Every man is the builder of a temple called his body

The first quote we talked about in our introductory session , “every man is the builder of a temple called his body” (David Thoreau) reminded me of the TV show “Extrem schön” which is shown on RTL II on Tuesdays. The night before the first session I watched the show, where people, who are unhappy with their body, can get help. There, a 38-year -old woman was extremely fat and wanted to start a new life by losing 70 kilos. Talking about the quote, we also came across the word “control.” By deciding to lose 70 kilos of weight, it seemed like the woman only then started to take control of her own body. Through the loss of the weight, her whole body became wabbly and her whole skin hung down. Again, she was very unhappy with her body and wanted to get help. The pictures of the woman’s body both, before and after the loss of weight, could be connected, in a certain way, to the term “grotesque.” I think that, unfortunately, nowadays a body that doesn’t have a beautiful shape but is more or less shapelessly, is considered ugly. However, when I think of the quote of Henry Miller (“Our own physical body possesses a wisdom which we who inhabit the body lack”) in class we agreed that our own body knows better what’s good for it than we do, as we oftentimes go on eating although we are not hungry anymore. Therefore, many people are provoking their own feeling bad about their bodies and take care too little of themselves. That’s why I think that David Thoreau’s quote really encourages us to reflect on it, at least it encourages me.

The first woman which was shown in “Extrem schön” wanted to start a new life by losing 70 kilo. The goal of “Extrem schön” is to show people from a certain point in their life where they decide to change their look, e.g. their weight, their teeth, hair (if they lack hair) and many other things. Oftentimes, not only one part or one aspect of their body is going to be changed. Mostly the participants look really distorted and have to change a lot in order to feel better. I think that it is also the aim of the show to really choose those who have to change completely so that the viewers get the impression that the goal of the show can really be achieved and also to see the before and after effect. The show can probably be quite helpful for people who are unhappy with their body and their look. There are always those who wish to really change something and look better (not to mention those who have serious problems because of their “bad” look) but never dare to become active on their own. I think that for those people it is a very good motivation when they see what others have achieved in the show. By seeing the whole procedure the participants went through and then seeing the positive effect afterwards, probably many get encouraged to become active. To connect this “becoming active” to the Thoreau quote, I think that there are two differnet ways of being the builder of one’s own body. The first way would be someone who cares from the very beginning how his body is bulid, namely by paying attention to his body very early. That means doing sports, not eating too unhealthy and oily, not exposing himself to the sun every single day- in short, building his body up in a healthy and thoughtful way, simply taking care. I think that these people probably don’t drink beer every day or go to MC Donald’s a few times per week. Then, there would be the other way of buliding one’s body, namely, not taking care, never do sports and living quite unhealthy. Coming back to “Extrem schön”, there was a woman who hasn’t been to the dentist for more than 12 years( Which was was not hard to see!) This, for example, in my opinion, would be a person of the second example- people who simply don’t care about their getting fat or neglecting themselves. However, these people may arrive at the turning point where they decide to put an end to this kind of live. This is the point where, for example people become active themselves or search help by taking part in “Extrem schön”, “The biggest loser” and all these shows which are concerned with losing weight or changing one’s look. Then, I think, we can say that they become the bulider of their own body again- yet, they also were the builder before, however, in a rather destructive way. By taking control of their body again, they regain the chance to “build a body” they dreamed of or with which they can life a happeir life than before, when they didn’t care about it (However, in most cases, I think that those are quite unhappy with their body, but lack motivation to change it).

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