oa Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology - Peace-building from the inside

Special issue 2
  • ISSN : 1445-7377



A deeper understanding of the role embodied intelligence can play in social change is vitally important if we are to be successful in creating and maintaining a more just and sustainable world. A key component of any change process, peace-building being one example of such a process, is developing inwardly focused bodily intelligence. A phenomenologically oriented understanding of social change, and by extension peace-building, is one in which bodily felt recognition must take a special place. Change that is bodily recognized has a different character and functions distinctly from the change that is experienced during a change of mind. A change of mind may stem solely from assimilating new information, (e.g. reading the latest book or professional journal), while bodily experienced change registers along broader lines than cognition alone. Although both processes are kinds of change, the embodied change, which is felt from the inside, is far more generative than change that involves merely altering or shuffling around existing schema or concepts. To assist in further exploration of peace-building as inherently both a personal and social event, I have developed an approach based in part on Gendlin's philosophical works, in particular his Process Model (Gendlin, 1997). I refer to this approach as a process model for peace-building because this articulates how intrapersonal, interpersonal, and social agency can be framed as one movement, a single ongoing process of human life. However, it must be admitted that this approach with its emphasis on developing embodied knowledge and practices is not as yet readily associated with such externally focused work as that which is found in peace-building as an academic field or social action activity. Embodied interior intelligence as a theoretically rich concept, although known in phenomenology and recognized in emerging theories of cognition, is not as yet sensible to many of those working in the peace-building arena.

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