Food: A Fatal Flaw?

Food—Gifts welling from the mystery of the unseen into the physical realm— Elements oozing from an amalgam of light and darkness, fire and water, earth and sky. These are the cosmic ingredients we lift to our lips; to touch, to smell, to taste, to devour, to digest. Yet, at our human worst, the image of sampling exotic fruits is far from our minds. Our whole existence depends on our ability to get it. Wars, conflicts, sex, labor, agriculture, economy are all driven by our hunger to be satiated. We have acted on the need to take, to have, to colonize, to own, to destroy, to consume. We suck the blood from the earth, over-fish the ocean for consumers, cut down hundreds of thousands of forest acres just so we can create pasture land to grow beef so that we can eat hamburgers. In the process we are cutting down the trees that give us oxygen. Will we find that the sustenance that keeps us alive is also that which will kill us? What kind of cruel joke is this? Yet, rather than being angry, we have been known to give sacrificial gifts of food to the powers that pull the strings. Are we thus grateful for our own imperfections? Grateful for what I have always believed to be humans’ greatest fatal flaw? The need to eat…

Is food the crutch that keeps us from becoming Gods, or the substance that truly makes us human? Beyond being cold, calculating consumers we are also planters and growers. We share, we give, we sacrifice to each other. We are transformed by the unfolding, by the unfurling. We bathe in the symbolism of the mystery. Our myths are filled with the empowerment that food has given us. In order to become gods we must be human first, in order to be human, we must be like gods. A great example would be the Hawaiian story of the God Ku who wanted to become human so that he could love a woman. But when the drought came and his wife and children were starving, he had to sacrifice his own human body. His body grew into an Ulu tree which fed his family, and his village. He was watered by the tears of his wife. In becoming a tree he had to transform out of the body of a human and achieve god-like qualities–the supernatural . Have we thus found meaning in the depravation of food–A depravation that made us god-like? Must we die in order to feed those around us—physically and spiritually? Must we die to be alive? Or live to die?

Recently, my doctor said of my diabetes, “You will be on dialysis in a few years if you don’t do something about it now”. And I cried. I didn’t know why. There was a loss. A letting go. She asked me if I trusted her. And it must have been the tone of her voice, the weight of the space between her words and my thoughts. For some reason I said “Yes”. And in that one word, I let go.

The symbolism of Free Will is not lost on me. My stomach now covered with bruises from the intrusion of injections is unnatural to me. My emotions sway with the unbalance of glucose surging, swinging like a pendulum. I wonder what the psychology of it all is—eating and time, timed eating. I take note of everything that I put in my mouth, responsible for being aware of my own consumption. I sometimes think that if I could just shed this stupid body, if I didn’t have to constantly think about the food that I was swallowing…I would be free. And yet, isn’t this really what is wrong with our society? We want the freedom to consume without a second thought of the consequences. The Landslide of disappearing forests are, after all, in another place. We are disconnected. Land and body. Mind and sky. Bits of thoughts, bits of food, bits of sunlight for our souls. Consumption…Communion. Fatal flaw…transformation. You choose.


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© Karen K.L.Espaniola and 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen K.L. Espaniola and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.