Follow by Email

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Waiting out the disaster

When will Max Get His Teeth?

I Think I will Try Yoga

Worry Knot (for Ben and Kent)
We have lost all confidence in the human body. Reading The Medusa and the Snail published in 1979 by Lewis Thomas, I grasp some of the underlying ignorance in the pervasive goal to outlive our bodies. Even though we have made huge strides in combating diseases, providing health care and increasing the average lifespan, we as a human species are beset with anxiety about age, stressed about lifestyle, and worried about toxins. There is a "new consensus that we are badly designed, intrinsically fallible, vulnerable to a host of hostile influences, and precariously alive."(p47)  The media feeds us a menu of possible diseases and injuries, from dramatic medical television shows to advertisements for life enhancing cereals to the hourly news recaps of grisly violence committed in our backyards as well as in war zones far away.  And then there is the weather. We wait for something disastrous to happen. Thomas sums it up early in his book, "we are a nation of hypochondriacs", (p49).
The book goes on to open up a stage of fabulous marvels that exist right now in nature all around us and Thomas celebrates the trajectory of science, both it's history and future potential. Most poignant to me, he expounds on the importance of a well rounded study of mythology, anthropology, and ancient literature to add richness and relevance to our existence. As a mother, I often get caught holding my heart from running off, fearing the delicate balance of my son's living their lives with risk and the wish to harbor them from pain and mortality. I do find peace in old stories, the power of Love, and painting.
Post a Comment