Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Body

The mind, one day, was thinking of great things - high, noble things – just as it is like to do.
“May we think of something else, please?” said the feet.
“I’m busy, with these things right now; they’re very high, very noble. I should really hate to interrupt them,” said the mind.
“I’m just so very bored, you see.”
“Well, if you like, we can go for a walk.”
“Urgh, I hate walking, it’s boring. I should like to think about something for once.”
“You would? That’s preposterous. Of course you know that’s proposterous.”
“I don’t see why it is preposterous,” the feet said, “You always decide what we do; you do all the thinking and I can’t do anything about it because you’re all the way up there at the top.”
“Would you prefer if I had us stand on our head?”
“Glib; that’s typical of you; sarcastic. It’s not the altitude I should like to have a go at. I should just like to have a crack at the thinking. I’d like to be in control, just for a little while, to see if I enjoy it.”
“That would be highly unorthodox. In all my years of reading I have never come across any precedent for such a thing,” said the mind.
“Well how am I to know that? I just have to take your word for it. I’m not the one so friendly with the eyes. No one ever tells me what you read in all those books.”
“I don’t want to get involved,” said the left eye.
“Me neither, if you please,” said the right.
“See,” said the feet, “They won’t even speak to me. You three up there, always having your little intellectual soirees and no one else is ever invited.”
“I think you should just be content with what you have,” said the hands.
“It’s all very well for you to say that, you get to do just whatever you want. The things the mind let’s you get away with...If I had half the freedom you have, I’m sure I would feel quite content,” the feet said.
“I don’t care to discuss this anymore,” said the mind “I will not be accused of favouritism. This is an egalitarian system, and both the hands and the eyes have made themselves invaluable to me.”
“Oh! And we haven’t? I’m glad you admit that!” said the feet “I’m glad you’ve finally acknowledged what I’ve always known! You think you don’t need us. You’re glad to let us do all the donkey work, while you lead your decadent life up there, as if it’s a penthouse suite.” The mind didn’t seem to have anything to say for a while, but then it said, somewhat softly,
“I am very grateful for everything you do for me. Perhaps I don’t show that enough.”
“Fuck off!” shouted the feet, “Don’t you dare condescend to me! What gives you the fucking right to apologise to us? You think you’re so far above us.”
“Now you’re just being stupid.”
“I’d have thought someone so intellectual would see beyond the merely physical.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“What? Is that too cryptic for you? The mind flummoxed by the feet’s riddle?”
“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, you know?” said the mind “but then I suppose there’s no surprise that you would stoop to that. Not that feet could stoop much lower than they already are.”
“If you expect to evoke a response by saying what I’ve always known you thought then you must be more stupid even than you think us.” said the feet “If anything, it gladdens me. I much prefer your sincerity to your condescension.”
“I really don’t feel like being the object of your bitter resentment anymore. We all have our part to play, and we all make the most of it. No one else seems to have any complaints?”
“Well, actually,” said a small, melancholy voice, “I feel dreadfully neglected. Most of the time you pretend I’m not here at all, then all of a sudden you act like there’s no one else in the world; just me and you. Oh I am so happy then. But then it’s over, and I’m tucked away again while you carry on as if I meant nothing to you, as if those happy times we shared never even happened.” It was the genitals. “I feel pathetic. And the worst part is that every time you pay me the slightest scrap of attention I think that things will be different this time, that you really do care about me. It’s pitiful I know, but every time I’m disappointed. I never complain, just wait; wait until you want me. I feel worthless, utterly worthless...” the genitals broke off and wept.
After a while, the mind could not stand the sound of its sobbing anymore.
“And you all believe that, I suppose? Is it any wonder I’m in charge when you’re all so gullible and hungry for sensationalism that you would believe the smears such a base and lewd fellow as the genitals would make against me?”
“You really do think you’re better than us don’t you?” said the hands solemnly.
“Et tu, Brute?” said the mind.
“None of us are impressed by your allusions,” said the eyes, “and quite frankly, I don’t like what you are implying. This is not a conspiracy, no one wants to overthrow anyone. This is supposed to be a system of equality, there shouldn’t be anyone to overthrow.”
“Equality!” guffawed the mind, “You, equal to me? You behave like wild animals, all of you, and you claim equality with me! You’re helpless, all of you and I spend my whole life taking care of you; baby-sitting you, and you dare to speak out against me? When I think what I could achieve without you holding me back.” There was silence throughout the body.
When it was broken, the entire body spoke in unison.
“We’ve all made sacrifices for you, for each other. None of us deny that you make sacrifices too, but don’t forget that you need us just as much as we need you. We don’t ask for much, our pleasures are few and simple. But you, you are never satisfied. You must always find fresh ways to torment yourself. You don’t even seem able to stand any of us being happy. Is it jealousy or spite that drives you to strive always against us? We who think of nothing but how to please you?
We love you, and you meet our love with scorn. We, all of us, just want you to be happy, to live in harmony with you. Please tell us how we offend you.”
“How you offend me? You offend me constantly with your vulgarity, your materialism, your lack of foresight. All I want is to make sense of this world, but whenever I try to think I am forced to indulge your base desires. I want to understand the world, but all you want to do is eat it, drink it, and fuck it. If I didn’t have to waste my time making sure you all get what you want, I would reach such staggering heights.”
“But we all want the same things as you,” said the body, “We want what we want because it is what you want. Don’t you see that?”
“No I don’t see that! You exist only to hold me back. I wish you would die and free me of your primitivism.” And then the mind began to feel very stupid. It felt stupid because it realised that a body could get by quite happily, getting everything it wanted, without a mind to help it along. But a mind, a mind needed a body to tell it about the world. Even if the mind could somehow exist without the electrical and chemical support of the body, how could it ever perceive the world it sought to understand without the help of the vulgar senses it so resented? The mind loved to ponder, to muse, to question; to think. But without the body, nothing would arrive in its realm for it to be thought about. The mind saw all this.
“Please,” said the body soothingly, “Help us understand you. All we want is to live happily together with you. Tell us what you’re thinking.”
“Never,” said the mind.

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