Hunger, I think, is life.
Present from the moment we first draw breath. Justifying our earliest vocalisations. Demanding the fuel to sustain our fragile little biochemical engines.
Hunger is proof of the will to live, evidence of the life-force within.
Hunger drove us into the wild to hunt and gather, to sow and reap and herd.
Hunger reminds us, every day, that we are alive. And that we want to keep living.
What does it mean, then, when days and nights can go by without once feeling that primeval urge to sustain the body? What does it say about a living thing when the very thing that makes it alive – the survival instinct – no longer exists?
Without hunger, what are we but shells waiting for the inevitable tides of entropy to disintegrate us back into sand?
Once, on a beautiful beach at sunset, I saw an ailing fox dig a hole in the sand and curl up in it to die. Knowing its time was up, it surrendered to the final instinct. Embracing entropy.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
Sometimes, I feel I have become that fox. How simple, how natural, how easy it would be to surrender to that instinct, the opposite of hunger…
But I fight it. I fight it because I want it to not be true. I want to believe my body is lying to me. That my time is not up. WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME? I scream inwardly. I DON’T WANT TO DIE.
I fight my instinct every day. Forcing food and drink down my throat instead of digging a hole in the sand. Pretending that I don’t know what my body is telling me.
For my body’s rejection of food, in every way imaginable and with such insistence that even modern science cannot bypass it, is none other than a rejection of life itself. And how hollow it feels to go through the motions of living, knowing this. Impersonating someone who has a future, a purpose…a body fit for purpose.
I am not supposed to have this knowledge. Not until I am old and have been hungry for many, many years. Not until I have tasted many more things.
From my little boat I watch humanity go about its daily business of survival, puppeteered by hunger. Life passing me by as I paddle across the Styx, pale and cold.
Ghosts have no use for hunger.