Friday, December 13, 2002

Am 'I' My Ass?

I have suddenly come to terms with the fact that my butt is bigger than it has ever been. I’ve never felt bad about my butt and its size. I remember I once was too nervous to eat for awhile and the first place I lost weight was my backside. This really bothered me as I have always been glad for the size of my butt and never intended to have it reduce in the least bit. Of course, many other aesthetic principles must also be in play for the bigness of one’s butt to really ‘work.’ I’ve always been quite confident that these aesthetic elements combined well in my case (although lately I may be pushing it a little).

Actually, I didn’t really plan or desire to write about this. Why was I going on and on about my ass? Oh, yes. There are many things one can do to improve oneself—every part of oneself. We are bombarded with exhortations to do so. I’ve recently been wondering what I can do to be good and vaguely remembered vanity is one of those things that makes you bad. I remembered the phrase ‘vanity, thy name is woman.’ Not vanity in the sense of futility as in ‘vanity, vanity, all is vanity’ but in the sense of excessive self-love.

Except there is no quote like this. What Hamlet really said.

Definition? I'm too lazy to come up with one right now. Going theory after two hours of sleep--if one has inappropriate concern for oneself this slides into egoism--concern only for oneself. Pride in one's appearance seems innocuous and not like the sin of pride (which I think has to do with regarding others as less than oneself...or even as altogether worthless.) What's wrong with it exactly? I assume: Putting one's priorities in the wrong place.

Try doing a google search on it. Hardly cares about it anymore. It's passe, I'm afraid.

The modern version of disapproval for vanity probably has to do with some kind of political correctness thing where you are supposed to spend your time helping the homeless and giving money to starving peasants and the like. I agree with that, I guess, but the overall outlook annoys me as it is only fuel for somebody's self-righteous smugness. But like I said I'm tired and just babbling.

You would think someone who has to struggle to pay attention to anything outside of her own pathetic mental life would not have a problem being overly concerned with her looks. Sometimes I’m not that bad about it. El chico once said that it was ‘cute’ that I sleep in my clothes sometimes. Before he pointed this out, I didn’t even notice that I sleep in my clothes. I thought I was just going around all day in my pajamas.

However, self-adornment and the desire for beauty just suck me in and I am helpless against the pleasure these foolish things bring me. If el chico and I won a million dollars in the lottery tomorrow I could spend at least half of it on beauty treatments. And the other half on eye shadow. Is this vanity? Is this another thing that makes me bad?

Well, to figure out whether it is wrong I was thinking—what should I really care about? What am I anyway? Do I have a soul? I’d like to think so but it so hard to tell. Is there some deep spiritual thing I should be doing instead of waxing, plucking and exfoliating? (Actually, the amusing thing for me is that I suffer from gym addiction and yet everyone seems to think this is some kind of great moral virute. That I really don't get.)

When trying to figure out what ‘I’ am it seems I can only be sure of one thing: I have a body. My body seems to be the most consistent feature of my life…I can’t remember most things and I pay almost no attention to the future so it is really hard to say that anything in my mind carries over from moment to moment. However, my body seems to stick around, staying relatively the same through time…unlike my mind which is a slippery thing I can’t count on. I have always had my ass and as long as I live, it will be there. Materialists, atheists, and hardcore empiricists take great pains to convince me of this: When my ass no longer exists, my consciousness will also have vanished a short time before.

So perhaps ‘I’ really am my ass. And those materialist/atheists, etc. have made me confident enough in the universality of logically valid conclusions drawn from experience based on natural facts to say: So are you.



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