Embodied Realism as Interpretive Framework for Spirituality, Discernment and Leadership [chapter]

Jack Barentsen
2018 Contributions to Management Science  
There appear to be two ways of knowing, the one driven by scientific evidence, the other by practice and intuition. The concept of embodiment brings these two ways together. Embodiment is now widely studied, as in the disciplines of nursing (Benner), cultural psychology (Voestermans and Verheggen), and cognitive psychology (Lakoff and Johnson). These developments point to the philosophical perspective of "embodied realism," as initially outlined by Merleau-Ponty and Dooyeweerd. Our human system
more » ... of knowing is directed and limited by the way our bodies enable us to interface with the world we inhabit. It requires dialogue to transcend our individuality, without arriving at universals, as research on cognitive bias by Kahneman has demonstrated. The centrality of embodiment, then, implies that spirituality is not in opposition to material concerns, but rather that embodiment is foundational for spirituality, as evident in religious ritual practices as well as in the Christian confession of the Incarnation. Moreover, spiritual discernment takes shape, not as a disembodied practice of meditation to access the divine, but as embodied seeing, listening and feeling in a collective effort to understand God's call in the middle of one's rapidly changing world. Finally, leadership can be seen as the embodied performance of providing a safe holding environment amidst liminality in order to enable people to cope, to be transformed and to develop a new sense of personal and social identity.
doi:10.1007/978-3-319-98884-9_8 fatcat:qa7dgayburawjjmezqdkae635u