embodied knowing


the body


(an act?)

as I try to write about

the body and

its role in knowledge making.


The body itself is a site of knowledge-making, yet in the midst of theorizing the body, the body itself often disappears (Somerville, 2004). As I try to write this section, my embodied knowing cries out for space and I leave the typewritten page and wander the basement where I now work. This is a dissertation, and thus explanations, and references, seem necessary. I find what I need; it's a section of writing I put together months ago, starting with quote from Davies.


Davies (2000b) argues that "writing from the thinking body" as it is immersed in events, can trouble the naturalized assumptions of the separation of bodies from landscapes that are reflected in and (re)produced in our language" (p. 251, see also, Somerville, 1999, 2004). Ultimately, writing from the body, Davies claims, can help us enable different conceptions of body and/in place; it can also challenge the notion that the brain is the primary site of knowledge production, problem-solving, and wisdom.


No single theory can (for me at least) satisfactorily explain the ways in which my body has entered into, and in many instances, driven much of this work. Perhaps it is the limbic part of the brain which takes over when I let my conscious mind rest; perhaps it is the unconscious mind that guides the hand as I paint, make links, or read dialogically, searching for the perfect article to support and extend my argument. Perhaps it is a form of telepathic communication from animals (Sheldrake, 1999; Smith, 2004, 2006; Williams, 2005) or plants (Braud, 2004, 2006; Montgomery, 2008; see also, Tomkins & Bird, 1973) that finds its landing place in my body rather than my brain. Or perhaps it is the guidance of spirit (Astin, 2002) in the form of clairsentience.


My point and intention here is not to pin down any final explanation, but rather, to invite the reader to experience the effects of what just might be a very useful way of coming to know in the face of complex environmental problems. I invite the reader, for moments at least, to let the perceptual body lead in choosing a route through the hypertext.