Aristotele's notion of body and soul, and the opinion of this essay's writer. What is Aristotele's notion of body and soul? According to Aristotle, everything in the world is divided between superior and inferior. Man is superior to the animals, the male to the female, and the soul to the body. 'The soul is more noble than our possessions or our bodies'; . Therefore, man should act through his soul, and not through his body. The soul services the greater good.
If a man does not act from his soul, and thus lets his body rule the sole, he is not worthy of politics, and is a 'natural slave'. A natural slave is born to slavery. For him slavery is 'both expedient and right'; , because they let the bodily pleasures, wants and lusts overrule rationality. The people who do let the soul rule over the body are in the 'perfect state'. Because they succeed in seeing the grand scheme of things, that reason is more important than appetites, they are fit to be the rulers of the slaves. My opinion on Aristotle's notion The superiority of the soul over the body is not as absolute as Aristotle puts it.
Most certainly there are many times when the soul is more important than the body. For example, a man sees a very beautiful, married, woman. His body would tell him to try and have sexual intercourse with this woman. In this case it is good that his soul would tell him that committing this action would be wrong, because, after all, this woman is married.
Also, in general, people who listen to their head, heart and soul, and sometimes do certain things they do not like for the greater good, turn out to be much more successful than people who only do what they want to and feel like. On the other hand, rationality is not always the right path. Sometimes it is good to be kind to the body. Part of the joy in life is to do enjoyable things which are totally irrational. Some other times, it might be inevitable. If one, for example wants to live, than this is the most important thing.
It is therefore not important in a life-or-death situation what the most rational action is. Only what, the best action is. It is also good to cater to the needs of one's body. Of course, certain appetites must be pleased: Everybody needs to eat and drink. And if the body is in good shape, one can achieve more. Everyone needs energy.
The bodily needs can be catered to by eating good food, sporting, resting and other such activities. If the body does not function, what good is a superior soul? If the soul does not function, what purpose do the actions of the body have? The body and the soul need each other. It is not a question which is more important, as this is irrelevant. Everybody needs a well-developed soul and a well-developed body to live fully, and know when to let the soul speak, and when to let the body speak.