Brian Spears

Poet, Editor, Teacher, Blogger.

The Ultimate in Recycling

It’s just a coincidence that I’ll be teaching the Wendell Berry poem “Enriching the Earth” tomorrow, a poem which ends with the lines “And so what was heaviest / and most mute is at last raised up into song,” but I couldn’t help but think of Berry’s sentiment about the body being of use after death when I read this story from Autopia about cadaver testing in the auto industry.

The article makes clear that auto companies don’t actually test with cadavers themselves–they just make use of the data universities provide from tests funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Apparently some people get upset at the idea of using human cadavers as test subjects in this way. Perhaps they think it’s undignified, or creepy–I can’t really say, since I don’t share the opinion–but it’s enough of an issue that auto companies are quick to distance themselves from the work.

But it seems to me to be a good way to use these bodies, all of which have been donated for the advancement of scientific knowledge. My grandfather donated his body to science when he died. I have no idea what was done with it–he might have been used by med school students to study human anatomy; he might have been swaddled into a car and slammed into a wall at moderate speed. Makes me think I should check into the program he was a part of and make a similar arrangement.

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September 1, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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