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Old 06-08-2003, 02:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Which part of you contains your "personhood"?

Heart Transplants are also "person transplants".

...................
from The Week magazine

People who have received heart transplants are finding they also acquire habits and personality traits of the donors.

One 52-year-old classical-music lover suddenly developed a taste for heavy metal. It turned out he'd received the heart of a 17-year-old boy who loved metal bands.

A quiet housewife developed a fondness for X-rated movies after getting a heart from a murdered prostitute.

A man who received the heart of a woman killed under a train started having nightmares about being crushed to death.

"The heart is far more than a pump," says world-renowned cardiologist and author Bruno Cortis.
....................

The reason I like this story so much is it brings the fallacies of our compartmentalized language and concepts to the forefront. Where does our "personhood" lie? In the brain? The brain is electro-chemical. It and the body it resides in are a free flowing continuum of particles suspended in water. Every part of our being flows through every other part. If you cut off parts of the body it is like a hologram in that our entire "personhood" inhabits each part. Artists have known this for centuries. The personality of each one of us is captured precisely in parts of our bodies, body language, and morphology. We are more than the sum of our parts. We are a gestalt.

You can read more on this and other amazing relationships in heart research and its philosophical implications by searching "Bruno Cortis cardiologist."
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Old 06-08-2003, 03:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That's actually very interesting.
So what if I'd get a serial killer's heart some day? Would I turn into a serial killer?
Not sure if I believe this or not.
I'll go run that search and maybe have more to add later.
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Old 06-08-2003, 03:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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sixate, I think it's a little more complex than that... but definitely very interesting stuff to think about, thanks for the thoughts flowing through my overloaded mind Art. ^_^
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Old 06-08-2003, 07:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If I was 52, and I was suddently able to rock out again without fear of getting a heartattack, I probably would start liking heavy metal too.
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Old 06-08-2003, 09:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Do these people know where the heart is coming from before they get it? I ask because we all know about the power of suggestion.
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Old 06-08-2003, 10:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The grammar used in the story above indicates they didn't.

The links related to Dr. Bruno Cortis lead to his world-renown status as a heart researcher. I'm looking at some of his work. You can too.
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Old 06-11-2003, 02:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Boy, am I betting that the scientific method was not applied in this. If there was any hard evidence behind it, it would be onthe front of every major paper in the country.
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Old 06-12-2003, 07:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I dunno.. I doubt they give too much information about a donor to the person who received the organ. And if they do, I doubt it's something so extensive as what music they listen to, their taste in food, where they hung out on friday nights, or what kind of movies they like to watch.

Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, though.

I find this pretty interesting, myself.
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Old 06-12-2003, 08:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hmmm good question about personhood. I think that my personhood is in "Me, I, and Myself", not the exterior shell in which I reside. My 'soul', if you will, is not a part of my physical body. I do not mean 'soul' in the religious sense either, but it is my spirit or essence of being.
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Old 06-13-2003, 09:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Let's apply the ol' scientific method to this and see what turns up. What? You can't duplicate the results? No surprise there!
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Old 06-13-2003, 04:08 PM   #11 (permalink)
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skepticism is good.

in any event, this isn't framed as a hypothesis toward experimental proof. These would all be unique cases with insufficient distribution to constitute a statistically significant sample of a population. I see it more as a situation requiring and amenable to detailed research. Some of this can be done on the web. "Dr. Bruno Cortis" would be the initial operand to enable an ongoing review of relevant material.

skepticism is most laudable when followed by intellectual curiosity and thorough research.
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Old 06-13-2003, 07:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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It's...I was going to say strange....I don't know....So little is even known about the human brain, and it's inner workings. Who is to say that the afforementioned acquired traits, weren't actually acquired as a result of heart transplantation? who's to say? I go for it. I'd love to find some more information. I'm off...
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Old 06-14-2003, 01:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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What an interesting article! I'll have to remember to look up more of this stuff later.
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Old 06-17-2003, 03:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Podmore
Boy, am I betting that the scientific method was not applied in this. If there was any hard evidence behind it, it would be onthe front of every major paper in the country.
I'm with Podmore on this one. I'm incredibly sceptical of this one. I mean the article cites what, three examples? Out of how many thousands of heart transplants every year? The scientific method is the ONLY method of uncovering the truth. And BOY am I sceptical about this article.

That being said, I will apply the converse to our "accepted" notion that our consciousness...our very personhood lies within our brain. Well, scientific method fails to prove that either. Admitedly it is a very TIDY theory that we exist in our brains and that the rest of our body is purely...functional. (We need arms to move our hands to feed our mouths, to take in food, to digest in our stomach, to bring sugars to blood...to power the brain, etc)
However tidiness does not imply fact. To me the ultimate question lies in the nature of our consciousness. Science knows nothing of conciousness other than it exists (I think therefore I am). Beyond that we know nothing about it. It is mere conjecture that whatever physical process is responible for our conciosness lies exclusively in the brain.

The tuith is we just don't know, we cannot say for sure. But if pressed, I'd put my money on the brain.

A good example of this is people who have their heads cryogenically frozen, in the hope that in the future, they will be thawed out, and either a new body can be created to attach to their head, or that their conciousness can be "extracted" from the frozen head and inserted into a new body. These people are pretty much betting that their "personhood" is exclusive to their head. I for one am with them, and would more readily have my head frozen than say...my arm, pr my heart. (hypothetically I mean, I don't really have any desire to be cryogenically frozen, it was just an example.)

Last edited by CSflim; 06-17-2003 at 03:28 PM..
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Old 06-18-2003, 09:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Very interesting!

This is the reason so many Chinese refuse to donate organs.

It really brings up the question of how large a part one's "consciousness" plays in one's persona.
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