Sunday, August 28, 2011

The animal soul

I've been doing two things lately that have been intertwining and my crafting sent me on an intellectual/philosophical jag this afternoon that I thought I'd share.  I'm working on a felted rug as a prize for an upcoming rapier tournament.  I decided to feature the 4 animal virtues from Fiore's Flower of Battle.  There's an elephant with a tower for stability and fortitude, a lion with a heart for audacity and bravery, a lynx with a set of calipers for measure, timing, and foresight, and a tiger with "the arrow of the sky" for quickness.  In addition to that, Davey and I (mostly Davey) have started working on my armor for heavy combat.  As a result, I've been looking at the military treatise for what it is and trying to absorb some of the thoughts.  Don't get me wrong, I'm taking up fighting mostly for fun, but my body isn't nearly as trained as my brain so having something to work with intellectually makes things much easier for me (the diagrams and figures from my anatomy classes are the only reason I survived massage school.)

With a sword in my hand I feel instantly the dumbest and least coordinated individual in a 10 mile radius (probably more, but I'm giving myself the benefit of the doubt.)  I'm just clueless and make things worse by beginning to be clever and make snide remarks about my total lack of skill and ability, and weight, etc, etc,  So today I decided to try to fix that.  I know more training will help as will the physical conditioning I've started, but I needed something faster.  Basically I needed to put my brain in its place.  So, I turned to Plato.  Its a strange side trip, but here's sort of how the thought process went.  I was considering the pain of a friend which got me thinking about the state of the soul, which got me looking at the ancient theory of the soul according to the Greek and Roman philosophers (perfect stuff for a Sunday afternoon.)  And then the remark that it is the soul that is at risk in battle clicked into place with some other thoughts and I turned to the levels of Plato's soul.  The vegetative soul controls our autonomic functions.  The animal soul controls interaction with others, fight or flight, and movement.  Our cosmic soul is the contemplation, the predictor, the wit and the analysis.  My cosmic soul is always in charge.  It has no place in this though.

Yes, this is totally "live in the moment" and should be a total, well, duh!"    But it finally clicked for me, at least for a minute.  So, the second guessing is taking a vacation and I'm going to work on turning to the animal soul.  The cosmic soul can come play later.  It doesn't need to be driving here.  It's too busy writing the punchlines for the nasty jokes with myself as the punchline.

I really need to install a pell so I can beat something.  That's the next project as soon as I finish making my rug.

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