The Embryo in Us: A Phenomenological Search for Soul and Consciousness in the Prenatal Body
In the last two decades the classical post-Cartesian mind-body dualism (which by many scientist and philosophers is considered to be old-fashioned and overcome by modern monism of materialism) seems to be prevailed by a kind of body-brain dualism propagated by modern neurophysiology and neurophilosophy. The human embryo however seems to challenge this false monism of “We are our brain.” The phenomenological approach of the developing human body as a process (‘motion’) reveals that mind and consciousness are not imponderable dimensions ‘produced’ by the body or the brain but that the triune of mind-motion-matter represents the fundamental appearance of the inseparable twofoldness of mind and body as an entity. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that the whole body is an act of mind and consciousness, not only the brain. The ’embryo’ apparently is not a past phase in human lifespan but still exists in our so-called adult organism as the primary way of being a body with a mind. Body and mind are a polarity which goes far beyond the concept of duality and dualism. We therefore are a consciousness having a body, not a body producing consciousness. The brain may be the organ of coordination and consciousness but not of the soul: our whole body is a psychosomatic reality with levels of consciousness.