Evaluate Corwin’s claim that Metallica’s ‘One’ illustrates Descartes’ conception of the interaction between mind and body This essay will address the issues on Philosophical thinker Rene Descartes’ work on dualism, through the analysis of the song ‘One’, by US thrash metal band ‘Metallica’. The song similarly explores and evokes the interaction between mind and body dualism through Joanna Corwin’s understanding of the song which will be evaluated against Descartes. The essay begins by giving an outline of Rene Descartes; his beliefs and knowledge.
The essay then discusses Metallica’s song which is from the
soundtrack of the movie ‘Johnny Got His Gun’ (Irwin 2007:174). The focus of this essay will be based on Descartes Second Mediation ‘The nature of the human mind, and how it is known better than the body’ and Sixth Mediation ‘The existence of material things, and the real distinction between mind and body’ Rene Descartes (1596-1650) not only was he a philosopher but a mathematician, a man of science and even a mercenary for some time in his life.
Descartes is known today as the ‘Father of modern philosophy’, (Robinson and Garret 1999:5) ‘Most of the great scientific thinkers of the 17th century were Christian believers.
‘ (Robinson, 1999:18). While seeking true knowledge, Descartes writes his Six Meditations. In these Meditations, Descartes tries to develop a strong foundation, which all knowledge can be built upon. Descartes was fascinated with the mind-body dualism. The song ‘One’ evoked the very idea of this. Metallica’s ‘One’ song is from the soundtrack of the movie ‘Johnny Got His Gun’, (Irwin, 2007:174) it tells the story of Joe Bonham, a soldier in world war one whose body is blown to bits.
‘ The music video features (2007:174) ‘a limbless, senseless, veteran begging for his life to end. ‘
The powerful lyrics of the song include: ‘I can’t remember anything can’t tell if this is true or dream … I’m waking up, I cannot see That there’s not much left of me Nothing is real but pain now Hold my breath as I wish for death Oh please god, wake me… …
Darkness imprisoning me All that I see Absolute horror I cannot live I cannot die Trapped in myself Body my holding cell’ The song is highly believed by Corwin to be about the mind-body interaction which was first presented by Descartes who famous philosophical phrase is ‘I think, therefore I am. ‘. According to Descartes, (1996:18) ‘all that I am a thing which is real and which truly exists. But what kind of a thing? As I have just said – a thinking thing. ‘
His understanding of body is,1996:17 ‘whatever has a determinable shape and a definable location and can occupy a space… it can be perceived by touch, sight, hearing, taste… and can be moved in various ways…. by whatever else comes into contact with it. ‘ In the song, Joe is perceived as ‘physically alive but essentially brain dead. Yet in actuality Joes mind is fully functional. ‘ (Corwin, 2007:174).
Descartes explains In his ‘Treatise on Man’ book, (Cottingham 1992:242) ‘god unites a rational soul to the bodily machine, placing its principal seat in the brain,… it is adapted to have a while range of sensations corresponding, … different ways in which the brain stimulates via the nerves. ‘ His perceptive reveals his belief that the body is just a machine to hold the mind/soul, after the body ‘rots’ after death, the soul and mind lives on (Descartes used different words such as mind/thinking/soul to explain the same thing).
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