Plastic surgery for the soul?

Customer: Hi, I’m a loser.

Surgeon: Yes, well we can certainly fix that for you!  Let’s see..a little extra drive inserted HERE, maybe some liposuction for those extra kilos of procrastination around the cerebellum, a bit of  lift and tuck in the intelligence department and I think I can guarantee you much better results in the ‘life success’ area in future, Mr Smith!

See anything wrong with that scenario? I can’t say I do. I mean, it’s only what’s supposed to happen at self-development seminars, only

If we could make our minds AND our bodies more beautiful, who would stay the same?  Wouldn’t we all want to be better people – I mean REALLY better? Fitter, healthier, cleverer, kinder, wiser, handsomer.

Suppose it was easy.  Suppose you just went to the appropriate professional and took the right pills and there you go, a better you, in seconds.  You used to have to SUFFER for that kind of result.  You used to have to live, struggle, study, try.  But now (I mean, let’s say in 20 years), it’s just handed to you on a plate. Pretty much the way your humanity is now, come to think of it.  After all, you could have been an ant, and the fact that you aren’t, is no credit to you! At least, unless you’re Buddhist or Hindu, that is.

Of course, there’d be people who would never be satisfied, no matter how good they became.  They’d just keep coming back again and again, wanting to become better, and better.  Every time they looked at themselves, they’d see another flaw requiring correction.  Maybe they’d be kind – but not as kind as Mother Theresa.  Placid, but not quite as placid as the Dalai Lama.  Because perfection, like truth, is something you can only strive for, never arrive at.

Actually there’s a story about that, it’s called the Fisherman’s Wife.  One day, the Fisherman is fishing, as they do, and he catches a talking fish with mysterious powers. ‘Let me go’ says the fish, ‘and you can have anything’. ‘Alright’, says the fisherman, ‘How about a nice new hut.’

Well, he goes home, and there’s his nice new hut.  But when he explains to his wife how it was they CAME by that nice new hut, the wife says ‘Idiot! Moron! He says he’ll give you ANYTHING and all you can ask for is a hut!!’.  So the guy goes back and asks for a palace. The wife’s happy – for about a  week – but then she thinks, hey, a measly old palace! We could have an apartment complex in Rio!’.  And so on and so forth, until finally the fisherman ends up sitting in the Vatican, having become Pope (and his wife, well, I guess she’s the first Popess).

Anyway the wife’s STILL not satisfied. ‘GOD is bigger than the Pope,’ she says. ‘Go back and tell that fish I want to be God’.  So he goes back and asks the fish – who promptly returns them right back to the hut where they started.  A lesson in KNOWING WHEN TO STOP!

with acknowledgements to


  1. Brain Salad Surgery
    It will murder you, it murdered me
    We made it for our enemy
    Brain Salad Surgery

    We’ve got a ballad
    About a salad brain
    With assurgence
    In a dirty bit again.

    Hi, there ! Do you know this song ?

  2. This post is genius, reminded me of this:

    I particularly agree that some people would never be satisfied, my personal opinion is that would apply to everyone, one can never be fully content or never wanting anything more, I think anyone who wants nothing more is either denying an unhappy universal truth or has given up on life (but even a suicidal person has wants, a want to end the pain, a want to not feel so perpetually low, a way out)

    The grass is always seemingly greener elsewhere, perfection is unattainable yet chased daily, appreciation of the moment is snatched by projected visions of the future. But life is about taking things for granted because that’s the human condition, existence can’t be fully comprehended therefore can’t be truly understood/appreciated.

    Sorry for this waffly comment, I probably sound like some half-arsed philosophy student, but this post made me think, thanks =)

  3. This is so cool. I’ve never wanted to struggle and twist and turn in the wind more!!! Truly, who wants a quick fix …. what a bore. 🙂

      1. As usual i think i missed the big picture here. Still, i thought this was a tongue in cheek post about how it’s TRULY impossible to “operate” away your problems… especially the ones of your own subjective analysis. I mean, let’s say i think i’m dumb, well we know that’s not true, but let’s say i could have a doctor cut my scull open and fix that … what next ? Melissa Frankenstein? What ever. … hopefully i’m not being flippant … i’m not trying to.

      2. Thanks for thinking about it. Yeah, I guess I mean you can get ‘better’ in various ways, quick or slow, but you can never be perfect and no matter how much ‘better’ you are, that’s no guarantee you’re going to be satisfied with whatever point you reach. In fact it almost seems that the more you long to change yourself, the less satisfied you get. Oh well, we just speculate, huh? xoxo

      3. Just tryin to live and do the best I can without making my head explode. My over analysis gets tiresome at times 🙂 … Not saying I’ll stop doing it aaaaaaaaaaa

  4. Given that suffering in our lives is inevitable, I’d like some kind of reward. think I’d rather earn that wisdom than buy it. It’s small consolation for the “slings and arrows” we face throughout our lives. (Now hair colouring and Botox I might consider…)

  5. My favourite along these lines is Terry Pratchett’s proposal for retrophrenology. Phrenology is where they read your character from the bumps in your skull. So retrophrenology is where they re-shape your character with a hammer (“we’ll just flatten this bump of assertiveness and add a lump of caution over here. Now hold still, this may hurt a bit….”)

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