We have started a new block this week, Man and Animal. It’s our second and final block this year. When we started back in fall, this subject got me stumped. My first assumption, was thinking it as a typical zoology block. By exploring further into this topic, I realized it was human’s relationship with the animals, as we are the most evolved species on earth. We should not emphasize that humans are better than animals, since we have a more developed brain. What litteraly lifts humans above beasts, is our upright walk, which frees our hands and allows us not only to serve ourself but others as well. Before this block I had never considered how we are shaped into being by our environment. Every creature and human have been shaped by the wind, the sun and landscape they reside. By looking at animals, it becomes quite obvious, giraffe’s long neck, bird’s hallow bones filled with air, Tapir’s thin snout for collecting the insects it so loves. We too have been molded by our environment. Now, there is so much to discuss and explore and this is why I love Waldorf education, not only do my children get a wholesome understanding of their world, we as parents get to keep on learning too.
After exploring the unit of the threefold human; willing, feeling, thinking, I pondered, where does the animal coincide in all of this? Reading through different genres of hypothesis, I came to understand that animals may only carry two of these aspects. Charles Kovacs “The human Being and the Animal World” has a very interesting view on this topic. He divides the human body into three categories, the head, the trunk and the limbs. The head is where we absorb all perceptions and by the use of our senses, we take into our bodies what the world has to offer. Thereupon, we feel through our trunk what our heads have taken in. We feel all emotions directly in our trunks, our pulse accelarates, we get knots in our stomachs, our breathing increases.
The trunk is in constant movement following the rhythm of what the head perceives. Like the tides are affected by the moon, our chest breathes in and out. Then, what has been absorbed by our trunks/chests, gets passed on towards our limbs, allowing us to create what we have felt through our emotions. Our sense of perception guides our will, our emotions reveal our feelings and our creations derive from our thoughts. Hence, the foundation of Waldorf education, nourishing the head, heart and hands of the threefold human being.
Charles Kovac then goes on to describe how he categorizes each animal according to the humans three body parts, head-animals, trunk-animals and limb-animals. However, it is a view and with all views, one must take it in as opinion and not fact. What speaks to me intuitively, what feels right is what I tend to focus on. But by all means, this is a good book to get some good insight on such an indepth subject.
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