stuff gets examined.

biology is inconvenient

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The developed world, North America in particular, doesn’t like to be reminded of our biological functions. We try to turn them into scientific or industrial processes, governed by sets of rules that we invented and change as we require, and like to tell ourselves over-rule the enigmatic and tricky rules of the nature, and whatever other unknowable things are at play.

We don’t want to see breastfeeding in public because we (as a culture) spent a lot of time trying to replace it with a profitable, product-based solution and we haven’t been instructed on how to react to it now that it seems to be resisting these efforts to extinguish it (I live in a environment of “extremist privilege,” where all the young boys routinely see moms breastfeeding and socializing in parks, coffee shops and other gatherings, which makes me hope this will help de-tabooize the presence of a naked breast. But, again it’s happening in an enclave, so the numbers of, um, “exposed” boys may well be swallowed up by masses who’ve never seen a booby put to its intended use). “Civilized” humans want to hear burps, farts, or about bowel movements. “Primitive” humans, and children, find these subjects hilarious. We’ve been separated from our sexuality by religious and cultural efforts to control it at arms length, so any sexual act outside the accepted norms is deviant. And between the subject of breastfeeding an sexuality we have childbirth, which was forced into the hospital (where it was turned into an illness) in the 40’s and 50’s, and is struggling to come out again.

Likewise, the creation of food raw materials is an unpleasant, boring, and unsightly task. Human civilization has spend a large part of its energy getting the majority of humans out of this line of work, so we can do more useful stuff like attack other humans for their food and resources and buy iPods. So, we’ve accidentally on purpose relegated the yucky job of food creation to the horrifying process of industrialization, which turns animals into over-medicated and puss-filled slabs of meat, plants into genes that are greedily patented by overbearing corporations, and the land where these things take place into toxic wastelands or artificial paradises through resource squandering. and the humans that work in this area, both in executive and hands-on roles, into soulless and cynical machines.

Humans see the universe as a vast whirling question mark and want to control it, but can’t, and won’t ever. We used to invent religions and gods who we claimed did control it, gaining control by association. Now, we try to turn the products of unknowable systems into technical processes that we can look all smug and pretend. It’s like a science experiment in one of the boy’s books that tells the child to get a chicken’s foot from the butcher’s – pulling on the tendons will make the toes move, demonstrating how bodies work. That’s us – we can’t bring the chicken back to life, nor can we make anything as nearly as complicated as a chicken. But we can make its poor dead toes jerk. We have to let go of the need to control and know everything, and just try to understand, connect, and appreciate.


Written by balloonhed

September 24, 2010 at 10:16 am

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