Confessions of a Running Addict: We All Shit.

27 07 2012

Kings and philosophers shit and so do ladies. Montaigne

So Montaigne was right. We all shit. Kings, philosophers, ladies. Everyone.

Of course, the pooping bit wasn’t really much of a revelation. I didn’t exactly need Montaigne to tell me that all human beings, by our very nature, defecate. What Montaigne was trying to get across wasn’t the simple fact that we must all, once in a while (or more than once in a while), poop and/or pass wind. Rather he was trying to tell us that, more often than not, our bodies have an upper hand over our minds. Our minds, generally, are a slave to our mind.

This is how Montaigne describes a fart: “That sphincter which serves to discharge our stomachs has dilations and contractions proper to itself, independent of our wishes or even opposed to them.” He also adds that the sphincter is “most indiscreet and disorderly.” Montaigne might well have been writing school reports for an unruly six year old!

But I’m not here to write about farting. Not only about farting, anyway. Farting’s only a small part of it.

You know those times when you’re in a bad mood, when you can at once find everything to be supremely disagreeable? Times when you’re a simmering kettle – just a liiiittle bit more heat to push you over the threshold, to push you to your boiling point. Every once in a while, and for absolutely no apparent reason, I find myself in one of these dangerous moods.

But I think I do know the reason for these unexplained bouts of choler: a deficiency of endorphins, a ravenous craving for that sometimes-elusive Runner’s High.

I tend to think of myself as rather rational. I’m fairly good at controlling emotions; farewells don’t occur to me as excessively difficult; and I can usually set aside emotions and sentiments to focus on what’s at hand. And yet when it comes to something as simple as running, my mind gives way to my body! A simple crave for a run and the quick release of endorphins is enough to render me a slave to my mind, totally controlled by mere chemicals!

What does this tell me? It tells me that as much as we may appear to ourselves as rational beings with control over our minds, we are, ultimately, animals. At the end of the day we are merely animals, governed by more basic elements such as bodily needs, chemicals, and emotions.

As Montaigne put it, “Upon the highest throne in the world, we are seated, still, upon our arses.”

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