I gave a public lecture on Tuesday night to the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution and talked about the separation of body and mind as a basis for belief in the supernatural. Most people are dualist in that they believe that the mind is not tethered to the body. We feel that we occupy and control our bodies – some inner self seated inside our heads controlling the body like the operator of some complicated meat-machine. If the mind is not tethered to the body, then maybe it can survive the body after death or even leave the body to meet up with other minds! Dualism is fertile ground for spiritualism.
To illustrate my point, I asked how many members of the audience (who were mostly past retirement) looked into the mirror every morning only to be confronted with an aging body and yet they themselves, did not feel any older. I told the audience that I knew that I was past my prime but still felt like an 18-year-old. That’s because we do not feel that our mind ages. Yes, we are aware that we no longer have the same thoughts and that we may be slower or more forgetful but we do not experience our minds as different because we ARE our minds. We cannot step outside of our mind to consider how it looks to others.
So imagine my horror when this clipping was sent to me by an old friend the following day? If I was inclined to my SuperSense, I would say that it was not a coincidence but a reminder that there are more things in heaven and earth than dreamed of in my philosophy. Nevertheless, it was very spooky. I know it is me but I don’t recognize him. Why was I in the papers giving opinions about conscription and women serving in the army? I have no recollection of the interview. And I certainly don’t recognise his pretentious comments and sexist opinion. That’s because I have never been out of my mind.