Walking the Dog 2
Well then. Life is - feels - odd here just now full of figures from Beloved's past life, pre-Granny.
Last night ensued long philosophical discussion on nature/possibilities of mind, animal and human, between 1) Beloved, the animal man, 2 ) philosopher son, 3) very bright not to say eclectic doctor escorting (2). Conclusion of animal man at least was that there is no such thing as true intentionality. Ie man does what he does because he does..... Taken literally this would wipe out all legal sanction, moral stance, etc etc, all of which distinguish between 'intention' and 'not intention.' Even Beloved admits that pragmatically speaking intention cannot be left out of account no matter how inadequate an acount it makes of behaviour. Very bright but not to say pragmatic doctor fascinated by this, if sceptical - as was - insofar as she understood the more technically philosophical ends of this - fiction writing granny. Who actually would have nothing to write about were it not for 'intention' so there. While the doctor might as well be a vet.
Nature of mind something Granny thinking much about just now anyway, following the news of her stroke-felled friend. She has previously known at uncomfortably close quarters several people affected by brain damage - cancer in two cases, stroke/vascular problems in two more. In each case faculties relating to reason memory empathy social behaviour etc had gone to some extent or other, according to the site of the damage. This would seem to give a lie to the notion of mind distinct from body - what Beloved calls 'dualism': if the brain part of body is damaged only part of the mind is left: at the extreme all mind goes. Equally it denies the notion of rebirth in an afterlife. Which Granny has not believed in for a long time, though sighing a little for the faith of her parents, both of whom expected to see some long-lost love - ('I'll see my Peggy (granny's mum) again-' sighed her father; 'I'll see mummy' wept her 50 year old mother, motherless from the age of 3.)
On the other hand what religion talks about is 'soul.' Which a theologian would say was different from mind. Very confusing. Granny too has observed that in all the 4 brain-damaged cases she saw most closely, what remained was a kind of residual essence of personality; almost a distillation of what she knew before about the person concerned. In one case the distillation was anger, another (her mother) grief and fear, a third, furious willpower (so powerful it was like an earthly force; reminding granny of the primitive images of some fertility goddess) the fourth, extreme dependency. Beloved in response to this says what is observed here is in the eye of the beholder; or beholders since in most cases they concurred.
And if he's wrong about this, if it's there, objectively, what about enlightenment? What would you observe in a brain-damaged Buddha? All the extremes of will, loss, rage etc transcended? Peace after death dependent on such utter maturity? Granny wonders.
Meantimes she will go swimming. 3 cold Texans are due to arrive this evening. WHOOPEE.