Body of Thought

Keep it together, yo.

Keep it together, yo.

I had an interesting train of thought this afternoon. I’d just finished cleaning the apartment and was indulging in a bit of well-earned navel gazing and it got me to thinking about the strange relationship that humans have with their bodies. Our bodies, I suppose: I have to include myself in that statement, being human myself and all.

Sometimes it seems like we are two warring creatures in one: the Thought-Human and the Body-Human. Sometimes these two creatures co-habitate well and sometimes they don’t. The Thought-Human is made up of ideas, beliefs, interests, inspirations, perceptions, etc. The Thought-Human is the part of us that wonders why we’re here and what the meaning of life is. The Body-Human is made up of blood and bone and muscle. The Body-Human is the part of us that gets around and eats stuff and builds things and so on.

This isn’t a new idea.

What really got me thinking, though, was the different priorities that we place on each creature at different times. A lot of us humans believe that it’s the Thought-Human part of us that lives forever. If you’re spiritually minded this is probably your “soul”. If you’re idea oriented this is your “memes”. If you’re out to put your name in the history books this is probably your “legacy”. It doesn’t matter what you call it: it’s the part of you that makes you you and it holds a special place in your life because it lasts for damn near forever.

So there is a lot of emphasis placed on thinking and spirituality and character and ideas because this is where immortality lies. Compared to this, what is the Body-Human except limitations? Always wanting to eat and sleep and be a comfortable medium temperature. The Body-Human seems like such a drag: always getting hurt and aching and relentlessly responding to the call of nature. The Body-Human gets old. The Body-Human dies. Rude flesh. Ashes and Dust.

But it’s the Body-Human that we feed first. We work jobs that bore us to tears or that we hate just to make enough money to keep the Body-Human fed while the Thought-Human quietly goes into a coma. A few bold idealists might challenge this: putting ideas first at the expense of making a living. They aren’t called “Starving Artists” for nothing, but eventually the Body always wins: we feed it or we die and it doesn’t matter how immortal your thoughts are if your thinker is dead.

It just seems funny to me that we willing to give up our dreams to work a job that will feed our physical body and then let our physical body languish in front of a television or a computer. It’s funny to me that we treat body-diseases as “real” and mental-diseases as a question of character. It’s funny to me that athletes get paid so much and teachers get paid so little. It’s funny to me that women have to struggle between motherhood (birth: the Body-Human at it’s finest) or a career. It’s funny to me that there is so much emphasis on education and so little emphasis on physical wellness.

And so on.

I wish this were a complete idea, but mostly it was just an interesting moment of reflection.



~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 6, 2015.

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