… as for knowledge, it will pass away.

God does not love us as our parents and grandparents, uncles and aunties, siblings do. He doesn’t love us in any meaningful way except by solidarity, sharing our meaningless suffering in person.

A free mind is better. It can still be thankful even in the darkest times.

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

I am sorry for your experience that has resulted in your thinking so, or maybe it is just your thinking.

It’s highly privileged experience at vast cost and therefore well worth it, including for my son who values it.

That part is correct. He loves us more than those.

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How? How does He love us in any meaningful way?

I won’t regale you because you will just pooh-pooh the instances as make-believe. Some have been mentioned here before that you are familiar with, so I won’t bore you, either. He makes me happy with the evidences and manifestations (that you will not accept) of his immanence and interventions in his sovereignty over time and place, timing and placing. I disbelieve that you are envious, since you expend some effort in your flailings trying to discredit them, and not only mine. Do you recall ‘boasting in infirmities’?

Jennifer. Well ok this is really an thought explore and not sure where this leads but let’s go with it? Yes they are connected but they can be distinguished.

In the case of the physically free but mental prisoner that might be someone that has been indoctrinated from an early age told what and how to think, they are someone that cannot think for themselves and they go about their lives and don’t even know that they are mentally bound. I suppose that you might consider the physical, being the body and then that persons lives for the fulfillment of the body at the expense of the spirit.

While the mind well that is the spirit and do you live for the growth and expansion of that at the expense of the body. Think of well Stephen Hawking who was pretty much a physical prisoner but his mind was free to explore any way that he chose in many amazing directions.

Which would you choose?

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You make yourself happy with those irrational superstitious stories. I’m envious in the way a German socialist on World At War was of the sense of sacred belonging he saw in the torchlit Nuremburg rallies. Lonely are the brave my friend.

Hi Scott. Thanks for bearing with me. Now I see where you’re going with your question.

For myself, I’m all in with the example you give about Stephen Hawking. I’ve made many choices over the years that have given preference to the freedom of my spirit at the expense of some freedoms that are more “physical.” I’ve done this willingly and gratefully, but some days it hasn’t been easy.

I completely agree with your point about some people going about their lives not knowing they’re mentally bound. Sometimes a mentally bound person can have an epiphany, but even epiphanies can be dangerous for you if you don’t have a mentor to help you work through the grief that accompanies sudden mental freedom.

Thanks Jennifer. Honestly not sure where I was heading with this. So how does this relate to the teachings of Jesus to you?

If what you mean by “prisoner” is immobilized and lacking at present the capacity to change that state, then there is no question.

First, the body cannot alter the state of the mind, for the mind controls the body. For the same reason, and because the mind is creative, the mind may be able to alter the state of the body and, thus, set it free. So, an imprisoned mind is a forever imprisoned mind (unless some outside agent frees it), but an imprisoned body is not necessarily so forever.

Second, ultimately all experience, all living, takes place in the mind. Consequently, while an imprisoned body does limit what types of things one can do, it is no limitation at all on living, learning, growing or even influencing, and certainly not on understanding or loving. An imprisoned mind, OTOH, by definition is limited in all of those things.

If you mean something else by “prisoner,” then it depends on what you mean. :slight_smile:

Hi Scott. Good question. I think the way you’ve rephrased your thoughts to talk about the mentally bound is central to the way I understand the teachings of Jesus. I see in the teachings a desperate plea for human beings to stop accepting indoctrination about God and to learn instead how to listen to God’s voice deep within the heart. I see a devotion and trust in God so intense and so unwavering that a man was willing to go to the Cross and lose his body rather than sacrifice a single drop of his relationship with God. I see courage, not only the courage to love, but also the courage to forgive those who chose what was easy over what was right.

I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that.

Thank you a Kevin, I think an example of an imprisoned body but free mind would be someone like Stephen Hawking or perhaps consider a sensory deprivation tank.

So from what I hear from you you think a free mind over body is preferred?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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