The Ancient Egyptians viewed the body as more than just a physical system – it had emotional components, reasoning components, a spirit, a shadow, an intellect, a personality, and other parts – it was the sum of many things to them. Today, much of modern thinking views the body as a physical system. Yes, a physical system with some incredible mystery and beauty to it, but ultimately as a deterministic system.
I think the Egyptians were on to something – we lose an important concept of the body when we see it as something in isolation, as one item with many elements. When we see it as a combination of equally-important parts, we see that health and well-being involve so much more than making sure the physical system has enough food and sleep. Seeing the body as being made up of so many equally important things makes bonds of compassion easier to feel.