Symmetry and asymmetry in conceptual
and morphological formations

by Karen Houle

I wrote this for those of us who (mistakenly) believe that the mind and the body are "separate substances."  Spinoza gives us a piggyback into a completely different ontology: thought is just one "aspect" of Life. And form (i.e. bodies, matter, human and plant) is another.  In a Spinozist metaphysics, they are not "opposed"... they are merely different aspects of the same deep reality that comprises all life. That means "we" not are first and foremost, rational beings, or "minds," as a Cartesian view of metaphysics claims; and thus, to be a thinker is an incomplete view of what it means to be "human." Nor, however are we "just" or "mostly" body. Same with spirit. These are simply names for aspects of our various profound capacities.

If you let this metaphysical view permeate you, you will be IN the world, with your own mind-body and with all the other mind-bodies, among a completely new set of relations, conceptions, capacities.

And, if we need new ideas, new bodies, because ours are stupid or ugly or have led to ecological disaster, then, um, we can learn from other, different mind-body beings.

I vote: PLANTS! 

Reference: Symmetry and Asymmetry in Conceptual and Morphological Formations. Karen L. F. Houle. Published in From Deleuze & Guattari to Posthumanism: Philosophies of Immanence. Edited by Christine Daigle and Terrance H. McDonald. Bloomsbury, 2022. pp 84-105.