Mohsen summarizes discussion of STIFF, The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

We came one by one, numbering to eight, gathering around a table, sipping our morning brew, warming up to one another and slowly shifting our conversations to the main reason for our get together, to talk about “STIFF”.
Ron Boothe, was the first to share his personal scientific and psychological insights about, “Organ donors and their awareness of what might be done to their donated body parts and for what reason”.
Then came in Stirling Smith, and his Anatomy Lab experience, discussing “The possibilities of a body living with someone else’ organ parts”.
Peter Farnum picked up the conversation discussing, “Human life, should there be a different value on one life versus another and who should decide which life posses greater value?”, his PhD in Forest Ecology assured to balance the statistics.
Jim Robbins offered his spiritual and political viewpoint combined from his world travel experiences on, “Do animals have soul and does the soul have a substance?” he landscaped the ground for Burk Ketcham to volunteer his communityhealth planning expertise to explain, “How can animals continue to function even with most of their body separated from their head?” he was followed by Bill Hagen discussing, “Brain dead versus actual life and organ recovery from mind-less patients but not life-less bodies? his Clinical public health knowledge commissioned the discussion to the hemispheres, he also included a humorous poem called Departmental (posted in comments below).
And then it was Neil Burgeson speaking on, “If the soul is separated from the body, then what happens to it after death, surely his education PhD gave just to his viewpoint, counseling a calmness in us.  Myself, the culprit, photographically engineered to un-STIFF everyone, choosing “The moral issues of “Cadavers being used for both, research of saving lives and taking lives”, my quest was to read and learn, yet I found more questions than answers, I suppose the Zen in me has me in search for life and living answers, and if I had a wish, I would  wish to find my beginning, how I came to be and then find my next resting place, regardless of my spirituality, biological functionality or my human life objectives, Is there a separation between “LIFE AND DEATH” and if there is, where does life go-after death?
As suggested by some, the “SOUL” leaves the body when we die, then how does it reincarnate to another body and to what magnitude?
The group’s general consensus to be ecologically green was positive toward the new cremation and composting methods for disposal of dead bodies. However, I would need positive proof of it’s safety values before I volunteer to be fertilizer.
Here are additional opinions of some individuals I discussed these issues with outside our group:

  • Although, not yet scientifically proven, many experiences suggest that there is “LIFE AFTER DEATH”.
  • “PSYCHOTHERAPIST” have learned how to help people have their own afterlife connections, both spiritual & paranormal.
  • People on the “NEXT PLANE OF LIFE”

Many thanks to my son M.J. for encouraging me to read “STIFF”, and the author Mary Roach, no wonder it was a New York Times bestseller, and to the above mentioned scholar-ed friends, what a great discussion.
Thank you,

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3 Responses to Mohsen summarizes discussion of STIFF, The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

  1. Ron Boothe says:

    Burk sent me the following, and I post it for him:
    I finally have found my name in the dictionary. It is used to explain the pronunciation of the word burke. As you will remember from reading “Stiff,” William Burke was a provider of cadavers for the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. His unique methodology has added his name to the English language. After Burke was hanged for his efforts on behalf of medicine, several wallets were made from his skin.

    burke (burk), v.t. burked, burking. 1. to murder, as by suffocation so as to leave no or few marks of violence. 2. to suppress or get rid of by some indirect maneuver (after W Burke, hanged in 1829 in Edinburgh for murders of this kind) – burker, burkite

    So beware if someone wants to burke you or you meet up with a burkite.

  2. Ron Boothe says:

    Bill read the following poem during our discussion of Stiff:


    by Robert Frost – 1936

    An ant on the tablecloth

    Ran into a dormant moth

    Of many times his size.

    He showed not the least surprise.

    His business wasn’t with such.

    He gave it scarcely a touch,

    And was off on his duty run.

    Yet if he encountered one

    Of the hive’s enquiry squad

    Whose work is to find out God

    And the nature of time and space,

    He would put him onto the case.

    Ants are a curious race;

    One crossing with hurried tread

    The body of one of their dead

    Isn’t given a moment’s arrest-

    Seems not even impressed.

    But he no doubt reports to any

    With whom he crosses antennae,

    And they no doubt report

    To the higher-up at court.

    Then word goes forth in Formic:

    “Death’s come to Jerry McCormic,

    Our selfless forager Jerry.

    Will the special Janizary

    Whose office it is to bury

    The dead of the commissary

    Go bring him home to his people.

    Lay him in state on a sepal.

    Wrap him for shroud in a petal.

    Embalm him with ichor of nettle.

    This is the word of your Queen.”

    And presently on the scene

    Appears a solemn mortician;

    And taking formal position,

    With feelers calmly atwiddle,

    Seizes the dead by the middle,

    And heaving him high in air,

    Carries him out of there.

    No one stands round to stare.

    It is nobody else’s affair

    It couldn’t be called ungentle

    But how thoroughly departmental

  3. Ron Boothe says:

    As the Gestalt Psychologists have taught us, sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I had mixed reactions to the various chapters of this book, liking some a lot, others less. However, my overall experience of reading this book, combined with our discussion of several scientific, philosophical, and ethical issues related to topics in the book, was positive and enlightening. As typically happens in our group, the discussion raised my level of awareness of topics I had not thought much about to a whole new level. Thanks so much for organizing our discussion of this book.

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