Monday, June 5, 2017

In Praise of the Meatsack

PatientC, holding a candle lit for mourning.

I am not supposed to love this meatsack. It has been fat. It is now merely slightly overweight. It has born children, it has run races, it has made music, it has been set on fire for the voyeuristic pleasure of the crowd. It has run miles, biked, skated, and driven even though now it is disabled. It has survived use, misuse, the neglect and punishment of loved ones. It has reveled in the love and affection and romantic attention of other loved ones that actually loved me back. Some days it fails the simple task of truly getting out of bed, except to change the clothes on it, make the bed and them snuggle back into nap blankets for the day.

Yep, I refer to human bodies as meatsacks (or meat bags, much love to HK47 & SWTORII).  Few things eat us, but that does not make us any less meat on the hoof. Meat at the top of the food chain is still meat even if it is rarely tasted. It is okay, though, this is not a bad thing. It serves as a reminder that there is little physical difference between our fleshy engines and that hamburger package that expired today but is probably still okay to eat... I believe it is a fairly adequate description. 

Frequently I find that folks, especially disabled folks like me, can end up looking down on these meatsacks, but I happen to be fond of mine. We are not supposed to love our meatsacks. We are not supposed to think about the fact that tomorrow is not guaranteed. Hell, that next breath is not assured, but we like to think that it is. But we are supposed to feel that our meat is bad: too big, too small, too little, too tall, too voluptuous, too slight, too pale, too dark... we are never just right as taught by the world, our schools, our families, our faith, our neighbors. 

Although meatsacks are unreliable they are the way we interact with the universe. Consciousness is not separate from flesh but laced through it, inseparable from it. Meat is our interface with each other, our easiest and most complicated tool, our first tool and our last tool. Yet we disparage, disregard, and degrade it at every turn. 

I do not believe that we are trapped in this meat, but installed in it, built by it, nourished with millions of sensations every day from it. But USisans, Westerners, we are taught to hate it. We use our meat to share our love, our fear, our joy and our pain - we have no idea what we truly are without out meat but I know this: it would not be the same, it would be less.

Common Christian thought teaches that we should hate our bodies. Our reproduction & our mortality are products of Original Sin - only possible by the act of misbehaving in this meat. So we hate and mortify the body to become closer to the Passion experienced by Christ in order to know and love Him in order to enter Paradise and know God. 

Buddhism treats the mind, body, and soul as one item, inseparable. (As I understand it, from my baby beginner Buddhist tuffit.) This item is inseparable from the world it inhabits. This makes much more sense to me. 

All that to tell you, dear Reader, that no matter what the world tells me, I love this meat bag and all it's faults. I try to see it for what it really is, moment to moment, but I cannot imagine trading it or the adventures it has given me for any other meatsack, ever.