The Heterodox

The Heterodox

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The Body Politic

November 29, 2011 , , , ,


The material world (the only verifiable world) and our existence within it is a never ending source of strife, anxiety, discomfort, and inconvenience. As if to make up for this, maybe only so slightly, our species has evolved psychosomatic pleasures of all kinds which often makes up for being a still evolving mammal. Yet if one fastidiously analyzes all cultural dialogues amongst all societies, it will quickly become obvious that most humans–unconsciously or not–elide the unequivocal fact that we are material creatures. If so inclined, one can readily find examples of this denial within people’s everyday speech patterns. Pay close attention to how people talk about corporeality, and you will unfailingly and consistently hear statements similar to I take care of my body by eating healthy foods or There was an accident and he sustained an injury to his body, or even more common, Doesn’t he have such a sexy body along with its opposite, His dead body was found in a ditch (you can think of many more I am sure). What pseudo-empiricism is being homologated here, if any?

It should appear that most individuals are conditioned to believe and view their real self or essential self as existing some how separately from their somatic self. And within the gaze of this critical light, if we were to correct the solecisms, the previous statements would instead read I take care of myself by eating healthy foods and There was an accident and he sustained injuries, he was found dead in a ditch: see, no third person references made to one’s corporeality to cause confusion or even worse obfuscation, intentional or otherwise.

The previous errors are not only philosophical but it all other ways dependent upon an assumed non sequitur and preterition of grandiose proportions. And if that wasn’t bad enough, holding this notion (unexamined or not) in the twenty-first century entails a untenable negation of scientific veracity. So what could possibly be the explanation for such an ersatz existentialism?

This phenomenon is a paltry attempt at denying what is self-evident about being a still evolving primate species, in point of fact, an animal. Humans have long known that when an individual sustains head trauma where the brain becomes injured, that that individual will act differently if not be radically changed in all behaviors, maybe even killed. It has also long been known that whenever one’s heart, liver, kidneys, or any other thoracic organ shuts down, you shut down…for good. Nonetheless, this accepted reality has never stopped philosophy and religion from asserting a metaphysical superstructure to human existence and mind which the merely corporeal is deemed not to affect–in the case of religious belief, can not affect. I feel that this denial is readily explained by what can be termed the Business of Being, please allow me to explain what I mean by using this terminology.

Let’s face it, no matter how much we tout our consciousness as possessing numinous qualities and feel that this is what makes us truly human, we can not ever hope to escape the daily reality and inconvenience of being biologically material. The assiduous need to eat, drink, defecate, urinate, (and for us men, to ejaculate) ultimately offers up nothing but the obstreperous and the tedious–in spite of some somatic delectation–to a sentient species such as ours. And of course there is no recourse or subvention to this state of affairs other than to submit to Mother Nature’s call (that ruinous bitch!).


This lack of ultimate sovereign control over ourselves (along with the illusory nature of Free Will) might also offer an explanation as to why humans like to imagine that their true selves are not of the material plane, even though all empirical evidence contradicts such a inane notion. The fact that this sentiment is a form of wish thinking is what likens it to the religious mentality. Now before going any further, let’s just get this notion perfectly clear, nicely squeezed dry of all ambiguities. We are not creatures or beings which have bodies, we are entities which are bodies. To deny this fact is to clearly demonstrate the malign and false consolation of illusion and faith.

Religion has classically offered people the false idea that all of their suffering as material creatures is not rooted in their fundamental existence of being human but instead is an inconvenient if not temporary state of being which can be transcended with the right form of propitiation. After they die (so they believe…wish), they will regain consciousness without the material moorings and ensuing exigencies of the flesh and instead will achieve a palingenesis as a revenant entity—whatever that turns out to be. Notice though, that the religious can never seem to explain or give you any explanation for their certainty beyond employing the most crude and facile metaphors and allusion.

What ever ultimately happens to our consciousness after somatic death is definitely a mystery, and we can safely assume that it will remain so (yet with a good martini, I can engage with anyone on the possibilities of this inquiry all night long). But to deny that annihilation and extirpation are also possible and realistic final outcomes following death just because it is a more comforting thought, is puerile and contemptible (if not down right dangerous and threatening) behavior for adults to indulge in, even if it is behavior which is only allzu menschlich.

As with all other attempts at understanding and explaining human existence, one must always look to the language to see what one is supposed to be enjoined to believe in by society, all the better to arm oneself for a counter-attack of individualism. And no matter how much humans try to make false consolation and illusion irenic, it is a futile exercise as these things are intrinsically nocent to human life which is only to be expected of anything which is fundamentally illusory. And if we as a species ever manage to fully except our material natures and cease to look for our reality in some beyond, the more likely we will be able to experience a true sodality along with appreciating our selves and one another’s transient existence a little more earnestly. It is hoped that this is the small sliver of consolation which one can self-assuredly hold onto within the tenuous grasp of flesh formed,  all too human hands.

What do you think?

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