The Body Never Lies
(Entry below was written on January 09, 2006)
On Sunday I went to see this exhibition called Bodies at the south street seaport with some friends. It consisted of actual preserved human bodies that had their skin uncovered and dissected to reveal all the workings on the inside.
There were some actual preserved body parts in display cases, and some life-size specimens standing or sitting in various poses. These were displays that you could walk all the way around and examine, with muscles and bones exposed. They had diagrams detailing what parts you could see on each body.
It was really fascinating and somewhat eerie, and miraculous when I took the time to really consider all the intricacies of the human form and structure, and the perfect systems that are in place that keep us alive. Since I’m a dork like that and love to learn new things, it was really enjoyable and informative and a little overwhelming.
We went through all these separate rooms which focused on all the systems individually. The respiratory, digestive, endocrine, nervous, reproductive, circulatory systems each had their own rooms, and it was so much information to take in.
There was even a room where actual fetuses were displayed. These were conjoined twins, babies with spinal deformities, normal fetuses at different stages of development, and a specimen of a woman in which you could see a small fetus inside her body curled upside down. It was really incredible and helped me see and understand a lot about the body that I was never aware of.
It was also fun to read these little facts they had posted on the surrounding walls, like how babies take 40 breaths per minute while adults take 15, and the pulse we have is caused by our arteries stretching.
Looking at the models of the human heart had me thinking about the emotional, spiritual side of us. Everything in the exhibit looked so cold and sterile, and I thought about where our spirituality and thought comes from and what causes it. The body is like a machine with all its parts having to be in proper working order at all times. But there is so much more to human beings than that.
And it’s sort of mind-boggling: all the little functions that work together that we are not even aware of. I wanted to learn more about the way the mind retains information and learns new habits/behaviors, but there wasn’t as much information about that as I’d hoped. I suppose that would have to be a whole other exhibit in itself.
The movie What the bleep do we know? explains it better (I just realized that that’s probably what I was thinking when I was considering ‘the ghost in the machine’ as they put it) or the spirit inside the human body. The body has been examined extensively after death and a person’s spirit/essence has never been found on the inside.
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