My 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?