Gone Girl

I was waiting in line to check out and the people behind the counter were talking obliviously.  You know, some people just don’t realize they’re talking in public.  I wasn’t really paying any attention to them until I heard, “Yeah, they found her body out back.”  And I, and probably anyone else that would have heard that, understood that we are talking about someone who died.

On my way out of the store, I started thinking about how curious our language is and how we say things that have a very specific meaning.  Also, that those things we say have a deeper philosophical meaning.  She said, “they found her body”, not “they found her”.  It’s a statement that says your body is a part of you or belongs to you, but it is not you.  It’s like “they found her shoes out back”, but no one would ever say, “I got halfway to work and realized I forgot my body.  Mondays, right?”

When we talk about people, we are usually unintentionally talking about their soul or spirit.  Statements like “Is he still with us?” or “No, he’s gone” are usually not talking about the physical aspect of a person.  And I sort of find that weird that this concept is accepted among the faithful and the not.  Even among the most atheist, there’s still a believe that when you’re dead, you are apart from your body.  I would guess that even if they don’t believe in an afterlife or a spirit, they can’t just erase that person from their memory, so in a sense, that person does live on, at least in their mind.

And although it’s a little contrived, this language lends support to the concept that you are not your body.  Your physical appearance isn’t what defines you.  People that believe in auras and astral bodies would wholeheartedly agree with that.

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