My favorite radio show is This American Life
, which airs on PBS on Saturday afternoons. Each week, a subject is examined in some depth, through multiple angles. Last Saturday (May 1) the topic was testosterone
The first segment was an interview with a man who, in the course of treatment for an undisclosed medical condition, was left with virtually no testosterone in his body. Apparently, the male hormone influences more than sexual desire; it appears to control desires of all kinds.
The subject reported that he was unable to work up any interest in anything. He would wake up, and hours would pass while he sat passively in bed, staring at the wall. He developed an aversion to strongly flavored food, not wishing to engage his senses. He was untroubled by his lack of connection to the world. Far from being alarmed, he found that everything was "beautiful", although this registered not as a joyful feeling but simply a factual one.
Well, as I was hearing this, I couldn't help but draw a parallel between his experience and the goal of the Buddhist: detachment from the material world, rejection of its temptations, and a sense of the underlying unity of the true world. Achieved, not through years of meditation, but by a simple medical procedure!
It might be a bit painful, but think of the spiritual rewards....
The broadcast is available online at: