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[Perspectives] Corporeal culture

For those of us outside of the medical profession, the body is at once the most mundane and most mysterious of entities. We live with ours every day, and yet we understand little about what actually happens within it. As long as we are well, we take it for granted, assuming it will always be that way; as soon as we are ill, we’re on alert, perplexed, alarmed, and even betrayed by this thing that has suddenly become beyond our control. “Illness is the night-side of life”, Susan Sontag has written, that foreign country that we all do our best to forget about—until we can’t.