The Flesh Consumes You

I have long tried to make sense of the ecstasy involved with flesh.  I realize that for some people, the touch of a lover's fingers traveling along their spine is enough to make them shiver.  For others it takes a bit ... more.

Human flesh is so ingrained into our culture that it is hard to escape it even if you wanted to.  Drink the blood of Jesus and eat his flesh.  Watch the ads for perfume that are nothing but flesh having its signature scent masked.  Gaze at the flesh adorned with tattoos.  Marvel at the smooth butt of a baby.  Rub your lotions into it to make it softer and more supple, to hide its age.  Festoon it with silver and gold, meant to attract the eye or serve as a rite of passage.  Describe it in terms equated with food: vanilla, peach, chocolate, salty.

For some, that is as far as it goes.  Others almost turn it into a religion itself.

Cannibalism, the eating of people, which can sometimes include the flesh, is a fascinating subject for me, but it has more to do with the act and the psychology behind it than anything else.  Yet, I will admit that there is a fascination behind the idea of what would happen if you were to just gnaw into someone and feel the flesh break between your teeth.  You have now opened the person up to infection.  You have destroyed their safeguards.  You have violated the flesh.

Necrophiliacs, those who love the dead, wallow in the rot of the flesh, though some stop before it gets that far.  They marvel at the colors it takes on as it works its way through stages of decomposition.  They take that love and fascination that others only have in passing and carry it through to its bitter, liquid end.  The flesh worshipped becomes the flesh vanishing, and that in and of itself is an act of love.

When we go to the beach or the river, we gaze in awe of the flesh on display.  Some would say a woman is even sexier wearing some clothes and exposing only a little flesh than she would be if totally nude.  The flesh offers promises of what is and could be, it is fantasy made whole.  It is an organ of eroticism that breathes, sweats and absorbs.  It has a scent, a taste, a visual component that triggers memories and desires.  It is a reminder of what separates us from the furred beasts.

There are those of us who spend our time baking it in the sun, and others who keep it as white as a ghost.  The newborn needs to feel and smell its mother's flesh as part of its development.  There are few things finer than feeling flesh upon flesh in any given situation.

Human flesh, which throughout history has been burned, cut, pulled from the muscles, bound into books and so on, is a complex part of our culture.  Some cultures hide it.  Others display it.  Not a single one ignores it, however, despite the lack of thought that goes into the subject. 

People who love the dead or consume their fellow man, have long understood the power of the flesh.  They are allied with its iconic status in ways that many have never even thought about.  They understand it is what makes us whole.

In the end, it makes me wonder who is more human.  The ones who understand and acknowledge the power of the flesh, or those who willfully or ignorantly ignore it?  I don't have an answer to that, but I'll usually go with those who have at least thought about it to some extent.  It seems to me, however, like with most things, the most ardent worshippers are those who have put the least thought into it.

And those are the ones who scare me the most.

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