Opinion: Our wonderful bodies!

Graham Storer
Graham Storer

Has anybody ever said to you that you have a wonderful body? It’s not a chat up line I’ve ever used so I carry no scars.

However, bodies are wonderful! What bodies am Italking about? All kinds!

Take my car, for instance. The bodywork is the outer skin of the car that I get upset about when I bump it.

My eye is drawn to the patch of damage every time I approach the car. It is not just a blemish to me; it magnifies to mar the whole appearance.

Sooner or later, the car receives plastic surgery and skin care, costing a small fortune. But is the damage so important? To my pride and the resale value it is!

However, the damage is only skin deep and the car body’s strength, its structural skeleton, is not compromised. Of course, a ‘bump’ is not a ‘crumple’ when innards are distorted and damage done to steering, suspension, alignments of parts and connecting components like ball joints and bearings may impact on safety.

In fact the way forces are transferred through a car body makes it a wonderful piece of engineering and a work of mechanical art.

Car bodies are wonderful.

What of our bodies then? All said about car bodies applies! Half the population lavishes expensive (so I believe) lotions, potions and treatments on the outer layer of skin. Just this morning (a cold, grey one) I passed a tanning salon where some go to get browned off.

A graze on a grandson’s knee will get a kiss and a plaster. If it’s me, I get different treatment. I’m told to stop whining, and it will heal.

But it hurts! Something more serious than a graze might mean a trip to the A&E repair shop for treatment similar to the car.

Free, though, at the point of need! What then of corporate bodies – organisations?

A business, council, club, church, army or a government? Are they simply loose collections of people and computers? It may appear so, but there is organisational structure (the Board, commercial, production and sales departments etc.) with procedures governing operation.

This body corporate holds things together just like the car body but inside the body materials, information, knowledge and human effort flow dynamically.

Returning to my car.

The body is a torso connecting suspension, wheels, steering and transmission to the motive power of the engine and the stopping power of the braking system. Now there is a further invisible system overseeing all others, connecting an array of sensors to the engine management system. It is a computer that acts like a brain processing incoming signals and sending instructions to actuators such as fuel injectors or brakes.

It’s similar with us. Our bodies are more than skin on bone.

There’s a heart blood pump, a liver filter, a belly fuel tank, lung air pumps, a bowel waste tank and millions of sensors dealing with hearing, smell, taste, sight and feel. Bodies of all kinds are wonderful.

Problems arise if a body is not properly maintained, and we are negligent to monitor health and fail to act on warning signals with corrective actions.

Every body part has a job to do for which it is designed. It brings to mind community as a body.

Community means ‘with unity’. It is a body that requires systems and parts to be balanced and co-ordinated without which community will not function healthily.

Safe systems need some redundancy so that if something fails, its function can be supported by some other means.

That is the strength of a mixed economy of having partially overlapping public and voluntary services concerned for local need. Bodies require strength with muscles exercised off the couch!

Building up strength to “do”. In 2017 there will be new active streams that should help do that within our community body.

More on this another time.