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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our "civilization" is... flushing itself down the toilet

Cute title, huh ?
Over there on my loony blog, there is a link to an animal site (this takes place in the States, I can tell from the accent...) where you can watch a cat play for at least five minutes with a flush toilet. You can see the little wheels turning in its brain along these lines.... : WHAT is going on here ??? WHY does the water churn and swirl that way (we'll leave the answer to our favorite fractal expert...) ? WHERE does it disappear to ? And, cool, you can do it again and again...
Actually that cat is pretty smart to display its perplexity the way it does. If WE were a little smarter, and LESS denatured by the HABIT of living with flush toilets (there is a book out somewhere about the history of how we dispose of our... FIRST PRODUCT (Freudian lesson NUMBER 1, that's kind of cute, I didn't intend to make that pun, but since it works, let's go for it...)), we COULD ask ourselves lots and lots of questions about just WHAT they MEAN.
In the midst of my BIG existential crisis three years ago (my, how time flies...) it smacked me in the face just how... OBSCENE the idea of magically washing away our shit with drinking quality water is.
I NEVER use the word "obscene" lightly. It is an important word that packs lots and lots of judgment in it, and making judgments, while necessary, is fraught with peril.
Freud was mystified in the 19th century by our relation to our shit. He did NOT take into account the already pathological evolution that that relation had undergone in Victorian society. (Yeah, Thai, I'm saying pathological here. I'm not sure that there are REAL advantages to THIS alienation, and I see tons of disadvantages. We may not have a zero sum issue here, in the long run..)
The problem of shit is one that separates out... the COUNTRY rats from the... CITY rats. And this is very important. My grandmother (1888-1973) used an outhouse for a good part of her life, my mother (1920-1995), too. It was part of rural living. And when I came to France, I STILL saw people in the country using outhouses in.. 1985 or so.
No more outhouses, even in the country now.
So, what's the big deal ?
When you have an outhouse, your not so sweet smelling shit is CONSTANTLY there, reminding you that... there is a RELATION between you and your shit, and your body produces that shit, JUST THE SAME WAY THAT WHEN YOU DIE YOUR BODY IS GOING TO DISINTEGRATE INTO SOMETHING THAT SMELLS EVEN WORSE THAN SHIT BUT...
THAT REGENERATES THE EARTH, and ensures that future generations can continue to produce with/from the earth WITHOUT exhausting it, (and without having to whore oneself to that mega whore, Montsanto while buying lots of toxic products).
And... this takes place IN YOUR BACKYARD, not in some far away place (like a prison for the "evil doers" of this earth...) that you can conveniently NOT THINK ABOUT because, as we all know... out of sight is out of mind, and that's an incredibly NORMAL way for human beings to react.
So... in my book, as you can tell, flush toilets are a symptom of our incredibly twisted, neurotic relations to our bodies. And... while neurosis is NORMAL for us, and lots of shrinks spend time congratulating themselves that they are ONLY neurotic and not spychotic (not me, I've given up on that little consensual game) it wreaks havoc on our relationship to our bodies, and as a result, our relationship to nature. Neurosis is a sign of our incredible DIVORCE from our bodies, and higher up the line, from nature itself.
And you know me, (right Thai ?). It ALL hangs together.
Just a little example : I have been composting for more than three years now.
I collect my "shit" (vegetable decay...) for a period of about 1-2 weeks under the sink before mixing it into my big compost collector outside. It decomposes BEAUTIFULLY under the sink. (I keep the lid on, of course...)
When I did a little presentation to people to show people about composting, the reactions were... "Ew, yuccky". But.. it smells awful. (Actually, a well tended compost heap smells... better than your flush toilet when you've finished depositing your number 1.) That was their IDEA, their... PREJUDICE if you like. They were unbelievably surprised to realize that compost did NOT smell the way they thought it would (like THEIR number 1...) And these prejudices are keeping us from renewing the Earth the way that we USED to do before the industrial revolution society took over.
When you think about it... even the IDEA of shitting is on a par with.. ORIGINAL SIN for us. And we COULD be using the idea of shitting as a convenient ideological equivalent for original sin because now, y'all remember every disadvantage has its advantage, and although the idea of original sin humiliates the more rational of us, it was meant to keep us together, in line, and with a necessary dose of HUMILITY in our lives. Now, we no longer make the distinction between humility, and humiliation, and are little atoms which are light years away from being able to cooperate in meaningful ways...
This is not good for us, collectively. Believe you me.

By the way, I am (almost) the only one posting over here again, you lazy louts.
I know you're working and I'm not, BUT...

P.S. LOOK, yet another example of what I'm talking about. BLOGGER censured my title...


Street Dog said...


I don't know. In the spirit of free association... Personally, I am reminded of my relationship with my shit on a daily basis. Smells, sounds, colors (don't say you don't look), cramps, and the occasional clogged toilet. I would say that at times it can be a pleasurable experience parting ways with your shit. I don't feel disconnected from it at all. I didn't expect you to be an antitoiletite. I guess bidets are high obscenity. Street Dog doesn't care either way as long as he has freedom of choice with personable responsibility.

More stream of consciousness (not about food and drink this time). Street Dog does not want to be embalmed and dumped in a box. He would prefer to recycle his star stuff. Street Dog likes organic farming but understands its limitations. Street Dog thinks Freud and cocaine did not mix well. Street Dog thinks that Sherlock Holmes and cocaine did mix well. Street Dog likes nature and thinks modern civilization is a low-grade form of sensory deprivation. Street Dog sees unacceptance of nature in plastic surgery, cryogenics, deodorant, and sex toys. Street Dog bows at Debra for doing the heavy lifting on this blog. Street Dog thinks censorship stinks more than shit. Street Dog must leave to go take a shit, in a flushing toilet, sorry Debra.

Dink said...

"Could you use your English Literary powers to coin a term for one who pities humankind (myself included at times)?"

I would like such a term, too. And thanks for the fail blog link. But no thanks for the mention of ceviche and pop tarts in the same sentence ( I don't like either, but together would surely induce hurling). But thanks for the mention of pan-Galatic gargle blasters; I had not thought of Old Janx Spirit in far too long.


>1/2 pragmatically suggested that all motorcycles come with a stryoform cooler attached. Perhaps instead of helmets they should be required to wear chest plates so that the transplantable things don't get road rash?

It still seems odd to me that smell evolved before sight; that chemistry was more important than photons. I am likely not viewing from the most apt manifold.


Livestock produces a ridiculous amount of shit. And then people eat them and get GI complaints. Viva vegetarianism!!

"Street Dog thinks Freud and cocaine did not mix well."

Snort! Well, he certainly was unique.

Debra said...

Yeah, I like your points, Street Dog.
I am... a missionary, as I set out over there in the jungle.
This has its... advantages, and its disadvantages.
I am stil buying time (lol) on the vocabulary point, dinky. The English language is... poor in such words at this time...

Thai said...

Deb, thanks for doing the lifting but am working a lot right now.

Thai said...

Re: "Street Dog doesn't care either way as long as he has freedom of choice with personable responsibility."

It is fair to say that this is and always will be my position. ;-)

Street Dog said...


Street Dog thinks chemistry and photons were likely BOTH involved from the beginning, and then concurrently to some extent through natural selection. Abiogenesis very likely began with simple chemistry and thermodynamics (solar photons and geothermal). Unicellular chemoreception evolved first. Unicellular photoreception later. Chemo/photoreception continued evolving concurrently leading to different levels of complexity at the multicellular level. What was the first creature to "smell" and the first to "see"? Street Dog proposes that a unicellular creature was the first to do both. Street Dog realizes that he may be describing a different manifold than Dink.

Street Dog used to enjoy delving into vision neuroscience. Street Dog also enjoys the sense of smell. Especially the smell of: good food and wine, perfume on a pretty street dog, the flora of nature, and compost early in the morning.

Debra said...

Anybody who has ever seen a newborn get REALLY worked up trying to get mama's tit hard enough to pull a good draw of milk from it KNOWS that... smell is the FIRST name of the game, for our species, at least.
In my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...


I don't know. I remember thinking the delivery room nurse was cute BEFORE I remember thinking her hair smelled nice. The rooting reflex provided hours of mischievous fun to the young Street Dog when he first met his newborn sister dog.

Debra said...


Debra said...

Thinking about "coining" a term to qualify someone who feels pity for mankind and himself/herself at times...
This has already been... done.
And quite well.
As you can imagine, such... sentiment does not need an abstract word/etiquette to elicit our... empathy and understanding. It needs... a flesh and blood person.
He existed. His name was... Jesus.

Debra said...

Ahhh...Street Dog... the question is not... did Sherlock Holmes and cocaine mix well, it's... did cocaine and Conan Doyle mix well ? Conan Doyle was a very interesting person. At least as interesting as Sigismund. And... Sigismund and Arthur were BOTH excellent writers, and... tortured souls, I fear.

The Most Fabulous Objects In The World

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe trilogy
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Flight of the Conchords
  • Time Bandits