Sometimes you have a craving. This craving manifests itself as a physical impulse, your body tells your mind ‘satisfy this craving’. Easily done if the craving is quite a general one ‘give me water’ or ‘give me food’ but what if that craving is a lot more specific? Again it can be easily satisfied in certain circumstances ‘I want an orange’ or ‘I want garlic bread’. There is third level of craving that is even more frustrating ‘I want a flavour’.
This level is the one you have been suffering, and suffer is the appropriate word. You have been searching for that one flavour to satisfy your craving. Every time you think you have it you run to the shop and buy the food you have just remembered contains that flavour. It doesn’t. It may be close; it may sometimes contain a hint of that thing you are after but not enough to slate your desire. You return home to continue doing whatever it was you were doing. Somewhere in the back of your mind there are stacks of drawers in rooms full of filing cabinets being opened, flipped through and closed as your brain frantically goes through everything it can find that might possibly resemble that one thing your body is calling out for. Occasionally it throws up an answer, a golden file is sprung open with a name ‘cheese and onion crisps!’ it exclaims in big letters. You run to the shop. No, not it. ‘Jarlsberg!’ No. ‘Egg fried rice!’ No again. Gradually the craving diminishes as the elf flipping through the files gets bored and your body realises that what it desires so much cannot be named. It might even be a new flavour or simply one experienced many years ago now long forgotten, squashed and at the bottom of one of these drawers. Either way you are getting tired and slip into bed to waken up the next morning with no such craving and, if there is a memory of it at all, a little bit of concern as to how you became so obsessed over a flavour.
The same thing can easily happen with an activity, an image, a sound, an idea. An obsession to experience an unreachable thing that seems to hang within sight but with a veil of mist covering it just thick enough to blur it’s defining features. The question is how much effort should you put into these cravings. Should the day be spent running to and fro between shop and home trying to find the flavour be exactly that, a day? Should this day represent a week, a month, a year, or even a lifetime? Where if you fail to gain what you desire there is no opportunity to waken up in the morning and feel a little embarrassed about your obsession, thankful that no one else really took any notice.
There is something in that last paragraph that could be quite telling depending on your reaction. Did you or did you not agree with the statement ‘feel a little embarrassed about your obsession’? If you did then maybe this essay is for you or maybe it isn’t and you will hate and disagree with everything in it. If on the other hand you thought ‘embarrassed by an obsession? Never!’ then you already know what this essay could be about.
The mind and body are not two separate things, as contemporary thought seems to portray them. They are one inseparable thing. One complete whole that cannot function in the fashion it does without both remaining broadly intact. The body informs the mind of its needs to survive and the mind attempts to work out solutions to fulfil these needs. It has been hypothesised that the mind doesn’t even do that. The mind is simply there to negate these cravings. It is not a system that always says yes but one that sometimes says no – a governor valve to the body’s desires if you will. Sit on that thought for a moment. The place that you believe has contained all your thoughts and desires, including the little elf with the filing cabinet of flavours and missing files, is simply there to say ‘no, I shan’t give you what you want’.
Now you are thinking ‘how can this be so, I am having this thought in reaction to the words I have just read?’ But what are those words? In their base form they are things that have a meaning only because you have been taught they have a meaning. How do you know you have not been taught to have such a reaction to that specific string of words? Obviously you cannot be taught how to react to every conceivable sentence, you don’t live in a Brave New World, but even if you did where would the first teaching have come from? But the train of thought has wondered through the mist of the mind onto another topic entirely and must return to the one at hand.
The body and mind are one. A craving from one creates a feedback loop between itself and the other. Though naming and separating them both seems to be rather wrong when described like this. They are just One. Somehow this concept of separation has seeped into almost every pour of existence. The argument is there that it is for ease of definition but it makes certain rules and concepts harder to explain. It is cultural decency that men and woman are separated in changing rooms but then why not male and female children? At what point is it wrong for a young girl to walk into a male changing room? What if that girl looks to be 15 but is only 7? Where and why did this idea of cultural decency even appear?
Another further reaching separation is that of humans and animals. You know instinctively what this means, but you are wrong. There is no possible separation between humans and animals; in fact that statement is a tautology. Humans ARE animals. This is something that conservationists frequently get wrong. They somehow see the world as if humans live on a glass floor five foot above the ground observing a static world and having no effect on it, apart from detrimental one. They are blind to the idea humans have always effected the environment they live in, in the same way every other animal effects the environment, for the better or worse, of those living in the same area. There is a tree that supplies safety to ants to enable them to remove all surrounding undergrowth and keep that tree’s dominance over the local environment. Would any conservationist propose removing all those trees because of the perceived damage they cause? No I doubt it. So why force indigenous humans out of their natural habitat simply because they are human?
You are now thinking ‘what does this have to do with craving? Is the writer following a plan or just writing what comes into their mind’. You may yet find out.
One demands something, One is distracted, One craves something, One attempts to find the source, One fails. What if this craving is a desire to explain a feeling, a feeling conjured by a word? The word is pretty ordinary and easy to find in a dictionary. You might have heard it used today by someone else or even used it yourself, its nothing special just another word. The word? Structure. You read the word knowing its definitions taught to you by countless conversations or from reading the definition in a dictionary. A definition you understand by the knowledge of the meanings of the words used to explain it learnt through countless conversations or from reading the definition in a dictionary. You understand what structure means intimately but somehow you are now concerned that this word will change. Has changed. That there is something you have missed in you knowledge and the meaning behind this rather bland but important word that somehow makes you feel uneasy.
This uneasiness is not always there when the word is used. It isn’t a Pavlovian condition where you hear ‘structure’ and you feel uneasy. Only when put in one specific context does that happen: ‘the structure of the piece of music was…’. But why?
You firstly think there must be something wrong with you but after more thought that changes. You begin to think its something wrong with them, with their use of the word. You cannot shake this feeling, this craving to work it out. Other people tell you to just accept it, go to sleep and the feeling will be gone in the morning (as in the case of a flavour), but it doesn’t. You begin to spend hours pondering this word. You do understand what they mean, why they use it but they cannot be using it right. Eventually after almost two years you work out what is wrong. After two years obsessing about one word, craving an answer you sit down at your computer to attempt to explain the conclusion you have come to. You begin typing:
Sometimes you have a craving…