T1 – 002: One Cadaver


Christopher Carr

Christopher Carr does stuff and writes about stuff.

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16 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph says:

    Really nice Christopher.

    I wish I hadn’t heard about the gorilla experiment before; since I had, it didn’t “work” on me.

    I stared down at my arm, watched it flex and extend, watched my fingers move, watched the hinges of the wrist and elbow joints.

    I had surgery once on a broken finger/torn tendon, and they let me look at it before they closed it up – I could see the joint (with metal pin), the bones, the tendon that pulls it – and I immediately thought, I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    1. More about the fascia, please? It’s a phrase I’ve heard medical professionals use (e.g., “plantar fascia” are somewhere around the feet but I’ve no idea where exactly or what they do). I know what other tissues do, but this one has been glossed over for me.

    2. I’d not contemplated that different parts of the body die at different rates. This suggests that the transition from life to death is, perhaps, rarely as sudden as we contemplate it to be. Rather an awesome concept, “awesome” meaning “filled with awe” rather than “exhibiting excellence.”

    3. You fear that what you study is death, that the examination of the cadaver and the physical processes of the body become mere mechanical exercises disconnected with the humanity involved. But having read many other essays from you in the past, I have difficulty imagining your soul developing that kind of callus.Report

    • If I might presume to answer question #1 for the author of this excellent piece, the fasciae are dense layers of connective tissue that cover and bind larger structures, whether muscles or anatomic areas (such as the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot) or some internal organs. Their functions include supporting those structures and allowing them to move smoothly over each other.

      They are utterly unglamorous, yet perform functions without which our bodies would simply be unable to work.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

      This suggests that the transition from life to death is, perhaps, rarely as sudden as we contemplate it to be.

      I was talking with a friend once about the fact that every sound that has ever been made, every smell or light that has ever been emitted, still exists, just in extremely-reduced fashion.

      Likewise, I wonder if consciousness (whatever it is), continues attenuating forever, and what its perceptions and states are as it nears (but never *quite* achieves) absolute zero. (Does its perception of time keep slowing?)

      Like an undamped bell continues to “ring” long after it has faded far beyond our ability to hear it or measure its vibrations, because our instruments aren’t sensitive enough.

      We may or may not have been stoned at the time.Report

  3. Avatar Maribou says:

    This was beautifully written; thank you.

    (I am sure everyone finds this moving; but perhaps those of us who have made the cuts, even more so? though mine were never to anything more human than a primate.)Report

  4. Avatar Maribou says:

    Er, humans, of course, are primates. But I was thinking of the little guys. It’s rather eerie, holding a bushbaby or tarsier skull in your hand….Report

  5. Avatar Christopher Carr says:

    I know these pieces don’t really generate much conversation, but thank you all for letting me know that you appreciate it.Report