Where Your Body Came From by Arthur Brisbane

Story type: Essay

LET IT BE SCATTERED AS IT WAS GATHERED

Did you ever think about the construction of the body which you inhabit? Did it ever occur to you that your shoulders and hands and chest and legs and lungs are made of contributions from widely different parts of the earth?

Your brain, a wonderfully complex machine, the seat of thought and of the will, is packed away in darkness in the bony skull.

The heart, working ceaselessly, pumps the blood that feeds the brain and makes possible its work.

The eyes, with the aid of the nerves that perceive light, guide you. The ears, with the nerves that interpret sound waves, tell their story.

Like a central operator with a million wires leading to him, your INDIVIDUALITY, a wonderful mystery without form, matter or name, sits in your brain guiding the body. —-

Where did the body come from?

Part of it came from potatoes grown on Long Island, and part of it from spices grown in Ceylon.

In your nerves there is the extract of tea leaves gathered by a Chinese girl on the other side of the world. Your blood is purified and made red by the wind that blew across the Rocky Mountains only a few hours ago. That current of oxygen has helped build up your strength.

A month ago an ox was eating grass in Texas.

Many millions of years ago the pollen of huge fern trees was falling to the earth in the carboniferous era and making coal.

To-day, part of the backbone of the ox from Texas with the meat attached is laid on the fire of coal made by those fern trees, and the Texas ox and the fern pollen combined help to build up your body.

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That same body is three-quarters water, and of that water part was once the Pacific Ocean; part, perhaps, was drunk up by a whale before it reached you; and part floated in clouds over the Southern Sea. —-

Your imagination can carry the picture as far as it will–to the fisherman catching your sardines in the North, and the dark man gathering your oranges in the South or your dates in some oasis.

We want to suggest this idea to you.

Since the body is gathered from all parts of the world, from all corners of our little speck of the material universe, should it not be scattered, at death, as it was gathered during life?

Is not the destruction of the body by fire far better than hideous burial in the earth?

The body that fire destroys goes back to nature, instantly reduced to its original elements. Is not such disposition of the body more in accord with nature’s laws and with respect for the dead than our present custom?

Would it not be pleasanter to think that one we cared for had gone back to the air, with only a handful of ashes remaining, than to think of the dark, close, lonesome grave far below the sunlight, clogging and uselessly occupying part of the earth, which should be devoted to growth and cheerfulness?

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