We are meat. On the surface, this sounds like a harsh thing to say. It’s the sort of thing that is destined to get an object-oriented ontologist such as myself– or more properly, a machine-oriented ontologist –in trouble. The same thing happened when the object-oriented ontologists observed that subjects are substances in the world among other substances; a claim saying nothing more than that we are embedded in the world. But it’s meant to be a call for compassion.
We are meat. What does that mean. It means we’re vulnerable to this world. It can harm us. It can assault us. We grow fatigued. Exhausted. Our cognition changes when we are in those states. We get sick, sometimes with horrific illnesses. We get cancer or AIDS or ebola or the flu or RSD or crippling arthritis. We suffer from hunger or from cold. Our bodies age. We grow older. Our power of being, acting, and thinking fluctuates.
Yet somehow we still measure body-minds by idealized standards that are well fed, healthy, warm, free of sickness. We expect those about us to perform as they do in ideal conditions and morally condemn them when they don’t. But we are fragile and vulnerable, and this because we are meat.