Mind and Body
So I’ve been thinking about amnesia as of late. Partially because it is a strong facet of the protagonist in my story (very original I know) and because in my own life I’ve experienced it. I’m not melodramatic about it, I look at the experience as more of one married with fascination.
This will be an interesting little bit, because as I’ve said before, I don’t really think about what exactly I’ll be writing when I sit down and do these. It becomes a stream of consciousness that I pray will make some sort of coherence by the end.
If it does…only the reader will know.
You can hear the difference in the ideas in our terminology. When we talk about a person who is missing, or harmed, we tend to use their name. It is not inflicting pain upon “The Body of Joe” but “Joe”. We are hurting the mind, the “life” that inhabits that body.
From the biological view it is a silly comment to make, our body is a small universe of life. A very large bundle of cells that are working in tandem to keep the organism moving. We are land logged coral reefs, with tiny parasites taking residence as our fauna and flora.
But from the metaphysical view it is intriguing. To not even see the body of the one harmed but to see the essence of the one inhabiting the body. It is also interesting to see how the name is lost in death. In most conversation it is not Joe you see on the ground, but a body, perhaps Joe’s Body, but often the commentary is one of disjointed examination.
So it gets me curious, imagine you have a dictator, they’ve killed 50 million people, and either through natural damage or through some form of tool they have their mind wiped. The person you meet has the same body as the dictator but their mind is utterly clean.
Do you consider this a new person? Or is this the same person as before? Does this clean mind get punished for the deeds of the one before them?
Imagine the terror of waking up in a brand new world and being accused of great horrors. Of being a mass murderer, a culler of life, and knowing that your ticket is up. Are you the criminal still or have you become a victim?
Are you gaining revenge against the mind, or the body, and if you could lose your mind without the body dying, have you died?
I learned today that a caterpillar, when metamorphosing, turns into a genetic soup. It is momentarily wiped out inside the cocoon and rebuilds into the Butterfly that emerges. In the animal kingdom this is similar, in essence, to my story. This new animal is brought into the world with its previous structure, at least poetically, annihilated.
I wish to read further on the topic, there is an article awaiting me in gmail that digs deeper into the topic and of whether the butterfly maintains itself through the transformation. It’s brain is melted and yet it remembers.
Would the person who has their mind washed retain themselves? Would they still have the same responses to impulses? Would they still be a dictator, a killer, a criminal?
Are our minds single entities, or colonies of life just as our bodies? A walking universe, or a single being inside a shell, or something else entirely?
Who is the owner of our body when the mind takes an extended vacation? At what point in that vacation is our body considered vacated? I’m not one to consider my body a home, but I do feel that in the world of amnesia, it does open up the psychological backing to make it such.
By mornings this might all be gibberish, but for now it was a therapeutic adventure for me.