Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Bag of Chemicals
There is this guy at work, this very funny, kind-hearted, obliging guy, who, sometimes – at least once a month – when asked how his weekend was, laughs and says, “I survived my wife’s PMS!” It’s a guys’ thing, a rough conversation to which I only eavesdrop occasionally, when their loud voices draw my attention. The first time I heard this I was outraged, pissed off, upset, barely able to keep my mouth shut.
Then, I thought more about it.
What are we, in fact? I know the tendency is to give all kind of noble definitions, good to tickle our endless self-pride. But, inside us, neurons work with electrical signals through chemical and electrical synapses; chemical messengers called hormones regulate physiological activities including growth, mood, metabolism, and preparation for a new activity or for a new phase of life; glands secrete all kind of other chemicals… Nothing like some endorphin to give you a sense of well being. And serotonin regulates anger, aggression, body temperature, mood, sleep, vomiting, sexuality, and appetite! And how about those nice sex pheromones? Forget the notions of romantic love. My darling, your chemicals and mine seem to be attracted to each other. Often, a little sunshine can work miracles on your mood.
So, is that what we are, a bunch of chemical and electrical reactions? How outrageous a thought, some might say. We, the mighty human beings, (almost) slaves to this?! Unconsciously, women tend to dress better when they’re ovulating. Is that humiliating enough?
And that little something that’s called soul or ka or thymos, what is it? We’re proud of it, we put our hopes in it, and maybe, just maybe, it is what makes us different from the rest. Is it also the product of these reactions or is it a true link to transcendence? I couldn’t tell. There are days when I feel my “spirit” soaring to the skies and others when I’m just a bag of chemicals…