Try to leave your body just to live in your mind
—James Taylor, "Gaia"
Datapoint 1. In a recent interview on the PBS NewsHour with Gwen Ifill, Eric Finkelstein, the director of health economics of RTI International, when asked about the cause of the obesity epidemic, said:
Well, we argue it's because of economics. Essentially, the calculus has changed so it's just easier and cheaper to engage in behaviors that promote obesity and more difficult to engage in those behaviors that are associated with fitness.
Datapoint 3. I've been observing the number of bike racks on the back of/ on top of cars. It strikes me as intensely ironic that many Americans view bicycles as something that it's OK to use for exercise or recreation, but its somehow weird to ride practically, to commute.
I know, I know, people are frightened of cars. I know, I know, people can't sweat at the office, they might end up smelling bad. But I'm not buying it. I don't think the reason(s) that people don't cycle-commute are practical, because fundamentally, if viewed rationally, the reasons to bike are much stronger than the practical reasons not to bike.
I think at the root, that Finkelstein had it right, it's a deep thing that is rooted in economics and the status associated with that. People don't ride bikes to work because it's practical and frugal to use your body in this way, and therefore somehow low-class. It's high-class (go figure) to demonstrate that you control enough resources to be able to fritter them away.
I'm telling you, people's relationship with their bodies is complex.