Are Our Bodies Just Meat?

A PDF of the introduction to my in-progress book manuscript is now available online, along with links to other bits:  http://www.pitypoorflesh.com.

Here’s a taste:

Are our bodies just meat?  There is a production assembly-line that bodies go through, as culture wreaks havoc on flesh, molding, sloughing, restraining, covering over and recovering, shredding slowly, tearing it bit by bit.  The very shape of our bodies is a cultural construct.  Limbs are only limbs because we have them and are told we have them.  They work because we’ve seen them work–on persons certainly, but even more memorably in diagrams.  Our sex is invented, sometimes on the fly, but more often through a careful process of social indoctrination.  So much of what happens with and to our bodies is mediated through language.  Our eyes “see” only because we have a word for that.  When our brain thinks, we imagine that something is happening on the inside of our skulls, a bubbling in the soup.  But, again, probably only because we’ve been told that that’s where the bubbling happens.  Perhaps I could trust my appendix better than I can my brain.  And yet, I’m told I don’t have one any more.  I say “I’m told” because I had an operation that removed it, but I didn’t watch it happen.  They didn’t let me take the appendix home in a jar when I left the hospital, so how am I to know, really, that it’s gone or was ever there to be gone in the first place?  It isn’t just the outsides of our bodies that are scripted but the insides as well, a boundary policed by the almighty skin, which comes pre-sealed, factory packaged.  And yet skin is not really a barrier.  Skin is permeable.

Check out the “CONTENTS” page at http://www.pitypoorflesh.com for more.

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