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Religion, Language, and the Human Mind$
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Paul Chilton and Monika Kopytowska

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190636647

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190636647.001.0001

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Waging War against Oneself

Waging War against Oneself

A Conceptual Blend at the Heart of Christian Ascetic Practice

Chapter:
(p.386) Chapter 15 Waging War against Oneself
Source:
Religion, Language, and the Human Mind
Author(s):

Mihailo Antović

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190636647.003.0015

This article analyses the metaphor of “battle against oneself” in the monastic textbook Unseen Warfare, which provides advice for the spiritual advancement of Orthodox Christians, saying the path of the good life consists in renunciation of worldly desires, thoughts, and actions, depicted as a battle that the monk must wage against himself. In terms of cognitive science, the change of focus of attention (from outside towards inside) may be taken as another indicator of the shift in how humans perceive morality—from external norms towards inner motivation. This can be interpreted as another unrecognized wave of double-scope blending in the early Christian period. Finally, the linguistic analysis and the hypothesis in cognitive science may be grounded in the claim of some Orthodox theologians that finding an ‘antagonist’ is an ontological human need, which is best resolved, and leads to salvation, if one gradually learns to find the object of the struggle not outside, but within oneself.

Keywords:   Orthodox Christianity, unseen warfare, metaphor, double-scope blending, identity connection, compression, fictive interaction, Force Dynamics

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