Reflections on Anatomy

by Deborah on November 10, 2005

BodyWorldsMy hus­band and I just recently went to the Crocker Art Museum’s show­ing of pho­tographs from Philadelphia’s Mut­ter Museum. I can’t help but feel that although the knowl­edge of human anatomy is valu­able beyond mea­sure, these types of exhibits lack rev­er­ence or appre­ci­a­tion for how we are cre­ated. They focus more on the bizarreness and poten­tial flaws of being. I am reminded of how latin is a “dead” lan­guage and all of our sci­en­tific stud­ies uti­lize it. The hor­ror movies often focus on our fears of a “dead” body being rean­i­mated to haunt and ter­ror­ize us. What is death but lack of spirit, breath, or ruach as it is referred to in the Qabalah.

Gun­ther Von Hagen’s show Body Worlds, I found equally curi­ous. I went look­ing for inspi­ra­tion for my own work and instead real­ized that fas­ci­na­tion for our cre­ation fre­quently stops at the flesh and mat­ter. What has been the most inter­est­ing and enjoy­able at these shows are the peo­ple I met. One gen­tle­man at the Body Worlds show was a neuro sur­geon who taught me much about the lim­bic sys­tem and the RAS (Retic­u­lat­ing Acti­vat­ing Sys­tem). These types of con­ver­sa­tions were what was spe­cial: con­nect­ing with oth­ers who are in love with what we are and how we work — not our “deadness”.

Work­ing with cadav­ers and mod­els are great learn­ing tools, but it’s what we do with the knowl­edge gained that makes it amaz­ing, valu­able, and beau­ti­ful. The heart sur­geon that just saved a young man’s life yes­ter­day has given him a great gift. Shows of anatomy could be awe inspir­ing and beau­ti­ful to uplift our soul and inspire us to take care of our­selves, not so we can gawk in dis­gust at the unfor­tu­nate that formed as a Siamese twin.

There is much beauty in our inter­nal forms. Dif­fer­ent ways of approach­ing the foun­da­tion of our mak­ing from the base mate­ri­als to the spirit that moves through is inte­gral to a whole under­stand­ing of being human. I am thank­ful for these exhibits as they remind me of how impor­tant it is to remem­ber the essence of all our exis­tence in the phys­i­cal forms.

I am also reminded that these types of shows are often the only glimpse the gen­eral pub­lic has of our anatomy in its basic “dead” form. Look care­fully when you attend these shows but keep in mind, the forms you are see­ing no longer con­tain Spirit. Take a moment to pon­der the life that once was or tried to be. Thank it for it’s gift and offer­ing of knowl­edge as it reveals all that it was, that has now been made of for us pon­der. Then you could pon­der your own cre­ation and won­der again how are we made this way?

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