I am Not Just a Body, and My Body is Not Just Me.

by perpetualflaneur

In my last blog post, I wrote about how my appendectomy reminded me that I am not just in possession of a body, that in fact, I am a body. As the days went  by rather slowly, because for someone who is unemployed time seems to cast a spell that causes one to oscillate between sanity and insanity, thus, the slowness which I sometimes appreciate, I was tangled in a web of thoughts about my body. Casually lounging  on my couch and sipping a cup of coffee, post-household chores of course, it got me thinking once more about this body that I not only possess but one that I also inhabit. It occurred to me that indeed, I am not just a body, and my body is not just me.


Now, here is a brief disclaimer for those who are critical of the last sentence that I have just written. By saying this, I am not depoliticizing the body nor am I removing the individuality of each body or person. I am simply putting forth a thought, a possibility–a different way of thinking about the body and its connections with time, history, culture, and space. Furthermore, those who have read my previous post may think that I am contradictory, self-defeating perhaps, that here I am, saying one thing and then rambling on about the opposite. What you are seeing is a reflection of our thought processes,at least to my understanding, of the way we as humans think: we think of one possibility, and we also think of another and another until we have exhausted all the possibilities. Oh, and don’t we believe in a world of infinite possibilities?


Think for a moment about every detail in your body–from head to toe, inside and out. Each part is a result of the genetic codes from our parents that were, in the beginning, transmitted from our ancestors, since well, the beginning of their copulation. That we all know.

But being a body is more than science and biology, if you ask me. We are all walking fragments of social and cultural history—bonded stories of our parents, our grandparents, and their ancestors. For instance, think of the life experiences that influenced our ancestors, whatever they may be, that made them the person that they were–the places that they went to, the people they have met, the events they have seen, the homes they have lived in, the very lives they touched, the arguments that they have had, the beliefs and customs they subscribed in, and so forth–those events that impacted them the most, those that possibly changed the course of their lives that directed them the way it did. As a result of their actions and reactions, they allowed another life to blossom. This applies to each parent and to theirs, up to the very origin of their/our lineage. These thoughts might border between the idea of chance or destiny for some and  the I-make-my-own-choices-and-lead-my-own-life sort of thing, and I’ll leave that one out for debate. Regardless, one cannot deny that there is this air of mystery that just draws one into deep thoughts, or not.

Perhaps, I am thinking of a sense of continuity—a continuity of life through generations, a story of becoming the persons that we are while looking back and giving credit to the people before us—those whose actions in a particular moment and social context enabled our existence.

So, when I say “I am not just a body,” I actually mean that there is also another existence in me that supersedes my physicality, the “I” in “me” the individual—soul, entity,consciousness—that controls the body, one whose action and reaction may add to the next generation’s social and cultural history; and when I say “my body is not just me,” I acknowledge my ancestors not just due to their genetic codes but also because of their experiences, actions, and their reactions to particular situations during their time that enabled me to have this body.