Disgust

We fell out of love with nature.

Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

We don’t love her for all that she is. We take the parts we think are beautiful and ignore the bits that are not, at best. At worst, we find her revolting. I had already planned to write on this topic, but today I am compelled. The perspective from which I’d panned on writing was from a moral superiority standpoint. I had expected to say something to the effect of “we have to accept the disgusting parts of nature just as we do the lovely parts”.

Well, then I woke up and went to make coffee (yes, I’m drinking again). I approached my Keurig to add water. Its in a new place because I rearranged and cleaned yesterday. When I opened that vat for water, I was horrified to find the body of a giant bug floating. The bug was headless and bubbles of oxygen lined the perimeter of its body. I have no idea how long I’ve been pouring water on top of this decomposing insect. For a moment, I felt sick. Then I considered how many insect carcasses I’ve inadvertently eaten throughout my life. I have to admit, it didn’t help much, but I still stand by the sentiment.

The reason I’m even pulling on disgust is because this was a weapon used against me. Disgust is one of those feelings that people others to experience with them. Disgust has even historically held the power to compel people to try to eradicate an entire race from this planet. Often times, when people are disgusted, they are unable to find any reason why one should not be. It is a conditioned and visceral reaction, and to those that know this feeling, it can be impossible to deny. And yet, it is merely an opinion.

The word was used a bit differently in the past, from what I’ve read. The meaning of disgust no longer just applies to food, as we know it to be used to describe people and their behavior, as well. According to the BBC article, this word hijacked an evolutionary response that humans developed; an aversion to filth. Its very easy to see why the distinction between good food and bad food is adaptive. When it smells like its turned, when it looks like its growing hair, when slime oozes from it; you get the idea. Our disgust response is all in our head, but its still very useful.

The problem is, the application of this adjective to human behavior is way more subjective than it is useful for describing rotten fruit. in society is determined by each person, but its an opinion that feels more real than most. We are often able to find validation for our disgust amongst our peers. In order for that experience to be more salient, we may converse with others about our disgust. Now when it comes to food, this is helpful information to share. Of course, the point is that when we are disgusted by a person, its because they embody the rotten side of humanity.

The act of thinking someone else is rotten is rotten. In my previous relationship, I allowed disgust to be projected on to me, not realizing how disgusted I was by the behavior of my ex. With this perspective, I can almost guarantee that his gaslighting and insults were a manifestation of the disgust he had with himself, but he was using them on me as a way to divert his attention. Its funny, isn’t it, how we can see so much of ourselves in the things we say?

We must love the Great Mother for all that she is: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Why? Because our perception of the world is our relationship with our Self. If we deny certain parts that seem unsightly in polite company, then we repressed them. The things we repress will come back to haunt us. Sweeping shit under the rug does not properly dispose of it. The disgust we experience is linked to a sense of hopelessness, as in “there’s no hope for that”. I believe there is hope, I believe we can use decomposing matter in a regenerative way. Rot is the way that nature cleans herself; a new canvas to create. As the quote goes “One man’s porno is another man’s masterpiece”. (I highly recommend not looking that up to see if it’s a real quote).

Originally written in Collective Journaling at The Stoa

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