Wednesday, October 15, 2008

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Coming Back to Life?

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Moadim l'Simcha! A Gut Chol HaMoed!

Modern science and modern medicine does a wonderful job of explaining many of the processes in operation within the world. Yet, once you've entered the "we can explain everything" mindset, it's hard to stop.

Some years ago, my little girl developed a bald spot on the top of her head. We saw the doctor who did a close examination and diagnosed alopecia - aka 'unexplained hair loss'. Now that we had a name for it, we felt fine. Our daughter simply had a case of alopecia. But of course the name in this case is MEANINGLESS, for it simply says "hair loss for which we have no clue".

Such diagnoses are not hard to come by, another famous example affecting far too many people is irritable bowel syndrome - aka 'you have diarrhea that doesn't go away and we can't find a cause'. It would seem unlikely having this name gives people with it a feeling of relief.

Yet today I came across what has to be the most interesting of all such "we have no idea but it sounds better this way" diagnoses...

The Lazarus Phenomenon - Spontaneous Return of Circulation, aka you died and came back to life (and we don't know why)! The article I read notes that "since 1982 there have been 25 documented cases of {coming back to life} survival after failed resuscitation."

There you have it folks, there's nothing special about coming back to life anymore. It's just "spontaneous return of circulation". Science has named it, hiding what it is, so you don't have to fear that there might be something more going on than they know about.

Rest easy, they've got it under control.


Anonymous said...

tee hee, that's one way to look at it.
I kind of see it differently though-in the first two examples it's comforting to have a name for the thing because it makes you feel like your not alone, it's not unusual, and that in itself helps to alleviate panic and helps a person feel better.
In the last example having a name for it also implies it's not so unusual and your not alone, but in that case it minimizes the specialness of the experience, it seems to lessen the profundity.

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