The Body Politic


Politics to me is a space of tender potential.  The grappling of difference between the individual and the collective, that knife-edge of creative tension, flings our species ever forward.  We are born to belong, to care, to cooperate with one another: the space between us is where life happens.

Up above, the political machine cleaves to highways in dignified certainty, preoccupied onwards.  But down below, politics rumbles through the delicate to-ing and fro-ing of human bodies immersed in the groove of living: nesting and tending the young, foraging for the essentials amongst the extravagance, seeking solace then perhaps pleasure in the moments in-between – all the time expressing our belonging or else testing small heresies.   The mundane infused with the sacred.  And as we trespass over each other’s edges, we by turns resist and seep into each other, unwittingly porous.

This is the body politic: grown from a seed, a continuum of movement, without parts.  We are a raucous parliament of becoming, a world spilling from the confines of bleak oppositions and labels rubbed raw.  Let’s no longer worship at the altar of efficiency, praying to arrive at the future, safe and assured.  It’s time to be surprised.  So let’s attend to our collective body in the mess of the moment: its wholeness, its beauty, its expressiveness.  Let’s weird the mighty politics of progress with our bare and imperfect humanity.


Image: Woodcut of a disrupted Body Politic, artist unknown (London, 1643).

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