I saw the Body Worlds exhibit at the local Science Museum. The exhibit is pretty famous by now, actual human bodies, plastinated and taken apart, displayed as art/science in a way that makes us immediately cognizant of our ultimate mortality but also of the incredible, transcendent beauty of the human body. The piece that stuck with me the most was an intact nervous system, brain at the top, nerves branching out underneath, the full height of a human being.

In our culture, we believe that thinking and feeling are separate things. We believe (or hope) that thought is dominant. Looking at the naked collection of brain and nerves in the museum, it was impossible not to remember that thought/feeling is an integrated, whole-body event. We are essentially meaning-making machines, bundles of nerves and brain, moving through the world, experiencing and expressing, experiencing and expressing.

It makes “thought” seem, at best, a paltry half-story. It reminds me not to be satisfied with anything less than genuine awareness of the full, embodied experience of being in this world.

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