Hunger

The soul doesn’t act against its person. And as the body has self-healing powers, so does the soul. A bodily scar not only is the sign of a former wound, it’s a sign of a healing having taken place in this area. The scares of the soul are likewise signs of wounds and healings. To heal doesn’t mean to return to an innocent state, but to regain the renewed ability to look at other people. The soul can’t act against the person. In fact, it may be the soul that is violated by the person whose soul it is.

Anorexia is a delicate topic. It’s called an eating disorder, grounded in a false self-image, being at the border to autism. Mostly women are affected, and in them mostly from Caucasian type. But when the soul doesn’t act against the person the soul of which it is, then there might be positive aspects in this disorder, some sense in the agony.

Anorexia is most often found in young women, not older ones. And it is often said that these young women have conflicts with their role as women, that they tend to avoid being responsible adults. It is said that these anorectic women think they are to fat, that they are ugly, etc. But contrary to common appraisal they often live in partnerships, they often have a sex live, they often tend to cope. They are “just” unhealthy thin, at the brink of starvation. And even if, as the reports go, there is a larger amount of sexual assault experienced in early childhood, that doesn’t explain why these women develop anorexia while others with the same history do not.

Often anorectic women find themselves attractive. They just don’t look that way to others. But as the soul doesn’t act against the person the soul of which it is, there may be a reason why the soul tries to form this bodily shape. If we look at those young women in all their thinness and try do understand what the positive sense of this appearance might be, something like the following may come to mind.

These young women look like being very old people. So can it not be that anorectic women simply try to jump from youth to old age while skipping the period of adulthood? In the period of adulthood one finds (or is expected to find) one’s way into life, learn to take care for oneself, conceive children, raise them, learn in hard rounds how the world is so that in the old age one can impart those lessons of one’s life-experiences to others. Regardless whether this is true or not – and I’m sceptical about that –, as a more or less sound description of what awaits one in adult life it may suffice. This is what we expect adulthood being about and consisting of. And this is what anorectic women seemingly avoid. They are not seen as choosing a different path, they are seen as persons avoiding the sensible, the healthy path.

But perhaps this is not what the soul chose to do. Perhaps it chose to be what was or is missing in the family or comunity the young woman lives in. The old people are missing. The fragiles are missing. We need them in our families to have the circle from babies to near-dying olds. We miss them. It often happens that children have to be the parents of their parents. And one way of being this is becoming an old person, an elder, with a jump. Anorectic women present the image of the elders. And elders are desperately needed in our lives. So what these women do is bring back the fragile olds into our lives. And we’re freaking out.

The reason why we can’t see this possibilty is that we still confine soul to a person’s body. But a soul isn’t restricted that way. And it is even not restricted to being a one and only soul, some unique center in the conscious and not so conscious life of the person of which the soul is the soul. The soul is a chorus, and it mingles with the surroundings and other persons. Forgetting this suggests that anorexia must be the individual problem of the person in which it comes to surface. But as the woman is part of an assemblage, in a sense she becomes a place in which this need of the comunity comes to light. So anorexia in a very concrete sense may not be a problem but the attempt to solve a problem. And this problem is not the problem of the woman, but of the comunity she is a concrete part of or, by means of retreating from it, an invisible part of. Anorexia may be a way a community, a family, a group tries to solve some problems by delegating to a member the role of the elder. The tragedy is that inasmuch this endeavour isn’t successful, it might kill the person chosen. The conflicting powers in the family dynamics may lead to a sacrifce. Hunger and starvation are dangerous after all.

 

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