Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bodies: The Exhibition

If you ever seek new motivation for caring properly for your body, I recommend visiting "Bodies: The Exhibition". It's a traveling exhibit of preserved body parts and entire bodies dissected (and peeled) in various segments and planes to help viewers understand the physical intricacies of the human body.

A senior vice president of one of the divisions of our company had free passes and sent out a mass email last week inviting the first 20 responders to join him at the exhibition today. I was one of the 20 so I joined my colleagues at the South Street Seaport Exhibition Centre this afternoon.

I found the exhibition amazing, educational, extremely fascinating and slightly disturbing. Checking out small bone fragments and various organs was interesting enough, but examining entire cadavers of those who had donated their bodies to science (or were - oddly enough - often an unclaimed body from China) was a little unsettling. Moreover it makes you want to take better care of your own when you see how complex and fragile we truly are.

While standing in front of a man whose skin had been peeled to expose his muscular tissue and vital organs, I said to one of my colleagues: "Looking at the individual organs and bone fragments doesn't bother me, but looking at entire bodies makes me wonder who these people were and wonder about the things they did with their bodies while they were alive ... And if this man died in recent years, does his family know that his body is traveling the country? And do they visit him when he's in town?"

As I ventured through the halls, I wished that I had brought a notepad with me to write down some of the interesting facts displayed throughout the exhibit. This evening I found some fun facts on the exhibition's official website. The fact I found most remarkable - which isn't featured on their website - is that after conception, we spend about 30 minutes as a single cell.

From 30 minutes as single cell to a lifetime of moments and memories. Amazing.

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