The song, Corwin admits perhaps doesn’t provide the explanation of how mind – body interact but tries to get the message across through the extreme case of Joe, ‘whose body supports the existence of his mind.
.. yet traps it. ‘ (2007:174).
Which many philosophers struggle to explain including Descartes; (1996:18) ‘I do not know, and for the moment I shall not argue the point, since I can make judgements only about things which are known to me, I know that I exist; the question is what is this ‘I’ that I know? ‘. We can only begin to try and understand Joe’s condition as we are being educated about such things, but what about those who are really facing such difficulties?What about those who are in a coma, they are presumed brain dead and being ‘kept alive’ by a machine, but inside they might be screaming for help just the way Joe is. Descartes points out in his Second Mediation, (1996:59) ‘although the whole mind seems to be united to the whole body, I recognize that if a foot or arm or any other part of the body is cut off, nothing has thereby been taken away from the mind. ‘ So here he is proposing that even if you are physically disabled, your mind won’t be affected. This is the point that Metallica are trying to get across through this song.Joe struggles to come to terms with his situation, especially with the confusion of whether he is dreaming or awake, ‘I can’t remember anything, can’t tell if this is true or dream’ (lyrics online).
Descartes had the same difficulty in recognising whether everything he saw was real, (1996:16) ‘I will suppose then, that everything I see is spurious. I will believe that my memories tell me lies, and that none of the things that it reports ever happened…
So what remains true? Perhaps the fact that nothing is certain. ‘ But eventually he admits to recognizing the difference, (1996:61) ‘For now I notice there is a vast difference between the two (being asleep and awake), in thatdream s are never linked by memory with all the other actions of life as waking experiences are. ‘ Descartes seems to be making assumptions but when going deeper into understanding proves that perhaps his thinking can’t always be correct, but while he is searching for knowledge, Joe, is as Corwin says ‘is fighting for his very being. ‘ Progressing from dreaming to thinking, Corwin does emphasize that if thinking is all that we need, why is it that Joe feels like it’s the end, why does he feel incomplete without his senses, his body?Surely if Descartes is right we should be able to cope with just our mind/thinking.
His understanding was that (Cottingham 1992:236) ‘the soul, although ‘joined’ or ‘united’ to the ‘whole assemblage of bodily organs” during life, is ”of such nature that it has no relation to extension, or to the dimensions of other properties… of which body is composed. ‘ Through this song, (2007:177) ‘Metallica suggest that mind alone isn’t enough – we need our bodies to truly be human beings. ‘ However later on in his books, Descartes admits to needed both (1996:52) ‘my belief that this body, more that any other, belonged to me had some justification.For I could never be separated from it, as I could from other bodies; and felt my appetites and emotions in, and on account of, this body’. We can’t do anything with our bodies without the instructions of our brain/minds and our minds can’t think without our bodies contributing to the development of the mind for example, reading/writing, colours, images etc.
Even with the presumption that Joe is brain dead, Joe is fighting for his freedom inside (Irwin 2007:180) ‘he sends the signal ‘S-O-S’ repeatedly, his silent screams finally find a way out. ‘Even though Descartes at first claims, (Descartes, 1996:54)’accordingly, it is certain that I am really distant from my body, and can exist without out. ‘ he later on struggles through his Mediations to come with a final complete answer and to prove that mind can work without the body and vice versa, (1996:56) ‘there is nothing that my own nature teaches me for vividly that that I have a body, and that when I feel pain there is something wrong with my body.
.. so I should not doubt there is some truth in this. ‘ Here he admits to knowing that there is a link and interaction between mind-body, and it would be difficult without one or the other.
In conclusion to the essay, Descartes overall objective in the Meditations is to question knowledge. To explore such metaphysical issues as the existence of God and the separation of mind and body, it was important for him to distinguish what we can know as truth. Corwin is correct in linking the song to Descartes, even if the song doesn’t aim to solve the mind-body interaction. The song evokes the topic and explores the ‘aftermath’ of one going though the very process of ‘living’ with the mind only. Through the song Metallica reveal the anguish that Joe is going through.
It does prove that is it very difficult if not impossible to socialise or communicate without both. Its clear Descartes did come across various difficulties when trying to come up with evidence and conclusion to his mind-body dualism theory. Through this essay we see that even the greatest of Philosophical thinkers can’t always prove their beliefs and thinking.BIBLIOGRAPHY Cottingham,John.
(ed). (1996) DESCARTES: Mediations and First Philosophy. Cambridge university press. Cotttingham, John. (ed). (1992) The Cambridge companion to DESCARTES. Cambridge university press.
Irwin, William.(2007) Metallica and Philosophy: A Crash Course in Brain Surgery. Blackwell. Robinson, Dave ; Garrat, Chris. (1999). Introducing Descartes.
Cambridge: Icon Books. Sorell, Tom. (2000) DESCARTES a very short introduction. Oxford university press.