“[B]y today’s brain-death standard for humans, a moth would not be considered alive, its ‘self’ having perished in the chrysalis.”

I’ve never gotten over my fear of dying.  But I thought I had come to terms with it.  That is, until I read Salon’s excerpt from Dick Teresi’s new book “The Undead.”

The book explores how doctors go about determining when someone has died and examines why these methods are not always dependable.  Eek.  Very scary to me, the book suggests that dead may not always mean dead and, despite what we are told, the line between life and death is not at all clear.  Double Eek.

As a kid, one of my big fears was that when we died we were just in some sort of frozen/hibernating state but still conscious or still able to be brought back to life.   I get that this book is not about that, but it treads dangerously close to my fear.

In the book, Teresi discusses death determination with Dr. Gregory Sorenson, a cat killer doctor who tried photograph the exact moment of death.  To get this shot, Dr. Sorenson killed cats with potassium chloride injections.  While the cats died, the cat killer doctor took MRI images of the their brains.

As for his dead cats, Sorenson said he could see the tissue infracting, but he could never pinpoint the moment of death. “I’m not sure MRI can prove that someone who is dead (or a mummy) won’t come back to life. As a scientist, you simply have to say such events are extraordinarily rare. As a believer, you can say whatever you’d like; I’m a believer, so I do believe that people will live again … but I won’t try to use MRI to convince you of that position.” Sorenson is a nice, friendly guy, and I hope for his sake that God is not a cat lover.

This book is a MUST on any summer reading list.  I’m planning on getting a photo of myself reading it while getting buried alive in the sand.

Video with captions at this link.

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~ by siouxsielaw on April 15, 2012.

2 Responses to ““[B]y today’s brain-death standard for humans, a moth would not be considered alive, its ‘self’ having perished in the chrysalis.””

  1. Wow. I assumed that we knew more about death these days. I think I may want to be buried with a bell on a string tied to my finger.

  2. Very interesting, but I must say mention of the cat killer actually made me feel sick. I cannot fathom the depths of cruelty within some people.

    I don’t know if you’ve read it, (I haven’t yet, but I do have it), the Tibetan book of the dead goes through the actual process of dying. In Michelle Belanger’s book “Walking the Twilignt path: a gothic book of the dead”, it is mentioned as well.

    I’ve never read accounts of death from a scientific p.o.v, so I might check this book out 🙂

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