Weekend Words: Body

Unknown Master, German, “Diagram of the human body” (1500-20), colored woodcut. British Library, London (Image via Web Gallery of Art)

As Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-California) plots his strategy for winning the leadership of his body of Congress, it is worth recalling that he shares his name with the star of the 1956 sci-fi classic, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, who’s remembered for the line, “I’ve been afraid a lot of times in my life, but I didn’t know the real meaning of fear until… until I had kissed Becky.”

The absolute yearning of one human body for another particular body and its indifference to substitutes is one of life’s major mysteries.

—Iris Murdoch

All parts of the human body get tired eventually — except the tongue.

—Konrad Adenauer

The angel folded you up like laundry
your body thin as an empty dress.
Your clothes were curtains
hanging on the window of what had
been your flesh and now was glass.

—Marge Piercy, “My mother’s body”

Disease is an experience of a so-called mortal mind. It is fear made manifest on the body.

—Mary Baker Eddy

The human body is the best picture of the human soul.

—Ludwig Wittgenstein

To me style is just the outside of content, and content the inside of style, like the outside and the inside of the human body – both go together, they can’t be separated.

—Jean-Luc Godard

I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.

—Walt Whitman, “I Sing the Body Electric”

The body politic, as well as the human body, begins to die as soon as it is born, and carries itself the causes of its destruction.

—Jean-Jacques Rousseau

We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.

—Thomas Merton

Old age is far more than white hair, wrinkles, the feeling that it is too late and the game finished, that the stage belongs to the rising generations. The true evil is not the weakening of the body, but the indifference of the soul.

—Andre Maurois

If the first body was made of dirt,
in order to plumb the hollow
of that first throat, whose thumb
first lodged inside the hinge
of that first mouth to force it open?

—Camille T. Dungy, “From the First, the Body Was Dirt”

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