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How it feels to be alive

It intrigues me to discover how people experience life. Not only in the sense of being within another culture or living through society in different times or ways, but also the idea of how we relate to being in our body and how that plays itself out.

Because it seems some people feel quite at home, that their body is clearly a part of them and dressing it up to express how they’d like to be seen is second nature. Facts like having to move through space, actions having consequences, and needing to achieve some state of regularity in order to create stability for your existence don’t seem cause for concern.

In other cases, people might feel their form to be this slightly detached, almost alien thing that bears little relation to how they experience life. As if it has nothing really to do with them and adorning it for the impression it has on others seems a fairly mysterious process – this masquerade ball of cultural reference points you tie round your neck or place on your feet.

Those being but two extremes of how we might experience life in the human body, I’d imagine there’s other ways individuals may feel about the practicalities of physical existence. And surely it has significant implications?

If you feel your body to be a remote appendage you likely live quite an inward life, struggling to inch down into that space and relate yourself to the world. You’d maybe find it hard to manage life, given that maintaining physical existence requires consistency (whether we’re talking plants, diet and exercise, work or finances). You might find less common ground with those operating more effortlessly in the everyday realities of life.

Whereas, at the other extreme, it’s presumably much easier to find your way in the world: reading its signs, playing its games, and generally fitting in without too much trouble. You might quite happily choose a look, create a lifestyle, build some stability. Bringing ideas to life is probably more straightforward, one thing leading to another.

This isn’t a normal topic, I’m aware, but it fascinates me how this fundamental sense of being might shape our lives. Presumably how you feel on this level – how comfortable, in control, at ease, confident, safe – would filter into your general outlook on life, into all your actions and relationships with the world. I suppose it’s this sense of consciousness existing in matter, relating to it and living through it.

It’s clearly something that interests me, the interplay of thought and reality (see Notes One). But I’d not really thought, before trying to write this, about how far it might affect someone’s life: this sense of comfort, agency, belonging. I mean, if that way of being makes perfect sense to you then you’d probably find your feet in life much faster.

Of course it’s weird to see yourself as an appendage, but maybe in seeking to understand the diversity of life we need to break away from the norm?

Notes and References:

Note 1: What is real?
Note 1: Thoughts on art & on life
Note 1: Mirrors we offer one another
Note 1: What if it all means something?
Note 1: The philosopher stance

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