The flesh is not matter, is not mind, is not substance. To designate it, we should need the old term 'element,' in the sense it was used to speak of water, air, earth, and fire, that is, in the sense of a general thing, midway between the spatio-temporal individual and the idea, a sort of incarnate principle that brings with it a style of being wherever there is a fragment of being. The flesh is in this sense an 'element' of Being. 

Merleau-Ponty, M (Lefort, C ed. and Lingis, A trans.) (1968) The Visible and the Invisible Evanston, Ill: Northwestern University Press p.139