Sunday, February 24, 2008
De te fabula narratur!
A miniature model of the Near-Earth Asteroid Eros at the Griffith Observatory.
I should be outside running. When I eat anything fatty or oily these days, I feel a pain in my chest, like some sort of psychosomatic instant angina. Depending on lifestyle, thirty-something can be prime heart-disease time for South Asian men.
Many people around me have been getting terribly sick over the past year or so. Some have died. Much too early, much too quickly -- before most of us were able to come to grips with what was happening. It's made me feel like life is sometimes just too fucking hard, too fucking tenuous. There are so many things that can go wrong. It's amazing that we continue to operate and function from hour to hour, from day to day, bombarded with teratogenic radiation from the sun, blanketed in thick clouds of diesel particulate matter, imbibing leaching plastics, jet fuel runoff in our water, antibiotics in our meat.
We're all built to fail, I guess. This is why Buddhist monks would medidate on decaying bodies. In some cases, Tibetan Buddhists chop up the bodies of the dead, lay the pieces out in an open place, and watch vultures swoop down to snatch up the meat. (The practice is known as the "sky burial".)
But then, on the other hand, what could be more amazing than grain, meat, and water being converted into the machinery of a living thing? In our reproduction, we seem like perpetual motion machines: living things beget other living things, needing only the input of outside energy and materials. Machines designed to turn proteins and sugars and liquids into energy, thought, imagination. (I've been reading too much Marx lately.)
The sky burial.