Expelled from Eden: How human beings turned planet Earth into a hostile place

J Hist Behav Sci. 2021 Oct;57(4):358-375. doi: 10.1002/jhbs.22120. Epub 2021 Jul 26.


The focus of this article is the mind-body problem in mainstream modern psychology examined from a decolonial perspective. The construction of the idea of the separation of mind and body is a seminal point of division of labor in the history of modern capitalism. This division perpetuated by the mind-body dualism idea was necessary to justify the enslavement of some and employment to others. Colonization processes have had profound importance on the mind, feelings, behaviors, and political settings. Throughout its history, the subject treated in EuroAmerican psychology has sought to deal with the mind-body problem as an individual, a separate entity, not as part of the psyche as a whole. A new perspective where the mind and body play an intertwined role is necessary considering subjectivity in a cultural-historical approach. The subjective level is defined by the unification between symbolical and emotional cultural processes. The body (emotions) operates in conjunction with the culture and, when amalgamated, constitutes what we entitle as subjectivity. An ontology defines the assumptions that lie under a cosmovision and sustains a way of seeing, feeling, thinking, and acting with oneself, others, and the whole living world. It is what defines the real. The trajectory of this paper is an invitation to shed light from a decolonial perspective on social inequality concerning the present crises of humanity. The consequences of social inequality expressed today indicate the difficulties created by the dichotomy of mind and body.

Keywords: decolonial theory; mind-body; psychology; social inequality; subjectivity.

MeSH terms

  • Earth, Planet
  • Emotions*
  • Hostility
  • Humanities*
  • Humans