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Buddha’s Belly

There’s no denying that the belly makes it demands. Grieves at the stuffy logic of the mind. “Wait, make something out of the veggies in the fridge,” it says. “Something healthy,” belly scoffs, knowing that it will always win. Because stuff makes the mind go weak. The lust for it gets you on a cellular level. Belly always has one over. I rub my belly, happily aware of its unfashionably hairy statement. I think of Buddha, and how he might have agreed upon that point, that the belly will always win. Particularly since he gave up starving himself for enlightenment. He gave up and said possibly the earliest version of what Madonna later inflicted upon the pop culture vernacular as, “We are living in a material world, and I am a material girl.”

Buddha. Well, he just made himself all skinny and miserable. His mind grew agitated and weak. It needed tactile digestive input upon which to fuel his brain’s elucidations upon the path to Nirvana. Because let’s face it, the body is a tactile thing. Requires the reference point of other physical forms to confirm its existence, at any given time, thank you mister Einstein. At least in this dimension anyway. Your body thrives on a flawless logic of sensorial input. “Simple,” it says. “Feed me, or I will kill you.”

The body itself is the stuff of substance. It recreates itself bit by bit, on the ingestion of solid matter. The flawless logic of consumption helps determine the biological aspects of our temporal interactions with solid matter. Such logic, however, becomes secondary to the way we shape the sense of purpose and psycho-spiritual meaning, that we jockey along with this temporal physical reflection, of the more infinite self.  Whether we like it or not, construction of the self—as a functioning and socially integrated, physical manifestation—requires the relativistic action of consumption and therefore, the usage and the accumulation of things to quantify the actuality of our experience. Having said this, I have now outlined the first of my justifications for going snack shopping.

Stuff fills my belly. “So fill me now,” goes the indefatigable logic. I consume. Therefore I am. NOW. NOW. Calories are fast-sugary-cheesy-meaty-things, all lusciously packaged like culinary sleaze for horny taste buds. Friends used to warn me about shopping when I was stoned. We used to have a saying. A saying that would have made a great bumper sticker. It was, Good Friends Don’t Let Friends Go Shopping When They Are Stoned. “You’ll come back with a ton of things you don’t need,” they said. Things. A ton of them. All hollow and cardboard, covered in cheese-dust. The kind that melts. Glistens, all chemically-ominous, like some cheesy, orange narcotic. But oh, that tactile input makes me feel so damn good. Denial is useless. Renunciation is to reject the tools with which we shape our identity in this demented, bio-political cakewalk we call existence. You’re hooked, folks. And I know where you can score, my friends: at the supermarket.

My mission this week was to explore psycho-spiritual interactions with a food commodity. Or, to put it another way: my examination of the truths to be found in the slogan of health Nazis the world over, “You Are What You Eat.”

It’s evident, that there are certain psycho-spiritual exchanges deriving from our consumptive relationships with food commodities. Take for example, the physical and emotional torture of those dieting themselves into a corporeal-minimalist-heroin-chic fashion statement. Or, at the other extreme, we may consider the conspicuous blubber-fest synonymous with the rampant over-consumption of foodstuffs in “Capitalist Democracies,” the world over. That unrelenting homogenous quest, “For Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fattiness.” 

We are what we consume. Particularly if you consider more recent developments in theoretical physics. Accordingly, we become aware that there is supposedly no separation between us and what we consume. Literally. Atomically. Whether you are chowing on a heart-attack-in-a-bun-burger, or buying novelty sex toys at the local Shagland Superstore. Or even if you are one of the many caving in to the concept that unless you buy the latest V8 maxi-grunt, two-ton utility with free air fairly soon, you will have all the social potential of a freeze-dried genital wart.

Furthermore, if it’s true that the universe exists by our perception of it, then the identity that we derive from our temporal consumptive experiences, are solely unique to us. For example, no else can quantify, within the same time-space, the vast array of psycho-spiritual meanings to be gained from fondling a packet of Papa Mafiarelli’s Homestyle Crispy Crud Stix, with 20 percent less fat. No one. No one can experience the same sense of manifest destiny fulfilled by that particular packet at that particular moment. Observe.

“Mmmmmmmmmm, Crispy Crud Stix. Oh, the funky spelling. Stix. Man that’s so hip. But wait. There’s also that irresistible sense of old world, Italian home-style charm. Oh, how can I resist. So spicy, tomatoey, and crunchy. Just-a-like-a-papa-used-ta-ma … NO! I must resist. No, I cannot. I’ll be a traitor to everything I believe in.

I remember what that article in “Groan Left Weakly” said. Something about Papa Mafiarelli PTY LTD, once providing king-size catering party favor packs for some ex-Regan administration henchman, who once farted in the general direction of a sub-sub-subsidiary of a corporation, which once sold weapons to a retired dictators, camel trainer’s, long lost brother’s, uncle’s sister’s dog, who was once reported to have licked the imperialistic boot-heels of some out of work, fascist, general warmonger, who once vacationed within two countries of a suspected, counter, counter, counter-insurgency to overthrow some burgeoning socialist state with free healthcare and mmmmm … garlic and basil seasoning! 

I did buy those Papa Mafiarellis Crud Stix in the end. Something to do with the premise of having an anecdote, with which to illustrate the weakness of the human condition in the face of those evil “Cappo marketeers.” Damn them. They got me again. Those evil chip-mongers. The end is nigh. It’s a crispy, potato-based conspiracy, insidiously forcing us   to gorge ourselves until we explode.

But wait. Let’s think this through. Relatively speaking, we have owed a lot to the forces of “Neo-liberal Economic Globalization.” I mean, think of the grand feeling of motivation and identity that suddenly develops in the face of poverty stricken alienation and disaffection, on the bottom rungs of all “Neo-Liberalized” societies. Consider the deep and unfulfilled hunger for social progress that can come only from being reminded on a daily basis that the “Trickle Down Effect”, of neo-classical economics, has more to do with being urinated upon from a great height, than even getting the merge scraps dropped begrudgingly from the political and industrial aristocracy’s table.

What about the sense of justification, that we can only feel from having the police beat us unconscious, for exercising our fundamental democratic rights to stand around in a public space and chant mind-numbingly repetitive sixties counter-culture clichés about everything else that’s getting on our wick. We certainly wouldn’t have any of those hip, Che Guevara t-shirts to wear. And where would we be, if the government didn’t gobble our pensions and spend them on a spot of war and re-colonization, or trample upon the cost of essential medicines and wages in the name of free-trade. Bored shitless is what. It never felt more exciting and justifiable to be poor and angry, than when one of those conspicuously consumptive types, nearly runs your bike off the road, in their handmade sports car.

Where would our awareness of human rights, ethics, and the sustainable management of material resources be without the manifest consequences of unsustainable modes of production and consumption. You know the ones. The kinds supported by the buyers of said handmade sport-cars, with their Fossil Muncher Deluxe, V24 engines, and old-growth forest timber interiors, flown—piece by piece—in an otherwise empty cargo plane, as it lifts-off from a runway felled in amongst virgin rainforest controlled by genocide sponsoring Amazonian logging interests.  

Funny really, the different kinds of meanings that people invest in stuff. My friend Steve-o once bought a packet of the very same Papa Mafiarellis Crud Stix. He’d gotten stoned. Developed a raging case of the pot-munchies and scoffed the whole lot in the space of a few minutes. All he considered was the shits and giggles he got from watching those kooky, tap-dancing mobsters from the Papa Mafiarelli’s TV commercial and a rotten stomach ache.