MISS MOOX + time

Body Worlds

Yesterday I went to see Gunther von Hagen's Body Worlds 2 exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science. To say it was fantastic, incredible, amazing, doesn't do it justice. It has to be seen.

von Hagens' method of "plastination", whereby he slowly replaces bodily fluids with liquid polymers, preserves whole bodies or individual organs while retaining a remarkably life-like appearance. The result is a fascinating peek inside human anatomy. The accompanying audio guide, well-worth the extra fee, provides more detailed information.

The most compelling part of the exhibit is without a doubt the entire bodies, devoid of their skin and arranged in life-like poses. They offer an unparalleled glimpse of the skeletal, nervous, and muscular structures and how these systems interact. In addition, the internal organs are arranged separately in roughly anatomical order, from the brain to the reproductives, with commentary on each. Often a diseased organ is compared with a normal one to illustrate malfunctions such as smoker's lung or cirrhosis.

One of the statements at the end of the exhibit was to the effect that it would cause people to reflect on religious and philosophical questions, no matter what their beliefs. That was certainly the case for me. My impressions on the exhibit, in no particular order:

1. I now feel like I have a far greater understanding or at least appreciation of anatomy than I did in high school. That alone was worth the price.

2. The human body is such an intricately yet perfectly designed system. Just a description of the kneecap and the way it is held in place by a muscular support system, encased in a capsule, and shielded by cartilage to protect its role as the most-stressed joint in the body, is enough to convince me. Let alone the workings of the inner ear and how tiny delicate bones, fluids, and hairs interact to turn sound waves into electrical impulses that the brain then decodes and understands.

3. How could anybody think this was a fluke of chance?

4. Worship. Of a God so amazing who designed it all so perfectly.

5. The reality of mortality. Probably most of the mostly young, high-school age crowd at the exhibit rarely if ever had given a thought to the fact that they'd end up like these corpses one day. Talk about death was interwoven throughout the exhibit, from the interviews with the creator on the audio guide, to the printed wall hangings. It's not something that allows that question to remain unconsidered—all of the exhibits were real people. Unfortunately the prevailing philosophy seemed to be that "with death, we cease existence." It's a grim outlook with little hope.

6. That I am so thankful that I do have hope for life beyond death. My body isn't all there is, this life on earth isn't all there is, I have a certain future because of Jesus. 'Nuff said.

7. That my time in this body is all I have before eternity—and how I live it matters. I won't get another chance. I want to make it count for God as much as I can, and not live it for myself. I don't want to end up like the rich but foolish man Jesus described, thinking this is all there is.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts—but I'd encourage anyone who has the opportunity to see it for yourself. Just be sure you're not squeamish before you go—it's not for the faint of heart.

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