Daily mythology: Nobody



Being tired of heads, the author sits on the beach (the season just starts, sezon başlıyor!) and sees some bodies on the shore

We all know the gigantic head-sculptures at Mt.Rushmore at least from photographs. Well, in a certain sense these presidents are literally nobodies aren’t they? Let’s forget them for a while, it is spring, body and soul are longing for the sun (while the head’s protected by a hat).

In fact tourism is a matter of exposing our skin to sunshine, all the office-workers, cellar-crawlers, computer freaks, book worms and night owls feel an aching hunger for sunshine. Modern summer-tourism is happening on the beaches (of Mediterranean climate zone) The beach is a border – as our skin is – and borders are fascinating zones of liveliness. Just a few examples: there are more flowers at the border between woods and meadow than inside of both of them. There is more traffic on the roads in the morning and evening than at noon or at night. There are colours emerging at dawn and not in the darkness or the bright light. In fact our whole living sphere is a small borderline between the petrified inner of our planet and the vacuum of space. And the beach! What colours, what life, what noise during summer holidays in Bodrum, in Bitez, in Göltürkbükü and Torba, while Kizilaĝac, Mumcular and Dörttepe are sleeping beauties in the glast of summer heat……


(Photograph: Shower-bodies at Turgutreis © Thomas Kutzli)


Come on! Let’s meditate about bodies!!

Like about heads here a bit of etymology:


German “Leib” – life, like (like a body), “Körper” – corpse – “Leiche” dead body. Interesting connections are: corsage, corset (size of the body); corpulent; leprechaun, the Irish dwarfs (little body); nobody, anybody and somebody; member (of parliament); limb (from Proto-Indogerman “lei”) = any visible part of the body, labour = exertion of the body, today used in sense of to plough or to give birth, some countries got even a labour-party…..; meniscus = crescent shaped body; hocus-pocus (from lat. “hoc est corpus meus” = this is my body)….

(see: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php)


Should the body be the bearer of life (as much of these words suggest), and the skin the zone where we get conscience of it? In my favourite lokanta here Şadi Bey just plays “I got you……. under my skin…. ), and the head, the face, the brain, the impact of individuality, would be carried around by the ever serving body and its members?


In modern times now another part of us has been separated from our entirety . I may be allowed to take a short ride into matters of criminology: As big communities were organizing themselves there was need to identify individuals in the crowd of people. First it was done by names. But it was not difficult at all to take a nickname, a false name and start anew (after some crimes for example). In some countries – let’s take the Osman Empire – there were not even second names.

Around 1880 Alphonse Bertillon, a French anthropologist, had the most nearby idea for an identification: the photograph of the human face (see my  article “Headroom” about the face and head in Bodrum Observer, issue xx)

Then the hierarchy of human body parts changed: Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, created the method of fingerprints…..Fingerprints offer an infallible means of personal identification. That is the essential explanation for their having supplanted other methods of establishing the identities of people.

(see history of fingerprints: http://www.onin.com/fp/fphistory.html)

But in much more ways we got into a „finger-age“. It began with the finger on the trigger of fire weapons, then the shutter of the camera, then the keys of the typewriter…. nowadays we mostly just use one fingertip, be it for telecommand, keyboard, wireless mouse or touchscreen…. We are immobilized – in front of monitor or under the sun of the beach, because technique became independent from us, has run out of our bodies…..

The whole world of machines is – as I’ll try to develop in the third part of this article – an extension of our hands and feet……