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Thoughts on body modifications - Peter Hentges

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August 27th, 2007

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02:40 pm - Thoughts on body modifications
I saw an interesting blog post today listing 10 people with very extensive body modifications. While purporting to be a "top 10" list, I and at least one other commenter noted the absence of The Enigma from the list. Still, it's an impressive selection of people.

I'm not too surprised that a number of comments to that blog's entry have been derogatory toward the people that have chosen to make these modifications to themselves. A few of them give me that instinctual "not one of us" reaction that comes from seeing something very outside the norm. The processes for achieving these effects and the mindset of the people undertaking them intrigues me, though, so I kept an open mind as I looked through the entry.

I came away with a reinforcement of my usual thinking regarding tattoos and piercings, which is that these things have not called to me yet but I have some degree of admiration for those that choose them. There's something brave about using your skin and body for artistic purposes and something noble in choosing to live your life in a way that is so dedicated and focused. Each seems to be choosing, in their own way, to express something felt very clearly and deeply, risking ridicule and prejudice to display that feeling outwardly for everyone to see.

There's a feeling of control about these folks as well. They have taken their lives into their own hands, setting out on a path of their own making and dedicating themselves to that path. It's almost religious in its feeling and some of the people making these modifications definitely have a spiritual bent.

The techniques used in some of the modifications also intrigue me and I'll be interested to see how technology on biological and surgical fronts makes other modifications possible or easier as time progresses.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:August 27th, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC)
Yes, quite impressive. The thing I find difficult to understand (although I have some minor mods myself) is that absolute commitment to a particular image; I'm far too mercurial in my tastes to settle on just one sort of style, which is why I've stayed away from tattoos.

The skull guy is great, but I wonder about the psychology behind it, and some of the others. Nevertheless, there is a functional component here; if someone does something rather strange to themselves, but otherwise lives a practical and decent life, and does no harm to others, I don't think it's any of my business.
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Date:August 27th, 2007 11:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah the commitment to a singular definition of yourself is what has prevented me from getting tattoos as well. I wonder if people with tattoos see them differently themselves; if they adapt the meaning and interpretation of the tattoo to fit their current self-image. I supposed I can ask our favorite circus costumer when she visits later this week.

From what I read in the comments to the post, everyone that's reported meeting and talking to any of the people featured has reported that they seem to be very nice people, even the skull guy.

Another thing that occurs to me is that they people may be particularly friendly and easy to get along with because they wear who they are on the outside. While the rest of us hide behind masks of varying depth and degree, they become their mask.

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