Wednesday, August 13, 2008


For eons, scientists, philosophers, theologians and many lesser mortals have tried to sort out just what the "soul" is, whether it is located in a specific part of the body or if it exists throughout the body. Mary Roach, in her delicious book Stiff (as in cadavers) has a very interesting and humorous chapter titled "How to Know If You're Dead."

Among other examples she cites, she talks about our illustrious inventor Thomas Alva Edison, stating he believed that "living beings [us] were animated and controlled by 'life units,' smaller-than-microscopic entities that inhabited each and every cell and, upon death, evacuated the premises, floated around awhile, and eventually reassembled to animate a new personality - possibly another man, possibly an ocelot or a sea cucumber."

Roach adds Edison to the ranks of other "loopy" soul speculators, citing from his diaries the following illustration: "We do not remember. A certain group of our little people do this for us. They live in that part of the brain which has become known as the 'fold of Broca.' . . . There may be twelve or fifteen shifts that change about and are on duty at different times like men in a factory. . . . THEREFORE [my emphasis] IT SEEMS LIKELY THAT REMEMBERING A THING IS ALL A MATTER OF GETTING IN TOUCH WITH THE SHIFT THAT WAS ON DUTY WHEN THE RECORDING WAS DONE."

So there!

Whether or not the idea is loopy or Edison is loopy, I have to admit that I am relieved to finally find an explanation for my increasingly faulty memory. If it's good enough for Edison, it's good enough for me.

And for Jer, too.

No comments: