The Archived Heartbreaks of Shasa Sartin: a case for dualism in a theory of mind

Shasa Sartin, Editor-In-Chief

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On Valentine’s Day, my only class was Philosophy of Mind; a class open to students with a background in philosophy, neuroscience, or psychology, exploring whether or not the mind and body are separate. Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies Jon Jensen started class that day by asking what we thought love is — specifically romantic love — and which theory of mind1 we think fits it. As a self-described “hopeless romantic” and a fan of complicating everything I come across, I strongly believe that love is about something deeper than neurotransmitters. This leads me to identify with dualism2 as the fitting theory of mind and to disagree with materialism3 and functionalism4. I believe that love can show the peaks and nadirs of the human experience, and I think those points are indicative of there being something more to our minds and our spirits than the cells of my body: not to be dramatic or anything!

In order to make my case for dualism properly, I dug out some field notes. Yes, it seems I gathered my old journals that I’ve been writing in since October 2015, just a few months into my first year at Luther. Pages and pages dedicated just to my heart’s focus in the moments recorded. “He loves me, he loves me not” type beat! The cycle of swinging from infatuation into despair is approximately 8 months for me, as is documented by my dated journal entries. I can’t believe I am actually sharing this publicly, but I literally wrote things like: “I’m still on the [redacted]5 train! I keep building up the courage to jump off into … happiness and peace, but instead I’m clinging to the possibility of it working out.”6 What the hell kind of mess? You mean to tell me my brain is doing this? And for what? Which chemical is this because it was not serotonin or any of the feel-good ones. What do I have to gain from completely losing my sense of reason? Thinking from a perspective of evolutionary psychology, the only explanation I can think of is that being extremely loyal to a partner is beneficial for the strength of that partnership. This can result in a higher amount of support in the form of food and protection. I can also think of many ways that this is detrimental to me. Natural selection would take in-love Shasa in a second. She just would not survive, it’s not realistic.

In a later entry, about a new person, I explained that “When I am obsessed with people like this, it always feels like the most consuming thing of my life?”7 Again, I just have to ask … what and why? If I am not drowning in my admiration and obsession with a love interest for some kind of benefit for the progression of my life, then why am I doing it? This is what materialism and functionalism cannot answer, but dualism can. If I have a mind, soul, or spirit of some sort, then I can theorize an entirely different collection of goals and objectives of that soul. Those goals and objectives can be completely different from those that my body has. Maybe those goals are to learn that it’s important to not lose yourself in another person. Maybe those goals are to connect with someone so deeply that it’s terrifying! What is important is that the goals are not restricted to biological laws or evolutionary theory.

In closing, if Ariana Grande8, Beyoncé9, and Frank Ocean10 can admit to being delusional in love then why can’t I? Do not remind me that I am not a platinum record holding recording artist like these people, I know that, I am aware of that. Love is so ridiculous that it bends reason for even the most reasonable of people,11 and it is not functional as an experience and/or a state of being. This is why I reject materialism and functionalism and embrace the beauty and understanding that is dualism! Bye!

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Chips or organizations with which the author(s) are associated.


1 A theory of mind is a framework to explain what a ‘mind’ is. Is it our brain matter putting in work? Or is it something like a ‘soul’ that inhabits our decomposing flesh prisons? Sit with this…

2 Dualism is the theory that our mind and body are two separate entities. Hence, the ‘dual’ in dualism.

3 Materialism is the theory that all that exists is what we can experience physically. The inference is that our feelings and thoughts are solely related to our brains and not to a separate entity.

4 Functionalism is the theory that we do things/experience things because they serve a purpose to us. I.e. we experience pain because the sensation warns us when we are doing something that could damage our bodies.

The identity of said person is being withheld for the safety and sanity of all parties involved but mostly myself.

The Archived Heartbreaks of Shasa Sartin, Vol. 2, No. IV, 2016.

Footnote: The Archived Heartbreaks of Shasa Sartin, Vol. 3, No. VI, 2017.

8 Ariana Grande, “in my head,” track 9 on thank u, next, Republic, 2019, streaming. If you get completely lost in the sauce in love, then this is the song for you!

Beyoncé, “Jealous,” track 7 on Beyoncé, Parkwood, 2013, streaming. Possessive, stalker types: this one is for you!

10 Frank Ocean, “Bad Religion,” track 14 on Channel Orange, Def Jam, 2012, streaming. If you’re in an unrequited love situation this one is for you!

11 I am by no means calling myself a reasonable person.

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