Friday, March 23, 2007


While my friend Gary was up from Texas for a recent visit, one of the things we did was to go to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry for an exhibit called "Body Worlds 2": actual human bodies, skinned, sometimes split, opened, partly eviscerated, to show the myriad of physical components and their interrelationships that make up a human being. Each body reveals all the muscles, veins, arteries, sinews, joints, and organs, of which we are all made, and then posed in lifelike positions (kicking a soccer ball, ice skating, seated, etc.). The bodies have been preserved by a special process called "Plastination", and are complete in every detail including sexual organs, and the results are both bizarre and fascinating.

But human beings are of course more than the sum of their physical components. I realized, as I peered inside an exposed chest cavity to see those things which enabled the body to have been an actual person with a name and a family and friends, who laughed and breathed and loved and grieved, that what I am trying to do with this blog is to present myself as a specimen in which you can explore those non-physical things which make us human. I very carefully and deliberately have set out to lay out all those non-corporeal things which originate within one human brain—mine—and which, in conjunction with the physical body, have made each of us who we are. It’s my hope that you might recognize something of yourself in them and share my contemplation of the paradox that while each of us is an individual who must enter and leave this life "alone", while we are alive we are part of a far greater whole. And knowing that we are so much alike, how can we then harbor so many petty prejudices, bigotry, and hatred towards others?

I take the fact that you’re still with me, here, as an indication that you understand what I’m trying to do, and trust you will excuse my tendency to pontificate a bit—perhaps occasionally coming perilously close to boring you silly. But there are many things about which each of us have very strong beliefs…and hope that the belief that we are all in this together is primary among them.

Okay, enough on this for the moment. I’ll try to strike a lighter—and somewhat longer—note next time.

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