NotaBene е електронно списание за философски и политически науки. Повече за нас

The limits of my anima means the limits of my world

Konstantinos DimitriosMaritsas

PhD student in South-West University "Neofit Rilski"



Резюме: През XX-и век изследването на тялото престава да бъде изключително биолого-медицинско. Тялото става обект на нови подходи, най-вече в областта антропологията и историята. Тези подходи се основават на разбирането, че тялото е социален и цивилизационен продукт, носител и производител на значения, както и че то няма общ и неутрален характер. Съвременните френски историци се вдъхновяват от труда на Норберт Елиас „Относно процеса на цивилизация", който показва постепенното само-дисциплиниране на тялото чрез налагането на правилата за добро повeдение, както и от творчеството на М. Фуко, който показва тялото във връзка с властта и господството, изследвайки техниките за контрол и надзор в съвременните западни бщества. В тази перспектива болното тяло, тялото, което боли, жестикулациите, грижата и кипренето на тялото, удоволствието и насладата, сексуалността, тялото, което е дисциплинирано и се подчинява на правила, тялото, което се упражнява, са разнообразни образи в историята на тялото, които са тема на различни научни изследвания. "Историята на тялото" е една история на материалната непосредственост и на цивилизационното разнообразие. Първичен елемент на идентичността, въплъщение на егото, с измамната непосредственост и "естественост", човешкото тяло е място на историята, "кръвта и плътта ѝ". С други думи, тялото е нашият затвор, но същевременно тялото е и нашият свят. Тялото сме ние. В настоящата статия се проследява "историята на тялото" в перспективата на въпроса как тялото създава света, в който всеки от нас живее.


"The limits of my language means the limits of my world."

Wittgenstein, L.



The human body, particularly the female body in the nineteenth-century, is central to Western painting. Images such as Delacroix's Liberty on the Barricades and Manet's Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe are so well known that the question of how the gendered body functions in them is often overlooked. In this detailed feminist art-historical study of the body in general and the nude in particular, Marcia Pointon explores the narrative structures of a series of major European and American paintings and other images, mapping her interpretations on the historiography of nineteenth-century painting and employing an innovative theoretical methodology to demonstrate how the visual representation of gendered bodies works to articulate power relations that are to be understood in terms of the symbolic and the psychic as part of the historical.(See Pointon, M. (1990). Naked Authority: The Body in Western Painting 1830-1908. Cambridge University Press and Nobert El., The Civilizing Process.)

But how did mankind come to this civilization view of the human body itself? To answer this question, we first have to define the notion of civilization.


Definition of civilization

None of the primitive people decided to tame animals, because nobody knew what a tame animal was. None of the primitive people decided to talk, because nobody knew what a language was. None of the primitive people decided to speak, to cook, to draw, to get dressed, to become religious, because nobody knew what art, clothes or religion were in the Nature.

And then? Then how has man created these civilization conditions? And when?

From the research, we know that about 1.2 million years ago, on the Earth, there were 18,000 people of reproductive age, 21,000 gorillas and 25,000 chimpanzees. That is to say, the human species was in danger of extinction, and the overall population was around three times more reaching 55,000 people. It follows that people of an unproductive age also survived.[1]

Then in Nature the principle of natural selection was in force. According to it, only powerful individuals had the right to reproduce. But in this way the species were doomed to extinction - to date, more than 95% of all species have been extinct. Prof.Todor G. Nikolov is right: "Around ten million species of animals and plants exist on our planet today. And the whole history of the Earth has been livened up by the amazing procession of more than 4.5 billion species of plants and animals." (Nikolov, 1994: back cover). According to Richard Leakey: "In fact, extinction appears to be the ultimate fate of all species: more than 99.9 percent of all the species that ever existed are now extinct - probably as much as a result of bad luck as of bad genes." (Leakey, 2008: 58).

Therefore, about 1,200,000 years ago, facing the danger of extinction, the human species decided unconsciously to take care of the weak individuals. In fact, by making this decision, our species crossed from nature to civilization.

Now we can give the definition of civilization:

Civilization is the survival of the weak.

Following the civilization, the human species created all the civilization notions, for example truth - lie, language, art, religion, love- fondness, philosophy-science, fantasy, and others.

But how did the civilized man create all this?

The answer is very simple: unconsciously! The weak civilized man first created "something" and then a next generation came that would find the ready "something" and would name it. For instance, language. Man began talking. The formation of language continued through hundreds of generations. In the end, one generation was born with a ready-made language. This generation named "that thing," they called it "language" and started exploring it. They found in the existing-already language grammar and syntax, the tenses and cases. And all this at the end of language creation. There was no prehistoric man who decided to create that language with grammar, syntax, tenses, cases, etc.


"But there is much lying among small people."

(Nietzsche, 1954: 175).

But why was the weak civilized man unconsciously forced to lie? The reason was that he had to be presented to the woman as strong to win her choice for reproduction. The powerful one killed bears, the weak was forced to lie that he had also killed a bear. "I killed the bear" was perhaps the first human lie that the weak male told the woman.

Now we can give a definition of the lie. As has already been mentioned, the weak, unable to kill the bear, imagined killing it (thought). In fact, the weak male has appropriated the truth of the powerful male. The powerful male's truth has become the weak male's lie.

Definition: A lie is somebody else's truth.


Definition of language and art

The author guesses that the process of language and art development is as follows. The first weak man had to illustrate the false fact with the phrase-lie "I killed the bear." The man had gestures, yelling, masks, and natural materials at his disposal. The weak man had to pretend to be the powerful one who really killed the bear.

Here we can give the definitions of language and art:

Language: the appropriation of the powerful male's truth by the weak male, in order to be chosen by the female for reproduction by the means of tools - the organs of the body.

Art: the appropriation of the powerful male's truth by the weak male, in order to be chosen by the female for reproduction by the means of tools - materials of nature.

So, language has originated from the phrase-lie "I killed the bear." This phrase reveals a picture in which the man kills the bear. According to KostísPapagiorgi, "the word hides in itself a story, an empirical story." (Papagiorgi, 2001: 140). And that is so! Each new lie, every new picture created by the male fantasy, has to be expressed by something old and familiar, and "every new thing refers to something old, something in the past."(Papagiorgi, 2001: 99). That was also the problem of the physicist Bohr: "On the other hand when we want to speak about atoms we must use words, and these words can only be taken from the old concepts, from the old language." (Salam, 2005: 94) Today, there are phrases like "stubble in the field" (meaning nun), "roof-tile" (house), "blooming almond" (bride), "ship in the desert" (camel), and others, including "sources from the supporters," "work makes a full belly," "women's back," etc. Every new thing today is also expressed by old pictures. "It wouldn't be meaningless if we say that, in reality, we react to the new with the conventionalities of the ancestors."(Papagiorgi, 2001: 101).

What was the first picture, though, that started the above process? What was at man's disposal to describe the pictures he wanted to communicate to woman? Just his body. The first picture was the male body. The creation of language started on the basis of the male body: "It is noteworthy that in all languages the greater part of the expressions relating to inanimate things is formed by metaphors of the human body and its parts, and from the human senses and passions. Hence 'head' for top or beginning; the brow and shoulders of a hill; the eyes of needles and of potatoes; mouth for any opening; the lip of a cup or pitcher; the teeth of a rake, a saw, a comb; the beard of wheat; the tongue of a shoe; the gorge of a river, a neck of land; an arm of the sea; the hands of a clock; heart for centre (the Latin uses umbilicus, navel, in this sense); the belly of a sail; foot for end or bottom; the flesh of fruits; a vein of rock or mineral; the blood of grapes for wine; the bowels of the Earth. *Heaven or the sea smiles; the wind whistles; the waves murmur; a body groans under a great weight. ... . *Several of Vico's examples for which there are no common English parallels are here omitted, and substitutions are made for several others."(Vico, 1984: 129).

According to Plato, Cratylus (383a-383b): "Cratylus says, Socrates, that there is a correctness of name for each thing, one that belongs to it by nature. A thing's name isn't whatever people agree to call it - some bit of their native language that applies to it - but there is a natural correctness of names, which is the same for everyone, Greek or foreigner."(Plato, 1997: 102).


Body and anima

From the above it follows that man began to use his body in order to lie and to communicate with other men. Initially the weak man's goal was to "deceive" the woman. Further on, when the weak male began to dominate, he no longer needed to lie. Then the language acquired other goals as well, which it still fulfils to this day. And then man realized that the body, besides naked matter, had still another hypostasis, another substance. The very body freed the man from the material and opened them another world, filled with other humans and material objects, but also abstract concepts.

For that reason most of the ancient languages contain two words designating "body" - a material body or body-prison and an abstract body or body-world.

Both the term corpus and the Greek word σῶμα have a quite clouded origin. Corpus, it is supposed, might be the lengthening of the root *krp-, certified in Indo-Iranian, where it means "form" or "beauty". What is more evident is the symmetry of its usage in Latin and in Greek. In Homer σῶμα always refers to an inanimate body, to the corpse - the body-prison. But when it is about a living body, he uses δέμας. Δέμας is an interesting term: as Benveniste explains, it is a development of the ancient verbal root *dem- that means "to build", from which derive both the "political" terms related to the house (the Iranian form -dam; the Latin domus), for example δεσπότης (master), δμώς (servant), δμωή (handmaid), and the very word δέμας, that designates the form or the visible and bodily appearance, the "building", or an animate living being-the body-world. In Latin such terminological opposition - between σῶμα (the body-prison) and δέμας (the body-world) - is expressed by opposing corpus (the body-prison) and anima (the body-world), the principle that moulds inert matter. Thence another consideration. Corpus is not only the corpse, a man's or an animal's dead body, in analogy to σῶμα, but also the Latin word for any material object in a much larger sense - "omnesquod potestuideri corpus dicitur" - as well as any aggregate of parts, by extension, once it has taken shape. Corporo means in the first place: I kill, I make or I supply a corpse.

To make the above even clearer, and to see the historical creation of the words "body-prison" and "body-world", we will refer to the etymology of Latin words.

But why Etymology? The word etymology is derived from the Greek "ἐτυμολογία" (etymologia), itself deriving from "ἔτυμον" (etymon), meaning "true sense", and the suffix "-λογία" (-logia), denoting "the study of". In linguistics, the term etymon is used to refer to a word or morpheme from which a later word is derived. For example, the ancient Greek word "ἵππος" (hippos) means horse, and "ποταμός" (potamus) means river. Hence "ἱπποπόταμος" (hippopotamus) means river horse.

Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their forms and meanings have changed over time.

For a language with a long written history, such as Greek and Latin, etymologists make use of texts in these languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during earlier periods of their history and when they entered the languages in question. Etymologists also apply the methods of comparative linguistics to reconstruct information about languages that are too old for any direct information to be available.

Let us see the etymology of the Latin word "anima" and "corpus":

anima (n.)

Jung's term for the inner part of the personality or the female component of a masculine personality (1923) from fem. of Latin animus "the rational soul; life; the mental powers, intelligence" (see animus). For earlier use in the sense "soul, vital principle," see anima mundi.[2]

animus (n.)

(1820) "temper" (usually in a hostile sense), from Latin animus "rational soul, mind, life, mental powers, consciousness, sensibility; courage, desire," related to anima "living being, soul, mind, disposition, passion, courage, anger, spirit, feeling," from PIE root *ane- "to breathe."

It has no plural. As a term in Jungian psychology for the masculine component of a feminine personality, it dates from 1923. For sense development in Latin, compare Old Norse andi "breath, breathing; current of air; aspiration in speech; soul, spirit, spiritual being."[3]


corpus (n.)

(plural corpora), late 14thc., from Latin corpus, literally "body" (see corporeal). The sense of "body of a person" (mid-15thc. in English) and "collection of facts or things" (1727 in English) both were present in Latin. Corpus Christi (late 14thc.), feast of the Blessed Sacrament, is the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Also used in various medical phrases, such as corpus callosum (1706, literally "tough body"), corpus luteum (1788, literally "yellow body").[4]


Conclusion: The limits of my anima means the limits of my world

With the victory of the weak the purpose of deceit disappeared; the weak one became a ruler and no longer had as opponent the powerful man of natural selection. Family appeared, each man had a wife. No longer was it necessary to appropriate another's truth. Thus, civilized man found himself with instrument, the lie, which was useless. And then the great change occurred: the search for the other's truth in civilization became an aim in itself. It developed into a tradition and involved the truth of animals, plants and all nature. This tradition gave birth to philosophy!

Thus the personal lie created the search for the other's truth. In other words, the need to lie brought about the search for truth and from it philosophy was born.

People are still looking for the other's truth to this day.

Through the body-world, the anima, man began to seek the truths, all truths - who They are, the living beings around them, the Planet, and the whole Universe.

The only limit for understanding the truth of the world is the body-world itself.



Special thanks to Prof. Lazar Koprinarov and to Katya Melamed, PhD.



  1. Leakey, R. (2008). The Origin of Humankind. New York: Basic Books.

  2. Nietzsche, F. (1954).Thus Spake Zarathustra. New York: Modern Library.

  3. Prof. Nikolov, T. (Николов, Т.).(1994). The Long Path of Life (Дългият път на живота). Sofia (София): Bulgarian Academy of Science (БАН).

  4. Papagiorgi, K. (Παπαγεώργη, Κ.). (2001). Oil Vinegar (Λάδια Ξύδια). Athens (Αθήνα): Kastanioti (Καστανιώτης).

  5. Plato. (1997). Completed Works. Indianopolis: Hackett Publishing

  6. Salam, A., Nobel Prize laureate in Physics, 1979. (2005). Unification of Fundamental Forces. Cambridge University Press.

  7. Vico, G. (1984). The New Science of GiambattistaVico.Cornell University Press.

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