Sunday, April 09, 2006

Who's Kant?

It’s Semana Santa in Spain, and this year I am struck by the way that Spaniards seem to live closer to the ground, their spirits, minds, and bodies more fluidly part of an overall scheme. Traditionally, that scheme is Catholic. Friday was “Viernes de Dolores” [“Friday of pains”), today is “Domingo de Ramos” (“Sunday of branches," of Palm Sunday). People, mostly men, are carrying large, heavy Virgins through the streets of cities and towns across the country. Many children are still named José María or María Jesús. Rituals of devotion to the body of Christ. On a more mundane level, people here simply like their bodies and their bodily pleasures. Spaniards gather in bodies, they eat and drink to fill their bodies and sate their desires, they dance with a holy (or unholy?) passion, their beaches are filled with topless women (of all ages and appearances). I think that they are just not terribly self-conscious about their bodies. This makes me both more comfortable with my physical self and appearance (I care little about what I wear when I leave the house, especially up here in Asturias) and more aware that I am an outsider, not a Spaniard. The mind/body split? I’m not sure what it means here, or that it means much at all.


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