unreasonable creatures


We are born babies.
As babies we are treated like all babies, animal or human.
We eat. We sleep. We breathe. We cry.
We crave love and touch.
We are bodies driven by bodily needs.
***
Yet, as we grow older, we are told a lie.
Guided by the Western philosophical heritage of Descartes
We are told that we are reasonable creatures.
That at we can control our needs.
That we can control our urges and physical sensations.
That we don’t need to eat in a way that nourishes us
That we don’t need to sleep, often or regularly.
That we don’t need to breathe, deeply.
That we don’t need to cry.
That we don’t need to love, to touch.
That we are above “primitive” peoples
Whose lives are driven by those urges.
And that we are certainly above animals.
***
Yet, despite our best efforts, we find ourselves failing
To control those needs, those urges.
And we find ourselves disappointed in our repeated failures.
Some of us are so disappointed that we start to berate ourselves.
We do not stop berating ourselves because it’s common
Even normal.
***
We, like others around us, lower our expectations for ourselves.
We settle, for our education, our jobs, our partners, our lives.
We worry about the state of the world.
And sometimes we don’t feel like getting out of bed.
But that’s normal.
And sometimes we take pills so that we finally do.
But that’s normal too.
We regret the past and fear the future.
We fear growing older and dying
Before we’ve truly lived.
***
When we grow old, we become babies again.
But we are not treated like all old humans.
We are treated with sadness and embarrassment.
And we ourselves become sad and embarrassed.
We become even more disappointed in ourselves
Because our minds and bodies are failing us.
We have lost all control of our urges, our sensations.
And so we are failures too.
***
We have three choices.
We can keep resisting our bodies.
Or we can respect them.
We can keep berating ourselves until we can’t get out of bed.
Or we can stop.
We can die before we’ve truly lived.
Or we can truly live before we die.

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