The cabbage represents the self closest to the conditions of existence. It is rooted into the earth. This is the body self. The intelligence of the body self is coded into its fabric. It is there as the coded expertise of experience and as even the more complex structure of the inter-resonant living systems that actually process the encoding of such expertise. The body self is rich with interstices, self-similarity and synergic connections. The present moment of an individual body self inherits a dense field of encoded expertise. Within the living moment of the body self is an expertise of form and function that there are not yet bits enough to hold. Entire field modalties that might as well be different levels of time that are traced in clear patterns upon the body self. At the least, written upon the clay of the body self are imprints genetic, environmental, human, cosmic and microcosmic sources. Like a settlement site that has many layers of previous settlements lying beneath the surface, the body self is the entrance to a long and deep cave.
The basic needs of the body self — work, shelter, food, sex, warmth, relative safety and company — have not changed much over 1 million years. Even creatively speaking, we are potentially very similar to our ancestors of 40,000 years ago who painted the great works of prehistoric art during the last ice age. The body self is conditioned by materiality, instinctively alert to changes in terrain, temperature, moisture, sound, light, heat, food and water. The body self seeks contact and proximity and is also wary of it. Nevertheless, it lives in an environment where proximity has real value. There is a kinesthetic transmission and reception of energy that occurs in proximity between bodies that cannot occur otherwise.
The present moment of the body self is not abstracted from itself. Of its own accord, the inner physician of the body self monitors and balances its basic needs, including sensing, feeling and thinking insofar as these reflect functionally objective conditions in the present moment of the body self. Yet, it seems that stress patterns and the unhealthy confusion of wants and needs that come with surplus stuff. It is this surplus that can turn any one of the basic needs into a money, that is a thing outside of the thing itself which is to be accepted for it. The response of the body self when confronted with this abstraction seems to be hoarding. This is a positive feedback loop that must checked by something else. All kinds of influences can project into the body self that it cannot easily adjust to. Some wonder whether it is possible for this body-system brain of ours to adjust to the conditions of living anywhere. Is it the cabbage that answers this on its own?
The body self cues on limitations and boundaries. In the body self, we instinctively place controls or we measure. There is an identification toward “this is mine”. Whether in thought, feeling or behaviour there is a thing-ness to the impressions of the body self. It considers situations from a position, a perspective. Whether this position is mental, emotional or physical, it adds up cost. Because most of this adding up and selecting occurs subliminally, below the level of sensitive awareness, mostly, it seems, in the spinal plexus and brain stem. The instinctive programming of the body self is represented in the parable through the fixity of the cabbage. It does not move of itself. It moves in response to the sun. This also suggests that the body self has access to creative energy directly and intuitively. It is this photosynthetic access to creativity within the body self that makes it so valuable at the base of the food web of the selves.
This potential for spontaneity in body self also indicates that the instinctive transformation of energies serves needs that are not entirely its own and which have a purpose in the present moment of life on this planet as a whole. After all, the selves are represented as plant and animal in the story. Therefore, they participate independently in the life of the whole of the ecosystem. And it is the cabbage that is the instrumental element in this system. Sheep eats cabbage; wolf eats sheep. They are each beyond the scope of the journeyer in some important way. It is this that enters the whole of the present moment of the wo/man in the story and weaves into it an instability. This is the conundrum of the selves as a whole: What is this all for? For the body self, this means something to do with its instinctive needs. Yet, it knows that these are incomplete to account for what is not known.
At idiotplayers, we are working with improvising a character for each of the selves. The cabbage / body self is the character John Cabbagio. Don’t call him “cabbage” though; he’ll punch you – hard. We’ve had a great opportunity to explore and have fun in working on our experience of each self pattern. We aim to present something whole that brings together music, dance and emedia.
I intend to write next about the sheep.