If I were to start a cult, I’d make short nails the primary dogma

Image from Wikimedia

There’s a hypothesis of the Cortical homunculus – that our brains map motor control and sensory input in different proportion to their size. In practice it means that your hands, one of our primary exploratory tools, have an outsized “mental space” in your brain. Along with parts of your face, genitals and feet, they are considered “primary interface”.

Perhaps this might have something to do with my dislike of the sensation of uncut fingernails. It’s not an æsthetic consideration, but rather a persistant feeling of my fingers being tight or constricted, where my nails start to grow into the lateral nail fold. It drives me bonkers and I find myself clicking my nails or otherwise fidgeting once a minute – even if I remind myself that I can’t do anything about it at the moment. It’s instinctual, and it makes me uncomfortable.

This seems tied to whether I’m sick, since I’m more aware of it if I have a flu or such. When you’re sick you can get hot, a bit swollen or more sensitive in general, and whatever slight pressure you’re feeling is increased – for example from your growing nails against your skin.

This also means that one of the best ways of feeling better is to cut your nails.

And this is where the cult comes in: Every religion, health fad or cult needs a few gimmicks. You can put a jade egg up your snatch, you can pray four times a day or you can avoid beans. In my case, I would make an edict that nails had to be trimmed. I already have a clergy class and/or profet class in the wings – those with anonychia, congenital or otherwise. We can work in cermonies and punishments related to nails, force heretics to smoke clippings, decorate them for coming-of-age ceremonies, etc. I can actually see people handing out pamphlets for this. I’m just lacking a name.

Pythagoras the vegetarian did not only abstain from meat, he didn’t eat beans either. This was because he believed that humans and beans were spawned from the same source, and he conducted a scientific experiment to prove it. He buried a quantity of beans in mud, let them remain there for a few weeks, and then retrieved them. He noted their resemblance to human fetuses, thus convincing himself of the intimate relationship between beans and humans. To eat a bean would therefore be akin to eating human flesh. Equally, to crush, smash, or dirty a bean would be to harm a human. Thus the very strict rule to abstain from beans.

Bruce Pennington: The death of Pythagoras

As long as you can convince others either by the strength of your own conviction, association to good outcomes or just plain placebo, you can get people on board all kinds of philosphical vehicles.

So hear ye, hear ye! For the nails of thine hands, and the nails of thine feet are the yellowing stiffened discharge of your otherwise Godly body. Lo! Cut them from you and cast them away – and let the healing power infuse you with calm!

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