But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
Dr Crippen, the NHS Blog Doctor asks if there are any volunteers who will donate their body to medical science. Dissecting a human body is invaluable experience for medical students’ understanding of their primary place of work, but apparently there is a decline in the number of people making donations.
I mentioned this at a small gathering yesterday. Once people had overcome my social faux pas of mentioning human dissection while eating, it was interesting to hear people’s views on the matter.
Most people in the group could not stomach the idea of being chopped up. I find this this attitude rather… immature? Or maybe it is lack of imagination, failing to conceive a world in which you no longer play a part. The body will be dead by the time it happens, so there is no sense in imagining what it might be like to be subjected to the student’s knife. The act of donation is part of your existence. The act of dissection is not. Furthermore, dead bodies are all, ultimately, either burnt or digested: A distgusting thought if one imagines it happening to oneself, but an unavoidable destiny nonetheless. For the squeamish, I would imagine a clean and clinical dissection would be a preferable post-mortem journey. Of course, the destruction of the body during burial or cremation does not occur with a group of teenagers looking on. Perhaps there is a dignity in dissolving to your original carbon atoms in private.
A more positive consensus on the subject of organ donation. Everyone had a card, with various boxes ticked. In the case of four of the group (all women, I noticed), the one box they had declined to tick was the eyes. While they were fine with donating something trivial like a kidney, and even something as poetic as the heart, they would rather keep their eyes to themselves. This, the consensus claimed, was because while other organs are hidden away, “you can actually see the eyes.”
Perhaps they had remembered the old saying “the eyes are the mirror to the soul” and considered that taking the eyes would somehow be removing something more than a cornea. I had not considered this before, and in this materialistic, aetheistic culture, their attitude caught me by surprise.