The evil inclination, mind/brain

A place to discuss what it means to serve G-d for those who don't happen to be Jewish.

Hassidic Gentile? Ben/Bat Noach? Whatever you call yourself, you are welcome.
Forum rules
1. Polite discourse only. No ad hominem attacks or any other name-calling
2. No politics.
3. No bashing other religions, but it is ok to discuss how a Ben Noach might relate to other religions.
4. NO MISSIONARIES! Not even for Karaites.
5. Moderators may delete or break links to other web sites.
6. This is an Orthodox forum. Attacks on Halacha will not be tolerated.
7. Moderators reserve full rights to edit and delete posts, and ban users.

The evil inclination, mind/brain

Postby steve » Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:43 pm

I always wondered why a Jewish person received the good inclination at age 13.
I know it's probably common knowledge but I've recently realised that the brain/ mind is the evil inclination. The good inclination has nothing to do with the brain/ mind, it is the observer/ intellect.
The question I'd like to ask is; Jewish people are given the ability to overpower the evil inclination but what about non-Jews ?

Steve.
steve
 
Posts: 230
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:04 am

Re: The evil inclination, mind/brain

Postby rivka » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:12 pm

steve wrote:I've recently realised that the brain/ mind is the evil inclination.

I very strongly disagree. The intellect is neither good nor bad; it is a tool. It can be used by our base desires or by our higher selves, but either way it is a neutral tool.

And non-Jews have both base desires and higher selves, just as Jews do.
rivka
 
Posts: 458
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:28 pm

Re: The evil inclination, mind/brain

Postby steve » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:08 pm

Rivka,
If the intellect is a tool, is it a persons conscience that is the good inclination ?
What is your opinion on conciousness, is it inside the mind or outside ?
If the mind isn't the evil inclination, where does it reside ?

Thanks
steve
 
Posts: 230
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:04 am

Re: The evil inclination, mind/brain

Postby rivka » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:25 am

I don't think the evil inclination, which is spiritual, has a physical location. Neither does the good inclination. Neither does consciousness, for that matter, but that's not a question of spiritually so much as metaphysics. Consciousness arises from the physical existence of the brain, but it does not "reside" there. Individual nerve impulses can be mapped and measured, but consciousness cannot. Some would say, not yet. I suspect not ever.

I would say that a person's conscience is more-or-less another way of describing the good inclination.
rivka
 
Posts: 458
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:28 pm

Re: The evil inclination, mind/brain

Postby Hart60 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:58 pm

steve wrote: The question I'd like to ask is; Jewish people are given the ability to overpower the evil inclination but what about non-Jews ?
Steve.

We are all (Jew and Gentile) born with free will and the inclination to do both good and evil,this ability manifests itself as soon as we are old enough to know the difference between good and evil,it is our conscience that helps us decide the difference and it is study and learning in it's many forms that helps our conscience decide.

Dan.
Hart60
 
Posts: 752
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:05 pm
Location: North Devon,UK

Re: The evil inclination, mind/brain

Postby David_L » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:50 am

rivka wrote:... Consciousness arises from the physical existence of the brain, ...


Do we really know that?
David_L
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:54 pm
Location: Eastern US

Re: The evil inclination, mind/brain

Postby rivka » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:29 am

The evidence is pretty good, based on years of studying traumatic brain injury victims.
rivka
 
Posts: 458
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:28 pm

Re: The evil inclination, mind/brain

Postby steve » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:09 pm

Rivka,
Can the brain not be viewed as a tool like the intellect ? I believe the spiritual part of us is an observer that takes control of the mind.
I still think the battle is between the brain/mind and the observer.
The spiritual part of us can take control, or let the brain work on instincts. Perhaps a damaged brain only means the mechanical part can't be used, conciousness is always there .

Thanks
steve
 
Posts: 230
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:04 am

Re: The evil inclination, mind/brain

Postby rivka » Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:13 pm

steve wrote:Can the brain not be viewed as a tool like the intellect ?
Certainly.

steve wrote:I believe the spiritual part of us is an observer that takes control of the mind.
I have two problems with that notion. The first is that both the evil inclination and the good inclination are both "spiritual parts" of us. The second is that your description sounds like possession or schizophrenia, not a healthy, balanced person.

We are our evil inclination. We are also our good inclination. We are ALL the parts of us, and part of our job living in this world is to learn to use all those parts in a balanced way.

Judaism does not believe that the evil inclination is something to be rooted out, but something to be guided and used in the right ways. It is the sum of all our desires, and the Gemara says that without it people would not bother to eat, would not produce the next generation, and so on. In the Shema, it says "b'chol l'vavecha", even though grammatically we would expect "b'chol leebecha", with all your heart -- it has two of the letter beis (veis) instead of one. Why? Because our job is not just to serve Hashem with the good inclination, but also with our evil inclination.

Attempts to reject the evil inclination as something external and to be battled are missing the point. It is an intrinsic part of us, and something to be tamed and brought to heel. The classic Jewish metaphor is to view it as a horse, and the higher parts of our selves as a rider. Our job is to keep the horse in check, and use its strength to drive us in the ways our higher selves -- our riders -- wish to go.
rivka
 
Posts: 458
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:28 pm

Re: The evil inclination, mind/brain

Postby steve » Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:45 pm

Thanks for the explanation of the evil inclination as spiritual.
perhaps the imagination the evil inclination ?
steve
 
Posts: 230
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:04 am

Next

Return to Children of Noah

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron