Do you think you have a say in eating or not when you’re writhing in an insufferable pain from the insidious gastric acid secreted by your stomach? Of course not! You want to eat; and you must eat. This tormenting response invoked by our bodies are deliberately — quite ingeniously too, I must say! — designed to manipulate us into eating. After all, when was the last time you heard someone starving himself to death, accidentally?
Sure, you may have a choice of what you want to eat to prolong your existence — but even that is debatable. I mean, how do you know whether you chose that juicy red steak because you wanted it, or because of an advertisement you saw two days ago?
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever scratched yourself from an itch? Say, you cut yourself one day — just a really small cut — and it is healed, but where the wound was was now a little scab. It itches a little, doesn’t it? It makes you want to scratch it, doesn’t it?
Do you see where I am getting? No? That’s fine. I didn’t get it until recently either. I’ll repeat it — no, I’ll even stress it for you: It makes you want to scratch it, doesn’t it?
Now, do you see it as clear as I do? You didn’t want to scratch it. You were just sipping coffee, reading something and you casually rubbed your fingers over the scab. Is that really you who wanted to scratch it? Did you think, ‘Oh dear, look at my finger. It’s getting bored! I must let it do something’? Did you? Hm?
No, of course not. You’re not that silly. So why did you scratch it? If you didn’t think to yourself that you needed a scratching, then who did? Before we get there, you need to understand what scratching does for your skin. You see, when you scratch your skin, you are essentially clawing away the dead skin and other micro-tiny things layered on it. Underneath that scab is a fresh layer of skin and the nerves and stimuli or whatever devilish mechanism it is that is causing it makes you scratch at it so that the scab is peeled to reveal your fresh skin.
That is why you scratch an itch. Your body even makes it harder for you to resist scratching because doesn’t it just feels sooo good to scratch?
So now you see — now even you must see! — it’s really not your decision. Your fingers were obeying higher commands, dancing to the tunes from an invisible mastermind. Given two choices, — relief by scratching or suffering by not scratching — , with the odds stacked against one over the other — one choice a pleasure, another displeasure — , do you still call them choices?
Every nerve, chemical, and working of our brain and body are working in unison to propel us toward making choices in their favour, that is, prolonging their survival. They want us to live, regardless of whether we want to live.
Our bodies do not belong to us. If they did, we wouldn’t have to rely on external applications to forcefully terminate the functions of our body — pills, knives, gravity, trains, bullets. If they did, we could cease their functions on a mental command. Alas, we cannot, and I suppose that’s how life works. A selfish insistence on survival riveted into our DNA.
Even now as I have chosen to embrace death, my stomach is still desperately secreting gastric acid, desperately begging me to eat. I must say I am feeling rather tempted to devour a whole cow to quell the cruel, acidic pleadings. But then that would not be my choice, my free will, would it? No… It wouldn’t.