Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Heart Has Its Reasons--For Wanting a Beer

Stories like this one about a heart transplant may seem like fodder for Fate magazine.

But they do raise interesting questions about the whole body-soul split, which is basic to all those religious traditions that teach we are spirits temporary in bodies--or trapped in bodies, as some would have it.

Was it possible that my new heart had reached me with its own set of tastes and preferences? It was a fascinating idea. During those early days, I had no idea that I would look back on this curious comment as the first of many mysteries after the transplant.

UPDATE: Purely by coincidence (really!) Yvonne Aburrow is thinking about organ donation. Consider the implications.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many religions posit the existence of several layers of soul, one or more of which stay with the body when it dies, and remain cohesive only as long as the body does. Some of these religions treat the 'bodily soul' as a kind of second corpse, to be kept out of the way until it's finished disintegrating. Others treat it as a being in its own right and deserving of being taken care of for the rest of its natural lifespan - these tend to be the culture that carefully preserve the body, and bury it with such possessions as it might need, and regularly leave food offerings for it. Some of them fear that an ill-treated bodily soul will become dangerous, like a hungry or wounded animal; others anticipate that a well cared for one will serve as a guardian of the living. And many cultures with beliefs like this prohibit organ donation and/or blood transfusions, out of concern for the bodily soul (or its unintended new host).

I can see where the fear of a mistreated spirit comes from - I've heard fairly credible stories of vicious hauntings that result when corpses are defiled. On the other hand, this story doesn't sound dreadful; young Tim appears to have more or less given the woman his blessing. I suppose the spirit of a willing donor should not be something to fear; at the same time, I wish there were some way to warn potential recipients to expect things like this, so they can better adjust to it.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Chas S. Clifton said...

@anonymous 4:15

Ideas of multiple souls might indeed have something to say here.

Here is another similar case.

9:11 PM  

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