Body Focus Affects How We See Others

This is very interesting. The idea (new to me) that:

we see others as having two aspects of mind: agency and experience. Agency is the capacity to act, plan and exert self-control, whereas experience is the capacity to feel pain, pleasure and emotions. Various factors – including the amount of skin shown – can shift which type of mind we see in another person.

This leads to a series of questions from a spiritual perspective. What does it do to me to see the naked Christ on the cross? If the research is correct seeing him like that increases my awareness of His pain and suffering:

Their study also found that a body focus can actually increase moral standing. Although those wearing little or no clothes – or otherwise represented as a body – were seen to be less morally responsible, they also were seen to be more sensitive to harm and hence deserving of more protection. "Others appear to be less inclined to harm people with bare skin and more inclined to protect them. In one experiment, for example, people viewing male subjects with their shirts off were less inclined to give those subjects uncomfortable electric shocks than when the men had their shirts on.," Gray says.

How about the fact that Mary is always depicted wearing a near-burka? It emphasizes her spirituality, her agency, her choice to become the Theotokos, and less her suffering.

A lot to think about here.


About spaceloom

An urban monk, and an experienced spiritual director with a Masters in Psychology. Married with two children. Want to know me better? Read my thoughts.
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